Daniel Tyler

30 07 2009

Brian Downey made this recent post on Lt. Joseph Audenried, who served as an aide to Daniel Tyler at Bull Run.  Be sure to read it – I’ll be incorporating some of it into my own sketch of Audenried.  Good stuff, even a sex scandal.  Hmmm…I wonder if typing those two words will generate more hits for this blog?

Tyler is something of an enigma.  He was McDowell’s most senior division commander, despite having been retired from the army for 27 years.  During the 15 years he spent in the uniform of the United States, he managed to rise to the rank of 1st Lieutenant, and he did not feel compelled to reenter the service for the war with Mexico.  His actions on July 18th at Blackburn’s Ford (at the time referred to as The Battle of Bull Run) had a profound impact on the campaign, as did his decisions on the 21st.  I’ll have plenty to say about Tyler later.  Note that at the time of the battle he was a Brig. Gen. of Connecticut militia.

This article was originally posted on 4/12/2007, as part of the Daniel Tyler biographical sketch.





JCCW – Gen. Daniel Tyler Part II

26 07 2009

Testimony of Gen. Daniel Tyler

Report on the Conduct of the War, Vol. 2, pp. 206-207

WASHINGTON, January 22, 1862.

General DANIEL TYLER re-examined.

The witness said: I made one mistake in my testimony when before the committee on Monday last. I then stated that I received no orders from General McDowell during the day of the battle of Bull Run. That was an error. I did receive an order from him about 11 o’clock in the morning to press the attack. That was the time when Sherman’s brigade advanced and relieved Burnside’s brigade.

By Mr. Gooch:

Question. What regiments were engaged in the action at Blackburn’s Ford?

Answer. Two Michigan regiments, a regiment from Massachusetts, and one from New York. The skirmishers belonging to those regiments were those who were engaged with the enemy. The others were sustaining the skirmishers in the woods.

Question. What was the conduct of the Massachusetts regiment, Colonel Cowdin?

Answer. Colonel Cowdin’s regiment I had immediately under my eye during the whole of that affair. They behaved like gallant, brave men, and had no superiors, as a regiment, in my opinion, on the field.

Question. The regiment was well commanded?

Answer. Yes, sir; it was well led and well commanded. I will say thaton Sunday Ayres’s battery repulsed the charge of the enemy’s cavalry on the Warrenton turnpike, and that was what effectually checked and drove off the pursuit.

By Mr. Covode:

Question. Did you know, before the engagement on Sunday, that Johnston had arrived with his force?

Answer. Yes, sir; we knew that Johnston’s forces began to arrive Friday afternoon, for we could hear, at Blackburn’s Ford, the trains arrive at Manassas, and we knew they came on the Winchester road. On Saturday afternoon I told General Cameron that, in my opinion, Johnston’s army had arrived. At the time we received orders on Saturday evening previous to the battle, I asked General McDowell this question: “General, what force have we to fight to-morrow?” He replied: “You know, general, as well as I do.” My reply was, “General, we have got the whole of Joe Johnston’s army in our front, and we must fight the two armies.” I gave him the reason for that belief, that we had heard the trains coming in. He made no reply.

Question. What, in your judgment, would have been the result if you had fought them the day before?

Answer. I believe we would have whipped them beyond question before Johnston’s forces arrived. I never had a doubt that, single-handed, we could have whipped Beauregard’s army.





JCCW – Gen. Daniel Tyler Part I

25 07 2009

Testimony of Gen. Daniel Tyler

Report on the Conduct of the War, Vol. 2, pp. 198-206

WASHINGTON, January 20, 1862.

General DANIEL TYLER sworn and examined.

By the chairman:

Question. Will you please state what is your rank and position in the army, or what it was?

Answer. I was a brigadier general, second in command under General McDowell.

Question. You were present at the battle of Bull Run?

Answer. I was there.

Question. Please give a brief and concise statement of what you saw there, and how the battle was conducted, &c.; do this without questioning at first; I want to get particularly what, in your judgment, caused the disaster of that day.

Answer. The first great trouble was the want of discipline and instruction in the troops. The troops needed that regimental and brigade instruction which would have enabled them to act together in masses with advantage.

Question. Were there any other more proximate causes than that?

Answer. There was a great want of instruction and professional knowledge among the officers—the company and regimental officers.

Question. Well, sir, give a concise history of that battle.

Answer. I will begin back to the occupation of Falls’ Church. The first advance made by our troops, after the occupation of Alexandria, Arlington Heights, Fort Corcoran, and Roach’s Mill, was to Falls’ Church. That was made by me with the Connecticut brigade, about the 5th of June. I remained in that division, commanding the advance of the army, until the advance upon Manassas. When we advanced upon Manassas I was assigned to the command of a division of four brigades. My line of march was by Vienna to Flint Hill, and from there I had authority from General McDowell to take either the route by Fairfax Court-House, or the route by Gormantown, as my judgment should indicate. I took the advance through Gormantown, and arrived there in advance of any other division of the army, on the turnpike to Centreville. We continued our march until about 4 o’clock in the evening, and then bivouacked for the night. I think that was the first misfortune of our .movement. I think, if we had gone on to Centreville that night we should have been in much better condition the next day. I was ordered by General McDowell to take my division forward at 7 o’clock on Thursday morning and attack Centreville, he assigning me two twenty-pounders to assist in that attack. On arriving at Centreville, I found that the enemy had evacuated their fortifications, and that Cox’s division, as I was told by the people there, had passed over Stone Bridge, and Bonham, with the South Carolina and Georgia troops, had passed down by Blackburn’s Ford.

I waited there an hour and a half, getting such information as I could collect, and then, not finding General McDowell, or hearing from him, I took a squadron of cavalry and four companies of light infantry and went forward with General Richardson towards Blackburn’s Ford. After passing through the woods there we came out immediately upon Bull Run. From that point we had a very good view of Manassas. We found they had not occupied the left bank of Bull Run at all. There is a distance, along the stream there, of about a thousand yards of perfectly open country. There is not a tree until you get to Bull Run, and then it is covered with trees. I got there in the morning, with merely my staff and this squadron of cavalry and the light infantry. I was perfectly astonished to find they had not occupied that position on the left bank. It had complete control of it, so complete control that, after we got our artillery in position, we had the whole control of that valley. Beauregard, in his official report, complains that we threw shot in his hospital. We did, but we did not know it was his hospital; we thought it was his headquarters. The whole ground there, clear over almost into Manassas, was commanded by that position. This was a chain of heights, extending along the whole of this ford, and completely controlling the bottom of Bull Run.

As soon as I found out the condition of things I sent back for Ayres’s battery—Sherman’s old battery—and had it brought and put into position. After firing two or three shots they replied to us; but having only smoothbore guns they could not reach us. After the two twenty-pounders came up we had eight pieces in position, commanding the whale of that run. They could not make a move in front of the woods there without our controlling them. They made no movement at all; we could see no show of force. All we could see was some few around their battery. I then took Richardson’s brigade and filed it down there to see what there was in the bottom. This was evidently on the direct road to Manassas. They marched down through in front of the whole of that wood, without bringing any fire upon them. I sent some skirmishers into the woods, and there were some thirty or fifty shots fired from a few men.

I saw an opening where we could have a chance to get in a couple of pieces of artillery, and I ordered Captain Ayres to take a couple of his howitzers and go into that opening and throw some canister shot into the woods. The very moment he came into battery it appeared to me that there were 5,000 muskets fired at once. It appears by Beauregard’s report that he had seventeen regiments in front there. They were evidently waiting for our infantry to get into the woods there. Ayres threw some ten or fifteen canister shot in among them, but was forced to come out, which he did very gallantly, with the loss of one man and two horses. We then came on the hill, and the whole eight pieces were placed in position, and we exchanged with them 415 shots in three-quarters of an hour, our shots plunging right in among them. They fired at an angle of elevation, and the consequence was that we lost but one man; whereas our artillery was plunging right into them, and every shot had its effect.

The Rev. Mr. Hinds, who was taken prisoner on Monday after the fight, was taken down to Bonham’s camp there. He has lately been exchanged and returned, and represents their loss there at some 300 or 400 men that day. My idea was that that position was stronger than the one above. But that is a mere matter of opinion. But after this affair of Thursday that point was never abandoned. We held that point until after the battle of Sunday. Richardson’s brigade was left there, and Davies’s brigade supported him. And when General Ewell tried to cut us off at Centreville on Sunday afternoon they repulsed him. We could have made a first-rate artillery fight there on Friday morning before Johnston’s force came up. We knew of the arrival of Johnston’s forces on Friday afternoon, because we could hear the arrival of the cars up the Winchester road.

My division was stationed on Cub Run from Thursday evening, except Keyes’s brigade, which was left back at Centreville. My orders were for my division to move forward on Sunday morning to Stone Bridge, and threaten that bridge. We left our camp at half-past two o’clock in the morning, and arrived there a little past six o’clock. The fire was opened immediately after getting the division posted, say at a quarter past six o’clock. Our first fire was the signal for Richardson to open fire at Blackburn’s Ford at the same time. Under the instruction to threaten Stone Bridge, it was contemplated that Hunter and Heintzelman, after passing over by Sedley’s Church, would drive the enemy away from the front of the bridge, and enable us to repair the Stone Bridge, which General McDowell assumed to be ruined, and would be destroyed. We had a bridge framed and prepared for that purpose.

Now, at that time, when that should have been done, my division was to pass over the bridge and take part in the action in front of the bridge. About 11 o’clock, seeing that Hunter’s column was arrested on the opposite side of Bull Run, and that they were requiring assistance, I ordered over Sherman’s brigade, containing the 69th and 79th New York, a Wisconsin, and another regiment, with orders to come into line on the right of the troops that we saw attacked, which we supposed, from the appearance of them, to be Hunter’s division. They did so, and Sherman’s brigade made a very gallant attack there, and relieved Burnside’s brigade from the embarrassment they were in. General Burnside, in his official report, acknowledged that he was taken out of a very tight place.

At that time we supposed the battle to have been won. I had had no opportunity of seeing what had been done on the other side until the moment that I came into line with Keyes’s brigade on the left of Sherman’s brigade, and at that moment I saw Captain Fry, of General McDowell’s staff, standing by the fence, crying out “Victory! victory! We have done it! we have done it!” He supposed, and I supposed, and General McDowell at that time supposed, that the victory was substantially won. That was about half- past 12 o’clock. To show that he had some reason to believe that, we passed from that point with my division clear down to the Canady House on the Warrenton turnpike, driving the enemy without any show of resistance. There was hardly a gun fired. There appeared to be a general flight before us.

It was not until we got to that house that we met the enemy in any force at all. They had occupied a plateau of ground immediately above it with their batteries. Ricketts had his fight further over on the other side, while we attacked them by way of the road. At that point my brigade, after carrying the house twice, were repulsed and fell back under the hill. And at that moment, through General Keyes’s aid, who was with me, I sent verbal information to General McDowell that we were going to try to turn the batteries on the plateau by a movement below the Stone Bridge. That movement was subsequently made. We continued under the hill, advancing with the Connecticut brigade, with General Keyes’s brigade, until we reached a point considerably below the position of the enemy’s batteries on the plateau. And as Keyes faced his brigade to the right, to advance up the hill to attack the batteries, we had the first intimation of the retreat of the army by seeing them pouring over towards Sedley’s Church.

By Mr. Gooch:

Question. At what time was that?

Answer. That was, perhaps, nearly three o’clock. Keyes’s brigade then faced to the left and took the same route back under the hill by which they had made the advance, recrossed Bull Run at the original point of crossing, went on up the Warrenton turnpike, at or near the hospital, and on the Centreville side of Bull Run, and continued their retreat towards Centreville. I did not see General McDowell on the field, and I did not receive any orders from him during that day.

Question. Have you anything further to state?

Answer. Nothing. I suppose you ask opinions about the panic. It has been very much discussed before military circles.

Question. We have heard various speculations as to the reason why the battle was not commenced earlier on Sunday; will you state the reason why the battle was delayed to so late an hour on that day?

Answer. The impossibility of moving an army of 22,000 men, with their ammunition, ambulances, &c., over a single turnpike.

By Mr. Odell:

Question. Did not the most of the column wait in the road until Keyes’s brigade, which was back at Centreville, came up and joined you?

Answer. No, sir. The reason why the battle was delayed was this: The advancing so large an army as I have stated over one common road; and for the further reason that the country between Cub Run and Bull Run was supposed to be occupied by the enemy, and it became indispensable for the leading division, being without cavalry, and with no knowledge of the country, to move slowly, in order to protect themselves against any surprise on the part of the enemy, and force a position we had not the least conception of.

By Mr. Gooch:

Question. Was yours the leading division?

Answer. Yes, sir.

Question. Were the rest of the divisions delayed by your movement?

Answer. They were not more than was absolutely necessary under the circumstances.

Question. What time did your movement commence?

Answer. At half-past two o’clock, as will appear by the official reports of Generals Schenck, Sherman, and Keyes.

Question. You were to advance how far?

Answer. To the Stone Bridge, about two and a half miles.

Question. And the other divisions turned off from the road on which you advanced before they reached Stone Bridge?

Answer. Yes, sir; some two miles from the bridge.

Question. At what time did the rear of your division reach Stone Bridge?

Answer. Keyes’s brigade, being delayed to guard the road going down to Manassas, did not reach Stone Bridge until about 11 o’clock. But that brigade was acting under the orders of General McDowell.

Question. At what time did the portion of the division under your command reach Stone Bridge?

Answer. It reached there by six o’clock, perhaps a quarter before six. We opened fire, as General Beauregard states, at six o’clock. Our time said half-past six, but I presume their time was nearer right than ours. I was there more than half an hour, posting my division, before we opened fire.

Question. Then do I understand you to say that none of the other divisions were held back by any portion of your division?

Answer. Yes, sir.

Question. The last part of your division had reached the point where Hunter’s and Heintzelman’s divisions were to turn off in time so as not to hold them back at all?

Answer. The two leading brigades of my division, Schenck’s and Sherman’s, arrived at the Stone Bridge in the neighborhood of and before six o’clock. Keyes’s brigade, having been detained by General McDowell’s order, arrived about eleven o’clock. Keyes’s brigade, therefore, is the only brigade that could have interfered with the movement of Hunter’s and Heintzelman’s divisions. That brigade of Keyes’s had no artillery. And so soon as General Schenck got his brigade on the line of the road, I saw the difficulty that there might be in consequence of Keyes’s brigade being left back at Centreville, having two miles of road to pass over, that they might interfere with Hunter’s column I then sent an aid back to tell General Keyes that as he had no artillery he should file immediately off the Warrenton turnpike into the fields, and immediately clear the turnpike for the use of the other columns. And I deemed it of so much importance, that after sending my aid, I rode back myself and saw the leading regiment of his brigade file into the fields, and gave him a positive order to put his brigade into the fields entirely out of the way of the other divisions. General Keyes reported to me that he did so, and I have no doubt of the fact, for I saw the leading regiment file off.

Question. Did any of the other divisions, or any portions of the other divisions, pass through a part of your division in order to get forward of them?

Answer. When Keyes’s brigade reached the road they occupied it, and Keyes’s brigade passed along parallel to the road and entirely out of their way. He was enabled to do that because he had no artillery. The others having artillery, there was no other place for them to pass, except up the road and over the bridge at Cub Run.

Question. At what time did the rear of your division—I do not mean to include Keyes’s brigade, but the rear of that which was with you that morning—pass the point where Hunter and Heintzelman turned off to the right?

Answer. We passed there before four o’clock.

Question. Or in two hours after you started?

Answer. Yes, air.

Question. Then do I understand you to say that the road was clear, so far as your division was concerned, up to the turning-off point after four o’clock, with the exception that Keyes’s portion of your division was then on that road?

Answer. Alongside the road, but off it.

Question. Why did you move first, as you were to move the shortest distance over the road?

Answer. That was the order of march by General McDowell. I did not see General McDowell or hear from him after the fight began, until we got back to Centreville.

By Mr. Odell :

Question. Did the fact of Keyes’s brigade not joining yours impede the progress of the other columns?

Answer. I do not think it did in the least.

Question. You did not receive an order from General McDowell to hasten your march?

Answer. No, sir ; I received no orders from General McDowell after I left him on Saturday night It was my suggestion to put Keyes’s brigade in the field. After seeing the head of his first regiment file into the fields, I did not wait there, but immediately pushed forward to post the other brigades at the Stone Bridge.

Question. Was there any portion of the march, with reference to Centreville Cross Roads or anything, retarded, so far as you know by your column?

Answer. No, sir; not that I know of.

By Mr. Gooch:

Question. Was it understood that Keyes, with his brigade, should march up and join your division in advance of the movement forward of all the other troops?

Answer. I presume so. That was the understanding—to keep the division together.

Question. I understand you to say that it was expected that Keyes should move up in advance of any other portion of the army, and join your division?

Answer. Certainly; for General McDowell said, “The first division, (Tyler’s,) with the exception of Richardson’s brigade, will move first.”

Question. That was not done, was it?

Answer. Yes, sir.

Question. Why did he not move forward so as to keep out of the way of the remainder of the army?

Answer. He states that he did not interfere with them.

Question. You say he turned off into the field. Why could he not, with the road clear before him, if he was in advance, move forward so as to keep clear of the others?

Answer. He might, if the movements were made with perfect regularity.

Question. He had no artillery, and was first on the road. Why did he not pass over the road so as to offer no obstruction?

Answer. Because, by passing into the field he would have given the rear columns the advantage of two miles and a half of clear track, which there was a possibility might be interfered with, but which was not interfered with.

Question. Were Hunter’s and Heintzelman’s columns in advance of the position where Keyes turned off the main road?

Answer. .No, sir; they moved from behind Centreville on the morning of the 21st.

Question. If he was first on the road, and they were behind him, and he had nothing but infantry, why could he not have moved forward with sufficient celerity to leave the road open to the rest as fast as they advanced?

Answer. He could if the column in advance of him had moved with perfect regularity.

Question. What column was in advance?

Answer. Sherman’s brigade and Schenck’s brigade.

Question. Then it was your division which obstructed his movement forward :

Answer. We did not obstruct him at all. When I ordered Keyes into the field he had not reached the rear of my division. But seeing the possibility of an interference, I ordered him into the field.

Question. If he had marched up and joined your division, as your division then was, would the rear of his brigade have extended back to the junction of the road where the others turned off?

Answer. At the time he joined us?

Question. Yes, sir.

Answer. I think it would at that moment; but still we were all advancing.

Question. Then did you make the movement into the field with Keyes’s brigade in order to prevent that difficulty?

Answer. It was to prevent a circumstance that might occur. It was to prevent difficulty, when I knew there were two brigades in advance of him, and to carry out the instruction to march through the field. It was not that any difficulty had occurred, but to take every precaution against any such occurrence. I had not seen the head of Hunter’s and Heintzelman’s columns, and I did not know where they were. But foreseeing the difficulty of moving 20,000 men over* one turnpike, after getting the artillery and wagons and ammunition into line, I saw that there must be difficulty, and to obviate that as far as possible I rode back and ordered Keyes, who was without artillery, to file out into the field. At that time I did not know where Hunter’s and Heintzelman’s columns were, and I did not know that they had moved a foot.

Question. Did you see the rear of General Keyes’s column?

Answer. I did not. I only saw the leading regiment filed into the field.

Question. You do not know whether Hunter’s and Heintzelman’s columns was directly in the rear of Keyes’s brigade or not?

Answer. No, sir; but I wanted to provide against a contingency.

Question. At that moment you did not know the condition of things in the rear of Keyes’s command?

Answer. I did not. I had no idea where Hunter’s and Heintzelman’s columns were. I supposed they were on the road, however, but I did not know where; but I wanted to do all in my power to remedy any possible difficulty that might occur.

By Mr. Chandler:

Question. The first attack on Thursday, I understood you to say, was made by a single brigade?

Answer. It was made by four companies of a brigade. There were never more than 300 men, except artillery, engaged with the enemy at any time.

Question. Supported by a brigade?

Answer. Yes, sir; by Richardson’s brigade.

Question. Should that attack on Thursday have been made at all, unless it was followed up and made successful?

Answer. It was not an attack. It was merely a reconnoissance to ascertain what force they had there on Bull Run. It was not the intention to make an attack. And the very moment the force of the enemy was discovered, which it was important to know, ‘that moment the troops were withdrawn, and merely a cannonade kept up in order to see what effect it would have upon the men in the bottom of Bull Run. The whole affair was over before six o’clock. It was one of those advance engagements that spring np sometimes without any expectation of anything very important coming froin it.

Question. It was intended as a mere reconnoissance?

Answer. Yes, sir. After we had ascertained the force of the enemy there, I ordered Richardson to withdraw his brigade. He was very anxious to make an attack at the time, and was very confident that he could repulse them and force them out of the woods. I told him our object was not to bring on an engagement. But there was one thing very significant in that affair. Richardson’s brigade moved along the whole front of that wood, and skirted it along without being attacked, though Beauregard says he had seventeen regiments in the woods there. The reason was that Richardson was supported by the artillery on the hill, and the enemy would have suffered very severely if he had made any attack.

Question. Was it your understanding that Patterson was to hold Johnston in the valley of Winchester?

Answer. Yes, sir.

Question. You did not expect Johnston down there?

Answer. No, sir.

Question. Had Patterson held Johnston, what, in your judgment, would have been the result of that battle?

Answer. We should have whipped Beauregard beyond a question.

Question. Then you deem that the real cause of that defeat was the failure of Patterson to hold Johnston back?

Answer. Undoubtedly. From Blackburn’s Ford we could have a fair view of Manassas, and could see what they had there; and I have never had the least doubt that if Patterson had kept Johnston’s army out of the way we would have whipped Manassas itself.

By Mr. Gooch:

Question. You think if you had driven Beauregard into and upon Manassas, you could have driven him out of it?

Answer. Yes, sir; if Johnston had been kept out of the way. There has been a great deal said about their fortifications there. It was the understanding that, from Flint Hill to Gormantown, we should find a succession of very severe abattis and batteries, which would render it a very difficult passage for our troops. We first fell in with, on advancing from Flint Hill, an abattis, which was so miserably constructed that the axe-men of one of our Maine regiments cut it out in the course of fifteen minutes, so that our brigade passed right on. We found a second one of the same character; and then we found an abandoned battery, which two rifled guns could have knocked to pieces in fifteen minutes. At Centreville all the fortifications were of exactly the same character. They were the meanest, most miserable works ever got up by military men. And I have no reason to believe that, even back as far as Manassas, they were much better constructed than they were on this side the run.

Question. Then you attribute the advantages of the enemy in that fight, and the advantages which they probably would have had at Manassas, so far as they would have had any, to the natural location of the country, rather than to any earthworks or artificial works that had been erected?

Answer. Yes, sir; at Manassas particularly. There they had an elevation in their favor, and we would have been obliged to attack them there to some disadvantage.

Question. I suppose you knew, when you moved forward to make the attack, you were moving forward with undisciplined troops; but you also knew you were to attack undisciplined troops?

Answer. We supposed our men were equal to theirs, and we found them to be so.

Question. You did not expect perfection in our movements any more than you did in theirs?

Answer. There was nothing in their troops that I saw that induced me to believe that their discipline and instruction was in any way superior to ours.

Question.  Do you know the particulars of the loss of Griffin’s and Ricketts’s batteries that day?

Answer. They were on the opposite side of the hill from me, and I did not see them. But I think the loss of those two batteries created the panic.

Question. Do you think it very probable the issue of that battle would have been different if those batteries had not been lost?

Answer. I think if we could have had two good batteries there we could have done a great deal better than we did. I think the loss of those two batteries had a great effect upon us.

By Mr. Odell:

Question. Did you receive from General McDowell, through his aid, Mr. Kingsbury, orders to make a more rapid advance?

Answer. No, sir; I did not.





#3 – Brig. Gen. Daniel Tyler

16 02 2009

Report of Brig. Gen. Daniel Tyler, Connecticut Militia, of Action at Blackburn’s Ford

O.R.– SERIES I–VOLUME 2 [S# 2] — CHAPTER IX, pp 310-312

HDQRS. FIRST DIV. DEP’T NORTHEASTERN VIRGINIA,

Washington City, July 27, 1861

SIR: On the 18th instant you ordered me to take my division, with the two 20-pounder rifled guns, and move against Centreville, to carry that position. My division moved from its encampment at 7 a.m. At 9 a.m. Richardson’s brigade reached Centreville, and found that the enemy had retreated the night before – one division on the Warrenton turnpike in the direction of Gainesville, and the other, and by far the largest division, towards Blackburn’s Ford, on Bull Run. Finding that Richardson’s brigade had turned towards the latter point and halted, for the convenience of obtaining water, I took a squadron of cavalry and two light companies from Richardson’s brigade, with Colonel Richardson, to make a reconnaissance, and in feeling our way carefully we soon found ourselves overlooking the strong position of the enemy, situated at Blackburn’s Ford, on Bull Run. A moment’s observation discovered a battery on the opposite bank, but no great body of troops, although the usual pickets and small detachments showed themselves on the left of the position.

Suspecting from the natural strength which I saw the position to possess that the enemy must be in force, and desiring to ascertain the extent of that force and the position of his batteries, I ordered up the two rifled guns, Ayres’ battery, and Richardson’s entire brigade, and subsequently Sherman’s brigade in reserve, to be ready for any contingency. As soon as the rifled guns came up I ordered them into battery on the crest of the hill, nearly a mile from a single battery which we could see placed on the opposite side of the run. Ten or a dozen shots were fired, one of them seeming to take effect on a large body of cavalry, who evidently thought themselves out of range.

The battery we had discovered on our arrival fired six shots and discontinued fire. Finding that our battery did not provoke the enemy to discover his force and his batteries, I ordered Colonel Richardson to advance his brigade and to throw out skirmishers to scour the thick woods with which the whole bottom of Bull Run was covered. This order was skillfully executed, and the skirmishers came out of the wood into the road and close to the ford without provoking any considerable fire from the enemy.

Desiring to make a further attempt to effect the object of the movement, and discovering an opening low down on the bottom of the stream where a couple of howitzers could be put into battery, I ordered Captain Ayres to detach a section, post it himself on the ground I pointed out to him, and sent a squadron of cavalry to support this movement.

The moment Captain Ayres opened his fire the enemy replied with volleys, which showed that the whole bottom was filled with troops, and that he had batteries established in different positions to sweep all the approaches by the road leading to Blackburn’s Ford. Captain Ayres maintained himself most gallantly, and after firing away all his canister shot and some spherical case with terrible effect, as we afterwards learned, withdrew his pieces safely and rejoined his battery. This attack on Captain Ayres accomplished the object I desired, as it showed that the enemy was in force and disclosed the position of his batteries, and had I been at hand the movement would have ended here; but Colonel Richardson having previously given an order for the Twelfth New York to deploy into line and advance into the woods, in an attempt to execute this order the regiment broke, with the exception of two companies, A and I, who stood their ground gallantly, and was only rallied in the woods some mile and a half in the rear. The fire which the regiment encountered was severe, but no excuse for the disorganization it produced.

Having satisfied myself that the enemy was in force, and also as to the position of his batteries, I ordered Colonel Richardson to withdraw his brigade, which was skillfully though unwillingly accomplished, as he requested permission with the First Massachusetts and Second and Third Michigan Regiments to charge the enemy and drive him out. It is but justice to these regiments to say that they stood firm, maneuvered well, and I have no doubt would have backed up manfully the proposition of their gallant commander. After the infantry had been withdrawn, I directed Captain Ayres and Lieutenant Benjamin, who commanded the two 20-pounders, to open their fire both on the battery which enfiladed the road leading to the ford and on the battery which we had discovered in the bottom of Bull Run, which we knew to be surrounded by a large body of men. This fire was continued from 3.15 until 4 o’clock, firing 415 shots. The fire was answered from the enemy’s batteries, gun for gun, but was discontinued the moment we ceased firing.

The concentrated position of the enemy, and the fact that the elevation of our battery and the range were both favorable, induce the belief that the enemy suffered severely from our fire, and this belief is confirmed by the fact that the ensuing day, until 12 m., ambulances were seen coming and going from and to Manassas, two miles distant.
In closing this report, it gives me great pleasure to call to your attention the gallant conduct of Colonel Richardson; Captain Brethschneider, who commanded the skirmishers; Captain Ayres; Lieutenant Lorain, who, I regret to say, was wounded; Lieutenants Dresser, Lyford, and Fuller, attached to Ayres’ battery, and Lieutenants Benjamin and Babbitt, in charge of the two 20-pounder rifled guns, all of whom displayed great coolness, energy, and skill in the discharge of their official duties. Herewith you will find a list of casualties.(*)

With great respect, your obedient servant

DANIEL TYLER,

Brigadier-General

Brigadier-General McDOWELL,

Commanding Department of Northeastern Virginia

[Indorsement]

For the nature of my instructions see copy herewith, marked A.

I. McD., B. G.

A.

HDQRS. DEPARTMENT NORTHEASTERN VIRGINIA,

Between Germantown and Centreville, July 18, 1861–8.15 a.m.

GENERAL: I have information which leads me to believe you will find no force at Centreville, and will meet with no resistance in getting there.

Observe well the roads to Bull Run and to Warrenton. Do not bring on an engagement, but keep up the impression that we are moving on Manassas.

I go to Heintzelman’s to arrange about the plan we have talked over.

Very respectfully, &c.,

IRVIN McDOWELL,

Brigadier-General

Brigadier-General TYLER

(*) See inclosure to No. 4, p. 314





#16 – Casualties, Tyler’s Division, July 21, 1861

14 02 2009

O.R.– SERIES I–VOLUME 2 [S# 2] — CHAPTER IX, p 351

16p351

Click for clearer image





#16 – Brig. Gen. Daniel Tyler

3 10 2007

 

Reports of Brig. Gen. Daniel Tyler, Connecticut Militia, Commanding First Division

O.R.– SERIES I–VOLUME 2 [S# 2] — CHAPTER IX, pp 348 – 352

HDQRS. 1ST DIV. DEP’T NORTHEASTERN VIRGINIA:

Washington City, July 27, 1861

GENERAL: In obedience to Orders, No. 22, dated Centreville, July 20, Sherman’s, Schenck’s, and Keyes’ brigades of this division–Richardson’s brigade having been left in front of Blackburn’s Ford–moved at 2.30 a.m. on the 21st instant to threaten the passage of the Warrenton turnpike bridge on Bull Run. I arrived in front of the bridge with Schenck’s and Sherman’s brigades and Ayres’ and Carlisle’s batteries about 6 a.m., Keyes’ brigade having been halted by your order to watch the road coming up from Manassas, and about two miles from the run. After examining the position, and posting Sherman’s and Schenck’s brigades and the artillery, I fired the first gun at 6.30 a.m., as agreed upon, to show that we were in position.

As my orders were to threaten the passage of the bridge, I caused Schenck’s brigade to be formed into line, its left resting in the direction of the bridge and the battery which the enemy had established to sweep the bridge and its approach, so as to threaten both. Sherman’s brigade was posted to the right of the Warrenton turnpike, so as to be in position to sustain Schenck or to move across Bull Run in the direction of Hunter’s column. The 30-pounder gun attached to Carlisle’s battery was posted on the Warrenton turnpike: with Ayres’ battery considerably in its rear. Carlisle’s battery was posted on the left of Sherman’s brigade. In this position we awaited the appearance of Hunter’s and Heintzelman’s columns, as ordered, until such time as the approach to the bridge should be carried: and the bridge rebuilt by Captain Alexander, of the Engineers, who had on the spot the necessary structure for that purpose.

Soon after getting into position we discovered that the enemy had a heavy battery, with infantry in support, commanding both the road and bridge approaches, on which both Ayres and Carlisle at different times tried the effect of their guns without success, and a careful examination of the banks of Bull Run satisfying me that they were impracticable for the purpose of artillery, these batteries had to remain comparatively useless until such time as Hunter’s column might clear the approach by a movement on the opposite bank. During this period of waiting the 30-pounder was occasionally used with considerable effect against bodies of infantry and cavalry, which could be seen from time to time moving in the direction of Hunter’s column and out of the range of ordinary guns. Using a high tree as an observatory, we could constantly see the operations of Hunter’s and Heintzelman’s column from the time they crossed Bull Run, and through one of my staff, Lieutenant O’Rorke, of the Engineers, I was promptly notified as to any change in the progress of their columns up to the time when it appeared that the heads of both were arrested, and the enemy seemed to be moving heavy re-enforcements to support their troops.

At this time I ordered Colonel Sherman, with his brigade, to cross Bull Run and to support the two columns already in action. Colonel Sherman, as appears by his report, crossed the run without opposition, and after encountering a party of the enemy flying before Hunter’s forces, found General McDowell, and received his orders to join in the pursuit. The subsequent operations of this brigade and its able commander having been under your own eye and direction, I shall not follow its movements any further, but refer you to Colonel Sherman’s report, which you will find herewith.

So soon as it was discovered that Hunter’s division had been arrested, I ordered up Keyes’ brigade, which arrived just as the left of Sherman’s was crossing the run, and having satisfied myself that the enemy had not the force nor the purpose to cross Bull Run, I ordered Keyes’ brigade to follow Sherman, accompanying the movement in person, as I saw it must necessarily place me on the left of our line and in the best possible position, when we should have driven the enemy off, to join Schenck’s brigade and the two batteries left on the opposite side.

I ordered Colonel Keyes to incline the head of his column a little to the right of the line of march taken by Sherman’s brigade, to avoid the fire of a battery which the enemy had opened. This movement sheltered the men to a considerable degree, and resulted in closing on the rear of Sherman’s brigade, and on reaching the high ground I ordered Colonel Keyes to form into line on the left of Sherman’s brigade, which was done with great steadiness and regularity. After waiting a few moments the line was ordered to advance, and came into conflict on its right with the enemy’s cavalry and infantry, which, after some severe struggles, it drove back until the further march of the brigade was arrested by a severe fire of artillery and infantry, sheltered by some buildings standing on the heights above the road leading to Bull Run. The charge was here ordered, and the Second Maine and Third Connecticut Regiments, which were opposed to this part of the enemy’s line, pressed forward to the top of the hill until they reached the buildings which were held by the enemy, drove them out, and for a moment had them in possession. At this point, finding the brigade under the fire of a strong force behind breastworks, the order was given to march by the left flank across an open field until the whole line was sheltered by the right bank of Bull Run, along which the march was conducted, with a view to turn the battery which the enemy had placed on the hill below the point at which the Warrenton turnpike crosses Bull Run. The march was conducted for a considerable distance below the stone bridge, causing the enemy to retire, and gave Captain Alexander an opportunity to pass the bridge, cut out the abatis which had been placed there, and prepared the way for Schenck’s brigade and the two batteries of artillery to pass over.

Before the contemplated movement could be made on the enemy’s battery it was removed, and placed in a position to threaten our line; but before the correct range could be obtained, Colonel Keyes carried his brigade by a flank movement around the base of the hill, and was on the point of ascending it in line to get at the battery, when I discovered that our troops were on the retreat, and that unless a rapid movement to the rear was made we should be cut off, and through my aide, Lieutenant Upton, Colonel Keyes was ordered to file to the right, and join the retreating column. The order was executed without the least confusion, and the brigade joined the retreating column in good order. When this junction was made I left Keyes’ brigade, and rode forward to ascertain the condition of Schenck’s brigade and the artillery left this side of Bull Run, and, on arriving there, found Ayres’ battery and Lieutenant Hains’ 30-pounder waiting orders. I immediately ordered Lieutenant Hains to limber up and move forward as soon as possible. This was promptly done, and the piece moved on towards Centreville. I then went into the wood where the ammunition wagon of this piece had been placed, out of reach of fire, and found that the driver had deserted and taken away part of the horses, which made it impossible to move it. I then returned to Ayres’ battery, which I found limbered up, and ordered it to move forward and cover the retreat, which was promptly done by its gallant officers, and when the cavalry charge was made, shortly afterward, they repulsed it promptly and effectively. I then collected a guard, mainly from the Second Maine Regiment, and put it under the command of Colonel Jameson, with orders to sustain Captain Ayres during the retreat, which was done gallantly and successfully until the battery reached Centreville.

Before ordering Colonel Jameson to cover Ayres’ battery, I passed to the rear to find General Schenck’s brigade, intending, as it was fresh, to have it cover the retreat. I did not find it in the position in which I had left it, and supposed it had moved forward and joined the retreating column. I did not see General Schenck again until near Cub Run, where he appeared active in rallying his own or some other regiments. General Schenck reports that the two Ohio regiments left Bull Run after the cavalry charge, and arrived at Centreville in good order.

In closing this report, it gives me great pleasure to express my admiration of the manner in which Colonel Keyes handled his brigade, completely covering it by every possible accident of the ground while changing his positions, and leading it bravely and skillfully to the attack at the right moment; to which the brigade responded in every instance in a manner highly creditable to itself and satisfactory to its commanding officers. At no time during the conflict was this brigade disorganized, and it was the last off the field, and in good order.

Colonel Keyes says: “The gallantry with which the Second Maine and Third Connecticut Regiments charged up the hill upon the enemy’s artillery and infantry was never, in my opinion, surpassed, and the conduct of Colonels Jameson and Chatfield, in this instance and throughout the day, merits the highest commendation. Colonel Terry rendered great assistance by his gallantry and excellent conduct. Lieutenant Hascall, acting assistant adjutant-general, Lieutenants Walter and Ely, rendered gallant and effective assistance.” It gives me pleasure to be able to confirm the above from personal observation, and to express my personal satisfaction with the conduct of this brigade. For further particulars as to gallant conduct of individuals, I beg leave to refer you to the reports of commanders of brigades, hereunto attached. Colonel Sherman speaks highly of Colonel Coon, of Wisconsin, and Lieutenants Piper and McQuesten, all on his personal staff.

From my own personal staff I received in every instance prompt and gallant assistance, and my thanks are due to Captains Baird and Merrill, Lieutenants Houston, Abbot, Upton, O’Rorke, and Audenried for gallant conduct and the prompt and valuable assistance they rendered me. Lieutenants Abbot and Upton were both wounded and each had a horse killed under him, as also had Lieutenant O’Rorke.

I inclose herewith a table of casualties, showing our losses at Bull Run.

I have the honor to be, with great respect, your most obedient servant,

DANIEL TYLER,

Brigadier-General, Commanding Division

Brigadier-General McDOWELL,

Commanding Department of Northeastern Virginia

—–

HDQRS. 1ST DIV. DEP’T NORTHEASTERN VIRGINIA,

Washington City, July 27, 1861

GENERAL: I closed my division report of the battle at Bull Run at the time we left for Centreville. It is due to me and to my division that its subsequent movements be noticed up to the time the different brigades reached a stopping place. On reaching Centreville, we found Richardson’s brigade in line, ready to support us or cover the retreat. This brigade returned in good order to Arlington. After the order was given to retreat, and each brigade was ordered “to proceed to the position from which it started and by the route by which it arrived,” I communicated this order to the commander of each brigade, and with Keyes’ brigade proceeded at once to Falls Church, intending to secure the camp equipage of the four regiments left standing there, which I knew, if we fell back on the fortifications in front of Washington, the enemy would at once seize.

Colonel Keyes, with the three Connecticut regiments, arrived at Falls Church about 5 a.m. on the 22d instant, and proceeded at once to strike their tents and those of the Maine regiment, and sent them to Fort Corcoran. This work, without rations, was continued throughout the entire day, the men being exposed to a severe storm of rain. By night the entire camp equipage was safely removed. Colonel Keyes then fell back to the camp of Schenck’s brigade, which had been entirely deserted, and after using those tents for the night struck them the next morning, and sent the entire Government property to Fort Corcoran and Alexandria, and at 7 p.m. on Tuesday I saw the three Connecticut regiments, with 2,000 bayonets, march under the guns of Fort Corcoran in good order, after having saved us not only a large amount of public property, but the mortification of having our standing camps fall into the hands of the enemy. I know, general, that you will appreciate this service on the part of a portion of my division and give credit to whom credit is due. All the brigades, except Schenck’s, obeyed the order to retire to their original positions. By some misunderstanding, which has not been satisfactorily explained, this brigade proceeded directly to Washington, one regiment, as I understand, passing through the camp they left on the 16th instant.

With very great respect, your very obedient servant,

DANIEL TYLER,

Brigadier-General, Commanding Division

Brigadier-General McDOWELL,

Commanding Department of Northeastern Virginia

—–

HEADQUARTERS FIRST DIVISION,

Washington, August 3, 1861

GENERAL: I inclose herewith the originals of Carlisle’s and Ayres’ reports of the operations of their respective batteries on the 21st instant [Nos. 20 and 27]. As these reports are full, you will see whether they do not require more consideration than they have received in my report. All the officers attached to these batteries, so far as their conduct fell under my personal observation until 12 o’clock, behaved like gallant gentlemen, and it was, in my opinion, the effect of their fire that held the enemy in front of the bridge in check and interfered seriously with the movements of his column in the direction of Colonel Hunter’s attack. The loss of Captain Carlisle’s battery is to be attributed to the want of that infantry support which he had a right to expect, or to his halting too long before he moved forward towards Centreville.

With great respect, your obedient servant,

DANIEL TYLER,

Brigadier-General

Brigadier-General McDOWELL,

Commanding Department Northeastern Virginia

Table – Return of casualties in the First Division (Union) of Northeastern Virginia, at the Battle of Bull Run, July 21, 1861





Daniel Tyler

12 04 2007

Daniel Tyler: born Brooklyn, CT 1/7/1799; father was a veteran of Bunker Hill; nephew was Bvt MGUSA Robert O. Tyler; daughter Gertrude Elizabeth Tyler Carow was mother of First Lady Edith Roosevelt; West Point class of 1819 (14 of 29);  served in artillery and became an authority on the arm, studying in France at the artillery school in Metz and translating French artillery manuals into English; superintendent of inspectors of arms supplied the army by private contractors; resigned 1st Lt. 5/31/34; worked in iron manufacturing, developing blast furnaces and rolling mills (unsuccessful); president of Norwich & Worcester RR, then Macon & Western RR (GA); did not serve in the Mexican War; was a volunteer ADC to MGPA Militia Robert Patterson in April 1861; Col, 1st CT Militia 4/23/61; BG CT Militia 5/10/61; Tyler’s Brigade, Army of NE VA 6/3/61 to 7/8/61; First Division Army of NE VA 7/8/61 to 8/11/61; MOV 8/11/61; BGUSV 3/13/62 (n 3/4/62 c 3/13/62); 2nd Brig, 1st Div Army of the Mississippi, 4/62 to 5/1/62; took part in siege of Corinth; part of commission which investigated MGUSV D. C. Buell’s campaign in KY & TN; Harper’s Ferry, 8th Corps, Middle Dept., 6/13/63 to 7/3/63; Dist. of Delaware, 8th Corps, Middle Dept. 7/3/63 to 1/19/64; resigned 4/6/64, to NJ; in 1870’s, after establishing the Woodstock Iron Ore Co. in the area, he helped found the city of Anniston, AL (named after his daughter-in-law, Annie – “Annie’s Town”) – the town became the site of an industrial complex, and Fort McClellan was established nearby; rescued the Mobile & Montgomery RR and became its president; acquired significant tracts of land in Guadalupe, TX; died on visit to New York City, 11/30/1882; buried in Hillside Cemetery, Anniston, AL.

Sources: Eicher & Eicher, Civil War High Commands, pp 538-539, 767; Heitman, Historical Register and Dictionary of the U. S. Army, Vol. I p 977; Sifakis, Who was Who in the American Civil War, p 665; Warner, Generals in Blue, pp 514-515. 

 tyler1.jpgtyler3.jpgtyler2.jpgtylergrave.jpg

 edith-carow.jpgedith-tr-1.jpgroosevelts.jpgteenagetr.jpg

 e – Edith Carow Roosevelt; f – Edith & TR; g – Roosevelt Family; h – Edith (on ground) and TR (left) as teenagers

 Photos: a,b,c – www.generalsandbrevets.com; d – www.findagrave.com; e -littleflowerufsd.org; f, g - theordore-roosevelt.com; h – theodoreroosevelt.org

Note on Edith Carow Roosevelt

“After taking a devastating drubbing in a race for mayor of New York City, T.R. went off to London to marry Edith Carow, a childhood sweetheart. The Carows had lost their money and were now living in Europe where it was cheaper to keep up appearances. The family, however, had not always known hard times. (Her maternal grandfather was Union General Daniel Tyler, whose leadership bears some of the blame for the disaster at Bull Run, but who later became a successful iron manufacturer and railroad president) – worldroots.com, 8/31/2006, The Roosevelt Dynasty, article written by Stephen Hess in “America’s Political Dynasties”, Doubleday & Company, Inc., NY, 1966

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Col. W. T. Sherman, to His Wife, On Preparations to March (2)

17 07 2014

Camp opposite Georgetown.

July 16, 1861.

Dearest Ellen,

We start forth today at 2 P.M. move forward 10 miles to Vienna, there sleep – and tomorrow morning expect to fight some six or eight thousand of the enemy, at or near Fairfax, Germantown or Centreville – There we may pause for a few days & then on Manassas Junction, Beauregards Hd. Qrs. distant from here about 30 miles. I think we shall make a wide circuit, to come on his rear.

I am going to mind my own Brigade – not trouble myself about General plans – McDowell commands the whole – Brig. Gen. Tyler our column of 4 Brigades of about 10, or 11,000 men. I will have 3,400 – New York 13, 69 & 79th & Wisconsin 2nd with Shermans Battery now commanded by Capt. Ayres.

I take with me a few clothes in the valises & saddle bags – leave my small trunk to follow – have about 50 dollars in money, a Boy named John Hill as servant – have drawn pay to June 30 – and you know all else.

I think Beauregard will probably fall back tomorrow on Manassas, and call by R. R. from the neighborhood of Richmond & Lynchburg all the men he can get, and fight us there, in which case we will have our hands full.

Yesterday I went to the convent to bring the Girls over to see a drill – I found India Turner over visiting John Lee – Miss Whittington out in the country – so I brot over Miss Patterson and a Miss Walker of New Orleans – and after drill took them back – I saw Sister Bernard, and another who said she was your drawing teacher – She had a whole parcel of little prayers, and relics to keep me from harm – I told her you had secured about my neck as it were with a Silk cable a little medal which would be there, and her little relics I would stow away in my holsters.

Whatever fate befalls me, I Know you appreciate what good qualities I possess – and will make charitable allowances for defects, and that under you, our children will grow up on the safe side. About the Great Future that Providence that gives color and fragrance to the modest violet will deal justly by all – knowing the Secret motives & impulses of every heart. In the noise, confusion, hustle and [crises] of these thousand volunteers, my tongue and pen may be silent henceforth about you and our children, but I confide them with absolute confidence to you and the large circle of our mutual friends & relations.

I still regard this as but the beginning of a long war, but I hope my judgment therein is wrong, and that the People of the South may yet see the folly of their unjust Rebellion against the most mild & paternal Government ever designed for men – John will in Washington be better able to judge of my whereabouts and you had better send letters to him. As I read them I will tear them up, for every ounce on a march tells.

Tell Willy I have another war sword, which he can add to his present armory – when I come home again – I will gratify his ambitions on that score, though truly I do not choose for him or Tommy the military profession. It is too full of blind chances to be worthy of the first rank among callings.

Watch well your investments – the note you left with Turner, as well as you others lest you may be necessitated to fall back on them. Always assure Maj. Turner and Mr. Lucas of the unbounded respect I feel for them. Give your father, mother, sis & all my love. Tell Henrietta it has been an impossibility for me to go over to see her father & mother without neglecting my command which I never do. Good bye – and believe me always most affectionately yrs.

W. T. Sherman

Simpson, Brooks D.& Berlin, Jean V. Sherman’s Civil War: Selected Correspondence of William T. Sherman, 1860-1865, pp. 116-118





Col. W. T. Sherman, to His Wife, On Preparations to March (1)

16 07 2014

Rosslyn, opposite Georgetown.

July 15, 1861.

Dearest Ellen,

Charles Sherman came over yesterday & spent most of the day with me. He brought your two letters of the 11th and I was very glad to hear you were so well and that the little baby was also flourishing. We certainly have a heavy charge in these Six children, and I know not what is in store for them. All I can now do is to fulfil the office to which I am appointed leaving events to develop as they may. After all Congress is not disposed to increase the Regular Army as the President supposed. The ten new Regiments are only for the war, and will be mustered out, six months after the close of hostilities, but who know when hostilities are to cease? I won’t bother myself on this point but leave things to their natural development.

I now have my brigade ready for the March – Mine is the 3rd Brigade, 1st Division[.] Brig. Gen Tyler commands the Division composed of four Brigades – Keyes’s (you remember him in California) Schenck – Sherman and Richardson – In my brigade are-the New York 69, Irish, 1,000 strong – the 79 Scots, 900 strong – Quinbys 700 strong, and Wisconsin and Col. Peck 900 strong, and the Battery of Capt. Ayres – used to be Shemans battery 112 men – 110 horses and six Guns – We move without baggage – I have Lt. Piper adjt. – McQueston & Bagley aids – two mounted orderlies and a negro servant John Hill.

4 columns move out against the forces of Beauregard – posted from Fairfax C. H. to Manassas Junction – supposed to be from 30, to 45,000 men – one under Col. Miles starts from below Alexandria – one Col. Heintzelman from Alexandria – one Col. Hunter from Long Bridge – and ones from this point Gen. Tyler – This latter is a West Point Graduate, at present Brig. Genl. from Connecticut. I don’t know him very well, but he has a fair reputation – McDowell commands the whole – say 40,000 men – The purpose is to drive Beauregard beyond Manassas – break his connection with Richmond, and then to await further movements by Gen. Patterson and McClellan – I know our plans, but could not explain them to you without maps – It may not produce results but the purpose is to fight no matter the result. We have pretty fair knowledge of the present distribution of Beauregards forces, but he has a Railroad to Richmond from which point he may get reinforcements, and unless Patterson presses Johnston, he too may send forces across from Winchester. Manassas Junction in our possession, Richmond is cut off from the Valley above Staunton. But with these Grand strategic movements I will try to leave that to the heads, and confine my attention to the mere handling of my Brigade[.]

Keyes Brigade is about 5 miles out – the Ohio 4 miles – mine here, Richardson is on the other side – on the first notice we simply close up – and early next morning at Fairfax C. H. where there are 6 or 7 S. C. & Georgia Regts. – Close at hand at Germantown, Flint Hill, Cumberville, Bull Run & Manassas are all occupied & fortified – but we may go round these. I take with me simply valise, & saddle bags – and leave behind my trunks to be sent over to John Sherman. Letter can take the same course. If we take Manassas, there will be a Railroad from Alexandria to that point, so that letters can be received regularly. Though we momentarily look for orders to cook Rations to be carried along, I still see many things to do, which are not yet done, and General Scott, will allow no risks to be run – He thinks there Should be no game of hazard here. All the Risks should be made from the flanks.

I wrote to Minnie yesterday – Poor Charley will be disappointed sadly – He overrates my influence and that of John Sherman – I have some hopes of the transfer with Boris. I will write again before we start but the telegraph will announce all results before you can hear by mail – as ever &c.

W. T. Sherman

Simpson, Brooks D.& Berlin, Jean V. Sherman’s Civil War: Selected Correspondence of William T. Sherman, 1860-1865, pp. 114-116





Corp. George M. Morris, Co. B, 13th New York Infantry, On the Battle

10 04 2014

LETTERS FROM OUR BOYS.

———————————-

From George M. Morris.

—–

[We are pleased to lay before our readers the following minute and graphic letter from our able correspondent, Corporal Morris. --- It is the best published letter which we have seen from any member of the 13th regiment.]

Fort Bennett, Va.,

July 28, 1861.

Dear Bunnell:—

By the kind care and protecting arm of the controller of the destinies of man, I am able to indite you a letter this morning. — Confident that nothing short of power Supreme could have saved me from the danger which at times has surrounded me within the last two weeks, I return thanks to the God of battles for thus preserving me. We left our camp July 16th, in connection with Tyler’s division of the Grand Army, and moved forward into the enemy’s country. — We reached Vienna at 7 o’clock P. M., and encamped for the night. Early in the morning we resumed our march, taking the road for Georgetown, where a small force of the enemy were known to be intrenched. — The road was blockaded at short intervals by fallen trees, which the pioneers removed without much trouble. Skirmishing parties were constantly kept in front, at sufficient distance to give timely warning of the appearance of the enemy. As we approached Georgetown, two regiments were thrown into the fields in line of battle. Sherman’s battery proceeded along the road until the intrenchments could be seen. The rebels were at work on them, and seemed to be unconscious of our approach. A couple of shells from our howitzers soon attracted their attention, and caused them to make a hasty retreat. Two balls from the rifle cannon tore a hole through the intrenchment large enough for our troops to pass through. We saw no more of them that day. In an old house at Germantown two prisoners were taken. A short distance beyond Germantown we joined Hunter’s division, which left Alexandra at the same time ours left Arlington. They had come by the way of Fairfax, and met with similar success to ours. We proceeded on our journey about five miles farther and encamped for the night in an old secession camp which had just been vacated. They had been compelled to leave while preparing supper. The fires were still burning, with meat in kettles cooking over them. We slept soundly all night without being disturbed. It was understood that we were to proceed to Centreville that day, and that all the divisions under McDowell were to meet them. A large force of the enemy was expected to be intrenched at this place. Our marching on this day (July 18th,) was slow and cautious. We came in sight of the intrenchments before the other divisions came up, but nothing could be seen of the foe. After satisfying ourselves that the enemy had vacated this place also, we went forward and planted the stars and stripes on the breast-works, cheered them heartily. and turned into an open field to wait for the other divisions. They came up about noon, and a brigade belonging to Schenk’s division proceeded forward on the Manassas road; the remainder of the army staying at Centreville. About two o’clock the report of cannon was heard in the direction our troops had taken, and we knew a fight had commenced. Soon the news came that the advance regiments had been fired into by a masked battery, and a general engagement had commenced. Our brigade, (Sherman’s) was ordered forward to the support of Sherman’s battery, which had opened fire on the enemy. We “double quicked” for the three miles, and came into the scene of action. — Our regiment formed into line of battle, filed into the woods behind our battery to protect it from a charge of infantry. An open field lay between us and the enemy. They were secreted in a dim woods on the side hill above us. Nothing could be seen of them save a dragoon occasionally. The only means of learning their whereabouts was by the smoke of their guns. We lay upon our faces in the woods, while cannon ball and shell fell all around us thick and fast, for over an hour. Quite a number of the dead and dying lay strewn through the woods. — Had our regiment remained on their feet, we should have suffered terribly. As it was, not a man was hurt. McDowell came up about four o’clock, and seeing that nothing could be accomplished from the position we then occupied, he ordered the troops to fall back to Centreville. Thus ended the first day’s fight. Another move was not made until Sunday last. About two o’clock on the morning of the 21st, we started again for Manassas. Hunter’s division took the right flank road, Tyler’s the front, and Schenck’s the left flank. All started at the same time, with the intention of reaching Bull’s Run together, but at different places. This they accomplished without opposition. The road we took led us so that when we reached Bull’s Run, we were in the rear of the battery that fired into us on Thursday. Sherman got sight of it and threw two or three balls from his thirty-two pound seige gun, which tore it all to pieces. We then commenced feeling of the enemy from different points, by throwing shell into the woods in front. — They did not reply to our guns. They could be seen on the hill above us, and the pickets exchanged several shots.

By some means they got wind that Hunter was flanking them on the right, and they sent out a force to meet him. Our Brigade lay in the woods at this time waiting for Hunter to commence the attack. From an open field at our right we could see the enemy as they went out to meet Hunter. Our gunners threw a shell amongst them which done great damage and had the effect to disconcert them for a short time. They soon were out of reach of the guns in one brigade so we could do nothing but stay quietly in one place and wait for the fight to begin. At precisely nine o’clock Hunter came up and the fight began. He opened his battery upon them in the center of their column and flanked them on both sides. After a few rounds of small arms, they began to retreat. We were then ordered across the fields to cut them off. In consequence of being delayed on account of a stream, we did not reach them in time to prevent their retreat, but in time to give them the content of our guns, which made terrible havoc. One South Carolina regiment was entirely cut to pieces. The firing now ceased for a short time on both sides.

Our officers were confident that the victory was ours. McDowell and his staff rode into the field and was cheered loudly. An American flag was seen coming out of the woods opposite to us, and all thought it was Schenck’s division coming from the other side. It proved to be a ruse of the enemy however. As we advanced forward they opened a masked battery right where they had planted the stars and stripes. It cut several of our regiments horribly. One of our batteries soon engaged it, and our brigade was ordered to charge upon it. The 69th took it on the right side, 79th and 18th on the left. Had it not have been for the arrival of Johnson with a reinforcement of fresh troops just at this period, we should have gained the day without a doubt. But he instantly attacked us with a body of men numbering five to one, and forced us to fall back. The scene of carnage which now ensued beggars all description. New batteries before unseen opened on us from all directions. — The leaden messengers of death whistled around us — wounded men begged for aid — the dead men trampled over — all were nearly exhausted and dying of thirst. Having no fresh troops to fall back upon, a general retreat was absolutely necessary. By accident, not by bravery, I was about the last to leave the field. Could language paint the scene that I saw, then could I draw a picture that none but incarnate fiends could gaze upon without a shudder. Men lay around writhing in mortal agony. Some who had lost an arm or leg were begging pitifully for water. Others were dragging themselves slowly along into the bushes, there to breathe their last, alone and unheeded. My heart shrinks within me as the scene passes through my mind. Let those who have caused this war tremble at the surely coming retribution. The God of Heaven will surely hear the prayer of the mother left desolate in her old age. His forbearance may be long lasting, but it will have an end.

A few words concerning our company and I close. There is but two of them wounded, D. E. Smith and R. C. Ketchum. They are not seriously hurt. Both of them are wounded in the arm. The rest of the company are in much better health than could be expected under the circumstances. We marched 40 miles and fought nine hours without eating or sleeping. Many had such sore feet that they could not walk for four days.

I will write you again the latter part of this week, and give you some further particulars of the battle. Hoping never to be called upon the battle field again,

I remain your friend,

Geo. M. Morris

Dansville [New York] Advertiser, 8/1/1861

Clipping Image

George M. Morris at Ancestry.com

Contributed by John Hennessy








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