Co. K, 10th VA in the Campaign

31 03 2009

From contributor Robert H. Moore, II

Page Courier, July 1895

Last Sunday, July 21st, was the thirty-fourth anniversary of the first great battle in the late war when both sides were upon the field in large numbers, and like last Sunday, the first battle of Manassas thirty-four years ago was fought upon the first day of the week.

The writer well remembers the facts leading up to that memorable day, and as a member of the 10th, which had a fine company of soldiers from Page, he recalls the start we made from Winchester on the evening of July 18th, when General Joe Johnston, who had been watching the movements of General Patterson in and about Williamsport, started at dusk on the road to White Post and on to Berry’s Ferry, where his army crossed the Shenandoah, many, if not the most of them, wading through the water. From this point we crossed over the Blue Ridge and on to the Plains on the line of the then M.G.R.R., where the troops were put upon freight trains and taken to Manassas Junction, as it was then so generally known.

Of course this was a slow and protracted movement, but the old 10th got aboard and half of it on the tops of the old box cars, reached Manassas about the middle of that famous 21st – as hot a day as we remember – and hastily scrambling down an off, without further ceremony or waiting began the march on foot to the field of battle seven miles off.

For some hours we had heard the boom and roar of the cannon, and knew we were running into danger, and still no one felt like lagging by the way.

For two hours it was a walk, a run and a few minute’s rest once or twice, and through a broiling sun and suffocating dust that hovered over and about everything, till we reached the field and were into the fight before we well knew what we were doing. A harder and more fatiguing run cannot well be imagined than that from the Junction to the field of battle.

We will not speak of the battle itself, as its main features are known to all, but of what we saw and heard as a member of the 10th Va. – and that was but little, as a soldier’s knowledge of a fight is necessarily a narrow one and must be confined to what he sees at and about him.

The Page boys were there for work, , and for three hours on that hot July day, the most of them had their first and some of them their last experience of war.

We do not remember how many, nor the names of those who were killed, but several were shot down dead and more wounded.

During the hottest of this fight, and whilst in the woods at a fence, one of them who had frequently in the quiet of the camp amused the regiment by his artistic and well-executed imitations of the rooster, thinking the opportunity too good to be lost, perched himself on the top rail, and from his place of vantage and of danger, greeted his Yankee friends with as good a piece of crowing as he ever did in the quiet of camps – a loud, shrill crow of courage and defiance, and from his perch did not quit till a taste of Yankee lead brought him down.

We wish we could recall the name of this Page boy and complete his connection with our sketch, but perhaps others may do so. He was a good soldier, full of life and good cheer, and helped many a merry hour pass on freighted with the effects of his kindly aid.

That evening McDowell and his army, not able longer to withstand the Confederates, left the field in haste and confusion, and before the sun had gone down across the crest of the Blue Ridge the battle was over, and the grim work of strife and of death was over.

The Confederate army, worn out and thoroughly enervated by their three days of fighting and of hurried march rested where they were, and the first great mistake of the war upon the part of the South was complete as sleep closed their tired eyes, and they slept in utter ignorance of what could have been done in a few hours more of work.

There was no pursuit, and the next morning a drenching rain that lasted since midnight put a stop and an end to all.

McDowell with his men in the meantime had reached the Capital and the battle of Manassas was over. Many days passed in the Capital before the disorder of affairs was checked and the bad effects of the rout were gone; but when order was restored it was too late for the South to do what ought have been done on the eve of the 21st.

B.C.B.

See notes here





#6a – [USA] Casualties, July 21, 1861 – Regimental

31 03 2009

O.R.–SERIES I–VOLUME LI/1 [S# 107], pp. 17-19

6ap17vol51pt1

6ap18vol51pt1

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#121 – [CSA] Casualties, July 21, 1861

30 03 2009

O.R.– SERIES I–VOLUME 2 [S# 2] — CHAPTER IX, p 570

121p570

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#118 – Troops Engaged, Beauregard’s Army, July 21, 1861

29 03 2009

O.R.– SERIES I–VOLUME 2 [S# 2] — CHAPTER IX, p 568

118p568

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#76a – Col. Montgomery D. Corse

28 03 2009

Report of Col. Montgomery D. Corse, Seventeenth Virginia Infantry, of action at Blackburn’s Ford, July 18

O.R.–SERIES I–VOLUME LI/1 [S# 107], pp. 33-34

BULL RUN, July 19, 1861

GENERAL: I beg leave respectfully to report the operations of the Seventeenth Regiment of Virginia Volunteers on the 18th of July:

In pursuance of your orders the rifle companies (B and H), commanded by Captains Simpson and Herbert, were deployed as skirmishers along the right bank of Bull Run above Blackburn’s Ford, whilst Companies A and G, commanded by Captains Marye and Towson, were posted at the ford. Companies E and K, under Captains Devaughn and Shackelford, were detached and posted low down the run on the right of the First Regiment of Virginia Volunteers. About I p.m. the enemy appeared in considerable force on the opposite bank and opened a severe and continuous fire upon the First and Seventeenth Regiments. At this moment the remaining companies of the regiment were marched to the run, and responded lively and gallantly to the enemy’s fire. Company A, Captain Marye, was then ordered to cross the run and deploy as skirmishers on the opposite bank. Company C, Captain Head, and Company F, Captain Hamilton, were subsequently ordered to cross also and sustain this movement. The three companies promptly executed these orders, and after bravely driving the enemy through the woods back to their main body retired, bringing their own wounded and seven prisoners. Some fifteen or more of the enemy were killed, and many wounded. It affords me much gratification to remark upon the coolness and bravery manifested by both officers and men under my command. Particularly I must speak of the gallant conduct of Lieutenant-Colonel Munford, Major Brent, Adjutant Humphreys, Captain Marye, and Captain Head, who were actively and fearlessly employed during the engagement at the points where the fire was hottest. I must also mention Surgeon Lewis and Assistant Surgeon Snowden, who were untiring in their efforts to relieve the wounded, regardless of their personal safety. I regret to add that Captains Dulany and Presstman were severely wounded whilst at the head of their companies. Captain Shackelford, commanding Company K, and Lieutenant Javins, of Company E, were slightly wounded. Private Thomas R. Sangster, Company A, was killed, and four privates severely and six slightly wounded. I herewith return a full list of casualties.(*)

Your obedient servant,

M. D. CORSE,

Colonel, Comdg. Seventeenth Regiment Virginia Volunteers

Brigadier-General LONGSTREET,

Commanding Fourth Brigade, C. S. Army

(*) Shows 1 man killed, 4 officers and 10 men wounded





#4a – Col. Thomas A. Davies

27 03 2009

Report of Col. Thomas A. Davies, Sixteenth New York Infantry, Commanding Second Brigade, Fifth Division, of Skirmish at Fairfax Court-House, July 17

O.R.–SERIES I–VOLUME LI/1 [S# 107], pp. 19-20

HEADQUARTERS SECOND BRIGADE, FIFTH DIVISION,

July 17, 1861

Agreeably to General Orders, No. 9, the Second Brigade, commanded by me, consisting of the Sixteenth, Eighteenth, Thirty-first, and Thirty-second Regiments, and Company G, Second Artillery (Greene’s light battery), took the advance of the Fifth Division, moving on Fairfax Court-House by way of the old Braddock road south of the turnpike road. I found the road very difficult for heavy artillery and barricaded by trees felled across the road as often as once in a quarter of a mile, requiring the constant use of the pioneer corps. After passing very many of these barricades we came to a blind barricade directly across the road and evidently intended for artillery.  After making reconnaissance we found a small picket posted behind it, when my advanced pickets were ordered to charge and fire upon them, which they did, dispersing it under a running fire. No one on our side was injured, and we never turned aside to ascertain whether any of the enemy were killed or not; the pickets reported, however, seeing several men fall.  This running fire and reconnaissance was continued to within one mile of the Fairfax Court-House, the enemy continuing retreating and firing upon our advancing pickets at every convenient opportunity.  After the exchange of fires a reconnaissance was made, discovering many abandoned masked batteries, and at last quite an extensive temporary fortification about one mile and a half from Fairfax Court-House, out of which we drove the enemy, who left their camp equipage, clothing, swords, and the like. We then pressed on to the encampment of the Fifth Alabama Regiment, which fled before us, leaving many valuable articles, guns, camp equipage, tents, corn, stores, and their hospital sick, taking the road, as we understood, to Centerville and Manassas Junction.  At this point, having received information that General McDowell had taken possession of Fairfax Court-House, the Fifth Division encamped, partly on the ground of the Fifth Alabama and the balance in the vicinity of the cross-roads. I have to report to you that we had three men wounded–one in the leg, one in the side, and one through the hand. We did not stop to examine the effect of shots which we made, but it is reported to me that as many as fifteen to twenty were seen to fall in the woods. I have to report to you further the energetic manner in which Lieutenant-Colonel Young, of the Eighteenth Regiment, in charge of the advance guard, performed his duty, and further that not a single man of any regiment fell back for an instant, but, on the contrary, the most determined bravery was displayed by every man who came in contact with the enemy.

Respectfully, your obedient servant,

THOS. A. DAVIES,

Colonel, Comdg. 2d Brig., 5th Div., Troops Northeastern Virginia

Colonel MILES,

Commanding Fifth Division





Lizinka Ewell – Southern Unionist?

26 03 2009

In this post I discussed an entry in the Oxford Guide to American Military History in which the contributor indicated that Confederate Lt. Gen. Richard Ewell was removed from command of the Army of Northern Virginia’s 2nd Corps in 1864 in part because of his wife Lizinka Brown Ewell’s “increasing Unionist sentiments”.  Not recalling ever coming across this in my readings before, I fired off a note to Fredericksburg & Spotsylvania NMP Chief Historian John Hennessy, and asked if he could forward a link to my post to his colleague Donald Pfanz, who wrote The Book on Ewell.  Mr. Pfanz was good enough to respond and give his permission to post his note here.

Dear Mr. Smeltzer,

John Hennessy passed along your inquiry about Lizinka Ewell and her supposed Unionist sentiments.  Lizinka was definitely not a Unionist.  In fact, she outfitted an entire Confederate company at the outset of the Civil War.  She was, however, a practical woman, and early in 1865 when she saw that the South was “up the spout” and that it was only a matter of time before the Confederacy collapsed, she and her daughter fled to the North in an apparent effort to save what she could of her property.  Instead, she ended up under house arrest in St. Louis, where she stayed with a cousin, Thomas T. Gantt, who had been on McClellan’s staff earlier in the war.  (There must have been some interesting conversations in the household during that period!)

Lee transferred Ewell out of the army because he lacked faith in him and preferred to have Jubal Early lead the Second Corps.   (Lee also realized that with Longstreet’s wounding Ewell would take command of the army if anything happened to him.)   I am not completely satisfied in my own mind why Lee harbored doubts as to Ewell’s ability to command the corps.  It may have had something to do with Ewell’s adolescent behavior in the winter of 1863-4, his loss of temper at the Bloody Angle, or Lizinka’s overbearing conduct at headquarters.   It didn’t have anything to do with disloyalty on Lizinka’s part, however.

Don Pfanz

That’s good enough for me.  Thanks, Mr. Pfanz, for taking the time to respond. 








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