#125 – Generals J. E. Johnston and G. T. Beauregard

23 08 2008

Congratulatory Proclamation of Generals Johnston and Beauregard

O.R.– SERIES I–VOLUME 2 [S# 2] — CHAPTER IX, p. 574


Manassas, Va., July 25, 1861

Soldiers of the Confederate States:

One week ago a countless host of men, organized into an army, with all the appointments which modern art and practical skill could devise, invaded the soil of Virginia. Their people sounded their approach with triumphant displays of anticipated victory. Their generals came in almost royal state; their great ministers, senators, and women came to witness the immolation of our army and the subjugation of our people, and to celebrate the result with wild revelry.

It is with the profoundest emotions of gratitude to an overruling God, whose hand is manifest in protecting our homes and our liberties, that we, your generals commanding, are enabled, in the name of our whole country, to thank you for that patriotic courage, that heroic gallantry, that devoted daring, exhibited by you in the actions of the 18th and 21st, by which the hosts of the enemy were scattered and a signal and glorious victory obtained.

The two affairs of the 18th and 21st were but the sustained and continued effort of your patriotism against the constantly-recurring columns of an enemy fully treble your numbers, and their efforts were crowned on the evening of the 21st with a victory so complete, that the invaders are driven disgracefully from the field and made to fly in disorderly rout back to their intrenchments, a distance of over thirty miles.

They left upon the field nearly every piece of their artillery, a large portion of their arms, equipments, baggage, stores, &c., and almost every one of their wounded and dead, amounting, together with the prisoners, to many thousands. And thus the Northern hosts were driven from Virginia.

Soldiers, we congratulate you on an event which insures the liberty of our country. We congratulate every man of you whose glorious privilege it was to participate in this triumph of courage and truth–to fight in the battle of Manassas. You have created an epoch in the history of liberty, and unborn nations will call you blessed. Continue this noble devotion, looking always to the protection of a just God, and before the time grows much older we will be hailed as the deliverers of a nation of ten millions of people.

Comrades, our brothers who have fallen have earned undying renown upon earth, and their blood, shed in our holy cause, is a precious and acceptable sacrifice to the Father of Truth and of Right. Their graves are beside the tomb of Washington; their spirits have joined with his in eternal communion. We will hold fast to the soil in which the dust of Washington is thus mingled with the dust of our brothers. We will transmit this land free to our children, or we will fall into the fresh graves of our brothers in arms. We drop one tear on their laurels and move forward to avenge them.

Soldiers, we congratulate you on a glorious, triumphant, and complete victory, and we thank you for doing your whole duty in the service of your country.


General, C. S. Army


General, C. S. Army

#124 – Capt. Edgar Whitehead

23 08 2008

Report of Capt. Edgar Whitehead, Radford’s Rangers, of Pursuit July 22

O.R.– SERIES I–VOLUME 2 [S# 2] — CHAPTER IX, p.573

CENTREVILLE, July 28, 1861

SIR: On the morning of the 22d instant I was ordered by General Longstreet to accompany Colonel Terry, of Texas, and pursue the enemy, and find out their exact position. On reaching Centreville we found the main body had fled, and we pursued the stragglers, taking twenty-five or thirty prisoners on the route to Fairfax Court-House, where Colonel Terry shot down the United States flag and placed the stars and bars on the top of the court-house. The large flag sent back by him was intended, we learned, to be put up at Manassas. Another was taken from the Court-House, and the third one, to which you probably refer, was taken from some soldier by Private R. L. Davies, of my company, who had it in a haversack–no doubt to be raised on the first captured battery taken. It had no staff, but was carried carefully wrapped in the haversack.

Very respectfully,


Captain Company E, Radford’s Rangers


Assistant Adjutant-General, Manassas

For particulars in regard to horses, wagons, guns, and ready-made clothing, see Colonel Terry’s note to General Longstreet.(*)

*Not Found

#123 – Capt. John F. Lay

23 08 2008

Report of Capt. John F. Lay, Commanding Squadron of Cavalry, of Operations July 18 and 21

O.R.– SERIES I–VOLUME 2 [S# 2] — CHAPTER IX, pp. 572-573

CAMP PICKENS, VA., August 15, 1861

COLONEL: I am ordered to make a report of the operations of my command upon July 18 and 21 upon the field. I have omitted to do so hitherto simply from the fact that I did not know it was expected of me.

Acting immediately under the orders of the general commanding, on the morning of the 18th, with my command–consisting of my own company (the Powhatan Troop) and the Little Fork Rangers, commanded by Capt. K. E. Utterback–I acted as an escort to the general commanding to the field, and took position some 400 yards west of McLaws’ house, and there remained until some hour or two after the firing commenced, during which time I had to change my position, then directly in range of the long Parrott gun, the shell of which were falling about us and in full view, I thought, of the enemy’s position. When the firing at Mitchell’s Ford commenced I moved by order with the general to a position near that ford, and during the day acted immediately under his orders, transmitting orders to the various commands.

By order I dispatched Captain Utterback with his company to report to General Longstreet, to aid in the pursuit when the enemy were retiring, which order was promptly obeyed, but not fully carried out, as immediately afterwards the order for the pursuit was countermanded.

That night I returned with the general to camp, and  during the intervening days was actively occupied in the transmission of orders to various points, among others dispatching three couriers under a forced and rapid ride to Piedmont at night to communicate with General Johnston’s command. In this ride a very valuable horse was seriously injured.

On the morning of the 21st I early received orders, and marched as an escort to the general commanding with the same command as before to a position upon the road near to Mitchell’s Ford. From this position I was ordered to fall back, owing to a fire from the same long-range gun, attracted, doubtless, by the dust from the cavalry and wagons upon the road. From this point I dispatched various orders to commanders at different points, and then with my command moved with the general to a position near Lewis’ house, when it was ascertained the enemy were making their flank movement in that direction, when I was stopped by order of the general, through his aides, and remained in position during the day, furnishing, under orders, couriers to different commands, guides into position for batteries and regiments, and mounting aides and other officers when ordered to do so.

During the morning, the cavalry being ordered to fall back from this position, in the absence of any immediate commander I reported to Colonel Munford, in command of the cavalry forces near me, and acted under his orders until I could dispatch a messenger to receive orders from the general or one of his aides. By order of Colonel Munford, Captain Payne, of the Black Horse [Cavalry]; Ball, of the Chesterfield Troop, and myself, selected a position for the cavalry, and there remained in formation ready for instant movement, when I received orders to resume my former position under the hill southwest of Lewis’ house. From this position I sent off couriers as desired. By request of an aide I sent my surgeon with two men and a horse to aid in the recovery of the body of General Bartow. In this effort they were unable to succeed, owing to a heavy advancing fire, this aide properly refusing to permit them to go in. Here I lost a horse, but have since recovered him, slightly wounded in the foot. Here, by order of General Johnston, I was successfully engaged for two hours in rallying stragglers from infantry commands and sending them to him, who reformed them under the hill below Lewis’ house.

When the order for the pursuit was given I was in advance of the main body of the cavalry, and started off with Colonel Chesnut, with orders, however, to report to General Beauregard. Before reaching the Warrenton turnpike, below Fairfax House, not finding the general, and learning that he was on [the] other side of the run road, I asked permission to go on, which was granted by Colonel Chesnut, he stating his purpose to accompany me. We were starting upon the main road to Centreville, when a messenger from the adjutant-general ordered me to the left, to disperse a body then apparently forming, but which proved to be of our own men. From this point I advanced beyond the ford at Sudley, taking and paroling prisoners and aiding Colonel Jordan in caring for the wounded at or near that point, and with him returned to camp with men and horses much wearied and exhausted.

I lost no men from my command. One horse, while his rider, acting as guide to a battery, was taking down a fence, was struck by a shell and instantly killed. Two others, while on active courier duty, died from heat and exhaustion; others are permanently injured, I fear.

In conclusion, my officers and men were cool and composed, ready promptly to obey all orders; most of them under fire repeatedly during the day; some of them constantly with the general in his exposure, and with his aide, Colonel Chisolm. I had no opportunity other than to discharge those duties assigned me, which I hope were as efficient as they were cheerfully rendered.



Captain, Commanding Squadron of Cavalry


Assistant Adjutant-General

Sharpsburg Heritage Days

23 08 2008

I’ll be presenting a version of my Threads program as part of the Save Historic Antietam Foundation (SHAF) Lecture Series at Sharpsburg Heritage Days, September 13 & 14.  I believe I’ll be doing this on the 13th, sometime between 1:00 PM and 4:00 PM at St. Paul’s Episcopal Church in town.  Here’s a schedule of events.  The SHAF lectures are free.

Related events coming up include a crossing of the Potomac the following Saturday, Sept. 20th, in commemoration of the 146th Anniversary of the Battle of Shepherdstown.  The crossing (from the Maryland side to the West Virginia side) will be followed by a tour of the Cement Mill which figured so prominently in the battle, as well as some privately owned battlefield land, with refreshments provided afterwards by the Shepherdstown Battlefield Preservation Association (SBPA). There is a fee for this event.  Here are the details from Tom Clemens.  Leave a comment here if you’re interested in attending, and I’ll put you in touch with him:

We’ll meet at 3:00 Saturday Sept. 20 on the Maryland side of the Potomac at Boteler’s (Packhorse, Shepherdstown) Ford. This may entail some car-pooling from Antietam Visitor’s Center if there are a lot of us. We’ll wade the Potomac at the ford site, and on the other side some folks from Shepherdstown Battlefield Preservation Association (SBPA) will meet us. They will arrange for us to use the actual ford site, which is on private property, and we’ll stop and look at the ruins of the Cement Mill. Then we’ll ascend the bluff roughly along the route of Barnes’ Brigade and go to the place where the 118th PA fought, all of which is also on private property. After viewing the main battle area we’ll walk to the original farmhouse, also privately owned, where the opposing forces first met, and see a shell embedded in the farmhouse wall. From there we’ll go to the Dunleavey’s home, just a short distance away, where they will serve us hamburgers, hot dogs and all the trimmings, as well as adult liquid refreshments that will slake the thirst of all dedicated battlefield trasmpers. When we have had our fill of everything, they will provide drivers to take us back to our vehicles, thus we only have to wade once. All of this wonderful stuff for only a paltry $25 per person donation to SBPA, which is tax-deductible! It doesn’t get any better than this! Tramping a privately-owned battlefield, helping a preservation group, and a good meal!!

On Columbus Day Weekend, October 10-11, SHAF will sponsor a dinner and lecture with Marion V. Armstrong, author of “Unfurl Those Colors”, McClellan, Sumner, and the Second Army Corps in the Antietam Campaign on Friday evening at the South Mountain Inn, followed by a tour of the relevant portions of the field on Saturday.  There will be fees for these events as well.  I recently interviewed Mr. Armstrong for the SHAF newsletter, and that will be put up on the SHAF website along with details of the event once they are ironed out.

Society of (Mostly) Civil War Historians – Part IV

22 08 2008

I apologize for taking so long to make this promised entry in my series detailing the first biennial meeting of the Society of Civil War Historians held in Philadelphia’s Union League Club this past June.  One thing led to another… you know how it goes.  Anyway, in this concluding installment I’ll tell you a little bit about the venue, which was every bit as impressive as the program and the presenters.

The Club is situated on Broad St., south of City Hall (that’s the view to the municipal HQ), and is easily identified by its red hue and ornate double curving staircases.  The Broad St. entrance is flanked on either side by monuments to two city militia regiments, the First Pennsylvania National Guard Infantry Regiment and, oh, somebody help me out with the other one:


I won’t go into great detail on the history of the Club/League.  Suffice to say it was formed early in the war as a way for citizens of the city to publicly profess their support for the Lincoln administration.  You can read a little about its founding on the historical marker above, and here is a commemorative book, published on the 40th Anniversary of the Club.

One is immediately struck by the massive art collection that adorns the walls of the club, much of it with a Civil War theme, which makes sense considering the League’s origin.  And we ain’t talking Bradley Schmel or Don Stivers here.  The club has the original oil paintings of Xanthus Smith’s USS Kearsarge vs. CSS Alabama and The Monitor and the Merrimac, paintings you’ve doubtless seen reproduced dozens of times.  Right there, at eye level!  Click on the thumbs for a larger image – click on the larger image for a ginormous one:


This being Philadelphia, favorite sons were prominent, including this massive full-length portrait of George Gordon Meade, and the Philadelphia Brigade HQ pennant used by Alexander Webb at Gettysburg:


The Union League raised nine infantry regiments and 5 companies of cavalry during the war, and this piece was commissioned to commemorate them:

But the club doesn’t limit itself to the collection of Civil War art.   Check out this massive portrait of George Washington by Thomas Sully, and his original smaller study (sorry I didn’t provide a sense of scale – trust me, this sucker is HUGE):


The Union League is one of the few – maybe the only – private clubs in the nation to employ a full-time director of library and collections.  Jim Mundy guided a tour of the club for conference attendees following the afternoon sessions on Monday, and about 40 or so opted to follow.  Afterwards, he mentioned that he had a few more items in the club’s huge library (the general library, not to be confused with their very impressive Lincoln Library which houses the Civil War volumes) that he would be happy to exhibit to anyone who was interested.  About ten of us took him up on the offer.  If you were one of the 30 or so who chose to bug out, you might want to stop reading now.

First this very proper gentleman in a bow tie yanks out of some vault a printed copy of the Emancipation Proclamation which was one of 24 sold to raise funds for the war effort.  And it was signed.  By Sec’y of State William Seward.  And Lincoln’s secretary John Hay (although it could have been Nicolay, I can’t remember).  And oh yeah, by Abraham Lincoln, too – in a very firm hand.  And I got to hold it.  In my hands.  In a frame, sure, but I held it, one of only 12 known to exist.  It sold for $10 back in 1863.  I offered Mr. Mundy $20.  He looked at me like I had lobsters crawling out of my ears.

Next Mr. Mundy produced a home-made book, made up of paper sheets attached to each side of linen leaves.  It was in very good shape, with clear handwriting.  On April 14, 1865, after having been shot in Ford’s Theater, President Lincoln was removed to a nearby house owned by William Petersen.  There Secretary of War Edwin Stanton began to interview eyewitnesses to the assassination attempt, in order to make some sense out of a developing and chaotic situation.  The amount of information coming in was getting hard to handle, so Stanton sent out feelers for someone skilled in taking shorthand.  Next door they found their man, James Tanner, a veteran of the 87th New York Infantry (aka 13th Brooklyn) who had lost both legs at 2nd Bull Run and learned shorthand to earn his living clerking at the War Department.  As the evening wore on, Tanner took shorthand notes of the witness interviews, periodically taking breaks to transcribe the notes to long hand.  The next day (the 16th, I think), Tanner copied all of his long hand transcriptions and gave them to Stanton.  He kept the shorthand notes and original transcriptions.  These were the pages attached to the linen leaves of the book.  Very cool.  Understandably this item was not passed around to the group.

Lastly another framed item magically appeared.  The rustic display included newspaper clippings, handwritten notes, a couple of photographs, and a piece of cloth.  All pertained to the story of a gentleman who helped prepare Lincoln’s body, at some point in its movements from the Petersen House to the White House, to the autopsy, to the embalming.  I’m sorry, but I can’t recall the details.  I was overwhelmed and had forgotten my notebook.  The piece of cloth was one of six relics given to the gentleman and five companions who helped with the body: pieces of the President’s undershirt.  For the rest of his life, the man wore the scrap pinned to the left inside of his coat, so it rested next to his heart.  Upon close examination – yep, I got to hold this frame, too – I could make out the dozens of tiny pinholes.  I think you can see them too, if you look closely:


The conference was a great success, and I’m glad I went.  And it was very affordable.  Consider membership – it’s open to non-eggheads like me and you.  All the info you need is right here.  The 2010 conference will be hosted by The University of Richmond.

Part I

Part II

Part III

CSA Cavalry OOB Up

19 08 2008

In response to an inquiry concerning the command of Capt. John F. Lay, Bull Runnings’ favorite NPS Ranger, Jim Burgess of Manassas National Battlefield Park, has once again come through with flying colors.  Jim provided me with a Confederate Cavalry order of battle for First Bull Run.  I’ve added a page for this OOB under First Bull Run Resources in the right hand column. 

Thanks Jim!

Don Troiani print above (First at Manassas) from this site.

Tree Clearing at Manassas Part III

18 08 2008

Here’s another Washington Post article on the tree clearing project at Manassas National Battlefield.  Please read through the comments – there are a ton of them.  While not all well reasoned or well written, they are enlightening.  We who consider ourselves battlefield preservationists need to have a clear understanding of the perspectives of those who do not share our interests.  Their priorities are often different from ours, but no less valid as far as they are concerned.

See earlier articles here and here.

Hat tip to pal Brian Downey.

Above photo of tree clearing from washingtonpost.com

Blogroll Update

17 08 2008

I’ve added a few links to my blogroll in the right hand column, so I should point out my criteria for linking.  Basically, I look for good writing on the American Civil War.  Whether or not I agree with a blogger’s opinion has nothing to do with my selection process.  If it’s well researched, well reasoned, and well written, I think it’s worth your time and recommend that you visit.  My one rule concerns the discussion of modern politics.  Whether or not I agree with the blogger’s modern political viewpoints is, again, immaterial.  If a blog to which I link regularly posts on modern politics, I’ll remove it from the blogroll.  The removal of the link is in no way a judgement.  I believe I have a responsibility to you readers to only direct you to blogs in which I think you’ll be interested, based on your interest in Bull Runnings – where discussion of present-day politics (and present-day religion) is strictly verboten.

With the approaching presidential election, some of the blogger’s to whom I link may be tempted to “enter the fray” with their opinions.  I read all these blogs pretty regularly via a feed reader.  They’ll be removed from the blogroll as political posts become, in my estimate, frequent – with no fanfare.

#122 – Capt. E. P. Alexander

15 08 2008

Return of Captures and Abstract of Prisoners Taken

O.R.– SERIES I–VOLUME 2 [S# 2] — CHAPTER IX, p. 571


October 12, 1861

Return of captured ordnance and ordnance stores turned in to the Ordnance Department, Army of the Potomac, up to August 16, 1861:

One 30-pounder Parrott gun, with 300 rounds of ammunition; 9 10-pounder Parrott guns, with 100 rounds of ammunition each; 3 6-pounder brass guns, with 100 rounds of ammunition each; 3 12-pounder brass howitzers, with 100 rounds of ammunition each; 2 12-pounder boat howitzers, with 100 rounds of ammunition each; 9 James rifled, with 100 rounds of ammunition each, field pieces; 37 caissons; 6 traveling forges; 4 battery wagons, splendidly equipped; 64 artillery horses, with harness; 500,000 rounds small-arm ammunition; 4,500 sets of accouterments, cartridge boxes, &c.; 4,000 muskets.

No accurate return of drums, swords, pistols, knapsacks, canteens, bridles, &c., can be obtained. One 6-pounder gun and one 12-pounder howitzer were found spiked, but they were easily withdrawn. One of the enemy’s caissons exploded in the field in addition to those captured.

Hospital equipments turned in up to August 16, 1861-5 medicine chests, partially filled; 6 cases surgical instruments; two sets of panniers, 7 ambulances.

Returns of litters, instruments, supplies, &c., are all very incomplete, so much having been appropriated by surgeons of regiments, &c., besides the loss from plundering by privates and citizens.

Quartermaster’s stores turned in up to August 16, 1861:870 axes, spades, and intrenching tools; 2 sets carpenters’ and blacksmiths’ tools; 12 sets harness; 23 extra traces for artillery; 7 platform and other scales; 1,650 camp cooking utensils; 2,700 camp mess utensils; 302 pairs pantaloons, drawers, and socks; 700 blankets; 22 tents and flies; 21 wagons, 33 horses, 25 trunks and carpet-bags; 1 coil of rope.

Incomplete returns of many miscellaneous articles, such as bed-ticks, buckets, coffee-mills, halters, picket-pins, saddles and bridles, ten barrels commissary stores, and a few handcuffs left from a large lot captured, but carried off by individuals as trophies.

Abstract of prisoners and wounded of enemy sent to Richmond and the hospitals at other places since July 21, 1861: Prisoners not wounded sent to Richmond, 871; prisoners wounded sent to hospitals, 550. Total, 1,421.

These prisoners represent themselves as belonging to 47 different volunteer regiments, 9 regiments of Regular Army, and the Marine Corps. Besides these regiments, in the reports and orders of the enemy are mentioned by name one regiment of volunteers and companies from two regiments of regulars in Hunter’s division, six volunteer regiments in Miles’ division, and Runyon’s entire division of at least five regiments from New Jersey, from which we have neither prisoners nor wounded, giving as his entire force fifty-nine volunteer regiments and detached companies and battalions from marines and eleven regular regiments. From the most reliable data his volunteer regiments averaged 900 men each, making in all 63,000 men.


Captain Engineers, General Staff

#119 – Maj. Thomas G. Rhett

15 08 2008

Troops of the Army of the Shenandoah Engaged in the Battle of Manassas

O.R.– SERIES I–VOLUME 2 [S# 2] — CHAPTER IX, p. 569


August 23, 1861

COLONEL: In accordance with your request I send you a list of the regiments actually in the battle of the 21st of July, 1861:

Jackson’s Brigade.–Second Regiment. Virginia Volunteers, Col. J. H. Allen commanding; Fourth Regiment Virginia Volunteers, Col. James F. Preston commanding; Fifth Regiment Virginia Volunteers Col. Kenton Harper commanding; Twenty-seventh Virginia Volunteers, Lieutenant-Colonel Echols commanding, Colonel Gordon absent; Thirty-third Regiment Virginia Volunteers, Col. A. C. Cummings commanding.

Under General Bee, consisting of a part of his own and a part of Colonel Bartow’s brigade.–Seventh and Eighth Regiments Georgia Volunteers, Bartow’s; Second Regiment Mississippi Volunteers, Fourth Regiment Alabama Volunteers, Sixth Regiment North Carolina Volunteers, and two companies Eleventh Mississippi Volunteers, Bee’s.

E. K. Smith’s brigade.–Colonel Elzey, Tenth Regiment Virginia Volunteers, Third Regiment Tennessee Volunteers, and — Regiment Maryland Volunteers.

Batteries in action.–Colonel Pendleton’s, four pieces; Captain Imboden’s four pieces; Captain Alburtis’, four pieces; Captain Stanard’s, four pieces, and Lieutenant Beckham’s, four pieces.

Cavalry.–Col. J. E. B. Smart’s, with twelve companies.

I cannot furnish the strength of the regiments, companies, &c.

Respectfully, your obedient servant,


Assistant Adjutant-General


Asst. Adjt. Gen., First Corps, Army of the Potomac


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