Tuesday, April 30, 2013

May 1, 1863 (Friday): Chancellorsville

Plank Road and Ely's Ford (etu.usf.edu)

May 1, 1863-6.35 a. m.
     The commanding general is very anxious to have frequent and full information of any movements of the enemy in your front.

     Assistant Adjutant-General.

May 1, 1863-8.35 a. m.
Major-General BUTTERFIELD,
Chief of Staff:
      General Reynolds reports enemy in same position in his front, as far as he can learn. Fog so thick nothing can be done except to be ready to meet an attack. Scouts report a movement to our left, but this is not very reliable; supposed to be picket relief merely.
      General Brooks reports nothing new in his front. No diminution nor change in the enemy's picket line. The balloon has not gone up on account of the fog.

     Major-Genera, Commanding Left Wing.

May 1, 1863-9.15 a. m.
Major-General SEDGWICK:
     GENERAL: Heavy columns of the enemy's infantry and artillery are now moving up the river, accompanied by many army wagons, the foremost column being about opposite Falmouth and 3 miles from the river. Thee is also a heavy reserve on the heights opposite the upper crossing, and all the rifle-pits are well filled.
     Very respectfully, &c.,

    T. S. C. LOWE,
    Chief of Aeronauts, Army of the Potomac.

May 1, 1863-11 a. m.
Major-General SEDGWICK,
Commanding Left Wing, Army of the Potomac:
    GENERAL: I can see no earthworks on the Bowling Green road.
Should judge that the guns had been taken from the earthworks to the right of Fredericksburg.
Another train of wagons is moving to the right, on a road about 1 mile from beyond the heights opposite Franklin's crossing.
     The enemy's barracks, opposite Banks' Ford, are entirely deserted.
     The largest column of the enemy is moving on the road toward Chancellorsville. The enemy on the opposite heights, I judge, considerably diminished.
     Can see no change under the heights and in the rifle-pits.
      I can see no diminution in the enemy's tents.
     Very respectfully, your obedient servant,

    T. S. C. LOWE,


May 1, 1863-11.30 a. m.
    Direct Major-General Sedgwick to threaten an attack in full force at 1 o'clock and to continue in that attitude until further orders. Let the demonstration be as severe as can be, but not an attack.

     Major-General, Commanding.

    (Telegraphed to General Sedgwick, 5.05 p. m.)

May 1, 1863-Noon.
General HOOKER:
     GENERAL: I can see no earthworks on Bowling Green road. Should judge the guns had been taken from earthworks to right of Fredericksburg. Another train; wagons moving to right, on road about 1 mile from beyond heights, opposite Franklin's crossing. Enemy's barracks opposite Banks' Ford are deserted. Largest column of enemy is moving on road toward Chancellorsville. The enemy on opposite heights, I judge, considerably diminished. Can see no change under the heights and rifle-pits. No diminution int he enemy's tents.

     T. S. C. LOWE.

May 1, 1863-12.30 p. m.
Major-General SEDGWICK,
Commanding Left Wing, Army of the Potomac:
     GENERAL: In a west-northwest direction about 12 miles, an engagement is going on. Can see heavy smokes and hear artillery. In a west-southwest direction about 4 miles, artillery is moving toward the engagement. A large force of the enemy are now digging rifle-pits, extending from Deep Run to down beyond the lower crossing, just by the edge of the woods at the foot of the opposite heights. There are but few troops in sight now, except those manning batteries and in the rifle-pits. There appears to be a strong force in the rifle-pits.
      Very respectfully, your most obedient servant,

     T. S. C. LOWE,
     Chief of Aeronauts, Army of the Potomac.

MAY 1, 1863-12.50 p. m.
     GENERAL: The enemy have advanced their skirmishers to the river in front of this place, and now occupy the rifle-pits. They are also advancing their skirmishers across the field to my right. I can see nothing south of the Massaponax.

     T. S. C. LOWE,
     Chief of Aeronauts, Army of the Potomac.

May 1, 1863-2.30 p. m.
Major-General HOOKER,
Chancellorsville, Va.:
      The column seen passing here was first discovered at 8.30 o'clock, and ceased to pass at 11.30. The signal man thinks two corps. From appearances, portion of the column diverged to the left before reaching the Orange Plank road.


May 1, 1863-2.30 p. m.
Major-General HOOKER,
Chancellorsville, Va.:
      The column seen passing here was first discovered at 8.30 o'clock, and ceased to pass at 11.30. The signal man thinks two corps. From appearances, portion of the column diverged to the left before reaching the Orange Plank road.


May 1, 1863-3.45 p. m.
Major-General SEDGWICK,
Commanding Left Wing, Army of the Potomac:
    GENERAL: The smoke from the battle appears to be in the same position, but in much lighter volumes. Everything opposite here remains the same.
      Very respectfully, &c.,

     T. S. C. LOWE,

May 1, 1863-4 p. m.
Major-General SEDGWICK,
Commanding Left Wing:
     The troops of the enemy in my front are formed in two lines of battle, in about the same strength and position as they were yesterday, when I telegraphed you they were threatening my right.

      Major-General, Commanding First Army Corps.

May 1, 1863-4.20 p. m.
     Commanders of the Second, Fifth, Eleventh, and Twelfth Corps will at once have their commands established on the lines assigned them last night, and have them put in condition of defense without a moment's delay. The major-general commanding rusts that a suspension in the attack to-day will embolden the enemy to attack him. All the trains belonging to the commands will be withdrawn within the lines and parked in the rear.
      By command of Major-General Hooker:

      WM. L. CANDLER,
      Captain and Aide-de-Camp.

May 1, 1863.
Major-General BUTTERFIELD:
     After having ordered an attack at 2 o'clock, and most of the troops in position, I suspended the attack on the receipt of new from the other side of the river. Hope the enemy will be emboldened to attack me. I did feel certain of success. If his communications are cut, he must attack me. I have a strong position.


P. S.-All the enemy's cavalry are on my flanks, which leads me to suppose that our dragoons will meet with no obstacle in cutting their communications.

May 1, 1863-6 p. m.
      Corps commanders will set their pioneers at work in their fronts to make abatis and clearing for artillery. The pioneers will be kept at work during the night.
     By command of Major-General Hooker:

     WM. L. CANDLER,
     Captain and Aide-de-Camp.

May 1, 1863-8.45 p. m.
Major-General BUTTERFIELD:
      The telegram for Sedgwick's demonstration reached him too late. Order it in immediately.


Copy for information of General Sedgwick.

MAY 1, 1863-8.50 p. m.
Commanding Officer, Sixth Corps:
     General Hooker countermands the demonstration as too late, and orders it in. Acknowledge.

     Major-General, Chief of Staff.

May 1, 1863-10.05 p. m.
Colonel J. C. KELTON,
Assistant Adjutant-General:
     SIR: General Hooker directs me to telegraph all information I receive concerning the re-enforcements of the enemy from Richmond, as it may have an important bearing on movements elsewhere, and to say that all the cavalry are in his immediate presence. Our information is as follows:
      Two deserters from a Louisiana regiment of Early's division, who came in this morning-born in New York State, but for some time residents of the South-report that while detached to the rear of their lines yesterday, near Hamilton's Crossing, to bake provisions for their company, they saw Hood's division pass by along the line; that they talked to the troops and asked them where they belonged. The character of these men and the nature of the information they gave as to the position of the enemy in front of the left wing of the army causes me to rely upon their statements. Colonel Sharpe, deputy provost-marshal-general, advises me that deserters from Early's division had heard their captain say on Wednesday that Hood and Pickett would be here in time for the fight.

      Major-General, Chief of Staff.

Official Records, Series I., Vol. 25, Part 2, Pages 324, 326-329, 332, 335, 336, 338, 341, 343.

Hooker was stopped in his advance eastward and called in his forces to defensive lines near Chancellorsville.  Contact was made just after 11 a.m. as McLaws pushed back Sykes Union division.  After a counterattack, Anderson committed a brigade under Wright to an attack along an unfinished railroad south of Plank Road.  At this point Hooker called off an attack by Sedgwick and pulled in his forces to defensive lines near Chancellorsville.  It is important to note at this point Jackson outnumbered Hooker's forces in the area by about 5-3. This night Jackson would begin his 13 mile flank march.

Monday, April 29, 2013

April 30, 1863 (Thursday): "..When You Strike Let It Be Done to Destroy"

Modern Zoan Church (Where Anderson's troops formed a line) NPS.Gov

April 30, 1863.
Major-General SEDGWICK,
Commanding Left Wing, Army of the Potomac:
    GENERAL: I am directed by the major-general commanding to inform you that his headquarters will be at Chancellorsville to-night. It is proposed that the army now at that point will assume the initiative to-morrow morning, and will advance along the line of the Plank road, uncovering what is called Banks' Ford, where bridges will be at once thrown across the river, which route will then become the shortest line of communication between the two wings of the army. Major-General Butterfield will remain at the present headquarters, and will at once transmit to the major-general commanding any communications you may desire to send him. It is not known, of course, what effect the advance will have upon the enemy, and the general commanding directs that you observe his movements with the utmost vigilance, and, should he expose a weak point, attack him in full force and destroy him. If he should show any symptoms of falling back, the general directs that you throw your whole force on the Bowling Green road, and pursue him with the utmost vigor, tuning his fortified positions by the numerous by-roads which you can make use of for that purpose. If any portion of his organized forces should pass off to the east of the railroad, you will, by detachments, pursue until you destroy or capture him.
    Simultaneous with the advance of your column on the Bowling Green road, if at all, a column will also advance on the Telegraph road, and between you will sweep the country between the two highways and the railroad. You will be within easy communication, and both columns will spring to one another's assistance in case of encountering any considerable resistance, which can best be judged of by the magnitude of the fire. Keep your provisions and ammunition and forage replenished, leaving as much of your train to be brought afterward as practicable. Trains will only embarrass and check your forward movement, and must not accompany you, unless it be the pack train.
     It may be expedient for you to join the right wing on the south bank of river, and under cover of it to Fredericksburg. Be observant of your opportunities, and when you strike let it be done to destroy. When you move forward, if you want all your artillery, the batteries of the reserve here can be called for. The enemy have at Hamilton's a pontoon train. The general expects that you will not permit them to cross the river. You will find an able commander in Major-General Reynolds.
     I am, very respectfully, your obedient servant,

     Major-General, Chief of Staff.

Official Records, Series I., Vol. 25, Part 2, Pages 306-307.

Hooker's plan was to fix Lee in place behind Fredericksburg by attacking with Sedgwick while Hooker moved to the east from Chancellorsville.  It was not a bad plan in concept, but Lee spoiled it in execution by dividing his force and coming out to meet Hooker's advance while leaving Early and 10,000 men to confront Sedgwick.  The game was afoot.


Sunday, April 28, 2013

April 29, 1863 (Thursday): Lee Sets His Army In Motion

Early's Position at Fredericksburg (doc.south.unc.edu)

Major General LAFAYETTE McLAWS, Commanding Division:
    GENERAL: A arranged to-day, I wish you to draw your troops out of Fredericksburg, leaving your sharpshooters, and take a position in the rifle-pits, so as to maintain the height back of the town, as in December. Extend your right to Deep Run, and the troops not necessary on the front hold in reserve to throw where they may be required.
    You should have all your men in position by daylight in the morning, with rations for the day.
Caution your officers to be vigilant and energetic; repair your line of defense when you may find it necessary, and pay every attention to the comfort of your men and the support of your horses.
     Communicate to General Jackson and General Anderson all movements of the enemy affecting them, and, if they ask for re-enforcements, furnish what you can. I have just hear that the enemy's cavalry, accompanied by infantry, had crossed at Germanna Ford (the Rapidan).
     I am, very respectfully, your obedient servant,

     R. E. LEE,

P. S.-I have just heard that a regiment of cavalry crossed at Ely's Ford. We may be obliged to change our position in consequence of the enemy's having come in between us and General Stuart. Make your preparatory arrangements to-night to secure all your property. Leave no more sharpshooters on the river and in Fredericksburg than are absolutely necessary, so as to have as strong a force as possible to strengthen our left.

Major General R. H. ANDERSON, Commanding, &c.:
    GENERAL: I have just heard that a portion of the enemy's cavalry, accompanied by infantry, crossed the Rapidan at Germanna Ford about 1 o'clock. Draw in your brigade at United States Ford, and throw your left back so as to cover the road leading from Chancellorsville down the river, taking the strongest line you can, and holding it to the best advantage. I wish you to go forward yourself and attend to this matter.
     Let me know where communications will reach you, and inform me of the condition of things.
See if you can find where Colonel [J. L.] Davis' cavalry is, and collect all the mounted men you can in your front.
      See to the provisions and forage of your men, and animals.
      Very respectfully, your obedient servant,

      R. E. LEE,

P. S.-I have just heard that a regiment of cavalry crossed at Ely's Ford. We may be obliged to change our position in consequence of the enemy having come in between us and General Stuart. Make your preparatory arrangements to-night to secure all your property. Leave no more sharpshooters on the river than are absolutely necessary, so as to have as strong a force as possible to strengthen our left.

Official Records, Series I., Vol. 25, Part 2, Pages 759-760.

Lee had already come to an understanding of where the threat was coming from (his left).  He would send Anderson to cover the road from Chancellorsville to the river, taking care to be sure Anderson knew he must personally attend to the placement of his troops.


April 28, 1863 (Wednesday): The Winds of Chancellorsville

Lowe's Balloon

April 28, 1863.

Major-General HOOKER,

Commanding Army of the Potomac:
    Lowe reports up to 9 a. m. that, in consequence of the wind, he is unable to ascend.
First opportunity will be improved. Cautioned Sharpe, signal officers, and Lowe to be vigilant and watchful; to get all information possible.
    Deserters just in and examined, report up to night before last, April 26, "Rodes (D. H. Hill's) division, A. P. Hill's, and Trimble's divisions not moved; no signs of a move."
    We are in some uncertainty here as to the whereabouts of the remaining batteries of the Eleventh and Twelfth Corps. Looking over your reply to General Howard's dispatch, I find that the Reserve Artillery is ordered to go with the rest of the artillery. Your original dispatch to Howard and Slocum specified the trains only to go to Banks' Ford. As you had a personal interview with Slocum, I presume he received directions at that interview. If not, it will be in sufficient time if those batteries are up with them (in any error) to have them get back to Banks' and United States Fords during to-morrow. General Hunt asks whether the works for those batteries at Banks' and United States Ford will be sunk to-night, in case the road is completed by General Couch, or wait until to-morrow night. The orders directed the work upon these batteries not to be done until after the road between the two points is completed. I so informed him.
    Pleasonton reports that he will leave for Grove Church at 8 a. m. to-day.
It is raining now here-10.30 a. m.-I sincerely trust only a shower. I should feel almost heartbroken if we were baffled again by a storm.
    If you desire to reach Sedgewick or myself hastily from Morrisville and Kelly's Ford, an orderly, with a telegraphic dispatch to Warrenton Junction, might reach us in advance of an orderly coming direct through. The signal telegraph is open to Banks' Ford. Duplicates of important dispatches might be sent there.
I keep General Sedgwick advised of everything that occurs. Clinton, the wagon-master, came shortly after you left, and has been ordered to you at Morrisville or Kelly's Ford. Have ordered Blake, at Aquia Creek, and Garton, at Belle Plain, with their dismounted men, to relieve Colonel Rogers' brigade, of Patrick's command, from working and guard duty, so that they can take care of the railroad line and man the works at once.
    It still rains-2 p. m. Fogliardi comes back at 5 p. m. Couch telegraphs me he has ordered all his tools to Banks' Ford. Sedgwick's command is just coming into position. So misty that nothing can be seen across the river.
    I inclose copies of reports received,* directing the orderly to find you, deliver this, with your mail, and bring back any orders or intelligence you might have to communicate.
    Still raining here, but not severely-slow and steady. Telegraph progressing from Banks' Ford to the United States Ford. 
     Very respectfully, &c.,

    Major-General, Chief of Staff.

*Not identified. 

Official Records, Series I., Vol. 25, Part 2, Page 276.

Butterfield's job was to coordinate the advance of all the disparate elements of Hooker's army.  His notes about the weather were interesting.  In Krick's "Civil War Weather In Virginia" the high temperature in Washington D.C. was recorded as 62 degrees.  It was also noted during the same week the peaches and plums had just bloomed, held back by a late spring.

April 27, 1863 (Tuesday): The President Wants to Know

General Joseph Hooker

WASHINGTON, D. C.,  April 27, 1863

Major-General HOOKER:
      How does it look now?


APRIL 27, 1863-5 p.m.
President LINCOLN:
     I am not sufficiently advanced to give an opinion. We are busy. Will tell you all soon as I can, and have it satisfactory.

    Major-General, Commanding.

Official Records, Series I., Vol. 52, Part 2, Page 263.

Hooker was in the process of getting his troops to, and over, the Rappahannock.  His goal was to have everything in position to advance on Lee on the morning of the 29th.  The Chancellorsville campaign was underway.

Thursday, April 25, 2013

April 26, 1863 (Monday): Hooker Moves to the Attack

Union Wagon Trains (dclawyeronthecivilwar.blogspot.com)

CAMP NEAR FALMOUTH, VA., April 27, 1863-1 a.m.
Commanding Officer, Fifth Corps:
    The major-commanding directs me to inform you that your corps is to march to-morrow, so as to reach the vicinity of Kelly's Ford by Tuesday at 4 p.m. The corps of Generals Slocum and Howard take the same direction (and will be on the same route, probably) from Hartwood. The provisions, as to rations, in former circular (eight days'), will be complied with. The trains will be left in the vicinity of Stoneman's Switch. Such two-years' men as you may desire to leave for the purpose may remain with them as guards. Further details of the orders will be sent you early to-morrow morning. Two ambulances and one battery only will accompany each division, with the pack train of small-arm ammunition. A few wagons only to accompany the column, sufficient to carry forage for the animals. The destination of your command will be strictly confidential. General Couch has been directed to send a regiment to Banks' Ford to relieve your regiment there.
     Very respectfully, your obedient servant,


Official Records, Series I., Vol. 25, Part 2, Page 262.

Hooker's plan was sound.  He would fix Lee's forces in the lines of the December battlefield at Fredericksburg and move around his left, forcing Lee to retreat toward the North Anna.  Against lesser opposition than Lee and Jackson it might have succeeded.  


Wednesday, April 24, 2013

April 25, 1863 (Sunday): The Talkative Prisoner

Sheperdstown, WV (Sheperdstownvisitorscenter.com)

WINCHESTER, VA., April 25, 1863.
Major-General SCHENCK,
Baltimore, Md.:
    Rebel [Andrew T.] Leopole, the last two days in irons, hoping for leniency, makes this statement:
Residence, Sharpsburg, Md. Enlisted in Confederate service two years ago, as ensign First Regiment Virginia (rebel) Cavalry, and remained in that regiment until Stuart's appointment as brigadier, about a month after the first battle of Manassas, when I became ensign of his brigade, which I continued to be until last May, when I was transferred to the-Virginia Cavalry as third lieutenant. I continued in that regiment until after the battle of Sharpsburg, in September last, when I was promoted to first lieutenant of Company D, same regiment, in which regiment I served until November 24 last, when I was captured at Shepherdstown. I remained a prisoner until January 6 last, when I was exchanged, and reported, as ordered, to General Stuart, at this headquarters, where I remained until January 13, acting as his chief of couriers. On January 14, as ordered by him, I left for Castleman's Ferry, in command of 70 men, where I remained until last Tuesday, when, with 6 of my men, I was captured. My business there was to observe the movements of Federal forces, and report to General Fitzhugh Lee, who is now between Markham Station and Manassas Gap Railroad and the Shenandoah River, about 2 miles east of the Blue Ridge, with the First, Second, Third, Fourth, Fifth, and Tenth Virginia Cavalry and two batteries. Regiments average about 350 men each. The locality of these troops is about 16 miles from Castleman's Ferry and 10 miles from Berry's Ferry. General Trimble, with three infantry brigades, is near Orleans, in Fauquier County. Lee's and Trimble's forces moved at the same time from Culpeper Court-House to their present position, where they arrived about two days before my capture. There are two other brigades-one from Louisiana and the other from Virginia-encamped between Sperryville and Little Washington. They belong to Trimble's division. With each brigade is a battery, and a battalion of artillery besides, attached to the division. The brigades, I think, will average 1,900 men each. The two brigades near Sperryville came that far with the other brigades, and halted there. I saw General Stuart on the 17th of this month between Salem and Jefferson, and learned from him that A. P. Hill, with a portion of his command, had left for the Valley by way of Hanover Junction, Charlottesville, and Staunton. I saw Hill's baggage at Culpeper, and learned from the master of transportation that it was en route from Staunton. I heard General Stuart say that the Federal forces at Winchester would be captured as soon as the Shenandoah River became passable. I also learned form his general-order book that Jones had been ordered to march to the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad, and destroy certain trestle-work on that road. I am tired of fighting, and wish to take the oath of allegiance and retire into Ohio. I have always stood high with General Stuart, enjoyed his confidence, and, when at his headquarters, ate at his table.
     The above statement is strongly corroborated by other circumstances and information. I recommend that Heintzelman be directed to ascertain the truth of the above statement, so far as it refers to Fitzhugh Lee's and Trimble's forces and their locality.

     R. H. MILROY,

Official Records, Series I., Vol. 25, Part 2, Pages 252-253.

Leopold had been captured at Sheperdstown on April 22.  On the 25th he gave the statement to the staff of General Milroy referenced in this letter.  He had reason to try and gain the favor of his captors.  He was charged with killing three Union sympathizers.  Despite giving this information he was hung on May 12, 1864.

April 24, 1863 (Saturday): Imboden's Raid Begins

General B. S. Roberts (Library of Congress)

BUCKHANNON, VA., April 24, 1863.
Major General H. W. HALLECK,
    The combined forces of Imboden and [W. L.] Jackson attacked Beverly this afternoon, and have taken that place. Colonel Latham has retreated on the road to Philippi. The enemy interposed cavalry and artillery in the road to this place, and prevented his falling back. Reenforcements should be thrown into Grafton without delay or the enemy will reach the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad and do great damage. The roads in this region are impassable.

     B. S. ROBERTS,
     Brigadier-General, Commanding.

Washington, April 24, 1863-8 p. m.
Brigadier General B. S. ROBERT,
Buckhannon, Va.:
    Collect your forces, defend the railroad, and drive the enemy back You are strong enought to do it if you try. Do not call for re-enforcements from here. You have no need of them, and we have none to give you if you had. I do not understand how the roads are impassable to you, when, by your own account, they are possible enough to the enemy. if you cannot drive the enemy out, we will seek some one who can.

     H. W. HALLECK,

April 24, 1863-9.40 p. m.
Major-General HALLECK:
     Your telegram received. I have collected my forces from Sutton and Bulltown into this place, to repel the enemy. Colonel Latham, with half of my command, has allowed himself to be surprised, and has been compelled to retreat in the direction of Philippi, where he cannot reach me. The enemy has five regiments of cavalry. I have but four companies. The roads the enemy has passed over are the mountain roads. Those I must move over are in the valley, and I have never seen any in so impassable a condition. I shall fail in nothing that is possible.

    B. S. ROBERTS,

Official Records, Series I., Vol. 25, Part 2, Page 246.

On the 20th Grumble Jones left Harrisonburg to march  by way of Mount Jackson, Petersburg, and the Northwest Turnpike to attack the B&O Railroad at Rowlesburg.  From Monteray Imboden left to capture Beverley and then linkup with Jones.  Hooker was far from supportive of the beleaugered Roberts..

Monday, April 22, 2013

April 23, 1863 (Friday): "The Slanders of this Wretch"

Burnside's Bridge Antietam

Camp near Falmouth, Va., April 23, 1863.
Honorable E. M. STANTON,
Secretary of War:
    I see that Burnside's stupid order, Numbers 8, has at last found its way into the newspapers. It causes me no regret, and would no one else if the character of the author was as well understood by them as myself. His moral degradation is unfathomable. My attention was first called to it by his statement under oath that I had expressed to him my approval of his refusal to let me cross the river on the march down from Warrenton in the transfer of our line of operations.
    I had previously been informed of his cowardice at the first Bull Run, had witnessed his follies at South Mountain, heard of his blundering sacrifice of life at the bridge at Antietam, and felt the madness of the slaughter at Fredericksburg, but during all the time had given him credit for possessing common integrity.
Up to the hour of his departure from this army, he uniformly professed the warmest friendship for me-never uttered a word of complaint of my not having zealously supported him in all of his operations, myself and my command.
    In his order relinquishing command of this army, three days after the date of General Orders, Numbers 8, he speaks of me in terms of unusual praise, as will be remembered by all, and yet behind my back, assassin like, is trying to stab.
    It has, and still grieves me to reflect that my surroundings at this time are such that I cannot call him to account for his atrocities, swallow his words or face the music, before going into another fight. I like to feel easy at such times, with a name and character unclouded, and cannot bear to go into battle with the slanders of this wretch uncontradicted and the author of them unchastised. He must swallow his words as soon as I am in a condition to address him, or I will hunt him to the ends of the earth.
    His conduct toward others named in the order appears to have been no less treacherous and cowardly, for several of them were counting with a good deal of certainly on being made major-generals, on his assurance that he would use his influence to that end-this subsequent to the date of that order.
By his false swearing he has hitherto escaped the doom which awaits him. He has misled the investigating committee, and at no distant time the reverse and slaughter of Fredericksburg will be divided be
tween him and no one else. The attack and mode of it were his, despite the advice, opinions, counsels, and protests of his grand division commanders. Where I went there was not one chance in twenty of succeeding. He alone is responsible.
    I am now satisfied my command was taken from me at the battle of Fredericksburg for the reason that the newspaper had connected my name with the command of the army, and that was also the reason he would not let me cross the river and march here on the south side of the Rappahannock.
    To-day, from his own evidence, he cannot tell within 5 miles of where he intended to make his main attack on Fredericksburg and has no other idea of the organization and government of an army than that of arranging it in a way that the commanding general will have nothing to do. The nearer the army reaches that point, the greater excellence in his estimation. In his opinion, this army had become tolerably good during his exercise of its command, and yet it was on the verge of dissolution; he did nothing and knew nothing of it.
We have had another severe storm to-day, and it is not over yet. I am thankful that the army is not on the road, for in no direction could I advance 3 miles a day in the present condition of the country.
    Very respectfully, &c.,

    Major-General, Commanding.

 Official Records, Series I., Vol. 25, Part 2, Pages 855-856.

Burnside refers to the order drafted by Burnside for the President's signature but not signed by Lincoln, which would have removed from office a number of senior officers, including Hooker.  Of Hooker the order read; " General Joseph Hooker, major-general of volunteers and brigadier-general U.S. Army, having been guilty of unjust and unnecessary criticisms of the actions of his superior officers, and of the authorities, and having, by the general tone of his conversation, endeavored to create distrust in the minds of officers who have associated with him, and having, by omissions and otherwise, made reports and statements which were calculated to create incorrect impressions, and for habitually speaking in disparaging terms of other officers, is hereby dismissed the service of the United States as a man unfit to hold an important commission during a crisis like the present, when so much patience, charity, confidence, consideration, and patriotism are due from every soldier in the field."

Sunday, April 21, 2013

April 22, 1863 (Thursday): Expiring Enlistments

Enlistment Broadside (NPS.gov)

April 22, 1863.
Brigadier General LORENZO THOMAS,
Adjutant-General, U. S. Army:
     For the information of the War Department, I have the honor to transmit herewith a statement of the number of men soon to be dispatched from this army by expiration of term of enlistment. They are the nine-month's and two-years' regiments.
      From recent information, I have reason to believe but few, if any will re-enlist at this time. They appear to be of opinion that they will be under less restraint to retire from service before incurring new obligations, and that if they should conclude to return, they will be able to realize a large bounty as substitutes for conscripts than is provided by law. The large bounties heretofore paid by the State and Federal-Governments seem to be uppermost in their minds, and they will be likely to hold back for their recurrence. At all events, they are unwilling to re-enlist now.
     Very respectfully, &c.,


* Detailed statement omitted. It aggregates 16,480 two-years' men and 6,421 nine-months' men. 

Official Records, Series I., Vol. 25, Part 2, Page 243.

Lee had already factored the expiration of enlistments in the Army of the Potomac into his thinking. So had Hooker.  Lee was considering the possibility of a campaign which would move into Pennsylvania.  Hooker knew if he was to strike Lee he had to do it before the enlistments expired.  The imperative toward action would have been there because of the warmer weather and dryer roads, but the potential loss of 20% of his troops made an advance essential. 

Saturday, April 20, 2013

April 21, 1863 (Wednesday): Civil Authority In Tennessee

Andrew Johnson

April 21, 1863-11 p.m.
President of the United States:
    Thrice has notice directly come to me that some complaint has been lodged in the minds of persons high in authority, or in records in the War Office, against the working of my army police, or that there was a conflict of authority between civil and military. Each time I have stated that I know of none, and asked for he specifications, that I might remedy the evil. No reply has been given, no information of what this all means. If there be anything wrong I want to know it, and appeal to you to please order the complaints to be communicated to me fully. If the fox is unearthed, I will promise to skin him or pay for his hide.


Official Records, Series I., Vol. 23, Part 2, Pages 262-263.

There were complaints against Rosecrans' police forces were lodged by Tennessee's military governor (later Vice-President) Andrew Johnson.  Johnson was resentful of Rosecrans' power in civilian matters, arguing it usurped constitutional authority.  Lincoln agreed, Rosecrans knew it, but here he engages in trying to elicit the sources of the information known by the President. 

April 20, 1863 (Tuesday): Thomas Describes Roads In Kentucky

Kentucky and Tennessee (CivilWarDailyGazette.com)

Murfreesborough, April 20, 1863.
Commanding Department of the Ohio, Lexington, Ky.:
    GENERAL: Having made a study of the routes from Kentucky to Eastern Tennessee, I have thought that I might be able to assist you somewhat, and therefore write you this note.
   The best route is from Lebanon to Columbia, thence to Creelsborough, on the Cumberland, thence to Albany, thence to Livingston, thence to Crossville, thence to Kingston. This road is generally smooth, except the hills in the vicinity of Wolf and Obie's Rivers.
     The next best road is the same as the former as far as Albany, thence to Jamestown, 26 miles over a very rough road, from Jamestown to Montgomery, and from Montgomery to Kingston. On this road a considerable quantity of forage can be procured. The people are generally loyal, and there are more natural obstacles for an enemy to overcome on your right flank than on the route through Livingston. You can also make use of Lebanon, Nicholasville, and Lexington as depots, and transport supplies to the Cumberland at Jamestown and at Waitsborough, first, by a route from Lebanon, leading up the Rolling Fork, good in summer and fall; by Bradfordsville to Liberty, at which place you branch off to either Jamestown or Somerset; second, from Lebanon and Nicholasville, by way of Danville, to Somerset, through Hustonville Middleburgh, or Coffee's Mill and Doughtry's Store, or through Stanford and by still another through Lancaster and Crab Orchard; third from Lexington to Somerset,through Richmond and Crab Orchard average road or through Richmond, Lancaster, and Stanford, a very excellent road. From Somerset you can get into the road from Albany to Kingston, by Waitsborough, Monticello, and Jamestown. There is also another excellent road from Somerset to Montgomery, going up the east side of the South Fork of the Cumberland to Huntsville from Huntsville to Montgomery, and from Montgomery to Kingston or Knoxville. The great advantage of this route is that your right will be entirely protected by the South Fork as far as Huntsville, and the road from the Cumberland to Huntsville will be good at all seasons. Also on this route you can take the left fork of the road at Chitwood's, about 12 miles north of Huntsville which will take you to either Clinton, over a passable road, or to Grantsborough and on to Knoxville.
     I suppose you have studied carefully the advantages and difficulties of the route from Lexington to Knoxville, by way of London, Barboursville, and Cumberland Gap; therefore, it will not be necessary for me to mention it. I will, however, say that the only advantage in the Cumberland Gap route consists in its passage through a barren region, which, if the Gap or Cumberland Ford were strongly held by our forces, would be inaccessible to the rebels. There is another route to Knoxville from London, by way of Williamsburg and Jacksborough, which I should select in preference to the Cumberland Gap route, as it passes over a more practicable country, and is more conveniently situated for obtaining forage.
Several persons living in Lexington and Nicholasville are engaged in the transportation business, and would gladly enter into an arrangement to haul supplies. Among them I can recommend Mr. H. B. Crow, of Nicholasville, both as a business man and a man of the strictest integrity.
     Respectfully, &c.,

    Major-General U. S. Volunteers, Commanding.

Official Records, Series I., Vol. 23, Part 2, Page 262.

Burnside was sent West after Fredericksburg and given command of the Army of the Ohio.  At this point he is engaged in recruiting to fill it's ranks before moving to the task he had been given, which was a move on Knoxville.  Here, Thomas, one of the constants for the Union in the West gives Burnside a detailed explanation of how to move east an what were the best roads for the purpose.

Thursday, April 18, 2013

April 19, 1863 (Monday): Lee to Stuart

General J. E. B. Stuart


Major General J. E. B. STUART,
Commanding Cavalry:
    GENERAL: Your letter of 12 m., April 18, was received last night. I have been able as yet to learn nothing which goes to show the real intention of the enemy. As before stated, I do not think that Hooker
would venture to transfer the whole of his army to the York or James River unless Washington is more strongly defended than we are led to believe. Such may, however, be his intention, or he may intend to fall back to Alexandria, while sending off the regiments whose time has expired. It behooves us, therefore, to be on the alert, and to endeavor to ascertain what his movement means. It appears to me that he is rather more fearful of an attack from us than preparing to attack. His operations in front of you look rather to prevent your moving against his right or getting in his rear.
    In front of Fredericksburg he is picketed stronger than usual; he keeps two or three balloons up every and all day, I am told, and he brought up his gunboats in the Rappahannock as high as they venture to ascend. I wish very much I could send you more cavalry, and hope that Hampton will soon be able to join you. As regards the brigade in the Valley, I think it should be controlled by the commanding officer of the district so far as it concerns operations in that district, unless you are present there; otherwise it would relieve him of all responsibility, and perhaps deprive him of all power of accomplishing anything. All the regular returns relating to its organization, condition, &c., should be made to you, and I will so direct. His requisitions, I think, had better be made direct to Richmond, or it will cause great delay.
     I have written to General Jones not to let the threatening attitude of the enemy in your front, unaccompanied by an inroad into the Valley, prevent the expedition of which you are aware. I apprise you, that you may be prepared for non co-operation on that side of the Ridge. I believe the expedition is arranged for the 20th. I am glad you are able to get forage for your troops, and hope you will continue to succeed. If Colonel Corley can do anything, inform him.
     I am aware that from the superior strength of the enemy he will be able to overpower you at any one point, but believe, by your good management, boldness, and discretion, you will be able to baffle his designs. I do not think the enemy's infantry extend as high as Kelly's Ford. They have a picket at the United States Mine Ford and a strong reserve about Hartwood Church. They may extend to a higher point.
     I am very much obliged to you for the map of Antietam, and am glad to hear that Major [R. F.] Beckham is doing so well.
     I will see Colonel Corley about the horses for your artillery, but fear he can do nothing, there is such a demand upon him. Save your horses all you can. Put yourself in communication with the commanding officer in the Valley, and desire him to keep you informed of all matters of importance.
     I am, very respectfully, your obedient servant,

    R. E. LEE,

Series I., Vol. 25, Part 2, Pages 736-737.

Stuart believed Hooker was going to transfer his forces back to the line of the James River, which Lee did not.  Lee advises Stuart he will not receive full support from Jones in the Valley on account of the expedition which was about to get underway to strike the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad at key points in West Virginia.

April 18, 1863 (Sunday): The President Plans Another Visit to Hooker

The Landing At Aquia Creek (Library of Congress)

April 18, 1863-9.30 p. m.
Major-General HOOKER:
    The President will leave here for Aquia to see you to-morrow (Sunday) morning at 7 o'clock, expecting to reach there about 10 a. m. Can you meet him there?


Official Records, Series I., Vol. 25, Part 2, Page 227. 

The President was keeping Hooker on a short leash.  This would be his second trip to Aquia to see Hooker and reflected Lincoln's mistrust of his commanders.  The failure of Hooker's planned cavalry raid sent the President into gloomy speculation of what another failed campaign.  He would be looking for answers and reassurance at Aquia.

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

April 17, 1863 (Saturday): A General Bids His Men Goodbye

Major-General Dabney H. Maury

CIRCULAR.] VICKSBURG, April 17, 1863. 

I have been ordered to the Department of Tennessee. My division does not go with me. This separation gives me very great pain, and I believe it is a cause of regret to you. Since I have been your commander we have together passed through some of the severest trials of this war. I remember with admiration the fortitude, fidelity, and courage which you have evinced in them, and the cheerful alacrity with which you have always obeyed my orders and discharged your duties. I remember, too, that in all our intercourse I have never received an unkind word or look from any one of you, and I shall always retain the pleasantest recollections of my personal relations with you. If I have gained any honor or credit as a commander it is to you I owe it, and if I carry with me your confidence and esteem it is my best reward for the efforts I have made to maintain the discipline and efficiency of the division. I part from you with sincere regret, and I beg that you will always remember me as your friend.


(To the officers and men of Maury's division.)

Official Records, Series I., Vol. 52, Part 2, Page 457.

The nephew of renowned hydrographer and naval commander Matthew Fontaine Maury, Maury had commanded a number of units in the western theater.  Here he bids adieu to the men of his division.  The connection between commanders and their troops was often deeply felt on both sides.  Maury was a man of great principle.  After the war he turned down $30,000 a year (a huge sum in those days) to be a supervisor of the Louisiana Lottery.  He also worked  as a volunteer nurse in a New Orleans yellow-fever epidemic even though his own business barely provided for him.  He worked for the Southern Historical Society for 20 years.

Monday, April 15, 2013

April 16, 1863 (Thursday): Hooker Moves, Lee Appraises

Eastern Virginia (nps.gov)

President of the Confederate States:
    Mr. PRESIDENT: Information derived from our scouts has shown that a movement on the part of the enemy's cavalry was in contemplation. They have been kept massed and rationed for several days past. On Monday evening they were seen moving up the Rappahannock, and on Tuesday morning they appeared at Kelly's Ford, with an intention to cross. They were, however, repulsed by our dismounted skirmishers, but forced a passage at the Rappahannock Bridge, where they were soon driven back. From information I received, I was led to believe that their destination was the Shenandoah Valley. General Stuart was apprised of this suspected movement, and General W. E. Jones was placed upon his guard. The last dispatches from General Stuart, dated yesterday, report the enemy's cavalry north of the Rappahannock, massed opposite Kelly's and Beverly Fords and Rappahannock Bridge. Prisoners report they were rationed for eight days. The cavalry were accompanied by artillery and wagons. General Stuart thinks the movement a feint to cover other operations. He can learn of no force moving toward the Blue Ridge, but thinks from the reports of his scouts that General Hooker intends to transfer his army to White House, on the Pamunkey, or to the south side of James River. My own impression has been that the movement was intended to draw us to the Upper

Rappahannock, that Fredericksburg might be seized, and the bridges across the river rebuilt. I do not think General Hooker will venture to uncover Washington City, by transferring his army to James River, unless the force in front of Alexandria is greater than I suppose, or unless he believes this army incapable of advancing to the Potomac. My only anxiety arises from the present immobility of the army, owing to the condition of our horses and the scarcity of forage and provisions. I think it all-important that we should assume the aggressive by the 1st of May, when we may expect General Hooker's army to be weakened by the expiration of the term of service of many of his regiments, and before new recruits can be received. If we could be placed in a condition to make a vigorous advance at that time, I think the Valley could be swept of Milroy, and the army opposite me be thrown north of the Potomac. I believe greater relief would in this way be afforded to the armies in Middle Tennessee and on the Carolina coast than by any other method.
I had hoped by General Longstreet's operations in North Carolina to obtain sufficient subsistence to commence the movement, and by the operations in Northwestern Virginia to continue the supplies. It must, therefore, depend upon the success of these operations unless other means can be devised for procuring subsistence. I therefore submit the matter to Your Excellency for consideration, in the hope that some plan may be formed to attain this object. At present we are very much scattered, and I am unable to bring the army together for want of proper subsistence and forage.
      I am, with great respect, your obedient servant,

      R. E. LEE,
P. S.-A dispatch from General Stuart, dated 9 p.m. yesterday, just received, states that the heavy rains and swollen streams have entirely arrested military operations on the Upper Rappahannock.
The contest terminated yesterday with the capture of about 40 of the enemy's cavalry at Beverly Ford. Several were killed and drowned in crossing the river. Our loss, 1 killed and 4 wounded. General W. H. F. Lee's brigade was engaged, two regiments being absent. General Fitz. Lee's brigade was held at Amissville.

Official Records, Series I. Vol. 25, Part 2, Pages 724-725.

Lee's judgment differs from Stuart's, with the cavalry leader believing Hooker will return to McClellan's line of approach at White House on the Pamunkey.  But Lee correctly understands Hooker is restricted to an overland campaign from north to south which covers the capital, understanding correctly the intent of Stoneman's sweep up river.  He also wants to go on the aggressive by May 1, timed to the expiration of terms of service in Hooker's army. But he ties the ability to make the movement to Longstreet  and forces in Northwestern Virginia gathering sufficient supplies to permit the army to be sustained going north. 

Sunday, April 14, 2013

April 15, 1863 (Wednesday): The Mud Stops Stoneman

    Your dispatch of 9 and 10.35 o'clock, of this date this moment received. As you stated in your communication of yesterday that you would be over the river with your command at daylight this morning, it was so communicated to Washington,and it was hoped that the crossing had been made in advance of the rise in the river. If your artillery is your only hinderance to your advance, the major-general commanding directs that your order it to return, and proceed to the execution of your order without it. It is but reasonable to suppose that if you cannot make use of that arm of the service, the enemy cannot. If it is practicable to carry into execution the general instructions communicated to you on the 12th instant, the major-general commanding expects you to make use of such means as will, in your opinion, unable you to accomplish them, and that as speedily as possible. This army is now awaiting your movement. I am directed to add that in view of the swollen condition of the streams it is not probable, in the event of your being able to advance, that you will be troubled by the infantry of the enemy.

    Assistant Adjutant-General.

April 15, 1863-8 p. m. (Received 9.15 p. m.)
A. LINCOLN, President of the United States:
     Just heard from General Stoneman. His artillery has been brought to a halt by the mud, one division only having crossed the river. If practicable, be will proceed without it. All the streams are swimming.


EXECUTIVE MANSION, Washington, D. C., April 15, 1863.
Major-General HOOKER:
    It is now 10.15 p. m. An hour ago I received your letter of this morning, and a few moments later your dispatch of this evening., The latter gives me considerable uneasiness. The rain and mud, of course, were to be calculated upon. General S. is not moving rapidly enough to make the expedition come to anything.  Two of the three days were unusually fair weather, and all there without hinderance from the enemy, and yet he it s not 25 miles from where he started. To reach his point he still has 60 to go, another river (the Rapidan) to cross, and will be hindered by the enemy. By arithmetic, how many days will it take him to it? I do not know that any better can be done, but I greatly fear it is another failure already. Write me often. I am very anxious.
      Yours, truly,


Official Records, Series I., Vol. 25, Part 2, Page 214.

Hooker's first move had come to naught.  On the 13th Buford's men had crossed at Kelly's Ford, but they remained the only large body which had been able to advance.  The weather had turned unrelentingly rainy.  Lincoln had been disappointed so many times by aborted movements of the Army of the Potomac he allowed himself here to give voice to his fears.

April 14, 1863 (Tuesday): Whiting Torn Between Beauregard and Longstreet

General William H. C. Whiting

Wilmington, N. C., April 14, 1863.
Major General D. H. HILL,
Commanding near Washington, N. C.:
    GENERAL: I have just received yours of the 12th,* inclosing a telegram* from Longstreet. I have received so many orders and counter-orders from so many different sources that really I am puzzled how to answer. The War Department has been directing me to re-enforce General Beauregard. The lieutenant-general commanding orders co-operation with you, while from his headquarters at Petersburg I get directions to aid Beauregard if the latter is urgent. Finally, General Beauregard suspends the movements of Evans' brigade. My position is then this: One regiment of Evans' brigade is in Charleston, having got off before the movement was stopped; the general himself is there; I have four here. I do not think the enemy have in the least given up their designs on Charleston. It is incredible that after such monstrous preparations they should give up-+ of that performance of the monitors. Nor am I apprehensive immediately of any demonstration on Wilmington, though such might be attempted. If, as you surmise, any feint should be made by land, your cavalry ought to let Ransom know the moment it is discovered, that he need not wait for me to call upon him. If your estimate of Foster's troops, viz, 8,000, is correct, and as Longstreet says he has received no more re-enforcements, he will neither dare to attack you nor to move on me. I know him too well. Still I must keep on the lookout. I only fear that my armament is not heavy enough to keep a monitor out. For one to get inside wold be a very serious embarrassment; but it will hardly be tried, I think, until the defenses of Charleston are more thoroughly tested; and surely unless they abandon their great expedition altogether before that first repulse they will not divert any portion of their land or naval forces for an attempt on a subordinate position. If I should hear that the fleet and transports had all passed the Charleston bar going northward I should think they were coming here and call for all the aid I could get. If they abandon their Charleston move Beauregard could aid me. In the mean time I do not like to think that your operations should be in any manner crippled to aid me unless at the last extremity. Your operations there are in fact my great security here, unless an additional expedition should be fitting out in the North of which we know nothing. I therefore hope you will be able to press Foster hard. He is not the man, nor Wessells either, to fight you and me both at once.
    Very truly,

    W. H. C. WHITING,

*Not found.


Official Records, Series I., Vol. 18, Part 1, Page 988.

Whiting has a pretty good grasp of the situation along the coasts, but is being pulled in different directions by Longstreet, Beauregard, and Richmond.  He was in command at Wilmington, having arrived there after being detached by Lee after the Seven Days for less than exemplary performance.


Saturday, April 13, 2013

April 13, 1863 (Monday): Hooker's Worst Enemy-Hooker

General Joesph Hooker

April 13, 1863-9.20 p. m.
Major General H. W. HALLECK,
     If it is deemed of importance to keep open the telegraph communication to this point, it will require that a regiment of cavalry be sent from Washington to patrol and guard the line via Occoquan to Dumfries. My cavalry have other duties that will prevent their attending to this. The force should be send without delay.


WASHINGTON, D. C., April 13, 1863.
Major-General HOOKER,
Headquarters Army of the Potomac:
    I do not think that the safety of Washington depends upon the maintenance of communication with your army, but I think it is your duty to maintain your communications with Washington, and to kept the War Department advised of all your movements and intended movements. You therefore have my orders to keep up such communications.

     H. W. HALLECK,

Official Records, Series I., Vol. 25, Part 2, Page 210.

Hooker was first and foremost about Joe Hooker.  A competent officer with some grasp of strategy, he devoted a great deal of time to gaining influence with politicians even if it came at the expense of his fellow officers.  He had no reason to keep Halleck uniformed of his movements, but felt it was not necessary.  When Halleck responded to his message Hooker forwarded the correspondence to the Secretary of War and asked it be laid before the President for his consideration.   

Thursday, April 11, 2013

April 12, 1863 (Sunday): Longstreet Moves on Suffolk

Wartime Suffolk (Harper's Weekly)
April 12, 1863-12 noon.
Major-General DIX,
Numbers 3 West Twenty-first street, New York, N. Y.:
     General Peck telegraphs just now, "We are face to face. The attack is on the Somerton and Edenton front, and before this reaches you the fight will have commenced." I will have the Burden for you at Baltimore if you say so. I think you had better come down.

    D. T. VAN BUREN,
    Assistant Adjutant-General.

April 12, 1863-4.30 p. m.
Major General H. W. HALLECK,
    The following dispatches received to-day from General Peck at Suffolk, at 12.30 p. m.:
    The two armies are at this moment face to face. The attack is on the Somerton and Edenton road.
4 P. M.
     The enemy, after advancing within a short distance of my front, has fallen back 2 or 3 miles, and is reported moving from the Somerton road toward the Edenton road.

    D. T. VAN BUREN,
    Assistant Adjutant-General.

NORFOLK, VA., April 12, [1863.]-7.30 p. m.
(Received 9.15 p. m.)
Major General H. W. HALLECK,
T   he enemy approached our lines at Suffolk to-day and exchanged some cannon-shots and retired. The force of the enemy is great and I think they will make a serious attack. General Peck has just telegraphed that he has reason to believe Longstreet is receiving re-enforcements and heavy artillery. Wise with his whole force is certainly in front of Williamsburg and Fitzhugh Lee is said to be approaching Gloucester Point, and some persons anticipate rebel gunboats down James River. Information from all quarters concurs to establish a simultaneous movement against all portions of our lines. I have made the best disposition in my power of our troops and supplies, but I would be glad to receive heavy re-enforcements if they could be spared. We have seven small gunboats on the Nansemond, which I think renders Peck's right flank secure.

    E. D. KEYES,

Norfolk, Va., April 12, 1863.
    The proximity of the Confederate forces renders it proper, by virtue of the military and naval authority of the United States, to give the following notice:
    All foreign consuls and their families, all women and children, and all other persons not in the service of the United States who prefer safety to the conflicts of war, are notified that on the approach of the enemy to any town or village within this department and the range of the Union guns, such town or village will be fired on without further consideration.

    E. D. KEYES,
    Major-General, Commanding Department of Virginia.

APRIL 12, 1863.
Major-General KEYES:
    I believe Longstreet is receiving re-enforcements and heavy artillery by rail from Petersburg and Weldon.


SUFFOLK, April 12, 1863.
Major-General KEYES:
    A force is on the road leading to the Nansemond. How far they will come down remains to be seen; will keep you advised. The rails were removed by some of the Ninth Corps men through a misunderstanding of orders given by the commander of that front. I slept none in consequence of these affairs and of the responsibility.


SUFFOLK, VA., April 12, 1863.
Major General JOSEPH HOOKER,
Headquarters Army of the Potomac:
     Longstreet is now before me with a very heavy force. The attack is on my front, which cuts off much of the aid of the gunboats on the flanks. Prisoners say 30,000 and more.

   (Copy to General Halleck.)

Official Records, Series I., Vol. 18, Part 1, Pages 599-600.

After the siege Longstreet said Suffolk could be taken in a few days but that he did not think "we can afford to spend the powder and ball."  Longstreet had originally been sent to southeast Virginia to interpose between Burnside and Petersburg, but after Burnside was sent with most of his force to Kentucky Longstreet was able to invest Suffolk.  Should Lincoln have moved Burnside to Kentucky?  It is interesting to consider whether the Gettysburg campaign would have been possible had a stronger force been maintained to threaten Richmond from the east.

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

April 11, 1863 (Saturday): Hooker Gives Lincoln His Plan

Pleasanton (R) and Custer (L) near Falmouth, Virginia

April 11, 1863.
    After giving the subject my best reflection, I have concluded that I will have more chance of inflicting a heavier blow upon the enemy by turning his position to my right, and, if practicable, to sever his connections with Richmond with my dragoon force and such light batteries as it may be deemed advisable to send with them. I am apprehensive that he will retire from before me the moment I should succeed in crossing the river, and over the shortest line to Richmond, and thus escape being seriously crippled. I hope that when the cavalry have established themselves on the line between him and Richmond, they will be able to hold him and check his retreat until I can fall on his rear, or, if not that, I will compel him to fall back by the way of Culpeper and Gordonsville, over a longer line than my own, with his supplies cut off. The cavalry will probably cross the river above the Rappahannock Bridge, thence to Culpeper and Gordonsville and across to the Aquia Railroad, somewhere in the vicinity of Hanover Court-House. They will probably have a fight in the vicinity of Culpeper, but not one that should cause them much delay or embarrassment. I have given directions for the cavalry to be in readiness to commence the movement on Monday morning next. While the cavalry are moving, I shall threaten the passage of the river at various points, and, after they have passed well to the enemy's rear, shall endeavor to effect the crossing. I hope, Mr. President, that this plan will receive your approval. It will obviate the necessity of detaching a force from Washington in the direction of Warrenton, while I think it will enhance my chances for inflicting a heavy blow upon the enemy's forces.
We have no news from over the river to-day, the enemy refusing to let us have the newspapers. I sincerely trust that you reached home safely and in good time yesterday. We all look back to your visit with great satisfaction.
     Very respectfully, &c.,

     Major-General, Commanding.

Official Records, Series I. Vol. 25, Part 2, Pages 199-200.

Hooker here lays out a central part of his plan, the employment of Pleasanton's Cavalry to gain the rear of Lee's army and fix him in his retreat back toward Hanover until the Army of Potomac could bring its superior numbers to bear.  In this context the relatively minor battle at Kelly's Ford assumes greater significance in that it validated the ability of the Union horse soldiers to not only hold their ground against Stuart's cavalry but to be able to make raids into Confederate territory and disrupt supply lines and harass the enemy. 

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

April 10, 1863 (Friday): A Spy Reports

Richmond Defenses (mdgorman.com)

April 10, 1863.

P. H. WATSON, Esq.,
Assistant Secretary of War:
MY DEAR SIR: Mr. G. S. Smith, whom you sent down to me, has made his report, and his explanations are consistent, and appear satisfactory. I have sent him to General Hooker's headquarters, and submitted his case to that officer. He gives some points of information that seem to be important for you to know:
1. The rebel force on the Rappahannock has not been diminished. Two divisions of Longstreet's troops have returned to Fredericksburg.
2. The rebels are fortifying the fords of the Rapidan, and intend to fight on that stream and at Fredericksburg.
3. There are no works or troops on the railroad from Culpeper to within 3 mile of Richmond. All the heights around Richmond are fortified. He saw three of these works, viz: One on the Williamsburg road, with ten heavy guns mounted-very formidable; one on Murray Hill, with eight heavy guns and two light ones-mounted; one between Murray Hill and the river, with three light guns.
4. * * * The Merrimac Numbers 2 and one gunboat are at Fort Darling. Two new iron-clads now building, on model of Merrimac Numbers 2; no iron on yet; one planked, the other not quite. The iron appears to be ready. No troops to be seen near Richmond, except in the fortifications.
5. * * * The bread riots in Richmond were gotten up by Union men, of whom there are as many as ever. There is much suffering among the citizens in the South, but the soldiers are well supplied and are in good heart and spirits. Everybody has been conscripted. The troops have 22 ounces per day of flour, one-fourth pound of meat, with some sugar and rice occasionally. The rebel officers at Culpeper
appear to think it is not the intention to hold that country if pressed, but to fight on the Rapidan and at Fredericksburg.
6. * * * The blockade-rummers ship their goods by the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad to Long Creek Station, and from thence pass down the Valley through Brock's Gap to Staunton.
7. * * * There is a brigade of cavalry near Winchester, under Jones. White's battalion is between Jones and Culpeper. Cobb's Cavalry Legion is near Madison, at Wolftown.
8. * * * The rebels are seizing all the able-bodied negroes north of the Rappahannock and taking them south.
     Please acknowledge the receipt of this.
     I am, very respectfully, your obedient servant,


    P. S.-The rebels have [arrested] numbers of Northern men, under the plea of their being spies.

Official Records, Series I., Vol. 25, Part 2, Pages 196-197.

Reports from spies were often a varied lot.  In this case the informant in wrong about Longstreet's men returning to Lee.  As to the provisions for Lee's army, these two are overestimated.  In fact, at the time of this writing scurvy was present in the army due to poor nutrition.  However, the descriptions of the ship building underway at Richmond are mostly accurate.  And the Murray Hill battery described is probably Battery #11 of the Richmond defenses. 

Monday, April 8, 2013

April 9, 1863 (Thursday): "..To Cross Into Maryland"

Lee With Staff Officers
Honorable JAMES A. SEDDON,
Secretary of War:
    SIR: I have had the honor to receive your letter of the 6th instant. I do not know that I can add anything to what I have already said on the subject of re-enforcing the Army of the West. If a division has been taken from Memphis to re-enforce Rosecrans, it diminishes the force opposed to our troops in that quarter, and may enable them to take the aggressive and to call them back. The enemy is reported to have abandoned his operations on the Tallahatchee River, which releases General Loring's force also.
    I have thought it probable that the enemy may have determined to confine for the present the operations of the Army of the Potomac and of his army south of the James to the defensive, while with a portion of his troops from the east he should operate in Kentucky or elsewhere in the west; when the season shall suspend operations on the Mississippi, to return with an increased force to the east. There is, however, nothing as yet to show this determination, except the transfer of Burnside's corps to Kentucky.
    The most natural way to re-enforce General Johnston would seem to be to transfer a portion of the troops of this department to oppose those sent west, but it is not so easy for us to change troops from one department to another as it is for the enemy, and if we rely upon that method we may be always too late.
Should General Hooker's army assume the defensive, the readiest method of relieving the pressure upon General Johnston and General Beauregard would be for this army to cross into Maryland. This cannot be done, however, in the present condition of the roads, nor unless I can obtain a certain amount of provisions and suitable transportation. But this is what I would recommend, if practicable. 
    General Longstreet is now engaged on an extended line, endeavoring to withdraw supplies from the invaded district south of James River.  He does not think that he has troops enough for the purpose, and has applied for more of his corps to be sent to him, which I have not thought advisable to do. If any of his troops are taken from him, I fear it will arrest his operations and deprive us of the benefit anticipated from increasing the supplies of the army. I must, therefore, submit your proposition to the determination of yourself and the President. If you think it will be advantageous at present to send a part of the troops operating in North Carolina to General Johnston, General Longstreet will designate such as ought to go.
    If Generals Pegram, Marshall, and Samuel Jones can by judicious operations occupy General Burnside in Kentucky, it will relieve General Johnston more than by sending their troops to him.
    I have the honor to be, your obedient servant,

    R. E. LEE,

Official Records, Series I., Vol. 25, Part 2, Pages 713-714.

Johnston had been besieging the War Department to send reenforcements from the east.  Here is Lee's formal response to Seddon.  In it you some one of the first imaginings of an offensive into the north.  However, it was predicated on the idea of Hooker remaining on the defensive.  This would not come to pass until Lee enforced inactivity upon the Union army by defeating it at Chancellorsville.  It is interesting to see Lee arguing against the advantage he enjoyed of interior lines.  However, it is probably not an unrealistic view, given the state of southern railroads.


Sunday, April 7, 2013

April 8, 1863 (Wednesday): Inside of Charleston Bar

USS New Ironsides (history.navu.mil)

Inside of Charleston Bar, April 8, 1863.
Major General D. HUNTER,
Commanding Dept. of the South, U. S. S. Ben. De Ford, off Charleston:
    GENERAL: The iron-clads weighed anchor at nor yesterday to go forward to attack Fort Sumter, but were delayed for nearly two hours by the accident which fouled the anchor and raft of the leading vessel (the Weehawken).
    The Ironsides became unmanageable in the narrow channel and occasioned further delay under fire, so that finding that, I should not reach the obstructions before 5 o'clock, I ordered the vessels withdrawn from action, with the intention of renewing in this morning.
    During the night I received the statements of the commanding officers, and find the ships so much damaged during their engagement as to force me to the conviction that they could not endure the fire to which they would be exposed long enough to destroy Fort Sumter or reach Charleston. I am now satisfied that that place cannot be taken by a purely naval attack, and I am admonished by the condition of the iron-clads that a persistence in our efforts would end in disaster, and might cause us to leave some of our iron-clads in the hands of the enemy, which would render it difficult for us to hold those parts of the coast which are now in our possession.
     I have therefore determined to withdraw my vessels, and have written to the Navy Department to that effect.
     I am, general, very respectfully, your obedient servant,

     S. F. DuPONT,
     Read-Admiral, Commanding South Atlantic Blockading Squadron.

Official Records, Series I., Vol. 14, Part 1, Page 442.

The traditional narrative is that masonry forts were no match for the forces arrayed against them.  But at Fort McAllister (largely of earth construction) and Fort Sumter (where damaged rubble was reinforced with earthworks) naval forces were exposed to a destructive fire which drove them away.