Maj. Gen. Robert E. Lee to Col. Eppa Hunton on Damaging Loudoun and Hampshire Railroad and Command Changes

21 12 2020

CORRESPONDENCE, ORDERS, AND RETURNS RELATING TO OPERATIONS IN MARYLAND, PENNSYLVANIA, VIRGINIA, AND WEST VIRGINIA FROM APRIL 16 TO JULY 31, 1861

CORRESPONDENCE, ETC. – CONFEDERATE

O. R. – Series I – VOLUME 2 [S #2] CHAPTER IX, p. 917

Headquarters Virginia Forces,
Richmond, Fa., June 10,1861.

Col. Eppa Hunton, Commanding, Leesburg, Va.:

Colonel: Your letter of the 8th instant has been received, and it is hoped that you have accomplished the destruction of the bridges upon the Loudoun and Hampshire Railroad, and otherwise rendered the road unserviceable to the enemy. Unless any of the rolling stock can be transferred to the Orange or Manassas Railroad, it must be destroyed immediately. Should it not already be demolished, the gondola and flats must not be permitted to fall into the hands of the enemy.

Lieut. Col. C. C. Cocke has been ordered to duty with your regiment. General G. T. Beauregard is in command of all the forces in Prince William, Fairfax, and Loudoun, through whom you should make your reports, and from whom you will receive instructions. Your letter of the 8th has been referred to him for his information and action. It is necessary to destroy the navigation of the Chesapeake and Ohio Canal, to prevent its being used by the enemy, and you will take measures to do so effectually, by cutting the dams at Seneca and Edwards Ferry, and blowing up the Monocacy Aqueduct.

Respectfully, your obedient servant,

R. E. LEE,
General, Commanding.





Brig. Gen. Milledge L. Bonham to Maj. Gen. Robert E. Lee on Destroying Bridges on Loudoun & Hampshire Railroad

9 12 2020

CORRESPONDENCE, ORDERS, AND RETURNS RELATING TO OPERATIONS IN MARYLAND, PENNSYLVANIA, VIRGINIA, AND WEST VIRGINIA FROM APRIL 16 TO JULY 31, 1861

REPORTS, ETC. – CONFEDERATE

O. R. – Series I – VOLUME 2 [S #2] CHAPTER IX, p. 42

No. 5. Reports of Brig. Gen. M. L. Bonham, C. S. Army, commanding at Manassas, Va.

Manassas, Va., May 24, 1861.

Dispatch received.* Colonel Terrett says two troops of cavalry crossed the Chain Bridge about 12 o’clock in the night. I have ordered some dragoons of Captain Green’s company to burn the bridges as soon as practicable. Will immediately send your dispatch to Colonel Hunton, however, who I hope has already accomplished the object. If you can, send some good artillerist and an engineer.

M. L. BONHAM.

General Lee.

*Of same date. See “Correspondence, etc.,” post.

[Filed here as Official Correspondence, but in the Official Records as Reports.]





Maj. Gen. Robert E. Lee to Brig. Gen. Milledge L. Bonham on Destroying Bridges on Loudoun & Hampshire Railroad

8 12 2020

CORRESPONDENCE, ORDERS, AND RETURNS RELATING TO OPERATIONS IN MARYLAND, PENNSYLVANIA, VIRGINIA, AND WEST VIRGINIA FROM APRIL 16 TO JULY 31, 1861

CORRESPONDENCE, ETC. – CONFEDERATE

O. R. – Series I – VOLUME 2 [S #2] CHAPTER IX, p. 872

Richmond, Va., May 24, 1861.

General Bonham, Manassas Junction, Va.:

Send an express to Colonel Hunton, at Leesburg, to destroy all the bridges of the Loudoun and Hampshire Railroad as far down towards Alexandria as possible, and to keep you and General Johnston advised of the movements of the enemy towards Harper’s Ferry.

R. E. LEE,
Major-General, Commanding.





McDowell Reports on Loudoun and Hampshire Road Reconnaissance

14 10 2020

CORRESPONDENCE, ORDERS, AND RETURNS RELATING TO OPERATIONS IN MARYLAND, PENNSYLVANIA, VIRGINIA, AND WEST VIRGINIA FROM APRIL 16 TO JULY 31, 1861

CORRESPONDENCE, ETC. – UNION

O. R. – Series I – VOLUME 2 [S #2] CHAPTER IX, p. 695

Hdqrs. Department Northeastern Virginia,
Arlington, Va., June 17, 1861.

Lieut. Col. E. D. Townsend,
Asst. Adjt. Gen., Hdqrs. of the Army, Washington, D. C.:

Colonel: Brigadier-General Tyler, with part of the Connecticut regiment, made, agreeably to instructions, a reconnaissance up the Loudoun and Hampshire Road as far as Vienna. He found all the bridges and the road in good order. All the rolling stock of the road between Vienna and Leesburg he reports as having been burned, to prevent it falling into our hands. One of the sleepers, which had been set on fire by the droppings of the locomotive, gave rise to the report from the telegraph station near Arlington Mills that the bridges had been set on fire and were burning, and that General Tyler was beyond them.

Whilst near Falls Church one of the Connecticut regiment, Private George Bigbee, Captain Comstock’s company, was wounded in the shoulder by a shot from the roadside. The man suspected of having fired it was captured, and is in jail in Alexandria.

It is reported re-enforcements have been sent from Manassas to Fairfax Court-House.

I have the honor to be, colonel, very respectfully, your most obedient servant,

IRVIN MCDOWELL,
Brigadier-General, Commanding.





Recap: Loudoun County Civil War Roundtable

30 03 2020

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Obligatory pre-presentation selfie in the basement of the Thomas Balch Library, Leesburg, VA, Loudoun County Civil War Roundtable, 3/10/2020

This past March 10, in a time I now refer to as “Fo da quo,” (before the quarantine), I delivered a program on McDowell’s Plan for First Bull Run to the good folks at the Loudoun County Civil War Round Table in the Thomas Balch Library in Leesburg, VA. I’ve spoken there before, but despite that still managed to draw about 30 folks out amidst the threat of the Coronavirus. I saw a few familiar faces, and thanks to them for coming out.

I’d like to say things went great, but they did not. With about a half hour to go in my hour long spiel I got the signal to finish things up in 15 minutes. Apparently the library wanted us out. No one to blame, but I rushed through to finish, and ended up leaving a lot of stuff out (the presentation is a process – it requires a lot of back story and some get-your-mind-righting). I stuck around on the porch outside the library as long as anyone had questions, which turned out to be about 20 minutes of good talk. The good news is that I think I’ve been able to streamline the presentation as a result. I’m tentatively giving the presentation in Charleston, SC in May at the Fort Sumter Civil War Round Table. And again in January 2021 in Frederick, MD at the Frederick Civil War Round Table.

Thanks to the LCCWRT for having me. And thanks, too, for this:

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Helpful hints in the restroom at the Thomas Balch Library..





Loudoun County Civil War Roundtable

13 07 2011

On June 14, 2011 I was privileged to speak to the Loudoun County Civil War Roundtable in the Thomas Balch Library, Leesburg, Virginia. About fifty or so folks gathered for my presentation The First Shot at Bull Run: Peter Conover Hains Remembers.

This is a first-rate group and venue. Unfortunately I ran long once again and didn’t have time for Q&A, though a few folks did approach me afterwards with some good inquiries. My thanks to president Bill Wilkin, VP Cecil Jones, Secretary Dwight Bower, Treasurer Gary Mester and Program Chairman Chris Custode, as well as board member Craig Swain who helped book me, and board member Jim Morgan who graciously introduced me. My son and I had a great time.

Thanks also to the good folks at the Weider History Group, who hosted my son and me for lunch the next day and gave us a tour of their Leesburg offices.

Craig also made a video recording of the whole presentation and posted it to YouTube in six parts. The first segment is posted below. You can find all six parts here.





Col. Eppa Hunton to Col. Thomas Jordan on Provisions and Ammunition in Georgetown and Local Request for Reinforcements

20 12 2020

CORRESPONDENCE, ORDERS, AND RETURNS RELATING TO OPERATIONS IN MARYLAND, PENNSYLVANIA, VIRGINIA, AND WEST VIRGINIA FROM APRIL 16 TO JULY 31, 1861

CORRESPONDENCE, ETC. – CONFEDERATE

O. R. – Series I – VOLUME 2 [S #2] CHAPTER IX, pp. 915-916

Camp Mason, Leesburg, June 9, 1861.

Lieut. Col. Thos. Jordan, Acting Assistant Adjutant-General:

Sir: Inclosed please find a memorial from a committee on behalf of the citizens of this county, asking for additional forces for the defense of this point. If it is the design of the military authorities to defend this portion of Virginia, then it is very important that additional forces should be concentrated here. I feel very sensibly the importance of this fertile country to the subsistence department of our army and that of the enemy. Besides, if a good force be placed here, it will cut off the enemy from one of the routes to Harper’s Ferry. I earnestly second the wishes of the petitioners, and ask that at least twenty-five hundred men be sent here.

I have just learned from reliable information that there are ten canal-boats in Georgetown loaded with provisions and ammunition. I am assured from a clergyman who has been across the river that this information is reliable. With the additional force asked for we would probably be able to cut to pieces any force that they may send up, under the impression that we have only a few hundred men here. Send the force asked for if the exigencies of the service will allow it.

I have no information of any movement of the enemy on this side the river.

Your dispatch was received to-day in regard to tearing up railroad and burning the ties. Will you inform me whether I am to put the troops here at that work and stop their drill ? The guard duty here is very heavy, and if a force has to be detailed for the purpose indicated it will break up our drill, which is very important to our raw, undisciplined troops. Your orders shall be obeyed.

Very respectfully,

EPPA HUNTON,
Colonel, Commanding.

[Inclosure.]

Leesburg, Va., June 9, 1861.

Col. Eppa Hunton:

The undersigned, a committee in behalf of the citizens of Loudoun County, respectfully represent that it is our impression, in which we believe you concur, that the military force at Camp Mason, under your command, is totally inadequate to the protection and defense of this portion of the State of Virginia, which we are assured is attractive to the enemy, for the following reasons:

1st. We border upon the Potomac River, which forms our boundary for thirty miles, upon which there are not less than thirteen fords and ferries. Leesburg, the county seat, is within four miles of the nearest crossing. We are within thirty miles of Washington City, whence we can be approached by the Chesapeake and Ohio Canal, which runs parallel with the Potomac River, and by the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad at the Point of Rocks.

2d. We are a large wheat and corn growing country, with heavy crops of the former now nearly matured. There are not less than twenty thousand cattle now being grazed in the county, a large proportion of which are fat and ready for market, and at least one thousand of these are upon the flats of the river. This is exclusive of the dairy stock, hogs, sheep, &c. There are large amounts of flour, bacon, and grain of last year’s growth. A very important item must not be omitted; that is, a large stock of the finest horses, suited to cavalry and artillery service.

We deem it well worthy of serious consideration that there is a large Union element in Loudoun, and that it is the policy of the Federal administration to intervene in their behalf. In view of these considerations, and of the fact that the Federal papers have frequently spoken of Leesburg as an eligible position for a camp for the Federal forces, by reason of its healthfulness and the productiveness of the surrounding country, we feel it highly important that a force of troops shall be immediately stationed here sufficient to successfully repel invasion, and respectfully beg that you will exert your influence to attain this end.

Respectfully,

THO. W. EDWARDS ET AL.





Brig. Gen. Joseph E. Johnston to Maj. Gen. Robert E. Lee, Asking for Clarification of the Role of His Command

18 12 2020

CORRESPONDENCE, ORDERS, AND RETURNS RELATING TO OPERATIONS IN MARYLAND, PENNSYLVANIA, VIRGINIA, AND WEST VIRGINIA FROM APRIL 16 TO JULY 31, 1861

CORRESPONDENCE, ETC. – CONFEDERATE

O. R. – Series I – VOLUME 2 [S #2] CHAPTER IX, pp. 907-908

Headquarters,
Harper’s Ferry, Va., June 6,1861.

General R. E. Lee,
Commander-in-chief, Richmond, Va.:

General: I had the honor to receive your letter of the 3d instant by the last mail. My object in writing each of the several communications in relation to this command was to ascertain exactly the manner in which the Government wishes it to be used, no instructions having been given to me. Do these troops constitute a garrison or a corps of observation ? If the former (which your letter of the 3d implies somewhat), it is to be considered that our only defensible position has a front of nearly two miles; that the supply of ammunition is not more than sufficient to repel one vigorous assault, and that the position could not then be evacuated, as the enemy would be nearer than ourselves to the only line of retreat—that through Loudoun. If as a corps of observation, it will have a task which the best troops would find difficult, for the enemy north of us can find crossing places too numerous for this force even to observe, and, while watching them, it is likely to be cut off by the troops from Ohio, who you know are commanded by a man of great ability. The operations of these troops and those from Pennsylvania will no doubt be combined. A retreat from the presence of an enemy is the most difficult of military operations to the best troops. To very new ones it is impossible. It would very soon become a flight.

You say that “the abandonment of Harper’s Ferry would be depressing to the cause of the South.” Would not the loss of five or six thousand men be more so ? And, if they remain here, they must be captured or destroyed very soon after General McClellan’s arrival in the valley. Might it not be better (after the troops here have delayed the enemy as long by their presence as they prudently can) to transfer them to some point where they may still be useful?

We have, according to the statement of the Master of Ordnance, about forty rounds of ammunition, besides eighty-two thousand five hundred cartridges, just received, which makes an addition of about four rounds, as there are with them but twenty-two thousand five hundred caps.

Notice of the arrival of the Tennessee regiment in Winchester is just received. The colonel informs me that they are without percussion caps.

Our troops are not equipped for a campaign. More than two regiments are without cartridge-boxes. Most of them having traveled by railroad, use trunks and valises, instead of knapsacks, and few are provided with shoes fit for marching.

With money I could have obtained more caps probably. I have not thought it worth while to provide a supply of provisions out of proportion to that of ammunition.

I offer these opinions for what they are worth, thinking it my duty to present them to you, and being anxious to conform closely to whatever general plan of operations has been determined upon. I beg you, therefore, to let me understand my position.

Most respectfully, your obedient servant,

J. E. JOHNSTON,
Brigadier-General, C. S. Army.





Special Orders #39 & #95 – Limits of Command of Brig. Gen. Milledge L. Bonham

12 12 2020

CORRESPONDENCE, ORDERS, AND RETURNS RELATING TO OPERATIONS IN MARYLAND, PENNSYLVANIA, VIRGINIA, AND WEST VIRGINIA FROM APRIL 16 TO JULY 31, 1861

CORRESPONDENCE, ETC. – CONFEDERATE

O. R. – Series I – VOLUME 2 [S #2] CHAPTER IX, pp. 879-880

Headquarters Virginia Forces,
Richmond, Va., May 26, 1861.

Brig. Gen. M. L. Bonham,
Commanding, &c., Manassas Junction, Va.:

Sir: In reply to your inquiries of the 24th instant, I inclose a copy of Special Orders, No. 39, of the 10th instant, which, with Special Orders, No. 95, of the 21st instant, and the schedule to the governor’s proclamation of the 3d instant, contain all orders that have been issued in relation to the limits of your command. Special Orders, No. 95, gave you control of the troops at Culpeper Court-House, and, of course, of Colonel Ewell with them. On inquiry at the Exchange, I am informed that the u return ” of troops on the Alexandria line has been forwarded to you. The commanding general desires to be informed, as early as practicable, of the exact extent to which the Loudoun and Hampshire Railroad has been destroyed in the direction of Alexandria.

I am, &c.,

R. S. GARNETT, Adjutant- General.

[Inclosures.]

Special Orders,
No. 39.

Headquarters Virginia Forces,
Richmond, Va., May 10, 1861.


II. Col. G. H. Terrett, of the Provisional Army of Virginia, will take charge of the troops from the counties of Alexandria, Fairfax, Loudoun, Prince William, and Fauquier, and the defense of those counties.

III. Col. P. St. George Cocke, Virginia Volunteers, will retain his headquarters at or near Culpeper Court-House, and organize into regiments as fast as possible the troops called out from the counties of Rappahannock, Culpeper, Madison, Greene, Orange, Albemarle, Nelson, Amherst, Campbell, Bedford, Roanoke, Botetourt, and Craig, assigning to their command the field officers placed at his disposal. He will direct the commands of Cols. S. Garland and J. F. Preston to repair to Manassas Junction and report for duty to Colonel Terrett.


By order of Major-General Lee:

R. S. GARNETT.

Special Orders,
No. 95.

Headquarters Virginia Forces,
Richmond, Va., May 21, 1861.

I. Brig. Gen. M. L. Bonham, of the C. S. Army, is assigned to the command of the troops on the line to Alexandria. He will post his brigade of South Carolina volunteers at the Manassas Junction, and establish his headquarters at that point or in advance, as he may find necessary. He will be guided by the instructions given to Col. George H. Terrett, commanding at Alexandria, and to Col. P. St. George Cocke, at Culpeper Court-House, whose commands are embraced within his district, and are put under his control.


By order of Major-General Lee:

R. S. GARNETT,
Adjutant-General.





#1 – Brig. Gen. Irvin McDowell

11 12 2020

Report of Brig. Gen. Irvin McDowell, U. S. Army. [On the Action at Vienna, June 17, 1861]

O.R.– SERIES I–VOLUME 2 [S# 2] — CHAPTER IX, pp 124-125

Headquarters Department Northeastern Virginia,
Arlington, June 18, 1861.

I have the honor to inclose a copy of my written instructions to General Schenck, under which his movement was made yesterday afternoon. The point to which it was intended the regiment should go by train, and establish itself for the twenty-four hours, had been occupied, for the day before, by the Sixty-ninth New York Regiment, under Colonel Hunter, commanding the brigade. The latter regiment had been sent there, on the return of General Tyler from his reconnaissance up the road, as an advance guard and a protection to the road, which had been repaired in anticipation of the demonstration I was to make on the notification of the General-in-Chief in favor of the attack on Harper’s Ferry. It is said the attack on the Ohio regiment was made by the South Carolinians. If so, they must have been moved forward from Centreville, where they have been stationed for some time past. This would seem to indicate that the reports of an advance of troops to their posts in front of this position are well founded. I have asked if it would accord with the plans of the General-in-Chief that a movement be made in force in the direction of Vienna, near which the attack was made. I learn from a reliable source that the force at Fairfax Court-House has been increased. Had the attack not been made, I would not suggest this advance at this time; but now that it has, I think it would not be well for us to seem even to withdraw. General Schenck applies for permission to send a flag of truce to Vienna to bury his dead and care for his wounded. I do not think this necessary for either purpose, but think the morale of the troops would be increased if they went over the ground again with arms in their hands. The distance by turnpike from Falls Church to Vienna is about six miles.

General Tyler, who is in advance, sends me word that he sees the country as far as Falls Church. No signs of any movement. He wants no more troops than he has, unless it is intended to hold permanently the position he occupies.

I have the honor to be, very respectfully, your obedient servant,

Irvin McDowell,
Brigadier General, Commanding.

Lieut. Col. E. D. Townsend,
Assistant Adjutant-General, Headquarters Army, Washington.

[Inclosure.]

Headquarters Department Northeastern Virginia,
Arlington, June 17, 1861.

Brigadier-General Schenck, Commanding Ohio Brigade:

Sir: The general commanding directs that you send one of the regiments of your command, on a train of cars, up the Loudoun and Hampshire Railroad to the point where it crosses the wagon-road running from Fort Corcoran, opposite Georgetown, southerly into Virginia.

The regiment, being established at that point, will, by suitable patrols, feel the way along the road towards Falls Church and Vienna, moving, however, with caution, and making it a special duty to guard effectually the railroad bridges and to look to the track. The regiment will go supplied for a tour of duty of twenty-four hours, and will move on the arrival at your camp of a train of cars ordered for that purpose, and will relieve all the troops of Colonel Hunter’s brigade now guarding the line.

I am, sir, very respectfully, your obedient servant,

JAMES B. FRY,
Assistant Adjutant-General.