#1 – Brig. Gen. Irvin McDowell

11 12 2020

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

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

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

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

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

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

Irvin McDowell,
Brigadier General, Commanding.

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

[Inclosure.]

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

Brigadier-General Schenck, Commanding Ohio Brigade:

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

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

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

JAMES B. FRY,
Assistant Adjutant-General.





Lt. Col. Edward D. Townsend, Army AAG, to McDowell on Diminishing His Command

15 11 2020

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

CORRESPONDENCE, ETC. – UNION

O. R. – Series I – VOLUME 2 [S #2] CHAPTER IX, pp. 755-756

Headquarters Army, July 22,1861.

Brigadier-General McDowell, U. S. A, Arlington, Va.:

Captain Wright, Engineers, is detached from your department. Send another engineer in his place.

For the garrison of the forts and their support, fifteen regiments and such field batteries as you deem necessary will be retained in your department. The General-in-Chief desires you to send over to this side all the remaining troops and all the wagons and teams not absolutely needed for your purposes.

Send in the wagons all the camp equipage not required by your fifteen regiments.

E. D. TOWNSEND,
Assistant Adjutant-General.


Headquarters Army, July 22,1861.

General McDowell, U. S. A., Arlington:

General Scott says it is not intended you should reduce your command to the minimum number of regiments mentioned by him (fifteen) to-day, but if the enemy will permit, you can take to-morrow or even the next day for the purpose.

E. D. TOWNSEND.





Colonel John H. McCunn, 37th New York Infantry, and Colonel Dwight A. Woodbury, 4th Michigan Infantry, Communicate with McDowell and Army HQ

8 11 2020

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

CORRESPONDENCE, ETC. – UNION

O. R. – Series I – VOLUME 2 [S #2] CHAPTER IX, p. 748

Fairfax, July 21, 1861.

General McDowell:

I have learned from my scouts that large trees are felled across the turnpike on road from here to Alexandria. Things are looking ugly here.

McCUNN.


Fairfax Court-House, July 21,1861—9.10 p. m.

Col. E. D. Townsend:

We are reliably informed that the enemy’s cavalry will attack us on the left to-night.

Send instructions.

D. A. WOODBURY,
Colonel, Commanding [Fourth Michigan Infantry].


Fairfax Station, July 21,1861—11.5.

Lieutenant-General Scott:

Orders have arrived that no more regiments are to come here from Alexandria to-night.

I have placed myself in best position. Have removed obstructions of slide from railroad track.

I have no communication from General McDowell.

I am guarding the roads lest a surprise.

Colonel Woodbury telegraphed me that he expects an attack from cavalry. What shall I do?

McCUNN,
Thirty-Seventh New York Volunteers.


Washington, July 21,1861—11.45 p. m.

Colonel McCunn, Fairfax Station:

General McDowell is at Fairfax Court-House, where he will try to make a stand. Communicate with him there, and also let Colonel Woodbury know.

WINFIELD SCOTT.





McDowell Calls for Reinforcements

5 11 2020

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

CORRESPONDENCE, ETC. – UNION

O. R. – Series I – VOLUME 2 [S #2] CHAPTER IX, pp. 746-747

Centreville, [July] 21,1861.

Colonel Townsend :

Captain Fry writes to me to say, u Telegraph to Washington: Send on immediately all the troops that can be spared.” Colonel Hunter has just arrived, badly wounded.

D. S. MILES,
Colonel.

Fairfax Court-House, July 21,1861—5.15 o’clock.

General Scott :

I am directed to send the accompanying dispatch to you or to deliver in person.

HANSCON.

Centreville, July 21—4 p. m. Adjutant-General Thomas:

General McDowell wishes all the troops that can he sent from Washington to come here without delay. He has ordered the reserve now here under Colonel Miles to advance to the bridge over Bull Run, on the Warrenton road, having driven the enemy before him. Colonel Miles is now about three or four miles from here, directing operations near Blackburn’s Ford, and in his absence I communicate.

G. H. MENDELL,
First Lieutenant, Topographical Engineers.





McDowell Forwards Intelligence on Enemy Dispositions to Army Headquarters

31 10 2020

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

CORRESPONDENCE, ETC. – UNION

O. R. – Series I – VOLUME 2 [S #2] CHAPTER IX, pp. 722-723

[Memorandum for General Scott.]

Hdqrs. Department Northeastern Virginia,
Arlington, June 25, 1861.

Lieut. Col. E. D. Townsend,
Asst. Adjt. Gen., Headquarters of Army:

Statement of Mr. J—–u, a man on whom I rely:

Arrived at Fairfax Court-House Thursday, 20th instant; found there Prince William company and the Rappahannock—about sixty-five in each company. Friday morning these companies went to Fairfax Station, leaving nobody in the town. Friday night the South Carolina regiments began to come, and Saturday night it was said there were three regiments at the Court-House and another coming; saw the three himself—amounting to about 3,000 men. Started for the Junction about 8.30; went by Germantown and Centreville. At Germantown saw Gregg’s South Carolina regiment—about 1,000. The road between Fairfax and Centreville much obstructed about one mile before you get to the Bald Hill, where there are five cannon planted.

At Centreville, Bonham, of South Carolina, was in command. He had other troops besides his own regiment and the artillery. At Bull Bun there was an entrenchment on the right bank—four guns. Two regiments of South Carolinians stationed there; they had been there but a short time. Bull Bun Crossing is five miles from Centreville and two from Manassas Junction. Arrived at Manassas Junction at 10 o’clock a. m.; saw General Beauregard; staid until 3 p. m.; returned the same way he went. On reaching Bull Run, found the South Carolina regiments had struck their tents, had their wagons packed, and were moving in the direction of Centreville and Fairfax Court-House, taking their four cannon with them, occupying the road for about two miles. Had a difficulty in passing the column. The colonel asked if he had a pass; showed him one from General Beauregard; was then allowed to pass. He was cautioned by the colonel not to speak of movements of troops even to their own men. These regiments did not come to the Court-House. At Centreville things were not as they were when he went through first. At Germantown found Gregg’s regiment had broken up its camp and moved to the Court-House, and was encamped near the Little River turnpike, about one-quarter mile from the Court-House. Learned that Gregg’s place at Germantown had been supplied by another regiment or regiments, and supposes it may have been by those he passed at Bull Bun and those which were on the march to the front.
At Fairfax Station there were about 800 men—Virginians. The South Carolina regiments were all (except one—Spratt’s) about 1,000 men each. Forty of Gregg’s regiment had the measles. The two regiments on the march from Bull Bun had about fifty wagons for their baggage and supplies, old road and farmers’ wagons, five to six horses each. Wagons well crammed up to the bows. The South Carolina regiments were the best armed and equipped and in high spirits, “freezing for a fight,” being much elated by the Vienna affair. Negroes with them as servants. Cavalry, estimated, all told, 1,500; 500 Louisianians and 1,000 Virginians; mounted so-so as to Virginians; those from Louisiana good. Virginia cavalry armed irregularly with double-barreled shot-guns, pistols, fowling-pieces, some carbines, and sabers. Horse furniture indifferent, made up of odds and ends. Louisiana cavalry better in all respects—men, horses, arms, and equipments. The total at the Junction and the places this side he estimated at 20,000, all told. There are twenty Kentucky well-mounted guerrillas. Five of them took the Connecticut man prisoner. The Connecticut man seemed well pleased with being a prisoner. Subsistence, chiefly ship biscuit and fresh beef. Crops—wheat very fine; grass, corn, and oats indifferent. They seemed to be expecting an attack from us. Saw no guns at Germantown. Saw five guns harnessed at Court-House. Saw five guns at Centreville. Saw four guns at Bull Bun.

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

IRVIN MCDOWELL,
Brigadier- General.





McDowell’s Plan for the Proposed Movement from Alexandria to Leesburg

24 10 2020

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

CORRESPONDENCE, ETC. – UNION

O. R. – Series I – VOLUME 2 [S #2] CHAPTER IX, pp. 718-719

Hdqrs. Department Northeastern Virginia,
Arlington, June 24, 1861.

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

Colonel: I have the honor to submit the following, in answer to your letter of June 21, in reference to a column to co-operate from this position with a movement to be made with a portion of Major-General Patterson’s command “to sweep the enemy from Leesburg towards Alexandria.” For a better understanding of what follows, I have the honor to transmit a map, which I have had prepared, showing the position of our troops and of that of the enemy in front of it. There is at Manassas Junction and the places in its front or immediate vicinity a force of from 23,000 to 25,000 infantry and about 2,000 cavalry and a supply of well-provided artillery. The advanced position of this force is at Centreville, Germantown, Fairfax Court-House, and Fairfax Station, the numbers and proportion at each varying from time to time. How much of a force is beyond Manassas Gap, in the valley, and could be brought within the operations here contemplated, I have no means of judging. There is nothing to hinder their coming, and unless they are kept engaged by our troops around Harper’s Ferry, re-enforcements, in case of serious operations from that section would have to be guarded against, as would also those from places to the south of Manassas, on the line of the railroad to Richmond or Lynchburg, which would be pressed forward whenever it should become known we were moving upon them or they upon us in any force.

I have not learned that the troops in our front are fully provided with transportation, though I am satisfied they are not so deficient as we have supposed, and not as much so as we are at this time ourselves, for the Quartermaster-General, after supplying yesterday transportation for two regiments to move each about six miles, had but three horses left.

We have in this department, good, bad, and indifferent, twenty regiments of infantry, giving an aggregate of less than 14,000; four companies of cavalry, giving about 250; one battery of regular artillery of six rifled guns; one battery of volunteer artillery, smooth-bores—an excellent company, but not accustomed to their guns, and hardly fit for service in the field. There are three companies of regular artillery, but they are in the earthworks, and not available for field service. The General-in-Chief was pleased to say he wished I would fight this project of a combined movement to sweep away the enemy from Leesburg towards Alexandria with him step by step. I take advantage of this permission, if, indeed, I do not obey a command, to say that it seems to me the distance between General Patterson’s force and this one is so great, and the line of march each has to take is such (a flank exposed), that, in my view, the force to move from each position should be constituted without reference to material support from the other. I am thought by those for whose judgment I have great respect, and who have been on the ground, to hazard something in having my advanced position so near Falls Church, when it is thrown forward from the right of the line, Fort Corcoran, and there are means of re-enforcing it promptly by the Georgetown turnpike and the railroad to Alexandria.

What would be our position if a movement is made to the right, at this the right bank of the Potomac, towards Leesburg? In the first place, as we are for any such purpose without means of wagon transportation, we should be obliged to repair and use the railroad; but whether this was done or not, we should march with the left flank of the column exposed to attack from their advanced positions, and on getting as far to the right as Vienna, have our line exposed to interruption, for Vienna is nearer to the enemy than it is to Falls Church or the camps on the Georgetown road.

To go farther to the right could not safely be done, even by a force superior to that the enemy can bring against us. I think a glance at the map will show this. Any reverse happening to this raw force, pushed farther along, with the enemy on the flank and rear and an impassable river on the right, would be fatal. I do not think, therefore, it safe to risk anything from this position in the direction of Leesburg farther than Vienna, seven miles by the Leesburg turnpike from Falls Church, and even to go there the force should be large. Vienna could be supplied or re-enforced—

1st. By the Leesburg road from Falls Church.
2d. By the railroad from Alexandria.
3d. By the dirt road from Ball’s Cross-Roads.

The first two are liable to interruption unless strongly guarded, and the third is an indifferent road and a long one. The force, then, to go as far as Vienna should be large enough to hold the position for several hours, and should be well supplied with artillery and cavalry and strengthened by such defenses as could be readily thrown up. Vienna being held in force, and offensively, would cover the country from the Difficult Creek well towards Goose Creek from any force of the enemy operating from Manassas Junction or its dependencies, and I have never heard of there being over 500 men, mostly local troops, at Leesburg. As it would be constantly liable to be attacked by all the available force of the enemy and is only a few hours’ march from him, it would be necessary to have strong reserves ready at either Falls Church or the camp of the Ohio brigade.

The force sufficient to hold Vienna cannot well be stated, because of the changes which are taking place in front of us. I do not think it prudent to go there with less than 8,000 infantry, a battery of field regular rifled artillery, with some guns in position, and six companies of cavalry, and the line from Fort Corcoran to General Tyler to be held as strong as at present, and a reserve on that line of 3,000 men; some of the force to be organized into small field brigades, as heretofore proposed, under regular colonels.

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

IRVIN MCDOWELL,
Brigadier-General, Commanding.





Maj. Gen. Robert Patterson’s Plan for the Proposed Movement from Leesburg to Alexandria

21 10 2020

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

CORRESPONDENCE, ETC. – UNION

O. R. – Series I – VOLUME 2 [S #2] CHAPTER IX, pp. 711-712

Hagerstown, Md., June 21, 1861.

Col. E. D. Townsend,
Asst. Adjt. Gen., U. 8. Army, Washington City:

Colonel: I have the honor to acknowledge the receipt of the telegram of the General-in-Chief calling for a plan of operations with a portion of my force to sweep the enemy from Leesburg, &c. Inclosed is a copy of my telegraphic reply. The following is my plan more in detail:

To carry out the views of the General-in-Chief I propose—

First. To occupy the Maryland Heights with a brigade (2,100 men); fortify and arm with Doubleday’s artillery, and provision for twenty days, to secure against investment.

Second. To move all supplies to Frederick, and immediately thereafter abandon this line of operations; threaten with a force to open a route through Harper’s Ferry, this force to be the sustaining one for the command on Maryland Heights.

Third. To send everything else available (horse, foot, and artillery) to cross the Potomac near Point of Rocks, and unite with Colonel Stone at Leesburg. From that point I can operate as circumstances shall demand and your orders require. If no blow is to be struck here, I think this change of position important to keep alive the ardor of our men as well as to force an enemy.

The reasons for this change of depot will be so apparent to the General-in-Chief that I need not refer to them. By the employment of the local transportation of the country I can soon make the necessary changes, and will hasten to carry out your orders.

I have many reports in regard to the movements of the force opposite us in Virginia, and have reason to believe that when the regulars were withdrawn, General Johnston, with thirteen thousand men and twenty-two pieces of artillery, was marching to the attack, and that night posted his force, expecting from us an attack the following morning. I regret we did not meet the enemy, so confident am I that, with this well-appointed force, the result would have been favorable to us, and that this portion of Virginia would now be peaceably occupied.

Reports of the enemy having returned to Harper’s Ferry and had driven the occupants to this shore reached me yesterday. I immediately dispatched a strong force to take position in the vicinity of Sharpsburg and protect all parties on this side of the river, and drive back any force which may attempt to cross.

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

R. PATTERSON,
Major-General, Commanding.

[Inclosure.]

Hagerstown, Md., June 21, 1861.

Col. E. D. Townsend, Washington City:

The telegram of the General-in-Chief of yesterday was received at midnight. To carry out proposed plan I think involves a change of depot to Frederick and evacuation of Williamsport and Hagerstown. With an enemy close at hand, a move suddenly, with present amount of transportation, necessitates sending a large mass of stores back to Harrisburg or their abandonment.

Maryland Heights can be secured, and Frederick also, and a strong force of infantry, some cavalry, and artillery sent via Frederick to Leesburg to sweep the enemy from that point to Alexandria. If no blow is to be struck here, and this meets the views of the General-in-Chief, I will at once commence moving, and be in position to act at the earliest practicable moment. I send a regiment to-day to Frederick at the urgent solicitation of the governor. I shall write in full by mail. Reconnaissance of heights being made. Send your telegrams via Harrisburg, Chambersburg, &c. Frederick line cannot be relied upon.

R. PATTERSON,
Major-General, Commanding.





Army A. A. G. E. D. Townsend to Brig. Gen. Irvin McDowell on Proposed Movement from Alexandria to Leesburg

21 10 2020

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

CORRESPONDENCE, ETC. – UNION

O. R. – Series I – VOLUME 2 [S #2] CHAPTER IX, p. 711

Washington, June 21, 1861.

Brigadier-General McDowell, U. S. A.:

Sir: The General-in-Chief sends you the inclosed copy of instructions to Major-General Patterson,* and desires you to propose a column to co-operate from this end, according to the outline plan indicated.
I am, &c.,

E. D. TOWNSEND,
Assistant Adjutant-General.

*See Scott to Patterson, June 20, p. 709.





McDowell and Army Headquarters Discuss the Reconnaissance to Vienna

21 10 2020

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

CORRESPONDENCE, ETC. – UNION

O. R. – Series I – VOLUME 2 [S #2] CHAPTER IX, p. 700

June 18,1861—1.35 a. m.

Brigadier-General Schenck: It is not intended you shall attempt to carry the position at Vienna.

Colonel Corcoran, with four companies, and Brigadier-General Tyler, with part of his brigade, will soon be with you.

Get your wounded attended to, and as soon as General Tyler arrives let them go down by the first train he may send.

Let me know when Colonel Corcoran and General Tyler arrive.

Let me have report early to-morrow morning.

IRVIN MCDOWELL,
Brigadier- General.


Arlington, June 18, 1861—5.20 a. m.

Lieut. Col. E. D. Townsend:

Will it accord with the plans of the General-in-Chief that a movement be made in force in the direction of Vienna, near which the attack was made on the Ohio regiment?

IRVIN MCDOWELL,
Brigadier- General.


Washington, June 18, 1861—6.30 a. m.

General McDowell, Arlington:

The General-in-Chief says do not make a movement in the direction of Vienna which is not necessary to bring General Schenck back to his camp.

E. D. TOWNSEND,
Assistant Adjutant-General.





McDowell Reports on Loudoun and Hampshire Road Reconnaissance

14 10 2020

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

CORRESPONDENCE, ETC. – UNION

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

IRVIN MCDOWELL,
Brigadier-General, Commanding.