Wednesday, October 31, 2012

November 1, 1862 (Saturday): The Cavalry Advances

Flag of 1st Rhode Island Cavalry (
General MARCY.
PHILOMONT, November 1, 1862 - 11.30 a. m.
    GENERAL: My command has arrived at this point, and I am now sending out scouts in different directions. About 100 of Stuart's rebel cavalry left this place hastily on our advance, and took the road to Middleburg. I am told there is a force of rebel cavalry and infantry at Upperville. Have not heard yet from General Bayard. My force is so small (not over 1,500 men) that I find myself obliged to work my men very hard to do the duty required of them.
    For want of horses, the dismounted men left behind have not come up, and many of my old horses are becoming unfit for service, by disease called rotten-hoof.
    Yesterday Stuart captured a number of First Rhode Island Cavalry (Stoneman's) beyond this place; some say a squadron, but I doubt that number. Could not that regiment be sent to me? They are only covering the ground I now go over, and are in my way.


General MARCY.

P. S. - My scouts have gone to Union and Bloomfield. This position at Philomont is a very good one.

*Not found.

Official Records, Series I., Vol. 19, Part 2, Page 113.

The First Rhode Island had a good war record, serving at the time of this letter in Stoneman's Corp of Observation.  The gap between Union and Confederate cavalry was narrowing, but remained.  The duty required of cavalry in enemy territory was fraught with risk, not the least of which was becoming isolated and captured.

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

October 31, 1862 (Friday): Martindale Acquitted

General John H. Martindale


No. 178. Washington, October 31, 1862.
I. The court of inquiry appointed to meet in the city of Washington, D. C., on the 8th instant, pursuant to Special Orders, No. 280, dated Headquarters of the Army, Adjutant-General's Office, Washington, October 6, 1862, and of which Brigadier General W. S. Harney, U. S. Army, is president, has investigated the charge preferred by Major General Fitz John Porter against Brigadier-General Martindale, U. S. Volunteers.
    It being the opinion of the court that the charge against Brigadier-General Martindale is disproved, and that the interests of the service do not require the further investigation of the subject-matter of the inquiry, Brigadier-General Martindale is restored to duty.
II. The court of inquiry of which Brigadier-General Harney, U. S. Army, is president, is dissolved.
By command of Major-General Halleck:


Official Records, Series I., Vol. 11, Part 3, Page 353.

Martindale had graduated third in his class at West Point but had little command experience.  Commanding a division under Porter at Malvern Hill he was accused by Porter of influencing some of his men to surrender.  By the time Porter's charges came before a court of inquiry he was charged himself by Pope with failing to promptly bring his troops into action at Second Manassas.  With Porter and McDowell being brought up under charges, Stone imprisoned without charges, and Martindale accussed and quickly acquitted it was a busy season for military jurisprudence. 

Monday, October 29, 2012

October 30, 1862 (Thursday): Pope Seeks Vindication

General John Pope (

SAINT PAUL, October 30, 1862.
Major General H. W. HALLECK, General-in-Chief:
    MY DEAR GENERAL: So long as the vindictive and unfriendly critiques of my late campaign in Virginia were confined to the statements of irresponsible persons or the stories of very badly informed newspaper correspondents, I have not thought it worth while to take any public notice of them, but I observe that of late certain officers of the Army, from motives not necessary to investigate, have begun to put forth crude criticism upon a campaign of the plan of which they knew nothing, and which was conducted under orders and information of which they are profoundly ignorant. I am aware that the Government intends in due season to investigate the conduct of several officers connected with that campaign, but in advance I would be obliged to you if (knowing, as yo do, all the facts necessary for a fair judgment) you would answer, so that I can use your reply, two or three questions which I submit herewith, if answer can be made consistently with the public interests:
1st. Was any mistake or blunder of any kind made by me in the conduct of that campaign or was it not conducted with skill and energy?
2nd. Was the withdrawal of the forces into the entrenchments at Washington due to any want of ability, energy, or skill, or any sort of mismanagement on my part, or was it not occasioned by circumstances beyond my control?
3rd. Was such union of the Armies of Virginia, and the Potomac made as early as contemplated or sufficiently early to enable me to make greater or more determined resistance to Lee's advance than I did?
    These questions are asked merely to have your personal opinion, as an answer to letters of ill-informed and ill-natured army officers. As your military judgment is unquestioned, and as you are fully acquainted with every fact and all the details of that campaign, your opinion will settle the matter as far as I am concerned.
    Very truly, yours,

   Major-General, U. S. Army.

Official Records, Series I., Vol. 12, Part 3, Pages 823-824.

Pope believed, as did many in the administration, that he had been dealt a bad hand in the 2nd Manassas Campaign by some of McClellan's generals.  General Porter would, in fact, be brought up on charges for failing to move promptly to Pope's aide.  But Pope was not satisfied to allow the wheels of justice to take their slow turn.  He wanted an acknowledgement from Halleck which would allow him to rebut charges made through his enemies by way of newspaper attacks.  

On November 7 Halleck would acknowledge Pope's letter, but decline to provide him with the written response he sought, saying "There is, however, an evident intention to blame for bringing any of McClellan's army from the Peninsula. That is to be made the real point of attack . You will soon hear the opening of the newspaper batteries on me."  Such was the war within the war being fought among the Union administration and generals.

Sunday, October 28, 2012

October 29, 1862 (Wednesday): Leesburg Falls

Fifty cent note-Town of Leesburg (

HEADQUARTERS ARMY OF THE POTOMAC, October 29, 1962-1.23 a. m. (Received 1.25 a. m.)
His Excellency the PRESIDENT:
We occupy Leesburg.

Major-General, Commanding.

WASHINGTON, October 29, 1862-11.15 a. m.
Major-General McCLELLAN:
Your dispatches of night before last, yesterday, and last night all received. I am much pleased with the movement of the army. When you get entirely across the river, let me know. What do you know of the enemy?


October 29, 1862--2 p. m.
His Excellency the PRESIDENT:
    In reply to your dispatch of this morning,* I have the honor to state that the accounts I get of the enemy's position and movements are very conflicting. A dispatch I have just received from General Kelley, at Cumberland, says three ladies, just in at Cherry Run from Martinsburg, report that Generals Hill, Jackson, and Hampton are encamped near there, with a regiment of cavalry at Hedgesville. General Pleasonton reports from Purcellville yesterday that information from Union people places Hill's command at Upperville, and that troops have been passing there for some days; that their pickets extend as far as the Snickersville and Aldie turnpike, over which they allow no one to pass, north or south. Pleasonton reports this morning that a Union Quaker, who escaped from the rebels yesterday, says he saw Longstreet at Upperville day before yesterday; that he had 18,000 men with him. Pleasonton also states that it is reported to him that Stuart with two brigades was at Berryville; that Walker's brigade was at Upperville. A union man told him that Longstreet was at Upperville, Bloomfield, and Middleburg. General Couch reports yesterday that a contraband who came into Harper's Ferry from beyond Charlestown says Hill's division came back from near Leetown on Sunday, and that the cavalry
told him Jackson was coming with his whole force to attack Harper's Ferry. He is confident that there is infantry back of Charlestown, as he heard the drums beating last night. General Porter reports last night that, through several sources, he is under the impression that R. E. Lee is not far distant from him, and that Stuart is within an hour's march; that there are the same number of cavalry regiments opposite him as usual, and that the enemy moved from Bunker Hill toward Shannondale yesterday. I ordered General Averell to make a reconnaissance to Martinsburg, but he has not yet reported his return. General Pleasonton has his scouts well out toward Middleburg, Upperville, and Aldie, and I will soon have more reliable information. In the meantime I am pushing forward troops and supplies as rapidly as possible. We will occupy Waterford and Wheatland to-day. There is now no further difficulty in getting supplies of clothing. Reynolds' corps and Whipple's division have been fully supplied, and are being sent forward. Couch's corps moves forward from Harper's Ferry to-day around the Loudoun Heights.

Major-General, Commanding.

*See 11.15 a. m., VOL. XIX, Part II, p. 504. 

Official Records, Series I., Vol. 19, Part 2, Page 504 and Series I., Vol. 51, Part 1, Page 897.

Lincoln was pleased to see the Army moving, but McClellan was still lamenting shortages of cavalry and stated he did not have sufficient troops to detach to defend the fortifications of Washington.  As for Lee, his force was separated, Jackson's portion in the Valley and Longstreet's toward Culpepper. Lee used Longstreet's force to maintain pressure on Washington and Jackson's to cover the Valley.  Although it was dangerous to divide his army it was also not possible to subsist them from a single location.

Saturday, October 27, 2012

October 28, 1862 (Tuesday): The Importance of Saltville

Salt Manufacture (

SALTVILLE, VA., October 28, 1862.
Governor SHORTER:
    MY DEAR SIR: I have yet been unable to ship any salt. I have offered it for shipment each day for a week. There is the greatest partility shown by the authorities of the Virginia and Tennessee road. They ship each day eight car-loads for Stuart, Buchanan & Co., and have not shipped a sack for Georgia in two weeks, and not one at all for Alabama. I have made appeal after to the railroad men, stating the pressing necessity and immediate [need] of our people for salt; that in many portions of the State they were suffering for it even now, but they said they had instructions to transport eight car-loads per day for Stuart, Buchanan & Co., and that the locomotive could carry no more on the heavy grades of this branch road. I am anxious to get all possible away from this place as fast as made, as the winter's cold causes land-slides on the branch road, and blockades the road for weeks during midwinter. The prospect of getting our salt from here is gloomy enough, with no signs of improvement. Their means of transportation they have as yet furnished for this branch road is inadequate for carrying more than one-third of the salt now procured here. They carry now only 100 sacks per car-load, and carry each day 800 sacks, or 2,400 bushels, and at least three times that amount, or 7,200 bushels, is produced here each day; and if they carry only that small amount now in good open weather, with road in fine condition, they must except with same cars, &c., to be able to carry less very soon, for we have already had a snow from four to six inches deep. I have stated plainly my difficulties here. Messrs. McClurg & Jaques are ready to deliver salt to use each day to the amount of water furnished them, and it is increasing so in their sheds as greatly to inconvenience them. We have several hundred sacks now piled up in their sheds. I have no doubt the Secretary of War would order a change in the management of things here, so that Alabama could get her rights and justice, but I will await your counsel and instructions. I have stated to the railroad men the importance of Alabama's getting her salt now, so that her people can pack their pork during the first weather suitable, as it is often the case (as it was winter) that we do not have weather suitable more than one during the winter season. The people of Virginia can kill their pork safely any week from now until the last of March. I await your orders as to what I shall do to expedite the shipment of salt to the citizens of our State, and shall anxiously await your reply, as I do not feel authorized to act without further instructions.
    I have the honor to be, Your Excellency's most obedient servant,

Assistant Quartermaster of Alabama.

Official Records, Series I., Vol. 52, Part 2, Page 385.

Saltville, Virginia is not well know but military planners in the south had to consider it a key point which had to be defended.  The salt which gives the town its name was of needed to preserve meat for both soldiers and civilians.  Here the assistant quartermaster of Alabama complains of lack of rail transport to bring Alabama's share of salt to the state.

Friday, October 26, 2012

October 27, 1862 (Monday): The River is Rising

The White House Telegraph Office (Library of Congress)

EXECUTIVE MANSION, Washington, October 27, 1862.
(Sent 12.10 p. m.)
Major-General McCLELLAN:
    Yours of yesterday received. Most certainly I intend no injustice to any, and if I have done any I deeply regret it. To be told, after more than five weeks' total inaction of the army, and during which period we have sent to the army every fresh horse we possibly could, amounting in the whole to 7,918, that the cavalry horses were too much fatigued to move, presents a very cheerless, almost hopeless, prospect for the future, and it may have forced something of impatience in my dispatch. If not recruited and rested then, when could they ever be? I suppose the river is rising, and I am glad to believe you are crossing.


HEADQUARTERS ARMY OF THE POTOMAC, October 27, 1862-3 p. m.
His Excellency the PRESIDENT:
    Your Excellency is aware of the very great reduction of numbers that has taken place in most of the old regiments of this command, and how necessary it is to fill up these skeletons before taking them again into action. I have the honor, therefore, to request that the order to fill up the old regiments with drafted men may at once be issued.

Major-General, Commanding.

EXECUTIVE MANSION, Washington, October 27, 1862. (Sent 3.25 p. m.)
Major-General McCLELLAN:
    Your dispatch of 3 p. m. to-day, in regard to filling up old regiments with drafted men, is received, and the request therein shall be complied with as far as practicable.
    And now I ask a distinct answer to the question, Is it your purpose not to go into action again until the men now being drafted in the States are incorporated into the old regiments?


HEADQUARTERS ARMY OF THE POTOMAC, October 27, 1862-7.15 p. m.
(Received 8.30 p. m.)
His Excellency the PRESIDENT:
    I have the honor to acknowledge the receipt of your dispatch of 5.10 [3.25] p. m. to-day. Feeling deeply impressed with the importance of filling up the old regiments at the earliest practicable moment, I have, upon several different occasions, urged this measure upon the War Department, as well as upon Your Excellency, as the most speedy and effectual method of giving us effective troops for future operations. Some time ago an agent of the Governor of Pennsylvania informed me that an order from the War Department was necessary to authorize the transfer of drafted men to the old regiments. On the 11th instant I requested General Halleck to have the necessary order given. I received no reply to this, and learned this afternoon that no such order had been issued. In the press of business I then called an aide, and telling him that I had conversed with you upon the subject, I directed him to write for me a dispatch asking Your Excellency to have the necessary order given. I regret to say that this officer, after writing the dispatch, finding me still engaged, sent it to the telegraph office without first submitting it to me, under the impression that he had communicated my views. He, however, unfortunately added "before taking them into action again." This phrase was not authorized or intended by me. It has conveyed altogether an erroneous impression as to my plans and intentions. To Your Excellency's question I answer distinctly that I have not had any idea of postponing the advance until the old regiments are filled by drafted men. I commenced crossing the army into Virginia yesterday, and shall push forward as rapidly as possible to endeavor to me the enemy. Burnside's corps, and part of Slocum's, have been crossing yesterday and to-day, and Reynolds' corps is ready to follow. Pleasonton, with the cavalry, is at Purcellville this evening.
    The crossing will be continued as rapidly as the means at hand will permit. Nothing but the physical difficulties of the operation shall delay it.

Major-General, Commanding.

Official Records, Series I., Vol. 19, Part 2, Pages 497-498.

An interesting exchange.  The story of the aide who added "before taking them into action again" is certainly interesting, but there is no way in 2012 to know if it is true.  Certainly the sentiment expressed in the contentious portion of the exchange rings true to McClellan's past method of operation and Lincoln could be excused if he thought, rightly or wrongly, "Here we go again."   The weather was coming into play as well.  Krick's "Civil War Weather in Virginia" reports rain all day on the 26th with high winds all night on the day of these exchanges.  Burnside was at Lovettsville, opposite Brunswick, Maryland and reluctant to move his troops in the face of such harsh weather because of fears of sickness.  Pictured above is Lincoln's telegraph office, located at 6th Street and Pennsylvania Avenue.

Thursday, October 25, 2012

October 26, 1862 (Sunday): Obey, Or Else

Major-General William C. Rosecrans

WASHINGTON, D. C., October 26, 1862.
Major-General ROSECRANS,
    Your telegram of yesterday tothe President has been sent tothe War Department. Your conduct in this matter is very reprehensible, and I am directed to say that unless you immediately obey the orders sent to you you will not receive the command.

General- in- Chief.

CAIRO, ILL, October 27, 1862 - 11.40 A. M.
(Received 4 p. m.)
Major General H. W. HALLECK,
General- in- Chief:
    I was astonished at your dispatch. I am obeying orders as fast as the ordinary mans of travel will carry me. My telegraph only means to say, as I could not get conveyeance from Cairo before this morning, I would spend the time in completely winding up my affirs at Corinth instead of lying idle at Cairo. If you desire more, please say what, and it shall be done if possible.


Official Records, Series I., Vol. 52, Part 1, Page 295.

Rosecrans had replied to his orders to replace Buell by asking for time to get his affairs in order in Corinth before reporting.  Halleck did not take the request well, and probably also did not appreciate Rosecrans immediately beginning direct correspondence with the President.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

October 25, 1862 (Saturday): Vulnerable Petersburg

The vulnerable Weldon Railroad to Petersburg (Library of Congress)

Hon. GEORGE W. RANDOLPH, Secretary of War:
     SIR: The completion of the Danville and Greensborough Railroad as speedily as possible is almost absolutely essential to us in the operations of the ensuing campaign. The enemy will, doubtless, make his attack in the present winter south of the James River, and will make strenuous efforts to cut off our communication with the South by obtaining possession of the Petersburg, Weldon and Wilmington Railway. Should they succeed in this, hopeless disaster might ensue, unless we could rely on the interior connection, via Greensborough and Danville. This road should be pushed on to completion at once by every means in our power. I believe that I cannot urge its importance too strongly on the Government, and I therefore beg leave to call your attention to it.
     I have the honor to be, very respectfully, your obedient servant,

     R. E. LEE,


OCTOBER 28, 1862.
Send copy to L. E. Harvie, esq., president of the Piedmont Railroad, and inform him that the Department is desirous of giving him every possible assistance, and will be glad to receive suggestion as so the mode in which it may be done.

Secretary of War.]

Official Records, Series I., Vol. 19, Part 2, Page 681.

As McClellan is finally acquiescing to the administration's demands to begin an overland campaign, Lee continues to believe Union forces will make a winter campaign south of the James River.  It is not clear weather he envisions McClellan once again moving by way of Fort Monroe up the Peninsula, or if his concern is with a smaller force moving up from Suffolk.  We see here Confederate strategists already understanding the critical importance of Petersburg as a rail junction connecting Richmond to supply lines to the south.  The advantage of the Greensborough and Danville Railroad is it would be less vulnerable to forces moving up the James and permit supplies to be shipped up from further to the west.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

October 24, 1862 (Friday): Buell Sacked

General Don Carlos Buell

WASHINGTON, October [24], 1862.
Major General W. S. ROSECRANS, Cincinnati, Ohio:
    You will receive herewith the order of the President placing you in command of the Department of the Cumberland and of the army of operations now under Major-General Buell.
    You will immediately repair to General Buell's headquarters and relieve him from the command.*
The great objects to be kept in view in your operations in the field are: First, to drive the enemy from Kentucky and Middle Tennessee; second, to take and hold East Tennessee, cutting the line of railroad at Chattanooga, Cleveland, or Athens, so as to destroy the connection of the valley of Virginia with Georgia and the other Southern States. It is hoped that by prompt and rapid movements a considerable part of this may be accomplished before the roads become impassable from the winter rains.
     Two modes of reaching East Tennessee have been proposed. First, to push a small force on the rear of Bragg's army to drive him into Tennessee and move the main army on such lines as to cover Nashville; second, to go directly to Nashville and make that the base of your operations, by McMinnville or Cookville. Adopting the first plan, the route by Somerset to Montgomery, if practicable, would be the most direct; if not practicable, it would then be necessary to move by Columbia or Glasgow to Sparta, &c. If the second plan be adopted, you will be obliged to move twice the distance in order to reach your objective point and at the same time afford the enemy an opportunity to resumed his raids into Kentucky. Moreover, it would give the appearance of a retreat, which would encourage the enemy, while it would discourage our own troops and the country. Nevertheless, the difficulty or the roads, the pressure of the enemy upon Nashville, the position in which you find General Buell's army, and the difficulty of supplying it in a mountainous and sparsely populated country may compel you to adopt this line. In either case it will be necessary for you to repair and guard the railroad, so as to secure your supplies from Louisville until the Cumberland River becomes navigable.
    You will fully appreciate the importance of moving light and rapidly, and also the necessity of procuring as many of your supplies as possible in the country passed over. Where your cannot obtain enough by purchase of loyal men or requisitions upon the disloyal you will make forced requisitions upon the country, paying or receipting, as the case may be, for the supplies taken. The time has now come when we must apply the sterner rules of war, whenever such application becomes necessary, to enable us to support our armies and to move them rapidly upon the enemy. You will not hesitate to do this in all cases where the exigencies of the war require it.
    Great care, however, must be taken to prevent straggling and pillaging and a strict account must be kept of all property taken. On this subject your attention is called to recent general orders and also to the system adopted in the French Army.
    In connection with your proposed operations in Middle and East Tennessee, a column of about 20,000 men, under General Cox, is moving up the Kanawha river, and it is hoped that they will be able to cut the railroad near Newbern or Wytheville. This movement may possibly draw off a portion of Bragg's forces for the protection of that road.
    Moreover, if the enemy's forces in Mississippi now operating against General Grant should be drawn east to re-enforce Bragg of to operate in Tennessee General Grant may be able to render you important assistance.
    Although the Department of the Ohio covers a portion of your theater of operations this will in no respect interfere with your movements in the field nor the command of your army. Moreover, you will call upon General Wright for any assistance of supplies which you may require.
    It is possible that Bragg, having failed of his object in Kentucky, may leave only a small force in East Tennessee and throw his main army into Mississippi against General Grant. His railroad communications from Knoxville to Holly Springs and Tupelo will enable him to make this movement with great rapidity. In that case a part of your forces must be sent to the assistance of General Grant, either by railroad to Decatur of by water, should the Cumberland be navigable, to Columbus or Memphis. Every effort should be make to ascertain Bragg's movements by pressing him closely.
    I need not urge upon you the necessity of giving active employment to your forces. Neither the country nor the Government will much longer put up with the inactively of some of our armies and generals.
    Very respectfully, your obedient servant,

    H. W. HALLECK,

 * See Rosecrans to Buell, October 1862, p.635.

Official Records, Series I., Vol. 16, Part 2, Page 641.

The treatment of Buell by the Lincoln administration is seldom remarked on.  In answer to newspaper clammor and agitation by Republican politicians Buell was unceremoniously removed from command.  Although he had recommended the course of action, being aware of the uproar caused by his failure to follow Bragg's defeated army after Perryville, he most likely did not imagine he would never be permitted again to command troops (even though Grant lobbied extensively for his services).  Halleck's parting shot to Rosecrans (the flavor of the month after Corinth) summarized the situation well.  "Neither the country nor the Government will much longer put up with the inactivity of some of our armies and generals."  It is worth noting that the removal of McClellan shortly did not occur in a vacumn and Lincoln was sweeping the decks clean of opposition within the army.

Monday, October 22, 2012

October 23, 1862 (Thursday): "A Set of Cowards"

Battle of Corinth
Map by Hal Jespersen,

HDQRS. SECOND DIV., ARMY OF WEST TENNESSEE, Corinth, Miss., October 23, 1862.
Major-General ROSECRANS:
    SIR: On the afternoon of October the 4th, after the victories of that day and of the 3d, you said upon the battle-field, among the piles of the dead and groans of the wounded, slain by the Second Division, Army of West Tennessee, that they were a set of cowards; that they never should have any military standing in your army till they had won it on the field of battle; that they had disgraced themselves, and no wonder the rebel army had thrown its whole force upon it during the two days' engagement.
    My report is now before you. The effect of the official announcement which you made is having a demoralizing effect upon the brave men and working injury to them throughout the country. It has been the basis of newspaper articles and of strictures upon the military conduct of the division.
    I would most respectfully ask, for the benefit of the service and for the honor of the division, that if you have changed your opinions you would as publicly give a refutation to these charges.
     I am, very respectfully, your obedient servant,

General DAVIES:
    GENERAL: In reply to your note just received I will say that having read your very clear and creditable report of the operations of your division, I am satisfied they fought very nobly the first day, and that many of them, especially on the right, did the same the second day, and so much so that I shall overlook the cowardly stampeding of those under my immediate observation on the second day, which gave rise to the public indignation I expressed in your presence and in theirs. Assure the brave officers and men of your division that I will endeavor to do them public and ample justice, which will be more than all the news-paper talk to their disparagement. You will oblige me by making this letter known to the command, and you may use it publicly if you wish while waiting my official report.



Series I., Vol. 17, Part 1, Page 267.

Corinth was not Rosecrans' finest hour.  He was prone to temper, more so under pressure, and he had not anticipated the attack on his entrenchments or its ferocity.  There are numerous reports from both days of the battle of Rosecrans in the hottest of the fighting swearing at his men and calling them cowards.  Here he walks back his remarks about a portion of Davies men who held the center of the Union line.  But he excuses his remarks by restating a portion of the command did bolt in his presence.

Sunday, October 21, 2012

October 22, 1862 (Wednesday): A Tale of Two Generals

Rappahannock River near Rappahannock Station (

HEADQUARTERS ARMY OF THE POTOMAC, October 22, [1862]-2.30 p. m.
(Received 2.55 p. m.)
Major General H. W. HALLECK,
    Your dispatch of the 21st is received.* After full consultation, I have decided to move upon the line indicated by the President in his letter of the 13th instant, and have accordingly taken steps to execute the movement. I will inform you from time to time of the occupation of Leesburg, Hillsborough, Snickersville, &c. I shall need all the cavalry and other re-enforcements you can send me from Washington.

    Major-General, Commanding.

Richmond, Va.:
Mr. PRESIDENT: The time is approaching when it becomes necessary to consider what disposition of the troops can best be made for the winter. This must, of course, mainly depend upon the operations of the enemy. But, on the supposition that he will do little more this fall than to organize and instruct his new troops, and, as the winter advances, prepare to advance south of James River, which now seems to me his most probable plan, some position should be chosen with a view of procuring shelter and provisions for the army and forage for the horses. I have seen no indications to make me believe that General McClellan will advance up the Shenandoah Valley. When this army retires from its present position, I think it probable he will occupy Winchester with a sufficient force, and reconstruct the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad between Harper's Ferry and Cumberland. A portion of his force will, no doubt, be retained at Fairfax Court-House and Centreville, and my probably be advanced toward the Rappahannock. At any rate, it will be necessary for us to keep a sufficient force south of the Rappahannock and in front of Richmond, and also one in this valley. We must select points where there is sufficient wood for hutting and fuel for the troops, and within convenient distance from the railroad by which they can be provisioned. A portion of the troops may be placed south of James River, or, if circumstances require, it can operate in Georgia and South Carolina. I should be very glad if Your Excellency would consider this subject, and give me the benefit of your views, as well as such direction as you may see fit.
     We shall finish by to-morrow, I think, the destruction of as much of the Winchester and Harper's Ferry and Baltimore and Ohio Railroads within his valley as we can accomplish without bringing on a battle, which I do not desire to do so near the enemy's base of operations. I wish there was any possibility of my sending back the iron from these roads, but as there is move within my reach, I have been obliged to injure it as much as possible to prevent its being relaid. The rails have been taken up and burned, and the bridges and station-houses at Martinsburg, &c., destroyed.
    I have to-day ordered General Walker's division to cross the Blue Ridge at Ashby's Gap and take position in the vicinity of Upperville, with a view of checking the incursions of the enemy in that region and watching more closely him movements east of the mountains.
     I am, with great respect, Your Excellency's obedient servant,

     R. E. LEE,

*See Part 1, Page 81.

Official Records, Series I., Vol. 19, Part 2, Page 464, 675, respectively.

Having been told on the previous day the President would not modify his earlier memorandum to McClellan, which advocated a move overland to Richmond on an inside tracking (staying between Lee and Washington), and not moving would demonstrate a lack of initiative and a waste of good weather, McClellan begins to comply with the President's orders.  On the same day, Lee discusses the need to go into winter quarters based on the idea McClellan would not resume campaigning before the next spring.  In describing how he would divide and sustain his army, Lee advocates dispersing it in three parts (the Valley, the Rappahannock line, and South of the James).  Lee was probably right in assessing McClellan's disinclinations, but a change in command would soon render his calculations incorrect.


Saturday, October 20, 2012

October 21, 1862 (Tuesday): Lincoln's North Carolina Gambit

Edward Stanly, Military Governor of North Carolina

Military Governor of North Carolina.
[Inclosure Numbers 1.] NEW BERNE, N. C., October 21, 1862.
Governor Z. B. VANCE:
    SIR: The strong affection which I have inherited and cherish for the people of my native State has induced me to come here, by request of the President of the United States.
    Nations, like individuals, sometimes quarrel because they misunderstand each other. This I think is now the case between the Government of the United States and the State of North Carolina.
I confidently believe I am in a situation to confer blessings upon the people of North Carolina if the Honorable gentlemen in high station who now control her affairs will give me their assistance.
If it is not incompatible with your views of duty, I earnestly solicity the favor of an interview with you at such time and place hereafter to be designated as may be agreeable to you.
    If the interview with yourself personally for any reason be declined, then I ask that one or more good citizens, natives of or residing in North Carolina, be authorized by you to confer with me.
My chief purpose is to see whether some measures cannot be adopted which may lead to an Honorable peace.
    If, unfortunately, this consummation so "devoutly wished" cannot be obtained, we may at all events do much to alleviate the inevitable sufferings that attend a war.
    Authority has been given me to negotiate for an exchange of political prisoners.
    I desire to do nothing in secret, will not stand upon any question of etiquette, wishing only to be instrumental in doing good to my country, and to that brave and noble hearted people who hitherto have conferred honor upon both of us, whose glory and welfare I am, as solicitous to protect as any other son of North Carolina can be. I hope to have an answer as soon as your convenience will allow. I beg leave to tender you the assurance of my best wishes for your happiness of our countrymen will hereafter bless the day on which the people of North Carolina elevated you to your present high position.
     have the honor to be, very respectfully, &c.


   [Inclosure Numbers 2.] STATE OF NORTH CAROLINA, EXECUTIVE DEPARTMENT, Raleigh,    October 29, 1862.

Official Records, Series III., Vol. 2, Part 1, Page 846.

Edward Stanly was a career politician with a long history of serving in various legislatures in North Carolina and later California.  At the age of 62 he was appointed by Lincoln military governor of North Carolina with the largely honorary rank of Brigadier-General.  Stanly stated he wrote this letter to Governor Vance of North Carolina at Lincoln's behest.  But the request for a meeting was turned down by Vance as being incompatible with the Confederate constitution.  If Lincoln did, in fact, ask Stanly to negotiate a separate piece with North Carolina it was certainly an interesting strategy to subvert the rebellion by removing a state which provided so many troops, also isolating Virginia geographically from the rest of the Confederacy. 

Friday, October 19, 2012

October 20, 1862 (Monday): "A Kingdom for 4 Regiments of Cavalry!"

General A. J. Smith
FALMOUTH, KY., October 20, 1862.
Major-General WRIGHT, Cincinnati, Ohio:
    Our scouts from Paris have just captured a prisoner who had in his possession a letter from General Marshall to his wife that states that the entire rebel army is on its way out of the State of Kentucky as fast as it can go. "Our army has divided. General Bragg has gone one route, General Kirby Smith another, and Marshall another. Our route is the same as the one by which we entered the State. We will return by that terrible mountain road into good old Virginia in January
    I have telegraphed for the letter and will send it you. O, a kingdom for four regiments of cavalry!

    A. J. SMITH,

Official Records, Series I., Vol. 16, Part 2, Page 633.

The Confederate armies in Kentucky were indeed in a state of departure.  But Union troops were unable to fully capitalize on this because of logistical problems, including the lack of horses for cavalry units.  Andrew Jackson (A. J.) Smith had been Halleck's Chief of Cavalry in the west from February to July before being appointed brigadier general in March.  At the time of this letter he commanded the 1st Division in the Army of Kentucky.  Smith was a bit of a wit.  After the battle of Nashville, when his troops had been moved around among commands repeatedly under various commanders, he refered to his men as belonging to the lost tribes of Isreael.  He finally retired in 1889 as a Colonel of Cavalry and although blunt spoken he was respected by his men and his superiors.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

October 19, 1862 (Sunday): McClellan Burns Bridges Over A Bridge

Harper's Ferry Bridge 1865, (Library of Congress)

Washington, October 19, 1862.
    This project of extensively fortifying Harper's Ferry, and constructing a permanent bridge at that point, involves a very considerable expenditure of money, a larger garrison, and a long delay, perhaps extending into winter, before Harper's Ferry can be made a prepared base for, at best, an exterior line of operations upon our proper objective point-Staunton, Lynchburg, or Richmond. Either of these points may be re surely reached by an interior line of operations behind and east of the Blue Ridge, at the same time covering Washington, our proper base, and threatening the enemy's communications, compelling him thus to evacuate the vicinity of Herper's Ferry; in which event field defenses, with a moderate garrison, would suffice to hold that point against any probable attack to be made upon it; and the permanent railroad bridge, now being built, would suffice for all our wants, without the one proposed to be erected by General McClellan about 1 1/2 miles above.



Submitted to the Secretary of War, and approved by him.


Series I., Vol. 19, Part 2, Page 443.

The administration wanted to see plans for a forward movement by the Army of the Potomac.  What they got was McClellan's repeated requests to build a bridge at Harper's Ferry.  The town had already proven indefensible during the Antietam campaign, and Halleck and the administration suspected the request was one more delaying tactic.  At a time when a definite plan of action might have saved his command, McClellan was fixated on a bridge which was not essential to his mission.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

October 18, 1862 (Saturday): Smallpox

October 16, 1862.
Brigadier General J. B. HOOD,
Commanding Division:
    GENERAL: I am instructed by the major-general commanding to direct that you move the two brigades of your division (Anderson's and Benning's) which have shown indications of the existence of small-pox to Cedar Creek, and put them on good, healthy camps on that stream and on its branches. The best point will be on the back road toward Staunton, and well off from the road. It is, of course, expected that every sanitary precaution that a good selection of camp, and thorough policing insures will be taken by the commanding officers. The general commanding desires also that the Seventh Georgia Volunteers, recently sent back, should be moved in the direction above indicated, but not too near the two brigades.
I am, general, very respectfully, your obedient servant,

Assistant Adjutant-General.

Series I., Vol. 51, Part 2, Page 636.

Although the number of deaths from smallpox was not great, the mortality rate from the disease was significant.  One of the major means of controlling the disease was to isolate potential carriers of it, as seen here.  The writer, Moxley Sorrel,  

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

October 17, 1862 (Friday): "Your Excellency may be assured.."

Lincoln and McClellan
Camp in Pleasant Valley, October 17, 1862.
His Excellency the PRESIDENT:
    SIR: Your letter of the 13th instant reached me yesterday morning by the hands of Colonel Perkins.
I had sent out strong reconnaissances early in the morning in the direction of Charlestown, Leetown, &c., and as sharp artillery fire was heard, I felt it incumbent to go to the front. I did not leave Charlestown until dark, so that I have been unable to give Your Excellency's letter that full and respectful consideration which it merits at my hands.
    I do not wish to detain Colonel Perkins beyond this morning's train; I therefore think it best to send him back with this simple acknowledgment of the receipt of Your Excellency's letter. I am not wedded to any particular plan of operations. I hope to have to-day reliable information as to the position of the enemy, whom I still believe to be between Bunker Hill and Winchester. I promise you that I will give to your views the fullest and most unprejudiced consideration, and that it is my intention to advance the moment my men are shod and my cavalry are sufficiently renovated to be available.
    Your Excellency may be assured that I will not adopt a course which differs at all from your views without first fully explaining my reasons, and giving you time to issue such instructions as may seem best to you.
     I am, sir, very respectfully, your obedient servant,

    Major-General, U. S. Army.

Official Record, Series I., Vol. 19, Part 1, Page 16.

This is McClellan's response to Lincoln's letter of the 13th.  The answer is somewhat non-committal and likely did little to assuage the President.  He argues he is not wedded to any one plan of operations and promises he will not adopt a course differing from Lincoln's recommendations without discussing it first.  In essence, he is having to commit himself to behave as a subordinate and likely not being all that convincing at the task.  McClellan's best point is logistical, as he did have men and horses without shoes and inadequate cavalry to screen an advance.


Monday, October 15, 2012

October 16, 1862 (Thursday): Buell Offers to Resign

Black Mountain, Near Crab Orchard, TN

October 16, 1862. (Received October 17.)
Major-General HALLECK, General-in-Chief:
   You are aware that between Crab Orchard and Cumberland Gap the country is almost a desert. The limited supply of forage which the country affords is consumed by the enemy as he passes. In the day and a half that we have been in this sterile region our animals have suffered exceedingly. The enemy has been driven into the heart of this desert and must go on, for he cannot exist in it. For the same reason we cannot pursue in it with any hope of overtaking him, for while he is moving back on his supplies and as he goes consuming what the country affords we must bring ours forward. There is but one road and that a bad one. The route abounds in difficult defiles, in which a small force can retard the progress of a large one for a considerable time, and in that time the enemy could gain material advantage in a move upon other points. For these reasons, which I do not think it necessary to elaborate, I deem it useless and inexpedient to continue the pursuit, but propose to direct the main force under my command rapidly upon Nashville, which General Negley reported to me as already being invested by a considerable force and toward which I have no doubt Bragg will move the main part of his army. The railroads are being rapidly repaired and will soon be available for our supplies. In the mean time I shall throw myself on my wagon transportation, which, fortunately, is ample. While I shall proceed with these dispositions, deeming them to be proper for the public interest, it is but meet that I should say that the present time is perhaps as convenient as any for making any changes that may be thought proper in the command of this army. It has not accomplished all that I had hoped or all that faction might demand; yet, composed as it is, one-half of perfectly new troops, it has defeated a powerful and thoroughly disciplined army in one battle and has driven it away baffled and dispirited at least, and as much demoralized as an army can be under such discipline as Bragg maintains over all troops that he commands. I will telegraph you more in detail in regard to the disposition of troops in Kentucky and other matters to-morrow.


Series I., Vol. 16, Part 2, Page 619.

Buell was a professional and well regarded.  But he had been forced by Bragg's invasion to evactuate central Tennessee to protect the Louisville and Cincinnati.  He had been ordered on the 30th of September to turn over his command to Thomas, but was reinstated the next day due to the pressing nature of the situation.  Buell pursued Bragg and fought a drawn battle at Perryville.  The public was not satisfied with his lack of an aggressive pursuit, and he would be replaced by Rosecrans.  Here is sees the writing on the wall and suggests the lull in action an opportune time to replace him.  Bragg, at the time of this letter, was in the process of falling back to eastern Tennessee.  The logistical problems presented by following him are well stated here.

Saturday, October 13, 2012

October 15, 1862 (Wednesday): No Shoes, No Blankets, No Shirts

Potomac Street in Hagerstown

SHARPSBURG, October 15, 1862.
General INGALLS:
    I have just returned from Hagerstown, where I have been for the clothing for the corps. There was nothing there but overcoats, trousers, and a few uniform coats and socks. There were not any shoes, blankets, shirts, or shelter-tents. Will you please tell me where and when the balance can be had? Shall I send to Harper's Ferry for them to-morrow? The corps surgeon has just made a requisition for forty-five hospital tents. There are none at Hagerstown. Will you please to inform me if I can get them at Harper's Ferry?

Captain and Quartermaster.

HAGERSTOWN, October 15, 1862.
Colonel INGALLS, Quartermaster:
    I want at least 10,000 suits of clothing in addition to what I have received. It should be here now.

Assistant Quartermaster.

Official Records, Series I., Vol. 19, Part 1, Page 76.

The shorthand version of the war mentions barefoot Confederates, but not shoeless union soldiers.   With massive numbers of new recruits the logistics of supplying them was difficult. 

October 14, 1862 (Tuesday): "Provide buckets...."

Burning of Washington, 1814.

October 14, 1862. Major General S. P. HEINTZELMAN, Arlington:
    Please report immediately the present disposition of your troops. The General-in-Chief anticipates a dash of Stuart's cavalry into Washington, and directs that everything be in readiness to meet such an attempt. Have the guards of the bridges strengthened to-night and extra vigilant. Provide buckets, &c., to extinguish fires. Will send you copy of General Halleck's order.

Captain, Aide-de-Camp, and Actg. Asst. Adjt. General
8 P. M.

General HEINTZELMAN, Arlington:
General SIGEL, Fairfax Court-House:
The following is for your information:

Poolessville, October 14, 1862-4.30 p.m. (Received 5 p.m.)
Captain RICHARD B. IRWIN, Aide-de-Camp:
    My scouts from the other side of the river have just returned, and report that there are now no cavalry or other force in Leesburg. Stuart left there last evening, but, as near as I can find out, in the direction of Winchester. I have the river well guarded from the mouth of the Monocacy to a point 5 or 6 miles below the mouth of the Seneca, where our depot of supplies is. I have reported to General McClellan, and am directed to keep my force as now stationed. If the enemy crosses, I shall concentrate my whole force upon him. General Marcy forbids my crossing the river in pursuit. The canal is now full up to Harper's Ferry.

Brigadier-General, Commanding.

Series I., Vol. 19, Part 2, Page 426.

In hindsight concerns about Stuart raiding Washington may seem unrealistic.  But it should be kept in mind it was only 48 years since Major Ross and a force of only 2,500 British troops burned the public buildings of Washington, including the White House.


Friday, October 12, 2012

October 13, 1862 (Monday): "This is not an order."

Lincoln with McClellan and Staff

Washington, D. C., October 13, 1862.
Major-General McCLELLAN:
MY DEAR SIR: You remember my speaking to you of what I called your overcautiousness. Are you not overcautious when you assume that you cannot do what the enemy in constantly doing? Should you not claim to be at least his equal in prowess, and act upon the claim? As I understand, you telegraphed General Halleck that you cannot subsist your army at Winchester unless the railroad from Harper's Ferry to that point be put in working order. But the enemy does now subsist his army at Winchester, at a distance nearly twice as great from railroad transportation as you would have to do, without the railroad last named. He now wagons from Culpeper Court-House, which is just about twice as far as you would have to do from Harper's Ferry. He is certainly not more than half as well provided with wagons as you are. I certainly should be pleased for you to have the advantage of the railroad from Harper's Ferry to Winchester but it wastes all the remainder of autumn to give it to you, and in fact ignores the question of time, which cannot and must not be ignored. Again, one of the standard maxims of war, as you know, it to "operate upon the enemy's communications as much as possible without exposing your own." You seem to act as if this applies against you, but cannot apply in your favor. Change positions with the enemy, and think you not he would break your communication with Richmond within the next twenty-four hours?    You dread his going into Pennsylvania, but if he does so in full force, he gives up his communications to you absolutely, and you have nothing to do but to follow and ruin him. If he does so with less than full force, fall upon and beat what is left behind all the easier. Exclusive of the water-line, you are now nearer Richmond than the enemy is by the route that you can and be must take. Why can you not reach therefore before him, unless you admit that he is more than your equal on a march? His route is the arc of a circle, while yours is the chord. The roads are as good on yours as on his. You know I desired, but did not order, you to cross the Potomac below instead of above the Shenandoah and Blue Ridge. My idea was that this would at once menace the enemy's communications, which I would seize if he would permit.
    If he should move northward I would follow him closely, holding his communications. If he should prevent our seizing his communications and move toward Richmond, I would press closely to him; fight him, if a favorable opportunity should present, and at least try to beat him to Richmond on the inside track. I say "try;" if we never try we shall never succeed. If he makes a stand at Winchester, moving neither north nor south, I would fight him there, on the idea that if we cannot beat him when he bears the wastage of coming to us, we never can when we bear wastage of going to him. This proposition is a simple truth, and is too important to be lost sight of for a moment. In coming to us he tenders us an advantage which we should not waive. We should not so operate as to merely drive him away. As we must beat him somewhere of fail finally, we can do it, if at all, easier near to us than far away. If we cannot beat the enemy where he now, we never can when he is again being within the entrenchments of Richmond.
    Recurring to the idea of going to Richmond on the inside track, the facility of supplying from the side away from the enemy is remarkable, as it were, by the different spokes of a wheel extending form the hub toward the rim, and this,whether you move directly by the chord or on the inside arc, hugging the Blue Ridge more closely. The chordline, as you see, carries you by Aldie, Hay Market, and Fredericksburg; and you see how turnpikes, railroads, and finally the Potomac, by Aquia Creek, meet you at all points from Washington; the same, only the lines lengthened a little, if you press closer to the Blue Ridge part of the way.
    The gaps the Blue Ridge I understand to be about the following distances from Harper's Ferry, to wit: Vestal's, 5 miles; Gregory's 13; Snicker's, 18; Ashby's, 28; Manassas, 38; Chester, 45; and Thornton's, 53. I should think it preferable to take the route nearest the enemy, disabling him to make an important move without your knowledge, and compelling him to keep his forces together for dread of you. The gaps would enable you to attack if you should wish. For a great part of the way you would be practically between the enemy and both Washington and Richmond, enabling us to spare you the greatest number of troops from here. When at length running for Richmond ahead of him enables him to move this way, if he does so, turn and attack him in the rear. But I think he should be engaged long before such point is reached. It is all easy if our troops march as well as the enemy, and it is unmanly to say they cannot do it. This letter is in no sense an order.

Yours, truly,

Series I., Vol. 19, Part 1, Page 14.

The Harper's Ferry Bridge would, to no small extent, prove McClellan's undoing. He did not say directly he could not move without it, but there was no trust left between the administration and McClellan.  Lincoln's biggest fear in the fall of 1862 was not Lee's army, but McClellan going into winter quarters.  Here he proposes grand strategy to McClellan, who was not at all appreciative of armchair generals in Washington.  In fairness to McClellan, he understood what Lincoln did not, which is how fragile an army is, and how much more so when in motion. 

Thursday, October 11, 2012

October 12, 1862 (Sunday): Stuart Returns

Stuart Recrossed between Noland's Ferry and the Mouth of the Monacacy River (

Signal communications received October 12, 1862, and relating to movements of rebel forces within the lines of the Army of the Potomac.

SUGAR LOAF, October 12, 1862-4.30 a. m.

Numbers 1. All quiet.
Lieutenant CAREY.

SUGAR LOAF, October 12, 1862.

Numbers 2. It is reported that the rebels have crossed. We can see heavy bodies of troops near Hyattstown.

Lieutenant CAREY.

ELK MOUNTAIN, October 12, 1862-7.45 a. m.

Numbers 3. As yet no sign of enemy visible.

Lieutenant OWEN.

CATOCTIN RIDGE, October 12, [1862]- 9. 30 a. m.

Numbers 4. Reports of cannon heard in the direction of Sugar Loaf Mountain.

Lieutenant WIGGINS.

SUGAR LOAF, October 12, [1862]-9.45 a. m.

Numbers 5. The rebels have opened a battery between the month of the Monocacy and Poolesville, a little west of south. One battery is replying.

Lieutenant CAREY.

FARVIEW, October 12, 1862-10 a. m.

Numbers 6. No unusual quantity of smoke at Chambersburg this a. m. Can see a force approaching on the turnpike from Hancock, with train of 10 wagons. No enemy in sight. All quiet.

Lieutenant ROWLEY.

SUGAR LOAF, October 12, 1862-11 a. m.

Numbers 7. All that were reported were cavalry, with gray uniforms.

Lieutenant CAREY.

SUGAR LOAF, October 12, 1862-11.10 a. m.

Numbers 8. The enemy crossed at south side of Monocacy, and opened a battery. One battery is replying.
Lieutenant CAREY.

SUGAR LOAF, October 12, 1862-12.15 p. m.

Numbers 9. There is at least one regiment of the enemy's cavalry on this bank of the Potomac, and they are now recrossing that river at about 2 miles the other side of the Monocacy.

Lieutenant CAREY.

SUGAR LOAF, October 12, 1862-12.30 p. m.

Numbers 10. Yes; have seen them and can still see them crossing from Maryland into Virginia.

Lieutenant CAREY.

SUGAR LOAF, October 12, 1862-5 p. m.

Numbers 11. No enemy visible from this point.

Lieutenant YATES.

POINT OF ROCKS, October 12, 1862-9 p. m.

Numbers 12. We could see the cavalry pickets of the enemy at 5 p. m. opposite Noland's Ferry. At the same time saw a long line of smoke in the vicinity of Leesburg.


SUGAR LOAF, October 12, [1862]-12 p. m.

Numbers 13. All quiet.

Lieutenant CAREY.

Official Records, Series I., Vol. 19, Part 2, Page 35.

These are signal station reports from Union observers watching the crossings of the Potomac for Stuart's return from the Chambersburg raid.  By making the last 80 miles of the return trip in a continuous ride Stuart outdistanced his pursuers.  Although infantry forces were on the alert all along the Potomac crossings, they were spread thin and Stuart managed to return by crossing near where the mouth of the Monocacy Rivers empties into the Potomac.


Wednesday, October 10, 2012

October 11, 1862 (Saturday): Waiting on Stuart's Return

Knoxville, Maryland (Google Earth)

Knoxville, October 11, [1862]-9 a. m. (Received 12.30 p. m.)
Major General H. W. HALLECK,
    An engine has been sent from Hagerstown toward Chambersburg this morning, and I shall probably hear from them in a short time. I have made such disposition of troops along the river that I think we will intercept the rebels in their return. All of my available cavalry was ordered in pursuit last night, but as yet nothing has been heard from it. Cox's division is cars at Hancock, with cavalry well out toward the Pennsylvania line, and if the rebels attempt to return above Hancock, the division will be certain to intercept them. If they attempt to cross below Hancock, I have infantry at or near all the different fords. I have six regiments of cavalry now up the river between Hancock and Cumberland. All of these troops have been ordered to keep a sharp lookout for the return of the rebels.
    The force which crossed the river. I learn from several different sources, consists of four regiments of cavalry, with four guns, about 2,500 men. I have given every order necessary to insure the capture or destruction of these forces, and I hope we may be able to teach them a lesson they will not soon forget.
The great difficulty we labor under is the want of cavalry, as many of our horses are over-worked and unserviceable.
    We have been making every effort to get supplies of clothing for this army, and Colonel Ingalls has received advices that it has been forwarded by railroad, but, owing to bad management on the roads or from some other cause, it comes in very slowly, and it will take a much longed time than was anticipated to get articles that are absolutely indispensable to the army unless the railroad manages to forward supplies more rapidly.

Major-General, Commanding.

Series I., Vol. 19, Part 2, Page 66.

Knoxville is near Brunswick, Maryland and was a major camp site for the Army of the Potomac after Antietam.  It was near to the Potomac and close enough to cover Harper's Ferry, with the advantage of being both more defensible and providing more suitable camp grounds.  McClellan did not "..teach (Stuart) a less they (he) will not soon forget."  In fact Stuart returned from Chambersburg and crossed the Potomac lower than expected near Monocacy, thus making his second full circuit of McClellan's Army.  This was not a direct cause of McClellan being soon thereafter removed from command, but it was certainly another black mark on his record as far as the administration was concerned.

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

October 10, 1862 (Friday): Stuart Rides Around McClellan (Again)

Stuart's troops in Chambersburg (LOC),

October 10, 1862-12 p. m.
Captain B. F. FISHER,
Commanding Signal Detachment:
    The rebel General Stuart,with about 3,000 cavalry and two batteries took Chambersburg this afternoon, and is now trying to return to Virginia. By daylight to-morrow you will have a party at Williamsport, to communicate with Rowley; one on Washington Monument, to communicate with Spencer, at Hagerstown; one on Catoctin Ridge, west of Frederick, commanding the valleys on both sides for the ridge,and communicating with a point as near as is practicable to this camp. Notify Point of Rocks of the facts. All are to look out and instantly report any force of this nature trying to move across the Potomac Washington Monument reporting to Hagerstown, Rowley reporting to Hagerstown and Williamsport, and stations on Catoctin Ridge reporting near here. Carry out these orders as promptly as possible.
    Send a party to assist Rowley and ascertain whether he is taken prisoner, as is possible, the enemy being reported as having crossed at the ford near Fairview. Cox is at Hancock, with his division in railroad cars, and will move by rail the instant he receives information. Officers will return after forty-eight hours, ordered.

By order of Major A. J. Myer:

First Lieutenant and Adjutant, Signal Corps.

Lee wanted to delay McClellan moving forward, knowing the later into the season the more difficult it would be to mount offensive operations.  A way to achieve this would be to break the Union supply line between Chambersburg, Pennsylvania and Hagerstown, Maryland.  The destruction of the Cumberland Valley railroad bridge at Scotland, five miles from Chambersburg, could accomplish this task.  On the 9th Stuart crossed the Potomac west of Williamsport with 1,800 selected troopers and four guns under Pelham.  He reached Chambersburg the same night, destroyed a machine shop, and camped in the streets of the town.  At daybreak he left, with 500 captured horses, heading back via Emmittsburg and the B&O railroad east of Frederick, recrossing the Potomac near Monocacy on the 12th.  Stuart didn't burn the bridge, and it was reported at the time to be constructed of iron.  However, other accounts say the 2nd Virginia never made it to the bridge having been told by locals it was made of iron when, in fact, is was of wooden construction.  Strengthening this version of the story is the fact that Jenkins, the Confederate cavalry officer, burned the bridge the next year during the Gettysburg campaign.  Even though the raid did not achieve its objective, it was a source of great consternation to the Union command and the Lincoln administration, since plans were put in place to disrupt his return, plans which proved as unsuccessful as they had before Richmond.

Monday, October 8, 2012

October 9, 1862 (Thursday): Grant Apprises Lincoln

General U.S. Grant

JACKSON, TENN., October 9, 1862. Your dispatch received. Cannot answer it so fully as I would wish. Paroled now 813 enlisted men and 43 commissioned officers in good health; 700 Confederate wounded already sent to Iuka paroled; 350 wounded paroled still at Corinth. Cannot tell the number of dead yet. About 800 rebels already buried. Their loss in killed about nine to one of ours. The ground is not yet clear of their unburied dead. Prisoners yet arriving by every road and train. This does not include casualties where Ord attacked in the rear. He has 350 well prisoners, besides two batteries and small-arms in large numbers. Our loss there was between 400 and 500. Rebel loss about the same. General Oglesby is shot through the breast and the ball lodged in the spine. Hopes for his recovery. Our killed and wounded at Corinth will not exceed 900, many of them slightly.


President of the United States.

Series I., Vol. 17, Part 1, Page 157.

At a time when McClellan's Army of the Potomac remained inactive, Grant's dispatches after Iuka and Corinth must have been well received by the President. 


Sunday, October 7, 2012

October 8, 1862 (Wednesday): Perryville

Russell House, Perryville 1927 (

HEADQUARTERS ARMY OF THE MISSISSIPPI, Perryville, Ky., October 8, 1862-6 a. m.
General BRAGG, Commanding Department No. 2:
GENERAL: The enemy seem disposed to press this morning. Their pickets commenced firing at daylight. Understanding it to be your wish to give them battle we shall do so vigorously. Should we succeed we will pass to the right, with the view of joining General Kirby Smith. If it should become necessary to fall back we will do so on Danville and Bryantsville, with a view of uniting with General Smith at that point. I have directed General Preston Smith to have all the trains belonging to this army now at Harrodsburg collected and moved out on the road to Bryantsville, and to be ready to move, when it should become expedient, on that place.
    Respectfully, yours, &c.,

Major-General, Commanding Army of the Mississippi.

P. S.-General Smith should cover and protect these wagons should it become necessary.

Official Records, Series I., Vol. 16, Part 1, Page 1096.

The amount of information available in the O.R. for particular battles can vary widely.  For example, there is very little day of battle correspondence from Antietam.  In spite of Polk's report, by 10 a.m. he still had not attacked and Bragg himself came up to realign the Confederate lines in preparation for an en echelon attack.  It was not until 2 p.m. that Cheatham began the primary Confederate attack against the Union north flank.  Although it initially gained grain it was repulsed.  Buckner's division then attacked and penetrated to the area of the Russell House, between the crops of Gilbert and McCook.  The gap was plugged and Sheridan repulsed the attack and counterattacked, driving the Confederates back through the town of Perryville.  Because of a rare "acoustic shadow" Buell was not aware for about 90 minutes of the attack on McCook and lost the opportunity to smash Bragg's forces and make his victory complete.  The Union forces lost 4,211, the Confederates 3,396.  Bragg removed his army to East Tennessee, and Buell had achieved a significant (but incomplete) victory.

Saturday, October 6, 2012

October 7, 1862 (Tuesday): The Army and the Administration

Lt. Colonel James A Hardie

HEADQUARTERS ARMY OF THE POTOMAC, October 7, 1862-11.35 p.m. 

    I have issued the following order, on your proclamation:

No. 163. Camp near Sharpsburg, Md., October 7, 1862.
    The attention of the officers and soldiers of the Army of the Potomac is called to General Orders, No. 139, War Department, September 24, 1862, publishing to the army the President's proclamation of September 22.*
A proclamation of such grave moment to the nation, officially communicated to the army, affords to the general commanding an opportunity of defining specifically to the officers and soldiers under his command the relation borne by all persons in the military service of the United States toward the civil authorities of the Government.
The Constitution confides to the civil authorities-legislative, judicial, and executive-and power and duty of making, expounding, and executing the Federal laws. Armed forces are raised and supported simply to sustain the civil authorities, and are to be held in strict subordination thereto in all respects. This fundamental rule of our political system is essential to the security of our republican institutions, and should be thoroughly understood and observed by every soldier. The principle upon which, and the object for which, armies shall be employed in suppressing rebellion, must be determined and declared by the civil authorities, and the Chief Executive, who is charged with the administration of the national affairs, is the proper and only source through which the needs and orders of the Government can be made known to the armies of the nation.
   Discussions by officers soldiers concerning public measures determined upon and declared by the Government, when carried at all beyond temperate and respectful expressions of opinion, tend greatly to impair and destroy the discipline and efficiency of troops, by substituting the spirit of political faction for that firm, steady, and earnest support of the authority of the Government which is the highest duty of the American soldier. The remedy for political errors, if any are committed, is to be found only in the action of the people at the polls.
    In thus calling the attention of this army to the true relation between the soldier and the Government, the general commanding merely adverts to an evil against which it has been thought advisable during our whole history to guard the armies of the Republic, and in so doing he will not be considered by any right-minded person as casting any reflection upon that loyalty and good conduct which has been so fully illustrated upon so many battle-fields.
    In carrying out all measures of public policy, this army will, of course, be guided by the same rules of mercy and Christianity that have ever controlled its conduct toward the defenseless. 
    By command of Major-General McClellan:

    Lieutenant-Colonel, Aide-de-Camp, and Acting Assistant Adjutant-General.

Series I.,  Vol. 19, Part 2, Page 396

*See Series III. 

The Emancipation Proclamation was issued to the Army in the form of General Orders 139.  It was not received well by that portion of the Army which believed the sole purpose of the war was the restoration of the Union, not emancipation.  McClellan himself tended to this view. The purpose of this letter to Lincoln is unclear.  Perhaps it was intended to convey to the President McClellan's respect for constitutional authority, although why he would believe it necessary is a matter of conjecture.  Lincoln himself had remarked the Army of the Potomac seemed to be McClellan's personal bodyguard.  While there is scant evidence the President ever feared a military uprising against the administration, he likely wondered how far McClellan would go to carry out its wishes.

October 6, 1862 (Monday): LIncoln Orders McClellan to Move

War Department Annex-Site of Halleck's Office (mrlincolnswhitehouse.or)
WASHINGTON, D. C., October 6, 1862.
Major-General MCCLELLAN:
    I am instructed to telegraph you as follows: The President directs that you cross the Potomac and give battle to the enemy or drive him south. Your army must move now while the roads are good. If you cross the river between the enemy and Washington, and cover the latter by your operation, you can be re-enforced with 30,000 men. If you move up the Valley of the Shenandoah, not more than 12,000 or 15,000 can be sent to you. The President advises the interior line, between Washington and the enemy, but does not order it. He is very desirous that you army move as soon as possible. You will immediately report what line you adopt and when you intend to cross the river; also to what point the re-enforcements are to be sent. It is necessary that the plan of your operations be positively determined on before orders are given for building bridges and repairing railroads.
    I am directed to add that the Secretary of War and the General-in-Chief fully concur with the President in these instructions.

    H. W. HALLECK,

McClellan's discussion of building a bridge at Harper's Ferry greatly alarmed the administration, which took it to mean he would not move forward until the bridge could be built which might mean no advance during the fall season.  McClellan had indicated he preferred the movement into the Valley, and Halleck is trying to steer him into adopting the President's plan by pointing out he will receive more reinforcements if he interposes between Lee and Washington than if he moves into the Valley.  It is interesting to note Halleck informing McClellan he has been directed to add he concurs with the President.

Official Records, Series I., Vol. 19, Part 1, Page 72.

Thursday, October 4, 2012

October 5, 1862 (Sunday): Retreat from Corinth

Battery Robinette (

Jackson, Tenn., October 5, 1862.
    Yesterday the rebels, under Van Dorn, Price, and Lovell, were repulsed from their attack on Corinth with great slaughter. The enemy are in full retreat, leaving their dead and wounded on the field. Rosecrans telegraphs that the loss is serious on our side, particularly in officers, but bears no comparison with that of the enemy. General Hackleman fell while gallantly leading his brigade. General Oglesby is dangerously wounded. McPherson reached Corinth with his command yesterday. Rosecrans pursued the retreating enemy this morning, and should be attempt to reach Bolivar will follow him to that place. Hurlbut is at the Hatchie with 5,000 or 6,000 men, and is no doubt with the pursuing column.    From 700 to 1,000 prisoners, besides wounded, are left in our hands.

     Major-General, Commanding.
     Major-General HALLECK.

Jackson, Tenn., October 5, 1862.
    General Ord, who followed Hurlbut and took command, met the enemy to-day on south side of Hatchie, as I understand from dispatch, and drove him across the stream and got possession of the heights with our troops. Ord took two batteries and about 200 prisoners. A large portion of Rosecrans' forces were at Chewalla. At this distance everything looks most favorable, and I cannot see how the enemy are to escape without losing everything but their small-arms. I have strained everything to take into the fight an adequate force and to get them to the right place.

    U. S. GRANT,

October 5, 1862-5 a. m.
Major General U. S. GRANT, Jackson, Tenn.:
    The column is moving toward the Hatchie. Bridges and levee across the Muddy very bad, and have to be repaired. Three regiments of cavalry are near Hatchie. Shall disperse them as soon as infantry and artillery can reach them.
     Dispatches from General Ross say that provision train will be here to-day with Major-General Ord.

    [S. A. HURLBUT,]

Corinth, October 5, 1862.
    The following are among the rebel officers killed and wounded: Colonel Pritchard, Third Missouri, severely wounded; Colonel Johnson, Twentieth Arkansas, killed; Colonel Daly, Eighteenth Arkansas, severely wounded; Colonel Rogers, Second Texas, killed; Colonel Martin, commanding Fourth Brigade, First Division, killed; Major Jones, Twentieth Arkansas, killed; Colonel McLain, Thirty-seventh Mississippi, mortally wounded.

    General GRANT.

Corinth, Miss., October 5, 1862.
Brigadier-General HAMILTON,
Commanding Division:
I think it is advisable for you to occupy the ford on the Kossuth road with a good regiment, with orders to ascertain whether the ford is watched on the other side or not, and, if it watched, to ascertain the nature of the force. This will be done by deploying a heavy line of skirmishers and pushing them heavily, sending a piece of cannon, if necessary, and making a big noise. Notify General McKean.
     By order of Major-General Rosecrans:

    [C. GODDARD,]
    First Lieutenant, Twelfth Infty. Ohio Vols., Actg. Asst. Adjt. General

Corinth, Miss., October 5, 1862.
Brigadier-General McKEAN:
    Halt your train, turn it out, and park it. I am told it is a mile long. Take nothing with you but ammunition and ration wagons.
     You have left our advance guard without a support by your tardy movements. You are in the way of the other divisions.

    By orders of Major-General Rosecrans:
    [H. G. KENNETT,]
    Lieutenant-Colonel and Chief of Guards and Outposts.

October 5, 1862.
Brigadier-General McPHERSON,
Commanding Advance:
    No report from you. If you reach Chewalla ascertain if the enemy passed by Young's Bridge. Halt at that point until Stanley overtakes you. Meanwhile reconnoiter to Young's Bridge. Occupy it with a regiment and reconnoiter beyond. Push an advance guard, but not beyond support, toward Pocahontas.
     By order of Major-General Rosecrans:

    Lieutenant and Ordnance Officer.

Corinth, October 5, 1862.
Brigadier-General McPHERSON:
     Dispatch received. Sent you word to wait for supports on account of the delay of General McKean; the column has been halted and fallen behindhand. Try to open communication with Bethel and our cavalry, who have been sent to the right.

     By order of Major-General Rosecrans:
    [H. G. KENNETT,]
    Lieutenant-Colonel and Chief of Staff.

October 5, 1862-1.30 p. m.
Brigadier-General STANLEY,
Commanding Division:
    Dispatch received; will send you another guide. You should have taken the road to the right, this side of Cane Creek, which keeps north of the railroad. If you are not too far advanced it would be better for you to face by the rear and do it now, as you will reach Chewalla soon.
    The right-hand road turns off 2 miles in rear of Alexander's. Let the advance guard go well ahead, sending its advances forward to report the road back to the head of the column. At Smith's there is a road that runs across the railroad to Concord Meeting-House, about 5 miles from Chewalla, on Hamburg and Chewala road. Smith's is a mile from Jones'.

     By order of Major-General Rosecrans:
     C. GODDARD,
     First Lieutenant Twelfth Infty. Ohio Vols., Actg. Asst. Adjt. General

Corinth, October 5, 1862-2 p. m.
Brigadier-General STANLEY,
Commanding Division:
    You had better take the nearest northern road. I will send you a guide. McKean's halt appears to have interfered with our movements. Advance rapidly, and when you halt close in mass; get out of the road if possible. Overtake McPherson if you can; nothing heard from him. Tell your advance guard to get the names of all the houses on the road, and when you write date your dispatch from the house, and side of the road it is on.
     By order of Major-General Rosecrans:

    Acting Aide-de-Camp.

GENERAL: We are in severe engagement across the Hatchie at Davis' Bridge. We drove the enemy for about a mile to that point, taking at least 200 prisoners and two batteries. The enemy has four batteries playing upon us and a large body of infantry, and General Ord is apprehensive we will have to fall back unless we are speedily re-enforced.
    This was the stage of the battle when we left for the hospital a few moments ago, when General Ord was severely wounded just as he was directing to send this dispatch to you.

    A. B. SHARPE,
    Captain and Aide-de-Camp.
    Major-General GRANT.

P. S.-We have driven the enemy and taken possession of heights on the other side. This I infer, as the    firing has ceased and our men are going forward. The firing has commenced. They have probably taken a new position.

Corinth, October 5, 1862-9 p. m.
Brigadier-General McKEAN,
Commanding Division:
Am coming out to Chewalla with car-load of water. No news from any of you for several hours. Ord has been heavily engaged with the enemy at Davis' Bridge. We must push on as lightly as possible. Baggage has, I understand, interfered with your progress, which certainly has not been remarkable. We must push ahead as soon as the men get a little rest, and be with them by daylight. Send messengers to Chewalla reporting your position.

    By order of Major-General Rosecrans:
    First Lieutenant Twelfth Infty. Ohio Vols., Actg. Asst. Adjt. General
    (General Davies, Stanley, Hamilton, and McPherson furnished with copies of above.)

Corinth, October 5, 1862.
Major-General VAN DORN,
Commanding Confederate Forces:
    Major-General Rosecrans' compliments to Major-General Van Dorn, commanding officer Confederate forces, and states that provision has been made for the burial of the dead, and a soldier's tribute will be paid those who fell fighting bravely, as did many in Maury's division.

    Major-General, Commanding.

October 5, 1862.
General PRICE:
    Please direct your brigade commanders to hold their troops well in hand, to keep up the line, and to sleep on their arms. You can send some of the cavalry to the rear with canteens for water and to water horses. If we straggle off we may yet lose all.


Official Records, Series I., Vol. 17, Part 1, Various

Sterling Price's forces had combined with Earl Van Dorn's to march on Corinth, attempting to retake the strategic railhead for the Confederacy.  On October 3 the Confederates pushed to the edge of entrenchments they had previously occupied themselves during the earlier Union siege of Corinth, gaining ground at all points. After bloody assaults on the 4th which took Battery Robinette and Battery Powell for a time.  But around 1 PM counterattacks retook these positions, and by 4 PM the battle was effectively over.  Van Dorn retired, badly bloodied, and Rosecrans forces (equally damaged) only tentatively pursued.  The next day there was sporadic action as the Confederates retreated.  On the 3rd and 4th the forces were evenly matched (around 22,000 each), but late on the 4th McPherson's forces arrived, giving the Union a numerical advantage.  The Union lost over 2,500 men killed, wounded, or captured.  Van Dorn's loss was much worse, over 4,200.  The dispatches above show the plodding and confused nature of the pursuit on the 5th.