Saturday, July 16, 2011

July 16, 1862 (Tuesday): McDowell on the March

Washington to Manassas

GENERAL ORDERS,  }                     HDQRS. DEP’T N.’ E. VIRGINIA,
        NO 17.                                                  Arlington, July 16, 1861.
  The troops will march to the front this afternoon in the following order:
1.     The brigades of the First Division (Tyler’s) will leave their camps in light marching order, and go as far as Vienna, the Fourth Brigade (Richardson’s) taking the road across the Chain Bridge, and by way of Langley’s, Louisville, and Old Court-Hourse; the others by the Georgetown turnpike and Leesburg Stone roads.  The order of march of the several brigades to be arranged by the division commander.
2.     The Second Division (Hunter’s) will leave their camps in light marching order, and go on the Columbia turnpike as far as the Little River turnpike, but not to cross it, the Second Brigade (Burnside’s) leading.
3.     The Third Division (Heintzelman’s) will leave their camps in light marching order, and go on the old Fairfax Court-House road, south of the Orange and Alexandria Railroad, as far as the Accotink, or the Pohick, if he finds it convenient; the brigades to march in the order the division commander may direct.
4.     The Fifth Division (Miles’) will proceed in light marching order, by the Little River turnpike as far as Annandale, or to the point where the road leads to the left to go into the old Braddock road (so called), which runs between the Little River turnpike and the Orange and Alexandria Railroad.
5.     The brigades of the several divisions will be put in march in time to reach their respective destinations by dark.
6.     The reserve will be held in readiness to march at the shortest notice, and will, on and after the 17th instant, keep constantly a supply of cooked rations on hand for two days.
7.     Brigadier-General Runyon, commanding the reserve, will have command of all the troops not on the march to the front, including those in the fortifications and camps.  He will, to-morrow, send two regiments up the Orange and Alexandria Railroad to aid the railroad managers in rebuilding it in the shortest possible time, the commanding officers to conform to the plans of the principle managers.
8.     Brigadier-General Runyon will guard the Loudoun and Hampshire Railroad as far as the present camps of the Ohio volunteers, and the Orange and Alexandria Railroad as far as far as it may be repaired.
9.     The regiment now in Fort Corcoran, the Twenty-eighth New York; the Twenty-fifth New York, at Roach’s; the Twenty-first New York, at Fort Runyon, and the Seventeenth New York, at Fort Ellsworth, will not be removed from their present stations except in an emergency.
….By command of Brigadier-General McDowell:
                                                                     JAMES B. FRY, A. A. G.

Official Records, Series I., Vol. 2, page 303.  

McDowell orders to march to Bull Run.  With a relatively small force (31,000 men) compared to later in the war, you get some idea of the complexity of moving large numbers of troops of several roads during the approach to battle.  Troops must be camped some distance apart owing to concerns for security and the need to have sufficient supplies and fresh water at hand.  The coming together of armies for battle is an overlooked aspect of the war, but one worth studying, as the approaches to battle often dictate how battles would be fought.

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