Monday, August 26, 2013

August 27, 1863 (Saturday): Crittenden Reports

General James A. Garfield

DUNLAP, August 27, 1863-8.30 [a. m.]
Brigadier-General GARFIELD,
Chief of Staff:
    I have nothing from you yesterday or this morning. Van Cleve has sent couriers to communicate with Burnside. Funkhouser met 30 of the enemy at Harrison's Landing, this side of the river, killed 3, and captured 2. They state Chattanooga Rebel of yesterday reports the fall of Charleston, and the defeat of Lee by Meade; also that the enemy are all moving toward Atlanta. Hazen also learns that Burnside's advance reached Kingston Tuesday, and after a short engagement thrashed Forrest. I send list of prisoners by mail from Tracy City; also Hazen's report in cipher as to the feasibility of crossing the Tennessee.


Official Records, Series I., Vol. 30, Part 3, Page 187.

Garfield was Rosecrans' chief of staff and would go on to become President of the United States.  He was credited with creating a highly effective field intelligence organization and would have valued reports such as this.  However, in this case every single bit of information from the Chattanooga newspaper was erroneous.  Fort Sumter in Charleston was under bombardment by the Union fleet but had not fallen, Lee and Meade had not been in combat since Gettysburg, Bragg's army was seeking an opportunity to strike Rosecrans, not retreating on Atlanta, and Forrest had not fought Burnside, much less been defeated by him.  Such were the dangers of relying on newspaper reports, although often there was valuable intelligence in them (much to the chagrin on commanders on both sides who had much to fear from newspapers giving overly accurate estimates of their strength).  What Crittenden did not know when he was writing this message was Garfield was actively campaigning for his removal and would succeed in it.

Sunday, August 25, 2013

August 26, 1863 (Friday): Custer Strikes at King George Court House

First Emanuel Church, Port Conway

Report of Brigadier General Judson Kilpatrick, commanding Third Division, Cavalry Corps.
HARTWOOD, VA., August 26, 1863.
     COLONEL: General Custer has just returned from a reconnaissance in the direction of King George Court-House. He found the enemy 2 miles south of the court-house. Had a skirmish with the Forty-Eighth Alabama Infantry, forced the enemy back to within 2 miles of Port Conway, where he found a brigade of infantry and 4 pieces of artillery under General Law. He returned this morning without the loss of a man.
    The enemy lost 2 killed and several wounded. A few prisoners will reach you to-day. With this rebel force on this side the river my lower line is unsafe. Cavalry can cross at Port Conway at the rate of 75 in fifteen minutes. The enemy are obtaining large supplies from the Northern Neck, besides conscripts. With my picket line supported by a small force of infantry at Hartwood Church I could move down the neck with six regiments and a battery, and capture this force and destroy the ferry at Port Conway.

    Brigadier-General, Commanding.

Official Records, Series I., Vol. 29, Part 1, Page 78.

A small affair, but an example of the energy displayed throughout the war by Custer.  He had struck east from near Fredericksburg at Hartwood and ran into a small detachment at King George Court House.  Getting the better of them he moved further east along the Rappahannock until he met a superior force at Port Conway and retired.  Would that he had exercised such discretion later on the Western plains.

August 25, 1863 (Thursday): The Massacre at Lawrence

The Attack on Lawrence (Harper's Weekly)

Leavenworth City, August 25, 1863.
Colonel JAMES B. FRY,
Provost-Marshal-General, Washington, D. C.:
    COLONEL: I have the honor to submit for your information the following brief report of facts connected with the destruction of Lawrence, and the books, records, and enrollment lists of the provost-marshal's office for the Southern District of Kansas.
    I make this report from personal observation, as I was in Lawrence on the morning of the massacre and barely escaped the clutches of the guerrillas.
    The attack was made by the notorious guerrilla chief Quantrill, with a force of about 300 men, at sunrise on the morning of Friday, the 21st instant.
    The guerrillas entered the city from the south, and at once commenced an indiscriminate murder of its citizens. the work of death was continued for three hours, and whenever a citizen made his appearance, or escaped from a burning building, he was shot down in the streets.
    Fires were set to buildings in all parts of the town, and all the business portion of the city and many of the private residence were burned. In many instances men were murdered in their homes in the presence of their wives and children, and the dead bodies burned. With the exception of those who were shot down in attempting to escape, the citizens were first robbed and then murdered.
Up to the present time 150 dead bodies have been found, and many more will doubtless be found in the ruins.
    The provost-marshal's office, with all the records, papers, and enrollment lists, was entirely destroyed, and Captain Banks was taken prisoner and held during the occupancy of the town.

The value of the property destroyed will reach $2,000,000, and the money secured by the guerrillas cannot be less than $100,000.
    A fearful state of excitement exists throughout the State of Kansas, and the people are unanimous in attributing the Lawrence massacre, and the present deplorable state of affairs upon the border, to the policy now being pursued by the commander of the Department of the Missouri.
    The guerrillas have been largely re-enforced by men from Price's army, and have never been so active and defiant as now. From this time forward the war on this border promises to be one of extermination. Two or three thousand of the citizens of Kansas are in arms, and bidding defiance to the policy of General Schofield and General Ewing. They re determined to invade Missouri for retaliation. I am of the opinion that this result will be inevitable, taking into consideration the determined character of the people of Kansas, growing out of a long border contest, testified by the massacre without parallel in the history of civilized warfare.
    I have deemed this statement necessary to a full understanding of the peculiar condition of affairs in Kansas, and which must necessarily affect the administration of this bureau.
    Asking for such instructions as you may think necessary.
    I am, colonel, very respectfully, your obedient servant,

    Captain and Actg. Asst. Provost-Marshal-General.

Official Records, Series III., Vol, 3, Part 1, Pages 719-720.

The massacre of civilians at Lawrence, Kansas by raiders lead by William Quantrill is one of the darkest chapters of the American Civil War.  The role of Kansas in the coming of the Civil War is well known and the divisions within the state well documented.  That "redlegs" under Lane committed offenses against civilians is unchallenged, but the scale of the executions in Lawrence are without parallel.  Quantrill had meticulously planned the raid and had lists of Unionists to be executed.  His men left the town with very few casualties and portions of his command acted with great brutality without respect to the age of their victims.  As Clarke here predicted, the inevitable result was widespread acts of revenge through western Missouri.  The lawlessness of the American West after the war had some of its roots in the violence in Kansas.

August 24, 1863 (Wednesday): Davis Calls Lee to Richmond

Confederate White House (

RICHMOND, VA., August 24, 1863.
General R. E. LEE,
Commanding Army of Northern Virginia:
    For some days I have hoped to be able to visit you, wishing to consult with you on military questions of a general character. Events in the south and west continue to detain me here. If circumstances will permit your absence, I wish you to come to Richmond.


Official Records, Series I., Vol. 52, Part 1, Page 759.

Davis wanted to discuss with Lee the detachment of Longstreet's Corp to send west to reenforce Bragg and force a decisive action in Tennessee.  This was a plan Davis strongly favored even prior to Gettysburg and Lee had undertaken that campaign knowing if he had not made a move forward his troops might be sent west.  With Meade not active and Bragg with too few troops to strike a decisive blow, the inevitable summons was now occurring. 

August 23, 1863 (Tuesday): Second Chattanooga

Bridge Across Tennessee River at Chattanooga

August 23, 1863. (Via Cowan, 8.30 a. m., 24th.)

Chief of Staff:
   GENERAL: Yesterday evening, owing to the condition of the atmosphere, the camp of the enemy could be located very correctly by the smoke. There seem to be but few troops near Chattanooga, there being but one camp and that not large. The next encampment is at the mouth of Lookout Creek, and still another can be seen at Kelley's Ferry; then up the river the first force is at Friar's Shoals, 4 miles from Chattanooga, one at Harrison's and still another at Cleveland, which is not on the river, but on the railroad. Judging from the smoke the force at all these points is about equal to the force in the city, except that at the shoals, which is only a regiment From the best information we can get there is one brigade at each place named; this would make about five brigades in all in this part of the country, say 20 miles of front.
   So far as the city is concerned it is impregnable from the front. There are but two guns at the shoals. The river is fordable there. From where I am now encamped there is an old road, called the old pike, running to the right, and strikes the river at Williams' Island; this is a very good way, by a little work, and is the only crossing place not guarded by the rebels. I have had some fears they may some night throw across a force there, to cut off our advance and place a strong picket on it.
    Colonel Wilder had another bout with the batteries at Chattanooga, and the sharpshooters have frequent and sometimes sharp work, so they say. I cannot vouch for the fact.
     I now think the enemy is of the opinion that an attack is not to be made in this direction with a large force, and have consequently left at Chattanooga, and at each of the crossings, only sufficient force to man the works and guard the crossings against a small force. The main force is no doubt below somewhere. You may ask me, how we can do anything to change this? If they do not send re-enforcements, we can cross the river at least and cut the railroad above and below the city, and if they re-enforce this place strongly and prevent our crossing we still have done some good, as there will be less men to fight somewhere else. Wilder insists he can ford the river and cut the railroad, if supported. Whether this is so or not you can tell as well as any one, possibly better. I send to you McGraw, who will give you all explanations about the matter.
    I must have rations, as we are out; I have found plenty of water for the whole division, if it is desired at any time to move up here, but it will not last long.
    Very respectfully, yours.

    TH. J. WOOD,

    P. S.-This is the latest news from General Wagner.

Official Records, Series I., Vol. 30, Part 3, Pages 137-138.

Beginning on August 21, Union forces opened fire on Bragg's troops in Chattanooga.  But attempts to dislodge them were unsuccessful as they were well posted and terrain favored the defenders. 

August 22, 1863 (Monday): Hard Work off Morris Island

USS Philadelphia, Flagship of the South Atlantic Blockading Squadron

FLAG-STEAMER PHILADELPHIA, Off Morris Island, August 22, 1863.
Brigadier General Q. A. GILLMORE,
Commanding Department of the South, Morris Island, S. C.:
    SIR: The attempt last night to batter Sumter was defeated by one of those accidents that are not to be guarded against.
    The Passaic grounded far in advance, and at some distance from aid.
And I regret to say that it was entirely due to Mr. Nye refusing to go in her as pilot. Some persuasion was used, but without effect. He was resolute in his reason.
     When the vessel was known to be afloat, so much delay occurred, the other monitors being still at some distance, that too little of the night was left, and I reluctantly had to postpone the operation.
I just have your telegram stating that the fire of Wagner is heavy and likely to dismount your guns. You ask me to prevent this, which, of course, I will be glad to do.
    It should be understood, however, that this course is likely to expend the force of the iron-clads so much as to render other active operations on my part impossible, so that I shall not be able to operate after Sumter and Wagner are reduced, because the guns will be worn out and become dangerous, the men broken down by day and night work, and the armor much battered.
    The Ironsides is a powerful but most impracticable vessel; her great draught prevents approach to the main objects; at the same time her ports only allow of elevation of 4 to 4 1/2. Then her ends are not armored, and between Wagner, Sumter, and Moultrie, she is always enfiladed by one or more of them.
    There are seven monitors; of these, one must guard the enemy's iron-clad at Warsaw, another is under repair at Port Royal. Of the five here, one has a gun disabled leaving only four fully available.
Every time they go into an operation the capacity of the guns in them to fire is expended, and probably one-half of this has gone already.
    The fire of Sumter is of no account; but most of the guns have been sent to Moultrie, and I cannot get near to one without equally approaching the other, so that there is no diminution of the fire that was encountered in April, but a great decrease on our side, for DuPont had all seven monitors, while I have but four in full order.
    I desire now to begin directly on Sumter, but cannot do so if the iron-clads are to be otherwise employed.
    So that it remains to choose between this, as well as further operations toward Charleston when Sumter falls, or to expend powder daily on Wagner.
   Will it not be well, therefore, for us to agree definitely which choice shall be made? For after Sumter is taken, further progress will be arrested if the monitors are used up, either in armament or otherwise.
    I am, very respectfully, your obedient servant,

    Rear-Admiral, Commanding South Atlantic Blockading Squadron.

Official Records, Series I., Vol. 28, Part 2, Page 54-55.

The ironclads were a remarkable advance in naval warfare, but they were imperfect.  Their strength, the iron plating, reduced their speed and mobility.  In addition, as with the New Ironsides, the weight of the iron increased the draft of the vessels to such an extent they were often not able to maneouvre close to the shore.   

August 21, 1863 (Sunday): Standoff on the Rappahannock

General George Gordon Meade

AUGUST 21, 1863-10 a. m.
(Received 12. 15 p. m.)
Major-General HALLECK:
    The movements of the enemy in the vicinity of Fredericksburg and United States Ford seem to have changed yesterday. My cavalry reported the enemy's pickets opposite Falmouth as being materially reduced in numbers and the men very quiet, refusing to talk. At the same time clouds of dust of considerable length were noticed on the roads leading south from Fredericksburg. A large force of cavalry, which had been near United States Ford, were believed to have moved up the river.    Whether these different movements are due to an abandonment of the proposed or suspected movements on my left flank, or whether this movement on the part of the enemy was in reality only a demonstration to draw me down to Falmouth, or whether they ascertained that I was apprised of it and prepared, are all questions the future only can solve.
    From scouts and other sources it is reported that a body of a cavalry have gone into the valley with a view to turning my right flank. My own idea is that Lee is puzzled to account for my inaction. The Richmond journals of the 19th positively assert I am falling back, object unknown. Deserters say they believe I am about transferring my army to the Peninsula, but our own journals, I regret to see, state that I am falling back. Under this conviction it is not unlikely that Lee may make some demonstration to ascertain whether I am or am not falling back,and if he believes I have been materially weakened (and he only has to read our journals to come to that conclusion), he may attempt to compel me to retire by turning one of my flanks.
    I shall endeavor, by the disposition of my cavalry, to be apprised at the earliest moment of any such movement. The necessity of employing my cavalry on both flanks and watching my rear, at such distances from depots and supplies, causes the services to be as hard upon this branch of the army as when in active operations. I have therefore to hope that every effort will be continued, as I know heretofore has been exerted, to keep my cavalry up to the maximum standard.
    I attach no importance to the report, by Harper's Ferry, that Lee is concentrating at Fredericksburg preparatory to falling back on Richmond. I do not believe he will fall back until I advance, unless he really believes I am transferring to the Peninsula, when, of course, he will endeavor to get there in advance, and this may be the cause of the movement reported yesterday as being south of Fredericksburg. I shall await events in my present position unless otherwise ordered.

     GEO. G. MEADE,
     Major-General, Commanding.

Official Records, Series I., Vol. 29, Part 2, Pages 82-83.

After Gettysburg the tactical situation remained much the same.  Lee was near Fredericksburg, Meade opposite him at Falmouth, and the Union maintained a small force on the Peninsula.  The objective of the Union command should have been to draw Lee back towards Richmond with as little fighting as possible, by strengthening the forces on the Peninsula.  But even with the draft there was still a fear of not having sufficient forces to cover a threat to Washington.  And so the status quo was maintained. 

Monday, August 19, 2013

August 20, 1863 (Saturday): Battered Fort Sumter

Fort Sumter

SUMTER, August 20, 1863.
    MAJOR: Since 1 p. m. yesterday the eastern half of gorge scarp has been falling away from arches. Three are now partially uncovered; before noon there will be four with their loading above and filling below. The rubbish in falling is piled up to level of window sills second story, or about 15 feet high; we may count upon its covering, when all down, to a height of 20 feet, upon which I can drop sand-bags from ramparts at night, and make lower story of this, as well as western half, secure from battering. The demolition of these rampart arches and piers, with filling of rooms, will occupy at least one week longer. The gorge arches to west of and over sally-port are now nearly covered from fire by mass of sand-bags and rubbish. I think we may count on the prolonged stability of these, together with their loading above and filling below, thus securing, longer than I can estimate, the safety of western magazine. East magazine can stand battering also a week, but as no sand-bag revetment can be used there, it will have to be given up. Last night worked on hospital traversing, filling tightly between sand and under side of arches, in two most exposed rooms of east half gorge, and enlarging re-enforce of west magazine.
     Respectfully, &c.,

     First Lieutenant of Engineers.

Official Records, Series I., Vol. 28, Part 1, Page 663.

Ironically, the battering taken by Fort Sumter was making it all the more formidable, as debris was used to reenforce the walls which remained standing.  Originally a two story structure, by the end of the war it was down to one level with debris used to build up somewhat beyond that in certain portions.

August 19, 1863 (Friday): Horse Thieves and Land Mines

General Gabriel Rains

August 19, 1863.
Honorable JAMES A. SEDDON,
Decretary of War:
    SIR: In a conversation with Major Mosby, the partisan leader, I suggested to him the use of Rains' percussion torpedoes on the Orange and Alexandria Railroad. He cordially approved of the suggestion, and requested me to write to you for a supply of the explosives in question. If, therefore, you concur with us in thinking that much damage may be done to the enemy by means of these bombs placed beneath the rails of that particular road, which is used exclusively for the transportation of troops and army supplies, you will confer a favor upon Major Mosby by ordering him to be supplied with them immediately.
   While writing, I take occasion to ask another favor of the Department, which is, to revoke the commission to raise a company, which, on my application, was granted some three months ago to Edward P. Castleman, of Clarke County. I do this also at Mosby's request, as I find from him tha Castlemen's conduct is not what I thought it would be when I recommended him to you for a command. He has not succeeded in raising a company, has only some 20 men under him, has failed to report to Mosby as he promised to do, and in the exercise of his own independent will has been committing depredations and taking horses from our own citizens. If Castleman's commission, as I presume it is a contingent one, be revoke, those with him can be added to our own army as conscripts. No news here. All quiet along the lines in front.
    I have the honor to be, most respectfully, your obedient servant,

    A. R. BOTELER.

 P. S.- General Stuart suggests that some one acquainted with the use of the torpedoes be sent up    with them, as they are dangerous things in unskillful hands.

Official Records, Series I., Vol. 29, Part 2, Page 653.

"Torpedoes" were actually forerunners of the modern land mine and were considered by many in both armies to be outside the bounds of civilized warfare.  It does not appear Mosby put them to any extensive use.  Boteler, the Governor of Virginia, appears here to have had second thoughts about a man he believed would be a good partisan officer, but appears to have been an even better horse thief. 

August 18, 1863 (Thursday): Mounted Infantry, Mule

Washington City, August 18, 1863.
Honorable E. M. STANTON, Secretary of War:
     SIR: I have to acknowledge the receipt of your letter of yesterday, calling for report upon the practicability of furnishing 5,000 mules for the purpose of mounting infantry in General Rosecran's army, the mules to be of large size, suitable for such service, with an estimate of the probable expense and the time within which they can be furnished. Judging from the late propositions for sale of mules to the Department, I believe it to be practicable, and I estimate that 5,000 mules, suitable for the purpose required, to be not less than 14 1/2 hands in height, could be procured by contract, delivered at Louisville or other convenient point in Kentucky, at $125 each. The time required would probably be six weeks from the opening of the bids; the cost, about $625,000.
      I am, very respectfully, your obedient servant,

     M. C. MEIGS, 


AUGUST 18, 1863.
     The Quartermaster-General is directed to purchase the mules within mentioned as speedily as practicable.

     Secretary of War.

Official Records, Series I., Vol. 30, Part 3, Page 71.

At times during the western campaigns Rosecrans would mount infantry on mules.  Never to the extent of the requisition here, but often enough to be noted on a number of occasions throughout the war.  Even the famous Wilder's mounted infantry unit would include in its number some riding mules.  For expeditionary work they proved to be of admirable endurance and carrying capacity.

August 17, 1863 (Wednesday): A Hard Day's Work In Charleston Harbor

Image by Cook, purportedly of shell exploding inside Fort Sumter from September 1863. (

MORRIS ISLAND, August 17, 1863-1.15 p.m.
     What do you think of the morning's work?


OFF MORRIS ISLAND, August 17, 1863-1.40 p.m.
     Sumter seems greatly damaged. What do you think?


MORRIS ISLAND, August 17, 1863-2 p.m.
    Are your monitors out of action for the day, or will they go in again soon?


OFF MORRIS ISLAND, August 17, 1863-2.15 p.m.
    If Wagner opens and disturbs you, the monitors will run up and silence her again, as that is what I understand you wish.


MORRIS ISLAND, August 17, 1863-2.30 p.m.
    One of my officers reports the enemy mounting a heavy gun on the sea face of Fort Wagner.


MORRIS ISLAND, August 17, 1863-2.50 p.m.
     I am satisfied with the firing thus far. The gorge wall is covered with shot holes.


MORRIS ISLAND, August 17, 1863-10.50 p.m.
     If the enemy expect to save Sumter, they will try a sortie from Wagner in the morning. Can you get any monitors in quite early for general operations? I propose the same programme for to-morrow that we had to-day.


Official Records, Series I., Vol. 28, Part 2, Page 45.

Batteries were put in place on the 17th on Morris Island which bombarded Fort Sumter for six straight days to no avail.  Badly battered, the scene of the war's opening shots held out against massive naval and land shelling.


August 16, 1863 (Tuesday): Nothing of Interest

Colonel Edward Francis Winslow

August 16, 1863.
Colonel RAWLINS,
    Have just heard from Colonel Winslow. He was at Yazoo City on Thursday, but found no boat or troops. He started on the next day for Grenada. A party returned, but saw or heard nothing of interest.

      W. T. SHERMAN,

Official Records, Series I., Vol. 30, Part 3, Page 46.

The true history of the war includes many periods where nothing much happened.  Long spells of picket duty often produced little beyond reports such as this one.  And many small actions were fought far from the battle fields we visit today in places little noted or remembered  But for the veterans they all made up the fabric of their service and no doubt even uneventful patrols produced stories often retold after the war.  Winslow, who saw nothing of interest, was a successful railroad executive after the war.

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

August 15, 1863 (Monday): Arming the Cavalry

LeMat Pistol (

August 15, 1863.
Major General J. E. B. STUART,
Commanding Cavalry Division:
   GENERAL: In reply to your different communications on the subject of the deficiency of good arms in the cavalry, I have to say that I have sent Colonel Baldwin to Richmond to see what can be done there. I have also issued an order that the infantry arms be thoroughly inspected, so as to obtain all the arms from among them which are better adapted for the cavalry service. There are many difficulties, however, in the way of arming the cavalry thoroughly, and keeping it in that condition. Few cavalry arms are imported, and those manufactured in the Confederacy are generally rejected, I fear thare is great carelessness, too, in the preservation of arms in the whole army. Company and regimental officers do not hold their men to sufficient responsibility. Men who leave the camp on furlough should be compelled to turn in their arms and accouterments to the ordnance sergeant or brigade ordnance officer. Where infantry arms have been issued to the cavalry, it is stated that they have either been turned in or thrown away in nine cases out of ten. Before the army went into Maryland, 2,000 Austrian rifles were sent to Culpeper Court-House. Of these, very few were issued to the men, and after the fight at Brandy Station, nearly all that had been issued were returned or thrown away. Recently 600 Enfield rifles and Mississippi rifles were sent to Cupeper for the cavalry division. The brigade ordnance officer declined to receive them, saying the men would not take them.
From the nature of the cavalry service, it is almost impossible for the ordnance officers to enforce the rules of the Deppartment. regimental and company commanders should be held to rigid account, and be required to make frequent returns. Where an arm or accouterment is missing and not properly accounted for, the soldier should not only be charged with it, but military punishment should be inflicted.
    Colonel Baldwin has ordered blank forms for cavalry armament returns to be prepared, which will be issued to every company commander in the division. To-day he reports having forwarded 220 Enfield rifles, and between 400 and 500 Sharp's carbines, with some accouterments, ammunition, &c.; this on yesterday.
    I think your dismounted men should be speedily organized, and thoroughly drilled as infantry, and armend to be uesrd as infantry, until they can be mounted.
     Your letter of August 14. with inclosed dispatches, was received, I thank you for the information of the enemy's position which it contains.
     Respectfully, &c.,

      R. E. LEE,

Official Records Series I., Vol. 29, Part 2, Page 648.

The myriad of weapons of various descriptions and caliber in the Army of Northern Virginia were an armorer's nightmare.  There was, moreover, in the cavalry a disdain for weapons not specially suited for that arm of the service.

August 14, 1863 (Saturday): Rumors of Raids

Union Encampment (National Archives)

August 14, 1863-4. 30 p. m.
Major-General MEADE,
Commanding Army of the Potomac, War Dept., Washington:
     The following report* is sent at the request of Major-General Pleasonton, who urges that it may be sent to General Meade immediately, so "that he may authorize a change in the present disposition of the cavalry as well as other corps. "
This is not the opinion of Major-General Slocum, nor mine, excepting partially in respect to the Cavalry Corps. I can get nothing from Watery Mountain signal officer, although I have directed observations to be made in reference to this report and made repeated inquiries. Will keep you advised.

     Major-General, Chief of Staff.

August 14, 1863.
Major General GEORGE G. MEADE,
     The following copy of a letter just received by me from General Williams is sent as corroboration of the dispatch transmitted 4. 30 p. m.:

August 9, 1863.
    DEAR BROTHER: A rebel raid on a large scale is intended through this section within a week or two. I have this information a way that I consider reliable. It came from an officer in Stuart's cavalry, who, I think, has been stopping at Fairfax Court-House with his wife for some days, and left a day or two ago. It will probably come from Fredericksburg, by way of Dumfries and Occoquan, and strike the railroad at this point, with intention to destroy it to Manassas. Mosby, I think, is gone, as it was getting rather hot for him, but he has gained all the information desired of the positive strength of the forces guarding the railroads. Nothing can be easier than for 5,000 or 6,000 cavalry to sweep around Meade's army and gobble up the small forces along this road, destroy a large amount of stores at the various points, cars, locomotives, &c., and tear up the railroad itself, so as to take weeks to repair it, and compel Meade to detach a large force to defend it. Would it not be best to give General Heintzelman this information?


August 14, 1863-7. 15 p. m. (Received 7. 30 p. m.)
Major-General HUMPHREYS,
Chief of Staff:
    GENERAL: Your dispatch of 7 p. m. received. Am I authorized to concentrate all the cavalry not on duty as picket guards? The commands are so scattered that it will take some time to concentrate any portion of them.
     Very respectfully,

     Major-General, Commanding.
*Not found.

Official Records Series I., Vol. 29, Part 2, Page 44.

Even though the Union cavalry was rapidly gaining equal footing with its Confederate counterparts  Stuart and his troops were still a factor to be reckoned into the planning of Union officers.  In this instance it is possible, if not probable, there was no more behind the report than speculation.  It was always the goal of Stuart to break up Union lines of communication so such speculation always carried a ring of truth whether any plan was actually underway. 

Monday, August 12, 2013

August 13, 1863 (Friday): A Bounty On A Ship

USS New Ironsides

CHARLESTON, August 13, 1863.
[General G. T. BEAUREGARD:]
    MY DEAR SIR: Understanding that several projects are on foot to destroy the Ironsides, I take the liberty of saying to you (should the parties come before you) that I am authorized by my copartners to offer $100,000 for them and myself and any party who will sink or destroy the Ironsides or the Wabash, and $50,000 if one of the monitors is destroyed. It may be of service, this offer, and I take the liberty to write you this note.
    Yours, truly,


Official Records, Series I., Vol. 28, Part 2, Page 280.

Fraser ran a cotton brokerage in Charleston, his interest in the matter being slanted a great deal toward the financial end of the equation.  The New Ironsides saw extensive combat during the war.  It was a wooden hulled ship covered in iron plating and had both steam and sail power capabilities.  There was one successful attack on the ship by a submersible, the CSS David, but the attack did not cause sufficient damage to take the New Ironsides off the line.  After the war the ship was destroyed in a fire caused by an unlit stove.

Sunday, August 11, 2013

August 12, 1863 (Thursday): Fort Sumter Two Years On

Stereoscopic Image of Interior of Fort Sumter

Charleston, S. C., August 12, 1863.
Brigadier General R. S. RIPLEY,
Commanding First Military District:
    GENERAL: Five 8-inch naval shell guns were originally ordered from Fort Sumter to Battery Cheves, but one of them was afterward directed to be placed in Battery Haskell, where it is much needed, but is not there as yet, it is said. Please look to this matter.
    The further constructions of all works for defense of Fort Sumter are placed under your charge, a special order to that effect having been issued.
    Will it not be advisable to use barges and boats as much as possible in the transportation of sand-bags from the several points where they are filled? A large of these barges Major Echols has been directed to transfer to quartermaster's department. We must use our means of transportation with the utmost skill and energy, to make it in any way adequate to our wants in the emergency.
    Now that you have the direct charge of the works at Fort Sumter, you can arrange that matter for the accommodation of laborers.
    Respectfully, your obedient servant,

    Chief of Staff.

Official Records, Series I., Vol. 28, Part 2, Page 225.

Two years and 4 months earlier, Beauregard and Jordan looked out at Fort Sumter for an attacker's perspective.  Twenty-eight months in, Fort Sumter remained a focal point of the war, in some ways standing as defiantly as at war's commencement.

August 11, 1863 (Wednesday): Lee's Resignation Declined

(Lee Statue, Monument Avenue) DGS.Va.Gov.

August 11, 1863.
General R. E. LEE,
Commanding Army of Northern Virginia:
    Yours of 8th instant has been received. I am glad that you concur so entirely with me as to the want of our county in this trying hour, and am happy to add that after the first depression consequent upon our disaster in the west, indication have appeared that our people will exhibit that fortitude which we agree in beliieving is alone needful secure ultimate success.
    It well became Sidney Johnston, when overwhelkmed by a senseless clamor, to admit the rule that success is the test of merit;* and yet there has been nothing which I have found to require a greater effort of patience than to bear the criticisms of the ignorant, who pronounce everything a failure which does not equal their expectations or desires, and can see no good result which is not in the line of their own imaginings. I admit the propriety of your conclusions, that an officer who loses the confidence of his troops should have his position changed, whatever may be his ability, but when I rear the sentence I was not at all prepared for the application you were about to make. Expressions of discontent in the public journals furnish but little evidence of the sentiment of an army. I wish it were otherwise, even though all the abuse of myself should be accepted as the results of honest observation. I say I wish I could feel that the public joblic journals were not generally partisan nor venal.
    Were you capable of stooping to it, you could easily surround yourself with those who would fill the press with your laudations, and seek to exalt you for what you had not done, rather than detract from the achievements which will make you and your army the subject of history and object of the world's admiration for generations to come.
    I am truly sorry to know that you still feel the effects of the illness you suffered last spring, and can readily understand the embarrassments you experience in using the eyes of others, having been so much accustomed to make your own reconnaissances. Practice will, however, do much to relieve that embarrassment, and the minute knowledge of the country which you have acquired will render you less dependent for topographical information.

    But suppose, my dear friend, that I were to admit, with all their implications, the points which you present, where am I to find that new commander who is to possess the greater ability which you believe to be required? I do not doubt the readiness with which you would give way to one who could accomplish all that you have wished, and you will do me the justice to believe that if Providence should kindly offer such a person for our use, I would not hesitate to avail of his services.
    My sight is not sufficiently penetrating to discover such hidden merit, if it exists, and I have but used to you the language of sober earnestness when I have impressed upon you the propriety of avoiding all unnecessary exposure to danger, because I felt our country could not bear to lose you. To ask me to substitute you by some one in my judgment more fit to command, or who would possess more of the confidence oh the army, or of the reflecting men of the country, is to demand an impossibility.
    It only remains for me hope that you will take all possible care of yourself, that your health and strength may be entirely restored, and that the Lord will preserve you for the important duties devolved upon you in the struggle of our suffering country for the independence which we have engaged in war to maintain.
    As ever, very respectfully and truly, yours,


Official Records, Series I., Vol. 29, Part 2, Pages 639-640.

Davis acknowledges the central flaw in Lee's offer to resign.  Where was there one to take his place? 

August 10, 1863 (Tuesday): Anti-War Men In Terre Haute

Camp Morton

Terre Haute, August 10, 1863.
Acting Assistant Provost-Marshal-General:
    SIR: The active movements of the anti-war men in this district have recently caused me to institute inquiry as to their designs, and while I cannot say that I actually believe that they are getting ready to resist the draft, yet there are many circumstances which point strongly in that direction. They hold meetings nearly every day, and the burthen of all their speeches, as reported to me, is denunciation of the conscription laws, &c. In private they swear they will resist, and their orators all unite in counseling them to arm themselves to "defend their rights." They are making extraordinary exertions to procure arms, and an effort was made there to-day to buy fifty sabers and a number of guns by persons belonging to them. Now, it seems to me that something ought to be done to arrest this state of things. Of course I cannot suggest that is best, but I hope you will bring it to the notice of General Willcox, and let him apply the remedy. Would it not be well to suspend the sale of arms entirely until after the draft? It strikes me that it would. At all events, there should be a man assigned especially to the duty of examining all the freight shipped from Indianapolis to see that no arms are sent. They can purchase them there or at Cincinnati. You recollect that I called your attention to some guns purchased a week or so ago for Parke County. I looked out for them and had several detectives at work, yet I understand they got them, and of course they were shipped at Indianapolis. Please call the attention of General W[illcox] to the matter, for it is important. These men must mean something, and the last few days have developed matters which cause me to suspect them very much.
     I have the honor to be, &c.,

      R. W. THOMPSON,

Official Records, Series III., Vol. 3, Part 1, Page 661.

The war was prosecuted with general public backing, but in some areas there was more support than others.  The draft of 1863 was unpopular in many quarters and there were fears of small scale insurrections. 

Thursday, August 8, 2013

August 9, 1863 (Monday): Meade Corrects the Record

Major-General PLEASONTON, Chief of Cavalry.
August 9, 1863.
   GENERAL: My attention has been called to what purports to be an official dispatch of General R. E. Lee, *commanding Confederate Army, to General S. Cooper, Adjutant and Inspector General, denying the accuracy of my telegram to you of July 14, announcing the result of the cavalry affair at Falling Waters. I have delayed taking any notice of General Lee's report until the return of Brigadier-General Kilpatrick (absent to leave), who commanded the cavalry engaged on the occasion referred to, and on whose report from the field my telegram was based. I now inclose the official report of Brigadier-General Kilpatrick, made after his attention had been called to General Lee's report. You will see that he reiterates and confirms all that my dispatch averred, and proves most conclusively that General Lee has been deceived by his subordinates, or he would never, in the face of the facts now alleged, have made in error in stating that the body of General Pettigrew was left in our hands, although I would not communicate that fact until an officer from the field reported to me he had seen the body. It is now ascertained from the Richmond papers that General Pettigrew, though mortally wounded in the affair, was taken to Winchester, where he subsequently died. The three battle-flags captured on this occasion and sent to Washington belonged to the Fortieth, Forty-seventh, and Fifty-fifth Virginia Regiments(infantry). General Lee will surely acknowledge these were not left in the hands of "stragglers sleeping in barns. "In conclusion, I desire, if it meets with your approval, that this communication, together with General Kilpatrick's report, may be published, that justice may be done to all parties concerned, and the truth of history vindicated.
     Respectfully, yours,

     GEO. G. MEADE,
     Major-General, Commanding.

*Copy, taken from General Lee's letter-book, attached. 

Official Records, Series I., Vol. 27, Part 1, Page 989.

Pettigrew was an accomplished soldier from North Carolina who fought his division well at Gettysburg and participated in Pickett's charge.  In the retreat his units were among the last on the north side of the Potomac at Falling Waters, where he was mortally wounded at close range while directing his troops.  Meade here corrects erroneous information in reports by Lee.


Wednesday, August 7, 2013

August 8, 1863 (Sunday): Lee Offers to Resign

General Robert E. Lee

CAMP ORANGE, August 8, 1863.
President of the Confederate States:
    Mr. PRESIDENT: Your letters of July 28 and August 2 have been received, and I have waited for a leisure hour to reply, but I fear that will never come. I am extremely obliged to you for the attention given to the wants of this army, and the efforts made to supply them. Our absentees are returning, and I hope the earnest and beautiful appeal made to the country in your proclamation may stir up the virtue of the whole people, and that they may see their duty and perform it. Nothing is wanted but that their fortitude should equal their bravery to insure the success of our cause. We must expect reverses, even defeats. They are sent to teach us wisdom and prudence, to call forth greater energies, and to prevent our falling into greater disasters. Our people have only to be true and united, to bear manfully the misfortunes incident to war, and all will come right in the end.
    I know how prone we are to censure and how ready to blame others for the non-fulfillment of our expectations. This is unbecoming in a generous people, and I grieve to see its expression. The general remedy for the want of success in a military commander is his removal. This is natural, and, in many instances, proper. For, no matter what may be the ability of the officer, if he loses the confidence of his troops disaster must sooner or later ensue.
    I have been prompted by these reflections more than once since my return from Pennsylvania to propose to Your Excellency the propriety of selecting another commander for this army. I have seen and heard of expression of discontent in the public journals at the result of the expedition. I do not know how far this feeling extends in the army. My brother officers have been too kind to report it, and so far the troops have been too generous to exhibit it. It is fair, however, to suppose that it does exist, and success is so necessary to us that nothing should be risked to secure it. I therefore, in all sincerity, request Your Excellency to take measures to supply my place. I do this with the more earnestness because no one is more aware than myself of my inability for the duties of my position. I cannot even accomplish what I myself desire. How can I fulfill the expectations of others? In addition I sensibly feel the growing failure of my bodily strength. I have not yet removed from the attack I experienced the past spring. I am becoming more and more incapable of exertion, and am thus prevented from making the personal examinations and giving the personal supervision to the operations in the field which I feel to be necessary. I am so dull that in making use of the eyes of others I am frequently misled. Everything, therefore, points to the advantages to be derived from a new commander, and I the more anxiously urge the matter upon Your Excellency from my belief that a younger and abler man than myself can readily be attained. I know that he will have as gallant and brave an army as ever existed to second his efforts, and it would be the happiest day of my life to see at its head a worthy leader - one that would accomplish more than I could perform and all that I have wished. I hope Your Excellency will attribute my request to the true reason, the desire to serve my country, and to do all in my power to insure the success of her righteous cause.
     I have no complaints to make of any one but myself. I have received nothing but kindness from those above me, and the most considerate attention from my comrades and companions in arms. To Your Excellency I am specially indebted for uniform kindness and consideration. You have done everything in your power to aid me in the work committed to my charge, without omitting anything to promote the general welfare. I pray that your efforts may at length be crowned with success, and that you may long live to enjoy the thanks of a grateful people.*
     With sentiments of great esteem, I am, very respectfully and truly, yours,

     R. E. LEE,

*For reply, see VOL. XXIX, Part II, p. 639. 

Official Records, Series I., Vol. 52, Part 1, Page 753.

Lee's health had been declining and the strains of command were weighing heavily upon him.  He should have been, and likely was, aware of the esteem in which he was held by his troops.  But he seems to have fallen into a sort of melancholy.  Who he believed the younger and more able commander was can only be conjectured.  As Davis knew, no such potential commander existed.

August 7, 1863 (Saturday): Moving an Army

Union Wagons at Petersburg

Washington, D. C., August 7, 1863
Major-General MEADE,
Commanding Army of the Potomac:
    GENERAL: I inclose herewith a copy of General Orders, Numbers 274, in advance of printed copies. This order is based on that of General Taylor in moving from the Rio Grande on Monterey, but the allowance is more liberal, and yet, I have no doubt, many will consider it niggardly, being so much below that formerly permitted to the Army of the Potomac. I am satisfied, however, from the experience of General Grant in Mississippi, and of General West in his march from California to New Mexico, that there is no necessity for the large trains heretofore allowed, and for which there is no parallel in European warfare. I am satisfied, moreover, that when our armies become accustomed to this allowance, it may be still further reduced without any serious inconvenience.
    One thing is certain, we must reduce our transportation or give up all idea of competing with the enemy in the field. Napoleon very correctly estimated the effective strength of an army by its numbers multiplied by its mobility; that is, 10,000 men who could march 20 miles per day as equal to 20,000 men who could march only 10 miles per day. Unless we an reduce our impedimenta very considerably, we can equal the enemy only by a vast superiority in numbers.
    While your army is inactive this matter should be thoroughly studied, and the land transportation reduced to a much lower standard. By comparison with other armies now in the field, and our armies in the Mexican war, as well as with European armies in campaign. I am satisfied a very great reduction can be made in the transportation of the Army of the Potomac, and moreover, until this reduction is actually made, we can expect no decided successes in the field by that army, no matter how much heroic bravery it may exhibit on the battle-field. I understand from General Ingalls that a very great reduction of transportation has been made within the last month.
     During this extreme heat, troops and animals should be moved as little as possible.
      Very respectfully, your obedient servant,

      H. W. HALLECK,

Official Records, Series I., Vol. 29, Part 2, Page 13.

Logistical insufficiency is a problem, but so is excess.  The Army of the Potomac was so well supplied with wagons and supplies it was not able to move as rapidly as the Army of Northern Virginia.  Halleck applies one of Napoleon's maxims to the situation and comes to a conclusion which the remainder of the war would bear out.  Mobility was more to be desired than comfort. 

Monday, August 5, 2013

August 6, 1863 (Friday): "The rascals ate some of our bread."

Colonel Wirt Adams

Vicksburg, MISS., August 6, 1863.
     I have directed General Hurlbut to send a force from Memphis to meet one from here, to collect rolling-stock on the Central and Memphis roads, and repair roads, and take it to Memphis, if possible. * Start your cavalry on Monday next. Let them collect the stock on the Central road and get it on to the Memphis road; then push north until they meet the party from Memphis. If the whole force is necessary for security, the cavalry from here can remain with that from Memphis until they get through, then return by the river. Impress upon the men the importance of going through the State in an orderly manner, abstaining from taking anything not absolutely necessary for their subsistence whilst traveling. They should try to create as favorable an impression as possible upon the people, and advise them, if it will do any good, to make efforts to have law and order established within the Union. It should be our policy now to make as favorable an impression upon the people of the State as possible.

     U. S. GRANT.

August 6, 1863.
General GRANT:
     Your instructions about the cavalry expedition are received. It will give me excessive pleasure to instruct the cavalry as you direct, for the policy you point our meets every wish of my heart. I have seen gentlemen from Clinton.
    Some of Wirt Adams' cavalry are about Jackson, and the rascals ate some of our bread, under protest of the people. It is said Johnston is at Morton, at a station east of Brandon, his cavalry near Brandon. Why he stays there, I can't imagine. His advance had got out to Chunkey's 68 [miles] from Jackson, but, it seems, have moved back this way. My informant says he thinks Johnston hates to give up Mississippi, and remains as near Jackson as he has railroad, but his men are dispirited, and are deserting.

      W. T. SHERMAN.

Official Records, Series I., Vol. 24, Part 3, Page 578.

Grant had Vicksburg and now he wanted to secure supply lines to move out into Mississippi.  After the fall of Vicksburg Adams troops combine with remnants of another regiment to form a semi-autonomous command which frequently skirmished with Union forces.  

Sunday, August 4, 2013

August 5, 1863 (Thursday): Western Combinations

General Samuel Cooper

CHATTANOOGA, TENN., August 5, 1863.
General J. E. JOHNSTON,
Morton, Miss.:
    DEAR GENERAL: On the 2nd instant I received this dispatch from General Cooper: "If we can spare most of Johnston's army temporarily to re-enforce you, can you fight the enemy?" Hardee had previously dispatched that he was ordered to be ready to re-enforce me. Knowing nothing definite of your means, I was utterly unable to answer, and therefore asked the conference to benefit by your advice, and requiest you to take the command in case we determined on the move. Before receiving your reply I learned from Gneeral Hardee, through General Polk, what your efective force was, and promptly informed the Department that the means would be entirely inadequate to enable me to seek the enemy beyond the mountains. I inclose a copy of my letter to General Cooper.  To "fight the enemy" is a very simple operation when you have the means and can get at him. But with less than half his strength, and a large river and 50 to 100 miles of rugged, sterile mountain, destitute even of vegetation, between you and him, with our limited commissariat, the simple fighting would be a refreshing recreation. This being the only conclusion at which I can arrive, the defensive seems to be our only alternative, and that is a sad one.
     Very truly and faithfully, yours,


Official Records, Series I., Vol. 52, Part 2, Page 514.

The Confederacy's problem in the west was the vastness of the area.  It necessitated dividing forces among various armies and departments and then seeking to make combinations so as to attack the Union forces at advantage.  Far too often, the result was the loss of small divisions of the total at some indefensible outpost or other (Forts Henry and Donaldson, Vicksburg).  Logistically, there was also a lack of adequate rail resources to shift men quickly or to maintain supplies.  Beyond this, the nature of the generals sent west was not conducive to offensive operations.  Johnston and Bragg were professionals who had a professional soldiers eye for every deficiency in their forces, but lacked the offensive minded nature of Lee or Jackson.  Cooper was inspector general of the Army, answering only to Davis, and was one of five full generals in the Confederate army.

August 4, 1863 (Wednesday): Pickett's Report Rebuked

Field of Pickett's Charge (

[No date.]
Commanding, &c.:
      GENERAL: You and your men have crowned yourselves with glory' but we have the enemy to fight, and must carefully, at this critical moment, guard against dissensions which the reflections in your report would create. I will, therefore, suggest that you destroy both copy and original, substituting one confined to casualties merely. I hope all will yet be well.
    I am, with respect, your obedient servant,

     R. E. LEE,

Official Records, Series I., Vol. 27, Part 3, Page 1075.

There is no Pickett report on Gettysburg in the Official Records, leading one to believe Pickett never rewrote his report or at the least one was never accepted from him.  It is likely the report would have cast aspersions on the support Pickett's Virginia Division received from North Carolina troops on his left during the advance.  At a time when desertions among North Carolina troops were at epidemic levels and support in the state for the war was waning, this would not do.

Saturday, August 3, 2013

August 3, 1863 (Tuesday): Stuart Reports In

General J. E. B. Stuart

August 3, 1863-9 a. m.
[General R. E. LEE:]
     GENERAL: No change since yesterday perceptible. Scouts were near the bridge last night and report incessant work as if on bridge. The same heavy dust prevails this side of the bridge as yesterday. I am disposed to believe enemy will entertain us with a threat of advance and wait for re-enforcements. The very improbable part of the report of prisoners to General Fitz. Lee is that the Twelfth Corps was moving so secretly. Now, if the Twelfth Corps crosses over here it is very importable that that corps would be taken back for the flank movement. I sent some scouts across below here and some above in addition to those already over. Just heard from Amissville. At least a brigade of cavalry still there. Last night a rumbling of wagons was heard at Beverly all night moving from the direction of Warrenton to Rappahannock bridge. It was not heard to proceed beyond that point. There are no facts on which we can predicate a conclusion yet, but we will watch the enemy. Two notes received this morning. Fitz. Lee will not come while there is any prospect of an advance.
      Most respectfully,

      J. E. B. STUART,

Official Records, Series I., Vol. 52, Part 1, Page 750.

This letter is included not so much for great historical import as for an example of Stuart's role in the Army.  Scouting was a primary role, but he also served an intelligence function, taking in the information and evaluating the likely course of the enemy.  In today's world of satellite technology it is difficult to imagine armies separating after a battle and becoming, to a great extent, lost to each other.  But such often was the case and the danger of a portion of the army being fallen upon by its opponent was very real.  This was the enormous valley of a highly competent cavalry officer like Stuart. 

Thursday, August 1, 2013

August 2, 1863 (Monday): Defending Charleston Harbor

CSS Palmetto State (

Charleston, S. C., August 2, 1863.
Captain J. R. TUCKER,
Commanding C. S. Naval Forces Afloat, Charleston Harbor, S. C.:
    CAPTAIN: In reply to your request for my opinion whether the private steam vessels which have been seized by you "can render more important service by going abroad than by being retained for the defense of the harbor," I have to say, that I am convinced the time for their effective employment for the defense of this harbor is now, in some effort to destroy at night the Ironsides and other iron-clad vessels of the enemy, which are being formidably used for the reduction of our works on Morris Island. If they are not speedily applied to that end, or cannot be with sufficient hope of success to warrant or induce the attempt, but are to be held in the inner harbor, only to be resorted to in the last extremity against iron-clads that shall have overpowered our out-works and reduced or passed Forts Sumter an Moultrie, then I am clearly satisfied their further retention as a means of defense is useless, and that it will be far better to release them at once, as requested by the Quartermaster's Department, to be sent abroad for military supplies.
      Respectfully, your obedient servant,

      General, Commanding.

Official Records, Series I., Vol. 24, Part 3, Page 1070.

At various times the Confederates had a makeshift fleet of as many as 20 vessels in Charleston Harbor.  The vessels alluded to here were medium sized steamers which would not have been very effective in combat against the more powerful Union fleet blockading the harbor.  But they were, unlike the improvised ironclads of the Confederacy, capable of putting to sea and escaping to Europe.  Beauregard wanted them to hazard an attempt on the Union ships, but only if it were done before additional northern ships could be added to the blockade.


August 1, 1863 (Sunday): A Leak Investigation

General Joseph E. Johnston

RICHMOND, VA., August 1, 1863.
General JOSEPH E. Johnston,
Commanding, &c.,:
     SIR: I inclose to you a communication published, as you will observe, in the newspapers.
There is interval evidence that it was written by some one having access to your correspondence, and a copy of a letter written by one of your staff has been exhibited in this city which contains passages so identical with the published communication as to leave little room for doubt as to its origin.
It is needless to say that you are not considered capable of giving countenance to such efforts at laudation of yourself and detraction of others, and the paper is sent to you with the confidence that you will take the proper action in the premises.
     Very respectfully, your most obedient servant.


MORTON, August 11, 1863.
His Excellency the PRESIDENT, Richmond:
    Your letter of the 1st instant and the newspaper article inclosed with it just received. I have neither seen nor heard of it before. My staff officers present know nothing of it. It is clearly based upon information only to be had in my office. It shall be investigated.

     J. E. Johnston.
Official Records, Series I., Vol. 24, Part 3, Page 1070.

Davis and Johnston were never on the best of terms, so it must have been difficult for Johnston to be shown evidence of indiscretion in his professional family.  Beyond that, it represented a breach of security.