President Jefferson Davis to Brig. Gen. Joseph E. Johnston on Cooperation and Communication

28 12 2020

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

CORRESPONDENCE, ETC. – CONFEDERATE

O. R. – Series I – VOLUME 2 [S #2] CHAPTER IX, p. 945

Richmond, June 22,1861.

General Joseph E. Johnston:

My Dear General: I congratulate you on the brilliant movement of Colonel Vaughn’s[*] command. To break the line of the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad was essential to our operations, and if the bridge at Cheat River and the Grand Tunnel could be destroyed, so as to prevent the use of that railroad for the duration of the war, the effect upon public opinion in Western Virginia would doubtless be of immediate and great advantage to our cause.

If the enemy has withdrawn from your front to attack on the east side of the mountain, it may be that an attempt will be made to advance from Leesburg to seize the Manassas road and to turn Beauregard’s position. The recent effort to repair the railroad from Alexandria to Leesburg may have been with such intent. In that event, if your scouts give you accurate and timely information, an opportunity will be offered you by the roads through the mountain passes to make a flank attack in conjunction with Beauregard’s column, and, with God’s blessing, to achieve a victory alike glorious and beneficial.

We continue to send forward re-enforcements to Manassas Junction. On Monday and Tuesday a battalion of light artillery will go forward, and every effort is made to reach a condition which will enable our forces to shape the campaign by assuming the offensive.

I wish you would write whenever your convenience will permit, and give me fully both information and suggestions. Colonel Thomas recently undertook to explain to me your wants as one authorized to speak for you, and to-day Mr. Staples communicated his impression of your views, necessities, and wishes. I am sure you cannot feel hesitation in writing to me freely, and trust your engagements will permit you to do so frequently.

With earnest wishes for your welfare and happiness, I am, very truly, your friend,

JEFFERSON DAVIS.

[*John C. Vaughan, 3rd Tennessee Infantry, Skirmish at New Creek, VA, June 18, 1861, pp. 131-132, this volume]





Brig. Gen. Joseph E. Johnston to Brig. Gen. Samuel Cooper in Reply to the Latter’s Letter of June 13, 1861

23 12 2020

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

CORRESPONDENCE, ETC. – CONFEDERATE

O. R. – Series I – VOLUME 2 [S #2] CHAPTER IX, p. 929-930

Headquarters Camp Long Meadow,
June 15,1861.

General Cooper, Adjutant and Inspector General, Richmond, Va.:

General: I have had the honor to receive your letter of the 13th. I know myself to be a careless writer, and will not, therefore, pretend to have expressed clearly the opinions I wished to have put before the Government. I am confident, however, that nothing in my correspondence with my military superiors makes me obnoxious to the charge of desiring that the responsibility of my official acts should be borne by any other person than myself.

I had the honor yesterday to report to the President the removal of the troops from Harper’s Ferry and other matters authorized in your letter just received.

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

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





President Jefferson Davis to Brig. Gen. P. G. T. Beauregard, on Operational Options

22 12 2020

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

CORRESPONDENCE, ETC. – CONFEDERATE

O. R. – Series I – VOLUME 2 [S #2] CHAPTER IX, pp. 922-923

Executive Department,
Richmond, June 13,1861.

General Beauregard, Comdg., &c., Manassas Junction, Va.:

My Dear General: Colonel Jones delivered to me your letter of the 12th instant,* and, as suggested by you, I conversed with him of the matters to which it related. Your information may be more accurate than we possess in relation to the purpose of the enemy, and I will briefly reply to you on the hypothesis which forms the basis of your suggestions.

If the enemy commences operations by attack upon Harper’s Ferry, I do not perceive why General Johnston should be unable, even before overwhelming numbers, to retire behind the positions where the enemy would approach him in reverse. It would seem to me not unreasonable to expect that before he reached Winchester, the terminus of the railroad in his possession, the people of the fertile and populous valley would rise in mass to aid him in repelling the invader. But suppose it should be otherwise, he could still, by retiring to the passes on the Manassas Railroad and its adjacent mountains, probably check the progress of the enemy, and prevent him from either taking possession of the valley or passing to the rear of your position. We hope soon to re-enforce you to an extent equal to the strength you require by the junction of General Johnston, and I cannot doubt but that you will agree with me that you would then be better circumstanced to advance upon Alexandria than if General Johnston, by withdrawing from the valley, had left the enemy the power to pass to your rear, to cut your line of communication, and advance to attack you in reverse while you were engaged with the enemy in front.

Concurring fully with you in the effect which would be produced by possession of Arlington Heights and Alexandria, if your rear is at the same time sufficiently covered, it is quite clear that, if the case should be otherwise, your possession, if acquired, would be both brief and fruitless.

To your request that a concerted plan of operations should be adopted, I can only reply that the present position and unknown purpose of the enemy require that our plan should have many alterations. I have noticed your converging lines upon Richmond, and it can hardly be necessary to remind you that we have not at this time the transportation which would enable us to move upon those lines as described. Should the fortune of war render it necessary to retire our advance columns, they must be brought mainly upon railroads, and that of Harper’s Ferry would come by your present position. It would therefore be a necessity that General Johnston’s columns should make a junction with yours before yours retired; but I have not anticipated the necessity of your retreat, and have struggled rather to increase your force, and look hopefully forward to see you enabled to assume the offensive. Had I been less earnestly engaged in providing for yours and other commands, I should have had the pleasure of visiting you before this date.

Two regiments have been sent forward, neither of which had reached you at the date of your letters, and you will soon receive further re-enforcements. They are not trained troops, but I think they are better than those of the enemy, and the capacity which you have recently exhibited successfully to fight with undisciplined citizens justifies the expectation that you will know how to use such force as we are able to furnish.

Very truly, yours,

JEFFERSON DAVIS.

*Not found





General Orders #25 – Gov. John Letcher Transfers Command of Virginia Forces to Confederate Government

19 12 2020

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

CORRESPONDENCE, ETC. – CONFEDERATE

O. R. – Series I – VOLUME 2 [S #2] CHAPTER IX, pp. 911-912

General Orders,
No. 25

Headquarters Virginia Forces,
Richmond, Va., June 8, 1861.

By the Governor of Virginia.
A Proclamation.

The delegates of the people of Virginia, in Convention assembled, having by their ordinance passed April 25, 1861, adopted and ratified the Constitution of the Provisional Government of the Confederate States of America, ordained and established at Montgomery, Ala., on February 8, 1861, and the State of Virginia having been, by an act of the Confederate States, passed May 7, 1861, admitted as a State into the Confederate Government, and the President being, under the Constitution of the Provisional Government of the Confederate States, the Commander-in-Chief of the Army and Navy of the Confederate States and of the militia of the several States when called into the service of the Confederate States:

Now, therefore, I, John Letcher, governor of Virginia, by and with the advice and consent of the executive council, do hereby transfer to the authorities of the Confederate States, by regiments, all the volunteer forces which have been mustered into the service of Virginia, and do order a like transfer, by regiments, battalions, squadrons, and companies, of all volunteers or militia, as the same shall be formed, and their services may be required.

I further hereby transfer to the authorities of the Confederate States the command of all the officers, seamen, and marines of the Provisional Navy of Virginia, for service in the Confederate States.

I do further order that all officers of the Virginia service now on duty in any of the departments of the staff continue to discharge their respective functions, under the direction and control of the President, until otherwise ordered; and that all quartermasters, commissary, and medical stores belonging to the State and in charge of said officers, to be turned over for the use of the Confederate States, upon proper receipts for the articles turned over, to be forwarded to the accounting officer for settlement. All moneys in charge of any of the departments will be forthwith returned into the treasury of the State.

I do further order all the Provisional Army of Virginia to respect and obey all lawful orders emanating from the President, or those commanding under his authority, and that the same may be incorporated, in whole or in part, into the Provisional Army of the Confederate States, at the pleasure of the President.

I do hereby authorize the use of all public property, munitions of war, &c., captured from the United States, the machinery at Harper’s Ferry excepted, by the President or those acting under his authority, for the common defense.

Given under my hand as governor, and under the seal of the State, at Richmond, this 6th day of June, A. D. 1861, and in the eighty-fifth year of the Commonwealth.

By the governor:
[SEAL]

GEORGE W. MUNFORD,
Secretary of the Commonwealth.

In compliance with the foregoing proclamation, the command of the military and naval forces of the State of Virginia is transferred to the Confederate States. All officers of said forces will obey the orders they may receive from the heads of the War and Navy Departments, respectively. Officers of the staff will receive their instructions from the chiefs of the several branches of the Confederate States Government.

R. E. LEE,
General, Commanding.





Brig. Gen. Joseph E. Johnston Notifies Maj. Gen. Robert E. Lee of His Return to Virginia and Harper’s Ferry

4 12 2020

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

CORRESPONDENCE, ETC. – CONFEDERATE

O. R. – Series I – VOLUME 2 [S #2] CHAPTER IX, p. 856

Abingdon, Va., May 18,1861.

Major-General Lee, Commander-in-Chief, &c.:

General: I respectfully inclose herewith a copy of the instructions under which I return to Virginia.* Debility compelled me to stop at this place. I expect to be in Lynchburg during Monday, and beg you to convey to me by telegraph any information you can communicate, which you think of interest to my command, especially in relation to supplies of ammunition and provisions. Should the contemplated conditions justify it, I request that the two officers named in the postscript (should it meet their own views) may be ordered to join me forthwith. The President intends to assemble an army near Harper’s Ferry. I suggested the proviso, because it seemed to me likely that Lieutenant-Colonel Pemberton might be at the head of the artillery of the State.

Most respectfully, your obedient servant,

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

*See Cooper to Johnston, May 15, 1861, p. 844





Vivandiere, 7th Louisiana Infantry*, On Blackburn’s Ford and the Battle (2)

8 05 2020

Vivandiere, 7th Louisiana Infantry*, On Blackburn’s Ford and the Battle (2)

From the Seat of War in Virginia.
—————

Special to the New Orleans Crescent

Headquarters Seventh Regiment La. Vols.
2 ½ Miles from Centreville, VA, August 3.

Mr. Editor – My multitudinous duties of a military character have kept me so constantly employed for the past few days as to cause me, unwillingly, to delay the “continuation” of my letter of the 23rd ult., relative to the great battles of Bull Run and Stone Bridge, or “Manassas.” Of the full particulars of both these memorable battles, you are, ere this, fully informed through other correspondents, and the official returns published in the Richmond papers and the Northern press. Even the interesting episodes of which such tragic scenes are always so prolific have been ere this served upon the public platter, as food for the insatiable appetite, proceeding from the “animal which is in man,” and hashed and re-hashed until they have become insipid and tasteless.

A few incidents which either occurred under my own observation, or for the truthfulness whereof I will vouch, have thus far however escaped other argus-eyed correspondents for the press, and I will claim for the Crescent the honor of being fist in the field with them. Of one of these, the historian should make note, as a link forever binding the name of Beauregard to that of all that is truly great and honorable.

It was not until late in the afternoon of the eventful 21st that President Davis arrived on the battle-field, and Beauregard had from an elevated stand-point seen the last gallant horseman of our pursuing cavalry disappear in the distance after the retreating Federalists ere he was informed of the President’s coming. I was near him, as his staff and the field-officers of the day approached to congratulate him on his safety and his victory. He was thus occupied when one of his aids approached at the top of his horse’s speed and announced the fact of the President’s arrival and request to have the pleasure of seeing him immediately. The reply of Beauregard was firm and unimpassioned: “I cannot wait upon the President himself till I have first seen and attended to the wants of my wounded!” This saying he turned his horse in the direction of the most fatal portion of the bloody field. Such a man is our Beauregard.

In conversation with many apparently intelligent Yankee prisoners, and from letters picked up on the field of battle, we gain a much better idea of public sentiment at the North than is discoverable from the perusal of the hireling papers of that section. When asked why they had taken up arms against us and invaded our soil, many of the prisoners would reply that they had enlisted for three months with a view of protecting the “National Capital” against a “Southern mob,” and had been marched, against their wills and wishes, into Southern territory, and would prefer to remain prisoners at Richmond until the suspension of hostilities than to rejoin the “grand army” of Northern aggression and invasion. I was engaged, at Manassas Junction, a day or two after the battle of the 21st, in conversation with a prisoner, a Sergeant in a Connecticut regiment, when a large and good natured looking darkie, belonging to an officer from South Carolina, came in, having in charge two live Yankee prisoners, whom he had surprised, disarmed, and captured, unaided. The negro was much pleased with his exploit, and became the lion of the hour. My Connecticut sergeant appeared somewhat astonished that the negroes – the downtrodden, bechained, bestrapped, misused, maltreated and crushed – should thus turn upon their liberators and friends (?). Your correspondent “took occasion” to read Connecticut a homily, with the above mentioned circumstance for a text, and felt sufficiently repaid for my efforts, in my first lesson, in the assurance on the parted Nutmeg, that there had “no doubt been considerable fault on both sides.”

The regiment to which I am attached, the Seventh of Louisiana, under Col. Hays, is now encamped on the battle-field of Bull Run, abut two hundred yards from Blackburn’s Ford, across which the enemy attempted to force a passage – and did’nt. The Sixth, of Louisiana, (Col. Seymour’s,) is quartered to our left a few hundred yards, and the Washington Artillery about a mile farther up the Run. The Ninth is at Manassas Junction. All the Louisiana troops in this section have been formed into a Brigade, under command of Senior Colonel Seymour, which arrangement appears to be generally satisfactory to all.

I have just had placed in my hands the monthly reports of the several companies of the Seventh Regiment, from which I collate the following of the killed and wounded in the late battles:

Continental Guards, Capt. Geo. Clark – Killed, Wm. Maylau on the 18th ult., and Thos. R. Clay on the 21st. Wounded, Sergeant [?], and Privates Jno. Flynn and J. W. Kelly, all on the 21st.

Crescent Rifles, Company B, Capt H. T. Jett – Killed, Jno. S. Brooks, on the 18th ult. Wounded, Corporal Chas. V. Fisher, on the 21st, doing well.

American Rifles, Capt. Wm. D. Rickarby – Wounded, Wm. Stanton, slightly, in the battle of the 21st.

Irish volunteers, of Lafourche, Capt. W. B. Ratliff – Killed [?] Murphy, 21st; Wounded on the 21st. Corporal Fallan lost an arm, James Hammond, Jas. McCarty, Francis Manley and Timothy Noon.

Baton Rouge Fencibles – Wounded, 21st, J. T. [?] and W. H. Banks.

Virginia Blues, Capt. D. A Wilson, Jr. – Killed, Miles Smythe, July 18; Wounded, Patrick Cane and Jno. McMahan. Total killed, 5; wounded, 14.

Of the loss of the Eighth Regiment, I see you are already informed, and also relative to the cutting up of Wheat’s Battalion.

Our boys are in the best of spirits, and eager for more fighting.

I enclose you a discourse delivered by our Chaplain, Rev. Dr. Howard of New Orleans, on the Sunday succeeding the great battle of Stone Bridge, on the very spot where the battle raged the hottest on the ever memorable 21st of July. It was entirely extemporaneous, and written out afterwards from recollection. I send it to you by urgent request of nearly all our officers, and very many others who were present on the occasion of its delivery. It will well repay perusal. More anon.

Vivandiere

New Orleans (LA) Daily Crescent, 8/6/1861

Clipping Image

Contributed by John Hennessy

*The writer’s enlistment in the 7th Louisiana is assumed, but not certain.





Major James Burdge Walton, Washington Artillery of New Orleans, At the Battle

29 04 2020

The Washington Artillery
—————

A letter from Richmond, Virginia, to a gentleman of this office, says:

The Washington Artillery, under Major Walton, are highly spoken of by every person I have seen who was on the battle-field. After the victory was won, Beauregard called on the Artillery and passed from man to man through the ranks, shaking hands with them and thanking them for their services. That little incident speaks louder for them than a thousand newspaper letters.

We have also been shown a letter from a member of one of our Louisiana companies in Virginia, in which he says:

At the battle of Stone Bridge, Major J. B. Walton, of the Washington Artillery, dismounted from his horse, and walked up and down the lines, to the several batteries under his command, speaking words of praise and encouragement to his men, often times halting to sight, and several times even firing the guns himself. He had the immediate command of the guns and detachments in the center of the battlefield, and acted like a hero. At one time the battalion were surrounded on three sides by the Federal troops, but none of the W. A. boys or officers seemed to carte for it; they continued to pour their rifled shot and cannister into the enemy regardless of consequences, all being as cool and calm as though firing a salute on Lafayette Square.

After the battle, President Davis and Gen. Beauregard rode over to Major Walton requesting him to form his company into line. Gen. Davis made them a speech, complimenting them highly, and said “words were inadequate to express them his thanks for the part they had taken in the engagement.” He considered they had gained for their country the battle of Bull Run, and had greatly assisted in the battle of Manassas, (Stone Bridge) and all he could say was that they were a little band of heroes.

Two boys gave him three cheers and three for Gen. Beauregard and three for the Southern Confederacy.

In the evening, Major Walton visited headquarters at the invitation of Gen. Beauregard and Davis, and remained several hours. The particulars of their conversation have not been made known.

The commander of Sherman’s battery said the day before the battle that he would silence the Washington Artillery battery in three minutes, but the boys turned the tables on the Yankees and silenced their famous Sherman’s battery in forty minutes, capturing eight pieces themselves.

New Orleans (LA) Daily Crescent, 8/1/1861

Clipping Image

Contributed by John Hennessy

James Burdge Walton bio 

James Burdge Walton at Ancestry.com 

James Burdge Walton at Fold3 

James Burdge Walton at FindAGrave 





Sgt. William Sidney Mullins, Adjutant, 8th South Carolina Infantry, On the Battle

16 02 2018

Vienna 6th August, 1861

My dear Sir,

I received yours of the 27th ult day before yesterday: your first also came safely to hand. I had been thinking of writing to you for some time, but our facilities for writing here are very poor, & until to day, I have hardly found time & convenient arrangements for writing a long & detailed account of any thing. Besides for a month all our correspondence has been under military surveillance & they open our letters without scruple: after the war, if some of us do not get killed, there will be some private war on this account. I hold the claim as against S.C. Volunteers to be insulting & infamous & I will shoot any man without scruple whom I have good reason to believe guilty of opening my correspondence, be his position that of President, General, or what not, when my service has ended & I can meet him as an equal. Of this hereafter.

You have by this time doubtless seen Capt. Evans, & read in the papers many accounts of the Battle. I will however give you a brief statement of what I know, & my opinions about what I have heard. There never will be any fair & just statement of the whole battle. No man living ever can make it. There are many conflicting statements here & even as regards our own Regiment there are facts asserted & denied, about which I am entirely in doubt this day. The ground was broken: there was no position from which the whole could be seen & in some cases Regiments were for hours without orders fighting on their own hook. I will give you now what I think to be the most probable story of the affair – as I go along I will tell you the facts that I know. We were not at all engaged in the first battle: they cannonaded us & the balls fell around us occasionally that day, but no body was hurt. Capt. Harrington was on picket in a wood in front of our unit on Saturday night, & between daylight & sunrise he sent in a man to Col. Cash to say that the enemy were retreating: that from one oclock that morning the sound of their artillery & waggons going off had been heard. These sounds were distinctly audible in our Camp. Col. Cash ordered me to report the fact to Bonham & I gallopped there at once. Gen. B. sent back word to Col. C. by me that it was not a retreat, but that the enemy were moving to attack the left & to be on our guard as the attack might begin on own front. By eight oclock they commenced firing all along our lines with their artillery, which we found afterwards to be only four pieces kept behind to deceive us & prevent us from moving up to the left. Between eight & nine heavy cannonading began on our left in the direction of Stone Bridge & soon afterwards very heavy rollings of musquetry & this continued without intermission save for brief intervals all day. We lay in our trenches quietly. Between eleven & twelve Col. Cash sent me with a good glass to a high hill in the rear of the Camp a mile to see if I report any thing of the Battle. I found there Beauregard, Bonham, & their Staff. The sight was magnificent. We could not see the troops but the smoke indicated the position of the batteries & the whole length of the line. I staid there half an hour, & though I could not make out anything myself, a member of the Staff told me that the enemy had turned our flank & that our friends were giving back. I gallopped back to Col. C. & as I arrived an aid came to order, Kershaw, Kemper & Cash to hurry forward to the battle. As I left the hill, Beauregard & Staff gallopped towards the battle – Bonham back to the right where another attack was expected. We immediately started under a terrible sun to the battlefield at the double quick: it was a terrible thing to run four miles at midday. As we started two regiments of cavalry darted on before us & our own drums beat: this informed the enemy exactly of our position & they directed their batteries exactly at us. The balls fell all around us: many within four or five feet of our line, wonderful it was that no one was hurt. Several I assure you fell so close to me that the rushing & hiss seemed to be felt against my cheek. Believe me – it aint a pleasant feeling. The double quick run carried us out of this. Within a mile or perhaps a mile & a half of the battle field we commenced meeting the wounded & the flying. One man wounded accompanied by four or five perfectly unhurt: we met more than a hundred such parties. All told the same tale: the enemy were cutting our friends to pieces. Hamptons legion cut all to pieces Hampton & Johnson & Bartow all killed – Sloans Regiment utterly cut – these statements were repeated us by nearly as many men as both Kershaws & Cash Regiments contained. Besides these cowards there were many along the way side wounded fatally & writhing in agony & uttering cries of agony. The effect of this upon the Regiment was not inspiriting. As we came upon the field – or in sight of it – artillery at once opened fire upon us & soon afterwards musquetry. Asa Evans, Genl. Evans aid told me next day that this was from our own friends & ordered by Beauregard. He mistook us for the enemy flanking & Asa says he said “we shall have to retire from the field.” They soon discovered who we were however – they knew the white Palmetto & an aid of Genl. Johnson dashed up to us to order us to the left of the point where we had first been ordered. And now let me pause from my story of what I saw to tell you the history of what had happened up to this time, as I learn it from others. Genl. George Evans was in command at Stone Bridge with fourteen hundred men, as he states them: Sloans Reg. Wheats Bat. & some companies: he was drawn up on a high hill near Stone Bridge, expecting the attempt to cross there: with only two pieces of artillery, one of which was disabled before the action began. Fifteen hundred men came up on the other side of the stream at the Bridge and commenced a heavy artillery fire: he forbade his piece to open at all but deployed a few skirmishers on the banks of the stream & waited. For more than an hour it went on thus: heavy artillery playing upon him but without effect, & his line silent & waiting: but from the high hill where he was posted, he finally saw emerging from the wood in his rear & on his flank columns with the sunlight on their bayonets a mile & half off: he knew his flank was turned: that the attack in front was but a faint to deceive him & that the battle was to begin in earnest now on a fair field & with no advantage of position on his side. With Maj. Wheat he rode forward to select a position, hastily did so, changed his whole position & the battle began. The enemy in this column were twenty thousand strong at the lowest calculation: fourteen hundred was Evans force, & so the real fight began. The enemy had crossed at an old ford four miles above unknown to Beauregard. If they had known Evans weakness then, I think they would have swept him from the field in an hour & won the field. But they were afraid of masked batteries & opening their artillery, their infantry kept well back. Evans sent to Gen. Cocke for reinforcements: he refused telling Evans to fall back upon him. To do this was to leave the Road to Manassas open & Evans refused & sent a more urgent message to Cocke, but meantime Bee – I know not how – came upon the field. Slowly, cautiously & but steadily the enemy drove us back: the field – the dead – the path of the enemy showed this the next day: more than a mile our side had fallen back. Of what occurred during all this time read the papers & judge for yourself. Each Regiment claims all the glory of holding the field: let history decide: judge for yourself. But I resume my own story now. Soon after two – perhaps a little before two we came upon the field, Kershaw & ourselves formed in one line & advanced obliquely to the left. All day the enemy had played this game flanking continually: whenever the front was engaged new troops spread out beyond, & attempted to take us in flank & in rear: twas thus their numbers told. Our march brought us into a thick wood: Kershaw kept on in old field & thus met the enemy before us & opened fire: he changed his front at once bringing his Regiment at once at right angles to us thus __| [Cash horizontal, Kershaw vertical] the enemy pursuing his game came down Kershaws line to the same wood where we were advancing intending to go round Kershaw but met us & we gave him along our whole line one deadly sheet of fire at at about fifty yards distance before which they broke & ran like the devil. They were the N.Y. Fire Zouaves & Kershaw himself who could see the effect of our fire better than we could ourselves says they fell before us, trees in a hurricane. We gave them another at a greater distance & a part of our line a third, but by this time they had found shelter in another wood & were safe from us. They formed in this wood & came out upon a hill about 350 or 400 yards from us with two Regts of Volunteers & opened upon us a deadly fire: their Minie Rifles & Muskets reached us perfectly: ours were too short of range & Cash at once ordered us to lie down. For fifteen minutes the balls fell around us thicker than hail. Every tree in that wood is struck with balls: many have five or ten & next day the ground was strewn with leaves cut from the trees. Why we did not lose there one or two hundred men is to me incomprehensible. To look at the trees where we lay even now you would hardly believe that we lay there so long & lost so few men. The fire became galling finally & Col. Cash undertook to move us further down to the left thus ___| [Cash horizontal, ? vertical, enemy hypotenuse] Cash desired to go down as I have dotted [left of diagram] but the woods were thick, his orders were misunderstood, our Regiment fell into confusion for a brief while: meantime Kemper, glorious Kemper, was playing upon them with as rapid & deadly fire as ever flashed – what music it was to us! & before we came out on the left their Regulars fled: the Zouaves & Regulars whipped, the volunteers concluded that they had no call to try it further & the day was won. Now in all this part of the field, Kirby Smith nor any one else had any part of the fight, but Kershaw, Cash & Kemper: that they overrated us in in number I am sure: that they fled under a panic, I am sure for the Regulars & Zouaves, outnumbered us then & if they had come boldly upon us we should have been very glad to see some help, but they fled. Jeff Davis came upon the field late that day and there gave us the credit of turning the day. He has changed his opinion since, they tell me. We were at once ordered to pursue & went onward. Kershaw, Cash, & Kemper. Col. Withers Va. Reg was on the road as we went on & was asked to go on with us: he said he was ordered to stop at Stone Bridge & damned if he went on & not a step did he go. But on we went & yet faster before us went five or ten times our number. Finally we came up with the enemy & glorious Kemper opened once more: they staid not to try muskets, but abandoned to us every gun, their waggons & fled in one inglorious rush for safety. Yes! McDowell was there covering the retreat & his prisoners say at the first fire of Kemper led the race although they utterly overwhelmed us in numbers & artillery. We did not know until the cavalry came in what a capture we had made: nearly thirty guns – among them that long ten foot rifled thirty two pounder, drawn by ten horses, & guns, ammunition, etc. We stayed upon the field guarding these things alone – even Kershaws Regt had left – until two oclock & within three miles of us five thousand troops fresh who had not been in the battle, besides the disomfitted hosts who had fled. My dear sir never did whiskey & champagne taste as sweet as the copious draughts of the enemys stores that night. I was sure they had had not time to poison them & I drank freely & joyously. But shall I tell you now of the battlefield? Of the dead hideous in every form of ghastly death: heads off – arms off – abdomen all protruding – every form of wound: low groans: sharp cries: shrieks for water & convulsive agonies as the soul took flight. It is useless to write. I know something of the power of words to paint & I tell you that a man must see all this to conceive it. One soon becomes callous. We were thirsty ourselves: a slight breakfast – a four miles run – the excitement of battle – the roar of artillery & burning thirst – all this hardens the heart & before we left the field our men were gathering Colts Revolvers & Sharps Rifles from dying & wounded men with utter indifference to their bitter cries. Yet we gave them water when we could get it. On an acre square I saw sixty five dead men – near Shermans battery – mostly Zouaves: how many times it was taken & retaken, Heaven knows, but when we came upon the field the Zouaves had it again, although it was not firing. Kershaw drove them from it & as they fell along his left intending to fall upon his flank they met us as I have told you already. I shall enclose you in another envelope Cashs Report, with his consent. Dont publish this, but he says you may give his report to the Southerner, not to publish but to complete a statement from it as from a witness. They may publish that. Do write me often. Tell me what you have heard at home about us all. If I ever live to see you, I will tell you many things I cannot write. But this I say – if it please God, to stop this war, I will unfeignedly thank him. It wasnt the battle, but the next day – in a heavy rain their wounded & our wounded – lying in their agony – without food or care – nobody to help – nothing to eat & drink – this filled my heart with terror. I heard men imploring the passers by to kill them to relieve their agony. I saw the parties who were out to bury discussing whether to bury a man before he was dead. He could not live & some proposed to bury him any how. Says a sergeant set down a minute & he will be dead & we wont have to come back! This is war!

Genl. Evans proposed to Beauregard (Evans told me himself) as soon as they left the field to take a Regiment, & a battery & by a short country road dash ahead post him himself in front while the whole army advanced in rear & cut them off. Beauregard said “No! our loss of life is great: I will not risk such soldiers as these.” The feeling was noble but it was a terrible mistake of judgment. If it had been done, not a man of that army would have escaped. Such an utter panic in an army is unknown in the history of two centuries. Our brigade could have driven every soldier of the Federal Army from our side of the Potomac.

Davis is not the man for the next President. Beauregard has implored for weeks & weeks most piteously more troops. He has told them that he was crippled for men & during this very time Davis has rejected Regt. after Regt. because they would not volunteer for the war & because he had not appointed the Field Officers. He has been appealed to overlook his objections – to take things as he could & he has let his temper overrule his judgment & risked all our lives. If they the enemy, I mean, had had a great general, our Regiments would not have brought a man away from Fairfax C. H. on our first retreat. Fifteen thousand men deployed in one hundred & fifty yards of our Regiment alone, & but for a wholesome fear of masked batteries, not one man of us would have ever seen home again.

Again, there has not been any provision made for the sick & wounded that is even decent. The offices of the Surgeons department are crammed with utter incapables. In the volunteers, this is bad enough but in the Regular service it is intolerable. I heard the day before the Battle an officer of intelligence say “Well, whoever is wounded seriously will die. There has not been an army in Christendom during this century, where provisions for the wounded was so entirely neglected.” This was a man of intelligence who knew of what he was speaking.

I might say many other things to you of inefficiency & incapacity: of drunkenness, in high places at critical periods: of blunder & ignorance that would disgust you. But I will not close discouragingly. Let me say this, that with all this our army will win our triumph. They our leaders may foolishly fling away many of our lives: our cause will triumph. The soldiers discriminate between the blunders & follies of our leaders & the cause itself, & by that they will stand. I hope some day to talk these things over with you: till then adieu.

Dont let my scribblings get into the papers. You may show them to any discreet friends you choose, but on no account let any word get to a newspaper. Beauregards orders are stringent & a violation would expose me to trouble & danger. Perhaps you had better not show them at all. My regards to Mr. Millin & your sons if they are with you. Present my respectful remembrances to Mrs. Charles & believe me very truly yours

Will S. Mullins

W.S. Mullins 6 Aug 1861 Report of the Battle of Manassas

Letter image

From South Caroliniana Library

A full annotated transcription can be found at the above site, including biographical information regarding the author and persons mentioned in the letter. The transcription was compared to the letter image prior to posting here – those serve as its basis. Per that transcription, this letter was addressed to Edgar Welles Charles of the Darlington District, South Carolina.

William Sidney Mullins at Ancestry

William Sidney Mullins at FindAGrave

E. B. C. Cash’s report, which mentions Mullins and the capture of Congressman Alfred Ely.





New Orleans Visit – Confederate Memorial Hall

1 09 2016

In this post, I hipped you to my recent trip to New Orleans. After our stop outside at Lee Circle, we paid the small ($8) fee to tour Confederate Memorial Hall – Louisiana’s Civil War Museum. The exterior is nice, but the inside is very impressive – lots of wood and open timbers. Way old-school, outside of the 20 minute video presented at the end of a hallway on a flat-screen TV. So much to see, and you can check out the history of the place at their website. As with anything that is Confederate in NOLA, don’t put off seeing it until your “next trip,” as it may very well be “lost in time, like tears in rain.” Lots and lots of manicuring going on in the town.

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One odd thing – the video mentioned a vast store of documents in the basement. When I asked the attendant how one gains access for research purposes, I was told one does not. I asked why and was told the documents are historic, hence no access. Ummm, OK, I guess.

Here are some photos, and I’ll try to let them do the talking for the most part. Click on any image for great big giant versions.

First, the exterior:

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The interior:

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Jefferson Davis ephemera:

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This is the crib used by Jeff Davis as a child, also used for his children.

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First Bull Run stuff:

  • Rob Wheat and the First Special Battalion:

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Stars and Bars of the First Special Battalion

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The story goes that, after his wounding at First Bull Run, Wheat was wrapped in these colors and borne from the field…

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…and that his bloodstains are still visible today

  • 6th Louisiana Infantry

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  • 7th Louisiana Infantry

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  • 8th Louisiana Infantry

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  • Washington Artillery

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About that piece of wood (click on the image to enlarge) – it was not likely taken from Sherman’s Battery at First Bull Run, as the battery was not captured there.

  • P. G. T. Beauregard

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Odds and Ends:

  • Benjamin Butler

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  • A Piano, confiscated – or rescued – at Jackson, MS in 1863

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  • Braxton Bragg

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Any Masons in the house?

Lee Circle

Metairie Cemetery