#122 – Capt. E. P. Alexander

15 08 2008

Return of Captures and Abstract of Prisoners Taken

O.R.– SERIES I–VOLUME 2 [S# 2] — CHAPTER IX, p. 571

HDQRS. FIRST CORPS, FAIRFAX COURT-HOUSE,

October 12, 1861

Return of captured ordnance and ordnance stores turned in to the Ordnance Department, Army of the Potomac, up to August 16, 1861:

One 30-pounder Parrott gun, with 300 rounds of ammunition; 9 10-pounder Parrott guns, with 100 rounds of ammunition each; 3 6-pounder brass guns, with 100 rounds of ammunition each; 3 12-pounder brass howitzers, with 100 rounds of ammunition each; 2 12-pounder boat howitzers, with 100 rounds of ammunition each; 9 James rifled, with 100 rounds of ammunition each, field pieces; 37 caissons; 6 traveling forges; 4 battery wagons, splendidly equipped; 64 artillery horses, with harness; 500,000 rounds small-arm ammunition; 4,500 sets of accouterments, cartridge boxes, &c.; 4,000 muskets.

No accurate return of drums, swords, pistols, knapsacks, canteens, bridles, &c., can be obtained. One 6-pounder gun and one 12-pounder howitzer were found spiked, but they were easily withdrawn. One of the enemy’s caissons exploded in the field in addition to those captured.

Hospital equipments turned in up to August 16, 1861-5 medicine chests, partially filled; 6 cases surgical instruments; two sets of panniers, 7 ambulances.

Returns of litters, instruments, supplies, &c., are all very incomplete, so much having been appropriated by surgeons of regiments, &c., besides the loss from plundering by privates and citizens.

Quartermaster’s stores turned in up to August 16, 1861:870 axes, spades, and intrenching tools; 2 sets carpenters’ and blacksmiths’ tools; 12 sets harness; 23 extra traces for artillery; 7 platform and other scales; 1,650 camp cooking utensils; 2,700 camp mess utensils; 302 pairs pantaloons, drawers, and socks; 700 blankets; 22 tents and flies; 21 wagons, 33 horses, 25 trunks and carpet-bags; 1 coil of rope.

Incomplete returns of many miscellaneous articles, such as bed-ticks, buckets, coffee-mills, halters, picket-pins, saddles and bridles, ten barrels commissary stores, and a few handcuffs left from a large lot captured, but carried off by individuals as trophies.

Abstract of prisoners and wounded of enemy sent to Richmond and the hospitals at other places since July 21, 1861: Prisoners not wounded sent to Richmond, 871; prisoners wounded sent to hospitals, 550. Total, 1,421.

These prisoners represent themselves as belonging to 47 different volunteer regiments, 9 regiments of Regular Army, and the Marine Corps. Besides these regiments, in the reports and orders of the enemy are mentioned by name one regiment of volunteers and companies from two regiments of regulars in Hunter’s division, six volunteer regiments in Miles’ division, and Runyon’s entire division of at least five regiments from New Jersey, from which we have neither prisoners nor wounded, giving as his entire force fifty-nine volunteer regiments and detached companies and battalions from marines and eleven regular regiments. From the most reliable data his volunteer regiments averaged 900 men each, making in all 63,000 men.

E. P. ALEXANDER,

Captain Engineers, General Staff





#114 – Capt. John D. Alexander

29 06 2008

 

Report of Capt. John D. Alexander, Commanding Campbell Rangers

O.R.– SERIES I–VOLUME 2 [S# 2] — CHAPTER IX, pp. 564-565

CAMP NEAR STONE BRIDGE, July, 1861

SIR: In obedience to your orders, on the morning of the 21st instant I reported with my company of cavalry to Major Wheat, who had been thrown forward with his battalion, and occupied a position upon our extreme left in the immediate vicinity of the enemy. By command of Major Wheat, I forthwith proceeded with my whole company to the front for the purpose of reconnoitering, and advanced in close proximity to the enemy’s lines. Having ascertained as precisely as possible his progress and position, I returned and reported the same to Major Wheat. I then by his direction took position a short distance in rear of his left wing, and held my command in reserve, ready to take advantage of any confusion in the enemy’s ranks or to perform any service that might be required. This post I occupied until Major Wheat’s command, with the Fourth South Carolina Regiment, under Colonel Sloan, having gallantly maintained the action for a considerable time, was forced at length to retire before the overwhelming numbers of the enemy and tremendous fire of his batteries. I fell back slowly and without the slightest confusion before the advancing line of the enemy, halting at short intervals and every available point, and holding my company ready for instant service. In this manner I retired, along with Captain Terry’s company, until we fell in with Colonel Radford’s command near Lewis’ house. Major Wheat having fallen from a severe wound received by him early in the action, I joined Colonel Radford’s battalion of cavalry and remained with him the rest of the day.

After the enemy was repulsed and forced back upon our left we received orders with Colonel Radford’s battalion to make a circuit of several miles to our right for the purpose of charging and intercepting the enemy on the turnpike in the direction of Centreville upon their retreat. This order was received by our men with enthusiasm, they having remained the whole day patiently under the enemy’s fire. We came out into the turnpike near the White House, about two miles from the stone bridge. Near this house, and about three hundred yards in rear of the point where we came into the turnpike, the enemy had planted a battery so as to command the road, and in the woods adjacent to the road on either side of the battery they were posted in considerable force. On the opposite side of the road the enemy was retreating rapidly and in great numbers. A portion of the battalion, and among them my company, charged up the turnpike towards the battery, when a tremendous fire was opened upon us from the battery, and also from the whole force stationed in its vicinity. By this fire I lost several horses, but no men. This was the last stand made by the enemy. After they were broken here the rout became general and irresistible. Some of my men joined in the pursuit and became somewhat scattered, but were all collected that night and reported to you the next morning at these headquarters.

I should perhaps mention in appropriate terms the conduct of the officers and men under my command. From the commencement of the action in the morning until late in the evening they were under the enemy’s fire and within point-blank range of their batteries, and at times almost enveloped in their musketry. They remained firm and unshaken, exhibiting an anxiety only to meet the enemy, and awaiting patiently an opportunity to strike an effective blow. I am gratified to inform you that my officers and men all escaped without personal injury. I received a slight wound in my leg, which did not disable me, and in the charge upon the enemy in the evening at the turnpike, which I have mentioned, Lieutenant Page’s horse was shot, and fell dead while in his proper place at the head of the company. During the day we lost four other horses either killed or permanently disabled. I commend the conduct of all my officers and men to your favorable consideration. It gives me pleasure to inform you that my company is now ready to take the field again and to perform effective service.

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

JOHN D. ALEXANDER,

Captain of Campbell Rangers

Brig. Gen. N. G. EVANS





Preview: Chernow, “Grant”

11 10 2017

51SNaH1F--L I received in the mail via Amazon yesterday the highly anticipated (in some quarters) biography of Ulysses Grant by Pulitzer Prize winning author Ron Chernow, titled Grant (where does this guy get off not giving us a colon and an all-encompassing subtitle?). Let’s start off by saying this giant (but not so giant as one might think) volume falls into the category of pop history. That is, the author has no established bonafides as an expert on Grant or his times. Chernow, as everyone not living under a rock knows, is the author of the best selling Alexander Hamilton, which inspired the prize winning Broadway musical Hamilton. He has also authored biographies of George Washington, John D. Rockefeller, and J. P. Morgan. Now, we can see some overlap with Washington/Hamilton and Morgan/Rockefeller, right? But on the face of it, it looks like Chernow has entered that period of American history which we like to call home a little, well, cold. So, what we have here is an established, acclaimed, fine writer (I have read Hamilton) stepping into what looks to us (you regular readers of this blog, and blogs like it) like unknown territory. But believe me, it doesn’t look like that to the other 99%, the people to whom this book is marketed. Chernow, to them, is an expert on American History. Period. So this sucker is gonna sell a lot of copies (it is already, on its release date, stacked up for sale in Costcos across the nation – at a price below the “pre-order discounted” price I got from Amazon). And it may well win Chernow another prize. But I’ve written about this phenomenon before, that is, how too much experience with one topic can “unfit” us for the carefree consumption of popular histories. Read that again here if you haven’t already. Really, go read it. I’ll wait. Then, come back to this and I’ll give you the lowdown on Grant, preview-wise.

So, just what do you get with Grant? Well, you get a lot of pages. 959 pages of narrative, to be precise. But don’t be too intimidated. The spacing isn’t too tight and the font is not too small. It will read faster than that. There are also 53 pages of tightly printed “normal” endnotes, not the abbreviated, worthless ones favored by the big publishing houses these days. And there IS a bibliography, another nice surprise in this day of cost cutting. Read any of the advance reviews on this book and you’re  likely to see references to Chernow’s  extensive research (NY Times: “Chernow likes extreme research”; USA Today: “Chernow’s exhaustive research”; Washington Post [T. J. Stiles, no less, refer to my earlier piece you were supposed to re-read]: “strong research”). OK, let’s check that out.

The bibliography is about 10.5 pages long. Six pages of published books, and 4.5 pages of published articles. No MSS sources are listed in the bibliography, but at the beginning of the notes there are abbreviations for what looks like 23 manuscript sources (you know, unpublished papers, letters, etc…) No newspaper collections are identified, but I do see newspaper articles listed in the bibliography. I gotta tell you, the fact that these sources were not listed where I expected to find them (in the bibliography) gave me a jolt.

Sometimes I have little tests. They’re my tests, and they don’t necessarily indicate anything to anyone but me. For instance, when I pick up any book about the Maryland Campaign, I go straight to the bits about S. O. 191 to see if the work cites recent scholarship (this is probably the biggest change in the interpretation of the campaign in the past 20 years, and to ignore it is folly). For Grant, I check to see if the author mentions his relationship with local Pittsburgh boy Alexander Hays (with whom by many accounts Grant had a close personal relationship). Take Ronald C. White’s American Ulysses from last year. He mentions Hays three times (White also lists his MSS sources and newspapers in the bibliography, where I think they belong). Fighting Elleck does not appear in Chernow’s index. Take that for what it’s worth, and I understand it may not be worth much. Also note that White’s book lists (in the bibliography) 48 MSS sources and 43 newspapers. What does it all mean? I don’t know. Sometimes the counting of MSS sources baffles me. One author might just note the repository, for example, while another will name each collection at that repository. I will say that I hate the endnote format of White’s book (page numbers and text snippets) and prefer that employed by Chernow.

I’ve heard some criticism of the book as synthesis. I don’t see that as a problem – that’s the process: thesis, antithesis, synthesis. If we’re going to dismiss Chernow as a synthesist, some pretty big-named CW authors will need to be dismissed as well. Different authors can draw different conclusions from the same sources (the reviews indicate that Chernow and White differ in some of their conclusions). I only have a problem with synthesis when all it synthesizes are syntheses. That’s worthless. I don’t know that that’s the case with Chernow – it may take nearly 1,000 pages to figure that out. The book seems to be fairly balanced in its wartime and post-war coverage, page-count-wise. And let’s not forget, there’s value in how a story is told, even if the story has been told before. Depending on the audience, of course. And our lot is a tough crowd.

Go ahead and read the reviews to which I linked above – I’m generously assuming the reviewers read the whole thing.





Preview: Rossino, “Six Days in September”

11 08 2017

9781611213454_2Just in from Savas Beatie is the unedited galley proof of Six Days in September: A Novel of Lee’s Army in Maryland, 1862, by Alexander B. Rossino. (It appears that this is a new edition of the work previously published in 2015.) Novels are problematic subjects for a preview, since the typical features of notes, bibliography, maps, prefaces, and conclusions aren’t present. The subject matter is self-explanatory, thanks again to the post-colon subtitle. A flip-through reveals that this story is focused on the Confederate angle, and focuses on familiar “real life” players with a smattering of what I’m guessing are narrative-propelling, representative fictional characters.

The book is impressively blurbed, with James McPherson calling it a “page turner” that “provides the most vivid description…of the desperate plight of Southern forces” during these events; Scott Hartwig notes that it “provides the best that historical fiction has to offer”; and Tom Clemens calls it “an insightful look” and “a great read!”

Alexander B. Rossino is a resident of Boonsboro, MD. He is the author of Hitler Strikes Poland: Blitzkrieg, Ideology, and Atrocity. 





Preview: Quint – Determined to Stand and Fight

21 02 2017

51onibqprjl-_sy344_bo1204203200_If you’ve been reading Bull Runnings for a while, you know that I’ve previewed all of the titles in Savas Beatie’s Emerging Civil War series. And you also know how these books work. Concise histories, lots of maps and illustrations, tough paperbacks, suitable for the field. The really interesting parts, to me anyway, are the appendices. So, for this newest publication, I’m going to give you the bare minimum, and flesh out those appendices for you.

Determined to Stand and Fight: The Battle of Monocacy, July 9, 1864, Ryan T. Quint.

  • Foreword by Ted Alexander
  • Narrative 114 pages, 12 chapters.
  • Seven Hal Jesperson Maps
  • Appendix A: The Civilians’ Experience at the Battle of Monocacy – Quint
  • Appendix B: The Ransom of Frederick – Quint
  • Appendix C: Medical Care and the Battle of Monocacy – Jake Wynn
  • Appendix D: The Johnson-Gilmor Raid – Philip S. Greenwalt
  • Appendix E: McCausland’s Raid and the Burning of Chambersburg – Avery C. Lentz
  • Appendix F: The Literary Legacy of Lew Wallace – Quint
  • Touring the Battlefield (10 pages)
  • Order of Battle

No footnotes, bibliography, or index in this volume. Footnotes are available online.

Ryan Quint is a seasonal ranger at Fredericksburg & Spotsylvania National Military Park.





Soldier Images – CSA

8 11 2016

Capt. John Dabney Alexander, Alexander’s Troop, 30th Virginia Cavalry

Pvt. George W. Bagby, 11th Virginia Infantry, Aide to Col. Thomas Jordan, AAG to Beauregard

Pvt. Rufus H. Peck, Co. C, Botetourt Dragoons, Attached to 30th Virginia Cavalry

Pvt Edward R. Simms, Co. D, 2nd South Carolina Infantry

 





Capt. Thomas Snow, Co.F, 2nd New Hampshire Infantry, On the Battle (Casualty List)

14 10 2016

Letter from Capt. Snow of the Lancaster Company.

———

Full Particulars of the Participation of the 2nd N. H. Regiment in the Fight at Manassas, with an Accurate Account of the Killed, Wounded and Missing

The following, from a letter from Capt. Snow of our company, to the editor of this paper, will be read with particular interest as containing information regarding the share that the 2nd N. H. Regiment and the Company from Coos had in the great fight of Manassas. During the engagement and the subsequent retreat, Capt. Snow himself, behaved with the most determined bravery and exhibited throughout, the qualities of a soldier. Brave and decided on the battle field, kind an considerate to his command, [?] has proved himself an officer worthy [?] brave soldiers. His company [?] of him in terms of the warmest [?]. But to the letter:

Camp Sullivan, Washington, D. C.,

August 3d, 1861.

Our Regiment left camp, Tuesday, July 16th.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

Of our march to our encampment, near Centerville, you have been informed, so I will not rehearse the matter. We left our camp Sunday morning at 2 o’clock, without breakfast, and marched, I should judge, 16 miles, going the last mile at double quick. Our stock of water was nearly, if not quite expended and we were better fitted for a bed-room than a battle field, notwithstanding which we were ordered to take a position on a hill, where the enemy played into us with their batteries and rifles. We were soon ordered to retire a few rods, which we did and waited there until we were ordered to leave that position and support the R. I. Battery, which was menaced by the enemy. In this movement my company was on the left of the regiment. We went through a perfect hailstorm of bullets; and not hearing any order to march in any different direction, I kept on, while the Regiment moved off by the right flank. Finding my company separated from the Regiment, and not being able to see where our Regiment was, I marched my men down to a fence, (Virginia, of course,) near a large hay-stack, where we had a good view of a portion of the rebels and I told them to blaze away, which they did. We remained here in connection with the Rhode Island 1st, I think it was, until fearing that we could not find our Regiment, and seeing the rebels retreat to the woods, I ordered the company back and sent them, in charge of Lieut. Littlefield, to find it. In the meantime I remained in search of my sword, which had, by a bullet, been knocked from my scabbard; I could not find it and returned with a musket instead. Our boys, with one or two exceptions, behaved well. Sergeants Crafts, Rhodes, Fletcher and Brackett were at the fight and all did nobly. We were sorry to have Charley (Fletcher) leave us; he is a fine fellow and a good soldier. Sergt. Louville W. Brackett, who is among the missing, was not injured in the battle, and started with us on the retreat; he might have been killed, wounded or taken prisoner when the rebels attacked our retreating, worn-out forces; but we cannot tell which. He was beloved by the whole company for his amiable disposition, and we miss his pleasant countenance very much; I am in hopes he will turn up all right by and by. I found the Regiment under another iVirginia fencei waiting orders. The battery had shifted or advanced as the rebels retreated toward their stronghold. Soon Col. Marston appeared with his arm in a sling, his horse being led by his hostler, and announced his intention to go with us to the end. “He meant to see this thing through.” We soon had orders to march again. We started down the hill toward the enemy, entered the hollow, were ordered again to halt for orders. Here we were exposed to another murderous fire. It was on approaching this place that Capt. Rollins was shot. We lost a number of men here, and still we stopped waiting for orders. No orders came; but there was no flinching of the New Hampshire boys. Soon Col. Fisk ordered us up over another hill. We had a few shots at them, but they were apparently harmless, while their rifles and cannon were making great havoc in our ranks. We were forced to retreat to a small run, close by which grew some small trees. – These sheltered us from the scorching rays of the sun, but afforded us no shelter from the enemy’s bullets. But we were thankful for small favors, and so as Maj. Ben. Perley Poore commanded his savages, so did we – “squat.” We were not permitted to enjoy even this luxury for long, for in a few moments an Aid came rushing up to Maj. Stevens, saying, “The retreat is ordered. Be quick or you will be cut off by the enemy’s cavalry.” We got up over the next hill, shot and shell flying over our heads, and on the top of the hill we formed our line in full view of the rebels as they threw out their legions of fresh soldiers, infantry and cavalry to pursue us. Thus began the retreat of which enough has been written. The report that the rebels shelled and burned our hospital, I have good reason to believe is untrue, and I really believe that Clark Stevens, who was in the hospital, (not severely wounded as has been reported, having received a flesh wound to the thigh,) is now a prisoner in the hands of the rebels. Cyrus W. Merrill also in the hospital, was wounded in the breast; I think from the nature of his wound he could not survive. These are the only two we left behind, known to have been wounded, and if any of our missing are killed or wounded, it must have been done on our retreat. I will give you a correct list of the killed, wounded and missing for the entire Regiment; it is as follows:

KILLED.

Co. A – John L. Rice.
Co. C – Lewis N. Relation, W. H. Quimby.
Co. H – Frank H. Eastman, Parrish Kearnes, Geo. Langtrey, Henry S. Morse.

MISSING.

Co. A – Geo S. Heaton, Dana S. Jaquith, Geo. A. Whiteman, Chas. Sebastian, Dan’l S. Brooks, John F. Wheeler.
Co. B – Thomas E. Barker, Wells C. Haynes, Geo. H. Clay, Geo. C. Emerson, John S. Fitts, Wyman W. Holden, Charles H. Perry, Henry Morse, Cha’s S. Cooper.
Co. C – Frank K. Tucker, Dan’l Martin, Thurlow A. Emerson, John Davis, J. A. Barker, Hannibal Ball, Joseph Barly, Frank F. Wetherbee.
Co. D – 1st Sergt. Jacob Hall, Privates Henry H. Emerson, Alden T. Kidder, Christel L. Jones, Henry West, Alphonzo D. Leathers.
Co. E – W. Colcord, Cha’s H. Chase, Simon N. Heath, Joseph R. Morse.
Co. F – Sergt. Louville W. Brackett, Private Geo. E. Dow, Cyrus W. Merrill, Clark Stevens.
Co. G – Alonzo B. Bailey, Henry A. Bowman, Wilson Hurd.
Co. H – Henry Allen, Lewis G. Barber, Galen A. Grant, Sam’l M. Joy, Timothy Saxton, Wm. H. Connor, Woodbury Lord, Albion Lord, Andrew J. Straw, Wm. H. Walker.
Co. I – Albert B. Robinson, John H. Barry, Albert L. Hall, Moses L. Eastman, Reuben F. Stevens.
Co. K – Wm. T. Spinney, Lewis Blaisdell, Geo, Sawyer, Cha’s Ridge, Oliver S. Allen, Wm. T. Orford, Christopher Marshall, Sam’l Adams.

WOUNDED.

Co. A, Keene – I. M. Derby, D. W. Whittemore.
Co. B, Concord – 1st Sergt. Cha’s Holmes, Cha’s Hosmer, Cha’s Wilkins
Co. C, Manchester – Andrew M. Connell, L. D. Shurburne
Co. D, Dover – Capt. Hiram Rollins, James N. Venner, Stephen M. Deshor, Joseph F. Ayers, John O. Hayes, John F. Lord.
Co. E, Concord – Sergt. H. M. Gordon, Privates Wm. Hurly, James C. Meserve, Wm. H. Story, Wm. H. Merrill.
Co. F, Lancaster – Geo. F. Chase, 2 fingers shot off left hand; Wm. H. F. Staples, in forearm, arm broken; Stephen R. Tibbetts, thro’ the hand; Cha’s Buck, in left shoulder, is at Alexandria hospital doing well.
Co. G, Petersborough – John Hagan, Geo. F. Lawrence.
Ch. H, Contoocook – Hugh Looby, James B. Silver, John Straw, Tho’s Finnegan.
Co. I – Manchester – Frank C. Wesley, Geo. F. Lawrence.
Co. K, Portsmouth – W. H. Goodwin, James E. Seavy, Alexander Steward, Wm. S. King, Dan’l Kelegan

Total – Killed, 9

Wounded, 35

Missing, 63

Aggregate, 107

Lancaster, NH, Coos Republican, 8/13/1861

Clipping image

A History of the Second Regiment, New Hampshire Volunteer Infantry

Thomas Snow at Ancestry.com

Contributed by John J. Hennessy





Henry P. Bottom House, Perryville Battlefield State Historic Site

9 10 2016
1862-perryville-property

1862 Perryville Property Map (Courtesy of Perryville Battlefield State Historic Site – PBSHS) HPB marks the Henry Bottom Farm

In recognition of yesterday’s 154th anniversary of the Battle of Perryville, here is the unedited version of my Collateral Damage article which ran in the June, 2011 edition of Civil War Times magazine. Click the images for larger ones.

bottom_house1

H. P. Bottom House today (battleofperryville.com)

On the morning of October 8, 1862, northwest of the town of Perryville in Boyle County, Kentucky, Union Major General Don Carlos Buell’s gathering Army of the Ohio faced east across rolling terrain toward Confederate General Braxton Bragg’s Army of the Mississippi. Between the lines of Maj. Gen. Alexander McCook’s First Corps of Buell’s army and Maj. Gen William Hardee’s Left Wing of Bragg’s lay the farm of Henry Bottom. The area of the house and barn, on the western bank of mostly dry Doctor’s Creek where it crossed the Mackville Road, was also improved with stone and rail fences, some lining the road and creek, which would both afford cover and make maneuvering bodies of men problematic. On this very hot, dry, and dusty day the homestead’s location in the valley separating the two armies and its proximity to a water source placed it squarely in the path of the gathering storm. Bottom’s 760 acre farm was the ground over which much of the battle would rage. The battle would be marked by command confusion, erroneous assumptions, personality conflicts, and miscommunication on both sides, and proved to be the climax of a Confederate campaign meant to carry the war in the west from northern Mississippi to the banks of the Ohio River.

hpbottom3

Henry P. Bottom (PBSHS)

Henry Pierce Bottom was born in 1809. He was a Baptist, a farmer, a cabinet maker, and Justice of the Peace, which earned him the moniker “Squire”. He took Margaret “Mary” Hart, 10 years his junior, as his wife in 1840. They had two sons: Samuel (1841) and Rowan (1848). Also living at the Bottom House in October 1862 was Henry’s 77-year-old uncle, William. Henry owned eight slaves, aged three to sixty-two, and Uncle William owned two more, aged two and twenty-two. All ten slaves lived in one dwelling on the property.

Henry was surrounded by relatives: across the road to the north lived his mother, the widow Mary “Polly” Bottom; to the south was his cousin Sam; to the northwest another cousin, the widow Mary Gibson. In 1860 Henry’s farm, where he raised cattle, sheep, and swine, and grew oats, wheat, rye, corn, peas, beans, and potatoes, was valued at $16,000.

On the day of the battle, the Bottom’s substantial barn was filled with threshed wheat and oats for the approaching winter. During the fighting around the buildings, mostly between Colonel William Lytle’s Union brigade and those of Confederate Brig. Gens. Daniel Adams, Bushrod Johnson and Patrick Cleburne, several shots from Confederate artillery struck the barn. One of those shells set the structure ablaze. The heat was so intense that nearby Union soldiers could do nothing to help their wounded comrades trapped inside. This inferno in turn started a grass fire which would eventually kill a few more incapacitated men lying in the open.

After what was a tactical victory, Bragg’s Confederates withdrew on October 9, and Henry Bottom’s farm was in shambles. He had already suffered the loss of fences and barn, and the house and outbuildings were pockmarked with bullet holes. In addition, the battle resulted in over 1,400 men killed in action, most of whom littered the field afterwards. The Yankee garrison understandably focused on tending to their own, and consequently dead Confederates were left unprotected from the elements. As feral hogs from nearby woods became a ghoulish nuisance, Henry Bottom and other local slaveholders were impressed by the garrison to assist in burying the Confederate dead, which they hastily did. After the occupying troops marched off, Bottom, other locals, and some students from the nearby Kentucky School of the Deaf exhumed and relocated many of the bodies to a plot on his farm. There they interred the bodies of 347 men, about 30 of whom he was able to identify from their possessions, in a compact mass grave.

Henry Bottom remained on his farm after the war, but he was economically and spiritually broken by the effects of the battle – for the first time, he was forced to buy food to feed his family.

1885-bh

H. P. Bottom House in 1885 (PBSHS)

Henry filed a claim against the U. S. government for damages that occurred after the battle as a result of additional demands by the army: $1,282 for “commissary” items such as pork, beef, bacon, cattle and sheep; and $3,580 for “quartermaster” goods including wood, corn, hay and oats. But in addition to showing that the losses were incurred after and not during the battle, a claimant had to prove that he had been a loyal citizen of the United States. Some of Henry’s neighbors claimed he was not only disloyal but was the area’s most prominent secessionist, and his claim was denied. But in 1902, his son Rowan re-filed the claim. The counter-testimony of other of Bottom’s neighbors attesting to his Unionism and disparaging the motivations of his detractors was considered by the Court of Claims, and Rowan was awarded $1,715 by act of Congress in 1914.

1885-cem

H. P. Bottom on Cemetery Wall, 1885 (PBSHS)

Henry, who died in 1901 at the age of 92, is perhaps best remembered for his Confederate Cemetery. He had attempted to construct a stone wall around the site, but in 1885 it was incomplete and overgrown, and would remain so until the next century. On October 8, 1902, thanks to fundraising by the United Daughters of the Confederacy, a twenty-eight foot tall granite monument was dedicated within the now completely walled-in cemetery.

The restored Bottom House can be viewed just outside the Perryville Battlefield State Historic Site, which consists of 745 acres, with another 300 protected by easements and over 7,000 total acres recognized as a National Historic Landmark. The park also includes a visitor’s center and museum, walking trails, and a Union monument near the Confederate cemetery. The “Squire” Bottom house is on private property.

Thanks to historian Kenneth W. Noe, author of Perryville – This Grand Havoc of Battle, and Kurt Holman of the Perryville Battlefield State Historic Site for their assistance.





A New Old Map of the Battlefield

21 09 2016

Author John Hennessy passed along this heretofore unseen, by him or me, map. It was provided to him by reader Kimball Brace, who found it in the Library of Virginia. Kim has been researching E. Porter Alexander and the signal stations around Manassas and the Bull Run Line.

Mr. Hennessy correctly points out some of the notable features of the map include its depictions of the Beale and Van Pelt houses and details of the topography around the Stone Bridge.

The key (click for large images):

cid_5166c724-a386-4d56-9863-cd03443412a2

The map (click for large images):

cid_aef291c2-0723-4c28-b8f4-aaf425bf8f98

Here is a transcription of the key, provided by a staff member at the Winery at Bull Run. I’ll try to find out more about that part of the story later…

The key:
A. Centreville Road to Stone Bridge
B. Forest each side Centreville Road
C. Enemies long Parrot Gun, Rifled; opening light Sunday Morning July 21st 1861, on Col Wheat’s Battalion (marked by a circle with an X in it)
D. Beale’s House, vacated by family Wednesday July 17th.
E. Shaeffers encampment, of Battalion, Co S Beauregard Rifles, Capt Shaeffer. New Orleans ____ Blues. Capt Goodauyn. New Market ___ Capt H N B Wood.
F. Thicket to which a large force of the enemy were concealed.
G. Cornfield fronting entrenchment Schaeffer’s Battalion
H. Entrenchment left-wing Capt Wood’s __ north side Bull Run.
I. Shaeffer’s Battalion entrenched, s.side Bull Run.
J. Latham’s Battery 2 guns (one marked XX) firing upon enemy at A B & C
K. Albemarle Regt Col Strange Comm at, entrenched on Bluff of Bull Run
L. Wheat Stubble between Albemarle Regt. And front of Enemy advancing at this point, Capt Latham’s Artillery, opening upon them, they commenced the flank to O, all around
M. Stone Bridge
N. Battery, of Enemy (not known invisible) moved with infancy upon Left-Flank of S.C. Army.
O. Advance of enemy, from A,B, (Carrying C.) F & G to O. and direction up to V.
P. Cornfield of Beale’s
Q. Forest Felled by Shaeffer’s Battalion
R. Turnpike to Warrenton from Stone Bridge
S. Bull Run
T. Vanpelt’s House, He having 2 sons in the Northern Army
U. Open fields over which reinforcements passed. Met the enemy, and the result was as the country knows
V. Headquarter’s, Gen E Coucke Lewis House
W. 1 Gun from Latham’s Battery managed by Lieut Saunders New O ____ Blues.
a. *Cannon Shot from enemy into headquarters
b. XX Guns’ supported by Charlottsville
c. X Monticello Guards of Latham’s Battery
d. Cursive X : open fields leading to Manassas from Lewis Farm
X. Circle around an x: Col Wheat’s encampment before 21st July

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The U. S. Constitution and “States’ Rights”

11 09 2016
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Thomas Jefferson – Wow

Much has been said about the notion of States’ Rights as the cause of the Civil War from a Confederate perspective, and of the idea of the United States formed under its Constitution as a sort of “men’s club,” with a membership consisting of states who were free to come and go as they pleased. Is the near absence from the The Federalist of the concept of secession due to a general assumption of applicability or of irrelevance, even of inconceivability? I’m no Constitutional scholar, but I thought you all might like to read these paragraphs from Ron Chernow’s Alexander Hamilton, which can be found on pages 573-574. Thomas Jefferson was a real piece of work, man. A real gem – who, if you recall, was not a framer of the Constitution. We pick up the story in 1798 (ten years after the Constitution’s ratification), after the passage of the Federalist’s onerous Alien and Sedition Acts [brackets and emphasis mine]:

 

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Alexander Hamilton – chief architect of the Constitution, but backer of the Alien and Sedition Acts as a private citizen

Many Republicans thought it best to sit back and let the Federalists blow themselves up. As [James] Monroe put it, the more the Federalist party was “left to itself, the sooner will its ruin follow.” Jefferson and [James] Madison were not that patient, especially after Hamilton became inspector general of the new army. Jefferson thought the Republicans had a duty to stop the Sedition Act, explaining later that he considered that law “to be nullity as absolute and as palpable as if Congress had ordered us to fall down and worship a golden image.” With Federalists in control of the government, the political magician decided that he and Madison would draft resolutions for two state legislatures, declaring the Alien and Sedition Acts to be unconstitutional. The two men operated by stealth and kept their authorship anonymous to create the illusion of a groundswell of popular opposition. Jefferson drafted his resolution for the Kentucky legislature and Madison for Virginia. The Kentucky Resolutions passed on November 16, 1798, and the Virginia Resolutions on December 24. Jefferson’s biographer Dumas Malone has noted that the vice president [Jefferson, serving under Federalist John Adams] could have been brought up on sedition charges, possibly even impeached for treason, had his actions been uncovered at the time.

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James Madison did a complete 180 on the relation of state and federal law, when it suited him politically

In writing the Kentucky Resolutions, Jefferson turned to language that even Madison found excessive. Of the Alien and Sedition Acts, he warned that “unless arrested at the threshold,” they would “necessarily drive these states into revolution and blood.” He wasn’t calling for peaceful protests or civil disobedience: he was calling for outright rebellion, against the federal government of which he was vice president. In editing Jefferson’s words, the Kentucky legislature deleted his call for ‘nullification” of laws that violated states’ rights. The more moderate Madison said that the states, in contesting obnoxious laws, should “interpose for arresting the progress of evil.” This was a breathtaking evolution for a man who had pleaded at the Constitutional Convention that the federal government should possess a veto over state laws. In the Kentucky and Virginia Resolutions, Jefferson and Madison set forth a radical doctrine of States’ Rights that effectively undermined the Constitution.

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George Washington, in retirement, was appalled by the Virginia Resolutions

Neither Jefferson nor Madison sensed that they had sponsored measures as inimical as the Alien and Sedition Acts themselves. “Their nullification effort, if others had picked it up, would have been a greater threat than the misguided {alien and sedition} laws, which were soon rendered feckless by ridicule and electoral pressure,” Garry Wills has written. The theoretical damage of the Kentucky and Virginia Resolutions was deep and lasting. Hamilton and others had argued that the Constitution transcended state governments and directly expressed the will of the American people. Hence, the Constitution began “We the People of the United States” and was ratified by special conventions, not state legislatures. Now Jefferson and Madison lent their imprimatur to an outmoded theory in which the Constitution became a compact of the states, not of their citizens. By this logic, states could refrain from federal legislation they considered unconstitutional. This was a clear recipe for calamitous dissension and ultimate disunion. George Washington was so appalled by the Virginia Resolutions that he told Patrick Henry that if “systematically and pertinaciously pursued,” they would “dissolve the union or produce coercion.” The influence of the doctrine of states’ rights, especially in the version promulgated by Jefferson, reverberated right up to the Civil War and beyond. At the close of the war, James Garfield of Ohio, the future president, wrote that the Kentucky Resolutions “contained the germ of nullification and secession, and we are today reaping its fruits.”

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James Garfield brings us full circle, Civil War-wise