Eric Wittenberg on J. E. B. Stuart

18 06 2009

Mother Nature dumped 8 inches of rain on us in about an hour last night, after rain all the previous night and for a good part of the day yesterday.  That had the usual effect on the local athletic fields, so my son’s baseball game was cancelled last night (and quiet possibly will be cancelled tonight, too).  The upside of that was I had the rare opportunity to attend a meeting of the Western Pennsylvania Civil War Roundtable.  This was the first time this year that my schedule and those of my wife and son allowed me to go.

So last night I had  the pleasure to see old friend Eric Wittenberg for the first time in over a year and hear his talk on J. E. B. Stuart’s famous – or notorious, if you prefer – ride during the Gettysburg Campaign.  The presentation is based on Eric’s and J. D. Petruzzi’s fine study Plenty of Blame to Go Around.  As usual, Eric did a fine job, for the most part sans notes, with wife Susan manning the PowerPoint.  If he is appearing at a round table near you, or if you’re a program director looking for a speaker, don’t pass up the opportunity to see or book Eric.





JCCW – Gen. Charles P. Stone

17 06 2009

Testimony of Gen. Charles P. Stone

Report on the Conduct of the War, Vol. 2, pp. 73-75

WASHINGTON, January 5, 1862

General CHARLES P. STONE sworn and examined.

By Mr. Chandler:

Question. Were you present with General Patterson’s army, or near it, on or about the 20th of July last?

Answer. I was.

Question. Were you with him on his march from Martinsburg?

Answer. Yes, sir.

Question. In what capacity?

Answer. I commanded a brigade in that column for a part of the month of July.

Question. And you were with that column when it marched towards Johnston’s army?

Answer. Yes, sir.

Question. Will you explain to the committee the march and position of that column until it reached Bunker Hill? Explain it concisely, if you please.

Answer. Bunker Hill is on the road to Winchester. General Patterson’s column was concentrated at Martinsburg.

Question. And Johnston was at Winchester?

Answer. Supposed to be at Winchester.

Question. Give the date on which you started, and how far you went; explain the action of that column, not in detail, but in general.

Answer. So much has happened between that time and this that it is difficult for me to remember all the dates. We arrived at Harper’s Ferry on the 21st of July, the day of the battle of Bull Run.

Question. That is, on your retreat.

Answer. On our return.

Question. Assume that it was Tuesday or Wednesday when you left Bunker Hill.

Answer. Without giving the date of leaving Martinsburg, we made a march in one day as far as Mill Creek, or, as I believe it is now called, Bunker Hill. We remained there, I think, over one day. I remember being one day there. Then we moved in one day’s march from Bunker Hill, through Middleway, otherwise called Smithfield, to Charlestown. I think we arrived at Charlestown on Wednesday afternoon, and then remained there until the following Sunday, when we marched to Bolivar Heights.

Question. When you were at Martinsburg you were threatening Johnston’s force at Winchester, were you not?

Answer. I should think so.

Question. And when you reached Bunker Hill you threatened it still more?

Answer. I think so.

Question. Had you intrenched and remained at Bunker Hill, would not your close proximity have prevented Johnston from weakening his force at Winchester?

Answer. I do not think it would; I think it was so important a move for him to come down to Manassas that he would have abandoned every house and woman and child in Winchester for the sake of joining the other column.

Question. Could you not then have pursued him—you were within seven or eight miles—and compelled him to give battle before he struck the railroad?

Answer. I think so.

Question. Or, if General Patterson had thrown his force down between Johnston and the railroad, he would then have had to come out and give you battle, or else remain where he was?

Answer. If that had been done, yes, sir.

Question. Did you consider his force so strong that it was unsafe to retain your position at Bunker Hill, or take up that position between him and the railroad?

Answer. I certainly did not conceive that his force was so strong as to make it unsafe for us to intrench at Bunker Hill?

By the chairman:

Question. Do you know the reason why Patterson turned off from Bunker Hill to Charlestown?

Answer. At the time I supposed the object was to get on Johnston’s right flank.

By Mr. Chandler:

Question. But he actually went twenty odd miles from his right or left flank?

Answer. Yes, sir.

Question. Leaving the road perfectly open to go where he saw fit?

Answer. Yes, sir; I think so.

Question. Was it in contemplation by you at one time to have gone out and cut that railroad?

The witness: From the place below, before I came under General Patterson’s command?

Mr. Chandler : Yes, sir.

Answer. I wanted to do it.

Question. And had you done it, it would have been impossible for Johnston to have got his forces down here, would it not?

Answer. Yes, sir.

Question. Did you receive peremptory orders from General Patterson to join him at once?

Answer. I did.

Question. Do you know when, or if at all, General Patterson sent a request to Washington to have re-enforcements sent up to him?

Answer. I do not know.

By the chairman:

Question. I wish to know of you, as a military man, whether, if it had been the object and purpose of Patterson to encounter Johnston and prevent him from going down to Manassas on that road, you think he could have employed him so as to have had a battle with him? Was the position such that he could have forced him to an engagement?

Answer. I think he could have forced him to give battle.

Question. I mean if he had been ordered to prevent Johnston from going to Manassas. He was in a position to have done that by an engagement, was he not? You know the position of the two armies when you approached the nearest, when you turned off to Charlestown.

Answer. I think he was in a position at one time when he might either have brought Johnston to battle, or have joined General McDowell about as soon as Johnston could have joined the other side.

Question. What position was that when you suppose it was in his power to have effected that?

Answer. At Martinsburg.

By Mr. Chandler:

Question. Was he not in the same position at Bunker Hill?

Answer. I think he might have made a move there; but that is only a military opinion.

By the chairman:

Question. That is all we want.

Answer. I think he might have moved then, so as to have taken possession of the gaps of the Blue Ridge at least.

By Mr. Chandler:

Question. And had he taken possession of the gaps of the Blue Ridge, it would have been very difficult for Johnston to have dislodged him, would it not?

Answer. I think so; I thought so then.

By Mr. Odell:

Question. Did you understand, while you were there, that the object of Patterson’s division was to hold Johnston in check, and prevent him from joining Beauregard? We know from testimony that we have here that that was the object. I want to know if it was known to you while there?

Answer. Let me get your question exactly.

Question. The question is this: Was it your understanding that Patterson’s division of the army was to hold Johnston there, while General McDowell was engaged with Beauregard here?

Answer. I certainly thought that was the intention.

By Mr. Chandler s

Question. What was your estimate of the relative strength of Patterson’s and Johnston’s forces?

Answer. The best information I got of Johnston’s forces was that he had about 14,000 in the neighborhood of Harper’s Ferry. That was when I was on the river below.

Question. I mean when you were at Martinsburg and he was at Winchester?

Answer. I had lost there my independent means of getting information of him. The information I received there was through the reconnoissances ordered by General Patterson. That was very varied, indeed. Sometimes you would hear that he had 15,000, sometimes 22,000, sometimes 30,000.

Question. What was your own estimate, if you had any, of their force?

Answer. I imagined that he had not far from 20,000 men, including his militia.

Question. And your force was about 22,000. Was it not?

Answer. I do not know what General Patterson’s force was. I heard various estimates of that.





First Bull Run Field Guide

16 06 2009

I just sent off a draft of a First Bull Run Field Guide to my editor at Weider History Group, Chris Howland.  Chris is my editor for Smeltzer’s Six-Pack in America’s Civil War, and also now at Civil War Times, in which the Field Guide is scheduled to appear.  (There is a very complex organizational structure for editors at Weider, and I admit to not fully understanding how they all work together and what the hierarchies are.)

If you’re not familiar with it, the Field Guide is a relatively new regular item in Civil War Times.  It basically consists of about ten spots to hit when visiting a particular battlefield or city, including places to eat and see that aren’t necessarily directly associated with the events in question.  The guide is a two page spread including photos and an aerial map with pushpins for the sites.  I tried to focus on less often visited sites.

The draft is rough and I’m sure will take a lot of tweaking.  I don’t know yet which if any photos they’ll choose (I took them all a couple weeks ago while on a stomp with Craig Swain).  This will be the first thing I’ve published in Civil War Times (assuming it cuts the mustard), which is an older and more widely read magazine than America’s Civil War.  With the sesquicentennial of the battle coming up in 2011, I’m hoping more writing gigs will pop up.





The Maps of First Bull Run Update

16 06 2009

This for everyone who has been asking:

According to Ted Savas, Bradley Gottfried’s The Maps of First Bull Run was to ship from Savas Beatie’s warehouses yesterday (Monday June 15) to stores and wholesalers.





JCCW – Maj. Abner Doubleday

11 06 2009

Testimony of Maj. Abner Doubleday

Report on the Conduct of the War, Vol. 2, pp. 67-73

WASHINGTON, January 3, 1862

Major ABNER DOUBLEDAY called and examined.

By the chairman:

Question. What is your position in the army, your rank, &c?

Answer. I am a major of the 17th infantry, one of the new regiments that has not yet been raised. I was promoted from the 1st artillery. ‘

Question. Were you in Fort Sumter with the then Major Anderson?

Answer. Yes, sir.

Question. I wish to direct your attention to the time that you joined General Patterson. Will you please state how long you were with him, and what took place there? State it in your own way.

Answer. I started from New York harbor, and went to Chambersburg shortly after General Patterson went there. I suppose we were there a week or ten days.

By Mr. Odell:

Question. What force did you take with you?

Answer. I took two companies of artillery without their guns, armed only as infantry.

By the chairman :

Question. And joined General Patterson at Chambersburg?

Answer. Yes, sir; and he placed me in command of two more companies. Captain Dodge’s company of regulars were ordered to join me, and McMullin’s company of Philadelphia detectives were placed under my command also. We marched from Chambersburg to Hagerstown, and from there to Williamsport. We remained at Williamsport, I think, from two to three weeks. I was, during that time, ordered back to Washington with my command. I should state, first, that they sent for some heavy guns for me. They concluded they would send siege artillery to break down some of the intrenchments of the enemy, and they directed me to send an officer to New York for a heavy battery; and just before the battery joined me—when it was on its way, say at Harrisburg—I was ordered to proceed without delay to Washington with my command. I got as far as Little York, near Baltimore, when I received a despatch directing me to return with all possible haste and to mount the guns for action. This was while the army of General Patterson was lying at Hagerstown. I hired special trains and returned and resumed my encampment. When I got again to Hagerstown, I found that it was a false alarm. Shortly afterwards we marched to Williamsport, where our heavy guns were put in position on a high hill to command the ford. In the meantime, while I was absent, the troops had crossed into Virginia, had proceeded a few miles, and then been ordered precipitately to return to Williamsport. We entered Virginia a second time, by order of General Scott, I think, and marched to Martinsburg. Our advance encountered the enemy at a place called Falling Waters, or Hoge’s Run. A smart little action took place there, resulting in the success of our troops.

By Mr. Odell:

Question. Just there. How did our troops behave themselves in that action?

Answer. They behaved very well, so far as I could see. I heard no charges made against them of misbehavior at that place.

The enemy retreated before us and encamped outside of Martinsburg, and we followed and took possession of Martinsburg. We remained there, it seems to me, some ten days. During this time it was reported that the enemy were in line of battle, seven miles from us, with a force nearly equal to our own. It was reported to us that they had 2,000 less than we had.

Question. At what point were they?

Answer. Seven miles from us on the road to Winchester; I think it was in front of Dorcasville. They remained there, I think, three or four days—it was so reported to me; referred to by our staff officers, &c. I think it had then been determined to make a depot at Martinsburg, and the orders had been given to that effect; but the orders were countermanded, and the army ordered to advance, some six days after the enemy had fallen back towards Winchester. In the interim I was ordered to send two guns back to Williamsport to guard the ford there in case of retreat or disaster. But the guns were ordered to return again, after they had been about an hour in position. When we advanced it was determined not to have a depot at Martinsburg, but to break it up and send the stores back to Williamsport, and around by the canal to Harper’s Ferry. We advanced to a place called Bunker Hill, about half-way to Winchester, I think. We stayed there for a day—perhaps two days, I have forgotten which— and then we retrograded to Charlestown, some seven miles, I think, from Harper’s Ferry.

By the chairman:

Question. What number of troops had you, and what number had the enemy while you were at Bunker Hill, before you went to Charlestown?

Answer. Well, I thought we had about 20,000. They did not give their numbers to me; the information all goes to the general, and the exact number of troops we have is not always known. But I heard them estimated at 20,000.

Question. What was the condition of the troops at that time?

Answer. They seemed as eager for action as men could be; excited in the highest degree at the idea of getting a fight.

Question. Where were the enemy at the time you were at Bunker Hill?

Answer. It was reported that they had fallen back to a place called Stevenson’s Station, on the railroad, four miles from Winchester, and that they had fortified Winchester.

Question. How far was this Bunker Hill from Winchester?

Answer. I think it is about fifteen miles; from twelve to fifteen miles.

Question. Have you any knowledge of the force of the enemy; what were their numbers and strength?

Answer. We had various reports of them. The enemy were reported to have had some irregular levies in Winchester; to have sent and obtained some raw militia, badly armed, and almost all new men; so I understood. Most of our men were full of enthusiasm when we turned back to Charlestown, for they thought all the time that we were marching, that we were going to Winchester.

Question. Were you with General Sanford?

Answer. I was not under his command, but I saw a great deal of him. He was with us.

Question. He commanded the left of your army at that time, did he not?

Answer. Yes, sir; I think he did. But I do not know certain about that.

Question. Did he cut a road from this Bunker Hill, or near there, down some three or four miles to a creek?

Answer. I do not remember of his doing that. There was an old road there. We marched along an old road.

Question. He repaired it?

Answer. Yes, sir; he repaired it, I imagine.

Question. Was this before the battle of Bull Run, as it is called?

Answer. Yes, sir.

Question. How long before, as near as you can recollect?

Answer. But two or three days before. I think the enemy was said to have left Winchester the moment their scouts told them we had retrograded.

Question. General Johnston was commanding the army before you?

Answer. Yes, sir.

Question. What was the purpose of General Patterson there? What were the orders to him, or do you know?

Answer. I did not know what his object was. At one time, I suppose, it was to defend the Baltimore and Ohio railroad.

Question. Did you know at the time that he was acting in concert with General McDowell; he to prevent Johnston’s going down to Manassas while McDowell was to encounter the enemy there?

Answer. I did not know it at the time. But I was satisfied, on hearing that the enemy had gone in that direction, that they were going to Manassas. When we were going to Charlestown it seemed to be the impression of our generals that the enemy was coming in our rear.

Question. Can you tell any object General Patterson had, or intended to accomplish, by going to Charlestown at that time?

Answer. Well, I do not know. I was not called into his council of war. I do not know what his object was.

Question. I will ask you if he, in your judgment, had the power, while at Bunker Hill, to pursue, encounter, and prevent Johnston from getting down to Manassas on that railroad, judging from the position that each occupied there?

Answer. I should think that his light troops could have engaged him. But I believe there was a difference of some twelve miles between them; and if Johnston had made a rush quickly, General Patterson might not have been able to stop him.

By Mr. Odell:

Question. To have overtaken him?

Answer. Yes, sir.

Question. Do you mean that if General Johnston had started off for Manassas quickly, General Patterson might not have been able to overtake him?

Answer. Yes, sir; that was what I meant. There were twelve miles between them.

Question. He might have reached Manassas ?

Answer. Yes, sir.

By the chairman:

Question. Do you recollect the orders of General Patterson while waiting at Bunker Hill that night?

Answer. No, sir; but I thought that if we had had the time that we waited at Williamsport and Martinsburg we might have done very well.

Question. I will put a hypothetical case: Had General Patterson received orders to engage Johnston, and prevent his going down on that road, could he have accomplished it if he had directed his energies to accomplishing that purpose?

Answer. [Looking at the map.] I think I have got the distance between the two armies too far. I think he could have done that. I think if there had been a desire to do it, it could have been done.

Question. In turning off from Bunker Hill to Charlestown he must have abandoned the idea of intercepting Johnston?

Answer. Of course.

Question. And left him a free passage to go down to Manassas?

Answer. Yes, sir.

Question. That must have been known to the commanding general, of course?

Answer. Of course.

Question. Did you hear any reason given why that was not done; such as that the time of the troops were out, and they would not consent to remain and encounter Johnston?

Answer. I heard that their time was out, and that he could not induce them to stay unless he could assure them that he would attack the enemy.

By Mr. Odell:

Question. They would stay for a fight?

Answer. They would stay if he would guarantee them a fight.

By the chairman:

Question. They did not object that their time was out to prevent a fight?

Answer. He wanted them to stay, whether or no. But they were indignant about it, and did not feel like remaining there without a fight.

Question. Were there complaints among the troops that General Patterson had turned off, so as not to engage the enemy?

Answer. There was a great deal of surprise. But I was so busy with my own command that I did notice that much. It had been supposed that Harper’s Ferry was a much better base of operations than Williamsport. It is nearer to Winchester, and nearer to our forces. It would have been a better point in every respect for us to occupy and move from. But in occupying it we found one objection, that it is almost impossible to retreat from it. There is but a little pathway along the canal, and one wagon could block an army.

By Mr. Gooch:

Question. You say that Johnston might perhaps have moved down towards Manassas so rapidly that Patterson would not have overtaken him. Suppose that he had done so, and Patterson had followed him down to Manassas, what would have been the effect upon the enemy?

Answer. Johnston would have gone by rail. General Patterson might have come up with him at the cars before they got their men and the munitions of war with him all on board.

Question. Were you not sufficiently near him to have intercepted him and engage him before he could have sent off his forces by rail?

Answer. I should think that by a forced march we could have done it.

Question. What is the distance from Winchester to Manassas?

Answer. I do not know. They marched by the Millwood road, and got on the cars at Oak Hill. That would seem to be about twenty-four miles from Winchester. Our movements indicated that we did not seem to know what Johnston had gone for. We were taking precautions to prevent him attacking us at Charlestown, where we had retrograded. It was supposed he was going in behind the mountain chain, and get in behind us there. I think an officer, one of the general’s engineers, remarked that—gave that impression to me; indicating by our measures of self-defence against Johnston that the general did not know what his object was in going to the railroad.

By the chairman:

Question. Was it believed in the army that Johnston’s forces were superior to those of Patterson?

Answer. Up to the time he occupied Winchester it was thought they were inferior. At that time it was said he had rallied some militia.

Question. That would not tend to strengthen him much, would it?

Answer. No, sir; I think not. It was represented that they were nearly all Union men. Berkley county gave some eight hundred majority for Union, even under secession bayonets.

By Mr. Odell:

Question. Did you hear anything about the condition of Johnston’s army?

Answer. Spies came in occasionally. It was stated that he had fortified Winchester.

By the chairman:

Question. If Patterson had received orders to encounter Johnston, and prevent him going to Manassas on the day of the battle there, could he, in your judgment, have prevented his going down there?

Answer. Well, I think it is a little doubtful. . The enemy had a larger force of cavalry than we had. We could only have overtaken him with cavalry, with the start he had. If he had twelve miles the start he could have kept that much in advance. The only way to have compromised that was to have encountered him with our light troops and kept him engaged until the rest of our forces came up.

By Mr. Odell:

Question. You have corrected that statement, have you not, about the twelve miles distance?

Answer. Yes, sir; he was nearer than twelve miles if he was at Stevenson’s Station. He was about eight miles from us. I think the main body was about eight miles from us. The main bodies of the two armies were about eight miles apart, as near as I can judge.

Question. And the advance was nearer?

Answer. The advance might have been nearer.

Question. Within about how near do you suppose the advance was, that is, Sanford’s column?

Answer. I do not know that he was far in advance of the army at that time. His advance party might have been nearer. Under those orders, if those were the orders, a battle ought to have been attempted certainly.

By Mr. Gooch:

Question. Johnston was fortified at Winchester?

Answer. Yes, sir; it was said he was fortified there.

Question. Do you know whether or not he made any forward movement from Winchester until after you had made a retrograde movement towards Charlestown ?

Answer. I only heard at the time from deserters that the moment he found that we had retrograded—that his light cavalry sent him word to that effect—he immediately left in all haste for Millwood.

Question. Was it not your opinion as a military man, from all you learned, that Johnston intended to remain at Winchester within his fortifications until after your army had moved towards Charlestown ?

Answer. Well, I do not know what his intentions were. He was at Stevenson’s Station.

Question. From what was done, what do you infer he intended to do?

Answer. I understood he had orders to prevent us at all hazards from joining McDowell. That is what I heard from some deserter, or a report of what some deserter had stated.

By Mr. Chandler:

Question. That is, you were both engaged in the same business, each to prevent the other from joining the main army?

Answer. Yes, sir. If necessary for that purpose he would take up a station until he was certain he could get on the railroad. He could afford to leave us rambling around through Virginia there, if in that brief period he could have gained the battle here. He could afford to let us make an inroad into the country for a brief period if he could have gained that.

Question. If you could have got in advance of Johnston, between his position and the railroad, could he have reached Manassas?

Answer. No, sir; I think we could have prevented it. I think that General Stone, while at Point of Rocks, wanted to make a dash at the railroad and destroy it.

By the chairman:

Question. What was the difficulty in the way of breaking up that road?

Answer. Where we were, we were some distance from it. General Stone had been in command of a force at Point of Rocks. He told me he could very easily have made a forced march and destroyed the bridges, and he wanted to do it, but he received the most pressing orders to join Patterson at once. The Point of Rocks is where the railroad comes down to the Potomac. That is about half-way between Washington and Williamsport. By making a secret march half-way with his infantry, and then making a dash with his cavalry. General Stone told me he was very desirous of breaking up that road, and could have done it; but he received the most peremptory orders to join General Patterson without a moment’s delay—a most urgent demand.

By Mr. Gooch:

Question. From whom did he receive those orders?

Answer. From General Patterson.

Question. Did you remain in the army after General Banks took command! of that division of the army?

Answer. Yes, sir.

Question. Where were you when General Banks took the command?

Answer. At Harper’s Ferry.

Question. Why did you retire from Harper’s Ferry? Why did you leave it?

Answer. The reason given was that while there we were in a cul-de-sac. In case of an attack and a disaster the force could not retreat from Harper’s Ferry; it would have had to stay there; there was no way to leave. And it was thought better to go on the other side and occupy Maryland Heights, which commanded Harper’s Ferry, so that we could have crossed any time we chose. It was still an occupation of Harper’s Ferry, but a change of position and of encampment.

Question. In your judgment, as a military man, was that a judicious movement—a wise movement?

Answer. I thought it was a discouraging movement; but I did not see any better way of occupying and holding Harper’s Ferry than that—holding it from the Maryland side, rather than on the other side.

Question. So that you do approve the movement?

Answer. Yes, sir; I thought we could hold it from the Maryland side, and have all the advantages of it.

Question. How long did you remain at Charlestown before going to Harper’s Ferry?

Answer. Some four or five days, I think.

Question. The army moved to Harper’s Ferry under General Patterson?

Answer. Yes, sir.

Question. What was the number of that division at the time General Banks took command?

Answer. I think about 15,000. However, I do not know as to that. I think the number was greatly reduced by many being sent off. I think the loss of those two or three weeks at Williamsport, and eight or ten days at Martinsburg, had a very decided effect upon us. We should have marched on Winchester, I think. We would have had three weeks longer time with these three-months’ men.

By Mr. Odell:

Question. Was your force there a well-appointed one?

Answer. I think we had all the necessaries. They complained of a deficiency of transportation from Williamsport, I think.

By Mr. Gooch:

Question. Was there such a deficiency as to prevent a movement of the army?

Answer. I do not know how much the deficiency was, or how far it extended. But I heard complaints that there was not a sufficient number of wagons. The whole country seemed to be full of them, if we had the power of purchasing, or of pressing them into service.





This is Just Weird

9 06 2009

Page 30 of Mark Hughes’s The New Civil War Handbook juxtaposes two images of soldiers who died in the war.  The first photo is of North Carolina volunteer Jim Costner:

Jim-Costner

The second photo is John Kinsella of the 7th CT:

John-Kinsella

The reason this is freaky?  This guy:

Ray-Kinsella

That’s Kevin Costner in Field of Dreams.  At the end of the film, Costner’s character plays catch with his father.  Costner’s character’s name is Ray Kinsella.  The father’s?  John.

Check out Mark’s website here.  Thanks for the photos of the soldiers, Mark.

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JCCW – Gen. Charles W. Sanford (Sandford)

8 06 2009

Testimony of Gen. Charles W. Sanford

Report on the Conduct of the War, Vol. 2, pp. 54-66

WASHINGTON, December 31, 1861

General CHARLES W. SANFORD sworn and examined.

By Mr.Odell:

Question. We want to know especially your relation to the Bull Run battle; that was the object of the committee in sending for you; you were here, were you not?

Answer. I made a movement into Virginia on the 24th of May. I left, under the orders of General Scott, directed to me, at 2 o’clock in the morning, with about 11,000 men, and took possession of Arlington Heights and the whole of that region, down to Alexandria, inclusive.

Question. What position did you then hold ?

Answer. I was called into service as a major general of the State of New York immediately after the news of the attack on Fort Sumter, at the request of General Scott, and with the sanction of the governor of my own State. I sent off as rapidly as possible all the troops I could for the relief of Washington. I sent off in the first week from the city of New York about 8,000 men, commencing on the 19th of April; and I then continued engaged in the organization of other troops there until General Scott sent for me, and I came from New York here on the 20th of May, having, in the meantime, sent off from my own division in the city of New York about 10,000 men. When I arrived here General Scott issued an order placing me in command of all the troops from the State of New York. My own division proper comprises only the troops in the city and county of New York and the county of Richmond, having command of about 10,000 uniformed troops, and enrolling about 90,000 ununiformed troops in the whole district. When I arrived here, there being no general officer from my State, and I being the senior major general in the State of New York, General Scott issued an order placing all the troops from the State of New York, as fast as they arrived, under my command; and I continued in that command until I was sent into Virginia. I crossed over the morning of the 24th of May, and took command of the troops ordered into Virginia. That morning I proceeded up to the railroad beyond Ball’s Crossing, and cut the railroad in two places, capturing some persons who came down on the railroad, to prevent their carrying information; and from there I examined the whole country all the way down to Alexandria. I remained there getting additional troops over, forming such plans as I thought necessary for the fortification and occupation of that region, and getting ready to move, as I proposed to do, further down into Virginia, until the morning of the 28th of May, when the cabinet appointed General McDowell to take command of a new department, organized as the department of Virginia; and General McDowell being a junior officer to me, being appointed to that department, of course superseded my command over there. I returned to Washington and resumed my command of the New York troops there; they continued to increase so, that on the 4th of July, independent of all I had sent over to Virginia, I had still 23 regiments of New York troops in the city of Washington, which I forwarded that day.

On the 29th of June a council of war was held at the White House by the President and his cabinet, and all the senior officers on service here, to consider the propriety of an attack on the enemy’s lines at Manassas. I made some objections to the plan of that battle, and among other things—I only mention this because it comes in with what I did afterwards—I objected that no movement of that kind should be made until it was ascertained that General Patterson was in such ft position as to prevent the junction between General Johnston’s army and the troops at Manassas; that that ought to precede any advance against the enemy at Manassas, if it was made at all.

On the 6th of July 1 was sent for by Governor Seward, who informed me that, although a great deal of dissatisfaction had existed respecting the movements of General Patterson, the cabinet had decided not to remove him; but General Scott suggested—to use Governor Seward’s words—that although General Patterson did not seem to be disposed to fight, he was satisfied that I was otherwise disposed; and that he had recommended that if I would go up and waive rank to General Patterson, I being a senior major general to him, General Patterson would be glad to give me an opportunity to fight a battle and have the credit of a victory if I succeeded. Governor Seward said that General Scott s was desirous I should waive rank to Patterson, and go there and take a command under him for the purpose of pushing forward the army, and doing what I suggested was a necessary step prior to the battle of Manassas. I told Governor Seward that I would do anything, if it was to serve as a volunteer in the ranks, to aid the cause. He wrote a letter to General Scott stating what was the result of the interview between us, and I delivered it to the general, and received his orders to go with such troops as I deemed necessary to aid General Patterson, and to assume a command under him.

I sent off that night the 19th and 28th New York regiments, and followed the next day with two more regiments, the two best I had here, the 5th”and 12th New York city regiments. I went around by way of Harrisburg and Hagerstown, which was the only way then open. I left Hagerstown a little before sundown, marching all the night of the 9th of July with those two regiments from Hagerstown to Williamsport, and was there by daylight the next morning. The other two regiments arrived there the day before.

I reported to General Patterson, and arranged with him to take command of a division, consisting of about 8,000 men, the most of them New York troops. I delivered orders from General Scott to General Patterson, and urged a forward movement as rapidly as possible. With the troops that I took on were some others that I had detailed to General Stone, who arrived immediately after my arrival at Hagerstown. General Patterson’s army was increased to 22,000 men, of which I had under my own command 8,000, with two batteries.

We had some delay at Martinsburg, notwithstanding the urgency of our matter; but we left there on the 15th of July, and went in the direction of Winchester. General Patterson, with two of his divisions, went down on the Winchester turnpike in a straight line from Martinsburg towards Winchester, while I took the side roads, more easterly, so as to get into a direction to enable me to flank Johnston, keeping constantly in communication with Patterson through the intervening country. I moved down, in fact, in advance of his force until I arrived a little to the eastward of Bunker Hill, General Patterson holding Bunker Hill, which was a little village in the lower part of Berkley county.

We halted there on the afternoon of the 15th of July. On that same afternoon General Patterson came around with his staff to where I was engaged in locating my camp, sending out pickets, &c. J had a conversation with him on the subject of our moving forward. I was anxious, of course, to progress as rapidly as possible, for fear this movement of Johnston might take place before we arrived at his camp. I was then within about nine miles of Johnston’s fortified camp at Winchester. Patterson was complimenting me upon the manner in which my regiments were located, and inquiring about my pickets, which I had informed him I had sent down about three miles to a stream below. I had driven out the enemy’s skirmishers ahead of us. They had some cavalry there. In answer to his compliments about the comfortable location I had made, I said, ” Very comfortable, general, when shall we move on? ” This was in presence of part of my staff; Colonel Morell, now General Morell, was one, and Patterson’s own staff. They were mounted and we were on foot. He hesitated a moment or two, and then said: “I don’t know yet when we shall move. And if I did I would not tell my own father.” I thought that was rather a queer sort of speech to make to me under the circumstances. But I smiled and said, “General, I am only anxious that we shall get forward, that the enemy shall not escape us.” He replied, “There is no danger of that. I will have a reconnoissance to-morrow, and we will arrange about moving at a very early period.” He then took his leave. The next day there was a reconnoissance on the Winchester turnpike, about four or five miles below the general’s camp. He sent forward a section of artillery and some cavalry, and they found a post and leg fence across the Winchester turnpike, and some of the enemy’s cavalry on the other side of it. They gave them a round of grape. The cavalry scattered off, and the reconnoissance returned. That was the only reconnoissance I heard of while we were there. My own pickets went further than that. But it was understood the next afternoon that we were to march forward at daylight. I sent down Colonel Morell with 40 men to open a road down to the Opequan creek, within five miles of the camp at Winchester, on the side roads I was upon, which would enable me in the course of three hours to get between Johnston and the Shenandoah river, and effectually bar his way to Manassas. I had my ammunition all distributed, and ordered my men to have 24 hours’ rations in their haversacks, independent of their breakfast. We were to march at four o’clock the next morning. I had this road to the Opequan completed that night. I had then with me, in addition to my eight regiments, amounting to about 8,000 men and a few cavalry, Doubleday’s heavy United States battery of 20 and 30 pounders, and a very good Rhode Island battery. And I was willing to take the risk, whether General Patterson followed me up or not, of placing myself between Johnston and the Shenandoah river, rather than Johnston escape. And at four o’clock I should have moved over that road for that purpose, if I had had no further orders. But a little after 12 o’clock at night I received a long order of three pages from General Patterson, instructing me to move on to Charlestown, which is nearly at right angles to the road I was going to move on, and 22 miles from Winchester. This was after I had given my orders for the other movement.

By Mr. Chandler:

Question. What day was that?

Answer. It was at 12 o’clock on the night of the 16th of July. I received that order—which was the first intimation I had of any kind or sort that we were not going to move on to Winchester—with a peremptory order to move at three o’clock in the morning to Charlestown, which was nearly at right angles to the position I was then occupying in my route towards Winchester, and twenty-two miles from Winchester.

By the chairman:

Question. And that left Johnston free?

Answer. Yes, sir; left him free to make his escape, which he did. (Pointing to the map.) Here is Martinsburg. After crossing the Potomac we came down to Martinsburg and then moved from Martinsburg down to Bunker Hill. This Winchester turnpike, passing down here, brought General Patterson down in a straight line from Martinsburg to Bunker Hill. I pursued the side roads for the purpose of flanking Johnston, who was at Winchester, just below. This is the road (pointing to it on the map) leading down from Bunker Hill to Winchester. It is nearly a straight line from Martinsburg right down to Winchester. I was there; my camp lay right in here, (pointing to the place;) and the general was with his two divisions at the little village of Bunker Hill. I pursued those cross roads and had sent down and opened this road, (pointing to it,) which was an old and almost discontinued road, to a bridge which was here on the Opequan creek. The distance from my position to the bridge was about three and one half miles. I advanced a strong picket of some two hundred or three hundred men to keep the enemy from burning the bridge, and made the road fit for the artillery to travel over. I was then directed, by this order I have referred to, instead of moving in this direction, which would have enabled me to get between Johnston and the Shenandoah river, to move on this road (pointing it out) until I got upon the road which leads from Winchester to Charlestown. The distance between Charlestown and Winchester was twenty- two miles, while the distance from Bunker Hill was only nine miles.

Question. In what direction would Johnston have had to move to get by you?

Answer. Right out to the Shenandoah river, which he forded. He found out from his cavalry, who were watching us, that we were actually leaving, and he started at one o’clock that same day with eight thousand men, forded the Shenandoah where it was so deep that he ordered his men to put their cartridge boxes on their bayonets, got out on the Leesburg road, and went down to Manassas.

By Mr. Odell:

Question. Now, about your orders?

Answer. I was here, (referring to the map,) a little southeast of Bunker Hill, and General Patterson was at Bunker Hill. Originally my arrangement was to go down this way, (pointing.) That was my own arrangement with Patterson’s consent. That was part of the understanding with which we started from Martinsburg. And I still supposed, up to 12 o’clock on the night of the 16th of July, that I was to go down this way or continue where I was, and he was to sustain me if I got into a fight. I had not the slightest idea that we were going to retrograde.

Question. Had you given out your orders?

Answer. My orders were out for the men to have all the ammunition distributed, and to have one day’s provisions, exclusive of breakfast, in their haversacks, and to march at 4 o’clock in the morning. And Patterson knew that I had 400 men out at this bridge, on the road I had opened, yet I was ordered to move at 3 o’clock in another direction, which operated to let Johnston escape. I have never made these facts public at all. I have spoken among my very personal friends about it; and I reported immediately, as soon as I got back here, to General Scott, who was extremely indignant about the whole matter. I did not speak of it as freely as I have done, until this very strange publication of General Patterson the other day, which appeared to put the burden of the whole matter upon General Scott, when, in fact, it was all his own act.

By the chairman:

Question. Did he assign any reason for that movement?

Answer. I was, of course, very indignant about it, and SO were all my officers and men, so much so that when subsequently, at Harper’s Ferry, Patterson came by my camp there was a universal groan—against all discipline, of course, and we suppressed it as soon as possible. The excuse given by General Patterson was this: that he had received intelligence that he could rely upon, that General Johnston had been re-enforced by 20,000 men from Manassas, and was going to make an attack upon him; and in the order which I received that night—a long order of three pages—I was ordered to occupy all the communicating roads, turning off a regiment here, and two or three regiments there, and a battery at another place, to occupy all the roads from Winchester to the neighborhood of Charlestown, and all the cross-roads, and hold them all that day, until General Patterson’s whole army went by me to Charlestown; and I sat seven hours in the saddle near a place called Smithfield, while Patterson, with his whole army, went by me on their way to Charlestown, he being apprehensive, as he said, of an attack from Johnston’s forces.

By Mr.Odell:

Question. You covered his movement?

Answer. Yes, sir. Now the statement that he made, which came to me through Colonel Abercrombie, who was Patterson’s brother-in-law, and commanded one division in that army was, that Johnston had been re-enforced, and General Fitz-John Porter reported the same thing to my officers. General Porter was then the chief of Patterson’s staff, and was a very excellent officer, and an accomplished soldier. They all had got this story, which was without the slightest shadow of foundation; for there had not a single man arrived at the camp since we had got fall information that their whole force consisted of 20,000 men, of whom 1,800 were sick with the measles. The story was, however, that they had ascertained by reliable information of this re-enforcement. Where they got their information I do not know. None such reached me, and I picked up deserters and other persons to get all the information I could; and we since have learned, as a matter of certainty, that Johnston’s force.never did exceed 20,000 men there. But the excuse Patterson gave was that Johnston had been re-enforced with 20,000 men from Manassas, and was going to attack him. That was the reason he gave then for this movement. But in this paper he has lately published he hints at another reason—another excuse, which was that it was by order of General Scott. Now, I know that the peremptory order of General Scott to General Patterson, repeated over and over again, was this— I was present on several occasions when telegraphic despatches went from General Scott to General Patterson: General Scott’s orders to General Patterson were that, if he were strong enough he was to attack and beat Johnston. But if not, then he was to place himself in such a position as to keep Johnston employed and prevent him from making a junction with Beauregard at Manassas. That was the repeated direction of General Scott to General Patterson ; and it was because of Patterson’s hesitancy, and his hanging back, and keeping so far beyond the reach of Johnston’s camp, that I was ordered to go up there and re- enforce him, and assist him in any operations necessary to effect that object. The excuse of General Patterson now is that he had orders from General Scott to move to Charlestown. Now, that is not so. But this state of things existed : Before the movement was made from Martinsburg, General Patterson suggested to General Scott that Charlestown would be a better base of operations than Martinsburg, and suggested that he had better move on Charlestown, and from thence make his approaches to Winchester; that it would be better to do that than to move directly to Winchester from Martinsburg; and General Scott wrote back to say that if he found that movement a better one, he was at liberty to make it. But General Patterson had already commenced his movement on Winchester direct from Martinsburg, and had got as far as Bunker Hill; so that the movement, which he had formerly suggested, to Charlestown, was suppressed by his own act. But that is the pretence now given in his published speech for making the movement from Bunker Hill to Charlestown, which was a retreat, instead of the advance which the movement to Charlestown, he first proposed to General Scott was intended to be.

By Mr. Gooch:

Question. He was to go to Charlestown in order to get to Winchester; and he had already gone where he was nearer to Winchester and in a better position to reach it?

Answer. Yes, sir. In the first place he was within ten miles of Winchester, and on a direct line of turnpike from Martinsburg to Winchester ; and I was in a position, on a side road, which enabled me to flank Johnston. Charlestown is twenty-two miles from Winchester.

By the chairman:

Question. Was not that change of direction and movement to Charlestown a total abandonment of the object which you were pursuing?

Answer. Entirely an abandonment of the main principles of the orders he was acting under.

Question. And, of course, an abandonment of the purpose for which you were there?

Answer. Yes, sir.

By Mr. Odell:

Question. Was it not your understanding in leaving here, and was it not the understanding, also, of General Scott, that your purpose in going there was to check Johnson with direct reference to the movement here?

Answer. Undoubtedly. It was in consequence of the suggestion made by me at the council at the President’s house. And the cabinet had -under discussion whether to remove Patterson or not, because General Scott was dissatisfied at his tardy movements, he not having got down to within anything like striking distance of Johnston’s camp. But the Secretary of State explained to me that they had decided that it was not expedient, at that time, to remove General Patterson. And upon the suggestion of General Scott they wanted me to go up there and assist Patterson in this movement against Johnston, so as to carry out the point I had suggested of first checkmating Johnston before the movement against Manassas was made here.

By the chairman:

Question. You and Johnston had about the same forces there, had you not?

Answer. Patterson and myself had twenty-two thousand men, while Johnston had twenty thousand, with eighteen hundred of them sick.

Question. Would there have been any difficulty in preventing Johnston from going to Manassas?

Answer. None whatever.

By Mr. Chandler:

Question. Has there been any court-martial on this subject?

Answer. No, sir.

Question. Can you tell me the reason why there has not been?

Answer. I do not know, except this: General Patterson’s term of service— being called out with the three months’ men—expired on the 27th of July. In the meantime I was compelled to remain there, and these facts were not reported at Washington with the minuteness that I have stated them here now. The result of these operations were, of course, well known at Washington—the movement of Patterson to Charlestown, the escape of Johnston, and all that. An order came, just before the 27th of July, dismissing General Patterson and the other three months, men whose terms then expired. Among others, General Patterson was mentioned as being honorably discharged from the service. That was a few days after this movement, which took place on the morning of the 17th of July, and Patterson’s term of service expired on the 27th of July. An order came from the adjutant general’s office, the date of which I do not now recollect, discharging Patterson honorably from the service. That superseded the idea of a court-martial.

By the chairman:

Question. I have heard it suggested that he undertook to excuse this movement on the ground that the time of many of his troops had expired, and they refused to accompany him.

Answer. That, to my knowledge, is untrue. The time of none of them had expired when this movement was made. All the troops that were there were in the highest condition for the service. These three months’ men, it may be well to state to you, who are not military men, were superior to any other volunteer troops that we had in point of discipline. They were the disciplined troops of the country. The three months’ men were generally the organized troops of the different States—New York, Pennsylvania, &c. We had, for instance, from Patterson’s own city, Philadelphia, one of the finest regiments in the service, which was turned over to me, at their own request; and the most of my regiments were disciplined and organized troops. They were all in a fine condition, anxious, zealous, and earnest for a fight. They thought they were going to attack Johnston’s camp at Winchester. Although I had suggested to General Patterson that there was no necessity for that, the camp being admirably fortified with many of their heavy guns from Norfolk, I proposed to him to place our- selves between Johnston and the Shenandoah, which would have compelled him to fight us there or to remain in his camp, either of which would have effected General Scott’s object. If I had got into a fight it was very easy over this road I had just been opening for Patterson to have re-enforced me and come up to the fight in time. The proposition was to place ourselves between Johnston’s fortified camp and the Shenandoah, where his fortified camp would have been of no use to him.

Question. Even if you had received a check there, it would have prevented his junction with the forces at Manassas?

Answer. Yes, sir. I would have risked a battle with my own division rather than Johnston should have escaped. If he had attacked me I could have taken a position where I could have held it, while Patterson could have fallen upon him and repulsed him.

By Mr. Odell:

Question. Had you any such understanding with Patterson?

Answer. I told him I would move down on this side road in advance, leaving General Patterson to sustain me if I got into a fight. So, on the other hand, if he should attack Patterson, I was near enough to fall upon Johnston’s flank and support Patterson. By using this communication of mine to pass Opequan creek—where I had informed Patterson I had already pushed forward my pickets, 200 men in the day and 400 at night, to prevent the enemy from burning the bridge—it would have enabled me to get between Johnston and the Shenandoah river. On the morning of our march to Charlestown, Stuart’s cavalry, which figured so vigorously at Bull Run, was upon my flank all day. They were apparently about 800 strong. I saw them constantly on my flank for a number of miles. I could distinguish them with my glass with great ease. Finally, they came within about a mile of the line of march I was pursuing, and I sent a battery around to head them off, and the 12th regiment across the fields in double-quick time to take them in the rear. I thought I had got them hemmed in. But they broke down the fences, and went across the country to Winchester, and I saw nothing more of them. They were then about 8 miles from Winchester, and must have got there in the course of a couple of hours. That day at 1 o’clock—as was ascertained from those who saw him crossing the Shenandoah—Johnston started from Winchester with 8,000 men, forded the Shenandoah river, and got to Manassas on Friday night; and his second in command started the next day with all the rest of the available troops—something like 9,000 men, leaving only the sick, and a few to guard them in the camp at Winchester—and they arrived at the battle-field in the midst of the fight, got out of the cars, rushed on the battle-field, and turned the scale. I have no doubt that if we had intercepted Johnston, as we ought to have done, the battle of Bull Run would have been a victory for us instead of a defeat. Johnston was undoubtedly the ablest general they had in their army.

Question. I think I read in the speech that Patterson made in Philadelphia that he excused himself in part by saying that he telegraphed to General Scott for orders to move, and he did not get them?

Answer. That is not so. General Scott was anxious, and night after night kept telegraphing to Patterson to move forward. And night after night they were receiving despatches from Patterson excusing himself, that he had not transportation enough, or he had not troops enough, or something of that kind. And I was sent up with re-enforcements that he might be sure to have enough; with peremptory orders from General Scott if he was strong enough to fight Johnston, or if not to hold him in check. It was the intention to delay the battle here until after it was known that Johnston was checkmated.

Question. Did he receive any orders to move back?

Answer. He certainly did not. I had a conversation with General Scott in New York, and he was very much surprised to find on his return from Europe that Patterson should make such statements in his speech. Patterson’s speech was made after General Scott left the country, and I suppose after Patterson thought General Scott had left it forever. Since General Scott’s return I have had two conversations with him; one since I received this summons from you. I supposed it might have some reference to this matter, and I went on Sunday afternoon to see him, and had a conversation with him, and told him that I had been summoned here to Washington, and it probably had some reference to this affair of Patterson. General Scott was as much surprised as I was at Patterson’s pretending that this movement was made by his order; General Scott having at all times pressed upon him simply these two things: to attack and defeat Johnston if he was strong enough, or, if not, so to move as to prevent Johnston getting to Manassas.

By Mr. Chandler:

Question. You spoke of a council of war being held late in June. What was the decision of that council as to the propriety of delivering a battle?

Answer. That council of war was to decide the question of an attack upon Manassas. At that council General McDowell presented his plan for an attack upon Manassas; and the question submitted to the President and his cabinet and the general officers present was as to the propriety of that movement. I was a little peculiarly situated in regard to the matter, because I had been superseded by General McDowell, a much younger officer than myself. And yet I deemed it my duty to say that I did not approve of the movement from my knowledge of the country and the state of things. But, if the movement was to be made, I objected to two points in the movement. The one was the marching 14 miles to win a battle, which I considered almost equivalent to a defeat itself; and secondly, that no such movement should be made until it was ascertained that Patterson was between Johnston and Manassas. On a subsequent day they had a meeting of the cabinet to decide upon the subject of Patterson’s removal, which resulted in this request to me, to go up there and waive rank to him.

Question. And in that subsequent council of war it was decided to deliver the battle.

Answer. In the council of war on the 27th of June, General McDowell was authorized to make his arrangements for this battle, if he found every other thing concurred in making the movement. It was an unfortunate movement, in my opinion, in every point of view. In the first place, no such attack should have been made upon Manassas at all, because other means of dislodging them might have been attempted. In the second place, it was an unfortunate commencement of a battle to march 14 miles to begin it. It was a very exhausting march over such a country as I knew that to be, and it turned out to be a very great drawback to the troops.

Question. But had Patterson not marched you down to Charlestown, and you had held Johnston in check, have you any doubt of the favorable result of that battle?

Answer. No, sir; none at all. In the first place, it was not only the acquisition of those 8,000 troops that Johnston took down himself, but those that came in fresh on Sunday. And then they had the ablest man in the confederate army to manage that fight, and it was done with great adroitness and ability. I have no doubt at all that that battle was fought chiefly by Johnston, for he is a superior strategist to Beauregard.

Question. Your conclusion, then, is, as I understand you, that the battle was properly planned by General McDowell, and would have been a success had you attacked and whipped Johnston; that McDowell would have whipped Beauregard.

Answer. I have no doubt McDowell would have whipped Beauregard had Johnston been kept out of the field; although I do not believe in the plan of the battle.

By Mr. Odell :

Question. Did not General McDowell suffer a great deal from the character of the officers under him? Did not a great many incompetent ones resign immediately after that battle?

Answer. Yes, sir; but some good officers resigned as well as incompetent ones

Question. But the most of the resignations were of incompetent officers?

Answer. Yes, sir.

By Mr. Gooch:

Question. After the movement from Bunker Hill to Charlestown, did you have any conversation with General Patterson in relation to the matter; and if so, what explanation did he give of it at the time?

Answer. I had no conversation with him personally; I had with Colonel Abercrombie, his brother-in-law and one of his leading advisers. I was very much annoyed to see that the whole object of my going there was frustrated, and I sought no interview with General Patterson. But Colonel Abercrombie, understanding how much I was dissatisfied, came to me on purpose to explain the reason of this movement.

Question. Probably sent by Patterson?

Answer. Probably sent by Patterson. The explanation he made was that they had reliable information that Johnston was re-enforced with 20,000 men from Manassas, and was going to attack and destroy Patterson’s army. Now, in the first place, he could not have done it if he had had the 20,000 men, because the country there was such that we could have resisted him. But I knew it to be untrue, and I think General Patterson knew it to be untrue. There had been a company of 120 men from the vicinity of Martinsburg pressed into the service of the rebels. I say this, because I saw the orders. They were brought to me by one of my pickets. The orders had been issued to the commanding officers to force these men out. They were forced out and went to Harper’s Ferry, and were there at the time of its occupation by the rebels. Of these men, all but forty deserted on the march from Harper’s Ferry to Winchester, or while at Winchester. We had a great many of them in and about Winchester while we were there. And all the information from those men, as well as from others coming in from time to time to our camp, satisfied General Patterson and satisfied me perfectly that Johnston’s whole numbers could not exceed 20,000 men; and after we got to Bunker Hill, still some of these Martinsburg deserters cams in repeating the same information. This was down to the very night before we moved- that these men repeated the story that the numbers in the whole camp at Winchester did not exceed 20,000, and they generally estimated them from 18,000 to 19,000, and up to the evening of the day, when we marched the next morning at three o’clock, all the information concurred in that same statement, and we know now that it was so, and that Johnston did not receive any re-enforcements.

Question. Then at that time General Patterson relied for his vindication of his conduct in not going forward upon the fact that he had heard, or pretended that he had heard, that Johnston was re-enforced by 20,000 men, and was to attack him?

Answer. Yes, sir; that was the vindication set up for him by his brother-in- law, Colonel Abercrombie, and, as I understood, by Colonel Porter, the chief of his staff.

Question. Did General Patterson know at that time that it was the intention of General McDowell to attack Mauassas?

Answer. Certainly he did. I carried him that information.

Question. On what day did you suppose that attack was to be made?

Answer. I supposed that, in pursuance to the suggestion I had made, they were waiting to hear from us that we were in position to prevent Johnston from joining Beauregard, and that that was the only cause or delay in making the attack. I expected that attack to be made the instant we satisfied them that we were in position. I did not believe, from the communication made to me by Governor Seward, and the reason for sending me up there, I did not suppose that General McDowell would make a movement until we had got into position to prevent Johnston from joining Beauregard. I went up there with the opinion that the attack would be made upon Manassas the moment it was ascertained that we were in a position to keep Johnston occupied.

Question. And when you communicated that fact to the authorities at Washington, then General McDowell would make the attack and not until then, and Patterson knew that?

Answer. He was so informed by me, and was so informed by a written communication from General Scott.

Question. Did you know that the army here was making a forward movement?

Answer. Yes, sir; we knew they were prepared to make that movement the instant it was certain that Johnston could not move on them. So that when this movement on Charlestown was made I thought it in direct dereliction of duty.  Our movement was made on the morning of the 17th, and that same day at one o’clock Johnston crossed the Shenandoah river where I expected to have intercepted him.

Question. Our troops moved forward from the Potomac here on the 16th of July, I believe?

Answer. Yes, sir; the day before we commenced the march to Charlestown.

Question. How soon was General Scott or the authorities here at Washington advised of the movement on Charlestown? Do you know when that knowledge reached them?

Answer. I do not know. There was a communication constantly between General Patterson and General Scott, but they had to send some distance in order to reach the telegraph.

Question. In how short a time could General Patterson have communicated to General Scott the fact that he had moved on to Charlestown?

Answer. He could have communicated in twenty-four hours, by sending an express to the telegraph station on the other side of the Potomac.

Question. And that fact could have been known here three days before the battle?

Answer. Yes, sir. There is a gentleman here in Washington—Colonel Townsend, now, I believe, in the adjutant general’s office—who was the chief of General Scott’s staff at that time, and who knows all about the orders at that time. He has possession of all the communications that passed, so General Scott told me on Sunday last—all that passed between General Scott and General Patterson in relation to this matter; and I am authorized to say to him, and I shall make it my business to-day to say to him from General Scott, that the general is anxious that they should be known. General Scott, being now aware of General Patterson’s statements, is willing that these facts should be known. I state this myself in vindication of General Scott, because I was present night after night when these communications were going on between General Scott and General Patterson, urging Patterson forward before I went up there to join him.

By Mr. Odell:

Question. Do you know of your own knowledge that it was a subject of discussion in the cabinet councils—the inefficiency of General Patterson and the propriety of his removal?

Answer. I do not know that his inefficiency was the subject of discussion; but the great delays he made in his movements in that part of Virginia were the subject of discussion.

By Mr. Gooch:

Question. That was something they could not understand?

Answer. Something that they could not understand the reason for. At one time he wanted more artillery; another time he wanted more means of transportation; and his movements were altogether so slow that it created a great deal of uneasiness here. Of course, being second in command, I made no communication to the department here in relation to our movements up there until my return to this city. I had no right to do so before I came back here; and I must say that it appeared very strange to me that so important a change in our movements there should have been made without my being consulted at all upon the subject. But General Patterson chose to consult only his own staff, but none of the officers under his command.

By the chairman:

Question. You are an officer who has reflected a great deal on the condition of things here, and know the ground and the condition of affairs well. Now, we would like to have your opinion as to whether it would be proper for the army at this time of the year, and under all the circumstances, to make an advance or not, or whether it shall act on the defensive until the spring opens.

Answer. Perhaps I am not qualified at this moment to judge of that, because I am not informed as to the strength and position of the enemy at the present time on the other side of the Potomac. But no matter what their strength is, I would make certain movements which would materially affect the condition of the enemy, and perhaps lead to more serious operations. In the first place I have been very much annoyed and chagrined at the retreat of that part of our army that was occupying that portion of upper Virginia. They should never have left Harper’s Ferry. It was one of the causes of my asking to be recalled to Washington. When Patterson was superseded, and General Banks came there, I sent a communication requesting to be recalled to Washington. I was not willing to serve under a general so much my junior as General Banks was, who was, at that time, entirely without any military knowledge at all, and because General Banks’s first operations were to retreat out of Virginia, which I thought he ought not to do. The whole of the enemy at that time there was some thousand cavalry marauding around the country, while we had 12,000 men. But General Banks retreated out of Virginia, though I knew that General Scott could and would send forward re-enforcements there to enable us to move forward; and I think we should now undertake movements to occupy that part of Virginia, and effectually clear the route of the Baltimore and Ohio road. One consequence of our abandoning that part of Virginia, was their re-occupying the whole line of the Baltimore and Ohio railroad through that country, and the removal of a large quantity of iron to enable them to make good their connexions between Winchester and Manassas. That would have been all avoided if we had continued to occupy it. But, unfortunately, though a very excellent statesman and a man of talent, General Banks came there entirely a new man in his military duties, instead of there being some man of military experience sent there; and that part of the service has, consequently, been paralyzed.

Question. You would occupy Winchester and take possession of that railroad?

Answer. I would send troops, now, to occupy the whole of that upper part of Virginia, and Leesburg and Winchester, take possession of that turnpike, and effectually clear the whole of that part of Virginia through which the Baltimore and Ohio railroad runs.

Question. Would not that bring on a general battle?

Answer. If it did we would beat them effectually, because, to make a movement for a battle there, they would weaken their strength so much at Manassas as to make it impossible to maintain their lines before our large force opposite them here. In making such a movement as that which I should contemplate from the vicinity of Harper’s Ferry and Point of Rocks, unquestionably we would be upon the qui vive here to see what movements were made by the enemy to meet our movements there. And that part of Virginia should be occupied, at all hazards, for another reason. There is a very large body of Union men in that part of Virginia. I discovered that while I was there, and if we had continued in possession of that part of Virginia, the whole of that part of the State would have been loyal this day, although there were a great many secessionists there. I was there within pistol-shot of the residence of Faulkner, and such men as he—leading secessionists. But a large portion of the inhabitants—pretty much all the people that remained at Martinsburg—were loyal, and when we went there they hailed us with acclamations and were glad to see us. I had invitations from all the leading people to come and dine and sup with them. They were well disposed towards us, and indignant at the immense injury done by the enemy to their property throughout all that part of the country.

Question. What, in your judgment, would be the effect of our taking possession of Winchester and that valley?

Answer. To cut off, effectually, all the supplies they now get from the valley of the Shenandoah.

Question. Where would they get their supplies then?

Answer. They undoubtedly are receiving some supplies from the neighborhood of Richmond, and I understand that cattle are sent up to them all the way from Louisiana, even; but they derive a very large portion of their supplies from the upper part of Virginia—from that valley, which is a rich one. I think the whole valley of the Shenandoah is as rich as the Genesee valley.

Question. Then, if we move a very strong force up towards Winchester, you think they would not come out and give us a general battle, with all their force, here?

Answer. Yes, sir; and we must make that movement so strong as to drive all their present force there before us, and watch their movements in this quarter, so as to be able to checkmate them if they undertake to make any important movement from here. General Banks’s division could be increased so as to sweep that country with the utmost ease.

By Mr. Gooch:

Question. You mean that our whole right wing should be thrown across the river?

Answer. Yes, sir.

Question. Did you infer from what has transpired in relation to the movement at Ball’s Bluff that such was the intention at that time?

Answer. I supposed at that time—not from any knowledge upon the subject, but from watching the operations that were going on—that when our folks crossed at Ball’s Bluff the residue of General Banks’s army was going down to Leesburg from the other direction, and that General Stone was ordered to cross there to support that movement. I could not see any other explanation of that movement. I am judging now only from what I see in the papers. I supposed that that movement was only a portion of just such a movement as I am now suggesting—that is, for General Banks to move across at Point of Rocks and so on down to Leesburg, and General Stone to meet General Banks at Leesburg. Where the fault is I do not know. General Stone I know to be a good soldier and a capital officer. He was under me for some length of time, and I urged, when I left for New York, that he should be put in command of our force along the Potomac; and I cannot imagine that General Stone made that movement unless he expected to be sustained by finding General Banks at Leesburg when he got there. Whether General Banks had such orders or not, of course I do not know.





Civil War Times – August 2009

6 06 2009

CWI_August_2009Inside the August 2009 issue of Civil War Times:

An update on a West Virginia University graduate school project, overseen by Pete Carmichael, that will include a Podcast tour of the Shepherdstown battlefield.

An editorial by Gary Gallagher on two approaches to the study of the war, one dominated by “non-academic” and the other by academic historians.

A new feature on “Military Manuals of the Civil War”.  This first entry focuses on Dennis Hart Mahan’s “Outpost”.  (Frankly, I think far too much attention is given to the impact of Napoleon and Jomini on antebellum West Point cadets, and far too little to that of the man through whom their actions and writings were filtered.)

This issue’s Field Guide on Chattanooga.  I’m working on one on First Bull Run for an upcoming issue.

An article on nine-month Union enlistment strategy by William Marvel.

Gettysburg Ranger Eric Campbell writes on the destruction of the Union 3rd Corps at Gettysburg, and follows that up with a collection of letters by gunner Augustus Hesse of Bigelow’s 9th MA Battery and a two page spread of artillery artifacts.

An extract from Ron Soodalter’s book on the only American sea captain executed for transporting slaves, Hanging Captain Gordon.

Timothy B. Smith, author of Champion Hill: Decisive Battle for Vicksburg, takes a look at Confederate General William Loring after the battle.

This issue’s featured Lincoln image is Abe as 1865 gym teacher, complete with buzz-cut:

Abe-Buzz





JCCW – Gen. George W. Morell

5 06 2009

Testimony of Gen. George W. Morell

Report on the Conduct of the War, Vol. 2, pp. 49-54

WASHINGTON, D. C., December 28, 1861

General GEORGE W. MORELL sworn and examined.

By Mr. Chandler:

Question. You were on General Patterson’s staff, were you not?

Answer. I was on General Sanford’s staff, and with General Patterson a short time.

Question. You were with General Patterson from on or about the 16th to the 25th of July?

Answer. Yes, sir; that is, during the march from Martinsburg towards Winchester.

Question. What was General Patterson’s force at that time?

Answer. We estimated it at from 18,000 to 20,000 men.

Question. Mostly three months’ men?

Answer. They were all three months’ men except a small portion of regulars— a very small portion.

Question. General Johnston’s force was at Winchester?

Answer. Yes, sir.

Question. General Patterson’s force of from 18,000 to 20,000 men was at Martinsburg?

Answer. Yes, sir.

Question. Can you tell on what day of the month General Patterson’s division advanced from Martinsburg towards Winchester?

Answer. Yes, sir; we left Martinsburg on the 15th of July, on Monday morning.

Question. Advancing towards Winchester?

Answer. Yes, sir; we went that day to Bunker Hill, a little over half way. We remained there until the 16th of July.

Question. What day of the week was that?

Answer. The 16th was Tuesday.

Question. That was within how many miles of Winchester?

Answer. I think it was eight or ten miles.

Question. Proceed.

Answer. I think we left the next morning, the 17th, at 3 o’clock.

Question. What direction did you then take and where did you go?

Answer. We first received orders in the evening to be ready to march in the morning, without the line of march being indicated to us. And just before we moved we received orders to go to Smithfield, or Midway, as it is called, which is on the main turnpike road from Harper’s Ferry to Winchester.

Question. How far did you go?

Answer. We went to Smithfield; and then, instead of going to Winchester, we made a retrograde movement to Charlestown. Then we knew we were going to Harper’s Ferry.

Question. While you were at Smithfield you were threatening Winchester?

Answer. Yes, sir.

Question. And had you remained at Smithfield you still threatened Winchester, and would have held Johnston in check by that threatening position?

Answer. I think we should.

Question. But the moment you turned down towards Charlestown you ceased to threaten Winchester?

Answer. Entirely so. That developed the whole movement.

Question. That left Johnston to start off where he pleased?

Answer. Yes, sir; and he did start that same day.

Question. Can you tell why that march towards Charlestown was made?

Answer. No, sir; I cannot.

Question. This place of Bunker Hill, or this of Midway, was threatening Winchester?

Answer. Yes, sir; within a few hours’ march of Winchester.

Question. According to the best information you could get, what was the force of Johnston in front of you at Winchester at that time?

Answer. I suppose he had a little over 20,000 men; anywhere from 20,000 to 25,000.

Question. You suppose your force was sufficient at any rate to hold him in check?

Answer. I have no doubt of that. And even if we had fought him and been beaten he would have been in no condition to have come down here.

Question. Did the officers on the staff understand, when you made that forward movement, that it was to threaten and hold Johnston in that position?

Answer. He supposed we were going to fight him immediately.

Question. Was the spirit of the troops such as to lead you to expect a favorable result?

Answer. Yes, sir; though I saw but little of them, except our own division. Four New York regiments went up under General Sanford to re-enforce General Patterson. I was then on General Sanford’s staff. Two of those regiments, the 5th and 12th, were excellent regiments. The other two were volunteers, and one of them was an excellent regiment. The New York troops were in excellent spirits until after we made that retrograde movement towards Charlestown. They then got a little shaky and dissatisfied.

By Mr. Odell.

Question. Did not General Sanford join these four regiments with four or six Other New York regiments there?

Answer. He had more than four regiments there. I think he had about 5,000 men. These four regiments I speak of went up with him from here.

Question. Did not General Sanford then, with these four regiments, with another portion of New York troops, some who had been under him, but were then with Patterson, and which were assigned to General Sanford on his coming there ?

Answer. Yes, sir; I think so. There were some troops previously with Patterson which were assigned to General Sanford’s command.

Question. Are you cognizant of the fact that General Sanford offered to fight Johnston with these New York troops alone, if General Patterson would support him?

Answer. No, sir. General Sanford has made such a remark to me. I do not know that he made the offer to General Patterson. I do not know what occurred between General Sanford and General Patterson.

Question. My recollection is that General Sanford said to me that he offered to fight Johnston, in whatever force he might be, with the New York regiments he had, if Patterson would support him.

Answer. General Sanford was anxious to go forward, I know.

By Mr. Chandler.

Question. You understood perfectly well when you turned off to Charlestown that you relieved Johnston’s army?

Answer. Yes, sir.

By the chairman.

Question. Do you know that any reason was given for that movement?

Answer. No, sir. I never heard any explanation of it. We joined General Patterson on Wednesday morning, I think, and moved the following Monday.

By Mr. Chandler.

Question. Were you cognizant of the fact that General Patterson sent to the War Department for still further re-enforcements on or about the 20th or 21st of July, about the time of the battle of Bull Run?

Answer. No, sir; I do not know anything of General Patterson’s intercourse with the department, or what his orders were.

Question. You were not absolutely upon his staff?

Answer. Not at all.

Question. You we’re upon General Sanford’s staff?

Answer. Yes, sir.

Question. With the army under Patterson?

Answer. Yes, sir.

By Mr. Johnson:

Question. Was it understood by the officers of the division there that this battle of Bull Run was to be fought on any particular day, or at any particular time?

Answer. We supposed it was to be fought about that time, but did not know any particular day for it. We knew that it was threatening, and supposed that General Patterson’s movement upon Johnston would be at the same time, and with the view of holding him in check. And when we turned off towards Charlestown I was under the impression, without knowing anything about it, that our object was attained, and that we had held him in check as long as it was necessary.

By the chairman:

Question. What prevented your destroying the railroad Johnston came down on?

Answer. It was below Winchester. We would have had first to have beaten him.

By Mr. Chandler:

Question. If you had beaten him, then you could have done it?

Answer, Yes, sir; we could then have come down on the very road he did. Even if we had fought him and been whipped, which I very much doubt, he could not have come down here. We would have given him such a fight that he would not have been in a condition to have come down to Manassas.

By Mr. Odell:

Question. When you arrived at Charlestown the soldiers were very much infuriated against Patterson, were they not?

Answer. Some of them expressed themselves very strongly against the movement. It did not grow into any difficulty that I am aware of.

Question. Did he not have to leave?

Answer. O! no, sir. Among some of the regiments—among those three New York regiments I spoke of, and some of the others—there was a strong feeling against him expressed; but it did not rise to anything like difficulty. One of the regiments, the eleventh Indiana, under Colonel Wallace, tendered their services ten days after their time had expired, so I was told at Charlestown. The first troops that wanted to go home were Pennsylvania troops.

By Mr. Chandler:

Answer. But as long as you were going forward towards the enemy nobody wanted to go home?

Answer. Not that I know of.

Question. All the dissatisfaction among the troops occurred after you turned back?

Answer. The first I heard was at Charlestown.

By Mr. Julian:

Question. What reason was given for turning down towards Charlestown?

Answer. I never heard of any. The commanding officer gives his orders, and .never assigns any reasons.

By Mr. Chandler:

Question. And when the order was given to march at three o’clock in the morning you supposed you were to march on the enemy?

Answer. Yes, sir; I supposed so. I know that on the day I was at Bunker Hill I was out with a large party, clearing out a side-road leading towards Winchester.





SHSP – Harper’s Ferry and First Manassas

3 06 2009

Southern Historical Society Papers

Vol. XXVIII. Richmond, Va., January-December 1900, pp. 58-71

Harper’s Ferry And First Manassas

Extracts from the Diary of Captain JAMES M. GARNETT, in charge of General Reserve Ordnance Train, Army of Northern Virginia, from January, 1863, to February, 1864; and Ordnance Officer of Rodes’s (later Grimes’s) Division, 2d Corps, A. N. Va., from February, 1864, to April 9, 1865.

RESERVE ORDNANCE TRAIN, A. N. VA.,

CAMP NEAR COBHAM STATION, V. C. R. R.,

Wednesday, September 9th, 1863

Monday, April 15th, 1861, may be considered the commencement of this war for Virginia, for on that day appeared Lincoln’s proclamation for 75,000 men to “crush the rebellion,” which hurried up our old fogy Convention, and compelled their secession on Wednesday, April 17th. I was at that time at the University of Virginia, that session being my third, as I went there from the Episcopal High School of Virginia in ’57, spent sessions ’57-’8 and ’58-’9 at the University, taught ’59-’60 at Greenwood, Mr. Dinwiddie’s boarding-school in this (Albemarle) county, and returned to the University the session of ’60-’61.

This proclamation created quite a sensation at the University, raising the military enthusiasm to the highest pitch, and especially filling our two companies, the “Southern Guard,” Captain E. S. Hutter, and the “Sons of Liberty,” Captain J. Tosh, with an earnest desire to lend a hand in the defence of our State.

The taking of Harper’s Ferry was the first object that presented itself to our minds, and when, on Wednesday, Captain Duke returned from Richmond with authority to take 300 men to Harper’s Ferry, our two companies, with the “Albemarle Rifles,” Captain Duke, and the “Monticello Guards,” Captain Mallory, from Charlottesville, offered our services. We immediately got ready, and that night, when the train from Staunton, with the “West Augusta Guards,” the “Mountain Guards,” and Imboden’s Battery, from Augusta county, came along, we joined them and went on to Harper’s Ferry, taking up different volunteer companies all along the railroad, until, when we reached Strasburg about 12 o’clock Thursday, where we had to “take it afoot,” our force was quite formidable, numbering some eight or ten companies, of seventy to eighty men each, and a battery of four pieces. We marched from Strasburg to Winchester, eighteen miles, between 1 o’clock and 8, pretty good marching, considering it was our first effort; wagons were along to carry the little baggage we had, and to relieve us, but most of the men marched the whole way. We stopped in Winchester only long enough to take supper, supping at different private houses, the citizens welcoming us with lavish hospitality, tho’ some, not knowing that the movement was authorized by Governor Letcher–as it had not then been publicly made known that Virginia had seceded–thought it was a move of the self-constituted Secession Convention, which had met in Richmond on Tuesday, April 16th, and the fact of which meeting, I think, helped to hurry up our laggard Convention to do what it ought to have done two months before. I, and many others, supped that night with my friend, David Barton, Jr., who had volunteered from the University for this special service, not being a regular member of our company, the “Southern Guard.” He has since gone to his God, where wars will never trouble him more, having been killed in the first battle of Fredericksburg, December 13th, ’62.

About 9 o’clock we all started on the train for Harper’s Ferry, only thirty-two miles distant, but such was the slowness of the train and the uncertainty of the commanding officers as to what force we should find at the Ferry, that we did not reach there until 4 o’clock the next morning, about six hours after Lieutenant Jones, of the United States Army, with his handful of men, had burnt the Armory buildings and retreated towards Carlisle, Pa. We learnt that some of the Clarke and Jefferson companies had gotten in the neighborhood the evening before, in time to have taken the place and saved the buildings, arms, &c., but they also were ignorant of the force at the Ferry and delayed to attack.

It is quite amusing now to think of the way in which military affairs were conducted at Harper’s Ferry when we first went there. General William H. Harman, Brigadier-General Virginia Militia, was in command until General Kenton Harper, Major-General Virginia Militia, arrived there; these two officers were afterwards Lieutenant-Colonel and Colonel respectively of the 5th Virginia regiment. On Friday, the day we reached the Ferry, the Baltimore outbreak took place, and when we received the news we were greatly elated, but unfortunately it was merely a puff of wind, which soon died out. Then was the time, if ever, for the Marylanders to have armed and organized, and Maryland would not now be trodden down by Lincoln’s serfs, with no prospect of ever obtaining her independence.

* * * * *

We continually had alarms at the Ferry. On Saturday morning our company was turned out to attack the train, which was said to be coming down loaded with Federal troops, and about 11 o’clock that night we were roused to go up on the Loudoun heights and support Imboden’s Battery, which the enemy couldn’t have gotten at in any conceivable way except by approaching through Loudoun on Virginia soil, and the other University company, the “Sons of Liberty,” were sent across the bridge and down the railroad, just opposite this battery and ourselves, and just where we were directed to fire if the enemy came, and if our smooth-bore muskets could carry that far, which was more than doubtful.

The next morning (Sunday), we scrambled down the mountain and returned to our barracks, very much wearied, after first reporting ourselves at the “General’s Headquarters,” where an amusing little scene took place between the Acting Inspector-General, who found fault with the way in which one of the men ordered arms, and one of our lieutenants, who informed him that the company had had a drill-master. The next day we learnt that the Governor had ordered the “Charlottesville Battalion,” as our four companies under Captain George Carr (formerly of the U. S. Army) were called, to return home, and that evening we left for Winchester, where we remained all night, and went to Strasburg the next morning in wagons provided for our accommodation. I think we were rather glad on the whole that we were leaving the Ferry, though our military ardor was not quite cooled down by our “short, but arduous” campaign. We saw a little service, at all events, having been ordered out twice, in the morning and at night (and the night march was pretty severe for us), and having stood guard several times; my post was at the old burnt Armory buildings. We also saw some fun in searching the houses of Harper’s Ferry for secreted arms, a great many of which we found.

On the whole we were very much pleased with our expedition, and considered war fine fun in those days; how we have changed our opinions since!

On our return by Manassas Junction on Wednesday, April 24th (my birthday, by the way, and the day on which I attained my majority), I received permission from our Captain to go on to Alexandria, in order to pay a visit to the Episcopal High School, where my relations, Mr. McGuire’s family, resided. I created quite a sensation, with my blue flannel shirt, red collar and cuffs, black pants, white cross-belts, musket and accoutrements, and from the fact that I had been to Harper’s Ferry. After remaining there two or three days, the last time I have had an opportunity of seeing the dear old place, on Saturday I returned to the University.

Sunday, September 20th, [1863]

I have neglected this narrative for nearly a fortnight, but as today is Sunday and I have nothing to do, there being no service near, I will endeavor to continue it now.

Soon after reaching the University, our company requested the Governor, through our Captain, Ned Hutter, to accept our services, but he and General Lee, then commanding the Virginia forces, refused, saying that it was “too much good material to put in one company.” We were required to give up our Minié muskets, which we had gotten at Harper’s Ferry; so, after continuing our drills a few times more, our company disbanded, and the different members scattered themselves throughout the State and the South, entering the service in different capacities. Some received appointments in the Virginia Provisional Army, which appointments were vacated by general order about September 1st following. I applied for one of these, but before receiving it the Virginia forces were turned over to the Confederacy, and no more appointments were made; I consider it fortunate now that I didn’t get it. I determined to remain at the University till the end of the session, but in May, just before the election of Thursday, May 24th, I went home to Hanover county, desiring to vote in my own county for the Ordinance of Secession, which was at that time ratified almost unanimously by the people of the State.

The Yankees about that time raised their “hue and cry” about Union feeling in the South, and especially in Virginia, but the unanimity with which the Ordinance of Secession was ratified well shows–what we knew all along–that there was no Union feeling in the State, except in some of the Western counties, which have now still further earned our contempt by forming the Yankee “bogus” State of “West Virginia.” The Yankees have found out by this time that the farce of Union feeling in the South is played out, and have left off making a fuss about it.

After voting for secession (and for the taxation amendment too, tho’ it was against the interest of Eastern Virginia), I returned to the University, but very little studying of text-books did I do during the remainder of the session. My attention was chiefly occupied in studying Mahan’s “Field Fortification” and other works on engineering, especially the articles of the encyclopædias in the University library, as I had some idea at that time of applying for an appointment in the Confederate Engineer Corps, but I gave that out before the close of the session, and on Tuesday, July 2d (the session ended on the 4th), I left the University with the intention of joining Captain (now Brigadier-General) W. N. Pendleton’s battery, the “Rockbridge Artillery,” which some of my friends and college-mates had already joined. After remaining at home long enough to get ready, and declining to apply for an appointment in the Marine Corps, which I believe I could have gotten at that time, I left Hanover Junction with my friend Channing Page, now Captain of a battery, July 13th, for Winchester, both of us intending to join Pendleton’s battery, which we found encamped near that place.

I remained at Mrs. Barton’s a few days, and on Wednesday, July 17th, enlisted in Pendleton’s battery, in which I then had several friends, amongst others, Dave Barton (2), Holmes Boyd (3), Bob McKim (4), Liv. Massie (5), Clem. Fishburne (6), and Channing Page (7), with all of whom I had been at college the previous session, and Joe Packard (8), an old school-mate at the Episcopal High School.

I was not destined to remain quiet long after entering the service, for about midday of the day following we started on our march to Manassas to take part in the great battle which was expected to come off. Our destination was revealed to us when we had gotten a few miles from Winchester, and the announcement was received with loud cheering. After crossing the Opequan I attempted to go forward to Millwood, but was stopped by Colonel Preston, commanding the advance regiment (4th Virginia), although I had permission from my immediate commander, Captain Pendleton. How angry I was at this infringement of what I considered my rights after obtaining my Captain’s permission! but being helpless of myself, I appealed to my friend Sandy Pendleton (9), Aid to General Jackson, our Brigadier, to obtain the General’s permission for me, in which he succeeded, and I went forward, sending a message on the way to my cousins, who were staying at Mr. John E. Page’s in the neighborhood, to meet me at Millwood. They reached there soon after I did, and I remained until our battery came through, tho’ my walk–and my passion too–had given me a severe headache, and I was forced to ride in the ammunition-wagon attached to our battery, in which I crossed the Shenandoah, fortunately being thus prevented from wading, which nearly all of the men had to do. After crossing the river I rode on to Paris on the horse of Bowyer Brockenbrough (10), First Lieutenant of our battery, and a former college-mate of mine, and we slept on a porch [in Paris], sheltered from the rain which fell. Oversleeping ourselves we found that the battery had the start of us about two hours. Bowyer went on ahead, and I followed on foot until a little boy with some ladies offered me part of his horse, and in this way I reached Piedmont station, where the infantry were taking the cars. Our battery went on a mile beyond and waited there nearly all that day (Friday) for the rest of the artillery to come up, when we started about 7 o’clock P. M., and travelled until 4 A. M., rested two hours at The Plains, and reached Manassas about half-past two P. M., Saturday, July 20th.

General Johnston’s force was thought to be about 18,000 men, with five batteries, tho’ I doubt whether the infantry force was quite so large. Most of this force reached Manassas in time for the battle, General Kirby Smith’s brigade coming up while the action was going on. We slept quietly that night, tho’ our only rations were some provisions that had been sent to one of my friends, which fortunately lasted us for supper and breakfast. The next morning Joe Packard and I went to Bull Run to bathe; while there an old darkey passed, remarking that, if we knew as much as he did, we wouldn’t be there; we didn’t think much of it at the time, but his remark occurred to us afterwards.

On returning to camp we found that one of our guns was ordered to the front. I obtained permission to be assigned to this gun, and as I had the horse of a surgeon, which I had ridden down from Piedmont station, I galloped on with it, but after going a mile or two we were ordered back without having our anticipations of a fight realized. We found the whole battery hitched up and ready to go forward. The cannonading had commenced on the extreme left about 6 A. M., and was then going on. Presently we were astonished by a shot striking within twenty steps of some of us who were lying down, and ricocheting over our heads; it was fired at a party on a hill beyond us, but fell short. What an excitement this, to many of us, first shot, created. We were soon ordered to a more secure position on the roadside, the wagons being sent back towards Manassas, and with them I sent the horse that I had been riding, which was stolen at Manassas. The owner afterwards came to me about the horse and I gave him what information I had, but am ignorant whether he ever got his horse. Our position at this time was not far from Mitchell’s Ford on Bull Run, which was about the centre of our line, where there was very little fighting during the day.

We had not been long in our position near the road before General Johnston came along, riding at full speed towards the field, and spoke to Captain Pendleton, and we were immediately ordered forward at a trot, cannoneers on the caissons. We went at this speed for about three miles, till we came to the Lewis House within reach of the enemy’s shells, where we were halted for a while. Here I first saw men wounded, some severely and covered with blood, others slightly, limping to the rear. We were then but poorly supplied with ambulances, and our surgeons but poorly acquainted with their duties, so I suppose the men suffered extremely. Besides the wounded coming to the rear, some, as usual, saying we were “cut all to pieces,” here were officers rallying stragglers, staff-officers and couriers riding to and fro, reserve troops and artillery awaiting orders, and other incidents to the immediate rear of a line of battle. We did not wait long, but were soon ordered to the front. We went up through a low pine thicket, the shells hissing and screaming all around us, so that it was a miracle that some of us were not knocked off the caissons.

On reaching the top of the hill, we turned to the right and took position amongst the other artillery wherever each piece could find room enough for itself, so that our battery was scattered along the line. We were immediately in front of a piece of woods in the edge of which the brigade to which we belonged, and which that day gained for itself the sobriquet “Stonewall,” was lying, and which unfortunately received most of the shells aimed at us. On taking position we immediately unlimbered and commenced firing, and kept it up for about two hours and a half, from 12 to 2:30 P. M. How well I remember that day! Liv. Massie (11),” No. 1, sponging and ramming, Dave Moore (12), No. 4, inserting the friction primer and pulling the lanyard, Lyt. Macon (13), No. 5, not performing the duties of No. 5, as I was acting in that capacity that day, but receiving the shot from me and giving them to No. 2, assisting also to roll up the gun after each recoil, and talking all the time, Bill Brown (14),” Corporal, coolly and deliberately aiming the piece, and making almost every shot tell, and Joe Packard (15), No. 7, receiving the shot from No. 6 at the limber, advancing a short distance, and giving them to me as I went to and fro between the piece and the limber. Our little 6-pounder, which we thought more of than we would now of a 30-pounder Parrott, did good work that day. Our captain occasionally passed us, going from one piece to another to see that we were doing our duty, and shrugging his shoulders as a shell would come rather close for comfort. I saw him once or twice near our piece, conversing with him a short while, and I thought he was occupied most of the time in going up and down the line. During the action a limber chest was blown up, belonging to a piece of Stanard’s battery, on our immediate left. The wheel-horses fell as if they had been struck by lightning, and it quite astonished us for a while, tho’ it didn’t interfere with our work. The musketry fire on our left gradually grew hotter and hotter, and presently what was our surprise to receive orders for all the artillery to leave the field! We went off as rapidly as possible, feeling very doubtful as to which party would gain the day, and thinking that the withdrawal of the artillery looked badly for us–but we didn’t know.

CAMP NEAR GORDONSVILLE: [VA.]

Tuesday, December 22, 1863

I have put off writing here for some time, owing to movements of the army and absence from camp, but I will endeavor to continue now and keep up this record more regularly.

After the artillery was withdrawn to the Lewis House, the infantry became very heavily engaged, and the roll of musketry continued for more than an hour, when the enemy, much to our gratification, commenced to retreat, and the retreat became an utter rout. We had unlimbered our pieces and taken position near the Lewis House, and on the retreat of the enemy we fired a few shots at them, but the distance was almost too great for our short-range pieces, our battery then consisting only of one regulation six-pounder, two small Virginia Military Institute six-pounders, and one twelve-pounder howitzer. About this time, our President, Jefferson Davis, who had that day come up from Richmond, came on the field, and many of the battery shook hands with him, but I did not seek that honor, though standing quite near him.

I cannot describe our joy when we discovered that the enemy were actually retreating and our men were in pursuit, but our joy was not unmingled with sorrow, for we soon heard of the death of many dear friends. Soon after the retreat commenced, I heard of the death of a most intimate friend, H. Tucker Conrad, of Martinsburg, belonging to company D, 2d Virginia regiment. He was my school-mate at the Episcopal High School for two years, and my college-mate at the University of Virginia for two more, and a very dear friend. At the breaking out of the war he was a student of Divinity at the Episcopal Theological Seminary, near Alexandria, and after returning home he enlisted in the “Berkeley Border Guards,” the company from Martinsburg, belonging to the 2d Virginia regiment. He came out of Martinsburg to enlist in his country’s service while Patterson’s army was around the place, and not long after he died, as he would have wished to die, fighting for his country’s independence. His brother, Holmes A. Conrad, of the same company, was also killed that day, and almost at the same time with Tucker. I was not so well acquainted with Holmes, but Tucker I knew long and intimately, and can testify to his character and worth; a most devoted friend, a most faithful man, and a most pious Christian, he endeared himself to all who knew him, and his loss was most deeply felt.

Often have I thought of the pleasant times we have had together at school and at college. I trust that we may meet again in the world to come.

After the retreat several of our battery were sent on the field to collect and bring off captured guns and harness. This was my first view of a battle-field; men dead and wounded, scattered all around, horses dead and mangled, and others alive and wounded, arms and accoutrements strewed everywhere, and guns and caissons, some in good condition, others knocked to pieces–met our view on all sides; such scenes were new then, but they have become quite familiar since. We brought off several guns, with much harness and many blankets and overcoats, to the Lewis House, where we were camped for the night, I taking it on a caisson cover. I was awaked about daylight the next morning by the rain, but crept between the two folds of the caisson cover and slept a while longer. On awaking I saw passing several pieces of artillery, and among them a thirty-pounder Parrott piece, all of which had been captured on the retreat.

HEADQUARTERS RODES’S DIVISION

CAMP NEAR ORANGE C. H. [VA.]

March 10th, 1864

Notwithstanding my determination to continue this record regularly, I have neglected it for some time, but will continue now, writing off and on as I find leisure, for, having been lately transferred from the Reserve Ordnance Train to Major-General Rodes’s Division, I expect to be more occupied than I have heretofore been.

We spent Monday following the first battle of Manassas near the Lewis House, it raining incessantly the whole day, and none of us being able to procure any rations but hard crackers, and those only what had been captured. Fortunately one of my messmates, Joe Packard, had a jug of honey, and we lived off of honey and hard tack that day. That night, after imagining that I had found a comfortable place in a barn-loft to spend the night, I was summoned to go “on guard” for the first time in my military experience in the battery, and as Captain Pendleton wouldn’t hear to letting us off guard duty that night, I had to turn out notwithstanding the rain.

We had two posts, and Bev. Jones (16) was my companion in the relief. How it did rain! but we took it the best way we could, and, after the first relief was over, endeavored to find something to eat, but were not very successful. I frequently recall this first night “on guard,” barring my Harper’s Ferry experience, and must confess that it was almost as disagreeable as any other night I ever spent in that occupation. The next day we had some rations issued to us, and then moved back and camped near the house where General Jackson had his headquarters on the road to Manassas Station. We camped in the open field near a muddy stream, exposed to the heat of the sun and the attacks of innumerable insects, with the muddiest water to drink, and when it rained our camp was a perfect slush. Our stay at this camp produced such a vivid impression on us that we ever afterwards referred to it as “Camp Mudhole.” While at this camp, about August 3d, I obtained permission from Captain Pendleton to go up to Clarke county for three days to visit my cousins at Mr. Page’s, which furlough I spent there very pleasantly, and on returning found that the battery had moved down about one mile below Centreville on the turnpike to Fairfax Courthouse, and was camped there with the brigade (“Stonewall”) to which it was attached.

This camp was named by General Jackson “Camp Harman.” It was very pleasantly situated about one-fourth of a mile off the road, on the edge of a piece of woods, and convenient to two excellent springs. We enjoyed our stay there very much, tho’ the daily routine of camp life became very monotonous. We drilled both morning and evening, and part of the time before breakfast also, but that was soon dispensed with. We had three posts of guard duty, one at the guns and two at the horses, and each one’s turn came once in every five or six days. While here we exchanged some pieces of our battery and obtained two additional pieces, so that it was now constituted two (2) ten-pounder Parrott rifled guns, three (3) six-pounder smooth-bore guns, and one (1) twelve-pounder Howitzer; the six-pounder we retained was the one at which I served at the first battle of Manassas, which was then the third piece, but now the sixth, at which I was No. 2; this was the only piece used at the battle of Hainesville (or Falling Waters), the first skirmish that occurred in the Valley of Virginia, and this was the first piece fired in the Valley after the war commenced; it was also used in the war with Mexico and should have been preserved, but it has now, alas! been melted up to make twelve-pounder Napoleons, and so “gone the way of all flesh.”

Some more of my University friends joined the battery at this camp, among whom were Randolph Fairfax (a noble boy, afterwards killed at the first battle of Fredericksburg, December 13th, ’62), Lanty Blackford and Berkeley Minor (17). Our mess at that time consisted of about twenty-five or thirty, nearly all of the best fellows in the company, and we employed two Irishmen to cook for us, but the number being entirely too large, some of us employed a servant and organized another mess, consisting of ten of us, and ever afterwards knowne as “Mess No. 10;” it consisted of David Barton (18),” Holmes Boyd (18), Johnny Williams (19), Lyt. Macon (18), Lanty Blackford (20), Randolph Fairfax (21), Kinloch (22) and Philip Nelson(23), Bev. Jones (18), Ned Alexander (24), and myself (25). This was one more than the number, but Kinloch Nelson was sick for some time and we took Lanty Blackford in his place.

NOTES

1. Rev. William N. Pendleton, D. D., a West-Pointer, Rector of the Episcopal church in Lexington, Va.; soon appointed Colonel and Chief of Artillery of General Johnston’s army, and later Brigadier-General and Chief of Artillery of General Lee’s Army of Northern Virginia.

2. David R. Barton, Jr., of Winchester, Va., later appointed Lieutenant in Cutshaw’s Battery, and killed, as above stated, at Fredericksburg, December 13th, 1862.

3. E. Holmes Boyd, of Winchester, Va., later, September, 1863, appointed Lieutenant and Ordnance Officer of Brigadier-General J. M. Jones’s Brigade; now (1900) attorney-at-law in Winchester, Va.

4. Robert B. McKim, of Baltimore, Md., killed in the battle of Winchester, May 25th, 1862.

5. J. Livingston Massie, of Augusta county, Va., later Captain of Massie’s Battery, and killed September 24th, 1864, on General Early’s retreat, near the junction of the Valley turnpike and the Keezeltown road.

6. Clement D. Fishburne, of Augusta county, Va., later appointed Lieutenant and Ordnance Officer of Cabell’s Battalion of Artillery; now (1900) Cashier of the Bank of Albemarle, Charlottesville Va.; author of a “Sketch of the Rockbridge Artillery,” in Vol. XXIII, of Southern Historical Society Papers.

7. R. Channing M. Page, of Albemarle county, Va., later Captain of Page’s Battery and Major of a Battalion of Artillery; physician in New York city; died a few years ago.

8. Joseph Packard, Jr., of Fairfax county, Va., later Lieutenant and assistant in charge of General Reserve Ordnance Train, A. N. Va.; now (1900) attorney-at-law and President of the School Board of Baltimore, Md.

9. Alexander S. Pendleton, of Lexington, Va., son of General W. N. Pendleton, Aid-de-Camp to General T. J. Jackson, and later Lieutenant-Colonel and Adjutant-General of 2d corps, A. N. Va.; killed near Fisher’s Hill, September 22d, 1864, on General Early’s retreat.

10. J. Bowyer Brockenbrough, of Lexington, Va., later Captain of the Baltimore Light Artillery, promoted Major; still living (1900).

11. See note 5.

12. David E. Moore, Jr., of Lexington, Va., later Sergeant in the Rockbridge Artillery; now (1900) attorney-at-law in Lexington, Va.

13. Lyttleton S. Macon, of Albemarle county, Va., later Sergeant in the Rockbridge Artillery; sheriff of Albemarle county, Va.; now (1900) farming in Albemarle county, Va.

14. William M. Brown, of Rockbridge county, Va., later Lieutenant of the Rockbridge Artillery; now deceased.

15. See note 8.

16.Beverley R. Jones, of Frederick county, Va., now (1900) farming in Frederick county, Va.,

17. C. N. Berkeley Minor, of Hanover county, Va., later Lieutenant in the 1st Regiment of Engineers, and now (1900) Professor in the Virginia Female Institute at Staunton, Va.

18. See notes 2, 3, 13 and 16.
19. John J. Williams, of Winchester, Va., later Sergeant in Chew’s Battery of horse artillery; attorney-at-law and Mayor of Winchester, Va.; Commander of the Grand Camp, C. V., of Virginia; died in Baltimore, Md., October, 1899.

20. Launcelot M. Blackford, of Lynchburg, Va., later Lieutenant and Adjutant of the 24th Virginia Regiment; now (1900),and for thirty years past, Principal of the Episcopal High School of Virginia.

21. Randolph Fairfax, of Alexandria, Va., killed, as stated above, at Fredericksburg, Va., December 13th, 1862.

22. Kinloch Nelson, of Clarke county, Va., later Lieutenant and Ordnance Officer of Kemper’s Brigade, Pickett’s Division; Professor in the Episcopal Theological Seminary of Virginia; died a few years ago.

23. Philip Nelson, of Clarke county, Va., later Lieutenant in the 2d Virginia Regiment of infantry, “Stonewall Brigade;” now (1900) Superintendent of Schools of Albemarle county, Va.

24. “Edgar S. Alexander, of Moorefield, Hardy county, Va. I have not been able to trace the career of Ned Alexander.

25. James M. Garnett, of Hanover county, Va., later Second Lieutenant, C. S. A., and Chief of Ordnance of the Valley District; first Lieutenant, P. A. C. S., and Ordnance Officer of the “Stonewall Brigade,” and Acting Ordnance Officer of Jackson’s Division; Captain in charge of General Reserve Ordnance Train, A. N. Va., and lastly Ordnance Officer of Rodes’s (later Grimes’s) Division, 2d Corps, A. N. Va.; now (1900) teaching in Baltimore, Md.








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