Tuesday, November 8, 2011

November 8, 1861 (Thursday): Lee Takes Command In South Carolina

Colonel Walter Taylor, Standing Behind Lee at Appomattox

GENERAL ORDERS,}                                                                HEADQUARTERS,
              No. 1.                                                Coosawhatchie, S. C., November 8, 1861
I.                 In pursuance of instructions from the War Department, General R. E. Lee, C. S. Army, assumes command of the military department composed of the coasts of South Carolina, Georgia, and East Florida.
II.                Captain T. A. Washington, C. S. Army, is announced as adjutant-general of the department; Captain Walter H. Taylor, Provisional Army, as assistant adjutant-general; Captain Joseph G. Ives, C. S. Army, as chief engineer; Lieut. Col. William G. Gill, Provisional Army, as ordinance officer, and Mr. Joseph Manigault as volunteer aide-de-camp for the commanding general.
*            *                *                *              *                *               *                *            *       
By order of General Lee:
                                                                    T. A. WASHINGTON,
                                            Captain, and Assistant Adjutant-General, C. S. Army.

Official Records, Series I., Vol. 6, Page 312.

Lee arrived just in time for the landing of U. S. troops at Port Royal Sound, meeting General Ripley on the later’s way back from Fort Walker.  Lee assisted in getting off the troops, but it was too late to prevent the successful landing of U. S. forces (in the largest coming ashore of US troops until D-Day).  The consternation caused throughout the South by these events was considerable and Lee must have thought himself singularly unlucky to have departed the wilderness of Western Virginia (where his accomplishments were meager) only to arrive in South Carolina on the heels of a fresh disaster.  

A word or two is called for about Lee’s military family.  Washington would only be with Lee until April of 1862.  The great-grandson of George Washington’s brother Samuel, he was an unassuming soldier who spent most of the war in the Trans-Mississippi Department.  Walter Taylor is well known to history as a member of Lee’s staff through the war and author of two books on the Army of Northern Virginia afterward.  Ives had explored the Grand Canyon before the war, and after serving Lee was a military aide to Jefferson Davis.  Gill went West with Beauregard as an ordinance officer, dying in 1862 (“Staff Officers In Gray-Robert E. L. Krick”).  Manigault was likely of the notable Charleston family, but little is known of him, less after his brief stint with Lee.

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