Civil War Art – N. C. Wyeth

19 01 2009

As so many folks have stopped by here recently looking for N. C. Wyeth artwork, I thought I’d post this little gallery.  I’ll add to it as I find more.  It’s hard not to wax nostalgic when I see these.  Like many of you, I spent a good deal of time in my youth staring at Wyeth’s illustrations in Treasure Island and Kidnapped!  Click on the thumbnails for larger images.

civil1 civil2 civil3 civil4 civil6





#82c – Maj. William H. C. Whiting

18 01 2009

Supplemental Report

Report (incomplete) of Major William Henry Chase Whiting

SUPPLEMENT TO THE O.R. – VOL.1: REPORTS ADDENDUM TO SERIES I, VOL. 2, pp 185-189

Headquarters, Third Brigade,

Camp Bee, August 1, 1861

Major: Having been assigned to the command of the Third Brigade, in consequence of the death of the lamented Brigadier-General [Barnard Elliot] Bee, the duty devolves upon me of presenting a report of the operations of the Brigade on July 21, compiled from the reports of the commanding officers engaged and from the notes of the distinguished aides of General Bee, Brigadier-General [States Rights] Gist, Adjutant-General of South Carolina; Major R. A. Howard of Texas; Colonel [William Pinkney] Shingler; Major [Walter H.] Stevens; Captain [A.] Vander Horst of South Carolina; and Lieutenant [James Hoffman] Hill, C. S. A., Assistant Adjutant-General.

The Brigade bivouacked at Camp Walker the night of July 20.  The First Tennessee and a portion of the Eleventh Mississippi together with the Sixth North Carolina had not joined in consequence of detention on the railroad.

At 5 a. m. on July 21, General Bee received orders from General [Pierre Gustave T.] Beauregard to advance to the support of the position occupied by Generals [H. Grey] Latham and [Philip St. George] Cocke near Stone Bridge and to its right, immediately putting his command, consisting of the Second Mississippi, Colonel [William Clark] Falkner, two companies of the Eleventh Mississippi under Lieutenant-Colonel [Philip Frank] Liddell, the Fourth Alabama, Colonel [Eggbert J.] Jones and Imboden’s Battery of four 6-pounders in motion.  He shortly took post in Latham’s left and Cocke’s right in close column of Division.  Here he was joined by the Eighth Georgia, Lieutenant-Colonel [William Montgomery] Gardner and the Seventh Georgia, Colonel [Lucius J.] Gartrell.

Arriving upon the ridge occupied by the Lewis House, General Bee advanced across the adjacent ravine upon the ‘ridge of pines,’ dispatching Major Howard to the front to make a reconnaissance of the ground.

On leaving the thickets, which cover the ridge of pines, nearly the whole field of the day’s operations was in view.  The ground is chiefly covered and occupied by several small farms; through the middle, from left to right runs a small creek, a branch of Bull Run.  On the left are dense thickets of oak and pine extending across the Manassas Road.  On the right of the Centreville Turnpike, as one looks from the ridge of pines southwest, is an isolated wood surrounded by fields of grass and corn beyond the creek.  This grove or “wood of pines” to the right and front proved important positions in the early part of the day.  In advance of the ridge of pines and on either side of a levee, connecting the Lewis ridge with the Centreville Turnpike across the ridge of pines, are two small houses, that of the Widow Henry on the left and of Robinson on the right.  These houses became conspicuous marks during the action and are important in locating the movements.  Beyond the cleared ground of the farms and distant about 1500 yards from the ridge of pines is a thick skirt of timber, where upon in a fron of pines a mile to a mile and a half the enemy were collected in heavy numbers.  Although other troops of the enemy were plainly visible in large force to the right in the distance, this space in front of the ridge of pines formed their principal field of attack.  General Bee proceeded at once to assault the position.

He had scarcely posted his battery near the Widow Henry’s house and a little to the right of it, when the enemy’s artillery opened a heavy fire from six rifled guns.  Line of battle was advanced at once, the General directing Captain [John D.] Imboden to maintain his position until further orders and placing Colonel Gartrell and Colonel Gardner with the Seventh, Eighth, and Ninth Georgia in the left of the battery; Colonel Falkner, Second Mississippi on the right; Colonel Jones, Fourth Alabama on the right of Falkner and detaching Lieutenant-Colonel Liddell to the “isolated wood” at the request of General [Nathan George] Evans, to support a gun of his posted near the left of the wood and well advanced toward the enemy.  General Evans’ force being small, he requested the General’s aid and with that view the Second Mississippi and Fourth Alabama were thrown rapidly on the creek and the whole line advanced.  General Evans was now hotly engaged with the enemy’s advance.  The Second Mississippi took a position in the grove above mentioned and the enemy made a demonstration on Stone Bridge against General Evans, while making his movement on our left in force, which General Evans, leaving part of his command near the bridge, promptly marched with the remainder to resist it near the branch and the isolated wood.  His command was engaged with the enemy’s advance when General Bee arrived upon the field.

The Fourth Alabama formed along a line of fence connecting it with the pine grove to the right.  This movement was led straight at the enemy by General Bee in person, conducting the Fourth Alabama through the fields and attacking the enemy strongly posted about a small farm house a little in advance of the position.  Here for three-quarters of an hour a fierce battle ensued in which the men, and their General were alike, distinguished.  In the meantime, the enemy had posted two more batteries and Imboden was contending manfully against fourteen pieces of artillery arranged in three batteries.  The horses of the caissons attached to General Evans’ guns on the left of the isolated wood took fright and ran to the rear, thus depriving that gun which had been effectively severed of its ammunition.  Against one of those batteries, the General directed the advance of a part of the Mississippians who delivered an effective fire upon them, naturally aiding Imboden.

He (General Bee) received information from General Evans that a column of the enemy was moving upon his right and rear.  General Bee instantly dispatched Major Howard and Captain Vander Horst to ascertain the fact; but before they could return the information was repeated and the General reluctantly ordered his line of battle [illegible].  As this proved to be a mistake the column refused to move while bravely bringing the Fourth Alabama into the fire.  The movement of General Bee was organized expressly to capture the enemy’s left battery then fiecely playing upon [...illegible...] turning out to be either Jackson’s or a portion of some other brigade who had now arrived on the field.  It is regarded as a misfortune, since it deprived our troops of selected positions, exposed them to severe and disastrous fire in moving to a new one in the rear, and naturally disheartened them by the backward movement.  It is probable enough that the overwhelming numbers of the enemy could have forced the Brigade sooner or later from its position, but up to that time, they not only had not done so, but the Fourth Alabama led by the General in person was holding the most advanced position attained by any of our troops during the battle.

It was during this backward movement that our heaviest loss was sustained in both officers and men.  The Eighth Georgia had been joined by its gallant chief, Colonel [Francis S.] Bartow and had moved from the left of Imboden toward the grove of pines in the right and front, its then commander and distinguished Lieutenant-Colonel [William] Montgomery Gardner severely wounded.  The Colonel of the Fourth Alabama, [Eggbert J.] Jones, was mortally struck down.  The whole line fell back behind the creek and reformed upon the ridge near the first position later in the morning, the enemy steadily following and advancing his batteries.  Here the Brigade was joined by the troops of the Hampton Legion under Colonel Wade Hampton.  Deprived of their leader with most of their field officers shot, the Brigade still enticed the fight directed by their General in person.  The Second Mississippi in particular, seven companies strong, charged with other troops and captured Rickett’s Battery, all the horses of which they killed with their musketry.  The honor of this brilliant feat of arms they share with a portion of the Eleventh under Lieutenant-Colonel Liddell, the Sixth North Carolina which lost its Colonel, [Charles F.] Fisher, and a portion of Colonel Hampton’s Legion.

Three batteries of the enemy were taken in all, near the line occupied by the Third Brigade; [...illegible...] Preston and his men of Jackson’s Brigade.  This Brigade and a portion of those of Colonel [Jubal Anderson] Early were, I learn, greatly distinguished in battle on the left of the Third [Brigade] where the enemy persistently concentrated heavy columns of attack.

For six hours the battle had raged with doubtful future, the ridge to which  the Widow Henry’s and the Robinson House are situated being alternately in the hands of the contending forces (Colonel Early’s Brigade, Army of the Potomac) when Brigadier-General [Edmund Kirby] Smith, second in command of the Army of the Shenandoah, advanced on either side of the Manassas Road and across the ridge and threw their command fiercely at the enemy’s right…

[W. H. C. Whiting]

Major T. G. Rhett

Assistant Adjutant-General,

Headquarters, Duncan’s House

[National Archives]





Hittsville Hits Bull Runnings

16 01 2009

I’m getting hits out the wazoo today – this should set a record.  For some reason, lots of folks are looking at my old post ….but I know what I like from 4/24/2007.  Admittedly, this is my all-time most viewed post.  Mostly people view that post as a result of searches for N. C. Wyeth.  The difference today is that there are a whole heck of a lot more of you.  I suppose this is due to reports of the death today of N. C.’s son, artist Andrew Wyeth.  He was 91 years old, and painted (among others) the famous Christina’s World:

christinas-world

I’m not going to kid myself that many of you are here for any reason other than you were looking for info on the recently deceased artist and perhaps his father.  But I welcome you to the site; take a look around while you’re here.  Check the tag Civil War Art for some other posts on that topic.





Busy Weekend Coming Up

15 01 2009

I’m back from my trip to Washington City.  It was a whirlwind tour that included taking many pictures for strangers at the Lincoln Memorial, which is being transformed along with the rest of the mall for a concert on Sunday.  I have never before seen so many porta-potties, even at the Preakness.  It was fun waving my finger to direct groups of seven or eight to shuffle left or right to get Abe centered behind them.  Sometimes I had them do it just for my own amusement.  I also got a picture of the Winder building (my wife was dismayed at my burning desire to photograph the relatively non-descript 5 story building on F and 17th).  It’s where many of the USMA Class of ’61 assembled on their arrival in the city after graduation, and served as Judge Advocate Holt’s HQ for the Lincoln assassination investigation.  We saw the Blair house, scene of the offering of some sort of command to R. E. Lee early on, so ineptly depicted in the cinematic disaster Gods and Generals.  The President-Elect will move in there today – he was in the Hay-Adams Hotel on the other side of Lafayette Square.  That whole block was cordoned off.  We also got a behind the scenes tour of the White House, courtesy of a friend of my wife’s who is a big-shot there, at least until tomorrow.  Larry King was upstairs interviewing the President and First Lady.

I just got off the phone with my editor.  Apparently the deadline for my May reviews is tomorrow.  No way I can get them done by then, so I’ll have to finish them – as well as a manuscript I am proofing for another publisher – this weekend.  The title of the column has been tweaked, and we’ll be including a rating system.  What with a Webelo’s sleepover on Friday, a Duquesne basketball game Saturday (I do stats for them), and the Steelers game on Sunday, I have my work cut out for me, so don’t look for anything new here for a few days.  But do come back and go through the archives!





Short Break

12 01 2009

I’m making a quick trip to Washington, DC.  Down tonight, back up tomorrow night or Wednesday morning.  No posts until I get back.  If I see anything ACW related worth mentioning and think to take pictures, I’ll post it later.  Since the reason for the trip is off topic, I’ll say nothing more than it is way, way cool!





Leftwich’s Gun Crew’s Rebuttal

9 01 2009

The letter to the Richmond Enquirer written by members of Leftwich’s gun from Latham’s Battery, contesting the report of Captain John D. Imboden, was provided courtesy of Jim Burgess at Manassas National Battlefield Park.  It generated some good comments – check them out at the bottom of the post.  Notice that the gun crew claimed that Wheat’s Battalion alone faced off against 35,000 Federal troops.  This is not all that unusual for after action reports, regardless of th army, the period of the war, or the rank of the writer.  You defeat insurmountable odds, or retreat in an orderly fashion under the weight of same.

numbersFor instance, Joe Johnston’s report says 6,000 Confederates held off 35,000 Yankees at Bull Run.  Other reports make similar assertions.  And the myth that the Confederates were significantly out manned at Bull Run persists, showing up as recently as Joseph Glatthaar’s General Lee’s Army (see here and here).  And a new Lost Cause publication states that the Rebels faced the largest army ever assembled on the North American continent up to that time: true, but the book fails to mention that they did so with a force that came in a very, very close second.  I’ll be reviewing that book in the next installment of America’s Civil War’s Six-Picks.

So keep in mind that the two armies probably totaled about 33,000 to 36,000 men each.  We typically don’t include Runyon’s reserve division, or Johnston’s troops who failed to arrive in time, or any nearby Confederate militia units (thanks, Robert).  And the fighting on Matthew’s and Henry House Hills involved only about 15,000 to 18,000 men on each side.  These were evenly matched forces.





Lieut. Clarke Leftwich and His Crew’s Account of the Battle

8 01 2009

Richmond Enquirer, August 6, 1861, p 1

The Late Battle Near Manassas.

To the Editors of the Enquirer:

Camp near Centreville, July 29, 1861

Gentlemen: – In your issue of the 29th inst., there appeared a letter, purporting to be an official account of the action of the “Staunton Battery” in the great fight of last Sunday week, over the signature of its head officer, Capt. Imboden.  Though no one can doubt the courage and gallantry of the officers and men under the galling fire poured into them by the enemy’s forces; still there are some inaccuracies in the report, which I wish to correct. – Capt. Imboden, says he was the first (of the left wing) on the ground, and fired the first shot.  This is not the case.  The left half of Latham’s Battery – three pieces, belonging to Gen. Evans’s brigade, – were on the ground from twenty minutes to half an hour before, and had already opened the fire to the extent of twelve or fourteen rounds.  One of the pieces was to the right of the Staunton Battery, and commanded an open space to the right of a small belt of woods; while the other piece was to the left of the same belt, and within a hundred yards or so of the Stone House.  This piece was across the ravine, on the hill, 500 yards directly in front of the Staunton Battery – which Battery played over this piece during most of this engagement.  I was with this piece myself, and, from the last mentioned point, saw the Staunton Battery, and a regiment of infantry come over the hill, in our rear. – But before they came we had repeatedly fired into the enemy, who were formed in battle array immediately at the edge of the woods.

Furthermore, it was not the limber chest that “ran away,” as the gallant captain says, but the caissonIt was stationed at the Stone House in our rear, in the ravine.  The horses took fright, ran off, and dashed the caisson to pieces.  Some time after this, we had to retire in consequence of the enemy having driven in our support, who retired past our piece; while the enemy’s skirmishers tried to pick off the cannoneers from their guns.  This piece (ours) was then taken across the ravine to the hill, and planted a hundred yards to the right of the Staunton Battery, and remained there, together with our other piece, until the Staunton Battery retired from the field. -  Both pieces also continued firing for a short time afterwards.  And it was not until the Staunton Battery had retired that our piece had run out of ammunition.  I saw all this with my own eyes, and can, with the rest of the men, and the officer commanding the piece, vouch for its correctness.

As to the Alabama Regiment crossing to the north side of the Warrenton road, (as affirmed in Captain Imboden’s official report,) with our gun, that, too, is incorrect.  Our two six-pounders were brought from the Stone Bridge directly to the scene of action, (which commenced immediately after we took position,) unattended by the Alabama Regiment or a single individual except those commanding and manning the guns.  Nor did General Bee give an order to any one connected with Latham’s Battery, nor authorize anyone else to do it for him, during the time we were exposed to the enemy’s fire.  No gun or piece of artillery took position between the Staunton battery and the enemy, or with the Alabama regiment at any portion of the fight, except our two six-pounders.  Nor was any piece north of the Warrenton road except ours, during the engagement.  Probably, as ours was within three hundred yards of the enemy, and the Staunton battery five hundred yards in our rear, the Captain may have mistaken our gun for that of the enemy, as many of his balls fell within a few yards in advance of our gun.  But, if so, Col. Sloan’s regiment, and Major Wheat’s battalion, who first engaged 35,000 of the enemy, and fought and retreated under cover of our two six-pounders, have not forgotten it, nor did they mistake it at the time.

What our right and left half-batteries did, is known to Generals Evans and Cocke, and we seek no more notoriety.

We beg, most repectfully, as members of the piece referred to, to sign our names,

  • James W. Dickinson, Sergeant,
  • Charles Perry, Gunner,
  • Cannoneers:
    • R. B. Ross,
    • George Kendall,
    • W. S. Kinsey,
    • W. H. Bell,
    • Wm. S. Moore,
    • Wm. Reid

I affirm the statement, made in the above remarks, to be true in every respect, as I commanded the piece.

L. Clarke Leftwich,

Lieut. Commanding Gun

 





Wheat’s Report

7 01 2009

Well, I finally found a copy or Major C. R. Wheat’s report of the actions of the 1st Special Louisiana Battalion at Bull Run.  It was hiding in plain sight in the Supplement to the ORs, and was sent to me by friend of Bull Runnings Jonathan Soffe.

As discussed in this post, the report of Wheat’s commander N. G. Evans claims that the Battalion captured a regimental color during the fight.  Wheat’s report unfortunately does not mention any captured banner, however he does make mention of the capture of some artillery pieces.  Is it possible that the captured colors in question were actually those of a battery?

Also, I have more on the Wheat ambrotype recently “discovered” by Mike Musick and discussed here and here.  Mike sent me a big packet of info, which I mentioned here.  I haven’t forgotten – I just haven’t had time to get to it yet.





#110a – Maj. Chatham R. Wheat

6 01 2009

Supplemental Report

Report of Major Chatham Roberdeau Wheat, First Special Battalion Louisiana Volunteers

SUPPLEMENT TO THE O.R. – VOL.1: REPORTS ADDENDUM TO SERIES I, VOL. 2, pp 194-195

Manassas, [Virginia],

August 1, 1861

Sir: I beg leave herewith, respectfully, to report the part taken by the First Special Battalion of Louisiana Volunteers, which I had the honor to command in the battle of July 21.

According to your instructions, I formed my command to the left of the Stone Bridge, being thus at the extreme left of our lines.  Your order to deploy skirmishers was immediately obeyed by sending forward Company B under Captain [Alexander] White.  The enemy threatening to flank us, I caused Captain [Jonathan W.] Buhoup to deploy his Company D as skirmishers in that direction.

At this conjuncture, I sent back, as you ordered, the two pieces of artillery which you had attached to my command, still having Captain [John D.] Alexander’s troop of cavalry with me.  Shartly after, under your orders, I deployed my whole command to the left, which movement, of course, placed me on the right of the line of battle.

Having reached this position, I moved by the left flank to an open field, a wood being on my left.  From this covert, to my utter surprise, I received a volley of musketry which unfortunately came from our own troops, mistaking us for the enemy.  Apprehending instantly the real cause of the accident, I called out to my men not to return the fire.  Those near enough to hear, obeyed; the more distant, did not.

Almost at the same moment, the enemy in front opened upon us with musketry, grape, canister, round shot and shells.  I immediately charged upon the enemy and drove him from his position.  As he rallied again in a few minutes, I charged him a second and a third time successfully.

Finding myself now in the face of a very large force – some 10,000 or 12,000 in number – I dispatched Major [Robert G.] Atkins to you for reinforcements and gave the order to move by the left flank to the cover of the hill; a part of my command, [by] mistake, crossed the open field and suffered severely from the fire of the enemy.

Advancing from the wood with a portion of my command, I reached some haystacks under cover of which I was enabled to damage the enemy very much.  While in the act of bringing up the rest of my command to this position, I was put hors de combat by a minie ball passing through my body and inflicting what was at first thought to be a mortal wound and from which I am only now sufficiently recovered to dictate this report.  By the judicious management of Captain Bouhup I was borne from the field under the persistent fire of the foe, who seemed very unwilling to spare the wounded.

Being left without a field officer, the companies rallied under their respective captains and, as you are aware, bore themselves gallantly throughout the day in the face of an enemy far outnumbering us.

Where all behaved so well, I forbear to make invidious distinctions, and contenting myself with commending my entire command to your favorable consideration.  I beg leave to name particularly Major Atkins, a distinguished Irish soldier, who as a volunteer Adjutant, not only rendered me valuable assistance but with a small detachment captured three pieces of artillery and took three officers prisoner.  Mr. early, now Captain Early, also, as a volunteer Adjutant, bore himself bravely and did good service.

My Adjutant, Lieutenant [William] Dickinson was wounded while gallantly carrying my orders through a heavy fire of musketry.

Captain [Obed P.] Miller of Company E, and Lieutenants [Thomas W.] Adrian and [Frank S.] Carey were wounded while leading their men into the thickest of the fight.

All of which is respectfully submitted,

C. R. Wheat.

Major, First Special Battalion,

Louisiana Volunteers

N. G. Evans,

Brigadier-General of Confederate States of America

[Wheat Papers, in possession of Mr. Charles L. Dufour, New Orleans, Louisiana]





#82b – Capt. James H. Waters

5 01 2009

Supplemental Report

Report of Captain James Harley Waters, Fifth Virginia Volunteers

SUPPLEMENT TO THE O.R. – VOL.1: REPORTS ADDENDUM TO SERIES I, VOL. 2, p. 191

Dear Sir: I have to report to you that neither my company nor myself was at Stone Bridge on the evening of July 21 as, unser your order, I had taken my whole company near the house on the hill above the battery with instructions to search for the dead and wounded and carry them off the field.

I had with me at the battery more than two-thirds of my company, which went into the battle eighty strong and but for those sent back with the wounded and killed during the fight, I think I might have counted at the battery all but three or four.  I do not know of any that left the field without my leave.

J. H. Waters,

Captain, [West Augusta Guards] Company L,

Fifth Regiment Virginia Volunteers

Colonel Harper

[Indorsement]

Captain Waters had my consent to look after his killed and wounded as stated.  The order to march in pursuit was received after my consent was given and I could not delay to collect his company.

[John W. Daniel Papers (#158), Manuscripts Division, Special Collections Department, University of Virginia Library]








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