Thursday, March 29, 2012

March 30, 1862 (Sunday): Fremont Requisitions An Army

General John Fremont

March 30, 1862.
Major-General FREMONT, Wheeling:
    Your telegram just received. Please indicate the line of operations you propose and what additional force you require. Your memoranda [following] left with me offered no indication of any specific plan of operations. The Adjutant-General has been directed to make out the appointments of your staff according to your own wishes. The operations around Washington since your departure from this city will render it very difficult to furnish any additional troops immediately, but no effort will be spared to supply your wants.

Secretary of War.

Series I., Vol. 12, Part 3, Page 31.

Stanton had been placed in charge of the new "Mountain Department" of Kentucky, Tennessee, and western Virginia headquartered in Wheeling.  The department, a successor to the Department of Western Virginia, had been created largely at the behest of Republicans in Congress.  They were offended when Fremont, the party's presidential candidate in 1856, was removed from command in Missouri during the first year of the war.  Fremont was a great explorer before the war and was highly regarded by the German immigrant population, but he was slow to move and largely ineffective as a field commander.  In the Shenandoah Valley he would prove no match for Stonewall Jackson.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

March 29, 1862 (Saturday): The Union Advance In The East Begins

Rappahanock River Bridge 1862

Hampton, March 29, 1862-3 p. m. 

Major-General McCLELLAN:
    General Porter's division returned to camp at 6 p. m . Brigade went about 1 mile beyond the Half-way House, nearly 4 miles beyond Big Bethel. His skirmishers, some of Berdan's sharpshooters, went near to Howard's Branch, at Howell's Mill, where was seen a breastwork. Three deserters who came in yesterday morning from Yorktown report that General Magruder was there with nearly all his force, about 8,000 men, having left a guard of but 500 at Yorktown and in the batteries at Shipping Point. Our cavalry drove in their pickets, but captured none, their horses being too fleet. General Smith's division followed the road near James River from Newport News, encamped for the night at Watt's Creek, and returned to this camp yesterday morning. He reported a strong force at Young's Mill. From the best information I can obtain General Magruder has between 15,000 and 20,000 men under his command.


March 29, 1862-1 a. m.
General S. WILLIAMS, Seminary:
    Express just received from General Howard. He drove the enemy across the Rappahannock Bridge, and is now in camp on this bank of and near the Rappahannock River. The enemy blew up the bridge in his retreat. There was skirmishing during the march and a few shots exchanged by the artillery, without any loss on our side. Their loss, if any, is not known. General Howard will return to this camp to-morrow morning.

E. V. Sumner,
Brigadier-General, Commanding Second Army Corps.

Official Records, Series I., Vol. 11, Part 3, Page 47.

The Confederates were now faced with an advance on two fronts, Sumner and the 2nd Corp moving across Northern Virginia in the wake of Johnston's retreat towards Richmond and Heintzelman beginning the first tentative moves out of Fort Monroe and up the Peninsula towards Richmond.  The frequency of firing and contact would soon increase as the two armies would find themselves increasingly in close proximity.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

March 28, 1862 (Friday): Johnston's Army Organizes

Brigadier-General Hawes


I. The undersigned assumes the command and immediate direction of the Armies of Kentucky and of the Mississippi, now united, and which in military operations will be known as the Army of the Mississippi.
II. General G. T. Beauregard will be second in command to the commander of the forces.
III. The Army of the Mississippi will be subdivided into three army corps, and reserves of cavalry, artillery, and infantry, as follows:
1. The First Corps, under command of Major General L. Polk, to consist of the grand division now under his command as originally organized, less the artillery and cavalry hereinafter limited and detached as reserves, and the garrison of Fort Pillow and the works for defense of Madrid Bend, already detached from that command.
2. The Second Corps, under Major General Braxton Bragg, to consist of the second grand division of the Army of the Mississippi, less the artillery and cavalry hereinafter limited and detached as reserves. 
3. The Third Corps, under Major General W. J. Hardee, to consist of the Army of Kentucky, less the cavalry, artillery, and infantry hereinafter limited and detached as reserves.
4. The infantry reserve, under command of Major General G. B. Crittenden, shall be formed of a division of not less than two brigades.
IV. The brigade of each army corps and of the reserves will be so formed as to consist severally of about 2,500 total infantry and one light battery of six pieces, if practicable.
V. Divisions shall consist of not less than two brigades and of one regiment of cavalry.
VI. All cavalry and artillery not hereintofore assigned to divisions and brigades will be held in reserve; the cavalry under Brigadier-General Hawes, the artillery under an officer to be subsequently announced.
VII. All general orders touching matters of organization, discipline, and conduct of the troops published by General G. T. Beauregard to the Army of the Mississippi will continue in force in the whole army until otherwise directed, and copies thereof will be furnished to the Third Army Corps and to the reserves.
VIII. Major General Braxton Bragg, in addition to his duties as commander of the Second Army Corps, is announced as chief of the staff to the commander of the forces.

General, C. S. Army

Official Records, Series I., Vol. 10, Part 2, Page 370.

Thus was born the army which would face Grant at Shiloh.  Polk had not proven himself capable at Columbus.  Bragg was up from Pensacola where he neither gained nor lost acclaim.  Hardee was an unknown quality and Crittenden had at least seen active field service in Kentucky. Ironically, Beauregard found himself again in a nebulous relationship with a commander named Johnston.

Monday, March 26, 2012

March 27, 1862 (Thursday): Johnston Proposes A Massive Counter to McClellan

General Joseph E. Johnston
Rapidan, March 27, 1862.
General R. E. LEE,
SIR: I received yesterday a letter from you dated March 25, in which you give me the President's orders to be prepared to move to Richmond, on the way to the Peninsula or Norfolk, with all the force I can, after proper dispositions on this line.
This afternoon I received by telegraph an order to send 10,000 men instead of the effective force named in your letter.
I beg leave, with all deference, to suggest to the President the expediency of transferring to the point about to be attacked the whole available force of this department. In making such a movement I would leave only such a line of outposts as would serve to mask it.
The division of the troops of this department made by the telegram of this afternoon leaves on this line a force too weak to oppose an invasion, and furnishes to the threatened point a re-enforcement too small to command success. For the sake of expedition I have ordered about 75,000 men from this vicinity by railroad to move to-morrow and 2,500 to be transported in the same manner from Fredericksburg.
Most respectfully, your obedient servant,


P. S.-Major-General Ewell's division is on the Rappahannock, near the bridge; the cavalry, about 1,100, beyond the river.
The divisions of Major-General Longstreet, Brigadier Gens. D. R. Jones, Early, and D. H. Hill, ten brigades, averaging near 2,000 men, are in this vicinity.
The corps of General Sumner was supposed to be at Cedar Run at 2 o'clock to-day, 12 miles from the Rappahannock.

Official Records, Series I., Vol. 11, Part 3, Page 405.

Told by Lee on the 25th Davis wanted him to send 20,000 to 30,000 men to help defend either Norfolk or Richmond from McClellan's advance.  The President did not intend for Davis to entirely abandon Northern Virginia, but this is exactly what Davis proposes here to do.  On the 26th he sent a message indicating he could bring 25,000 men.  In this letter he recounts orders for the movement of  over 77,000 men (close to his entire force) by rail away from the front.  As with almost all his movements during the war, Johnston displays here a strong affinity for the retrograde.


March 26, 1862 (Wednesday): McClellan Looks to the Valley

Jackson's Valley Campaign 
Map by Hal Jespersen,

STRASBURG, March 26, 1862-1 p.m.
General S. WILLIAMS:
    The enemy has retreated to Mount Jackson, possibly to Staunton. Our cavalry advancing as far as Woodstock. No troops. The advance brigade has taken a strong position 4 or 5 miles in advance of the
town, and when intrenched will command absolutely the valley from mountain to mountain. The movement of the brigades of Williams' division to Manassas by reconstruction of the bridges is impracticable, on account of their great height and the want of timber. The only course in that direction is to bridge the forks of the river on the country road above the railway, and follow the roads in that direction to Manassas. To make this safe, we ought to be supported from Manassas by occupation of Warrenton and the roads leading from that point to the railway. The other and safer is to follow the route by Snicker's Ferry; this should be selected. I think we can occupy Front Royal and Chester Gap from this side. You can judge better which is our true course and when we should move, and I will be glad to receive instructions. The enemy is broken, but will rally.      Their purpose is to unite Jackson's and Longstreet's forces-some 20,000-at New Market, below Mount Jackson or at Washington, in order to operate on either side of the mountain, and will desire to prevent our junction of the forces at Manassas. At present they will not attack here. When the First Division moves is uncertain. It would relieve me greatly to know something of Rosecrans' movements, and how far the enemy will be pressed in front of Manassas. Our cavalry and artillery, with infantry supports, are kept well in front of our advanced position here, and the enemy harassed continually.

SEMINARY, VA., March 26, 1862-2.50 p.m.
Major General N. P. BANKS,
Near Strasburg:
Sumner, with two divisions of his corps, is 5 miles below Manassas, moving on Warrenton. The telegraph is working to Manassas and will probably be open to Warrenton on Friday. From the best information he can gather General McClellan believes the main force of the enemy has retired beyond the Rappahannock, occupying the line of the Rapidan from Fredericksburg to Gordonsville; and he thinks that the force met by Shields on the 23rd consisted almost entirely of Jackson's command.
Following extract from telegram to Shields is forwarded for your information.*
* * * * * *
By command of Major-General McClellan:

Assistant Adjutant-General.

*See first clause in Williams to Shields, same date, Part I, p. 344. 

Official Records, Series I., Vol. 12, Part 3, Page 20.

At this point McClellan seems to have a good grasp of what is happening in the Valley and is relatively unconcerned by Jackson's movements.  His problem is the Administration does not share his views.  Soon, they will begin to siphon troops from McClellan to meet the perceived threat in the Valley.  The reference to Longstreet uniting with Jackson is an intelligence failure.  Johnston was considering reinforcing Jackson, but with Ewell and not Longstreet.


Sunday, March 25, 2012

Storms Brew In the West: March 25, 1862 (Tuesday)

Corinth to Shiloh (library.vanderbilt.educ)

The PRESIDENT, Richmond, Va.:

    I arrived here yesterday and conferred with Generals Beauregard, Polk, and Bragg. General Beauregard returned to Jackson. General Van Dorn is at Van Buren, moving towards Jacksonport, Ark., and had purposed an advance toward New Madrid to attack the enemy. I ordered him to Memphis. He is not menaced by the enemy. There was no subsistence for either him or the enemy. I considered the country impracticable between Jacksonport and New Madrid, while at Memphis his force will be in position. The enemy is advancing to-day in some force from Pittsburg toward Corinth. Monterey, 11 miles in front, was occupied to-day by a small force of cavalry and two regiments of infantry. Decatur is held by a small force to guard the bridge. My force is now united, holding Burnsville, Iuka, and Tuscumbia, with one division here.

General, C. S. Army.

Official Records, Series I., Vol. 10, Part 2, Page 361.

Here Johnston gives a good account of positions early in the Shiloh Campaign.  The presence of Grant at Pittsburg keeps the Confederates from sending vital reinforcements to New Madrid.  The Memphis-Charleston Rail Road must be protected.  The next logical place contact might be expected is in Corinth, 20 airs miles to the SW of Grant. 

Thursday, March 22, 2012

March 24, 1862 (Monday): Anxiety Over the B&O

B&O Railroad (Library of Congress)

WASHINGTON, D. C., March 24, 1862.
Major General GEORGE B. McCLELLAN:
    Is there sufficient force along the line of the Baltimore and Ohio road for its protection? That is with the West a vital point, and as it is now ready to be opened no effort should be spared to secure it from further interruption.


Seminary, March 24, 1862-7.30 p.m.

Honorable E. M. STANTON,
Secretary of War:
    There is ample force along the line of the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad to protect it. It is probable that the guards were temporarily reduced yesterday to re-enforce Winchester. The exigencies have passed. There should no longer be any difficulty. I will call General Shields' attention to this matter, which had not escaped my attention.

Major-General, U. S. Army.

Official Records, Series I., Vol. 12, Part 3, Page 17.

It took less than 24 hours after the Battle of Kernstown for the administration to become concerned about the security of the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad.  McClellan, here, is on the mark in saying there was more than enough security for the rail connection to the west.  But Jackson's aggression, coupled with rumors of his having 15,000 men (he had less than 4,000 at the time) planted doubts which would result in forces much greater than Jackson possessed being pulled away from McClellan's plan of campaign. 

March 23, 1862 (Sunday): "I Expect to Anhilate Him"

Battle of Kernstown-Jed Hotchkiss Map

WINCHESTER, VA., March 23, 1862.

    We have this day achieved a glorious victory over the combined forces of Jackson, Smith, and Longstreet. The battle was fought within 4 miles of this place. It raged from 10.30 o'clock this morning until dark. The enemy's strength was about 15,000; the strength of our division not over 8,000. Our loss, killed and wounded, is not ascertained, but is heavy. The enemy's loss is double that of ours. We have captured a large number of prisoners, some of their guns, and the ground is strewn with the arms they have thrown away in their flight. The cavalry is still in pursuit of the retreating enemy. The particulars cannot be accurately ascertained until daylight.

Brigadier-General, Commanding.

WINCHESTER, VA., March 23, 1862. 
    The enemy, though severely handled, is still before us. His motions are watched. If he attempts to retreat before morning we will follow up his rear and pursue him to Strasburg. If he keeps his position till morning I expect to annihilate him. General Banks has ordered back one of Williams' brigades, which ought to be here in three hours. I have ordered forward all the force stationed at Martinsburg, Harper's Ferry, Berryville, and Charlestown. I have ordered in all outposts and guards which are on the route in my rear. All are on the march for this place, and will be here by early dawn to re-enforce me. With the whole of this force I will renew the attack as soon as we have sufficient light to point our guns, and feel confident the enemy cannot escape.


Official Records, Series I., Vol. 12, Part 3, Page 335.

Believing he faced a small garrison in Winchester, Jackson moved to attack 8,500 Union troops with his 3,400 men.  The fighting was severe, with Jackson reporting the roar of musketry to exceed anything he had ever heard.  Late in the day Shields turned Jackson's left and Confederate ammunition ran low, causing (much to Jackson's chagrin) a retreat from the field.  That the Union troops under Shields fought well there is no doubt, and he deserves credit.  But for him to believe Jackson had 5 times the force which was on the field, and that Longstreet and Smith were present, gives some indication of the state of scouting and intelligence activity at this point during the war.  Although a tactical defeat, Jackson did succeed in getting the Lincoln administration's attention to the extent gradual diversions from McClellan's force were made to vouchsafe the security of the capital. 

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

March 22, 1862 (Saturday): Buell Begins to Move Toward Grant

The Shiloh Campaign
Map by Hal Jespersen,

Nashville, March 23, 1862.

Major General U. S. GRANT,
Commanding at Savannah:
    GENERAL: I received your letter of the 19th this morning. I some days ago directed my advance to open communication with you. My advance is at Columbia. Our progress has been retarded by high water and the absence of bridges, almost every one on the road, however small, having been destroyed by the enemy. I shall be at Columbia myself by the time the bridge there is ready for crossing, probably three or four days yet.
    The information I get indicates that Johnston is withdrawing the principal part of his force from Decatur and concentrating at Tuscumbia. I find there is still a gunboat here. If needed she can be sent to you, though if you had not immediate use for her it might be well to let her remain until you have.
    I do not deem it safe to give detailed information in this way in regard to my force, dispositions, &c. I shall soon be able to communicate more fully on that point.
    Please inform me whether the bridge at Florence has been destroyed.
    Very respectfully, your obedient servant,

    D. C. BUELL,
    Brigadier-General, Commanding.

Official Records, Series I., Vol. 10, Part 2, Page 58.

Halleck's plan for Grant and Buell was for them to eventually move to break the Memphis and Charleston Railroad.  Grant was still at Pittsburg landing waiting for Buell's arrival, which was delayed by high water and destroyed bridges.  Also, the weather in late March in Tennessee in 1862 was still unsettled, and there was still snowfall in the area during the week this was written. 


Tuesday, March 20, 2012

March 21, 1862 (Friday): Jackson and the Brethren

Valley Brethren-Mennonite Heritage Center  (

MOUNT JACKSON, VA., March 21, 1862.
    COLONEL: Please request the Governor to order 3,000 muskets to Staunton, at this earliest convenience, for the militia of this district. None of the militia beyond this county, except 500 from Augusta, have yet arrived, but they are turning out encouragingly. There are three religious denominations in this military district who are opposed to war; eighteen were recently arrested in endeavoring to make their escape through Pendleton to the enemy. Those who do not desert will, to some extent, hire substitutes; others will turn out in obedience to the Governor's call, but I understand some of them say they will not "shoot". They can be made to fire, but they can very easily take bad aim. So, for the purpose of giving to the command the highest degree of efficiency and securing loyal feelings and co-operation, I have, as those non-combatants are said to be good and faithful to their promise, determined to organize the into companies of 100 each, rank and file, and after mustering them with the legal number of company officers into service assign them to the various staff departments without issuing arms to them; but if at any time they have insufficient labor, to have them drilled, so that in case circumstances would justify it arms may be given them. If these men are, as represented to me, faithful laborers and careful of property, this arrangement will not only enable many volunteers to return to the ranks, but will also save many valuable horses and other public property in addition to arms. It may be that officers for these companies would be a useless expense. Please inform as to the Governor's decision as to whether it is obligatory on me to assign them officers. All I have pledged myself is that as far as practicable I will employ them in other ways than fighting, but with the condition that they shall act in good faith with me and not permit persons to use their names for the purpose of keeping out of service. Please direct you answer to Woodstock. I send this by express to Orange Court-House. Lest it should not reach you, a copy will be sent by mail via Staunton.


Official Records, Series I., Vol. 12, Part 3, Page 835.

The Quakers, Dunkers, and Mennonites were numerous in the Shenandoah Valley, southern branches of Northern denominations, and pacifists by belief.  Jackson recognized the futility of forcing these men under arms, and knew the valley of their skills.  His supply trains would greatly benefit from their service as teamsters.

Monday, March 19, 2012

March 20, 1862 (Thursday): Magruder Sizes Up McClellan

General John Bankhead Magruder


Commanding Army, &C.

GENERAL:  I am low down on the Warwick Road (Langhorne’s Mill), and at Bethel, with the greater portion of my command.  The weather, which was fine when the troops marched, is now bad, and the roads which were almost impractical in my rear and were getting good, are now becoming again very bad since the rain of last night.  I came down in the conviction that the right flank of my operating force on the James River was secured by the success of the Virginia and would not care for the roads so much, but from all I learn and see here I am the more convinced than ever that the enemy will persevere in his designs up the James River, and for the following reasons:
   It will be greatly in their interest to keep such a ship as the Virginia confined to the Hampton Roads.  This can be done if the Monitor, which as I have learned since moving the troops draws but 5 feet water, can be sent up the James River, supported by an irresistible column, say 20,000 men, whilst 20,000 would remain to occupy the vicinity of Fort Monroe and Newport News.
   Should the Virginia go outside of Fort Monroe and Newport News, the enemy would steam across the lower James River with his 20,000 and cut off Norfolk, whilst the other 20,000, supported by the Monitor, would eventually succeed in pushing their way up to Jamestown.
   Should the Virginia remain in the Roads, no troops could be thrown across as far up as she could go, which is but a few miles, but the column below would support the land operations of the column above, and the whole would cross above, say at Jamestown Island or Mulberry Point.  The enemy is re-enforcing by every means in his power therefore at Newport News and Fort Monroe.  Two regiments are reported to have arrived yesterday, and the vedettes on the advanced waterpoints report that some thirteen sailing transports were towed up the bay by steamer (tugs probably) yesterday, whilst I saw myself several sailing vessels in tow of steamers going up the day before.  I think, therefore, that he is straining every nerve top put a large force on the Peninsula before the Virginia comes out, either to operate on the James River, York River, or both, whilst his troops march up.
   It seems to me therefore that the Virginia, if she cannot get at the Monitor-a conflict it will be in the interest of the country to prevent-ought so to station herself outside of Fort Monroe so as to intercept all re-enforcements of troops and cut off further supplies.  This course, if it can be pursued at once, might prevent the advance up by land, and would also prevent the course of troops in large numbers on the lower James River, at least as far up as the Virginia could go, since, if she could pass Fort Monroe once, she could return again to the Roads, if an attempt were made to pass troops in large numbers.  By taking such a position the Virginia would also prevent an expedition of magnitude either up York or Rappahanock Rivers.
    In think no time should be lost in sinking insurmountable obstacles in James River to prevent the Monitor from ascending.  Nothing but positive physical obstruction will do against such ships.  But the river would be less than useless to this army if the obstructions were made high up, since there could be no means of transportation below such obstructions, the Monitor destroying such means.  It is necessary, therefore, to block up the river at some strategic point, affording to this army the means of safely ascending up the James River from that point.  Jamestown Island alone fulfills these conditions, as far as I know.
   Would it not be well, therefore, to sink vessels of all kinds, loaded with stone, at once, for this purpose, across the channel there, and fortify the island and the commanding main-land strongly without delay?  The last I am doing with all the means in my power, but for the former the means must come from Richmond.  I presume that all the sail vessels, some of the older steamers, and all the canal-boats above Richmond would do it effectually.  If done at all it should be done without the least delay, and by an engineer, civil or military, of great energy and understanding.  I could hold Williamsburg then and Jamestown Island at least as long as Yorktown could hold out, which I hope would be a long time.
   I think McClellan has shown his plan is to turn flanks by great detours of land and water.  The falling back of our army from the Potomac gives him the power to detach largely, and I think he will never risk a defeat himself when he can devolve the risk of it upon some one of his subordinates. 
    I am, general, very respectfully, your obedient servant,

   Major-General, Commanding.

P. S.-Since writing the above I have received the following report from Colonel Crump, the correctness of which I have no reason to doubt.

Official Records, Series I., Vol. 11, Part 3, Page 338.

Magruder was eccentric, but he understood early McClellan’s intentions and strategic advantages.  He was also correct in fearing the shallow draft Monitor (which actually drew 10 feet six inches) would be suitable for sailing up the James.  But he was not aware President Lincoln had ordered the Monitor not to engage the Virginia, and he does not appear to realize the extent of the Virginia’s damage, which would keep it in dry dock until April 6.  Magruder’s last paragraph is a striking indictment of McClellan’s character coming, ironically, before his famed “change of base.”  If nothing else, this memo at least placed Lee and the War Department on notice that McClellan appeared to be moving to the Confederate flank by way of Fort Monroe.

Sunday, March 18, 2012

March 19, 1862 (Wednesday):The Sigel-Halleck Feud Continues

Sigel Monument, Riverside Park, NYC (
SAINT LOUIS, March 19, 1862.
General CURTIS,
Commanding Army of the Southwest:
    GENERAL: I was by no means surprised at General Sigel's conduct before the battle of Pea Ridge. It was precisely in keeping with what he did at Carthage and Wilson's Creek. After your expedition started I received documentary proofs from Generals Sturgis, Schofield, and Totten, and a number of other officers, in regard to his conduct on those occasions, which destroyed all my confidence in him. It was for that reason that I telegraphed you so often not to let Sigel separate from you. I anticipated that he would try to play you a trick by being absent at the critical moment. I wished to forewarn you of the snare, but I could not then give you my reasons. I am glad that you prevented his projects and saved your army. I cannot describe to you how much uneasiness I felt for you. You saved your army and won a glorious victory by refusing to take his advice. I do not believe he has been made a major-general. If so, I shall ask to have him sent to some other department.
    A large number of extra teams have been sent you from Tipton and Sedalia via Linn Creek, and horses and wagons will be sent to Rolla as fast as possible. The drafts for transportation in Tennessee have been so urgent as to greatly embarrass us. We are doing everything in our power to supply you.
     It is not intended to advance across Boston Mountains on any consideration. My instructions are not to advance to Fort Smith, but to keep the enemy south of Boston Mountains till he can be turned and cut off from his main source of supplies. He has already evacuated Pocahontas, and we hope soon to hear of his leaving Jacksonport. If Van Dorn does not fall back for the defense of White River and leave Arkansas he will be obliged to retreat south of the latter river. In either case you will be relieved of his presence.
Yours, in haste,


Official Records, Series I, Vol. 8, Part 1, Page 626.

The German Sigel was a favorite of Lincoln, who tried to bolster the war effort by appointing generals from the growing immigrant populations.  He had threatened to resign before Pea Ridge rather than serve under Curtis.  Although Halleck did not believe Sigel was part of a cabal against him among officers in Saint Louis (which he believed existed) he did believe Sigel was used by them against him.  Sigel, despite Halleck's skepticism, had been appointed major-general.  But Halleck did have his way, sending Sigel east once he the promotion became official.

Saturday, March 17, 2012

March 18, 1862 (Tuesday): The Original George S. Patton

Colonel George Smith Patton

J. P. BENJAMIN, Secretary of State (late of War).

SIR: On the 18th of March last you grave me a letter of which the following is a copy:

WAR DEPARTMENT, March 18, 1862.
Colonel GEORGE S. PATTON, Richmond.

SIR: You are released from your parole and may resume service at pleasure. I will at an early day indicate to you the name of the officer from whom you are exchanged as we have the choice of several already surrendered to the enemy.
Yours, respectfully,

Secretary of War.
This letter speaking in verba de presenti and you stating to me verbally that I was exchanged then I under orders from the Adjutant-General founded on this letter joined my regiment, went into active service, was finally wounded in action and sent home invalided. On reaching Richmond imagine my surprise at learning not only that I was not exchanged, that the U. S. authorities had not assented to it, that no Federal officer had been designated for exchange for me, but actually that the records of the War Department did not show even your letter to me or any memorandum whatever of the transaction.
And thus, sir, I have been placed by your action in a most disagreeable and delicate position and exposed to the imputation of having violated my honor, sacred above all things to me at least, and not only that but have been also exposed to all the risks of capture and the consequent indignity to which I would have been subjected as a violator of parole. My safety as an officer has thus been jeopardized and my honor as a man seriously compromised, and you can readily understand that I must have it vindicated; and I demand therefore that you at once take measures to put me rectus in curia by giving me a full and complete statement of the transaction and publicly freeing me from all blame.
I have the honor to remain, yours &c.,

Colonel Twenty-second Virginia Volunteers.

Official Records, Series II, Vol. 3, Part 1, Page 880.

The grandfather of World War Two General George S. Patton Jr. (although he was actually the third George Smith Patton his family called him Junior) was a friend of Mosby and graduated second in the VMI class of 1852.  He was a lawyer by trade, accounting for the term “rectus in curia” (standing before the bar with no one to claim an offense against him).  The use of “verba de presenti” (Italian for present tense, also shows a verbal flair which the latter George S. Patton inherited no small part).  Patton had won a minor victory at Scary Creek, WVa (near present day Nitro) but was left in a private home after the battle with a shoulder wound and was captured.  He often commanded Echols brigade in battles in Western Virginia and was mortally wounded at the battle of Occoquan in 1864.  Patton's official exchange would not come until late in May of 1862.

Friday, March 16, 2012

March 17, 1862 (Monday): The Pinkerton Estimate

Pinkerton on Horseback

Washington, D. C., March 17, 1862.
Commanding Army of the Potomac:
   GENERAL: I have the honor to report the following information relative to the forces and defenses of the Army of the Potomac obtained to this date, which has been extracted from current statements made here by spies, contrabands, deserters, refugees, and prisoners of war, in the order of time as hereinafter stated, and which at the time of reception were made the subjects of special reports to you. I have also appended to this report of extracts from statements, and have made the same a part of this report, a varied summary of the forces and defenses of the rebel Army of the Potomac, showing by different combinations about the probable number of these forces and the locality and strength of their defenses:
By reference to the summary of this report it will be seen that 115,500 men is a medium estimate of the rebel Army of the Potomac, which are stated as being located as follows, viz: At Manassas, Centreville, Bull Run, Upper Occoquan, and vicinities, about 80,000 men; at Brooke's Station, Dumfries, Lower Occoquan, and vicinities, 18,000; at Leesburg and vicinity, 4,500; in the Shenandoah Valley, 13,000.
   Of the above-mentioned forces information has been received up to date, as shown by summary in this report, of the following specific organizations, viz: At Manassas, Centreville, Bull Run, Upper Occoquan, and vicinities, sixty-one regiments and one battalion infantry, eight regiments, one battalion, and seven independent companies cavalry, thirty-four companies artillery. At Brooke's Station, Dumfries, Lower Occoquan, and vicinities, eighteen regiments and one battalion infantry, one regiment and six independent companies cavalry, and fifteen companies artillery; in the Shenandoah Valley, twelve regiments infantry, two brigades militia, one regiment cavalry, and seven companies artillery; and at Leesburg four regiments infantry, one regiment militia, five independent companies cavalry, and one company of artillery.
   It is unnecessary for me to say that in the nature of the case, guarded as the rebels have ever been against the encroachment of spies, and vigilant as they have always been to prevent information of their designs, movements, or of their forces, going beyond their lines, it has been impossible, every by the use of every resource at our command, to ascertain with certainty the specific number and character of their forces. It may, therefore, safely be assumed that in so large an army as our information shows them to possess very much of its composition and very many of its forces have not been specifically ascertained, which, added to those already known, would largely increase their numbers and considerably swell its proportions.
   The summary of the general estimate shows the forces of the rebel Army of the Potomac to be 150,000, as claimed by its officers and as sanctioned by the public belief, over 80,000 of which were stationed up to the time of evacuation at Manassas, Centreville, and vicinity, the remainder being within easy supporting distance. This fact is strongly supported by the statement of several supposed reliable persons, to the effect that 80,000 daily rations were issued to the forces at Manassas, Centreville, and vicinity, and by the well-sustained fact that the portions of the army in the Shenandoah Valley and the Lower Potomac each had their separate commissary department and received their supplies from sources entirely independent of the department at Manassas.
   It will be seen by reference to several statements included in this report that the parties were engineers, conductors, & c., on the Manassas Gap Railroad, and that they testify under oath that their chance for information about the forces at Manassas and Centreville was the very best, and that the number stationed there up to about the time of evacuation was from 80,000 to 100,000. It is also shown by the statement of a refugee who resided near Fairfax Court-House that he learned from officers of the rebel army that the numbers of their forces at Manassas and Centreville were 75,000, and that 150,000 rations were drawn by the whole army.
   All of which is respectfully submitted by your obedient servant,* 


* Much the same as report of March 8, p. 736. 

Official Records, Series I, Vol. 5, Part 1, Page 764.

Allen, from Scotland, was the first detective ever appointed in Chicago.  He also had a private practice and was summoned to Washington at the start of the war where he helped establish the Secret Service.  History widely condemns him for overestimating the rebel army McClellan confronted, contributing to his timidity.  But it is likely McClellan knew Allen’s estimates (overstated by at least 40,000 here) were inaccurate.  Partly to justify his caution, and later perhaps owing to him taking council of his fears, McCellan often cited Pinkerton’s figures.  Pinkerton arrived at them largely from interviews with slaves who had crossed over from Confederate lines. 

Thursday, March 15, 2012

March 16, 1862 (Sunday): Disorganization at Island No. 10

General John P. McCown

Madrid Bend, March 16, 1862-10.30 a. m. 

    GENERAL: Captain Cummings established a signal station at Battery Numbers 1 last night. He unfortunately used a white flag. I soon discovered it and ordered the battle-flag substituted. Captain Rucker, who commands Battery Numbers 1, allowed a tug with a white flag to go near his battery. The overflow prevented my communicating promptly with Captain Rucker. General Trudeau went to the boat and explained their mistake; informed the enemy that we did not wish to communicate with them. Captain Rucker told the officer that he, on the contrary, was ready for action. I regret the affair.
2 p. m.-Shelling us. No damage done. We have not replied to boats.
J. P. McC.,


March 16, 1862-9 p. m. (Received March 17.)
Major-General POLK:
    The mortar boats have been shelling us all day. They opened some
guns. No person hurt. I have just returned from Tiptonville, and will endeavor to carry out your orders without friend or foe knowing it.

Madrid Bend, March 16, 1862.
Major General LEONIDAS POLK:
    GENERAL: I received your dispatch with Colonel Jordan's letter. I will, if possible, execute your instructions. My experience in that line makes me tremble for the result. The gunboats are now off the point dropping down.
    Respectfully, yours, &c.,
(Copy to General Beauregard.)

Official Records, Series I., Vol. 8, Part 1, Page 784.

McCown would soon be relieved for having abandoned New Madrid.  Although graduating 10th in the class of 1840 from West Point and serving well in the pre-war Army as a Captain, McCown was out of his element with a larger command.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

March 15, 1861 (Saturday): Affair at Mattis Plantation

Colonel (later Governor) James A. Beaver

MARCH 13, 1862.-Affair at Mattis' Plantation, S. C.
Report of Lieutenant Colonel James A. Beaver, Forty-fifth Pennsylvania Infantry

Otter Island, S. C., March 15, 1862.
    CAPTAIN: It is my duty to report to you, through your office to the general commanding, the details of an unfortunate occurence which took place on the morning of the 13th instant on the mainland at the plantation of a Mr. Mattis, resulting in the death of Captain Rambo and Corporal Reighand, of Company K, of the Forty-fifth Regiment Pennsylvania Volumnteers, and the wounding of several others, privates in the same company, one of whom has since died from the effects of his wounds:
    I started on the morning of the 12th instant with parts of three companies of the Forty-fifth Regiment Pennsylvania Volunteers, for the purpose of reconnoitering the north bank of the Musquito Creek, which has heretofore been occupied by small parties of rebels. With two negro guides we proceed through the entire length of the creek, landing occasionaly at imortant points and making observation in the vicinity, and landing in the evening at the plantation of Mr. Michael Seabrook; our negro guides had formerly belong to Mr. Mattis and had escaped from his plantation but a night or two previous. I examined them separately, and finding that they agreed in their estimate of the number and station of the reble picket, it was agreed, after consultation with the officers who acompanied me, to endeavor to capture them the next morning before daylight. For this purpose I divided the force under my command into three parts, directing Captain Schieffelin, with one of the negro guides, to proceed by a ciruitous route to the rear of the house in which it was supposed the guard was quartered. The contersign given and a signal agreed upon with Captain Rambo should advance from the front the front, surrounding the house, and, if possible, secure the inmates. If he failed in this and the rebels retreated, Captain Schieffelin was ordered to cut off their tretreat in the direction of Willtown. The third part of the force was held as a reserve at the boats. Waiting some twenty minutes after Captain Schieffelin had started, I advanced with Captain Rambo's party, having first thrown out two scouts with instruction to overpower the sentinel at the door as soon as the signal to advance was given. Passing through a gateway I stopped to post two sentinels and give them their instructions, I regairing the main body just as it had received a volley of musketry, resulting as I have already stated. This volley proved to have come from the party in charge of Captain Shieffelin, who explains it by saying that he came to a broken bridge, which he fixed in order to cross; that after he had crossed he observed two men approaching; that he challenged, and that instead of answering they turned around; he then directed his men to fire. The scouts who were in advance say they hear no challenge. They are both wounded, and from the position of their wounds would seem to have their backs to the fire.
    I am, captain, your most obedient servant,

Lieutenant Colonel Forty-fifth Regiment Pennsylvania Volunteers.

Official Record, Series I., Vol. 53, Part 1, Page 2.

As could be expected with inexperienced troops, friendly fire incidents such as this were not infrequent.  Beaver was an outstanding officer.  A lawyer before the war, he joined as a second Lieutenant, serving under Andrew Curtin, later governor of Pennsylvania.  He joined the 45th PA when it was organized as Lieutenant -Colonel.  He was wounded at Chancellorsville, fought at the Wilderness, was one of the first men to breach the Confederate lines at Spotsylvania Court House, was in the assaults at Cold Harbor, was wounded at Petersburg, and after being wounded once more at Ream's Station finally retired as a brevet Brigadier-General after having a leg amputated.  After the war he again practiced law, was on the board of trustees of Penn State University, served as acting President, and from 1887 to 1891 was governor of Pennsylvania. Beaver Stadium, home of the Nittany Lions, is named after him.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

March 14, 1862 (Friday): Island Number 10 Evacuated

Island Number 10

Near New Madrid, March 14, 1862.
Major-General HALLECK:
    To my utter amazement the enemy hurriedly evacuated the place last night, leaving everything. They were landed in the woods opposite and dispersed. Thy have been landing troops here ever since we arrived, and I am sure almost that they have withdrawn all their troops from Island Numbers 10. I can send you the cavalry for Steele, but would prefer to send other regiments. Please inform me as to your wishes about my further operations. I shall reconnoiter island Numbers 10 to-day.


Official Records, Series I., Vol. 8, Part 1, Page 118.

Pope had arrived at New Madrid on March 3 prepared for a seige.  With 50 heavy guns and a small fleet of gunboats, the Confederates commanded the Mississippi River.  But after just one day's bombardment  John Porter McCown, the Confederate commander, withhdrew from New Madrid to Island No. 10, a ten mile long and three mile wide peninsula.  The island got its name from being the 10th island south of where the Mississippi meets the Ohio.  McCown's command was safely removed, but he lost many of his heavy guns.  He had not, as Pope supposed, abandoned the island.  For moving from New Madrid to the island, McCown was relieved and succeeded by William Mackall.

Monday, March 12, 2012

March 13, 1862 (Thursday): Wool Ranks McClellan?

General John E. Wool

                                                               March 13. 1962—2 a.m.
Hon. E. M. STANTON, Secretary of War:
   I received last evening a dispatch from the President that Major-General McClellan was no longer General-in-Chief of the Army, and that he was assigned to the Army of the Potomac.  The Army of the Potomac is not included in my department—the Department of South-eastern Virginia.  Since the above telegram I have received the following telegram from Major-General McClellan, viz:

   Can I rely on the Monitor to keep the Merrimac in check so that I can make Fort Monroe a base of operations?  Please answer at once.

   I have answered that he could rely on the Monitor; but if he makes Fort Monroe the base of operations—which should have been done months ago—I will rank him, and must command, for I am now in command by the President according to my brevet rank.  Please to answer.
                                                                                JOHN E. WOOL,

Official Records, Series I., Vol. 9, Part 1, Page 29.

McClellan had been relieved of the duties of General-in-Chief, since he would be in command of the Peninsula expedition and unable to coordinate with western commanders.  Wool was technically correct that he would rank McClellan at Fort Monroe, but Stanton assured McClellan later that afternoon that Wool would be relieved of command at whatever time McClellan got there. This is one of the many examples during the war of commanders strict observance of highly technical discussions of rank. The brevet rank Wool held was Major-General, and therin lies an interesting side note. Wool, a veteran of the War of 1812 earned his brevet during the Mexican War.  Technically, after McClellan's relief as General-in-Chief, Wool's rank was so senior he could only be given direct command by the Secretary of War.  At the time of this letter he had just turned 78.

Sunday, March 11, 2012

March 12, 1862 (Wednesday): The Merrimac Paralyzes McClellan's Movements

Hampton Roads
March 12, 1862. 

G. V. Fox, Assistant Secretary of the Navy:
    The possibility of the Merrimac appearing again paralyzes the movements of this army by whatever route is adopted. How long a time would it require to complete the vessel built at Mystic River, working night and day? How long would Stevens require to finish his vessel, so far as to enable her to contend with the Merrimac? If she is uninjured, of course no precaution would avail, and the Monitor must be the sole reliance. But if injured so as to require considerable repairs, these things are important to be considered. The General would desire any suggestion of your own on this subject.
    By order of Major-General McClellan:

Chief Engineer.

NAVY DEPARTMENT, March 13, 1862. 

Major General GEORGE B. McCLELLAN,
Fairfax Court-House.
    The Monitor is more than a match for the Merrimac, but she might be disabled in the next encounter. I cannot advise so great dependence upon her. Burnside and Goldsborough are very strong for the Chowan River route to Norfolk, and I brought up maps, explanation, &c., to show you. It turns everything, and is only 278 miles to Norfolk by two good roads. Burnside will have New Berne this week. The Monitor may, and I think will, destroy the Merrimac in the next fight; but this is hope,not certainty. The Merrimac must dock for repairs.

G. V. FOX.

Official Records, Series I., Vol. 9, Part 1, Page 27.

With the Virginia (Merrimac) still operable, Union war planners had to account for the damage it could do to McClellan's expedition.  It battled the Monitor at Sewell's Point, across Hampton Roads from Fort Monroe (McClellan's destination).  The ship referenced as being constructed at Mystic was the Galena, an ironclad sloop which would prove to be much less effective than the Monitor.   The route discussed by which to turn Norfolk involved Burnsides' force, which had taken possession of New Bern.  The Chowan route, by water and land, would be about 100 miles from Northeast North Carolina to behind Norfolk.

March 11, 1862 (Tuesday): Doubts About Albert Sydney Johnston

Confederate Congressman E. M. Bruce

ATLANTA, March 11, 1862.

   I have been with and near General Johnston's army ever since he was assigned command; have been his admirer and defender; still admire him as a man; but in my judgment his errors of omission, commission, and delay have been greater than any general who ever preceded him in any country; inexcusably and culpably lost us unnecessarily an army of 12,000 men, the Mississippi Valley, comparatively all provision stores, by one dash of the enemy. This is the almost unanimous judgment of officers, soldiers, and citizens. Neither is it mere opinion, but is demonstrable by dates, facts, figures, and disastrous results. He never can reorganize and re-enforce his army with any confidence. The people now look to you as their deliverer, and imploringly call upon you to come to the field of our late disasters and assume command, as you promised in a speech to take the field whenever it should become necessary. That necessity is now upon us. Such a step would be worth a hundred thousand soldiers throughout the Confederacy. Can you then hesitate? We cannot survive the permanent loss of Tennessee and Kentucky for the war. They must be immediately retaken at all hazards, or great suffering for provisions and forage is the inevitable and immediate consequence. If your presence is impossible, for God's sake, give immediate command to Beauregard, Bragg, or Breckinridge, or all will be irretrievably lost. Save us while it is yet time. I will be in Richmond next week.

Member Congress Ninth District Kentucky.

Official Record, Series I., Vol. 10, Part 2, Page 314. 

In the time Johnston had been in command in the west the Confederacy had seen  a series of disasters and many, including Bruce, had begun to wonder whether Johnston was capable of living up to his reputation.  He was very highly regarded in the old Army, had been the focus of a nation-wide manhunt by Union authorities as he worked his way east  from Los Angeles in a months long journey, but had so far not been the deliver many thought he would be.  Bruce had made a fortune before the war establishing and selling meat packing facilities, and had personally helped fund part of the Army he know expressed concern over.  On close terms with Davis, he was with the Confederate President when he fled Richmond in 1865.  After the war he gave over $400,000 to Confederate veterans who had lost a limb in the war for their educational expenses.  He died in 1866 of heart disease.

Saturday, March 10, 2012

March 10, 1862 (Monday): Pea Ridge-Another Union Victory In The West

Elkhorn Tavern at Pea Ridge Battlefield

No. 35. Reports of Major General Earl Van Dorn, C. S. Army, commanding Trans-Mississippi District.

March 9, via Hog Eye, March 10, [1862].

    Fought the enemy, about 20,000 strong, 7th and 8th, at Elkhorn, Ark. Battle first day from 10 a.m. until after dark; loss heavy on both sides. Generals McCulloch and McIntosh and Colonel Hebert were killed; Generals Price and Slack were wounded-General Price, flesh wound in the arm; the others badly wounded, if not mortally; many officers killed and wounded; but as there is some doubts in regard to several, I cannot yet report their names. Slept on the battle-field first night, having driven the enemy from their position. The death of Generals McCulloch and McIntosh and Colonel Herbert early in the action threw the troops on the right under their commands in confusion. The enemy took a second and strong position. Being without provisions and the right wing somewhat disorganized, determined to give battle on the right on their front for the purpose only of getting off the field without the danger of a panic, which I did with success, but with some losses.
    I am now encamped with my whole army 14 miles west [of] Fayetteville, having gone entirely around the enemy. I am separated from my train, but think it safe on the Elm Springs road to Boston Mountains. The reason why I determined to give battle at once upon my arrival to assume command of the army I will give in report at an early day.

General, Commanding.

[Copy to the Secretary of War.]

In an attempt to regain control of Arkansas and Missouri, Van Dorn moved against the forces under Curtis.  Arriving on March 6 after a forced march through freezing rain, Van Dorn's troops were hungry and exhausted.  Although outnumbered 16,000 to 10,000, Curtis fought his troops ably.  The Confederate right, disorganized by the deaths of generals McCulloch and McIntosh was unable to strike the telling blow Van Dorn had hoped for.  In three days of fighting the Confederates lost 2,000 men to 1,400 for the Union.  Van Dorn was forced to concede the battlefield to Curtis and the Battle of Pea Ridge was history.  Curtis' force was too used up to take Little Rock, his hoped for result.  Van Dorn had demonstrated no grasp of logistics or staff work, and as many as 2,000 of his men deserted after the battle.  Missouri remained in the Union, Arkansas remained threatened, and Curtis had achieved yet another victory for the Union in the West.

March 9, 1862 (Sunday): Preparing for the Merrimac to Ascend the Potomac

The Monitor and Merrimac (Virginia)

Washington, D. C., March 9, 1862-2 p. m.

Brigadier General HOOKER, Commanding:
     Please have the following communicated to Captain Wyman as soon as possible:
     The Merrimac has got out harbor, and had pretty much used up our ships at Hampton Roads.
It is impossible to say what she may attempt, but as a proper precaution it is proposed to be ready to block the channel of this river in the event of an attempt to enter it.
    By direction of the President it has been agreed on by General McClellan, General Meigs and myself the Secretary of War present, to fill some canal-boats and other craft and tow them down near the place where it would be advisable to sink them. I wish you therefore to sent up some of the steamers to tow down.
    You have no doubt received my dispatch to send a fast vessels to observe the mouth of the Potomac. Let this duty be well looked to.
    Will General Hooker please to inform me of this reaching Captain Wyman.

Commandant, Navy-Yard.

Series I., Vol. 9, Part 1, Page 20.

The Merrimac (CSS Virginia) put a scare into the Government the previous day, sinking the Cumberland and Congress.  The irony of the preparations described here to block the Potomac is the Virginia was in no way seaworthy enough to venture up to Washington.  At the time this message was written, the Virginia and Monitor were locked in combat in Hampton Roads.  The Monitor battled the Virginia to a draw, removing a great source of apprehension to Union war planners.

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

March 8, 1862 (Saturday): War Order No. 3

Civil War Blockhouse in Washington Defenses (NPS)

WAR ORDER, No. 3. Washington, March 8, 1862.

  Ordered, That no change of the base of operations of the Army of the Potomac shall be made without leaving in and about Washington such a force as in the opinion of the General-in-Chief and the commanders of all the army corps shall leave said city entirely secure.
    That no more than two army corps (about 50,000 troops) of said Army of the Potomac shall be moved en route for a new base of operations until the navigation of the Potomac from Washington to the Chesapeake Bay shall be freed from enemy's batteries and other obstructions, or until the President shall hereafter give express permission.
   That any movement as aforesaid en route for a new base of operations which may be ordered by the General-in-Chief, and which may be intended to move upon the Chesapeake Bay, shall begin to move upon the bay as early as the 18th day of March instant, and the General-in-Chief shall be responsible that it so move as early as that day.
    Ordered, That the Army and Navy co-operate in an immediate effort to capture the enemy's batteries upon the Potomac between Washington and the Chesapeake Bay.


Official Records, Series I., Vol. 11, Part 3, Page 58.

History likely records no campaign begun on such a resounding vote of no confidence by civilian authority in the general embarking upon it.  Lincoln here mandates McClellan may leave for the Peninsula with no more than 50,000 men until the largely ineffectual Confederate batteries on the Potomac are abandoned, requires a consensus of all Army corp commanders as to what constitutes a sufficient force to defend Washington, and implies a lack of confidence McClellan will actually undertake the campaign by giving him an explicit date to begin.  The question of the batteries was more political than military, as their presence was a major issue with the largely Republican Committee on the Conduct of the War.  By not specifying a specific force required to be maintained in Washington, the order set the stage for the attack on his right flank as he neared Richmond, that force which should have secured it (McDowell) being withheld.  And the entire tenor of relations between the two only added to an almost paranoia felt by McClellan toward the administration. 

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

March 7, 1862 (Friday): Grant Offers to Resign

General U. S. Grant

FORT HENRY, March 7, 1862.
Maj. Gen. H. W. HALLECK, Saint Louis, Mo.;
   Your dispatch of yesterday just received.  I did all I could to get you returns of the strength of my command.  Every move I made was reported daily to your chief of staff, who must have failed to keep you properly posted.  I have done my very best to obey orders and to carry out the interests of the service.  If my course is not satisfactory, remove me at once.  I do not wish to impede in any way the success of our arms.  I have averaged writing more than once a day since leaving Cairo to keep you informed of my position, and it is no fault of mine if you have not received my letters.  My going to Nashville was strictly intended for the good of the service, and not to gratify any desire of my own.
   Believing sincerely that I must have enemies between you and myself, who are trying to impair my usefulness, I respectfully ask to be relieved from further duty in the department.
                                                                                    U. S. GRANT,

Official Records, Series I., Vol. 10, Part 2, Page 15

What Grant and Halleck did not know was Grant’s telegrams were not sent because the telegraph operator he gave them to, ironically, had a drinking issue.  It is interesting to note Grant's offer came exactly one month from the battle of Shiloh.

Monday, March 5, 2012

March 6, 1862 (Thursday): Lowe's Aerial Reconnaisance

Professor Lowe's Balloon
POHICK CHURCH, March 6, 1862.
Brigadier General R. B. MARCY,
Chief of Staff, Army of the Potomac:
    GENERAL: I ascended at 5 this p.m. and remained up until 6 o'clock. It was calm and clear, and many of the enemy's camps were visible, and the smoke ascending straight gave a good idea of the enemy's position.
There are more smokes than usual at Fairfax Station, and a line of picket smokes extending southeast from there and nearly forming a junction with our lines running toward Springfield Station.
   Heavy smokes (besides those seen in the morning) at Dumfries, Brentsville, Bradley's and Manassas. General Heintzelman was here at 2 o'clock and went up twice.
   I am greatly in need of that map that I spoke about yesterday to enable me to name place and distance more correctly. The one I have is small and inaccurate.
   Very respectfully, your obedient servant,

    T. S. C. LOWE,
    Chief Aeronaut.

Official Records, Series III., Vol. 3, Part 1, Page 271.

Within days Johnston would withdraw the Confederate army from Manassas.  But on March 6th, Lowe could still see much evidence of the presence of rebels at the junction and beyond.