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John Barnard graduated from West Point in 1833 at the ripe old age of eighteen. He was simultaneously an engineering instructor and superintendent of the academy in 1855-1856. As McDowell’s chief engineer in the First Bull Run campaign, on July 18th he demurred when “requested” by his chief to accompany him on a reconnaissance of the ground over which the proposed turning movement (the Federal left) was to be conducted. Later, his inspection of the terrain and roads north of the Warrenton Turnpike, the area chosen by McDowell after he decided to act against the enemy’s left, produced less than accurate information. If you ask me, he “screwed the pooch”, as Chuck Yeager might say, and poorly served McDowell. After the battle he wrote a very long letter in response to the reporting of William Howard “Bull Run” Russell, titled The CSA and the Battle of Bull Run. He was also responsible for the design of the defenses of Washington – one look at a map of the forts ringing the city makes it hard not to conclude that Edwin Stanton was either hopelessly paranoid or simply a coward. Auntie Em!!!! (I’m very down on Stanton just now, if you can’t tell).
This article was originally posted on 8/5/2007, as part of the John Gross Barnard biographical sketch.
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Testimony of Gen. John G. Barnard
Report on the Conduct of the War, Vol. 2, pp. 160-162
WASHINGTON, January 11, 1862.
General JOHN G. BARNARD sworn and examined.
By the chairman:
Question. Were you at the battle of Bull Run?
Answer Yes, sir.
Question. In what capacity?
Answer I was the chief of the engineer corps of General McDowell’s army.
Question. Without going minutely into the matter, will you state concisely to what you attribute the disaster to our army in that battle?
Answer. One of the influential causes was, I think, the loss of time in getting under way the morning of the fight. The fact that the repulse turned into a disastrous defeat I attribute to the fact that our troops were all raw. General McDowell had not even time to see all his troops They were brigaded only for the march, and put under officers whom the troops had not time to know, and who had no time to know the troops; and they had not been under military training long enough to be thoroughly educated as to what they had to do. With every disposition to fight well, they had not acquired the knowledge and experience they should have had, and when they were driven back on the narrow roads, in small bodies, they became so mixed up that it was almost impossible to recognize them.
Question. You attribute the first bad phase of that battle to the fact that our troops did not get on the ground in time?
Answer. Yes, sir. I think an hour’s difference would have gained the battle. We had almost gained it as it was.
Question. What caused that delay?
Answer. There were two cause distinct from each other. One was that in the plan of attack General Tyler’s division was to move first on the Warrenton turnpike to Stone Bridge, while the really attacking column which was to turn the enemy’s left flank, and which consisted of Hunter’s and Heintzelman’s divisions, had to follow Tyler until they reached the road where they were to turn off to make this detour. The road into which they were to turn was not a beaten, travelled road, but a mere country path. And Tyler’s division was not out of the way so that they could get up to that turn-off for an hour and a half later than was expected. So that, instead of getting at that point at four o’clock, the head of Hunter’s column was not able to get there until, say about half-past five. That was the first cause.
Question. What delayed Tyler’s division; did you ever know?
Answer. When General McDowell and his staff rode along after waiting for the columns to get in motion—this was at four or half past four o’clock— we found the columns standing in the road waiting for one of Tyler’s brigades to get out of camp and under motion. Perhaps there was some fault in planning it, in overlooking the fact that Tyler’s division was so large, including three brigades, and the want of experience that we all had in moving large bodies of men. But whether it was General Tyler’s fault in not getting his troops under way in time, I am not competent enough to decide. I think that after we had waited for some time General McDowell had to stop the last brigade of Tyler’s division until Hunter’s division filed past.
I said there were two causes for that delay. The second was the much longer time it took for the column of Hunter’s to get around to Sudley’s Ford than we calculated for. In going over the ground as far as we could the day before, we fell upon the enemy’s patrol, and, not liking to attract their attention that way, we did not explore the ground up to the ford. We found that the ground was perfectly free; that there was nothing to obstruct cavalry or artillery; and the guide took them by a detour, saying that we would be exposed to the enemy’s batteries if we took the shorter road. So that we were three or four hours making that march through the woods. We did not get to the ford until half past nine or ten o’clock, and we ought to have been there at six o’clock. We succeeded in our operations. We deceived the enemy as to the point we were going to attack. We turned his left flank. He actually did not know the point of attack until twelve o’clock, when he commenced accumulating his forces at that point. If we had been earlier, we should have got on the Warrenton turnpike, in the rear of Stone Bridge, before he could have got there We should have concentrated three divisions there.
Question. There was a strong brigade on Centreville Heights after the retreat began?
Answer. Yes, sir.
Question. What would have been the effect of ordering up that force to support the retreating columns?
Answer. When I saw that there was danger of losing the battle—when I saw the first charge, the first repulse of the Zouave regiment, the first capture of Ricketts’s battery—I began to fear that we would be beaten. I had felt confident of a victory up to that time, but then I began to see the possibility of a repulse. We supposed that the Stone Bridge was unguarded, and if we were beaten, and the enemy should cross there, we would be cut off. I had got separated from General McDowell, and I hunted up the adjutant, who was behind attending to some duty, and requested him to order up the brigade at Centreville to the Stone Bridge, in order to support us there, as we supposed the division of Tyler had entirely got across the bridge. General McDowell left that brigade at Centreville as a reserve at a central point, as he was afraid that while we were operating on the enemy’s left, making this long detour to do so, the enemy would pass Blackburn’s Ford and manoeuvre up by Centreville on our left flank. I had rather overlooked that until I saw it in General McDowell’s report. And General Beauregard says that if we had not anticipated him, he would have attacked us. He actually did send an order to General Ewell to move up and attack our communication that way; and the reason it was not done was because the order miscarried in some way, so that that part of his plan failed. If they had attacked and carried that position at the same time that we were repulsed on our left, we would have been worse off than we were.
Question. But would not have been defeated, would you, if that strong division at Centreville had been at the fight? They would have gone right through them, would they not?
Answer. If our line had held out for a half an hour longer, we would have beaten the enemy as it was, because Schenck’s brigade at the Stone Bridge was at that moment just ready to act. The enemy had made an abattis on the other side; cut down the woods for some two hundred yards back from the bridge. Two of Tyler’s brigades had crossed over to join our left. Schenck’s brigade had remained at the bridge, and Captain Alexander had cut through the abattis and was ready to move on the enemy’s right just at the moment that they received news that our men were retreating. I believe if we had held out a half an hour, or even but a quarter of an hour, longer, we should have beaten them.
Question. If Patterson had held Johnston back, what would have been the effect?
Answer. We should have beaten them. That was the only thing that saved them.
Question. At what time before the battle commenced was it understood that Patterson was not holding Johnston back?
Answer. All that I knew about it, and all, I believe, that was distinctly known in the army about it, was that we heard the railroad cars running all night long. We were near enough at Centreville to hear the locomotives at Manassas.
Question. Suppose that when Patterson turned off from Bunker Hill to Charlestown, the moment that he knew he was no longer able to hold Johnston back, he had given notice to General Scott, and that notice had come to you, what would have been the effect of it upon your councils, had you heard it the day before the battle?
Answer. I think we should have fought any way. We could not have delayed any longer; that would have done us no good. The time of the three months’ volunteers was expiring. We had made that march to fight, and I think we would have fought.
Question. Suppose you had held your own there until Patterson had followed Johnston down?
Answer. If we had received something definite—a communication of that kind—I think it is likely the determination would have been altered.
Question. I mean if that communication had been given directly from Patterson to General Scott, and from General Scott had been sent immediately to you, I suppose the effect upon your council would have been at least to wait until Patterson had followed Johnston down?
Answer. If we had received the information in a distinct form, we might have acted differently. I know that, with what information we had, it was uncertain. The question was discussed, “Shall we defer the attack?” and it was concluded that we better fight as soon as we could. We heard the railroad cars running all night, and presumed that Johnston’s forces were coming in. But the moral effect of a delay would have been bad, and that action at Blackburn’s Ford had a bad effect on the army.
Answer. Could you not have brought up 10,000 or 15,000 more troops from Washington by a little delay?
Answer. By stripping Washington entirely of all its troops we might have done so, I suppose. I do not recollect what the whole force was here then.
Question. General Tyler was sent around to make a reconnoissance merely, as we have been told, not to make an attack, on the 18th?
Answer. He was not expected to go further than Centreville, I think. I think he was not expected to make any attack at all.
Question. Seeing that he did make an attack, he should have carried those batteries, should he not, if he could have done so? And if he had, would it not have cleared the way for the next battle, so that you could have turned their left?
Answer. He ought not to have made the attack at all without knowing that he could do something. He ought to have made the attack with the intention of carrying the position, or not have made it at all. I was on the spot, and warned him twice that it was not intended to fight a battle there; that it was on the straight road to Manassas, at one of the strongest crossings on Bull Run, and that it was evident the enemy was moving up his force to meet us there. And as he had no orders to fight, and as there was no plan to fight there, I did all I could to get him to desist. I had no objection to his opening his artillery fire, for that was a sort of reconnoissance, to make them show just what they were. But I had no idea that they were going to march down to the Run and fight as they did.
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Categories : Joint Committee Testimony, Resources, The Battle
Report of Maj. John G. Barnard, U.S. Corps of Engineers
O.R.– SERIES I–VOLUME 2 [S# 2] — CHAPTER IX, pp.328-333
WASHINGTON, July 29, 1861
SIR: On the 18th of July, at about 9 a.m., I joined the commanding general about two miles beyond Fairfax Court-House, on the road to Centreville. He was then about going to Sangster’s, and invited me to attend him. Not understanding his journey to have the character of a reconnaissance, but as simply to communicate with the division of Colonel Heintzelman, I preferred accompanying the division of General Tyler to Centreville.
Proceeding to Centreville, I joined Captain Alexander, Engineers, a short distance out on the road leading to Blackburn’s Ford. He was at this time preparing to encamp his pioneer party, and it was my intention, as soon as the troops should be fixed in their positions, to propose to General Tyler to make a reconnaissance of the enemy’s position at Blackburn’s Ford.
It should be borne in mind that the plan of the campaign had been to turn the position of Manassas by the left; that is to say, that from Fairfax Courts-House and Centreville we were to make a flank movement towards Sangster’s and Fairfax Station, and thence to Wolf Run Shoals, or in that direction. In my interview with the commanding general, just referred to, he said nothing to indicate any change of plan, but, on the contrary, his remarks carried the impression that he was more than ever confirmed in his plan, and spoke of the advance on Centreville as a “demonstration.” In proposing, therefore, to reconnoiter the enemy’s position at Blackburn’s Ford, it was not with the slightest idea that this point would be attacked. But a reconnaissance would be but the carrying out of a demonstration.
While I was awaiting Captain Alexander, I encountered Mathias C. Mitchell, who was afterwards secured as a guide, representing himself as a Union man, and a resident of that vicinity. I was engaged questioning him, when intelligence was received that General Tyler had sent back for artillery and infantry, and that the enemy was in sight before him. Riding to the front, I joined General Tyler and Colonel Richardson. Proceeding with them a short distance farther, we emerged from the woods, and found ourselves at the point at which the road commences its descent to Blackburn’s Ford. The run makes here a curve or bow towards us, which the road bisects. The slopes from us towards it were gentle and mostly open. On the other side the banks of the run rise more abruptly, and are wooded down to the very edge of the run. Higher up a cleared spot could be seen here and there, and still higher–higher than our own point of view, and only visible from its sloping gently towards us–the elevated plateau (comparatively open) in which Manassas Junction is situated.
Although, owing to the thickness of the wood, little could be seen along the edge of the run, it was quite evident from such glimpses as we could obtain that the enemy was in force behind it. I represented to General Tyler that this point was the enemy’s strong position on the direct road to Manassas Junction; that it was no part of the plan to assail it. I did, not, however, object to a demonstration, believing that it would favor what I supposed still to be the commanding general’s plan of campaign. The two 20-pounders Parrotts had been ordered up; they were opened upon the enemy’s position, firing in various directions, without our being able to perceive the degree of effect they produced. We had fired perhaps a half dozen rounds, when we were answered by a rapid discharge from a battery apparently close down to the run and at the crossing of the road. The 20-pounders continued their firing, directing at this battery, and Ayres battery was brought up and stationed on the left. The enemy’s batteries soon ceased answering. After ours had continued playing for about half an hour I thought it a useless expenditure of ammunition, and so stated to you (who arrived on the spot shortly before this), and presume that General Tyler concurred in this opinion, as the firing soon ceased. I supposed that this would be the end of the affair; but, perceiving the troops filing down towards the run, I thought it necessary to impress General Tyler with the fact that it was no part of the commanding general’s plan to bring on a serious engagement. I directed Captain Alexander, Engineers, to state this fact to him, which he did in writing (having stated the same verbally before). At the same time I directed Lieutenant Houston to accompany the troops, and make such observations of the enemy’s position as he could. I remained on the heights, observing as well as I could the movements of the enemy’s forces. The affair becoming more serious than I expected, I was about to go down to the front when our troops retired, and I returned to Centreville with yourself to report to General McDowell.
It is proper to observe that before our artillery practice commenced movements of troops were observed on the road leading from Manassas to Blackburn’s Ford. As the road presented itself to the eye, those not very familiar with the locality might well feel some doubt, judging merely by the eve, whether these troops were advancing to or retiring from the position at Blackburn’s Ford. The impression seemed to be quite common among us that they were retiring. I was perfectly sure that they were columns moving up to meet us from Manassas.
At my interview with the commanding general that evening, he informed me that he had convinced himself that the nature of the country to the left or southward of Manassas was unfit for the operations of a large army; that he had determined to move by the right, turning the enemy’s left; that the provision trains were just coming in, and that the troops would require the next day to cook their provisions for another march. I told him I would endeavor the next day to obtain such information as would enable him to decide on his future movement.
The next most prominent crossing of Bull Run above Blackburn’s Ford is the stone bridge of the Warrenton turnpike. Such a point could scarcely be neglected by the enemy. Information from various quarters gave good cause for believing that it was guarded by several thousand men; that at least four cannon were stationed to lay upon it and the ford not far below, and, moreover, that the bridge was mined, and that extensive abatis obstructed the road on the opposite shore.
Two or three miles above the Warrenton Bridge is a ford, laid down on our maps as “Sudley Spring.” Reliable information justified the belief that the ford was good; that it was unfortified; that it was watched by only one or two companies, and, moreover, that the run above it was almost everywhere passable for wheeled vehicles. Midway between the stone bridge and Sudley Spring our maps indicated another ford, which was said to be good.
Notwithstanding our conviction of the practicability of these fords no known road communicated with them from any of the main roads on our side of Bull Run. We had information that a road branched from the Warrenton turnpike a short distance beyond Cub Run, by which, opening gates and passing through private grounds, we might reach the fords. It was desirable to assure ourselves that this route was entirely practicable. In company with Captain Woodbury, Engineers, and Governor Sprague, and escorted by a company of cavalry, I on the 19th followed up the valley of Cub Run until we reached a point west 10o north, and about four miles in an air-line from Centreville, near which we struck a road which we believed to lead to the fords. Following it for a short distance, we encountered the enemy patrols. As we were most anxious to avoid attracting the enemy’s attention to our designs in this quarter, we did not care to pursue the reconnaissance farther. We had seen enough to be convinced of the perfect practicability of the route. To make more certain of the fords, however, Captain Woodbury proposed to return at night, and, with a few Michigan woodsmen from Colonel Sherman’s brigade, to endeavor to find them.
On returning to camp it was determined to send Captain Wright and Lieutenant Snyder, Engineers, with Captain Woodbury. At the same time the commanding general directed Captain Whipple, Topographical Engineers, and Lieutenant Prime, Engineers, to make a night reconnaissance of the run between Warrenton Bridge and Blackburn’s Ford. Both these night expeditions failed. It was found the enemy occupied the woods too strongly on our side of the run to permit the reconnaissances to be accomplished. It was not our policy to drive in his pickets until we were in motion to attack. On laying before you the information obtained, the commanding general believed himself justified in adopting the following plan of attack, which was decided upon on the 20th:
1. A false attack to be made by Richardson’s brigade (temporarily attached to Miles’ division) on Blackburn’s Ford; the rest of that division remaining in reserve at Centreville.
2. Tyler’s division to move from its camp at 3 a.m. (the 21st) towards the stone bridge of the Warrenton turnpike, to feign the main attack upon this point.
3. The divisions of Hunter and Heintzelman (in the order named) to leave their camps at 2.30 a.m. (they were encamped about two or three miles behind Tyler), and, following his movement, to diverge from the Warrenton turnpike at the by-road beyond Cub Run, and take the road for Sudley Springs; or, rather, it was provided (if I mistake not) that Hunter’s division should proceed to Sudley Springs, and Heintzelman to take the lower ford; these matters, however, to be regulated by circumstances.
It was intended that the head of Hunter’s division should be at the turn-off at early daylight or about 4 a.m., and that it should reach Sudley by 6 or 7.
You are aware of the unexpected delay. The two leading brigades of Tyler had not cleared the road for Hunter to this point until 5.30, and our guide, alleging that a nearer route to the ford would bring our columns in sight of the enemy’s batteries, led them by so circuitous a way that Hunter did not reach Sudley until 9.30, or thereabouts. Accompanying the commanding general; we, as you are aware, after waiting two or three hours at the turn-off, rode on to overtake the front of Hunter’s division. When we emerged from the woods (nearly northeast of Sudley) into the open country, from whence the course of the run and the slopes of the opposite shore could be seen, we could perceive the enemy’s columns in motion to meet us. The loss of time here in great measure thwarted our plan. We had hoped to pass the ford and reach the rear of the enemy’s defenses at Warrenton stone bridge before he could assemble a sufficient force to cope with us.
It now became necessary to have Tyler’s division force the passage of the bridge. It had always been intended that this division should pass at or near the bridge; but it was hoped, by taking its defenses in rear, it could be passed without force. The commanding general promptly sent orders to Tyler to press his attack with all vigor. I had yet much confidence that, though we had been anticipated (owing to the delays mentioned), the enemy was not yet assembled to oppose us in great force (a confidence which I think the facts justified); that We might successfully attack him in front, while the division of Tyler should fall upon his flank and rear.
When we reached the front of Hunter’s column, the battle was just commencing. The events of the battle-field will be described in the reports you will receive from other quarters. I was near the commanding general until some time after the arrival of Sherman’s brigade on our left. Being accidentally separated, I saw yourself on the right, and, joining you, we observed for some time the action on the heights, where the enemy made his final and successful stand. As we were observing, the zouave regiment of Heintzelman was driven back, leaving Ricketts’ battery, upon which we observed the enemy charge.
You left me here, and I remained a few minutes longer, an anxious spectator, and for the first time beginning to anticipate a possible defeat. Two brigades of Tyler’s division had passed over the run, and I supposed (and believe the commanding general supposed) that the entire division was over. If so, the stone bridge was unguarded, and if we were defeated, our retreating columns might be cut off from Centreville by the detachments of the enemy crossing this bridge. I became so anxious on this point, that I sought you again and found you at some distance in the rear. After some consultation, you, on my assuming the responsibility, sent an order to Colonel Miles to move up two of his brigades to the stone bridge, and to telegraph the Secretary of War to send up all the troops that could be spared from Washington. While I was returning towards the front, intending to rejoin the commanding general, I saw our front give way, and it soon became evident that we were defeated.
I have stated that it was a part of the plan of the battle that Tyler’s division should pass at or near the stone bridge. Two of his brigades actually did pass, but not at the bridge (they finding fords a half mile higher up), and connected themselves with our left. In anticipation that the stone bridge would be blown up, Captain Alexander had been instructed to prepare a trestle bridge to replace it. This he had on the spot, but there appear to have been no mines prepared under the bridge. Captain Alexander passed over his pioneers one by one, and set them to cutting away the abatis, 200 yards in extent, obstructing the road. This task was accomplished, and the way was opened for Schenck’s brigade to fall on the enemy’s right at the moment when our lines finally gave way in front.
It will be seen from the above that the combination: though thwarted by adverse circumstances, was actually successful in uniting three entire divisions, excepting the brigade of Schenck, which had just opened its way to fall on the enemy’s right at the moment when our lines finally gave way in front, upon the decisive point.
A fault, perhaps, it was that it did not provide earlier for bringing the two brigades of Miles (in reserve at Centreville) into action. One of his brigades (Richardson’s) actually did participate, though not on the battle-field, and in its affair at Blackburn’s Ford probably neutralized at least an equal number of the enemy.
On retiring to Centreville, my opinion was asked as to maintaining our position, and I gave it in favor of a prompt retreat, for I believed the enemy was far superior in numbers, and that, elated by his victory, he would pursue, and I believed that a defeated army actually driven back on Washington before a pursuing enemy would endanger the safety of the capital.
The Engineer officers under my Command and attached to the different divisions were as follows:
Capt. D. P. Woodbury and Second Lieut. Chas. E. Cross, to the Second Division, under Colonel Hunter.
Capt. H. G. Wright and First Lieut. G. W. Snyder, to the Third Division, under Colonel Heintzelman.
Capt. B. S. Alexander and First Lieut. L. C. Houston, to the First Division, under General Tyler.
First Lieut. F. E. Prime, to the Fifth Division, under Colonel Miles.
They have all been most active and zealous in the discharge of the duties devolving Upon them.
A report from Capt. D. P. Woodbury is herewith. Reports from Captains Wright and Alexander and Lieutenant Prime will be furnished when received.
I am, very respectfully, your most obedient,
J. G. BARNARD,
Major of Engineers
Capt. J. B. Fry,
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John Gross Barnard; born Sheffield, MA, 5/19/15; suffered inherited deafness; appointment to USMA secured by relative Peter Buel Porter, John Quincy Adams’s Secretary of War; West Point Class of 1833 (2 of 43); Bvt 2nd Lt engineers 7/1/33; 2nd Lt 5/15/35; Capt 7/7/38; Bvt Maj for meritorious conduct while serving in the enemy’s country 5/30/48; Maj 12/13/58; his assignments prior to the outbreak of the rebellion included assisting in the construction of coastal defenses, the improvement of New York Harbor, and surveying the battlefields of the Mexican War; Engineer Dept. of Washington, 4/28/61 to 7/2/61 – charged with construction of the defenses of Washington; USN Blockade Strategy Board, 6/61 to 9/61; Engineer Dept. of the Northeast, 7/2/61 to 8/20/61; Engineer Army of the Potomac (AotP), 8/20/61 to 8/16/62; BGUSV 9/23/61 (n 12/21/61 c 3/24/62); Bvt Col for gallant and meritorious service in the Peninsula Campaign, 6/30/62; Engineer Defenses of Washington, AotP, 8/20/62 to 9/3/62; Defenses of Washington, 9/3/62 to 2/2/63; Engineer 22nd Corps Dept. of Washington 2/2/63 to 5/35/64; Lt Col engineers 3/3/63; BGUSA 3/22/64 (nomination withdrawn at his own request 6/11/64); Engineer AotP 5/25/64 to 6/5/64; Engineer General Headquarters 6/5/64 to 7/4/64; Bvt MGUSV for meritorious and distinguished service during the war 7/4/64 (n 7/4/64 c 7/4/64); Bvt BGUSA for gallant and meritorious service in the campaign which resulted in the surrender of the Army of Northern VA 3/13/65 (n 4/10/66 c 5/4/66); Bvt MGUSA for gallant and meritorious service in the field during the war 3/13/65 (n 3/8/66 c 5/4/66); Honor Guard for Lincoln Funeral 4/65; Col 12/28/65; mustered out of volunteers 1/15/66; post-war assignments including the reevaluation of coastal defenses in the age of the ironclad and improving the mouth of the Mississippi River; retired 1/2/81; authored Notes on Sea-Coast Defense (1861), The C.S.A. and the Battle of Bull Run (1862), Report of the Engineer and Artillery Operations of the Army of the Potomac (1863), The Peninsular Campaign and its Antecedents (1864), and Eulogy on the Late Brevet Major-General Joseph G. Totten (1866); co-founder of the National Academy of Sciences; died Detroit, MI, 5/14/82; buried Barnard Cemetery, Sheffield, MA.
Sources: Cullum, Biographical Register of the Officers and Graduates of the U. S. Military Academy, Vol. I, pp 530-535; Eicher & Eicher, Civil War High Commands, pp 116, 706, 710, 718; 732; Heitman, Historical Register and Dictionary of the U. S. Army, Vol. I p 191; Sifakis, Who was Who in the American Civil War, p 33; Warner, Generals in Blue, pp 19-20.
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Categories : Resources, Soldiers
I love to take pictures. A visit to any battlefield typically yields dozens of images. In photography I subscribe to a theory similar to that which I follow in boating: if you can’t tie good knots, tie lots of knots. So, every once in awhile I take a nice picture, but it is purely by accident.
My plan is to post one or two of my photos here every Friday. I will try to use photos with some Bull Run connection, but will only promise that they will all be associated with the American Civil War.
First up is the monument to Brigadier General Barnard Bee at First Bull Run, erected in 1939. I took this in April 2005. The monument sits on Henry Hill at the site where Bee uttered to the 4th Alabama the immortal words: “There stands Jackson like a stone wall. Let us determine to die here and we will conquer.” Or perhaps it was “Come with me and go yonder where Jackson stands like a stone wall.” There are several versions. Shortly thereafter, between 2:00 and 3:00 PM, Bee was wounded in the abdomen and exclaimed “I am a dead man; I am shot.” He died the next day at Manassas Junction, and is buried in Magnolia Cemetery in Charleston, SC St. Paul’s Episcopal Churchyard in Pendleton, SC.
Coverage of the “stone wall” incident in an article that first appeared in the Charleston Mercury on July 25 would be reprinted and adapted throughout the Confederacy. The article was intended to elevate the martyred Bee to “a place in the highest niche of fame”, but in spite of that, and regardless of what Bee meant by them (whether or not they were laudatory, and whether or not Bee said them, is debated to this day), his words as reported would elevate Thomas Jackson and his brigade to legendary status.
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Tags: Articles, Barnard Bee, NPS, Stonewall Jackson
Categories : Articles, The Battlefield
I’ve been enjoying a series of posts over at To the Sound Of the Guns in which host Craig Swain has looked at high-resolution TIFF files of glass plate images taken of Union batteries around Charleston, SC during the war. He’s been turning up some pretty interesting stuff which, combined with his encyclopedic and frankly creepy knowledge of all things artillery has made for compelling reading. Along those lines, I’m going to take a closer look at the series of photos of the battlefield and environs of First Bull Run taken in March, 1862 by photographers George Barnard and James Gibson, in the employ of Matthew Brady. You can find lower resolution copies of the photos here, filed under the heading Galleries over to the right. A quick once-over doesn’t turn up anything particularly notable, but one never knows what the zoom do-hickey will turn up. And in the absence of cool stuff in the photos, maybe I’ll speculate a bit. We’ll just have to see.
I’ll be leaning heavily on, and hopefully not lifting blatantly from, Garry Adelman’s fine Manassas Battlefields Then & Now. You can read more about that book here, but if you’re a regular reader of this blog you no doubt have it already.
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Categories : Articles, The Battlefield
July 18th we marched through Winchester and took the road leading to Berry’s Ferry, on the Shenandoah river, about eighteen miles distant. The citizens were very much grieved to see us leave, for fear the enemy would be in town, as there were no troops left but a few militia and Colonel Turner Ashby’s cavalry.
After marching a few miles we were halted, and the Adjutant read us orders that the enemy were about to overpower General Beauregard at Manassas Junction, and we would have to make a forced march. It was General Johnston’s wish that all the men would keep in ranks and not straggle, if possible. Then we started on a quick march, marched all day and nearly all night, wading the Shenandoah river about 12 o’clock at night halted at a small village called Paris about two hours, then resumed the march about daylight, and arrived at Piedmont Station, on the Manassas Railroad.
Our brigade was in the advance on the march, and when we arrived at the station the citizens for miles around came flocking to see us, bringing us eatables of all kinds, and we fared sumptuously. There were not trains enough to transport al at once, and our regiment had to remain there until trains returned, which was about 3 o’clock in the afternoon. We had a regular picnic; plenty to eat, lemonade to drink, and beautiful young ladies to chat with. We finally got aboard, bade the ladies a long farewell, and went flying down the road, arriving at the junction in the night.
The next day, the 20th of July, we marched about four miles down Bull Run, to where General Beauregard had engaged the enemy on the 18th, and repulsed their advance. There we joined our brigade. We lay on our arms all night. We tore all the feathers out of our hats, because we heard the Yanks had feathers in theirs, and we might be fired on by mistake, as our company was the only one that had black plumes in their hats. We could hear pickets firing at intervals, and did not know what minute we would be rushed into action.
My particular friend and messmate, William I. Blue, and myself lay down together, throwing a blanket over us, and talked concerning our probable fate the next day. We had been in line of battle several times, and had heard many false alarms, but we all knew there was no false alarm this time; that the two armies lay facing each other, and that a big battle would be fought the next day; that we were on the eve of experiencing the realities of war in its most horrible form – brother against brother, father against son, kindred against kindred, and our own country torn to pieces by civil war.
While lying thus, being nearly asleep, he roused me up and said that he wanted to make a bargain with me, which was, if either of us got killed the next day the one who survived should see the other buried, if we kept possession of the battle-field.
I told him I would certainly do that, and we pledged ourselves accordingly. I then remarked that perhaps we would escape unhurt or wounded. He said: “No, I don’t want to be wounded. If I am shot at all I want to be shot right through the heart.”
During the night we heard a gun fired on the left of the regiment and I got up and walked down the line to see what had happened. I found one of the men had shot himself through the foot, supposed to have been done intentionally, to keep out of the fight, but the poor fellow made a miscalculation as to where his toes were, and held the muzzle of the gun too far up and blew off about half of his foot, so it had to be amputated.
July 21st dawned clear and bright (and for the last time on many a poor soldier), and with it the sharpshooters in front commenced skirmishing. We were ordered to “fall in,” and were marched up the run about four miles, and then ordered back to “Blackburn’s Ford.” Our company and the “Hardy Greys” were thrown out as skirmishers, opposite the ford, in a skirt of woods commanding a full view of the ford, and ordered to fire on the enemy if they attempted to cross the run. While we were lying in that position heavy firing was heard on our left, both infantry and artillery. In a few moments we were ordered from there to join the regiment, and went “double quick” up the run to where the fighting was going on. The balance of the brigade was in line of battle behind the brow of a small ridge. We were halted at the foot of this ridge and Colonel Cummings told us that it was General Jackson’s command that our regiment should depend principally on the bayonet that day, as it was a musket regiment.
Some of the boys were very keen for a fight, and while we were down in the run they were afraid it would be over before we got into it. One in particular, Thomas McGraw, was very anxious to get a shot at the “bluecoats,” and when the Colonel read us the order about the bayonet I asked Tom how he liked that part of the programme. He said that was closer quarters than he anticipated.
Our regiment marched up the hill and formed “left in front,” on the left of the brigade, and on the entire left of our army. As we passed by the other regiments the shells were bursting and cutting down the pines all around us, and we were shaking hands and bidding farewell to those we were acquainted with, knowing that in a few moments many of us would be stretched lifeless on the field.
At this time our troops were falling back, but in good order, fighting every inch of the way, but were being overpowered and flanked by superior numbers. They were the 2d Mississippi and Colonel Evans’ 4th Alabama Regiments, General Bee’s South Carolina Brigade, Colonel Bartow’s 7th and 8th Georgia Regiments, Major Wheat’s Battalion (called the Louisiana Tigers), and Imboden’s Battery. They had resisted the main portion of the “Federal Army” and had done all that men could do, and had lost severely, but were still holding the enemy in check while we were forming.
It was there at this moment that General Jackson received the name of “Stonewall,” and the brigade the ever memorable name of “Stonewall Brigade.” General Barnard E. Bee, riding up to General Jackson, who sat on his horse calm and unmoved, though severely wounded in the hand, exclaimed in a voice of anguish: “General, they are beating us back!”
Turning to General Bee, he said calmly: “Sir, we’ll give them the bayonet.”
Hastening back to his men, General Bee cried enthusiastically, as he pointed to Jackson: “Look yonder! There is Jackson and his brigade standing like a stone wall. Let us determine to die here and we will conquer. Rally behind them!”
They passed through our brigade and formed in the rear. I knew they were South Carolinians by the “Palmetto tree” on their caps. General Bee and Colonel Bartow fell, mortally wounded. The enemy, flushed with victory, pushed on, never dreaming what was lying just beyond the brow of the hill in the pines. There seemed to be a lull in the firing just at this time, and Sergeant James P. Daily, of my company, walked up to the brow of the hill, but soon returned with the exclamation: “Boys, there is the prettiest sight from the top of the hill you ever saw; they are coming up on the other side in four ranks, and all dressed in red!”
When we heard that, I, with several others, jumped up and started to see, but Colonel Cummings ordered us to “stay in ranks,” and Daily remarked: “We will see them soon enough.” Sure enough, in a few seconds the head of the column made its appearance, with three officers on horseback in front, and marching by the flank, with the intention of flanking one of our batteries – the Rockbridge Artillery, Captain W. N. Pendleton. In a few minutes they spied us lying there, and I heard one of the officers say: “Hello! what men are these?” At that moment some of our men who, evidently, had the “buck fever,” commenced, without orders, firing some scattering shots. The enemy then poured a volley into us, but as we were lying down the balls went over our heads, harmless.
That morning we had been given a signal to use in time of battle, to distinguish friend from foe, which was to throw the right hand to the forward, palm outward, and say, “Sumter.” When this regiment (which was the 14th Brooklyn, N. Y.), appeared in view Colonel Cummings gave the signal, and it was returned by one of the officers, but how they got it was a mystery. So, when the scattering shots were fired by some of our regiment, Colonel Cummings exclaimed: “Cease firing, you are firing on friends!” and the volley came from them at the same time, and I know I remarked, “Friends, hell! That looks like it.”
Colonel Cummings, seeing his mistake, and also seeing a battery of artillery taking position and unlimbering, in close proximity and in a place where it could enfilade our troops, determined to capture it before it could do any damage. I don’t think he had any orders from any superior officer, but took the responsibility on himself. Then came the command: “Attention! Forward march! Charge bayonets! Double quick!” and away we went, sweeping everything before us; but the enemy broke and fled.
We were soon in possession of the guns, killed nearly all the horses, and a great portion of the men were killed and wounded; and we were none too soon, for one minute more and four guns would have belched forth into our ranks, carrying death and destruction, and perhaps have been able to have held their position. As it was, the guns were rendered useless, and were not used any more that day, all though we had to give them up temporarily.
We were halted, and one of my company, Thomas Furlough, who had belonged to the artillery in the Mexican war, threw down his musket and said: “Boys, let’s turn the guns on them.” That was the last sentence that ever passed his lips, for just then he was shot dead.
While this was going on, the enemy were throwing a force on our left flank in the pines, and commenced pouring it into us from the front and an enfilading fire from the flank, and were cutting us to pieces, when we were ordered back, and halted at our first position.
Then we were reinforced by the 49th Virginia and the 6th North Carolina Regiments, commanded by Colonel Chas. F. Fisher (who was killed a few minutes afterwards) and “Extra Billy” Smith. This mad our line longer, and we were ordered to charge again. The charge of Jackson’s men was terrific. The enemy were swept before them like chaff before a whirlwind. Nothing could resist their impetuosity. The men seem to have caught the dauntless spirit and determined will of their heroic commander, and nothing could stay them in their onward course. The 33d Virginia, in its timely charge, saved the day by capturing and disabling Griffin’s battery, altho’ they could not hold it just then. The name won that day by the brigade and its General is immortal.
In this action our regiment (the 33d Virginia), being on the extreme left, was alone, the balance of the brigade not charging until later, and we were terribly cut up and had to fall back. General Jackson said he could afford to sacrifice one regiment to save the day; and it was the first check and first repulse the enemy had received, and during the remainder of the day the battle turned in favor of the Confederates.
We did not follow them far, for fresh troops were coming in all the time, and we had lost severely, and were considerably demoralized. I then took a stroll over the battlefield, to see who of my comrades were dead or wounded, and saw my friend, William I. Blue, lying on his face, dead. I turned him over to see where he was shot. He must have been shot through the heart, the place where he wanted to be shot, if shot at all. He must have been killed instantly, for hs was in the act of loading his gun. One hand was grasped around his gun, in the other he held a cartridge, with one end of it in his mouth, in the act of tearing it off. I sat down by him and took a hearty cry, and then, thinks I, “It does not look well for a soldier to cry,” but I could not help it. I then stuck his gun in the ground by his side, marked his name, company and regiment on a piece of paper, pinned it on his breast, and went off.
I then saw three field officers a short distance from me looking through a field glass. I very deliberately walked up to them and asked them to let me look through it, and one of them handed it to me. When looking through it I saw, about two miles off, what I took to be about 10,000 of the enemy. The field appeared to be black with them. I returned the glass, saying: “My God! have we all of them to fight yet?” Just at that moment “Pendleton’s Battery” turned their guns on them and I saw the first shell strike in the field. I don’t think it was five minutes until the field was vacant. I felt considerably relieved. I had had enough of fighting that day. We had gained a great victory. The enemy were completely routed and panic-stricken, and never halted until they arrived at Alexandria and Washington.
My company only numbered fifty-five, rank and file, when we went into service, but, ,so many having the measles and other ailments, we went into the fight with only twenty-seven men, and out of that number we lost five killed and six wounded. The killed were William I. Blue, Thomas Furlough, James Adams, John W. Marker and Amos Hollenback. The wounded were Sergeant William Montgomery, John Reinhart, Robert C. Grace, Edward Allen, A. A. Young and Joseph Cadwallader.
The regiment went right into action with about 450 men, and lost forty-three killed and 140 wounded. Our regiment fought the 14th Brooklyn Zouaves and the 1st Michigan, which poured a deadly volley into us. While we were engaged in front, Colonel Cummings ordered the regiment to fall back three times before they did so. All the troops engaged suffered more or less, but the loss of the 33d Virginia was greater than that of any regiment on either side, as the statistics will show, and it was the smallest regiment, not being full and not numbered.
We worked nearly all night taking care of the wounded, for nearly all of the enemy’s wounded were left in our hands. I took a short sleep on the battle-field. The next day was rainy and muddy. The regiment was ordered to “fall in,” but not knowing where they were going, I did not want to leave until I had buried my friend, according to promise. When they had marched off I hid behind a wagon, and Sergeant Daily, seeing me, ordered me to come on. I told him never would I leave that field until I had buried my friend, unless I was put under arrest. He then left me, and I looked around for some tools to dig a grave. I found an old hoe and spade, and commenced digging the grave under an apple tree in an orchard near the “Henry house.”
While I was at work a Georgian came to me and wanted the tools as soon as I was done with them. He said he wanted to bury his brother, and asked if I was burying a brother.
“No,” I replied, “but dear as a brother.”
“As you have no one to help you,” he said, “and I have no one to help me, suppose we dig the grave large enough for both, and we can help one another carry them here.”
“All right,” I said, “but I want to bury my friend near the tree, for, perhaps his father will come after him.”
So we buried them that way and gathered up some old shingles to put over the bodies, and a piece of plank between them. Then I rudely carved the name on the tree.
Captain William Lee, who was acting Lieutenant Colonel, was killed, and our Sergeant Major, Randolph Barton, a cadet from the Virginia Military Institute, was severely wounded.
That evening there was a detail made from each company to bury the dead, and we buried all alike, friend and foe, and this ended the first battle of “Bull Run,” and the first big battle of the war.
There is no doubt but that the timely charge of the 33d Virginia turned the tide of battle and saved the day for the Confederates. Colonel Cummings took the responsibility upon himself and ordered the charge just in the nick of time, for in five minutes’ time the Federals would have had their battery in position and would have had an enfilading fire on the brigade and Pendleton’s Battery, and made their position untenable. I herewith append a letter from Colonel Cummings, and one from Captain Randolph Barton, which bear me out in my statement, and more fully explain the situation and results. Also one that I had written to my parents three days after the battle, and which is still preserved.
James I. Robertson, Jr., ed., Four Years in the Stonewall Brigade, pp. 21-33
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Tags: 33rd Virginia, John Casler, Memoirs, Resources
Categories : Reminiscences, Resources
July 19 - News arrived today of the battle at Manassas Junction, which lasted four hours & a half in which the Federalists were severely beaten with great loss, while ours was very slight.
July 22 - The telegraph this morning announces a great and glorious victory gained yesterday at Bull’s Run after ten hours hard fighting. The enemy were completely routed, with tremendous slaughter; the loss on either side is of course not yet known, but ours is light compared to theirs. They have besides lost the whole of the celebrated Sherman’s Battery, two or three others, and a quantity of ammunition, baggage, etc. Their whole force amounted to about 80,000 while ours was only 35,000; only our left wing, however, command by Gen. Johnson, 15,000 against 35,000 of the enemy, were mostly engaged. The entire commanded by the President, who arrived on the field about noon, & the right wing, led by Beauregard, were only partially engaged. The Georgia Regiment commanded by Col. Francis S. Bartow seems to have suffered very severely, the Oglethorp Light I.[nfantry] from Savannah especially. Col. Bartow was killed and also Gen. Barnard Bee and Col. B. F. Johnson of the Hampton Legion. The latter arrived only three hours before the battle and seem to have taken conspicuous part in it. In Gen. Bee the Confederate Army lost an officer whose place cannot readily be supplied. He stood so high in his profession that, immediately after his arrival quite late from the distant western frontiers, a captain, he was raised to the rank of Brigadier General; he was one of Carolina’s noblest sons, and, though we glory in the victory won by the prowess of our gallant men, tears for the honored dead mingle with our rejoicings. Col Bartow was one of the most talented and prominent men in Savannah and very much beloved; he left Congress to go to Va. with the O.[gelthorpe] L.[ight] I.[nfantry] as their captain, but was made Col. & was acting Brigadier Gen. during the battle. Col. Johnson’s loss will also be much felt; he leaves a wife & eight children. A great many Charlestonians are wounded but only three of Kershaw’s R.[egiment] which must have been in the right wing…Rumors are, of course, flying in every direction, none of which are to be relied on, but Willie Heyward went on tonight to see after some of his friends, who he hears are wounded.
July 23 - The telegraph today only confirms what we heard yesterday without additional information, as the wires from Manassas to Richmond were down for some hours. Several gentlemen went on last night with servants & nurses to attend our wounded, and societies for their relief are being organized in the city. The northern account of the battle & dreadful panic which seized their troops, followed by complete demoralization, is most graphic. They admit that the carnage was fearful. The “brag” regiment of N. Y., the 69th, was cut to pieces; the infamous Fire Zouaves went into battle 1100 strong and come out 206. The New Orleans Zouaves were let loose on them & most amply were the murder of [James] Jackson & the outrages on women avenged on these fiends; 60 pieces of artillery were taken including Sherman’s which was celebrated as Ringgold’s during the Mexican War[,] Carlisle’s, Griffins, the West Point Batteries, & the 8 siege 32-pounder rifled cannon, with which Scott was marching upon Richmond. The Federal army left Washington commanded by Scott in all the pomp & pageantry of the panoply of war – all so grand and impressive in their own eyes that they did not dream that we would strike a blow but would lay down our arms in terror. They carried 550 pair of handcuffs & invited immense numbers of ladies to follow and see Beauregard and Lee put into irons, expecting to march directly on to Richmond. The contrast of the picture may be imagined – gloom and terror reign in Washington, and they are multiplying fortifications and reinforcing the city.
Today, by Col. [Richard] Anderson’s order, a salute was fired of twenty-one guns, from Forts Moultrie & Sumter, at 12 o’clock, in honor of the victory, & tomorrow their flags will be placed at half-mast and guns fired hourly from 6:00 A. M. till sunset in honor of the illustrious dead. Preparations are being made to receive the bodies in state; the City Hall is draped in mourning as when Calhoun lay in state, & now his statue gleams intensely white through the funeral hangings surrounding the three biers. I have not yet visited the hall but those who have say the impression is awfully solemn. It seems really the “Chamber of the Dead.” The bodies were expected today, but a delay occurred & they may not come till Friday. This afternoon the Ladies Charleston Volunteer Aid Society held a meeting at the S. C. Hall, 192 ladies were there and nearly $1,000 collected from subscriptions and donations, Miss Hesse [T.] Drayton was appointed Superintendent, & Hesse [D. Drayton], Assistant, Emily Rutledge, Secy. & Treasurer, & 12 Managers to cut out the work & distribute it. We are to have monthly as well as quarterly meetings. The ladies all seemed to enjoy seeing their friends as well sa the purpose for which they came. Mrs. Geo. Robertson & Mrs. Amy Snowden have got up another called Soldiers’ Relief Assn. not only for sending clothes, but comforts & necessaries for the sick and wounded, while the ladies interested in the Y. M. C. A. have got up another& already sent on supplies for the hospitals. All are most liberally supported…
July 25 - Gen. McClellan has superseded McDowell, U. S., who was defeated at Bull Run on the 21st. He had telegraphed to Washington announcing a signal victory & by the time the news arrived his troops were routed and flying for their lives.
Mr. [Robert] Bunch of the English Consul says he considers this one of the most remarkable victories ever gained. Not only were the Lincolnites double our number, but all their batteries were manned by regulars, well trained and experienced as well as commanded by experienced officers. Those batteries were almost all taken by infantry at the point of the bayonet, a thing which has never been done before – cavalry always being sent to charge them.
The new French Consul, Baron St. Andre’, has lately arrived here. He was instructed to avoid Washington & to present his credentials to the Mayor, so at least we hear, and seems probable it is but the preparatory step to recognizing us.
July 26 - [Aunt] Carrie [Blanding] & myself went up today to Mrs. [Anna Gaillard] White’s to bid Mary Jane and herself goodbye as they expect to leave at midday for Summersville on their way Winnsboro. We found a number of the Dragoons collected there, waiting the arrival of the bodies; the train was expected at eight and again at ten, but a telegram announced that a delay had occurred & it would not arrive till one. Mr. [John] White invited some of the dragoons to wait there instead of returning home. A funereal car had been sent to Florence to meet the bodies & another draped in mourning bore the committee appointed to meet it. Business was generally suspended, all the flags were at half-mast & the Liberty pole had crape upon it; everybody was out to see the procession. The Dragoons in their summer uniform of pure white, the German Hussars, & Charleston Mounted Guard met the bodies at the depot and escorted them to the City Hall, four from each company being detailed as especial body guard & the City Guard marching in single file on either side of the hearses; the bodies lay in state for three hours; at four the procession moved again, the Dragoons first, Col. Anderson commanding and leading the way, with nearly a thousand regulars trailing arms. The W.[ashington] L.[ight] I.[nfantry] was the only volunteer company carrying ars in respect to Col. Johnson, but every infantry company in the city turned out; the pall bearers were all high officers in brilliant uniforms, some on foot others on horseback immediately around the hearses; the flags were furled, at least some were, & draped in crape. There was but little music. The R.[utledge] M.[ounted] R.[ifles] ending the procession on foot leading their horses, a body of artillery in their way to Va. commanded by Willie Preston were also in the procession. Col. Bartow’s body had been escorted to the Savannah R. R. by the Mounted Guard.
Carrie & myself dined at Mrs. W[hite]‘s; then all went to St. Paul’s [Episcopal Church] where the services were performed by cousin Christopher [Gasden] except Mrs. W and myself – our carriage came for me, and she and I rode out to see the procession. We got a position at the head of Calhoun [St.], and saw it as it turned into Coming [St.] Many of the companies could not get as far as the corner. After the services were over, the bodies were brought out and three volleys fired over them. They were then carried to Magnolia Cemetery, where Col. Johnson was buried & Gen. Bee’s remains placed until tomorrow, when they would be carried to Pendleton where all his family are buried. Gen. Bee was mortally wounded in the stomach by grape or chain shot and did not die till eleven o’clock on Monday and , though he suffered fearfully he never uttered a murmur. Col. J. and Col. B. were both instantly killed, the former dreadfully mangled in the face. Thus it was impossible to allow the family a last look ere they were consigned to the tomb, & oh, how harrowing to their feelings to think those loved forms so near and yet unable to obtain one last agonizing look.
July 27 - …[After Bull Run] 1500 of the Virginia Cavalry pursued the enemy beyond Fairfax till two o’clock in the morning. At that place, they found Gen. Scott’s carriage & six horses, with his sword and epaulettes, his table set with silver, champagne, wines and all sorts of delicacies, to celebrate their intended victory. But the arrival of the panic stricken troops, flying from close pursuit, had compelled “old fuss and Feathers” to follow their humiliating example…
July 29 - A letter was received from Rutledge today written from Stone Bridge on the 22nd. It was merely a few lines in pencil, telling us that the battle had taken place and that Kershaw’s & Cash['s] regiment had the honor of turning the tide of battle to victory. President Davis said they had done so. It was a mistake to say that he commanded the centre; he did not arrive till the enemy were in full retreat. To Beauregard belongs the honor of planning the battle & commanding the army – he has just been made a Confederate General. Col. Richard Anderson has been raised to the rank of Brigadier General.
Cowen Barnwell says the road to Centreville was strewed not only with arms, knapsacks & soldiers’ clothing, but delicacies of all sorts and ladies bonnets and shawls. For, a great many Lincolnite Congressmen with their wives and friends had gone to witness the ‘great race’ between Federals and Confederates. One of the prisoners said they were told by their officers that we would not fight or at least it would be a mere brush, for our men were so few compared to theirs & they did not believe they would face the regulars, Scott’s chosen 10,000, but would yield or run and their army would march immediately on Richmond. The papers which were taken prove the man’s assertion true. A bill of fare among other things was found of a dinner McDowell intended to give yesterday in Richmond. [Alfred] Ely [of New York], a member of Congress, also Col. Corcoran of the N. Y. 69th, the latter was captured by a mere boy. The P[almetto] G[uard] have captured a flag & two drums. Every Southerner was a hero on that battlefield; every day we learn some new deed of valor, but the taking of Sherman’s battery at the point of the bayonet is the most wonderful. Beauregard said it was the greatest the world has ever seen.
Our troops suffered awfully for want of water. Exhausted from want of food, & hard fighting, their thirst was intense and caused severe suffering.
July 31 – We have heard nothing further from R[utledge] or Mr. T. S[umter] B[rownfield] since their notes dated Stone Bridge 22nd, but Mr. Stephen Elliott received a very interesting letter from Willie [Elliott] who is 1st Lieut. Brooks Guard, Kershaw’s R., giving a sketch of the battle. I fell very proud to think they had such a prominent position and should have had the universally acknowledged honor in connection with Cash’s R. and Kemper’s four-gun battery from a defeat into a glorious victory. For when they rushed to the charge, they met wounded men going to the rear who told them we were beaten & everything which met their sight seemed to confirm it, but undisheartened they rushed onward to victory, to Kershaw’s battle cry “Boys remember Butler, Sumter and your homes.”
It is very difficult to obtain accurate information about either the whereabouts of our friends or those who are wounded, as Beauregard will not allow any but those who are going to join the army to go on to Manassas and the Carolina Regiments are continually on the move…
August 1 - Among other articles captured have been several wagons loaded with handcuffs – 30,000 pairs, to deck their intended victims. I suppose the Lincolnites expected to have a triumphal entry to Washington in the old Roman style.
John F. Marszalek, ed., The Diary of Miss Emma Holmes, 1861-1866, pp. 65-74
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Tags: Atrocities, Barnard Bee, Charleston, Citizens' Diaries, Civil War Citizens, Francis Bartow, Handcuffs, Resources, Sherman's Battery
Categories : Diaries, Resources
Garry Adelman, Gettysburg Licensed Battlefield Guide and Civil War author (among other things), has a new book coming out next week, Manassas Battlefields Then & Now: Historic Photography at Bull Run. He recently took some time to discuss his work with Bull Runnings.
GA: I became all but instantly obsessed with the Civil War at age 16 upon picking up William A Frassanito’s Antietam: The Photographic Legacy of America’s Bloodiest Day. It changed my entire life. I was living outside of Chicago and just started digesting all the books I could. I had never before read history for pleasure. I got a business degree at Michigan State a few years later—Hotel and Restaurant Management to be exact—and then went back to Chicago to run restaurants. In the meantime I started driving out to Gettysburg and Antietam whenever I could. Ultimately, I couldn’t resist moving to Gettysburg, which I did in the fall of 1992. Save for picking up that book in my high school library in 1983, I would not have met my wife, had my kids or been able to work what I think are the best set of jobs in the world.
BR: Whoa, that’s a lot! What happened after you moved?
GA: I didn’t have a job or even any prospects so I did the only thing I knew how to do—opened a restaurant. While running that place, I started writing for The Gettysburg Magazine, became a Licensed Battlefield Guide at Gettysburg, and explored the battlefield with what little time I had. I sold the restaurant to Gettysburg College in 1995, worked there for a few years and then for Thomas Publications, which specializes in Civil War books. In the meantime, I met my future wife on Gettysburg’s town square, published (with Tim Smith) Devil’s Den: A History and Guide (1997) and started working on more books. I got my Masters in History from Shippensburg University of Pennsylvania in 2002 and then I really entered the history world. After an 8-year stint at a historical consulting firm in Rockville, Maryland, I started working for the Civil War Trust as Director of History and Education, about a year and a half ago. I am still a Licensed Battlefield Guide and I regularly speak to Civil War groups. I have now written, co-authored or edited more than 30 Civil War-related books and articles.
BR: What is The Center for Civil War Photography?
GA: The Center was founded in 1999 and I have served as its vice president for more than a decade. The Center aims to teach people the whos, whats, wheres, whys, and hows of Civil War Photography. We aim to collect digital copies of, place into context and make available every outdoor Civil War photo ever recorded. We hold an annual seminar at various battlefields every year and this October we are focusing (excuse the pun) on the Western Theater, at Chattanooga. Space is still available! It was a no-brainer to take the Manassas book to The Center as publisher.
BR: Why did you choose the Bull Run battlefields as the subject for your new book?
GA: No matter how many facets of the conflict I may research or address, I always go back to my first Civil War love—then & now photography. Frassanito pioneered the field of the study of Civil War photographs as primary documents and I am one of a small cadre of historians moving that work forward as he has slowed down. No historian had ever completed even a small book on Bull Run’s historic photography and the resources, mysteries and curiosities abound at Manassas and its surroundings. The topic was all but begging to be covered!
BR: Was there anything in particular that surprised you about the photographic history of the battlefields?
GA: Oh, my yes. Upon separating the various images into series by photographic team, it became clear that only one covered the actual battlefields field during the war—this was George Barnard and James Gibson’s team. Despite Matthew Brady’s attempt in 1861, and Timothy O’Sullivan’s coverage of Manassas in 1862, Andrew Russell’s in 1863, no other photographer secured plates of the iconic sites on the Manassas Battlefields. In June 1865, Alexander Gardner’s team was next to cover the field. This is extremely odd given Bull Run’s popularity and its proximity to Washington. I suppose another thing that surprised me was how much work remained, even with Barnard’s 1862 series.
BR: Can you describe your research and writing process?
GA: I first became familiar with and aimed to digitally secure every Bull Run-related historic photo I could. I had been doing this for more than five years already and the best stuff came from the Manassas National Battlefield, the Library of Congress, the National Archives and members of The Center for Civil War Photography. Upon collecting these and separating them into series, I did a bunch of field research, trying to find unknown photo locations and getting to know the photographers’ areas of operations. This is not a lengthy book and yet this process took years. I made most of the key discoveries, shot most of the modern photos and did most of the writing, however, in the last eight months.
BR: Any particular discovery you’d like the share?
GA: Indeed! I am most proud of having finally divined the location of five 1862 images that are usually labeled as Blackburn’s Ford. In close consultation with Jim Burgess, Museum Specialist at Manassas National Battlefield, who helped with almost every aspect of the book, I was able to pinpoint the location more than a mile upstream from Blackburn’s Ford. Finding a Civil War photolocation, that is, the place where photographers exposed their plates, is among the most satisfying and fun endeavors I know of. To put five photos into context—that’s more than were taken at Shiloh during the entire war!
The historic photo here (left), courtesy of Manassas National Battlefield, was found to show a wrecked Confederate Railroad bridge, upstream from Mitchell’s Ford. Next to it is the location today (right). Click the thumbs for larger images.
BR: What’s next for you?
GA: I haven’t decided. My family, my work at the Trust and my various Civil War side jobs occupy a great deal of my time. I am playing around with the idea of a small Peninsula/Seven Days photo book. That series of photos remains one of the largest collections of largely unexplored Civil War photographs.
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Tags: ACW Books, Articles, Garry Adelman, Interviews, Manassas Battlefields Then & Now, Photos
Categories : Articles, Books, Interviews, The Battlefield