Sunday, July 31, 2011

August 3, 1861 (Saturday): Welby Carter Goes Scouting

Point of Rocks, Maryland

LEESBURG, August 3, 1861.


SIR: In obedience to your orders to Colonel Stuart I was sent up to find out the position of the enemy at Harper's Ferry and down the river to Edwards Ferry. There is about one regiment at Harper's Ferry, and they have made and excellent ford at that place, so that they can cross at time, the water not being more than three feet deep. At Sandy Hook, just below, there are two encampments, I suppose one regiment in each camp. There are a few at Berlin, Point of Rocks, and Edwards Ferry-one or two companies at each place. They are all on the Maryland side, except those at Harper's Ferry. One hundred and forty of them came over the river to Lovettsville on last Thursday, but soon went back, after getting something to eat. I think if we had a battery on this side, opposite their encampment, we would give them some trouble. Doubleday has a large gun and, I think, part of his battery on the Maryland Heights opposite Harper's Ferry. There was a man by the name of Stewart, a native of Maryland, who passed through here to-day on his way to Maryland, and who has been in the habit of passing and repassing from Virginia to Maryland, they say, to bring us arms and ammunition. I don't know the man, but only mention hm that you may know of his movements. He said he was just from Richmond, and one of the captains here told me he had a pass from General Beauregard.

Your obedient servant,

Captain, First Regiment Cavalry.

Official Records Series I, Vol. 51, Part 2, Page 211

R. Welby Carter is the subject of an essay in Robert. K. Krick's "The Smoothbore Volley That Doomed The Confederacy".  Among the contemporary comments upon Carter's apparently well known cowardice is this from a Sargeant who knew him "Carter, of whom I shall have but little to say....Not withstanding [that] he was always fat and looked greasy, I never knew of any member of the regiment to possess enough of cannibalism to ever wish to eat him."  This is one of the more flattering comments made of Carter during the war.

August 2, 1861 (Friday): The "Other Sherman" Plans an Expedition

General Thomas W. Sherman
WAR DEPARTMENT, August 2, 1861.

Brigadier General THOMAS W. SHERMAN:

GENERAL: You will proceed to New York immediately and organize, in connection with Captain DuPont, of the Navy, an expedition of 12,000 men. Its destination you and the naval commander will determine after you have sailed. You should sail at the earliest possible moment.

Assistant Secretary of War.

AUGUST 2, 1861.



Official Records, Series I, Vol. 6, Part 1, Page 168

This is the inception of what would turn into, in late October, the Port Royal Sound ExpeditionThe Sherman referenced here is Thomas West Sherman of Rhode Island, a Mexican War veteran, and no relation to William T. Sherman.  This Sherman was a capable general, but too "regular army" to effectively lead volunteer forces.

August 1, 1861 (Thursday): Ugly Rumors

Arlington House, Lee's Home and McDowell's Headquarters

Arlington, August 1, 1861.

General J. E. JOHNSTON, Commanding at Manassas, Va.

GENERAL: I have to acknowledge the receipt of your letter of the 31st ultimo by flag of truce. You state information has been given you that two of your soldiers whilst upon picket duty were hung near Centerville on the night of the 17th of July. This is certainly utterly without foundation, and should be classed with those rumors and accusations made against you as well as against me by people with overheated imaginations. It has as little truth as the charge generally believed here that you fired on our hospital knowing it to be such, and that your troops bayoneted all our wounded who fell into their hands, a charge I have not hesitated even against most positive direct evidence to put down as false.
I have never heard of the hanging of any man by the troops under my command and am confident not one has been hung. At the time you state, the evening of the 17th, we were not in possession of Centerville. All your men who have fallen into my hands have been treated with every consideration of which their position admitted.
I have the honor to be, very respectfully, your obedient servant,

Brigadier-General, Commanding.

Official Records Series II, Vol. 3, Part 1, Page 24. 
Before the war was over there would be such incidents, but nothing in the record indicates McDowell’s men committed such an act.  It is possible the rumor grew from a story on July 20 in the New York Herald which describes Union forces capturing and hanging a Confederate who had been seen bayoneting wounded Union soldiers.  But the dates involved don’t match the description referenced here of two pickets from the 17th at Centreville.

Saturday, July 30, 2011

July 31, 1861 (Wednesday): Lieutenant Worden's Imprisonment

Lieutenant John L. Worden


In answer to the resolution of the Senate* of the 23rd instant requesting information concerning the imprisonment of Lieutenant John J. Worden [John L. Worden], of the U. S. Navy, I transmit a report from the Secretary of the Navy.


NAVY DEPARTMENT, July 29, 1861.


The Secretary of the Navy, to whom was referred the resolution of the Senate of the 23rd instant requesting the President of the United States to inform the Senate "under what circumstances Lieutenant John J. Worden [John L. Worden], of the U. S. Navy, has been imprisoned at Montgomery, Ala., whether he is still in prison, and whether any and if any what measures have been taken by the Government of the United States for his release," has the honor to report that it is believed the communication of the information called for would not at this time comport with the public interest.
Respectfully submitted.


Official Records, Series II, Vol.3, Part 1, Page 23

In April Worden had been sent to Florida to communicate with the fleet instructions to reinforce Fort Pickens.  Secretary of War Walker learned he was carrying dispatches and ordered him arrested.  Before the message got through to General Braxton Bragg he permitted Worden to go out to the fleet on the assurance he carried no messages of a military nature.  Believing the orders would be intercepted, Worden had committed them to memory, and was able to get the message through.  On his way back north he was arrested on a train in Montgomery and held until exchanged, arriving back in Washington on November 29th.  Another big assignment awaited him, command of the U.S.S. Monitor.

Friday, July 29, 2011

July 30, 1861 (Tuesday): On The Town

The Willard Hotel, Washington, D.C.

          No. 2                                                                 Washington, July 30, 1861.
   The general commanding the division has, with much regret, observed that large numbers of officers and men stationed in the vicinity of Washington are in the habit of frequenting the streets and hotels of the city.
   This practice is eminently prejudicial to good order and military discipline, and must at once be discontinued.
    The time and services of all persons connected with this division should be devoted to their appropriate duties with their respective commands.  It is therefore directed that hereafter no officer or soldier be allowed to absent himself from his camp and visit Washington, except for the performance of some public duty, or for the transaction of important private business, for which purposes written permits will be given by the commanders of brigades.  The permit will state the object of the visit.
    Brigade commanders will be held responsible for the strict execution of this order.
    Col. Andrew Porter, Sixteenth U. S. Infantry, is detailed for temporary duty as provost-marshall in Washington, and will be obeyed and respected accordingly.
    Colonel Porter will report in person at these headquarters for instructions.
    By command of Major-General McClellan:
                                                                                                S. WILLIAMS,
                                                                                    Assistant Adjutant-General.

Official Records, Series. I, Vol. 2, Page 769

Getting the army back in fighting trim after Bull Run would be no easy matter.  Removing them from places of public refreshment was an essential first step.  Porter had commanded Hunter’s Division at Bull Run after Hunter was wounded.  A veteran of the Mexican War at 41, Porter was regular Army and well suited to provost-marshall duties.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

July 29, 1861 (Monday): A Question of Rank

President Jefferson Davis

                                                                                 Manassas, July 29, 1861.

General S. Cooper, Adjutant and Inspector General:
     GENERAL: I had the honor to write to you on the 24th instant on the subject of my rank compared with that of other officers of the C. S. Army.  Since then I have received daily orders purporting to come from “Headquarters of the Forces”, some of them in relation to the internal affairs of this army.  Such orders I cannot regard, because they are illegal.
    Permit me to suggest that orders to me should come from your office.
         Most respectfully, your obedient servant,
                                                                                    J. E. JOHNSTON,
                                                                                           General, C. S. Army

Official Records, Series I., Vol. 2, Page 1007

In late August Johnston would write an intemperate letter to Jefferson Davis regarding his relative rank among Confederate generals.  As seen here, this was already a sort point in late July.  The orders he referred to came from Robert E. Lee, who signed his correspondence “Headquarters of the Virginia Forces” until Virginia submitted her troops to Confederate authority.  The issue of relative rank is complex, with Congress passing an act in March establishing four brigadier-generals (adding a fifth a week later) and stating “….the relative rank of officers of each grade shall be determined by their former commissions in the United States army….”.  In May Congress then established the rank of general, giving the same five officers this rank but not explicitly restating the provision regarding relative rank in the United States army.  The issue with Lee was skirted by Lee’s assignment to command a force in western Virginia on August 1.  Davis undoubtedly had a point, but managed in the process of raising it to alienate the Confederate president to such a degree the breech would carry over even beyond the end of the war.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

July 28, 1861 (Sunday): Bishop Polk Is Surprised at the Offering

General (and Bishop) Leonidas K. Polk

                                                            HEADQUARTERS DEPARTMENT NO. 2,
                                                            Memphis, Tenn., July 28, 1861.

HON. L. P. WALKER, Secretary of War:
   I had the honor of addressing you a few days ago, informing you of a movement I was contemplating on Missouri.  I submitted a statement of what I understood to be the force which had been collected by Generals McCulloch and Pearce, or Arkansas, General Price, of Missouri, and General Hardee.  The information submitted was based, as far as the commands of the first three generals are concerned, on information I obtained from Governor Jackson, of Missouri, who came directly from their respective camps.  Upon the supposition that this information was correct it was that my letter containing the plan of campaign I submitted was written.  Since dispatching that letter I have directed General Pillow to move a column of 6,000 across the river to New Madrid.  The details of the movement have been left to him, hand the forces employed were exclusively those hitherto belonging to his command.  Part were taken from Randolph and part from Union City.  General Cheatham accompanied him, and I have ordered General Clark to move up from Corinth to Union City the two Mississippi regiments at that place to replace those withdrawn and himself to replace General Cheatham in the command of that post.  I have not as yet heard from General Pillow the result of the movement beyond Randolph. The boats with troops from that point left there last night.
   Since yesterday I have had to arrive at headquarters the gentleman who is bearer of this, Colonel Little, adjutant-general of the forces of Missouri.  He comes directly from General Price’s camp.  From him I learn that the force stated to be under the command of the respective generals above, as stated by Governor Jackson, is greatly exaggerated, to the extent, indeed, of one-half          ….
   This abatement of the force disposable for the invasion of Missouri has caused me to pause in the execution of the pan indicated.  I shall proceed to fortify my position at New Madrid, with the view of making it a base of operations, and will move forward as soon as circumstances will allow.
   My opinion is, nevertheless, that now is the time to operate in Missouri, if we are to do anything towards setting her on her feet again; and I am also satisfied that the enemy in Virginia will be content for some months to come with their experiences at Manasssas, and that they will make no forward movement there very soon.  That will set them free to act in the West, and they will most probably commence active operations in Missouri.  In that event we must have additional troops, and I submit whether I be not authorized to collect a force in Tennessee and from the States below sufficient to enable us to act vigorously in Missouri, while we maintain a strong position in front of Kentucky, ready for any contingency that may arise in that quarter.
    I remain, respectfully, your obedient servant,
                                                                                    L. POLK,
                                                Major-General, Commanding Second Department…

Official Records, Series I., Vol. 3, page 614. 

An Episcopal bishop, kin to President James Polk, he was a classmate of Jefferson Davis at West Point.  He accepted a commission from Davis in late June and was given the mission of fortifying and defending the Mississippi River.  Nothing came of the movement he discusses here, but his occupation of Columbus, Kentucky in September of 1861 in response to Grant’s movement into the state violated Kentucky’s neutrality and harmed the Southern cause in the region.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

July 27, 1861 (Saturday): Pay Riot In Harrisburg

Pennsylvania Governor Andrew Curtin

                                                                        HARRISBURG, July 27, 1861.

   The troops have no camp equipage or cooking utensils.  The town is full and Negley’s brigade on the way.  The paymasters are threatened with violence, and the people in the town much alarmed.  We have offered to take a power of attorney to Judge Pearson to draw the money and send the men from here.  The paymasters were unwilling yesterday, and are not here to-day.  We have blanks and tickets and clerks all ready, and if you say the arrangements shall be carried out, we can settle the disturbance at once.  Something must be done.  We have not force to protect the town and property here.  The money in Adams Express office is in danger.  Answer immediately.
A.    G. CURTIN,

Official Records, Series III, Vol. 1, Page 358

When the 2nd regiment, consisting of three months volunteers, came to Harrisburg and was not immediately paid out their officers “urged them on to riot”.  A regiment of three years men had to be put into the streets to restore order.  The process was aggravated by a lack of transportation away from the city of the men who mustered out.  The process went on for several days.  Another riot occurred, owing to the same cause, in August of 1861.

Monday, July 25, 2011

July 26, 1861 (Friday): The Imprisonment of a Public Man

William Henry Hurlbert (LSU)

RICHMOND, VA., July 26, 1861.
SIRS: I beg leave respectfully to invite your attention to the following statement of facts connected with my arrest at Atlanta, Ga., on the 18th ultimo; my journey to Richmond on the 21st ultimo; my rearrest in this city on the 24th ultimo and my imprisonment continued up to the present date without a hearing on the merits of my case; without the appearance of any responsible accuser against me and with no definite charge offered to account for or to justify my confinement…..
A native of Charleston, my relatives reside mainly in the Southern States. June 3, 1861, I left New York for Richmond with the intention of visiting my friends at Richmond and in Charleston, S. C., and of enabling myself better to prosecute a course of opposition to the existing war policy of the United States Government which I had independently pursued ever since the beginning of the movement of secession. I had not then nor have I had for many months past any connection whatever with any journal in New York or elsewhere, having dissolved my editorial relations with the New York Times, the only salaried relations which I have ever sustained with any newspaper, when that journal gave itself to the support of Mr. Lincoln. I advocated the election of Mr. Douglas down to the autumn of 1860 when I acceded to what was known as the "Fusion Ticket" in New York….In the end of May I published at my own expense a pamphlet on the "financial aspects of the war", of which I deposited several copies with my friend, Mr. Robert McLane, of Baltimore, for transmission to a high functionary in this city.
From Mr. McLane I received, June 4, a long verbal communication for the President of the Confederate States and a note of introduction to General Johnston at Harper's Ferry. From this officer I came with a pass to Richmond, arriving here Saturday, June 8. I that day called on the Assistant Secretary of State, with whom I had long been in familiar correspondence, and him in the evening related to Mr. Toombs in his own rooms the substance of Mr. McLane's communications to myself….
On Monday, June 17, my brother-in-law, a citizen of Charleston, coming home advised me to hasten my departure North, as he had learned that certain persons calling themselves a vigilance committee had determined to annoy me if I should stay. I was indisposed to accept this advice, but my sister being in delicate health earnestly deprecated my remaining any longer I accordingly consented to leave via Louisville the next morning….
At Augusta stopping only to dine I did not register my name at the hotel until I was requested by one Mr. Evans, calling himself a councilman, so to do. I then did so, stating to this person who I was, and exhibiting to him my address and letters in my possession. I reached Atlanta at midnight and was there arrested by the marshal, who exhibited a telegram from the mayor of Augusta describing my baggage, giving my name as Hilt, and denouncing me as a suspicious person. I at once demanded an examination. This was accorded to me by the Honorable B. C. Yancey, who pronounced the charge unfounded and recommended my immediate release. I voluntarily proposed to await replies to telegrams which I dispatched to friends in Charleston, and to Messrs, Browne and Benjamin at Richmond.
On Wednesday, June 19, Mr. Browne and Mr. Benjamin replied that I "was unjustly accused and should be immediately released". Mr. Yancey having also of his own motion telegraphed to Mr. Toombs (a note from whom lay among my papers), that officer replied that he had no personal knowledge of me. This circumstance, taken in connection with the arrival on the same day of a violent personal attack made on me in the Richmond Examiner of June 17, excited so much popular feeling against me that Mr. Yancey advised my waiting a day hotel in Atlanta. The next day brought another article denouncing me as a spy in the Charleston Mercury, with telegrams to the same effect from several persons, none of them personally known to me…..
I then proposed to leave for Richmond, asking an escort of the mayor and offering to pay the expenses of any intelligent person who would go with me to relate the true state of the case to the authorities here. This offer of mine was accepted by one Mr. W. S. Bassford, and Mr. Yancey and the mayor finally coincided in my proposition. The marshal was detailed to accompany me, and one or two citizen of Atlanta going to Richmond joined the party. We left Atlanta June 21st in the midst of a tumult excited by ill-disposed persons, who profited by the presence on train of an Alabama regiment, commanded by Honorable Colonel Hale, a member of your body. This gentleman soon reduced his troops to order and entering my car rode with me to his destination, Dalton.
I reached Richmond June 24; went to the Suptswood, took a room myself and sent Mr. Bassford to the President. Mr. Browne soon after came to me with Mr. Bassford and stated to me that Mr. Toombs having gone by request of the President to the governor of Virginia that gentleman had ordered me to be at once committed to jail. They both assured me that I should be released at once, the Confederate Government merely wishing to avoid any conflict with the Virginia authorities. For two days I remained in jail, having no communication with any one and my baggage lying at the hotel.
On the third day Mr. Crane visiting the jail on business I engaged his services at once as my counsel. He put himself in communication with my friends in Charleston and in this place and took steps to sue out for me a writ of habeas corpus. This writ was granted me by Judge Meredith, who appointed July 4 for the hearing….The judge July 6 decided in favor of the governor's jurisdiction and remanded me to jail, but after seeing the evidence only in part recommended an application to the governor.
This I made on the same day through Mr. Attorney-General Benjamin. The governor promptly declared that he had no charge against me; that he had committed me at the request of the Confederate Government and would discharge me at once, "if they would state that they had not charge against me". Mr. Cane took this declaration to Mr. Toombs, who in his presence stated that I had been committed merely to take me out to the hands of a rabble; that he had not and never had had any charge against me, and that be condemned all the proceedings against me as illegal and disgraceful. Mr. Cane' statement to this effect will be found hereto appended…..
Tuesday, July 9, my counsel in obtaining from Mr. Toombs a statement to the effect that the Confederate Government had "no jurisdiction" in my case. Governor Letcher maintaining his point first taken declined to act on this, but leaving town soon after he deposited with on of his aides an order for my release to be executed immediately on the receipt of a more explicit statement from Mr. Toombs. My counsel notified Mr. Toombs' chief clerk of this, and I have myself addressed a brief sketch of the facts through Mr. Cane to the President.
But I still remain here incarcerated in the jail appropriated to felons. On the face of Governor Letcher's committal I was held to await a requisition from the authorities in Charleston. No such requisition has been made, and I have reason to know that the acting attorney-general of South Carolina and his honor Judge Magrath refused to have anything to do with any such requisition.
Born in Charleston in 1827, I removed thence with my parents in 1831, returned there on the death of my father in 1843 and remained there till July 1, 1845. …I have abundant evidence from persons officially connected with the Confederate Government to show that my whole course since my native State seceded has been one of friendship to and sympathy with her, and I have challenged the severest scrutiny.
I have made this statement because I cannot think it right that in any country at any time a citizen traveling on his lawful occasions and willing to render an account of himself to any proper authority should submit in silence to the treatment which has been inflicted upon me.
I have the honor to be, your most obedient servant,
Official Records, Series II, Vol. 2, Page 1492
Hurlbert was a gifted writer for the New York Times (and brother of Union General Stephen Hurlbut), born in Charleston, S.C.  He split with the Times over its endorsement of Lincoln and came South to visit relatives.  Under suspicion as a secret correspondent for the Times, a notion encouraged by Southern newspapers, he was hounded out of Charleston and arrested in Atlanta.  But a letter taken from a civilian named Wilson, captured around the time of the battle of Manassas, was addressed to Hurlbert (from a New York address) and disparaged the Confederacy.  It appeared to be in reply to a letter from Hurlbert, although Hurlbert denied knowing the writer.  In January of 1862 Governor Letcher of Virginia ordered his release from the charges with the provisio he remain in the Confederacy, essentially under house arrest.  He escaped in August of 1862 and returned to New York.  He continued his involvement in newspapers, traveling to Europe and even becoming chairman of the London “Central News”.  It is speculated he was the “Dear Boss” of the Jack the Ripper letters.  He was involved in scandals involving women in Europe and died in Italy in 1891.  In a final postscript to his remarkable career, in 2010 historian Daniel W. Crofts established to a high degree of probability that Hurlbert was the author of the famous, 1879, “Diary of a Public Man” which recounted private conversations with Lincoln, Douglas, Seward, and others in the last few weeks leading up to the Civil War.

July 25, 1861 (Thursday): "An Event Which Ensures the Liberty of Our Country"

Manassas Battlefield (NPS)

Congratulatory proclamation of Generals Johnston and Beauregard.

            Manassas, Va. July 25, 1861.
Soldiers of the Confederate States:
    One week ago a countless host of men, organized into an army, with all the appointments which modern art and practical skill could devise, invaded the soil of Virginia.  Their people sounded their approach with triumphant displays of anticipated victory.  Their generals came in almost royal state; their great ministers, senators, and women cam to witness the immolation of our army and the subjugation of our people, and to celebrate the result with wild revelry.
   It is with the profoundest emotions of gratitude to an overruling God, whose hand is manifest in protecting our homes and our liberties, that we, your generals commanding, are enabled, in the name of our whole country, to thank you for that patriotic courage, that heroic gallantry, that devoted daring, exhibited by you in the actions of the 18th and the 21st, by which the hosts of the enemy were scattered and a signal and glorious victory obtained.
   The two affairs of the 18th and 21st were but the sustained and continued effort of your patriotism against the constantly-recurring columns of an enemy fully treble your numbers, and their efforts were crowned on the evening of the 21st with a victory so complete, that the invaders are driven disgracefully from the field and made to fly in disorderly rout back to their intrenchments, a distance of over thirty miles.
   They left upon the field nearly every piece of their artillery, a large portion of their arms, equipments, baggage, stores, &c., and almost every one of their wounded and dead, amounting, together with the prisoners to may thousands.  And thus the Northern hosts were driven from Virginia.
    Soldiers, we congratulate you on an event which insures the liberty of our country.  We congratulate every man of you whose glorious privilege it was to participate in this triumph of courage and truth—to fight in the battle of Manassas.  You have created an epoch in the history of liberty, and unborn nations will call you blessed.  Continue this noble devotion, looking always to the protection of a just God, and before the time grows much older we will be hailed as the deliverance of a nation of ten millions of people.
    Comrades, our brothers who have fallen have earned undying renown upon earth, and their blood, shed in our holy cause, is a precious and acceptable sacrifice to the Father of Truth and of Right.  Their graves are beside the tomb of Washington; their spirits have joined with his in eternal communion.  We will hold fast to the soil in which the dust of Washington is thus mingled with the dust of our brothers.  We will transmit this land free to our children, or we will fall into the fresh graves of our brothers in arms.  We drop one tear on their laurels and move forward to avenge them.
    Soldiers, we congratulate you on a glorious, triumphant, and complete victory, and we thank you for doing your whole duty in the service of your country.

                                                                                    J. E. JOHNSTON,
                                                                                                General, C. S. Army.
                                                                                    G. T. BEAUREGARD,
                                                                                                General, C. S. Army

Official Records, Series I. Vol. 2, Page 574

This proclamation is notable not only for what it says to the troops who fought for the Confederacy, but for the view of the consequences of the battle and the future of the conflict.  Johnston and Beauregard, and many in the North and South, saw Manassas as a defining moment.  A long war was not anticipated, and Confederates could not look at the fleeing army opposed to them at Manassas and see a viable threat to their ambitions.  There is also a certain degree of contempt toward the better appointed army they faced, and the civilian onlookers who had turned out to see what they assumed would be an easy victory over Confederate forces.  And the language of the proclamation is indicative of how the South saw a connection between their effort and those of Washington in the Revolutionary War.  It is a proclamation which, if read in 1865, would have seemed bitterly ironic.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

July 24, 1861 (Wednesday): J. E. B. Stuart Reports

J. E. B. Stuart
Fairfax Court-House, July 23, 1861-10 a. m.

GENERAL: I arrived and halted beyond the town at 9.30 a. m. Three wounded officers here. I had already sent scouting parties around. The enemy's operations may be known by the papers inclosed. The retreat continued in utter disorder into Washington City; 50,000 said to be engaged. I send a letter from Arnold Harris, from whom I got the last information. I have retained him and Magraw and party as prisoners, and urge that the request he makes be refused. He says McClellan has been ordered to succeed McDowell at once. I send a late file of papers obtained from him. They say there is no force this side of Alexandria; 50,000 men are to be mustered out of service in fifteen days. Banks has been ordered to relieve Patterson.

Most respectfully,

Colonel, Commanding.

Official Records, Series I, Vol. 2, Page 995

Harris and Magraw came into Confederate lines stating they were looking for the body of a friend.  At the time, Union forces were not permitting private individuals to do so under flags of truce, so Stuart had them held as prisoners.  Johnston approved, stating that if the two were returned to Union lines it would have to be by a sea route.  The Confederates had no way of knowing if the two men were on legitimate business or engaged in a ruse to gather information on the state of their forces.   The information obtained from the two men was mostly accurate, even if it overstated the number of men mustering out. 

Saturday, July 23, 2011

July 23, 1861 (Tuesday): Lincoln Visits The Troops

Georgetown Ferry (Library of Congress)

                                                            HEADQUARTERS OF THE ARMY,
                                                                              Washington, July 23, 1861.

Brigadier-General McDowell, Arlington:
   The General-in-Chief directs that you have a suitable escort at the Georgetown Ferry at one o’clock to-day to meet the President of the United States, and accompany him throughout lines to visit the troops.
   The General also directs that after this service is performed all the companies of cavalry except two be sent over to this side the river and report to General Mansfield.
                                                            E. D. TOWNSEND,
                                                     Assistant Adjustant-General.

Official Records, Series I, Vol. 2, Page 758

On this trip Lincoln and Secretary of State Seward met a captain who complained that General Sherman had threatened to shoot him.  Lincoln told the captain not to trust Sherman “for I believe he might do it.”

Sunday, July 17, 2011

July 22, 1861 (Monday): Aftermath

General W. T. Sherman
                                                            FORT CORCORAN, July 22, 1861—10.11.

    I have this moment ridden in (with), I hope, the rear men of my brigade, which, in common with our whole Army, has sustained a terrible defeat and has degenerated into an armed mob.
   I know not if I command, but at this moment I will act as such and shall consider as addressed to me the dispatch of the Secretary of this date.
   I propose to strengthen the garrisons of Fort Corcoran, Fort Bennett, the redoubt on the Arlington road, and the block-houses; and to aid me in stopping the flight, I ask you to order the ferry to transport no one across without my orders or those of some superior.
   I am, &c.,
                                                            W. T. SHERMAN,
                                                            Colonel, Commanding.

Official Records, Series I., Vol. 2, Page 755

Sherman’s summation of the state of his command could well apply to most of McDowell’s Army.  Sherman’s troops were among the first to arrive in any particular cohesive mass within the lines of the capital and here he assumes responsibility for the defenses of the city.

July 21, 1861 (Sunday): Battle at Bull Run

Capture of Rickett's Battery (NPS)

Reports of General Joseph E. Johnston, commanding Confederate Armies of the Shenandoah and of the Potomac, of opertions from May 23 to July 22, with order of battle.

….Soon after sunrise of the morning of the 21st a light cannonade was opened upon Colonel Evans’ position.  A similar demonstration was made against the center soon after, and strong forces were observed in front of it and of the right.  About 8 o’clock General Beauregard and I placed ourselves on a commanding hill in rear of General Bonham’s left.  Near 9 o’clock the signal officer, Captain Alexander, reported that a large body of troops was crossing the valley of Bull Run some two miles above the bridge….The signal officer soon called our attention to a heavy cloud of dust to the northwest and about ten miles off, such as the march of an army would raise.  This excited apprehensions about General Patterson’s approach.

Report of Brig. Gen. Nathan G. Evans, commanding Seventh Brigade, First Corps.

…The skirmishers were soon engaged, and kept up a brisk fire for about an hour, when I perceived that it was not the intention of the enemy to attack me in my present position, but had commenced his movement to turn my left flank.  I at once decided to quit position and to meet him in his flank movement, leaving the skirmishers of the Fourth Regiment of South Carolina Volunteers, supported by the reserve of two companies, to keep him engaged.  I sent word to Col. Phillip St. George Cocke that I had abandoned my position at the bridge, and was advancing to attack the enemy at the crossing of the Warrenton turnpike and the Manassas roads.

Reports of Brig. Gen. Irvin McDowell, Commanding U. S. Forces.

…Shortly after the leading regiment of the First Brigade reached this open space, and whilst the others and the Second Brigade were crossing to the front and right, the enemy opened his fire, beginning with artillery and following it up with infantry.
   The leading brigade (Burnside’s) had to sustain this shock for a short time without support, and id it well.  The battalion of regular infantry was sent to sustain it, and shortly afterwards the other corps of Porter’s brigade and a regiment detached from Heintzelman’s division to the left forced the enemy back far enough to allow Sherman’s and Keyes’ brigades of Tyler’s division to cross from their position on the Warrenton road.
    These drove the right of the enemy (understood to have been commanded by Beauregard) from the front of the field, and out of the detached woods, and down to the road, and across it, up the slopes on the other side.  Whilst this was going on, Heintzelman’s division was moving down the field to the stream and up the road beyond.  Beyond the Warrenton road, and to the left of the road down which our troops had marched from Sudley Springs, is a hill with a farm house on it.  Behind this hill the enemy had early in the day some of his most annoying batteries planted.  Across the road from this hill was another hill, or rather elevated ridge or table land.  The hottest part of the contest was for possession of this hill with a house on it.

Report of Brig. Gen. T. J. Jackson, C. S. Army, commanding First Brigade, Army of the Shenandoah.

…The first favorable position for meeting the enemy was at the next summit, where at 11.30 a. m., I posted Captain Imboden’s battery and two pieces of Captain Stanard’s so as to play upon the advancing foe….
….Apprehensive lest my flanks should be turned, I sent an order to Colonels Stuart and Radford, of the cavalry, to secure them.  Colonel Stuart and that part of his command with him deserve great praise for the promptness with which they moved to my left and secured the flank by timely charging the enemy and driving him back.
   General Bee, with his rallied troops, soon marched to my support; and as re-enforcements continued to arrive General Beauregard posted them so as to strengthen the flanks of my brigade.  The enemy not being able to force our lines by a direct fire of artillery, inclined part of his batteries to the right, so as to obtain an oblique fire; but in doing so exposed his pieces  to a more destructive fire from our artillery, and one of his batteries was thrown so near to Colonel Cummings that it fell into his hands in consequence of his having made a gallant charge on it with his regiment; but owing to a destructive small-arm fire from the enemy he was forced to abandon it.
   At 3.30 p. m. the advance of the enemy having reached a position which called for the use of the bayonet, I gave the command for the charge of the more than brave Fourth and Twenty-seventh, and, under commanders worthy of such regiments, they, in the order in which they were posted, rushed forward obliquely to the left of our batteries, and through the blessing of God, who gave us the victory, pierced the enemy’s center, and by co-operating with the victorious Fifth and other forces soon placed the field essentially in our possession.

Reports of Brig. Gen. Irvin McDowell, commanding U. S. forces.

                                                            CENTREVILLE, July 21, 1861---5.45 p. m.

   We passed Bull Run.  Engaged the enemy,who, it seems, had just been re-enforced by General Johnston.  We drove them for several hours, and finally routed them.
    They rallied and repulsed us, but only to give us again the victory, which seemed complete.  But our men, exhausted with fatigue and thirst and confused by firing into each other, were attacked by the enemy’s reserves, and driven from the position we had gained, overlooking Manassas.  After this time the enemy outflanked Richardson at Blackburn’s Ford, and we have now to hold Centreville till our men can get behind it.  Miles’ division is holding the town.  It s reported Colonel Cameron is killed, Hunter and Heintzelman wounded, neither dangerously.

                                                            Manassas, July 21, 1861.
   We have won a glorious though dear-bought victory.  Night closed on the enemy in full flight and closely pursued.
                                                                        JEFFERSON DAVIS

 Official Records, Series I. Vol. 2, various.

The battle at Bull Run was a very close thing.  McDowell's plan of attack was sound, but it required green troops to do just beyond what they were capable of.  Factors such as thirst, fatigue, and the shock of being fired on by your comrades (owing to the variety of uniform colors) all weighed, in the end, too heavily in the balance.  And credit must be given to Evans and Alexander for recognizing the direction of the initial attack, to Beauregard and Johnston in moving troops to it, and to Jackson, Bee, Bartow, Stuart, Hampton, and Imboden for holding fast until the tide turned.  The failure of Patterson to hold Johnston's forces in the Valley is too often overlooked.  Absent Jackson and the other of Johnston's forces who arrived to tip the balance, Bull Run could easily have ended with something much less than Davis', "glorious and dear-bought victory".

July 20, 1861 (Saturday): Johnston Takes Command at Manassas

McLean House, Johnston's Headquarters at Manassas (Virginia Historical Society)

                                                                                    RICHMOND, July 20, 1861.
General Joseph E. Johnston, Manassas Junction, Va.;
    GENERAL:  You are a general in the Confederate Army, possessed of the power attaching to that rank.  You will know how to make the exact knowledge of Brigadier-General Beauregard, as well of the ground as of the troops and preparation, avail for the success of the object in which you co-operate.  The zeal of both assures me of harmonious action.
                                                                                    JEFFERSON DAVIS

Official Records, Series I., Vol. 2, Page 385

Johnston wanted to clarify his relative standing in the Army relative to Beauregard so there would be no confusion as to command.  That Johnston indulged in excessive examination of where he stood relative to other commanders is without question, but in this instance there were practical reasons to have this issue settled in advance of the battle which appeared imminent.

July 19, 1861 (Friday): Where is Johnston?

Piedmont, Va. (now Delaplane)

                                                                                    RICHMOND, July 19, 1861.
General G. T. BEAUREGARD, Comdg., &c., Manassas Junction, Va.:
   We have no intelligence from General Johnston.  If the enemy in front of you have abandoned an immediate attack and General Johnston has not moved, you had better withdraw call upon him, so that he may be left to his full discretion.  All the troops arriving at Lynchburg are ordered to join you.  From this place we will send as fast as transportation permits.  The enemy is advised at Washington of the projected movment of Generals Johnston and Holmes, and may vary his plans in conformity thereto.

                                                                                    S. COOPER,
                                                                        Adjustant and Inspector General

Official Records, Series I., Vol. 2, Page 382.

Such was the nature of communications in the Civil War.  Earlier, Beauregard told Richmond he believed any help Johnston could provide would arrive too late.  Here, Richmond does not know where Johnston is.  In point of fact, part of his command was in Piedmont (now Delaplane), 50 miles west of Washington, preparing to board trains and head for Manassas Junction.

July 18, 1861 (Thursday): Affair at Blackburn's Ford

Blackburn's Ford-July 18, 1861 (Wikipedia)

Report of Brig. Gen. Daniel Tyler, Connecticut Militia, of action at Blackburn’s Ford

                                    HDQRS. FIRST DIV. DEP’T NORTHEASTERN VIRGINIA,
                                                            Washington City, July 27, 1861.
   SIR:  On the18th instant you ordered me to take my division, with the two 20-pounder rifled guns, and move against Centreville, to carry that position.  My division moved from its encampment at 7 a.m.  At 9 a.m. Richardson’s brigade reached Centreville, and found that the enemy had retreated the night before---one division on the Warrenton turnpike in the direction of Gainesville, and the other, and by far the biggest division, towards Blackburn’s Ford, on Bull Run.  Finding that Richardson’s brigade had turned towards the latter point and halted, for the convenience of obtaining water, I took a squadron of cavalry and two light companies from Richardson’s brigade, with Colonel Richardson, to make a reconnaissance, and in feeling our way carefully we soon found ourselves overlooking the strong position of the enemy, situation at Blackburn’s Ford , on Bull Run.  A moment’s observation discovered a battery on the opposite bank, but no great body of troops, although the usual pickets and small detachments showed themselves on the left of the position.
    Suspecting from the natural strength which I saw the position to possess that the enemy must be in force, and desiring to ascertain the extent of that force and the position of his batteries, I ordered up the two rifled guns, Ayres’ battery, and Richardson’s entire brigade, and subsequently Sherman’s brigade in reserve, to be ready for any contingency.  As soon as the rifled guns came up I ordered them into battery on the crest of the hill, nearly a mile from a single battery which we could see placed on the opposite side of the run.  Ten or a dozen shots were fired, one of them seeming to take effect on a large body of cavalry, who evidently thought themselves out of range.

Report of Col. Israel B. Richardson, Second Michigan Infantry, of action at Blackburn’s Ford.

            In Front of Blackburn’s Ford, on Bull Run, July 19, 1861.
   GENERAL:  ….I pushed forward the skirmishers to the edge of the woods, they driving in those of the enemy in fine style, and then brought up the First Massachusetts Regiment to their support, the skirmishers still advancing into the woods.
   Captain Brackett’s squadron of the Second Cavalry, and two 12-pounder howitzers, commanded by Captain Ayres, Fifth U. S. Artillery, now moved up into an opening in the woods in support.  The enemy also opened another battery, more to our left, so as to cross-fire with the other upon the road.  I ordered up at this time the Twelfth New York Regiment, Colonel Walrath, to the left of our battery, and it being formed in line of battle, I directed it to make a charge upon their position, the skirmishers still pushing forward and drawing the enemy’s fire, but keeping themselves well covered.  I now left the position of the Twelfth New York Regiment, to place upon the right of the battery the Massachusetts and Second and third Michigan Regiments, when a very heavy fire of musketry and artillery was opened by the enemy along his whole lone.  On moving towards our left, I found that the Twelfth New York Regiment had fallen back out of the woods in disorder, only parts of two companies, some sixty men in all, remaining in line, and retreating.  Our left was thus exposed, although the skirmishers still held the ground in the woods, and the three remaining regiments on the right remained firm and determined.
   I now reported to General Tyler that the main body of the New York regiment had fallen back in confusion, and I proposed to make a charge with the three remaining regiments for the purpose of carrying the enemy’s position.  The general replied that the enemy were in large force and strongly fortified, and a further attack was unnecessary; that it was merely a reconnaissance which he had made; that he found where the strength of the enemy lay, and ordered me to fall back in good order to our batteries on the hill, which we did, the enemy closing his fire before we left the ground, and not venturing to make an effort to follow us.

Report of Brig. Gen. James Longstreet, C. S. army, of action at Blackburn’s Ford.

   ….A fire from the artillery of the enemy was kept up about half an hour, when their infantry was advanced to the attack.  He made an assault with column or three or four thousand of his infantry, which, with a comparatively small force of fresh troops, was with some difficulty repelled.  A second and more determined attack was madw after a few minutes, which was driven back by the skirmishers, and the companies of the reserve thrown in at the most threatened and weakest points.  I then sent a staff officer to Colonel Early for one of the reserve regiments of his brigade.  Before the arrival of that regiment a third, though not so severe, attack was made a repulsed…..

Official Records Series I, Vol. 2, Pages 348-351, 461-463.

Tyler made a reconnaissance in force against the brigades of Bonham (at Mitchell’s Ford) and Longstreet (at Blackburn’s Ford).  Casualties were under 100 on each side.  The main impact of the battle was to hearten the Confederates and discourage the Union forces.  From a purely tactical standpoint, the strength of the Confederate positions probably made McDowell more inclined to move against the flanks of Beauregard’s position and avoid direct assaults across Bull Run.