Imboden’s Report

1 01 2009

imbodenIf you read my post on Imboden’s Report prior to about 2:30 PM on Jan. 1, you will notice that it looks a little different now.  Prompted by a question from Craig, I took a look at another source for the report.  The original post was taken from the Supplement to the Official Records, a copy of which was provided me by Jonathan Soffe.  Correspondence with Jim Burgess at Manassas NBP revealed that Imboden’s report is also published in the second volume of The Rebellion Record, which I have here in my office.  That publication showed that there are some differences between it and the version of the report published in the Charleston Daily Courier which served as the basis for the report in the Supplement.  Those differences included punctuation and paragraphs, as well as variation in text and the inclusion of a large portion of text missing from the Supplement.  So I have replaced my earlier post with the report as it appears in the Rebellion Record.  Read it again as I think it is significantly different.

The report prompted me to send a note to Jim with regards to the single gun which Imboden identified as belonging to the 4th Alabama.  Since I’d never seen reference to the Alabamians having their own cannon before, I turned to Jim for clarification.  His response confirmed my suspicions:

Imboden’s report is also published in The Rebellion Record (Vol. 2, p.43).  We have always interpreted Imboden’sreference to the gun with the 4th Alabama as actually being Lt. Clarke Leftwich’s piece from the Lynchburg Artillery (Latham’s Battery).   This was one of the two guns assigned to Evans’ brigade, Lt. George Davidson commanding the other 6-pounder of the section near the entrance to Robinson’s Lane.    Imboden’s reference to the horses running off with the limber for the gun in question appears remarkably similar to what Leftwich experienced.   In a letter published in the Richmond Enquirer, Aug. 6, 1861, Leftwich takes issue with Imboden’s published report and states that it was the horses for his caisson that took flight from the yard of the Stone House.   He further states, “As to the Alabama Regiment crossing to the north side of the Warrenton road…with our gun, that, too, is incorrect.   Our two six-pounders were brought from the Stone Bridge directly to the scene of action… unattended by the Alabama regiment or a single individual except those commanding and manning the guns…. No gun or piece of artillery took position between the Staunton battery and the enemy, or with the Alabama regiment at any portion of the fight, except our two six-pounders.  Nor was any piece north of the Warrenton road except ours, during the engagement.”

Happy New Year’s Eve!

Jim Burgess

Next up – get a copy of Leftwich’s letter!

Imboden photo from www.generalsandbrevets.com





#82f – Capt. John D. Imboden

30 12 2008

Supplemental Report

Report of Captain John D. Imboden of the “Staunton Artillery”

THE REBELLION RECORD; A DIARY OF AMERICAN EVENTS – VOL. II, Documents, pp. 43-45

Manassas Junction, Virginia

July 22, 1861

I submit the following summary report of the part taken in the engagement of yesterday, by the battery of the brigade – the Staunton Artillery – under my command.  The battery arrived at Camp Walker, below the Junction, at 11.30 o’clock the night before the battle, with men and horses greatly fatigued by a forced march of thirty-two miles, commenced at daybreak over an extremely rough and steep, hilly road.  Having had but four hours’ sleep, and that on the ground without shelter, on a rainy night, since the preceding Wednesday night at Winchester, and no food on Saturday except breakfast, which was kindly furnished us by some ladies at Salem, in Fauquier, my men were so tired on getting into camp that they threw themselves upon the ground to snatch a few hours’ rest.

A little after sunrise on Sunday morning, the lamented General Bee sent for me to his quarters, and informed me of the approach of the enemy, and that he was ordered to “the stone bridge” with his brigade and a battery, not so much exhausted as mine, and asked me if we would “stand that?”  I replied, “Not if we can help it.”  He then ordered me to put the battery in motion immediately, and let my wagons remain, and bring our rations and forage after us to the field.  In about twenty minutes we were in motion, very much stimulated by a cannonade which had been opened so near Camp Walker that one of the balls came whizzing over us just as we started.  After a rapid march of about five miles we met the infantry of the brigade, who had gone by a nearer route.  General Bee, in person, then joined the battery, and rode with us about a mile and selected the ground we were to occupy, remaining till after the firing commenced on both sides.  To his consummate judgment in choosing our ground, we are indebted for our almost miraculous escape from utter destruction.  We were placed on the slope of a hill facing to the West, with a slight depression or ravine, running almost parallel with the base of the hill.  We came “into battery” and unlimbered in this depression, being thus sheltered by a swell in the ground to our front five or six feet high.  Our position commanded a beautiful open farm, which rose gently from the valley in front of us, back to the woods about 1,500 yards distant.  In the edge of these woods a heavy column of the enemy was marching to the southward, while we were descending the hill to our position.  At the moment we wheeled into line, I observed one of their batteries of six guns do the same thing, and they unlimbered simultaneously with us.  We immediately loaded with spherical-case shot, with the fuze cut for 1,500 yards.  General Bee ordered me not to fire till they opened on me, as he had sent the Fourth Alabama Regiment, Colonel Jones, across the valley to our right to occupy a piece of woods about 500 yards nearer to the enemy, and he wished this regiment, together with one 6-pounder they had along with them, to get fairly into position before we fired.  He had hardly uttered the order, however, when the enemy’s battery – six long-rifle 10-pounder Parrott guns, afterwards captured by our troops – within 150 yards of our first position, opened on us with elongated cylindrical shells.  They passed a few feet over our heads, and very near the General and his staff in our rear, and exploded near the top of the hill.  We instantly returned the compliment.  General Bee then directed me to hold my position till further orders and observe the enemy’s movements towards our left, and report to him anything I might discover of importance.  This was the last time my gallant, heroic General ever spoke to me.  Seeing us fairly engaged, he rode off to take charge of his regiments.  The firing of both batteries now became very rapid – they at first over-shot us and burst their shells to our rear, but at every round improved their aim and shortened their fuze.  In about fifteen minutes we received our first injury.  A shell passed between two of our guns and exploded amongst the caissons, mangling the arm of Private J. J. Points with a fragment in a most shocking manner.  I ordered him to be carried off the field to the surgeon at once.  He was scarcely gone when another shell exploded at the same place and killed a horse.  About this time the enemy began to fire too low, striking the knoll in our front, from ten to twenty steps, from which the ricochet was sufficient to carry the projectiles over us; they discovered this, and again began to fire over us.  After we had been engaged for perhaps a half hour, the enemy brought another battery of four guns into position about 400 yards south of the first, and a little nearer to us, and commenced a very brisk fire upon us.  A shell from this last battery soon plunged into our midst, instantly killing a horse and nearly cutting off the leg of Private W. A. Siders, just below the knee.  He was immediately taken to the surgeon.  A few minutes afterwards another shell did its work by wounding 2nd Lieut. A. W. Garber so severely in the wrist that I ordered him off the field for surgical aid.  We now had ten guns at work upon us, with no artillery to aid us for more than an hour except, I believe, three rounds fired by the gun with the Alabama Regiment.  It ceased fire, I have heard, because the horses ran off with the limber and left the gun without ammunition.  During this time the enemy’s infantry was assembling behind, between and to the right (our left) of their battery in immense numbers, but beyond our reach, as we could only see their bayonets over the top of the hill.  Two or three times they ventured in sight when the Alabamians turned them back on their left by a well-directed fire, and we gave them a few shot and shells on their right with the same result, as they invariably dropped back over the hill when we fired at them, as almost every shot made a gap in their ranks.

After we had been engaged for, I suppose, nearly two hours, a detachement of some other battery (the New Orleans Washington Battalion, I believe,) of two guns, formed upon our right and commenced a well-directed fire, much to our aid and relief.  My men by this time were so overcomewith the intense heat and excessive labor, that half of them fell upon the ground completely exhausted.  The guns were so hot that it was dangerous to load them – one was temporarily spiked by the priming wire hanging out of it, the vent having become foul.  My teams were cut to pieces, five of the horses were killed out of one single piece, and other teams partially destroyed, so that, alone, we could not much longerhave replied to the enemy’s batteries as briskly as was necessary.

We were now serving the guns with diminished numbers – Lieuts. Harman and Imboden working at them as privates; the latter had the handspike in his hand directing his piece, when one of the rings was shot off the trail by a piece of a shell.  After our friends on the right commenced firing, the enemy advanced a third battery of four pieces down the hill, directly in front of and about six hundred yards distant from us, upon which we opened fire immediately and crippled one of their guns by cutting off its trail, compelling them to dismount and send the piece away without its carriage.  While this last battery was forming in our front, a vast column of thousands of infantry marched down in close order, about two hundred yards to its right.  I did not then know where the several regiments of our brigade were posted.  We heard firing upon our right and left, but too far off to protect us from a sudden charge, as we were in the middle of an open field, and not a single company of infantry visible to us on the right, left or rear.  At the moment the enemy’s main column came down the hill, we observed the head of another column advancing down the valley from our left, and therefore concealed by a hill, and not over 350 or 400 yards distant.  At first I took them for friends and ordered the men not to fire on them.  To ascertain certainly who they were, I sprang upon my horse and galloped to the top of the hill to our left, when I had a nearer and better view.  There were two regiments of them.  They halted about three hundred yards in front of their own battery on the hill-side, wheeled into line, with their backs towards us, and fired a volley, apparently at their battery.  This deceived me, and I shouted to my men to fire upon the battery, that these were friends who would charge and take it in a moment.  Fortunately, my order was not heard, or not obeyed by all the gunners, for some of them commenced firing into this line, which brought them to the right-about, and they commenced advancing towards us, when their uniform disclosed fully their character.  I instantly ordered the second section of my battery to limber up and come on the hill where I was, intending to open upon them with canister.  Anticipating this movement, and intending to make the hill to the left too hot for us, or seeing me out there alone, where I could observe their movements and report them, their nearest battery directed and fired all its guns at me at once but without hitting me or my horse.  I galloped back to my guns, and found that the two guns on our right had left the field, and we were alone again.  My order to limber up the second section was understood as applying to the whole battery, so that the drivers had equalled the teams sufficiently to move all the guns and caissons, and the pieces were all limbered.  On riding back a short distance, where I could see over the hill again, I discovered the enemy approaching rapidly, and so near that I doubted our ability to save the battery; but by a very rapid movement up the ravine, we avoided the shells of the three batteries that were now directed at us, sufficient to escape with three guns and all the caissons.  The fourth gun, I think, was struck under the axle by an exploding shell, as it broke right in the middle and dropped the gun in the field.  We saved the team.  Their advance fired a volley of musketry at us, without effect, when we got over the hill out of their reach, and a few moments afterwards heard the infantry engage them from the woods some distance to the south of us.  Seeing no troops where we first crossed the hill amongst whom we could fall in with and prepare for the battle again, and having had no communication with or from any human being for, I suppose, three hours, and not knowing where to find our brigade or any part of it, I determined to retire to the next hill, some 400 yards distant, and there form the remnant of my battery, and await the opportunity for further service.

Just as we were ascending this second hill we met General T. J. Jackson with the First Virginia Brigade, hastening on to the field of battle.  I reported to him my condition and perplexity.  He directed me to fall in between two of his regiments and return to the first hill again and fight with him.  I did so with a remnant of my men and guns.  The caissons, except one, were empty, and many of the men were ready to faint from sheer exhaustion.  We got into position 300 or 400 yards north of the ground we at first occupied, within full view of the enemy’s heavy column of divisions advancing towards us.  We opened fire at once, but slowly, as we had not over four or five men left able to work the guns, respectively, and ammunition had to be brought from a caisson, left two hundred yards in the rear because we were unable to get it up with the guns.  Every shot here told with terrible effect, as we could see a lane opened through the enemy after almost every fire.  Our first gun was worked, during this part of the action, by the Captain, First Lieutenant, and two privates.  In the course of three-quarters of an hour, our supply of shot and shells was exhausted – the men could no longer work – we had nothing but some canister left, which was useless at so great a distance.  A fresh battery came upon the field, and General Jackson ordered me to retire with my men and guns to a place of safety, which I did, and had no further part in the fight.

We were the first battery of the left wing of the army engaged.  We were in the fight till near its close, having been engaged altogether upwards of four hours.  We fired about 460 rounds of ball and case-shot, our whole supply, during the action.  The only serious damage to my men I have mentioned above.  Privates Points and Siders will doubtless get well, but will lose their wounded limbs.  Lieut. Garber may save his hand.

Several others were slightly touched with fragments of shells without injury.  I had 71 horses on Sunday morning, before the battle commenced; 10 of those are killed and missing, and 21 more variously injured and at present wholly unserviceable, leaving me but 40 horses fit for work.  My harness is half destroyed and lost.  One piece is dismounted, but will be as good as ever when remounted on a new carriage.  All my officers behaved throughout with heroic coolness and bravery, and the conduct of the men was that of veterans.

No company in the army was more exposed, and none, I believe, so long a time, and yet no man quailed.  There were instances of individual heroism worthy of special notice; but where all did so well, it would seem almost invidious to single out individuals.

Respectfully submitted,

J. D. Imboden,

Captain, Battery, Third Brigade, C. S. A.

Brigadier-General W. H. C. Whiting,

Commanding, Third Brigade, Army of the Shenandoah

[An abridgement of this report appeared in the Charleston Daily Courier, Charleston, South Carolina, July 29, 1861.  That article appears in the Supplement to the Official Records, Vol. I, Addendum to Series 1, Vol 2, pp. 174-179]





Pelham Monument

10 12 2008

john-pelham

Before John Pelham (left) became “Gallant”, before he gained fame – and death, in March 1863 –  at the head of JEB Stuart’s horse artillery, he was a lieutenant in Capt. E. G. Alburtis’s Wise Artillery, attached to Col. Francis Bartow’s brigade of Johnston’s Army of the Shenandoah at First Bull Run.  By all indications, Capt. Alburtis was not with the battery on the day of the battle, and it was commanded by Pelham.  He wrote about his experience at the battle in this letter.

Here’s something interesting – below is the monument to Pelham in Anniston, AL (see here for more photos of the monument).  Anniston didn’t exist until after the war, but Pelham was born and is buried in nearby Jacksonville, AL. According to this site, the monument was erected on Quintard Ave in 1905.  There appear to be lots of things in Anniston named for the Pelham family.  What makes this so interesting to me is the fact that Anniston’s founder, who named the town for his daughter-in-law, Annie – Annie’s Town – Anniston, was none other than Daniel Tyler, Federal division commander at First Bull Run, likely one of the men Pelham was shooting at that day.

pelham-monument

UPDATE 12/11/2008: Being a slave to sounds, I was struck by the name of the street on which the Pelham monument sits.  Charles Todd Quintard was the chaplain of the First Tennessee Infantry (of which Sam Watkins’ Co. Aytch was a part), and later was Episcopal Bishop of Tennessee.  So, I sent the following to friend Sam Elliott – no, not the actor famous for his role as The Stranger in The Big Lebowski, but rather the author of Soldier of Tennessee and editor of Doctor Quintard, Chaplain C.S.A. and Second Bishop of Tennessee:

Quick question: Anniston, AL was founded after the war by former US BG Daniel Tyler.  There is a monument to John Pelham (from nearby Jacksonville) in Anniston, located on Quintard Ave.  Do you have any idea if this street, the “main drag” of Anniston, was named for Doctor Quintard?

To which Sam quickly replied:

To answer your question, I’ve always thought so. 

Wikipedia says of Anniston:     “In 1872, Anniston’s Woodstock Iron Company organized by Samuel Noble and Union Gen. Daniel Tyler (1799-1882), rebuilt a furnace on a much larger scale, as well as a planned community.”

According to Quintard, Noble was a “very dear friend” and, although a northerner, was with Quintard on Easter Sunday, 1865 in Columbus, Ga. when James Wilson and his 12,000 Spencer-armed Yankee cavalrymen stormed the city, and he actually secured a guard for Quintard and his family.  Quintard said Noble was in the area to secure cotton for the Federal government, which I thought was odd, since the area was still under CS control. 

Sam followed that up with this treat: 

Harry, here’s a freebie from Google on my Quintard book: 

Thanks, Sam!





Pelham’s Letter

9 12 2008

NPS historian and Civil War author extraordinaire John Hennessy stopped by to comment on the Pelham Letter.  Here’s his note:

Harry,

I have always felt that Pelham’s description of his feelings in battle, and his shame at having felt as he did, was one of the more vivid revelations about the human condition as it relates to combat. Clearly his reaction to battle was not universal. Is there something about the makeup of true warriors that in the moment renders battle appealing rather than horrific? I don’t know….

Thanks for sharing this….

And here’s my response:

John,

Yes, I found the letter striking for the same reason. I view his closing sentences as essentially a rationalization in light of what preceded them.

Thanks for stopping by – knowing you’re out there reading this stuff at least every now and again helps keep me honest!

The closing sentences to which I refer are these:

We are battling for our rights and our homes. Ours is a just war, a holy cause. The invader must meet the fate he deserves and we must meet him as becomes us, as becomes men.

What preceded them was Pelham’s description of the horrors of battle.

Any thoughts from my readers?





John Pelham’s Account of the Battle

8 12 2008

A letter from Lt. John Pelham to his father first appeared in the Jacksonville, AL Jacksonville Republican on August 8, 1861.  This excerpt appeared in the newsletter of the John Pelham Historical Association, The Cannoneer, Vol. 2, No.1 (see here)

MANASSAS JUNCTION,
July 23, ’61

I just write to let you know that we have had one of the most desperate battles ever fought on American soil. It was the most desperate — the enemy fought long and well, but victory is ours; it was a splendid victory too. Jeff Davis made his appearance on the field, just as the last of the Yankees were in full retreat. I was under a heavy fire of musketry and cannon for about seven hours, how I escaped or why I was spared a just God only knows. Rifle balls fell like hail around me. Shells bursted and scattered their fragments through my Battery — my horse was shot under me, but did not give out till the fight was almost over. I was compelled to take one of my Sergeant’s horses and ride through. At one time I dismounted and directed the guns — one of the gunners asked me to dismount and shoot the Federal’s flag down. I did so — you ought to have heard the cheers they gave me. I directed all my guns three or four times apiece. My men were cool and brave and made terrible havoc on the enemy. They fought better than I expected they would. The highest praise is due them. We shot down three U.S. flags and dislodged the enemy from several positions. I was complimented several times on the field of battle by general officers and a great many times after the battle was over by other officers.

You may want to know my feelings — I felt as cool and deliberate under the shower of lead and iron as if I had been at home by our fireside — I did not feel fear at any moment; I can’t see how I escaped — a merciful Providence must have been watching over us and our cause. We slept on our arms last night but were not disturbed. The battle began about 8 o’clock but did not become general until 10 o’clock. We fought desperately about 9 1/2 hours, but I was under fire only about 7 1/2 hours; the enemy attacked our left flank and then tried to turn it. We had to change our line of battle and fight them on their own ground.

We whipped old Scott on Sunday — his great fighting fortunate day on ground of their own choosing in open field. They poured down overwhelming numbers on us. I firmly believe they had three to our one — but I don’t know positively how many they had — certainly between 50,000 and 100,000 men. A great many prrisoners told us, they expected confidently to whip us here and then go to Richmond. We have got about 1000 prisoners and the cavalry are bringing them in continually. We took the celebrated Rhode Island battery of rifled cannon, also Sherman’s great battery of the same kind of guns — also the West Point battery that I have drilled with so often.

They say we have taken 90 pieces of Artillery — I have not seen all of them, but I have seen a great many. They had the best Artillery trains and equippage I ever beheld, but We have them now: I have no idea how many small arms we took, a great many. The victory was splendid and complete. Col. Forney’s Reg’t was not engaged — but the 4th Ala. Regt. was cut all to pieces. They fought desperately. The Col., the Lieut. Col., and Major were all shot down but neither of them are mortally wounded. I don’t know what the intention of our General is but I hope I will be able to write to you from Washington City before many weeks. Johnston’s forces were encamped at Winchester, but we all moved down here on getting a dispatch from Beauregard. We got here the evening before the fight — Beauregard repulsed them with considerable loss a few days ago.

I have seen what Romancers call glorious war. I have seen it in all its phases. I have heard the booming of cannon, and the more deadly rattle of musketry at a distance — I have heard it all nearby and have been under its destructive showers; I have seen men and horses fall thick and fast around me. I have seen our own men bloody and frightened flying before the enemy — I have seen them bravely charge the enemy’s lines and heard the shout of triumph as they carried the position. I have heard the agonizing shrieks of the wounded and dying — I have passed over the battle field and seen the mangled forms of men and horses in frightful abundance — men without heads, without arms, and others without legs. All this I have witnessed and more, till my heart sickens; and war is not glorious as novelists would have us believe. It is only when we are in the heat and flush of battle that it is fascinating and interesting. It is only then that we enjoy it. When we forget ourselves and revel in the destruction we are dealing around us. I am now ashamed of the feelings I had in those hours of danger. The whistling of bullets and shells was music to me, I gloried in it — it delighted and fascinated me — I feared not death in any form; but when the battle was won and I visited the field a change came over me, I see the horrors of war, but it is necessary: We are battling for our rights and our homes. Ours is a just war, a holy cause. The invader must meet the fate he deserves and we must meet him as becomes us, as becomes men.





Cool Stuff Coming Up

3 12 2008

A few neat developments here at Bull Runnings.  With the help of friends Robert Moore and Jonathan Soffe, I think we’ve ironed out some problems with the CSA and CSA artillery OOBs.  According to Jim Burgess at the Battlefield, one of these is a problem which has persisted at least since 1947!  At the same time I think we’ve solved a related problem in the Bull Run bible, R. M. Johnston’s Bull Run: Its Strategy and Tactics.

I made the changes, but think I’m going to revamp the Arty OOBs a little.

I’ll also share an E. Porter Alexander map of the action at Blackburn’s Ford Jim provided.





Shout Out

1 12 2008

Thanks to reader Robert Moore II of Cenantua’s Blog for the numerous contributions he has made to this site over the past few days, while most of us were in turkey induced comas.  As a result, I have fixed a couple of inaccuracies in my CSA and CSA Artillery orders of battle (I had conflicting info noted on the OOBs – I try to do that when I’m not sure).  Check out the comments to posts here, here, here, and here.  Now it’s a question of me getting all this other good stuff incorporated into the site.  Thanks Robert for this and all the other help you’ve provided.  This type of reader participation is what I had in mind when I started this blog.  No blogger is an island.

Lest you think I just take anyone’s “word” for stuff, I do check everything out as much as possible.  In the case of the Culpeper/Newtown artillery, Robert is uniquely qualified to render advice because he has authored books on four of the Confederate batteries (including Newtown) present at First Bull Run.  These books are part of the Virginia Regimental History Series (VRHS), aka the Howard Series (those thin, gray volumes you see at NPS bookstores).  I plan on collecting the volumes for those units present at Bull Run, but individually and new they are not cheap.  Anybody want to trade any for OR volumes?

In the course of the flurry of comment exchanges this weekend, I wrote something along the lines of the the following, but it must have gone MIA.  Tell me if this is something you’d like to see:

I plan to write regimental biographies, which will work as follows:

  • A master page with all regiments listed and linked (one page for USA and one for CSA);
    • A page for each regiment with links to the following three posts:
      • Companies and commanders, including other names the companies were known as, along with county of origin.  Also numbers and losses for 7/21/61;
      • A very brief summary of the regiment’s movements on 7/21/61;
      • A full biographical sketch based on sources like Dyer, The Union Army, and Crute.  This will be easier for USA units than CSA, I think.




#81a – Col. William N. Pendleton

24 09 2008

Reports of Col. William N. Pendleton, C. S. Army, Commanding Artillery, of the Battle of Bull Run

O.R.–SERIES I–VOLUME 51 Part 1 [S# 107], pp. 34-36

NEAR MANASSAS, July 23, 1861

GENERAL: As directed I report concerning the batteries under my command – those of Captain Alburtis, Captain Stanard, and the Rockbridge Artillery – that they arrived from Winchester at Manassas Junction about 2 o’clock on Saturday, 20th instant, and were assigned position for rest under shelter of some woods near the center of the line of defenses; that early on the morning of Sunday, 21st, Captain Stanard’s battery, having a rifled gun, was assigned for immediate service to General Jackson’s brigade, and advanced under my guidance with a portion of the Washington Artillery from New Orleans, under Major Walton, and with one of the guns of the Rockbridge Artillery by General Jackson’s special request, toward the scene of action then beginning on our left. While thus advancing my own course was changed by an order from the adjutant-general directing me to take the batteries under my command from the forward and exposed situation where they had rested to a better place farther back, and to await orders in readiness to move on notice into action. I accordingly conducted by a route indicated the remaining guns of the Rockbridge Artillery and Captain Alburtis’ battery to a point between army headquarters and the field, and there halting reported in person for orders. Again directed to await in readiness, I did so until yourself rapidly passing gave the word, and by your order we hastened to the scene and arrived in proper place about 12 m. In the midst of action – raging with great severity – our position was skillfully adjusted by General Jackson. Being promptly arranged, these batteries all opened upon the enemy a well-directed and most effective fire. By this timely and telling attack, continued perhaps an hour or more, the batteries of the enemy were greatly crippled and their advance effectually checked. Under cover, however, of some brushwood, and because when seen they could not for a considerable time be distinguished from our own troops, a body of the enemy’s infantry succeeded in gaining a point near the batteries on the left. They were promptly met by a charge from the infantry that had, under General Jackson, for our protection, held place in our rear. From the melee thus occasioned almost in our midst it became necessary at once to remove our guns to another point. They were accordingly limbered immediately and withdrawn to a second position to the right and rather farther back. But the work done was sufficient; the enemy, crippled by our cannon and driven by the fire and bayonets of our brave infantry, gave up the day and began to retreat, and we could only hasten that retreat by a fire well aimed from the guns of longest range. I rejoice to testify to the admirable conduct of all the officers and men under my command and observation. Without exception they behaved with exemplary coolness, skill, and persevering determination, and I am thankful indeed to be able to state that under the shield of a guardian Providence we were nearly all mercifully preserved.

W. N. PENDLETON,

Colonel, Artillery, &c.

General JOSEPH E. JOHNSTON,

Commanding

—–

MANASSAS JUNCTION, July 23, 1861

GENERAL: I have the honor to report to you the conduct and condition of the Rockbridge Artillery in connection with the battle of the 21st instant, as attached to your noble brigade and under my immediate command:

By command of the adjutant-general, this battery, with that of Captain Alburtis, was detained near our resting position on the night of the 20th under my command, awaiting orders to move at any moment, Captain Stanard’s battery and that of Major Walton having been sent on to your support. While we thus waited the action began to rage far to the left, and after some time General Johnston passed with his staff and directed me to advance with one of the batteries, leaving the other to follow with some infantry that were to come on. With this battery I accordingly hastened on, leaving that of Captain Alburtis to follow as directed. On the way I was met by a courier from General Beauregard urging up all the artillery. Increasing if possible our already rapid advance, in consequence of sending a messenger to bring on Captain Alburtis at once, I proceeded with the Rockbridge Artillery to the scene. Near the field’ we came up with the battery of Major Walton and part of Captain Stanard’s, awaiting orders. Here on inquiry of General Johnston I learned the general course we were to take, and being urged to press forward all that could advance, I carried on this battery, with the two guns of Captain Stanard, word being left for Captain Alburtis to join us immediately. Pressing along the narrow and difficult road through the pine thicket we reached the point where you were standing as suitable for our position. Here the pieces were all as speedily as possible brought into action and continued their skillfully directed and well-sustained fire for perhaps some three hours, doing immense damage to the enemy and contributing an important share to the glorious victory of the day. The batteries of the enemy having, under the powerful fire directed against them, become greatly crippled, an advance was attempted by them to carry our batteries. Under cover of the brushwood on our left, and because they could not be distinguished from our own men, so that our fire was for a time withheld from them, they succeeded in getting very near us on the left. At this moment the infantry in the rear, acting as our support, rushed forward with charged bayonets and a close contest ensued almost in our midst of ball and bayonet. From this melee it became necessary for us promptly to withdraw. The pieces were therefore limbered and removed, a movement which was accomplished in perfect order, the last piece of the Rockbridge Artillery continuing to fire upon the advancing enemy until all the rest had been limbered and were in motion. By the time we had reached the second position, to the right and farther back, the enemy, crippled by our cannon and driven by our gallant infantry, were in full retreat, and the only additional service left for us was to expedite that retreat by sending after our routed invaders a few balls from the guns of longest range. The officers and men of this battery, like all the rest under my observation, behaved with exemplary courage, constancy, and skill. All performed their parts with fidelity and precision, and are entitled to a just measure of honor for their good conduct. Lieutenant Brockenbrough received a slight wound in the face, Corporal Jordan experienced a severe bruise on and temporarily disabling the foot, and Private Singleton was shot by a musket-ball in the arm, the wound being painful and serious, but it is hoped not dangerous. A slight contusion on the hip by a spent ball from the left and a slight graze on the lower tip of the right ear were the only approaches to a wound experienced by myself. We had no piece injured and no horse killed in the entire fight. One or two horses were slightly injured (among them my own) by a flesh shot in the leg, and one or two that had been allowed to infantry officers for use in the action were killed, but there are no other casualties.

W. N. PENDLETON,

Colonel, Provisional Army, Confederate States, and

Acting Captain Rockbridge Artillery

General T. J. JACKSON,

Commanding First Brigade





Artilleryman Clement D. Fishburne’s Account of the Campaign

5 09 2008

This letter from Clement D. Fishburne to Dr. P. B. Barringer appeared in the October, 2008 edition of Civil War Times magazine, and this portion is reprinted with the magazine’s kind permission.  The complete article can be found here.  The original letter is situated in Special Collections, University of Virginia, MSS #3569.  The excerpt below excludes the first part of the letter describing the author’s pre-war observations of T. J. Jackson.

Charlottesville Va. 8th April 1903

Dr. P. B. Barringer

University of Va

Dear Ari:

Whilst I do not doubt that I met them after wards from time to time before our “civil war” began I do not distinctly recall any other interview with him till in May 1861 when I went to Harper’s Ferry to make inquiry about my younger brother, who a private in the Col. J.E.B. Stuart’s 1st Regt of Va. Cavalry, had been accidentally shot by one of his comrades. This Regt. was part of Major (then Colonel) Jackson’s Command. Here I found the Colonel busily engaged with his work, organizing his command. He was cordial and hospitable, but after ascertaining that my brother had been sent to a hospital at Winchester, I hur-ried on to that town and from there returned in a few days to the University of Va., where I had begun the study of Law in the preceding fall. I soon discovered that it would be difficult for me to find profit in trying to study there, where all the students and Professors were thoroughly interested in the preparations then making in the State of Virginia for the inevitable conflict, and I accordingly decided to join the army and to cast my lot with the Rockbridge Artillery. This Battery had been organized at Lexington Va. and had in it a large number of young men who had been educated atWashington College. It was commanded by Rev. W.N. Pendleton, the Rector of the Episcopal Church at Lexington, who had graduated some years before at West Point and had been a fellow cadet with Genl. Ro. E. Lee, Gen. Joseph E. Johnson & other distinguished graduates, some of whom had already been called to prominent positions in the two armies which were then preparing for the great conflict.

Maj. Jackson had been commissioned a Col. when he was called to the command of the forces at Harpers Ferry. Soon after my trip to that place he moved his troops up the river, the Potomac, so as to command the crossing places. His cavalry under Col. Stuart picketed the river and the infantry was stationed at convenient places from Williamsport down to Harper’s Ferry. I went down the Valley by stage coach to Winchester and from that town went with a wagon train toward Martinsburg. Some three or four miles south of this town I found the Rockbridge Artillery, on the 21st June, resumming its march and there I joined it.We passed through the town and went into camp in an oak grove about four miles north of the town. Here we found several regiments of infantry belonging to a Brigade under Command of Col. Jackson, the nucleus of the Brigade which was afterwards known as Jackson’s Brigade and after the battle ofManassas known as the “Stonewall brigade.” My recollection is that this Brigade at first was composed of Col. JEB Stuart’s regiment of Cavalry, the 2nd, the 4th, the 5th, the 27th, & the 33rd regiments of Virginia Infantry and the Rockbridge Artillery.

As soon as I could conveniently do so I called on the Col. who was a very busy man and found him cheerful and pleasant as usual—and always cordial toward the men of his brigade who had before been personally known to him.

Genl. Patterson was reported as advancing toward us by the Ferry & ford at Williamsport and after some of his troops had crossed the Potomac Col. Jackson met him near the “Falling Waters” several miles north of our Camp. His troops, the Cavalry and Infantry, were deployed in front of what would be Gen Patterson’s line of march and the four guns of our artillery were moved forward on the turnpike-road which connected Martinsburg and Williamsport and here halted for further developments. Very soon we saw the 5th regiment moved forward and one of our guns, a six pounder brass gun was also advanced.  They were soon hidden from us by a patch of wood land but we had not long to wait for news from them. The battle begun by Patterson’s troops was continued by Jackson’s infantry and the one gun. Jackson was in direct command and his troops were highly elated by his coolness & promptness. The 5th Va Regt. and the one gun did considerable execution and delayed Gen. Patterson’s advance so that, at Col. Jacksons command, his troops began to fall back slowly & in perfect order.

Corporal M. tells the story that during this backward movement, the enemy’s artillery sent some shots intended to hasten our march, or at least to let us know that they were following us, and that, as a spent ball rolled near us, one of our privates approached himand exclaimed in indignant tones against the conduct of Gen. Patterson—“was any thing like this ever heard of in civilized warfare!— firing on a retreating foe!!” The Corporal was pretty amused but did not stop to discuss the outrage— Our brigade slowly fell back, through Martinsburg and, when we reached a place called Darkesville, we met for the first time Genl. Joseph E. Johnson to whom, as we understand it, Genl. Jackson reported. We were much impressed by the soldierly bearing of our new Commander in Chief. He was a man of medium height, a handsome man and a skillful, accomplished horseman. He had with him his staff and probably other troops besides Jackson’s brigade, but of this I am not sure. On a beautiful meadow East of the Valley turnpike, our brigade was deployed and Col. Jackson’s brigade-Quartermaster was provided with strips of white callon cloth with which each of the members of the brigade was decorated for the purpose of distinguishing us from the troops of Gen. Patterson who were expected to make an attack on us. The ordinary uniforms then worn by the troops of both armies were very similar and this mode of designating our troops was adopted in order to prevent confusion and the possible mistaking the enemy for friends & vice versa. Gen Jackson was frequently among us during our demonstration while awaiting the advance of Genl. Pattersons forces. We thus remained in line for a day or two, but the Enemy did not advance and we slowly resumed our march toward Winchester which place we reached on the 8 or 10th of July. Here we remained a few days, making demonstrations of readiness to begin battle, till the after noon of the 18th when, after orders to prepare three day’s ration’s, we set out from Winchester east ward. When we had gone a few miles, each body of our troops was halted long enough to hear an order from Gen. Johnson to the effect that ‘Our troops under the command of Gen Beauregard were already attacked by the Enemy at “Bulls run” and we were urged to “gird up our loins”: and march with all possible speed to aid our fellow soldiers near Manassas.

Each body responded with a shout and the march was resummed. The brigade reached the top of the mountain after midnight and [bivouacked] as best it could along the top and eastern slope of the Blue ridge awaiting further orders. Gen. Jackson was “inevidence” occasionally giving orders for the further march east-ward. About sunset the march was resumed— the infantry (as we were informed) taking the trains on the R.R. and the Rockbridge Artillery followed the dirt road and marched all night, halting an hour or so at “the Plains” to rest the horses, and again about sun rise to rest and feed them.

About the middle of the afternoon of the 20th we were halted at the Manassas station to rest and receive our further orders. The infantry of the Brigade had already arrived in that vicinity and were bivouacked on the South bank of “Bulls run” where we supposed Jackson was. After a tedious and unsatisfactory halting without water, we resumed the march and about dusk reached the banks of the “Bull’s run” where, without unnecessary delay, we made ourselves and our horses as comfortable as possible and went to sleep near that small stream. About break of day we were aroused by the Enemy’s artillery which was located north of us at Centreville and which was amusing itself firing in our direction as was made manifest by the occasional arrival in our vicinity of their shots or shells. Gen. Jackson took command of the infantry of his brigade and led them toward the place where they were after wards engaged on the ground where the first battle of Manassas was fought—not far from the celebrated “Henry House,” and there the Battery joined them.

We found Gen. Jackson on the field riding from one end of the line of his Infantry regiments to the other. He personally superintended the placing of the Rockbridge Artillery into position on the crest of the Hill in front of his infantry. He was riding a small bay horse, which limped from a wound it had rec. in a hind leg. The General had also been wounded in a finger and was riding about with his hand elevated and wrapped in a silk handkerchief. I supposed that he held his hand up to prevent bleeding, but the newspaper correspondents afterward described him as riding about with his hand elevated in prayer for the success of our cause. He probably prayed then as he was known to be a praying man, but he did not fail to watch as well as pray and he saluted me and other acquaintances who met him on the field.

At the proper time he gave orders for the Artillery to fall back and for the Infantry to rise and take position on the crest of hill preparatory to attacking the Enemy in the direction of the “Henry house.” I do not remember distinctly seeing him for some days after this battle but I doubt not that we all saw him frequently, as he was much interested in our getting out of the captured guns enough of the newly acquired cannon to equip anew the battery with six guns in place of the four which we had at the beginning.

During the week following the battle, Maj. John A. Harman, the quarter master of the Brigade, which was beginning to be known as “the Stonewall Brigade,” selected for it a Camp north of the battlefield and a few miles north of Centreville, in the direction of Fairfax Court House. Here we were encamped more than a month and Gen. Jackson’s Head Quarters were within half-mile of the Battery, at a substantial farm house.  In the yard were his tents in which his staff lodged and where the business of the Brigade was transacted. Every Sunday some religious services were conducted to which all the members of the Brigade were welcomed. At these services Gen. Jackson occupied a camp chair and it was said that on one occasion the chair upset with him, which gave rise to the conjecture which was expressed by some who had known his  habits—that he had slept & lost his balance while asleep.

From this camp he marched with his brigade northward to the vicinity of Fairfax Court House, but no skirmishing with the Enemy followed this march and after a few days in which our gun carriages were overhauled and harness mended & greased and new horses obtained, we fell back to Centreville at night reaching it in the very early morning. We bivouacked on grassy hills near the Headquarters of Gen Jos. E. Johnson and next day pitched our tents & went into camp where we spent several weeks.

Whilst here the whole Command was reviewed by our general officers and the display of troops was very encouraging to us raw veterans. We thought we could whip all the troops that the Federals could muster against us. “It was a child’s ignorance then, but it was pleasant.”





#113 – Lieut. George S. Davidson

29 06 2008

 

Report of Lieut. George S. Davidson, Commanding Section of Artillery

O.R.– SERIES I–VOLUME 2 [S# 2] — CHAPTER IX, pp. 563-564

HEADQUARTERS GENERAL N. G. EVANS’ COMMAND,

Stone Bridge, July 23, 1861

GENERAL: The second section of Latham’s battery, under my command, was on the morning of the 21st stationed on the hill commanding the stone bridge over Bull Run and its approaches. It was on the south side of the turnpike, and about six hundred yards west of the bridge. About 6 o’clock a.m. the enemy appeared on the high ground east of the bridge, nearly opposite my position. They opened fire from a single piece of rifled cannon, which was stationed on high ground north of the turnpike, not less than three-quarters of a mile east of my position. The fire from this piece and others near the same position was kept up at intervals until near 9 o’clock a.m.

About this time it was known that the enemy was forming in force upon your left flank. I was ordered to join Major Wheat’s command, which lay nearly a mile northwest of my first position. I passed by Van Pelt’s house, and went on to the Carter house, about one hundred yards northeast of which I placed my section in battery. Finding that the enemy, still encroaching upon our flank, had changed his position, I was ordered by yourself to return to the turnpike, which I followed to a high point about fifteen hundred yards west of the stone bridge. I placed my pieces in battery on open ground within two hundred yards north of the turnpike. From this position you ordered my second piece, under Lieut. Clark Leftwich, to advance along the turnpike and up the Sudley road. He accordingly took position about one hundred yards east of the Sudley road, bearing nearly five hundred yards north from the stone house of Matthews.

From this position Lieutenant Leftwich opened upon the enemy, advancing along the Sudley road, about one thousand yards distant. He inflicted considerable injury upon them, and maintained his position until our infantry had retired. He then retired to a hill south of the turnpike, and about one thousand yards distant from and west of Robinson’s house. Here he remained, firing upon the enemy until he had expended all ammunition from his limber chest. The horses of the caisson having run off, Lieutenant Leftwich came to ask me for ammunition, which I being unable to furnish him, he proceeded to the Lewis house, where he rejoined and reported to Captain Latham.

Lieutenant Leftwich had not fired more than six or eight times from his first position on the Sudley road when the enemy advanced toward our right (as our regiment then fronted), and came within range of my gun. I immediately opened fire upon him, which I kept up until I found the enemy advancing along the Sudley road toward my position. I then moved my gun into the turnpike immediately at the mouth of the lane leading to Robinson’s house, and fired upon the enemy with canister, and with good effect, until he had come up within one hundred and fifty yards of my gun. Having expended my ammunition, I reported my command to Captain Latham, then posted on Lewis’ farm, about four hundred yards east of the house.

I cannot close my report without testifying to the courage and coolness of my gunners, Charles Perry and James B. Lee. The men also served at the guns in a manner highly honorable to them. I had one man wounded by a shell, but met with no other casualties, except that I broke a caisson pole and a gun-carriage axle while obeying your double-quick command along the turnpike to my third position north of the turnpike. About the same time also a wheel ran off from my gun-carriage. I, however, repaired these damages and went on.

Respectfully, general, your most obedient servant,

GEORGE S. DAVIDSON

Brig. Gen. N. G. Evans