More on the Army of Northeastern Virginia

19 01 2007

In response to my post about the origin of the name Army of Northeastern Virginia, blogger David Woodbury commented:

It’s not much, but when A. Porter submitted Ambrose Burnside’s report, he refers to Burnside’s command as the Second Brigade, Second Division, Army of Northeastern Virginia. Series I, vol. 2, p. 395.

After a quick check of the OR’s, I responded:

As for the report of Porter: that’s Andrew Porter, First Brigade commander of Hunter’s Division who took over command of the division when Hunter was wounded. He does mention the name of the army, but this cover letter to Burnside’s report was not written until August 19, while Burnside’s report itself was sent from Hdqrs. Second Brigade, Second Division, Major [!!!] General McDowell’s Column and dated July 24. Porter’s own report on page 383 refers to the First Brigade, Second Division, of the Army. It was written on July 25. If anything, this probably supports the ex post facto origins of the Army of Northeastern Virginia.

David’s post last year about McDowell’s misspelled headstone played some role in feeding my interest in First Bull Run.  Thanks for that, David, and thanks for taking the time to comment here.





What’s in a Name?

12 01 2007

Interesting.  I’ve received not one comment regarding the misspelling of McDowell’s name on his headstone.

A note regarding the Union OOB:  I can’t find any documentation of the existence of a Union Army of Northeastern Virginia.  This is the name typically used for McDowell’s army at Bull Run.  The Department of Northeastern Virginia was created on 5/28/1861 from part of the Department of the East with boundaries enclosing Virginia east of the Allegheny Mountains and north of the James River with the exception of a sixty mile radius around Fort Monroe.  It was commanded by McDowell until 7/25/1861 when it was attached to the Military Division of the Potomac; it was merged with the Department of the Potomac on 8/17/1861 (see Eicher and Eicher, Civil War High Commands, p 837).  But none of the reports or correspondence from First Bull Run reference an Army of Northeastern Virginia – instead they refer to the Department or simply “McDowell’s Corps.”  The moniker appears to be an after the fact creation, and that is the story I’m sticking with unless you can prove otherwise!