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Title: Military Reminiscences of the Civil War, Volume 1 - April 1861-November 1863
Author: Cox, Jacob Dolson, 1828-1900
Language: English
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_Formerly Major-General commanding Twenty-Third Army Corps_




My aim in this book has been to reproduce my own experience in our
Civil War in such a way as to help the reader understand just how
the duties and the problems of that great conflict presented
themselves successively to one man who had an active part in it from
the beginning to the end. In my military service I was so conscious
of the benefit it was to me to get the personal view of men who had
served in our own or other wars, as distinguished from the general
or formal history, that I formed the purpose, soon after peace was
restored, to write such a narrative of my own army life. My
relations to many prominent officers and civilians were such as to
give opportunities for intimate knowledge of their personal
qualities as well as their public conduct. It has seemed to me that
it might be useful to share with others what I thus learned, and to
throw what light I could upon the events and the men of that time.

As I have written historical accounts of some campaigns separately,
it may be proper to say that I have in this book avoided repetition,
and have tried to make the personal narrative supplement and lend
new interest to the more formal story. Some of the earlier chapters
appeared in an abridged form in "Battles and Leaders of the Civil
War," and the closing chapter was read before the Ohio Commandery of
the Loyal Legion. By arrangements courteously made by the Century
Company and the Commandery, these chapters, partly re-written, are
here found in their proper connection.

Though my private memoranda are full enough to give me reasonable
confidence in the accuracy of these reminiscences, I have made it a
duty to test my memory by constant reference to the original
contemporaneous material so abundantly preserved in the government
publication of the Official Records of the Union and Confederate
Armies. Where the series of these records is not given, my
references are to the First Series, with the abbreviation O. R., and
I have preferred to adhere to the official designation of the
volumes in parts, as each volume then includes the documents of a
single campaign.

J. D. C.

NOTE.--The manuscript of this work had been completed by General
Cox, and placed in the hands of the publishers several weeks before
his untimely death at Magnolia, Mass., August 4, 1900. He himself
had read and revised some four hundred pages of the press-work. The
work of reading and revising the remaining proofs and of preparing a
general index for the work was undertaken by the undersigned from a
deep sense of obligation to and loving regard for the author, which
could not find a more fitting expression at this time. No material
changes have been made in text or notes. Citations have been looked
up and references verified with care, yet errors may have crept in,
which his well-known accuracy would have excluded. For all such and
for the imperfections of the index, the undersigned must accept
responsibility, and beg the indulgence of the reader, who will find
in the text itself enough of interest and profit to excuse many





Ohio Senate, April 12--Sumter bombarded--"Glory to God!"--The
surrender--Effect on public sentiment--Call for troops--Politicians
changing front--David Tod--Stephen A. Douglas--The insurrection must
be crushed--Garfield on personal duty--Troops organized by the
States--The militia--Unpreparedness--McClellan at Columbus--Meets
Governor Dennison--Put in command--Our stock of munitions--Making
estimates--McClellan's plan--Camp Jackson--Camp Dennison--Gathering
of the volunteers--Garibaldi uniforms--Officering the troops--Off
for Washington--Scenes in the State Capitol--Governor Dennison's
labors--Young regulars--Scott's policy--Alex. McCook--Orlando
Poe--Not allowed to take state commissions.



Laying out the camp--Rosecrans as engineer--A comfortless
night--Waking to new duties--Floors or no floors for the
huts--Hardee's Tactics--The watersupply--Colonel Tom
Worthington--Joshua Sill--Brigades organized--Bates's
brigade--Schleich's--My own--McClellan's purpose--Division
organization--Garfield disappointed--Camp routine--Instruction and
drill--Camp cookery--Measles--Hospital barn--Sisters of
Charity--Ferment over re-enlistment--Musters by Gordon
Granger--"Food for powder"--Brigade staff--De Villiers--"A Captain
of Calvary"--The "Bloody Tinth"--Almost a row--Summoned to the



Political attitude of West Virginia--Rebels take the
initiative--McClellan ordered to act--Ohio militia cross the
river--The Philippi affair--Significant dates--The vote on
secession--Virginia in the Confederacy--Lee in
command--Topography--The mountain passes--Garnett's army--Rich
Mountain position--McClellan in the field--His forces--Advances
against Garnett--Rosecrans's proposal--His fight on the
mountain--McClellan's inaction--Garnett's retreat--Affair at
Carrick's Ford--Garnett killed--Hill's efforts to intercept--Pegram
in the wilderness--He surrenders--Indirect results
important--McClellan's military and personal traits.



Orders for the Kanawha expedition--The troops and their
quality--Lack of artillery and cavalry--Assembling at
Gallipolis--District of the Kanawha--Numbers of the opposing
forces--Method of advance--Use of steamboats--Advance guards on
river banks--Camp at Thirteen-mile Creek--Night alarm--The river
chutes--Sunken obstructions--Pocotaligo--Affair at
Barboursville--Affair at Scary Creek--Wise's position at Tyler
Mountain--His precipitate retreat--Occupation of
Charleston--Rosecrans succeeds McClellan--Advance toward Gauley
Bridge--Insubordination--The Newspaper Correspondent--Occupation of
Gauley Bridge.



The gate of the Kanawha valley--The wilderness beyond--West Virginia
defences--A romantic post--Chaplain Brown--An adventurous
mission--Chaplain Dubois--"The river path"--Gauley Mount--Colonel
Tompkins's home--Bowie-knives--Truculent resolutions--The
Engineers--Whittlesey, Benham, Wagner--Fortifications--Distant
reconnoissances--Comparison of forces--Dangers to steamboat
communications--Allotment of duties--The Summersville post--Seventh
Ohio at Cross Lanes--Scares and rumors--Robert E. Lee at Valley
Mountain--Floyd and Wise advance--Rosecrans's orders--The Cross
Lanes affair--Major Casement's creditable retreat--Colonel Tyler's
reports--Lieutenant-Colonel Creighton--Quarrels of Wise and
Floyd--Ambushing rebel cavalry--Affair at Boone Court House--New
attack at Gauley Bridge--An incipient mutiny--Sad result--A notable
court-martial--Rosecrans marching toward us--Communications
renewed--Advance toward Lewisburg--Camp Lookout--A private sorrow.



Rosecrans's march to join me--Reaches Cross Lanes--Advance against
Floyd--Engagement at Carnifex Ferry--My advance to Sunday
Road--Conference with Rosecrans--McCook's brigade joins me--Advance
to Camp Lookout--Brigade commanders--Rosecrans's personal
characteristics--Hartsuff--Floyd and Wise again--"Battle of
Bontecou"--Sewell Mountain--The equinoctial--General Schenck
arrives--Rough lodgings--Withdrawal from the mountain--Rear-guard
duties--Major Slemmer of Fort Pickens fame--New positions covering
Gauley Bridge--Floyd at Cotton Mountain--Rosecrans's methods with
private soldiers--Progress in discipline.



Floyd cannonades Gauley Bridge--Effect on Rosecrans--Topography of
Gauley Mount--De Villiers runs the gantlet--Movements of our
forces--Explaining orders--A hard climb on the mountain--In the post
at Gauley Bridge--Moving magazine and telegraph--A balky
mule-team--Ammunition train under fire--Captain Fitch a model
quartermaster--Plans to entrap Floyd--Moving supply trains at
night--Method of working the ferry--Of making flatboats--The Cotton
Mountain affair--Rosecrans dissatisfied with Benham--Vain plans to
reach East Tennessee.



An impracticable country--Movements suspended--Experienced troops
ordered away--My orders from Washington--Rosecrans objects--A
disappointment--Winter organization of the Department--Sifting our
material--Courts-martial--Regimental schools--Drill and picket
duty--A military execution--Effect upon the army--Political
sentiments of the people--Rules of conduct toward them--Case of Mr.
Parks--Mr. Summers--Mr. Patrick--Mr. Lewis Ruffner--Mr.
Doddridge--Mr. B. F. Smith--A house divided against itself--Major
Smith's journal--The contrabands--A fugitive-slave
case--Embarrassments as to military jurisdiction.



High quality of first volunteers--Discipline milder than that of the
regulars--Reasons for the difference--Practical efficiency of the
men--Necessity for sifting the officers--Analysis of their
defects--What is military aptitude?--Diminution of number in
ascending scale--Effect of age--Of former life and
occupation--Embarrassments of a new business--Quick progress of the
right class of young men--Political appointments--Professional
men--Political leaders naturally prominent in a civil war--"Cutting
and trying"--Dishonest methods--An excellent army at the end of a
year--The regulars in 1861--Entrance examinations for West
Point--The curriculum there--Drill and experience--Its
limitations--Problems peculiar to the vast increase of the
army--Ultra-conservatism--Attitude toward the Lincoln
administration--"Point de zêle"--Lack of initiative--Civil work of
army engineers--What is military art?--Opinions of experts--Military
history--European armies in the Crimean War--True
generalship--Anomaly of a double army organization.



Rosecrans's plan of campaign--Approved by McClellan with
modifications--Wagons or pack-mules--Final form of plan--Changes in
commands--McClellan limited to Army of the Potomac--Halleck's
Department of the Mississippi--Frémont's Mountain
Department--Rosecrans superseded--Preparations in the Kanawha
District--Batteaux to supplement steamboats--Light wagons for
mountain work--Frémont's plan--East Tennessee as an objective--The
supply question--Banks in the Shenandoah valley--Milroy's
advance--Combat at McDowell--Banks defeated--Frémont's plans
deranged--Operations in the Kanawha valley--Organization of
brigades--Brigade commanders--Advance to Narrows of New River--The
field telegraph--Concentration of the enemy--Affair at
Princeton--Position at Flat-top Mountain.



A key position--Crook's engagement at Lewisburg--Watching and
scouting--Mountain work--Pope in command--Consolidation of
Departments--Suggestions of our transfer to the East--Pope's Order
No. 11 and Address to the Army--Orders to march across the
mountains--Discussion of them--Changed to route by water and
rail--Ninety-mile march--Logistics--Arriving in Washington--Two
regiments reach Pope--Two sent to Manassas--Jackson captures
Manassas--Railway broken--McClellan at Alexandria--Engagement at
Bull Run Bridge--Ordered to Upton's Hill--Covering
Washington--Listening to the Bull Run battle--Ill news travels fast.



McClellan's visits to my position--Riding the lines--Discussing the
past campaign--The withdrawal from the James--Prophecy--McClellan
and the soldiers--He is in command of the defences--Intricacy of
official relations--Reorganization begun--Pope's army marches
through our works--Meeting of McClellan and Pope--Pope's
characteristics--Undue depreciation of him--The situation when
Halleck was made General-in-Chief--Pope's part in it--Reasons for
dislike on the part of the Potomac Army--McClellan's secret
service--Deceptive information of the enemy's force--Information
from prisoners and citizens--Effects of McClellan's illusion as to
Lee's strength--Halleck's previous career--Did he intend to take
command in the field?--His abdication of the field command--The
necessity for a union of forces in Virginia--McClellan's inaction
was Lee's opportunity--Slow transfer of the Army of the
Potomac--Halleck burdened with subordinate's work--Burnside twice
declines the command--It is given to McClellan--Pope relieved--Other
changes in organization--Consolidation--New campaign begun.



March through Washington--Reporting to Burnside--The Ninth
Corps--Burnside's personal qualities--To Leesboro--Straggling--Lee's
army at Frederick--Our deliberate advance--Reno at New Market--The
march past--Reno and Hayes--Camp gossip--Occupation of
Frederick--Affair with Hampton's cavalry--Crossing Catoctin
Mountain--The valley and South Mountain--Lee's order found--Division
of his army--Jackson at Harper's Ferry--Supporting Pleasonton's
reconnoissance--Meeting Colonel Moor--An involuntary
warning--Kanawha Division's advance--Opening of the battle--Carrying
the mountain crest--The morning fight--Lull at noon--Arrival of
supports--Battle renewed--Final success--Death of Reno--Hooker's
battle on the right--His report--Burnside's comments--Franklin's
engagement at Crampton's Gap.



Lee's plan of invasion--Changed by McClellan's advance--The position
at Sharpsburg--Our routes of march--At the Antietam--McClellan
reconnoitring--Lee striving to concentrate--Our delays--Tuesday's
quiet--Hooker's evening march--The Ninth Corps command--Changing our
positions--McClellan's plan of battle--Hooker's evening
skirmish--Mansfield goes to support Hooker--Confederate
positions--Jackson arrives--McLaws and Walker reach the field--Their



Hooker astir early--The field near the Dunker Church--Artillery
combat--Positions of Hooker's divisions--Rocky ledges in the
woods--Advance of Doubleday through Miller's orchard and
garden--Enemy's fire from West Wood--They rush for Gibbon's
battery--Repulse--Advance of Patrick's brigade--Fierce fighting
along the turnpike--Ricketts's division in the East Wood--Fresh
effort of Meade's division in the centre--A lull in the
battle--Mansfield's corps reaches the field--Conflicting opinions as
to the hour--Mansfield killed--Command devolves on Williams--Advance
through East Wood--Hooker wounded--Meade in command of the corps--It
withdraws--Greene's division reaches the Dunker Church--Crawford's
in the East Wood--Terrible effects on the Confederates--Sumner's
corps coming up--Its formation--It moves on the Dunker Church from
the east--Divergence of the divisions--Sedgwick's passes to right of
Greene--Attacked in flank and broken--Rallying at the Poffenberger
hill--Twelfth Corps hanging on near the church--Advance of French's
division--Richardson follows later--Bloody Lane reached--The Piper
house--Franklin's corps arrives--Charge of Irwin's brigade.



Ninth Corps positions near Antietam Creek--Rodman's division at
lower ford--Sturgis's at the bridge--Burnside's headquarters on the
field--View from his place of the battle on the right--French's
fight--An exploding caisson--Our orders to attack--The hour--Crisis
of the battle--Discussion of the sequence of events--The Burnside
bridge--Exposed approach--Enfiladed by enemy's
artillery--Disposition of enemy's troops--His position very
strong--Importance of Rodman's movement by the ford--The fight at
the bridge--Repulse--Fresh efforts--Tactics of the
assault--Success--Formation on further bank--Bringing up
ammunition--Willcox relieves Sturgis--The latter now in
support--Advance against Sharpsburg--Fierce combat--Edge of the town
reached--Rodman's advance on the left--A. P. Hill's Confederate
division arrives from Harper's Ferry--Attacks Rodman's flank--A raw
regiment breaks--The line retires--Sturgis comes into the
gap--Defensive position taken and held--Enemy's assaults
repulsed--Troops sleeping on their arms--McClellan's reserve--Other
troops not used--McClellan's idea of Lee's force and plans--Lee's
retreat--The terrible casualty lists.



Meeting Colonel Key--His changes of opinion--His relations to
McClellan--Governor Dennison's influence--McClellan's attitude
toward Lincoln--Burnside's position--The Harrison Landing
letter--Compared with Lincoln's views--Probable intent of the
letter--Incident at McClellan's headquarters--John W.
Garrett--Emancipation Proclamation--An after-dinner discussion of
it--Contrary influences--Frank advice--Burnside and John
Cochrane--General Order 163--Lincoln's visit to camp--Riding the
field--A review--Lincoln's desire for continuing the
campaign--McClellan's hesitation--His tactics of discussion--His
exaggeration of difficulties--Effect on his army--Disillusion a slow
process--Lee's army not better than Johnston's--Work done by our
Western army--Difference in morale--An army rarely bolder than its
leader--Correspondence between Halleck and McClellan--Lincoln's
remarkable letter on the campaign--The army moves on November 2--Lee
regains the line covering Richmond--McClellan relieved--Burnside in



Intimacy of McClellan and Burnside--Private letters in the official
files--Burnside's mediation--His self-forgetful devotion--The
movement to join Pope--Burnside forwards Porter's dispatches--His
double refusal of the command--McClellan suspends the organization
of wings--His relations to Porter--Lincoln's letter on the
subject--Fault-finding with Burnside--Whose work?--Burnside's
appearance and bearing in the field.



Ordered to the Kanawha valley again--An unwelcome surprise--Reasons
for the order--Reporting to Halleck at Washington--Affairs in the
Kanawha in September--Lightburn's positions--Enemy under Loring
advances--Affair at Fayette C. H.--Lightburn retreats--Gauley Bridge
abandoned--Charleston evacuated--Disorderly flight to the
Ohio--Enemy's cavalry raid under Jenkins--General retreat in
Tennessee and Kentucky--West Virginia not in any Department--Now
annexed to that of Ohio--Morgan's retreat from Cumberland
Gap--Ordered to join the Kanawha forces--Milroy's brigade also--My
interviews with Halleck and Stanton--Promotion--My task--My division
sent with me--District of West Virginia--Colonel Crook
promoted--Journey westward--Governor Peirpoint--Governor
Tod--General Wright--Destitution of Morgan's column--Refitting at
Portland, Ohio--Night drive to Gallipolis--An amusing
accident--Inspection at Point Pleasant--Milroy ordered to
Parkersburg--Milroy's qualities--Interruptions to movement of
troops--No wagons--Supplies delayed--Confederate retreat--Loring
relieved--Echols in command--Our march up the valley--Echols
retreats--We occupy Charleston and Gauley Bridge--Further advance
stopped--Our forces reduced--Distribution of remaining
troops--Alarms and minor movements--Case of Mr. Summers--His
treatment by the Confederates.



Central position of Marietta, Ohio--Connection with all parts of
West Virginia--Drill and instruction of troops--Guerilla
warfare--Partisan Rangers--Confederate laws--Disposal of
plunder--Mosby's Rangers as a type--Opinions of Lee, Stuart, and
Rosser--Effect on other troops--Rangers finally abolished--Rival
home-guards and militia--Horrors of neighborhood war--Staff and
staff duties--Reduction of forces--General Cluseret--Later
connection with the Paris Commune--His relations with Milroy--He
resigns--Political situation--Congressmen distrust Lincoln--Cutler's
diary--Resolutions regarding appointments of general officers--The
number authorized by law--Stanton's report--Effect of Act of July,
1862--An excess of nine major-generals--The legal questions
involved--Congressional patronage and local distribution--Ready for
a "deal"--Bill to increase the number of generals--A "slate" made up
to exhaust the number--Senate and House
disagree--Conference--Agreement in last hours of the session--The
new list--A few vacancies by resignation, etc.--List of those
dropped--My own case--Faults of the method--Lincoln's humorous
comments--Curious case of General Turchin--Congestion in the highest
grades--Effects--Confederate grades of general and
lieutenant-general--Superiority of our system--Cotemporaneous
reports and criticisms--New regiments instead of recruiting old
ones--Sherman's trenchant opinion.



Desire for field service--Changes in the Army of the
Potomac--Judgment of McClellan at that time--Our defective
knowledge--Changes in West Virginia--Errors in new
organization--Embarrassments resulting--Visit to General
Schenck--New orders from Washington--Sent to Ohio to administer the
draft--Burnside at head of the department--District of
Ohio--Headquarters at Cincinnati--Cordial relations of Governor Tod
with the military authorities--System of enrolment and
draft--Administration by Colonel Fry--Decay of the veteran
regiments--Bounty-jumping--Effects on political parties--Soldiers
voting--Burnside's military plans--East Tennessee--Rosecrans aiming
at Chattanooga--Burnside's business habits--His frankness--Stories
about him--His personal characteristics--Cincinnati as a border
city--Rebel sympathizers--Order No. 38--Challenged by
Vallandigham--The order not a new departure--Lincoln's
proclamation--General Wright's circular.



Clement L. Vallandigham--His opposition to the war--His theory of
reconstruction--His Mount Vernon speech--His arrest--Sent before the
military commission--General Potter its president--Counsel for the
prisoner--The line of defence--The judgment--Habeas Corpus
proceedings--Circuit Court of the United States--Judge Leavitt
denies the release--Commutation by the President--Sent beyond the
lines--Conduct of Confederate authorities--Vallandigham in
Canada--Candidate for Governor--Political results--Martial
law--Principles underlying it--Practical application--The intent to
aid the public enemy--The intent to defeat the draft--Armed
resistance to arrest of deserters, Noble County--To the enrolment in
Holmes County--A real insurrection--Connection of these with
Vallandigham's speeches--The Supreme Court refuses to
interfere--Action in the Milligan case after the war--Judge Davis's
personal views--Knights of the Golden Circle--The Holmes County
outbreak--Its suppression--Letter to Judge Welker.



Condition of Kentucky and Tennessee--Halleck's instructions to
Burnside--Blockhouses at bridges--Relief of East
Tennessee--Conditions of the problem--Vast wagon-train
required--Scheme of a railroad--Surveys begun--Burnside's efforts to
arrange co-operation with Rosecrans--Bragg sending troops to
Johnston--Halleck urges Rosecrans to activity--Continued
inactivity--Burnside ordered to send troops to Grant--Rosecrans's
correspondence with Halleck--Lincoln's dispatch--Rosecrans collects
his subordinates' opinions--Councils of war--The situation
considered--Sheridan and Thomas--Computation of
effectives--Garfield's summing up--Review of the situation when
Rosecrans succeeded Buell--After Stone's River--Relative
forces--Disastrous detached expeditions--Appeal to ambition--The
major-generalship in regular army--Views of the President
justified--Burnside's forces--Confederate forces in East
Tennessee--Reasons for the double organization of the Union armies.



Departure of the staff for the field--An amusingly quick
return--Changes in my own duties--Expeditions to occupy the
enemy--Sanders' raid into East Tennessee--His route--His success and
return--The Confederate Morgan's raid--His instructions--His
reputation as a soldier--Compared with Forrest--Morgan's start
delayed--His appearance at Green River, Ky.--Foiled by Colonel
Moore--Captures Lebanon--Reaches the Ohio at Brandenburg--General
Hobson in pursuit--Morgan crosses into Indiana--Was this his
original purpose?--His route out of Indiana into Ohio--He approaches
Cincinnati--Hot chase by Hobson--Gunboats co-operating on the
river--Efforts to block his way--He avoids garrisoned posts and
cities--Our troops moved in transports by water--Condition of
Morgan's jaded column--Approaching the Ohio at
Buffington's--Gunboats near the ford--Hobson attacks--Part captured,
the rest fly northward--Another capture--A long chase--Surrender of
Morgan with the remnant--Summary of results--A burlesque



News of Grant's victory at Vicksburg--A thrilling scene at the
opera--Burnside's Ninth Corps to return--Stanton urges Rosecrans to
advance--The Tullahoma manoeuvres--Testy correspondence--Its real
meaning--Urgency with Burnside--Ignorance concerning his
situation--His disappointment as to Ninth Corps--Rapid concentration
of other troops--Burnside's march into East Tennessee--Occupation of
Knoxville--Invests Cumberland Gap--The garrison surrenders--Good
news from Rosecrans--Distances between armies--Divergent lines--No
railway communication--Burnside concentrates toward the Virginia
line--Joy of the people--Their intense loyalty--Their faith in the



Organizing and arming the loyalists--Burnside concentrates near
Greeneville--His general plan--Rumors of Confederate
reinforcements--Lack of accurate information--The Ninth Corps in
Kentucky--Its depletion by malarial disease--Death of General Welsh
from this cause--Preparing for further work--Situation on 16th
September--Dispatch from Halleck--Its apparent purpose--Necessity to
dispose of the enemy near Virginia border--Burnside personally at
the front--His great activity--Ignorance of Rosecrans's
peril--Impossibility of joining him by the 20th--Ruinous effects of
abandoning East Tennessee--Efforts to aid Rosecrans without such
abandonment--Enemy duped into burning Watauga bridge
themselves--Ninth Corps arriving--Willcox's division garrisons
Cumberland Gap--Reinforcements sent Rosecrans from all
quarters--Chattanooga made safe from attack--The supply
question--Meigs's description of the roads--Burnside halted near
Loudon--Halleck's misconception of the geography--The people
imploring the President not to remove the troops--How Longstreet got
away from Virginia--Burnside's alternate plans--Minor operations in
upper Holston valley--Wolford's affair on the lower Holston.







Ohio Senate April 12--Sumter bombarded--"Glory to God!"--The
surrender--Effect on public sentiment--Call for troops--Politicians
changing front--David Tod--Stephen A. Douglas--The insurrection must
be crushed--Garfield on personal duty--Troops organized by the
States--The militia--Unpreparedness--McClellan at Columbus--Meets
Governor Dennison--Put in command--Our stock of munitions--Making
estimates--McClellan's plan--Camp Jackson--Camp Dennison--Gathering
of the volunteers--Garibaldi uniforms--Officering the troops--Off
for Washington--Scenes in the State Capitol--Governor Dennison's
labors--Young regulars--Scott's policy--Alex. McCook--Orlando
Poe--Not allowed to take state commissions.

On Friday the twelfth day of April, 1861, the Senate of Ohio was in
session, trying to go on in the ordinary routine of business, but
with a sense of anxiety and strain which was caused by the troubled
condition of national affairs. The passage of Ordinances of
Secession by one after another of the Southern States, and even the
assembling of a provisional Confederate government at Montgomery,
had not wholly destroyed the hope that some peaceful way out of our
troubles would be found; yet the gathering of an army on the sands
opposite Fort Sumter was really war, and if a hostile gun were
fired, we knew it would mean the end of all effort at arrangement.
Hoping almost against hope that blood would not be shed, and that
the pageant of military array and of a rebel government would pass
by and soon be reckoned among the disused scenes and properties of a
political drama that never pretended to be more than acting, we
tried to give our thoughts to business; but there was no heart in
it, and the morning hour lagged, for we could not work in earnest
and we were unwilling to adjourn.

Suddenly a senator came in from the lobby in an excited way, and
catching the chairman's eye, exclaimed, "Mr. President, the
telegraph announces that the secessionists are bombarding Fort
Sumter!" There was a solemn and painful hush, but it was broken in a
moment by a woman's shrill voice from the spectators' seats, crying,
"Glory to God!" It startled every one, almost as if the enemy were
in the midst. But it was the voice of a radical friend of the slave,
who after a lifetime of public agitation believed that only through
blood could freedom be won. Abby Kelly Foster had been attending the
session of the Assembly, urging the passage of some measures
enlarging the legal rights of married women, and, sitting beyond the
railing when the news came in, shouted a fierce cry of joy that
oppression had submitted its cause to the decision of the sword.
With most of us, the gloomy thought that civil war had begun in our
own land overshadowed everything, and seemed too great a price to
pay for any good; a scourge to be borne only in preference to
yielding the very groundwork of our republicanism,--the right to
enforce a fair interpretation of the Constitution through the
election of President and Congress.

The next day we learned that Major Anderson had surrendered, and the
telegraphic news from all the Northern States showed plain evidence
of a popular outburst of loyalty to the Union, following a brief
moment of dismay. Judge Thomas M. Key of Cincinnati, chairman of the
Judiciary Committee, was the recognized leader of the Democratic
party in the Senate, [Footnote: Afterward aide-de-camp and acting
judge-advocate on McClellan's staff.] and at an early hour moved an
adjournment to the following Tuesday, in order, as he said, that the
senators might have the opportunity to go home and consult their
constituents in the perilous crisis of public affairs. No objection
was made to the adjournment, and the representatives took a similar
recess. All were in a state of most anxious suspense,--the
Republicans to know what initiative the Administration at Washington
would take, and the Democrats to determine what course they should
follow if the President should call for troops to put down the

Before we meet again, Mr. Lincoln's proclamation and call for
seventy-five thousand militia for three months' service were out,
and the great mass of the people of the North, forgetting all party
distinctions, answered with an enthusiastic patriotism that swept
politicians off their feet. When we met again on Tuesday morning,
Judge Key, taking my arm and pacing the floor outside the railing in
the Senate chamber, broke out impetuously, "Mr. Cox, the people have
gone stark mad!" "I knew they would if a blow was struck against the
flag," said I, reminding him of some previous conversations we had
had on the subject. He, with most of the politicians of the day,
partly by sympathy with the overwhelming current of public opinion,
and partly by reaction of their own hearts against the false
theories which had encouraged the secessionists, determined to
support the war measures of the government, and to make no factious
opposition to such state legislation as might be necessary to
sustain the federal administration.

The attitude of Mr. Key is only a type of many others, and makers
one of the most striking features of the time. On the 8th of January
the usual Democratic convention and celebration of the Battle of New
Orleans had taken place, and a series of resolutions had been
passed, which were drafted, as was understood, by Judge Thurman. In
these, professing to speak in the name of "two hundred thousand
Democrats of Ohio," the convention had very significantly intimated
that this vast organization of men would be found in the way of any
attempt to put down secession until the demands of the South in
respect to slavery were complied with. A few days afterward I was
returning to Columbus from my home in Trumbull County, and meeting
upon the railway train with David Tod, then an active Democratic
politician, but afterward one of our loyal "war governors," the
conversation turned on the action of the convention which had just
adjourned. Mr. Tod and I were personal friends and neighbors, and I
freely expressed my surprise that the convention should have
committed itself to what must be interpreted as a threat of
insurrection in the North if the administration should, in opposing
secession by force, follow the example of Andrew Jackson, in whose
honor they had assembled. He rather vehemently reasserted the
substance of the resolution, saying that we Republicans would find
the two hundred thousand Ohio Democrats in front of us, if we
attempted to cross the Ohio River. My answer was, "We will give up
the contest if we cannot carry your two hundred thousand over the
heads of your leaders."

The result proved how hollow the party professions had been; or
perhaps I should say how superficial was the hold of such party
doctrines upon the mass of men in a great political organization. In
the excitement of political campaigns they had cheered the
extravagant language of party platforms with very little reflection,
and the leaders had imagined that the people were really and
earnestly indoctrinated into the political creed of Calhoun; but at
the first shot from Beauregard's guns in Charleston harbor their
latent patriotism sprang into vigorous life, and they crowded to the
recruiting stations to enlist for the defence of the national flag
and the national Union. It was a popular torrent which no leaders
could resist; but many of these should be credited with the same
patriotic impulse, and it made them nobly oblivious of party
consistency. Stephen A. Douglas passed through Columbus on his way
to Washington a few days after the surrender of Sumter, and in
response to the calls of a spontaneous gathering of people, spoke to
them from his bedroom window in the American House. There had been
no thought for any of the common surroundings of a public meeting.
There were no torches, no music. A dark crowd of men filled full the
dim-lit street, and called for Douglas with an earnestness of tone
wholly different from the enthusiasm of common political gatherings.
He came half-dressed to his window, and without any light near him,
spoke solemnly to the people upon the terrible crisis which had come
upon the nation. Men of all parties were there: his own followers to
get some light as to their duty; the Breckinridge Democrats ready,
most of them, repentantly to follow a Northern leader, now that
their recent candidate was in the rebellion; [Footnote: Breckinridge
did not formally join the Confederacy till September, but his accord
with the secessionists was well known.] the Republicans eagerly
anxious to know whether so potent an influence was to be
unreservedly on the side of the country. I remember well the serious
solicitude with which I listened to his opening sentences as I
leaned against the railing of the State House park, trying in vain
to get more than a dim outline of the man as he stood at the
unlighted window. His deep sonorous voice rolled down through the
darkness from above us,--an earnest, measured voice, the more
solemn, the more impressive, because we could not see the speaker,
and it came to us literally as "a voice in the night,"--the night of
our country's unspeakable trial. There was no uncertainty in his
tone: the Union must be preserved and the insurrection must be
crushed,--he pledged his hearty support to Mr. Lincoln's
administration in doing this. Other questions must stand aside till
the national authority should be everywhere recognized. I do not
think we greatly cheered him,--it was rather a deep Amen that went
up from the crowd. We went home breathing freer in the assurance we
now felt that, for a time at least, no organized opposition to the
federal government and its policy of coercion would be formidable in
the North. We did not look for unanimity. Bitter and narrow men
there were whose sympathies were with their country's enemies.
Others equally narrow were still in the chains of the secession
logic they had learned from the Calhounists; but the broader-minded
men found themselves happy in being free from disloyal theories, and
threw themselves sincerely and earnestly into the popular movement.
There was no more doubt where Douglas or Tod or Key would be found,
or any of the great class they represented.

Yet the situation hung upon us like a nightmare. Garfield and I were
lodging together at the time, our wives being kept at home by family
cares, and when we reached our sitting-room, after an evening
session of the Senate, we often found ourselves involuntarily
groaning, "Civil war in _our_ land!" The shame, the outrage, the
folly, seemed too great to believe, and we half hoped to wake from
it as from a dream. Among the painful remembrances of those days is
the ever-present weight at the heart which never left me till I
found relief in the active duties of camp life at the close of the
month. I went about my duties (and I am sure most of those I
associated with did the same) with the half-choking sense of a grief
I dared not think of: like one who is dragging himself to the
ordinary labors of life from some terrible and recent bereavement.

We talked of our personal duty, and though both Garfield and myself
had young families, we were agreed that our activity in the
organization and support of the Republican party made the duty of
supporting the government by military service come peculiarly home
to us. He was, for the moment, somewhat trammelled by his
half-clerical position, but he very soon cut the knot. My own path
seemed unmistakably clear. He, more careful for his friend than for
himself, urged upon me his doubts whether my physical strength was
equal to the strain that would be put upon it. "I," said he, "am big
and strong, and if my relations to the church and the college can be
broken, I shall have no excuse for not enlisting; but you are
slender and will break down." It was true that I looked slender for
a man six feet high (though it would hardly be suspected now that it
was so), yet I had assured confidence in the elasticity of my
constitution; and the result justified me, whilst it also showed how
liable to mistake one is in such things. Garfield found that he had
a tendency to weakness of the alimentary system which broke him down
on every campaign in which he served and led to his retiring from
the army much earlier than he had intended. My own health, on the
other hand, was strengthened by out-door life and exposure, and I
served to the end with growing physical vigor.

When Mr. Lincoln issued his first call for troops, the existing laws
made it necessary that these should be fully organized and officered
by the several States. Then, the treasury was in no condition to
bear the burden of war expenditures, and till Congress could
assemble, the President was forced to rely on the States to furnish
the means necessary for the equipment and transportation of their
own troops. This threw upon the governors and legislatures of the
loyal States responsibilities of a kind wholly unprecedented. A long
period of profound peace had made every military organization seem
almost farcical. A few independent military companies formed the
merest shadow of an army; the state militia proper was only a
nominal thing. It happened, however, that I held a commission as
Brigadier in this state militia, and my intimacy with Governor
Dennison led him to call upon me for such assistance as I could
render in the first enrolment and organization of the Ohio quota.
Arranging to be called to the Senate chamber when my vote might be
needed upon important legislation, I gave my time chiefly to such
military matters as the governor appointed. Although, as I have
said, my military commission had been a nominal thing, and in fact I
had never worn a uniform, I had not wholly neglected theoretic
preparation for such work. For some years the possibility of a war
of secession had been one of the things which would force itself
upon the thoughts of reflecting people, and I had been led to give
some careful study to such books of tactics and of strategy as were
within easy reach. I had especially been led to read military
history with critical care, and had carried away many valuable ideas
from this most useful means of military education. I had therefore
some notion of the work before us, and could approach its problems
with less loss of time, at least, than if I had been wholly
ignorant. [Footnote: I have treated this subject somewhat more fully
in a paper in the "Atlantic Monthly" for March, 1892, "Why the Men
of '61 fought for the Union."]

My commission as Brigadier-General in the Ohio quota in national
service was dated on the 23d of April, though it had been understood
for several days that my tender of service in the field would be
accepted. Just about the same time Captain George B. McClellan was
requested by Governor Dennison to come to Columbus for consultation,
and by the governor's request I met him at the railway station and
took him to the State House. I think Mr. Larz Anderson (brother of
Major Robert Anderson) and Mr. L'Hommedieu of Cincinnati were with
him. The intimation had been given me that he would probably be made
major-general and commandant of our Ohio contingent, and this,
naturally, made me scan him closely. He was rather under the medium
height, but muscularly formed, with broad shoulders and a
well-poised head, active and graceful in motion. His whole
appearance was quiet and modest, but when drawn out he showed no
lack of confidence in himself. He was dressed in a plain travelling
suit, with a narrow-rimmed soft felt hat. In short, he seemed what
he was, a railway superintendent in his business clothes. At the
time his name was a good deal associated with that of Beauregard;
they were spoken of as young men of similar standing in the Engineer
Corps of the Army, and great things were expected of them both
because of their scientific knowledge of their profession, though
McClellan had been in civil life for some years. His report on the
Crimean War was one of the few important memoirs our old army had
produced, and was valuable enough to give a just reputation for
comprehensive understanding of military organization, and the
promise of ability to conduct the operations of an army.

I was present at the interview which the governor had with him. The
destitution of the State of everything like military material and
equipment was very plainly put, and the magnitude of the task of
building up a small army out of nothing was not blinked. The
governor spoke of the embarrassment he felt at every step from the
lack of practical military experience in his staff, and of his
desire to have some one on whom he could properly throw the details
of military work. McClellan showed that he fully understood the
difficulties there would be before him, and said that no man could
wholly master them at once, although he had confidence that if a few
weeks' time for preparation were given, he would be able to put the
Ohio division into reasonable form for taking the field. The command
was then formally tendered and accepted. All of us who were present
felt that the selection was one full of promise and hope, and that
the governor had done the wisest thing practicable at the time.

The next morning McClellan requested me to accompany him to the
State Arsenal, to see what arms and material might be there. We
found a few boxes of smooth-bore muskets which had once been issued
to militia companies and had been returned rusted and damaged. No
belts, cartridge-boxes, or other accoutrements were with them. There
were two or three smooth-bore brass fieldpieces, six-pounders, which
had been honeycombed by firing salutes, and of which the vents had
been worn out, bushed, and worn out again. In a heap in one corner
lay a confused pile of mildewed harness, which had probably been
once used for artillery horses, but was now not worth carrying away.
There had for many years been no money appropriated to buy military
material or even to protect the little the State had. The federal
government had occasionally distributed some arms which were in the
hands of the independent uniformed militia, and the arsenal was
simply an empty storehouse. It did not take long to complete our
inspection. At the door, as we were leaving the building, McClellan
turned, and looking back into its emptiness, remarked, half
humorously and half sadly, "A fine stock of munitions on which to
begin a great war!" We went back to the State House, where a room in
the Secretary of State's department was assigned us, and we sat down
to work. The first task was to make out detailed schedules and
estimates of what would be needed to equip ten thousand men for the
field. This was a unit which could be used by the governor and
legislature in estimating the appropriations needed then or
subsequently. Intervals in this labor were used in discussing the
general situation and plans of campaign. Before the close of the
week McClellan drew up a paper embodying his own views, and
forwarded it to Lieutenant-General Scott. He read it to me, and my
recollection of it is that he suggested two principal lines of
movement in the West,--one, to move eastward by the Kanawha valley
with a heavy column to co-operate with an army in front of
Washington; the other, to march directly southward and to open the
valley of the Mississippi. Scott's answer was appreciative and
flattering, without distinctly approving his plan; and I have never
doubted that the paper prepared the way for his appointment in the
regular army which followed at so early a day. [Footnote: I am not
aware that McClellan's plan of campaign has been published. Scott's
answer to it is given in General Townsend's "Anecdotes of the Civil
War," p. 260. It was, with other communications from Governor
Dennison, carried to Washington by Hon. A. F. Perry of Cincinnati,
an intimate friend of the governor, who volunteered as special
messenger, the mail service being unsafe. See a paper by Mr. Perry
in "Sketches of War History" (Ohio Loyal Legion), _vol. iii._ p.

During this week McClellan was invited to take the command of the
troops to be raised in Pennsylvania, his native State. Some things
beside his natural attachment to Pennsylvania made the proposal an
attractive one to him. It was already evident that the army which
might be organized near Washington would be peculiarly in the public
eye, and would give to its leading officers greater opportunities of
prompt recognition and promotion than would be likely to occur in
the West. The close association with the government would also be a
source of power if he were successful, and the way to a chief
command would be more open there than elsewhere. McClellan told me
frankly that if the offer had come before he had assumed the Ohio
command, he would have accepted it; but he promptly decided that he
was honorably bound to serve under the commission he had already
received and which, like my own, was dated April 23.

My own first assignment to a military command was during the same
week, on the completion of our estimates, when I was for a few days
put in charge of Camp Jackson, the depot of recruits which Governor
Dennison had established in the northern suburb of Columbus and had
named in honor of the first squelcher of secessionism. McClellan
soon determined, however, that a separate camp of instruction should
be formed for the troops mustered into the United States service,
and should be so placed as to be free from the temptations and
inconveniences of too close neighborhood to a large city, whilst it
should also be reasonably well placed for speedy defence of the
southern frontier of the State. Other camps could be under state
control and used only for the organization of regiments which could
afterward be sent to the camp of instruction or elsewhere. Railway
lines and connections indicated some point in the Little Miami
valley as the proper place for such a camp; and Mr. Woodward, the
chief engineer of the Little Miami Railroad, being taken into
consultation, suggested a spot on the line of that railway about
thirteen miles from Cincinnati, where a considerable bend of the
Little Miami River encloses wide and level fields, backed on the
west by gently rising hills. I was invited to accompany the general
in making the inspection of the site, and I think we were
accompanied by Captain Rosecrans, an officer who had resigned from
the regular army to seek a career as civil engineer, and had lately
been in charge of some coal mines in the Kanawha valley. Mr.
Woodward was also of the party, and furnished a special train to
enable us to stop at as many eligible points as it might be thought
desirable to examine. There was no doubt that the point suggested
was best adapted for our work, and although the owners of the land
made rather hard terms, McClellan was authorized to close a contract
for the use of the military camp, which, in honor of the governor,
he named Camp Dennison.

But in trying to give a connected idea of the first military
organization of the State, I have outrun some incidents of those
days which are worth recollection. From the hour the call for troops
was published, enlistments began, and recruits were parading the
streets continually. At the Capitol the restless impulse to be doing
something military seized even upon the members of the legislature,
and a large number of them assembled every evening upon the east
terrace of the State House to be drilled in marching and facing, by
one or two of their own number who had some knowledge of company
tactics. Most of the uniformed independent companies in the cities
of the State immediately tendered their services, and began to
recruit their numbers to the hundred men required for acceptance.
There was no time to procure uniform, nor was it desirable; for
these independent companies had chosen their own, and would have to
change it for that of the United States as soon as this could be
furnished. For some days companies could be seen marching and
drilling, of which part would be uniformed in some gaudy style, such
as is apt to prevail in holiday parades in time of peace, whilst
another part would be dressed in the ordinary working garb of
citizens of all degrees. The uniformed files would also be armed and
accoutred; the others would be without arms or equipments, and as
awkward a squad as could well be imagined. The material, however,
was magnificent, and soon began to take shape. The fancy uniforms
were left at home, and some approximation to a simple and useful
costume was made. The recent popular outburst in Italy furnished a
useful idea, and the "Garibaldi uniform" of a red flannel shirt with
broad falling collar, with blue trousers held by a leathern
waist-belt, and a soft felt hat for the head, was extensively
copied, and served an excellent purpose. It could be made by the
wives and sisters at home, and was all the more acceptable for that.
The spring was opening, and a heavy coat would not be much needed,
so that with some sort of overcoat and a good blanket in an
improvised knapsack, the new company was not badly provided. The
warm scarlet color, reflected from their enthusiastic faces as they
stood in line, made a picture that never failed to impress the
mustering officers with the splendid character of the men.

The officering of these new troops was a difficult and delicate
task, and so far as company officers were concerned, there seemed no
better way at the beginning than to let the enlisted men elect their
own, as was in fact done. In most cases where entirely new companies
were raised, it had been by the enthusiastic efforts of some
energetic volunteers who were naturally made the commissioned
officers. But not always. There were numerous examples of
self-denying patriotism which stayed in the ranks after expending
much labor and money in recruiting, modestly refusing the honors,
and giving way to some one supposed to have military knowledge or
experience. The war in Mexico in 1847 was the latest conflict with a
civilized people, and to have served in it was a sure passport to
confidence. It had often been a service more in name than in fact;
but the young volunteers felt so deeply their own ignorance that
they were ready to yield to any pretence of superior knowledge, and
generously to trust themselves to any one who would offer to lead
them. Hosts of charlatans and incompetents were thus put into
responsible places at the beginning, but the sifting work went on
fast after the troops were once in the field. The election of field
officers, however, ought not to have been allowed. Companies were
necessarily regimented together, of which each could have but little
personal knowledge of the officers of the others; intrigue and
demagogy soon came into play, and almost fatal mistakes were made in
selection. After a time the evil worked its own cure, but the ill
effects of it were long visible.

The immediate need of troops to protect Washington caused most of
the uniformed companies to be united into the first two regiments,
which were quickly despatched to the East. It was a curious study to
watch the indications of character as the officers commanding
companies reported to the governor, and were told that the pressing
demand from Washington made it necessary to organize a regiment or
two and forward them at once, without waiting to arm or equip the
recruits. Some promptly recognized the necessity and took the
undesirable features as part of the duty they had assumed. Others
were querulous, wishing some one else to stand first in the breach,
leaving them time for drill, equipment, and preparation. One figure
impressed itself very strongly on my memory. A sturdy form, a head
with more than ordinary marks of intelligence, but a bearing with
more of swagger than of self-poised courage, yet evidently a man of
some importance in his own community, stood before the seat of the
governor, the bright lights of the chandelier over the table
lighting strongly both their figures. The officer was wrapped in a
heavy blanket or carriage lap-robe, spotted like a leopard skin,
which gave him a brigandish air. He was disposed to protest. "If my
men were hellions," said he, with strong emphasis on the word (a new
one to me), "I wouldn't mind; but to send off the best young fellows
of the county in such a way looks like murder." The governor,
sitting with pale, delicate features, but resolute air, answered
that the way to Washington was not supposed to be dangerous, and the
men could be armed and equipped, he was assured, as soon as they
reached there. It would be done at Harrisburg, if possible, and
certainly if any hostility should be shown in Maryland. The
President wanted the regiments at once, and Ohio's volunteers were
quite as ready to go as any. He had no choice, therefore, but to
order them off. The order was obeyed; but the obedience was with bad
grace, and I felt misgivings as to the officer's fitness to
command,--misgivings which about a year afterward were vividly
recalled with the scene I have described.

No sooner were these regiments off than companies began to stream in
from all parts of the State. On their first arrival they were
quartered wherever shelter could be had, as there were no tents or
sheds to make a camp for them. Going to my evening work at the State
House, as I crossed the rotunda, I saw a company marching in by the
south door, and another disposing itself for the night upon the
marble pavement near the east entrance; as I passed on to the north
hall, I saw another, that had come a little earlier, holding a
prayer-meeting, the stone arches echoing with the excited
supplications of some one who was borne out of himself by the
terrible pressure of events around him, whilst, mingling with his
pathetic, beseeching tones as he prayed for his country, came the
shrill notes of the fife, and the thundering din of the inevitable
bass drum from the company marching in on the other side. In the
Senate chamber a company was quartered, and the senators were there
supplying them with paper and pens, with which the boys were writing
their farewells to mothers and sweethearts whom they hardly dared
hope they should see again. A similar scene was going on in the
Representatives' hall, another in the Supreme Court room. In the
executive office sat the governor, the unwonted noises, when the
door was opened, breaking in on the quiet business-like air of the
room,--he meanwhile dictating despatches, indicating answers to
others, receiving committees of citizens, giving directions to
officers of companies and regiments, accommodating himself to the
wilful democracy of our institutions which insists upon seeing the
man in chief command and will not take its answer from a
subordinate, until in the small hours of the night the noises were
hushed, and after a brief hour of effective, undisturbed work upon
the matters of chief importance, he could leave the glare of his
gas-lighted office, and seek a few hours' rest, only to renew the
same wearing labors on the morrow.

On the streets the excitement was of a rougher if not more intense
character. A minority of unthinking partisans could not understand
the strength and sweep of the great popular movement, and would
sometimes venture to speak out their sympathy with the rebellion or
their sneers at some party friend who had enlisted. In the boiling
temper of the time the quick answer was a blow; and it was one of
the common incidents of the day for those who came into the State
House to tell of a knockdown that had occurred here or there, when
this popular punishment had been administered to some indiscreet
"rebel sympathizer."

Various duties brought young army officers of the regular service to
the state capital, and others sought a brief leave of absence to
come and offer their services to the governor of their native State.
General Scott, too much bound up in his experience of the Mexican
War, and not foreseeing the totally different proportions which this
must assume, planted himself firmly on the theory that the regular
army must be the principal reliance for severe work, and that the
volunteers could only be auxiliaries around this solid nucleus which
would show them the way to perform their duty and take the brunt of
every encounter. The young regulars who asked leave to accept
commissions in state regiments were therefore refused, and were
ordered to their own subaltern positions and posts. There can be no
doubt that the true policy would have been to encourage the whole of
this younger class to enter at once the volunteer service. They
would have been the field officers of the new regiments, and would
have impressed discipline and system upon the organization from the
beginning. The Confederacy really profited by having no regular
army. They gave to the officers who left our service, it is true,
commissions in their so-called "provisional army," to encourage them
in the assurance that they would have permanent military positions
if the war should end in the independence of the South; but this was
only a nominal organization, and their real army was made up (as
ours turned out practically to be) from the regiments of state
volunteers. Less than a year afterward we changed our policy, but it
was then too late to induce many of the regular officers to take
regimental positions in the volunteer troops. I hesitate to declare
that this did not turn out for the best; for although the
organization of our army would have been more rapidly perfected,
there are other considerations which have much weight. The army
would not have been the popular thing it was, its close
identification with the people's movement would have been weakened,
and it perhaps would not so readily have melted again into the mass
of the nation at the close of the war.

Among the first of the young regular officers who came to Columbus
was Alexander McCook. He was ordered there as inspection and
mustering officer, and one of my earliest duties was to accompany
him to Camp Jackson to inspect the cooked rations which the
contractors were furnishing the new troops. I warmed to his earnest,
breezy way, and his business-like activity in performing his duty.
As a makeshift, before camp equipage and cooking utensils could be
issued to the troops, the contractors placed long trestle tables
under an improvised shed, and the soldiers came to these and ate, as
at a country picnic. It was not a bad arrangement to bridge over the
interval between home life and regular soldiers' fare, and the
outcry about it at the time was senseless, as all of us know who saw
real service afterward. McCook bustled along from table to table,
sticking a long skewer into a boiled ham, smelling of it to see if
the interior of the meat was tainted; breaking open a loaf of bread
and smelling of it to see if it was sour; examining the coffee
before it was put into the kettles, and after it was made; passing
his judgment on each, in prompt, peremptory manner as we went on.
The food was, in the main, excellent, though, as a way of supporting
an army, it was quite too costly to last long.

While mustering in the recruits, McCook was elected colonel of the
First Regiment Ohio Volunteers, which had, I believe, already gone
to Washington. He was eager to accept, and telegraphed to Washington
for permission. Adjutant-General Thomas replied that it was not the
policy of the War Department to permit it. McCook cut the knot in
gallant style. He immediately tendered his resignation in the
regular army, taking care to say that he did so, not to avoid his
country's service or to aid her enemies, but because he believed he
could serve her much more effectively by drilling and leading a
regiment of Union volunteers. He notified the governor of his
acceptance of the colonelcy, and his _coup-de-main_ was a success;
for the department did not like to accept a resignation under such
circumstances, and he had the exceptional luck to keep his regular
commission and gain prestige as well, by his bold energy in the

Orlando Poe came about the same time, for all this was occurring in
the last ten days of April. He was a lieutenant of topographical
engineers, and was stationed with General (then Captain) Meade at
Detroit, doing duty upon the coast survey of the lakes. He was in
person the model for a young athlete, tall, dark, and strong, with
frank, open countenance, looking fit to repeat his ancestor Adam
Poe's adventurous conflicts with the Indians as told in the frontier
traditions of Ohio. He too was eager for service; but the same rule
was applied to him, and the argument that the engineers would be
especially necessary to the army organization kept him for a time
from insisting upon taking volunteer service, as McCook had done. He
was indefatigable in his labors, assisting the governor in
organizing the regiments, smoothing the difficulties constantly
arising from lack of familiarity with the details of the
administrative service of the army, and giving wise advice to the
volunteer officers who made his acquaintance. I asked him, one day,
in my pursuit of practical ideas from all who I thought could help
me, what he would advise as the most useful means of becoming
familiar with my duties. Study the Army Regulations, said he, as if
it were your Bible! There was a world of wisdom in this: much more
than I appreciated at the time, though it set me earnestly to work
in a right direction. An officer in a responsible command, who had
already a fair knowledge of tactics, might trust his common sense
for guidance in an action on the field; but the administrative
duties of the army as a machine must be thoroughly learned, if he
would hope to make the management of its complicated organization an
easy thing to him.

Major Sidney Burbank came to take McCook's place as mustering
officer: a grave, earnest man, of more age and more varied
experience than the men I have named. Captain John Pope also visited
the governor for consultation, and possibly others came also, though
I saw them only in passing, and did not then get far in making their



Laying out the camp--Rosecrans as engineer--A comfortless
night--Waking to new duties--Floors or no floors for the
huts--Hardee's Tactics--The water-supply--Colonel Tom.
Worthington--Joshua Sill--Brigades organized--Bates's
brigade--Schleich's--My own--McClellan's purpose--Division
organization--Garfield disappointed--Camp routine--Instruction and
drill--Camp cookery--Measles--Hospital barn--Sisters of
Charity--Ferment over re-enlistment--Musters by Gordon
Granger--"Food for powder"--Brigade staff--De Villiers--"A Captain
of Calvary"--The "Bloody Tinth"--Almost a row--Summoned to the

On the 29th of April I was ordered by McClellan to proceed next
morning to Camp Dennison, with the Eleventh and half of the Third
Ohio regiments. The day was a fair one, and when about noon our
railway train reached the camping ground, it seemed an excellent
place for our work. The drawback was that very little of the land
was in meadow or pasture, part being in wheat and part in Indian
corn, which was just coming up. Captain Rosecrans met us, as
McClellan's engineer (later the well-known general), coming from
Cincinnati with a train-load of lumber. He had with him his compass
and chain, and by the help of a small detail of men soon laid off
the ground for the two regimental camps, and the general lines of
the whole encampment for a dozen regiments. It was McClellan's
purpose to put in two brigades on the west side of the railway, and
one on the east. My own brigade camp was assigned to the west side,
and nearest to Cincinnati. The men of the two regiments shouldered
their pine boards and carried them up to the line of the company
streets, which were close to the hills skirting the valley, and
which opened into the parade and drill ground along the railway.

A general plan was given to the company officers by which the huts
should be made uniform in size and shape. The huts of each company
faced each other, three or four on each side, making the street
between, in which the company assembled before marching to its place
on the regimental color line. At the head of each street were the
quarters of the company officers, and those of the "field and staff"
still further in rear. The Regulations were followed in this plan as
closely as the style of barracks and nature of the ground would
permit. Vigorous work housed all the men before night, and it was
well that it did so, for the weather changed in the evening, a cold
rain came on, and the next morning was a chill and dreary one. My
own headquarters were in a little brick schoolhouse of one story,
which stood (and I think still stands) on the east side of the track
close to the railway. My improvised camp equipage consisted of a
common trestle cot and a pair of blankets, and I made my bed in the
open space in front of the teacher's desk or pulpit. My only staff
officer was an aide-de-camp, Captain Bascom (afterward of the
regular army), who had graduated at an Eastern military school, and
proved himself a faithful and efficient assistant. He slept on the
floor in one of the little aisles between the pupils' seats. One
lesson learned that night remained permanently fixed in my memory,
and I had no need of a repetition of it. I found that, having no
mattress on my cot, the cold was much more annoying below than above
me, and that if one can't keep the under side warm, it doesn't
matter how many blankets he may have atop. I procured later an army
cot with low legs, the whole of which could be taken apart and
packed in a very small parcel, and with this I carried a small
quilted mattress of cotton batting. It would have been warmer to
have made my bed on the ground with a heap of straw or leaves under
me; but as my tent had to be used for office work whenever a tent
could be pitched, I preferred the neater and more orderly interior
which this arrangement permitted. This, however, is anticipating.
The comfortless night passed without much refreshing sleep, the
strange situation doing perhaps as much as the limbs aching from
cold to keep me awake. The storm beat through broken window-panes,
and the gale howled about us, but day at last began to break, and
with its dawning light came our first reveille in camp. I shall
never forget the peculiar plaintive sound of the fifes as they
shrilled out on the damp air. The melody was destined to become very
familiar, but to this day I can't help wondering how it happened
that so melancholy a strain was chosen for the waking tune of the
soldiers' camp. The bugle reveille is quite different; it is even
cheery and inspiriting; but the regulation music for the drums and
fifes is better fitted to waken longings for home and all the sadder
emotions than to stir the host from sleep to the active duties of
the day. I lay for a while listening to it, finding its notes
suggesting many things and becoming a thread to string my reveries
upon, as I thought of the past which was separated from me by a
great gulf, the present with its serious duties, and the future
likely to come to a sudden end in the shock of battle. We roused
ourselves; a dash of cold water put an end to dreaming; we ate a
breakfast from a box of cooked provisions we had brought with us,
and resumed the duty of organizing and instructing the camp. The
depression which had weighed upon me since the news of the opening
guns at Sumter passed away, never to return. The consciousness of
having important work to do, and the absorption in the work itself,
proved the best of all mental tonics. The Rubicon was crossed, and
from this time out, vigorous bodily action, our wild outdoor life,
and the strenuous use of all the faculties, mental and physical, in
meeting the daily exigencies, made up an existence which, in spite
of all its hardships and all its discouragements, still seems a most
exhilarating one as I look back on it across a long vista of years.

The first of May proved, instead, a true April day, of the most
fickle and changeable type. Gusts of rain and wind alternated with
flashes of bright sunshine. The second battalion of the Third
Regiment arrived, and the work of completing the cantonments went
on. The huts which were half finished yesterday were now put in good
order, and in building the new ones the men profited by the
experience of their comrades. We were however suddenly thrown into
one of those small tempests which it is so easy to get up in a new
camp, and which for the moment always seems to have an importance
out of all proportion to its real consequence. Captain Rosecrans, as
engineer, was superintending the work of building, and finding that
the companies were putting floors and bunks in their huts, he
peremptorily ordered that these should be taken out, insisting that
the huts were only intended to take the place of tents and give such
shelter as tents could give. The company and regimental officers
loudly protested, and the men were swelling with indignation and
wrath. Soon both parties were before me; Rosecrans hot and
impetuous, holding a high tone, and making use of General
McClellan's name in demanding, as an officer of his staff, that the
floors should be torn out, and the officers of the regiments held
responsible for obedience to the order that no more should be made.
He fairly bubbled with anger at the presumption of those who
questioned his authority. As soon as a little quiet could be got, I
asked Rosecrans if he had specific orders from the general that the
huts should have no floors. No, he had not, but his staff position
as engineer gave him sufficient control of the subject. I said I
would examine the matter and submit it to General McClellan, and
meanwhile the floors already built might remain, though no new ones
should be made till the question was decided. I reported to the
general that, in my judgment, the huts should have floors and bunks,
because the ground was wet when they were built,--they could not be
struck like tents to dry and air the earth, and they were meant to
be permanent quarters for the rendezvous of troops for an indefinite
time. The decision of McClellan was in accordance with the report.
Rosecrans acquiesced, and indeed seemed rather to like me the better
on finding that I was not carried away by the assumption of
indefinite power by a staff officer.

This little flurry over, the quarters were soon got in as
comfortable shape as rough lumber could make them, and the work of
drill and instruction was systematized. The men were not yet armed,
so there was no temptation to begin too soon with the manual of the
musket, and they were kept industriously employed in marching in
single line, by file, in changing direction, in forming columns of
fours from double line, etc., before their guns were put in their
hands. Each regiment was treated as a separate camp, with its own
chain of sentinels, and the officers of the guard were constantly
busy teaching guard and picket duty theoretically to the reliefs off
duty, and inspecting the sentinels on post. Schools were established
in each regiment for field and staff and for the company officers,
and Hardee's Tactics was in the hands of everybody who could procure
a copy. It was one of our great inconveniences that the supply of
the authorized Tactics was soon exhausted, and it was difficult to
get the means of instruction in the company schools. An abridgment
was made and published in a very few days by Thomas Worthington, a
graduate of West Point in one of the earliest classes,--of 1827, I
think,--a son of one of the first governors of Ohio. This eccentric
officer had served in the regular army and in the Mexican War, and
was full of ideas, but was of so irascible and impetuous a temper
that he was always in collision with the powers that be, and spoiled
his own usefulness. He was employed to furnish water to the camp by
contract, and whilst he ruined himself in his efforts to do it well,
he was in perpetual conflict with the troops, who capsized his
carts, emptied his barrels, and made life a burden to him. The
quarrel was based on his taking the water from the river just
opposite the camp, though there was a slaughter-house some distance
above. Worthington argued that the distance was such that the
running water purified itself; but the men wouldn't listen to his
science, vigorously enforced as it was by idiomatic expletives, and
there was no safety for his water-carts till he yielded. He then
made a reservoir on one of the hills, filled it by a steam-pump, and
carried the water by pipes to the regimental camps at an expense
beyond his means, and which, as it was claimed that the scheme was
unauthorized, was never half paid for. His subsequent career as
colonel of a regiment was no more happy, and talents that seemed fit
for highest responsibilities were wasted in chafing against
circumstances which made him and fate seem to be perpetually playing
at cross purposes. [Footnote: He was later colonel of the
Forty-sixth Ohio, and became involved in a famous controversy with
Halleck and Sherman over his conduct in the Shiloh campaign and the
question of fieldworks there. He left the service toward the close
of 1862.]

A very different character was Joshua W. Sill, who was sent to us as
ordnance officer. He too had been a regular army officer, but of the
younger class. Rather small and delicate in person, gentle and
refined in manner, he had about him little that answered to the
popular notion of a soldier. He had resigned from the army some
years before, and was a professor in an important educational
institution in Brooklyn, N. Y., when at the first act of hostility
he offered his services to the governor of Ohio, his native State.
After our day's work, we walked together along the railway,
discussing the political and military situation, and especially the
means of making most quickly an army out of the splendid but
untutored material that was collecting about us. Under his modest
and scholarly exterior I quickly discerned a fine temper in the
metal, that made his after career no enigma to me, and his heroic
death at the head of his division in the thickest of the strife at
Stone's River no surprise.

The two regiments which began the encampment were quickly followed
by others, and the arriving regiments sometimes had their first
taste of camp life under circumstances well calculated to dampen
their ardor. The Fourth Ohio, under Colonel Lorin Andrews, President
of Kenyon College, came just before a thunderstorm one evening, and
the bivouac that night was as rough a one as his men were likely to
experience for many a day. They made shelter by placing boards from
the fence tops to the ground, but the fields were level and soon
became a mire, so that they were a queer-looking lot when they
crawled out next morning. The sun was then shining bright, however,
and they had better cover for their heads by the next night. The
Seventh Ohio, which was recruited in Cleveland and on the Western
Reserve, sent a party in advance to build some of their huts, and
though they too came in a rain-storm, they were less uncomfortable
than some of the others. Three brigades were organized from the
regiments of the Ohio contingent, exclusive of the two which had
been hurried to Washington. The brigadiers, beside myself, were
Generals Joshua H. Bates and Newton Schleich. General Bates, who was
the senior, was a graduate of West Point, who had served some years
in the regular army, but had resigned and adopted the profession of
the law. He lived at Cincinnati, and organized his brigade in that
city. They marched to Camp Dennison on the 20th of May, when, by
virtue of his seniority, General Bates assumed command of the camp
in McClellan's absence. His brigade consisted of the Fifth, Sixth,
Ninth, and Tenth regiments, and encamped on the east side of the
railroad in the bend of the river. General Schleich was a Democratic
senator, who had been in the state militia, and was also one of the
drill-masters of the legislative squad which had drilled upon the
Capitol terrace. His brigade included the Third, Twelfth, and
Thirteenth regiments, and, with mine, occupied the fields on the
west side of the railroad close to the slopes of the hills. My own
brigade was made up of the Fourth, Seventh, Eighth, and Eleventh
regiments, and our position was the southernmost in the general
camp. McClellan had intended to make his own headquarters in the
camp; but the convenience of attending to official business in
Cincinnati kept him in the city. His purpose was to make the brigade
organizations permanent, and to take them as a division to the field
when they were a little prepared for the work. Like many other good
plans, it failed to be carried out. I was the only one of the
brigadiers who remained in the service after the first enlistment
for ninety days, and it was my fate to take the field with new
regiments, only one of which had been in my brigade in camp.
Schleich did not show adaptation to field work, and though taken
into West Virginia with McClellan in June, he was relieved of active
service in a few weeks. He afterward sought and obtained the
colonelcy of the Sixty-first Ohio; but his service with it did not
prove a success, and he resigned in September, 1862, under charges.
[Footnote: Official Records, vol. xii. pt. ii. pp. 308-310.] General
Bates had some reason to expect an assignment to staff duty with
McClellan, and therefore declined a colonelcy in the line at the end
of the three months' service. He was disappointed in this
expectation after waiting some time for it, and returned to civil
life with the regrets of his comrades. There were some
disappointments, also, in the choice of regimental officers who were
elected in the regiments first organized, but were afterward
appointed by the governor. The companies were organized and assigned
to regiments before they came to camp, but the regimental elections
were held after the companies were assembled. Garfield was a
candidate for the colonelcy of the Seventh Regiment, but as he was
still engaged in important public duties and was not connected with
any company, he was at a disadvantage in the sort of competition
which was then rife. He was defeated,--a greater disappointment to
me than to him, for I had hoped that our close friendship would be
made still closer by comradeship in the field. In a few weeks he was
made colonel of the Forty-second Ohio, in the second levy.

Up to the time that General Bates relieved me of the command of the
camp, and indeed for two or three days longer, the little
schoolhouse was my quarters as well as telegraph and express office.
We had cleared out most of the desks and benches, but were still
crowded together, day and night, in a way which was anything but
comfortable or desirable. Sheds for quartermaster's and subsistence
stores were of first necessity, and the building of a hut for myself
and staff had to be postponed till these were up. On the arrival of
General Bates with two or three staff officers, the necessity for
more room could not be longer ignored, and my own hut was built on
the slope of the hillside behind my brigade, close under the wooded
ridge, and here for the next six weeks was my home. The morning
brought its hour of business correspondence relating to the command;
then came the drill, when the parade ground was full of marching
companies and squads. Officers' drill followed, with sword exercise
and pistol practice. The day closed with the inspection of the
regiments in turn at dress parade, and the evening was allotted to
schools of theoretic tactics, outpost duty, and the like. Besides
their copies of the regulation tactics, officers supplied themselves
with such manuals as Mahan's books on Field Fortifications and on
Outpost Duty. I adopted at the beginning a rule to have some
military work in course of reading, and kept it up even in the
field, sending home one volume and getting another by mail. In this
way I gradually went through all the leading books I could find both
in English and in French, including the whole of Jomini's works, his
histories as well as his "Napoleon" and his "Grandes Opérations
Militaires." I know of no intellectual stimulus so valuable to the
soldier as the reading of military history narrated by an
acknowledged master in the art of war. To see what others have done
in important junctures, and to have both their merits and their
mistakes analyzed by a competent critic, rouses one's mind to
grapple with the problem before it, and begets a generous
determination to try to rival in one's own sphere of action the
brilliant deeds of soldiers who have made a name in other times.
Then the example of the vigorous way in which history will at last
deal with those who fail when the pinch comes, tends to keep a man
up to his work and to make him avoid the rock on which so many have
split, the disposition to take refuge in doing nothing when he finds
it difficult to decide what should be done.

The first fortnight in camp was the hardest for the troops. The
ploughed fields became deep with mud, which nothing could remove but
the good weather which should allow them to pack hard under the
continued tramp of thousands of men. The organization of the camp
kitchens had to be learned by the hardest also, and the men in each
company who had some aptitude for cooking had to be found by a slow
process of natural selection, during which many an unpalatable meal
had to be eaten. A disagreeable bit of information came to us in the
proof that more than half the men had never had the contagious
diseases of infancy. The measles broke out, and we had to organize a
camp hospital at once. A large barn near by was taken for this
purpose, and the surgeons had their hands full of cases which,
however trivial they might seem at home, were here aggravated into
dangerous illness by the unwonted surroundings and the impossibility
of securing the needed protection from exposure. As soon as the
increase of sickness in the camp was known in Cincinnati, the good
women of that city took promptly in hand the task of providing
nurses for the sick, and proper diet and delicacies for hospital
uses. The Sisters of Charity, under the lead of Sister Anthony, a
noble woman, came out in force, and their black and white robes
harmonized picturesquely with the military surroundings, as they
flitted about under the rough timber framing of the old barn,
carrying comfort and hope from one rude couch to another. As to
supplies, hardly a man in a regiment knew how to make out a
requisition for rations or for clothing, and easy as it is to rail
at "red tape," the necessity of keeping a check upon embezzlement
and wastefulness justified the staff bureaus at Washington in
insisting upon regular vouchers to support the quartermaster's and
commissary's accounts. But here, too, men were gradually found who
had special talent for the work.

The infallible newspapers had no lack of material for criticism.
There were plenty of real blunders to invite it, but the severest
blame was quite as likely to be visited upon men and things which
did not deserve it. The governor was violently attacked for things
which he had no responsibility for, or others in which he had done
all that forethought and intelligence could do. When everybody had
to learn a new business, it would have been miraculous if grave
errors had not frequently occurred. Looking back at it, the wonder
is that the blunders and mishaps had not been tenfold more numerous
than they were. By the middle of May the confusion had given place
to reasonable system, but we were now obliged to meet the
embarrassments of reorganization for three years, under the
President's second call for troops. We had more than ten thousand
men who had begun to know something of their duties, and it was
worth a serious effort to transfer them into the permanent service;
but no one who did not go through the ordeal can imagine how trying
it was. In every company some discontented spirits wanted to go
home, shrinking from the perils to which they had committed
themselves in a moment of enthusiasm. For a few to go back, however,
would be a disgrace; and every dissatisfied man, to avoid the odium
of going alone, became a mischief-maker, seeking to prevent the
whole company from re-enlisting. The recruiting of a majority was
naturally made the condition of allowing the company organization to
be preserved, and a similar rule applied to the regiment. The
growing discipline was relaxed or lost in the solicitations, the
electioneering, the speech-making, and the other common arts of
persuasion. After a majority had re-enlisted and an organization was
secure, it would have been better to have discharged the remaining
three months' men and to have sent them home at once; but authority
for this could not be got, for the civil officers could not see, and
did not know what a nuisance these men were. Dissatisfied with
themselves for not going with their comrades, they became sulky,
disobedient, complaining, trying to make the others as unhappy as
themselves by arguing that faith was not kept with them, and doing
all the mischief it was possible to do.

In spite of all these discouragements, however, the daily drills and
instruction went on with some approach to regularity, and our raw
volunteers began to look more like soldiers. Captain Gordon Granger
of the regular army came to muster the re-enlisted regiments into
the three years' service, and as he stood at the right of the Fourth
Ohio, looking down the line of a thousand stalwart men, all in their
Garibaldi shirts (for we had not yet received our uniforms), he
turned to me and exclaimed: "My God! that such men should be food
for powder!" It certainly was a display of manliness and
intelligence such as had hardly ever been seen in the ranks of an
army. There were in camp at that time three if not four companies,
in different regiments, that were wholly made up of undergraduates
of colleges who had enlisted together, their officers being their
tutors and professors; and where there was not so striking evidence
as this of the enlistment of the best of our youth, every company
could still show that it was largely recruited from the
best-nurtured and most promising young men of the community.

Granger had been in the Southwest when the secession movement began,
had seen the formation of military companies everywhere, and the
incessant drilling which had been going on all winter, whilst we, in
a strange condition of political paralysis, had been doing nothing.
His information was eagerly sought by us all, and he lost no
opportunity of impressing upon us the fact that the South was nearly
six months ahead of us in organization and preparation. He did not
conceal his belief that we were likely to find the war a much longer
and more serious piece of business than was commonly expected, and
that unless we pushed hard our drilling and instruction we should
find ourselves at a disadvantage in our earlier encounters. What he
said had a good effect in making officers and men take more
willingly to the laborious routine of the parade ground and the
regimental school; for such opinions as his soon ran through the
camp, and they were commented upon by the enlisted men quite as
earnestly as among the officers. Still, hope kept the upper hand,
and if the question had been put to vote, I believe that
three-fourths of us still cherished the belief that a single
campaign would end the war.

In the organization of my own brigade I had the assistance of
Captain McElroy, a young man who had nearly completed the course at
West Point, and who was subsequently made major of the Twentieth
Ohio. He was sent to the camp by the governor as a drill officer,
and I assigned him to staff duty. For commissary, I detailed
Lieutenant Gibbs, who accompanied one of the regiments from
Cincinnati, and who had seen a good deal of service as clerk in one
of the staff departments of the regular army. I had also for a time
the services of one of the picturesque adventurers who turn up in
such crises. In the Seventh Ohio was a company recruited in
Cleveland, of which the nucleus was an organization of Zouaves,
existing for some time before the war. It was made up of young men
who had been stimulated by the popularity of Ellsworth's Zouaves in
Chicago to form a similar body. They had had as their drill master a
Frenchman named De Villiers. His profession was that of a teacher of
fencing; but he had been an officer in Ellsworth's company, and was
familiar with fancy manoeuvres for street parade, and with a special
skirmish drill and bayonet exercise. Small, swarthy, with angular
features, and a brusque, military manner, in a showy uniform and
jaunty _képi_ of scarlet cloth, covered with gold lace, he created
quite a sensation among us. His assumption of knowledge and
experience was accepted as true. He claimed to have been a surgeon
in the French army in Algiers, though we afterward learned to doubt
if his rank had been higher than that of a barber-surgeon of a
cavalry troop. From the testimonials he brought with him, I thought
I was doing a good thing in making him my brigade-major, as the
officer was then called whom we afterward knew as inspector-general.
He certainly was a most indefatigable fellow, and went at his work
with an enthusiasm that made him very useful for a time. It was
worth something to see a man who worked with a kind of dash,--with a
prompt, staccato movement that infused spirit and energy into all
around him. He would drill all day, and then spend half the night
trying to catch sentinels and officers of the guard at fault in
their duty. My first impression was that I had got hold of a most
valuable man, and others were so much of the same mind that in the
reorganization of regiments he was successively elected major of the
Eighth, and then colonel of the Eleventh. We shall see more of him
as we go on; but it turned out that his sharp discipline was not
steady or just; his knowledge was only skin-deep, and he had neither
the education nor the character for so responsible a situation as he
was placed in. He nearly plagued the life out of the officers of his
regiment before they got rid of him, and was a most brilliant
example of the way we were imposed upon by military charlatans at
the beginning. He was, however, good proof also of the speed with
which real service weeds out the undesirable material which seemed
so splendid in the days of common inexperience and at a distance
from danger. We had visits from clerical adventurers, too, for the
"pay and emoluments of a captain of cavalry" which the law gave to a
chaplain induced some to seek the office who were not the best
representatives of their profession. One young man who had spent a
morning soliciting the appointment in one of the regiments, came to
me in a shamefaced sort of way before leaving camp and said,
"General, before I decide this matter, I wish you would tell me just
what are the pay and emoluments of a _Captain of Calvary!_" Though
most of our men were native Ohioans, General Bates's brigade had in
it two regiments made up of quite contrasted nationalities. The
Ninth Ohio was recruited from the Germans of Cincinnati, and was
commanded by Colonel "Bob" McCook. In camp, the drilling of the
regiment fell almost completely into the hands of the adjutant,
Lieutenant Willich (afterward a general of division), and McCook,
who humorously exaggerated his own lack of military knowledge, used
to say that he was only "clerk for a thousand Dutchmen," so
completely did the care of equipping and providing for his regiment
engross his time and labor. The Tenth was an Irish regiment, and its
men used to be proud of calling themselves the "Bloody Tinth." The
brilliant Lytle was its commander, and his control over them, even
in the beginning of their service and near the city of their home,
showed that they had fallen into competent hands. It happened, of
course, that the guard-house pretty frequently contained
representatives of the Tenth who, on the short furloughs that were
allowed them, took a parting glass too much with their friends in
the city, and came to camp boisterously drunk. But the men of the
regiment got it into their heads that the Thirteenth, which lay just
opposite them across the railroad, took a malicious pleasure in
filling the guard-house with the Irishmen. Some threats had been
made that they would go over and "clean out" the Thirteenth, and one
fine evening these came to a head. I suddenly got orders from
General Bates to form my brigade, and march them at once between the
Tenth and Thirteenth to prevent a collision which seemed imminent.
My brigade was selected because it was the one to which neither of
the angry regiments belonged, the others being ordered into their
quarters. My little Frenchman, De Villiers, covered himself with
glory. His horse flew, under the spur, to the regimental
headquarters, the long roll was beaten as if the drummers realized
the full importance of the first opportunity to sound that warlike
signal, and the brigade-major's somewhat theatrical energy was so
contagious that many of the companies were assembled and ready to
file out of the company streets before the order reached them. We
marched by the moonlight into the space between the belligerent
regiments; but Lytle had already got his own men under control, and
the less mercurial Thirteenth were not disposed to be aggressive, so
that we were soon dismissed with a compliment for our promptness. I
ordered the colonels to march the regiments back to the camps
separately, and with my staff rode through that of the Thirteenth,
to see how matters were there. All was quiet, the men being in their
quarters; so, turning, I passed along near the railway, in rear of
the quartermaster's sheds. In the shadow of the buildings I had
nearly ridden over some one on foot, when he addressed me, and I
recognized an officer of high rank in that brigade. He was in great
agitation, and exclaimed, "Oh, General, what a horrible thing that
brothers should be killing each other!" I assured him the danger of
that was all over, and rode on, wondering a little at his presence
in that place under the circumstances.

The six weeks of our stay in Camp Dennison seem like months in the
retrospect, so full were they crowded with new experiences. The
change came in an unexpected way. The initiative taken by the
Confederates in West Virginia had to be met by prompt action, and
McClellan was forced to drop his own plans to meet the emergency.
The organization and equipment of the regiments for the three years'
service were still incomplete, and the brigades were broken up, to
take across the Ohio the regiments best prepared to go. One by one
my regiments were ordered away, till finally, when on the 3d of July
I received orders to proceed to the Kanawha valley, I had but one of
the four regiments to which I had been trying to give something of
unity and brigade feeling, and that regiment (the Eleventh Ohio) was
still incomplete. General Bates fared even worse; for he saw all his
regiments ordered away, whilst he was left to organize new ones from
freshly recruited companies that were sent to the camp. This was
discouraging to a brigade commander, for even with veteran troops
mutual acquaintance between the officer and his command is a
necessary condition of confidence and a most important element of
strength. My own assignment to the Great Kanawha district was one I
had every reason to be content with, except that for several months
I felt the disadvantage I suffered from assuming command of troops
which I had never seen till we met in the field.

The period of organization, brief as it was, had been valuable to
the regiments, and it had been of the utmost importance to secure
the re-enlistment of those which had received some instruction. It
had been, in the condition of the statute law, from necessity and
not from choice that the Administration had called out the state
militia for ninety days. The new term of enrolment was for "three
years or the war," and the forces were now designated as United
States Volunteers. It would have been well if the period of
apprenticeship could have been prolonged; but events would not wait.
All recognized the necessity, and thankful as we should have been
for a longer preparation and more thorough instruction, we were
eager to be ordered away.

McClellan had been made a major-general in the regular army, and a
department had been placed under his command which included the
States of Ohio, Indiana, and Illinois, to which was added a little
later West Virginia north of the Great Kanawha. [Footnote:
McClellan's Report and Campaigns (New York, 1864), p. 8. McClellan's
Own Story, p. 44. Official Records, vol. ii. p. 633.] Rosecrans was
also appointed a brigadier-general in the regulars, and there was
much debate at the time whether the Administration had intended
this. Many insisted that he was nominated for the volunteer service,
and that the regular appointment was a clerical mistake in the
bureaus at Washington. There was no solid foundation for this
gossip. A considerable increase of the regular army was authorized
by law, and corresponding appointments were made, from major-general
downward. It was at this time that Sherman was made colonel of one
of the new regiments of regulars. It would perhaps have been wiser
to treat the regular commissions as prizes to be won only by
conspicuous and successful service in the field, as was done later;
but this policy was not then adopted, and the newly created offices
were filled in all grades. They were, of course, given to men from
whom great services could reasonably be expected; but when none had
been tested in the great operations of war, every appointment was at
the risk that the officer might not show the special talent for
command which makes a general. It was something of a lottery, at
best; but the system would have been improved if a method of
retiring inefficient officers had been adopted at once. The
ostensible reason for the different organization of volunteers and
regulars was that the former, as a temporary force to meet an
exigency, might be wholly disbanded when the war should end, without
affecting the permanent army, which was measured in size by the
needs of the country in its normal condition.



Political attitude of West Virginia--Rebels take the
initiative--McClellan ordered to act--Ohio militia cross the
river--The Philippi affair--Significant dates--The vote on
secession--Virginia in the Confederacy--Lee in
command--Topography--The mountain passes--Garnett's army--Rich
mountain position--McClellan in the field--His forces--Advances
against Garnett--Rosecrans's proposal--His fight on the
mountain--McClellan's inaction--Garnett's retreat--Affair at
Carrick's Ford--Garnett killed--Hill's efforts to intercept--Pegram
in the wilderness--He surrenders--Indirect results
important--McClellan's military and personal traits.

The reasons which made it important to occupy West Virginia were
twofold, political and military. The people were strongly attached
to the Union, and had generally voted against the Ordinance of
Secession which by the action of the Richmond Convention had been
submitted to a popular vote on May 23d. Comparatively few slaves
were owned by them, and their interests bound them more to Ohio and
Pennsylvania than to eastern Virginia. Under the influence of Mr.
Lincoln's administration, strongly backed and chiefly represented by
Governor Dennison of Ohio, a movement was on foot to organize a
loyal Virginia government, repudiating that of Governor Letcher and
the state convention as self-destroyed by the act of secession.
Governor Dennison, in close correspondence with the leading
loyalists, had been urging McClellan to cross the Ohio to protect
and encourage the loyal men, when on the 26th of May news came that
the Secessionists had taken the initiative, and that some bridges
had been burned on the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad a little west of
Grafton, the crossing of the Monongahela River where the two western
branches of the road unite as they come from Wheeling and
Parkersburg. The great line of communication between Washington and
the West had thus been cut, and action on our part was necessary.
[Footnote: Official Records, vol. ii. p. 44.]

[Illustration: CAMPAIGNS IN WEST VIRGINIA 1861.]

Governor Dennison had anticipated the need of more troops than the
thirteen regiments which had been organized as Ohio's quota under
the President's first call, and had enrolled nine other regiments,
numbering them consecutively with the others. These last he had put
in camps near the Ohio River, where at a moment's notice they could
occupy Wheeling, Parkersburg, and the mouth of the Great Kanawha.
[Footnote: _Id_., pp. 46, 47.] Two Union regiments were also
organizing in West Virginia itself, of which the first was commanded
by Colonel B. F. Kelley of Wheeling. The left bank of the Ohio was
in McClellan's department, and on the 24th General Scott, having
heard that two Virginia companies had occupied Grafton, telegraphed
the fact to McClellan, directing him to act promptly in
counteracting the effect of this movement. [Footnote: _Id_., p.

On the 27th Colonel Kelley was sent by rail from Wheeling to drive
off the enemy, who withdrew at his approach, and the bridges were
quickly rebuilt. [Footnote: _Id_., pp. 46, 49, 655.] Several of the
Ohio regiments were ordered across the river at the same time, and
an Indiana brigade under General Thomas A. Morris of that State was
hurried forward from Indianapolis. As the Ohio troops at Camp
Dennison which had been mustered into national service were in
process of reorganizing for the three years' term, McClellan
preferred not to move them till this was completed. He also adhered
to his plan of making his own principal movement in the Great
Kanawha valley, and desired to use there the Ohio division at our
camp. [Footnote: _Id_., pp. 50, 656, 674.] The Ohio regiments first
sent into West Virginia were not mustered in, and were known as
State troops. General Morris reached Grafton on the 1st of June, and
was intrusted with the command of all the troops in West Virginia.
He found that Colonel Kelley had already planned an expedition
against the enemy, who had retired southward to Philippi, about
fifteen miles in a straight line, but some twenty-five by the
crooked country roads. [Footnote: Official Records, vol. ii. p. 66.]
Morris approved the plan, but enlarged it by sending another column,
under Colonel E. Dumont of the Seventh Indiana, to co-operate with
Kelley. Both columns were directed to make a night march, starting
from points on the railroad about twelve miles apart and converging
on Philippi, which they were to attack at daybreak on June 3d. Each
column consisted of about fifteen hundred men, and Dumont had also
two smooth six-pounder cannon. The Confederate force was commanded
by Colonel G. A. Porterfield, and was something less than a thousand
strong, one-fourth cavalry. [Footnote: _Id_., pp. 70, 72.]

The night was dark and stormy, and Porterfield's raw troops had not
learned picket duty. The concerted movement against them was more
successful than such marches commonly are, and Porterfield's first
notice of danger was the opening of the artillery upon his sleeping
troops. It had been expected that the two columns would enclose the
enemy's camp and capture the whole; but, though in disorderly rout,
Porterfield succeeded, by personal coolness and courage, in getting
them off with but few casualties and the loss of a few arms. The
camp equipage and supplies were, of course, captured. Colonel Kelley
was wounded in the breast by a pistol-shot which was at first
supposed to be fatal, though it did not turn out so, and this was
the only casualty reported on the National side. [Footnote: Colonel
Kelley was a man already of middle age, and a leading citizen of
northwestern Virginia. His whole military career was in that region,
where his services were very valuable throughout the war. He was
promoted to brigadier-general among the first, and was
brevet-major-general when mustered out in 1865.] No prisoners were
taken, nor did any dead or wounded fall into our hands. Porterfield
retreated to Beverly, some thirty miles further to the southeast,
and the National forces occupied Philippi. The telegraphic reports
had put the Confederate force at 2000, and their loss at 15 killed.
This implied a considerable list of wounded and prisoners, and the
newspapers gave it the air of a considerable victory. The campaign
thus opened with apparent _éclat_ for McClellan (who was personally
at Cincinnati), and the "Philippi races," as they were locally
called, greatly encouraged the Union men of West Virginia and
correspondingly depressed the Secessionists. [Footnote: Official
Records, vol. ii. pp. 64-74.]

Nearly a month elapsed, when, having received reports that large
forces of the enemy were gathered at Beverly, McClellan determined
to proceed in person to that region with his best prepared troops,
postponing his Kanawha campaign till northwestern Virginia should be
cleared of the enemy.

Military affairs in West Virginia had been complicated by the
political situation, and it is necessary to recollect the dates of
the swift following steps in Virginia's progress into the
Confederacy. Sumter surrendered on Saturday, the 13th of April, and
on Monday the 15th President Lincoln issued his first call for
troops. On Wednesday the 17th the Virginia Convention passed the
Ordinance of Secession in secret session. On Friday the 19th it was
known in Washington, and on Saturday Lee and Johnston resigned their
commissions in the United States Army, sorrowfully "going with their
State." [Footnote: Johnston's Narrative, p. 10. Townsend's Anecdotes
of the Civil War, p. 31. Long's Memoirs of Lee, pp. 94, 96.] On the
following Tuesday (23d) the chairman of the Virginia Convention
presented to Lee his commission as Major-General and Commander of
the Virginia Forces. On the same day Governor Dennison handed to
McClellan his commission to command the Ohio forces in the service
of the Union. Although the Confederate Congress at Montgomery
admitted Virginia to the Confederacy early in May, this was not
formally accepted in Virginia till after the popular vote on
secession (May 23d) and the canvassing of the returns of that
election. Governor Letcher issued on June 8th his proclamation
announcing the result, and transferring the command of the Virginia
troops to the Confederate Government. [Footnote: Official Records,
vol. ii. p. 911.] During the whole of May, therefore, Virginia's
position was unsettled. Her governor, by the authority of the
convention, regarded her as independent of the United States, but by
an inchoate act of secession which would not become final till
ratified by the popular vote. The Virginia troops were arrayed near
the Potomac to resist the advance of national forces; but
Confederate troops had been welcomed in eastern Virginia as early as
the 10th of May, and President Davis had authorized Lee, as
Commander of the Virginia forces, to assume control of them.
[Footnote: _Id_., p. 827.]

It was well known that the prevailing sentiment in West Virginia was
loyal to the Union, and each party avoided conflict there for fear
of prejudicing its cause in the election. Hence it was that as soon
as the vote was cast, the aggressive was taken by the Virginia
government in the burning of the bridges near Grafton. The fire of
war was thus lighted. The crossing of the Ohio was with a full
understanding with Colonel Kelley, who recognized McClellan at once
as his military commander. [Footnote: I treated the relations of Lee
and Virginia to the Confederacy in a paper in "The Nation," Dec. 23,
1897, entitled "Lee, Johnston, and Davis."] The affair at Philippi
was, in form, the last appearance of Virginia in the role of an
independent nation, for in a very few days Lee announced by a
published order that the absorption of the Virginia troops into the
Confederate Army was complete. [Footnote: Official Records, vol. ii.
p. 912.] It will be well to understand the topography of the
Virginia mountains and their western slope, if we would reach the
reasons which determined the lines of advance chosen by the
Confederates and the counter moves of McClellan. The Alleghany range
passing out of Pennsylvania and running southwest through the whole
length of Virginia, consists of several parallel lines of mountains
enclosing narrow valleys. The Potomac River breaks through at the
common boundary of Virginia and Maryland, and along its valley runs
the National Road as well as the Chesapeake and Ohio Canal. The
Baltimore and Ohio Railroad also follows this natural highway, which
is thus indicated as the most important line of communication
between Washington and the Ohio valley, though a high mountain
summit must be passed, even by this route, before the tributaries of
the Ohio can be reached. Half-way across the State to the southward,
is a high watershed connecting the mountain ridges and separating
the streams tributary to the Potomac on the north from those falling
into the James and New rivers on the south. The Staunton and
Parkersburg turnpike follows the line of this high "divide" looking
down from among the clouds into the long and nearly straight defiles
on either hand, which separate the Alleghany Mountains proper from
the Blue Ridge on the east and from Cheat Mountain and other ranges
on the west. Still further to the southwest the James River and the
New River interlace their headwaters among the mountains, and break
out on east and west, making the third natural pass through which
the James River and Kanawha turnpike and canal find their way. These
three routes across the mountains were the only ones on which
military operations were at all feasible. The northern one was
usually in the hands of the National forces, and the other two were
those by which the Confederates attempted the invasion of West
Virginia. Beverly, a hundred miles from Staunton, was near the gate
through which the Staunton road passes on its way northwestward to
Parkersburg and Wheeling, whilst Gauley Bridge was the key-point of
the Kanawha route on the westerly slope of the mountains.

General Lee determined to send columns upon both these lines.
General Henry A. Wise (formerly Governor of Virginia) took the
Kanawha route, and General Robert S. Garnett (lately Lee's own
adjutant-general) marched to Beverly. [Footnote: Official Records,
vol. ii. pp. 908, 915.] Upon Porterfield's retreat to Beverly,
Garnett, who had also been an officer in the United States Army, was
ordered to assume command there and to stimulate the recruiting and
organization of regiments from the secession element of the
population. Some Virginia regiments raised on the eastern slope of
the mountains were sent with him, and to these was soon added the
First Georgia. On the 1st of July he reported his force as 4500 men,
but declared that his efforts to recruit had proven a complete
failure, only 23 having joined. The West Virginians, he says, "are
thoroughly imbued with an ignorant and bigoted Union sentiment."
[Footnote: _Id_., p. 239.] Other reinforcements were promised
Garnett, but none reached him except the Forty-fourth Virginia
Regiment, which arrived at Beverly the very day of his engagement
with McClellan's troops, but did not take part in the fighting.
[Footnote: _Id_., pp. 240, 274.]

Tygart's valley, in which Beverly lies, is between Cheat Mountain on
the east, and Rich Mountain on the west. The river, of the same name
as the valley, flows northward about fifteen miles, then turns
westward, breaking through the ridge, and by junction with the
Buckhannon River forms the Monongahela, which passes by Philippi and
afterward crosses the railroad at Grafton. The Staunton and
Parkersburg turnpike divides at Beverly, the Parkersburg route
passing over a saddle in Rich Mountain, and the Wheeling route
following the river to Philippi. The ridge north of the river at the
gap is known as Laurel Mountain, and the road passes over a spur of
it. Garnett regarded the two positions at Rich Mountain and Laurel
Mountain as the gates to all the region beyond and to the West. A
rough mountain road, barely passable, connected the Laurel Mountain
position with Cheat River on the east, and it was possible to go by
this way northward through St. George to the Northwestern turnpike,
turning the mountain ranges.


Garnett thought the pass over Rich Mountain much the stronger and
more easily held, and he therefore intrenched there about 1300 of
his men and four cannon, under command of Lieutenant-Colonel Pegram.
[Footnote: Official Records, vol. ii. p. 268.] The position chosen
was on a spur of the mountain near its western base, and it was
rudely fortified with breastworks of logs covered with an abatis of
slashed timber along its front. The remainder of his force he placed
in a similar fortified position on the road at Laurel Mountain,
where he also had four guns, of which one was rifled. Here he
commanded in person. His depot of supplies was at Beverly, which was
sixteen miles from the Laurel Mountain position and five from that
at Rich Mountain. He was pretty accurately informed of McClellan's
forces and movements, and his preparations had barely been completed
by the 9th of July, when the Union general appeared in his front.
[Footnote: _Id_., pp. 241, 248.]

McClellan entered West Virginia in person on the 21st of June, and
on the 23d issued from Grafton a proclamation to the inhabitants.
[Footnote: _Id_., pp. 194, 196.] He had gradually collected his
forces along the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad, and these, at the time
of the affair at Rich Mountain, consisted of sixteen Ohio regiments,
nine from Indiana, and two from West Virginia; in all, twenty-seven
regiments with four batteries of artillery of six guns each, two
troops of cavalry, and an independent company of riflemen. Of his
batteries, one was of the regular army, and another, a company of
regulars (Company I, Fourth U. S. Artillery), was with him awaiting
mountain howitzers, which arrived a little later. [Footnote: As part
of the troops were State troops not mustered into the United States
service, no report of them is found in the War Department; but the
following are the numbers of the regiments found named as present in
the correspondence and reports,--viz., 3d, 4th, 5th, 6th, 7th, 8th,
9th, 10th, 13th, 14th, 15th, 16th, 17th, 18th, 19th, 20th, and 22d
Ohio; 6th, 7th, 8th, 9th, 10th, 11th, 13th, 14th, 15th Indiana, and
1st and 2nd Virginia; also Howe's United States Battery, Barnett's
Ohio Battery, Loomis's Michigan Battery, and Daum's Virginia
Battery; the cavalry were Burdsal's Ohio Dragoons and Barker's
Illinois Cavalry. VOL. I.--4] The regiments varied somewhat in
strength, but all were recently organized, and must have averaged at
least 700 men each, making the whole force about 20,000. Of these,
about 5000 were guarding the railroad and its bridges for some two
hundred miles, under the command of Brigadier-General C. W. Hill, of
the Ohio Militia; a strong brigade under Brigadier-General Morris of
Indiana, was at Philippi, and the rest were in three brigades
forming the immediate command of McClellan, the brigadiers being
General W. S. Rosecrans, U. S. A., General Newton Schleich of Ohio,
and Colonel Robert L. McCook of Ohio. On the date of his
proclamation McClellan intended, as he informed General Scott, to
move his principal column to Buckhannon on June 25th, and thence at
once upon Beverly; [Footnote: Official Records, vol. ii. p. 195.]
but delays occurred, and it was not till July 2nd that he reached
Buckhannon, which is twenty-four miles west of Beverly, on the
Parkersburg branch of the turnpike. Before leaving Grafton the
rumors he heard had made him estimate Garnett's force at 6000 or
7000 men, of which the larger part were at Laurel Mountain in front
of General Morris. [Footnote: _Id_., p. 205.] On the 7th of July he
moved McCook with two regiments to Middle Fork bridge, about
half-way to Beverly, and on the same day ordered Morris to march
with his brigade from Philippi to a position one and a half miles in
front of Garnett's principal camp, which was promptly done.
[Footnote: _Id_., p. 200.] Three days later, McClellan concentrated
the three brigades of his own column at Roaring Creek, about two
miles from Colonel Pegram's position at the base of Rich Mountain.
The advance on both lines had been made with only a skirmishing
resistance, the Confederates being aware of McClellan's great
superiority in numbers, and choosing to await his attack in their
fortified positions. The National commander was now convinced that
his opponent was 10,000 strong, of which about 2000 were before him
at Rich Mountain. [Footnote: _Id_., pp. 203, 204.] A reconnoissance
made on the 10th showed that Pegram's position would be difficult to
assail in front, but preparations were made to attack the next day,
while Morris was directed to hold firmly his position before
Garnett, watching for the effect of the attack at Rich Mountain. In
the evening Rosecrans took to McClellan a young man named Hart,
whose father lived on the top of the mountain two miles in rear of
Pegram, and who thought he could guide a column of infantry to his
father's farm by a circuit around Pegram's left flank south of the
turnpike. The paths were so difficult that cannon could not go by
them, but Rosecrans offered to lead a column of infantry and seize
the road at the Hart farm. After some discussion McClellan adopted
the suggestion, and it was arranged that Rosecrans should march at
daybreak of the 11th with about 2000 men, including a troop of
horse, and that upon the sound of his engagement in the rear of
Pegram McClellan would attack in force in front. By a blunder in one
of the regimental camps, the reveillé and assembly were sounded at
midnight, and Pegram was put on the _qui vive_. He, however,
believed that the attempt to turn his position would be by a path or
country road passing round his right, between him and Garnett (of
which the latter had warned him), and his attention was diverted
from Rosecrans's actual route, which he thought impracticable.
[Footnote: Official Records, vol. ii. pp. 215, 256, 260. Conduct of
the War, vol. vi. (Rosecrans), pp. 2,3.] The alert which had
occurred at midnight made Rosecrans think it best to make a longer
circuit than he at first intended, and it took ten hours of severe
marching and mountain climbing to reach the Hart farm. The turning
movement was made, but he found an enemy opposing him. Pegram had
detached about 350 men from the 1300 which he had, and had ordered
them to guard the road at the mountain summit. He sent with them a
single cannon from the four which constituted his only battery, and
they threw together a breastwork of logs. The turnpike at Hart's
runs in a depression of the summit, and as Rosecrans, early in the
afternoon, came out upon the road, he was warmly received by both
musketry and cannon. The ground was rough, the men were for the
first time under fire, and the skirmishing combat varied through two
or three hours, when a charge by part of Rosecrans's line, aided by
a few heavy volleys from another portion of his forces which had
secured a good position, broke the enemy's line. Reinforcements from
Pegram were nearly at hand, with another cannon; but they did not
come into action, and the runaway team of the caisson on the
hill-top, dashing into the gun that was coming up, capsized it down
the mountain-side where the descending road was scarped diagonally
along it. Both guns fell into Rosecrans's hands, and he was in
possession of the field. The march and the assault had been made in
rain and storm. Nothing was heard from McClellan; and the enemy,
rallying on their reinforcements, made such show of resistance on
the crest a little further on, that Rosecrans directed his men to
rest upon their arms till next morning. When day broke on the 12th,
the enemy had disappeared from the mountain-top, and Rosecrans,
feeling his way down to the rear of Pegram's position, found it also
abandoned, the two remaining cannon being spiked, and a few sick and
wounded being left in charge of a surgeon. Still nothing was seen of
McClellan, and Rosecrans sent word to him, in his camp beyond
Roaring Creek, that he was in possession of the enemy's position.
Rosecrans's loss had been 12 killed and 49 wounded. The Confederates
left 20 wounded on the field, and 63 were surrendered at the lower
camp, including the sick. No trustworthy report of their dead was
made. [Footnote: Official Records, vol. ii pp. 215, 260, 265. C. W.,
vol. vi. (Rosecrans) pp. 3-5.]

The noise of the engagement had been heard in McClellan's camp, and
he formed his troops for attack, but the long continuance of the
cannonade and some signs of exultation in Pegram's camp seem to have
made him think Rosecrans had been repulsed. The failure to attack in
accordance with the plan has never been explained. [Footnote: C. W.,
vol. vi. p. 6. McClellan seems to have expected Rosecrans to reach
the rear of Pegram's advanced work before his own attack should be
made; but the reconnoissance of Lieutenant Poe, his engineer, shows
that this work could be turned by a much shorter route than the long
and difficult one by which Rosecrans went to the mountain ridge. See
Poe's Report, Official Records, vol. li. pt. i. p. 14.] Rosecrans's
messengers had failed to reach McClellan during the 11th, but the
sound of the battle was sufficient notice that he had gained the
summit and was engaged; and he was, in fact, left to win his own
battle or to get out of his embarrassment as he could. Toward
evening McClellan began to cut a road for artillery to a neighboring
height, from which he hoped his twelve guns would make Pegram's
position untenable; but his lines were withdrawn again beyond
Roaring Creek at nightfall, and all further action postponed to the
next day.

About half of Pegram's men had succeeded in passing around
Rosecrans's right flank during the night and had gained Beverly.
These, with the newly arrived Confederate regiment, fled southward
on the Staunton road. Garnett had learned in the evening, by
messenger from Beverly, that Rich Mountain summit was carried, and
evacuated his camp in front of Morris about midnight. He first
marched toward Beverly, and was within five miles of that place when
he received information (false at the time) that the National forces
already occupied it. He then retraced his steps nearly to his camp,
and, leaving the turnpike at Leadsville, he turned off upon a
country road over Cheat Mountain into Cheat River valley, following
the stream northward toward St. George and West Union, in the
forlorn hope of turning the mountains at the north end of the
ridges, and regaining his communications by a very long detour. He
might have continued southward through Beverly almost at leisure,
for McClellan did not enter the town till past noon on the 12th.

Morris learned of Garnett's retreat at dawn, and started in pursuit
as soon as rations could be issued. He marched first to Leadsville,
where he halted to communicate with McClellan at Beverly and get
further orders. These reached him in the night, and at daybreak of
the 13th he resumed the pursuit. His advance-guard of three
regiments, accompanied by Captain H. W. Benham of the Engineers,
overtook the rear of the Confederate column about noon and continued
a skirmishing pursuit for some two hours. Garnett himself handled
his rear-guard with skill, and at Carrick's Ford a lively encounter
was had. A mile or two further, at another ford and when the
skirmishing was very slight, he was killed while withdrawing his
skirmishers from behind a pile of driftwood which he had used as a
barricade. One of his cannon had become stalled in the ford, and
with about forty wagons fell into Morris's hands. The direct pursuit
was here discontinued, but McClellan had sent a dispatch to General
Hill at Grafton, to collect the garrisons along the railroad and
block the way of the Confederates where they must pass around the
northern spurs of the mountains. [Footnote: Reports of Morris and
Benham, Official Records, vol. ii. pp. 220, 222.]

His military telegraph terminated at the Roaring Creek camp, and the
dispatch written in the evening of the 12th was not forwarded to
Hill till near noon of the 13th. This officer immediately ordered
the collection of the greater part of his detachments at Oakland,
and called upon the railway officials for special trains to hurry
them to the rendezvous. About 1000 men under Colonel James Irvine of
the Sixteenth Ohio were at West Union, where the St. George road
reaches the Northwestern Turnpike, and Hill's information was that a
detachment of these held Red House, a crossing several miles in
advance, by which the retreating enemy might go. Irvine was directed
to hold his positions at all hazards till he could be reinforced.
Hill himself hastened with the first train from Grafton to Oakland
with about 500 men and three cannon, reached his destination at
nightfall, and hurried his detachment forward by a night march to
Irvine, ten or twelve miles over rough roads. It turned out that
Irvine did not occupy Red House, and the prevalent belief that the
enemy was about 8000 in number, with the uncertainty of the road he
would take, made it proper to keep the little force concentrated
till reinforcements should come. The first of these reached Irvine
about six o'clock on the morning of the 14th, raising his command to
1500; but a few moments after their arrival he learned that the
enemy had passed Red House soon after daylight. He gave chase, but
did not overtake them.

Meanwhile General Hill had spent the night in trying to hasten
forward the railway trains, but none were able to reach Oakland till
morning, and Garnett's forces had now more than twenty miles the
start, and were on fairly good roads, moving southward on the
eastern side of the mountains. McClellan still telegraphed that Hill
had the one opportunity of a lifetime to capture the fleeing army,
and that officer hastened in pursuit, though unprovided with wagons
or extra rations. When however the Union commander learned that the
enemy had fairly turned the mountains, he ordered the pursuit
stopped. Hill had used both intelligence and energy in his attempt
to concentrate his troops, but it proved simply impossible for the
railroad to carry them to Oakland before the enemy had passed the
turning-point, twenty miles to the southward. [Footnote: Report of
Hill, Official Records, vol. ii. p. 224.]

During the 12th Pegram's situation and movements were unknown. He
had intended, when he evacuated his camp, to follow the line of
retreat taken by the detachment already near the mountain-top, but,
in the darkness of the night and in the tangled woods and thickets
of the mountain-side, his column got divided, and, with the rear
portion of it, he wandered all day of the 12th, seeking to make his
way to Garnett. He halted at evening at the Tygart Valley River, six
miles north of Beverly, and learned from some country people of
Garnett's retreat. It was still possible to reach the mountains east
of the valley, but beyond lay a hundred miles of wilderness and half
a dozen mountain ridges on which little, if any, food could be found
for his men. He called a council of war, and, by advice of his
officers, sent to McClellan, at Beverly, an offer of surrender. This
was received on the 13th, and Pegram brought in 30 officers and 525
men. [Footnote: Report of Pegram, Official Records, vol. ii. pp.
265, 266.] McClellan then moved southward himself, following the
Staunton road, by which the remnant of Pegram's little force had
escaped, and on the 14th occupied Huttonsville. Two regiments of
Confederate troops were hastening from Staunton to reinforce
Garnett. These were halted at Monterey, east of the principal ridge
of the Alleghanies, and upon them the retreating forces rallied.
Brigadier-General H. R. Jackson was assigned to command in Garnett's
place, and both Governor Letcher and General Lee made strenuous
efforts to increase this army to a force sufficient to resume
aggressive operations. [Footnote: _Id_., pp. 247, 254.] On
McClellan's part nothing further was attempted till on the 22d he
was summoned to Washington to assume command of the army which had
retreated to the capital after the panic of the first Bull Run

The affair at Rich Mountain and the subsequent movements were among
the minor events of a great war, and would not warrant a detailed
description, were it not for the momentous effect they had upon the
conduct of the war, by being the occasion of McClellan's promotion
to the command of the Potomac army. The narrative which has been
given contains the "unvarnished tale," as nearly as official records
of both sides can give it, and it is a curious task to compare it
with the picture of the campaign and its results which was then
given to the world in the series of proclamations and dispatches of
the young general, beginning with his first occupation of the
country and ending with his congratulations to his troops, in which
he announced that they had "annihilated two armies, commanded by
educated and experienced soldiers, intrenched in mountain fastnesses
fortified at their leisure." The country was eager for good news,
and took it as literally true. McClellan was the hero of the moment,
and when, but a week later, his success was followed by the disaster
to McDowell at Bull Run, he seemed pointed out by Providence as the
ideal chieftain who could repair the misfortune and lead our armies
to certain victory. His personal intercourse with those about him
was so kindly, and his bearing so modest, that his dispatches,
proclamations, and correspondence are a psychological study, more
puzzling to those who knew him well than to strangers. Their turgid
rhetoric and exaggerated pretence did not seem natural to him. In
them he seemed to be composing for stage effect something to be
spoken in character by a quite different person from the sensible
and genial man we knew in daily life and conversation. The career of
the great Napoleon had been the study and the absorbing admiration
of young American soldiers, and it was perhaps not strange that when
real war came they should copy his bulletins and even his personal
bearing. It was, for the moment, the bent of the people to be
pleased with McClellan's rendering of the rôle; they dubbed him the
young Napoleon, and the photographers got him to stand with folded
arms, in the historic pose. For two or three weeks his dispatches
and letters were all on fire with enthusiastic energy. He appeared
to be in a morbid condition of mental exaltation. When he came out
of it, he was as genial as ever. The assumed dash and energy of his
first campaign made the disappointment and the reaction more painful
when the excessive caution of his conduct in command of the Army of
the Potomac was seen. But the Rich Mountain affair, when analyzed,
shows the same characteristics which became well known later. There
was the same over-estimate of the enemy, the same tendency to
interpret unfavorably the sights and sounds in front, the same
hesitancy to throw in his whole force when he knew that his
subordinate was engaged. If Garnett had been as strong as McClellan
believed him, he had abundant time and means to overwhelm Morris,
who lay four days in easy striking distance, while the National
commander delayed attacking Pegram; and had Morris been beaten,
Garnett would have been as near Clarksburg as his opponent, and
there would have been a race for the railroad. But, happily, Garnett
was less strong and less enterprising than he was credited with
being. Pegram was dislodged, and the Confederates made a precipitate



Orders for the Kanawha expedition--The troops and their
quality--Lack of artillery and cavalry--Assembling at
Gallipolis--District of the Kanawha--Numbers of the opposing
forces--Method of advance--Use of steamboats--Advance guards on
river banks--Camp at Thirteen-mile Creek--Night alarm--The river
chutes--Sunken obstructions--Pocotaligo--Affair at
Barboursville--Affair at Scary Creek--Wise's position at Tyler
Mountain--His precipitate retreat--Occupation of
Charleston--Rosecrans succeeds McClellan--Advance toward Gauley
Bridge--Insubordination--The Newspaper Correspondent--Occupation of
Gauley Bridge.

When McClellan reached Buckhannon, on the 2d of July, the rumors he
heard of Garnett's strength, and the news of the presence of General
Wise with a considerable force in the Great Kanawha valley, made him
conclude to order a brigade to that region for the purpose of
holding the lower part of the valley defensively till he might try
to cut off Wise's army after Garnett should be disposed of. This
duty was assigned to me. On the 22d of June I had received my
appointment as Brigadier-General, U. S. Volunteers, superseding my
state commission. I had seen the regiments of my brigade going one
by one, as fast as they were reorganized for the three years'
service, and I had hoped to be ordered to follow them to McClellan's
own column. The only one left in camp was the Eleventh Ohio, of
which only five companies were present, though two more companies
were soon added.

McClellan's letter directed me to assume command of the First and
Second Kentucky regiments with the Twelfth Ohio, and to call upon
the governor for a troop of cavalry and a six-gun battery: to
expedite the equipment of the whole and move them to Gallipolis
_via_ Hampden and Portland, stations on the Marietta Railroad, from
which a march of twenty-five miles by country roads would take us to
our destination. At Gallipolis was the Twenty-first Ohio, which I
should add to my command and proceed at once with two regiments to
Point Pleasant at the mouth of the Kanawha, five miles above. When
all were assembled, one regiment was to be left at Point Pleasant,
two were to be advanced up the valley to Ten-mile Creek, and the
other placed at an intermediate position. "Until further orders,"
the letter continued, "remain on the defensive and endeavor to
induce the rebels to remain at Charleston until I can cut off their
retreat by a movement from Beverly." Captain W. J. Kountz, an
experienced steamboat captain, was in charge of
water-transportation, and would furnish light-draught steamboats for
my use. [Footnote: What purports to be McClellan's letter to me is
found in the Records (Official Records, vol. ii. pt. i. p. 197), but
it seems to be only an abstract of it, made to accompany his
dispatch to Washington (_Id_., p. 198), and by a clerical error
given the form of the complete letter. It does not contain the
quotation given above, which was reiterated before the letter was
closed, in these words: "Remember that my present plan is to cut
them off by a rapid march from Beverly after driving those in front
of me across the mountains, and do all you can to favor that by
avoiding offensive movements."

After the printing of the earlier volumes of the Records, covering
the years 1861-1862, I learned that the books and papers of the
Department of the Ohio had not been sent to Washington at the close
of the war, but were still in Cincinnati. I brought this fact to the
attention of the Adjutant-General, and at the request of that
officer obtained and forwarded them to the Archives office. With
them were my letter books and the original files of my
correspondence with McClellan and Rosecrans in 1861 and 1862.
Colonel Robert N. Scott, who was then in charge of the publication,
informed me that the whole would be prepared for printing and would
appear in the supplemental volumes, after the completion of the rest
of the First Series. Owing to changes in the Board of Publication in
the course of twenty years, there were errors in the arrangement of
the matter for the printer, and a considerable part of the
correspondence between the generals named and myself was
accidentally omitted from the supplemental volume (Official Records,
vol. li. pt. i.) in which it should have appeared. The originals are
no doubt in the files of the Archives office, and for the benefit of
investigators I give in Appendix A a list of the numbers missing
from the printed volume, as shown by comparison with my retained

Governor Dennison seconded our wishes with his usual earnestness,
and ordered the battery of artillery and company of cavalry to meet
me at Gallipolis; but the guns for the battery were not to be had,
and a section of two bronze guns (six-pounder smooth-bores rifled)
was the only artillery, whilst the cavalry was less than half a
troop of raw recruits, useful only as messengers. I succeeded in
getting the Eleventh Ohio sent with me, the lacking companies to be
recruited and sent later. The Twelfth Ohio was an excellent regiment
which had been somewhat delayed in its reorganization and had not
gone with the rest of its brigade to McClellan. The Twenty-first was
one of the regiments enlisted for the State in excess of the first
quota, and was now brought into the national service under the
President's second call. The two Kentucky regiments had been
organized in Cincinnati, and were made up chiefly of steamboat crews
and "longshoremen" thrown out of employment by the stoppage of
commerce on the river. There were in them some companies of other
material, but these gave the distinctive character to the regiments.
The colonels and part of the field officers were Kentuckians, but
the organizations were Ohio regiments in nearly everything but the
name. The men were mostly of a rough and reckless class, and gave a
good deal of trouble by insubordination; but they did not lack
courage, and after they had been under discipline for a while,
became good fighting regiments. The difficulty of getting
transportation from the railway company delayed our departure. It
was not till the 6th of July that a regiment could be sent, and
another followed in two or three days. The two Kentucky regiments
were not yet armed and equipped, but after a day or two were ready
and were ordered up the river by steamboats. I myself left Camp
Dennison on the evening of Sunday the 7th with the Eleventh Ohio
(seven companies) and reached Gallipolis in the evening of the 9th.
The three Ohio regiments were united on the 10th and carried by
steamers to Point Pleasant, and we entered the theatre of war.
[Footnote: Official Records, vol. li. pt. i. p. 416: my report to

My movement had been made upon a telegram from General McClellan,
and I found at Gallipolis his letter of instructions of the 2d, and
another of the 6th which enlarged the scope of my command. A
territorial district was assigned to me, including the southwestern
part of Virginia below Parkersburg on the Ohio, and north of the
Great Kanawha, reaching back into the country as I should occupy it.
[Footnote: The territorial boundary of McClellan's Department had
been placed at the Great Kanawha and the Ohio rivers, probably with
some political idea of avoiding the appearance of aggression upon
regions of doubtful loyalty.] The directions to restrict myself to a
defensive occupation of the Lower Kanawha valley were changed to
instructions to march on Charleston and Gauley Bridge, and, with a
view to his resumption of the plan to make this his main line of
advance, to "obtain all possible information in regard to the roads
leading toward Wytheville and the adjacent region." I was also
ordered to place a regiment at Ripley, on the road from Parkersburg
to Charleston, and advised "to beat up Barbonsville, Guyandotte,
etc, so that the entire course of the Ohio may be secured to us."
Communication with Ripley was by Letart's Falls on the Ohio, some
thirty miles above Gallipolis, or by Ravenswood, twenty miles
further. Guyandotte was a longer distance below Gallipolis, and
Barboursville was inland some miles up the Gurandotte River. As to
General Wise, McClellan wrote: "Drive Wise out and catch him if you
can. If you do catch him, send him to Colombus penitentiary." A
regiment at Parkersburg and another at Roane Court House on the
northern border of my district were ordered to report to me, but I
was not authorized to move them from the stations assigned them, and
they were soon united to McClellan's own column.

At Gallipolis I heard that a steamboat on the Ohio had been boarded
by a rebel party near Guyandotte, and the news giving point to
McClellan's suggestion to "beat up" that region, I dispatched a
small steamboat down the river to meet the Kentucky regiments with
orders for the leading one to land at Guyandotte and suppress any
insurgents in that neighborhood. [Footnote: Official Records, vol.
Ii. pt. i. p. 417.] It was hazardous to divide my little army into
three columns on a base of a hundred miles, but it was thought wise
to show some Union troops at various points on the border, and I
purposed to unite my detachments by early convergent movements
forward to the Kanawha valley as soon as I should reach Red House,
thirty-two miles up the river, with my principal column.

Before I reached Charleston I added to my artillery one iron and one
brass cannon, smooth six-pounders, borrowed from the civil
authorities at Gallipolis; but they were without caissons or any
proper equipment, and were manned by volunteers from the infantry.
[Footnote: Ibid.] My total force, when assembled, would be a little
over 3000 men, the regiments having the same average strength as
those with McClellan. The opposing force under General Wise was 4000
by the time the campaign was fully opened, though somewhat less at
the beginning. [Footnote: Wise reported his force on the 17th of
July as 3500 "effective" men and ten cannon, and says he received
"perhaps 300" in reinforcements on the 18th. When he abandoned the
valley ten days later, he reported his force 4000 in round numbers.
Official Records, vol. ii. pp. 290, 292; 1011.]

The Great Kanawha River was navigable for small steamboats about
seventy miles, to a point ten or twelve miles above Charleston, the
only important town of the region, which was at the confluence of
the Kanawha and Elk rivers. Steamboats were plenty, owing to the
interruption of trade, and wagons were wholly lacking; so that my
column was accompanied and partly carried by a fleet of stern-wheel

On Thursday the 11th of July the movement from Point Pleasant began.
An advance-guard was sent out on each side of the river, marching
upon the roads which were near its banks. The few horsemen were
divided and sent with them to carry messages, and the boats
followed, steaming slowly along in rear of the marching men. Most of
two regiments were carried on the steamers, to save fatigue to the
men, who were as yet unused to their work, and many of whom were
footsore from their first long march of twenty-five miles to
Gallipolis from Hampden station, where they had been obliged to
leave the railway. The arrangement was also a good one in a military
point of view, for if an enemy were met on either bank of the
stream, the boats could land in a moment and the troops disembark
without delay.

Our first day's sail was thirteen miles up the river, and it was the
very romance of campaigning. I took my station on top of the
pilot-house of the leading boat, so that I might see over the banks
of the stream and across the bottom lands to the high hills which
bounded the valley. The afternoon was a lovely one. Summer clouds
lazily drifted across the sky, the boats were dressed in their
colors and swarmed with the men like bees. The bands played national
tunes, and as we passed the houses of Union citizens, the inmates
would wave their handkerchiefs to us, and were answered by cheers
from the troops. The scenery was picturesque, the gently winding
river making beautiful reaches that opened new scenes upon us at
every turn. On either side the advance-guard could be seen in the
distance, the main body in the road, with skirmishers exploring the
way in front, and flankers on the sides. Now and then a horseman
would bring some message to the bank from the front, and a small
boat would be sent to receive it, giving us the rumors with which
the country was rife, and which gave just enough of excitement and
of the spice of possible danger to make this our first day in an
enemy's country key everybody to just such a pitch as apparently to
double the vividness of every sensation. The landscape seemed more
beautiful, the sunshine more bright, and the exhilaration of
out-door life more joyous than any we had ever known.

The halt for the night had been assigned at a little village on the
right (northern) bank of the stream, which was nestled beneath a
ridge which ran down from the hills toward the river, making an
excellent position for defence against any force which might come
against it from the upper valley. The sun was getting low behind us
in the west, as we approached it, and the advance-guard had already
halted. Captain Cotter's two bronze guns gleamed bright on the top
of the ridge beyond the pretty little town, and before the sun went
down, the new white tents had been carried up to the slope and
pitched there. The steamers were moored to the shore, and the low
slanting rays of the sunset fell upon as charming a picture as was
ever painted. An outpost with pickets was set on the southern side
of the river, both grand and camp guards were put out also on the
side we occupied, and the men soon had their supper and went to
rest. Late in the evening a panic-stricken countryman came in with
the news that General Wise was moving down upon us with 4000 men.
The man was evidently in earnest, and was a loyal one. He believed
every word he said, but he had in fact seen only a few of the
enemy's horsemen who were scouting toward us, and believed their
statement that an army was at their back. It was our initiation into
an experience of rumors that was to continue as long as the war. We
were to get them daily and almost hourly; sometimes with a little
foundation of fact, sometimes with none; rarely purposely deceptive,
but always grossly exaggerated, making chimeras with which a
commanding officer had to wage a more incessant warfare than with
the substantial enemy in his front. I reasoned that Wise's troops
were, like my own, too raw to venture a night attack with, and
contented myself with sending a strong reconnoitring party out
beyond my pickets, putting in command of it Major Hines of the
Twelfth Ohio, an officer who subsequently became noted for his
enterprise and activity in charge of scouting parties. The camp
rested quietly, and toward morning Hines returned, reporting that a
troop of the enemy's horse had come within a couple of miles of our
position in search of information about us and our movement. They
had indulged in loud bragging as to what Wise and his army would do
with us, but this and nothing more was the basis of our honest
friend's fright. The morning dawned bright and peaceful, the
steamers were sent back for a regiment which was still at Point
Pleasant, and the day was used in concentrating the little army and
preparing for another advance.

On July 13th we moved again, making about ten miles, and finding the
navigation becoming difficult by reason of the low water. At several
shoals in the stream rough wing-dams had been built from the sides
to concentrate the water in the channel, and at Knob Shoals, in one
of these "chutes" as they were called, a coal barge had sometime
before been sunk. In trying to pass it our leading boat grounded,
and, the current being swift, it was for a time doubtful if we
should get her off. We finally succeeded, however, and the
procession of boats slowly steamed up the rapids. We had hardly got
beyond them when we heard a distant cannon-shot from our
advance-guard which had opened a long distance between them and us
during our delay. We steamed rapidly ahead. Soon we saw a man
pulling off from the south bank in a skiff. Nearing the steamer, he
stood up and excitedly shouted that a general engagement had begun.
We laughingly told him it couldn't be very general till we got in,
and we moved on, keeping a sharp outlook for our parties on either
bank. When we came up to them, we learned that a party of horsemen
had appeared on the southern side of the river and had opened a
skirmishing fire, but had scampered off as if the Old Nick were
after them when a shell from the rifled gun was sent over their
heads. The shell, like a good many that were made in those days, did
not explode, and the simple people of the vicinity who had heard its
long-continued scream told our men some days after that they thought
it was "going yet."

From this time some show of resistance was made by the enemy, and
the skirmishing somewhat retarded the movement. Still, about ten
miles was made each day till the evening of the 16th, when we
encamped at the mouth of the Pocotaligo, a large creek which enters
the Kanawha from the north. [Footnote: Official Records, vol. li.
pt. i. p. 418.] The evening before, we had had one of those
incidents, not unusual with new troops, which prove that nothing but
habit can make men cool and confident in their duties. We had, as
usual, moored our boats to the northern bank and made our camp
there, placing an outpost on the left bank opposite us supporting a
chain of sentinels, to prevent a surprise from that direction. A
report of some force of the enemy in their front made me order
another detachment to their support after nightfall. The detachment
had been told off and ferried across in small boats. They were dimly
seen marching in the starlight up the river after landing, when
suddenly a shot was heard, and then an irregular volley was both
seen and heard as the muskets flashed out in the darkness. A
supporting force was quickly sent over, and, no further disturbance
occurring, a search was made for an enemy, but none was found. A gun
had accidentally gone off in the squad, and the rest of the men,
surprised and bewildered, had fired, they neither knew why nor at
what. Two men were killed, and several others were hurt. This and
the chaffing the men got from their comrades was a lesson to the
whole command. The soldiers were brave enough, and were thoroughly
ashamed of themselves, but they were raw; that was all that could be
said of it. [Footnote: Official Records, vol. li. pt. i. p. 421.]

We were here overtaken by the Second Kentucky, which had stopped at
Guyandotte on its way up the river, and had marched across the
country to join us after our progress had sufficiently covered that
lower region. From Guyandotte a portion of the regiment, under
command of Lieutenant-Colonel Neff, had gone to Barboursville and
had attacked and dispersed an encampment of Confederates which was
organizing there. It was a very creditable little action, in which
officers and men conducted themselves well, and which made them for
the time the envy of the rest of the command.

The situation at "Poca," as it was called in the neighborhood, was
one which made the further advance of the army require some
consideration. Information which came to us from loyal men showed
that some force of the enemy was in position above the mouth of
Scary Creek on the south side of the Kanawha, and about three miles
from us. We had for two days had constant light skirmishing with the
advance-guard of Wise's forces on the north bank of the river, and
supposed that the principal part of his command was on our side, and
not far in front of us. It turned out in fact that this was so, and
that Wise had placed his principal camp at Tyler Mountain, a bold
spur which reaches the river on the northern side (on which is also
the turnpike road), about twelve miles above my position, while he
occupied the south side with a detachment. The Pocotaligo, which
entered the river from the north at our camp, covered us against an
attack on that side; but we could not take our steam-boats further
unless both banks of the river were cleared. We had scarcely any
wagons, for those which had been promised us could not yet be
forwarded, and we must either continue to keep the steamboats with
us, or organize wagon transportation and cut loose from the boats.
[Footnote: Official Records, vol. li. pt. i. p. 420; dispatch of
17th also.] My urgent dispatches were hurrying the wagons toward us,
but meanwhile I hoped the opposition on the south bank of the river
would prove trifling, for artillery in position at any point on the
narrow river would at once stop navigation of our light and unarmed
transports. On the morning of the 17th a reconnoitering party sent
forward on the south side of the river under command of
Lieutenant-Colonel White of the Twelfth Ohio, reported the enemy
about five hundred strong intrenched on the further side of Scary
Creek, which was not fordable at its mouth, but could be crossed a
little way up the stream. Colonel Lowe of the Twelfth requested the
privilege of driving off this party with his regiment accompanied by
our two cannon. He was ordered to do so, whilst the enemy's
skirmishers should be pushed back from the front of the main column,
and it should be held ready to advance rapidly up the north bank of
the river as soon as the hostile force at Scary Creek should be

The Twelfth and two companies of the Twenty-first Ohio were ferried
over and moved out soon after noon. The first reports from them were
encouraging and full of confidence, the enemy were retreating and
they had dismounted one of his guns; but just before evening they
returned, bringing the account of their repulse in the effort to
cross at the mouth of the creek, and their failure to find the ford
a little higher up. Their ammunition had run short, some casualties
had occurred, and they had become discouraged and given it up. Their
loss was 10 men killed and 35 wounded. If they had held on and asked
for assistance, it would have been well enough; but, as was common
with new troops, they passed from confidence to discouragement as
soon as they were checked, and they retreated.

The affair was accompanied by another humiliating incident which
gave me no little chagrin. During the progress of the engagement
Colonel Woodruff and Lieutenant-Colonel Neff of the Second Kentucky,
with Colonel De Villiers of the Eleventh Ohio, rode out in front, on
the north bank of the river, till they came opposite the enemy's
position, the hostile party on our side of the stream having fallen
back beyond this point. They were told by a negro that the rebels
were in retreat, and they got the black man to ferry them over in a
skiff, that they might be the first to congratulate their friends.
To their amazement they were welcomed as prisoners by the
Confederates, who greatly enjoyed their discomfiture. The negro had
told the truth in saying that the enemy had been in retreat; for the
fact was that both sides retreated, but the Confederates, being
first informed of this, resumed their position and claimed a
victory. The officers who were captured had gone out without
permission, and, led on by the hare-brained De Villiers, had done
what they knew was foolish and unmilitary, resulting for them in a
severe experience in Libby Prison at Richmond, and for us in the
momentary appearance of lack of discipline and order which could not
fairly be charged upon the command. I reported the facts without
disguise or apology, trusting to the future to remove the bad
impression the affair must naturally make upon McClellan.

The report of the strength of the position attacked and our
knowledge of the increasing difficulty of the ground before us, led
me to conclude that the wisest course would be to await the arrival
of the wagons, now daily expected, and then, with supplies for
several days in hand, move independent of the steamers, which became
only an embarrassment when it was advisable to leave the river road
for the purpose of turning a fortified position like that we had
found before us. We therefore rested quietly in our strong camp for
several days, holding both banks of the river and preparing to move
the main column by a country road leading away from the stream on
the north side, and returning to it at Tyler Mountain, where Wise's
camp was reported to be. I ordered up the First Kentucky from
Ravenswood and Ripley, but its colonel found obstacles in his way,
and did not join us till we reached Charleston the following week.

On the 23d of July I had succeeded in getting wagons and teams
enough to supply the most necessary uses, and renewed the advance.
We marched rapidly on the 24th by the circuitous route I have
mentioned, leaving a regiment to protect the steamboats. The country
was very broken and the roads very rough, but the enemy had no
knowledge of our movement, and toward evening we again approached
the river immediately in rear of their camp at Tyler Mountain. When
we drove in their pickets, the force was panic-stricken and ran off,
leaving their camp in confusion, and their supper which they were
cooking but did not stop to eat. A little below the point where we
reached the river, and on the other side, was the steamboat "Maffet"
with a party of soldiers gathering the wheat which had been cut in
the neighboring fields and was in the sheaf. I was for a moment
doubtful whether it might not be one of our own boats which had
ventured up the river under protection of the regiment left behind,
and directed our skirmishers who were deployed along the edge of the
water to hail the other side. "Who are you?" was shouted from both
banks simultaneously. "United States troops," our men answered.
"Hurrah for Jeff Davis!" shouted the others, and a rattling fire
opened on both sides. A shell was sent from our cannon into the
steamer, and the party upon her were immediately seen jumping
ashore, having first set fire to her to prevent her falling into our
hands. The enemy then moved away on that side, under cover of the
trees which lined the river bank. Night was now falling, and,
sending forward an advance-guard to follow up the force whose camp
we had surprised, we bivouacked on the mountain side.

In the morning, as we were moving out at an early hour, we were met
by the mayor and two or three prominent citizens of Charleston who
came to surrender the town to us, Wise having hurriedly retreated
during the night. He had done a very unnecessary piece of mischief
before leaving, in partly cutting off the cables of a fine
suspension bridge which spans the Elk River at Charleston. As this
stream enters the Kanawha from the north and below the city, it may
have seemed to him that it would delay our progress; but as a large
number of empty coal barges were lying at the town, it took our
company of mechanics, under Captain Lane of the Eleventh Ohio, but a
little while to improvise a good floating bridge, and part of the
command passed through the town and camped beyond it. [Footnote:
Official Records, vol. li. pt. i. p. 425.] One day was now given to
the establishment of a depot of supplies at Charleston and to the
organization of regular communication by water with Gallipolis, and
by wagons with such positions as we might occupy further up the
river. Deputations of the townspeople were informed that it was not
our policy to meddle with private persons who remained quietly at
home, nor would we make any inquisition as to the personal opinions
of those who attended strictly to their own business; but they were
warned that any communication with the enemy would be remorselessly

We were now able to get more accurate information about Wise's
forces than we could obtain before, and this accorded pretty well
with the strength which he reported officially. [Footnote: _Ante_,
p. 63 note.] His infantry was therefore more than equal to the
column under my command in the valley, whilst in artillery and in
cavalry he was greatly superior. Our continued advance in the face
of such opposition is sufficient evidence that the Confederate force
was not well handled, for as the valley contracted and the hills
crowded in closer to the river, nearly every mile offered positions
in which small numbers could hold at bay an army. Our success in
reaching Charleston was therefore good ground for being content with
our progress, though I had to blame myself for errors in the
management of my part of the campaign at Pocataligo. I ought not to
have assumed as confidently as I did that the enemy was only five
hundred strong at Scary Creek and that a detachment could dispose of
that obstacle whilst the rest of the column prepared to advance on
our principal line. Wise's force at that point was in fact double
the number supposed. [Footnote: Official Records, vol. ii. p. 1011.]
It is true it was very inconvenient to ferry any considerable body
of troops back and forth across the river; but I should nevertheless
have taken the bulk of my command to the left bank, and by occupying
the enemy's attention at the mouth of Scary Creek, covered the
movement of a sufficient force upon his flank by means of the fords
farther up that stream. This would have resulted in the complete
routing of the detachment, and it is nearly certain that I could
have pushed on to Charleston at once, and could have waited there
for the organization of my wagon train with the prestige of victory,
instead of doing so at 'Poca' with the appearance of a check.

McClellan recognized the fact that he was asking me to face the
enemy with no odds in my favor, and as soon as he heard that Wise
was disposed to make a stand he directed me not to risk attacking
him in front, but rather to await the result of his own movement
toward the Upper Kanawha. [Footnote: Dispatches of July 16 and 20.]
Rosecrans did the same when he assumed command; but I knew the hope
had been that I would reach Gauley Bridge, and I was vexed that my
movement should have the appearance of failing when I was conscious
that we had not fairly measured our strength with my opponent. As
soon, therefore, as the needful preparations could be made, I
decided upon the turning movement which I have already described,
and our resolute advance seems to have thrown Wise into a panic from
which he did not recover till he got far beyond Gauley Bridge.

At Charleston I learned of the Bull Run disaster, and that McClellan
had been ordered to Washington, leaving Rosecrans in command of our
department. The latter sent me orders which implied that to reach
Charleston was the most he could expect of me, and directing me to
remain on the defensive if I should succeed in getting so far,
whilst he should take up anew McClellan's plan of reaching the rear
of Wise's army. [Footnote: Dispatches of July 26 and 29.] His
dispatches, fortunately, did not reach me till I was close to Gauley
Bridge and was sure of my ability to take possession of that defile,
some forty miles above Charleston. An additional reason for my
prompt advance was that the Twenty-first Ohio was not yet
re-enlisted for the war, was only a "three months" regiment whose
time was about to expire, and Governor Dennison had telegraphed me
to send it back to Ohio. I left this regiment as a post-garrison at
Charleston till it could be relieved by another, or till my success
in reaching Gauley Bridge should enable me to send back a detachment
for that post, and, on the 26th July, pushed forward with the rest
of my column, which, now that the First Kentucky had joined me,
consisted of four regiments. Our first night's encampment was about
eleven miles above Charleston in a lovely nook between spurs of the
hills. Here I was treated to a little surprise on the part of three
of my subordinates which was an unexpected enlargement of my
military experience. The camp had got nicely arranged for the night
and supper was over, when these gentlemen waited upon me at my tent.
The one who had shown the least capacity as commander of a regiment
was spokesman, and informed me that after consultation they had
concluded that it was foolhardy to follow the Confederates into the
gorge we were travelling, and that unless I could show them
satisfactory reasons for changing their opinion they would not lead
their commands further into it. I dryly asked if he was quite sure
he understood the nature of his communication. There was something
probably in the tone of my question which was not altogether
expected, and his companions began to look a little uneasy. He then
protested that none of them meant any disrespect, but that as their
military experience was about as extensive as my own, they thought I
ought to make no movements but on consultation with them and by
their consent. The others seemed to be better pleased with this way
of putting it, and signified assent. My answer was that their
conduct very plainly showed their own lack both of military
experience and elementary military knowledge, and that this
ignorance was the only thing which could palliate their action.
Whether they meant it or not, their action was mutinous. The
responsibility for the movement of the army was with me, and whilst
I should be inclined to confer very freely with my principal
subordinates and explain my purposes, I should call no councils of
war, and submit nothing to vote till I felt incompetent to decide
for myself. If they apologized for their conduct and showed
earnestness in military obedience to orders, what they had now said
would be overlooked, but on any recurrence of cause for complaint I
should enforce my power by the arrest of the offender at once. I
dismissed them with this, and immediately sent out the formal orders
through my adjutant-general to march early next morning. Before they
slept one of the three had come to me with earnest apology for his
part in the matter, and a short time made them all as subordinate as
I could wish. The incident could not have occurred in the brigade
which had been under my command at Camp Dennison, and was a not
unnatural result of the sudden assembling of inexperienced men under
a brigade commander of whom they knew nothing except that at the
beginning of the war he was a civilian like themselves. These very
men afterward became devoted followers, and some of them life-long
friends. It was part of their military education as well as mine. If
I had been noisy and blustering in my intercourse with them at the
beginning, and had done what seemed to be regarded as the
"regulation" amount of cursing and swearing, they would probably
have given me credit for military aptitude at least; but a
systematic adherence to a quiet and undemonstrative manner evidently
told against me, at first, in their opinion. Through my army life I
met more or less of the same conduct when assigned to a new command;
but when men learned that discipline would be inevitably enforced,
and that it was as necessary to obey a quiet order as one emphasized
by expletives, and especially when they had been a little under
fire, there was no more trouble. Indeed, I was impressed with the
fact that after this acquaintance was once made, my chief
embarrassment in discipline was that an intimation of
dissatisfaction on my part would cause deeper chagrin and more
evident pain than I intended or wished.

The same march enabled me to make the acquaintance of another army
"institution,"--the newspaper correspondent. We were joined at
Charleston by two men representing influential Eastern journals, who
wished to know on what terms they could accompany the column. The
answer was that the quartermaster would furnish them with a tent and
transportation, and that their letters should be submitted to one of
the staff, to protect us from the publication of facts which might
aid the enemy. This seemed unsatisfactory, and they intimated that
they expected to be taken into my mess and to be announced as
volunteer aides with military rank. They were told that military
position or rank could only be given by authority much higher than
mine, and that they could be more honestly independent if free from
personal obligation and from temptation to repay favors with
flattery. My only purpose was to put the matter upon the foundation
of public right and of mutual self-respect. The day before we
reached Gauley Bridge they opened the subject again to Captain
McElroy, my adjutant-general, but were informed that I had decided
it upon a principle by which I meant to abide. Their reply was,
"Very well; General Cox thinks he can get along without us, and we
will show him. We will write him down."

They left the camp the same evening, and wrote letters to their
papers describing the army as demoralized, drunken, and without
discipline, in a state of insubordination, and the commander as
totally incompetent. As to the troops, more baseless slander was
never uttered. Their march had been orderly. No wilful injury had
been done to private property, and no case of personal violence to
any non-combatant, man or woman, had been even charged. Yet the
printing of such communications in widely read journals was likely
to be as damaging as if it all were true. My nomination as
Brigadier-General of U. S. Volunteers was then before the Senate for
confirmation, and "the pen" would probably have proved "mightier
than the sword" but for McClellan's knowledge of the nature of the
task we had accomplished, as he was then in the flood-tide of power
at Washington, and expressed his satisfaction at the performance of
our part of the campaign which he had planned. By good fortune also,
the injurious letters were printed at the same time with the
telegraphic news of our occupation of Gauley Bridge and the retreat
of the enemy out of the valley. [Footnote: As one of these
correspondents became a writer of history, it is made proper to say
that he was Mr. William Swinton, of whom General Grant has occasion
to speak in his "Personal Memoirs" (vol. ii. p. 144), and whose
facility in changing his point of view in historical writing was
shown in his "McClellan's Military Career Reviewed and Exposed,"
which was published in 1864 by the Union Congressional Committee
(first appearing in the "New York Times" of February, March, and
April of that year), when compared with his "History of the Army of
the Potomac" which appeared two years later. Burnside accused him of
repeated instances of malicious libel of his command in June, 1864.
Official Records, vol. xxxvi. pt. iii. p. 751.] I was, however,
deeply convinced that my position was the right one, and never
changed my rule of conduct in the matter. The relations of newspaper
correspondents to general officers of the army became one of the
crying scandals and notorious causes of intrigue and demoralization.
It was a subject almost impossible to settle satisfactorily; but
whoever gained or lost by cultivating this means of reputation, it
is a satisfaction to have adhered throughout the war to the rule I
first adopted and announced.

Wise made no resolute effort to oppose my march after I left
Charleston, and contented himself with delaying us by his
rear-guard, which obstructed the road by felling trees into it and
by skirmishing with my head of column. We however advanced at the
rate of twelve or fifteen miles a day, reaching Gauley Bridge on the
morning of the 29th of July. Here we captured some fifteen hundred
stands of arms and a considerable store of munitions which the
Confederate general had not been able to carry away or destroy. It
is safe to say that in the wild defile which we had threaded for the
last twenty miles there were as many positions as there were miles
in which he could easily have delayed my advance a day or two,
forcing me to turn his flank by the most difficult mountain
climbing, and where indeed, with forces so nearly equal, my progress
should have been permanently barred. At Gauley Bridge he burned the
structure which gave name to the place, and which had been a series
of substantial wooden trusses resting upon heavy stone piers. My
orders definitively limited me to the point we had now reached in my
advance, and I therefore sent forward only a detachment to follow
the enemy and keep up his precipitate retreat. Wise did not stop
till he reached Greenbrier and the White Sulphur Springs, and there
was abundant evidence that he regarded his movement as a final
abandonment of this part of West Virginia. [Footnote: Floyd's
Dispatches, Official Records, vol. li. pt. ii. pp. 208, 213.] A few
weeks later General Lee came in person with reinforcements over the
mountains and began a new campaign; but until the 20th of August we
were undisturbed except by a petty guerilla warfare.

McClellan telegraphed from Washington his congratulations,
[Footnote: Dispatch of August 1.] and Rosecrans expressed his
satisfaction also in terms which assured me that we had done more
than had been expected of us. [Footnote: Dispatch of July 31.] The
good effect upon the command was also very apparent; for our success
not only justified the policy of a determined advance, but the
officers who had been timid as to results were now glad to get their
share of the credit, and to make amends for their insubordination by
a hearty change in bearing and conduct. My term of service as a
brigadier of the Ohio forces in the three months' enrolment had now
ended, and until the Senate should confirm my appointment as a
United States officer there was some doubt as to my right to
continue in command. My embarrassment in this regard was very
pleasantly removed by a dispatch from General Rosecrans in which he
conveyed the request of Lieutenant-General Scott and of himself that
I should remain in charge of the Kanawha column. It was only a week,
however, before notice of the confirmation was received, and
dropping all thoughts of returning home, I prepared my mind for
continuous active duty till the war should end.



The gate of the Kanawha valley--The wilderness beyond--West Virginia
defences--A romantic post--Chaplain Brown--An adventurous
mission--Chaplain Dubois--"The River Path"--Gauley Mount--Colonel
Tompkins's home--Bowie-knives--Truculent resolutions--The
Engineers--Whittlesey, Benham, Wagner--Fortifications--Distant
reconnoissances--Comparison of forces--Dangers to steamboat
communications--Allotment of duties--The Summersville post--Seventh
Ohio at Cross Lanes--Scares and rumors--Robert E. Lee at Valley
Mountain--Floyd and Wise advance--Rosecrans's orders--The Cross
Lanes affair--Major Casement's creditable retreat--Colonel Tyler's
reports--Lieutenant-Colonel Creighton--Quarrels of Wise and
Floyd--Ambushing rebel cavalry--Affair at Boone Court House--New
attack at Gauley Bridge--An incipient mutiny--Sad result--A notable
court-martial--Rosecrans marching toward us--Communications
renewed--Advance toward Lewisburg--Camp Lookout--A private sorrow.

The position at Gauley Bridge was an important one from a military
point of view. It was where the James River and Kanawha turnpike,
after following the highlands along the course of New River as it
comes from the east, drops into a defile with cliffs on one side and
a swift and unfordable torrent upon the other, and then crosses the
Gauley River, which is a stream of very similar character. The two
rivers, meeting at a right angle, there unite to form the Great
Kanawha, which plunges over a ledge of rocks a mile below and winds
its way among the hills, some thirty miles, before it becomes a
navigable stream even for the lightest class of steamboats. From
Gauley Bridge a road runs up the Gauley River to Cross Lanes and
Carnifex Ferry, something over twenty miles, and continuing
northward reaches Summersville, Sutton, and Weston, making almost
the only line of communication between the posts then occupied by
our troops in northwestern Virginia and the head of the Kanawha
valley. Southwestward the country was extremely wild and broken,
with few and small settlements and no roads worthy the name. The
crossing of the Gauley was therefore the gate through which all
important movements from eastern into southwestern Virginia must
necessarily come, and it formed an important link in any chain of
posts designed to cover the Ohio valley from invasion. It was also
the most advanced single post which could protect the Kanawha
valley. Further to the southeast, on Flat-top Mountain, was another
very strong position, where the principal road on the left bank of
New River crosses a high and broad ridge; but a post could not be
safely maintained there without still holding Gauley Bridge in
considerable force, or establishing another post on the right bank
of New River twenty miles further up. All these streams flow in
rocky beds seamed and fissured to so great a degree that they had no
practicable fords. You might go forty miles up New River and at
least twenty up the Gauley before you could find a place where
either could be passed by infantry or wagons. The little ferries
which had been made in a few eddies of the rivers were destroyed in
the first campaign, and the post at the Gauley became nearly
impregnable in front, and could only be turned by long and difficult

An interval of about a hundred miles separated this mountain
fastness from the similar passes which guarded eastern Virginia
along the line of the Blue Ridge. This debatable ground was sparsely
settled and very poor in agricultural resources, so that it could
furnish nothing for subsistence of man or beast. The necessity of
transporting forage as well as subsistence and ammunition through
this mountainous belt forbade any extended or continuous operations
there; for actual computation showed that the wagon trains could
carry no more than the food for the mule teams on the double trip,
going and returning, from Gauley Bridge to the narrows of New River
where the Virginia and Tennessee Railroad crossed upon an important
bridge which was several times made the objective point of an
expedition. This alone proved the impracticability of the plan
McClellan first conceived, of making the Kanawha valley the line of
an important movement into eastern Virginia. It pointed very
plainly, also, to the true theory of operations in that country.
Gauley Bridge should have been held with a good brigade which could
have had outposts several miles forward in three directions, and,
assisted by a small body of horse to scour the country fifty miles
or more to the front, the garrison could have protected all the
country which we ever occupied permanently. A similar post at
Huttonsville with detachments at the Cheat Mountain pass and
Elkwater pass north of Huntersville would have covered the only
other practicable routes through the mountains south of the line of
the Baltimore and Ohio Railway. These would have been small
intrenched camps, defensive in character, but keeping detachments
constantly active in patrolling the front, going as far as could be
done without wagons. All that ever was accomplished in that region
of any value would thus have been attained at the smallest expense,
and the resources that were for three years wasted in those
mountains might have been applied to the legitimate lines of great
operations from the valley of the Potomac southward.


Nothing could be more romantically beautiful than the situation of
the post at Gauley Bridge. The hamlet had, before our arrival there,
consisted of a cluster of two or three dwellings, a country store, a
little tavern, and a church, irregularly scattered along the base of
the mountain and facing the road which turns from the Gauley valley
into that of the Kanawha. The lower slope of the hillside behind the
houses was cultivated, and a hedgerow separated the lower fields
from the upper pasturage. Above this gentler slope the wooded steeps
rose more precipitately, the sandstone rock jutting out into crags
and walls, the sharp ridge above having scarcely soil enough to
nourish the chestnut-trees, here, like Mrs. Browning's woods of
Vallombrosa, literally "clinging by their spurs to the precipices."
In the angle between the Gauley and New rivers rose Gauley Mount,
the base a perpendicular wall of rocks of varying height, with high
wooded slopes above. There was barely room for the road between the
wall of rocks and the water on the New River side, but after going
some distance up the valley, the highway gradually ascended the
hillside, reaching some rolling uplands at a distance of a couple of
miles. Here was Gauley Mount, the country-house of Colonel C. Q.
Tompkins, formerly of the Army of the United States, but now the
commandant of a Confederate regiment raised in the Kanawha valley.
Across New River the heavy masses of Cotton Mountain rose rough and
almost inaccessible from the very water's edge. The western side of
Cotton Mountain was less steep, and buttresses formed a bench about
its base, so that in looking across the Kanawha a mile below the
junction of the rivers, one saw some rounded foothills which had
been cleared on the top and tilled, and a gap in the mountainous
wall made room on that side for a small creek which descended to the
Kanawha, and whose bed served for a rude country road leading to
Fayette C. H. At the base of Cotton Mountain the Kanawha equals the
united width of the two tributaries, and flows foaming over broken
rocks with treacherous channels between, till it dashes over the
horseshoe ledge below, known far and wide as the Kanawha Falls. On
either bank near the falls a small mill had been built, that on the
right bank a saw-mill and the one on the left for grinding grain.

Our encampment necessarily included the saw-mill below the falls,
where the First Kentucky Regiment was placed to guard the road
coming from Fayette C. H. Two regiments were encamped at the bridge
upon the hillside above the hedgerow, having an advanced post of
half a regiment on the Lewisburg road beyond the Tompkins farm, and
scouting the country to Sewell Mountain. Smaller outposts were
stationed some distance up the valley of the Gauley. My headquarters
tents were pitched in the door-yard of a dwelling-house facing the
Gauley River, and I occupied an unfurnished room in the house for
office purposes. A week was spent, without molestation, exploring
the country in all directions and studying its topography. A ferry
guided by a cable stretching along the piers of the burnt bridge
communicated with the outposts up the New River, and a smaller ferry
below the Kanawha Falls connected with the Fayette road. Systematic
discipline and instruction in outpost duty were enforced, and the
regiments rapidly became expert mountaineers and scouts. The
population was nearly all loyal below Gauley Bridge, but above they
were mostly Secessionists, a small minority of the wealthier
slaveholders being the nucleus of all aggressive secession
movements. These, by their wealth and social leadership, overawed or
controlled a great many who did not at heart sympathize with them,
and between parties thus formed a guerilla warfare became chronic.
In our scouting expeditions we found little farms in secluded nooks
among the mountains, where grown men assured us that they had never
before seen the American flag, and whole families had never been
further from home than a church and country store a few miles away.
From these mountain people several regiments of Union troops were
recruited in West Virginia, two of them being organized in rear of
my own lines, and becoming part of the garrison of the district in
the following season.

I had been joined before reaching Gauley Bridge by Chaplain Brown of
the Seventh Ohio, who had obtained permission to make an adventurous
journey across the country from Sutton to bring me information as to
the position and character of the outposts that were stretching from
the railway southward toward our line of operations. Disguised as a
mountaineer in homespun clothing, his fine features shaded by a
slouched felt hat, he reported himself to me in anything but a
clerical garb. Full of enterprise as a partisan leader of scouts
could be, he was yet a man of high attainments in his profession, of
noble character and real learning. When he reached me, I had as my
guest another chaplain who had accepted a commission at my
suggestion, the Rev. Mr. Dubois, son-in-law of Bishop McIlvaine of
Ohio, who had been leader of the good people at Chillicothe in
providing a supper for the Eleventh Ohio as we were on our way from
Camp Dennison to Gallipolis. He had burned to have some part in the
country's struggle, and became a model chaplain till his labors and
exposure broke his health and forced him to resign. The presence of
two such men gave some hours of refined social life in the intervals
of rough work. One evening walk along the Kanawha has ever since
remained in my memory associated with Whittier's poem "The River
Path," as a wilder and more brilliant type of the scene he pictured.
We had walked out beyond the camp, leaving its noise and its warlike
associations behind us, for a turn of the road around a jutting
cliff shut it all out as completely as if we had been transported to
another land, except that the distant figure of a sentinel on post
reminded us of the limit of safe sauntering for pleasure. My
Presbyterian and Episcopalian friends forgot their differences of
dogma, and as the sun dropped behind the mountain tops, making an
early twilight in the valley, we talked of home, of patriotism, of
the relation of our struggle to the world's progress, and other high
themes, when

   "Sudden our pathway turned from night,
   The hills swung open to the light;
   Through their green gates the sunshine showed,
   A long, slant splendor downward flowed.
   Down glade and glen and bank it rolled;
   It bridged the shaded stream with gold;
   And borne on piers of mist, allied
   The shadowy with the sunlit side!"

The surroundings, the things of which we talked, our own sentiments,
all combined to make the scene stir deep emotions for which the
poet's succeeding lines seem the only fit expression, and to link
the poem indissolubly with the scene as if it had its birth there.

When Wise had retreated from the valley, Colonel Tompkins had been
unable to remove his family, and had left a letter commending them
to our courteous treatment. Mrs. Tompkins was a lady of refinement,
and her position within our outposts was far from being a
comfortable one. She, however, put a cheerful face upon her
situation, showed great tact in avoiding controversy with the
soldiers and in conciliating the good-will of the officers, and
remained with her children and servants in her picturesque home on
the mountain. So long as there was no fighting in the near vicinity,
it was comparatively easy to save her from annoyance; but when a
little later in the autumn Floyd occupied Cotton Mountain, and
General Rosecrans was with us with larger forces, such a household
became an object of suspicion and ill-will, which made it necessary
to send her through the lines to her husband. The men fancied they
saw signals conveyed from the house to the enemy, and believed that
secret messages were sent, giving information of our numbers and
movements. All this was highly improbable, for the lady knew that
her safety depended upon her good faith and prudence; but such camp
rumor becomes a power, and Rosecrans found himself compelled to end
it by sending her away. He could no longer be answerable for her
complete protection. This, however, was not till November, and in
August it was only a pleasant variation, in going the rounds, to
call at the pretty house on Gauley Mount, inquire after the welfare
of the family, and have a moment's polite chat with the mistress of
the mansion.

For ten days after we occupied Gauley Bridge, all our information
showed that General Wise was not likely to attempt the reconquest of
the Kanawha valley voluntarily. His rapid retrograde march ended at
White Sulphur Springs and he went into camp there. His destruction
of bridges and abandonment of stores and munitions of war showed
that he intended to take final leave of our region. [Footnote: My
report to Rosecrans, Official Records, vol. li. pt. i. p. 40. Wise
to Lee, _Id_., vol. ii. p. 1012; vol. v. p. 769.] The contrast
between promise and performance in his case had been ludicrous. When
we entered the valley, we heard of his proclamations and orders,
which breathed the spirit of desperate hand-to-hand conflict. His
soldiers had been told to despise long-range fire-arms, and to trust
to bowie-knives, which our invading hordes would never dare to face.
We found some of these knives among the arms we captured at the
Gauley,--ferocious-looking weapons, made of broad files ground to a
double edge, fitted with rough handles, and still bearing the
cross-marking of the file on the flat sides. Such arms pointed many
a sarcasm among our soldiers, who had found it hard in the latter
part of our advance to get within even the longest musket-range of
the enemy's column. It was not strange that ignorant men should
think they might find use for weapons less serviceable than the
ancient Roman short-sword; but that, in the existing condition of
military science, officers could be found to share and to encourage
the delusion was amusing enough! With the muskets we captured, we
armed a regiment of loyal Virginians, and turned over the rest to
Governor Peirpoint for similar use. [Footnote: In some documents
which fell into our hands we found a series of resolutions passed at
a meeting in the spring at which one of the companies now with Wise
was organized. It shows the melodramatic truculence which was echoed
in the exhortations of the general and of other men who should have
had more judgment. The resolutions were these:--

"_Resolved:_ 1. That this company was formed for the defence of this
Commonwealth against her enemies of the North, and for no other

_Resolved:_ 2. That the so-called President of the United States by
his war policy has deliberately insulted the people of this
Commonwealth, and if blood he wants, blood he can have.

_Resolved:_ 3. That we are ready to respond to the call of the
Governor of this Commonwealth for resisting Abraham Lincoln and the
New York stock-jobbers, and all who sympathize with them.

_Resolved:_ 4. That we have not forgotten Harper's Ferry and John

On the 5th of August Lieutenant Wagner of the Engineers arrived at
Gauley Bridge with instructions from General Rosecrans to
superintend the construction of such fortifications as might be
proper for a post of three regiments. I had already with me Colonel
Whittlesey, Governor Dennison's chief engineer, an old West Point
graduate, who had for some years been devoting himself to scientific
pursuits, especially to geology. In a few days these were joined by
Captain Benham, who was authorized to determine definitely the plans
of our defences. I was thus stronger in engineering skill than in
any other department of staff assistants, though in truth there was
little fortifying to be done beyond what the contour of the ground
indicated to the most ordinary comprehension. [Footnote: The cause
of this visit of the Engineers is found in a dispatch sent by
McClellan to Rosecrans, warning him that Lee and Johnston were both
actually in march to crush our forces in West Virginia, and
directing that Huttonsville and Gauley Bridge be strongly fortified.
Official Records, vol. v. p. 555; _Id_., vol. ii. pt.. 445, 446.]

Benham stayed but two or three days, modified Wagner's plans enough
to feel that he had made them his own, and then went back to
Rosecrans's headquarters, where he was met with an appointment as
brigadier-general, and was relieved of staff duty. He was a stout
red-faced man, with a blustering air, dictatorial and assuming, an
army engineer of twenty-five years' standing. He was no doubt well
skilled in the routine of his profession, but broke down when
burdened with the responsibility of conducting the movement of
troops in the field. Wagner was a recent graduate of the Military
Academy, a genial, modest, intelligent young man of great promise.
He fell at the siege of Yorktown in the next year. Whittlesey was a
veteran whose varied experience in and out of the army had all been
turned to good account. He was already growing old, but was
indefatigable, pushing about in a rather prim, precise way, advising
wisely, criticising dryly but in a kindly spirit, and helping bring
every department into better form. I soon lost both him and McElroy,
my adjutant-general, for their three months' service was up, and
they were made, the one colonel, and the other major of the
Twentieth Ohio Regiment, of which my friend General Force was the

We fortified the post by an epaulement or two for cannon, high up on
the hillside covering the ferry and the road up New River. An
infantry trench, with parapet of barrels filled with earth, was run
along the margin of Gauley River till it reached a creek coming down
from the hills on the left. There a redoubt for a gun or two was
made, commanding a stretch of road above, and the infantry trench
followed the line of the creek up to a gorge in the hill. On the
side of Gauley Mount facing our post, we slashed the timber from the
edge of the precipice nearly to the top of the mountain, making an
entanglement through which it was impossible that any body of troops
should move. Down the Kanawha, below the falls, we strengthened the
saw-mill with logs, till it became a block-house loopholed for
musketry, commanding the road to Charleston, the ferry, and the
opening of the road to Fayette C. H. A single cannon was here put in
position also.

All this took time, for so small a force as ours could not make very
heavy details of working parties, especially as our outpost and
reconnoitring duty was also very laborious. This duty was done by
infantry, for cavalry I had none, except the squad of mounted
messengers, who kept carefully out of harm's way, more to save their
horses than themselves, for they had been enlisted under an old law
which paid them for the risk of their own horses, which risk they
naturally tried to make as small as possible. My reconnoitring
parties reached Big Sewell Mountain, thirty-five miles up New River,
Summersville, twenty miles up the Gauley, and made excursions into
the counties on the left bank of the Kanawha, thirty or forty miles
away. These were not exceptional marches, but were kept up with an
industry that gave the enemy an exaggerated idea of our strength as
well as of our activity.

About the 10th of August we began to get rumors from the country
that General Robert E. Lee had arrived at Lewisburg to assume
direction of the Confederate movements into West Virginia. We heard
also that Floyd with a strong brigade had joined that of Wise, whose
"legion" had been reinforced, and that this division, reported to be
10,000 or 12,000 strong, would immediately operate against me at
Gauley Bridge. We learned also of a general stir among the
Secessionists in Fayette, Mercer, and Raleigh counties, and of the
militia being ordered out under General Chapman to support the
Confederate movement by operating upon my line of communications,
whilst Floyd and Wise should attack in front.

The reported aggregate of the enemy's troops was, as usual,
exaggerated, but we now know that it amounted to about 8000 men, a
force so greatly superior to anything I could assemble to oppose it,
that the situation became at once a very grave one for me.
[Footnote: On the 14th of August Wise reported to General Lee that
he had 2000 men ready to move, and could have 2500 ready in five
days; that 550 of his cavalry were with Floyd, besides a detachment
of 50 artillerists. This makes his total force 3100. At that time he
gives Floyd's force at 1200 with two strong regiments coming up,
besides 2000 militia under General Chapman. The aggregate force
operating on the Kanawha line he gives as 7800. (Official Records
vol. v. p. 787.)] To resist this advance, I could keep but two
regiments at Gauley Bridge, an advance-guard of eight companies
vigorously skirmishing toward Sewell Mountain, a regiment
distributed on the Kanawha to cover steamboat communications, and
some companies of West Virginia recruits organizing at the mouth of
the Kanawha. By extreme activity these were able to baffle the
enemy, and impose upon him the belief that our numbers were more
than double our actual force.

Small hostile parties began to creep in toward the navigable part of
the Kanawha, and to fire upon the steamboats, which were our sole
dependence for supplying our depots at Charleston and at the head of
navigation. General Rosecrans informed me of his purpose to march a
sufficiently strong column to meet that under Lee as soon as the
purpose of the latter should be developed, and encouraged me to hold
fast to my position. I resolved, therefore, to stand a siege if need
be, and pushed my means of transportation to the utmost, to
accumulate a store of supplies at Gauley Bridge. I succeeded in
getting up rations sufficient to last a fortnight, but found it much
harder to get ammunition, especially for my ill-assorted little
battery of cannon.

The Twenty-sixth Ohio came into the Kanawha valley on the 8th
through a mistake in their orders, and their arrival supplied for a
few days the loss of the Twenty-first, which had gone home to be
mustered out and reorganized. Some companies of the newly forming
Fourth Virginia were those who protected the village of Point
Pleasant at the mouth of the river, and part of the Twelfth and
Twenty-sixth Ohio were in detachments from Charleston toward Gauley
Bridge, furnishing guards for the steamboats and assisting in the
landing and forwarding of supplies. The Eleventh Ohio, under
Lieutenant-Colonel Frizell, which still had only eight companies,
had the task of covering and reconnoitring our immediate front, and
was the advance-guard already mentioned. Part of the Twelfth under
Major Hines did similar work on the road to Summersville, where
Rosecrans had an advanced post, consisting of the Seventh Ohio
(Colonel E. B. Tyler), the Thirteenth (Colonel Wm. Sooy Smith), and
the Twenty-third (Lieutenant-Colonel Stanley Matthews). On the 13th
of August the Seventh Ohio, by orders from Rosecrans, marched to
Cross Lanes, the intersection of the read from Summersville to
Gauley Bridge, with one from Carnifex Ferry, which is on the Gauley
near the mouth of Meadow River. A road called the Sunday Road is in
the Meadow River valley, and joins the Lewisburg turnpike about
fifteen miles in front of Gauley Bridge. [Footnote: See Official
Atlas, Plate IX. 3, and map, p. 106, _post_] To give warning against
any movement of the enemy to turn my position by this route or to
intervene between me and Rosecrans's posts at Summersville and
beyond, was Tyler's task. He was ordered to picket all crossings of
the river near his position, and to join my command if he were
driven away. I was authorized to call him to me in an emergency.

On the 15th Tyler was joined at Cross Lanes by the Thirteenth and
Twenty-third Ohio, in consequence of rumors that the enemy was
advancing upon Summersville in force from Lewisburg. I would have
been glad of such an addition to my forces, but knowing that
Rosecrans had stationed them as his own outpost covering the Sutton
and Weston road, I ordered Tyler to maintain his own position, and
urged the others to return at once to Summersville. [Footnote:
Official Records, vol. li. pt. i. pp. 449, 453, 454.] The road by
which they had expected the enemy was the Wilderness road, which
crossed the Gauley at Hughes' Ferry, six miles above Carnifex. If
attacked from that direction, they should retire northward toward
Rosecrans, if possible.

Rosecrans gave orders to the same effect as soon as he heard of the
movement, saying that his intention had been to station Smith and
Matthews at Sutton, where their retreat toward him in case of
necessity would be assured. [Footnote: Dispatch of August 16.] His
orders for Tyler were that he should scout far toward the enemy,
"striking him wherever he can," and "hold his position at the
ferries as long as he can safely do it, and then fall back, as
directed," toward Gauley Bridge. [Footnote: Dispatch of August 17.]
The incident throws important light upon the situation a week later,
when Tyler was attacked by Floyd.

Floyd and Wise were now really in motion, though General Lee
remained at Valley Mountain near Huntersville, whence he directed
their movements. On the 17th they had passed Sewell Mountain, but
made slow progress in the face of the opposition of the Eleventh
Ohio, which kept up a constant skirmish with them. [Footnote:
Official Records, vol. v. pp. 792, 799; _Id_., vol. li. pt. i. pp.
450-453.] On the 19th Floyd's advance-guard passed the mouth of the
Sunday Road on the turnpike, and on the 20th made so determined a
push at my advance-guard that I believed it a serious effort of the
whole Confederate column. I strengthened my own advance-guard by
part of the Twelfth Ohio, which was at hand, and placed them at Pig
Creek, a mile beyond the Tompkins place, where the turnpike crossed
a gorge making a strongly defensible position. The advance-guard was
able to withstand the enemy alone, and drove back those who
assaulted them with considerable loss. It has since appeared that
this movement of the enemy was by Wise's command making a direct
attack upon my position, whilst Floyd was moving by the diagonal
road to Dogwood Gap on the Sunday Road where it crosses the old
State Road. There he encamped for the night, and next day continued
his march to the mouth of Meadow River near Carnifex Ferry.
[Footnote: _Id_., vol. v. p.800.] It was an affair of advance-guards
in which Wise was satisfied as soon as he found serious resistance,
and he retired during the night. On the first evidence of the
enemy's presence in force, I called Tyler from Cross Lanes to
Twenty-mile Creek, about six miles from Gauley Bridge, where it was
important to guard a road passing to my rear, and to meet any
attempt to turn my flank if the attack should be determinedly made
by the whole force of the enemy. [Footnote: Dispatch of August 20.]
As soon as the attack was repulsed, Tyler was ordered to return to
Cross Lanes and resume his watch of the roads and river crossings
there. [Footnote: _Id_., vol. li. pt. i. p. 454.] He was delayed by
the issue of shoes and clothing to his men, and when he approached
his former position on the 24th, he found that Floyd was reported to
have crossed the Gauley at Carnifex Ferry. Without waiting to
reconnoitre the enemy at all, Tyler retreated to Peters Creek,
several miles. Floyd had in fact succeeded in raising two small
flatboats which Tyler had sunk but had not entirely destroyed. With
these for a ferry, he had crossed and was intrenching himself where
he was afterward attacked by Rosecrans.

In the hope that only a small force had made the crossing, I ordered
Tyler to "make a dash at them, taking care to keep your force well
in hand so as to keep your retreat safe." [Footnote: Dispatch of
August 24.] I added: "It is important to give them such a check as
to stop their crossing." Meanwhile my advance-guard up New River was
ordered to demonstrate actively in front and upon the Sunday Road,
so as to disquiet any force which had gone towards Tyler, and I also
sent forward half a regiment to Peters Creek (six miles from Cross
Lanes) to hold the pass there and secure his retreat in case of
need. [Footnote: Official Records, vol. li. pt. i. p. 457.]

But Tyler was new to responsibility, and seemed paralyzed into
complete inefficiency. He took nearly the whole of the 25th to move
slowly to Cross Lanes, though he met no opposition. He did nothing
that evening or night, and his disposal of his troops was so
improper and outpost duty so completely neglected that on the
morning of the 26th, whilst his regiment was at breakfast, it was
attacked by Floyd on both flanks at once, and was routed before it
could be formed for action. Some companies managed to make a show of
fighting, but it was wholly in vain, and they broke in confusion.
[Footnote: _Id_., pp. 458, 459, 461.] About 15 were killed and 50
wounded, the latter with some 30 others falling into the enemy's
hands. Tyler, with his lieutenant-colonel, Creighton, came into
Gauley Bridge with a few stragglers from the regiment. Others
followed until about 200 were present. His train had reached the
detachment I had sent to Peters Creek, and this covered its retreat
to camp, so that all his wagons came in safely. He reported all his
command cut to pieces and captured except the few that were with
him, and wrote an official report of the engagement, giving that

On the 28th, however, we heard that Major Casement had carried 400
of the regiment safely into Charleston. He had rallied them on the
hills immediately after the rout, and finding the direct road to
Gauley Bridge intercepted, had led them by mountain paths over the
ridges to the valley of Elk River, and had then followed that stream
down to Charleston without being pursued. [Footnote: Official
Records, vol. li. pt. i. p. 462.] This put a new face on the
business, and Tyler in much confusion asked the return of his report
that he might re-write it. I looked upon his situation as the not
unnatural result of inexperience, and contented myself with
informing General Rosecrans of the truth as to the affair. Tyler was
allowed to substitute a new report, and his unfortunate affair was
treated as a lesson from which it was expected he would profit.
[Footnote: Rosecrans's dispatch, _Id_., p. 460.] It made trouble in
the regiment, however, where the line officers did not conceal their
opinion that he had failed in his duty as a commander, and he was
never afterward quite comfortable among them.

The lieutenant-colonel, Creighton, was for a time in the abyss of
self-reproach. The very day they reached Gauley Bridge in their
unceremonious retreat, he came to me, crying with shame, and said,
"General, I have behaved like a miserable coward, I ought to be
cashiered," and repeated many such expressions of remorse. I
comforted him by saying that the intensity of his own feeling was
the best proof that he had only yielded to a surprise and that it
was clear he was no coward. He died afterward at the head of his
regiment in the desperate charge up the hills at Ringgold, Georgia,
in the campaign following that of Chickamauga in the autumn of 1863,
having had the command for two years after Tyler became a brigadier.
During those two years the Seventh had been in numberless
engagements, and its list of casualties in battle, made good by
recruiting, was said to have reached a thousand. Better soldiers
there were none, and Creighton proved himself a lion in every fight.

Casement, who rallied and led the most of the regiment from Cross
Lanes over the mountains to Charleston, became afterward colonel of
the One Hundred and Third Ohio. He came again under my command in
East Tennessee in the winter of 1863, and continued one of my
brigade commanders to the close of the war. He was a railway builder
by profession, had a natural aptitude for controlling bodies of men,
was rough of speech but generous of heart, running over with fun
which no dolefulness of circumstance could repress, as jolly a
comrade and as loyal a subordinate as the army could show.

After the Cross Lanes affair I fully expected that the Confederate
forces would follow the route which Casement had taken to
Charleston. Floyd's inactivity puzzled me, for he did no more than
make an intrenched camp at Carnifex Ferry, with outposts at Peters
Mountain and toward Summersville. The publication of the Confederate
Archives has partly solved the mystery. Floyd called on Wise to
reinforce him; but the latter demurred, insistent that the duty
assigned him of attacking my position in front needed all the men he
had. Both appealed to Lee, and Lee decided that Floyd was the senior
and entitled to command the joint forces. [Footnote: Official
Records, vol. v. pp. 155-165, 800, 802-813.] The letters of Wise
show a capacity for keeping a command in hot water which was unique.
If he had been half as troublesome to me as he was to Floyd, I
should indeed have had a hot time of it. But he did me royal service
by preventing anything approaching to co-operation between the two
Confederate columns. I kept my advance-guards constantly feeling of
both, and got through the period till Rosecrans joined me with
nothing more serious than some sharp affairs of detachments.

I was not without anxiety, however, and was constantly kept on the
alert. Rosecrans withdrew the Twelfth Ohio from my command,
excepting two companies under Major Hines, on the 19th of August,
[Footnote: My dispatch to Rosecrans of August 19; also Official
Records, vol. li. pt. i. p. 454.] and the imperative need of
detachments to protect the river below me was such that from this
time till the middle of September my garrison at Gauley Bridge,
including advance-guards and outposts, was never more than two and a
half regiments or 1800 men. My artillerists were also ordered back
to Ohio to reorganize, leaving the guns in the hands of such
infantry details as I could improvise. [Footnote: _Id_., p. 462.] I
was lucky enough, however, to get a very good troop of horse under
command of Captain Pfau in place of the irregular squad I had
before. [Footnote: _Id_., p. 464.]

On the 25th my advance-guard under Lieutenant-Colonel Frizell very
cleverly succeeded in drawing into an ambuscade a body of Floyd's
cavalry under Colonel A. G. Jenkins. The principal body of our men
lined a defile near the Hawk's Nest, and the skirmishers, retreating
before the enemy, led them into the trap. Our men began firing
before the enemy was quite surrounded, and putting their horses upon
the run, they dashed back, running the gantlet of the fire. Wise
reported that he met men with their subordinate officers flying at
four miles' distance from the place of the action, and so
panic-stricken that they could not be rallied or led back.
[Footnote: _Id_., vol. v. p. 816; _Id_., vol. li. pt. i. p. 457.]
Jenkins was hurt by the fall of his horse, but he succeeded in
getting away; for, as we had no horsemen to pursue with, even the
wounded, except one, could not be overtaken. Hats, clothing, arms,
and saddles were left scattered along the road in as complete a
breakneck race for life as was ever seen. The result, if not great
in the list of casualties, which were only reported at 10 or 15 by
the enemy, was so demoralizing in its influence upon the hostile
cavalry that they never again showed any enterprise in harassing our
outposts, whilst our men gained proportionally in confidence.

About the 30th of August we heard of an encampment of Confederate
militia at Boone C. H. which was so situated, southwest of the
Kanawha River, as to menace our communications with the Ohio. I sent
Lieutenant-Colonel Enyart with half of the First Kentucky Regiment
to beat up this encampment, and he did so on the 2d of September,
completely routing the enemy, who left 25 dead upon the field.
Enyart's march and attack had been rapid and vigorous, and the
terror of the blow kept that part of the district quiet for some
time afterward. [Footnote: C. R., vol. li. pt. i. pp. 465, 468,

We had heard for some days the news of the assembling of a
considerable force of Confederate militia at Fayette C. H. under
General Chapman and Colonel Beckley. They were reported at 2500,
which was a fair estimate of the numbers which answered to the call.
On the 3d of September a pretty well combined attack was made by
Wise and this force; Wise pushing in sharply upon the turnpike,
whilst Chapman, assisted by part of Wise's cavalry, drove back our
small outpost on the Fayette road. Wise was met at Pig Creek as in
his former attack, the eight companies of the Eleventh Ohio being
strengthened by half of the Twenty-sixth Ohio, which was brought
from below for this purpose. The effort was somewhat more persistent
than before, and Wise indulged in considerable noisy cannonading;
but the pickets retreated to the creek without loss, and the whole
advance-guard, keeping under good cover there, repelled the attack
with less than half a dozen casualties on our side, none being
fatal. Wise retreated again beyond Hawk's Nest. [Footnote: Official
Records, vol. li. pt. i. pp. 468, 470. Wise's Report, _Id_., vol. v.
p. 124.] The irregular troops on the Fayette road were more boldly
led, and as there was no defensible position near the river for our
outposts, these fell slowly back after a very warm skirmish,
inflicting a loss, as reported by prisoners, of 6 killed among the
enemy. I expected Floyd to move at the same time, and was obliged to
continue upon the defensive by reason of his threatening position up
the Gauley River; I, however, sent Major Hines with his two
companies in that direction, and Floyd appeared to be impressed with
the idea that my whole force was moving to attack him and attempted
nothing aggressive. As at this time Wise, in his letters to General
Lee, puts Floyd's force at 5600, and his own at 2200, [Footnote:
_Id_., vol. v. p. 840.] I had good reason, therefore, to feel
satisfied with being able to keep them all at bay.

In the midst of the alarms from every side, my camp itself was
greatly excited by an incident which would have been occasion for
regret at any time, but which at such a juncture threatened for a
moment quite serious consequences. The work of intrenching the
position was going on under the direction of Lieutenant Wagner as
rapidly as the small working parties available could perform it. All
were overworked, but it was the rule that men should not be detailed
for fatigue duty who had been on picket the preceding night. On
August 28th, a detail had been called for from the Second Kentucky,
which lay above the hedge behind my headquarters, and they had
reported without arms under a sergeant named Joyce. A supply of
intrenching tools was stacked by the gate leading into the yard
where my staff tents were pitched, and my aide, Lieutenant Conine,
directed the sergeant to have his men take the tools and report to
Mr. Wagner, the engineer, on the line. The men began to demur in a
half-mutinous way, saying they had been on picket the night before.
Conine, who was a soldierly man, informed them that that should be
immediately looked into, and if so, they would be soon relieved, but
that they could not argue the matter there, as their company
commander was responsible for the detail. He therefore repeated his
order. The sergeant then became excited and said his men should not
obey. Lieutenant Gibbs, the district commissary, was standing by,
and drawing his pistol, said to Joyce, "That's mutiny; order your
men to take the tools or I'll shoot you." The man retorted with a
curse, "Shoot!" Gibbs fired, and Joyce fell dead. When the sergeant
first refused to obey, Conine coolly called out, "Corporal of the
guard, turn out the guard!" intending very properly to put the man
in arrest, but the shot followed too quick for the guard to arrive.
I was sitting within the house at my camp desk, busy, when the first
thing which attracted my attention was the call for the guard and
the shot. I ran out, not stopping for arms, and saw some of the men
running off shouting, "Go for your guns, kill him, kill him!" I
stopped part of the men, ordered them to take the sergeant quickly
to the hospital, thinking he might not be dead. I then ordered Gibbs
in arrest till an investigation should be made, and ran at speed to
a gap in the hedge which opened into the regimental camp. It was not
a moment too soon. The men with their muskets were already
clustering in the path, threatening vengeance on Mr. Gibbs. I
ordered them to halt and return to their quarters. Carried away by
excitement, they levelled their muskets at me and bade me get out of
their way or they would shoot me. I managed to keep cool, said the
affair would be investigated, that Gibbs was already under arrest,
but they must go back to their quarters. The parley lasted long
enough to bring some of their officers near. I ordered them to come
to my side, and then to take command of the men and march them away.
The real danger was over as soon as the first impulse was checked.
[Footnote: Dispatch to Rosecrans, August 29.] The men then began to
feel some of their natural respect for their commander, and yielded
probably the more readily because they noticed that I was unarmed. I
thought it wise to be content with quelling the disturbance, and did
not seek out for punishment the men who had met me at the gap. Their
excitement had been natural under the circumstances, which were
reported with exaggeration as a wilful murder. If I had been in
command of a larger force, it would have been easy to turn out
another regiment to enforce order and arrest any mutineers; but the
Second Kentucky was itself the only regiment on the spot. The First
Kentucky was a mile below, and the Eleventh Ohio was the
advance-guard up New River. Surrounded as we were by so superior a
force of the enemy with which we were constantly skirmishing, I
could not do otherwise than meet the difficulty instantly without
regard to personal risk.

The sequel of the affair was not reached till some weeks later when
General Rosecrans assembled a court-martial at my request.
Lieutenant Gibbs was tried and acquitted on the plain evidence that
the man killed was in the act of mutiny at the time. The court was a
notable one, as its judge advocate was Major R. B. Hayes of the
Twenty-third Ohio, afterwards President of the United States, and
one of its members was Lieutenant-Colonel Stanley Matthews of the
same regiment, afterwards one of the Justices of the Supreme Court.
[Footnote: Some twenty years later a bill passed the House of
Representatives pensioning the mother of the man killed, under the
law giving pensions to dependent relatives of those who died in the
line of duty! It could only have been smuggled through by
concealment and falsification of facts, and was stopped in the

The constant skirmishing with the enemy on all sides continued till
the 10th of September, when General Rosecrans with his column
reached Cross Lanes and had the action at Carnifex Ferry which I
shall describe in the next chapter. I had sent forward half a
regiment from my little command to open communication with him as
soon as possible. On September 9th a party from this detachment had
reached Cross Lanes and learned that Floyd was keeping close within
his lines on the cliffs of Gauley above Carnifex Ferry. They,
however, heard nothing of Rosecrans, and the principal body of their
troops heard no sound of the engagement on the 10th, though within a
very few miles. [Footnote: Official Records, vol. li. pt. i. p.
478.] On the 12th communication was opened, and I learned of Floyd's
retreat across the Gauley. I immediately moved forward the Eleventh
and Twenty-sixth Ohio to attack Wise, who retreated from Hawk's Nest
to the mouth of the Sunday Road, and upon my closer approach retired
to Sewell Mountain. [Footnote: _Id_., pp. 479, 481.] At the Sunday
Road I was stopped by orders from Rosecrans, who thought it unwise
to advance further till he had made a ferry at the Gauley and
succeeded in getting his command over; for Floyd had again sunk the
flatboats within reach, and these had to be a second time raised and
repaired. At his request I visited the General at Carnifex Ferry,
and then got permission to move my column forward a few miles to
Alderson's, or Camp Lookout as we dubbed it, where a commanding
position controlled the country to the base of Sewell Mountain.
[Footnote: _Id_., p. 482.] I was now able to concentrate the Seventh
Ohio at Gauley Bridge, and ordered forward the Second Kentucky to
join me in the new camp.

The period of my separate responsibility and of struggle against
great odds was not to close without a private grief which was the
more poignant because the condition of the campaign forbade my
leaving the post of duty. On the day I visited General Rosecrans at
Carnifex Ferry I got news of the critical illness of my youngest
child, a babe of eight months old, whom I had seen but a single day
after his birth, for I had been ordered into camp from the
legislature without time to make another visit to my family. The
warning dispatch was quickly followed by another announcing the end,
and I had to swallow my sorrows as well as I could and face the
public enemy before us, leaving my wife uncomforted in her
bereavement and all the more burdened with care because she knew we
were resuming active operations in the field.



Rosecrans's march to join me--Reaches Cross Lanes--Advance against
Floyd--Engagement at Carnifex Ferry--My advance to Sunday
Road--Conference with Rosecrans--McCook's brigade joins me--Advance
to Camp Lookout--Brigade commanders--Rosecrans's personal
characteristics--Hartsuff--Floyd and Wise again--"Battle of
Bontecou"--Sewell Mountain--The equinoctial--General Schenck
arrives--Rough lodgings--Withdrawal from the mountain--Rear-guard
duties--Major Slemmer of Fort Pickens fame--New positions covering
Gauley Bridge--Floyd at Cotton Mountain--Rosecrans's methods with
private soldiers--Progress in discipline.

General Rosecrans had succeeded McClellan as ranking officer in West
Virginia, but it was not until the latter part of September that the
region was made a department and he was regularly assigned to
command. [Footnote: Official Records, vol. v. pp. 604, 616, 647.]
Meanwhile the three months' enlistments were expiring, many
regiments were sent home, new ones were received, and a complete
reorganization of his forces took place. Besides holding the
railroad, he fortified the Cheat Mountain pass looking toward
Staunton, and the pass at Elkwater on the mountain summit between
Huttonsville and Huntersville. My own fortifications at Gauley
Bridge were part of the system of defensive works he had ordered. By
the middle of August he had established a chain of posts, with a
regiment or two at each, on a line upon which he afterwards marched,
from Weston by way of Bulltown, Sutton, and Summersville to Gauley

[Illustration Map--Affair At Carnifex Ferry]

As soon as he received the news of Floyd's attack upon Tyler at
Cross Lanes, he hastened his preparations and began his march
southward from Clarksburg with three brigades, having left the Upper
Potomac line in command of General Kelley, and the Cheat Mountain
region in command of General J. J. Reynolds. His route (already
indicated) was a rough one, and the portion of it between Sutton and
Summersville, over Birch Mountain, was very wild and difficult. He
crossed the mountain on the 9th, and left his bivouac on the morning
of the 10th of September, before daybreak. Marching through
Summersville, he reached Cross Lanes about two o'clock in the
afternoon. [Footnote: Official Records, vol. v. p. 129.] Floyd's
position was now about two miles distant, and, waiting only for his
column to close up, he again pressed forward. General Benham's
brigade was in front, and soon met the enemy's pickets. Getting the
impression that Floyd was in retreat, Benham pressed forward rather
rashly, deploying to the left and coming under a sharp fire from the
right of the enemy's works. Floyd had intrenched a line across a
bend of the Gauley River, where the road from Cross Lanes to
Lewisburg finds its way down the cliffs to Carnifex Ferry. His
flanks rested upon precipices rising abruptly from the water's edge,
and he also intrenched some rising ground in front of his principal
line. Benham's line advanced through dense and tangled woods,
ignorant of the enemy's position till it was checked by the fire
from his breastworks. It was too late for a proper reconnoissance,
and Rosecrans could only hasten the advance and deployment of the
other brigades under Colonels McCook and Scammon. [Footnote: For
organization of Rosecrans's forces, see Id., vol. li. pt. i. p.
471.] Benham had sent a howitzer battery and two rifled cannon with
his head of column at the left, and these soon got a position from
which, in fact, they enfiladed part of Floyd's line, though it was
impossible to see much of the situation. Charges were made by
portions of Benham's and McCook's brigades as they came up, but they
lacked unity, and Rosecrans was dissatisfied that his head of column
should be engaged before he had time to plan an attack. Colonel Lowe
of the Twelfth Ohio had been killed at the head of his regiment, and
Colonel Lytle of the Tenth had been wounded; darkness was rapidly
coming on, and Rosecrans ordered the troops withdrawn from fire till
positions could be rectified, and the attack renewed in the morning.
Seventeen had been killed, and 141 had been wounded in the sharp but
irregular combat. [Footnote: Official Records, vol. v. p. 146.]
Floyd, however, had learned that his position could be subjected to
destructive cannonade; he was himself slightly wounded, and his
officers and men were discouraged. He therefore retreated across the
Gauley in the night, having great difficulty in carrying his
artillery down the cliffs by a wretched road in the darkness. He had
built a slight foot-bridge for infantry in the bit of smooth water
known as the Ferry, though both above and below the stream is an
impassable mountain torrent. The artillery crossed in the flatboats.
Once over, the bridge was broken up and the ferry-boats were sunk.
He reported but twenty casualties, and threw much of the
responsibility upon Wise, who had not obeyed orders to reinforce
him. His hospital, containing the wounded prisoners taken from
Tyler, fell into Rosecrans's hands. [Footnote: A very graphic
description of this engagement and of Floyd's retreat fell into my
hands soon afterward. It was a journal of the campaign written by
Major Isaac Smith of the Twenty-second Virginia Regiment, which he
tried to send through our lines to his family in Charleston, W. Va.,
but which was intercepted. A copy is on file in the War Archives.
See also Floyd's report, _Id._, vol. v. pp. 146-148.]

General Rosecrans found the country so difficult a one that he was
in no little doubt as to the plan of campaign it was now best to
follow. It was out of the question to supply his column by wagon
trains over the mountainous roads from Clarksburg, and the Kanawha
River must therefore be made the line of communication with his
base, which had to be transferred to Gallipolis. In anticipation of
this, I had accumulated supplies and ordnance stores at Gauley
Bridge as much as possible with my small wagon trains, and had
arranged for a larger depot at the head of steamboat navigation. I
was ready therefore to turn over the control of my supply lines to
Rosecrans's officers of the quartermaster and commissary departments
as soon as his wagon trains could be transferred. It was to consult
in regard to these matters, as was as in regard to the future
conduct of the campaign, that the general directed me to visit his
headquarters at Carnifex Ferry. I rode over from my camp at the
Sunday Road junction on the morning of the 15th, found that one of
the little flatboats had been again raised and repaired at Carnifex,
and passing through the field of the recent combat, reached the
general's headquarters near Cross Lanes. I was able from personal
observation to assure him that it was easy for his command to follow
the line of the march on which Floyd had retreated, if better means
of crossing the Gauley were provided; but when they should join me
on the Lewisburg turnpike, that highway would be the proper line of
supply, making Gauley Bridge his depot. He hesitated to commit
himself to either line for decisive operations until the Gauley
should be bridged, but on my description of the commodious ferry I
had made at Gauley Bridge by means of a very large flatboat running
along a hawser stretched from bank to bank, he determined to
advance, and to have a bridge of boats made in place of my ferry.
McCook's brigade was ordered to report to me as soon as it could be
put over the river, and I was authorized to advance some six miles
toward the enemy, to Alberson's or Spy Rock, already mentioned
beyond which Big Sewell Mountain is fourteen miles further to the
southwest. [Footnote: Official Records vol. v. p. 602.]

At Cross Lanes I met the commanders of the other brigades who were
called in by General Rosecrans of an informal consultation based
upon my knowledge of the country and the enemy. I naturally scanned
them with some interest, and tried to make the most of the
opportunity to become acquainted with them. General Benham I knew
already, from his visit to me at Gauley Bridge in his capacity of
engineer officer. I had met Colonel Robert McCook at Camp Dennison,
and now that it was intimated that he would be for some days under
my command, I recalled a scene I had witnessed there which left many
doubts in my mind whether he would prove an agreeable subordinate. I
had gone, one morning, to General Bates's office, and as I entered
found McCook expressing himself with more vigor than elegance in
regard to some order which had been issued respecting his regiment.
My presence did not seem to interfere with the fluency of his
remarks or the force of his expletives, but after a moment or two he
seemed to notice a look of surprise in my face, and his own
broadened humorously as his manner changed from vehemence to
geniality. General Bates and he were familiar acquaintances at the
bar in Cincinnati, and McCook had evidently presumed upon this as a
warrant for speaking his mind as he pleased. When he reported to me
at this later period, I found a hearty and loyal character under his
bluff exterior and rough speech, with real courage, a quick eye for
topography, and no lack of earnest subordination when work was to be
done. Although our service together was short, I learned to have
real respect for him, and sincerely mourned his loss when, later in
the war, he met his tragic death. The other brigade commander was
_Colonel E. P. Scammon_ of the Twenty-third Ohio. He had graduated
from West Point in 1837, and had served in the Topographical
Engineers of the regular army and as instructor in the Military
Academy. In the Mexican War he had been aide-de-camp to General
Scott. He had been out of the army for some years before the
rebellion, and was acting as professor of mathematics in St.
Xavier's College, Cincinnati, when he was appointed to the colonelcy
of the Twenty-third Ohio upon Rosecrans's promotion. Like Rosecrans,
he was a Roman Catholic, though himself of Puritan descent. It seems
that at the time of the Puseyite movement in England and in this
country there had been a good many conversions to Romanism among the
students and teachers at West Point, under the influence of the
chaplain of the post, and Scammon, among a number of young men who
subsequently became distinguished officers, was in this number. It
need hardly be said that Scammon was well instructed in his
profession. He was perhaps too much wedded to the routine of the
service, and was looked upon by his subordinates as a martinet who
had not patience enough with the inexperience of volunteer soldiers.
He was one of the older men of our army, somewhat under the average
height and weight, with a precise politeness of manner which
reminded one of a Frenchman, and the resemblance was increased by
his free use of his snuff-box. His nervous irritability was the
cause of considerable chafing in his command, but this left him
under fire, and those who had been with him in action learned to
admire his courage and conduct. He was with me subsequently at South
Mountain and Antietam, and still later had the misfortune to be one
of those prisoners in the Confederates' hands who were exposed to
the fire of our batteries in front of Charleston, S. C.

But being a subordinate, I was most interested in the
characteristics of our commander. Our Camp Dennison acquaintance had
been a pleasant one, and he greeted me with a cordiality that was
reassuring. His general appearance was attractive. He was tall but
not heavy, with the rather long head and countenance that is
sometimes called Norman. His aquiline nose and bright eyes gave him
an incisive expression, increased by rapid utterance in his speech,
which was apt to grow hurried, almost to stammering, when he was
excited. His impulsiveness was plain to all who approached him; his
irritation quickly flashed out in words when he was crossed, and his
social geniality would show itself in smiles and in almost caressing
gestures when he was pleased. In discussing military questions he
made free use of his theoretic knowledge, often quoted authorities
and cited maxims of war, and compared the problem before him to
analogous cases in military history. This did not go far enough to
be pedantic, and was full of a lively intelligence; yet it did not
impress me as that highest form of military insight and knowledge
which solves the question before it upon its own merits and without
conscious comparison with historical examples, through a power of
judgment and perception ripened and broadened by the mastery of
principles which have ruled the great campaigns of the world. He was
fond of conviviality, loved to banter good-humoredly his staff
officers and intimates, and was altogether an attractive and
companionable man, with intellectual activity enough to make his
society stimulating and full of lively discussion. I could easily
understand Garfield's saying, in his letter to Secretary Chase which
afterward became the subject of much debate, that he "loved every
bone in his body." [Footnote: An anecdote told at my table in 1890
by the Rev. Dr. Morris, long Professor in Lane Theological Seminary,
Cincinnati, is so characteristic of Rosecrans that it is worth
repeating. After the battle of Stone's River (January, 1863) Dr.
Morris, who was then minister of a Presbyterian church in Columbus,
was made by Governor Tod a member of a commission sent to look after
the wounded soldiers. He called on General Rosecrans at his
headquarters in Murfreesboro, and among others met there Father
Tracy, the general's chaplain, a Roman Catholic priest. During the
visit Rosecrans was called aside (but in the same room) by a staff
officer to receive information about a spy who had been caught
within the lines. The general got quite excited over the
information, talked loudly and hurriedly in giving directions
concerning the matter, using some profane language. It seemed
suddenly to occur to him that the clergymen were present, and from
the opposite side of the room he turned toward them, exclaiming
apologetically, "Gentlemen, I sometimes _swear_, but I never

Rosecrans's adjutant-general was Captain George L. Hartsuff, an
officer of the regular army, who was well qualified to supplement in
many ways the abilities and deficiencies of his chief. [Footnote:
Hartsuff was appointed brigadier-general of volunteers in the next
year and was severely wounded at Antietam, after which he was made
major-general and commanded the Twenty-third Army Corps in
Burnside's campaign of East Tennessee.] He was a large man, of heavy
frame; his face was broad, and his bald head, tapering high, gave a
peculiar pyramidal appearance to his figure. He was systematic and
accurate in administrative work, patient and insistent in bringing
the young volunteer officers in his department into habits of order
and good military form. His coolness tempered the impulsiveness of
his chief, and as they were of similar age and had about the same
standing in the army before the war, the familiarity between them
was that of comrades and equals more than of commander and

My intercourse with these officers on the occasion of my visit to
Cross Lanes was only the beginning of the acquaintance on which I
based the estimate of them which I have given; but it was a good
beginning, for the cordial freedom of thought and speech in the
conference was such as to bring out the characteristics of the men.
I rode back to my camp in the evening, feeling a sense of relief at
the transfer of responsibility to other shoulders. The command of my
brigade under the orders of Rosecrans seemed an easy task compared
with the anxieties and the difficulties of the preceding three
months. And so it was. The difference between chief responsibility
in military movements and the leadership even of the largest
subordinate organizations of an army is heaven-wide; and I believe
that no one who has tried both will hesitate to say that the
subordinate knows little or nothing of the strain upon the will and
the moral faculties which the chief has to bear.

McCook's brigade joined me on the 16th, and we immediately marched
to Alderson's, where we made a camp afterward known as Camp Lookout.
[Footnote: Official Records, vol. ii. pt. i. p. 481.] I was able to
bring up the Second Kentucky Regiment from Gauley Bridge, giving me
in hand three regiments of my own brigade. I sent forward Major
Hines with five companies as an advance-guard, and with these he
scouted the country as far as the top of Big Sewell Mountain, and
was able to give us definite information that Floyd had retreated as
far as Meadow Bluff, where the Wilderness road joins the turnpike.
Wise halted at Big Sewell Mountain and persisted in keeping his
command separate from Floyd, who ordered him to join the rest of the
column at Meadow Bluff. [Footnote: Official Records, vol. v. pp.
854,855,862.] On the 20th September my advance-guard occupied the
crest of the mountain, whilst Wise withdrew to a parallel ridge a
mile beyond, and loudly insisted that Floyd should join him there
instead of concentrating the Confederate force at Meadow Bluff.
General Lee reached the latter place in person on the 21st, but
found Wise's headstrong and captious spirit hardly more amenable to
his discipline than to Floyd's. He shared Floyd's opinion that it
was better to await Rosecrans's advance at Meadow Bluff, throwing
upon the National forces the burden of transportation over the
extended line, whilst guarding against a possible turning movement
by the Wilderness road. But Wise was so noisy in his assertions that
his was the only position in which to fight, that Lee hesitated to
order him back peremptorily, and finally yielded to his clamor and
directed Floyd to advance to Wise's position. [Footnote: _Id_., pp.
868,874,878,879.] The scandal of the quarrel between the two
officers had, however, become so notorious that the Richmond
government had authorized Lee to send Wise elsewhere, and, probably
on his advice, the Confederate War Department ordered Wise to report
at Richmond in person. The last scene in the comedy was decidedly
amusing. Wise appealed passionately to Lee to say whether his
military honor did not require that he should disobey the order till
the expected battle should be fought, and Lee, no doubt in dismay
lest he should still fail to get rid of so intractable a
subordinate, gravely advised him that both honor and duty would be
safe in obeying promptly the order. [Footnote: Official Records,
vol. v. p. 879.]

Whilst waiting at Camp Lookout for authority to move forward, an
incident occurred which gave us a little excitement and amusement,
and which shows, better than much explanation could do, the
difficult and intricate character of the country in which we were
operating. A wagon-master from our camp had gone out hunting for
forage, which was very scarce. He soon came back in excitement,
reporting that he had come upon an encampment of a regiment of the
enemy between our camp and New River and somewhat in our rear. His
report was very circumstantial, but was so improbable that I was
confident there was some mistake about it. He was, however, so
earnest in his assertions that he could not be mistaken, that
McCook, in whose brigade he was, sent out an officer with some men,
guided by the wagon-master, to verify the report. The story was
confirmed, and the matter was brought to me for action. Puzzled but
not convinced, and thinking that as McCook's command was new to the
country, it would be better to send some one who was used to
scouting in the mountains, I ordered a lieutenant named Bontecou, of
the Second Kentucky Regiment, to take a small party and examine the
case anew. Bontecou had done a good deal of successful work in this
line, and was regarded as a good woodsman and an enterprising scout.
He too came back at nightfall, saying that there could be no mistake
about it. He had crept close to the sentinels of the camp, had
counted the tents, and being challenged by the guard, had made a run
for it through the thicket, losing his hat. The position of the
enemy was, by all the reports, about three miles from us, diagonally
in rear of our right flank. It now seemed that it must be true that
some detachment had been delayed in joining the retreating column,
and had found itself thus partly cut off by our advance. I therefore
ordered McCook to start at earliest peep of day, upon the
Chestnutburg road (on which the wagon-master had been foraging), and
passing beyond the hostile detachment, attack from the other side,
it being agreed by all the scouting parties that this would drive
the enemy toward our camp. My own brigade would be disposed of to
intercept the enemy and prevent escape. McCook moved out as ordered,
and following his guides came by many devious turns to a fork in the
road, following which, they told him, a few minutes would bring him
upon the enemy. He halted the column, and with a small skirmishing
party went carefully forward. The guides pointed to a thicket from
which the Confederates could be seen. His instinct for topography
had made him suspect the truth, as he had noted the courses in
advancing, and crawling through the thicket, he looked out from the
other side upon what he at once recognized as the rear of his own
camp, and the tents of the very regiment from which he had sent an
officer to test the wagon-master's report. All the scouts had been
so deceived by the tangle of wooded hills and circling roads that
they fully believed they were still miles from our position; and,
bewildered in the labyrinth, they were sure the tents they saw were
the enemy's and not ours. The march had been through rain and mist,
through dripping thickets and on muddy roads, and the first impulse
was wrath at the erring scouts; but the ludicrous side soon
prevailed, and officers and men joined in hearty laughter over their
wild-goose chase. They dubbed the expedition the "Battle of
Bontecou," and it was long before the lieutenant heard the last of
the chaffing at his talents as a scout. [Footnote: Official Records,
vol. li. pt. i. pp. 484, 485.]

Major Hines's reports of the strength of the position on Sewell
Mountain which the enemy had occupied, and my own reconnoissance of
the intervening country, satisfied me that if we meant to advance on
this line, we ought not to give the enemy time to reconsider and to
reoccupy the mountain top from which he had retreated. On
representing this to General Rosecrans, he authorized me to advance
twelve miles to the Confederate camp on Big Sewell, directing me,
however, to remain upon the defensive when there, and to avoid
bringing on any engagement till he could bring up the rest of the
column. [Footnote: Official Records, vol. li. pt. i. pp. 484, 486.]
His means of crossing at Carnifex Ferry were so poor that what he
had thought would be done in two or three days from the time McCook
joined me, took a full fortnight to accomplish.

I marched with my own and McCook's brigades on the 23d September,
but when I reached the Confederate camp where Hines with the
advance-guard awaited me, it was evident at a glance that we must go
further. [Footnote: _Id_., p. 487.] The position was a very strong
one for resisting an approach from our direction, but was commanded
by higher ground beyond. The true crest of the mountain was two
miles further on, and there alone could we successfully bar the way
against a superior force coming from the east. I therefore marched
rapidly forward and occupied the crest in force. It was impossible
to hide the whole of our camp from view and properly hold the
position, but we made use of such cover as we could find, and
prepared to defend the pass against all comers, since it was vain to
attempt to mystify the enemy as to our advance in force.

On the 24th we had a lively skirmish with Wise's legion in front,
and forced it to retire to a ridge out of range of our artillery. We
dismounted one of his howitzers in the engagement, but contented
ourselves with making him yield the ground which would interfere
with our easy holding of our own position and the spurs of the
mountain directly connected with it. Wise had learned that Rosecrans
was not with my column, and on the supposition that the advance was
made by my brigade only, Lee concluded to order Floyd to Wise's
camp, being now satisfied that no movement of our troops had been
made by way of the Wilderness road. It was at this time that Wise
was relieved of command and ordered to Richmond, and Lee found it
advisable to unite his forces and take command in person.

The relations of these three distinguished Virginians had not begun
with this campaign, but dated back to the capture of John Brown at
Harper's Ferry. Wise was then the governor of his State, and
received from Lee the prisoner whose execution at Charlestown was to
become an historical event. Floyd, who himself had once been
governor of Virginia, was then Buchanan's Secretary of War, and
ordered Lee with the detachment of marines to Harper's Ferry, where
they stormed the engine-house which Brown had made his fort. Dealing
with such men as his subordinates, and with such a history behind
them, it can easily be understood that Lee would feel no ordinary
delicacy in asserting his authority, and no common embarrassment at
their quarrels.

Rosecrans was at first disturbed at my going further than had been
expected; [Footnote: Rosecrans's Dispatches, Official Records, vol.
li. pt. i. pp. 486, 487.] but he was soon satisfied that nothing
better could have been done. It is true that I was thirty-five miles
from the supports in the rear, whether at Carnifex Ferry or Gauley
Bridge; but the position was almost impregnable in front, and by
watchfulness I should know of any attempt to turn it in time to make
safe my retreat to Camp Lookout. On the 26th Scammon's brigade came
within easy supporting distance, and General Rosecrans came in
person to my camp. He had not been able to bring up his headquarters
train, and was my guest for two or three days, sharing my tent with
me. Cold autumnal rains set in on the very day the general came to
the front, and continued almost without intermission. In the hope of
still having some favorable weather for campaigning, the other
brigades were brought forward, and the whole force was concentrated
at the mountain except the necessary garrisons for the posts in the
rear. Brigadier-General Robert C, Schenck reported for duty in the
evening of a fearfully stormy day whilst Rosecrans was still my
tent-mate. He had heard rumors of fighting at the front, and had
hurried forward with a couple of staff officers, but without
baggage. My staff officers were sharing their shelter with the
gentlemen who had accompanied Rosecrans, but the new-comers were
made heartily welcome to what we had. In my own tent General
Rosecrans occupied my camp cot; I had improvised a rough bunk for
myself on the other side of the tent, but as General Schenck got in
too late for the construction of any better resting-place, he was
obliged to content himself with a bed made of three or four
camp-stools set in a row. Anything was better than lying on the damp
ground in such a storm; but Schenck long remembered the aching
weariness of that night, as he balanced upon the narrow and unstable
supports which threatened to tumble him upon the ground at the least
effort to change the position of stiffened body and limbs. One could
not desire better companionship than we had during our waking hours,
for both my guests had had varied and interesting experience and
knew how to make it the means of delightful social intercourse and
discussion. The chilly temperature of the tent was pleasantly
modified by a furnace which was the successful invention of the
private soldiers. A square trench was dug from the middle of the
tent leading out behind it; this was capped with flat stones three
or four inches thick, which were abundant on the mountain. At the
end of it, on the outside, a chimney of stones plastered with mud
was built up, and the whole topped out by an empty cracker-barrel by
way of chimney-pot. The fire built in the furnace had good draught,
and the thick stones held the heat well, making, on the whole, the
best means of warming a tent which I ever tried. The objection to
the little sheet-iron stoves furnished with the Sibley tent is that
they are cold in a minute if the fire dies out.

The rains, when once they began, continued with such violence that
the streams were soon up, the common fords became impassable, and
the roads became so muddy and slippery that it was with the utmost
difficulty our little army was supplied. The four brigades were so
reduced by sickness and by detachments that Rosecrans reported the
whole as making only 5200 effective men. Every wagon was put to work
hauling supplies and ammunition, even the headquarters baggage
wagons and the regimental wagons of the troops, as well those
stationed in the rear as those in front. We were sixty miles from
the head of steamboat navigation, the wagon trains were too small
for a condition of things where the teams could hardly haul half
loads, and by the 1st of October we had demonstrated the fact that
it was impossible to sustain our army any further from its base
unless we could rely upon settled weather and good roads.

Lee had directed an effort to be made by General Loring, his
subordinate, on the Staunton line, to test the strength of the posts
under Reynolds at Cheat Mountain and Elkwater, and lively combats
had resulted on the 12th, and 14th of September. [Footnote: Official
Records, vol. v. pp. 185-193.] Reynolds held firm, and as Rosecrans
was not diverted from his plans and was pushing forward on the
Lewisburg line, Lee ordered Loring to report to him with most of his
command. Reynolds, in return, made a forced reconnoissance upon the
Confederate position at Greenbrier River on October 2d, but found it
too strong to be carried. The reinforcement by Loring gave Lee a
very positive advantage in numbers, but the storms and foundering
roads paralyzed both armies, which lay opposite each other upon the
crests of Big Sewell separated by a deep gorge. On the 5th of
October the condition of the Kanawha valley had become such that
Rosecrans felt compelled to withdraw his forces to the vicinity of
Gauley Bridge. The freshet had been an extraordinary one. At
Charleston the Kanawha River usually flows in a bed forty or fifty
feet below the plateau on which the town is built; but the waters
now rose above these high banks and flooded the town itself, being
four or five feet deep in the first story of dwelling-houses built
in what was considered a neighborhood safe from floods. The
inundation almost stopped communication, though our quartermasters
tried to remedy part of the mischief by forcing light steamers up as
near to the Kanawha Falls as possible. But it was very difficult to
protect the supplies landed upon a muddy bank where were no
warehouses, and no protection but canvas covers stretched over the
piles of barrels and boxes of bread and sacks of grain. There was
enormous waste and loss, but we managed to keep our men in rations,
and were better off than the Confederates, in regard to whom Floyd
afterward reported to his government that the eleven days of cold
storms at Sewell Mountain had "cost more men, sick and dead, than
the battle of Manassas Plains."

It has been asserted by Confederate writers that Lee was executing a
movement to turn Rosecrans's left flank when the latter marched back
from Sewell Mountain. If so, it certainly had not gone far enough to
attract our attention, and from my own knowledge of the situation, I
do not believe it had passed beyond the form of discussion of a
possible movement when the weather should become settled. Such plans
were discussed on both sides, but the physical condition of the
country was an imperative veto upon aggressive action.

During the 5th of October our sick and spare baggage were sent back
to Camp Lookout. Tents were struck at ten o'clock in the evening,
and the trains sent on their way under escort at eleven. The column
moved as soon as the trains were out of the way, except my own
brigade, to which was assigned the duty of rear-guard. We remained
upon the crest of the hill till half-past one, the men being formed
in line of battle and directed to lie down till the time for them to
march. Our sentinels had been posted with extra precaution, so that
they might be withdrawn an hour or two after the brigade should
move. Extra reserves were assigned to them, and Major Hines put in
command of the whole detachment, with orders to keep in
communication with me at the extreme rear of the marching column. It
was interesting to observe the effect of this night movement upon
the men. Their imagination was excited by the novelty of the
situation, and they furnished abundant evidence that the unknown is
always, in such cases, the wonderful. The night had cleared off and
the stars were out. The Confederate position was eastward from us,
and as a bright star rose above the ridge on which the enemy was, we
could hear soldiers saying in a low tone to each other, "There goes
a fire balloon--it must be a signal--they must have discovered what
we are doing!" The exaggerated parallax at the horizon made the
rising star seem to move rapidly for the first few minutes, and men,
ignorant of this, naturally mistook its character. In a similar way
an occasional shot on the picket line would be the cause of a
subdued excitement. I doubt if soldiers ever make a night movement
in an enemy's presence without being under a nervous strain which
exaggerates the importance of everything they see and hear, and this
gives uncertainty and increases the difficulty of such duty. It is
no small part of the duty of officers, in such cases, to allay this
tendency to excitement, to explain the situation, and by a wise
mixture of information and discipline to keep the men intelligently
cool and in full command of their faculties.

General Rosecrans had gone with the head of the column, and had left
with me Major Slemmer, his inspector-general, to bring him word when
the rear of the column should be in march. Slemmer was the officer
who, as a lieutenant, had distinguished himself by holding Fort
Pickens in Pensacola harbor at the outbreak of the rebellion. He was
a man of marked character, and in view of his experience it may
easily be understood that we had no lack of interesting matter for
conversation as we paced in rear of the reclining men during the
midnight hours. His failing health prevented his taking the
prominent part in the war that his abilities warranted, but I have
retained, from that evening's work together, a pleasing impression
of his character and a respect for his military knowledge and
talents. In impressing on me the fact that my position was the one
of special honor in this movement, he expressed the wish that
Rosecrans had himself remained there; but the result showed that
hardly less than the commanding general's own authority and energy
could have got the column forward in the mud and darkness. The
troops had marched but a mile or two when they overtook part of the
wagon train toiling slowly over the steep and slippery hills. Here
and there a team would be "stalled" in the mud, and it looked as if
daylight would overtake us before even a tolerably defensive
position would be reached. Rosecrans now gave his personal
supervision to the moving of the wagons and
artillery,--wagon-master's work, it maybe said, but it was work
which had to be done if the little army was not to be found in the
morning strung out and exposed to the blows of the enemy if he
should prove enterprising.

We who were at the rear did not know of the difficulty the column
was having, and when my messenger reported the rear of the preceding
brigade a mile or more from the camp, I gave the order to march, and
my men filed into the road. Slemmer went forward to inform the
general that we were in movement, and I remained with Major Hines
till all was quiet, when he was directed to call in his pickets and
sentinels and follow. I had gone hardly a mile when we were brought
to a halt by the head of the brigade overtaking those who had
preceded us. Word was brought back that the artillery was finding
great difficulty in getting over the first considerable hill west of
the mountain. We ourselves were upon the downward road from the
mountain crest, but our way led along the side of a spur of the
mountain which towered above us on our left. We were in a dense wood
that shut out the stars, and in darkness that could almost be felt.
I rode back a little to meet Hines and to keep some distance between
the column and his little rear-guard. We sent a chain of sentinels
over the hill commanding the road, and waited, listening for any
evidence that the enemy had discovered our movement and followed. An
hour passed in this way, and the column moved on a short distance.
Again there was a halt, and again a deployment of our sentries. When
at last day broke, we were only three or four miles from our camp of
the evening before; but we had reached a position which was easily
defensible, and where I could halt the brigade and wait for the
others to get entirely out of our way. The men boiled their coffee,
cooked their breakfast, and rested. Early in the forenoon a small
body of the enemy's cavalry followed us, but were contented with
very slight skirmishing, and we marched leisurely to Camp Lookout
before evening. Such night marches from the presence of an enemy are
among the most wearing and trying in the soldier's experience, yet,
in spite of the temptation to invest them with extraordinary peril,
they are rarely interfered with. It is the uncertainty, the
darkness, and the effect of these upon men and officers that make
the duty a delicate one. The risk is more from panic than from the
foe, and the loss is more likely to be in baggage and in wagons than
in men. I have several times been in command of rear-guards on such
occasions, and I believe that I would generally prefer an open
withdrawal by day. It is not hard to hold even a bold enemy at bay
by a determined brigade or division, and a whole army may be saved
from the exhaustion and exposure which rapidly fill the hospitals,
and may cost more than several combats between rear and advance

My brigade remained two or three days at Camp Lookout, where we were
put upon the alert on the 7th by a reported advance of the enemy,
but it amounted to nothing more than a lively skirmish of some
cavalry with our outposts. Lee was glad to move back to Meadow Bluff
to be nearer his supplies, and Rosecrans encamped his troops between
Hawk's Nest and the Tompkins farm, all of them being now within a
few miles of Gauley Bridge. [Footnote: Official Records, vol. v. p.
253. See also Official Atlas, pl. ix.] Part of my brigade garrisoned
the post at the bridge, but by Rosecrans's direction my own
headquarters tents were pitched near his own upon the Tompkins farm.
Both parties now remained in observation till near the end of
October. Floyd, more enterprising in plans than resolute or skilful
in carrying them out, had obtained Lee's consent to make an attempt
to render our position untenable by operations on the opposite side
of New River. Lee had intended to co-operate by moving against us
with the rest of his force, but on the 20th of October the reports
from the Staunton region were so threatening that he determined to
send Loring back there, [Footnote: _Id_., p. 908.] and this, of
course, settled it that Lewisburg would be covered in front only by
Wise's Legion, commanded by Colonel Davis. Although Floyd complained
of this change of plan, he did not abandon his purpose, but ordering
the militia on that side of the river to reassemble, he marched to
Fayette C. H. [Footnote: Official Records, vol. v. p. 286.]

Rosecrans had distributed his brigades in _echelon_ along the
turnpike,--Schenck's, the most advanced, being ten miles from Gauley
Bridge; McCook's eight miles, where the road from Fayette C. H. by
way of Miller's Ferry comes in across New River; Benham's six miles,
whilst of my own one regiment at the Tompkins farm guarded
headquarters, and the rest were at Gauley Bridge and lower posts
where they could protect the navigation of the Kanawha. [Footnote:
_Id_., p. 253.] McCook by Rosecrans's direction marched to Fayette
C. H. about the 20th of October, and on his return reported that
only guerilla parties were abroad in that vicinity. Rosecrans seems
to have expected that at least a foothold would be kept on the other
side of New River at Miller's Ferry, but McCook left nothing there,
and when he tried to place a detachment on that side about the 25th,
the shore and cliffs were found to be held by a force of
sharpshooters. This marked the advance of Floyd, who established his
camp in front of Fayette C. H. at the forking of the roads to
Miller's Ferry and to Gauley Bridge. [Footnote: _Id_., p. 285.] For
a few days he made no serious demonstration, and Rosecrans hastened
forward the work of clothing and paying his men, recruiting his
teams and bringing back to the ranks the soldiers whom exposure had
sent to the hospital. He had heard in a trustworthy way of Lee's
intention to move against us by the turnpike whilst Floyd advanced
on the other side of the river, but Tie had not yet learned of the
withdrawal of Lee with Loring's troops. He therefore remained quiet
and expectant, awaiting the definite development of events.

As this had been my first service in the field as part of a larger
command, I was keenly alive to the opportunity of comparing the
progress we had made in discipline and instruction with that of
other brigades, so that I might cure defects in my own methods and
improve the soldierly character as well as the administration of my
own command. I was gratified to see in my troops evidence of a pride
in their own organization and a wholesome emulation, which made them
take kindly to the drill and discipline which were necessary to
improvement. I was particularly interested in observing Rosecrans's
methods with the men. His standard of soldierly excellence was high,
and he was earnest in insisting that his brigadiers and his staff
officers should co-operate vigorously in trying to attain it. His
impulsiveness, however, led him sometimes into personal efforts at
discipline where the results were at least doubtful. He would
sometimes go out through the camps in the evening, and if he saw a
tent lighted after "taps," or heard men singing or talking, he would
strike loudly on the canvas with the flat of his sword and command
silence or the extinguishment of the light. The men, in good-humored
mischief, would try different ways of "getting even" with him. One
that gave much amusement to the camp was this: the men in a tent
thus attacked pretended to believe that their regimental
wagon-master was playing a practical joke on them, and shouted back
to him all sorts of rough camp chaff. When the exasperated general
appeared at the door of the tent, they were, of course, overwhelmed
with the most innocent astonishment, and explained that that
wagon-master was in the habit of annoying them, and that they really
had not heard the "taps." I have been with the general in
approaching a picket, when he would hotly lecture a sentinel who
showed ignorance of some of his duties or inattention to them. I
thought I could see in all such cases that it would have been wiser
to avoid any unnecessary collision with the privates, but to take
the responsible officer aside and make him privately understand that
he must answer for such lack of instruction or of discipline among
his men. An impulsive man is too apt to meddle with details, and so
to weaken the sense of responsibility in the intermediate officers,
who hate to be ignored or belittled before the soldiers. But if
Rosecrans's method was not an ideal one, it was at least vigorous,
and every week showed that the little army was improving in
discipline and in knowledge of duty.



Floyd cannonades Gauley Bridge--Effect on Rosecrans--Topography of
Gauley Mount--De Villiers runs the gantlet--Movements of our
forces--Explaining orders--A hard climb on the mountain--In the post
at Gauley Bridge--Moving magazine and telegraph--A balky
mule-team--Ammunition train under fire--Captain Fitch a model
quartermaster--Plans to entrap Floyd--Moving supply trains at
night--Method of working the ferry--of making flatboats--The Cotton
Mountain affair--Rosecrans dissatisfied with Benham--Vain plans to
reach East Tennessee.

On the 1st of November the early morning was fair but misty, and a
fog lay in the gorge of New River nearly a thousand feet below the
little plateau at the Tompkins farm, on which the headquarters tents
were pitched. General Rosecrans's tents were not more than a hundred
yards above mine, between the turnpike and the steep descent to the
river, though both our little camps were secluded by thickets of
young trees and laurel bushes. Breakfast was over, the fog was
lifting out of the valley, and I was attending to the usual morning
routine of clerical work, when the report and echo of a cannon-shot,
down the gorge in the direction of Gauley Bridge, was heard. It was
unusual, enough so to set me thinking what it could mean, but the
natural explanation suggested itself that it was one of our own
guns, perhaps fired at a target. In a few moments an orderly came in
some haste, saying the general desired to see me at his tent. As I
walked over to his quarters, another shot was heard. As I
approached, I saw him standing in front of his tent door, evidently
much excited, and when I came up to him, he said in the rapid,
half-stammering way peculiar to him at such times: "The enemy has
got a battery on Cotton Mountain opposite our post, and is shelling
it! What d' ye think of that?" The post at the bridge and his
headquarters were connected by telegraph, and the operator below had
reported the fact of the opening of the cannonade from the mountain
side above him, and added that his office was so directly under fire
that he must move out of it. Indeed he was gone and communication
broken before orders could be sent to him or to the post. The fact
of the cannonade did not disturb me so much as the way in which it
affected Rosecrans. He had been expecting to be attacked by Lee in
front, and knew that McCook was exchanging shots across the river
with some force of the enemy at Miller's Ferry; but that the attack
should come two miles or more in our rear, from a point where
artillery had a plunging fire directly into our depot of supplies
and commanded our only road for a half-mile where it ran on a narrow
bench along New River under Gauley Mountain cliffs, had been so
startling as to throw him decidedly off his balance. The error in
not occupying Cotton Mountain himself was now not only made plain,
but the consequences were not pleasant to contemplate. I saw that
the best service I could render him for the moment was to help him
back into a frame of mind in which cool reasoning on the situation
would be possible. I have already stated the contrast between my own
sense of care when in sole command and the comparative freedom from
it when a senior officer came upon the field; and I now realized how
much easier it was for a subordinate to take things coolly. I
therefore purposely entered into a discussion of the probabilities
of the situation, and drew it out at length enough to assist the
general in recovering full control of himself and of his own
faculties. We could not, from where we stood, see the post at Gauley
Bridge nor even the place on Cotton Mountain where the enemy's
battery was placed, and we walked a little way apart from our staff
officers to a position from which we could see the occasional puffs
of white smoke from the hostile guns. From our camp the road
descended sharply along the shoulders of steep hills covered with
wood for a mile and a half, till it reached the bottom of the New
River gorge, and then it followed the open bench I have mentioned
till it reached the crossing of the Gauley. On the opposite side of
New River there was no road, the mass of Cotton Mountain crowding
close upon the stream with its picturesque face of steep inclines
and perpendicular walls of rock. The bridge of boats which Rosecrans
had planned at Gauley Bridge had not been built, because it had been
found impossible to collect or to construct boats enough to make it.
We were therefore still dependent on the ferry. Whilst the general
and I were talking, Colonel De Villiers galloped up, having crossed
at the ferry and run the gantlet of skirmishers whom he reported as
lining the other side of New River opposite the unsheltered part of
our road. He had recently reported for duty, having, as he asserted,
escaped in a wonderful way from captivity in Libby Prison at
Richmond. [Footnote: The Confederates claimed that he had been
allowed to act as hospital attendant on parole, and that he violated
his obligation in escaping. We had no means of verifying the facts
in the case.] His regiment was at the bridge and he was the senior
officer there; but, in his characteristic light-headed way, instead
of taking steps to protect his post and re-establish the telegraph
communications, he had dashed off to report in person at
headquarters. As he was willing to take the risks of the race back
again, he was allowed to go, after being fully instructed to set up
a new telegraph office in a ravine out of range of fire, to put the
ferry-boat out of danger as soon as he should be over, and prepare
the ordnance stores to be moved into the valley of Scrabble Creek at
night. I begged the general to be allowed to go back with De
Villiers, as the thing I most feared was some panic at the post
which might result in the destruction of our stores in depot there.
He, however, insisted on my staying at headquarters for a time at

Information of the attack was sent to the brigades up the river, and
Schenck, who was farthest up, was directed to push out scouting
parties and learn if there was any advance of the enemy from Sewell
Mountain. Benham, who was nearest, was ordered to send down part of
his brigade to meet the efforts of the enemy to stop our
communication with Gauley Bridge. The battery of mountain howitzers
under Captain Mack of the regular army was also ordered to report at
headquarters, with the intention of placing it high up on Gauley
cliffs, where it could drop shells among the enemy's skirmishers on
the opposite bank of the river. An hour or two passed and the
detachment from Benham's brigade approached. It was the Thirteenth
Ohio, led by one of its field officers, who halted the column and
rode up to General Rosecrans for orders. The general's manner was
still an excited one, and in the rapidity with which his directions
were given the officer did not seem to get a clear idea of what was
required of him. He made some effort to get the orders explained,
but his failure to comprehend seemed to irritate Rosecrans, and he
therefore bowed and rode back to his men with a blank look which did
not promise well for intelligent action. Noticing this, I quietly
walked aside among the bushes, and when out of sight hurried a
little in advance and waited at the roadside for the column. I
beckoned the officer to me, and said to him, "Colonel, I thought you
looked as if you did not fully understand the general's wishes." He
replied that he did not, but was unwilling to question him as it
seemed to irritate him. I said that was a wrong principle to act on,
as a commanding officer has the greatest possible interest in being
clearly understood. I then explained at large what I knew to be
Rosecrans's purposes. The officer thanked me cordially and rode
away. I have ventured to give this incident with such fulness,
because subsequent events in Rosecrans's career strengthened the
impression I formed at the time, that the excitability of his
temperament was such that an unexpected occurrence might upset his
judgment so that it would be uncertain how he would act,--whether it
would rouse him to a heroism of which he was quite capable, or make
him for the time unfit for real leadership by suspending his
self-command. [Footnote: See Crittenden's testimony in Buell Court
of Inquiry, Official Records, vol. xvi. pt. i. p. 578. Cist's
account of Chickamauga, Army of the Cumberland, p. 226, and chap,
xxvii., _post_.]

Soon after noon I obtained permission to go to Gauley Bridge and
assume command there; but as the road along New River was now
impracticable by reason of the increased fire of the enemy upon it,
I took the route over the top of Gauley Mountain, intending to reach
the Gauley River as near the post as practicable. I took with me
only my aide, Captain Christie, and an orderly. We rode a little
beyond the top of the mountain, and sending the orderly back with
the horses, proceeded on foot down the northern slope. We soon came
to the slashing which I had made in August to prevent the enemy's
easy approach to the river near the post. The mist of the morning
had changed to a drizzling rain. We had on our heavy horsemen's
overcoats with large capes, cavalry boots and spurs, swords and
pistols. This made it toilsome work for us. The trees had been
felled so that they crossed each other in utmost confusion on the
steep declivity. Many of them were very large, and we slid over the
great wet trunks, climbed through and under branches, let ourselves
down walls of natural rock, tripped and hampered by our
accoutrements, till we came to the end of the entanglement at what
we supposed was the edge of the river. To our dismay we found that
we had not kept up stream far enough, and that at this point was a
sheer precipice some thirty feet high. We could find no crevices to
help us climb down it. We tried to work along the edge till we
should reach a lower place, but this utterly failed. We were obliged
to retrace our steps to the open wood above the slashing. But if the
downward climbing had been hard, this attempt to pull ourselves up

"... superasque evadere ad auras,"--

was labor indeed. We stopped several times from sheer exhaustion, so
blown that it seemed almost impossible to get breath again. Our
clothes were heavy from the rain on the outside and wet with
perspiration on the inside. At last, however, we accomplished it,
and resting for a while at the foot of a great tree till we gained a
little strength, we followed the upper line of the slashing till we
passed beyond it, and then turned toward the river, choosing to
reach its banks high up above the camp rather than attempt again to
climb through the fallen timber. Once at the water's edge we
followed the stream down till we were opposite the guard post above
the camp, when we hailed for a skiff and were ferried over.

It was now almost dark, but the arrangements were soon made to have
wagons ready at the building on the Kanawha front used as a
magazine, and to move all our ammunition during the night to the
place I had indicated in the ravine of Scrabble Creek, which runs
into the Gauley. The telegraph station was moved there and
connection of wires made. We also prepared to run the ferry
industriously during the night and to put over the necessary
trainloads of supplies for the troops above. A place was selected
high up on the hill behind us, where I hoped to get up a couple of
Parrott guns which might silence the cannon of the enemy on Cotton
Mountain. I was naturally gratified at the expressions of relief and
satisfaction of the officers of the post to have me in person among
them. They had already found that the plunging fire from the heights
across the river was not a formidable thing, and that little
mischief would happen if the men were kept from assembling in bodies
or large groups within range of the enemy's cannon.

The fatigues of the day made sleep welcome as soon as the most
pressing duties had been done, and I went early to rest, giving
orders to the guard at my quarters to call me at peep of day. The
weather cleared during the night, and when I went out in the morning
to see what progress had been made in transferring the ammunition to
a safe place, I was surprised to find the train of wagons stopped in
the road along the Gauley in front of the camp. General Rosecrans's
ordnance officer was of the regular army, but unfortunately was
intemperate. He had neglected his duty during the night, leaving his
sergeant to get on without guidance or direction. The result was
that the ordnance stores had not been loaded upon the waiting wagons
till nearly daylight, and soon after turning out of the Kanawha road
into that of the Gauley, the mules of a team near the head of the
train balked, and the whole had been brought to a standstill. There
was a little rise in the road on the hither side of Scrabble Creek,
where the track, cutting through the crest of a hillock, was only
wide enough for a single team, and this rise was of course the place
where the balky animals stopped. The line of the road was enfiladed
by the enemy's cannon, the morning fog in the valley was beginning
to lift under the influence of the rising sun, and as soon as the
situation was discovered we might reckon upon receiving the fire of
the Cotton Mountain battery. The wagon-drivers realized the danger
of handling an ammunition train under such circumstances and began
to be nervous, whilst the onlookers not connected with the duty made
haste to get out of harm's way. My presence strengthened the
authority of the quartermaster in charge, Captain E. P. Fitch,
helped in steadying the men, and enabled him to enforce promptly his
orders. He stopped the noisy efforts to make the refractory mules
move, and sent in haste for a fresh team. As soon as it came, this
was put in place of the balky animals, and at the word of command
the train started quickly forward. The fog had thinned enough,
however, to give the enemy an inkling of what was going on, and the
rattling of the wagons on the road completed the exposure. Without
warning, a ball struck in the road near us and bounded over the rear
of the train, the report of the cannon following instantly. The
drivers involuntarily crouched over their mules and cracked their
whips. Another shot followed, but it was also short, and the last
wagon turned the shoulder of the hill into the gorge of the creek as
the ball bounded along up the Gauley valley. It was perhaps
fortunate for us that solid shot instead of shrapnel were used, but
it is not improbable that the need of haste in firing made the
battery officer feel that he had no time to cut and adjust fuses to
the estimated distance to our train; or it is possible that shells
were used but did not explode. It was my first acquaintance with
Captain Fitch, who had accompanied Rosecrans's column, and his cool
efficiency was so marked that I applied for him as quartermaster
upon my staff. He remained with me till I finally left West Virginia
in 1863, and I never saw his superior in handling trains in the
field. He was a West Virginian, volunteering from civil life, whose
outfit was a good business education and an indomitable rough energy
that nothing could tire.

During the evening of the 1st of November General Benham's brigade
came to the post at Gauley Bridge to strengthen the garrison, and
was encamped on the Kanawha side near the falls, where the widening
of the valley put them out of range of the enemy's fire. The ferry
below the falls was called Montgomery's and was at the mouth of Big
Falls Creek, up which ran the road to Fayette C. H. A detachment of
the enemy had pushed back our outposts on this road, and had fired
upon our lower camp with cannon, but the position was not a
favorable one for them and they did not try to stay long. After a
day or two we were able to keep pickets on that side with a flatboat
and hawser to bring them back, covered by artillery on our side of
the Kanawha.

During November 2d Rosecrans matured a plan of operations against
Floyd, who was now definitely found to be in command of the hostile
force on Cotton Mountain. It was also learned through scouting
parties and the country people that Lee had left the region, with
most of the force that had been at Sewell Mountain. It seemed
possible therefore to entrap Floyd, and this was what Rosecrans
determined to attempt. Benham was ordered to take his brigade down
the Kanawha and cross to the other side at the mouth of Loup Creek,
five miles below. Schenck was ordered to prepare wagon bodies as
temporary boats, to make such flatboats as he could, and get ready
to cross the New River at Townsend's Ferry, about fifteen miles
above Gauley Bridge. McCook was ordered to watch Miller's Ferry near
his camp, and be prepared to make a dash on the short road to
Fayette C. H. I was ordered to hold the post at Gauley Bridge,
forward supplies by night, keep down the enemy's fire as far as
possible, and watch for an opportunity to co-operate with Benham by
way of Montgomery's Ferry. [Footnote: Official Records, vol. v. p.
254.] Benham's brigade was temporarily increased by 1500 picked men
from the posts between Kanawha Falls and Charleston. He was expected
to march up Loup Creek and cut off Floyd's retreat by way of Raleigh
C. H., whilst Schenck should co-operate from Townsend's Ferry. On
the 5th the preparations had been made, and Benham was ordered to
cross the Kanawha. He did so on the night of the 6th, but except
sending scouting parties up Loup Creek, he did nothing, as a sudden
rise in New River made Rosecrans suspend the concerted movement, and
matters remained as they were, awaiting the fall of the river, till
the 10th.

For a week after the 1st, Floyd's battery on Cotton Mountain fired
on very slight provocation, and caution was necessary in riding or
moving about the camp. The houses of the hamlet were not purposely
injured, for Floyd would naturally be unwilling to destroy the
property of West Virginians, and it was a safe presumption that we
had removed the government property from buildings within range of
fire, as we had in fact done. Our method of forwarding supplies was
to assemble the wagon trains near my lower camp during the day, and
push them forward to Gauley Mount and Tompkins farm during the
night. The ferry-boat at Gauley Bridge was kept out of harm's way in
the Gauley, behind the projection of Gauley Mount, but the hawser on
which it ran was not removed. At nightfall the boat would be manned,
dropped down to its place, made fast to the hawser by a
snatch-block, and commence its regular trips, passing over the
wagons. The ferries, both at the bridge and at Montgomery's, were
under the management of Captain Lane of the Eleventh Ohio and his
company of mechanics. [Footnote: Captain P. P. Lane of Cincinnati,
later colonel of the regiment.] We had found at points along the
Kanawha the gunwales of flatboats, gotten out by lumbermen in the
woods and brought to the river bank ready to be put into boats for
the coal trade, which had already much importance in the valley.
These gunwales were single sticks of timber, sixty or eighty feet
long, two or three feet wide, and say six inches thick. Each formed
the side of a boat, which was built by tying two gunwales together
with cross timbers, the whole being then planked. Such boats were
three or four times as large as those used for the country ferries
upon the Gauley and New rivers, and enabled us to make these larger
ferries very commodious. Of course the enemy knew that we used them
at night, and would fire an occasional random shot at them, but did
us no harm.

The enemy's guns on the mountain were so masked by the forest that
we did not waste ammunition in firing at them, except as they
opened, when our guns so quickly returned their fire that they never
ventured upon continuous action, and after the first week we had
only occasional shots from them. We had planted our sharpshooters
also in protected spots along the narrower part of New River near
the post, and made the enemy abandon the other margin of the stream,
except with scattered sentinels. In a short time matters thus
assumed a shape in which our work went on regularly, and the only
advantage Floyd had attained was to make us move our supply trains
at night. His presence on the mountain overlooking our post was an
irritation under which we chafed, and from Rosecrans down, everybody
was disgusted with the enforced delay of Benham at Loup Creek. Floyd
kept his principal camp behind Cotton Mountain, in the position I
have already indicated, in an inaction which seemed to invite
enterprise on our part. His courage had oozed out when he had
carried his little army into an exposed position, and here as at
Carnifex Ferry he seemed to be waiting for his adversary to take the

To prepare for my own part in the contemplated movement, I had
ordered Captain Lane to build a couple of flatboats of a smaller
size than our large ferry-boats, and to rig these with sweeps or
large oars, so that they could be used to throw detachments across
the New River to the base of Cotton Mountain, at a point selected a
little way up the river, where the stream was not so swift and
broken as in most places. Many of our men had become expert in
managing such boats, and a careful computation showed that we could
put over 500 men an hour with these small scows.

From the 5th to the both Rosecrans had been waiting for the waters
to subside, and pressing Benham to examine the roads up Loup Creek
so thoroughly that he could plant himself in Floyd's rear as soon as
orders should be given. Schenck would make the simultaneous movement
when Benham was known to be in march, and McCook's and my own
brigade would at least make demonstrations from our several
positions. [Footnote: Official Records, vol. v. pp. 255, 261-265.]
From my picket post at Montgomery's Ferry I had sent scouts up the
Fayette road, and by the 9th had discovered such symptoms of
weakness in the enemy that I thought the time had come to make an
effort to dislodge the battery and get command of the crest of
Cotton Mountain overlooking my camp. On the both I made a combined
movement from both my upper and lower camps. Colonel De Villiers was
ordered to take all of the Eleventh Ohio fit for duty (being only
200 men), and crossing by the small boats, make a vigorous
reconnoissance over the New River face of Cotton Mountain, reaching
the crest if possible. Lieutenant-Colonel Enyart of the First
Kentucky was directed to cross below the falls with a similar force,
and push a reconnoissance out on the Fayette road, whilst he also
should try to co-operate with De Villiers in clearing the enemy from
the heights opposite Gauley Bridge. The place at which De Villiers
crossed was out of sight and range from the enemy's battery. His
first boat-load of forty men reached the opposite shore safely, and
dividing into two parties, one pushed up the New River to a ravine
making a somewhat easy ascent toward the crest, whilst the others
skirmished up the almost perpendicular face of the rocks where they
landed. The remainder of the men of the Eleventh were put over as
fast as possible, and joined their colonel in the ravine mentioned,
up which they marched to a little clearing high up the hill, known
as Blake's farm, where the advanced party had found the enemy. The
battery was withdrawn as soon as De Villiers' approach at the Blake
farm was known, supports being sent to the outpost there to check
our advance. The men of the Eleventh, led by Major Coleman, attacked
sharply, drove back the enemy, and succeeded in extending their
right to the crest above the recent position of the battery. They
were of course stretched out into a mere skirmish line, and I
directed them to hold the crest without advancing further till
Enyart should be heard from. He also found the enemy indisposed to
be stubborn, and skirmished up the opposite side of the mountain
till he joined hands with De Villiers on the top. The enemy seemed
to be increasing before them, and our men held their position as
directed, having relieved us from the hostile occupation of ground
commanding our camps. Enyart's reconnoitring party sent toward
Fayette advanced a mile on that road and remained in observation,
finding no enemy. I reported our success to Rosecrans, and doubtful
whether he wished to press the enemy in front till Benham and
Schenck should be in his rear, I asked for further instructions.
General Rosecrans authorized me to take over the rest of my
available force and press the enemy next day, as he was very
confident that Benham would by that time be in position to attack
him in rear. Accordingly I passed the Second Kentucky regiment over
the river during the night and joined them in person on the crest at
daybreak. The remainder of the First Kentucky, under Major Lieper,
was ordered to cross at Montgomery's Ferry later in the day, and
advance upon the Fayette road as far as possible. My climb to the
crest of Cotton Mountain was a repetition of the exhausting sort of
work I had tried on Gauley Mount on the 1st. I took the short route
straight up the face of the hill, clambering over rocks, pulling
myself up by clinging to the laurel bushes, and often literally
lifting myself from one great rocky step to another. This work was
harder upon officers who were usually mounted than upon the men in
the line, as we were not used to it, and the labor of the whole day
was thus increased, for of course we could take no horses. Resuming
the advance along the mountain crest, the enemy made no serious
resistance, but fell back skirmishing briskly, till we came to more
open ground where the mountain breaks down toward some open farms
where detachments of Floyd's forces had been encamped. Their baggage
train was seen in the distance, moving off upon the Fayette
turnpike. As we were now in the close neighborhood of the whole
force of the enemy, and those in our presence were quite as numerous
as we, I halted the command on the wooded heights commanding the
open ground below, till we should hear some sound from Benham's
column. Toward evening Major Lieper came up on our right to the
place where the Fayette road passes over a long spur of the mountain
which is known in the neighborhood as Cotton Hill. [Footnote:
Official Records, vol. v. pp. 272-275, and map, p. 82, _ante_. The
greater mass in the angle of the rivers was not uniformly called
Cotton Mountain then, and in my report I spoke of passing along
those crests toward Cotton Hill, meaning this elevation on the
Fayette road.] Here he was halted, and nothing being heard from
co-operating columns, the troops bivouacked for the night.

Rosecrans had informed Benham of my advance and ordered him to push
forward; but he spent the day in discussing the topography which he
was supposed to have learned before, and did not move. [Footnote:
_Id_., pp. 266-268.] Schenck had not been put across New River at
Townsend's Ferry, because Rosecrans thought it hazardous to do this
whilst Floyd was near that point in force, and he intended that when
Floyd should be forced to attack Benham (whose command was now equal
to two brigades), it would withdraw the enemy so far that Schenck
would have room to operate after crossing. But as Benham had not
advanced, toward evening of the 11th Rosecrans sent him orders to
march immediately up the Kanawha to my position and follow Major
Lieper on the road that officer had opened to the top of Cotton
Hill, and as much further toward Fayette C. H. as possible, taking
Lieper's detachment with him; meanwhile I was ordered to keep the
remainder of my troops on the mountain in the position already
occupied. Benham was expected to reach Lieper's position by ten
o'clock that evening, but he did not reach there in fact till three
o'clock in the following afternoon (12th). [Footnote: Official
Records, vol. v. pp. 256, 273.] After some skirmishing with an
outpost of the enemy at Laurel Creek behind which Major Lieper had
been posted, nothing more was done till the evening of the 13th.
Floyd's report shows that he retired beyond Fayette C. H. on the
12th, having conceived the mistaken idea that Benham's column was a
new reinforcement of 5000 men from Ohio. [Footnote: _Id_., p. 287.]
Abandoning the hope of using Schenck's brigade in a movement from
Townsend's Ferry, Rosecrans now ordered him to march to Gauley
Bridge on the 13th, and joining Benham by a night march, assume
command of the moving column. Schenck did so, but Floyd was now
retreating upon Raleigh C. H. and a slight affair with his
rear-guard was the only result. Fayette C. H. was occupied and the
campaign ended. It would appear from official documents that Floyd
did not learn of Benham's presence at the mouth of Loup Creek till
the 12th, when he began his retreat, and that at any time during the
preceding week a single rapid march would have placed Benham's
brigade without resistance upon the line of the enemy's
communications. Rosecrans was indignant at the balking of his
elaborate plans, and ordered Benham before a court-martial for
misconduct; [Footnote: Official Records, vol. v. p. 669.] but I
believe that McClellan caused the proceedings to be quashed to avoid
scandal, and Benham was transferred to another department. It is
very improbable that Schenck's contemplated movement across New
River at Townsend's Ferry could have been made successfully; for his
boats were few and small, and the ferrying would have been slow and
tedious. Floyd would pretty surely learn of it soon after it began,
and would hasten his retreat instead of waiting to be surrounded. It
would have been better to join Schenck to Benham by a forced march
as soon as the latter was at the mouth of Loup Creek, and then to
push the whole to the Fayette and Raleigh road, Rosecrans leading
the column in person. As Floyd seems to have been ignorant of what
was going on in Loup Creek valley, decisive results might have
followed from anticipating him on his line of retreat. Capturing
such a force, or, as the phrase then went, "bagging it," is easier
talked of than done; but it is quite probable that it might have
been so scattered and demoralized as to be of little further value
as an army, and considerable parts of it might have been taken

Rosecrans had begun the campaign in August with the announced
purpose of marching to Wytheville and Abingdon in the Holston
valley, and thence into East Tennessee. McClellan had cherished the
idea of making the Kanawha line the base of operations into the same
region; still later Fremont, and after him Halleck did the same.
Looking only at the map, it seemed an easy thing to do; but the
almost wilderness character of the intervening country with its poor
and sparsely scattered people, the weary miles of steep
mountain-roads becoming impassable in rainy weather, and the total
absence of forage for animals, were elements of the problem which
they all ignored or greatly underestimated. It was easy, sitting at
one's office table, to sweep the hand over a few inches of chart
showing next to nothing of the topography, and to say, "We will
march from here to here;" but when the march was undertaken, the
natural obstacles began to assert themselves, and one general after
another had to find apologies for failing to accomplish what ought
never to have been undertaken. After a year or two, the military
advisers of the War Department began to realize how closely the
movements of great bodies of soldiers were tied to rivers and
railways; but they seemed to learn it only as the merest civilian
could learn it, by the experience of repeated failures of plans
based on long lines of communication over forest-clad mountains,
dependent upon wagons to carry everything for man and beast.

Instead of reaching Wytheville or Abingdon, Rosecrans found that he
could not supply his little army even at Big Sewell Mountain; and
except for a few days, he occupied no part of the country in advance
of my positions in August, then held by a single brigade in the
presence of the same enemy. It was not Floyd's army, but the
physical obstacles presented by the country that chained him to
Gauley Bridge. I shall have occasion hereafter to note how the same
ignoring of nature's laws came near starving Burnside's command in
East Tennessee, where the attempt to supply it by wagon trains from
Lexington in Kentucky or from Nashville failed so utterly as to
disappear from the calculation of our problem of existence through
the winter of 1863-64.



An impracticable country--Movements suspended--Experienced troops
ordered away--My orders from Washington--Rosecrans objects--A
disappointment--Winter organization of the Department--Sifting our
material--Courts-martial--Regimental schools--Drill and picket
duty--A military execution--Effect upon the army--Political
sentiments of the people--Rules of conduct toward them--Case of Mr.
Parks--Mr. Summers--Mr. Patrick--Mr. Lewis Ruffner--Mr.
Doddridge--Mr. B. F. Smith--A house divided against itself--Major
Smith's journal--The contrabands--A fugitive-slave
case--Embarrassments as to military jurisdiction.

Floyd's retreat was continued to the vicinity of Newberne and Dublin
Depot, where the Virginia and East Tennessee Railway crosses the
upper waters of New River. He reported the country absolutely
destitute of everything and the roads so broken up that he could not
supply his troops at any distance from the railroad. [Footnote:
Official Records, vol. v. pp. 287,288.] Rosecrans was of a similar
opinion, and on the 19th of November signified to General McClellan
[Footnote: _id_., p. 657.] his purpose to hold Gauley Bridge, Cheat
Mountain, and Romney as the frontier of his department, and to
devote the winter to the instruction and discipline of his troops,
and the sifting out of incompetent officers. About the 1st of
December he fixed his headquarters at Wheeling, [Footnote: _Id_.,
pp. 669, 685. On January 21 I called attention to the anomaly of
bounding the department by the Kanawha River on the south, and
correction was at once made by General McClellan. _Id_., p. 706.]
assigning the District of the Kanawha to my command, with
headquarters at Charleston. [Footnote: _Id_., pp. 670, 691.] This
gave me substantially the same territorial jurisdiction I had in the
summer, but with a larger body of troops.

Before we left Gauley Bridge, however, I received orders direct from
army headquarters at Washington to take my three oldest Ohio
regiments and report to General Buell in Kentucky. This was exactly
in accordance with my own strong desire to join a large army on one
of the principal lines of operation. I therefore went joyfully to
Rosecrans, supposing, of course, that he also had received orders to
send me away. To my intense chagrin I found that he not only was
without such orders, but that he was, naturally enough, disposed to
take umbrage at the sending of orders direct to me. He protested
against the irregularity, and insisted that if his forces were to be
reduced, he should himself indicate those which were to go. He
carried his point on the matter, and was directed to send eight
regiments to Buell. [Footnote: Official Records, vol. v. p. 671.] He
insisted that I should stay, and whilst the reasons he gave were
sufficiently complimentary, it was none the less a great
disappointment to have to abandon the hope of service in a more
important field. [Footnote: _Id._ pp. 259, 657.] There was nothing
to be done but to summon philosophy to my aid, and to hope that all
would turn out for the best. Before Rosecrans left Gauley Bridge
four more regiments were added to the eight already ordered away,
together with four batteries of artillery. Some new regiments had
joined us, and the aggregate of troops remaining was perhaps not
much below the number present when Rosecrans reached Carnifex Ferry
in September; but most of them were freshly organized regiments,
with whom the work of drill and discipline had to begin at first
lessons. Three of the batteries taken away were regulars, and the
other was Loomis's Michigan battery, one of the oldest and best
instructed of our volunteer batteries. The places of these were not
supplied. The good policy of these reductions is not to be
questioned; for it was agreed that nothing aggressive could be done
in the mountains during the winter, and it was wise to use part of
the forces elsewhere.--Yet for those of us who had hoped to go with
the troops, and now found ourselves condemned to the apparently
insignificant duty of garrisoning West Virginia, the effect was, for
the time, a very depressing one.

General Schenck had left us on account of sickness, and did not
return. His brigade was again commanded by Colonel Scammon, as it
had been at Carnifex Ferry, and was stationed at Fayette C. H. One
regiment was at Tompkins farm, another at Gauley Bridge, two others
at intervals between that post and Charleston, where were three
regiments out of what had been my own brigade. Three partially
organized West Virginia regiments of infantry and one of cavalry
were placed at recruiting stations in the rear, and one Ohio
regiment was posted at Barboursville. The chain of posts which had
been established in the summer between Weston and Cross Lanes was
not kept up; but the Thirty-sixth Ohio, Colonel George Crook, was
stationed at Cross Lanes, reporting to me, as did all the other
troops enumerated above.

The Cheat Mountain district continued in command of General Milroy,
his principal posts being at Beverly and Huttonsville, with small
garrisons holding the mountain passes. General Kelley remained also
in command of the railroad district covering the communication with
Washington by the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad. General J. J.
Reynolds was assigned to command a new division organizing at
Romney, but was soon transferred to another department.

Such was the general organization of the department for the winter,
and we soon settled down to regular work in fitting the troops for
the next campaign. Courtsmartial were organized to try offenders of
all grades, and under charges of conduct prejudicial to good order
and military discipline, worthless officers were driven from the
service and negligent ones disciplined. Regimental schools were
opened, and strenuous efforts were made to increase the military
knowledge and skill of the whole command. Careful drill was
enforced, and picket and outpost duty systematically taught. Each
post became a busy camp of instruction, and the regiments repeated
under more favorable circumstances the work of the original camp in

The work of the military courts gave me one very unpleasant duty to
perform, which, happily, was of rare occurrence and never again fell
to my lot except on a single occasion in North Carolina near the
close of the war. A soldier of the First Kentucky Volunteers was
condemned to death for desertion, mutiny, and a murderous assault
upon another soldier. The circumstances were a little peculiar, and
gave rise to fears that his regiment might resist the execution. I
have already mentioned the affair of Captain Gibbs [Footnote:
Appointed Captain and Assistant Commissary of Subsistence, U. S.
Vols., October 1.] who had shot down a mutinous man of the Second
Kentucky at Gauley Bridge in the summer, and who had been acquitted
by a court-martial. The camp is very like a city in which popular
impressions and rumors have quick circulation and large influence.
The two Kentucky regiments were so closely related as to be almost
one, and were subject to the same influences. A bitter feeling
toward Captain Gibbs prevailed in them both, and camp demagogues
busied themselves in trying to make mischief by commenting on the
fact that the officer was acquitted whilst the private was
condemned. There was not a particle of justice in this, for the one
had simply suppressed a mutiny, whereas the other was inciting one.
But it is not necessary for complaints to be just among those who
are very imperfectly informed in regard to the facts, and very
unpleasant reports were received as to the condition of things in
the regiment to which the condemned man belonged.

It is the military custom, in executions by shooting, to select the
firing party from the regiment to which the condemned man belongs.
To have changed the rule would have looked like timidity, and I
determined that it must not be done, but resolved upon an order of
procedure which would provide, as far as possible, against the
chances of interference. On such occasions the troops are usually
paraded upon three sides of a hollow square, without arms, the place
of execution being in the middle of the open side, where the
prisoner kneels upon his coffin. The place chosen was in the meadows
on the lower side of the Elk River, opposite Charleston, a short
distance from the regimental camp. The camps of two other regiments
at the post were half a mile from the place of execution. These
regiments were, therefore, marched to the field with their arms.
That to which the prisoner belonged was marched without arms to its
position as the centre of the parade, and the others were formed on
their right and left at right angles, thus forming the three sides
of the enclosure. The arms of these last regiments were stacked
immediately behind them where they could be seized in a moment, but
the parade was formed without muskets. Captain Gibbs was on duty as
commissary at my headquarters, and his appearance with the staff
would have been unpleasant to himself as well as a possible cause of
excitement in the Kentucky regiment. To solve the difficulty without
making a significant exception, I ordered only the personal staff
and the adjutant-general with the chief surgeon to accompany me,
leaving out the administrative officers of both quartermaster's and
commissary's departments.

When the parade was formed, I took my place with my staff at the
right of the line, and, as upon a review, rode slowly down the whole
line, on the inside of the square. In going along the front of the
First Kentucky, I took especial pains to meet the eyes of the men as
they were turned to me in passing, desirous of impressing them with
my own feeling that it was a solemn but inevitable duty. Immediately
after we returned to our places, the music of the dead-march was
heard, and an ambulance was seen approaching from the camp, escorted
by the provost-marshal and the execution party with the music. The
solemn strains, the slow funereal step of the soldiers, the closed
ambulance, the statue-like stillness of the paraded troops made an
impression deeper and more awful than a battle scene, because the
excitement was hushed and repressed. The ambulance stopped, the man
was helped out at the back, and led by the provost-marshal to his
place upon the coffin, where he was blindfolded. The firing party
silently took its place. The muskets were cocked and aimed, while
the noise of the retiring ambulance covered the sound. The
provost-marshal, with a merciful deception, told the prisoner he
must wait a moment and he would return to him before the final
order, but stepping quickly out of the range of the muskets, he gave
the signal with his handkerchief, and the man fell dead at the
volley, which sounded like a single discharge. The detail of
soldiers for the firing had been carefully instructed that
steadiness and accuracy made the most merciful way of doing their
unwelcome duty. The surgeon made his official inspection of the
body, which was placed in the coffin and removed in the ambulance.
The drums and fifes broke the spell with quick marching music, the
regiments took their arms, sharp words of command rattled along the
lines, which broke by platoons into column and moved rapidly off the

I confess it was a relief to have the painful task ended, and
especially to have it ended in the most perfect order and
discipline. The moral effect was very great, for our men were so
intelligent that they fully appreciated the judicial character of
the act, and the imposing solemnity of the parade and execution made
the impression all the more profound. As it was accompanied and
followed by a searching test of the capacity and character of their
officers, of which they daily saw the effects in the retirement of
some from the service and in the increased industry and studious
devotion to duty of all, it gave a new tone to the whole command. I
spared no effort to make the feeling pervade every regiment and
company, that the cause of the country, their own success and honor,
and even their own personal safety depended upon their entering the
next campaign with such improved discipline and instruction as
should make them always superior to an equal number of the enemy.
Leaves of absence and furloughs were limited as closely as possible,
and I set the example of remaining without interruption on duty,
though there were many reasons why a visit home was very desirable.
My wife made me a visit at Charleston in mid-winter, and this
naturally brought me into more frequent social relations to the
people, and led me to observe more closely their attitude to the
government and its cause.

Before the secession of Virginia a very large majority of the
inhabitants of the Kanawha valley were Unionists; but the attachment
to the state organization had become so exaggerated in all
slave-holding communities, that most of the well-to-do people
yielded to the plea that they must "go with their State." The same
state pride led this class of people to oppose the division of
Virginia and the forming of the new State on the west of the
mountains. The better class of society in Charleston, therefore, as
in other towns, was found to be disloyal, and in sympathy with the
rebellion. The young men were very generally in the Confederate
army; the young women were full of the most romantic devotion to
their absent brothers and friends, and made it a point of honor to
avow their sentiments. The older people were less demonstrative, and
the men who had a stake in the country generally professed
acquiescence in the position of West Virginia within the Union, and
a desire to bring back their sons from the Confederate service. The
necessity of strict watch upon the communications sent through the
lines brought to my notice a great deal of family history full of
suffering and anxiety, and showed that that was indeed a fearful
situation for a family when its young men were not only separated
from them by military service in the field, but could only be heard
from by the infrequent chances of communication under flags of
truce, and with all the restrictions and reserves necessary to the
method. The rule I adopted in dealing personally with non-combatants
of either sex was to avoid all controversy or discussion, to state
with perfect frankness but courteously my own attitude and sense of
duty, and to apply all such stringent rules as a state of war
compels with an evenness of temper and tone of dispassionate
government which should make as little chafing as possible. Most
intelligent people, when they are not excited, are disposed to
recognize the obligations imposed upon a military officer in such
circumstances, and it was rarely the case that any unpleasant
collisions occurred.

The following incident will illustrate some of the embarrassments
likely to occur. When I reached Charleston in July previous, I was
visited by the wife of a gentleman named Parks, who told me that her
husband had left the valley with General Wise, but not in any
military capacity, being fearful that he might suffer arrest at our
hands on account of his sympathy with the Confederates. I told her,
what I had told to a formal deputation of citizens, that I did not
propose to meddle with non-combatants if they in good faith remained
at home, minding their own business, and carefully abstaining from
giving aid or information to the enemy. I had, on general
principles, a dislike for test oaths, and preferred to make conduct
the test, and to base my treatment of people on that, rather than on
oaths which the most unscrupulous would be first to take. Had her
husband known this, she said, he would not have left home, and
begged that she might be allowed to send an open letter through the
lines to him to bring him back. I allowed her to do so at the first
proper opportunity, and Mr. Parks at once returned. In the latter
part of September, however, Governor Peirpoint of West Virginia
thought it necessary to arrest some prominent citizens, known as
Secessionists, and hold them as hostages for Union men that the
Confederate troops had seized and sent to Richmond. It happened that
Mr. Parks was arrested as one of these hostages, without any
knowledge on the part of the civil authorities of the circumstances
under which he had returned home. I was ignorant of his arrest till
I received a letter from the lady, complaining bitterly of what
seemed to her a breach of faith. I was at Sewell Mountain at the
time, but lost no time in writing her a careful explanation of the
complete disconnection between his arrest by the civil authorities
as a hostage, and a promise of non-interference with him on my part
as an officer of the United States army. I also showed her that the
arrest of non-combatant Union men by the Confederate forces was the
real cause of her husband's unpleasant predicament. In view of the
circumstances, however, I thought it right to request the Governor
to substitute some other hostage for Mr. Parks, so that there might
not be the least question whether the letter or the spirit of my
military safeguard had been broken, and the result was that the
gentleman was very soon at home again.

The most prominent citizen of the valley was the Hon. George
Summers, who had represented it in the Congress of the United
States, and had opposed secession in the Virginia Convention with a
vigor that had brought him into personal peril. When, however,
secession was an accomplished fact, his ideas of allegiance to his
State so far influenced him that he was unwilling to take active
part in public affairs, and sought absolute retirement at his
pleasant home a little below Charleston on the Kanawha. His house
was on a hill overlooking the beautiful valley, broad enough at this
point to give room for ample fields in the rich bottom lands. I had
called upon him, as I passed with my troops when I went up the
valley. He was a dignified and able man, just past middle life, but
in full physical and mental force, and capable of exerting a very
great influence if he could have thrown himself heartily into public
activity. But he was utterly saddened and depressed by the outbreak
of civil war, and deliberately chose the part of suffering in
seclusion whatever it might bring, unable to rouse himself to a
combative part. As a slave-holder, he was bitter against the
anti-slavery movement, and as a Unionist he condemned the
Secessionists. He was very glad to have the Kanawha valley in the
possession of the National troops, now that Wise had made the effort
to occupy it for the Confederacy; though he had tried to procure the
adoption of a policy which should leave it neutral ground,--a policy
as impossible here as in Kentucky. The result was that he was
distrusted by both sides, for in civil war each acts upon the maxim
that "he that is not for us is against us." I renewed my
acquaintance with him in the winter, making his house the limit of
an occasional ride for exercise. I appreciated his feelings, and
respected his desire to set an example of obedient private
citizenship with renunciation of all other or more active influence.

There were other men of social prominence who had less hesitation in
throwing themselves actively upon the National side. Mr. Patrick was
an elderly man, of considerable wealth, whose home was a very
similar one to Mr. Summers', a little nearer to Charleston upon the
same road. His wife was of old Virginia stock, a relative of Chief
Justice Marshall, and a pronounced Southern woman, though too good a
wife to make her sympathies give annoyance to her husband or his
guests. Lewis Ruffner was also a prominent Union man, and among the
leaders of the movement to make West Virginia a separate State. Mr.
Doddridge, long the cashier and manager of the Bank at Charleston,
whose family was an old and well-known one, was an outspoken
Unionist, and in the next year, when the war put an end for the time
to banking in the valley, he became a paymaster in the National
army. Colonel Benjamin F. Smith was a noteworthy character also. He
was a leading lawyer, a man of vigorous and aggressive character,
and of tough fibre both physically and mentally. He shared the wish
of Summers to keep West Virginia out of the conflict if possible,
but when we had driven Wise out of the valley, he took a pronounced
position in favor of the new state movement. A little afterward he
was appointed District Attorney for the United States. Although the
loyal people had such competent leaders, the majority of the men of
wealth and of the families recognized as socially eminent were
avowed Secessionists. They were a small minority of the whole
people, but in all slave-holding communities social rank is so
powerful that their influence was out of proportion to their
numbers. Even the leaders of the Unionists found their own "house
divided against itself," for scarce one of them but had a son in
Wise's legion, and the Twenty-second Virginia Regiment was largely
composed of the young men of Charleston and the vicinity. I have
already referred to the journal of Major Smith which fell into my
hands as "captured rebel mail," and its pages are full of pathetic
evidence of the conflicting emotions which such a situation excited.
He was the son of B. F. Smith, whom I have just mentioned, and
whilst in Floyd's camp in front of us at Sewell Mountain he wrote:
"My source of constant trouble is that my father will be in danger.
Wicked and unscrupulous men, with whom he has lived in friendship
for years, absolutely thirst for his blood, as I truly believe. He
and Summers, as one of their friends remarked to me to-day, are
especial objects of hatred and aversion to men here. I am actually
leading a set of men one of whose avowed objects is the arrest and
the judicial or lynch murder of my father!" In the next month he
heard "the startling news" that his father had fully identified
himself with the new state movement, and writes: "Those with whom I
was connected, call and curse him as a traitor,--and he knew it
would be so! Why my dear father has chosen to place me in this
terrible situation is beyond my comprehension. I have been shocked
beyond description in contemplating the awful consequences to the
peace, safety, and happiness of both of us!" The family distress and
grief revealed by accident in this case is only an example of what
was common in all the families of prominent Union men. In some
cases, as in that of Major Smith, the young men resigned their
commissions and made their way home, finding the mental and moral
strain too great to bear; but in many more, pride and the influence
of comrades kept them in the Confederate service with the enlisted
men who could not resign, and with hearts sorely torn by conflicting
duties, they fought it out to the end.

The slavery question was the vexed one which troubled the relations
of the army and the people in all the border States. My own position
was that of the party which had elected Mr. Lincoln. We disclaimed
any purpose of meddling with the institution in the States which
remained loyal to the Union, whilst we held it to be within the war
powers of the government to abolish it in the rebellious States. We
also took satisfaction in enforcing the law which freed the
"contrabands" who were employed by their masters in any service
within the Confederate armies. These principles were generally
understood and acquiesced in by the West Virginians; but it was
impossible to come to any agreement in regard to fugitive slaves who
took refuge in our camps. The soldiers and many of the officers
would encourage the negroes to assert their freedom, and would
resist attempts to recapture them. The owners, if Union men, would
insist that the fugitives should be apprehended and restored to them
by military authority. This was simply impossible, for the public
sentiment of the army as a whole was so completely with the slaves
that any such order would have been evaded and made a farcical dead
letter. The commanders who made such orders uniformly suffered from
doing it; for the temper of the volunteer army was such that the
orders were looked upon as evidence of sympathy with the rebellion,
and destroyed the usefulness of the general by creating an incurable
distrust of him among his own men. Yet nearly all the department
commanders felt obliged at first, by what they regarded as the
letter of the law, to order that fugitive slaves claimed by loyal
citizens should be arrested, if within the camps, and delivered up.

Within the district of the Kanawha I tried to avoid the difficulty
by stringent orders that slaves should be kept out of the camps; but
I declined to order the troops to arrest and return them. I had two
little controversies on the subject, and in both of them I had to
come in collision with Colonel Benjamin Smith. After they were over
we became good friends, but the facts are too important an
illustration of the war-time and its troubles to be omitted.

The first raised the question of "contraband." A negro man was
brought into my camp by my advance-guard as we were following Floyd
to Sewell Mountain in September. He was the body-servant of Major
Smith, and had deserted the major, with the intention of getting
back to his family at Charleston. In our camp he soon learned that
he was free, under the Act of Congress, and he remained with us, the
servants about headquarters giving him food. When I returned to
Gauley Bridge, Mr. Smith appeared and demanded the return of the man
to him, claiming him as his slave. He, however, admitted that he had
been servant to Major Smith in the rebel army with his consent. The
man refused to go with him, and I refused to use compulsion,
informing Mr. Smith that the Act of Congress made him free. The
claimant then went to General Rosecrans, and I was surprised by the
receipt, shortly after, of a note from headquarters directing the
giving up of the man. [Footnote: Letter of Major Darr, acting A. A.
G., November 18.] On my stating the facts the matter was dropped,
and I heard no more of it for a month, the man meanwhile
disappearing. Soon after my headquarters were moved to Charleston,
in December, I received another note from headquarters, again
directing the delivery of the fugitive. [Footnote: Letter of Captain
Hartsuff, A. A. G., December 13.] Again I gave a temperate and clear
statement of the facts, adding that I had reason to believe the man
had now taken advantage of his liberty to go to Ohio. Mr. Smith's
case thus ended, but it left him with a good deal of irritation at
what he thought a wrong done to him as well as insubordination on my

In March following, another case arose, and I received a paper from
headquarters containing an alleged statement of the facts, and
referred to me in usual course for report. I had been absent from
Charleston when the incidents occurred, but made careful inquiry
satisfying myself of the truth, and perhaps cannot give an
intelligent explanation better than by quoting the report itself,
for its tone shows the sort of annoyance I felt, and it exhibits
some of the conditions of an army command involving administrative
duties that were far from pleasant.

I said: "The document is in the handwriting of B. F. Smith, Esq., U.
S. District Attorney, residing here, though signed only by John
Slack, Jr., and William Kelly; the former an acting deputy U. S.
marshal, the latter the jailer at the county jail. Its composition
is so peculiar that it is difficult to tell what part of the
statement is Slack's or Kelly's and what is Colonel Smith's, and
therefore I do not know whom to hold responsible for the
misstatements contained in it.

"Mr. Slack is a respectable young man, who I believe would do his
duty as far as he understands it, but who has not energy enough to
keep him from being the tool of others. Mr. Kelly, the jailer, is
sufficiently described when I state the fact that he has attempted
to add to his profits as turnkey by selling bad whisky to soldiers
put in his calaboose, at the rate of five dollars per pint bottle.
Mr. Smith, the District Attorney, has lost no opportunity of being
annoying to the military officers here, since the controversy about
the negro man captured from his son, Major Isaac Smith of the rebel
army. This reference to the parties concerned is necessary to enable
the commanding general to understand the _animus_ of their

"The facts are substantially as follows: Henry H. Hopkins is a
notorious Secessionist living near Coal River, and a man of
considerable property. Some time before his arrest he sent the negro
man mentioned in the complaint _South_, in charge of some Logan
County 'bushwhackers.' On his way and in McDowell County the man
managed to escape and returned into Hopkins's neighborhood, near
Boone C. H., where he took his wife and three children alleged to
have been the property of a woman named Smoot, and brought them to
this post. Upon his representation that he had escaped from armed
rebels in McDowell County, and without further knowledge of the
facts, the Post Quartermaster set him at work. About the 19th of
February Hopkins came to town with Mrs. Smoot, and without notice to
the quartermaster or any color of authority by any civil process,
procured the aid of Kelly, the jailer, seized the negro and took him
to Wright's hotel. The provost-marshal, knowing that Hopkins was an
active Secessionist and that he had been personally engaged in the
combat at Boone C. H. last fall, ordered his arrest. Shortly after,
he was waited upon by B. F. Smith, Esq., U. S. District Attorney,
who stated that he had known Mr. Hopkins for a good many years and
was confident he was a good Union man, although in fact the
deputy-marshal at the very time held a warrant for the arrest of
Hopkins for treason and conspiracy, under an indictment found in the
U. S. Court, of which, to say the least of it, it is very strange
Mr. Smith should have been ignorant. At the request of the
provost-marshal, the warrant was served on Hopkins, who was admitted
to bail in the sum of $2000, which is most inadequate security for
the appearance of a man of Hopkins's wealth and influence, accused
of such a crime. After the arrest of Hopkins, the negro being left
to himself returned to his quarters, but sometime during the night
stole a skiff and attempted to escape with his family down the
Kanawha River. The circumstances of his accident in the river, the
drowning of his family and his subsequent capture, I have not been
able to investigate fully.

"The only matter of controversy now is in regard to the horse. The
bar-keeper at the tavern denies that he has said it was taken by
Wagon-master West (a man who has since been discharged by the Post
Quartermaster), and I have been unable to trace it, although every
effort has been made in perfect good faith to do so. The man West
was put under arrest, to see if that would make him admit anything
with regard to it, but without effect. I advised Slack to procure
some one who knew the horse to pass through the government stables
and teams, and if he recognized the animal to let me know at once,
and I would give an order to him to obtain it. The statement that
'Slack says he told Cox he could not find him, that a soldier or
employee in his command got him, and if proper measures were taken
he could be had,' is both impudent and false, and I respectfully
submit that it is not, in matter or manner, such a complaint as the
Commanding General should call upon me to reply to.

"The statement of these civil officials at once gives me the
opportunity and makes it my duty to state to the Commanding General
that the only occasions on which these gentlemen show any vitality,
is when some Secessionist's runaway negroes are to be caught. For
any purpose of ordinary municipal magistracy they seem utterly
incompetent. I have urged the organization of the county and of the
town, but to no effect. Every street that is mended, every bridge
that is repaired, or wharf that is put in order, must be done by the
army at the expense of the U. S. government. They will not elect
officers to look after the poor, but leave us to feed the starving
near our camps. They will establish no police, and by force of
public opinion keep suitors out of the courts ordered to be held by
Governor Peirpoint. Yet a U. S. Commissioner, without any warrant or
even pretended jurisdiction, will stop any vagrant negro, drive him
through the streets in person, and say that he does it as a U. S.
officer! Of course we simply look on and have had no controversy
with them, unless driven to it by direct efforts on their part to
interfere with our necessary regulations.

"The simple fact is that a few men of property who are avowed
Secessionists control the town and make its public sentiment. By
this means they practically control these officers also. Many of the
negroes employed at the salt-works, and under hire in other
capacities in the vicinity, are the slaves of rebels who are either
in the rebel army or fled with it from the valley. The great problem
upon which the Secessionists remaining here are exercising their
ingenuity is to find the means of using the U. S. Commissioner and
Marshal to secure to them the services of these persons without cost
or legitimate contract of hiring, for the present profit of these
gentlemen here, and the future advantage of their compatriots across
the lines.

"Colonel Smith and Mr. Slack say that they made the statement at the
express request of Major Darr of the Commanding General's staff. A
simple inquiry by the Major would have saved me the necessity of
writing this long letter."

It is due to General Rosecrans to say that although he had been
anything but an anti-slavery man before the war, he made no pressure
upon me to violate my own sense of right in these or similar cases,
and they ended with my reports of the facts and of my reasons for
the course I pursued. The side lights thrown upon the situation by
the letter last quoted will be more instructive than any analysis I
could now give, and the spice of flavor which my evident annoyance
gave it only helps to revive more perfectly the local color of the
time. In the case of Mr. Smith's "negro boy Mike," I had the
satisfaction of finding in the intercepted correspondence of his son
the major, the express recognition of the man's right to liberty by
reason of his use in the enemy's service, and could not deny myself
the pleasure of calling attention to it in my letters to

My experience during the winter begot in me a rooted dislike for the
military administration of the border districts, and strengthened my
wish to be in the most active work at the front, where the problems
were the strictly military ones of attack and defence in the
presence of the armed enemy. [Footnote: I did not lack evidence that
a steady rule, based on principles frankly avowed and easily
understood, was rapidly bringing the people to be content to be in
the Union, even those most inclined to secession. This result I am
gratified to find attested by General Lee and General Floyd, who in
dispatches very lately printed confessed the effect my
administration had in quieting the valley during the first months of
my occupation. Official Records, vol. li. pt. ii. pp. 220, 225.] Not
that the winter was without compensating pleasures, for we were
recipients of much social attention of a very kindly and agreeable
sort, and carried away cherished memories of refined family circles
in which the collision of opinions and the chafing of official
relations were forgotten in hearty efforts to please. With the
unconditionally loyal people our sympathies were very deep, for we
found them greatly torn and disturbed in the conflict of duties and
divided affections, where scarce a single household stood as a unit
in devotion to the cause, and where the triumph of either side must
necessarily bring affliction to some of them.



High quality of first volunteers--Discipline milder than that of the
regulars--Reasons for the difference--Practical efficiency of the
men--Necessity for sifting the officers--Analysis of their
defects--What is military aptitude?--Diminution of number in
ascending scale--Effect of age--Of former life and
occupation--Embarrassments of a new business--Quick progress of the
right class of young men--Political appointments--Professional
men--Political leaders naturally prominent in a civil war--"Cutting
and trying"--Dishonest methods--An excellent army at the end of a
year--The regulars in 1861--Entrance examinations for West
Point--The curriculum there--Drill and experience--Its
limitations--Problems peculiar to the vast increase of the
army--Ultra-conservatism--Attitude toward the Lincoln
administration--"Point de zéle"--Lack of initiative--Civil work of
army engineers--What is military art?--Opinions of experts--Military
history--European armies in the Crimean War--True
generalship--Anomaly of a double army organization.

The work of sifting the material for an army which went on through
the winter of 1861-62, naturally suggests an analysis of the classes
of men who composed both parts of the military force of the
nation,--the volunteers and the regulars. I need add nothing to what
I have already said of the unexampled excellence of the rank and
file in the regiments raised by the first volunteering. Later in the
war, when "bounty jumping" and substitution for conscripts came into
play, the character of the material, especially that recruited in
the great cities and seaports, was much lower. I think, however,
that the volunteers were always better men, man for man, than the
average of those recruited for the regular army. The rigidity of
discipline did not differ so much between good volunteer regiments
and regulars, as the mode of enforcing it. There were plenty of
volunteer regiments that could not be excelled in drill, in the
performance of camp duty, or in the finish and exactness of all the
forms of parades and of routine. But it was generally brought about
by much milder methods of discipline. A captain of volunteers was
usually followed by his neighbors and relatives. The patriotic zeal
of the men of the company as well as their self-respect made them
easily amenable to military rule so far as it tended to fit them
better to do the noble work they had volunteered for, and on which
their hearts were as fully set as the hearts of their colonels or
generals. In the regular army, officers and men belonged to
different castes, and a practically impassable barrier was between
them. Most of the men who had enlisted in the long years of domestic
peace were, for one cause or another, outcasts, to whom life had
been a failure and who followed the recruiting sergeant as a last
desperate resource when every other door to a livelihood was shut.
[Footnote: Since inducements to enlist have been increased by
offering the chance to win a commission, I believe the quality of
the rank and file of the regulars has been much improved, and as a
natural consequence the officers have found it easy to enforce
discipline by less arbitrary methods.] The war made some change in
this, but the habits and methods of the officers had been formed
before that time and under the old surroundings. The rule was
arbitrary, despotic, often tyrannical, and it was notorious that the
official bearing and the language used toward the regular soldiers
was out of the question in a volunteer organization. Exceptions
could be found in both parts of the service, but there could be no
doubt as to the custom and the rule. To know how to command
volunteers was explicitly recognized by our leading generals as a
quality not found in many regular officers, and worth noting when
found. A volunteer regiment might have a "free and easy" look to the
eye of a regular drill sergeant, but in every essential for good
conduct and ready manoeuvre on the field of battle, or for heroic
efforts in the crisis of a desperate engagement, it could not be
excelled if its officers had been reasonably competent and faithful.
There was inevitable loss of time in the organization and
instruction of a new army of volunteers; but after the first year in
the field, in every quality which tends to give victory in battle to
a popular cause, the volunteer regiment was, in my judgment,
unquestionably superior. It is necessary to say this, because there
has been a fashion of speaking of regular regiments or brigades in
the civil war as though they were capable of accomplishing more in
proportion to their numbers or on some occasion of peculiar peril
than the volunteers. I did not find it so.

The material in the line, then, was as good as could be; the
weakness was in the officers, and it was here that the sifting was
necessary. Most of these officers had themselves enlisted as
privates, and their patriotic zeal was not to be questioned. They
had been chosen to be lieutenants, captains, and even colonels by
their men because of faith in their ability to lead, or to recognize
their influence in raising the troops. Yet a considerable part of
them proved incompetent to command. The disqualifications were
various. Some lacked physical strength and stamina. Some had or
quickly developed intemperate habits. Some lacked the education and
intelligence needful for official responsibility. Some were too
indolent to apply themselves to the work of disciplining themselves
or their men. Fitness for command is a very general term, yet it
implies a set of qualities which intelligent people easily
understand and attach to the phrase. Self-command is proverbially
one of the chief. Courage and presence of mind are indispensable.
Ability to decide and firmness to stick to a decision are necessary.
Intelligence enough to understand the duties demanded of him and to
instruct his subordinates in theirs is another requisite. But beside
all these, there is a constitution of body and mind for which we can
find no better name than military aptitude. For lack of it many
estimable, intelligent, and brave men failed as officers. Again, not
every good captain made a good colonel, and not every good brigade
commander was fit for a division or a larger command. There was a
constantly widening test of capacity, and a rapid thinning of the
numbers found fit for great responsibilities until the command of
great armies was reached, when two or three names are all that we
can enumerate as having been proven during the four years of our
civil strife to be fully equal to the task.

Besides the indications of unfitness for the subordinate commands
which I have mentioned, another classification may be made. In an
agricultural community (and the greater part of our population was
and is agricultural), a middle-aged farmer who had been thrifty in
business and had been a country magistrate or a representative in
the legislature, would be the natural leader in his town or county,
and if his patriotism prompted him to set the example of enlisting,
he would probably be chosen to a company office, and perhaps to a
field office in the regiment. Absolutely ignorant of tactics, he
would find that his habits of mind and body were too fixed, and that
he could not learn the new business into which he had plunged. He
would be abashed at the very thought of standing before a company
and shouting the word of command. The tactical lessons conned in his
tent would vanish in a sort of stage-fright when he tried to
practise them in public. Some would overcome the difficulty by
perseverance, others would give it up in despair and resign, still
others would hold on from pride or shame, until some pressure from
above or below would force them to retire. Some men of this stamp
had personal fighting qualities which kept them in the service in
spite of their tactical ignorance, like brave old Wolford of
Kentucky, of whom it used to be jocosely said, that the command by
which he rallied his cavalry regiment was "Huddle on the Hill,

A man wholly without business training would always be in
embarrassment, though his other qualifications for military life
were good. Even a company has a good deal of administrative business
to do. Accounts are to be kept, rations, clothing, arms,
accoutrements, and ammunition are to be receipted and accounted for.
Returns of various kinds are to be made, applications for furlough,
musters, rolls, and the like make a good deal of clerical work, and
though most of it may fall on the first sergeant, the captain and
commissioned officers must know how it should be done and when it is
well done, or they are sure to get into trouble. It was a very rare
thing for a man of middle age to make a good company officer. A good
many who tried it at the beginning had to be eliminated from the
service in one way or another. In a less degree the same was found
to hold true of the regimental field officers. Some men retain
flexibility of mind and body longer than others, and could more
easily adapt themselves to new circumstances and a new occupation.
Of course such would succeed best. But it is also true that in the
larger and broader commands solidity of judgment and weight of
character were more essential than in the company, and the
experience of older men was a more valuable quality. Such reasons
will account for the fact that youth seemed to be an almost
essential requisite for a company officer, whilst it was not so in
the same degree in the higher positions.

It was astonishing to see the rapidity with which well-educated and
earnest young men progressed as officers. They were alert in both
mind and body. They quickly grasped the principles of their new
profession, and with very little instruction made themselves masters
of tactics and of administrative routine. Add to this, bravery of
the highest type and a burning zeal in the cause they were fighting
for, and a campaign or two made them the peers of any officers of
their grade in our own or any other army.

Another class which cannot be omitted and which is yet very hard to
define accurately, is that of the "political appointments."

Of the learned professions, the lawyers were of course most strongly
represented among officers of the line. The medical men were so
greatly needed in their own professional department that it was hard
to find a sufficient number of suitable age and proper skill to
supply the regiments with surgeons and the hospitals with a proper
staff. The clergy were non-combatants by profession, and a few only
were found in other than chaplain's duty. Civil engineers, railroad
contractors, architects, and manufacturers were well represented and
were valuable men. Scarce any single qualification was more useful
in organizing the army than that of using and handling considerable
bodies of men such as mechanics and railway employees.

The profession of the law is in our country so closely allied to
political activity that the lawyers who put on the uniform were most
likely to be classed among political appointments. The term was
first applied to men like Banks, Butler, Baker, Logan, and Blair,
most of whom left seats in Congress to serve in the army. If they
had not done so, it would have been easy for critics to say that the
prominent politicians took care to keep their own bodies out of
harm's way. Most of them won hard-earned and well-deserved fame as
able soldiers before the war was over. In an armed struggle which
grew out of a great political contest, it was inevitable that eager
political partisans should be among the most active in the new
volunteer organizations. They called meetings, addressed the people
to rouse their enthusiasm, urged enlistments, and often set the
example by enrolling their own names first. It must be kept
constantly in mind that we had no militia organization that bore any
appreciable proportion to the greatness of the country's need, and
that at any rate the policy of relying upon volunteering at the
beginning was adopted by the government. It was a foregone
conclusion that popular leaders of all grades must largely officer
the new troops. Such men might be national leaders or leaders of
country neighborhoods; but big or little, they were the necessity of
the time. It was the application of the old Yankee story, "If the
Lord _will_ have a church in Paxton, he must take _sech as ther' be_
for deacons."

I have, in a former chapter, given my opinion that the government
made a mistake in following General Scott's advice to keep its
regular army intact and forbid its officers from joining volunteer
regiments; but good or bad, that advice was followed at the
beginning, and the only possible thing to do next was to let popular
selection and natural leadership of any sort determine the company
organizations. The governors of States generally followed a similar
rule in the choice of field officers, and selected the general
officers from those in the state militia, or from former officers of
the army retired to civil life. In one sense, therefore, the whole
organization of the volunteer force might be said to be political,
though we heard more of "political generals" than we did of
political captains or lieutenants. When the organization of the
United States Volunteers took the place of the state contingents
which formed the "three months' service," the appointments by the
President were usually selections from those acting already under
state appointment. The National Government was more conservative
than the Confederacy in this respect. Our service was always full of
colonels doing duty as brigadiers and brigadiers doing duty as
major-generals, whilst the Southern army usually had a brigadier for
every brigade and a major-general for every division, with
lieutenant-generals and generals for the highest commands. If some
rigid method had been adopted for mustering out all officers whom
the government, after a fair trial, was unwilling to trust with the
command appropriate to their grade, there would have been little to
complain of; but an evil which grew very great was that men in high
rank were kept upon the roster after it was proven that they were
incompetent, and when no army commander would willingly receive them
as his subordinates. Nominal commands at the rear or of a merely
administrative kind were multiplied, and still many passed no small
part of the war "waiting orders." As the total number of general
officers was limited by law, it followed, of course, that promotion
had to be withheld from many who had won it by service in the field.
This evil, however, was not peculiar to the class of appointments
from civil life. The faults in the first appointments were such as
were almost necessarily connected with the sudden creation of a vast
army. The failure to provide for a thorough test and sifting of the
material was a governmental error. It was palliated by the necessity
of conciliating influential men, and of avoiding antagonisms when
the fate of the nation trembled in the balance; but this was a
political motive, and the evil was probably endured in spite of its
well-known tendency to weaken the military service.

A few months' campaigning in the field got us rid of most of the
"town-meeting style" of conducting military affairs in the army
itself, though nothing could cure the practice on the part of
unscrupulous men of seeking reputation with the general public by
dishonest means. The newspapers were used to give fictitious credit
to some and to injure others. If the regular correspondents of the
press had been excluded from the camps, there would no doubt have
been surreptitious correspondence which would have found its way
into print through private and roundabout channels. But this again
was not a vice peculiar to officers appointed from civil life. It
should be always remembered that honorable conduct and devoted
patriotism was the rule, and self-seeking vanity and ambition the
exception; yet a few exceptions would be enough to disturb the
comfort of a large command. To sum up, the only fair way to estimate
the volunteer army is by its work and its fitness for work after the
formative period was passed, and when the inevitable mistakes and
the necessary faults of its first organization had been measurably
cured. My settled judgment is that it took the field in the spring
of 1862 as well fitted for its work as any army in the world, its
superior excellences in the most essential points fully balancing
the defects which were incident to its composition.

This opinion is not the offspring of partiality toward the volunteer
army on the part of one himself a volunteer. It was shared by the
most active officers in the field who came from the regular service.
In their testimony given in various ways during the war, in their
Official Records, and in their practical conduct in the field which
showed best of all where their reliance was placed, these officers
showed their full faith in and admiration for the volunteer
regiments. Such an opinion was called out by the Committee on the
Conduct of the War in its examination of General Gibbon in regard to
the Gettysburg campaign, and his judgment may fairly be taken as
that of the better class of the regular officers. He declared of
some of these regiments in his division, that they were as well
disciplined as any men he ever wished to see; that their officers
had shown practical military talent; that a young captain from civil
life, whom he instanced, was worthy to be made a general. He named
regiments of volunteers which he said were among the finest
regiments that ever fought on any field, and in which every officer
was appointed from civil life. [Footnote: Report of Committee on
Conduct of the War, vol. iv. pp. 444-446.] He added the criticism
which I have above made, that no proper method of getting rid of
incompetent officers and of securing the promotion of the
meritorious had been adopted; but this in no way diminishes the
force of his testimony that every kind of military ability was
abundantly found in our volunteer forces and needed only recognition
and encouragement. It would be easy to multiply evidence on this
subject. General Grant is a witness whose opinion alone may be
treated as conclusive. In his Personal Memoirs [Footnote: Personal
Memoirs of U. S. Grant, vol. i. p. 573.] he explicitly and
unqualifiedly says that at the close of the Vicksburg campaign his
troops fulfilled every requirement of an army, and his volunteer
officers were equal to any duty, some of them being in his judgment
competent to command an independent army in the field. Sherman fully
shared this opinion. [Footnote: Letter to Halleck, Official Records,
vol. xxxix. pt. iii. p. 413.]

In trying to form a just estimate of the officers of the regular
army in 1861, we have to consider not only their education, but the
character of their military life and experience up to that time. It
is, on the whole, a salutary popular notion that "professionals" in
any department of work are more likely to succeed than amateurs. At
the beginning of the Civil War our only professional soldiers were
the officers of our little regular army, nearly all of whom were
graduates of the West Point Military Academy. Since the Mexican War
of 1848, petty conflicts with Indians on the frontier had been their
only warlike experience. The army was hardly larger than a single
division, and its posts along the front of the advancing wave of
civilization from the mouth of the Rio Grande to the Canada border
were so numerous that it was a rare thing to see more than two or
three companies of soldiers together. To most of the officers their
parade of the battalion of cadets at West Point was the largest
military assemblage they had ever seen. Promotion had been so slow
that the field officers were generally superannuated, and very few
who had a rank higher than that of captain at the close of 1860 did
any active field work on either side during the Civil War. The total
number of captains and lieutenants of the line would hardly have
furnished colonels for the volunteer regiments of the single State
of New York as they were finally mustered into the National service
during the war; and they would have fallen far short of it when
their own numbers were divided by the rebellion itself.

Our available professional soldiers, then, were captains and
subalterns whose experience was confined to company duty at frontier
posts hundreds of miles from civilization, except in the case of the
engineers, the staff corps, and some of the artillery in sea-coast
forts. With the same exceptions, the opportunities for enlarging
their theoretic knowledge had been small. It was before the days of
post libraries, and books of any sort were a rarity at the
garrisons. In the first year of the war, I expressed to General
Gordon Granger my surprise at finding how little most line officers
had added to the theoretic reading they got at the academy. "What
could you expect," he said in his sweeping way, "of men who have had
to spend their lives at a two-company post, where there was nothing
to do when off duty but play draw-poker and drink whiskey at the
sutler's shop?" This was, of course, meant to be picturesquely
extravagant, but it hit the nail on the head, after all. Some of the
officers of the old regime did not conceal their contempt for books.
It was a stock story in the army that when the Utah expedition was
fitting out in 1856, General Henry Hunt, chief of artillery of the
army of the Potomac, then a young artillery officer, applied to
General Twiggs, from whose command part of the expedition was making
up, for leave to take a little box of military books. "No, sir," was
the peremptory response; "no room in the train for such nonsense."
Hunt retired chop-fallen; but soon after another officer came in,
with "General, our mess has a keg of very nice whiskey we don't want
to lose; won't you direct the quartermaster to let it go in the
wagons?" "Oh yes, sir. Oh yes, anything in reason!" If not true, the
story is good enough to be true, as its currency attests; but
whether true or no, the "fable teaches" that post-graduate study in
the old army was done under difficulties.

The course of study at West Point had narrower limitations than most
people think, and it would be easy to be unfair by demanding too
much of the graduates of that military college. The course of study
was of four years, but the law forbade any entrance examinations on
subjects outside of the usual work done in the rural common schools.
The biographies of Grant, of Sherman, of Sheridan, of Ormsby
Mitchell, and of others show that they in fact had little or no
other preparatory education than that of the common country school.
[Footnote: Grant, in his Personal Memoirs (vol. i. p. 24), says of
the school in his early Ohio home, that the highest branches taught
there were "the three R's,--Reading, 'Riting, and 'Rithmetic. I
never saw," he says, "an algebra or other mathematical work higher
than the arithmetic, in Georgetown, until after I was appointed to
West Point. I then bought a work on algebra in Cincinnati, but
having no teacher it was Greek to me."] The course of study and
amount of education given must necessarily be limited, therefore, to
what boys of average ability and such preparation could accomplish
in the four years. They were no further advanced, on entering, than
they would have to be to enter any ordinary fitting school for one
of our first-class colleges, or the high schools in the graded
systems of public schools in our cities. Three years of study would
put them abreast of students entering college elsewhere, and four
years would carry them about as far as the end of the Freshman year
in Yale, Harvard, or Princeton. The corps of professors and teachers
at West Point has always deservedly ranked high as instructors, but
there is no "royal road" to knowledge, and it cannot be claimed that
three or four years at the Military Academy would count for more, as
general education, than the same period spent in any other good
school. A very few men of high standing in the classes supplemented
their education by obtaining appointments as temporary instructors
in the academy after graduating, but most of them left their books
behind them and began at once the subaltern's life at the distant
frontier post.

If we analyze the course of study they pursued, we find that it
covered two years' work in mathematics, one in physics and
chemistry, and one in construction of fortifications. This was the
scientific part, and was the heaviest part of the curriculum. Then,
besides a little English, mental philosophy, moral philosophy, and
elementary law, there were two years' study of the French and one of
Spanish. This was the only linguistic study, and began with the
simplest elements. At the close of the war there was no instruction
in strategy or grand tactics, in military history, or in what is
called the Art of War. The little book by Mahan on Out-post Duty was
the only text-book in Theory, outside the engineering proper. At an
earlier day they had used Jomini's introduction to his "Grandes
Opérations Militaires," and I am unable to say when its use was
dropped. It is not my wish to criticise the course of study; on the
other hand, I doubt if it could be much improved for boys who had
only the preparation required by the law. But since we are trying to
estimate its completeness as professional education fitting men to
command armies in the field, it is absolutely necessary to note the
fact that it did not pretend to include the military art in that
sense. Its scientific side was in the line of engineering and that
only. Its prize-men became engineers, and success at the academy was
gauged by the student's approach to that coveted result.

That the French which was learned was not enough to open easily to
the young lieutenant the military literature which was then found
most abundantly in that language, would seem to be indicated by the
following incident. In my first campaign I was talking with a
regular officer doing staff duty though belonging in the line, and
the conversation turned on his West Point studies. The little work
of Jomini's mentioned above being casually referred to as having
been in his course, I asked him if he had continued his reading into
the History of the Seven Years' War of Frederick the Great, to which
it was the introduction. He said no, and added frankly that he had
not read even the Introduction in the French, which he had found
unpleasantly hard reading, but in the English translation published
under the title of the Art of War. This officer was a thoroughly
estimable, modest, and intelligent man, and seemed in no way
inferior to other line officers of his age and grade. It would of
course be true that some men would build industriously upon the
foundation laid at the academy, and perfect themselves in those
things of which they had only acquired the elements; but the
surroundings of frontier life at a post were so unfavorable that I
believe few in fact did so. The officers of the engineer corps and
the ordnance were specifically devoted to scientific careers, and
could go steadily forward to expertness in their specialties. Those
who were permanently attached to the staff corps or to bureaus at
Washington had also opportunity to enlarge their professional
knowledge by study if they were so inclined. But all these were
exceptionally situated, and do not help us answer the question What
kind and amount of military education was implied in the fact that a
man had graduated at West Point and been sent to serve in the line?
I have purposely omitted for the present to consider the physical
training and the practical instruction in tactics by means of drill,
because the question is in terms one of science, not of practice;
that will come later. The conclusion is that the intellectual
education at the Military Academy was essentially the same, as far
as it went, as that of any polytechnic school, the peculiarly
military part of it being in the line of engineering. In actual
warfare, the laying out and construction of regular forts or the
conduct of a regular siege is committed to professional engineers.
For field work with an army, therefore, the mental furnishing of the
West Point man was not superior to that of any other liberally
educated man. In some of our volunteer regiments we had whole
companies of private soldiers who would not have shunned a
competitive examination with West Point classes on the studies of
the Military Academy, excepting the technical engineering of
fortifications. [Footnote: It must not be forgotten that my
criticisms are strictly confined to the condition of military
education in our Civil War period. Since that time some excellent
work has been done in post-graduate schools for the different arms
of the service, and field manoeuvres have been practised on a scale
never known in our army prior to 1861. A good beginning has also
been made, both here and in England, toward giving the young soldier
a military library of English books.]

Let us look now at the physical and practical training of the cadet.
The whole period of his student life at West Point had more or less
of this. He was taken as a raw recruit would be, taught the school
of the soldier in marching, in the manual of arms, and in personal
carriage. He passed on to the drill of the squad, the platoon, the
company. The tactics of the battalion came last, and the cadet might
become a corporal, sergeant, lieutenant, or captain in the corps if
he showed aptitude for drill and tactics. It is noticeable, however,
that Grant and Sheridan remained privates during their whole
cadetship, and Sherman, though once he became sergeant, was put back
in the ranks. The fair conclusion is that this part of the cadet
discipline is not very closely connected with generalship, though it
is important as preparation for the ready handling of a company or a
battalion. Sherman tells us, in his Memoirs, that he studied
evolutions of the line out of the books, as a new subject, when he
was in camp in front of Washington, after the first battle of Bull
Run. [Footnote: Memoirs, vol. i. p. 220.] The tactical education of
the cadet stopped at the evolutions of the battalion, and for nearly
all of them it was, even in that respect, the education of the
soldier in the ranks and not of the officer, since a very small
proportion became officers in the cadet corps.

This practical drill was, of course, the same as that which was used
in organized militia regiments, and the famous Ellsworth Zouaves of
Chicago, the New York Seventh Regiment, with a number of other
militia regiments in different States, were sufficient proof that
this training could be made as exact outside of the cadet corps as
in it. It certainly was enough for the practical handling of the
company and the regiment under the simplified tactics which not only
prevailed during the war itself, but, with Upton's Manual as a
basis, has been authoritatively adopted as an improvement upon the
older and more complicated methods. It must not be forgotten that
although our militia system had fallen into scandalous neglect, the
voluntary efforts of citizen soldiers had kept many good independent
companies organized everywhere, as well as full regiments in most of
the older States; so that there were in fact more well-drilled
regiments in the militia than there were in the little regular army.
It was the small ratio all these, of both classes, bore to the
demands of the gigantic war that was upon us, which made the problem
so troublesome. The officers of the organized militia regiments,
before the end of the three months' service, did what I have said it
was desirable that those of the regular regiments should have
done,--they scattered from their original commands and were active
in organizing the new volunteer regiments. General De Trobriand, who
went out as Colonel of the Fifty-fifth New York, says that the New
York Seventh Regiment furnished three hundred officers to volunteer
regiments. [Footnote: De Trobriand, Four Years with Potomac Army, p.
64.] In a similar way, though not to the same extent, the other
organized and disciplined militia, in both Eastern and Western
States, furnished the skeletons of numerous new regiments.

The really distinguishing feature in the experience of the regular
officers of the line was their life in garrison at their posts, and
their active work in guarding the frontier. Here they had become
familiar with duty of the limited kind which such posts would
afford. This in time became a second nature to them, and to the
extent it reached, was, as other men's employments are, their
business. They necessarily had to learn pretty thoroughly the army
regulations, with the methods and forms of making returns and
conducting business with the adjutant-general's office, with the
ordnance office, the quartermaster's and subsistence departments,
etc. In this ready knowledge of the army organization and its
methods their advantage over the new volunteer officers was more
marked, as it seemed to me, than in any and all other things. The
routine of army business and the routine of drill had to be learned
by every army officer. The regular officer of some years' standing
already knew, as a matter of course, what a new volunteer officer
must spend some time in learning. There is something of value also
in the habit of mind formed in actual service, even if the service
is in subaltern grades and on a petty scale. Familiarity with danger
and with the expectation of danger is acquired, both by the Indian
wars of the frontier and by the hunting and field sports which fill
more or less of the leisure of garrison life.

But there were some drawbacks upon the value of the preparation for
war which these officers possessed. There was a marked conservatism
as to military methods and arms, and an almost slavish reverence for
things which were sanctioned by European authority, especially that
of the second French Empire. American invention was never more
fruitful than when applied to military weapons. Repeating and
magazine small arms, breach-loading cannon, and Gatling guns with
other repeating artillery, were brought out or improved with
wonderful variety of form and of demonstrable excellence. The
regular army influence was generally against such innovations. Not
once, but frequently, regular army officers argued to me that the
old smooth-bore musket with "buck and ball" cartridge was the best
weapon our troops could desire. We went through the war with a
muzzle-loading musket, the utmost that any commander could do being
to secure repeating rifles for two or three infantry regiments in a
whole army. Even to the end the "regular" chiefs of artillery
insisted that the Napoleon gun, a light smooth-bore twelve-pounder
cannon, was our best field-piece, and at a time when a great
campaign had reduced our forces so that a reduction of artillery was
advisable, I received an order to send to the rear my three-inch
rifled ordnance guns and retain my Napoleons. The order was issued
by a regular officer of much experience, but I procured its
suspension in my own command by a direct appeal to the army
commander. There was no more doubt then than there is to-day of the
superiority of rifled guns, either for long-range practice with
shells or in close work with canister. They were so much lighter
that we could jump them across a rough country where the teams could
hardly move a Napoleon. We could subdue our adversaries' fire with
them, when their smooth-bores could not reach us. Yet we were
ordered to throw away our advantages and reduce ourselves to our
enemy's condition upon the obstinate prejudice of a worthy man who
had had all flexibility drilled out of him by routine. Models of
automatic rapid-fire and repeating field-pieces were familiar
objects "at the rear," but I saw none of them in action in any army
in which I served. The conservatism of the old army must be held
responsible for this.

The question of zeal and devotion to the cause for which we fought
cannot be ignored in such a war as ours was. It is notorious that
comparatively few of the regular officers were political friends of
Mr. Lincoln's administration at the beginning. Of those who did not
"go with the South" but remained true to the National flag, some
were full of earnest patriotism, like the young officers whom I have
mentioned as volunteering to assist the governors of States in
organizing their contingents and as seeking places in volunteer
regiments. There were others who meant to do their duty, but began
with little hopefulness or zeal. There were still others who did not
hesitate to predict defeat and to avow that it was only for
professional honor or advancement that they continued to serve under
the National flag. These last were confessedly soldiers of fortune.
The war was an education for all who were in it, and many a man
began with reluctance and half-heartedness who was abundantly
radical before the conflict was over. There was, however, a
considerable class who practised on Talleyrand's diplomatic motto,
"point de zèle," and limited their efforts to the strict requirement
of duty. Such men would see disaster occur for lack of a little
spontaneity on their part, and yet be able to show that they
literally obeyed every order received. I was once ordered to support
with my command a movement to be made by another. It was an
important juncture in a campaign. Wondering at delay, I rode forward
and found the general officer I was to support. I told him I was
ordered to support him in doing what we both saw was needing to be
done; but he had no explicit orders to begin the movement. I said
that my orders to support him were sufficient to authorize his
action, and it was plain that it would be unfortunate if the thing
were not done at once. He answered cynically, "If you had been in
the army as long as I have, you would be content to do the things
that are ordered, without hunting up others." The English regulars,
also, have a saying, "Volunteering brings bad luck."

There was altogether too much of this spirit in the army, and one
who can read between the lines will see it in the history of many a
campaign. It did not necessarily mean wavering loyalty. It was
sometimes the mental indecision or timidity which shrinks from
responsibility. It was sometimes also the result of education in an
army on the peace establishment, where any spontaneity was snubbed
as an impertinence or tyrannically crushed as a breach of
discipline. I would not be understood to make more of these things
than is necessary to a just estimate of the situation, but it seems
to me an entirely fair conclusion that with us in 1861 as with the
first French republic, the infusion of the patriotic enthusiasm of a
volunteer organization was a necessity, and that this fully made up
for lack of instruction at the start. This hasty analysis of what
the actual preparation for war was in the case of the average line
officer of the regular army will show, to some extent, the basis of
my judgment that there was nothing in it which a new volunteer
officer, having what I have called military aptitude, should not
learn in his first campaign.

How far the officers of the engineers and of the staff corps applied
themselves to general military study, would depend upon their taste
and their leisure. Their opportunities for doing so were much better
than those of line officers, but there was also a tendency to
immerse themselves in the studies of their special department of
work. Very eminent officers of engineers have told me since the war
that the pressure of their special professional work was such that
they had found no time to read even the more noteworthy publications
concerning the history of our own great struggle. The surveys of the
great lakes and the coast, the engineering problems of our great
rivers, etc., have both formerly and in recent years absorbed their
time and their strength. The ordnance and the staff corps, also, had
abundant special duties. Still it may reasonably be assumed that
officers of the classes mentioned have usually made themselves
somewhat familiar with the best writings on military art. If we had
in the country in 1861 a class of men who could be called educated
soldiers in the scientific sense, we certainly should find them in
the several corps just referred to.

Here, however, we have to meet the question What is military art as
applied to the problem of winning battles or campaigns? We are
obliged to answer that outside of the business administration and
supply of an army, and apart from the technical knowledge of
engineering and the construction of fire-arms and ammunition, it
consists in the tactical handling of bodies of men in accordance
with very few and very simple principles of strategy. The literature
of the subject is found in the history of wars analyzed by competent
men like Napoleon, Jomini, the Archduke Charles, Sir William Napier,
Clausewitz, Moltke, Hamley, and others; but it may be broadly said
that the principles of this criticism and analysis may be so briefly
stated as to be printed on the back of a visiting-card. [Footnote:
Prince Hohenlohe-Ingelfingen, in his admirable "Letters on
Strategy," states them in five brief primary axioms. Letters on
Strategy, vol. i. pp. 9, 10.] To trace the campaigns of great
soldiers under the guidance of such a critic as Jomini is full of
interest to any intelligent person, and there is nothing in the
subject of the slightest difficulty of comprehension if full and
authentic topographical maps are before the reader. To make much
instructive use of military history in this way demands a good deal
of voluminous reading and the command of charts and maps extensive
enough to allow the presentation of the face of a country on a large
scale. With these advantages all wars, both ancient and modern, are
full of instructive examples of the application of the simple
principles of strategy under innumerable varying circumstances and
situations; and this union of simple theory in ever-changing
practical application is what constitutes the theoretic knowledge of
the general as distinguished from the tactical and administrative
duties of the subordinate. [Footnote: Jomini expresses it thus:
"J'en couclus que l'histoire militaire raisonnèe de plusieurs
campagnes, seront la meilleure Ecole pour apprendre et par
conséquent pour enseigner la grande guerre: _la science des
géneraux._" Grandes Operations Militaires, vol. i. p. 7.] It was the
very simplicity of the principles that made many successful generals
question whether there was any art in the matter, except to use
courage and natural sagacity in the actual situation in which the
commander found himself and the enemy. Marshal Saxe asserted in his
"Rêveries" that down to his time there had been no formulation of
principles, and that if any had been recognized as such in the minds
of commanders of armies, they had not made it known. [Footnote:
Jomini, in the work already cited, quotes Marshal Saxe thus: "Que
toutes les sciences avaient des principes, mais que la guerre seule
n'en avait point encore; si ces principes ont existé dans la tête de
quelques généraux, nulle part ils n'ont été indiqués ou développés."
The same idea has been put quite as trenchantly by one of the most
recent writers of the English Army, Colonel J. F. Maurice, R. A.
Professor in the Farnborough Staff College. In the able article on
"War" in the last edition of the Encyclopaedia Britannica, he says,
"it must be emphatically asserted that there does not exist, and
never except by pedants of whom the most careful students of war are
more impatient than other soldiers, has there ever been supposed to
exist, an 'art of war' which was something other than the methodic
study of military history."]

It was precisely in this department of military history "raisonnée"
that frontier garrison life shut the young army officer out from the
opportunities of profiting by his leisure. The valuable books were
all foreign publications in costly form with folio atlases, and were
neither easy to procure nor easily carried about with the limited
means and the rigid economy of transportation which marked army life
in the far West. That this was true even in the artillery is
indicated by General Gibbon before the Committee on the Conduct of
the War when questioned in reference to the relative amount of
artillery used at Gettysburg as compared with great European
battles; that distinguished officer having himself been in the
artillery when the Civil War began. [Footnote: "Question. You have
studied the history of battles a great deal: Now, in the battles of
Napoleon, had they at any time half as many artillery engaged as
there were at Gettysburg? Answer. I am not sufficiently conversant
with military history to tell you that. I think it very doubtful
whether more guns were ever used in any one battle before. I do not
believe Napoleon ever had a worse artillery fire." Testimony of
General John Gibbon, Committee on Conduct of the War, vol. iv. p.
444. At Gettysburg the whole number of cannon employed was about two
hundred. Compare this with Leipzig, for instance, the "battle of the
giants," where _two thousand_ were employed! Thiers says, "de
Leipzig à Schönfeld au nord, de Schönfeld à Probstheyda à l'est, de
Probstheyda à Connewitz au sud, une cannonade de deux mille bouches
à feu termina cette bataille dit des géants, et jusqu'ici la plus
grande, certainement, de tous les siecles." Thiers, Consulat et
l'Empire, vol. xvi. p. 607.]

If then the officers of the regular army, as a body, were not in
fact deeply read in what, as we have seen, Jomini calls "the science
of generals," their advantage over equally well-educated civilians
is reduced to a practical knowledge of the duties of the company and
the petty post, and in comparison with the officers of well-drilled
militia companies it amounted to little more than a better knowledge
of the army regulations and the administrative processes. It is no
reproach to them that this was so, for it resulted from the
operation of law in the course of education at the Military Academy
and the insignificant size of our army in times of peace. It had
been the peculiar blessing of our country that a great standing army
was unnecessary, and it would be foolish to regret that our little
army could not have the experience with great bodies of troops and
the advantages of theoretical instruction which are part of the life
of officers in the immense establishments of Continental Europe. My
only purpose is to make an approximately true balance sheet of the
actual advantages of the two parts of our National army in 1861.
Whilst on the subject, however, I will go a little further and say
that prior to our Civil War, the history of European conflicts
proves that there also the theoretic preparation of military men had
not, up to that time, saved them from the necessity of learning both
generalship and army administration in the terrible school of
experience, during their first year in the field when a new war
broke out after a long interval of peace.

The first volume of Kinglake's "Crimean War" appeared in 1863, and I
immediately and eagerly devoured it for the purpose of learning the
lesson it could teach. It was one of the memorable sensations of a
lifetime, to find that the regular armies of England, of France, and
of Russia had had to learn their lesson anew when they faced each
other on the shore of the Euxine, and that, whether in matters of
transportation, of subsistence, of the hospital, of grand tactics,
or of generalship, they had no advantage over our army of volunteers
fresh from their peaceful pursuits. The photographic fidelity to
detail on the part of the historian, and his apparent
unconsciousness of the sweeping conclusions to be drawn from his
pictures, made the lesson all the more telling. I drew a long breath
of relief, and nothing which happened to me in the whole war so
encouraged me to hopeful confidence in the outcome of it, as the
evidence I saw that our blunders at the beginning had been no
greater than those of old standing armies, and that our capacity to
learn was at least as quick as theirs. Their experience, like ours,
showed that the personal qualities of a commanding officer counted
for much more than his theoretic equipment, and that a bold heart, a
cool head, and practical common-sense were of much more importance
than anything taught at school. With these, a brief experience would
enable an intelligent man to fill nearly any subordinate position
with fair success; without them any responsibility of a warlike kind
would prove too heavy for him. The supreme qualification of a
general-in-chief is the power to estimate truly and grasp clearly
the situation on a field of operations too large to be seen by the
physical eye at once, [Footnote: Wellington said the great task of
his military life was "trying to make out what was behind the
hill."] and the undaunted temper of will which enables him to
execute with persistent vigor the plan which his intellect approves.
To act upon uncertainties as if they were sure, and to do it in the
midst of carnage and death when immeasurable results hang upon
it,--this is the supreme presence of mind which marks a great
commander, and which is among the rarest gifts even of men who are
physically brave. The problem itself is usually simple. It is the
confusing and overwhelming situation under which it must be solved
that causes timidity or dismay. It is the thought of the fearful
consequences of the action that begets a nervous state of hesitation
and mental timidity in most men, and paralyzes the will. No
education will ensure this greatest and most essential quality. It
is born in a man, not communicated. With it his acquired knowledge
will be doubly useful, but without it an illiterate slave-trader
like Forrest may far outshine him as a soldier. Nor does success as
a subordinate give any certain assurance of fitness for supreme
command. Napoleon's marshals generally failed when trusted with an
independent command, as Hooker did with us; and I do not doubt that
many men, like McClellan, who failed as generals-in-chief, would
have made brave and good subordinates. The test of quality is
different in kind, and, as I have said, the only proof of its
possession is in the actual trial. It is safe to say that a timid
subordinate will not be a good commander, but it cannot be affirmed
that a bold one will, though there are more chances in his favor.

The education of peril is so powerful in bringing out the qualities
that can master it, and for any one who has true military courage
the acquirement of skill in the more mechanical part of his duty in
war is so rapid, that my experience has led me to reckon low, in the
comparison, the value of the knowledge a soldier gains in times of
peace. I say "in the comparison." Tactics are essential to the
handling of large bodies of men, and must be learned. But the
zealous young soldier with aptitude for his work will learn this
part of his duty so fast that a single campaign will find him
abreast of any. At the beginning of a great war and in the
organization of a great army, the knowledge of routine and of
details undoubtedly saves time and saves cost both of treasure and
of life. I am therefore far from arguing that the knowledge which
was found in the regular army should not be made the most of. I have
already said that it should have been scattered through the whole
volunteer organization. So I also say that it was quite right to
look for the higher qualities for command in those who had the
technical information and skill. But I reckon patriotic zeal and
devotion so high that I have no hesitation in adding, that our army
as a whole would have been improved if the distinction between
regular and volunteer had been abolished, and, after the first
beginnings, a freer competition for even the highest commands had
been open to all. To keep up the regular army organization was
practically to say that a captaincy in it was equivalent to a
brigade command in the volunteers, and to be a brigadier in it was a
reward which regular officers looked forward to as a result of the
successful conduct of a great campaign as general-in-chief of an
army. The actual command in war was thus ridiculously belittled in
the official scale in comparison with grades of a petty peace
establishment, and the climax of absurdity was reached when, at the
close of hostilities, men who had worthily commanded divisions and
corps found themselves reduced to subordinate places in regiments,
whilst others who had vegetated without important activity in the
great struggle were outranking them by virtue of seniority in the
little army which had existed before the Rebellion!



Rosecrans's plan of campaign--Approved by McClellan with
modification--Wagons or pack-mules--Final form of plan--Changes in
commands--McClellan limited to Army of the Potomac--Halleck's
Department of the Mississippi--Fremont's Mountain
Department--Rosecrans superseded--Preparations in the Kanawha
District--Batteaux to supplement steamboats--Light wagons for
mountain work--Fremont's plan--East Tennessee as an objective--The
supply question--Banks in the Shenandoah valley--Milroy's
advance--Combat at McDowell--Banks defeated--Fremont's plans
deranged--Operations in the Kanawha valley--Organization of
brigades--Brigade commanders--Advance to Narrows of New River--The
field telegraph--Concentration of the enemy--Affair at
Princeton--Position at Flat-top Mountain.

As the spring of 1862 approached, the discussion of plans for the
opening of a new campaign was resumed. Rosecrans had suggested,
early in February, that he would prefer to attempt reaching the
Virginia and East Tennessee Railroad by two columns moving
simultaneously upon Abingdon in the Holston valley. One of these
would start from Gauley Bridge and go by way of Fayette, Raleigh,
and Princeton; the other would leave some point in the Big-Sandy
valley on the common boundary of Kentucky and Virginia, and march by
most direct route to Abingdon. [Footnote: Official Records, vol. v.
p. 721.] If this plan were approved, he asked that the west side of
the Big-Sandy valley be added to his department. He proposed to
depend largely upon pack-mule trains in place of wagons, to
substitute the French shelter tent for the larger tents still in
use, and to carry hand-mills by which the soldiers might grind into
meal the Indian corn to be found in the country. McClellan, as
general-in-chief, gave his approval, suggesting a modification in
regard to the column to move from the Big-Sandy valley. His
information led him to believe that the Big-Sandy River could be
relied upon as navigable to Prestonburg, which was seventy miles
from Abingdon by what was supposed to be a good road. He thought,
therefore, that it would be easier to make Prestonburg the base and
to use wagons. [Footnote: O, R., vol. v. p. 722.] On investigation
Rosecrans reported that the most feasible route in that region was
by steamboat transportation to Pikeville, twenty-five miles above
Prestonburg, in the Big-Sandy valley, and thence up the Louisa Fork
of the Big-Sandy by way of Pound Gap to the Holston valley; but
there would still be eighty-eight miles of marching after leaving
the steamboats, and navigation on the Big-Sandy was limited to brief
and infrequent periods of high water.

On the 12th of March he submitted his modified plan to the
adjutant-general of the army. [Footnote: _Id_., p. 744.] It had
grown more complex with the passage of time. The eastern line of the
department had been moved forward so as to bring the South Branch of
the Potomac and the Cow-pasture branch of the James River under
Rosecrans's command. He now planned four separate columns. The first
was to move up the south branch of the Potomac with a view to turn
and to capture the enemy's position at Alleghany Summit or Monterey
on the Staunton turnpike. The second and third were to be in my
district, and to move toward the Virginia and Tennessee Railroad on
the two sides of New River. The fourth should march from the
Big-Sandy valley on the line indicated above. Rosecrans seems to
have limited his plan to the occupation of the mountain valleys as
far east as the Blue Ridge, and did not submit any scheme for
uniting his columns for further work. He asked for reinforcements to
the extent of six regiments of infantry, one of cavalry, and two
field batteries to enable him to perform his task. The use of pack
trains was given up, as they required a greater number of animals
than could be procured. In fact, it was never found to be an
economical use of mule power, and important movements were always
confined to lines upon which wheel vehicles could be used. A rapid
cavalry raid could be thus supplied, but heavy columns of infantry
and artillery demanded wagon trains.

The weakness of Rosecrans's scheme is found in the wide separation
of parallel columns, which could never have co-operated with
success, and which had no common object had success been possible.
To be sure, it was presumed that McClellan with the Army of the
Potomac, and Banks in the Shenandoah valley, would be operating in
eastern Virginia; but as McClellan was already bent on making
Chesapeake Bay his base, and keeping as far as possible from the
mountains, there was no real connection or correlation between his
purposed campaign and that of the others. Indeed, had he succeeded
in driving Lee from Richmond toward the west, as Grant did three
years later, the feeble columns of National troops coming from West
Virginia would necessarily have fallen back again before the enemy.
If the general scheme had been planned by Lee himself, it could not
have secured for him more perfectly the advantage of interior lines.
Yet it was in substance that which was tried when the spring opened.

When Rosecrans's letter, enclosing his final plan, reached
Washington, McClellan had taken the field, and President Lincoln had
made use of the occasion to relieve him from the direction of all
other forces, so that he might give undivided attention to his
campaign with the Potomac army. This was done by an executive order
on March 11, [Footnote: Official Records, vol. v. p. 54.] which
assigned General Halleck to the command of everything west of a line
drawn north and south through Knoxville, Tennessee, and formed the
Mountain Department from the territory between Halleck and
McClellan. This last department was put under the command of
Major-General John C. Frémont. General Banks was commanding in the
Shenandoah valley, but he was at this time subordinate to McClellan.
These changes were unexpected to both McClellan and Rosecrans. The
change in McClellan's relations to the whole army was the natural
result of his inactivity during the autumn of 1861, and the
consequent loss of confidence in him. The union of Buell's and
Halleck's commands in the west was the natural counterpart to the
concentration of Confederate armies under A. S. Johnston at Corinth,
Miss., and was a step in the right direction. There was, however, a
little too much sentiment and too little practical war in the
construction of the Mountain Department out of five hundred miles of
mountain ranges, and the appointment of the "path-finder" to command
it was consistent with the romantic character of the whole. The
mountains formed a natural and admirable barrier, at which
comparatively small bodies of troops could cover and protect the
Ohio valley behind them; but, for reasons which I have already
pointed out, extensive military operations across and beyond the
Alleghanies from west or east were impracticable, because a
wilderness a hundred miles wide, crossed by few and most difficult
roads, rendered it impossible to supply troops from depots on either

Such assurances of other satisfactory employment seem to have been
given Rosecrans that he acquiesced without open complaint, and
prepared to turn over his command to Frémont when the latter should
arrive in West Virginia. Political motives had, no doubt, much to do
with Frémont's appointment. The President had lost faith in his
military capacity as well as in his administrative ability, but the
party which elected Mr. Lincoln had not. The Republicans of the
Northern States had a warm side for the man they had nominated for
the Presidency in 1856, and there was a general feeling among them
that Frémont should have at least another opportunity to show what
he could do in the field. I myself shared that feeling, and reported
to him as my immediate superior with earnest cordiality. [Footnote:
Official Records, vol. xii. pt. iii. p. 35.]

In my own district, preparations had been made during the winter for
the expected advance in the spring. I had visited Rosecrans at
Wheeling, and he had conversed freely upon his plans for the new
campaign. Under his directions the old piers of the turnpike bridge
across the Gauley had been used for a new superstructure. This was a
wire suspension bridge, hung from framed towers of timber built upon
the piers. Instead of suspending the roadway from the wire cables by
the ordinary connecting rods, and giving stiffness to it by a
trussed railing, a latticed framing of wood hung directly from the
cables, and the timbers of the roadway being fastened to this by
stirrups, the wooden lattice served both to suspend and to stiffen
the road. It was a serviceable and cheap structure, built in two
weeks, and answered our purposes well till it was burned in the next
autumn, when Colonel Lightburn retreated before a Confederate
invasion. [Footnote: _Id_., p. 99.]

The variable position of the head of steamboat navigation on the
Kanawha made it impossible to fix a permanent depot as a terminus
for our wagon trains in the upper valley. My own judgment was in
favor of placing it at Kanawha Falls, a mile below Gauley Bridge,
and within the limits of that post. To connect this with the
steamboats wherever the shoaling water might force them to stop, I
recommended the use of batteaux or keelboats, a craft which a
natural evolution had brought into use in the changeable mountain
rivers. They were a canoe-shaped open boat, sixty feet long by eight
wide, and were pushed up the stream by quants or poles. They
required a crew of five men,--four to do the poling, and a
steersman. In the swiftest "chutes" they carried a line ashore and
made fast to a tree, then warped the boat up to quieter water and
resumed the poling. Each boat would carry eight tons, and, compared
with teaming over roads of which the "bottom had dropped out," it
proved a most economical mode of transport. The batteaux dropped
alongside the steamer wherever she had to stop, the freight was
transferred to them directly, covered with tarpaulins, and the boats
pushed off. The number of hands was no greater than for teaming, and
the whole cost of the teams and their forage was saved. I had built
two of these early in the winter and they were in successful
operation. Two more were partly done when Frémont assumed command,
and I urgently recommended a fleet of fifteen or twenty as an
auxiliary to our transportation when active operations should be
resumed. By their use Gauley Bridge could be made the practical
depot of supply, and from ten to twenty miles of wretched and costly
wagoning be saved. [Footnote: Official Records, vol. xii. pt. iii.
pp. 45-48.]

I became satisfied, also, that the regulation army wagon was too
heavy for the difficult mountain roads, and recommended a strong but
much lighter farm wagon, in which four mules could draw nearly or
quite as much as six usually drew in the heavier wagon. This became
a matter of great consequence in a country where forage could not be
found, and where the wagon had to be loaded with the food for the
team as well as the rations and ordnance stores for the men.

It had already been determined to substitute the shelter tent for
other forms in the principal armies, and the change soon became
general. We, however, had to wait our turn after more important
columns were supplied, and our turn did not come till the campaign
was over. Even our requisitions for ammunition were not filled, our
artillery was not reduced to uniformity, and we could not secure
muskets enough of any one calibre for a single regiment. We made the
best of the situation, and whilst keeping "headquarters" informed of
our lack, were ready to do our best with the means we had. No
attention was paid, perhaps none could be paid, to our
recommendations for any special supplies or means adapted to the
peculiar character of our work. We received, in driblets, small
supplies of the regulation wagons, some droves of unbroken mules,
some ordnance stores, and a fair amount of clothing. Subsistence
stores had never been lacking, and the energy of the district
quartermaster and commissary kept our little army always well fed.

The formal change in department commanders took place on the 29th of
March, Frémont having reached Wheeling the day before. [Footnote:
Official Records, vol. xii. pt. i. p. 4.] Mr. Lincoln's desire by
some means to free the loyal people of East Tennessee from the
oppressive sway of the Confederates showed itself in the
instructions given to all the military officers in the West. He had
been pressing the point from the beginning. It had entered into
McClellan's and Rosecrans's plans of the last campaign. It had been
the object of General George H. Thomas's organization of troops at
Camp Dick Robinson in Kentucky. For it General Ormsby Mitchell had
labored to prepare a column at Cincinnati. It was not accomplished
till the autumn of 1863, when Rosecrans occupied Chattanooga and
Burnside reached Knoxville; but there had never been a day's
cessation of the President's urgency to have it accomplished. It was
prominent in his mind when he organized the Mountain Department, and
Frémont was called upon to suggest a plan to this end as soon as he
was appointed. His choice was to assemble the forces of his
department in Kentucky at the southern terminus of the Central
Kentucky Railroad, at Nicholasville, and to march southward directly
to Knoxville, upon what was substantially the line taken by Burnside
a year and a half later. [Footnote: Official Records, vol. xii. pt.
i. p. 7.] Frémont was mistaken, however, in saying that from
Nicholasville to Knoxville supplies could be "transported over level
and good roads." General Buell had, on the 1st of February,
[Footnote: _Id_., vol. vii. p. 931.] reported that line to be some
two hundred miles long from the end of the railway to Knoxville, the
whole of it mountainous, and the roads bad. He estimated a train of
a thousand wagons, constantly going and returning, as needful to
supply ten thousand men at Knoxville after allowance was made for
what could be gathered from the country. General Buell was
unquestionably correct in his view of the matter, but the strong
political reasons for liberating East Tennessee made the President
unwilling to be convinced that it was then impracticable. He,
however, could not furnish the transportation required for the
movement proposed by Frémont, and hesitated to interfere further
with the conduct of military affairs within Buell's territorial
limits. Besides this, Rosecrans's plan had found such favor with the
Secretary of War that it was laid before Frémont with official
approval. [Footnote: _Id_., vol. xii. pt, iii. p. 8.] The stripping
of West Virginia of troops to make a column in Kentucky seemed too
hazardous to the government, and Frémont changed his plan so as to
adopt that of Rosecrans with some modifications.

He proposed to leave General Kelley with sufficient troops to
protect the line of the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad, and with
Blenker's division (which was taken from the Army of the Potomac and
given to him) to advance from Romney in the valley of the South
Branch of the Potomac, ascending this valley toward the south,
picking up Schenck's and Milroy's brigades in turn, the latter
joining the column at Monterey on the great watershed by way of the
Cheat Mountain pass. From Monterey Frémont purposed to move upon
Staunton, and thence, following the southwestern trend of the
valleys, to the New River near Christiansburg. Here he would come
into communication with me, whose task it would have been to advance
from Gauley Bridge on two lines, the principal one by Fayette and
Raleigh C. H. over Flat-top Mountain to Princeton and the Narrows of
New River, and a subordinate one on the turnpike to Lewisburg. His
plan looked to continuing the march with the whole column to the
southwest, down the Holston valley, till Knoxville should be
reached, the last additions to the force to be from the troops in
the Big-Sandy valley. [Footnote: Official Records, vol. xii. pt. i.
p. 7.]

General Garfield (then colonel of the Forty-second Ohio) had already
been sent by General Buell with a brigade into the Big-Sandy valley,
and General George W. Morgan was soon to be sent with a division to
Cumberland Gap. Although these were in Frémont's department, the War
Department issued an order that they should continue under General
Buell's command at least until Frémont should by his operations come
into their vicinity and field of work. [Footnote: _Id_, vol. xii.
pt. iii. pp. 14, 119.] They would, of course, co-operate with him
actively if he should reach the Holston valley. When he should form
his junction with me, he expected to supply the whole column from my
depots in the Kanawha valley, and when he reached Knoxville he would
make his base on the Ohio River, using the line of supply he first
suggested, by way of central Kentucky.

The plan was an improvement upon Rosecrans's in arranging for a
progressive concentration of his forces into one column led by
himself; but it would probably have failed, first, from the
impossibility of supplying the army on the route, and second,
because the railroads east of the mountains ran on routes specially
well adapted to enable the enemy quickly to concentrate any needed
force at Staunton, at Lynchburg, at Christiansburg, or at
Wytheville, to overpower the column. The Union army would be
committed to a whole season of marching in the mountains, while the
Confederates could concentrate the needed force and quickly return
it to Richmond when its work was done, making but a brief episode in
a larger campaign. But the plan was not destined to be thoroughly
tried. Stonewall Jackson, after his defeat by Kimball at Kernstown,
March 23d, had retired to the Upper Shenandoah valley with his
division, numbering about 10,000 men; Ewell, with his division, was
waiting to co-operate with him at the gaps of the Blue Ridge on the
east, and Edward Johnson was near Staunton with a similar force
facing Milroy. In April General N. P. Banks, commanding the National
forces in the Shenandoah valley, had ascended it as far as
Harrisonburg, and Jackson observed him from Swift-Run Gap in the
Blue Ridge, on the road from Harrisonburg to Gordonsville. Milroy
also pushed eastward from Cheat Mountain summit, in which high
region winter still lingered, and had made his way through snows and
rains to McDowell, ten miles east of Monterey, at the crossing of
Bull-Pasture River, where he threatened Staunton. But Banks was
thought to be in too exposed a position, and was directed by the War
Department to fall back to Strasburg. On the 5th of May he had
retired in that direction as far as New-Market. Blenker's division
had not yet reached Frémont, who was waiting for it in Hardy County
at Petersburg. Jackson saw his opportunity and determined to join
General Johnson by a rapid march to Staunton, to overwhelm Milroy
first, and then return to his own operations in the Shenandoah.
Moving with great celerity, he attacked Milroy at McDowell on the
8th, the latter calling upon Frémont for help. Schenck was sent
forward to support him, and reached McDowell after marching
thirty-four miles in twenty-four hours. Jackson had not fully
concentrated his forces, and the Union generals held their ground
and delivered a sharp combat in which their casualties of all kinds
numbered 256, while the Confederate loss was 498, General Johnson
being among the wounded. Schenck, as senior, assumed the command,
and on the 9th began his retreat to Franklin, abandoning the Cheat
Mountain road. Franklin was reached on the 11th, but Jackson
approached cautiously, and did not reach there till the 12th, when,
finding that Frémont had united his forces, he did not attack, but
returned to McDowell, whence he took the direct road to
Harrisonburg, and then marched to attack Banks at Strasburg, Ewell
meeting and joining him in this movement.

Frémont resumed preparations for his original campaign, but Banks's
defeat deranged all plans, and those of the Mountain Department were
abandoned. A month passed in efforts to destroy Jackson by
concentration of McDowell's, Banks's, and Frémont's troops; but it
was too late to remedy the ill effects of the division of commands
at the beginning of the campaign. On the 26th of June General John
Pope was assigned to command all the troops in northern Virginia,
Frémont was relieved at his own request, and the Mountain Department
ceased to exist.

My own operations in the Kanawha valley had kept pace with those in
the northern portion of the department. The early days of April were
spent by Frémont in obtaining reports of the condition of the
several parts of his command. My report of the condition of affairs
in the Kanawha valley was made on the 5th of April. [Footnote:
Official Records, vol. xii. pt. iii. p. 45.] In it I called
attention to the necessities of my troops and to the equipment
necessary for any extended campaigning. Requisitions for supplies
and transportation had been sent to the proper staff departments
during the winter, but had not yet been filled. My forces consisted
of eleven regiments of Ohio infantry, three new and incomplete
regiments of West Virginia infantry, one regiment of cavalry (the
Second West Virginia) with three separate cavalry troops from other
commands, and, nominally, three batteries of artillery. One of the
batteries was of mountain howitzers, and the other two of mixed
smooth-bore and rifled guns of different calibres. My force at the
opening of the campaign numbered 8500 present for duty. [Footnote:
Official Records, vol. xii. pt. iii. p. 121. The regiments of the
command were the 11th, 12th, 23d, 28th, 30th, 34th, 36th, 37th,
44th, 47th Ohio, the 4th, 8th, 9th West Virginia, the 2d West
Virginia Cavalry. Of these the 11th Ohio had only nine companies and
did not get the tenth till the autumn following. The 8th West
Virginia passed from the command before active operations. The
batteries were McMullin's Ohio battery, Simmonds's Kentucky battery,
and a battery of mountain howitzers at Gauley Mount, manned by a
detachment of the 47th Ohio Infantry. Simmonds's company was
originally of the 1st Kentucky Infantry assigned by me to man the
guns I first took into the Kanawha valley, and subsequently
transferred to the artillery service by the Secretary of War. The
guns were two 20-pounder Parrott rifles, five 10-pounder Parrotts,
two bronze 10-pounder rifles altered from 6-pounder smooth-bores,
three bronze and one iron 6-pounder smooth-bores, and ten mountain
howitzers to be packed on mules. Some of these guns were left in
position at posts, and three small field batteries were organized
for the marching columns. Besides the regiment of freshly recruited
West Virginia cavalry, there were Schambeck's Independent troop of
Illinois cavalry, and Smith's (originally Pfau's) Independent troop
of Ohio cavalry, both German troops.] Detachments were at the mouth
of the Big-Sandy River, at Guyandotte, at the mouth of the Kanawha
on the Ohio River, at several points in the Kanawha valley below
Gauley Bridge, at Summersville on the upper Gauley, at Gauley
Bridge, at Gauley Mount or Tompkins farm on New River, and at
Fayette C. H. The last-named post had the only brigade organization
which had been retained in winter quarters, and was commanded by
Colonel Scammon of the Twenty-third Ohio. The post at Summersville
had been brought into my command for the winter, and was garrisoned
by the Thirty-sixth Ohio under Colonel George Crook. At Gauley
Bridge was the Twenty-eighth Ohio (a German regiment), under Colonel
August Moor.

When the decision of General Fremont to have my command advance on
both sides of the New River was received, I immediately submitted my
plan of organization to that end. [Footnote: Official Records, vol.
xii. pt. iii. p. 127.] I proposed to leave the West Virginia
Infantry regiments with half the Second West Virginia Cavalry to
guard the Kanawha valley and our depots of supply, with Colonel J.
A. J. Lightburn of the Fourth West Virginia in command. The Ohio
regiments were to be moved forward so that the Eleventh,
Forty-fourth, and Forty-seventh could be quickly concentrated on the
Lewisburg turnpike in front of Gauley Bridge, where Colonel Crook
could join them with the Thirty-sixth by a diagonal road and take
command of this column. I assigned to him a mixed battery of
field-pieces and mountain howitzers. Colonel Scammon's brigade was
to advance from Fayette C. H. to Flat-top Mountain as soon as the
weather would permit, and thus secure the barrier covering our
further movement southward. The brigade consisted of the Twelfth,
Twenty-third, arid Thirtieth Ohio, with McMullin's battery, and one
half the Second Virginia Cavalry. When Scammon advanced, the
remaining Ohio regiments (Twenty-eighth, Thirty-fourth, and
Thirty-seventh), with Simmonds's battery should concentrate at
Fayette C. H. and form a new brigade under Colonel Moor. This
organization was approved by Fremont, and the preliminary steps were
quietly taken. By the 20th of April Scammon's brigade was at
Raleigh, only awaiting the settling of the roads to advance to
Flat-top. A week later he held the passes of the mountain, with a
detachment on the New River at the mouth of the Blue-stone, where he
communicated with the right of Crook's brigade. The front was thus
covered from Summersville to Flat-top Mountain, and the regiments in
rear were moving into their assigned positions.

My brigade commanders were all men of marked character. Colonel Moor
was a German of portly presence and grave demeanor, a gentleman of
dignity of character as well as of bearing, and a brave, resolute
man. He had been long a citizen of the United States, and had, as a
young man, seen some military service, as was reported, in the
Seminole War in Florida. He was a rigid disciplinarian, and his own
regiment was a model of accuracy in drill and neatness in the
performance of all camp duties. He was greatly respected by his
brother officers, and his square head, with dark, smooth-shaven
face, and rather stern expression, inspired his troops with
something very like awe, insuring prompt obedience to his commands.
At home, in Cincinnati, he was a man of influence among the German
residents, and his daughter was the wife of General Godfrey Weitzel
of the regular army. My association with him was every way agreeable
and satisfactory.

Colonel Crook was an officer of the regular army who had taken early
advantage of the relaxation of the rule preventing such from
accepting a volunteer appointment. A man of medium size, with light
hair and sandy beard, his manner was rather diffident and shy, and
his whole style quiet and reticent. His voice was light rather than
heavy, and he was so laconic of speech that this, with his other
characteristics, caused it to be commonly said of him that he had
been so long fighting Indians on the frontier that he had acquired
some of their traits and habits. His system of discipline was based
on these peculiarities. He aimed at a stoical command of himself as
the means of commanding others, and avoided noisy bluster of every
sort, going, perhaps, to an excess in brevity of speech and in
enforcing his orders by the consequences of any disobedience. His
subordinates recognized his purpose to be just, and soon learned to
have the greatest confidence in him as a military officer. Unless
common fame did him injustice, he was one of those officers who had,
at the beginning, no deep sympathy with the National cause, and had
no personal objection to the success of the Rebellion. But he was a
Northern man, and an ambitious professional soldier who did not mean
to let political opinions stand in the way of military success.
[Footnote: A romantic story is told of his experience a little
later. He was in command on the Upper Potomac with headquarters at
Cumberland, where he fell in love with the daughter of the
proprietor of the hotel at which he had his headquarters, and whom
he subsequently made his wife. The family was of secession
proclivities, and the son of the house was in the Confederate army.
This young man led a party of the enemy who were able, by his
knowledge of the surroundings of his home, to capture General Crook
in the night, and to carry him away a prisoner without any serious
collision with the troops encamped about. Crook was soon exchanged,
and in the latter part of the war served with distinction as
division commander under Sheridan.] In his case, as in many others,
I believe this attitude was modified by his service under the flag,
and that in 1864 he voted for Mr. Lincoln's re-election; he, with
General Sheridan, casting at the improvised army ballot-box, what
was understood to be their first vote ever cast in a civil election.

Colonel Lightburn was one of the loyal West Virginians whose
standing and intelligence made him naturally prominent among his
people. He was a worthy man and an honorable officer, whose
knowledge of the country and of the people made him a fit selection
to preserve the peace and protect our communications in the valley
during our forward movement. As his duties thus separated him from
the principal columns, I saw less of him than of the other brigade
commanders. The two West Virginia regiments which remained in the
district were freshly organized, and were distributed in camps where
they could practise company drill and instruction whilst they kept
the country in order. Of Colonel Scammon, my senior brigade
commander, I have already spoken in a former chapter. [Footnote:
_Ante_, pp. 110, 111.]

Frémont limited our advance to the line of Flat-top Mountain until
he should himself be ready to open the campaign in the north.
[Footnote: Official Records, vol. xii. pt. iii. pp. 89, 108.]
Blenker's division had been given to him from the Potomac army when
McClellan began his movement to the peninsula, but on the 12th of
April it had only reached Salem, a station on the Manassas Gap
Railway between the Bull-Run Mountains and the Blue Ridge.
[Footnote: _Id_., p. 71.] The War Department now sent General
Rosecrans to conduct the division with speed to Frémont, but
extraordinary delays still occurred, and the command did not reach
Frémont at Petersburg till the 11th of May, when he immediately
moved forward with it to the support of Schenck and Milroy at
Franklin. [Footnote: _Id_., pp. 168, 177, pt. i. pp. 8, 9.] This
delay was one of a series of misfortunes; for could Frémont have
been at McDowell with this strong reinforcement added to Schenck's
and Milroy's brigades, there can be no reasonable doubt that
Jackson's attack, if delivered at all, would have proven a disaster
for the Confederates. This, however, would not have ensured success
for the general campaign, for Banks might still have been driven
back in the Shenandoah valley, and Frémont's position would have
been compromised. Nothing but a union of the two columns would have
met the situation.

At the beginning of May, the additional transportation necessary for
my advance beyond Flat-top had not arrived, but we did not wait for
it. [Footnote: ._Id_., pt. iii. pp. 108, 112, 114, 127.] The
regiments were ordered to leave tents behind, and to bivouac without
shelter except such as they could make with "brush," for the
expected shelter tents also were lacking. The whole distance from
the head of navigation to the railroad at Newberne was one hundred
and forty miles. Flat-top Mountain and Lewisburg were, respectively,
about halfway on the two routes assigned to us. Some two thousand of
the enemy's militia were holding the mountain passes in front of us,
and a concentration of the regular Confederate troops was going on
behind them. These last consisted of two brigades under General
Henry Heth, as well as J. S. Williams's and Marshall's brigades,
under General Humphrey Marshall, with the Eighth Virginia Cavalry.
General Marshall appears to have been senior when the commands were
united. Looking south from Flat-top Mountain we see the basin of the
Blue-stone River, which flows northeastward into New River. This
basin, with that of the Greenbrier on the other side of New River,
forms the broadest stretch of cultivated land found between the
mountain ranges, though the whole country is rough and broken even
here. The crest of Flat-top Mountain curves southward around the
headwaters of the Blue-stone, and joins the more regular ranges in
Tazewell County. The straight ridge of East-River Mountain forms a
barrier on the southern side of the basin, more than thirty miles
away from the summit of Flat-top where Scammon's camp was placed on
the road from Raleigh C. H. to Princeton, the county-seat of Mercer.
The Narrows of New River were where that stream breaks through the
mountain barrier I have described, and the road from Princeton to
Giles C. H. passes through the defile. Only one other outlet from
the basin goes southward, and that is where the road from Princeton
to Wytheville passes through Rocky Gap, a gorge of the wildest
character, some thirty miles south-westward from the Narrows. These
passes were held by Confederate forces, whilst their cavalry, under
Colonel W. H. Jenifer, occupied Princeton and presented a
skirmishing resistance to our advance-guard.

On the 1st of May a small party of the Twenty-third Ohio met the
enemy's horse at Camp Creek, a branch of the Blue-stone, six miles
from the crest of Flat-top, and had a lively engagement, repulsing
greatly superior numbers. On hearing of this, Lieutenant-Colonel R.
B. Hayes marched with part of the Twenty-third Ohio and part of the
West Virginia cavalry, and followed up the enemy with such vigor
that Jenifer was driven through Princeton too rapidly to permit him
to remove the stores collected there. [Footnote: Official Records,
vol. xii. pt. i. pp. 449, 450.] To avoid their falling into our
hands, Jenifer set fire to the town. Hayes succeeded in saving six
or eight houses, but the rest were destroyed. Jenifer retreated on
the Wytheville road, expecting us to follow by that route; but
Hayes, learning that the Narrows were not strongly held, and being
now reinforced by the rest of his regiment (the Twenty-third),
marched on the 6th to the Narrows which he held, [Footnote: _Id_.,
pt. iii. p. 140.] whilst he sent Major Comly with a detachment into
Pearisburg, the county-seat of Giles. [Footnote: James M. Comly,
later Brevet Brigadier-General, and since the war at one time United
States minister to the Sandwich Islands.] The affair at Camp Creek
had cost Jenifer some twenty in killed and wounded, and an equal
number were captured in the advance on Giles C. H. Our casualties
were 1 killed and 20 wounded. Our line, however, was getting too
extended, and the utmost exertions were needed to supply the troops
in their present positions. Princeton, being at the forking of the
roads to Pearisburg and Wytheville, was too important a point to be
left unguarded, and I at once sent forward Colonel Scammon with the
Thirtieth Ohio to hold it. [Footnote: _Id_., p 148.] On the 9th of
May the Twelfth Ohio was put in march from Raleigh to join him, and
Moor's brigade was approaching the last-named place where my
headquarters were, that being the terminus, for the time, of the
telegraph line which kept me in communication with Frémont.
[Footnote: Official Records, vol. xii. pt. iii. p 157.] The same day
the department commander informed me of the attack by Jackson on
Milroy on the 7th, and ordered me to suspend movements in advance
until my forces should be concentrated. [Footnote: _Id_., p. 158.]
The weather was rainy, and the roads suffered badly from cutting up
by the wagons, but I had hoped to push forward a strong advanced
guard to the great railway bridge near Newberne, and destroy it
before the enemy had time to concentrate there. This made it
necessary to take some risk, for it was not possible to move the
whole command till some supplies could be accumulated at Raleigh and
at Flat-top Mountain.

As fast as the supplies would permit, Moor went forward, taking no
tents beyond Raleigh, and all of the troops on this line now faced
the continuing rains without shelter. Guerilla parties were set
actively at work by the Confederates in the region of the Guyandotte
and at other points in our rear. Colonel Lightburn was directed to
keep his forces actively moving to suppress these outbreaks, and the
forward movement was pressed. On the 10th of May Heth's two brigades
of the enemy attacked our advance-guard at Pearisburg, and these,
after destroying the enemy's stores, which they had captured there,
retired skirmishing, till they joined Scammon, who had advanced from
Princeton to their support. [Footnote: _Id_., p. 176.] Scammon's
brigade was now together, a mile below the Narrows of New River,
with the East River in front of him, making a strong, defensible
position. The telegraph reached Flat-top Mountain on the 13th,
[Footnote: _Id_., p. 184.] even this being delayed because wagons to
carry the wire could not be spared from the task of supplying the
troops with food. I moved my headquarters to Princeton on this day,
and pressed forward Moor's brigade in the hope of being able to push
again beyond the barrier at the Narrows of New River, where Heth's
brigades had now taken position. [Footnote: Official Records, vol.
xii. pt. iii. p. 188.] Neither Scammon nor Moor was able to take
with him ammunition enough for more than a slight engagement, nor
was any accumulation of food possible. We were living "from hand to
mouth," no additional transportation had reached us, and every wagon
and pack-mule was doing its best. As fast as Moor's regiments
reached Princeton they were hurried forward to French's Mill, five
miles in rear of Scammon, on the road running up East River, and
intersecting the Wytheville road so as to form a triangle with the
two going from Princeton. During the 14th and 15th Moor's regiments
arrived, and were pushed on to their position, except one half
regiment (detachments of the Thirty-fourth and Thirty-seventh Ohio),
under Major F. E. Franklin, and one troop of cavalry, which were
kept at Princeton as a guard against any effort on the enemy's part
to interrupt our communications. Moor was ordered to send a
detachment up the East River to the crossing of the Wytheville road,
so as to give early warning of any attempt of the enemy to come in
upon our flank from that direction. [Footnote: _Id_., pt. ii. p.
505.] My purpose was to attack Heth with Scammon's and Moor's
brigades, drive him away from the Narrows of New River, and prevent
him, if possible, from uniting with Marshall's command, which was
understood to be somewhere between Jeffersonville (Tazewell C. H.)
and Wytheville. If we succeeded in beating Heth, we could then turn
upon Marshall. [Footnote: _Id_., pt. iii. pp. 197-199.]

On the afternoon of the 15th Moor threw a detachment of two
companies over East River Mountain as a reconnoissance to learn
whether the roads in that direction were practicable for a movement
to turn the left of Heth. It attacked and handsomely routed a post
of the enemy on Wolf Creek. [Footnote: Official Records, vol. xii.
pt. ii. p. 505.] The few wagons and pack-mules were hurrying forward
some rations and ammunition; but the 17th would be the earliest
possible moment at which I could lead a general advance. The
telegraph wire would reach Princeton by the evening of that day, and
I waited there for the purpose of exchanging messages with Frémont
before pushing toward Newberne, the expected rendezvous with the
other troops of the department. But all our efforts could not give
us the needed time to anticipate the enemy. They had railway
communication behind a mountain wall which had few and difficult
passes. Marshall and Williams were already marching from Tazewell C.
H. to strike our line of communications at Princeton, and were far
on the way. [Footnote: _Id_., pt. iii. p. 199.]

About noon of the 16th Colonel Moor reported that his detachment on
the Wytheville road was attacked by a force of the enemy estimated
at 1500. [Footnote: _Id_., pt. ii. pp. 505, 509.] This seems to have
been the command of Colonel Wharton, marching to join Marshall, who
was coming from the west by a road down the head-waters of East
River. Of this, however, we were ignorant. I ordered Moor to take
the remainder of his command (leaving half a regiment only at
French's) to drive off the force at the cross-roads, and if he were
overpowered to retreat directly upon Princeton by the western side
of the triangle of roads, of which each side was twelve or fifteen
miles long. Colonel Scammon reported no change in Heth's positions
or force in front of him. Patrols were sent out on all the roads
west and south of Princeton, our little force of horsemen being
limited to Smith's troop of Ohio cavalry which was acting as
headquarters escort. About two o'clock the patrol on the Wyoming
road, five miles out of Princeton, was fired upon by the enemy's
cavalry, and came rapidly in with the report. The four companies of
infantry under Majors Franklin and Ankele were moved out on that
road, and soon developed the infantry of Marshall's command.
[Footnote: Official Records, vol. xii. pt. ii. p. 506.] He and
Williams had marched across from the Tazewell to the Wyoming road,
and were coming in upon our flank and rear. I reconnoitred them
personally with care, and satisfied myself of their overwhelming
superiority to the little detachment I had in hand. Franklin and
Ankele were ordered to deploy their whole force as skirmishers and
to hold the enemy back as long as possible. Some of our troopers
were shown on the flanks, and so imposing a show was made that
Marshall advanced cautiously. Our men behaved beautifully, holding
every tree and rock, delaying the enemy for more than three hours
from reaching the crests of the hills looking down upon the town. I
had sent orderlies to stop and turn back our wagon trains on the way
from Flat-top, and had directed headquarters baggage and the few
stores in Princeton to be loaded and sent on the road toward Moor
and Scammon. Our only tents were three or four wall tents for
headquarters (the adjutant-general's, quartermaster's, and
commissary's offices), and these I ordered to be left standing to
impose upon the enemy the idea that we did not mean to retire. As
evening approached, the hostile force occupied the summits of
surrounding hills, and directing the infantry slowly to fall back
and follow me, I galloped with my staff to bring back Scammon and
restore our broken communications. At French's, twelve miles from
Princeton, I found that Moor had not had time to execute the orders
of the afternoon, and that ten companies from the Twenty-eighth and
Thirty-seventh Ohio were all that he had been able to send to
Wytheville road crossing. These, we learned later in the night, had
succeeded in re-occupying the cross-roads. They were ordered to hold
fast till morning, and if the enemy still appeared to be mainly at
Princeton, to march in that direction and attack them from the rear.
Scammon was ordered to send half a regiment to occupy Moor's
position at French's during the night, and to march his whole
command at daybreak toward Princeton. There was but one and a half
regiments now with Moor, and these were roused and ordered to
accompany me at once on our return to Princeton. It was a dark and
muddy march, and as we approached the town we deployed skirmishers
in front, though they were obliged to move slowly in the darkness.
Day was just breaking as we came out of the forest upon the
clearing, line of battle was formed, and the troops went forward
cheering. The enemy made no stubborn resistance, but retired
gradually to a strong position on rough wooded hills about a mile
from the village, where they covered both the Wytheville and the
Wyoming road. They had artillery on both flanks, and could only be
reached over open and exposed ground. We recovered our headquarters
tents, standing as we had left them. We had captured a few prisoners
and learned that Marshall and Williams were both before us. Whilst
pushing them back, Lieutenant-Colonel Von Blessingh with the ten
companies of Moor's brigade approached on the Wytheville road and
attacked; but the enemy was aware of their approach and repulsed
them, having placed a detachment in a very strong position to meet
them. Von Blessingh withdrew his men, and later joined the command
by a considerable detour. With less than two regiments in hand, and
with the certainty of the enemy's great superiority, there was
nothing for it but to take the best position we could and await
Scammon's arrival. We made as strong a show of force as possible,
and by skirmishing advances tempted the enemy to come down to
attack; but he also was expecting reinforcements, and a little
artillery firing was the only response we provoked. [Footnote:
Official Records, vol. xii. pt. ii. pp. 506, 507.] As some evidence
of the physical exhaustion from the continuous exertions of the
preceding day and night, I may mention the fact that during the
artillery firing I threw myself for a little rest on the ground,
close beside the guns; and though these were firing at frequent
intervals, I fell asleep and had a short but refreshing nap almost
within arm's length of the wheels of a gun-carriage.

Toward evening Scammon arrived with his brigade, reporting that
Heth's force had followed his retiring movement as far as French's,
and confirming the information that four brigades of the enemy were
before us. Shortly after dark the officer of the day, on the right,
reported the noise of artillery marching around that flank. Our last
day's rations had been issued, and our animals were without forage.
Small parties of the enemy had gone far to our rear and cut the
telegraph, so that we had had no news from the Kanawha valley for
two days. The interruption was likely to create disturbance there
and derange all our plans for supply. It was plain that we should
have to be content with having foiled the enemy's plan to inflict a
severe blow upon us, and that we might congratulate ourselves that
with two brigades against four we had regained our line without
serious loss. I therefore ordered that the troops be allowed to rest
till three o'clock in the morning of the 18th, and that the column
then retire behind the Blue-stone River. The movement was made
without interruption, and a camp on Flat-top Mountain was selected,
from which the roads on every side were well guarded, and which was
almost impregnable in itself. [Footnote: _Id_., pt. iii. p. 209.]
Our casualties of all kinds in the affairs about Princeton had been
only 113, as the enemy had not delivered any serious attack, and the
contest on our side had been one of manoeuvre in which our only
chance of important results was in attacking either Heth or Marshall
when they were so far separated that they could not unite against us
on the field of battle. After the 15th this chance did not exist,
and wisdom dictated that we should retire to a safe point from which
we could watch for contingencies which might give us a better
opportunity. Our experience proved what I have before stated, that
the facility for railway concentration of the enemy in our front
made this line a useless one for aggressive movements, as they could
always concentrate a superior force after they received the news of
our being in motion. It also showed the error of dividing my forces
on two lines, for had Crook's brigade been with me, or my two
brigades with him, we should have felt strong enough to cope with
the force which was actually in our front, and would at least have
made it necessary for the enemy to detach still more troops from
other movements to meet us. Our campaign, though a little one, very
well illustrates the character of the subordinate movements so often
attempted during the war, and shows that the same principles of
strategy are found operating as in great movements. The scale is a
reduced one, but cause and effect are linked by the same necessity
as on a broader theatre of warfare.



A key position--Crook's engagement at Lewisburg--Watching and
scouting--Mountain work--Pope in command--Consolidation of
Departments--Suggestions of our transfer to the East--Pope's Order
No. II and Address to the Army--Orders to march across the
mountains--Discussion of them--Changed to route by water and
rail--Ninety-mile march--Logistics--Arriving in Washington--Two
regiments reach Pope--Two sent to Manassas--Jackson captures
Manassas--Railway broken--McClellan at Alexandria--Engagement at
Bull Run Bridge--Ordered to Upton's Hill--Covering
Washington--Listening to the Bull Run battle--Ill news travels fast.

Our retreat to Flat-top Mountain had been made without loss of
material, except one baggage-wagon, which broke down irreparably,
and was burned by my order. At the crossing of Blue-stone River we
were beyond the junction of roads by which our flank could be
turned, and we halted there as the end of the first march. As the
men forded the stream, the sun broke through the clouds, which had
been pretty steadily raining upon us, the brass band with the
leading brigade struck up the popular tune, "Aren't you glad to get
out of the wilderness?" and the soldiers, quick to see the humorous
application of any such incident, greeted it with cheers and
laughter. All felt that we were again masters of the situation. Next
day we moved leisurely to the mountain summit, a broad undulating
table-land with some cultivated farms, where our camp was perfectly
hidden from sight, whilst we commanded a most extensive view of the
country in front. Outposts at the crossing of the Blue-stone and at
Pack's Ferry on New River, with active scouting-parties and patrols
scouring the country far and wide, kept me fully informed of
everything occurring near us. We had time to organize the new
wagon-trains which were beginning to reach us, and, while waiting
till Frémont could plan new co-operative movements, to prepare for
our part in such work.

The camp on Flat-top Mountain deserved the name of a "key point" to
the country in front as well, perhaps, as that much abused phrase
ever is deserved. [Footnote: Clausewitz says of the phrases
"covering position," "key of the country," etc., that they are for
the most part mere words without sense when they indicate only the
material advantage which is given by the elevation of the land. "On
War," part ii. chap. xvii.] The name of the mountain indicates its
character. The northern slope is gentle, so that the approach from
Raleigh C. H. is not difficult, whilst the southern declivity falls
off rapidly to the Blue-stone valley. The broad ridge at the summit
is broken into rounded hills which covered the camp from view,
whilst they still permitted manoeuvre to meet any hostile approach.
The mountain abutted on the gorge of the New River on the northeast,
and stretched also southwestward into the impracticable wilderness
about the headwaters of the Guyandotte and the Tug Fork of Sandy.
The position was practically unassailable in front by any force less
than double our own, and whilst we occupied it the enemy never
ventured in force beyond the passes of East River Mountain. We built
a flying-bridge ferry at Pack's, on New River, near the mouth of the
Blue-stone, where a passable road up the valley of the Greenbrier
connected us with Colonel Crook's position at Lewisburg. The post at
Pack's Ferry was held by a detachment from Scammon's brigade in
command of Major Comly of the Twenty-third Ohio. On the 6th of
August a detachment of the enemy consisting of three regiments and a
section of artillery under Colonel Wharton made an effort to break
up the ferry by an attack from the east side, but they accomplished
nothing. Major Comly was quickly supported by reinforcements from
Scammon's brigade, and drove off his assailants. [Footnote: Official
Records, vol. xii. pt. ii. p. 127; pt. iii. pp. 541, 542.]

I have not yet spoken of the movements of Colonel Crook's brigade on
the Lewisburg route, because circumstances so delayed his advance
that it had no immediate relation to our movements upon Pearisburg
and Princeton. As the march of my own column was beginning, General
Frémont, upon information of guerilla raids north of Summersville,
directed that Crook be sent into Webster County to co-operate with
troops sent southward from Weston to destroy the lawless parties.
This involved a march of more than seventy miles each way, and
unforeseen delays of various kinds. Two of the guerillas captured
were tried and convicted of murder, and Colonel Crook was obliged to
remain in that region to protect the administration of justice till
the execution of the murderers and the dispersion of the guerilla
bands. [Footnote: _Id_., pp. 127, 159.] The organization and
movement of his brigade upon Lewisburg was by this means put back so
far that his column could not get within supporting distance of
mine. He reached Lewisburg on the day of our affair at Princeton. He
had been energetic in all his movements, but the diversion of parts
of his command to so distant an enterprise as that into Webster
County had been fatal to co-operation. The Confederate General Heth
had been able to neglect the Lewisburg route and to carry his
brigade to the assistance of Marshall in his opposition to my
advance. As it turned out, I should have done better to have waited
at Flat-top Mountain till I knew that Crook was at Lewisburg, and
then to have made a fresh combination of movements. Our experience
only added another to the numerous proofs the whole campaign
furnished, of the futility of such combined operations from distant

Major-General Loring took command of all the Confederate forces in
southwestern Virginia on the 19th or 20th of May, and Heth was
already in march to oppose Crook's forward movement. On the 23d
Heth, with some 3000 men, including three batteries of artillery,
attacked Crook at Lewisburg, soon after daybreak in the morning.
Crook met him in front of the town, and after a sharp engagement
routed him, capturing four cannon, some 200 stand of arms and 100
prisoners. His own loss was 13 killed and 53 wounded, with 7
missing. He did not think it wise to follow up the retreating enemy,
but held a strong position near Lewisburg, where his communications
were well covered, and where he was upon the same range of highlands
on which we were at Flat-top, though fifty miles of broken country
intervened. [Footnote: Official Records, vol. xii. pt. ii. pp.
804-813.] Meanwhile Frémont had been ordered to Banks's relief, and
had been obliged to telegraph me that we must be left to ourselves
till the results of the Shenandoah campaign were tested. [Footnote:
_Id_., pt. iii. p. 264.] Rumors were rife that after Jackson retired
from Frémont's front at Franklin, Johnson's division was ordered to
march into our part of West Virginia. We were thus thrown,
necessarily, into an expectant attitude, awaiting the outcome of
Frémont's eastward movement and the resumption of his plans. Our men
were kept busy in marching and scouting by detachments, putting down
guerilla bands and punishing disorders. They thus acquired a power
of sustained exertion on foot which proved afterward of great value.

There was, in a way, a resemblance in our situation and in our work
to that of feudal chiefs in the middle ages. We held a lofty and
almost impregnable position, overlooking the country in every
direction. The distant ridges of the Alleghanies rose before us, the
higher peaks standing out in the blue distance, so that we seemed to
watch the mountain passes fifty miles away without stirring from our
post. The loyal people about us formed relations to us not unlike
those of the feudal retainers of old. They worked their farms, but
every man had his rifle hung upon his chimney-piece, and by day or
by night was ready to shoulder it and thread his way by paths known
only to the natives, to bring us news of open movement or of secret
plots among the Secessionists. They were organized, also, in their
own fashion, and every neighborhood could muster its company or its
squad of home-guards to join in quelling seditious outbreaks or in
strengthening a little column sent against any of the enemy's
outposts. No considerable hostile movement was possible within a
range of thirty miles without our having timely notice of it. The
smoke from the camp-fires of a single troop of horse could be seen
rising from the ravines, and detachments of our regiments guided by
the native scouts would be on the way to reconnoitre within an hour.
Officers as well as men went on foot, for they followed ridges where
there was not even a bridle-path, and depended for safety, in no
small degree, on their ability to take to the thickets of the
forest-clad hillside if they found themselves in the presence of a
body of the Confederate cavalry. Thirty miles a day was an easy
march for them after they had become hardened to their work, and
taking several days together they could outmarch any cavalry,
especially when they could take "short cuts" over hills and away
from travelled roads. They knew at what farms they could find
"rations," and where were the hostile neighborhoods from which
equally enterprising scouts would glide away to carry news of their
movements to the enemy. At headquarters there was a constant going
and coming. Groups of home-guards were nearly always about, as
picturesque in their homely costume as Leather-stocking himself, and
many of our officers and men were hardly less expert as woodsmen.
Constant activity was the order of the day, and the whole command
grew hardy and self-reliant with great rapidity.

General Pope was, on the 26th of June, assigned to command the Army
of Virginia, including the forces under McDowell and Banks as well
as those in the Mountain Department. [Footnote: Official Records,
vol. xii. pt. iii. p. 435.] Fremont was relieved from command at his
own request, and the Mountain Department ceased to exist. [Footnote:
_Id_., p. 437.] Pope very wisely determined to unite in one army
under his own command as many as possible of the troops reporting to
him, and meanwhile directed us to remain on the defensive.
[Footnote: _Id_., p. 471.] I ventured on the 3d of July to suggest
by telegraph that my division would make a useful reinforcement to
his active army in the field, and reiterated it on the 5th, with
some explanation of my views. [Footnote: _Id_., pp. 451, 457.] I
indicated Fayetteville and Hawk's Nest as points in front of Gauley
Bridge where moderate garrisons could cover the valley defensively,
as I had done in the preceding year. Getting no answer, I returned
to the subject on the 13th. [Footnote: _Id_., p. 471.] Pope,
however, did not issue his address upon assuming active command till
the 14th, when his much ridiculed manifesto to the army appeared.
[Footnote: He had announced his assignment and his headquarters at
Washington on June 27 (_Id_., p. 436), but he now issued the address
as he was about to take the field (_Id_., p. 473).] Since the war
General Pope has himself told me that this, as well as the other
orders issued at that time and which were much criticised, were
drafted under the dictation, in substance, of Mr. Stanton, the
Secretary of War. He admitted that some things in them were not
quite in good taste; but the feeling was that it was desirable to
infuse vigor into the army by stirring words, which would by
implication condemn McClellan's policy of over-caution in military
matters, and over-tenderness toward rebel sympathizers and their
property. The Secretary, as he said, urged such public declarations
so strongly that he did not feel at liberty to resist. They were
unfairly criticised, and were made the occasion of a bitter and
lasting enmity toward Pope on the part of most of the officers and
men of the Potomac Army. It seems that Mr. Lincoln hesitated to
approve the one relating to the arrest of disloyal persons within
the lines of the army, and it was not till Pope repeated his sense
of the need of it that the President yielded, on condition that it
should be applied in exceptional cases only. It was probably
intended more to terrify citizens from playing the part of spies
than to be literally enforced, which would, indeed, have been hardly
possible. No real severity was used under it, but the Confederate
government made it the occasion of a sort of outlawry against Pope
and his army. [Footnote: It is only fair to recollect that in the
following year Halleck found it necessary to repeat in substance
Pope's much abused orders, and Meade, who then commanded the Potomac
Army, issued a proclamation in accordance with them. (Official
Records, vol. xxvii. pt. i. p. 102; pt. iii. p. 786.) For Pope's
submission of Order No. 11 to Mr. Lincoln and the limitation placed
on it, see _Id_., vol. xii. pt. iii. pp. 500, 540. For general
military law on the subject, see Birkhimer's "Military Government
and Martial Law," chap. viii. For the practice of the Confederates,
see the treatment of the Hon. George Summers, chap. xix. _post_.]
Only two days later he issued an order against pillaging or
molestation of persons and dwellings, as stringent as any one could
wish. [Footnote: Official Records, vol. xii. pt. iii. p. 573.]

On the 5th of August Pope suggested to Halleck that I should be
ordered to leave about 2500 men intrenched near Gauley Bridge, and
march with the remainder of my command (say nine regiments) by way
of Lewisburg, Covington, Staunton, and Harrisonburg to join him.
Halleck replied that it was too much exposed, and directed him to
select one more in the rear. Pope very rightly answered that there
was no other route which would not make a great circuit to the rear.
Halleck saw that Jackson's army near Charlottesville with a probable
purpose of turning Pope's right flank might make a junction
impossible for me, and stated the objection, but concluded with
authority to Pope to order as he deemed best, "but with caution."
[Footnote: Official Records, vol. xii. pt. iii. pp. 534, 540, 543.]

On the 8th of August Pope telegraphed me, accordingly, to march by
way of Lewisburg, Covington, Warm Springs, and Augusta Springs to
Harrisonburg, and there join him by shortest route. He indicated
Winchester or Romney as my secondary aim if I should find the
junction with him barred. [Footnote: _Id_., pp. 460, 462, 551.] This
route avoided Staunton, but by so short a distance that it was
scarcely safer, and the roads to be travelled were much harder and
longer. At this time several detachments of considerable size were
out, chasing guerilla parties and small bodies of Confederate
troops, and assisting in the organization or enlistment of Union
men. The movement ordered could not begin for several days, and I
took advantage of the interval to lay before General Pope, by
telegraph, the proof that the march would take fifteen days of
uninterrupted travel through a mountainous region, most of it a
wilderness destitute of supplies, and with the enemy upon the flank.
Besides this there was the very serious question whether the Army of
Virginia would be at Charlottesville when I should approach that
place. On the other hand, my calculation was that we could reach
Washington in ten days or less, by way of the Kanawha and Ohio
rivers to Parkersburg, and thence by the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad
to the capital. [Footnote: _Id_., vol. xiii. pt. iii. pp. 555, 559.]
My dispatches were submitted to General Halleck, and on the 11th of
August General Pope telegraphed a modified assent to my suggestions.
He directed that 5000 men should remain in West Virginia under my
command, and the remainder proceed to Washington by river and rail.
[Footnote: Official Records, vol. xiii. pt. iii. p. 560.] An
incursion of the enemy's cavalry into Logan County on my right and
rear was at the moment in progress, and we used great activity in
disposing of it, so that the change in our dispositions might not be
too quickly known to our adversaries nor have the appearance of
retreat. [Footnote: I at one time supposed that the orders to march
across the country originated with General Halleck, but the Official
Records of the War fix the history of the matter as is above

It is a natural wish of every soldier to serve with the largest army
in the most important campaign. The order to remain with a
diminished command in West Virginia was a great disappointment to
me, against which I made haste to protest. On the 13th I was
rejoiced by permission to accompany my command to the East.
[Footnote: _Id_., pp. 567, 570.] Preliminary orders had already been
given for making Fayetteville and Hawk's Nest the principal advanced
posts in the contracted operations of the district, with Gauley
Bridge for their common depot of supply and point of concentration
in case of an advance of the enemy in force. I organized two small
brigades and two batteries of artillery for the movement to
Washington. Colonels Scammon and Moor, who were my senior colonels,
were already in command of brigades, and Colonel Lightburn was in
command of the lower valley. The arrangement already existing
practically controlled. Scammon's brigade was unchanged, and in
Moor's the Thirty-sixth Ohio under Crook and the Eleventh were
substituted for the Thirty-seventh and Thirty-fourth. The
organization therefore was as follows; namely, First Brigade,
Colonel Scammon commanding, consisted of the Twelfth, Twenty-third,
and Thirtieth Ohio and McMullin's Ohio Battery; Second Brigade,
Colonel Moor commanding, consisted of the Eleventh, Twenty-eighth,
and Thirty-sixth Ohio and Simmonds's Kentucky Battery. One troop of
horse for orderlies and headquarters escort, and another for similar
service, with the brigades, also accompanied us. The regiments left
in the Kanawha district were the Thirty-fourth, Thirty-seventh,
Forty-fourth, and Forty-seventh Ohio, the Fourth and Ninth West
Virginia Infantry, the Second West Virginia Cavalry, a battery, and
some incomplete local organizations. Colonel J. A. J. Lightburn of
the Fourth West Virginia was in command as senior officer within the
district. [Footnote: Official Records, vol. xii. pt. iii. pp. 567,
570; vol. li. pt. i. pp. 738, 742, 754.]

Portions of the troops were put in motion on the 14th of August, and
a systematic itinerary was prepared for them in advance. [Footnote:
_Id_., vol. li. pt. i. p. 738.] They marched fifty minutes, and then
rested the remaining ten minutes of each hour. The day's work was
divided into two stages of fifteen miles each, with a long rest at
noon, and with a half day's interval between the brigades. The
weather was warm, but by starting at three o'clock in the morning
the heat of the day was reserved for rest, and they made their
prescribed distance without distress and without straggling. They
went by Raleigh C. H. and Fayetteville to Gauley Bridge, thence down
the right bank of the Kanawha to Camp Piatt, thirteen miles above
Charleston. The whole distance was ninety miles, and was covered
easily in the three days and a half allotted to it. [Footnote:
_Id_., vol. xii. pt. iii. p. 629.] The fleet of light-draft
steamboats which supplied the district with military stores was at
my command, and I gave them rendezvous at Camp Piatt, where they
were in readiness to meet the troops when the detachments began to
arrive on the 17th. In the evening of the 14th I left the camp at
Flat-top with my staff and rode to Raleigh C. H. On the 15th we
completed the rest of the sixty miles to Gauley Bridge. From that
point I was able to telegraph General Meigs, the
Quartermaster-General at Washington, that I should reach
Parkersburg, the Ohio River terminus of the Baltimore and Ohio
Railroad, on the evening of the 20th, and should need railway
transportation for 5000 men, two batteries of six guns each, 1100
horses, 270 wagons, with camp equipage and regimental trains
complete, according to the army regulations then in force.
[Footnote: Official Records, vol. xii. pt. iii. pp. 577, 619, 629;
vol. li. p. 754.]

At Gauley Bridge I met Colonel Lightburn, to whom I turned over the
command of the district, and spent the time, whilst the troops were
on the march, in completing the arrangements both for our
transportation and for the best disposition of the troops which were
to remain. The movement of the division was the first in which there
had been a carefully prepared effort to move a considerable body of
troops with wagons and animals over a long distance within a
definitely fixed time, and it was made the basis of the calculations
for the movement of General Hooker and his two corps from Washington
to Tennessee in the next year. It thus obtained some importance in
the logistics of the war. The president of the railway put the
matter unreservedly into the hands of W. P. Smith, the master of
transportation; Mr. P. H. Watson, Assistant Secretary of War,
represented the army in the management of the transfer, and by thus
concentrating responsibility and power, the business was simplified,
and what was then regarded as a noteworthy success was secured. The
command could have moved more rapidly, perhaps, without its wagons
and animals, but a constant supply of these was needed for the
eastern army, and it was wise to take them, for they were organized
into trains with drivers used to their teams and feeling a personal
interest in them. It turned out that our having them was a most
fortunate thing, for not only were the troops of the Army of the
Potomac greatly crippled for lack of transportation on their return
from the peninsula, but we were able to give rations to the Ninth
Army Corps after the battle of Antietam, when the transportation of
the other divisions proved entirely insufficient to keep up the
supply of food.

From the head of navigation on the Kanawha to Parkersburg on the
Ohio was about one hundred and fifty miles; but the rivers were so
low that the steamboats proceeded slowly, delayed by various
obstacles and impediments, At Letart's Falls, on the Ohio, the water
was a broken rapid, up which the boats had to be warped one at a
time, by means of a heavy warp-line made fast to the bank and
carried to the steam-capstan on the steamer. At the foot of
Blennerhassett's Island there was only two feet of water in the
channel, and the boats dragged themselves over the bottom by
"sparring," a process somewhat like an invalid's pushing his
wheel-chair along by a pair of crutches. But everybody worked with a
will, and on the 21st the advanced regiments were transferred to the
railway cars at Parkersburg, according to programme, and pulled out
for Washington. [Footnote: Official Records, vol. xii. pt. iii. pp.
619, 629.] These were the Thirty-sixth Ohio, Colonel Crook, and the
Thirtieth Ohio, Colonel Ewing. They passed through Washington to
Alexandria, and thence, without stopping, to Warrenton, Virginia,
where they reported at General Pope's headquarters. [Footnote:
_Id_., pp. 636, 637, 668, 676.] The Eleventh Ohio
(Lieutenant-Colonel Coleman) and Twelfth (Colonel White), with
Colonel Scammon commanding brigade, left Parkersburg on the 22d,
reaching Washington on the 24th. One of them passed on to
Alexandria, but the other (Eleventh Ohio) was stopped in Washington
by reason of a break in Long Bridge across the Potomac, and marched
to Alexandria the next day. [Footnote: Official Records, vol. xii.
pt. iii. pp. 650, 677.] The last of the regiments (Twenty-eighth
Ohio, Colonel Moor, and Twenty-third, Lieutenant-Colonel Hayes),
with the artillery and cavalry followed, and on the 26th all the men
had reached Washington, though the wagons and animals were a day or
two later in arriving. [Footnote: _Id_., p. 698.]

In Washington I reported to the Secretary of War, and was received
with a cordiality that went far to remove from my mind the
impression I had got from others, that Mr. Stanton was abrupt and
unpleasant to approach. Both on this occasion and later, he was as
affable as could be expected of a man driven with incessant and
importunate duties of state. In the intervals of my constant visits
to the railway offices (for getting my troops and my wagons together
was the absorbing duty) I found time for a hurried visit to
Secretary Chase, and found also my friend Governor Dennison in the
city, mediating between the President and General McClellan with the
good-will and diplomatic wisdom which peculiarly marked his
character. I had expected to go forward with three regiments to join
General Pope on the evening of the 26th; but Colonel Haupt, the
military superintendent of railways at Alexandria, was unable to
furnish the transportation by reason of the detention of trains at
the front. [Footnote: _Id_., pp. 625, 677.] Lee's flank movement
against Pope's army had begun, and as the latter retreated all the
railway cars which could be procured were needed to move his stores
back toward Washington. On the afternoon of the 26th, however,
arrangements had been made for moving the regiments at Alexandria
early next morning. [Footnote: _Ibid_, and pp. 678, 679.] The wagons
and animals were near at hand, and I ordered Colonel Moor with the
Twenty-eighth Ohio to march with them to Manassas as soon as they
should be unloaded from the railway trains. But during the night
occurred a startling change in the character of the campaign which
upset all our plans and gave a wholly unexpected turn to my own part
in it.

About nine o'clock in the evening Colonel Haupt received at
Alexandria the information that the enemy's cavalry had attacked our
great depot of supplies at Manassas Junction. The telegrapher had
barely time to send a message, break the connection of the wires,
and hurry away to escape capture. [Footnote: Official Records, vol.
xii. pt. iii. p. 680.] It was naturally supposed to be only a
cavalry raid, but the interruption of communication with Pope in
that crisis was in itself a serious mishap. The first thing to be
done was to push forward any troops at hand to protect the railway
bridge over Bull Run, and by authority of the War Department Colonel
Haupt was authorized to send forward, under Colonel Scammon, the
Eleventh and Twelfth Ohio without waiting to communicate with me.
They were started very early in the morning of the 27th, going to
support a New Jersey brigade under General George W. Taylor which
had been ordered to protect the Bull Run bridge. [Footnote: C. W.,
vol. i. pp. 379, 381.] Ignorant of all this, I was busy on Wednesday
morning (27th), trying to learn the whereabouts of the trains with
my wagon teams, which had not yet reached Washington, and reported
the situation as to my command to the Assistant Secretary of War,
Mr. Watson. [Footnote: Official Records, vol. xii. pt. iii. p. 698.]
I then learned of Scammon's sudden movement to the front, and of the
serious character of the enemy's movement upon Manassas. I marched
at once with the two regiments still in Washington, expecting to
follow the rest of the command by rail as soon as we should reach
Alexandria. Arriving there, I hastened to the telegraph office at
the railway station, where I found not only Colonel Haupt, but
General McClellan, who had come from Fortress Monroe the night
before. Of the Army of the Potomac, Heintzelman's and Porter's corps
were already with Pope, Franklin's was at Alexandria, and Sumner's
was beginning to arrive. As soon as it was known at the War
Department that McClellan was present, General Halleck's
correspondence was of course with him, and we passed under his
orders. [Footnote: Official Records, vol. xii. pt. iii. pp. 688,
689, 691.] It had already been learned that 'Stonewall' Jackson was
with infantry as well as cavalry at Manassas, and that the Bull Run
bridge had been burned, our troops being driven back three or four
miles from it. McClellan thought it necessary to organize the two
corps at Alexandria and such other troops as were there, including
mine, first to cover that place and Washington in the possible
contingency that Lee's whole army had interposed between General
Pope and the capital, and, second, to open communication with Pope
as soon as the situation of the latter could be learned. Couch's
division was still at Yorktown, and orders had been issued by
Halleck to ship 5000 new troops there to relieve Couch and allow his
veteran division to join the Potomac Army. [Footnote: _Id_., p.

McClellan directed me to take the two regiments with me into camp
with Franklin's corps at Annandale, three miles in front of
Alexandria, and to obey Franklin's orders if any emergency should
occur. [Footnote: _Id_., p. 692.] I found, at the
post-quartermaster's office, an officer who had served in West
Virginia a year before, and by his hearty and efficient good-will
secured some supplies for the regiments with me during the days that
were yet to pass before we got our own trains and could feel that we
had an assured means of living and moving in an independent way. We
bivouacked by the roadside without shelter of any sort, enveloped in
dense clouds of dust from the marching columns of the Army of the
Potomac, their artillery and wagons, as they passed and went into
camp just in front of us. About noon, on Thursday (28th), Colonel
Scammon joined me with the two regiments he had taken toward
Manassas, and we learned the particulars of the sharp engagement he
had at the railway bridge.

The train carrying the troops approached the bridge over Bull Run
about eight o'clock in the morning on Wednesday, and Colonel Scammon
immediately pushed forward the Twelfth Ohio (Colonel White) to the
bridge itself and the bank of the stream. He met the New Jersey
brigade of four regiments coming back in confusion and panic. The
commander, General Taylor, had taken position on the west side of
the creek, covering the bridge; but he had no artillery, and though
his advance was made with great spirit (as Jackson recognized in his
report [Footnote: Official Records, vol. xii. pt. ii. p. 644.] ),
his lines had been subjected to a heavy artillery fire from the
batteries of A. P. Hill's and Jackson's own divisions, and broke,
retreating in disorder to the eastern side of the stream. General
Taylor himself fell severely wounded whilst trying to rally them. It
was at this moment that Scammon reached the field with the Twelfth
Ohio. He had heard the artillery fire, but little or no musketry,
and was astonished at seeing the retreat. He sent his
adjutant-general, Lieutenant Robert P. Kennedy, [Footnote: Member of
Congress (1890), and recently Lieutenant-Governor of Ohio.] to
communicate with General Taylor and to try to rally the fugitives.
Meanwhile he ordered Colonel White to line the bank of the creek
with his men and try to protect the bridge structure. Kennedy found
General Taylor in a litter being carried to the rear, and the
general, though in anguish from his wound, was in great mental
distress at the rout of his men. He begged every one to rally the
flying troops if possible, and sent his own adjutant-general,
Captain Dunham, to turn over the general command to Scammon. All
efforts to rally the panic-stricken brigade were fruitless, and
Scammon resisted the advance of Hill's division through nearly a
whole day with the two regiments alone. A Lieutenant Wright of the
Fourth New Jersey, with ten men, reported to Colonel Scammon and
begged assignment in the line. Their names are honorably enrolled in
Scammon's report, [Footnote: Official Records, vol. xii. pt. ii. p.
407.] and these, with Captain Dunham, did heroic service, but were
all of the brigade that took any further part in the fight. Dunham
succeeded in rallying a portion of the brigade later in the day, but
too late to enter the engagement.

Taking advantage of the bridges near the stream, Scammon kept his
men covered from the artillery fire as well as possible, driving
back with his volleys every effort to pass by the bridge or to ford
the stream in his front. Hill moved brigades considerably to right
and left, and attempted to surround White and the Twelfth Ohio. But
Coleman, with the Eleventh, had come up in support, and Scammon
ordered him to charge on the enemy's right, which was passing
White's left flank. Coleman did so in splendid style, driving his
foe before him, and crossing the bridge to the west side. The odds,
however, were far too great where a brigade could attack each
regiment of ours and others pass beyond them, so that Scammon,
having fully developed the enemy's force, had to limit himself to
delaying their advance, retiring his little command in echelon from
one ridge to another, as his wings were threatened. This he did with
perfect coolness and order, maintaining the unequal struggle without
assistance till about half-past three in the afternoon. The enemy's
efforts now relaxed, and Scammon withdrew at leisure to a position
some three miles from the bridge. Hill still showed a disposition to
surround the detachment by manoeuvres, and Scammon retired toward
Annandale in the night. He himself underestimated the enemy's force
in infantry, which Jackson's report puts at "several brigades."
[Footnote: Official Records, vol. xii. pt. ii. p. 644.] His loss in
the two Ohio regiments was 106 in killed, wounded, and missing.
[Footnote: _Id_., p. 262.] Those of the New Jersey brigade are not
reported. The combat was a most instructive military lesson,
teaching what audacity and skill may do with a very small force in
delaying and mystifying a much larger one, which was imposed upon by
its firm front and its able handling.

Some of Scammon's wounded being too badly hurt to be removed, he
detailed a surgeon to remain with them and care for them till they
should be exchanged or otherwise brought within our lines. This
surgeon was taken to Jackson's headquarters, where he was questioned
as to the troops which had held the Confederates at bay. General J.
E. B. Stuart was with Jackson, and on the surgeon's stating that the
fighting during most of the day had been by the two Ohio regiments
alone, Stuart's racy expressions of admiration were doubly
complimentary as coming from such an adversary, and, when repeated,
were more prized by the officers and men than any praise from their
own people. [Footnote: The history of this engagement was currently
published with curious inaccuracies. Even Mr. Ropes in his "Campaign
under Pope" does not seem to have seen the Official Records on our
side, and supposed that Taylor's brigade was all that was engaged.
See Official Records, vol. xii. pt. ii. pp. 405-411; also pt. iii.
pp. 698, 699; also C. W., vol. i. pp. 379-382.]

Toward evening on Thursday, a thunderstorm and gale of wind came up,
adding greatly to the wretched discomfort of the troops for the
moment, but making the air clearer and laying the dust for a day or
two. I found partial shelter with my staff, on the veranda of a
small house which was occupied by ladies of the families of some
general officers of the Potomac Army, who had seized the passing
opportunity to see their husbands in the interval of the campaign.
We thought ourselves fortunate in getting even the shelter of the
veranda roof for the night. On Friday morning (29th), Captain Fitch,
my quartermaster, was able to report his train and baggage safe at
Alexandria, and we were ready for any service. Orders came from
General McClellan during the forenoon to move the four regiments now
with me into Forts Ramsey and Buffalo, on Upton's and Munson's
hills, covering Washington on the direct road to Centreville by
Aqueduct Bridge, Ball's Cross-Roads, and Fairfax C. H. [Footnote:
Official Records, vol. xii. pt. iii. pp. 712, 726. For this he had
Halleck's authority, in view of the danger of cavalry raids into the
city. _Id_., p. 722.] General McClellan had established his
headquarters on Seminary Ridge beyond the northern outskirts of
Alexandria, and after putting my command in motion I rode there to
get fuller instructions from him as to the duty assigned me. His
tents were pitched in a high airy situation looking toward the
Potomac on the east; indeed he had found them a little too airy in
the thunder-squall of the previous evening which had demolished part
of the canvas village. It must have been about noon when I
dismounted at his tent. The distant pounding of artillery had been
in our ears as we rode. It was Pope's battle with Jackson along the
turnpike between Bull Run and Gainesville and on the heights above
Groveton, thirty miles away.

[Illustration: Map]

General Franklin had ridden over from Annandale and was with
McClellan receiving his parting directions under the imperative
orders which Halleck had sent to push that corps out to Pope.
McClellan's words I was not likely to forget. "Go," he said, "and
whatever may happen, don't allow it to be said that the Army of the
Potomac failed to do its utmost for the country." McClellan then
explained to me the importance of the position to which I was
ordered. The heights were the outer line of defence of Washington on
the west, which had been held at one time, a year before, by the
Confederates, who had an earthwork there, notorious for a while
under the camp name of "Fort Skedaddle." From them the unfinished
dome of the Capitol was to be seen, and the rebel flag had flaunted
there, easily distinguishable by the telescopes which were daily
pointed at it from the city. McClellan had little expectation that
Pope would escape defeat, and impressed upon me the necessity of
being prepared to cover a perhaps disorderly retreat within the
lines. Some heavy artillery troops (Fourth New York Heavy Artillery)
were in garrison at one of the forts, and these with the forces at
Falls Church were ordered to report to me. [Footnote: Official
Records, vol. xii. pt. iii. p. 726.] Assuring me that he would soon
visit me in my new quarters, McClellan dismissed me, and I galloped
forward to overtake my troops.

I found the position of the forts a most commanding one, overlooking
the country in every direction. Westward the ground sloped away from
us toward Fairfax Court House and Centreville. Northward, in a
pretty valley, lay the village of Falls Church, and beyond it a
wooded ridge over which a turnpike road ran to Vienna and on to
Leesburg. Behind us was the rolling country skirting the Potomac,
and from Ball's Cross-Roads, a mile or two in rear, a northward road
led to the chain bridge above Georgetown, whilst the principal way
went directly to the city by the Aqueduct Bridge. Three knolls
grouped so as to command these different directions had been crowned
with forts of strong profile. The largest of these, Fort Ramsey, on
Upton's Hill was armed with twenty-pounder Parrott rifles, and the
heavy-artillery troops occupied this work. I had a pair of guns of
the same kind and calibre in my mixed battery, and these with my
other field artillery were put in the other forts. Lines of infantry
trench connected the works and extended right and left, and my four
regiments occupied these. [Footnote: Official Records, vol. li. pt.
i. pp. 777, 779; vol. xix. pt. ii. p. 176.] A regiment of cavalry
(Eighth Illinois, joined later by the Eighth Pennsylvania) was
ordered to report to me, and this, with Schambeck's squadron which
had come with me, made a cavalry camp in front of Falls Church and
picketed and patrolled the front. [Footnote: See my order assigning
garrisons to the forts. Official Records, vol. li. pt. i. p. 771.]

We pitched our headquarters tents on Upton's Hill, just in rear of
Fort Ramsey, and had a sense of luxury in "setting our house in
order" after the uncomfortable experience of our long journey from
West Virginia. The hurry of startling events in the past few days
made our late campaign in the mountains seem as far away in time as
it was in space. We were now in the very centre of excitement, and
had become a very small part of a great army. The isolation and the
separate responsibility of the past few months seemed like another
existence indefinitely far away. I lost no time in making a rapid
ride about my position, studying its approaches in the gathering
twilight and trying to fix in mind the leading features of the
topography with their relation to the possible retreat of our army
and advance of the enemy. And all the while the rapid though muffled
thumping of the distant cannon was in our ears, coming from the
field in front of Groveton, where Lee, having now united his whole
army against Pope, was sending part of Longstreet's divisions
against McDowell's corps along the Warrenton turnpike.

On Saturday the 30th ambulances began coming through our lines with
wounded men, and some on foot with an arm in a sling or bandages
upon the head were wearily finding their way into the city. All such
were systematically questioned, their information was collated and
corrected, and reports were made to General Halleck and General
McClellan. [Footnote: Official Records, vol. xii. pt. ii. p. 405;
pt. iii. pp. 748, 789; vol. xix. pt. ii. p. 170; vol. li. pt. i. p.
777.] The general impression of all undoubtedly was that the
engagement of Friday had been victorious for our army, and that the
enemy was probably retreating at dark. During the day the cannonade
continued with occasional lulls. It seemed more distant and fainter,
requiring attentive listening to hear it. This was no doubt due to
some change in the condition of the atmosphere; but we naturally
interpreted it according to our wishes, and believed that the
success of Friday was followed by the pursuit of the enemy. About
four o'clock in the afternoon the distant firing became much more
rapid; at times the separate shots could not be counted. I
telegraphed to McClellan the fact which indicated a crisis in the
battle. [Footnote: Official Records, vol. xii. pt. iii. p. 748.] It
was the fierce artillery duel which preceded the decisive advance of
Longstreet against Pope's left wing. This was the decisive
turning-point in the engagement, and Pope was forced to retreat upon

Early in the evening all doubt was removed about the result of the
battle. Ill news travels fast, and the retreat toward us shortened
the distance to be travelled. But as Sumner's and Franklin's corps
had gone forward and would report to Pope at Centreville, we were
assured that Pope was "out of his scrape" (to use the words of
McClellan's too famous dispatch to the President [Footnote: _Id_.,
vol. xi. pt. i. p. 98.] ), and that the worst that could now happen
would be the continuance of the retreat within our lines. The combat
at Chantilly on the evening of September 1st was the last of Pope's
long series of bloody engagements, and though the enemy was
repulsed, the loss of Generals Kearny and Stevens made it seem to us
like another disaster.



McClellan's visits to my position--Riding the lines--Discussing the
past campaign--The withdrawal from the James--Prophecy--McClellan
and the soldiers--He is in command of the defences--Intricacy of
official relations--Reorganization begun--Pope's army marches
through our works--Meeting of McClellan and Pope--Pope's
characteristics--Undue depreciation of him--The situation when
Halleck was made General-in-Chief--Pope's part in it--Reasons for
dislike on the part of the Potomac Army--McClellan's secret
service--Deceptive information of the enemy's force--Information
from prisoners and citizens--Effects of McClellan's illusion as to
Lee's strength--Halleck's previous career--Did he intend to take
command in the field?--His abdication of the field command--The
necessity for a union of forces in Virginia--McClellan's inaction
was Lee's opportunity--Slow transfer of the Army of the
Potomac--Halleck burdened with subordinate's work--Burnside twice
declines the command--It is given to McClellan--Pope relieved--Other
changes in organization--Consolidation--New campaign begun.

On Sunday, the 31st, McClellan rode over to Upton's Hill and spent
most of the day with me. He brought me a copy of the McDowell map of
the country about Washington, the compilation of which had been that
officer's first work at the beginning of hostilities. It covered the
region to and beyond the Bull Run battlefield, and although not
wholly accurate, it was approximately so, and was the only authority
relied upon for topographical details of the region. McClellan's
primary purpose was to instruct me as to the responsibilities that
might fall upon me if the army should be driven in. A day or two
later I received formal orders to prepare to destroy buildings in
front within my lines of artillery fire, and to be ready to cover
the retreat of our army should any part be driven back near my
position. [Footnote: Official Records, vol. xii. pt. iii. pp. 802,
805.] All this, however, had been discussed with McClellan himself.
We rode together over all the principal points in the neighborhood,
and he pointed out their relation to each other and to positions on
the map which we did not visit. The discussion of the topography led
to reminiscences of the preceding year,--of the manner in which the
enemy had originally occupied these hills, and of their withdrawal
from them,--of the subsequent construction of the forts and
connecting lines, who occupied them all, and the system of mutual
support, of telegraphic communication, and of plans for defence in
case of attack.

McClellan had received me at Alexandria on the 27th with all his old
cordiality, and had put me at once upon our accustomed footing of
personal friendship. On my part, there was naturally a little
watchfulness not to overstep the proper line of subordination or to
be inquisitive about things he did not choose to confide to me; but,
this being assumed, I found myself in a circle where he seemed to
unbosom himself with freedom. I saw no interruption in this while I
remained in the Potomac Army. He was, at this time, a little
depressed in manner, feeling keenly his loss of power and command,
but maintaining a quiet dignity that became him better than any show
of carelessness would have done. He used no bitter or harsh language
in criticising others. Pope and McDowell he plainly disliked, and
rated them low as to capacity for command; but he spoke of them
without discourtesy or vilification. I think it necessary to say
this because of the curious sidelight thrown on his character by the
private letters to his wife which have since been published in his
"Own Story," and of which I shall have more to say. Their
inconsistency with his expressions and manner in conversation, or at
least their great exaggeration of what he conveyed in familiar talk,
has struck me very forcibly and unpleasantly.

He discussed his campaign of the peninsula with apparent unreserve.
He condemned the decision to recall him from Harrison's Landing,
arguing that the one thing to do in that emergency was to reinforce
his army there and make it strong enough to go on with its work and
capture Richmond. He said that if the government had lost confidence
in his ability to conduct the campaign to a successful end, still it
was unwise to think of anything else except to strengthen that army
and give it to some one they could trust. He added explicitly, "If
Pope was the man they had faith in then Pope should have been sent
to Harrison's Landing to take command, and however bitter it would
have been, I should have had no just reason to complain." He
predicted that they would yet be put to the cost of much life and
treasure to get back to the position left by him.

On Monday, September 1st, he visited me again, and we renewed our
riding and our conversation. The road from his headquarters
encampment near Alexandria to Upton's Hill was a pleasant one for
his "constitutional" ride, and my position was nearest the army in
front where news from it would most likely be first found. The Army
of the Potomac had all passed to the front from Alexandria, and
according to the letter of the orders issued, he was wholly without
command; though Halleck personally directed him to exercise
supervision over all detachments about the works and lines. He came
almost alone on these visits, an aide and an orderly or two being
his only escort. Colonel Colburn of his staff was usually his
companion. He wore a blue flannel hunting-shirt quite different from
the common army blouse. It was made with a broad yoke at the neck,
and belt at the waist, the body in plaits. He was without sash or
side arms, or any insignia of rank except inconspicuous
shoulder-straps. On this day he was going into Washington, and I
rode down with him to the bridge. Bodies of troops of the new levies
were encamped at different points near the river. In these there
seemed to be always some veterans or officers who knew the general,
and the men quickly gathered in groups and cheered him. He had a
taking way of returning such salutations. He went beyond the formal
military salute, and gave his cap a little twirl, which with his bow
and smile seemed to carry a little of personal good fellowship even
to the humblest private soldier. If the cheer was repeated, he would
turn in his saddle and repeat the salute. It was very plain that
these little attentions to the troops took well, and had no doubt
some influence in establishing a sort of comradeship between him and
them. They were part of an attractive and winning deportment which
adapted itself to all sorts and ranks of men.

On Tuesday he came a little later in the day, and I noticed at once
a change in his appearance. He wore his yellow sash with sword and
belt buckled over it, and his face was animated as he greeted me
with "Well, General, I am in command again!" I congratulated him
with hearty earnestness, for I was personally rejoiced at it. I was
really attached to him, believed him to be, on the whole, the most
accomplished officer I knew, and was warmly disposed to give him
loyal friendship and service. He told me of his cordial interview
with President Lincoln, and that the latter had said he believed him
to be the only man who could bring organized shape out of the chaos
in which everything seemed then to be. The form of his new
assignment to duty was that he was to "have command of the
fortifications of Washington, and of all the troops for the defence
of the capital." [Footnote: Official Records, vol. xii. pt. iii. p.
807.] The order was made by the personal direction of the President,
and McClellan knew that Secretary Stanton did not approve of it.
General Halleck seemed glad to be rid of a great responsibility, and
accepted the President's action with entire cordiality. Still, he
was no doubt accurate in writing to Pope later that the action was
that of the President alone without any advice from him. [Footnote:
Official Records, vol. xii. pt. iii. p. 820.] McClellan was
evidently and entirely happy in his personal relation to things. He
had not been relieved from the command of the Army of the Potomac,
though the troops had passed temporarily to Pope's army. As
commandant of all within the defences, his own army reported to him
directly when they came within our lines. Pope's army of northern
Virginia would, of course, report through its commander, and
Burnside's in a similar way. The first thing to be done was to get
the army in good condition, to strengthen its corps by the new
regiments which were swarming toward the capital, and to prepare it
for a new campaign. McClellan seemed quite willing to postpone the
question who would command when it took the field. Of the present he
was sure. It was in his own hands, and the work of reorganization
was that in which his prestige was almost sure to increase. This
attitude was plainly shown in all he said and in all he hinted at
without fully saying it.

Halleck had already directed Pope to bring the army within the
fortifications, though the latter had vainly tried to induce him to
ride out toward Centreville, to see the troops and have a
consultation there before determining what to do. [Footnote: _Id_.,
p. 796.] We were therefore expecting the head of column to approach
my lines, and I arranged that we should be notified when they came
near. McClellan had already determined to put the corps and
divisions of the Army of the Potomac in the works, at positions
substantially the same as they had occupied a year before,--Porter
near Chain Bridge, Sumner next, Franklin near Alexandria, etc. I was
directed to continue in the position I already occupied, to be
supported by part of McDowell's corps.

About four o'clock McClellan rode forward, and I accompanied him. We
halted at the brow of the hill looking down the Fairfax road. The
head of the column was in sight, and rising dust showed its position
far beyond. Pope and McDowell, with the staff, rode at the head.
Their uniform and that of all the party was covered with dust, their
beards were powdered with it; they looked worn and serious, but
alert and self-possessed. When we met, after brief salutations,
McClellan announced that he had been ordered to assume command
within the fortifications, and named to General Pope the positions
the several corps would occupy. This done, both parties bowed, and
the cavalcade moved on. King's division of McDowell's corps was the
leading one, General Hatch, the senior brigadier, being in command
by reason of King's illness. Hatch was present, near Pope, when
McClellan assumed command, and instantly turning rode a few paces to
the head of his column and shouted, "Boys, McClellan is in command
again; three cheers!" The cheers were given with wild delight, and
were taken up and passed toward the rear of the column. Warm friend
of McClellan as I was, I felt my flesh cringe at the unnecessary
affront to the unfortunate commander of that army. But no word was
spoken. Pope lifted his hat in a parting salute to McClellan and
rode quietly on with his escort. [Footnote: General Hatch had been
in command of the cavalry of Banks's corps up to the battle of Cedar
Mountain, when he was relieved by Pope's order by reason of
dissatisfaction with his handling of that arm of the service. His
assignment to a brigade of infantry in King's division was such a
reduction of his prominence as an officer that it would not be
strange if it chafed him.]

McClellan remained for a time, warmly greeted by the passing troops.
He then left me, and rode off toward Vienna, northward. According to
my recollection, Colonel Colburn was the only member of his staff
with him; they had a small cavalry escort. My understanding also was
that they proposed to return by Chain Bridge, avoiding the crowding
of the road on which they had come out, and on which McDowell's
corps was now moving. In his "Own Story" McClellan speaks of going
in that direction to see the situation of Sumner's troops, supposed
to be attacked, and intimates a neglect on Pope's part of a duty in
that direction. I am confident he is mistaken as to this, and that I
have given the whole interview between him and Pope. The telegraphic
connection with my headquarters was such that he could learn the
situation in front of any part of the line much more promptly there
than by riding in person. Lee did not pursue, in fact, beyond
Fairfax C. H. and Centreville, and nothing more than small bodies of
cavalry were in our vicinity. I had kept scouting-parties of our own
cavalry active in our front, and had also collected news from other
sources. On the 1st of September I had been able to send to army
headquarters authentic information of the expectation of the
Confederate army to move into Maryland, and every day thereafter
added to the evidence of that purpose, until they actually crossed
the Potomac on the 5th. [Footnote: Official Records, vol. xii. pt.
ii. pp. 404, 405; vol. xix. pt. ii. p. 170; vol. li. pt. i. p. 777.]

Hatch's division was put into the lines on my left with orders to
report to me in case of attack. Patrick's brigade of that division
was next day placed near Falls Church in support of my cavalry,
reporting directly to me. My two regiments which had been with Pope
rejoined the division, and made it complete again. The night of the
2d was one in which I was on the alert all night, as it was probable
the enemy would disturb us then if ever; but it passed quietly. A
skirmish in our front on the Vienna road on the 4th was the only
enlivening event till we began the campaign of South Mountain and
Antietam on the 6th.

Pope's proposed reorganization of his army, [Footnote: Official
Records, vol. xii. pt. iii. p. 810.] which would have put me with
most of Sigel's corps under Hooker, was prevented by a larger change
which relieved him of command and consolidated his army with that of
the Potomac on September 5th. [Footnote: _Id_., p. 813.] I had a
very slight acquaintance with Pope at the beginning of the war, but
no opportunity of increasing it till he assumed command in Virginia
and I reported to him as a subordinate. The events just sketched had
once more interfered with my expected association with him, and I
did not meet him again till long afterward. Then I came to know him
well. His wife and the wife of my intimate friend General Force were
sisters, and in Force's house we often met. He was then broken in
health and softened by personal afflictions. [Footnote: Mrs. Pope
and Mrs. Force were daughters of the Hon. V. B. Horton, of Pomeroy,
Ohio, a public man of solid influence and character, and prominent
in the development of the coal and salt industries of the Ohio
valley. I leave the text as I wrote it some years before General
Pope's death. Since he died, the friendship of our families has
culminated in a marriage between our children.] His reputation in
1861 was that of an able and energetic man, vehement and positive in
character, apt to be choleric and even violent toward those who
displeased him. I remember well that I shrunk a little from coming
under his immediate orders through fear of some chafing, though I
learned in the army that choleric commanders, if they have ability,
are often warmly appreciative of those who serve them with soldierly
spirit and faithfulness. No one who had any right to judge
questioned Pope's ability or his zeal in the National cause. His
military career in the West had been a brilliant one. The necessity
for uniting the columns in northern Virginia into one army was
palpable; but it was a delicate question to decide who should
command them. It seems to have been assumed by Mr. Lincoln that the
commander must be a new man,--neither Frémont, McDowell, nor Banks.
The reasons were probably much the same as those which later brought
Grant and Sheridan from the West.

Pope's introduction to the Eastern army, which I have already
mentioned, was an unfortunate one; but neither he nor any one else
could have imagined the heat of partisan spirit or the lengths it
would run. No personal vilification was too absurd to be credited,
and no characterization was too ridiculous to be received as true to
the life. It was assumed that he had pledged himself to take
Richmond with an army of 40,000 men when McClellan had failed to do
so with 100,000. His defeat by Lee was taken to prove him
contemptible as a commander, by the very men who lauded McClellan
for having escaped destruction from the same army. There was neither
intelligence nor consistency in the vituperation with which he was
covered; but there was abundant proof that the wounded _amour
propre_ of the officers and men of the Potomac Army made them
practically a unit in intense dislike and distrust of him. It may be
that this condition of things destroyed his possibility of
usefulness at the East; but it would be asking too much of human
nature (certainly too much of Pope's impetuous nature) to ask him to
take meekly the office of scapegoat for the disastrous result of the
whole campaign. His demand on Halleck that he should publish the
approval he had personally given to the several steps of the
movements and combats from Cedar Mountain to Chantilly was just, but
it was imprudent. [Footnote: Official Records, vol. xii. pt. iii.
pp. 812, 821.] Halleck was irritated, and made more ready to
sacrifice his subordinate. Mr. Lincoln was saddened and embarrassed;
but being persuaded that Pope's usefulness was spoiled, he swallowed
his own pride and sense of justice, and turned again to McClellan as
the resource in the emergency of the moment.

Pope seems to me entirely right in claiming that Jackson's raid to
Manassas was a thing which should have resulted in the destruction
of that column. He seems to have kept his head, and to have prepared
his combinations skilfully for making Jackson pay the penalty of his
audacity. There were a few hours of apparent hesitation on August
28th, but champions of McClellan should be the last to urge that
against him. His plans were deranged on that day by the accident of
McDowell's absence from his own command. This happened through an
excess of zeal on McDowell's part to find his commander and give him
the benefit of his knowledge of the topography of the country; yet
it proved a serious misfortune, and shows how perilous it is for any
officer to be away from his troops, no matter for what reason. Many
still think Porter's inaction on the 29th prevented the advantage
over Jackson from becoming a victory. [Footnote: I have treated this
subject at large in "The Second Battle of Bull Run as connected with
the Fitz-John Porter Case."] But after all, when the army was united
within our lines, the injuries it had inflicted on the enemy so
nearly balanced those it had received that if Grant or Sherman had
been in Halleck's place, Lee would never have crossed the Potomac
into Maryland. McClellan, Pope, and Burnside would have commanded
the centre and wings of the united and reinforced army, and under a
competent head it would have marched back to the Rappahannock with
scarcely a halt.

That Halleck was in command was, in no small measure, Pope's own
work. He reminded Halleck of this in his letter of September 30th,
written when he was chafing under the first effects of his removal.
[Footnote: Official Records, vol. xii. pt. iii. pp. 816, etc.] "If
you desire," said he, "to know the personal obligation to which I
refer, I commend you to the President, the Secretary of War, or any
other member of the administration. Any of these can satisfy your
inquiries." This means that he had, before the President and the
cabinet, advocated putting Halleck in supreme command over himself
and McClellan to give unity to a campaign that would else be
hopelessly broken down. McClellan was then at Harrison's Landing,
believing Lee's army to be 200,000 strong, and refusing to listen to
any suggestion except that enormous reinforcements should be sent to
him there. He had taught the Army of the Potomac to believe
implicitly that the Confederate army was more than twice as numerous
as it was in fact. With this conviction it was natural that they
should admire the generalship which had saved them from
annihilation. They accepted with equal faith the lessons which came
to them from headquarters teaching that the "radicals" at Washington
were trying for political ends to destroy their general and them. In
regard to the facts there were varying degrees of intelligence among
officers and men; but there was a common opinion that they and he
were willingly sacrificed, and that Pope, the radical, was to
succeed him. This made them hate Pope, for the time, with holy
hatred. If the army could at that time have compared authentic
tables of strength of Lee's army and their own, the whole theory
would have collapsed at once, and McClellan's reputation and
popularity with it. They did not have the authentic tables, and
fought for a year under the awful cloud created by a blundering

The fiction as to Lee's forces is the most remarkable in the history
of modern wars. Whether McClellan was the victim or the accomplice
of the inventions of his "secret service," we cannot tell. It is
almost incredible that he should be deceived, except willingly. I
confess to a contempt for all organizations of spies and detectives,
which is the result of my military experience. The only spies who
long escape are those who work for both sides. They sell to each
what it wants, and suit their wares to the demand. Pinkerton's man
in the rebel commissariat at Yorktown who reported 119,000 rations
issued daily, laughed well in his sleeve as he pocketed the secret
service money. [Footnote: For Pinkerton's reports, see Official
Records, vol. xi. pt. i. pp. 264-272.]

A great deal of valuable information may be got from a hostile
population, for few men or women know how to hold their tongues,
though they try never so honestly. A friendly population overdoes
its information, as a rule. I had an excellent example of this in
the Kanawha valley. After I had first advanced to Gauley Bridge, the
Secessionists behind me were busy sending to the enemy all they
could learn of my force. We intercepted, among others, a letter from
an intelligent woman who had tried hard to keep her attention upon
the organization of my command as it passed her house. In counting
my cannon, she had evidently taken the teams as the easiest units to
count, and had set down every caisson as a gun, with the
battery-forge thrown in for an extra one. In a similar way, every
accidental break in the marching column was counted as the head of a
new regiment. She thus, in perfect good faith, doubled my force, and
taught me that such information to the enemy did them more harm than

As to the enemy's organization and numbers, the only information I
ever found trustworthy is that got by contact with him. No day
should pass without having some prisoners got by "feeling the
lines." These, to secure treatment as regular prisoners of war, must
always tell the company and regiment to which they belong. Rightly
questioned, they rarely stop there, and it is not difficult to get
the brigade, division, etc. The reaction from the dangers with which
the imagination had invested capture, to the commonly good-humored
hospitality of the captors, makes men garrulous of whom one would
not expect it. General Pope's chief quartermaster, of the rank of
colonel, was captured by Stuart's cavalry in this very campaign; and
since the war I have read with amazement General Lee's letters to
President Davis, to the Secretary of War at Richmond, and to General
Loring in West Virginia, dated August 23d, in which he says:
[Footnote: Official Records, vol. xii. pt. ii. pp. 940-941.]
"General Stuart reports that General Pope's chief quartermaster, who
was captured last night, positively asserts that Cox's troops are
being withdrawn by the way of Wheeling." Of course Lee suggests the
importance of "pushing things" in the Kanawha valley. Stuart thus
knew my movement on the day I left Parkersburg.

Even when the captured person tells nothing he is bound to conceal,
enough is necessarily known to enable a diligent provost-marshal to
construct a reasonably complete roster of the enemy in a short time.
In the Atlanta campaign I always carried a memorandum book in which
I noted and corrected all the information of this sort which came to
me, and by comparing this with others and with the lists at General
Sherman's headquarters, there was no difficulty in keeping well up
in the enemy's organization. It may therefore be said that every
commanding officer ought to know the divisions and brigades of his
enemy. The strength of a brigade is fairly estimated from the
average of our own, for in people of similar race and education, the
models of organization are essentially the same, and subject to the
same causes of diminution during a campaign. Such considerations as
these leave no escape from the conclusion that McClellan's estimates
of Lee's army were absolutely destructive of all chances of success,
and made it impossible for the President or for General Halleck to
deal with the military problem before them. That he had continued
this erroneous counting for more than a year, and through an active
campaign in the field, destroyed every hope of correcting it. The
reports of the peninsular campaign reveal, at times, the difficulty
there was in keeping up the illusion. The known divisions in the
Confederate army would not account for the numbers attributed to
them, and so these divisions occasionally figure in our reports as
"grand divisions." [Footnote: In his dispatch to Halleck on the
morning after South Mountain (September 15), D. H. Hill's division
is called a corps. Official Records, vol. xix. pt. ii. p. 294.] That
the false estimate was unnecessary is proven by the fact that
General Meigs, in Washington, on July 28th, made up an estimate from
the regiments, brigades, etc., mentioned in the newspapers that got
through the lines, which was reasonably accurate. But McClellan held
Meigs for an enemy. [Footnote: General Meigs found ninety regiments
of infantry, one regiment of cavalry, and five batteries of
artillery designated by name in the "Confederate" newspaper reports
of the seven days' battles. Comparing this with other information
from similar sources, he concluded that Lee had about one hundred
and fifty regiments. These, at 700 men each, would make 105,000, or
at 400 (which he found a full average) the gross of the infantry
would be 60,000. General Webb, with official documents before him,
puts it at 70,000 to 80,000. Does one need better evidence how much
worse than useless was McClellan's secret service? See Official
Records, vol. xi. pt. iii. p. 340.] When I joined McClellan at
Washington, I had no personal knowledge of either army except as I
had learned it from the newspapers. My predilections in favor of
McClellan made me assume that his facts were well based, as they
ought to have been. I therefore accepted the general judgment of
himself and his intimate friends as to his late campaign and Pope's,
and believed that his restoration to command was an act of justice
to him and of advantage to the country. I did not stay long enough
with that army to apply any test of my own to the question of
relative numbers, and have had to correct my opinions of the men and
the campaigns by knowledge gained long afterward. I however used
whatever influence I had to combat the ideas in McClellan's mind
that the administration meant to do him any wrong, or had any end
but the restoration of National unity in view.

Whether Halleck was appointed on Pope's urgent recommendation or no,
his campaign in the West was the ground of his promotion. The
advance from the Ohio to Fort Donelson, to Nashville, to Shiloh, and
to Corinth had been under his command, and he deservedly had credit
for movements which had brought Kentucky and Tennessee within the
Union lines. He had gone in person to the front after the battle of
Shiloh, and though much just criticism had been made of his slow
digging the way to Corinth by a species of siege operations, he had
at any rate got there. Mr. Lincoln was willing to compromise upon a
slow advance upon Richmond, provided it were sure and steady.
Halleck's age and standing in the army were such that McClellan
himself could find no fault with his appointment, if any one were to
be put over him.

Everything points to the expectation, at the time of his
appointment, that Halleck would assume the personal command in the
field. He visited McClellan at Harrison's Landing on July 25th,
however, and promised him that if the armies should be promptly
reunited, he (McClellan) should command the whole, with Burnside and
Pope as his subordinates. [Footnote: McC. Own Story, p. 474;
Official Records, vol. xi. pt. iii. p. 360.] That he did not inform
Pope of this abdication of his generalship in the field is plain
from Pope's correspondence during the campaign. It is made
indisputably clear by Pope's letter to him of the 25th of August.
[Footnote: _Id_., vol. xii. pt. ii. pp. 65, 66.] He probably did not
tell the President or Mr. Stanton of it. He seems to have waited for
the union of the parts of the army, and when that came his prestige
was forever gone, and he had become, what he remained to the close
of the war, a bureau officer in Washington. He had ordered the
transfer of the Potomac Army from the James to Acquia Creek,
intending to unite it with Burnside's at Falmouth, opposite
Fredericksburg, and thus begin a fresh advance from the line of the
Rappahannock. [Footnote: Official Records, vol. xii. pt. ii. p. 5;
vol. xi. pt. i. pp. 80-84; _Id_., pt. iii. p. 337.] He believed, and
apparently with reason, that ten days was sufficient to complete
this transfer with the means at McClellan's disposal, but at the end
of ten days the movement had not yet begun. [Footnote: The order was
given August 3; the movement began August 14. _Id_., pt. i. pp. 80,
89.] He was right in thinking that the whole army should be united.
McClellan thought the same. The question was where and how.
McClellan said, "Send Pope's men to me." Halleck replied that it
would not do to thus uncover Washington. McClellan had said that
vigorous advance upon the enemy by his army and a victory would best
protect the capital. [Footnote: _Id_., vol. xii. pt. ii. pp. 9, 10.]
Again he was right, but he seemed incapable of a vigorous advance.
Had he made it when he knew (on July 30) that Jackson had gone
northward with thirty thousand men to resist Pope's advance, his
army would not have been withdrawn. [Footnote: _Id_., vol. xi. pt.
iii. p. 342.] He was then nearly twice as strong as Lee, but he did
not venture even upon a forced reconnoissance. The situation of the
previous year was repeated. He was allowing himself to be besieged
by a fraction of his own force. Grant would have put himself into
the relation to McClellan which he sustained to Meade in 1864, and
would have infused his own energy into the army. Halleck did not do
this. It would seem that he had become conscious of his own lack of
nerve in the actual presence of an enemy, and looked back upon his
work at St. Louis in administering his department, whilst Grant and
Buell took the field, with more satisfaction than upon his own
advance from Shiloh to Corinth. He seemed already determined to
manage the armies from his office in Washington and assume no
responsibility for their actual leadership.

When the Army of the Potomac was arriving at Alexandria, another
crisis occurred in which a single responsible head in the field was
a necessity. McClellan had been giving a continuous demonstration,
since August 4th, how easy it is to thwart and hinder any movement
whilst professing to be accomplishing everything that is possible.
No maxim in war is better founded in experience than that a man who
believes that a plan is sure to fail should never be set to conduct
it. McClellan had written that Pope would be beaten before the Army
of the Potomac could be transferred to him, and Pope was beaten.
[Footnote: Halleck to McClellan, August 10 and 12, and McClellan's
reply: Official Records, vol. xi. pt. i. pp. 86-88. See also O. S.,
p. 466.] The only chance for any other result was for Halleck
himself to conduct the transfer. If Halleck meant that Franklin
should have pushed out to Manassas on the 27th of August, he should
have taken the field and gone with the corps. He did not know and
could not know how good or bad McClellan's excuses were, and nothing
but his own presence, with supreme power, could certainly remove the
causes for delay. He wrote to Pope that he could not leave
Washington, when he ought not to have been in Washington. [Footnote:
Official Records, vol. xii. pt. iii. p. 797.] He worked and worried
himself ill trying to make McClellan do what he should have done
himself, and then, overwhelmed with details he should never have
burdened himself with, besought his subordinate to relieve him of
the strain by practically taking command. [Footnote: _Id_., p. 691;
vol. xi. pt. i. p. 103.]

As soon as McClellan began the movement down the James, Lee took
Longstreet's corps to Jackson, leaving only D. H. Hill's at
Richmond. [Footnote: _Id_., pt. ii. pp. 177, 552.] From that moment
McClellan could have marched anywhere. He could have marched to
Fredericksburg and joined Pope, and Halleck could have met them with
Burnside's troops. But the vast imaginary army of the Confederacy
paralyzed everything, and the ponderous task of moving the Army of
the Potomac and its enormous material by water to Washington went
on. The lifeless and deliberate way in which it went on made it the
1st of September when Sumner and Franklin reached Centreville, and
the second battle of Bull Run had ended in defeat on the evening

But the army was at last reunited, within the fortifications of
Washington, it is true, and not on the James or on the line of the
Rappahannock. There was another opportunity given to Halleck to put
himself at its head, with McClellan, Pope, and Burnside for his
three lieutenants. Again he was unequal to his responsibility. Mr.
Lincoln saw his feebleness, and does not seem to have urged him.
Halleck was definitely judged in the President's mind, though the
latter seems to have clung to the idea that he might be useful by
allowing him to assume the role he chose, and confine himself to
mere suggestions and to purely routine work. Pope's unpopularity
with the army was adopted by popular clamor, which always finds a
defeated general in the wrong. The President, in real perplexity,
compromised by assigning McClellan to command for the purpose of
organizing, a work in which he was admitted by all to be able. The
command in the field was a second time offered to Burnside, who
declined it, warmly advocating McClellan's claims and proving his
most efficient friend. [Footnote: C. W., vol. i. p. 650.] Within
three days from the time I had ridden with McClellan to meet the
retreating army, the enemy had crossed the Potomac, and decision
could not be postponed. The President met McClellan, and told him in
person that he was assigned to command in the field. [Footnote:
_Id_., p. 453; Official Records, vol. xi. pt. i. p. 103.]

On the 5th of September Halleck had sent to McClellan a confidential
note, telling of the President's action relieving Pope, and
anticipating the issue of formal orders: [Footnote: Official
Records, vol. xix. pt. ii. p. 182.] "The President has directed that
General Pope be relieved and report to the War Department; that
Hooker be assigned to command of Porter's corps, and that Franklin's
corps be temporarily attached to Heintzelman's. The orders will be
issued this afternoon. Generals Porter and Franklin are to be
relieved from duty till the charges against them are examined. I
give you this memorandum in advance of orders, so that you may act
accordingly in putting forces in the field." Later in the same day
Halleck sent to McClellan the opinion that the enemy was without
doubt crossing the Potomac, and said, "If you agree with me, let our
troops move immediately." The formal order to Pope was: "The armies
of the Potomac and Virginia being consolidated, you will report for
orders to the Secretary of War." [Footnote: _Id_., p. 183.] Pope had
caused charges to be preferred against Porter and Franklin, and had
accused McClellan of wilfully delaying reinforcements and so causing
his defeat. His indignation that the interpretation of affairs given
by McClellan and his friends should be made into public opinion by
the apparent acquiescence of Halleck and the administration overcame
his prudence. Had he controlled his feelings and schooled himself
into patience, he would hardly have been relieved from active
service, and his turn would probably have come again. As it stood,
the President saw that McClellan and Pope could not work together,
and the natural outcome was that he retired Pope, so that McClellan
should not have it to say that he was thwarted by a hostile
subordinate. McClellan himself was so manifestly responsible for
Franklin's movements from the 27th to the 30th of August, that it
was a matter of course that when the chief was assigned to command
the condonation should cover the subordinate, and at McClellan's
request Franklin was allowed to take the field at once. [Footnote:
Official Records, vol. xix. pt. ii. pp. 190, 197.] A few days later
he urged the same action in Porter's case, and it was done. Porter
joined the army at South Mountain on the 14th of September.
[Footnote: _Id_., pp. 190, 254, 289.] The same principle demanded
that McDowell, who was obnoxious to McClellan, should be relieved,
and this was also done. As an ostensible reason for the public,
McDowell's request for a Court of Inquiry upon his own conduct was
assumed to imply a desire to be relieved from the command of his
corps. [Footnote: _Id_., pp. 188, 189, 197.] But the court was not
assembled till the next winter. McDowell had been maligned almost as
unscrupulously as Pope. A total abstainer from intoxicating drinks,
he was persistently described as a drunkard, drunken upon the field
of battle. One of the most loyal and self-forgetting of
subordinates, he was treated as if a persistent intriguer for
command. A brave and competent soldier, he was believed to be
worthless and untrustworthy. As between Halleck, McClellan, and
Pope, the only one who had fought like a soldier and manoeuvred like
a general was sent to the northwestern frontier to watch the petty
Indian tribes, carrying the burden of others' sins into the
wilderness. Mr. Lincoln's sacrifice of his sense of justice to what
seemed the only expedient in the terrible crisis, was sublime.
McClellan commanded the army, and Porter and Franklin each commanded
a corps. If the country was to be saved, confidence and power could
not be bestowed by halves.

In his "Own Story" McClellan speaks of the campaign in Maryland as
made "with a halter round his neck," [Footnote: O. S., p. 551.]
meaning that he had no real command except of the defences of
Washington, and that he marched after Lee without authority, so
that, if unsuccessful, he might have been condemned for usurpation
of command. It would be incredible that he adopted such a mere
illusion, if he had not himself said it. It proves that some at
least of the strange additions to history which he thus published
had their birth in his own imagination brooding over the past, and
are completely contradicted by the official records. [Footnote: This
illusion, at least, is shown to be of later origin by his telegram
to his wife of September 7. "I leave here this afternoon," he says,
"to take command of the troops in the field. The feeling of the
government towards me, I am sure, is kind and trusting. I hope, with
God's blessing, to justify the great confidence they now repose in
me, and will bury the past in oblivion." O. S., p. 567.] The
consolidation of the armies under him was, in fact, a promotion,
since it enlarged his authority and committed to him the task that
properly belonged to Halleck as general-in-chief. For a few days,
beginning September 1st, McClellan's orders and correspondence were
dated "Headquarters, Washington," because no formal designation had
been given to the assembled forces at the capital. When he took the
field at Rockville on the 8th of September, he assumed, as he had
the right to do in the absence of other direction from the War
Department, that Burnside's and Pope's smaller armies were lost in
the larger Army of the Potomac by the consolidation, and resumed the
custom of dating his orders and dispatches from "Headquarters, Army
of the Potomac," from the command of which he had never been
removed, even when its divisions were temporarily separated from
him. [Footnote: On August 31st Halleck had written to him, "You will
retain the command of everything in this vicinity not temporarily
belonging to Pope's army in the field;" and in the general order
issued August 30, McClellan's command of the Army of the Potomac is
affirmed. Official Records, vol. xi. pt. i. p. 103; _Id_., vol. li.
pt. i. p. 775.] The defences of Washington were now entrusted to
Major-General Banks, strictly in subordination, however, to himself.
[Footnote: Official Records, vol. xix. pt. ii. pp. 202, 214.] The
official record of authority and command is consistent and perfect,
and his notion in his later years, that there was anything informal
about it, is proven to be imaginary. [Footnote: _Ante_, p. 257.]
Halleck's direction, which I have quoted, to "let our troops move
immediately," would be absurd as addressed to the commandant of the
Army of the Potomac into which the Army of Virginia was
consolidated, unless that commandant was to take the field, or a
formal order relieved him of command as Pope was relieved. Certainly
no other commander was designated, and I saw enough of him in those
days to say with confidence that he betrayed no doubt that the order
to "move immediately" included himself. McClellan's popularity with
the Army of the Potomac had seemed to Mr. Lincoln the only power
sufficient to ensure its prompt and earnest action against the
Confederate invasion. His leadership of it, to be successful, had to
be accompanied with plenary powers, even if the stultification of
the government itself were the consequence. When the patriotism of
the President yielded to this, the suggestion of McClellan twenty
years afterward, that it had all been a pitfall prepared for him,
would be revolting if, in view of the records, the absurdity of it
did not prove that its origin was in a morbid imagination. It is far
more difficult to deal leniently with the exhibition of character in
his private letters, which were injudiciously added to his "Own
Story" by his literary executor. In them his vanity and his ill-will
toward rivals and superiors are shockingly naked; and since no
historian can doubt that at every moment from September, 1861, to
September, 1862, his army greatly outnumbered his enemy, whilst in
equipment and supply there was no comparison, his persistent outcry
that he was sacrificed by his government destroys even that
character for dignity and that reputation for military intelligence
which we fondly attributed to him.

The general arrangement of the campaign seems to have been settled
between Halleck and McClellan on the 5th of September. General
Sumner with the Second and Twelfth corps moved up the Potomac by way
of Tenallytown, Burnside with the First and Ninth corps moved to
Leesboro with a view to covering Baltimore, the front was explored
by the cavalry under Pleasonton, and the Sixth Corps, under
Franklin, constituted a reserve. [Footnote: Confusion in the numbers
of the First and Twelfth corps is found in the records and
dispatches, owing to the fact that in the Army of Virginia the corps
numbers were not those given them by the War Department. Sigel's,
properly the Eleventh Corps, had been called First of that army.
Banks's, properly Twelfth, had been called Second, and McDowell's,
properly First, had been called Third. In the Maryland campaign
Hooker was assigned to McDowell's, and it sometimes figures as
First, sometimes as Third; Mansfield was assigned to Banks's. The
proper designations after the consolidation were First and Twelfth.
Reno had been assigned to the First, but McClellan got authority to
change it, and gave it to Hooker, sending Reno back to the Ninth.
Official Records, vol. xix. pt. ii. pp. 197, 198, 279, 349.] The
preliminary movements occupied the 5th and 6th, but on the 7th the
positions were as I have stated them. The principal bodies were
designated, respectively, as right and left wings instead of armies.
The two corps from the Army of Virginia were separated, one being
assigned to the right wing under Burnside, and the other to the left
under Sumner.



March through Washington--Reporting to Burnside--The Ninth
Corps--Burnside's personal qualities--To Leesboro--Straggling--Lee's
army at Frederick--Our deliberate advance--Reno at New Market--The
march past--Reno and Hayes--Camp gossip--Occupation of
Frederick--Affair with Hampton's cavalry--Crossing Catoctin
Mountain--The valley and South Mountain--Lee's order found--Division
of his army--Jackson at Harper's Ferry--Supporting Pleasonton's
reconnoissance--Meeting Colonel Moor--An involuntary
warning--Kanawha Division's advance--Opening of the battle--Carrying
the mountain crest--The morning fight--Lull at noon--Arrival of
supports--Battle renewed--Final success--Death of Reno--Hooker's
battle on the right--His report--Burnside's comments--Franklin's
engagement at Crampton's Gap.

Late in the night of the 5th I received orders from McClellan's
headquarters to march from my position on Upton's Hill through
Washington toward Leesboro, [Footnote: Leesboro, a village of
Maryland eight or ten miles north of Washington, must be
distinguished from Leesburg in Virginia.] as soon as my pickets
could be relieved by troops of McDowell's corps. [Footnote: Official
Records, vol. xix. pt. ii. p. 183; vol. li. pt. i. p. 789.] My route
was designated as by the road which was a continuation northward of
Seventh Street, and I was directed to report to General Ambrose E.
Burnside, commanding right wing, whose headquarters were in the
suburbs of the city on that road. This was in accordance with my
wish, expressed to McClellan that I might have active field work.
For two or three days we were not attached to a corps, but as the
organization of the army became settled we were temporarily assigned
to the Ninth, which had been Burnside's, and had been with him in
North Carolina. During this campaign it was commanded by
Major-General Jesse L. Reno, who had long had a division in it, and
had led the corps in the recent battle. We marched from Upton's Hill
at daybreak of the 6th, taking the road to Georgetown by Ball's
Cross-Roads. In Georgetown we turned eastward through Washington to
Seventh Street, and thence northward to the Leesboro road. As we
passed General Burnside's quarters, I sent a staff officer to report
our progress. It was about ten o'clock, and Burnside had gone to the
White House to meet the President and cabinet by invitation. His
chief of staff, General J. G. Parke, sent a polite note, saying we
had not been expected so soon, and directed us to halt and bivouac
for the present in some fields by the roadside, near where the
Howard University now is. In the afternoon I met Burnside for the
first time, and was warmly attracted by him, as everybody was. He
was pre-eminently a manly man, as I expressed it in writing home.
His large, fine eyes, his winning smile and cordial manners, bespoke
a frank, sincere, and honorable character, and these indications
were never belied by more intimate acquaintance. The friendship then
begun lasted as long as he lived. I learned to understand the
limitations of his powers and the points in which he fell short of
being a great commander; but as I knew him better I estimated more
and more highly his sincerity and truthfulness, his unselfish
generosity, and his devoted patriotism. In everything which makes up
an honorable and lovable personal character he had no superior. I
shall have occasion to speak frequently of his peculiarities and his
special traits, but shall never have need to say a word in
derogation of the solid virtues I have attributed to him. His
chief-of-staff, General Parke, was an officer of the Engineers, and
one of the best instructed of that corps. He had served with
distinction under Burnside in North Carolina, in command of a
brigade and division. I always thought that he preferred staff duty,
especially with Burnside, whose confidence in him was complete, and
who would leave to him almost untrammelled control of the
administrative work of the command.

On September 7th I was ordered to take the advance of the Ninth
Corps in the march to Leesboro, following Hooker's corps. It was my
first march with troops of this army, and I was shocked at the
straggling I witnessed. The "roadside brigade," as we called it, was
often as numerous, by careful estimate, as our own column moving in
the middle of the road. I could say of the men of the Kanawha
division, as Richard Taylor said of his Louisiana brigade with
Stonewall Jackson, that they had not yet _learned_ to straggle.
[Footnote: See Taylor's "Destruction and Reconstruction," p. 50, for
a curious interview with Jackson.] I tried to prevent their learning
it. We had a roll-call immediately upon halting after the march, and
another half an hour later, with prompt reports of the result. I
also assigned a field officer and medical officer to duty at the
rear of the column, with ambulances for those who became ill and
with punishments for the rest. The result was that, in spite of the
example of others, the division had no stragglers, the first
roll-call rarely showing more than twenty or thirty not answering to
their names, and the second often proving every man to be present.
[Footnote: See letters of General R. B. Hayes and General George
Crook, Appendix B.] In both the Army of the Potomac and the Army of
Northern Virginia the evil had become a most serious one. After the
battle of Antietam, for the express purpose of remedying it,
McClellan appointed General Patrick Provost-Marshal with a strong
provost-guard, giving him very extended powers, and permitting
nobody, of whatever rank, to interfere with him. Patrick was a man
of vigor, of conscience, and of system, and though he was greatly
desirous of keeping a field command, proved so useful, indeed so
necessary a part of the organization, that he was retained in it
against his wishes, to the end of the war, each commander of the
Army of the Potomac in turn finding that he was indispensable.
[Footnote: I have discussed this subject also in a review of
Henderson's Stonewall Jackson, "The Nation," Nov. 24, 1898, p. 396.]

The Confederate army suffered from straggling quite as much,
perhaps, as ours, but in a somewhat different way. At the close of
the Antietam campaign General Lee made bitter complaints in regard
to it, and asked the Confederate government for legislation which
would authorize him to apply the severest punishments. As the
Confederate stragglers were generally in the midst of friends, where
they could sleep under shelter and get food of better quality than
the army ration, this grew to be the regular mode of life with many
even of those who would join their comrades in an engagement. They
were not reported in the return of "effectives" made by their
officers, but that they often made part of the killed, wounded, and
captured I have little doubt. In this way a rational explanation may
be found of the larger discrepancies between the Confederate reports
of casualties and ours of their dead buried and prisoners taken.

The weather during this brief campaign was as lovely as possible,
and the contrast between the rich farming country in which we now
were, and the forest-covered mountains of West Virginia to which we
had been accustomed, was very striking. An evening march, under a
brilliant moon, over a park-like landscape with alternations of
groves and meadows which could not have been more beautifully
composed by a master artist, remains in my memory as a page out of a
lovely romance. On the day that we marched to Leesboro, Lee's army
was concentrated near Frederick, behind the Monocacy River, having
begun the crossing of the Potomac on the 4th. There was a singular
dearth of trustworthy information on the subject at our army
headquarters. We moved forward by very short marches of six or eight
miles, feeling our way so cautiously that Lee's reports speak of it
as an unexpectedly slow approach. The Comte de Paris excuses it on
the ground of the disorganized condition of McClellan's army after
the recent battle. It must be remembered, however, that Sumner's
corps and Franklin's had not been at the second Bull Run, and were
veterans of the Potomac Army. The Twelfth Corps had been Banks's,
and it too had not been engaged at the second Bull Run, its work
having been to cover the trains of Pope's army on the retrograde
movement from Warrenton Junction. Although new regiments had been
added to these corps, it is hardly proper to say that the army as a
whole was not one which could be rapidly manoeuvred. I see no good
reason why it might not have advanced at once to the left bank of
the Monocacy, covering thus both Washington and Baltimore, and
hastening by some days Lee's movement across the Blue Ridge. We
should at least have known where the enemy was by being in contact
with him, instead of being the sport of all sorts of vague rumors
and wild reports. [Footnote: McClellan was not wholly responsible
for this tardiness, for Halleck was very timid about uncovering
Washington, and his dispatches tended to increase McClellan's
natural indecision. Official Records, vol. xix. pt. ii. p. 280.]

The Kanawha division took the advance of the right wing when we left
Leesboro on the 8th, and marched to Brookville. On the 9th it
reached Goshen, where it lay on the 10th, and on the 11th reached
Ridgeville on the railroad. The rest of the Ninth Corps was an easy
march behind us. Hooker had been ordered further to the right on the
strength of rumors that Lee was making a circuit towards Baltimore,
and his corps reached Cooksville and the railroad some ten miles
east of my position. The extreme left of the army was at
Poolesville, near the Potomac, making a spread of thirty miles
across the whole front. The cavalry did not succeed in getting far
in advance of the infantry, and very little valuable information was
obtained. At Ridgeville, however, we got reliable evidence that Lee
had evacuated Frederick the day before, and that only cavalry was
east of the Catoctin Mountains. Hooker got similar information at
about the same time. It was now determined to move more rapidly, and
early in the morning of the 12th I was ordered to march to New
Market and thence to Frederick. At New Market I was overtaken by
General Reno, with several officers of rank from the other divisions
of the corps, and they dismounted at a little tavern by the roadside
to see the Kanawha division go by. Up to this time they had seen
nothing of us whatever. The men had been so long in the West
Virginia mountains at hard service, involving long and rapid
marches, that they had much the same strength of legs and ease in
marching which was afterward so much talked of when seen in
Sherman's army at the review in Washington at the close of the war.
I stood a little behind Reno and the rest, and had the pleasure of
hearing their involuntary exclamations of admiration at the marching
of the men. The easy swinging step, the graceful poise of the musket
on the shoulder, as if it were a toy and not a burden, and the
compactness of the column were all noticed and praised with a
heartiness which was very grateful to my ears. I no longer felt any
doubt that the division stood well in the opinion of my associates.

I enjoyed this the more because, the evening before, a little
incident had occurred which had threatened to result in some
ill-feeling. It had been thought that we were likely to be attacked
at Ridgeville, and on reaching the village I disposed the division
so as to cover the place and to be ready for an engagement. I
ordered the brigades to bivouac in line of battle, covering the
front with outposts and with cavalry vedettes from the Sixth New
York Cavalry (Colonel Devin), which had been attached to the
division during the advance. The men were without tents, and to make
beds had helped themselves to some straw from stacks in the
vicinity. Toward evening General Reno rode up, and happening first
to meet Lieutenant-Colonel Rutherford B. Hayes, commanding the
Twenty third Ohio, he rather sharply inquired why the troops were
not bivouacking "closed in mass," and also blamed the taking of the
straw. Colonel Hayes referred him to me as the proper person to
account for the disposition of the troops, and quietly said he
thought the quartermaster's department could settle for the straw if
the owner was loyal. A few minutes later the general came to my own
position, but was now quite over his irritation. I, of course, knew
nothing of his interview with Hayes, and when he said that it was
the policy in Maryland to make the troops bivouac in compact mass,
so as to do as little damage to property as possible, I cordially
assented, but urged that such a rule would not apply to the
advance-guard when supposed to be in presence of the enemy; we
needed to have the men already in line if an alarm should be given
in the night. To this he agreed, and a pleasant conversation
followed. Nothing was said to me about the straw taken for bedding,
and when I heard of the little passage-at-arms with Colonel Hayes, I
saw that it was a momentary disturbance which had no real
significance. Camp gossip, however, is as bad as village gossip, and
in a fine volume of the "History of the Twenty-first Massachusetts
Regiment," I find it stated that the Kanawha division coming fresh
from the West was disposed to plunder and pillage, giving an
exaggerated version of the foregoing story as evidence of it. This
makes it a duty to tell what was the small foundation for the
charge, and to say that I believe no regiments in the army were less
obnoxious to any just accusation of such a sort. The gossip would
never have survived the war at all but for the fact that Colonel
Hayes became President of the United States, and the supposed
incident of his army life thus acquired a new interest. [Footnote:
This incident gives me the opportunity to say that after reading a
good many regimental histories, I am struck with the fact that with
the really invaluable material they contain when giving the actual
experiences of the regiments themselves, they also embody a great
deal of mere gossip. As a rule, their value is confined to what
strictly belongs to the regiment; and the criticisms, whether of
other organizations or of commanders, are likely to be the
expression of the local and temporary prejudices and misconceptions
which are notoriously current in time of war. They need to be read
with due allowance for this. The volume referred to is a favorable
example of its class, but its references to the Kanawha division
(which was in the Ninth Corps only a month) illustrate the tendency
I have mentioned. It should be borne in mind that the Kanawha men
had the position of advance-guard, and I believe did not camp in the
neighborhood of the other divisions in a single instance from the
time we left Leesboro till the battle of South Mountain. What is
said of them, therefore, is not from observation. The incident
between Reno and Hayes occurred in the camp of the latter, and could
not possibly be known to the author of the regimental history but by
hearsay. Yet he affirms as a fact that the Kanawha division
"plundered the country unmercifully," for which Reno "took
Lieutenant-Colonel Hayes severely though justly to task." He also
asserts that the division set a "very bad example" in straggling. As
to this, the truth is as I have circumstantially stated it above. He
has still further indulged in a "slant" at the "Ohioans" in a story
of dead Confederates being put in a well at South Mountain,--a story
as apocryphal as the others. Wise's house and well were within the
camp of the division to which the Twenty-first Massachusetts
belonged, and the burial party there would have been from that
division. Lastly, the writer says that General Cox, the temporary
corps commander, "robs us [the Twenty-first Massachusetts] of our
dearly bought fame" by naming the Fifty-first New York and
Fifty-first Pennsylvania as the regiments which stormed the bridge
at Antietam. He acquits Burnside and McClellan of the alleged
injustice, saying they "follow the corps report in this respect."
Yet mention is not made of the fact that my report literally copies
that of the division commander, who himself selected the regiments
for the charge! The "Ohioan" had soon gone west again with his
division, and was probably fair game. There is something akin to
provincialism in regimental _esprit de corps_, and such instances as
the above, which are all found within a few pages of the book
referred to, show that, like Leech's famous Staffordshire rough in
the Punch cartoon, to be a "stranger" is a sufficient reason to
"'eave 'arf a brick at un." See letters of President Hayes and
General Crook on the subject, Appendix B.]

From New Market we sent the regiment of cavalry off to the right to
cover our flank, and to investigate reports that heavy bodies of the
enemy's cavalry were north of us. The infantry pushed rapidly toward
Frederick. The opposition was very slight till we reached the
Monocacy River, which is perhaps half a mile from the town. Here
General Wade Hampton, with his brigade as rear-guard of Lee's army,
attempted to resist the crossing. The highway crosses the river by a
substantial stone bridge, and the ground upon our bank was
considerably higher than that on the other side. We engaged the
artillery of the enemy with a battery of our own, which had the
advantage of position, whilst the infantry forced the crossing both
by the bridge and by a ford a quarter of a mile to the right. As
soon as Moor's brigade was over, it was deployed on the right and
left of the turnpike, which was bordered on either side by a high
and strong post-and-rail fence. Scammon's was soon over, and
similarly deployed as a second line, with the Eleventh Ohio in
column in the road. Moor had with him a troop of horse and a single
cannon, and went forward with the first line, allowing it to keep
abreast of him on right and left. I also rode on the turnpike
between the two lines, and only a few rods behind Moor, having with
me my staff and a few orderlies. Reno was upon the other bank of the
river, overlooking the movement, which made a fine military display
as the lines advanced at quick-step toward the city. Hampton's
horsemen had passed out of our sight, for the straight causeway
turned sharply to the left just as it entered the town, and we could
not see beyond the turn. We were perhaps a quarter of a mile from
the city, when a young staff officer from corps headquarters rode up
beside me and exclaimed in a boisterous way, "Why don't they go in
faster? There's nothing there!" I said to the young man, "Did
General Reno send you with any order to me?" "No," he replied.
"Then," said I, "when I want your advice I will ask it." He moved
off abashed, and I did not notice what had become of him, but, in
fact, he rode up to Colonel Moor, and repeated a similar speech.
Moor was stung by the impertinence which he assumed to be a
criticism upon him from corps headquarters, and, to my amazement, I
saw him suddenly dash ahead at a gallop with his escort and the gun.
He soon came to the turn of the road where it loses itself among the
houses; there was a quick, sharp rattling of carbines, and Hampton's
cavalry was atop of the little party. There was one discharge of the
cannon, and some of the brigade staff and escort came back in
disorder. I ordered up at "double quick" the Eleventh Ohio, which,
as I have said, was in column in the road, and these, with bayonets
fixed, dashed into the town. The enemy had not waited for them, but
retreated out of the place by the Hagerstown road. Moor had been
ridden down, unhorsed, and captured. The artillery-men had
unlimbered the gun, pointed it, and the gunner stood with the
lanyard in his hand, when he was struck by a charging horse; the gun
was fired by the concussion, but at the same moment it was capsized
into the ditch by the impact of the cavalry column. The enemy had no
time to right the gun or carry it off, nor to stop for prisoners.
They forced Moor on another horse, and turned tail as the charging
lines of infantry came up on right and left as well as the column in
the road, for there had not been a moment's pause in the advance. It
had all happened, and the gun with a few dead and wounded of both
sides were in our hands, in less time than it has taken to describe
it. Those who may have a fancy for learning how Munchausen would
tell this story, may find it in the narrative of Major Heros von
Borke of J. E. B. Stuart's staff. [Footnote: Von Borke's account is
so good an example of the way in which romance may be built up out
of a little fact that I give it in full. The burning of the stone
bridge half a mile in rear of the little affair was a peculiarly
brilliant idea; but he has evidently confused our advance with that
on the Urbana road. He says: "Toward evening the enemy arrived in
the immediate neighborhood of Monocacy bridge, and observing only a
small force at this point, advanced very carelessly. A six-pounder
gun had been placed in position by them at a very short distance
from the bridge, which fired from time to time a shot at our
horsemen, while the foremost regiment marched along at their ease,
as if they believed this small body of cavalry would soon wheel in
flight. This favorable moment for an attack was seized in splendid
style by Major Butler, who commanded the two squadrons of the Second
South Carolina Cavalry, stationed at this point as our rear-guard.
Like lightning he darted across the bridge, taking the piece of
artillery, which had scarcely an opportunity of firing a shot, and
falling upon the regiment of infantry, which was dispersed in a few
seconds, many of them being shot down, and many others, among whom
was the colonel in command, captured. The colors of the regiment
also fell into Major Butler's hands. The piece of artillery, in the
hurry of the moment, could not be brought over to our side of the
river, as the enemy instantly sent forward a large body of cavalry
at a gallop, and our dashing men had only time to spike it and trot
with their prisoners across the bridge, which, having been already
fully prepared for burning, was in a blaze when the infuriated
Yankees arrived at the water's edge. The conflagration of the bridge
of course checked their onward movement, and we quietly continued
the retreat." Von Borke, vol. i. p. 203. Stuart's report is very
nearly accurate: Official Records, vol. xix. pt. i. p. 816.] Moor's
capture, however, had consequences, as we shall see. The command of
his brigade passed to Colonel George Crook of the Thirty-sixth Ohio.

Frederick was a loyal city, and as Hampton's cavalry went out at one
end of the street and our infantry came in at the other, and whilst
the carbine smoke and the smell of powder still lingered, the closed
window-shutters of the houses flew open, the sashes went up, the
windows were filled with ladies waving their handkerchiefs and
national flags, whilst the men came to the column with fruits and
refreshments for the marching soldiers as they went by in the hot
sunshine of the September afternoon. [Footnote: Although at the head
of the column, the "truth of history" compels me to say that I saw
nothing of Barbara Frietchie, and heard nothing of her till I read
Whittier's poem in later years. When, however, I visited Frederick
with General Grant in 1869, we were both presented with
walking-sticks made from timbers of Barbara's house which had been
torn down, and, of course, I cannot dispute the story of which I
have the stick as evidence; for Grant thought the stick shut me up
from any denial and established the legend.] Pleasonton's cavalry
came in soon after by the Urbana road, and during the evening a
large part of the army drew near the place. Next morning (13th) the
cavalry went forward to reconnoitre the passes of Catoctin Mountain,
Rodman's division of our corps being ordered to support them and to
proceed toward Middletown in the Catoctin valley. Through some
misunderstanding Rodman took the road to Jefferson, leading to the
left, where Franklin's corps was moving, and did not get upon the
Hagerstown road. About noon I was ordered to march upon the latter
road to Middletown. McClellan himself met me as my column moved out
of town, and told me of the misunderstanding in Rodman's orders,
adding that if I found him on the march I should take his division
also along with me. [Footnote: As is usual in such cases, the
direction was later put in writing by his chief of staff. Official
Records, vol. li. pt. i. p. 827.] I did not meet him, but the other
two divisions of the corps crossed Catoctin Mountain that night,
whilst Rodman returned to Frederick. The Kanawha division made an
easy march, and as the cavalry was now ahead of us, met no
opposition in crossing Catoctin Mountain or in the valley beyond. On
the way we passed a house belonging to a branch of the Washington
family, and a few officers of the division accompanied me, at the
invitation of the occupant, to look at some relics of the Father of
his Country which were preserved there. We stood for some minutes
with uncovered heads before a case containing a uniform he had worn,
and other articles of personal use hallowed by their association
with him, and went on our way with our zeal strengthened by closer
contact with souvenirs of the great patriot. Willcox's division
followed us, and encamped a mile and a half east of Middletown.
Sturgis's halted not far from the western foot of the mountain, with
corps headquarters near by. My own camp for the night was pitched in
front (west) of the village of Middletown along Catoctin Creek.
Pleasonton's cavalry was a little in advance of us, at the forks of
the road where the old Sharpsburg road turns off to the left from
the turnpike. The rest of the army was camped about Frederick,
except Franklin's corps (Sixth), which was near Jefferson, ten miles
further south but also east of Catoctin Mountain.

The Catoctin or Middletown valley is beautifully included between
Catoctin Mountain and South Mountain, two ranges of the Blue Ridge,
running northeast and southwest. It is six or eight miles wide,
watered by Catoctin Creek, which winds southward among rich farms
and enters the Potomac near Point of Rocks. The National road
leaving Frederick passes through Middletown and crosses South
Mountain, as it goes northwestward, at a depression called Turner's
Gap. The old Sharpsburg road crosses the summit at another gap,
known as Fox's, about a mile south of Turner's. Still another, the
old Hagerstown road, finds a passage over the ridge at about an
equal distance north. The National road, being of easier grades and
better engineering, was now the principal route, the others having
degenerated to rough country roads. The mountain crests are from ten
to thirteen hundred feet above the Catoctin valley, and the "gaps"
are from two to three hundred feet lower than the summits near them.
[Footnote: These elevations are from the official map of the U.S.
Engineers.] These summits are like scattered and irregular hills
upon the high rounded surface of the mountain top. They are wooded,
but along the southeasterly slopes, quite near the top of the
mountain, are small farms, with meadows and cultivated fields.

The military situation had been cleared up by the knowledge of Lee's
movements which McClellan got from a copy of Lee's order of the day
for the both. This had been found at Frederick on the 13th, and it
tallied so well with what was otherwise known that no doubt was left
as to its authenticity. It showed that Jackson's corps with Walker's
division were besieging Harper's Ferry on the Virginia side of the
Potomac, whilst McLaws's division supported by Anderson's was
co-operating on Maryland Heights. [Footnote: Official Records, vol.
xix. pt. ii. pp. 281, 603.] Longstreet, with the remainder of his
corps, was at Boonsboro or near Hagerstown. D. H. Hill's division
was the rear-guard, and the cavalry under Stuart covered the whole,
a detached squadron being with Longstreet, Jackson, and McLaws each.
The order did not name the three separate divisions in Jackson's
command proper (exclusive of Walker), nor those remaining with
Longstreet except D. H. Hill's; but it is hardly conceivable that
these were not known to McClellan after his own and Pope's contact
with them during the campaigns of the spring and summer. At any
rate, the order showed that Lee's army was in two parts, separated
by the Potomac and thirty or forty miles of road. As soon as Jackson
should reduce Harper's Ferry they would reunite. Friday the 12th was
the day fixed for the concentration of Jackson's force for his
attack, and it was Saturday when the order fell into McClellan's
hands. Three days had already been lost in the slow advance since
Lee had crossed Catoctin Mountain, and Jackson's artillery was now
heard pounding at the camp and earthworks of Harper's Ferry. McLaws
had already driven our forces from Maryland Heights, and had opened
upon the ferry with his guns in commanding position on the north of
the Potomac. [Footnote: _Id_., p. 607.] McClellan telegraphed to the
President that he would catch the rebels "in their own trap if my
men are equal to the emergency." [Footnote: Official Records, vol.
xix. pt. ii. p. 281.] There was certainly no time to lose. The
information was in his hands before noon, for he refers to it in a
dispatch to Mr. Lincoln at twelve. If his men had been ordered to be
at the top of South Mountain before dark, they could have been
there; but less than one full corps passed Catoctin Mountain that
day or night, and when the leisurely movement of the 14th began, he
himself, instead of being with the advance, was in Frederick till
after 2 P.M., at which hour he sent a dispatch to Washington, and
then rode to the front ten or twelve miles away. The failure to be
"equal to the emergency" was not in his men. Twenty-four hours, as
it turned out, was the whole difference between saving and losing
Harper's Ferry with its ten or twelve thousand men and its
unestimated munitions and stores. It may be that the commanders of
the garrison were in fault, and that a more stubborn resistance
should have been made. It may be that Halleck ought to have ordered
the place to be evacuated earlier, as McClellan suggested.
Nevertheless, at noon of the 13th McClellan had it in his power to
save the place and interpose his army between the two wings, of the
Confederates with decisive effect on the campaign. He saw that it
was an "emergency," but did not call upon his men for any
extraordinary exertion. Harper's. Ferry surrendered, and Lee united
the wings of his army beyond the Antietam before the final and
general engagement was forced upon him.

At my camp in front of Middletown, I received no orders looking to a
general advance on the 14th; but only to support, by a detachment,
Pleasonton's cavalry in a reconnoissance toward Turner's Gap.
Pleasonton himself came to my tent in the evening, and asked that
one brigade might report to him in the morning for the purpose. Six
o'clock was the hour at which he wished them to march. He said
further that he and Colonel Crook were old army acquaintances and
that he would like Crook to have the detail. I wished to please him,
and not thinking that it would make any difference to my brigade
commanders, intimated that I would do so. But Colonel Scammon,
learning what was intended, protested that under our custom his
brigade was entitled to the advance next day, as the brigades had
taken it in turn. I explained that it was only as a courtesy to
Pleasonton and at his request that the change was proposed. This did
not better the matter in Scammon's opinion. He had been himself a
regular officer, and the point of professional honor touched him. I
recognized the justice of his demand, and said he should have the
duty if he insisted upon it. Pleasonton was still in the camp
visiting with Colonel Crook, and I explained to him the reasons why
I could not yield to his wish, but must assign Scammon's brigade to
the duty in conformity with the usual course. There was in fact no
reason except the personal one for choosing one brigade more than
the other, for they were equally good. Crook took the decision in
good part, though it was natural that he should wish for an
opportunity of distinguished service, as he had not been the regular
commandant of the brigade. Pleasonton was a little chafed, and even
intimated that he claimed some right to name the officer and command
to be detailed. This, of course, I could not admit, and issued the
formal orders at once. The little controversy had put Scammon and
his whole brigade upon their mettle, and was a case in which a
generous emulation did no harm. What happened in the morning only
increased their spirit and prepared them the better to perform what
I have always regarded as a very brilliant exploit.

[Illustration: Map: South Mountain ]

The morning of Sunday the 14th of September was a bright one. I had
my breakfast very early and was in the saddle before it was time for
Scammon to move. He was prompt, and I rode on with him to see in
what way his support was likely to be used. Two of the Ninth Corps
batteries (Gibson's and Benjamin's) had accompanied the cavalry, and
one of these was a heavy one of twenty-pounder Parrotts. They were
placed upon a knoll a little in front of the cavalry camp, about
half a mile beyond the forks of the old Sharpsburg road with the
turnpike. They were exchanging shots with a battery of the enemy
well up in the gap. Just as Scammon and I crossed Catoctin Creek I
was surprised to see Colonel Moor standing at the roadside. With
astonishment I rode to him and asked how he came there. He said that
he had been taken beyond the mountain after his capture, but had
been paroled the evening before, and was now finding his way back to
us on foot. "But where are _you_ going?" said he. I answered that
Scammon was going to support Pleasonton in a reconnoissance into the
gap. Moor made an involuntary start, saying, "My God! be careful!"
then checking himself, added, "But I am paroled!" and turned away. I
galloped to Scammon and told him that I should follow him in close
support with Crook's brigade, and as I went back along the column I
spoke to each regimental commander, warning them to be prepared for
anything, big or little,--it might be a skirmish, it might be a
battle. Hurrying to camp, I ordered Crook to turn out his brigade
and march at once. I then wrote a dispatch to General Reno, saying I
suspected we should find the enemy in force on the mountain top, and
should go forward with both brigades instead of sending one.
Starting a courier with this, I rode forward again and found
Pleasonton. Scammon had given him an inkling of our suspicions, and
in the personal interview they had reached a mutual good
understanding. I found that he was convinced that it would be unwise
to make an attack in front, and had determined that his horsemen
should merely demonstrate upon the main road and support the
batteries, whilst Scammon should march by the old Sharpsburg road
and try to reach the flank of the force on the summit. I told him
that in view of my fear that the force of the enemy might be too
great for Scammon, I had determined to bring forward Crook's brigade
in support. If it became necessary to fight with the whole division,
I should do so, and in that case I should assume the responsibility
myself as his senior officer. To this he cordially assented.

One section of McMullin's six-gun battery was all that went forward
with Scammon (and even these not till the infantry reached the
summit), four guns being left behind, as the road was rough and
steep. There were in Simmonds's battery two twenty-pounder Parrott
guns, and I ordered these also to remain on the turnpike and to go
into action with Benjamin's battery of the same calibre. It was
about half-past seven when Crook's head of column filed off from the
turnpike upon the old Sharpsburg road, and Scammon had perhaps half
an hour's start. We had fully two miles to go before we should reach
the place where our attack was actually made, and as it was a pretty
sharp ascent the men marched slowly with frequent rests. On our way
up we were overtaken by my courier who had returned from General
Reno with approval of my action and the assurance that the rest of
the Ninth Corps would come forward to my support.

When Scammon had got within half a mile of Fox's Gap (the summit of
the old Sharpsburg road), [Footnote: The Sharpsburg road is also
called the Braddock road, as it was the way by which Braddock and
Washington had marched to Fort Duquesne (Pittsburg) in the old
French war. For the same reason the gap is called Braddock's Gap. I
have adopted that which seems to be in most common local use.] the
enemy opened upon him with case-shot from the edge of the timber
above the open fields, and he had judiciously turned off upon a
country road leading still further to the left, and nearly parallel
to the ridge above. His movement had been made under cover of the
forest, and he had reached the extreme southern limit of the open
fields south of the gap on this face of the mountain. Here I
overtook him, his brigade being formed in line under cover of the
timber, facing open pasture fields having a stone wall along the
upper side, with the forest again beyond this. On his left was the
Twenty-third Ohio under Lieutenant-Colonel R. B. Hayes, who had been
directed to keep in the woods beyond the open, and to strike if
possible the flank of the enemy. His centre was the Twelfth Ohio
under Colonel Carr B. White, whose duty was to attack the stone wall
in front, charging over the broad open fields. On the right was the
Thirtieth Ohio, Colonel Hugh Ewing, who was ordered to advance
against a battery on the crest which kept up a rapid and annoying
fire. It was now about nine o'clock, and Crook's column had come
into close support. Bayonets were fixed, and at the word the line
rushed forward with loud hurrahs. Hayes, being in the woods, was not
seen till he had passed over the crest and turned upon the enemy's
flank and rear. Here was a sharp combat, but our men established
themselves upon the summit and drove the enemy before them. White
and Ewing charged over the open under a destructive fire of musketry
and shrapnel. As Ewing approached the enemy's battery (Bondurant's),
it gave him a parting salvo, and limbered rapidly toward the right
along a road in the edge of the woods which follows the summit to
the turnpike near the Mountain House at Turner's Gap. White's men
never flinched, and the North Carolinians of Garland's brigade (for
it was they who held the ridge at this point) poured in their fire
till the advancing line of bayonets was in their faces when they
broke away from the wall. Our men fell fast, but they kept up their
pace, and the enemy's centre was broken by a heroic charge. Garland
strove hard to rally his men, but his brigade was hopelessly broken
in two. He rallied his right wing on the second ridge a little in
rear of that part of his line, but Hayes's regiment was here pushing
forward from our left. Colonel Ruffin of the Thirteenth North
Carolina held on to the ridge road beyond our right, near Fox's Gap.
The fighting was now wholly in the woods, and though the enemy's
centre was routed there was stubborn resistance on both flanks. His
cavalry dismounted (said to be under Colonel Rosser [Footnote:
Stuart's Report, Official Records, vol. xix. pt. i. p. 817.] ) was
found to extend beyond Hayes's line, and supported the Stuart
artillery, which poured canister into our advancing troops. I now
ordered Crook to send the Eleventh Ohio (under Lieutenant-Colonel
Coleman) beyond Hayes's left to extend our line in that direction,
and to direct the Thirty-sixth Ohio (Lieutenant-Colonel Clark) to
fill a gap between the Twelfth and Thirtieth caused by diverging
lines of advance. The only remaining regiment (the Twenty-eighth,
Lieutenant-Colonel Becker) was held in reserve on the right. The
Thirty-sixth aided by the Twelfth repulsed a stout effort of the
enemy to re-establish their centre. The whole line again sprung
forward. A high knoll on our left was carried. The dismounted
cavalry was forced to retreat with their battery across the ravine
in which the Sharpsburg road descends on the west of the mountain,
and took a new position on a separate hill in rear of the heights at
the Mountain House. There was considerable open ground at this new
position, from which their battery had full play at a range of about
twelve hundred yards upon the ridge held by us. But the Eleventh and
Twenty-third stuck stoutly to the hill which Hayes had first
carried, and their line was nearly parallel to the Sharpsburg road,
facing north. Garland had rushed to the right of his brigade to
rally them when they had broken before the onset of the Twenty-third
Ohio upon the flank, and in the desperate contest there he had been
killed and the disaster to his command made irreparable. On our side
Colonel Hayes had also been disabled by a severe wound as he
gallantly led the Ohio regiment.

I now directed the centre and right to push forward toward Fox's
Gap. Lieutenant Croome with a section of McMullin's battery had come
up, and he put his guns in action in the most gallant manner in the
open ground near Wise's house. The Thirtieth and Thirty-sixth
changed front to the right and attacked the remnant of Garland's
brigade, now commanded by Colonel McRae, and drove it and two
regiments from G. B. Anderson's brigade back upon the wooded hill
beyond Wise's farm at Fox's Gap. The whole of Anderson's brigade
retreated further along the crest toward the Mountain House.
Meanwhile the Twelfth Ohio, also changing front, had thridded its
way in the same direction through laurel thickets on the reverse
slope of the mountain, and attacking suddenly the force at Wise's as
the other two regiments charged it in front, completed the rout and
brought off two hundred prisoners. Bondurant's battery was again
driven hurriedly off to the north. But the hollow at the gap about
Wise's was no place to stay. It was open ground and was swept by the
batteries of the cavalry on the open hill to the northwest, and by
those of Hill's division about the Mountain House and upon the
highlands north of the National road; for those hills run forward
like a bastion and give a perfect flanking fire along our part of
the mountain. The gallant Croome with a number of his gunners had
been killed, and his guns were brought back into the shelter of the
woods, on the hither side of Wise's fields. The infantry of the
right wing was brought to the same position, and our lines were
reformed along the curving crests from that point which looks down
into the gap and the Sharpsburg road, toward the left. The extreme
right with Croome's two guns was held by the Thirtieth, with the
Twenty-eighth in second line. Next came the Twelfth, with the
Thirty-sixth in second line, the front curving toward the west with
the form of the mountain summit. The left of the Twelfth dipped a
little into a hollow, beyond which the Twenty-third and Eleventh
occupied the next hill facing toward the Sharpsburg road. Our front
was hollow, for the two wings were nearly at right angles to each
other; but the flanks were strongly placed, the right, which was
most exposed, having open ground in front which it could sweep with
its fire and having the reserve regiments closely supporting it.
Part of Simmonds's battery which had also come up had done good
service in the last combats, and was now disposed so as to check the
fire of the enemy.

It was time to rest. Three hours of up-hill marching and climbing
had been followed by as long a period of bloody battle, and it was
almost noon. The troops began to feel the exhaustion of such labor
and struggle. We had several hundred prisoners in our hands, and the
field was thickly strewn with dead, in gray and in blue, while our
field hospital a little down the mountain side was encumbered with
hundreds of wounded. We learned from our prisoners that the summit
was held by D. H. Hill's division of five brigades with Stuart's
cavalry, and that Longstreet's corps was in close support. I was
momentarily expecting to hear from the supporting divisions of the
Ninth Corps, and thought it the part of wisdom to hold fast to our
strong position astride of the mountain top commanding the
Sharpsburg road till our force should be increased. The two Kanawha
brigades had certainly won a glorious victory, and had made so
assured a success of the day's work that it would be folly to
imperil it. [Footnote: For Official Records, see Official Records,
vol. xix. pt. i. pp. 458-474.]

General Hill has since argued that only part of his division could
oppose us; [Footnote: Century War Book, vol. ii. pp. 559, etc.] but
his brigades were all on the mountain summit within easy support of
each other, and they had the day before them. It was five hours from
the time of our first charge to the arrival of our first supports,
and it was not till three o'clock in the afternoon that Hooker's
corps reached the eastern base of the mountain and began its
deployment north of the National road. Our effort was to attack the
weak end of his line, and we succeeded in putting a stronger force
there than that which opposed us. It is for our opponent to explain
how we were permitted to do it. The two brigades of the Kanawha
division numbered less than 3000 men. Hill's division was 5000
strong, [Footnote: Official Records, vol. xix. pt. i. p. 1025.] even
by the Confederate method of counting their effectives, which should
be increased nearly one-fifth to compare properly with our reports.
In addition to these Stuart had the principal part of the
Confederate cavalry on this line, and they were not idle spectators.
Parts of Lee's and Hampton's brigades were certainly there, and
probably the whole of Lee's. [Footnote: _Id_., p. 819.] With less
than half the numerical strength which was opposed to it, therefore,
the Kanawha division had carried the summit, advancing to the charge
for the most part over open ground in the storm of musketry and
artillery fire, and held the crests they had gained through the
livelong day, in spite of all efforts to retake them.

In our mountain camps of West Virginia I had felt discontented that
our native Ohio regiments did not take as kindly to the labors of
drill and camp police as some of German birth, and I had warned them
that they would feel the need of accuracy and mechanical precision
when the day of battle came. They had done reasonably well, but
suffered in comparison with some of the others on dress parade and
in the form and neatness of the camp. When, however, on the slopes
of South Mountain I saw the lines go forward steadier and more even
under fire than they ever had done at drill, their intelligence
making them perfectly comprehend the advantage of unity in their
effort and in the shock when they met the foe--when their bodies
seemed to dilate, their step to have better cadence and a tread as
of giants as they went cheering up the hill,--I took back all my
criticisms and felt a pride and glory in them as soldiers and
comrades that words cannot express.

It was about noon that the lull in the battle occurred, and it
lasted a couple of hours, while reinforcements were approaching the
mountain top from both sides. The enemy's artillery kept up a pretty
steady fire, answered occasionally by our few cannon; but the
infantry rested on their arms, the front covered by a watchful line
of skirmishers, every man at his tree. The Confederate guns had so
perfectly the range of the sloping fields about and behind us, that
their canister shot made long furrows in the sod with a noise like
the cutting of a melon rind, and the shells which skimmed the crest
and burst in the tree-tops at the lower side of the fields made a
sound like the crashing and falling of some brittle substance,
instead of the tough fibre of oak and pine. We had time to notice
these things as we paced the lines waiting for the renewal of the

Willcox's division reported to me about two o'clock, and would have
been up earlier, but for a mistake in the delivery of a message to
him. He had sent from Middletown to ask me where I desired him to
come, and finding that the messenger had no clear idea of the roads
by which he had travelled, I directed him to say that General
Pleasonton would point out the road I had followed, if inquired of.
Willcox understood the messenger that I wished him to inquire of
Pleasonton where he had better put his division in, and on doing so,
the latter suggested that he move against the crests on the north of
the National road. He was preparing to do this when Burnside and
Reno came up and corrected the movement, recalling him from the
north and sending him by the old Sharpsburg road to my position. As
his head of column came up, Longstreet's corps was already forming
with its right outflanking my left. I sent two regiments [Footnote:
In my official report I said one regiment, but General Willcox
reported that he sent two, and he is doubtless right. For his
official report, see Official Records, vol. xix. pt. ii. p. 428.] to
extend my left, and requested Willcox to form the rest of the
division on my right facing the summit. He was doing this when he
received an order from General Reno to take position overlooking the
National road facing northward. [Footnote: _Ibid_.] I can hardly
think the order could have been intended to effect this, as the
turnpike is deep between the hills there, and the enemy quite
distant on the other side of the gorge. But Willcox, obeying the
order as he received it, formed along the Sharpsburg road, his left
next to my right, but his line drawn back nearly at right angles to
it. He placed Cook's battery in the angle, and this opened a rapid
fire on one of the enemy's which was on the bastion-like hill north
of the gorge already mentioned. Longstreet's men were now pretty
well up, and pushed a battery forward to the edge of the timber
beyond Wise's farm, and opened upon Willcox's line, enfilading it
badly. There was a momentary break there, but Willcox was able to
check the confusion, and to reform his lines facing westward as I
had originally directed; Welch's brigade was on my right, closely
supporting Cook's battery and Christ's beyond it. The general line
of Willcox's division was at the eastern edge of the wood looking
into the open ground at Fox's Gap, on the north side of the
Sharpsburg road. A warm skirmishing fight was continued along the
whole of our line, our purpose being to hold fast my extreme left
which was well advanced upon and over the mountain crest, and to
swing the right up to the continuation of the same line of hills
near the Mountain House.

At nearly four o'clock the head of Sturgis's column approached.
[Footnote: Sturgis's Report, _Id_., pt. i. p. 443.] McClellan had
arrived on the field, and he with Burnside and Reno was at
Pleasonton's position at the knoll in the valley, and from that
point, a central one in the midst of the curving hills, they issued
their orders. They could see the firing of the enemy's battery from
the woods beyond the open ground in front of Willcox, and sent
orders to him to take or silence those guns at all hazards. He was
preparing to advance, when the Confederates anticipated him (for
their formation had now been completed) and came charging out of the
woods across the open fields. It was part of their general advance
and their most determined effort to drive us from the summit we had
gained in the morning. The brigades of Hood, Whiting, Drayton, and
D. R. Jones in addition to Hill's division (eight brigades in all)
joined in the attack on our side of the National road, batteries
being put in every available position. [Footnote: Longstreet's
Report, Official Records, vol. xix. pt. i. p. 839.] The fight raged
fiercely along the whole front, but the bloodiest struggle was
around Wise's house, where Drayton's brigade assaulted my right and
Willcox's left, coming across the open ground. Here the Sharpsburg
road curves around the hill held by us so that for a little way it
was parallel to our position. As the enemy came down the hill
forming the other side of the gap, across the road and up again to
our line, they were met by so withering a fire that they were
checked quickly, and even drifted more to the right where their
descent was continuous. Here Willcox's line volleyed into them a
destructive fire, followed by a charge that swept them in confusion
back along the road, where the men of the Kanawha division took up
the attack and completed their rout. Willcox succeeded in getting a
foothold on the further side of the open ground and driving off the
artillery which was there. Along our centre and left where the
forest was thick, the enemy was equally repulsed, but the cover of
the timber enabled them to keep a footing near by, whilst they
continually tried to extend so as to outflank us, moving their
troops along a road which goes diagonally down that side of the
mountain from Turner's Gap to Rohrersville. The batteries on the
north of the National road had been annoying to Willcox's men as
they advanced, but Sturgis sent forward Durell's battery from his
division as soon as he came up, and this gave special attention to
these hostile guns, diverting their fire from the infantry. Hooker's
men, of the First Corps, were also by this time pushing up the
mountain on that side of the turnpike, and we were not again
troubled by artillery on our right flank.

It was nearly five o'clock when the enemy had disappeared in the
woods beyond Fox's Gap and Willcox could reform his shattered lines.
As the easiest mode of getting Sturgis's fresh men into position,
Willcox made room on his left for Ferrero's brigade supported by
Nagle's, doubling also his lines at the extreme right. Rodman's
division, the last of the corps, now began to reach the summit, and
as the report came from the extreme left that the enemy was
stretching beyond our flank, I sent Fairchild's brigade to assist
our men there, whilst Rodman took Harland's to the support of
Willcox. A staff officer now brought word that McClellan directed
the whole line to advance. At the left this could only mean to clear
our front decisively of the enemy there, for the slopes went
steadily down to the Rohrersville road. At the centre and right,
whilst we held Fox's Gap, the high and rocky summit at the Mountain
House was still in the enemy's possession. The order came to me as
senior officer upon the line, and the signal was given. On the left
Longstreet's men were pushed down the mountain side beyond the
Rohrersville and Sharpsburg roads, and the contest there was ended.
The two hills between the latter road and the turnpike were still
held by the enemy, and the further one could not be reached till the
Mountain House should be in our hands. Sturgis and Willcox,
supported by Rodman, again pushed forward, but whilst they made
progress they were baffled by a stubborn and concentrated

Reno had followed Rodman's division up the mountain, and came to me
a little before sunset, anxious to know why the right could not get
forward quite to the summit. I explained that the ground there was
very rough and rocky, a fortress in itself and evidently very
strongly held. He passed on to Sturgis, and it seemed to me he was
hardly gone before he was brought back upon a stretcher, dead. He
had gone to the skirmish line to examine for himself the situation,
and had been shot down by the enemy posted among the rocks and
trees. There was more or less firing on that part of the field till
late in the evening, but when morning dawned the Confederates had
abandoned the last foothold above Turner's Gap and retreated by way
of Boonsboro to Sharpsburg. The casualties in the Ninth Corps had
been 889, of which 356 were in the Kanawha division. Some 600 of the
enemy were captured by my division and sent to the rear under guard.

On the north of the National road the First Corps under Hooker had
been opposed by one of Hill's brigades and four of Longstreet's, and
had gradually worked its way along the old Hagerstown road, crowning
the heights in that direction after dark in the evening. Gibbon's
brigade had also advanced in the National road, crowding up quite
close to Turner's Gap and engaging the enemy in a lively combat. It
is not my purpose to give a detailed history of events which did not
come under my own eye. It is due to General Burnside, however, to
note Hooker's conduct toward his immediate superior and his
characteristic efforts to grasp all the glory of the battle at the
expense of truth and of honorable dealing with his commander and his
comrades. Hooker's official report for the battle of South Mountain
was dated at Washington, November 17th, when Burnside was in command
of the Army of the Potomac, and when the intrigues of the former to
obtain the command for himself were notorious and near their final
success. In it he studiously avoided any recognition of orders or
directions received from Burnside, and ignores his staff, whilst he
assumes that his orders came directly from McClellan and compliments
the staff officers of the latter, as if they had been the only means
of communication. This was not only insolent but a military offence,
had Burnside chosen to prosecute it. He also asserts that the troops
on our part of the line had been defeated and were at the turnpike
at the base of the mountain in retreat when he went forward. At the
close of his report, after declaring that "the forcing of the
passage of South Mountain will be classed among the most brilliant
and satisfactory achievements of this army," he adds, "its principal
glory will be awarded to the First Corps." [Footnote: Official
Records, vol. xix. pt. i. pp. 214-215.]

Nothing is more justly odious in military conduct than embodying
slanders against other commands in an official report. It puts into
the official records misrepresentations which cannot be met because
they are unknown, and it is a mere accident if those who know the
truth are able to neutralize their effect. In most cases it will be
too late to counteract the mischief when those most interested learn
of the slanders. All this is well illustrated in the present case.
Hooker's report got on file months after the battle, and it was not
till the January following that Burnside gave it his attention. I
believe that none of the division commanders of the Ninth Corps
learned of it till long afterward. I certainly did not till 1887, a
quarter of a century after the battle, when the volume of the
official records containing it was published. Burnside had asked to
be relieved of the command of the Army of the Potomac after the
battle of Fredericksburg unless Hooker among others was punished for
insubordination. As in the preceding August, the popular sentiment
of that army as an organization was again, in Mr. Lincoln's
estimation, too potent a factor to be opposed, and the result was
the superseding of Burnside by Hooker himself, though the President
declared in the letter accompanying the appointment that the
latter's conduct had been blameworthy. It was under these
circumstances that Burnside learned of the false statements in
Hooker's report of South Mountain, and put upon file his stinging
response to it. His explicit statement of the facts will settle that
question among all who know the reputation of the men, and though
unprincipled ambition was for a time successful, that time was so
short and things were "set even" so soon that the ultimate result is
one that lovers of justice may find comfort in.
[Footnote: The text of Burnside's supplemental report is as

"When I sent in my report of the part taken by my command in the
battle of South Mountain, General Hooker, who commanded one of the
corps of my command (the right wing), had not sent in his report,
but it has since been sent to me. I at first determined to pass over
its inaccuracies as harmless, or rather as harming only their
author; but upon reflection I have felt it my duty to notice two
gross misstatements made with reference to the commands of Generals
Reno and Cox, the former officer having been killed on that day, and
the latter now removed with his command to the West.

"General Hooker says that as he came up to the front, Cox's corps
was retiring from the contest. This is untrue. General Cox did not
command a corps, but a division; and that division was in action,
fighting most gallantly, long before General Hooker came up, and
remained in the action all day, never leaving the field for one
moment. He also says that he discovered that the attack by General
Reno's corps was without sequence. This is also untrue, and when
said of an officer who so nobly fought and died on that same field,
it partakes of something worse than untruthfulness. Every officer
present who knew anything of the battle knows that Reno performed a
most important part in the battle, his corps driving the enemy from
the heights on one side of the main pike, whilst that of General
Hooker drove them from the heights on the other side.

"General Hooker should remember that I had to order him four
separate times to move his command into action, and that I had to
myself order his leading division (Meade's) to start before he would
go." Official Records, vol. xix. pt. i. p. 422.]
The men of the First Corps and its officers did their duty nobly on
that as on many another field, and the only spot on the honor of the
day is made by the personal unscrupulousness and vainglory of its

Franklin's corps had attacked and carried the ridge about five miles
further south, at Crampton's Gap, where the pass had been so
stubbornly defended by Mahone's and Cobb's brigades with artillery
and a detachment of Hampton's cavalry as to cause considerable loss
to our troops. The principal fighting was at a stone wall near the
eastern base of the mountain, and when the enemy was routed from
this position, he made no successful rally and the summit was gained
without much more fighting. The attack at the stone wall not far
from Burkettsville was made at about three o'clock in the afternoon.
The Sixth Corps rested upon the summit at night.



Lee's plan of invasion--Changed by McClellan's advance--The position
at Sharpsburg--Our routes of march--At the Antietam--McClellan
reconnoitring--Lee striving to concentrate--Our delays--Tuesday's
quiet--Hooker's evening march--The Ninth Corps command--Changing our
positions--McClellan's plan of battle--Hooker's evening
skirmish--Mansfield goes to support Hooker--Confederate
positions--Jackson arrives--McLaws and Walker reach the field--Their

Before morning on the 15th of September it became evident that Lee
had used the night in withdrawing his army. An advance of the
pickets at daybreak confirmed this, and Pleasonton's cavalry was
pushed forward to Boonsboro, where they had a brisk skirmish with
the enemy's rear-guard. At Boonsboro a turnpike to Sharpsburg leaves
the National road, and the retreat of the Confederate cavalry, as
well as other indications, pointed out the Sharpsburg road as the
line of Lee's retreat. He had abandoned his plan of moving further
northward, and had chosen a line bringing him into surer
communication with Jackson. His movements before the battle of South
Mountain revealed a purpose of invasion identical with that which he
tried to carry out in 1863 in the Gettysburg campaign. Longstreet,
with two divisions and a brigade (D. R. Jones, Hood, and Evans), had
advanced to Hagerstown, and it seems that a large part of the
Confederate trains reached there also. D. H. Hill's division held
Boonsboro and the passes of South Mountain at Turner's and Fox's
Gaps. McLaws invested our fortifications on Maryland Heights,
supported by R. H. Anderson's division. Jackson, with four divisions
(A. P. Hill, Ewell, and Starke of his own corps, with Walker
temporarily reporting to him), was besieging Harper's Ferry.

On Saturday, the 13th, Lee determined to draw back Longstreet from
his advanced position, in view of the fact that Jackson had not yet
reduced Harper's Ferry and that McClellan was marching to its
relief. Longstreet's divisions therefore approached Boonsboro so as
to support D. H. Hill, and thus it happened that they took part in
the battle of South Mountain. Hill again occupied the summit where
we found him on the 14th. From all this it is very plain that if
McClellan had hastened his advance on the 13th, the passes of South
Mountain at Turner's and Fox's gaps would not have been occupied in
force by the enemy, and the condition of things would have been what
he believed it was on the morning of the 14th, when a single brigade
had been thought enough to support Pleasonton's reconnoissance.
Twenty-four hours had changed all that.

The turnpike from Boonsboro to Sharpsburg continues southward a
couple of miles, crossing the Potomac to Shepherdstown, which lies
on the Virginia side of the river. A bridge which formerly carried
the road over the stream had been burned; but not far below the
ruined piers was a ford, which was a pretty good one in the present
stage of water. Shepherdstown was the natural place of junction for
Lee and Jackson; but for Lee to have marched there at once would
have exposed Jackson to attack from the northern side of the
Potomac. The precious stores and supplies captured at Harper's Ferry
must be got to a place of safety, and this was likely to delay
Jackson a day or two. Lee therefore ordered McLaws to obstruct
Franklin's movement as much as he could, whilst he himself
concentrated the rest of Longstreet's corps at Sharpsburg, behind
the Antietam. If McClellan's force should prove overwhelming, the
past experience of the Confederate general encouraged him to believe
that our advance would not be so enterprising that he could not make
a safe retreat into Virginia. He resolved therefore to halt at
Sharpsburg, which offered an excellent field for a defensive battle,
leaving himself free to resume his aggressive campaign or to retreat
into Virginia according to the result.

McClellan had ordered Richardson's division of the Second Corps to
support the cavalry in the advance, and Hooker's corps followed
Richardson. [Footnote: Hooker's Report, Official Records, vol. xix.
pt. i. p. 216.] It would seem most natural that the whole of
Sumner's wing should take the advance on the 15th, though the
breaking up of organizations was so much a habit with McClellan that
perhaps it should not be surprising that one of Sumner's divisions
was thus separated from the rest, and that Burnside's right wing was
also divided. [Footnote: We must not forget the fact, however, that
the order dividing the army into wings was suspended on that
morning, and that this gives to the incident the air of an
intentional reduction of the wing commanders to the control of a
single corps. Official Records, vol. xix. pt. ii. p. 297.] The Ninth
Corps was ordered to follow the old Sharpsburg road through Fox's
Gap, our line of march being thus parallel to the others till we
should reach the road from Boonsboro to Sharpsburg.

But we were not put in motion early in the day. We were ordered
first to bury the dead, and to send the wounded and prisoners to
Middletown It was nearly noon when we got orders to march, and when
the head of column filed into the road, the way was blocked by
Porter's corps, which was moving to the front by the same road. As
soon as the way was clear, we followed, leaving a small detachment
to complete the other tasks which had been assigned us. In the
wooded slope of the mountain west of the gap, a good many of the
Confederate dead still lay where they had fallen in the fierce
combats for the possession of the crest near Wise's house. Our road
led through a little hamlet called Springvale, and thence to
another, Porterstown, near the left bank of the Antietam, where it
runs into the Boonsboro and Sharpsburg turnpike. Sumner's two corps
had taken temporary position on either side of the turnpike, behind
the line of hills which there borders the stream. Porter's corps was
massed in rear of Sumner, and Hooker's had been moved off to the
right, around Keedysville. I was with the Kanawha division, assuming
that my temporary command of the corps ended with the battle on the
mountain. As we came up in rear of the troops already assembled, we
received orders to turn off the road to the left, and halted our
battalions closed in mass. It was now about three o'clock in the
afternoon. McClellan, as it seemed, had just reached the field, and
was surrounded by a group of his principal officers, most of whom I
had never seen before. I rode up with General Burnside, dismounted,
and was very cordially greeted by General McClellan. He and Burnside
were evidently on terms of most intimate friendship and familiarity.
He introduced me to the officers I had not known before, referring
pleasantly to my service with him in Ohio and West Virginia, putting
me upon an easy footing with them in a very agreeable and genial

We walked up the slope of the ridge before us, and looking westward
from its crest, the whole field of the coming battle was before us.
Immediately in front the Antietam wound through the hollow, the
hills rising gently on both sides. In the background, on our left,
was the village of Sharpsburg, with fields enclosed by stone fences
in front of it. At its right was a bit of wood (since known as the
West Wood), with the little Dunker Church standing out white and
sharp against it. Farther to the right and left, the scene was
closed in by wooded ridges with open farm lands between, the whole
making as pleasing and prosperous a landscape as can easily be

[Illustration: Map]

We made a large group as we stood upon the hill, and it was not long
before we attracted the enemy's attention. A puff of white smoke
from a knoll on the right of the Sharpsburg road was followed by the
screaming of a shell over our heads. McClellan directed that all but
one or two should retire behind the ridge, while he continued the
reconnoissance, walking slowly to the right. I think Fitz-John
Porter was the only general officer who was retained as a companion
in this walk. I noted with satisfaction the cool and business-like
air with which McClellan made his examination under fire. The
Confederate artillery was answered by a battery of ours, and a
lively cannonade ensued on both sides, though without any noticeable
effect. The enemy's position was revealed, and he was evidently in
force on both sides of the turnpike in front of Sharpsburg, covered
by the undulations of the rolling ground which hid his infantry from
our sight.

The examination of the enemy's position and the discussion of it
continued till near the close of the day. Orders were then given for
the Ninth Corps to move to the left, keeping off the road, which was
occupied by other troops. We moved through fields and farm lands, an
hour's march in the dusk of evening, going into bivouac about a mile
south of the Sharpsburg bridge, and in rear of the hills bordering
the Antietam.

The village of Sharpsburg is in the midst of a plateau which is
almost enclosed by the Potomac River and the Antietam. The Potomac
bounds it on the south and west, and the Antietam on the east. The
plateau in general outline may be considered a parallelogram, four
miles in length from north to south, and two and a half miles in
width inside the bends of the river. The northern side of this
terrain appears the narrowest, for here the river curves sharply
away to the west, nearly doubling the width of the field above and
below the bend. From the village the ground descends in all
directions, though a continuous ridge runs northward, on which is
the Hagerstown turnpike. The Boonsboro turnpike enters the village
from the northeast, crossing the Antietam on a stone bridge, and
continuing through Sharpsburg to the southwest, reaches
Shepherdstown by the ford of the Potomac already mentioned. The
Hagerstown turnpike enters the town from the north, passing the
Dunker Church a mile out, and goes nearly due south, crossing the
Antietam at its mouth, and continuing down the Potomac toward
Harper's Ferry.

The Antietam is a deep creek, with few fords at an ordinary stage of
water, and the principal roads cross it upon stone bridges. Of these
there were three within the field of battle; the upper one in front
of Keedysville, the middle one upon the Boonsboro turnpike, and the
lower one on the Sharpsburg and Rohrersville road, since known as
Burnside's bridge. McClellan's staff was better supplied with
officers of engineers than the staff of most of our separate armies,
and Captain Duane, his chief engineer, systematized the work of
gathering topographical information. This was communicated to the
general officers in connection with the orders which were given
them. In this way we were instructed that the only fords of the
Antietam passable at that time were one between the two upper
bridges named, and another about half a mile below Burnside's
bridge, in a deep bend of the stream. We found, however, during the
engagement of the 17th, another practicable crossing for infantry a
short distance above the bridge. This was not a ford in common use,
but in the low stage of water at the time it was made available for
a small force.

It was about noon of the 15th of September that Lee placed the
forces which he had in hand across the turnpike in front of
Sharpsburg. D. H. Hill's division was on the north of the road, and
on the south of it Longstreet's own old division (now under General
D. R. Jones), Hood's division, and Evans's independent brigade.
Stuart's cavalry and the reserve artillery were also present. The
rest of the army was with Jackson at Harper's Ferry, or co-operating
with him in the neighborhood of Maryland Heights. Out of forty-four
brigades, Lee could put but fourteen or fifteen in line that day to
oppose McClellan. He was very strong in artillery, however, and his
cannon looked grimly over the hill-crests behind which his infantry
were lying. Cutts's and Jones's battalions of the reserve artillery
were ordered to report to Hill for the protection of the left of the
Confederate line, and gave him in all the sixty or seventy guns
which he speaks of in his report, and which have puzzled several
writers who have described the battle. Whenever our troops showed
themselves as they marched into position, they were saluted from
shotted cannon, and the numerous batteries that were developed on
the long line of hills before us no doubt did much to impress
McClellan with the belief that he had the great bulk of Lee's army
before him.

The value of time was one of the things McClellan never understood.
He should have been among the first in the saddle at every step in
the campaign after he was in possession of Lee's order of the 9th,
and should have infused energy into every unit in his army. Instead
of making his reconnoissance at three in the afternoon of Monday, it
might have been made at ten in the morning, and the battle could
have been fought before night, if, indeed, Lee had not promptly
retreated when support from Jackson would thus have become
impossible. Or if McClellan had pushed boldly for the bridge at the
mouth of the Antietam, nothing but a precipitate retreat by Lee
could have prevented the interposition of the whole National army
between the separated wings of the Confederates. The opportunity was
still supremely favorable for McClellan, but prompt decision was not
easy for him. Nothing but reconnoitring was done on Monday afternoon
or on Tuesday, whilst Lee was straining every nerve to concentrate
his forces and to correct what would have proven a fatal blunder in
scattering them, had his opponent acted with vigor. The strongest
defence the eulogists of the Confederate general have made for him
is that he perfectly understood McClellan's caution and calculated
with confidence upon it; that he would have been at liberty to
perfect his combinations still more at leisure, but for the accident
by which the copy of his plan had fallen into our hands at Frederick

During the 16th we confidently expected a battle, and I kept with my
division. In the afternoon I saw General Burnside, and learned from
him that McClellan had determined to let Hooker make a movement on
our extreme right to turn Lee's position. Burnside's manner in
speaking of this implied that he thought it was done at Hooker's
solicitation, and through his desire, openly evinced, to be
independent in command. I urged Burnside to assume the immediate
command of the corps and allow me to lead my own division. He
objected that as he had been announced as commander of the right
wing of the army, composed of the two corps, he was unwilling to
waive his precedence or to assume that Hooker was detached for
anything more than a temporary purpose. I pointed out that Reno's
staff had been granted leave of absence to take the body of their
chief to Washington, and that my division staff was too small for
corps duty; but he met this by saying that he would use his staff
for this purpose, and help me in every way he could till the crisis
of the campaign should be over. Sympathizing with his very natural
feeling, I ceased objecting, and accepted with as good grace as I
could the unsatisfactory position of nominal commander of the corps
to which I was a comparative stranger, and which, under the
circumstances, naturally looked to him as its accustomed and real
commander. Burnside's intentions in respect to myself were
thoroughly friendly, as he afterward proved, and I had no ground for
complaint on this score; but the position of second in command is
always an awkward and anomalous one, and such I felt it.

The 16th passed without serious fighting, though we had desultory
cannonading and picket firing. It was hard to restrain our men from
showing themselves on the crest of the long ridge in front of us,
and whenever they did so they drew the fire from some of the enemy's
batteries, to which ours would respond. McClellan reconnoitred the
line of the Antietam near us, and the country immediately on our
left, down the valley. As the result of this we were ordered to
change our positions at nightfall, staff officers being sent to
guide each division to its new camp. The selected positions were
marked by McClellan's engineers, who then took members of Burnside's
staff to identify the locations, and these in turn conducted our
divisions. There was far more routine of this sort in that army than
I ever saw elsewhere. Corps and division commanders should have the
responsibility of protecting their own flanks and in choosing
ordinary camps. To depend upon the general staff for this is to take
away the vigor and spontaneity of the subordinate and make him
perform his duty in a mechanical way. He should be told what is
known of the enemy and his movements so as to be put upon his guard,
and should then have freedom of judgment as to details. The changes
made were as follows: Rodman's division went half a mile further to
the left, where a country road led to the Antietam ford, half a mile
below the Burnside bridge. Sturgis's division was placed on the
sides of the road leading to the stone bridge just mentioned.
Willcox's was put in reserve in rear of Sturgis. My own was divided,
Scammon's brigade going with Rodman, and Crook's going with Sturgis.
Crook was ordered to take the advance in crossing the bridge in case
we should be ordered to attack. This selection was made by Burnside
himself as a compliment to the division for the vigor of its assault
at South Mountain. While we were moving we heard Hooker's guns far
off on the right and front, and the cannonade continued an hour or
more after it became dark.

What, then, was the plan of battle of which the first step was this
movement of Hooker's? McClellan's dispositions on the 15th were made
whilst Franklin's corps was still absent, and, under the orders he
received, was likely to be so for a day at least. [Footnote:
Official Records, vol. xix. pt. i. p. 29.] Sumner's two corps had
been treated as the centre of the army in hand, Burnside's had been
divided by putting Hooker on the extreme right and the Ninth Corps
on the extreme left, and Porter's corps was in reserve. This looked
as if a general attack in front with this organization of the army
were intended. But the more McClellan examined the enemy's position
the less inclined he was to attack the centre. He could cross the
bridge there and on the right, and deploy; but the gentle slopes
rising toward Sharpsburg were swept by formidable batteries and
offered no cover to advancing troops. The enemy's infantry was
behind stone fences and in sunken roads, whilst ours must advance
over the open. Lee's right rested upon the wooded bluffs above the
Burnside bridge, where it could only be approached by a small head
of column charging along the narrow roadway under a concentrated
fire of cannon and small arms. No point of attack on the whole field
was so unpromising as this. Then, as Jackson was still at Harper's
Ferry, there was the contingency of an attack in rear if anything
less than the mass of our army were pushed beyond Lee's right.

On our right, in front of Hooker, it was easy to turn the
Confederate line. The road from Keedysville through Smoketown to the
Hagerstown turnpike crossed the Antietam in a hollow, out of the
line of fire, and a march around Lee's left flank could be made
almost wholly under cover. The topography of the field therefore
suggested a flank attack from our right, if the National commander
rejected the better strategy of interposing his army between Lee and
Jackson as too daring a movement. This flank attack McClellan
determined to make, and some time after noon of the 16th issued his
orders accordingly. In his preliminary report of the battle, made
before he was relieved from command, McClellan says:--

"The design was to make the main attack upon the enemy's left,--at
least to create a diversion in favor of the main attack, with the
hope of something more, by assailing the enemy's right,--and as soon
as one or both of the flank movements were fully successful, to
attack their centre with any reserve I might then have in hand."
[Footnote: O R., vol. xix. pt. i. p. 30.]

His report covering his whole career in the war, dated August 4,
1863 (and published February, 1864, after warm controversies had
arisen, and he had become a political character), modifies the above
statement in some important particulars. It says:--

"My plan for the impending general engagement was to attack the
enemy's left with the corps of Hooker and Mansfield supported by
Sumner's and if necessary by Franklin's, and as soon as matters
looked favorably there, to move the corps of Burnside against the
enemy's extreme right upon the ridge running to the south and rear
of Sharpsburg, and having carried their position to press along the
crest toward our right, and whenever either of these flank movements
should be successful, to advance our centre with all the forces then
disposable." [Footnote: Official Records, vol. xix, pt. i, p. 55.]

The opinion I got from Burnside at the time, as to the part the
Ninth Corps was to take, was fairly consistent with the design first
quoted, namely, that when the attack by Sumner, Hooker, and Franklin
should be progressing favorably, we were "to create a diversion in
favor of the main attack, with the hope of something more." It is
also probable that Hooker's movement was at first intended to be
made by his corps alone, the attack to be taken up by Sumner's two
corps as soon as Hooker began, and to be shared in by Franklin if he
reached the field in time, thus making a simultaneous oblique attack
from our right by the whole army except Porter's corps, which was in
reserve, and the Ninth Corps, which was to create the "diversion" on
our left and prevent the enemy from stripping his right to reinforce
his left. It is hardly disputable that this would have been a better
plan than the one actually carried out. Certainly the assumption
that the Ninth Corps could cross the Antietam alone at the only
place on the field where the Confederates had their line immediately
upon the stream which must be crossed under fire by two narrow heads
of column, and could then turn to the right along the high ground
occupied by the hostile army before that army had been broken or
seriously shaken elsewhere, is one which would hardly be made till
time had dimmed the remembrance of the actual position of Lee's
divisions upon the field. It is also noticeable that the plan as
given in the final report leaves no "centre" with which to "advance"
when either of the flank movements should be successful, Porter's
corps in reserve being the only one not included in the movement as

Further evidence that the plan did not originally include the wide
separation of two corps to the right to make the extended turning
movement is found in Hooker's incomplete report, and in the wide
interval in time between the marching of his corps and that of
Mansfield. Hooker was ordered to cross the Antietam at about two
o'clock in the afternoon of the 16th by the bridge in front of
Keedysville and the ford below it. He says that after his troops
were over and in march, he rode back to McClellan, who told him that
he might call for reinforcements, and that when they came they
should be under his command. Somewhat later McClellan rode forward
with his staff to observe the progress making, and Hooker again
urged the necessity of reinforcements. [Footnote: Official Records,
vol. xix. pt. i. p. 217.] Yet Sumner did not receive orders to send
Mansfield's corps to his support till evening, and it marched only
half an hour before midnight, [Footnote: _Id_., p. 275.] reaching
its bivouac, about a mile and a half in rear of that of Hooker, at 2
A.M. of the 17th. [Footnote: _Id_., p. 475.]

After crossing the Antietam, Hooker had shaped his course to the
westward, aiming to reach the ridge on which the Hagerstown turnpike
runs, and which is the dominant feature in the landscape. This ridge
is about two miles distant from the Antietam, and for the first mile
of the way no resistance was met. However, his progress had been
observed by the enemy, and Hood's two brigades were taken from the
centre and passed to the left of D. H. Hill. Here they occupied an
open wood (since known as the East Wood) northeast of the Dunker
Church. Hooker was now trying to approach the Confederate positions,
Meade's division of the Pennsylvania Reserves being in the advance.
A sharp skirmishing combat ensued, and artillery was brought into
action on both sides. I have mentioned our hearing the noise of this
engagement from the other extremity of the field in the fading light
of evening. On our side Seymour's brigade had been chiefly engaged,
and had felt the enemy so vigorously that Hood supposed he had
repulsed a serious effort to take the wood. Hooker was, however,
aiming to pass quite beyond the flank, and kept his other divisions
north of the hollow beyond the wood, and upon the ridge which
reaches the turnpike near the largest re-entrant bend of the
Potomac, which is only half a mile distant. Here he bivouacked upon
the slopes of the ridge, Doubleday's division resting with its right
upon the turnpike, Ricketts's division upon the left of Doubleday,
and Meade covering the front of both with the skirmishers of
Seymour's brigade. Between Meade's skirmishers and the ridge were
the farmhouse and barn of J. Poffenberger, on the east side of the
road, where Hooker made his own quarters for the night. Half a mile
further in front was the farm of D. R. Miller, the dwelling on the
east, and the barn surrounded by stacks on the west of the road.
[Footnote: Hooker's unfinished report says he slept in the barn of
D. R. Miller, but he places it on the east of the road, and the spot
is fully identified as Poffenberger's by General Gibbon, who
commanded the right brigade, and by Lieutenant-Colonel Rufus R.
Dawes, Sixth Wisconsin (afterward Brevet Brigadier-General), both of
whom subsequently visited the field and determined the positions.]
Mansfield's corps (the Twelfth), marching as it did late in the
night, kept further to the right than Hooker's, but moved on a
nearly parallel course, and bivouacked on the farm of another J.
Poffenberger, [Footnote: Official Records, vol. xix. pt. i. pp. 275,
475.] near the road which, branching from the Hagerstown turnpike at
the Dunker Church, intersects the one running from Keedysville
through Smoketown to the same turnpike about a mile north of
Hooker's position. [Footnote: See map, p. 299.]

On the Confederate side, Hood's division had been so roughly handled
that it was replaced by two brigades of Ewell's division (commanded
by Lawton), which with Jackson's own (commanded by J. R. Jones) had
been led to the field from Harper's Ferry by Jackson, reaching
Sharpsburg in the afternoon of the 16th. These divisions were formed
on the left of D. H. Hill, and in continuation of his line along the
turnpike, but with a brigade advanced to the East Wood, which was
held as a salient. Hood's division, on being relieved, was placed in
reserve near the Dunker Church, and spent part of the night in
cooking rations, of which its supply had been short for a day or
two. [Footnote: Official Records, vol. xix. pt. i. p. 923.] The
combatants on both sides slept upon their arms, well knowing that
the dawn would bring bloody work.

During the evening McClellan issued orders looking toward the
joining of a general engagement at daybreak. McLaws's Confederate
division, which had been opposing Franklin, crossed the Potomac at
Maryland Heights, and marched by way of Shepherdstown, reaching
Sharpsburg on the morning of the 17th. [Footnote: _Id_., pp. 855,
856.] Walker's division, which had come from Harper's Ferry on the
16th, extended Lee's right down the Antietam, covering the ford at
which Rodman, on our side, was expected to cross. [Footnote: _Id_.,
p. 914.] A. P. Hill's division was the only force of the enemy
completing the work at Harper's Ferry, and Franklin was ordered to
leave Couch's division to observe Hill's movements from our side of
the Potomac, and to bring the remainder of his corps on the field
early in the morning. [Footnote: _Id_., p. 376.] In the respite
given him since Sunday, Lee had therefore concentrated all his army
but one division, and was better ready for the battle than
McClellan, for Franklin's corps could come upon the field only after
a considerable march, and he did not, in fact, reach it till ten
o'clock or later. Sumner was ordered to have the Second Corps ready
to march an hour before day, but he had no authority to move till
explicit orders to that effect should reach him. I have said that
Hooker claims in his report that the promise was made him that
Mansfield's corps, when it came to reinforce him, should be under
his orders. If this were so, it would unite all the troops now
present which had fought in Pope's Army of Virginia. I find no
trace, however, in the reports of the battle, that Hooker exercised
any such command. He seems to have confined his work to the
independent action of his own corps until Mansfield's death, and was
himself disabled almost immediately afterward. As there were
commanders of wings of the army duly designated, and two corps were
now separated by a long interval from the rest in an independent
turning movement, it can hardly be debated that that was the place
of all others where one of them should have been, unless McClellan
were there in person. Had Burnside's two corps been kept together as
the right wing, the right attack could have been made a unit. If
Sumner had then been directed to keep in communication with
Burnside, and to advance when the latter did, nobody will doubt that
Sumner would have been prompt in sustaining his comrades. But both
Sumner and Burnside were made to feel that they were reduced from
their proper rank, and however conscientious they might be in
carrying out such orders as reached them, it was not in human nature
that they should volunteer suggestions or anticipate commands.
McClellan had thus thrown away the advantages, if there were any, in
holding only two or three men directly responsible for the
co-ordination of his movements, and had assumed the full personal
responsibility of watching each phase of the battle and suiting the
proper orders to each conjuncture as it should arise.



Hooker astir early--The field near the Dunker Church--Artillery
combat--Positions of Hooker's divisions--Rocky ledges in the
woods--Advance of Doubleday through Miller's orchard and
garden--Enemy's fire from West Wood--They rush for Gibbon's
battery--Repulse--Advance of Patrick's brigade--Fierce fighting
along the turnpike--Ricketts's division in the East Wood--Fresh
effort of Meade's division in the centre--A lull in the
battle--Mansfield's corps reaches the field--Conflicting opinions as
to the hour--Mansfield killed--Command devolves on Williams--Advance
through East Wood--Hooker wounded--Meade in command of the corps--It
withdraws--Greene's division reaches the Dunker Church--Crawford's
in the East Wood--Terrible effects on the Confederates--Sumner's
corps coming up--Its formation--It moves on the Dunker Church from
the east--Divergence of the divisions--Sedgwick's passes to right of
Greene--Attacked in flank and broken--Rallying at the Poffenberger
hill--Twelfth Corps hanging on near the church--Advance of French's
division--Richardson follows later--Bloody Lane reached--The Piper
house--Franklin's corps arrives--Charge of Irwin's brigade.

Before the break of day on Wednesday the 17th, it was discovered
that Doubleday's division of Hooker's corps lay exposed to artillery
fire from batteries of the enemy supposed to be in position on their
front and right. In rousing the men and changing their place, the
stillness of the night was so far broken that the Confederates
believed they were advancing to attack, and a lively cannonade and
picket firing anticipated the dawn. [Footnote: R. R. Dawes, Service
with the Sixth Wisconsin, p. 87.] The chance for getting their
breakfast was thus destroyed, and Hooker prepared his whole command
for action as soon as it should be light enough to move. Looking
south from the Poffenberger farm along the turnpike, he then saw a
gently rolling landscape of which the commanding point was the
Dunker Church, whose white brick walls appeared on the right of the
road, backed by the foliage of the West Wood, which came toward him
filling a hollow that ran parallel to the turnpike, with a single
row of fields between. On the east side of the turnpike was the
Miller house, with its barn and stack-yard across the road to the
right, and beyond these the ground dipped into a little depression.
Still further on was seen a large cornfield between the East Wood
and the turnpike, rising again to the higher level, and Hooker
noticed the glint from a long line of bayonets beyond the corn,
struck by the first rays of the rising sun. There was, however,
another little hollow at the further side of the cornfield, which
could not be seen from Hooker's position; and on the farthest ridge,
near the church and extending across the turnpike toward the East
Wood, were the Confederate lines, partly sheltered by piles of rails
taken from the fences. They looked to Hooker as if they were
deployed along the edge of the corn, but an open sloping field lay
between the corn and them, after passing the second hollow. It was
plain that the high ground about the little white church was the key
of the enemy's position, and if that could be carried, Hooker's task
would be well done.

The enemy's artillery had opened early from a high hill nearly east
of the Miller house in a position to strike our forces in flank and
rear as they should go forward, and Hooker placed batteries on the
equally commanding height above Poffenberger's and detached
Hofmann's brigade from Doubleday's division to support it and to
prevent the enemy from turning our extreme right. [Footnote:
Official Records, vol. xix. pt. i. p. 224.] This force maintained
its position during the day, and was the nucleus about which both
Hooker's and Sedgwick's men rallied after their fight. The enemy's
artillery referred to were several batteries under Stuart's command
supported by his cavalry and by Early's brigade of infantry which
Jackson detached for that purpose. [Footnote: Official Records vol.
xix. pt. i. p. 819.]

Doubleday's division (except Hofmann), was in two lines, Gibbon's
and Phelps's in front, supported by Patrick's. Of Meade's division
Seymour's brigade, which had sustained the combat of the evening
before, had continued to cover the front with skirmishers during the
night, and remained on the northeast side of the East Wood. The
other brigades (Anderson and Magilton) were placed in reserve behind
Doubleday. [Footnote: _Id_., p. 269.] The Tenth Regiment
Pennsylvania Reserves was sent from Anderson's to a strong position
west of the turnpike near the extremity of the strip of wood
northwest of the Miller house. It was among ledges of rock looking
into the ravine beyond which were Stuart and Early. The ravine was
the continuation northward to the Potomac of a little watercourse
which headed near the Dunker Church and along one side of which the
West Wood lay, the outcrop of rock making broken ledges along its
whole length. Indeed, all the pieces of wood in the neighborhood
seemed to be full of such rocks, and for that reason had been
allowed to remain in forest. The regiment was ordered to cover its
front with skirmishers and to hold its position at all hazards.
Ricketts's division had bivouacked in a wood east of Doubleday's.
Its three brigades (Duryea's, Hartsuff's, and Christian's) were
deployed on the left of Doubleday, and were to march toward the
Dunker Church through the East Wood, passing the line of Seymour's
brigade, which was then to become its support.

The Confederates opened a rapid artillery fire from the open ground
in front of the Dunker Church as well as from Stuart's position, and
Hooker answered the challenge by an immediate order for his line to
advance. Doubleday directed Gibbon, who was on the right, to guide
upon the turnpike. Patrick remained for a time in the wood north of
the Miller house, till he should be needed at the front. [Footnote:
Official Records, vol. xix. pt. i. p. 224.] Doubleday and his
brigade commanders seem to have supposed that Meade's men occupied
part at least of the West Wood, and that they would cover Gibbon's
flank as he advanced. This belief was based on the stationing of the
Tenth Pennsylvania Reserves; but that regiment was fifteen or twenty
rods north of the northern end of the West Wood, and Gibbon's right
flank, as he advanced, was soon exposed to attack from Ewell's
division (Lawton in command), which held the wood, hidden from view
and perfectly protected by the slope of the ground and the forest,
as they looked over the rim into the undulating open fields in
front. Part of Battery B, Fourth United States Artillery (Gibbon's
own battery), was run forward to Miller's barn and stack-yard on the
right of the road, and fired over the heads of the advancing
regiments. [Footnote: _Id_., pp. 229, 248.] Other batteries were
similarly placed, more to the left, and our cannon roared from all
the hill crests encircling the field. The line moved swiftly forward
through Miller's orchard and kitchen garden, breaking through a
stout picket fence on the near side, down into the moist ground of
the hollow, and up through the corn which was higher than their
heads and shut out everything from view. [Footnote: Dawes, Sixth
Wisconsin, p. 88.] At the southern side of the field they came to a
low fence, beyond which was the open field already mentioned, and
the enemy's line at the further side of it. But the cornfield only
covered part of the line, and Gibbon's right had outmarched the
left, which had been exposed to a terrible fire. The direction taken
had been a little oblique, so that the right wing of the Sixth
Wisconsin (the flanking regiment) had crossed the turnpike and was
suddenly assailed by a sharp fire from the West Wood on its flank.
They swung back into the road, lying down along the high, stout
post-and-rail fence, keeping up their fire by shooting between the
rails. [Footnote: Dawes, Sixth Wisconsin, p. 89.]

Leaving this little band to protect their right, the main line,
which had come up on the left, leaped the fence at the south edge of
the cornfield, and charged up hill across the open at the enemy in
front. But the concentrated fire of artillery and musketry was more
than they could bear. Men fell by scores and hundreds, and the
thinned lines gave way and ran for the shelter of the corn. They
were rallied in the hollow on the north side of the field. The enemy
had rapidly extended his left under cover of the West Wood, and now
made a dash at the right flank and at Gibbon's exposed guns. His men
on the right faced by that flank and followed him bravely, though
with little order, in a dash at the Confederates who were swarming
out of the wood. [Footnote: _Id_., p. 91.] The gunners
double-charged the cannon with canister, and under a terrible fire
of artillery and rifles Lawton's division broke and sought shelter.
[Footnote: Official Records, vol. xix. pt. i. p. 248.]

Patrick's brigade had now come up in support of Gibbon, and was sent
across the turnpike into the West Wood to cover that flank, two
regiments of Gibbon's going with him. [Footnote: _Id_., p. 243.] His
men pushed forward, the enemy retiring, until they were in advance
of the principal line in the cornfield upon which the Confederates
of Jackson's division were now marching to attack. Patrick faced his
brigade to the left, parallel to the edge of the wood and to the
turnpike, and poured his fire into the flank of the enemy, following
it by a charge through the field and up to the fence along the road.
Again the Confederates were driven back, but their left came forward
in the wood again, attacking Patrick's right, forcing him to resume
his original direction of front and to retire to the cover of a
rocky ledge in the open at right angles to the turnpike not far from
the northern end of the timber. Phelps's brigade had gone forward
with Gibbon's, pushing nearly to the Confederate lines, and being
driven back with great loss when they charged over open ground
against the enemy.

Ricketts's division advanced from the wood in which it had spent the
night, passed through Seymour's skirmishers and entered the East
Wood, swinging his left forward as he went. This grove was open, but
the rocks made perfect cover for Jackson's men, and every stone and
tree blazed with deadly fire. Hartsuff endeavored to reconnoitre the
ground, but was wounded and disabled immediately. Ricketts pushed
on, suffering fearfully from an enemy which in open order could fall
back from rock to rock and from tree to tree with little comparative
loss. He succeeded at last in reaching the west edge of this wood,
forming along the road and fences that were just within its margin.
Here he kept up a rapid fire till his ammunition was exhausted.
[Footnote: Official Records, vol. xix. pt. i. p. 258.]

When Doubleday's men had been finally repulsed, our line on the
right curved from the ledge where Patrick took refuge, forward in
front of Miller's orchard and garden, part of Gibbon's men lying
down along the turnpike fence facing to the west. Meade's two
brigades in reserve were sent forward, but when they reached Gibbon
and Phelps, Ricketts was calling for assistance in the East Wood and
Magilton's brigade was sent to him, leaving a gap on the left of
Anderson. Another gallant effort was now made, Seymour's depleted
brigade striving to cover the opening, but the enemy dashed at it as
Anderson came up the slope, and the left being taken in flank, the
whole broke again to the rear. [Footnote: _Id_., pp. 269, 270.]
Ricketts's right was also imperilled, and he withdrew his exhausted
lines to reorganize and to fill their empty cartridge-boxes. There
was a lull in the battle, and the combatants on both sides were
making desperate efforts to reform their broken regiments.

Mansfield had called the Twelfth Corps to arms at the first sound of
Hooker's battle and marched to his aid. [Footnote: Official Records,
vol. xix. pt. i. p. 475.] It consisted of two divisions, Williams's
and Greene's, the first of two and the other of three brigades.
There were a number of new and undrilled regiments in the command,
and in hastening to the front in columns of battalions in mass,
proper intervals for deployment had not been preserved, and time was
necessarily lost before the troops could be put in line. Indeed,
some of them were not regularly deployed at all. They had left their
bivouac at sunrise which, as it was about the equinox, was not far
from six o'clock. They had marched across the country without
reference to roads, always a very slow mode of advancing, and doubly
so with undrilled men. The untrained regiments must, in the nature
of things, have been very much like a mob when their so-called
columns-in-mass approached the field of battle. It is impossible to
reconcile the statements of the reports as to the time they became
engaged. General Williams says they were engaged before seven
o'clock. [Footnote: _Id_., p. 476.] General Meade says they relieved
his men not earlier than ten or eleven. [Footnote: _Id_., p. 270.]
It seems to be guesswork in both cases, and we are forced to judge
from circumstantial evidence. Ricketts thinks he had been fighting
four hours when he retired for lack of ammunition, and the Twelfth
Corps men had not yet reached him. [Footnote: _Id_., p. 259.]
Patrick, on the extreme right, says that his men had made their
coffee in the lull after his retreat to the sheltering ledge of
rocks, and had completed their breakfast before the first of
Mansfield's men joined him there. [Footnote: _Id_., p. 244.] The
circumstantial details given by several officers make the interval
between the attack by the Twelfth Corps and the arrival of Sumner a
very short one. It may be regarded as probable, therefore, that
Hooker's battle covered the larger part of the time between six
o'clock and the arrival of Sumner at about ten.

On reaching the field, Mansfield had a brief consultation with
Hooker, resulting in his ordering Williams to form his division
nearly as Doubleday's had been, and to advance with his right upon
the turnpike. He himself led forward the left of Crawford's brigade,
which was the first to arrive, and pushed toward the East Wood. The
regiments were still in columns of companies, and though Williams
had ordered them deployed, the corps commander himself, as Crawford
says, countermanded this order and led them under fire in column.
[Footnote: Official Records, vol. xix. pt. i. p. 484.] He evidently
believed Ricketts's men to be still holding the East Wood, and tried
to keep his own from opening fire upon the troops that were seen
there. At this moment he was mortally wounded, before the deployment
was made.

General Alpheus S. Williams, on whom the command devolved, was a
cool and experienced officer. He hastened the deployment of
Crawford's and Gordon's brigades of his own division, sending one of
the new and large regiments to assist the Pennsylvania regiment in
holding the important position covering the right beyond the
turnpike. As Greene's division came up, he ordered him to form
beyond Gordon's left, and when deployed to move on the Dunker Church
through the East Wood, guiding his left by the cloud of smoke from
the Mumma house, which had been set on fire by D. H. Hill's men.
[Footnote: _Id_., pp. 475, 1033.] At Doubleday's request, he
detached Goodrich's brigade from Greene, and sent it to Patrick on
the right with orders to advance into the West Wood from its
northern extremity. Patrick says the regiments came separately and
at considerable intervals, [Footnote: Official Records, vol. xix.
pt. i. p. 244.] and it is not unlikely that the older regiments were
sent in to relieve Hooker's men as fast as they were ready, and the
more disorganized ones were obliged to delay till they could be got
into some sort of shape. Williams made his first disposition of his
troops according to Hooker's suggestion, but the latter received a
serious wound in the foot, as it would seem, before the attack by
the Twelfth Corps had begun. Hooker turned over the command to
Meade, and a formal order confirming this was issued from
McClellan's head-quarters later in the day. [Footnote: _Id_., pt.
ii. p. 315.]

So many of the regiments were carried under fire while still in
column that not only was the formation of the line an irregular one,
but the deployment when made was more diagonal to the turnpike than
Hooker's had been, and the whole line faced more to the westward.
But they advanced with a courage equal to the heroism already shown
on that field. The Confederates who now held the open space at the
Dunker Church were Hood's two brigades, and the rest of Jackson's
corps extended into the West Wood. Stuart had found his artillery
position on the hill too far from Jackson's line, and the fighting
was so near the church that he could not fire upon our men without
hurting his own. [Footnote: _Id_., pt. i. p. 820.] He therefore
moved further to the south and west, and Early carried his brigade
(except the Thirteenth Virginia) back toward Ewell's division, which
now came under his command by the disabling of General Lawton in the
fight. [Footnote: _Id_., pp. 968, 969.]

Williams's first line was a good deal shortened, and the divisions,
guiding as well as they could upon Greene, crowded so far to the
south that even Crawford's brigade, which was on the right of all,
went partly through the East Wood advancing on a line nearly at
right angles to the turnpike. The enemy had followed Ricketts's
retiring battalions and were again in occupation of the East Wood.
His work was to be done over again, though the stubborn courage of
Hood's depleted brigades could not make up for the numbers which the
National officers now led against him. But the rocks, the ledges,
and the trees still gave him such cover that it was at a fearful
cost that the Twelfth Corps men pushed him steadily back and then by
a final rush drove him from the roads which skirted the grove on
west and south. What was left of Jackson's corps except Early's
brigade had come out of the West Wood to meet Crawford's division,
and the stout high fences along the turnpike were the scene of
frightful slaughter. [Footnote: Official Records, vol. xix. pt. i.
pp. 485, 487.] The Confederates tried to climb them, but the level
fire of our troops swept over the field so that the top of the fence
seemed in the most deadly line of the leaden storm, and the men in
gray fell in windrows along its panels. Our own men were checked by
the same obstacle, and lay along the ground shooting between the
rails and over the fallen bodies of the Confederate soldiers which
made a sort of rampart.

In obedience to his original orders, Greene took ground a little
more to his left, occupying a line along a fence from the burning
Mumma house to the road leading from the East Wood directly to the
Dunker Church. [Footnote: _Id_., p. 505.] The two brigades with
thinned ranks barely filled this space, and Crawford's division
connected with them as well as it could. Batteries came forward on
Greene's left and right, and helped to sweep the grove around the
church. Hill attempted to hold him back, and a bold dash was made at
Greene, probably by Hill's left brigades which were ordered forward
to support Hood. Greene's men lay on the ground just under the ridge
above the burning house till the enemy were within a few rods of
them, then rose and delivered a volley which an eyewitness (Major
Crane, Seventh Ohio) says cut them down "like grass before the
mower." [Footnote: Official Records, vol. xix. pt. i. p. 506.] Those
who escaped sought refuge in the wood behind the church, where the
crowning ridge is some distance back from the road. Greene now
dashed forward and gained the grove immediately about the church,
where he held on for an hour or two. Crawford's division, after
several ebbs and flows in the tide of battle, was holding the
western skirt of the East wood with one or two of its regiments
still close to the turnpike fence on his right.

Meanwhile Goodrich had been trying to advance from the north end of
the West Wood to attack the flank of the enemy there; but Early with
his own brigade held the ledges along the ravine so stubbornly that
he was making little progress.

Greene was calling for support about the Dunker Church, for he was
close under the ridge on which Hill and Jackson were forming such
line as they could, and he was considerably in advance of our other
troops. Williams withdrew one regiment from Goodrich's brigade and
sent it to Greene, and directed Crawford to send also to him the
Thirteenth New Jersey, a new and strong regiment which had been left
in reserve, as we have seen, in a bit of wood northeast of the field
of battle. [Footnote: _Id_., pp. 476, 505.] Gordon's brigade was
withdrawn by Crawford to enable it to reorganize in rear of the East
Wood, and Crawford's own brigade held the further margin of it. It
will thus be seen that the Twelfth Corps was now divided into three
portions,--Greene's division at the church, Crawford's in the East
Wood, and Goodrich's brigade near the north end of the West Wood.

Meade had withdrawn the First Corps to the ridge at Poffenberger's,
where it had bivouacked the night before, except that Patrick's
brigade remained in support of Goodrich. The corps had suffered
severely, having lost 2470 in killed and wounded, but it was still
further depleted by straggling, so that Meade reported less than
7000 men with the colors that evening. [Footnote: Official Records,
vol. xix. pt. ii. p. 349.] Its organization had been preserved,
however, and the story that it was utterly dispersed was a mistake.
The Twelfth Corps also had its large list of casualties, increased a
little later by its efforts to support Sumner, and aggregating,
before the day was over, 1746.

But the fighting of Hooker's and Mansfield's men, though lacking
unity of force and of purpose, had also cost the enemy dear. J. R.
Jones, who commanded Jackson's division, had been wounded; Starke,
who succeeded Jones, was killed; Lawton, who commanded Ewell's
division, was wounded. [Footnote: _Id_., pt. i. p. 956.] Lawton's
and Trimble's brigades had been fearfully crippled in the first
fight against Hooker on the plateau between the Dunker Church and
the East Wood, and Hood was sent back to relieve them. [Footnote:
_Id_., p. 923.] He, in turn, had been reinforced by the brigades of
Ripley, Colquitt, and McRae (Garland's) from D. H. Hill's division.
[Footnote: _Id_., p. 1022.] When Greene reached the Dunker Church,
therefore, the Confederates on that wing were more nearly
disorganized than our own troops. Nearly half their numbers were
killed and wounded, and Jackson's famous "Stonewall" division was so
completely broken up that only a handful of men under Colonels
Grigsby and Stafford remained, and attached themselves to Early's
command. [Footnote: _Id_., p. 969.] Of the division now under Early,
his own brigade was all that retained much strength, and this,
posted among the rocks in the West Wood and vigorously supported by
Stuart and the artillery on that flank, was all that covered the
left of Lee's army. Could Hooker and Mansfield have attacked
together, or, still better, could Sumner's Second Corps have marched
before day and united with the first onset, Lee's left must
inevitably have been crushed long before the Confederate divisions
of McLaws, Walker, and A. P. Hill could have reached the field. It
is this failure to carry out any intelligible plan which the
historian must regard as the unpardonable military fault on the
National side. To account for the hours between daybreak and eight
o'clock on that morning, is the most serious responsibility of the
National commander. [Footnote: A distinguished officer (understood
to be Gen. R. R. Dawes) who visited the field in 1866 has published
the statement that at the Pry house, where McClellan had his
headquarters, he was informed that on the morning of the 17th the
general rose at about seven o'clock and breakfasted leisurely after
that hour. (Marietta, Ohio, Sentinel.)]

Sumner's Second Corps was now approaching the scene of action, or
rather two divisions of it, Sedgwick's and French's, for
Richardson's was still delayed till his place could be filled by
Porter's troops. Although ordered to be ready to move at daybreak,
Sumner emphasizes in his report the fact that whilst his command was
prepared to move at the time ordered, he "did not receive from
headquarters the order to march till 7.20 A. M." [Footnote: Official
Records, vol. xix. pt. i. p. 275.] By the time he could reach the
field, Hooker had fought his battle and had been repulsed. The same
strange tardiness in sending orders is noticeable in regard to every
part of the army, and Richardson was not relieved so that he could
follow French till an hour or two later. [Footnote: _Ibid_.]

Sumner advanced, after crossing the Antietam, in a triple column,
Sedgwick's division in front, the three brigades marching by the
right flank and parallel to each other. French followed in the same
formation. They crossed the Antietam by Hooker's route, but did not
march so far to the northwest as Hooker had done. On the way Sumner
met Hooker, who was being carried from the field, and the few words
he could exchange with the wounded general were enough to make him
feel the need of haste, but not enough to give him any clear idea of
the situation. When the centre of the corps was opposite the Dunker
Church, and nearly east of it, the change of direction was given;
the troops faced to their proper front, and advanced in line of
battle in three lines, fully deployed and sixty or seventy yards
apart, Sumner himself being in rear of Sedgwick's first line and
near its left. [Footnote: Official Records, vol. xix. pt. i. p.
305.] As they approached the position held by Greene's division at
the church, French kept on so as to form on Greene's left,
[Footnote: _Id_., p. 323.] but Sedgwick, under Sumner's immediate
leading, diverged somewhat to the right, passing through the East
Wood, crossing the turnpike on the right of Greene and of the Dunker
Church, and plunged into the West Wood. [Footnote: _Id_., p. 305.]
The fences there had been destroyed by the Confederates before the
battle began, for the purpose of making room for their own
manoeuvres as well as to make barricades in front of the cornfield.
Sedgwick's right did not extend far enough north to be obstructed by
the fences where the Twelfth Corps men had lain along them in
repulsing Jackson. When he entered the wood, there were absolutely
no Confederate troops in front of him. The remnants of Jackson's
men, except Early's brigade, were clustered at the top of the ridge
immediately in front of Greene, and Early was further to the right,
opposing Goodrich and Patrick; Early, however, made haste under
cover of the woods to pass around Sedgwick's right and to get in
front of him to oppose his progress. [Footnote: _Id_., p. 970.] This
led to a lively skirmishing fight in which Early was making as great
a demonstration as possible, but with no chance of solid success.
Sedgwick pushed him back, and his left was coming obliquely into the
open at the bottom of the hollow beyond the wood, when, at the very
moment, McLaws's and Walker's Confederate divisions came upon the
field. The former had only just arrived by rapid marching from
Shepherdstown beyond the Potomac; the latter had been hastily called
away by Lee from his position on the lower Antietam opposite the
left wing of Burnside's Ninth Corps. [Footnote: Official Records,
vol. xix. pt. i. pp. 857, 914.]

Walker charged headlong upon the left flank of Sedgwick's lines, and
McLaws, passing by Walker's left, also threw his division diagonally
upon the already broken and retreating brigades. Taken at such a
disadvantage, these had never a chance; and in spite of the heroic
bravery of Sumner and Sedgwick with most of their officers (Sedgwick
being severely wounded), the division was driven off to the north
with terrible losses, carrying along in their rout Goodrich's
brigade of the Twelfth Corps which had been holding Early at bay.
Goodrich was killed, and his brigade suffered hardly less than the
others. Patrick's brigade of Hooker's corps was in good order at the
rocky ledges north of the West Wood which are at right angles to the
turnpike, and he held on stubbornly till the disorganized troops
drifted past his left, and then made an orderly retreat in line
toward the Poffenberger hill. [Footnote: _Id_., p. 245.] Meade was
already there with the remnants of Hooker's men. Here some thirty
cannon of both corps were quickly concentrated, and, supported by
everything which retained organization, easily checked the pursuers
and repulsed all efforts of Jackson and Stuart to resume the
offensive or to pass between them and the Potomac. [Footnote: _Id_.,
p. 306.]

Sumner did not accompany the routed troops to this position, but as
soon as it was plain that the division could not be rallied, he
galloped off to put himself in communication with French and with
headquarters of the army and to try to retrieve the situation. From
the flag station east of the East Wood he signalled to McClellan,
"Reinforcements are badly wanted; our troops are giving way."
[Footnote: _Id_., p. 134.] Williams was in that part of the field,
and Sumner sent a staff officer to him ordering that he should push
forward to Sedgwick's support anything he could. [Footnote: Official
Records, vol. xix. pt. i. p. 477.] Williams in person ordered
Gordon's brigade to advance, for this, as we have seen, had been
reorganized behind the East Wood. He sent the same order to Crawford
for the rest of that division. Crawford had withdrawn his men in the
East Wood to let Sedgwick pass diagonally along his front, and now
advanced again to the west margin of the grove. [Footnote: _Id_., p.
485.] Gordon was ahead of him in time and further to the right, and
again charged up to the turnpike fences. But the routed troops were
already swarming from the wood across his front, and their pursuers
were charging after them. Again the turnpike was made the scene of a
bloody conflict, and the bodies of many more of the slain of both
armies were added to those which already lined those fences.
Gordon's men were overpowered and fell back in the direction they
had come. [Footnote: _Id_., p. 495.] The enemy's attack spread out
toward Greene and toward Crawford, who was now at the edge of the
East Wood again; but both of these held firm, and a couple of
batteries on the rise of ground in front poured canister into the
enemy till he took refuge again in the wood beyond the church. It
was between nine and ten o'clock, probably about ten, [Footnote: The
reports on the Confederate side fix ten o'clock as the time McLaws
and Walker reached the field, and corroborate the conclusion I draw
from all other available evidence.] when Sumner entered the West
Wood, and in fifteen minutes or a little more the one-sided combat
was over.

Sumner's principal attack was made, as I have already indicated, at
right angles to that of Hooker. He had thus crossed the line of
Hooker's movement in both the advance and the retreat of the latter.
This led to some misconceptions on Sumner's part. Crawford's
division had retired to the right and rear to make way for Sedgwick
as he came up. It thus happened that Greene's division was the only
part of the Twelfth Corps troops Sumner saw, and he led Sedgwick's
men to the right of these. Ignorant as he necessarily was of what
had occurred before, he assumed that he formed on the extreme right
of the Twelfth Corps, and that he fronted in the same direction as
Hooker had done. This misconception of the situation led him into
another error. He had seen only stragglers and wounded men on the
line of his own advance, and hence concluded that Hooker's Corps was
completely dispersed and its division and brigade organizations
broken up. He not only gave this report to McClellan at the time,
but reiterated it later in his statement before the Committee on the
Conduct of the War. [Footnote: C. W., vol. i. p. 368.] The truth was
that he had marched westward more than a mile south of the
Poffenberger hill where Meade was with the sadly diminished but
still organized First Corps, and half that distance south of the
Miller farm buildings, near which Goodrich's brigade had entered the
north end of the West Wood, and in front of which part of Williams's
men had held the ground along the turnpike till they were relieved
by Sedgwick's advance. Sedgwick had gone in, therefore, between
Greene and Crawford, and the four divisions of the two corps
alternated in their order from left to right, thus: French, Greene,
Sedgwick, Crawford, the last being Williams's, of which Crawford was
in command.

It was not Sumner's fault that he was so ill-informed of the actual
situation on our right; but it is plain that in the absence of
McClellan from that part of the field he should have left the
personal leadership of the men to the division commanders, and
should himself have found out by rapid examination the positions of
all the troops operating there. It was his part to combine and give
intelligent direction to the whole, instead of charging forward at
haphazard with Sedgwick's division. Both Meade and Williams had men
enough in hand to have joined in a concerted movement with him; and
had he found either of those officers before plunging into the West
Wood, he would not have taken a direction which left his flank
wholly exposed, with the terrible but natural results which
followed. The original cause of the mischief, however, was
McClellan's failure to send Sumner to his position before daybreak,
so that the three corps could have acted together from the beginning
of Hooker's attack.

But we must return to Sumner's divisions, which were advancing
nearer the centre. The battle on the extreme right was ended by ten
o'clock in the morning, and there was no more serious fighting north
of the Dunker Church. The batteries on the Poffenberger hill and
those about the East Wood swept the open ground and the cornfield
over which Hooker and Mansfield had fought, and for some time Greene
was able to make good his position at the church. The Confederates
were content to hold the line of the West Wood and the high ground
back of the church, and French's attack upon D. H. Hill was now
attracting their attention. French advanced toward Greene's left,
over the open farm lands, and after a fierce combat about the
Rullett and Clipp farm buildings, drove Hill's division from them.
[Footnote: Official Records, vol. xix. pt. i. p. 323.] At what time
the Confederates made a rush at Greene and drove him back to the
edge of the East Wood is uncertain; but it must have been soon after
the disaster to Sedgwick. It seems to have been an incident of the
aggressive movement against Sedgwick, though not coincident with it.
It must certainly have been before French's advance reached the
Rullett and Clipp houses, for the enemy's men holding them would
have been far in rear of Greene at the church, and he must by that
time have been back near the burnt house of Mumma and the angle of
the East Wood. [Footnote: Official Records, vol. xix. pt. i. p. 505.
Greene says that he held the ground at the church for two hours, and
that his men were in action from 6.30 A. M. to 1.30 P. M. The length
of time and hours of the day are so irreconcilable as given in
different reports that we are forced to trust more to the general
current of events than to the time stated.]

Richardson's division followed French after an hour or two,
[Footnote: Hancock says the division crossed the Antietam about
9.30. Official Records, vol. xix. pt. i. p. 277.] and then, foot by
foot, field by field, from fence to fence, and from hill to hill,
the enemy was pressed back, till the sunken road, since known as
"Bloody Lane," was in our hands, piled full of the Confederate dead
who had defended it with their lives. Richardson had been mortally
wounded, and Hancock had been sent from Franklin's corps to command
the division. Colonel Barlow had been conspicuous in the thickest of
the fight, and after a series of brilliant actions had been carried
off desperately wounded. On the Confederate side equal courage and a
magnificent tenacity had been exhibited. Men who had fought
heroically in one position no sooner found themselves free from the
struggle of an assault than they were hurried away to repeat their
exertions, without even a breathing-spell, on another part of the
field. They exhausted their ammunition, and still grimly held
crests, as Longstreet tells us, with their bayonets, but without a
single cartridge in their boxes. [Footnote: _Id_., p. 840.] The
story of the fight at this part of the field is simpler than that of
the early morning, for there was no such variety in the character of
the ground or in the tactics of the opposing forces. It was a
sustained advance with continuous struggle, sometimes ebbing a
moment, then gaining, but with the organization pretty well
preserved and the lines kept fairly continuous on both sides. Our
men fought their way up to the Piper house, near the turnpike, and
that position marks the advance made by our centre. [Footnote:
Official Records, vol. xix. pt. i. p. 279.] The crest of the ridge
on which the Hagerstown turnpike runs had been secured from Piper's
north to Miller's, and it was held until the Confederate retreat on
the 19th.

The head of Franklin's Corps (the Sixth) had arrived about ten
o'clock, and had taken the position near the Sharpsburg bridge,
which Sumner had occupied in the night. [Footnote: _Id_., p. 376.]
Before noon Smith's and Slocum's divisions were both ordered to
Sumner's assistance. As they passed by the farm buildings in front
of the East Wood, the enemy made a dash at Greene and French. Smith
ordered forward Irwin's brigade to their support, and Irwin charged
gallantly, driving the assailants back to the cover of the woods
about the church. [Footnote: _Id_., pp. 402, 409.] Franklin's men
then formed under the crest already mentioned, from "Bloody Lane" by
the Clipp, Rullett, and Mumma houses to the East Wood and the ridge
in front. The aggressive energy of both sides seemed exhausted.
French and Richardson's battle may be considered as ended at one or
two o'clock. There was no fighting later but that on the extreme
left, where Burnside's Ninth Corps was engaged, and we must turn our
attention to that part of the field.



Ninth Corps positions near Antietam Creek--Rodman's division at
lower ford--Sturgis's at the bridge--Burnside's headquarters on the
field--View from his place of the battle on the right--French's
fight--An exploding caisson--Our orders to attack--The hour--Crisis
of the battle--Discussion of the sequence of events--The Burnside
bridge--Exposed approach--Enfiladed by enemy's
artillery--Disposition of enemy's troops--His position very
strong--Importance of Rodman's movement by the ford--The fight at
the bridge--Repulse--Fresh efforts--Tactics of the
assault--Success--Formation on further bank--Bringing up
ammunition--Willcox relieves Sturgis--The latter now in
support--Advance against Sharpsburg--Fierce combat--Edge of the town
reached--Rodman's advance on the left--A. P. Hill's Confederate
division arrives from Harper's Ferry--Attacks Rodman's flank--A raw
regiment breaks--The line retires--Sturgis comes into the
gap--Defensive position taken and held--Enemy's assaults
repulsed--Troops sleeping on their arms--McClellan's reserve--Other
troops not used--McClellan's idea of Lee's force and plans--Lee's
retreat--The terrible casualty lists.

We have seen that the divisions of the Ninth Corps were conducted by
staff officers of Burnside's staff to positions that had been
indicated by McClellan and marked by members of his staff. The
morning of Wednesday the 17th broke fresh and fair. The men were
astir at dawn, getting breakfast and preparing for a day of battle.
The artillery fire which opened Hooker's battle on the right spread
along the whole line, and the positions which had been assigned us
in the dusk of evening were found to be exposed, in some places, to
the direct fire of the Confederate guns. Rodman's division suffered
more than the others, Fairchild's brigade alone reporting thirty-six
casualties before they could find cover. [Footnote: Official
Records, vol. xix. pt. i. p. 451.] My own tents had been pitched at
the edge of a little grove of forest trees, and the headquarters
mess was at breakfast at sunrise when the cannonade began. The rapid
explosion of shrapnel about us hastened our morning meal; the tents
were struck and loaded upon the wagons, horses were saddled, and
everything made ready for the contingencies of the day. It was not
till seven o'clock that orders came to advance toward the creek as
far as could be done without exposing the men to unnecessary loss.
[Footnote: Official Records, vol. xix. pt. i. p. 424.] Rodman was
directed to acquaint himself with the situation of the ford in front
of him, and Sturgis to seek the best means of approach to the stone
bridge. All were then to remain in readiness to obey further orders.

When these arrangements had been made, I rode to the position
Burnside had selected for himself, which was upon a high knoll
northeast of the Burnside bridge, near a haystack which was a
prominent landmark. Near by was Benjamin's battery of twenty-pounder
Parrotts, and a little further still to the right, on the same
ridge, General Sturgis had sent in Durell's battery. [Footnote:
_Ibid_.] These were exchanging shots with the enemy's guns opposite,
and had the advantage in range and weight of metal. At this point I
remained until the order for our attack came, later in the day. We
anxiously watched what we could see at the right, and noted the
effect of the fire of the heavy guns of Benjamin's battery. We could
see nothing distinctly that occurred beyond the Dunker Church, for
the East and West Woods with farm-houses and orchards between made
an impenetrable screen. A column of smoke stood over the burning
Mumma house, marking plainly its situation.

As the morning wore on, we saw lines of troops advancing from our
right upon the other side of the Antietam, and engaging the enemy
between us and the East Wood. The Confederate lines facing them now
also rose into view. From our position we looked, as it were, down
between the opposing lines as if they had been the sides of a
street, and as the fire opened we saw wounded men carried to the
rear and stragglers making off. Our lines halted, and we were
tortured with anxiety as we speculated whether our men would charge
or retreat. The enemy occupied lines of fences and stone walls, and
their batteries made gaps in the National ranks. Our long-range guns
were immediately turned in that direction, and we cheered every
well-aimed shot. One of our shells blew up a caisson close to the
Confederate line. This contest was going on, and it was yet
uncertain which would succeed, when one of McClellan's staff rode up
with an order to Burnside. The latter turned to me, saying we were
ordered to make our attack. I left the hill-top at once to give
personal supervision to the movement ordered, and did not return to
it. My knowledge by actual vision of what occurred on the right

The question at what hour Burnside received this order, has been
warmly disputed. The manner in which we had waited, the free
discussion of what was occurring under our eyes and of our relation
to it, the public receipt of the order by Burnside in the usual and
business-like form, all forbid the supposition that this was any
reiteration of a former order.
[Footnote: I leave this as originally written, although the order
itself has since come to light; for the discussion of the
circumstantial evidence may be useful in determining the value of
McClellan's report of 1863 where it differs in other respects from
his original report of 1862 and from other contemporaneous

September 17, 1862,--9.10 A. M.

GENERAL,--General Franklin's command is within one mile and a half
of here. General McClellan desires you to open your attack. As soon
as you shall have uncovered the upper stone bridge you will be
supported, and, if necessary, on your own line of attack. So far all
is going well.

Respectfully, GEO. D. RUGGLES, Colonel, etc."

This order appears in the supplementary volume of the Official
Records, vol. li. pt. i. p. 844. From Pry's house, where McClellan's
headquarters were that day, to Burnside's, was over two miles as the
crow flies. This establishes the accuracy of the original reports of
both, which stated the hour of receipt at ten o'clock. It
corroborates also the time of Franklin's arrival on the field, and
the connection of this with Burnside's advance.]
If then we can determine whose troops we saw engaged, we shall know
something of the time of day; for there has been a general agreement
reached as to the hours of movement of Sumner's divisions during the
forenoon on the right and right centre. The official map settles
this. No lines of our troops were engaged in the direction of Bloody
Lane and the Rullett farm-house, and between the latter and our
station on the hill, till French's division made its attack. We saw
them distinctly on the hither side of the farm buildings, upon the
open ground, considerably nearer to us than the Dunker Church or the
East Wood. In number we took them to be a corps. The place, the
circumstances, all fix it beyond controversy that they were French's
men or French's and Richardson's. No others fought on that part of
the field until Franklin went to their assistance at noon or later.
The incident of their advance and the explosion of the caisson was
illustrated by the pencil of Mr. Forbes on the spot, and was placed
by him at the time Franklin's head of column was approaching from
the direction of Rohrersville, which was about ten o'clock.
[Footnote: Forbes's sketch is reproduced in "Battles and Leaders of
the Civil War," vol. ii. p. 647, and is of historical importance in
connection with the facts stated above.]

It seems now very clear that about ten o'clock in the morning was
the great crisis in this battle. The sudden and complete rout of
Sedgwick's division was not easily accounted for, and, with
McClellan's theory of the enormous superiority of Lee's numbers, it
looked as if the Confederate general had massed overwhelming forces
on our right. Sumner's notion that Hooker's corps was utterly
dispersed was naturally accepted, and McClellan limited his hopes to
holding on at the East Wood and the Poffenberger hill, where
Hooker's batteries were massed and supported by the troops that had
been rallied there. Franklin's corps, as it came on the field, was
detained to support the threatened right centre, and McClellan
determined to help it further by a demonstration upon the extreme
left by the Ninth Corps. At this time, therefore, he gave his order
to Burnside to cross the Antietam and attack the enemy, thus
creating a diversion in favor of our hard-pressed right. His
preliminary report of the battle (dated October 16, 1862) explicitly
states that the order to Burnside to attack was "communicated to him
at ten o'clock A.M." This exactly agrees with the time stated by
Burnside in his official report, and would ordinarily be quite
conclusive. [Footnote: See note, p. 334, _ante_. C. W., pt. i. p.
41; Official Records, vol. xix. pt. i. pp. 31, 416.]

In the book published in 1864 as his official report of his whole
military career, McClellan says he ordered Burnside to make this
attack at eight o'clock. The circumstances under which his final
published statements were made take away from them the character of
a calm and judicial correction of his first report. He was then a
general set aside from active service and a political aspirant to
the Presidency. His book was a controversial one, issued as an
argument to the public, and the earlier report must be regarded in a
military point of view as the more authoritative unless good grounds
are given for the changes. When he wrote his preliminary report he
certainly knew the hour and the condition of affairs on the field
when he gave the order to Burnside. To do so at eight o'clock would
not accord with his plan of battle. [Footnote: _Id_., pp. 30, 55.]
His purpose had been to move the Ninth Corps against the enemy "when
matters looked favorably" on our right, after an attack by Hooker,
Mansfield, and Sumner, supported, if necessary, by Franklin. But
Sumner's attack was not made till after nine, and Franklin's head of
column did not reach the field till ten. McClellan's book, indeed,
erroneously postpones Franklin's arrival till past noon, which, if
true, would tend to explain why the day wore away without any
further activity on the right; but the preliminary report better
agrees with Franklin's when it says that officer reached the field
about an hour after Sedgwick's disaster. [Footnote: Official
Records, vol. xix. pt. i. pp. 30, 61, 376.]

Still further, matters had at no time "looked favorably" on the
right up to ten o'clock. The condition, therefore, which was assumed
as precedent to Burnside's movement, never existed; and this was
better known to McClellan than to any one else, for he received the
first discouraging reports after Mansfield fell, and the subsequent
alarming ones when Sedgwick was routed. Burnside's report was dated
on the 30th of September, within two weeks of the battle, and at a
time when public discussion of the incomplete results of the battle
was animated. It was made after he had in his hands my own report as
his immediate subordinate, in which I had given about nine o'clock
as my remembrance of the time. [Footnote: _Id_., p. 424.] As I
directed the details of the action at the bridge in obedience to
this order, it would have been easy for him to have accepted the
hour named by me, for I should have been answerable for any delay in
execution after that time. But he then had in his possession the
order which came to him upon the hill-top overlooking the field, and
no officer in the whole army has a better established reputation for
candor and freedom from any wish to avoid full personal
responsibility for his acts. It was not till his report was
published in the Official Records (1887) [Footnote: _Id_., p. 416.]
that I saw it or learned its contents, although I enjoyed his
personal friendship down to his death. He was content to have stated
the fact as he knew it, and did not feel the need of debating it.
The circumstances have satisfied me that his accuracy in giving the
hour was greater than my own. [Footnote: Upon reflection, I think it
probable that the order from McClellan was read to me, and that I
thus got the hour of its date connected in my mind with the
beginning of our attack.]

It will not be wondered at, therefore, if to my mind the story of
the eight o'clock order is an instance of the way in which an
erroneous recollection is based upon the desire to make the facts
accord with a theory. The actual time must have been as much later
than nine o'clock as the period during which, with absorbed
attention, we had been watching the battle on the right,--a period,
it is safe to say, much longer than it seemed to us. The judgment of
the hour which I gave in my report was merely my impression from
passing events, for I hastened at once to my own duties without
thinking to look at my watch; whilst the cumulative evidence seems
to prove, conclusively, that the time stated by Burnside, and by
McClellan himself in his original report, is correct. The order,
then, to Burnside to attack was not sent at eight o'clock, but
reached him at ten; it was not sent to follow up an advantage gained
by Hooker and Sumner, but to create, if possible, a strong diversion
in favor of the imperilled right wing when the general outlook was
far from reassuring.

McClellan truly said, in his original report, that the task of
carrying the bridge in front of Burnside was a difficult one.
[Footnote: Official Records, vol. xix. pt. i. p. 31.] The hill on
which I have placed the station of General Burnside was the bolder
and more prominent crest of the line of hills which skirted the
Antietam on the east, and was broken by depressions here and there,
through which the country roads ran down to the stream. Such a
hollow was just at the south of Burnside's position at the haystack
on the Rohrback farm. In rear of him and a little lower down were
the farm buildings, and from these a road ran down the winding
hollow to the Antietam, but reached the stream several hundred yards
below the bridge. Following the road, therefore, it was necessary to
turn up stream upon the narrow space between the hills and the
water, without any cover from the fire of the enemy on the opposite
side. The bluffs on that side were wooded to the water's edge, and
were so steep that the road from the bridge could not go up at right
angles to the bank, but forked both ways and sought the upper land
by a more gradual ascent to right and left. The fork to the right
ran around a shoulder of the hill into a ravine which there reaches
the Antietam, and thence ascends by an easy grade toward Sharpsburg.
The left branch of the road rises by a similar but less marked

These roads were faced by stone fences, and the depth of the valley
and its course made it impossible to reach the enemy's position at
the bridge by artillery fire from the hill-tops on our side. Not so
from the enemy's position, for the curve of the valley was such that
it was perfectly enfiladed near the bridge by the Confederate
batteries at the position now occupied by the National Cemetery. The
bridge itself was a stone structure of three arches with stone
parapets on the sides. These curved outward at the end of the bridge
to allow for the turn of the roadway. On the enemy's side, the stone
fences came down close to the bridge.

The Confederate defence of the passage was intrusted to D. R.
Jones's division of six brigades, [Footnote: Official Records, vol.
xix. pt. i. p. 804.] which was the one Longstreet himself had
disciplined and led till he was assigned to a larger command.
Toombs's brigade was placed in advance, occupying the defences of
the bridge itself and the wooded slopes above, while the other
brigades supported him, covered by the ridges which looked down upon
the valley. The division batteries were supplemented by others from
the enemy's reserve, and the valley, the bridge, and the ford below
were under the direct and powerful fire of shot and shell from the
Confederate cannon. Toombs's force, thus strongly supported, was as
large as could be disposed of at the head of the bridge, and
abundantly large for resistance to any that could be brought against
it. Our advance upon the bridge could only be made by a narrow
column, showing a front of eight men at most; but the front which
Toombs deployed behind his defences was three or four hundred yards
both above and below the bridge. He himself says in his report:
[Footnote: Official Records, vol. xix. pt. i. p. 890.] "From the
nature of the ground on the other side, the enemy were compelled to
approach mainly by the road which led up the river near three
hundred paces parallel with my line of battle and distant therefrom
from fifty to a hundred and fifty feet, thus exposing his flank to a
destructive fire the most of that distance." Under such
circumstances the Confederate position was nearly impregnable
against a direct attack over the bridge; for the column approaching
it was not only exposed at almost pistol-range to the perfectly
covered infantry of the enemy and to two batteries which were
assigned to the special duty of supporting Toombs, having the exact
range of the little valley with their shrapnel; but, if it should
succeed in reaching the bridge, its charge across it must be made
under a fire ploughing through its length, the head of the column
melting away as it advanced, so that, as every soldier knows, it
could show no front strong enough to make an impression upon the
enemy's breastworks, even if it should reach the other side. As a
desperate sort of diversion in favor of the right wing, it might be
justifiable; but I believe that no officer or man who knew the
actual situation at that bridge thinks that a serious attack upon it
was any part of McClellan's original plan. Yet, in his detailed
report of 1863, instead of speaking of it as the difficult task the
original report had called it, he treats it as little different from
a parade or march across which might have been done in half an hour.

Burnside's view of the matter was that the front attack at the
bridge was so difficult that the passage by the ford below must be
an important factor in the task; for if Rodman's division should
succeed in getting across there, at the bend of the Antietam, he
would come up in rear of Toombs, and either the whole of D. R.
Jones's division would have to advance to meet Rodman, or Toombs
must abandon the bridge. In this I certainly concurred, and Rodman
was ordered to push rapidly for the ford. It is important to
remember, however, that Walker's Confederate division had been
posted during the earlier morning to hold that part of the Antietam
line, supporting Toombs as well, [Footnote: Official Records, vol.
xix. pt. i. p. 914.] and it was probably from him that Rodman
suffered the first casualties that occurred in his ranks. But, as we
have seen, Walker had been called away by Lee only an hour before,
and had made the hasty march by the rear of Sharpsburg to fall upon
Sedgwick. If therefore Rodman had been sent to cross at eight
o'clock, it is safe to say that his column, fording the stream in
the face of Walker's deployed division, would never have reached the
further bank,--a contingency that McClellan did not consider when
arguing, long afterward, the favorable results that might have
followed an earlier attack. As Rodman died upon the field, no full
report for his division was made, and we only know that he met with
some resistance from both infantry and artillery; that the winding
of the stream made his march longer than he anticipated, and that,
in fact, he only approached the rear of Toombs's position from that
direction about the time when our last and successful charge upon
the bridge was made, between noon and one o'clock.

The attacks at the Burnside bridge were made under my own eye.
Sturgis's division occupied the centre of our line, with Crook's
brigade of the Kanawha division on his right front, and Willcox's
division in reserve, as I have already stated. Crook's position was
somewhat above the bridge, but it was thought that by advancing part
of Sturgis's men to the brow of the hill, they could cover the
advance of Crook, and that the latter could make a straight dash
down the hill to our end of the bridge. The orders were accordingly
given, and Crook advanced, covered by the Eleventh Connecticut (of
Rodman's) under Colonel Kingsbury, deployed as skirmishers.
[Footnote: Official Records, vol. xix. pt. i. pp. 419, 424.] In
passing over the spurs of the hills, Crook came out on the bank of
the stream above the bridge and found himself under a heavy fire at
short range. He faced the enemy and returned the fire, getting such
cover for his men as he could and trying to drive off or silence his
opponents. The engagement was one in which the Antietam prevented
the combatants from coming to close quarters, but it was none the
less vigorously continued with musketry fire. Crook reported that
his hands were full and that he could not approach closer to the
bridge. Later in the contest, his men, lining the stream, made
experiments in trying to get over, and found a fordable place a
little way above, by which he got over five companies of the
Twenty-eighth Ohio at about the same time as the final and
successful charge. But on the failure of Crook's first effort,
Sturgis ordered forward an attacking column from Nagle's brigade,
supported and covered by Ferrero's brigade, which took position in a
field of corn on one of the lower slopes of the hill opposite the
head of the bridge. The whole front was carefully covered with
skirmishers, and our batteries on the heights overhead were ordered
to keep down the fire of the enemy's artillery. Nagle's effort was
gallantly made, but it failed, and his men were forced to seek cover
behind the spur of the hill from which they had advanced. [Footnote:
Official Records, vol. xix. pt. i. p. 444.] We were constantly
hoping to hear something from Rodman's advance by the ford, and
would gladly have waited for some more certain knowledge of his
progress, but at this time McClellan's sense of the necessity of
relieving the right was such that he was sending reiterated orders
to push the assault. Not only were these forwarded to me, but to
give added weight to my instructions, Burnside sent direct to
Sturgis urgent messages to carry the bridge at all hazards.

I directed Sturgis to take two regiments from Ferrero's brigade,
which had not been engaged, and make a column by moving them
together by the flank, the one left in front and the other right in
front, side by side, so that when they passed the bridge they could
turn to left and right, forming line as they advanced on the run. He
chose the Fifty-first New York, Colonel Robert B. Potter, and the
Fifty-first Pennsylvania, Colonel John F. Hartranft (both names
afterward greatly distinguished), and both officers and men were
made to feel the necessity of success. [Footnote: _Ibid_.] At the
same time Crook succeeded in bringing a light howitzer of Simmonds's
mixed battery down from the hill-tops, and placed it where it had a
point-blank fire on the further end of the bridge. The howitzer was
one we had captured in West Virginia, and had been added to the
battery, which was partly made up of heavy rifled Parrott guns. When
everything was ready, a heavy skirmishing fire was opened all along
the bank, the howitzer threw in double charges of canister, and in
scarcely more time than it takes to tell it, the bridge was passed
and Toombs's brigade fled through the woods and over the top of the
hill. The charging regiments were advanced in line to the crest
above the bridge as soon as they were deployed, and the rest of
Sturgis's division, with Crook's brigade, were immediately brought
over to strengthen the line. These were soon joined by Rodman's
division, with Scammon's brigade, which had crossed at the ford, and
whose presence on that side of the stream had no doubt made the
final struggle of Toombs's men less obstinate than it would
otherwise have been, the fear of being taken in rear having always a
strong moral effect upon even the best of troops.

It was now about one o'clock, and nearly three hours had been spent
in a bitter and bloody contest across the narrow stream. The
successive efforts to carry the bridge had been as closely following
each other as possible. Each had been a fierce combat, in which the
men with wonderful courage had not easily accepted defeat, and even,
when not able to cross the bridge, had made use of the walls at the
end, the fences, and every tree and stone as cover, while they
strove to reach with their fire their well-protected and nearly
concealed opponents. The lulls in the fighting had been short, and
only to prepare new efforts. The severity of the work was attested
by our losses, which, before the crossing was won, exceeded 500 men,
and included some of our best officers, such as Colonel Kingsbury of
the Eleventh Connecticut, Lieutenant-Colonel Bell of the Fifty-first
Pennsylvania, and Lieutenant-Colonel Coleman of the Eleventh Ohio,
two of them commanding regiments. [Footnote: Official Records, vol.
xix. pt. i. p. 427.] The proportion of casualties to the number
engaged was much greater than common; for the nature of the combat
required that comparatively few troops should be exposed at once,
the others remaining under cover.

Our next task was to prepare to hold the heights we had gained
against the return assault of the enemy which we expected, and to
reply to the destructive fire from the enemy's abundant artillery.
Light batteries were brought over and distributed in the line. The
men were made to lie down behind the crest to save them from the
concentrated cannonade which the enemy opened upon us as soon as
Toombs's regiments succeeded in reaching their main line. But
McClellan's anticipation of an overwhelming attack upon his right
was so strong that he determined still to press our advance, and
sent orders accordingly. The ammunition of Sturgis's and Crook's men
had been nearly exhausted, and it was imperative that they should be
freshly supplied before entering into another engagement. Sturgis
also reported his men so exhausted by their efforts as to be unfit
for an immediate advance. On this I sent to Burnside the request
that Willcox's division be sent over, with an ammunition train, and
that Sturgis's division be replaced by the fresh troops, remaining,
however, on the west side of the stream as support to the others.
This was done as rapidly as was practicable, where everything had to
pass down the steep hill-road and through so narrow a defile as the
bridge. [Footnote: As a mode of ready reckoning, it is usual to
assume that a division requires an hour to march past a given point
by the flank. With the crossing of an ammunition train, the interval
of time is more than accounted for.] Still, it was three o'clock
before these changes and preparations could be made. Burnside had
personally striven to hasten them, and had come over to the west
bank to consult and to hurry matters, and took his share of personal
peril, for he came at a time when the ammunition wagons were
delivering cartridges, and the road at the end of the bridge where
they were was in the range of the enemy's constant and accurate
fire. It is proper to mention this because it has been said that he
did not cross the stream. The criticisms made by McClellan as to the
time occupied in these changes and movements will not seem forcible
if one will compare them with any similar movements on the field;
such as Mansfield's to support Hooker, or Sumner's or Franklin's to
reach the scene of action. About this, however, there is fair room
for difference of opinion: what I personally know is that it would
have been folly to advance again before Willcox had relieved
Sturgis, and that as soon as the fresh troops reported and could be
put in line, the order to advance was given. McClellan is in accord
with all other witnesses in declaring that when the movement began,
the conduct of the troops was gallant beyond criticism.

Willcox's division formed the right, Christ's brigade being north,
and Welsh's brigade south of the road leading from the bridge to
Sharpsburg. Crook's brigade of the Kanawha division supported
Willcox. Rodman's division formed on the left, Harland's brigade
having the position on the flank, and Fairchild's uniting with
Willcox at the centre. Scammon's brigade was the reserve for Rodman
at the extreme left. [Footnote: Official Records, vol. xix. pt. i.
pp. 425, 430.] Sturgis's division remained and held the crest of the
hill above the bridge. About half of the batteries of the divisions
accompanied the movement, the rest being in position on the
hill-tops east of the Antietam. The advance necessarily followed the
high ground toward Sharpsburg, and as the enemy made strongest
resistance toward our right, the movement curved in that direction,
the six brigades of Jones's Confederate division being deployed
diagonally across our front, holding the stone fences and crests of
the cross-ridges and aided by abundant artillery, in which arm the
enemy was particularly strong.

The battle was a fierce one from the moment Willcox's men showed
themselves on the open ground. Christ's brigade, taking advantage of
all the cover the trees and inequalities of surface gave them,
pushed on along the depression in which the road ran, a section of
artillery keeping pace with them in the road. The direction of
movement brought all the brigades of the first line in echelon, but
Welsh soon fought his way up beside Christ, and they together drove
the enemy successively from the fields and farm-yards till they
reached the edge of the village. Upon the elevation on the right of
the road was an orchard in which the shattered and diminished force
of Jones made a final stand, but Willcox concentrated his artillery
fire upon it, and his infantry was able to push forward and occupy
it. They now partly occupied the town of Sharpsburg, and held the
high ground commanding it on the southeast, where the National
Cemetery now is. [Footnote: Official Records, vol. xix. pt. i. p.
431.] The struggle had been long and bloody. It was half-past four
in the afternoon, and ammunition had again run low, for the wagons
had not been able to accompany the movement. Willcox paused for his
men to take breath again and to fetch up some cartridges; but
meanwhile affairs were taking a serious turn on the left.

As Rodman's division went forward, he found the enemy before him
seemingly detached from Willcox's opponents, and occupying ridges on
his left front, so that he was not able to keep his own connection
with Willcox in the swinging movement to the right. Still, he made
good progress in the face of stubborn resistance, though finding the
enemy constantly developing more to his left, and the interval
between him and Willcox widening. The view of the field to the south
was now obstructed by fields of tall Indian corn, and under this
cover Confederate troops approached the flank in line of battle.
Scammon's officers in the reserve saw them as soon as Rodman's
brigades echeloned, as these were toward the front and right. This
hostile force proved to be A. P. Hill's division of six brigades,
the last of Jackson's force to leave Harper's Ferry, and which had
reached Sharpsburg since noon. Those first seen by Scammon's men
were dressed in the National blue uniforms which they had captured
at Harper's Ferry, and it was assumed that they were part of our own
forces till they began to fire. [Footnote: Official Records, vol.
xix. pt. i. p. 468.] Scammon quickly changed front to the left,
drove back the enemy before him, and occupied a line of stone
fences, which he held until he was afterward withdrawn from it.
[Footnote: _Id._, p. 466.] Harland's brigade was partly moving in
the corn-fields. One of his regiments was new, having been organized
only three weeks, and the brigade had somewhat lost its order and
connection when the sudden attack came. Rodman directed Colonel
Harland to lead the right of the brigade, while he himself attempted
to bring the left into position. In performing this duty he fell,
mortally wounded. Harland's horse was shot under him, and the
brigade broke in confusion after a brief effort of its right wing to
hold on. Fairchild also now received the fire on his left, and was
forced to fall back and change front. [Footnote: _Id._, pp. 451,

Being at the centre when this break occurred on the left, I saw that
it would be impossible to continue the movement to the right, and
sent instant orders to Willcox and Crook to retire the left of their
line, and to Sturgis to come forward into the gap made in Rodman's.
The troops on the right swung back in perfect order; Scammon's
brigade hung on at its stone wall at the extreme left with
unflinching tenacity till Sturgis had formed on the curving hill in
rear of them, and Rodman's had found refuge behind. Willcox's left
then united with Sturgis, and Scammon was withdrawn to a new
position on the left flank of the whole line. That these manoeuvres
on the field were really performed in good order is demonstrated by
the fact that although the break in Rodman's line was a bad one, the
enemy was not able to capture many prisoners, the whole number of
missing, out of the 2349 casualties which the Ninth Corps suffered
in the battle, being 115, which includes wounded men unable to leave
the field. [Footnote: Official Records, vol. xix. pt. i. pp. 200,

The enemy were not lacking in bold efforts to take advantage of the
check we had received, but were repulsed with severe punishment, and
as the day declined were content to entrench themselves along the
line of the road leading from Sharpsburg to the Potomac at the mouth
of the Antietam, half a mile in our front. The men of the Ninth
Corps lay that night upon their arms, the line being one which
rested with both flanks near the Antietam and curved outward upon
the rolling hill-tops which covered the bridge and commanded the
plateau between us and the enemy. With my staff, I lay upon the
ground behind the troops, holding our horses by the bridles as we
rested, for our orderlies were so exhausted that we could not deny
them the same chance for a little broken slumber.

The Ninth Corps occupied its position on the heights west of the
Antietam without further molestation, except an irritating picket
firing, till the Confederate army retreated on the 19th of
September. But the position was one in which no shelter from the
weather could be had, nor could any cooking be done; and the troops
were short of rations. My division wagon-train, which I had brought
from the West, here stood us in good stead, for the corps as a whole
was very short of transportation. The energy of Captain Fitch, my
quartermaster, forced the train back and forth between us and the
nearest depot of supplies, and for several days the whole corps had
the benefit of the provisions thus brought forward. Late in the
afternoon of Thursday the 18th, Morell's division of Porter's corps
was ordered to report to Burnside to relieve the picket line and
some of the regiments in the most exposed position. One brigade was
sent over the Antietam for this purpose, and a few of the Ninth
Corps regiments were enabled to withdraw far enough to cook some
rations, of which they had been in need for twenty-four hours.
[Footnote: General Porter in his report says Morell took the place
of the whole Ninth Corps. In this he is entirely mistaken, as the
reports from Morell's division, as well as those of the Ninth Corps,
show.] Harland's brigade of Rodman's division had been taken to the
east side of the stream to be reorganized, on the evening of
Wednesday the 17th. The sounds heard within the enemy's lines by our
pickets gave an inkling of their retrograde movement in the night of
Thursday, and at break of day on Friday morning the retreat of Lee's
whole army was discovered by advancing the picket line.
Reconnoissances sent to the front discovered that the whole
Confederate army had crossed the Potomac.

The conduct of the battle on the left has given rise to several
criticisms, among which the most prominent has been that Porter's
corps, which lay in reserve, was not put in at the same time with
the Ninth Corps. It has been said that some of them were engaged or
in support of the cavalry and artillery at the centre. This does not
appear to have been so to any important extent, for no active
fighting was going on elsewhere after Franklin's corps relieved
Sumner's about noon. McClellan's reports do not urge this. He
answered the criticism by saying that he did not think it prudent to
divest the centre of all reserve troops. No doubt a single strong
division, marching beyond the left flank of the Ninth Corps, would
have so occupied A. P. Hill's division that our movement into
Sharpsburg could not have been checked, and, assisted by the advance
of Sumner and Franklin on the right, would apparently have made
certain the complete rout of Lee. As troops are put in reserve, not
to diminish the army, but to be used in a pinch, I am convinced that
McClellan's refusal to use them on the left was the result of his
rooted belief, through all the day after Sedgwick's defeat, that Lee
was overwhelmingly superior in force, and was preparing to return a
crushing blow upon our right flank. He was keeping something in hand
to fill a gap or cover a retreat, if that wing should be driven
back. Except in this way, also, I am at a loss to account for the
inaction of the right during the whole of our engagement on the
left. Looking at our part of the battle as only a strong diversion
to prevent or delay Lee's following up his success against Hooker
and the rest, it is intelligible. I certainly so understood it at
the time, as my report witnesses, and McClellan's original report
sustains this view. [Footnote: Official Records, vol. xix. pt. i.
pp. 31, 426.] If he had been impatient to have our attack delivered
earlier, he had reason for double impatience that Franklin's fresh
troops should assail Lee's left simultaneously with our assault of
his other wing, unless he regarded action there as hopeless, and
looked upon our movement as a sort of forlorn hope to keep Lee from
following up his advantages.

But even these are not all the troublesome questions requiring an
answer. It will be remembered that Franklin's corps, after forcing
Crampton's Gap, had remained in Pleasant Valley between Rohrersville
and Boonsboro until Tuesday night (16th September). McClellan then
ordered Couch's division to be sent to occupy Maryland Heights and
observe the enemy in Harper's Ferry, whilst Franklin with Smith's
and Slocum's divisions should march to the battle-field at daybreak
of Wednesday. Why could not Couch be called up and come on our left
as well as A. P. Hill's division, which was the last of the
Confederate troops to leave the ferry, there being nothing to
observe after it was gone? Couch's division, coming with equal pace
with Hill's on the other side of the river would have answered our
needs as well as one from Porter's corps. Hill came, but Couch did
not. Yet even then, a regiment of horse, watching that flank and
scouring the country as we swung forward, would have developed
Hill's presence and enabled the commanding general either to stop
our movement or to take the available means to support it. The
cavalry was put to no such use. It occupied the centre of the whole
line, only its artillery being engaged during the day. It would have
been invaluable to Hooker in the morning, as it would have been to
us in the afternoon.

McClellan had marched from Frederick City with the information that
Lee's army was divided, Jackson being detached with a large force to
take Harper's Ferry. He had put Lee's strength at 120,000 men.
Assuming that there was still danger that Jackson might come upon
our left with his large force, and that Lee had proven strong enough
without Jackson to repulse three corps on our right and right
centre, McClellan might have regarded his own army as divided also
for the purpose of meeting both opponents, and his cavalry would
have been upon the flank of the part with which he was attacking
Lee; Porter would have been in position to help either part in an
extremity or to cover a retreat; and Burnside would have been the
only subordinate available to check Lee's apparent success. Will any
other hypothesis intelligibly account for McClellan's dispositions
and orders? The error in the above assumption would be that
McClellan estimated Lee's troops at nearly double their actual
numbers, and that what was taken for proof of Lee's superiority in
force on the field was a series of partial reverses which resulted
directly from the piecemeal and disjointed way in which McClellan's
morning attacks had been made.

The same explanation is the most satisfactory one that I can give
for the inaction of Thursday, the 18th of September. Could McClellan
have known the desperate condition of most of Lee's brigades, he
would also have known that his own were in much better case, badly
as they had suffered. I do not doubt that most of his subordinates
discouraged the resumption of the attack, for the belief in Lee's
great preponderance in numbers had been chronic in the army during
the whole year. That belief was based upon the inconceivably
mistaken reports of the secret-service organization, accepted at
headquarters, given to the War Department at Washington as a reason
for incessant demands of reinforcements, and permeating downward
through the whole organization till the error was accepted as truth
by officers and men, and became a factor in their morale which can
hardly be overestimated. The result was that Lee retreated
unmolested on the night of the 18th of September, and that what
might have been a real and decisive success was a drawn battle in
which our chief claim to victory was the possession of the field.

The numbers engaged and the losses on each side have been the
subject of unending dispute. If we take the returns of Lee at the
beginning of his campaign against Pope, and deduct his acknowledged
losses, he crossed the Potomac with over 72,000 men. [Footnote: See
my review of Henderson's Stonewall Jackson, "The Nation," Nov. 24,
1898, p.396.] If we take his returns of September 22, and add the
acknowledged losses of the month, he had over 57,000. [Footnote: See
my review of Allan's Army of Northern Virginia, "The Nation," Feb.
2, 1893, p.86. Also reply to General Fitzhugh Lee, _Id_., Dec. 20,
1894, p.462; Confederate Statistics, _Id_., Jan. 24, 1895, p.71;
Review of Ropes's Story of the Civil War, _Id_., March 9, 1899,
p.185.] McClellan's 87,000 present for duty is accepted by all,
though various causes considerably reduced the number he brought
into action. The best collation of reports of casualties at Antietam
gives 12,410 as those on the National side, and 11,172 on the
Confederate. [Footnote: Century War Book, vol. ii. p.603.]
Longstreet, comparing the fighting in the fiercest battles of the
war, says "on no single day in any one of them was there such
carnage as in this fierce struggle." [Footnote: From Manassas to
Appomattox, p.239.]



Meeting Colonel Key--His changes of opinion--His relations to
McClellan--Governor Dennison's influence--McClellan's attitude
toward Lincoln--Burnside's position--The Harrison Landing
letter--Compared with Lincoln's views--Probable intent of the
letter--Incident at McClellan's headquarters--John W.
Garrett--Emancipation Proclamation--An after-dinner discussion of
it--Contrary influences--Frank advice--Burnside and John
Cochrane--General Order 163--Lincoln's visit to camp--Riding the
field--A review--Lincoln's desire for continuing the
campaign--McClellan's hesitation--His tactics of discussion--His
exaggeration of difficulties--Effect on his army--Disillusion a slow
process--Lee's army not better than Johnston's--Work done by our
Western army--Difference in morale--An army rarely bolder than its
leader--Correspondence between Halleck and McClellan--Lincoln's
remarkable letter on the campaign--The army moves on November 2--Lee
regains the line covering Richmond--McClellan relieved--Burnside in

When I rode up with Burnside on the afternoon of the 15th September,
in the group around McClellan I met Judge Key, whom I had not seen
since we parted in the Ohio Senate in April of the preceding year.
He was now aide-de-camp on the headquarters staff with the rank of
colonel, and doing duty also as judge-advocate. When McClellan
directed us to leave the ridge because the display of numbers
attracted the enemy's fire, Colonel Key took my arm and we walked a
little way down the slope till we found a fallen tree, on which we
sat down, whilst he plunged eagerly into the history of his own
opinions since we had discussed the causes of the war in the
legislature of our State. He told me with earnestness that he had
greatly modified his views on the subject of slavery, and he was now
satisfied that the war must end in its abolition. The system was so
plainly the soul of the rebellion and the tie which bound the
seceded States together, that its existence must necessarily depend
upon the success of the revolutionary movement, and it would be a
fair object of attack, if doing so would help our cause. I was
struck by the zeal with which he dashed into the discussion,
forgetful of his actual surroundings in his wish to make me quickly
understand the change that had come over his views since we parted
at Columbus. He was so absorbed that even when a shell burst near
us, he only half gave it attention, saying in a parenthetical way
that he would change his position, as he would "rather not be hit in
the back by one of those confounded things." We had been so sitting
that in facing me his back was toward the front and the line of

Colonel Key has been regarded by many as McClellan's evil genius,
whose influence had been dominant in the general's political conduct
and who was therefore the cause of his downfall. His influence on
McClellan was unquestionably great,--and what he said to me is an
important help in understanding the general's conduct and opinions.
It accords with other statements of his which have been made public
by Judge William M. Dickson of Cincinnati, who at one time was
Colonel Key's partner in the practice of the law. [Footnote: I have
failed in my efforts to find a communication on the subject in a
newspaper, written by Judge Dickson, which he showed to me,
reiterating his statements in it.]

General McClellan urged me to come to his headquarters without
ceremony, and after the battle of Antietam I had several
opportunities of unrestrained discussion of affairs in which he
seemed entirely frank in giving me his opinions. It was plainly
evident that he was subjected to a good deal of pressure by
opponents of the administration to make him commit himself to them.
On the other hand, Governor Dennison of Ohio, who was his sincere
friend, took every opportunity to counteract such influences and to
promote a good understanding between him and Mr. Lincoln. McClellan
perfectly knew my own position as an outspoken Republican who from
the first had regarded the system of slavery as the stake ventured
by the Secessionists on their success in the war, and who held to
John Quincy Adams's doctrine that the war powers were adequate to
destroy the institution which we could not constitutionally abolish
otherwise. With me, the only question was when the ripe time had
come for action, and I had looked forward to Mr. Lincoln's
proclamation with some impatience at the delay.

The total impression left upon me by the general's conversation was
that he agreed with Colonel Key in believing that the war ought to
end in abolition of slavery; but he feared the effects of haste, and
thought the steps toward the end should be conservatively careful
and not brusquely radical. I thought, and still think, that he
regarded the President as nearly right in his general views and
political purposes, but overcrowded by more radical men around him
into steps which as yet were imprudent and extreme. Such an attitude
on his part made Governor Dennison and myself feel that there was no
need of any political quarrel between him and the administration,
and that if he would only rebuff all political intriguers and put
more aggressive energy into his military operations, his career
might be a success for the country as well as for himself. The
portions of his correspondence with Burnside which have become
public show that the latter also had, as a true friend, constantly
urged him to keep out of political controversy. Burnside himself,
like Grant and Sherman, began with a dislike of the antislavery
movement; but, also like them, his patriotism being the dominant
quality, the natural effect of fighting the Secessionists was to
beget in him a hearty acceptance of the policy of emancipation to
which Mr. Lincoln had been led by the same educational process.

At the time I am speaking of, I knew nothing of McClellan's famous
letter to the President from Harrison's Landing, of July 7, but
since it has come to light, I have interpreted it much less harshly
than many have done. Reading it in the light of his talk during
those Antietam days, I think it fair to regard it as an effort to
show Mr. Lincoln that they were not far apart in opinion, and to
influence the President to take the more conservative course to
which he thought him inclined when taking counsel only of his own
judgment. McClellan knew that his "change of base" to the James
River in June was not accepted as the successful strategy he
declared it to be, and that strong influences were at work to remove
him. Under the guise of giving advice to the President, he was in
fact assuring him that he did not look to the acknowledgment of the
Confederacy as a conceivable outcome of the war; that the
"contraband" doctrine applied to slaves was consistent with
compensated emancipation; that he favored the application of the
principle to the border States so as to make them free States; that
concentration of military force as opposed to dispersion of effort
was the true policy; that he opposed the rules of warfare which he
assumed were announced in General Pope's much criticised orders; and
lastly, that he would cordially serve under such general-in-chief as
Mr. Lincoln should select.

Compare all this with Mr. Lincoln's known views. It was notorious
that he was thought to be too conservative by many of his own party.
He had urged a system of compensated emancipation for the border
States. He had said that he held the slavery question to be only a
part, and an absolutely subordinate part, of the greater question of
saving the Union. He had disapproved of a portion of Pope's order
regarding the treatment of non-combatants. However ill-advised
McClellan's letter was, it may be read between the lines as an
attempt to strengthen himself with the President as against Stanton
and others, and to make his military seat firmer in the saddle by
showing that he was not in political antagonism to Mr. Lincoln, but
held, in substance, the conservative views that were supposed to be
his. Its purpose seems to me to have been of this personal sort. He
did not publish it at the time, and it was not till he was removed
from his command that it became a kind of political manifesto. This
view is supported by what occurred after the publication of the
Emancipation Proclamation, which I shall tell presently; but, to
preserve the proper sequence, I must first give another incident.

A few days after the battle of Antietam a prominent clergyman of
Hagerstown spent the Sunday in camp, and McClellan invited a number
of officers to attend religious services in the parlors of the house
where headquarters were. The rooms were well filled, several
civilians being also present. I was standing by myself as we were
waiting for the clergyman to appear, when a stout man in civilian's
dress entered into conversation with me. He stood at my side as we
faced the upper part of the suite of rooms, and taking it to be a
casual talk merely to pass the time, I paid rather languid attention
to it and to him as he began with some complimentary remarks about
the army and its recent work. He spoke quite enthusiastically of
McClellan, and my loyalty to my commander as well as my personal
attachment to him made me assent cordially to what he said. He then
spoke of the politicians in Washington as wickedly trying to
sacrifice the general, and added, whispering the words emphatically
in my ear, "But you military men have that matter in your own hands,
you have but to tell the administration what they must do, and they
will not dare to disregard it!" This roused me, and I turned upon
him with a sharp "What do you mean, sir!" As I faced him, I saw at
once by his look that he had mistaken me for another; he mumbled
something about having taken me for an acquaintance of his, and
moved away among the company.

I was a good deal agitated, for though there was more or less of
current talk about disloyal influences at work, I had been sceptical
as to the fact, and to be brought face to face with that sort of
thing was a surprise. I was a stranger to most of those who were
there, and walked a little aside, watching the man who had left me.
I soon saw him talking with General Fitz-John Porter, on the
opposite side of the room, evidently calling attention to me as if
asking who I was. I made inquiries as to who the civilian was, and
later came to know him by sight very well. He was John W. Garrett,
President of the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad Company.

Mr. Lincoln's Emancipation Proclamation was published on the 24th of
September, and within a very few days I was invited to meet General
Burnside and General John Cochrane of New York at a camp dinner in
McClellan's tent. General Cochrane was a "War Democrat" in politics,
and had been active as a politician in his State. He was also the
son-in-law of Gerrit Smith, the well-known abolitionist, and had
advocated arming the slaves as early as November, 1861. McClellan
told us frankly that he had brought us there for the purpose of
asking our opinions and advice with regard to the course he should
pursue respecting the Proclamation. He said that he was urged to put
himself in open opposition to it by politicians not only, but by
army officers who were near to him. He named no names, but intimated
that they were of rank and influence which gave weight to their
advice. He knew that we were all friends of the administration, and
his object seemed to be to learn whether we thought he should say
anything or should maintain silence on the subject; for he assumed
that we would oppose any hostile demonstration on his part.

This naturally led to inquiries as to his actual attitude to the
slavery question, and he expressed himself in substance as I have
before indicated; repeating with even stronger emphasis his belief
that the war would work out the manumission of the slaves gradually
and ultimately, and that as to those who came within our lines as we
advanced the liberation would be complete and immediate. He thought,
however, that the Proclamation was premature, and that it indicated
a change in the President's attitude which he attributed to radical
influences at Washington.

There had been no previous understanding between us who were his
guests. For my part, I then met General Cochrane for the first time,
and had conversed with McClellan himself more freely on political
subjects than I had with Burnside. We found ourselves, however, in
entire accord in advising him that any declaration on his part
against the Proclamation would be a fatal error. We could easily
understand that he should differ from us in his way of viewing the
question of public policy, but we pointed out very clearly that any
public utterance by him in his official character criticising the
civil policy of the administration would be properly regarded as a
usurpation. He intimated that this was his own opinion, but, by way
of showing how the matter was thrust at him by others, said that
people had assured him that the army was so devoted to him that they
would as one man enforce any decision he should make as to any part
of the war policy.

I had so recently gone through the little experience on this subject
which I have narrated above, that I here spoke out with some
emphasis. I said that those who made such assurances were his worst
enemies, and in my judgment knew much less of the army than they
pretended; that our volunteer soldiers were citizens as well as
soldiers, and were citizens more than soldiers; and that greatly as
I knew them to be attached to him, I believed not a corporal's guard
would stand by his side if he were to depart from the strict
subordination of the military to the civil authority. Burnside and
Cochrane both emphatically assented to this, and McClellan added
that he heartily believed both that it was true and that it ought to
be so. But this still left the question open whether the very fact
that there was an agitation in camp on the subject, and intrigues of
the sort I have mentioned, did not make it wise for him to say
something which would show, at least, that he gave no countenance to
any would-be revolutionists. We debated this at some length, with
the general conclusion that it might be well for him to remind the
army in general orders that whatever might be their rights as
citizens, they must as soldiers beware of any organized effort to
meddle with the functions of the civil government.

I left the Army of the Potomac before McClellan's general order on
this subject, dated October 7, was published, but when I read it in
the light of the conference in his tent, I regarded it as an honest
effort on his part to break through the toils which intriguers had
spread for him, and regretted that what seemed to me one of his most
laudable actions should have been one of the most misrepresented and

[Footnote: The order is found in Official Records, vol. xix. pt. ii.
p. 395, and is as follows:--

General Orders. No. 163.
October 7, 1862.

The attention of the officers and soldiers of the army of the
Potomac is called to General Orders No, 139, War Department,
September 24, 1862, publishing to the army the President's
proclamation of September 22.

A proclamation of such grave moment to the nation, officially
communicated to the army, affords to the general commanding an
opportunity of defining specifically to the officers and soldiers
under his command the relation borne by all persons in the military
service of the United States toward the civil authorities of the
Government. The Constitution confides to the civil
authorities--legislative, judicial, and executive--the power and
duty of making, expounding, and executing the Federal laws. Armed
forces are raised and supported simply to sustain the civil
authorities, and are to be held in strict subordination thereto in
all respects. This fundamental rule of our political system is
essential to the security of our republican institutions, and should
be thoroughly understood and observed by every soldier. The
principle upon which and the object for which armies shall be
employed in suppressing rebellion, must be determined and declared
by the civil authorities, and the Chief Executive, who is charged
with the administration of the national affairs, is the proper and
only source through which the needs and orders of the Government can
be made known to the armies of the nation.

Discussions by officers and soldiers concerning public measures
determined upon and declared by the Government, when carried at all
beyond temperate and respectful expressions of opinion, tend greatly
to impair and destroy the discipline and efficiency of troops, by
substituting the spirit of political faction for that firm, steady,
and earnest support of the authorities of the Government, which is
the highest duty of the American soldier. The remedy for political
errors, if any are committed, is to be found only in the action of
the people at the polls.

In thus calling the attention of this army to the true relation
between the soldier and the government, the general commanding
merely adverts to an evil against which it has been thought
advisable during our whole history to guard the armies of the
Republic, and in so doing he will not be considered by any
right-minded person as casting any reflection upon that loyalty and
good conduct which has been so fully illustrated upon so many

In carrying out all measures of public policy, this army will of
course be guided by the same rules of mercy and Christianity that
have ever controlled its conduct toward the defenceless.

By Command of Major-General McClellan,
Lieutenant-Colonel, Aide-de-camp, and Act'g Ass't Adj't Gen'l."]

I have always understood that the order was drafted by Colonel Key,
who afterward expressed in very strong terms his confidence in the
high motives and progressive tendencies of McClellan at the time he
issued it.

General Cochrane, some time after the close of the war, in a
pamphlet outlining his own military history, made reference to the
visit to McClellan which I have narrated, and states that he was so
greatly impressed by the anti-slavery sentiments avowed by the
general, that he made use of them in a subsequent effort to bring
him and Secretary Chase into more cordial relations. [Footnote: The
War for the Union, Memoir by General John Cochrane, pp. 29-31.] It
is possible that, in a friendly comparison of views in which we were
trying to find how nearly we could come together, the general may
have put his opinions with a liberality which outran his ordinary
statements of belief; but I am very sure that he gave every evidence
of sincerity, and that none of us entertained a doubt of his being
entirely transparent with us. He has since, in his "Own Story,"
referred to his taking counsel of Mr. Aspinwall of New York at about
the same time, and there is evidence that General W. F. Smith also
threw his influence against any opposition by McClellan to the
Emancipation Proclamation. [Footnote: Nicolay and Hay's Lincoln,
vol. vi. p. 180.] McClellan's letters show that his first impulse
was to antagonism; but there is no fair reason to doubt that his
action at last was prompted by the reasons which he avowed in our
conversation, and by the honorable motives he professed. He
immediately sent a copy of his order to Mr. Lincoln personally, and
this indicates that he believed the President would be pleased with

The reference which he made to suggestions that the army would
follow him in a _coup d'e'tat_ is supported by what he formally
declared in his memoirs. He there tells us that in 1861 he was often
approached in regard to a "dictatorship," and that when he was
finally removed many in the army were in favor of his marching upon
Washington to take possession of the government. [Footnote: Own
Story, pp. 85, 652.] It would seem that treasonable notions were
rife about him to an extent that was never suspected, unless he was
made the dupe of pretenders who saw some profit in what might be
regarded as a gross form of adulation. He must be condemned for the
weakness which made such approaches to him possible; but we are
obliged to take the fact as he gives it, and to accept as one of the
strange elements of the situation a constant stream of treasonable
suggestions from professed friends in the army and out of it. An
anecdote which came to me in a way to make it more than ordinarily
trustworthy was that in the summer of 1861 McClellan was riding with
an older officer of the regular army, [Footnote: General McCall.]
and said to him, "I understand there is a good deal of talk of
making a dictatorship." "Ah!" said the other, "Mr. Lincoln, I
suppose." "Oh, no," replied McClellan, "it's me they're talking of."
Bits of evidence from many sources prove that there had been from
the first too much such talk about Washington, and whilst McClellan
cannot be held responsible for it, there is no proof that he rebuked
it as he should have done. It was part of the fermenting political
and military intrigue which is found at the seat of government in
such a time, if anywhere, and I take satisfaction in testifying that
away from that neighborhood I never even heard the thing mentioned
or referred to, that I can recollect. Washington would be spoken of
in a general way as a place of intrigues, but I never knew this to
have a wider meaning given to it than the ordinary one of political
schemes within lawful limits and personal ambitions of no criminal

Mr. Lincoln visited our camp on the 1st of October, and remained two
or three days. I was with the party of officers invited by McClellan
to accompany the President in a ride over the route which Sumner had
followed in the battle. We crossed the Antietam in front of
Keedysville, followed the hollows and byways to the East Wood, and
passed through this and the cornfields which had been the scene of
Hooker's and Mansfield's fierce fighting. We visited the Dunker
Church and then returned to camp by Bloody Lane and the central
stone bridge. The President was observant and keenly interested in
the field of battle, but made no display of sentiment. On another
day he reviewed the troops which were most accessible from
headquarters. As my own corps was among the first on the list, I did
not join the escort of the President at the general's quarters, but
was with the troops attending to the details of the parade. We were
ordered to be under arms at eight o'clock, but it was more than two
hours after that when the reviewing cortège came on the ground. The
officers were very hilarious over some grotesque story with which
Mr. Lincoln had seasoned the conversation, and which seemed to have
caused some forgetfulness of the appointment with the troops. We
were reviewed by divisions, and I met the party with my staff,
riding down the lines with them, and answering the inquiries of the
President and the general as to the history and the experience of
the different organizations as we passed them. The usual march in
review was omitted for lack of time, the President contenting
himself with riding along the lines formed in parade. I had missed
seeing the President in Washington when I paid my respects at the
White House, and this was my first meeting with him after his
inauguration. His unpretending cordiality was what first impressed
one, but you soon saw with what sharp intelligence and keen humor he
dealt with every subject which came up. He referred very pleasantly
to his knowledge of me through Secretary Chase, showing the kindly
instinct to find some compliment or evidence of recognition for all
who approached him.

This geniality in Mr. Lincoln made him avoid personal criticism of
the campaign, and gave an air of earnest satisfaction to what he
said of the work done by McClellan. There was enough to praise, and
he praised it heartily. He was also thankful that the threatened
invasion of the North had been defeated, and showed his sense of
great relief. He had adopted the rule for himself to limit his
direct influence upon his generals to the presentation of his ideas
of what was desirable, often taking pains even in his written
communications to say that he made no order, and left the definite
direction to General Halleck. McClellan gave the most favorable
interpretation to all that the President said, but could not ignore
the anxiety Mr. Lincoln showed that an energetic campaign should be
continued. He wrote home: "I incline to think that the real purpose
of his visit is to push me into a premature advance into Virginia."
[Footnote: O. S., p. 654.]

The President had coupled his earliest telegraphic congratulations
with the question, "Can't you beat them some more before they get
off?" and McClellan's private correspondence shows that he, on his
part, chafed at every suggestion of haste. As early as the 22d of
September, the general had written that he looked upon the campaign
as substantially ended, and intended to give some time to the
reorganization of the army before beginning a new one. The vicinity
of Harper's Ferry or Frederick seemed to him the proper place for
the camp meanwhile, and he wished for a rise in the Potomac River
which should make it impracticable for Lee to ford it again. He
delayed in the neighborhood of Sharpsburg, waiting for this. To
those of us with whom he talked freely, he spoke of the necessity of
incorporating into the Army of the Potomac at least a hundred
thousand of the new levies to make it really fit for an aggressive
campaign, and argued that it would save time in the end to use some
of it now in the work of reorganizing.

Mr. Lincoln was plainly troubled with the apprehension that the
delays of 1861 were to be repeated, and that the fine October
weather of that region would be again wasted and nothing done till
the next spring. There were men enough about him at Washington to
remind him of this in irritating ways, and to make him realize that
as he had personally restored McClellan to the command he would be
personally responsible for keeping him moving. McClellan rightly
understood Mr. Lincoln's visit as meaning this. He did not refuse to
move; on the other hand, he professed to be anxious to do so at the
earliest moment when it should be really practicable. His obstinacy
was of a feminine sort. He avoided open antagonism which would have
been a challenge of strength, but found constantly fresh obstacles
in the way of doing what he was determined from the first not to do.
The need of clothing for the men and of horses for the cavalry was a
fruitful subject for debate, and the debate, if sufficiently
prolonged, would itself accomplish the delay that was desired.

The official correspondence shows that the President went back to
Washington determined to cut the knot in a peremptory way, if he was
forced to do so. McClellan could not have been blind to this. His
private letters show that he thought it not improbable that he would
be relieved from command. His desire for military success was a
ruling one with him on both public and private grounds. We are
forced, therefore, to conclude that he actually lacked faith in
success, and regarded the crossing of the Potomac as too perilous
until he should reorganize the army with the additional hundred
thousand recruits. In this we see the ever-recurring effect of his
exaggeration of the enemy's force. We now know that this
over-estimate was inexcusable, but we cannot deny that he made it,
nor, altogether, that he believed in it. It constituted a
disqualification for such a command, and led to what must be
regarded as the inevitable result,--his removal. The political
questions connected with the matter cut no important figure in it.
If he had had faith in his ability to conquer Lee's army, we should
never have heard of them.

Whilst I mean what I say in speaking of McClellan's exaggeration of
his enemy as constituting incompetence for such a command, it has
reference to the necessity in which we were that our army should be
aggressively handled. Few men could excel him in strictly defensive
operations. He did not lack personal courage, nor did his
intellectual powers become obscured in the excitement of actual war.
He showed the ordinary evidences of presence of mind and coolness of
judgment under fire. His tendency to see his enemy doubled in force
was, however, a constitutional one, and no amount of experience
seemed to cure it. Had it not been so he would have devised checks
upon the reports of his secret-service agents, and corrected their
estimates by those more reliable methods which I have already spoken
of. McClellan was, even in those days, often compared to Marshal
Daun, whose fair ability but studiously defensive policy was so in
contrast with the daring strategy of the great Frederick. The
comparison was a fair one. The trouble was that we had need of a

It may seem strange that his subordinates so generally accepted his
view and supported him in his conduct; but it was a natural result
of forces always at work in an army. The old maxim that "Councils of
war never fight" is only another way of saying that an army is never
bolder than its leader. It is the same as the old Greek proverb,
"Better an army of deer with a lion for leader, than an army of
lions with a deer for leader." The body of men thus organized relies
upon its chief for the knowledge of the enemy and for the plan by
which the enemy is to be taken at a disadvantage. It will
courageously carry out his plans so long as he has faith in them
himself and has good fortune in their execution. Let doubt arise as
to either of these things and his troops raise the cry "We are
sacrificed," "We are slaughtered uselessly." McClellan's arts of
military popularity were such that his army accepted his estimate of
the enemy, and believed (in the main) that he had shown great
ability in saving them from destruction in a contest at such odds.
They were inclined, therefore, to hold the government at Washington
responsible for sacrificing them by demanding the impossible. Under
such circumstances nothing but a cautious defensive policy could be
popular with officers or men. If McClellan's data were true, he and
they were right. It would have been folly to cross the Potomac and,
with their backs to the river, fight a greatly superior enemy.
Because the data were not true there was no solution for the problem
but to give the army another commander, and painfully to undo the
military education it had for a year been receiving. The process of
disillusion was a slow one. The disasters to Burnside and Hooker
strengthened the error. Meade's standstill after Gettysburg was very
like McClellan's after Antietam, and Mr. Lincoln had to deal with it
in a very similar way. When Grant took command the army expected him
to have a similar fate, and his reputation was treated as of little
worth because he had not yet "met Bobby Lee." His terrible method of
"attrition" was a fearfully costly one, and the flower of that army
was transferred from the active roster to the casualty lists before
the prestige of its enemy was broken. But it was broken, and
Appomattox came at last.

It will not do to say that the Confederate army in Virginia was in
any sense superior to their army in the West. When the superior
force of the National army was systematically applied, General Lee
was reduced to as cautious a defensive in Virginia as was General
Johnston in Georgia. Longstreet and Hood had no better success when
transferred to the West than the men who had never belonged to the
Army of Virginia. In fact, it was with Joseph E. Johnston as his
opponent that McClellan's career was chiefly run. Yet the
Confederate army in the West was broken at Donelson and at
Vicksburg. It was driven from Stone's River to Chattanooga, and from
Missionary Ridge to Atlanta. Its remnant was destroyed at Franklin
and Nashville, and Sherman's March to the Sea nearly completed the
traverse of the whole Confederacy. His victorious army was close in
rear of Petersburg when Richmond was finally won. Now that we have
got rid of the fiction that the Confederate government gave to Lee
an enormously larger army than it gave to Bragg or to Joseph
Johnston, we have to account for the fact that with much less odds
in their favor our Western army accomplished so much more. As a
military objective Richmond was in easier reach from the Potomac
than Nashville from the Ohio. From Nashville to Chattanooga was
fully as difficult a task. The vulnerable lines of communication
multiplied in length as we went southward, and made the campaign of
Atlanta more difficult still. Vicksburg was a harder nut to crack
than Richmond. We must put away our _esprit de corps_, and squarely
face the problem as one of military art with the Official Records
and returns before us. Our Western army was of essentially the same
material as the Eastern. Regiments from nearly all the States were
mingled in both. Wisconsin men fought beside those from Maine in the
Army of the Potomac, as men who had fought at Antietam and at
Gettysburg followed Sherman through the Carolinas. The difference
was not in the rank and file, it was not in the subordinates. It was
the difference in leadership and in the education of the armies
under their leaders during their first campaigns. That mysterious
thing, the morale of an army, grows out of its belief as to what it
can do. If it is systematically taught that it is hopelessly
inferior to its adversary, it will be held in check by a fraction of
its own force. The general who indoctrinates his army with the
belief that it is required by its government to do the impossible,
may preserve his popularity with the troops and be received with
cheers as he rides down the line, but he has put any great military
success far beyond his reach. In this study of military morale, its
causes and its effects, the history of the Army of the Potomac is
one of the most important and one of the gravest lessons the world
has ever seen.

I have to confess that at Antietam I shared, more or less fully, the
opinions of those among whom I was. I accepted McClellan as the best
authority in regard to the enemy's numbers, and, assuming that he
was approximately right in that, the reasonable prudence of waiting
for reinforcements could not be denied. I saw that he had lost
valuable time in the movements of the campaign, but the general
result seemed successful enough to hide this for the time at least.
My own experience, therefore, supports the conclusion I have already
stated, that an army's enterprise is measured by its commander's,
and, by a necessary law, the army reflects his judgment as to what
it can or cannot accomplish.

Mr. Lincoln had told McClellan during his visit to the army that his
great fault was "overcautiousness." He had intimated plainly enough
that he must insist upon the continuance of the campaign. He had
discussed the plans of advance, and urged McClellan to operate upon
Lee's communications by marching south on the east side of the Blue
Ridge. He had disclaimed any purpose of forcing a movement before
the army was ready, but saw no reason why it should take longer to
get ready after Antietam than after Pope's last battle. Soon after
his return to Washington, Halleck sent a peremptory order to
McClellan to cross the Potomac. [Footnote: Official Records, vol.
xix. pt. i. p. 10.] It was dated October 6th, and said: "The
President directs that you cross the Potomac and give battle to the
enemy or drive him South. Your army must move now while the roads
are good. If you cross the river between the enemy and Washington,
and cover the latter by your line of operations, you can be
reinforced with 30,000 men. If you move up the valley of the
Shenandoah, not more than 12,000 or 15,000 can be sent to you. The
President advises the interior line between Washington and the
enemy, but does not order it." It also required him to report
immediately which line he adopted. Halleck, as General-in-chief,
ought to have given his own decision as to the line of operations,
but his characteristic indecision was shown in failing to do so. He
did not even express an opinion as to the relative merits of the two
lines, and limited himself to his concurrence in the order to move
in one way or the other.

McClellan replied on the 7th, [Footnote: Official Records, vol. xix.
pt. i. p. 11.] saying that he had determined to adopt the Shenandoah
line, though he wished to "state distinctly" that he should only use
that line till the enemy should retire beyond Winchester, as he did
not expect to be able to supply his army more than twenty or
twenty-five miles beyond a railway or canal depot. If the enemy
retreated, he would adopt some new and decisive line of operations.
He objected to the interior line because it did not cover Maryland
and Pennsylvania from a return of Lee's army, and because (as he
said) the army could not be supplied by it. He indicated three days
as the time within which he could move. At the end of that time he
complained of still lacking clothing. On the 12th he found it
"absolutely necessary" that the cavalry should have more horses. The
discussion over these things ran on till the 21st.

Mr. Lincoln made a strong effort to save McClellan from the effects
of his mental deficiencies. He exhausted advice and exhortation. He
even ventured upon mild raillery on the idleness of the army. On the
13th he had written a remarkable letter to McClellan, in which he
reminded him of what had occurred between them at the Antietam and
argued in favor of the interior line of movement. [Footnote:
Official Records, vol. xix. pt. i. p. 13.] He showed that Lee at
Winchester supplied his army twice as far from his railway depot as
McClellan thought possible for the Army of the Potomac. He urged the
recognized advantage of operating by a line which attacked the
enemy's communications. He pointed out that if Lee should try to
cross the Potomac, our army could be in his rear and should destroy
him. He showed that McClellan at Harper's Ferry was nearer to
Richmond than Lee: "His route is the arc of a circle of which yours
is the chord." He analyzed the map and showed that the interior line
was the easier for supplying the army: "The chord line, as you see,
carries you by Aldie, Haymarket and Fredericksburg, and you see how
turnpikes, railroads, and finally the Potomac by Acquia Creek, meet
you at all points from Washington." He even gave the figures in
miles from gap to gap in the mountains, which would enable McClellan
to strike the enemy in flank or rear; and this was of course to be
done if Lee made a stand. "It is all easy," his letter concluded,
"if our troops march as well as the enemy; and it is unmanly to say
they cannot do it." Yet he expressly disclaimed making his letter an
order. [Footnote: Since writing this, I have had occasion to treat
this subject more fully, as bearing upon Mr. Lincoln's military
judgment and intelligence, in a review of Henderson's Stonewall
Jackson, "The Nation," Nov. 24, Dec. 1, 1898.]

As a mere matter of military comprehension and judgment of the
strategic situation, the letter puts Mr. Lincoln head and shoulders
above both his military subordinates. Halleck saw its force, but
would not order it to be carried out. McClellan shrank from the
decisive vigor of the plan, though he finally accepted it as the
means of getting the larger reinforcements. On the 21st of October
the discussion of cavalry horses was pretty well exhausted, and
McClellan telegraphed Halleck [Footnote: Official Records, vol. xix.
pt. i. p. 81.] that in other respects he was nearly ready to move,
and inquires whether the President desired him to march on the enemy
at once or to wait the arrival of the new horses. Halleck answered
that the order of the 6th October remained unchanged. "If you have
not been and are not now in condition to obey it, you will be able
to show such want of ability. The President does not expect
impossibilities, but he is very anxious that all this good weather
should not be wasted in inactivity. Telegraph when you will move and
on what lines you propose to march." This dispatch was plainly a
notice to McClellan that he would be held responsible for the
failure to obey the order of the 6th unless he could exonerate
himself by showing that he could not obey it. In his final report,
however, he says that he treated it as authority to decide for
himself whether or not it was possible to move with safety to the
army; [Footnote: _Ibid_.] "and this responsibility," he says, "I
exercised with the more confidence in view of the strong assurance
of his trust in me, as commander of that army, with which the
President had seen fit to honor me during his last visit." Argument
is superfluous, in view of the correspondence, to show that orders
and exhortations were alike wasted.

The movement began in the last days of October, the Sixth Corps,
which was in the rear, crossing the Potomac on the 2d of November.
McClellan had accepted Mr. Lincoln's plan, but lack of vigor in its
execution broke down the President's patience, and on the 5th of
November, upon Lee's recrossing the Blue Ridge without a battle, he
ordered the general to turn over the command to Burnside, as he had
declared he would do if Lee's was allowed to regain the interior
line. The order was presented and obeyed on the 7th, and McClellan
left the army. The fallen general brooded morbidly over it all for
twenty years, and then wrote his "Own Story," a most curious piece
of self-exposure, in which he unconsciously showed that the
illusions which had misguided him in his campaigns were still
realities to him, and that he had made no use of the authentic facts
which Confederate as well as National records had brought within his
reach. He had forgotten much, but he had learned nothing.



Intimacy of McClellan and Burnside--Private letters in the official
files--Burnside's mediation--His self-forgetful devotion--The
movement to join Pope--Burnside forwards Porter's dispatches--His
double refusal of the command--McClellan suspends the organization
of wings--His relations to Porter--Lincoln's letter on the
subject--Fault-finding with Burnside--Whose work?--Burnside's
appearance and bearing in the field.

McClellan and Burnside had been classmates at West Point, and had
been associated in railway employment after they had left the army,
in the years immediately before the war. The intimacy which began at
the Academy had not only continued, but they had kept up the
demonstrative boyish friendship which made their intercourse like
that of brothers. They were "Mac" and "Burn" to each other when I
knew them, and although Fitz-John Porter, Hancock, Parker, Reno, and
Pleasonton had all been members of the same class, the two seemed to
be bosom friends in a way totally different from their intimacy with
the others. Probably there was no one outside of his own family to
whom McClellan spoke his secret thoughts in his letters, as he did
to Burnside. The characteristic lack of system in business which was
very noticeable in Burnside, made him negligent, apparently, in
discriminating between official letters and private ones, and so it
happens that there are a number in the official records which were
never meant to reach the public. They show, however, as nothing else
could, the relations which the two men sustained to each other, and
reveal strong traits in the characters of both.

After Burnside had secured his first success in the Roanoke
expedition, he had written to McClellan, then in the midst of his
campaign of the peninsula, and this was McClellan's reply on the
21st of May, 1862:--[Footnote: Official Records, vol ix. p. 392.]

"MY DEAR BURN,--Your dispatch and kind letter received. I have
instructed Seth [Williams] to reply to the official letter, and now
acknowledge the kind private note. It always does me good, in the
midst of my cares and perplexities, to see your wretched old
scrawling. I have terrible troubles to contend with, but have met
them with a good heart, like your good old self, and have thus far
struggled through successfully.... I feel very proud of Yorktown: it
and Manassas will be my brightest chaplets in history, for I know
that I accomplished everything in both places by pure military
skill. I am very proud, and very grateful to God that he allowed me
to purchase such great success at so trifling a loss of life.... The
crisis cannot long be deferred. I pray for God's blessing on our
arms, and rely far more on his goodness than I do on my own poor
intellect. I sometimes think, now, that I can almost realize that
Mahomet was sincere. When I see the hand of God guarding one so weak
as myself, I can almost think myself a chosen instrument to carry
out his schemes. Would that a better man had been selected....
Good-bye and God bless you, Burn. With the sincere hope that we may
soon shake hands, I am, as ever,

Your sincere friend, MCCLELLAN."

When McClellan reached the James River after the seven days'
battles, the first suggestion as to reinforcing him was that
Burnside should bring to his aid the bulk of his little army in
North Carolina. This was determined upon, and the Ninth Corps was
carried by sea to Fortress Monroe. As soon as the movement was
started, Burnside hastened in advance to Washington, and on
returning to the fortress wrote McClellan as follows:--[Footnote:
O. S., p. 472.]

"OLD POINT, July 15, 1862.

MY DEAR MAC,--I have just arrived from Washington, and have not time
to get ready to go up this morning, but will to-morrow. I've much to
say to you and am very anxious to see you.... The President has
ordered me to remain here for the present, and when I asked him how
long, he said five or six days. I don't know what it means; but I do
know, my dear Mac, that you have lots of enemies. But you must keep
cool; don't allow them to provoke you into a quarrel. You must come
out all right; I'll tell you all to-morrow.

Your old friend, BURN."

He went up the river to Harrison's Landing and stayed a couple of
days, consulting with McClellan as to the situation. He returned to
Old Point Comfort on the 18th, and immediately telegraphed to the
War Department for leave to go to Washington and present the results
of his conference with McClellan. [Footnote: Official Records, vol.
xi. pt. iii. p. 326.] This was granted, and he again presented
himself before the President and Secretary Stanton as the friend of
McClellan. He urged the increase of McClellan's army to an extent
which would make the general resume the aggressive with confidence.
Halleck visited McClellan at once after assuming command as
general-in-chief, but satisfied himself that the government could
not furnish the thirty thousand additional troops which McClellan
then demanded. [Footnote: _Id._, p. 337.] This led to the decision
to bring the Army of the Potomac back by water, and to unite it with
Pope's army on the Rappahannock.

On this visit to Washington the President and Secretary of War had
offered to Burnside himself the command of the Army of the Potomac.
He had refused it, earnestly asserting his faith that McClellan was
much fitter for the command than he, and trying hard to restore
confidence and a mutual good understanding between his friend and
the government. He was discouraged at the result, and after he
returned to his command wrote a letter, every line of which shows
his sadness and his disinterested friendship, for he does not
mention, much less take credit to himself for, the refusal to
supersede his friend. [Footnote: O. S., 472.]

"FORT MONROE, Aug. 2, 1862.

MY DEAR MAC,--I'm laid up with a lame leg, and besides am much
worried at the decision they have chosen to make in regard to your
army. From the moment I reached Washington I feared it would be so,
and I am of the opinion that your engineers [Footnote: This hints at
General Barnard's unfavorable criticisms of McClellan's management,
which led to a request by the latter to have another officer
assigned as chief engineer. See Halleck to McClellan, Aug. 7, 1862.
Official Records, vol. xi. pt. iii. p. 359.] had much to do with
bringing about the determination. When the conclusion was arrived
at, I was the only one who advocated your forward movement. I speak
now as if a positive decision had been arrived at, which I do not
know, and you of course do; my present orders indicate it. But you
know what they are and all about it, so I will accept it as
something that is ordered for the best. Let us continue to give our
undivided support to the cause and all will be well. It looks dark
sometimes, but a just God will order everything for the best. We
can't expect to have it all as we wish. I'm off for my destination,
and will write you a long letter from there. The troops are nearly
all embarked. Good-bye. God bless you!

Your old friend, A. E. BURNSIDE."

Burnside was sent with the Ninth Corps to Falmouth on the
Rappahannock. Porter's corps joined him there, and both the corps
were sent forward to Warrenton to join Pope. When Pope's
communication with Washington was cut, it was only through Burnside
that the government could hear of him for several days, and in
response to the calls for news he telegraphed copies of Porter's
dispatches to him. Like McClellan's private letters, these
dispatches told more of the writer's mind and heart than would
willingly have been made public. Burnside's careless outspoken
frankness as to his own opinions was such that he probably did not
reflect what reticences others might wish to have made. Perhaps he
also thought that Porter's sarcasms on Pope, coming from one who had
gained much reputation in the peninsula, would be powerful in
helping to reinstate McClellan. At any rate, the dispatches were the
only news from the battle-field he could send the President in
answer to his anxious inquiries, and he sent them. They were the
cause of Mr. Lincoln's request to McClellan, on September 1st, that
he would write Porter and other friends begging them to give Pope
loyal support. They were also the most damaging evidence against
Porter in his subsequent court-martial.

Before the Maryland campaign began, Mr. Lincoln again urged upon
Burnside the command of the army, and he again declined, warmly
advocating McClellan's retention as before. [Footnote: C. W., vol.
i. p. 650.] His advocacy was successful, as I have already stated.
[Footnote: _Ante_, p. 257.] The arrangement that Burnside and Sumner
were to command wings of the army of at least two corps each, was
made before we left Washington, and Burnside's subordinates, Hooker
and Reno, were, by direction of the President, assigned to corps
commands through orders from army headquarters. [Footnote: Official
Records, vol. xix. pt. ii. pp. 188, 197.] McClellan did not publish
to the Army of the Potomac this assignment of Burnside and Sumner
till the 14th of September, though it had been acted upon from the
beginning of the campaign. [Footnote: _Id_., p. 290.] On the evening
of the same day Porter's corps joined the army at South Mountain,
and before the advance was resumed on the following morning, the
order was again suspended and Burnside reduced to the command of a
single corps. [Footnote: _Id_., p. 297.] I have already suggested
Hooker's relation to this, and only note at this point the
coincidence, if it was nothing more, that the first evidence of any
change in McClellan's friendship toward Burnside occurs within a few
hours from Porter's arrival, and in connection with a complaint made
by the latter.

McClellan and Burnside had slept in the same house the night after
the battle of South Mountain. Porter seems to have joined them
there. During the evening McClellan dictated his orders for the
movements of the 15th which were communicated to the army in the
morning. That Porter should be unfriendly to Burnside was not
strange, for it had by this time become known that the dispatches of
August 27th to 30th were relied upon by General Pope's friends to
show Porter's hostile and insubordinate spirit in that campaign. The
court-martial was still impending over Porter, and he had been
allowed to take the field only at McClellan's special request.
Although Burnside had not dreamed of doing Porter an ill service,
his transmittal of the dispatches to the President had made them
available as evidence, and Porter, not unnaturally, held him
responsible for part of his peril. The sort of favoritism which
McClellan showed to Porter was notorious in the army. Had the
position of chief of staff been given him, it would have sanctioned
his personal influence without offending the self-respect of other
general officers; but that position was held by General Marcy, the
father-in-law of McClellan, and Porter's manifest power at
headquarters consequently wore the air of discourtesy toward others.
The incident I have narrated of the examination of Lee's position at
Sharpsburg from the ridge near Pry's house was an example of this.
It was Porter who in the presence of the commandants of the wings of
the army was invited by McClellan to continue the examination when
the others were sent below the crest of the hill. Governor Sprague
testified before the Committee on the Conduct of the War to the
notoriety of this from the beginning of the peninsular campaign and
to the bad feeling it caused. [Footnote: C. W., vol. i. p. 566.]
General Rosecrans testified that in the winter of 1861-62, on his
visit to Washington, he found that Porter was regarded as the
confidential adviser of McClellan. [Footnote: _Id_., vol. vi.
(Rosecrans) p. 14.] It was matter of common fame, too well known to
be questioned by anybody who served in that army. Mr. Lincoln had
discussed it to some extent in his correspondence with McClellan in
the month of May, and had warned the general of the mischiefs likely
to ensue, even whilst authorizing provisional corps to be organized
for Porter and Franklin. He had used such exceptional plainness as
to say to the general [Footnote: Official Records, vol. xi. pt. iii.
p. 154.] that "it is looked upon as merely an effort to pamper one
or two pets and to persecute and degrade their supposed rivals. The
commanders of these corps are of course the three highest officers
with you, but I am constantly told that you have no consultation or
communication with them; that you consult and communicate with
nobody but General Fitz-John Porter and perhaps General Franklin. I
do not say these complaints are true or just, but at all events it
is proper you should know of their existence."

McClellan's dealing with the division of the army into wings was
part of the same persistent method of thwarting the purpose of the
administration while ostensibly keeping the letter. It was perfectly
easy to advance from South Mountain upon Sharpsburg, keeping
Sumner's and Burnside's commands intact. The intermingling of them
was unnecessary at the beginning, and was mischievous during the
battle of Antietam. No military reason can be given for it, and the
history of the whole year makes it plain that the reasons were

The offer of the command of the army to Burnside, though refused,
was a sufficiently plain designation of McClellan's successor in
case he should be relieved or be disabled. It needed a more
magnanimous nature than McClellan's proved to be, to bear the
obligation of Burnside's powerful friendship in securing for him
again the field command of the army. When he was in personal contact
with Burnside, the transparent sincerity of the latter's friendship
always brought McClellan to his better self, and to the eye of an
observer they were as cordially intimate as they had ever been. Yet
unfriendly things which had been done officially could not easily be
undone, and the friendship was maintained by the subordinate
condoning the sins against it. Hooker was allowed to separate
himself from Burnside's command on the morning of the 15th, against
the protest of his commander; the order announcing the assignment of
the wing command was suspended and was never renewed, though
McClellan afterward gave Burnside temporary command of several corps
when detached from the rest of the army.

Burnside spent several hours with his chief on Monday morning
(15th), and was disturbed and grieved at the course things had
taken. It is possible that his pre-occupation of mind made him
neglect the prompt issue of orders for moving the Ninth Corps,
though I know nothing definite as to this. [Footnote: My own
recollection is that part of the corps had marched without rations
on the preceding day, and had sent back during the night for them.
Burnside took the responsibility of allowing the corps to wait until
these supplies came and the men could be fed before marching again.
It will be remembered that McClellan made no effort to bring on an
engagement that day, nor during the whole of the next day.] Porter's
corps was to follow us through Fox's Gap, and when his head of
column came up the mountain at noon, we certainly were not in
motion. My own division was the rear one of the column that day, by
way of change, as I had had the advance all the way from Washington.
General Porter reported at McClellan's headquarters that the
movement of his troops was obstructed by Burnside's, and got at his
own special request an order to push by them. [Footnote: Official
Records, vol. xix. pt. ii. p. 296.] The written order Porter
preserved, and put upon it an endorsement adding to what it contains
the accusation that "Burnside's corps was not moving three hours
after the hour designated for him." [Footnote: _Ibid._] No doubt
there was many a delay in that campaign in divers corps. The
significant thing in this one was the pains taken to "make a record"
of it against Burnside, and the inclusion in this of unofficial
matter by means of the endorsement.

On the 16th another vexatious incident of a similar character
occurred. After McClellan's reconnoitring on our left, he orally
directed that the divisions of the Ninth Corps should be moved to
positions designated by members of his staff. When Burnside had
taken his position on a hill-top from which the positions could be
seen and the movement accurately directed, another staff officer
from McClellan came and requested that the movement be delayed for
further consideration by the commanding general. It was this that
occasioned a halt and our subsequent march in the dusk of evening,
as has been narrated in its place. That evening the following note
was written at McClellan's headquarters, but it was not delivered to
Burnside till the next day, the day of the battle: [Footnote: _Id._,
p. 308.]--

September 16, 1862.

MAJOR-GENERAL BURNSIDE, Commanding Ninth Corps, etc.

GENERAL,--The General commanding has learned that although your
corps was ordered to be in a designated position at 12 M. to-day, at
or near sunset only one division and four batteries had reached the
ground intended for your troops. The general has also been advised
that there was a delay of some four hours in the movement of your
command yesterday. I am instructed to call upon you for explanations
of these failures on your part to comply with the orders given you,
and to add, in view of the important military operations now at
hand, the commanding general cannot lightly regard such marked
departure from the tenor of his instructions.

I am, general, very respectfully, your obedient servant,


Lieutenant-Colonel, Aide-de-camp, and Act'g Ass't Adj't. Gen'l."

To this missive Burnside dictated the following answer on the field
during the battle:--[Footnote: Official Records., vol. xix. pt. ii.
p. 314.]

"HEADQUARTERS, September 17, 1862.

BRIG. GEN. S. WILLIAMS, Assistant Adjutant-General.

GENERAL,--Your dispatch of yesterday this moment received. General
Burnside directs me to say that immediately upon the receipt of the
order of the general commanding, which was after twelve o'clock, he
ordered his corps to be in readiness to march, and instead of having
Captain Duane [Footnote: Captain Duane was senior engineer officer
in the field, on the staff of McClellan, and had conducted the
reconnoitring of the Antietam.] post the divisions in detail, and at
the suggestion of Captain Duane, he sent three aides to ascertain
the position of each of the three divisions, that they might post
them. These aides returned shortly before three o'clock, and they
immediately proceeded to post the three columns. The general then
went on an eminence above these positions to get a good view of
them, and whilst there, during the progress of the movement of his
corps, an aide from General McClellan came to him and said that
General McClellan was not sure that the proper position had been
indicated, and advised him not to hasten the movement until the aide
had communicated with the general commanding. He (General Burnside)
at once went to General McClellan's headquarters to inform him that
he had seen large bodies of the enemy moving off to the right. Not
finding the general commanding, General Burnside returned to his
command, and the movement was resumed and continued as rapidly as
possible. General Burnside directs me to say that he is sorry to
have received so severe a rebuke from the general commanding, and
particularly sorry that the general commanding feels that his
instructions have not been obeyed; but nothing can occur to prevent
the general from continuing his hearty co-operation to the best of
his ability in any movement the general commanding may direct.

I have the honor to be, general, very respectfully, your obedient
Assistant Adjutant-General."

The answer was of course conclusive, but it leaves the difficult
problem, how came the reprimand to be written which General
McClellan could not have dictated, as the interruption of Burnside's
movement was caused by a message from himself? The blank for the
name of a staff officer who was to sign it, and the indication of
his rank and position point to Lieutenant-Colonel James A. Hardie as
the one for whom it was prepared, but Colonel Hardie must have
demurred to signing it, since Colonel Richmond's answer implies that
General Seth Williams's name was finally attached. All of us who
knew General Williams and his methods of doing business will be slow
to believe that he volunteered a paper of that kind. He afterward
served on Burnside's own staff and had his confidence. The
responsibility must fall upon General Marcy, the chief of staff, and
most of the officers of that army will be likely to conclude that he
also would act only by the direction of McClellan or of some one
whom he regarded as having decisive authority to speak for him in
his absence.

I have already referred to an error contained in General Porter's
report of the battle of Antietam, where he says that "Morell's
division in reporting to General Burnside relieved his corps, which
was at once recalled from its position in front of Antietam bridge."
[Footnote: Official Records, vol. xix. pt. i. p. 339.] I mention it
again only to say that since this was not only contrary to the fact,
but is unsupported by the records, to accept it and to embody it in
his official report certainly indicates no friendly disposition
toward Burnside. To that extent it supports any other circumstances
which point to Porter as the hostile influence which becomes so
manifest at McClellan's headquarters after the 14th of September. I
know by many expressions uttered by Burnside during those days and
afterward, that though he was deeply grieved at some things which
had occurred, he did not waver in his loyal friendship to McClellan.
He uttered no unkind word in regard to him personally, either then
or ever in my hearing. He sometimes spoke of what he believed to be
mischievous influences about McClellan and which he thought were too
powerful with him, but was earnest and consistent in wishing for him
the permanent command of that army till success should give a
glorious end to the war. It was after the irritating incidents I
have narrated that the visit to McClellan to dine with him occurred,
and I saw them frequently together till I left the army on the 5th
of October. Their manner toward each other was more than cordial, it
was affectionately intimate. Burnside never mentioned to me,
although I was next him in command, the reprimand which is copied
above. His real unwillingness to supersede McClellan, even when the
final order came in November, is abundantly attested. McClellan only
by degrees gave outward evidence of the souring of his own feelings
toward Burnside, but his private letters show that the process began
with the battle of South Mountain. By the time that he wrote his
final report in the latter part of 1863 it had advanced far enough
to warp his memory of the campaign and to make him try to transfer
to Burnside the responsibility for some of his mishaps. When his
"Own Story" was written, the process was complete, and no kindly
remembrance dictated a word which could give any indication of the
friendship that had died.

Those who are not familiar with the customs of military service
might see little significance in the fact that the fault-finding
with Burnside was put in the form of official communications which
thus became part of the permanent documentary history of the war. To
military men, however, it would be almost conclusive proof of a
settled hostility to him, formally calling his military character in
question in a way to make it tell against him for ulterior purposes.
Nothing is more common in an active campaign than for a commanding
officer to send messages hurrying the movement of a part of his
army. These are usually oral, and even when delays are complained
of, the commander, in the interests of cordial cooperation and
cheerful alacrity, awaits a full opportunity for personal
explanation from his immediate subordinates before administering a
reprimand. It goes without saying that where intimate friendship
exists, still more delicate consideration is used. To send such a
letter as that of September 16th, and in the course of such
deliberate movements as were McClellan's during those days, would be
scarcely conceivable unless there had been a formal breach of
personal relations, and it was equivalent to notice that they were
henceforth to deal at arm's-length only.

McClellan's "Own Story" shows that in regard to the alleged delay on
the morning of the 15th, he had a personal explanation from
Burnside. [Footnote: O. S., p. 586.] Yet in the night of the 16th
the same querulous inquiry was repeated as if it had not been
answered, with the addition of the new complaint of a delay on the
16th which was caused by McClellan's personal request, and the whole
accompanied by so formal a reprimand that the ordinary reply to it
would have been a demand for a court of inquiry. The occurrence was
unexampled in that campaign and stands entirely alone, although
McClellan's memoirs show that he alleged delays in other cases,
notably in Hooker's march that same afternoon to attack the enemy,
of which no recorded notice was taken. [Footnote: O. S., p.590.]
Considering the personal relations of the men before that time, and
as I myself witnessed them from day to day afterward, it is simply
incredible that McClellan dictated the letters which went from his

Before ending the discussion of matters personal to these officers I
will say a few words regarding Burnside's appearance and bearing in
the field. He was always a striking figure, and had a dashing way
with him which incited enthusiasm among his soldiers. Without
seeming to care for his costume, or even whilst affecting a little
carelessness, there was apt to be something picturesque about him.
He had a hearty and jovial manner, a good-humored cordiality toward
everybody, that beamed in his face as he rode through the camps or
along the lines. When not on parade, he often discarded his uniform
coat, wearing a light undress jacket, with no indication of his rank
except the yellow silk sash about his waist which showed that he was
a general officer. On one occasion when I accompanied him in a
change of position, we passed the Ninth Corps column in march, and
it was interesting to see how he was greeted by the troops which had
been with him in his North Carolina campaign. He wore that day a
"Norfolk jacket," a brown knit roundabout, fitting close to his
person; his hat was the stiff broad-rimmed, high-crowned regulation
hat, worn rather rakishly, with gold cord, acorn-tipped; his
pistol-belt was a loose one, allowing the holster to hang on his hip
instead of being buckled tight about the waist; his boots were the
high cavalry boots reaching to the knee; his large buckskin
gauntlets covered his forearm; he rode a large bony horse,
bob-tailed, with a wall-eye which gave him a vicious look, and
suited well the brigandish air of his rider's whole appearance.
Burnside's flashing eyes, his beard trimmed to the "Burnside cut"
with the mustache running into the side whiskers whilst the square,
clean-shaven chin and jaws gave a tone of decision and force to his
features, made up a picture that at once arrested the eye. As we
went along the roadside at a fast trot, his high-stepping horse
seemed to be keeping his white eye on the lookout for a chance to
lash out at somebody. The men evidently enjoyed the scene, cheering
him loudly. I was particularly amused with one group of soldiers at
rest by their stacked muskets. They sat upon their haunches, and
clapped their hands as he passed, exclaiming and laughing, "Just see
the old fellow! just look at him!" Burnside laughed at their fun as
jollily as they did themselves, and took no offence at the
free-and-easy way in which they showed their liking for him. There
was no affectation in all this, but an honest enjoyment in following
his own whim in style and in accoutrement. His sincere earnestness
in the cause for which he was fighting was apparent to all who met
him, and no one in his presence could question the single-hearted
honesty and unselfishness of the man. His bearing under fire was
good, and his personal courage beyond question. He shrank from
responsibility with sincere modesty, because he questioned his own
capacity to deal with affairs of great magnitude. He was not only
not ambitious to command a great army, but he honestly sought to put
it aside when it was thrust upon him, and accepted it at last from a
sense of obligation to the administration which had nominated him to
it in spite of his repeated disclaimers. It carafe to him finally,
without consulting him, as a military order he could not disobey
without causing a most awkward dead-lock in the campaign.



Ordered to the Kanawha valley again--An unwelcome surprise--Reasons
for the order--Reporting to Halleck at Washington--Affairs in the
Kanawha in September--Lightburn's positions--Enemy under Loring
advances--Affair at Fayette C. H.--Lightburn retreats--Gauley Bridge
abandoned--Charleston evacuated--Disorderly flight to the
Ohio--Enemy's cavalry raid under Jenkins--General retreat in
Tennessee and Kentucky--West Virginia not in any Department--Now
annexed to that of Ohio--Morgan's retreat from Cumberland
Gap--Ordered to join the Kanawha forces--Milroy's brigade also--My
interviews with Halleck and Stanton--Promotion--My task--My division
sent with me--District of West Virginia--Colonel Crook
promoted--Journey westward--Governor Peirpoint--Governor
Tod--General Wright--Destitution of Morgan's column--Refitting at
Portland, Ohio--Night drive to Gallipolis--An amusing
accident--Inspection at Point Pleasant--Milroy ordered to
Parkersburg--Milroy's qualities--Interruptions to movement of
troops--No wagons--Supplies delayed--Confederate retreat--Loring
relieved--Echols in command--Our march up the valley--Echols
retreats--We occupy Charleston and Gauley Bridge--Further advance
stopped--Our forces reduced--Distribution of remaining
troops--Alarms and minor movements--Case of Mr. Summers--His
treatment by the Confederates.

In war it is the unexpected that happens. On the 4th of October my
permanent connection with the Army of the Potomac seemed assured. I
was in command of the Ninth Corps, encamped in Pleasant Valley,
awaiting the renewal of active operations. My promotion to the rank
of Major-General had been recommended by McClellan and Burnside,
with the assurance that the permanent command of the corps would be
added. On that evening an order came from Washington directing me to
return to the Kanawha valley, from which our troops had been driven.
I was to report in person at Washington immediately, and would there
get detailed directions. The order was as much a surprise to my
immediate superiors as it was to me, and apparently as little
welcome. We all recognized the necessity of sending some one to the
Kanawha who knew the country, and the reasonableness, therefore, of
assigning the duty to me. McClellan and Burnside both promised that
when matters should be restored to a good footing in West Virginia
they would co-operate in an effort to bring me back, and as this was
coupled with a strong request to the War Department that my
promotion should be made immediate, [Footnote: McClellan to Halleck,
Official Records, vol. xix. pt. ii. p. 383.] acquiesced with
reasonably good grace.

Going to Washington on the eth, I received my orders and
instructions from Halleck, the General-in-Chief. They were based
upon the events which had occurred in the Kanawha valley since I
left it in August. The information got by General Stuart from Pope's
captured quartermaster had led to a careful examination of the
letter-books captured at the same time, and Lee thus learned that I
had left 5000 men, under Colonel Lightburn, to garrison the posts
about Gauley Bridge. The Confederate forces were therefore greater
than ours in that region, and General Loring, who was in command,
was ordered to make at once a vigorous aggressive campaign against
Lightburn, to "clear the valley of the Kanawha and operate
northwardly to a junction" with the army of Lee in the Shenandoah
valley. [Footnote: Official Records, vol. xix. pt. i. p. 1069;
_Id._, vol. xii. pp. 940-943, 946. This correspondence fully
justifies Pope's suspicion that Lee then planned to operate by the
Valley of Virginia.] Loring marched, on the 6th of September, with a
column which he reported about 5000 strong, expecting to add to it
by organizing recruits and militia as Floyd had done in the previous
year. His line of operations was by way of Princeton, Flat-top
Mountain and Raleigh C. II. to Fayette C. H. His forces do not seem
to have been noticeably increased by recruiting till ours had
retreated out of the valley.

Lightburn's advanced positions were two,--a brigade under Colonel
Siber of the Thirty-seventh Ohio being at Raleigh C. H. and another
under Colonel Gilbert of the Forty-fourth Ohio, near the Hawk's
Nest, and at Alderson's on the Lewisburg road. A small post was kept
up at Summersville and one at Gauley Bridge, where Lightburn had his
headquarters, and some detachments guarded trains and steamboats in
the lower valley. Gauley Bridge was, as in the preceding year, the
central point, and though it was necessary to guard both the
Lewisburg and the Raleigh roads on the opposite sides of the New
River gorge, a concentration on the line the enemy should take was
the plain rule of action when the opposing armies were about equal.
Or, by concentrating at Gauley Bridge, my experience had proved that
we could hold at bay three or four times our numbers. In either
case, fighting in detail was to be avoided, and rapid concentration
under one leader to be effected.

On the approach of the enemy Siber was withdrawn from Raleigh C. H.
to Fayette, and Gilbert to Tompkins farm, three miles from Gauley
Bridge, but the brigades were not united. On the 10th of September
Loring attacked Siber at Fayette, in the intrenchments made by
Scammon in the winter. Siber repulsed the efforts of Loring to drive
him out of his position, and held it during the day. Three companies
of the Fourth Virginia under Captain Vance, and a squad of horse
were sent by Lightburn from Gauley Bridge to Siber's assistance, but
the latter, being without definite orders and thinking he could not
hold the position another day, retreated in the night, setting fire
to a large accumulation of stores and abandoning part of his wagons.
He halted on the ridge of Cotton Hill, covering the road to Gauley
Bridge, and was there joined by five companies of the Forty-seventh
Ohio, also sent to his assistance by Lightburn. Loring followed and
made a partial attack, which was met by the rear-guard under Captain
Vance and repulsed, whilst Siber's principal column marched on to
Montgomery's ferry on the Kanawha.

Meanwhile Lightburn had called in Gilbert's force to Gauley Bridge
during the night of the both, and placed them opposite the ferry
connecting with Siber, which was just below Kanawha Falls and in the
lower part of the Gauley Bridge camp. On Siber's appearance at the
ferry, Lightburn seems to have despaired of having time to get him
over, and directed him to march down the left bank of the river,
burning the sheds full of stores which were on that side of the
stream. When Captain Vance with the rear-guard reached the ferry,
the buildings were blazing on both sides of the narrow pass under
the bluff, and his men ran the gantlet of fire, protecting their
heads with extra blankets which they found scattered near the
stores. Vance easily held the enemy at bay at Armstrong's Creek, and
Siber marched his column, next morning, to Brownstown, some
twenty-five miles below Kanawha Falls, where steamboats met him and
ferried him over to Camp Piatt. There he rejoined Lightburn.

Gilbert's artillery was put in position on the right bank at
Montgomery's Ferry, and checked the head of Loring's column when it
approached the Kanawha in pursuit of Siber. Lightburn had ordered
the detachment in post at Summersville to join him at Gauley, and
Colonel Elliot of the Forty-seventh Ohio, who commanded it, marched
down the Gauley with his ten companies (parts of three regiments)
and a small wagon train. He approached Gauley Bridge on the 11th,
but Lightburn had not waited for him, and the enemy were in
possession. Elliot burned his wagons and took to the hills with his
men, cutting across the angle between the Gauley and the Kanawha and
joining Gilbert's column near Cannelton. A smaller detachment, only
a little way up the Gauley, was also left to its fate in the
precipitate retreat, and it also took to the hills and woods and
succeeded in evading the enemy. It was about ten o'clock in the
morning when Loring's head of column approached the Kanawha and drew
the fire of Gilbert's guns. After about an hour's cannonade across
the river, Lightburn gave the order to retreat down the right bank,
after burning the stores and blowing up the magazine at Gauley
Bridge. Loring found men to swim across the river and extinguish the
fires kindled on the ferry-boats, which were soon put in use to
ferry Echols's brigade across. This followed Lightburn down the
right bank, whilst Loring himself, with Williams's and Wharton's
brigades, marched after Siber down the left. The over-hanging cliffs
and hills echoed with the cannonade, and the skirmishers exchanged
rifle-shots across the rapid stream; but few casualties occurred,
and after Elliot joined the column, it marched with little
interruption to Camp Piatt, thirteen miles from Charleston, where
Siber met them, and the steamboats he had used passed down the river
to the Ohio.

Siber's brigade continued its retreat rapidly to Charleston, passed
through the town and crossed the Elk River. Gilbert's brigade also
retired, but in better order, and it kept up a skirmish with the
advance-guard of Echols's column which was following them. When
Gilbert reached the outskirts of Charleston, he checked the advance
of the enemy long enough to enable the quartermasters at the post to
move their trains across the Elk; but the haste of the evacuation
was so great that the stores in depot there were not removed, and
were burned to prevent their falling into the enemy's hands. Gilbert
retired across the Elk, and the suspension bridge was destroyed.
Loring's artillery made a dash for a hill on the left bank of the
Kanawha, which commanded the new position taken up by Lightburn's
troops, and the Confederate battery soon opened an enfilade fire
across the river, taking the line of breastworks along the Elk in
flank and in reverse. The trains and the stragglers started in
direst confusion on the road to Ravenswood on the Ohio, which
offered a line of retreat not subject to the enemy's fire. Siber's
brigade followed, Gilbert's continued to bring up the rear. The road
down the Kanawha was abandoned because it was in range of artillery
from the opposite side of the river throughout its whole course down
the valley. The road to Ripley and Ravenswood was therefore taken,
and the flying troops were met at those towns on the Ohio by
steamboats which conveyed part of them to Point Pleasant at the
mouth of the Kanawha, where the whole command was concentrated in
the course of a few days. [Footnote: Official Records, vol. xix. pt.
i. pp. 1058-1060.] Siber's loss was 16 killed, 87 wounded, and over
100 missing. Gilbert reported 9 men killed and 8 wounded, with about
75 missing; but as the enemy do not enumerate any captured prisoners
in their reports except a lieutenant and 10 men, it is evident that
the missing were mostly men who outran the others. Loring's losses
as reported by his surgeon were 18 killed and 89 wounded. The enemy
claim to have captured large numbers of wagons, horses, mules, and
stores of all kinds which Loring estimated at a million dollars'
worth, besides all that were burned.

It was a panicky retreat after the hot little fight by Siber's
brigade at Fayette C. H., and it is not worth while to apply to it
any military criticism, further than to say that either of the
brigades intrenched at Gauley Bridge could have laughed at Loring.
The river would have been impassable, for all the ferry-boats were
in the keeping of our men on the right bank, and Loring would not
dare pass down the valley leaving a fortified post on the line of
communications by which he must return. The topography of the wild
mountain region was such that an army could only pass from the lower
Kanawha to the headwaters of the James River by the road Loring had
used in his advance, or by that leading through the post of Gauley
Bridge to Lewisburg and beyond. The Confederate War Department seem
to have thought that their forces might have passed from Charleston
to the Ohio, thence to Parkersburg, and turning east from this town,
have made their way to Beverly and to the Valley of Virginia by the
route Garnett had used in the previous year. They would have found,
however, as Loring told them, that it would have been easy for the
National forces to overwhelm them with numbers while they were
making so long and so difficult a march in a vast region most of
which was a wilderness.

Lightburn's position had been made more embarrassing by the fact
that a cavalry raid under Brigadier-General Jenkins was passing
around his left flank while Loring came upon him in front. Jenkins
with a light column of horse moved from Lewisburg by way of the
Wilderness Road to northwestern Virginia, captured posts and
destroyed stores at Weston, Buckhannon, and Roane C. H., and made a
circuit to the lower Kanawha, rejoining Loring after Lightburn's
retreat. Little real mischief was done by this raid, but it added to
the confusion, and helped to disturb the self-possession of the
commanding officer. In this way it was one of the causes of the
precipitate retreat.

Several circumstances combined to make Lightburn's disaster
embarrassing to the government. West Virginia had not been connected
with any military department after Pope's command had been broken
up. McClellan's authority did not extend beyond his own army and its
theatre of operations. Halleck could hardly take personal charge of
the affairs of remote districts. Thus the Kanawha valley had dropped
out of the usual system and was an omitted case. The embarrassment
was increased by the fact that Buell was retreating out of Tennessee
before Bragg, Morgan had evacuated Cumberland Gap and was making a
painful and hazardous retreat to the Ohio, and the Confederate
forces under Kirby Smith were moving directly upon Cincinnati.
Lightburn's mishap, therefore, was only the northern extremity of a
line of defeats extending through the whole length of the Ohio
valley from Parkersburg to Louisville. The governors of West
Virginia and Ohio were naturally alarmed at the events in the
Kanawha valley, and were earnest in their calls upon the War
Department for troops to drive Loring back beyond the mountains and
for an officer to command them who knew something of the country.

Halleck seems to have been puzzled at the condition of things, not
having realized that Pope's retirement had left West Virginia "in
the air." It took a week, apparently, to get satisfactory details of
the actual situation, and on the 19th of September the first
important step was taken by annexing the region to the Department of
the Ohio, then commanded by Major-General Horatio G. Wright, whose
headquarters were at Cincinnati. [Footnote: Official Records, vol.
xvi. pt. ii. p. 328.] Wright was directed to provide for the
recovery of lost ground in West Virginia as rapidly as possible, but
the campaign in Kentucky was the more important and urgent, so that
no troops could be spared for secondary operations until the
Confederates had ceased to threaten Cincinnati and Louisville.

On the 1st of October Halleck again called General Wright's
attention to the need of doing something for West Virginia. Governor
Peirpoint, of that State, represented the Confederates under Loring
as about 10,000 in number, and this reflected the opinion which
Lightburn had formed during his retreat. It became the basis of
calculation in the campaign which followed, though it greatly
exaggerated Loring's force. Three days later Brigadier-General
George W. Morgan was known to have reached the Ohio River with the
division he had brought from Cumberland Gap, and General Halleck
outlined a plan of action. He ordered Morgan's division to be sent
to Gallipolis to take part in the advance into the Kanawha valley,
where some new Ohio regiments were also to join them. [Footnote:
Official Records, vol. xix. pt. ii. p. 381.] He at the same time
called me to Washington to receive instructions under which I was to
take command of the whole force operating on the Kanawha line.
Brigadier-General Milroy had already (September 25th) been ordered
to proceed thither with his brigade, which was in Washington and was
part of Banks's forces garrisoning the capital. [Footnote: _Id._,
pp. 355, 359.] He was moved through Pennsylvania to Wheeling by
rail, and thence down the Ohio River to Point Pleasant at the mouth
of the Kanawha.

My order to leave the Army of the Potomac reached me on Saturday
evening. Much business had to be closed up before I could properly
turn over the command of the Ninth Corps, but I was able to complete
it and make the journey to Washington so as to report to General
Halleck on Monday morning. He received me very kindly, and explained
the necessity they were under to send some one to the Kanawha valley
who knew the country. He was complimentary as to my former service
there, and said my return to that region would meet the earnest
wishes of the governors of West Virginia and Ohio, as well as the
judgment of the War Department and of himself. To compensate for
separating me from the command of the Ninth Corps, it had been
decided to make my promotion at once and to put the whole of West
Virginia under my command as a territorial district. He inquired
into some details of the topography of the Kanawha valley and of my
experience there, and concluded by saying that reinforcements would
be sent to make the column I should lead in person stronger than the
10,000 attributed to Loring. My task would then be to drive back the
enemy beyond the mountains. When that was accomplished, part of the
troops would probably be withdrawn. The actual position of Milroy's
brigade was not definitely known, and Governor Peirpoint of West
Virginia had asked to have it sent to Clarksburg. This gave me the
opportunity to urge that my own Kanawha division be detached from
the Ninth Corps and sent back to Clarksburg, where with Milroy they
would make a force strong enough to take care of that part of the
State and to make a co-operative movement toward Gauley Bridge. This
also was granted, and immediate promotion was given to Colonel Crook
so that he might command the division, and a promise was made to do
the like for Colonel Scammon, who would then be available for the
command of the division still under Lightburn, whose retreat was
strongly condemned as precipitate. No soldier could object to an
arrangement so satisfactory as this, and though I still preferred to
remain with the Army of the Potomac, I could only accept the new
duty with sincere thanks for the consideration shown me. The
General-in-Chief accompanied me to the room of the Secretary of War,
and Mr. Stanton added to my sense of obligation by warm expressions
of personal good-will. His manner was so different from the brusque
one commonly attributed to him that I have nothing but pleasant
remembrances of my relations to him, both then and later. My own
appointment as major-general was handed me by him, the usual
promotions of my personal staff were also made, and directions were
given for the immediate appointment of Crook to be brigadier.

I called to pay my respects to the President, but he was in Cabinet
meeting and could not be seen. I had a short but warmly friendly
visit with Mr. Chase later in the day, and was ready to leave town
for my new post of duty by the evening train. The Secretary of War
directed me to visit Wheeling and Columbus on my way, and then to
report to General Wright at Cincinnati before going to the Kanawha
valley. This was in fact the quickest way to reach the mouth of the
Kanawha River, for the fall rains had not yet come to make the Ohio
navigable, and from Columbus to Cincinnati, and thence by the
Marietta Railway eastward, was, as the railway routes then ran, the
best method of joining my command. The Baltimore and Ohio Railroad
was interrupted between Harper's Ferry and Hancock (about fifty
miles) by the Confederate occupation of that part of Virginia.
[Footnote: Official Records, vol. xix. pt. ii. pp. 393, 394.]
General Crook was ordered to march the division from its camp in
Pleasant Valley to Hancock, where trains on the western division of
the railway would meet him and transport the troops to Clarksburg.
For myself and staff, we took the uninterrupted railway line from
Washington to Pittsburg, and thence to Wheeling, where we arrived on
the evening of October 8th. The 9th was given to consultation with
Governor Peirpoint and to communication with such military officers
as were within reach. We reached Columbus on the both, when I had a
similar consultation with Governor Tod and his military staff in
regard to new regiments available for my use. Leaving Columbus in
the afternoon, we arrived at Cincinnati late the same night, and on
Saturday, the 11th, I reported to General Wright.

He was an officer of the engineer corps of the regular army, a man
of fine acquirements and of a serious and earnest character, whose
military service throughout the war was marked by solidity and
modesty. If there seemed at first a little _hauteur_ in his manner,
one soon saw that it was a natural reserve free from arrogance. The
sort of confusion in which everything was, is indicated by the fact
that he knew nothing of my whereabouts when informed from Washington
that I would be ordered to the Kanawha, and on the same day (6th
October) addressed a dispatch to me at Point Pleasant whilst I was
receiving instructions from General Halleck in Washington.
[Footnote: Official Records, vol. xvi. pt. ii. p. 579.] Our personal
consultation established a thoroughly good understanding at once,
and as long as I remained under his orders, I found him thoroughly
considerate of my wishes and appreciative of my suggestions and of
the conduct of my own part of the work to be done.

Morgan's division, after reaching the Ohio River, had been moved to
Portland on the Marietta Railroad, the nearest point to Gallipolis,
which was twenty-five miles away and nearly opposite the mouth of
the Great Kanawha. His retreat had been through a sparsely settled
country, much of which was a wilderness, rugged and broken in the
extreme. His wagons had broken down, his teams were used up, his
soldiers were worn out, ragged, and barefoot. [Footnote: _Id._, pt.
i. p. 990.] Many arms and accoutrements had been lost, and the
command was imperatively in need of complete refitting and a little
rest. The men had been largely recruited in East Tennessee and
Kentucky, and were unwilling to serve in any other theatre of war.
The Tennesseans, indeed, were reported to be mutinous at the news
that they were to be sent to the Kanawha valley. General Wright
issued orders for the refitting of the command, and promised such
delay and rest as might be found practicable. He detached three
regiments to serve in Kentucky, and directed their place to be made
good by three new Ohio regiments then organizing. The division was
permitted to remain at Portland till imperatively needed for my

There were no trains running on the railroad on Sunday, and Monday
morning, the 13th October, was the earliest possible start on the
remainder of my journey. I left Cincinnati at that time, and with my
personal staff reached Portland in the afternoon. Morgan's division
was found to be in quite as bad condition as had been reported, but
he was in daily expectation of the new equipments and clothing, as
well as wagons for his baggage-train and fresh horses for his
artillery. It was stated also that a paymaster had been ordered to
join the division, with funds to pay part at least of the large
arrears of pay due to the men. This looked hopeful, but still
implied some further delay. Uneasy to learn the actual condition of
affairs with Lightburn's command, I determined to reach Gallipolis
the same night. Our horses had been left behind, and being thus
dismounted, we took passage in a four-horse hack, a square wagon on
springs, enclosed with rubber-cloth curtains. Night fell soon after
we began our journey, and as we were pushing on in the dark, the
driver blundered and upset us off the end of a little sluiceway
bridge into a mud-hole. He managed to jump from his seat and hold
his team, but there was no help for us who were buttoned in. The mud
was soft and deep, and as the wagon settled on its side, we were
tumbled in a promiscuous heap into the ooze and slime, which
completely covered us. We were not long in climbing out, and seeing
lights in a farm-house, made our way to it. As we came into the
light of the lamps and of a brisk fire burning on the open hearth,
we were certainly as sorry a military spectacle as could be
imagined. We were most kindly received, the men taking lanterns and
going to our driver's help, whilst we stood before the fire, and
scraped the thick mud from our uniforms with chips from the farmer's
woodyard, making rather boisterous sport of our mishap. Before the
wagon had been righted and partly cleaned, we had scraped and
sponged each other off and were ready to go on. We noticed, however,
that the room had filled with men, women, and children from the
neighborhood, who stood bashfully back in the shadows, and who
modestly explained that they had heard there was a "live general"
there, and as they had never seen one, they had "come over." They
must have formed some amusing ideas of military personages, and we
found at least as much sport in being the menagerie as they did in
visiting it. Our mishap made us wait for the moon, which rose in an
hour or so, and we then took leave of our entertainers and our
audience and drove on, with no desire, however, to repeat the
performance. We made some ten miles more of the road, but found it
so rough, and our progress so slow, that we were glad to find
quarters for the rest of the night, finishing the journey in the

On reaching my field of duty, my first task was to inspect the
forces at Point Pleasant, and learn what was necessary to make a
forward movement as soon as Morgan's troops should reach me. General
Wright had originally expected that inclusive of Milroy's and
Morgan's troops, I should find at the mouth of the Kanawha, on
arriving there, some 20,000 men. [Footnote: Official Records, vol.
xix. pt. ii. p. 402.] In fact, however, Lightburn's diminished
command had only been reinforced by three new Ohio regiments (the
Eighty-ninth, Ninety-first, and Ninety-second) and a new one from
West Virginia (the Thirteenth), and with these his strength was less
than 7300, officers and men, showing that his original command was
sadly reduced by straggling and desertion during his retreat.
[Footnote: _Id_., p. 522.] The new regiments were made up of good
material, but as they were raw recruits, their usefulness must for
some time be greatly limited.

Two regiments of infantry and a squadron of cavalry with a howitzer
battery were at Guyandotte, under Colonel Jonathan Cranor of the
Fortieth Ohio, and the Fifth West Virginia was at Ceredo near the
mouth of the Big Sandy River. They had been stationed at these
points to protect the navigation of the Ohio and to repel the
efforts of the Confederate Cavalry General Jenkins to "raid" that
region in which was his old home. [Footnote: Official Records, vol.
xix. pt. ii. pp. 459, 522.] They formed, a little later, the Third
Brigade of the Kanawha division under Crook.

I found General Milroy in command as the ranking officer present,
and he had sent Cranor's command down the river. When Governor
Peirpoint learned that Milroy's brigade had passed Wheeling on his
way to the Kanawha, he applied urgently to General Wright to send
him, instead, from Parkersburg by rail to Clarksburg to form the
nucleus of a column to move southward from that point upon the rear
of Loring's forces. Wright assented, for both he and Halleck
accepted the plan of converging columns from Clarksburg and Point
Pleasant, and regarded that from the former place as the more
important. [Footnote: _Id_. p. 402.] If directions were sent to
Milroy to this effect, they seem to have miscarried. Besides his
original brigade, some new Indiana regiments were ordered to report
to him. He had, with characteristic lack of reflection and without
authority, furloughed the Fifth West Virginia regiment in mass and
sent the men home. I gave him a new one in place of this, ordered
him to reassemble the other as soon as possible, and to march at
once to Parkersburg, proceeding thence to Clarksburg by rail. The
new troops added to his command enabled him to organize them into a
division of two brigades, and still other regiments were added to
him later. Milroy was a picturesque character, with some excellent
qualities. A tall man, with trenchant features, bright eyes, a great
shock of gray hair standing out from his head, he was a marked
personal figure. He was brave, but his bravery was of the excitable
kind that made him unbalanced and nearly wild on the battle-field.
His impulsiveness made him erratic in all performances of duty, and
negligent of the system without which the business of an army cannot
go on. This was shown in his furlough of a regiment whilst _en
route_ to reinforce Lightburn, who was supposed to be in desperate
straits. It is also seen in the absence of Official Records of the
organization of his command at this time, so that we cannot tell
what regiments constituted it when his division was assembled at
Clarksburg. He is described, in the second Battle of Bull Run, as
crazily careering over the field, shouting advice to other officers
instead of gathering and leading his own command, which he said was
routed and scattered. [Footnote: Official Records, vol. xii. pt. ii.
pp. 342, 362-364.] Under the immediate control of a firm and steady
hand he could do good service, but was wholly unfit for independent
responsibility. His demonstrative manner, his boiling patriotism,
and his political zeal gave him prominence and made him a favorite
with the influential war-governor of Indiana, Oliver P. Morton, who
pushed his military advancement.

The Kanawha division left the Army of the Potomac on the 8th of
October and reached Hancock on the 10th. There it crossed the track
of a raid of the Confederate cavalry into Pennsylvania, under
Stuart. By McClellan's order one brigade was sent to McConnelsville
to intercept the enemy, and the other was halted. [Footnote: _Id_.,
vol. xix. pt. ii. pp. 62-78.] By the 13th Crook had been allowed to
concentrate the division at Hancock again, but was kept waiting for
orders, so that he was not able to report to me his arrival at
Clarksburg till the 20th. Colonel Scammon was on a short leave of
absence during this march, and was promoted. [Footnote: His new rank
dated from 15th October, that of Crook from 7th September. Army
Register, 1863.] He reported to me in person in his new rank of
brigadier a little later. The brigades of the Kanawha division were
commanded by the senior colonels present.

The increase of troops in the district made immediate need of
transportation and munitions and supplies of all kinds. The Kanawha
division had not been allowed to bring away with it its admirably
equipped supply train, but its energetic quartermaster, Captain
Fitch, came with the troops, and I immediately made him chief
quartermaster of the district. Milroy's division had no wagons,
neither had Morgan's. The fall rains had not yet raised the rivers,
and only boats of lightest draught could move on the Ohio, whilst
navigation on the Kanawha was wholly suspended. [Footnote: Official
Records, vol. xix. pt. ii. p. 433.] Four hundred wagons and two
thousand mules were estimated as necessary to supply two moving
columns of ten thousand men each, in addition to such trains as were
still available in the district. Only one hundred wagons could be
promised from the depot at Cincinnati, none of which reached me
before the enemy was driven out of the Kanawha valley. I was
authorized to contract for one hundred more to be built at Wheeling,
where, however, the shops could only construct thirty-five per week,
and these began to reach the troops only after the 1st of November.
[Footnote: _Id_., pp. 535-537.] We hoped for rains which would give
us navigation in the Kanawha in spite of the suffering which wet
weather at that season must produce, and I ordered wagons and teams
to be hired from the country people as far as this could be done.
Similar delays and trouble occurred in procuring advance stores and
equipments. Part of Morgan's men were delayed at the last moment by
their new knapsacks coming to them without the straps which fasten
them to the shoulders. General Wright blamed the depot officers for
this, and took from me and my subordinates all responsibility for
the delays; [Footnote: ., pp. 438, 475.] but the incidents make an
instructive lesson in the difficulty of suddenly organizing a new
and strong military column in a region distant from large depots of
supply. It also shows the endless cost and mischief that may result
from an ill-advised retreat and destruction of property at such
posts as Gauley Bridge and Charleston. To put the local
quartermasters at Gallipolis and other towns on the Ohio side of the
river under my command, General Wright enlarged the boundaries of my
district so as to include the line of Ohio counties bordering on the
river. [Footnote: Official Records, vol. xix. pt. ii. pp. 381, 421.]

On visiting Lightburn's command at Point Pleasant, I ordered a
brigade to be sent forward next day (15th) to Ten-mile Creek,
repairing the road and bridges, whilst a scouting party of
experienced men started out at once to penetrate the country by
circuitous ways and to collect information. [Footnote: _Id_., p.
433.] In two or three days bits of news began to arrive, with rumors
that Loring was retreating. The truth was that he in fact withdrew
his infantry, leaving Jenkins with the cavalry and irregular forces
to hold the valley for a time, and then to make a circuit northward
by way of Bulltown, Sutton, etc., gaining the Beverly turnpike near
the mountains and rejoining the infantry, which would march to join
Lee by roads intersecting that highway at Monterey. Such at least
was the purpose Loring communicated to the Confederate War
Department; but he was not allowed to attempt it. His instructions
had been to march his whole command by the route Jenkins was taking
and at least to hold the valley stubbornly as far as Charleston. On
receipt of the news that he was retreating, orders were sent him to
turn over the command to Brigadier-General John Echols, the next in
rank, and to report in person at Richmond. [Footnote: ., pp. 661,
667.] Echols was ordered immediately to resume the positions which
had been abandoned, and did so as rapidly as possible. Loring had in
fact begun his retreat on the 11th, three days before I reached
Gallipolis, but the first information of it was got after the
scouting had been begun which is mentioned above. By the 18th I was
able to give General Wright confirmation of the news and a correct
outline of Loring's plan, though we had not then learned that Echols
was marching back to Charleston. [Footnote: Official Records, vol.
xix. pt. ii. p. 449.] We heard of his return two or three days
later. As evidence of the rapidity with which information reached
the enemy, it is noteworthy that Lee knew my command had left the
Army of the Potomac for West Virginia on the 11th October, three
days after Crook marched from camp in Pleasant Valley. He reported
to Richmond that four brigades had gone to that region, which was
accurate as to the number, though only half right as to
identification of the brigades. [Footnote: _Id_., pp. 662, 663.] On
the 13th he sent further information that I had been promoted and
assigned to command the district.

By the 20th there had been a slight rise in the Kanawha River, so
that it was possible to use small steamboats to carry supplies for
the troops, and Lightburn was ordered to advance his whole division
to Red House, twenty-five miles, and to remove obstructions to
navigation which had been planted there. [Footnote: _Id_., pp. 456,
459.] One brigade of Morgan's division was in condition to move, and
it was ordered from Portland to Gallipolis. The rest were to follow
at the earliest possible moment. The discontent of the East
Tennessee regiments had not been lessened by the knowledge they had
that powerful political influences were at work to second their
desire to be moved back into the neighborhood of their home. On the
10th of October a protest against their being sent into West
Virginia was made by Horace Maynard, the loyal representative of
East Tennessee in Congress, a man of marked character and ability
and deservedly very influential with the government. [Footnote:
_Id_., vol. xvi. pt. ii. pp. 604, 635, 651.] Maynard addressed
Halleck a second time on the subject on the 22d, and on the 29th
Andrew Johnson, then military governor of Tennessee, wrote to
President Lincoln for the same purpose. It hardly need be said that
the preparation of those regiments would proceed slowly, pending
such negotiations. Their distant homes and families were at the
mercy of the enemy, and it seemed to them intolerable that their
faces should be turned in any other direction. I suggested an
exchange for new Ohio regiments, but as these were not yet filled
up, it could not be done. General Wright assured them that they
should be sent to Kentucky as soon as we were again in possession of
West Virginia. Most of these regiments came under my command again
later in the war, and I became warmly attached to them. Their drill
and discipline were always lax, but their courage and devotion to
the national cause could not be excelled.

It was not till the 23d that any of Morgan's men really entered into
the forward movement in the valley. [Footnote: Official Records,
vol. xix. pt. ii. pp. 474, 475.] On that day the brigade of Colonel
John F. DeCourcey (Sixteenth Ohio), composed of Ohio and Kentucky
troops, reached Ten-mile Creek and was ordered to march to Red House
the day after. [Footnote: Colonel DeCourcey was an Irishman of good
family, who took service in our army, and was a good officer. He
afterwards inherited an Irish baronage.] Lightburn was busy clearing
the river of obstructions and preparing to move to Pocataligo River
as the next step in advance. Of the other brigades belonging to
Morgan, that of Brigadier-General Samuel P. Carter, composed partly
of Tennesseans, was at Gallipolis, intending to enter the valley on
the 24th. The remaining brigade, under Brigadier-General James G.
Spears, was entirely Tennessean, and was still at Portland where the
paymaster had just arrived and was giving the regiments part

My purpose was to concentrate the force at Pocataligo, assume the
command in person, and attack the enemy in the positions in front of
Charleston, in which Wise had resisted me in the previous year. I
should have been glad to make the expected movement of a column from
Clarksburg under Crook and Milroy co-operate directly with my own,
but circumstances made it impracticable. The operations of the
Confederate cavalry under Jenkins were keeping the country north of
the Kanawha in a turmoil, and reports had become rife that he would
work his way out toward Beverly. The country was also full of rumors
of a new invasion from East Virginia. Milroy's forces were not yet
fully assembled at Clarksburg on the 20th, but he was ordered to
operate toward Beverly, whilst Crook, with the old Kanawha division,
should move on Summersville and Gauley Bridge. Both had to depend on
hiring wagons for transportation of supplies. [Footnote: Official
Records, vol. xix. pt. ii. pp. 459, 481, 482.] Separated as they
were, they would necessarily be cautious in their movements, making
the suppression of guerillas, the driving out of raiders, and the
general quieting of the country their principal task. Their rôle was
thus, of course, made subordinate to the movement of my own column,
which must force its own way without waiting for results from other

Half of Carter's brigade was, at the last moment, delayed at
Gallipolis, the clothing and equipments sent to them there being
found incomplete. Just half of Morgan's division with two batteries
of artillery were in motion on the 24th. On that day Lightburn was
moved to Pocataligo, about forty miles from the river mouth, where I
joined him in person on the 27th. A cold storm of mingled rain and
snow had made the march and bivouac very uncomfortable for a couple
of days. General Morgan accompanied me, and during the 28th the
active column of three and a half brigades was concentrated, two or
three other regiments being in echelon along the river below. Tyler
Mountain behind Tyler Creek was, as formerly, the place at which the
enemy was posted to make a stand against our further progress,
though he had no considerable force on the south side of the river
at the mouth of Scary Creek. Reconnoissances showed nothing but
cavalry in our immediate front, and it afterwards appeared that
Echols began a rapid retreat from Charleston on that day. [Footnote:
Official Records, vol. xix. pt. ii. p. 685.] He had called to him
Jenkins with the greater part of the cavalry, and entrusted to the
latter the duty of holding us back as much as possible. Suspecting
this from evidence collected at Pocataligo, I determined to put
Siber's brigade and a battery, all in light marching order, on the
south side of the river, accompanied by a light-draught steamboat,
which the rise in the river after the storm enabled us to use as far
as Charleston. This brigade could turn the strong position at Tyler
Mountain, and passing beyond this promontory on the opposite side of
the river, could command with artillery fire the river road on the
other bank behind the enemy in our front. The steamboat would enable
them to make a rapid retreat if the belief that no great force was
on that side of the river should prove to be a mistake. Siber was
also furnished with a battery of four mountain howitzers, which
could be carried to the edge of the water or anywhere that men could
march. [Footnote: _Id_., pp. 504, 509, 530.]

On the right bank of the river (north side) the principal column of
two brigades (Toland's and DeCourcey's) advanced on the turnpike near
the stream, having one six-gun battery and a section of
twenty-pounder Parrots with them. What was present of Carter's
brigade was sent by the mountain road further from the stream, to
cover our left and to turn the flank of the Tyler Mountain position,
if a stubborn stand should be made there. A light six-gun battery
accompanied it. All moved forward simultaneously on the morning of
the 29th. [Footnote: _Ibid_.] The dispositions thus made rendered it
vain for the enemy's cavalry to offer any stubborn resistance, and
Jenkins abandoned Tyler Mountain on our approach, thus giving us
certain knowledge that he was not closely supported by the infantry.
Our advance-guard reached the Elk River opposite Charleston in the
afternoon, and I made personal reconnoissance of the means of
crossing. The suspension bridge had been ruined in Lightburn's
retreat, and the enemy had depended upon a bridge of boats for
communication with their troops in the lower valley. These boats had
been taken to the further bank of the river and partly destroyed,
but as the enemy had continued his retreat, we soon had a party over
collecting those that could be used, and other flatboats used in the
coal trade, and a practicable bridge was reconstructed before night
of the 30th. [Footnote: Official Records, vol. xix. pt. ii. p. 530.]
Meanwhile I entered the town with the advance-guard as soon as we
had a boat to use for a ferry, and spent the night of the 29th
there. We had friends enough in the place to put us quickly in
possession of all the news, and I was soon satisfied that Echols had
no thought of trying to remain on the western side of the mountains.
[Footnote: _Id_., pp. 515, 520.]

The column crossed the Elk late in the afternoon of the 30th, and I
pushed Toland's and Carter's brigades to Malden and Camp Piatt that
evening, Siber's brigade advancing to Brownstown on the other side
of the Kanawha River. Lightburn's division was ordered forward next
day to Gauley Bridge, Carter's brigade at Malden was ordered to send
strong parties southward into Boone County, to reconnoitre and to
put down guerilla bands. [Footnote: _Id_., p. 530.] DeCourcey's
brigade was halted at Charleston, and Spears' Tennessee brigade was
directed to remain at Gallipolis till further orders. Communication
was opened with Crook, who was ordered to press forward via
Summersville to Gauley Bridge as quickly as possible. [Footnote:
Official Records, vol. xix. pt. ii. p. 520.] The retreating enemy
had burned the bridges, obstructed the roads with fallen timber, and
cut and destroyed the flatboats along the river; so that the first
and most pressing task was to reopen roads, make ferries and
bridges, and thus renew the means of getting supplies to the troops.
[Footnote: _Id_., p. 536.] The river was still low, unusually so for
the season, and the water was falling. Every energy was therefore
necessary to get forward supplies to Gauley Bridge and the other
up-river posts, for if the river should freeze whilst low, the
winter transportation would be confined to the almost impassable
roads. [Footnote: _Id_., p. 537.] I reported to General Wright the
re-occupation of the valley, our lack of wagon-trains for further
advance, and all the facts which would assist in deciding whether
anything further should be attempted. I did not conceal the opinion
which all my experience had confirmed, that no military advantage
could be secured by trying to extend operation by this route across
the mountains into the James River valley.

On the 2d of November Brigadier-General Scammon reported for duty,
and I ordered him to Gauley Bridge to assume command of the division
which was then under Colonel Lightburn, who resumed the command of
his brigade. [Footnote: _Ibid_.] Scammon was directed to inspect
carefully all our old positions as far as Raleigh C. H., to report
whether the recent retreat of troops from Fayetteville had been due
to any improper location of the fortifications there, to examine the
road up Loup Creek, and any others which might be used by the enemy
to turn our position at Gauley Bridge, to state the present
conditions of buildings at all the upper posts, and whether any
storehouses had escaped destruction. In short, we needed the
material on which to base intelligent plans for a more secure
holding of the region about the falls of the Kanawha, or for a
further advance to the eastward if it should be ordered.

The information which came to me as soon as I was in actual contact
with the enemy, not only satisfied me that Loring's forces had been
greatly exaggerated, but led me to estimate them at a lower figure
than the true one. In reporting to General Wright on 1st November, I
gave the opinion that they amounted to about 3500 infantry, but with
a disproportionate amount of artillery, some twenty pieces. The
cavalry under Jenkins numbered probably 1000 or 1500 horse.
[Footnote: Official Records, vol. xix. pt. ii. p. 531.] About the
first of October Loring, in a dispatch to Richmond, stated his force
at "only a little more than 4000," [Footnote: _Id_., p. 635.] which
probably means that the 5000 with which he entered the valley were
somewhat reduced by the sick and by desertions. He seems to refer to
his infantry, for Jenkins's command had been an independent one. It
would be reasonable, therefore, to put his total strength at some
6000 or a little higher. On our side, the column with which I
actually advanced was just about 9000 men, with 2000 more of
Morgan's command within reach, had there been need to call them up
from the Ohio River.

On the 8th of November Halleck telegraphed to General Wright that no
posts need be established beyond Gauley Bridge, and that about half
of my command should be sent to Tennessee and the Mississippi
valley. [Footnote: _Id_., pp. 556, 557.] On the same day General
Wright formally approved my views as submitted to him, and ordered
Morgan's division to be sent to Cincinnati at once. [Footnote:
_Id_., p. 537.] It was thus definitively settled that my task for
the winter would be to restore the condition of affairs in West
Virginia which had existed before Loring's invasion, and organize my
district with a view to prompt and easy supply of my posts, the
suppression of lawlessness and bushwhacking, the support of the
State authorities, and the instruction and discipline of officers
and men. My first attention was given to the question of
transportation, for the winter was upon us and wagons were very
scarce. The plan of using the river to the utmost was an economy as
well as a necessity, and I returned to my former arrangement of
using batteaux for the shallow and swift waters of the upper river,
connecting with the movable head of steamboat navigation. A tour of
inspection to Gauley Bridge and the posts in that vicinity satisfied
me that they were in good condition for mutual support, and for
carrying on a system of scouting which could be made a useful
discipline and instruction to the troops, as well as the means of
keeping thoroughly informed of the movements of the enemy.

The line of the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad was kept under the
control of General Kelley, and his authority extended to active
co-operation with the Army of the Potomac in keeping open
communication with Washington. In case of need, the commander of
that army was authorized to give orders to General Kelley direct,
without waiting to transmit them through my headquarters. General
Milroy was established on the Beverly front, communicating on his
left with General Kelley and on his right with General Crook, at
Gauley Bridge. General Scammon had his station at Fayette C. H.,
covering the front on the south side of New River, whilst Crook
watched the north side and extended his posts in Milroy's direction
as far as Summersville. Colonel Cranor remained on the Ohio near
Guyandotte, scouting the valley of the Guyandotte River and
communicating with Charleston and other posts on the Kanawha.

On the 12th of November reports were received from General Kelley
that authentic information showed that Jackson was advancing from
the Shenandoah valley upon West Virginia. Similar information
reached army headquarters at Washington, and in anticipation of
possible necessity for it, I directed Milroy to hold himself in
readiness to march at once to join Kelley, if the latter should call
upon him. I telegraphed General Wright that I did not think the
report would prove well founded, but it put everybody upon the alert
for a little while. Kelley had beaten up a camp of Confederates
under Imboden about eighteen miles above Moorefield on the south
branch of the Potomac, causing considerable loss to the enemy in
killed and wounded and capturing fifty prisoners. [Footnote:
Official Records, vol. xix. pt. ii. pp. 572, 573, 578, 585, 586.]
Some movement to support Imboden probably gave rise to the story of
Jackson's advance, but Lee kept both corps of his army in hand and
moved the whole down the Rappahannock soon afterward, to meet
Burnside's advance upon Fredericksburg.

The invasion of the Kanawha valley by Loring had stirred up much
bitter feeling again between Union men and Confederates, and was
followed by the usual quarrels and recriminations among neighbors.
The Secessionists were stimulated to drop the prudent reserve they
had practised before, and some of them, in the hope that the
Confederate occupation would be permanent, persecuted loyal men who
were in their power. The retreat of the enemy brought its day of
reckoning, and was accompanied by a fresh emigration to eastern
Virginia of a considerable number of the more pronounced
Secessionists. I have said [Footnote: _Ante_, p. 154.] that Mr.
George Summers, formerly the leading man of the valley, had
studiously avoided political activity after the war began; but this
did not save him from the hostility of his disloyal neighbors. Very
shortly after my re-occupation of Charleston he called upon me one
evening and asked for a private interview. He had gone through a
painful experience, he said, and as it would pretty surely come to
my ears, he preferred I should hear it from himself, before enemies
or tale-bearers should present it with such coloring as they might
choose. During the Confederate occupation he had maintained his
secluded life and kept aloof from contact with the military
authorities. Their officers, however, summoned him before them,
charged him with treason to Virginia and to the Confederate States,
and demanded of him that he take the oath of allegiance to the
Southern government. He demurred to this, and urged that as he had
scrupulously avoided public activity, it would be harsh and unjust
to force him to a test which he could not conscientiously take. They
were in no mood to listen to argument, and charged that his
acquiescence in the rule of the new state government of West
Virginia was, in his case, more injurious to the Confederate cause
than many another man's active unionism. Finding Mr. Summers
disposed to be firm, they held him in arrest; and as he still
refused to yield, he was told that he should be tied by a rope to
the tail of a wagon and forced to march in that condition, as a
prisoner, over the mountains to Richmond.

He was an elderly man, used to a refined and easy life, somewhat
portly in person, and, as he said, he fully believed such treatment
would kill him. The fierceness of their manner convinced him that
they meant to execute the threat, and looking upon it as a sentence
of death, he yielded and took the oath. He said that being in duress
of such a sort, and himself a lawyer, he considered that he had a
moral right to escape from his captors in this way, though he would
not have yielded to anything short of what seemed to him an imminent
danger of his life. The obligation, he declared, was utterly odious
to him and was not binding on his conscience; but he had lost no
time in putting himself into my hands, and would submit to whatever
I should decide in the matter. It would be humiliating and subject
him to misconstruction by others if he took conflicting oaths, but
he was willing to abjure the obligation he had taken, if I demanded
it, and would voluntarily renew his allegiance to the United States
with full purpose to keep it.

He was deeply agitated, and I thoroughly pitied him. My acquaintance
with him in my former campaign gave me entire confidence in his
sincerity, and made me wish to spare him any fresh embarrassment or
pain. After a moment's reflection, I replied that I did not doubt
anything he had told me of the facts or of his own sentiments in
regard to them. His experience only confirmed my distrust of all
test oaths. Either his conscience already bound him to the National
government, or it did not. In either case I could not make his
loyalty more sure by a fresh oath, and believing that the one he had
taken under duress was void in fact as well as in his own
conscience, I would leave the matter there and ask nothing more of
him. He was greatly relieved by my decision, but bore himself with
dignity. I never saw any reason to be sorry for the course I took,
and believe that he was always afterward consistent and steady in
his loyalty to the United States.



Central position of Marietta, Ohio--Connection with all parts of
West Virginia--Drill and instruction of troops--Guerilla
warfare--Partisan Rangers--Confederate laws--Disposal of
plunder--Mosby's Rangers as a type--Opinions of Lee, Stuart, and
Rosser--Effect on other troops--Rangers finally abolished--Rival
home-guards and militia--Horrors of neighborhood war--Staff and
staff duties--Reduction of forces--General Cluseret--Later
connection with the Paris Commune--His relations with Milroy--He
resigns--Political situation--Congressmen distrust Lincoln--Cutler's
diary--Resolutions regarding appointments of general officers--The
number authorized by law--Stanton's report--Effect of Act of July,
1862--An excess of nine major-generals--The legal questions
involved--Congressional patronage and local distribution--Ready for
a "deal"--Bill to increase the number of generals--A "slate" made up
to exhaust the number--Senate and House
disagree--Conference--Agreement in last hours of the session--The
new list--A few vacancies by resignation, etc.--List of those
dropped--My own case--Faults of the method--Lincoln's humorous
comments--Curious case of General Turchin--Congestion in the highest
grades--Effects--Confederate grades of general and
lieutenant-general--Superiority of our system--Cotemporaneous
reports and criticisms--New regiments instead of recruiting old
ones--Sherman's trenchant opinion.

Early in December I established my winter headquarters at Marietta
on the Ohio River, a central position from which communication could
be had most easily with all parts of the district and with
department headquarters. It was situated at the end of the railway
line from Cincinnati to the Ohio River near Parkersburg, where the
Baltimore and Ohio Railroad met the Cincinnati line. The Baltimore
road, coming from the east, forked at Grafton in West Virginia and
reached Wheeling, as has been described in an earlier chapter.
[Footnote: _Ante_, pp. 40, 42.] The river was usually navigable
during the winter and made an easy communication with Wheeling as
with the lower towns. I was thus conveniently situated for most
speedily reaching every part of my command, in person or otherwise.
It took but a little while to get affairs so organized that the
routine of work ran on quietly and pleasantly. No serious effort was
made by the enemy to re-enter the district during the winter, and
except some local outbreaks of "bush-whacking" and petty guerilla
warfare, there was nothing to interrupt the progress of the troops
in drill and instruction.

A good deal of obscurity still hangs about the subject of guerilla
warfare, and the relation of the Confederate government to it. There
was, no doubt, a good deal of loose talk that found its way into
print and helped form a popular opinion, which treated almost every
scouting party as if it were a lawless organization of
"bush-whackers." But there was an authoritative and systematic
effort of the Richmond government to keep up partisan bodies within
our lines which should be soldiers when they had a chance to do us a
mischief, and citizens when they were in danger of capture and
punishment. When Fremont assumed command of the Mountain Department,
he very early called the attention of the Secretary of War to the
fact that Governor Letcher was sending commissions into West
Virginia, authorizing the recipients to enlist companies to be used
against us in irregular warfare. [Footnote: Official Records, vol.
xii. pt. iii. p. 75.]

The bands which were organized by the Confederate Government under
authority of law, but which were free from the control of army
commanders and unrestrained by the checks upon lawlessness which are
found in subordination to the operations of organized armies, were
called "Partisan Rangers," and protection as legitimate soldiers was
promised them. They were not required to camp with the army, or to
remain together as troops or regiments. They wore uniforms or not,
as the whim might take them. They remained, as much as they dared,
in their home region, and assembled, usually at night, at a
preconcerted signal from their leaders, to make a "raid." They were
not paid as the more regular troops were, but were allowed to keep
the horses which they captured or "lifted." They were nominally
required to turn over the beef-cattle and army stores to the
Confederate commissariat, but after a captured wagon-train had been
looted by them, not much of value would be found in it. Their raids
were made by such numbers as might chance to be got together.
Stuart, the brilliant Confederate cavalry commander, whilst
crediting Mosby with being the best of the partisans, said of him,
"he usually operates with only one-fourth of his nominal strength.
Such organizations, as a rule, are detrimental to the best interests
of the army at large." [Footnote: Official Records, vol. xxxiii. p.
1082.] General Lee, in forwarding one of Mosby's reports, commended
his boldness and good management, but added: "I have heard that he
has now with him a large number of men, yet his expeditions are
undertaken with very few, and his attention seems more directed to
the capture of sutlers' wagons, etc., than to the injury of the
enemy's communications and outposts.... I do not know the cause for
undertaking his expeditions with so few men; whether it is from
policy or the difficulty of collecting them. I have heard of his
men, among them officers, being in rear of this army, selling
captured goods, sutlers' stores, etc. This had better be attended to
by others. It has also been reported to me that many deserters from
this army have joined him. Among them have been seen members of the
Eighth Virginia Regiment." [Footnote: _Id_., vol xxix. pt. ii.
p.652.] In the "Richmond Examiner" of August 18, 1863 (the same date
as General Lee's letter), was the statement that "At a sale of
Yankee plunder taken by Mosby and his men, held at Charlottesville
last week, thirty-odd thousand dollars were realized, to be divided
among the gallant band." [Footnote: Official Records, vol. xxix. pt.
ii. p. 653.]

The injury to the discipline of their own army gradually brought
leading officers of the Confederates to the conviction that the
"Partisan Rangers" cost more than they were worth. In January, 1864,
General Rosser, one of the most distinguished cavalry officers of
the South, made a formal communication to General Lee on the
subject. "During the time I have been in the valley," he said, "I
have had ample opportunity of judging of the efficiency and
usefulness of the many irregular bodies of troops which occupy this
country, known as partisans, etc., and am prompted by no other
feeling than a desire to serve my country, to inform you that they
are a nuisance and an evil to the service. Without discipline,
order, or organization, they roam broadcast over the country, a band
of thieves, stealing, pillaging, plundering, and doing every manner
of mischief and crime. They are a terror to the citizens and an
injury to the cause. They never fight; can't be made to fight. Their
leaders are generally brave, but few of the men are good soldiers,
and have engaged in this business for the sake of gain." [Footnote:
_Id_., vol. xxxiii. p. 1081.] After classifying the mischiefs to the
regular service, he continues: "It is almost impossible to manage
the different companies of my brigade that are from Loudoun,
Fauquier, Fairfax, etc., the region occupied by Mosby. They see
these men living at their ease and enjoying the comforts of home,
allowed to possess all that they capture, and their duties mere
pastime pleasures compared with their own arduous ones, and it is a
natural consequence, in the nature of man, that he should become
dissatisfied under these circumstances. Patriotism fails, in a long
and tedious war like this, to sustain the ponderous burdens which
bear heavily and cruelly upon the heart and soul of man." [Footnote:
Official Records, vol. xxxiii. p. 1081.] General Rosser recommended
the absorption of the partisan bodies into the ordinary brigades,
using their supposed talents for scouting by sending them on
expeditions as regular patrols and reconnoitring parties, reporting
to their proper command as soon as the duty was done.

It was upon Rosser's communication that Stuart made the endorsement
already quoted, and Lee sent it forward to the War Department,
further endorsed thus: "As far as my knowledge and experience
extend, there is much truth in the statement of General Rosser. I
recommend that the law authorizing these partisan corps be
abolished. The evils resulting from their organization more than
counterbalance the good they accomplish." The Secretary of War, Mr.
Siddon, drafted a bill to abolish them, and it passed the
Confederate House. Delay occurring in the Senate, the matter was
compromised by transferring all the Rangers except Mosby's and
McNeill's to the line. [Footnote: _Id_., pp. 1082, 1253.] As it was
to Mosby's that the reported facts applied, and all agreed that his
was the best of the lot, we may imagine what must have been the
character of the rest.

In the first two winters of the war, these organizations were in the
height of their pernicious activity, and the loyal West Virginians
were their favorite victims. We knew almost nothing of their
organization, except that they claimed some Confederate law for
their being. We seldom found them in uniform, and had no means of
distinguishing them from any other armed horse-stealers and
"bush-whackers." We were, however, made unpleasantly certain of the
fact that in every neighborhood where secession sentiments were
rife, our messengers were waylaid and killed, small parties were
ambushed, and all the exasperating forms of guerilla warfare were
abundant. Besides all this, the Confederate authorities assumed to
call out the militia of counties into which they were intending to
make an expedition, so that they might have the temporary
co-operation of local troops. They claimed the right to do this
because they had not recognized the separation of West Virginia, and
insisted that the whole was subject to the laws of Virginia. The
result was that the Union men formed companies of "Home Guards" for
self-protection, and the conflict of arms was carried into every
settlement in the mountain nooks and along the valleys. In this kind
of fighting there was no quarter given, or if prisoners were taken,
they were too often reported as having met with fatal accidents
before they could be handed over to the regular authorities. As all
this could have no effect upon the progress of the war, the more
cool and intelligent heads of both sides opposed it, and gradually
diminished it. Severe measures against it were in fact merciful, for
the horrors of war are always least when the fighting is left to the
armies of responsible belligerents, unprovoked by the petty but
exasperating hostilities of irregulars. The trouble from this source
was less during the winter of 1862-63 than it had been the year
before, but it still gave occupation to small movable columns of our
troops from time to time.

The organization of my staff was somewhat increased with the
enlargement of responsibilities. Lieutenant-Colonel McElroy, who had
been my adjutant-general in the campaign of 1861, returned to me as
inspector-general and took the whole supervision of the equipment,
drill, and instruction of the troops of the district. Major Bascom,
who had received his promotion at the same time with mine, continued
to be adjutant-general. The increased work in looking after supplies
made more force in the commissariat a necessity, and Captain
Barriger of the regular army was sent to me, my former commissary,
Captain Treat, continuing on the staff. Barriger was a modest,
clear-headed officer of admirable business qualifications, whom I
had the good fortune to be again associated with late in the war.
Three principal depots of supply were established at the bases of
the principal lines of communication in the district,--Wheeling,
Parkersburg, and Gallipolis. At each of these, depot commissaries
and quartermasters were located, and the posts and commands at the
front drew their supplies from them. Captain Fitch, my
quartermaster, supervised his department in a similar way to that of
the commissariat. My aides were Captain Christie and Lieutenant
Conine, as before, and I added to them my brother, Theodore Cox, who
served with me as volunteer aide without rank in the battles of
South Mountain and Antietam, and was then appointed lieutenant in
the Eleventh Ohio Infantry. He was my constant companion from this
time till peace was established. The medical department remained
under the care of Major Holmes, Brigade-Surgeon, who combined
scientific with administrative qualities in a rare measure.

There was no military movement during the winter of sufficient
importance to be told at length. Constant scouting and
reconnoissances were kept up, slight skirmishes were not infrequent,
but these did not prevent our sense of rest and of preparation for
the work of the next spring. General Crook, with a brigade, was
transferred temporarily to the command of Rosecrans in Tennessee,
and Kelley, Milroy, and Scammon divided the care of the three
hundred miles of mountain ranges which made our front. My own
leisure gave me the opportunity for some systematic and useful
reading in military history and art. An amusing interlude occurred
in a hot controversy which arose between General Milroy and one of
his subordinates which would not be worth mentioning except for the
fact that the subordinate had afterward a world-wide notoriety as
military chief of the Paris Commune in 1870.

Gustave Cluseret was a Frenchman, who was appointed in the spring of
1862 an aide-de-camp with the rank of colonel upon the staff of
General Frémont, who (with questionable legality) assigned him to
command a brigade, [Footnote: Official Records, vol. xii. pt. i. pp.
9, 35.] and recommended his appointment as brigadier for good
conduct in the May and June campaign against Jackson. The
appointment was made on October 14th, [Footnote: Army Register,
1863, p. 95.] and during the fall and winter he had a brigade in
Milroy's division. Milroy was, for a time, loud in his praises of
Cluseret as the _beau ideal_ of an officer, and their friendship was
fraternal. [Footnote: Official Records, vol. xxi. p. 779.] In the
winter, however, their mutual admiration was nipped by a killing
frost, and a controversy sprung up between them which soon led to
mutual recrimination also in the superlative degree. They addressed
their complaints to General Halleck, and as the papers passed
through my headquarters, I was a witness of their berating of each
other. They made a terrible din, on paper, for a while, but I cannot
recall anything very serious in their accusations. Halleck
pigeon-holed their correspondence, but Milroy had powerful political
friends, and Cluseret, learning that his appointment would not be
confirmed by the Senate, anticipated their action, and terminated
his military career in the United States by resigning two days
before the close of the session of Congress. [Footnote: Army
Register, 1863, p. 101. His name does not appear in the lists in the
body of the Register, because he was not in the Army April 1, 1863,
the date of publication.]

This brings me to the subject of Congressional action in the matter
of the promotions and appointments in the army during this winter
session which closed the Thirty-seventh Congress. By it I was myself
to suffer the one severe disappointment of my military career. The
time was one of great political excitement, for the fall elections
had resulted in a great overturning in the Congressional
delegations. The Democrats had elected so many representatives for
the Thirty-eighth Congress that it was doubtful whether the
administration would be able to command a majority in the House. The
retirement of McClellan from the command had also provoked much
opposition, and in the lack of full knowledge of the reasons for
displacing him, political ones were imagined and charged. Public
policy forbade the President to make known all his grounds of
dissatisfaction with the general, and many of his own party openly
questioned his wisdom and his capacity to govern. Men whose
patriotism cannot be questioned shared in this distrust, and in
their private writings took the most gloomy view of the situation
and of the future of the country. This was intensified when Burnside
was so bloodily repulsed at Fredericksburg at the close of the first
week of the session. [Footnote: Mr. W. P. Cutler, Representative
from Ohio, a modest but very intelligent and patriotic man, wrote in
his diary under December 16th: "This is a day of darkness and peril
to the country... Lincoln himself seems to have no nerve or decision
in dealing with great issues. We are at sea, and no pilot or
captain. God alone can take care of us, and all his ways _seem_ to
be against us and to favor the rebels and their allies the
Democrats. Truly it is a day of darkness and gloom." "Life and
Times" of Ephraim Cutler, with biographical sketches of Jervis
Cutler and W. P. Cutler, p.296.]

As is usual in revolutionary times, more radical measures were
supposed by many to be the cure for disasters, and in caucuses held
by congressmen the supposed conservatism of Mr. Lincoln and part of
his cabinet was openly denounced, and the earnestness of the army
leaders was questioned. [Footnote: Mr. Cutler reports a caucus of
the House held January 27th, in which "Mr. ---- stated that the great
difficulty was in holding the President to anything. He prided
himself on having a divided cabinet, so that he could play one
against the other... The earnest men are brought to a deadlock by
the President. The President is tripped up by his generals, who for
the most part seem to have no heart in their work." _Id_., p.301.
Mr. Cutler himself expresses similar sentiments and reiterates: "It
really seems as if the ship of state was going to pieces in the
storm." "How striking the want of a leader. The nation is without a
head." "The true friends of the government are groping around
without a leader," etc. _Id_., pp. 297, 301,302] Much of this was a
misunderstanding of the President and of events which time has
corrected, but at the moment and in the situation of the country it
was natural. It strongly affected the conduct of the federal
legislators, and must be taken into the account when we try to
understand their attitude toward the army and the administration of
military affairs.

In the Senate, at a very early day after the opening of the session,
Mr. Wilson, chairman of the Committee on Military Affairs, offered a
resolution (which passed without opposition) calling upon the
Secretary of War for "the number and names of the major-generals and
brigadier-generals in the service of the United States, and where
and how they are employed." [Footnote: Senate Journal, 3d Session,
37th Congress, Dec. 8, 1862.] This was, no doubt, the offspring of
an opinion in vogue in Congress, that the President had gone beyond
the authority of law in the number of these officers he had
appointed. If this were true, the course taken was not a friendly
one toward the administration. The whole list of appointments and
promotions would be submitted to the Senate for confirmation, and if
the statutory number had been exceeded, that body could stop
confirming when it reached the legal limit. There were, of course,
frequent consultations between the Congressional committees or the
individual members and the Secretary of War; but whatever efforts
there may have been to reach a quiet understanding failed. On the
21st of January, the Secretary not having responded to Mr. Wilson's
resolution, Mr. Rice of Minnesota offered another (which also passed
by unanimous consent), directing the Secretary of War "to inform the
Senate whether any more major and brigadier generals have been
appointed and paid than authorized by law; and if so, how many; give
names, dates of appointment and amounts paid." [Footnote: _Id_.,
Jan. 21, 1863.]

Two days later the Secretary sent in his reports in response to both
resolutions. To the first he replied that the interests of the
public service would not permit him to state "where and how" the
general officers were employed, but he gave the list of names. He
gave also a separate list of six major-generals who were not
assigned to any duty. [Footnote: These were McClellan, Frémont,
Cassius M. Clay, Buell (ordered before a military commission),
McDowell, and F. J. Porter (both before military courts in
connection with the second battle of Bull Run).] To the second
resolution he replied that "It is believed by this Department that
the law authorizing the increase of the volunteer and militia forces
necessarily implied an increase of officers beyond the number
specified in the Act of July 17, 1862, to any extent required by the
service, and that the number of appointments is not beyond such
limit." If the limit of the statute named were strictly applied, he
said there would be found to be nine major-generals and forty-six
brigadier-generals in excess. There had been no payments of
increased salary to correspond with the increased rank, except in
one instance. [Footnote: Executive Documents of Senate, 3d Session,
37th Congress, Nos. 21 and 22. The nine major-generals were Schuyler
Hamilton, Granger, Cox, Rousseau, McPherson, Augur, Meade, Hartsuff,
and N. B. Buford. If the number were thirteen, it would include
Foster, Parke, Schenck, and Hurlbut.] The list submitted showed
fifty-two major-generals in service, and one (Buford) was omitted,
so that if forty should prove to be the limit, there would be
thirteen in excess. This, however, was only apparently true, for the
Secretary's list included the four major-generals in the regular
army, whose case was not covered by the limitation of the statute.
This seems to have been overlooked in the steps subsequently taken
by members of Congress, and as the action was unwelcome to the
President, he did not enlighten the legislators respecting their
miscalculation. The business proceeded upon the supposition that the
appointments in the highest rank were really thirteen in excess of
the number fixed by the statute.

The state of the law was this. The Act of July 22, 1861, authorized
the President to call for volunteers, not exceeding half a million,
and provided for one brigadier-general for four regiments and one
major-general for three brigades. The Act of 25th July of the same
year authorized a second call of the same number, and provided for
"such number of major-generals and brigadier-generals as may in his
(the President's) judgment be required for their organization." In
the next year, however, a "rider" was put upon the clause in the
appropriation bill to pay the officers and men of the volunteer
service, which provided "that the President shall not be authorized
to appoint more than forty major-generals, nor more than two hundred
brigadier-generals," and repealed former acts which allowed more.
[Footnote: The several acts referred to may be found in vol. xii. U.
S. Statutes at Large, pp. 268, 274, 506. The appropriation bill was
passed July 5, 1862. The date July 17, 1862, in the Secretary's
report seems to be a misprint.] This limit just covered those who
had been appointed up to the date of the approval of the
appropriation bill. Two questions, however, were still open for
dispute. First, whether a "rider" upon the appropriation should
change a general law on the subject of army organization, and
second, whether the new limit might not allow appointments to be
_thereafter_ made to the extent of the numbers stated. The report of
Mr. Stanton evidently suggests such questions.

The matter was now in good shape for what politicians call "a deal,"
and negotiations between members of Congress and the executive were
active. The result appears to have been an understanding that a bill
should be passed increasing the number of general officers, so as
not only to cover the appointments already made, but leaving a
considerable margin of new promotions to be filled by arrangement
between the high contracting parties. On the 12th of February, 1863,
the Senate passed a bill providing for the appointment of twenty
major-generals of volunteers and fifty brigadiers. This was not
acceptable to the House. The battle of Stone's River had lately been
fought in Tennessee, and representatives from the West were urgent
in arguing that affairs near Washington unduly filled the view of
the administration. There was some truth in this. At any rate the
House amended the bill so as to increase the numbers to forty
major-generals and one hundred brigadiers, to be made by promotions,
for meritorious service, from lower grades. As soon as it was known
that the Military Committee of the House would report such an
amendment, it was assumed that the Senate would concur, and a
"slate" was made up accordingly. On the hypothesis that the list of
major-generals was thirteen in excess of the forty fixed by statute,
a new list of twenty-seven was made out, which would complete the
forty to be added by the new bill. A similar list was prepared for
the brigadiers and precisely similar negotiations went on, but for
brevity's sake I shall confine myself to the list for the highest
rank, in which I was personally concerned.

The House passed the amended bill on the 27th of February, and it
went back to the Senate for concurrence in the amendments. But now
an unexpected difficulty arose. The Senate refused to concur in the
changes made by the House. It matters little whether the senators
were offended at the determination of the lower House to have so
large a share in the nominations, or desired to punish the President
for having gone beyond the letter of the law in his promotions of
1862; the fact was that they voted down the amendments. A committee
of conference between the two houses was appointed, and a compromise
report was made fixing the additional number of major-generals at
thirty and of brigadiers at seventy-five. Both Houses finally
concurred in the report, the bill went to the President on the 1st
of March, and he signed it on the next day.

There was but a single working-day of the session left, for the
session must end at noon of the 4th of March. The list must be
reduced. The manner in which this was done clinches the proof, if
there had been any doubt before, that the list of twenty-seven was
the result of negotiations with congressmen. No meddling with that
list was permitted, though the use of patronage as "spoils" had some
very glaring illustrations in it. The President had to make the
reduction from his own promotions made earlier, and which were
therefore higher on the list and in rank, instead of dropping those
last added, as had seemed to be demanded by the earlier action of
Congress. The only exception to this was in the case of General
Schofield, whose even-handed administration of the District of
Missouri and army of the frontier had excited the enmity of extreme
politicians in that State and in Kansas, led by Senator "Jim" Lane,
the prince of "jay-hawkers." Schofield was dropped from the

A few changes had occurred in the original roster of officers,
making additional vacancies. Governor Morgan of New York, who had a
complimentary appointment as major-general, but had never served,
resigned. Schuyler Hamilton also resigned, and Fitz-John Porter was

The number to be sacrificed was thus reduced to six, and the lot
fell on Generals N. B. Buford, G. W. Morell, W. F. Smith, H. G.
Wright, J. M. Schofield, and myself. The last four won their
promotion a second time and were re-appointed and confirmed at
varying intervals; but of that later. Of course, in such a scramble
it was only a question as to who had or had not powerful friends on
the spot who would voluntarily champion his cause. No one at a
distance could have any warning. The passage of the bill and action
under it came together. For myself, I had gone quietly on in the
performance of duty, never dreaming of danger, and it was long years
after the war before I learned how the thing had in fact been done.
My place had been near the top of the list, the commands which I had
exercised and the responsibilities intrusted to me had been greater
than those of the large majority of the appointees, and I had
conclusive evidence of the approval of my superiors. The news was at
first, therefore, both astonishing and disheartening. As a result of
political "influences," it is sufficiently intelligible. I had at
that time a barely speaking acquaintance with Senator Wade of Ohio.
It was the same with Senator Sherman, but with the added
disadvantage that in the senatorial contest of 1860 between him and
Governor Dennison I had warmly espoused the cause of the latter. Mr.
Hutchins, the representative from my district, had not been
renominated, and Garfield, who was elected in his place, had not yet
taken his seat, but was still in the military service in the field.
Mr. Chase had been a constant friend, but this was just the time
when his differences with Mr. Lincoln had become acute, and since
the 20th of December the President had in his hands the resignations
of both Seward and Chase, which enabled him to refuse both, and to
baffle the party in the Senate which was trying to force him to
reorganize his cabinet by excluding Seward and those who were
thought the more conservative. As he expressed it, "he had a pumpkin
in each end of his bag, and could now ride." [Footnote: Hay and
Nicolay's "Lincoln," vol. vi. p. 271.] If, on the theory of
apportioning the promotions to States, it were held that Ohio must
lose one of the six nominated, it was easy to see where the balance
of influence would be. General Halleck was well known to be
persistent in favoring appointments from the regular army, and would
urge that the reduction should be made from those originally
appointed from civil life. These were Schenck and myself. But
General Schenck was a veteran member of the House of Representatives
and had now been elected to the next house, in which it was known he
would be a prominent character. It goes without saying, therefore,
that on such a basis the black ball would come to me. [Footnote: The
promotions of Ohio officers then pending, besides my own, were of
Schenck, McCook, Rosecrans, Stanley, McPherson, and Sheridan.] To
complete the story of the promotions made at this time, it may be
added that a short executive session of the Senate was held after
the regular adjournment of Congress on the 4th of March, and that
the President sent in the names of Carl Schurz and Julius Stahel to
be made major-generals. For one of these a vacancy was made by the
arrangement that Cassius M. Clay was reappointed minister to St.
Petersburg and resigned the military rank which he had never used.
The other seems to have been made by a resignation to take effect
the next month. General Sumner died on the 21st of March, making
another vacancy, but it is difficult to fix with accuracy the exact
date of the changes which occurred. [Footnote: The reason for this
difficulty is in part found in the frequent assignment of rank to
officers from an earlier date than their appointment, and as the
official lists are arranged according to rank, they are sometimes
misleading as to date of appointment. Thus Rosecrans dates in the
register from March 21, 1862, but he was not appointed till some six
months later. So also Schofield when reappointed in May, 1863, was
made to rank as in his first appointment, from Nov. 29, 1862.] In
the case of the last two promotions Mr. Lincoln openly declared that
he made them in recognition of the German element in the army and in
politics. [Footnote: For an illustration of Mr. Lincoln's way of
putting things in such cases, see "Military Miscellany" by Colonel
James B. Fry, p. 281.]

It would be unjust to assume that members of Congress and the
President were not guided by patriotic motives. The reform of the
public service in matters of appointment had not then attracted much
attention. Patronage was used for political purposes with complete
frankness and openness. In civil offices this custom was boldly
defended and advocated. There was some consciousness shown that
promotions in the army ought to be controlled by a somewhat
different rule, but it seemed to be thought that enough was done in
the way of safeguard when the choice was confined to officers
already in service, and appointments for the highest grades were not
given to entirely new men from civil life. Each aspirant could find
friends to sound his praises, and it was easy to assert that it was
only giving preference to one's friends among officers of equal
merit. Many excellent appointments were in fact made, and the
proportion of these would have been greater if the judgment of
military superiors had been more controlling in determining the
whole list. Mr. Lincoln's humorous way of explaining his actions may
give an impression of a lower standard than he actually
acknowledged; but it cannot be denied that he allowed himself to be
pressed into making military promotions, at times, upon purely
political or personal reasons. [Footnote: Colonel Fry, who was
assistant adjutant-general at Washington and in personal intercourse
with the President, gives the following as a memorandum made by Mr.
Lincoln himself in reference to an application to have a
regular-army officer made a brigadier-general of volunteers. "On
this day Mrs. ----- called upon me: she is the wife of Major -----
of the regular army. She is a saucy little woman, and I think she
will torment me till I have to do it." Colonel Fry adds, "It was not
long till that little woman's husband was appointed a
brigadier-general." Miscellany, pp. 280, 281.]

It did not seem to occur to the authorities that the judgment of
superior officers in the field should be called for and carefully
considered when it was a question of promoting one of their
subordinates. An instance which occurred in General Buell's army
carried this beyond the verge of the grotesque. Colonel Turchin, of
an Illinois regiment, was a Russian, an educated officer who had
served in the Russian staff corps. An excellent soldier in many
respects, his ideas of discipline were, unfortunately, lax, and in
the summer of 1862 he was courtmartialled for allowing his men to
pillage a town in Tennessee. The court was an intelligent one, of
which General Garfield was president. The story current in the army
at the time, and which I believe to be true, is that after the court
had heard part of the testimony it became apparent that they must
convict, and Mrs. Turchin, who usually accompanied her husband in
the field, started to the rear to procure political "influences" to
save him. With various recommendations she went to Washington, and
was so successful that although the sentence of the court dismissing
him from the service was promulgated on the 6th of August, he had
been appointed a brigadier-general of volunteers on the 5th, and he
was not one of those who were dropped from the list on March 3,
1863. [Footnote: Official Records, vol. xvi. pt. ii. p. 277.] The
trial was one of considerable notoriety, yet it is probable that it
was overlooked by the President and Secretary of War at the time the
appointment was made; but it cannot need to be said that whatever
grounds for leniency might have existed, it turns the whole business
into a farce when they were made the basis of a promotion in the
revised list six months later. To add to the perfection of the
story, Mrs. Turchin had acted on her own responsibility, and the
colonel did not know of the result till he had gone home, and in an
assembly of personal friends who called upon him ostensibly to cheer
him in his doleful despondency, his wife brought the little drama to
its _dénouement_ by presenting him with the appointment in their

One of the worst features of the method of appointment by "slate"
made up between congressmen and the executive was that it filled up
every place allowed by law, and left nothing to be used as a
recognition for future services in the field, except as vacancies
occurred, and these were few and far between. The political
influences which determined the appointment were usually powerful
enough to prevent dismissal. Whoever will trace the employment of
officers of the highest grades in the last half of the war, will
find large numbers of these on unimportant and nominal duty, whilst
their work in the active armies was done by men of lower grade, to
whom the appropriate rank had to be refused. The system was about as
bad as could be, but victory was won in spite of it. It was
fortunate, on the whole, that we did not have the grades of
lieutenant-general and general during the war, as the Confederates
had. They made the one the regular rank of a corps commander and the
other of the commander of an army in the field. With us the
assignment of a major-general by the President to command a corps
gave him a temporary precedence over other major-generals not so
assigned, and in like manner for the commander of an army.
[Footnote: Our system was essentially that of the first French
Republic and the Consulate, under which any general of division was
assignable to an army command in chief.] If these were relieved,
they lost the precedence, and thus there was a sort of temporary
rank created, giving a flexibility to the grade of major-general,
without which we should have been greatly embarrassed. Grant's rank
of lieutenant-general was an exceptional grade, made for him alone,
when, after the battle of Missionary Ridge, he was assigned to the
command of all the armies.

These opinions of mine are not judgments formed after the fact. The
weak points in our army organization were felt at the time, and I
took every means in my power to bring them to the attention of the
proper authorities, State and National. At the close of 1862 a
commission was appointed by the Secretary of War to revise the
articles of war and army regulations. Of this commission
Major-General Hitchcock was chairman. They issued a circular calling
for suggestions as to alterations supposed to be desirable, and a
copy was sent to me among others. I took occasion to report the
results of my own experience, and to trace the evils which existed
to their sources in our military system. I called attention to the
striking parallel between our practices and those that had been in
use in the first French Republic, and to the identical mischiefs
which had resulted. Laxity of discipline, straggling, desertion,
demagoguery in place of military spirit, giving commissions as the
reward of mere recruiting, making new regiments instead of filling
up the old ones, absence of proper staff corps,--every one of these
things had been suffered in France till they could no longer be
endured, and we had faithfully copied their errors without profiting
by the lesson.

In the freedom of private correspondence with Mr. Chase I enlarged
upon the same topics, and urged him to get the serious attention of
the President and the cabinet to them. I gave him examples of the
mischiefs that were done by the insane efforts to raise new
regiments by volunteering when we ought to apply a conscription as
the only fair way of levying a tax on the physical strength of the
nation. I said: "I have known a lieutenant to be forced by his
captain (a splendid soldier) to resign on account of his general
inefficiency. I have seen that same lieutenant take the field a few
months later as lieutenant-colonel of a new regiment, whilst the
captain still stood at the head of his fraction of a company in the
line. This is not a singular instance, but an example of cases
occurring literally by the thousand in our vast army during the year
past.... Governor Tod (of Ohio) said to me some time ago, with the
deepest sorrow, that he was well aware that in raising the new
regiments by volunteering, the distribution of offices to the
successful recruiters was filling the army with incompetent men whom
we should have to sift out again by such process as we could!....
Have we time for the sifting process? Even if we had, how
inefficient the process itself when these officers have their
commissions in their pockets, and cannot be brought before a court
or a military commission till much of the mischief they can do is
accomplished, bad habits amongst the soldiers formed, and the work
of training them made infinitely more difficult than with absolutely
raw recruits. It was in view of such probable results that I
expressed the hope that no more new regiments would be raised by
volunteering, when, in July last, the levy of an additional force
was mooted. It seemed to me that the President could well say to the
world, 'Our people have shown abundant proof of their enthusiasm in
support of the government by volunteering already to the number of
more than half a million, a thing unprecedented in the world's
history: we now, as a matter of military expediency, call for a
draft to fill up the broken battalions.'" [Footnote: From private
letter of Jan. 1, 1863.]

I urged with equal frankness the need of giving unity to the army by
abolishing the distinction between regulars and volunteers, and by a
complete reorganization of the staff. I said it seemed absurd that
with nearly a million of men in the field, the Register of the Army
of the United States should show an organization of some twenty
regiments only, of which scarce a dozen had been in active service.
"If a volunteer organization is fit to decide the _great_ wars of
the nation, is it not ridiculous to keep an expensive organization
of regulars for the petty contests with Indians or for an ornamental
appendage to the State in peace?" The thing to be aimed at seemed to
me to be to have a system flexible enough to provide for the
increase of the army to any size required, without losing any of the
advantage of character or efficiency which, in any respect,
pertained to it as a regular army. Circumstances to which I have
already alluded, probably prevented Mr. Chase from taking any active
part again in the discussion of army affairs in the cabinet.
Probably many of the same ideas were urged upon the President from
other quarters, for there was much agitation of the subject in the
army and out of it. But nothing came of it, for even the draft, when
it became the law, was used more as a shameful whip to stimulate
volunteering than as an honorable and right way to fill the ranks of
the noble veteran regiments. General Sherman found, in 1864, the
same wrong system thwarting his efforts to make his army what it
should be, and broke out upon it in glorious exasperation.
[Footnote: Letter to Halleck, Sept. 4, 1864. "To-morrow is the day
for the draft, and I feel more interested in it than in any event
that ever transpired. I do think it has been wrong to keep our old
troops so constantly under fire. Some of these old regiments that we
had at Shiloh and Corinth have been with me ever since, and some of
them have lost seventy per cent in battle. It looks hard to put
these brigades, now numbering less than 800 men, into battle. They
feel discouraged, whereas, if we could have a steady influx of
recruits, the living would soon forget the dead. The wounded and
sick are lost to us, for once at a hospital, they become worthless.
It has been a very bad economy to kill off our best men and pay full
wages and bounties to the drift and substitutes." Official Records,
vol. xxxviii. pt. v. p. 793.]



Desire for field service--Changes in the Army of the
Potomac--Judgment of McClellan at that time--Our defective
knowledge--Changes in West Virginia--Errors in new
organization--Embarrassments resulting--Visit to General
Schenck--New orders from Washington--Sent to Ohio to administer the
draft--Burnside at head of the department--District of
Ohio--Headquarters at Cincinnati--Cordial relations of Governor Tod
with the military authorities--System of enrolment and
draft--Administration by Colonel Fry--Decay of the veteran
regiments--Bounty-jumping--Effects on political parties--Soldiers
voting--Burnside's military plans--East Tennessee--Rosecrans aiming
at Chattanooga--Burnside's business habits--His frankness--Stories
about him--His personal characteristics--Cincinnati as a border
city--Rebel sympathizers--Order No. 38--Challenged by
Vallandigham--The order not a new departure--Lincoln's
proclamation--General Wright's circular.

My purpose to get into active field service had not slept, and soon
after the establishment of a winter organization in the district, I
had applied to be ordered to other duty. My fixed conviction that no
useful military movements could be made across the mountain region
implied that the garrisons of West Virginia should be reduced to a
minimum and confined to the duty of defending the frontier of the
new State. The rest of the troops might properly be added to the
active columns in the field. McClellan had been relieved of command
whilst I was conducting active operations in the Kanawha valley, and
Burnside suffered his repulse at Fredericksburg within a few days
after I was directed to make my headquarters at Marietta and perfect
the organization of the district. I was therefore at a loss to
choose where I would serve, even if I had been given _carte blanche_
to determine my own work. Enough was known of the reasons for the
President's dissatisfaction with McClellan to make me admit that the
change of command was an apparent necessity, yet much was unknown,
and the full strength of the President's case was not revealed till
the war was over. My personal friendship for McClellan remained
warm, and I felt sure that Hooker as a commander would be a long
step downward. In private I did not hesitate to express the wish
that McClellan should still be intrusted with the command of the
Potomac army, that it should be strongly reinforced, and that by
constant pressure upon its commander his indecision of character
might be overcome. Those who were near to McClellan believed that he
was learning greater self-confidence, for the Antietam campaign
seemed a decided improvement on that of the Chickahominy. The event,
in great measure, justified this opinion, for it was not till Grant
took command a year later that any leadership superior to
McClellan's was developed. Yet it must be confessed that we did not
know half the discouragements that were weighing upon the President
and his Secretary of War, and which made the inertia of the Eastern
army demand a desperate remedy.

My personal affairs drifted in this way: the contest over the lists
of promotions, of which I knew next to nothing, prevented any action
on the request for a change of duty, and the close of the session of
Congress brought the official notice that the promotion had expired
by legal limitation. [Footnote: March 24th; received the 30th.] The
first effect was naturally depressing, and it took a little time and
some philosophy to overcome it; but the war was not ended yet, and
reflection made the path of duty appear to be in the line of
continued active service.

To form a new department for General Schenck, West Virginia was
detached from the Department of the Ohio and annexed to Maryland.
[Footnote: Official Records, vol. xxv. pt. ii. p. 145.] This was a
mistake from a military point of view, for not only must the posts
near the mountains be supplied and reinforced from the Ohio as their
base, toward which would also be the line of retreat if retreat were
necessary, but the frequent advances of the Confederate forces,
through the Shenandoah valley to the Potomac, always separated the
West from any connection with Baltimore, and made it impossible for
an officer stationed there (as General Schenck was) to direct
affairs in the western district at the very time of greatest

Another important fact was overlooked. The river counties of Ohio
formed part of the district, and the depots on the river were
supplied from Cincinnati. Not only was Gallipolis thus put in
another department from the posts directly dependent on that depot
as a base of supplies and the principal station for hospitals, but
the new boundary line left me, personally, and my headquarters in
the Department of the Ohio. I at once called the attention of the
War Department to these results, sending my communication in the
first instance through General Wright. He was in the same boat with
myself, for his rank had also been reduced on the 4th of March, but
he thought the intention must have been to transfer me with the
district to the Eastern Department. On this I wrote to Washington
direct, asking for definite orders. I also wrote to General Schenck,
telling him of General Wright's supposition that I was transferred
with the district, and inquiring if he had any definite decision of
the question. [Footnote: _Id_., pp. 159, 160.]

About the 3d of April I was directed to report in person to General
Schenck at Baltimore, [Footnote: _Id_., p. 175.] and reached that
city on the 4th. My relations with General Schenck had been,
personally, cordial, and our friendship continued till his death,
many years after the war. Whatever plans he may have had were set
aside by orders from Washington, which met me at his headquarters,
ordering me to report at Columbus, Ohio, to assist the governor in
organizing the troops to be called out under the new enrolment and
conscription law. This was accompanied by the assurance that this
duty would be but temporary, and that my desire to be assigned to
active field duty would then be favorably considered. It is not
improbable that my report on army organization, which has been
mentioned, had something to do with this assignment; but I did not
ask permission to visit Washington, though within a couple of hours'
ride of the capital, and hastened back to my assigned post. Besides
my wish to cut my connection with West Virginia on general military
theories of its insignificance as a theatre of war, my stay there
would have been intolerable, since General Milroy, in whose judgment
I had less confidence than in that of any of my other subordinates,
was, by the curious outcome of the winter's promotions, the one of
all others who had been put over my head. I could not then foresee
the cost the country would pay for this in the next summer's
campaign in the Shenandoah, but every instinct urged me to sever a
connection which could bode no good. The reasonableness of my
objection to serving as a subordinate where I had been in command
was recognized, and the arrangement actually made was as acceptable
as anything except a division in an active army.

It greatly added to my contentment to learn that General Burnside
had been ordered to the Department of the Ohio, and would be my
immediate superior. I hastened back to Marietta, closed up the
business pending there, and went to Columbus on the 9th of April.
The arrangement between Governor Tod and General Burnside proved to
be the formation of the Military District of Ohio, including the
whole State. I was placed in command of this district, reporting
directly to the general, who himself conferred with the governor. My
own relations to my superiors were thus made strictly military,
which was a much pleasanter thing for me than direct connection with
the civil authorities would be; for this involved a danger of
cross-purposes and conflicting orders. Brigadier-General John S.
Mason, an excellent officer, was ordered to report to me as my
immediate subordinate in command of the camps and the post at
Columbus, and before the end of the month Burnside directed me to
fix my own headquarters at Cincinnati, where I could be in constant
communication with himself. All this was done with the most cordial
understanding between Burnside and the governor. Indeed, nothing
could be more perfect than the genial and reasonable tone of
Governor Tod's intercourse with the military officers stationed in

My duties under the Enrolment Act turned out to be very slight. The
Act (passed March 3, 1863) made, in general, each congressional
district an enrolment district under charge of a provost-marshal
with the rank of captain. A deputy provost-marshal supervised the
enrolment and draft for the State, and the whole was under the
control of the provost-marshal-general at Washington, Colonel James
B. Fry. The law provided for classification of all citizens capable
of military duty between the ages of twenty and forty-five, so as to
call out first the unmarried men and those not having families
dependent on them. The exemptions on account of physical defects
were submitted to a board of three, of which the local
provost-marshal was chairman, and one was a medical man. Substitutes
might be accepted in the place of drafted men, or a payment of three
hundred dollars would be taken in place of personal service, that
sum being thought sufficient to secure a voluntary recruit by the
government. The principal effect of this provision was to establish
a current market price for substitutes.

The general provisions of the law for the drafting were wise and
well matured, and the rules for the subordinate details were well
digested and admirably administered by Colonel Fry and his bureau.
It was a delicate and difficult task, but it was carried out with
such patience, honesty, and thoroughness that nothing better could
be done than copy it, if a future necessity for like work should
arise. There was no good ground for complaint, and in those cases
where, as in New York, hostile political leaders raised the cry of
unfairness and provoked collision between the mob and the National
authorities, the victims were proved to be the dupes of ignorance
and malice. The administration of the law was thoroughly vindicated,
and if there were to be a draft at all, it could not be more fairly
and justly enforced.

There was room for difference of opinion as to some of the
provisions of the law regarding exemption and substitution, but the
most serious question was raised by the section which applied to old
regiments and which had nothing to do with the enrolment and draft.
This section directed that when regiments had become reduced in
numbers by any cause, the officers of the regiment should be
proportionately diminished. As new regiments were still received and
credited upon the State's liability under the draft, it of course
resulted that the old regiments continued to decay. A public
sentiment had been created which looked upon the draft as a
disgrace, and the most extraordinary efforts were made to escape it.
Extra bounties for volunteering were paid by counties and towns, and
the combination of influences was so powerful that it was successful
in most localities, and very few men were actually put in the ranks
by the draft.

The offer of extra bounties to induce volunteering brought into
existence "bounty-jumping," a new crime analogous to that of
"repeating" at elections. A man would enlist and receive the bounty,
frequently several hundred dollars, but varying somewhat in
different places and periods. He would take an early opportunity to
desert, as he had intended to do from the first. Changing his name,
he would go to some new locality and enlist again, repeating the
fraud as often as he could escape detection. The urgency to get
recruits and forward them at once to the field, and the wide country
which was open to recruiting, made the risk of punishment very
small. Occasionally one was caught, and he would of course be liable
to punishment as a deserter. The final report of the
provost-marshal-general mentions the case of a criminal in the
Albany penitentiary, New York, who confessed that he had "jumped the
bounty" thirty-two times. [Footnote: Provost-Marshal-General's
Report, p. 153.]

Another evil incidental to the excessive stimulus of volunteering
was a political one, which threatened serious results. It deranged
the natural political balance of the country by sending the most
patriotic young men to the field, and thus giving an undue power to
the disaffected and to the opponents of the administration. This led
to the State laws for allowing the soldiers to vote wherever they
might be, their votes being certified and sent home. In its very
nature this was a makeshift and a very dubious expedient to cure the
mischief. It would not have been necessary if we had had at an early
day a system of recruiting that would have drawn more evenly from
different classes into the common service of the country.

The military officers of the department and district had nothing to
do with the enrolment and drafting, unless resistance to the
provost-marshals should make military support for these officers
necessary. We had hoped to have large camps of recruits to be
organized and instructed, but the numbers actually drafted in Ohio,
in 1863, were insignificant, for reasons already stated. Three or
four very small post garrisons were the only forces at my command,
and these were reduced to the minimum necessary to guard the prison
camps and the depots of recruiting and supply.

General Burnside had not come West with a purpose to content himself
with the retiracy of a department out of the theatre of actual war.
His department included eastern Kentucky, and afforded a base for
operations in the direction of East Tennessee. Mr. Lincoln had never
lost his eagerness and zeal to give assistance to the loyal
mountaineers, and had arranged with Burnside a plan of co-operation
with Rosecrans by which the former should move from Lexington, Ky.,
upon Knoxville, whilst the latter marched from Murfreesboro, Tenn.,
upon Chattanooga. This was better than the impracticable plan of
1861, which aimed at the occupation of East Tennessee before
Chattanooga had been taken, and the task was at last accomplished by
the method now used. It was by no means the best or most economical
method, which would have been to have but one strong army till
Chattanooga were firmly in our hands, and then direct a subordinate
column upon the upper Holston valley. It was utterly impossible to
keep up a line of supply for an army in East Tennessee by the wagon
roads over the mountains. The railroad through Chattanooga was
indispensable for this purpose. But Mr. Lincoln had not fully
appreciated this, and was discontented that both Buell and Rosecrans
had in turn paid little attention, as it seemed, to his desire to
make the liberation of East Tennessee the primary and immediate aim
of their campaigns. He had therefore determined to show his own
faith in Burnside, and his approval of the man, by giving him a
small but active army in the field, and to carry out his cherished
purpose by having it march directly over the Cumberland Mountains,
whilst Rosecrans was allowed to carry out the plan on which the
commanders of the Cumberland army seemed, in the President's
opinion, too stubbornly bent.

Burnside's old corps, the Ninth, was taken from the Army of the
Potomac and sent to Kentucky, and a new corps, to be called the
Twenty-third, was soon authorized, to contain the Tennessee
regiments which had been in General Morgan's command, and two
divisions made up of new regiments organized in Ohio, Indiana, and
Illinois under the last call for volunteers. To these were added
several Kentucky regiments of different ages in service. General
Parke, so long Burnside's chief of staff, was to command the Ninth
Corps, and Major-General George L. Hartsuff was assigned to the
Twenty-third. In a former chapter I have spoken of Hartsuff's
abilities as a staff officer in West Virginia. [Footnote: Chap, vi.,
_ante_.] His qualities as a general officer had not been tried. He
was wounded at the beginning of the engagement at Antietam, where he
commanded a brigade in Hooker's corps. [Footnote: Chap, xv.,
_ante_.] That was his first service under his appointment as
brigadier, and he had necessarily been out of the field since that
time. My own expectation was that he would make an excellent
reputation as a corps commander, but it was not his fortune to see
much continuous field service. His health was seriously affected by
his wounds, and after a short trial of active campaigning he was
obliged to seek more quiet employment.

The establishment of my headquarters at Cincinnati threw me once
more into close personal relations with Burnside, and enabled me to
learn his character more intimately. His adjutant-general's office
was on East Fourth Street, and most of the routine work was done
there. The general had his own quarters on Ninth Street, where he
had also an office for himself and his aides-de-camp. My own office
and the official headquarters of the district were on Broadway below
Fourth, in the house now occupied by the Natural History Society.
There was thus near half a mile between us, though I was but a
little way from the adjutant-general of the department, through
whose office my regular business with the general went. Burnside,
however, loved to discuss department affairs informally, and with
the perfect freedom of unrestrained social intercourse. When he gave
his confidence he gave it without reserve, and encouraged the
fullest and freest criticism of his own plans and purposes. His
decisions would then be put in official form by the proper officers
of the staff, and would be transmitted, though I was nearly always
personally aware of what was to be ordered before the formal papers
reached me. He had very little pride of opinion, and was perfectly
candid in weighing whatever was contrary to his predilections; yet
he was not systematic in his business methods, and was quite apt to
decide first and discuss afterward. He never found fault with a
subordinate for assuming responsibility or acting without orders,
provided he was assured of his earnest good purpose in doing so. In
such cases he would assume the responsibility for what was done as
cheerfully as if he had given the order. In like manner he was
careless of forms himself, in doing whatever seemed necessary or
proper, and might pass by intermediate officers to reach immediately
the persons who were to act or the things to be done. There was no
intentional slight to any one in this: it was only a characteristic
carelessness of routine. Martinets would be exasperated by it, and
would be pretty sure to quarrel with him. No doubt it was a bad
business method, and had its mischiefs and inconveniences. A story
used to go the rounds a little later that soldiers belonging to the
little army in East Tennessee were sometimes arrested at their homes
and sent back as deserters, when they would produce a furlough
written by Burnside on a leaf of his pocket memorandum-book, which,
as they said, had been given by him after hearing a pitiful story
which moved his sympathies. Such inventions were a kind of popular
recognition of his well-known neglect of forms, as well as of his
kind heart. There was an older story about him, to the effect that,
when a lieutenant in the army, he had been made post-quartermaster
at some little frontier garrison, and that his accounts and returns
got into such confusion that after several pretty sharp reminders
the quartermaster-general notified him, as a final terror, that he
would send a special officer and subject him and his papers to a
severe scrutiny. As the story ran, Burnside, in transparent honesty,
wrote a cordial letter of thanks in reply, saying it was just what
he desired, as he had been trying hard to make his accounts up, but
had to confess he could do nothing with them, but was sure such an
expert would straighten them. In my own service under him I often
found occasion to supply the formal links in the official chain, so
that business would move on according to "regulations;" but any
trouble that was made in this way was much more than compensated by
the generous trust with which he allowed his name and authority to
be used when prompt action would serve the greater ends in view.

My habit was to go to his private quarters on Ninth Street, when the
regular business of the day was over, and there get the military
news and confer with him on pending or prospective business
affecting my own district. His attractive personality made him the
centre of a good deal of society, and business would drop into the
background till late in the evening, when his guests voluntarily
departed. Then, perhaps after midnight, he would take up the arrears
of work and dictate letters, orders, and dispatches, turning night
into day. It not unfrequently happened that after making my usual
official call in the afternoon, I had gone to my quarters and to bed
at my usual hour, when I would be roused by an orderly from the
general begging that I would come up and consult with him on some
matter of neglected business. He was always bright and clear in
those late hours, and when he buckled to work, rapidly disposed of

He did not indulge much in retrospect, and rarely referred to his
misfortunes in the Army of the Potomac. On one or two occasions he
discussed his Fredericksburg campaign with me. The delay in sending
pontoons from Washington to Falmouth, which gave Lee time to
concentrate at Fredericksburg, he reasonably argued, was the fault
of the military authorities at Washington; but I could easily see
that if his supervision of business had been more rigidly
systematic, he would have made sure that he was not to be
disappointed in his means of crossing the Rappahannock promptly. As
to the battle itself he steadily insisted that the advance of
Meade's division proved that if all the left wing had acted with
equal vigor and promptness, Marye's heights would have been turned
and carried. It is due to him to repeat that in such discussions his
judgment of men and their motives was always kind and charitable. I
never heard him say anything bitter, even of those whom I knew he

At the time I am speaking of, Cincinnati was in a curious political
and social condition. The advance through Kentucky of Bragg and
Kirby Smith in the preceding year had made it a centre for "rebel
sympathizers." The fact that a Confederate army had approached the
hills that bordered the river had revived the hopes and the
confidence of many who, while wishing success to the Southern cause,
had done so in a vague and distant way. Now it seemed nearer to
them, and the stimulus to personal activity was greater. There was
always, in the city, a considerable and influential body of business
men who were of Southern families; and besides this, the trade
connections with the South, and the personal alliances by marriage,
made a ground of sympathy which had noticeable effects. There were
two camps in the community, pretty distinctly defined, as there were
in Kentucky. The loyal were ardently and intensely so. The disloyal
were bitter and not always restrained by common prudence. A good
many Southern women, refugees from the theatre of active war, were
very open in their defiance of the government, and in their efforts
to aid the Southern armies by being the bearers of intelligence. The
"contraband mail" was notoriously a large and active one.

Burnside had been impressed with this condition of things from the
day he assumed command. His predecessor had struggled with it
without satisfactory results. It was, doubtless, impossible to do
more than diminish and restrain the evil, which was the most
annoying of the smaller troubles attending the anomalous
half-military and half-civil government of the department. Within
three weeks from his arrival in Cincinnati, Burnside was so
convinced of the widespread and multiform activity of the disloyal
element that he tried to subdue it by the publication of his famous
General Order No. 38. The reading of the order gives a fair idea of
the hostile influences he found at work, for of every class named by
him there were numerous examples.
[Footnote: The text of the order is as follows:

"General Orders.
No. 38.

CINCINNATI, OHIO, April 13, 1863.

The commanding general publishes, for the information of all
concerned, that hereafter all persons found within our lines who
commit acts for the benefit of the enemies of our country, will be
tried as spies or traitors, and, if convicted, will suffer death.
This order includes the following classes of persons: Carriers of
secret mails; writers of letters sent by secret mails; secret
recruiting officers within the lines; persons who have entered into
an agreement to pass our lines for the purpose of joining the enemy;
persons found concealed within our lines, belonging to the service
of the enemy; and, in fact, all persons found improperly within our
lines who could give private information to the enemy; and all
persons within our lines who harbor, protect, conceal, feed, clothe,
or in any way aid the enemies of our country. The habit of declaring
sympathy for the enemy will not be allowed in this department.
Persons committing such offences will be at once arrested with a
view to being tried as above stated, or sent beyond our lines into
the lines of their friends. It must be distinctly understood that
treason, expressed or implied, will not be tolerated in this
department. All officers and soldiers are strictly charged with the
execution of this order,
By command of Major-General Burnside,
Assistant Adjutant General."]

It was no doubt true that the Confederate authorities had constant
correspondence with people in the Northern States, and that
systematic means were used to pass information and contraband
merchandise through the lines. Quinine among drugs, and percussion
caps among ordnance stores were the things they most coveted, and
dealers in these carried on their trade under pretence of being
spies for each side in turn. But besides these who were merely
mercenary, there were men and women who were honestly fanatical in
their devotion to the Confederate cause. The women were especially
troublesome, for they often seemed to court martyrdom. They
practised on our forbearance to the last degree; for they knew our
extreme unwillingness to deal harshly with any of their sex.
Personally, I rated the value of spies and informers very low, and
my experience had made me much more prone to contempt than to fear
of them. But examples had to be made occasionally; a few men were
punished, a few women who belonged in the South were sent through
the lines, and we reduced to its lowest practical terms an evil and
nuisance which we could not wholly cure. The best remedy for these
plots and disturbances at the rear always was to keep the enemy busy
by a vigorous aggressive at the front. We kept, however, a species
of provost court pretty actively at work, and one or two officers
were assigned to judge-advocate's duty, who ran these courts under a
careful supervision to make sure that they should not fall into

So long as the hand of military power was laid only on private
persons who were engaged in overt acts of giving aid and comfort to
the rebellion in the ways specified in Order No. 38, there was
little criticism. But the time came when General Burnside seemed to
be challenged by a public character of no little prominence to
enforce his order against him. The Vallandigham case became the
sensation of the day, and acquired a singular historical importance.
The noise which was made about it seemed to create a current opinion
that Burnside's action was a new departure, and that his Order No.
38 was issued wholly on his own responsibility. This was not so. In
the preceding year, and about the time of his Emancipation
Proclamation, the President had also proclaimed against treasonable
practices in very emphatic terms. He had declared that "all rebels
and insurgents, their aiders and abettors, within the United States,
and all persons discouraging volunteer enlistments, resisting
militia drafts, or guilty of any disloyal practice, affording aid
and comfort to rebels against the authority of the United States,
shall be subject to martial law and liable to trial and punishment
by courts-martial or military commission." [Footnote: Messages and
Papers of the Presidents, vol. vi. p. 98. See also Order No. 42 of
General Burbridge, commanding District of Kentucky. Official
Records, vol. xxxix. pt. ii. p. 27.]

Burnside's order was in strict accordance with this authority, and
he had no ultimate responsibility for the policy thus proclaimed. He
was simply reiterating and carrying out in his department the
declared purpose of the administration. Even in the matter of
newspaper publications, his predecessor, General Wright, had felt
obliged, upon Bragg and Kirby Smith's invasion of Kentucky, to put a
stop to treasonable editorials and to the publication of military
information likely to benefit the enemy. He issued a circular on
September 13, 1862, notifying the publishers of the Cincinnati
papers that the repetition of such offence would be immediately
followed by the suppression of the paper and the arrest and
confinement of the proprietors and writers. [Footnote: Official
Records, vol. xvi. pt. ii. p. 514. See a characteristic letter by
Sherman on this subject, _Id_., vol. xxxi. pt. i. p. 765: "Now I am
again in authority over you, and you must heed my advice. Freedom of
speech and freedom of the press, precious relics of former history,
must not be construed too largely. You must print nothing that
prejudices government or excites envy, hatred, and malice in a
community. Persons in office or out of office must not be flattered
or abused. Don't publish an account of any skirmish, battle, or
movement of an army, unless the name of the writer is given in full
and printed. I wish you success; but my first duty is to maintain
'order and harmony.'" (To editors of "Memphis Bulletin.")] It is
necessary to keep these facts in mind if we would judge fairly of
Burnside's responsibility when it was his fortune to apply the rule
to a case attracting great public attention.



Clement L. Vallandigham--His opposition to the war--His theory of
reconstruction--His Mount Vernon speech--His arrest--Sent before the
military commission--General Potter its president--Counsel for the
prisoner--The line of defence--The judgment--Habeas Corpus
proceedings--Circuit Court of the United States--Judge Leavitt
denies the release--Commutation by the President--Sent beyond the
lines--Conduct of Confederate authorities--Vallandigham in
Canada--Candidate for Governor--Political results--Martial
law--Principles underlying it--Practical application--The intent to
aid the public enemy--The intent to defeat the draft--Armed
resistance to arrest of deserters, Noble County--To the enrolment in
Holmes County--A real insurrection--Connection of these with
Vallandigham's speeches--The Supreme Court refuses to
interfere--Action in the Milligan case after the war--Judge Davis's
personal views--Knights of the Golden Circle--The Holmes County
outbreak--Its suppression--Letter to Judge Welker.

Clement L. Vallandigham had been representative in Congress of the
Montgomery County district of Ohio, and lived at Dayton. He was a
man of intense and saturnine character, belligerent and denunciatory
in his political speeches, and extreme in his views. He was the
leader in Ohio of the ultra element of opposition to the
administration of Mr. Lincoln, and a bitter opponent of the war. He
would have prevented the secession of the Southern States by
yielding all they demanded, for he agreed with them in thinking that
their demands for the recognition of the constitutional
inviolability of the slave system were just. After the war began he
still advocated peace at any price, and vehemently opposed every
effort to subdue the rebellion. To his mind the war was absolutely
unconstitutional on the part of the national government, and he
denounced it as tyranny and usurpation. His theory seemed to be that
if the South were "let alone," a reconstruction of the Union could
be satisfactorily effected by squelching the anti-slavery agitation,
and that the Western States, at any rate, would find their true
interest in uniting with the South, even if the other Northern
States should refuse to do so. Beyond all question he answered to
the old description of a "Northern man with Southern principles,"
and his violence of temper made it all a matter of personal hatred
with him in his opposition to the leaders of the party in power at
the North. His denunciations were the most extreme, and his
expressions of contempt and ill-will were wholly unbridled. He
claimed, of course, that he kept within the limits of a
"constitutional opposition," because he did not, in terms, advise
his hearers to combine in armed opposition to the government.

About the first of May he addressed a public meeting at Mount Vernon
in central Ohio, where, in addition to his diatribes against the
Lincoln administration, he denounced Order No. 38, and Burnside as
its author. His words were noted down in short-hand by a captain of
volunteers who was there on leave of absence from the army, and the
report was corroborated by other reputable witnesses. He charged the
administration with designing to erect a despotism, with refusing to
restore the Union when it might be done, with carrying on the war
for the liberation of the blacks and the enslavement of the whites.
He declared that the provost-marshals for the congressional
districts were intended to restrict the liberties of the people;
that courts-martial had already usurped power to try citizens
contrary to law; that he himself would never submit to the orders of
a military dictator, and such were Burnside and his subordinates;
that if those in authority were allowed to accomplish their
purposes, the people would be deprived of their liberties and a
monarchy established. Such and like expressions, varied by
"trampling under his feet" Order No. 38, etc., made the staple of
his incendiary speech.

When the report was made to Burnside and he had satisfied himself of
its substantial truth, he promptly accepted the challenge to test
the legality of his order, and directed the arrest of Mr.
Vallandigham. It was characteristic of him that he did not consult
with his subordinates or with lawyers. He did not even act through
my district organization, but sent his own aide-de-camp with a guard
to make the arrest at Dayton. My recollection is that I did not know
of the purpose till it was accomplished. His reason for direct
action, no doubt, was that if there were many links in the chain of
routine, there were multiplied chances of failure. He did not want
to be baffled in the arrest, or to give the opportunity for raising
a mob, which there would be if his purposes were to become known in

The arrest was made in the early morning of the 5th of May, before
dawn, and the prisoner was brought to Cincinnati. He was at first
taken under guard to the Burnet House, where he breakfasted, and was
then put in the military prison connected with the houses used as
barracks for the troops in the city. A military commission had been
ordered on the 21st of April from Department Headquarters for the
trial of the classes of offenders named in Order No. 38, and of this
commission Brigadier-General R. B. Potter of the Ninth Corps was
President. General Potter was a distinguished officer throughout the
war. He was a brother of Clarkson N. Potter, the prominent lawyer
and Democratic member of Congress later, and both were sons of the
Episcopal Bishop Potter of Pennsylvania. The character of the whole
court was very high for intelligence and standing. Before this court
Mr. Vallandigham was arraigned on the charge of publicly expressing
sympathy with those in arms against the government, and uttering
disloyal sentiments and opinions with intent to weaken the power of
the government in its efforts to suppress the rebellion.

Vallandigham consulted with the Hon. George E. Pugh and others as
his counsel, and then adopted the course of protesting against the
jurisdiction of the court and against the authority for his arrest.
His grounds were that he was not amenable to any military
jurisdiction, and that his public speech did not constitute an
offence known to the Constitution and laws. To avoid the appearance
of waiving the question of jurisdiction, his counsel did not appear,
though offered the opportunity to do so, and Mr. Vallandigham
cross-examined the witnesses himself, and called those who testified
for him. The question of fact raised by him was that he had not
advised forcible resistance to the government, but had urged action
at the elections by defeating the party in power at the polls. That
he did not in terms advocate insurrection was admitted by the judge
advocate of the court, but the commission were persuaded that the
effect of his speech was intended and well calculated to be
incendiary, and to arouse any kind of outbreak in sympathy with the
armed enemies of the country. The trial ended on the 7th of May, but
the judgment was not promulgated till the 16th, proceedings in
_habeas corpus_ having intervened. The finding of the court was that
the prisoner was guilty, as charged, and the sentence was close
confinement in Fort Warren, Boston harbor, during the continuance of
the war.

On the 9th of May Mr. Pugh made application to the United States
Circuit Court, Judge Leavitt sitting, for a writ of _habeas corpus_
directed to General Burnside, in order that the lawfulness of Mr.
Vallandigham's arrest and trial might be tested. The court directed
notice of the application to be given to the general, and set the
11th for the hearing. The case was elaborately argued by Mr. Pugh
for the prisoner, and by Mr. Aaron F. Perry and the District
Attorney Flamen Ball for General Burnside. The hearing occupied
several days, and the judgment of the court was given on the morning
of the 16th. Judge Leavitt refused the writ on the ground that,
civil war being flagrant in the land, and Ohio being under the
military command of General Burnside by appointment of the
President, the acts and offences described in General Order No. 38
were cognizable by the military authorities under the powers of war.

General Burnside had awaited the action of the court, and now
promulgated the sentence under the judgment of the military
commission. Three days later (May 19th) the President commuted the
sentence by directing that Mr. Vallandigham be sent "under secure
guard, to the headquarters of General Rosecrans, to be put by him
beyond our military lines, and that in case of his return within our
line, he be arrested and kept in close custody for the term
specified in his sentence." This was done accordingly. The
Confederate officials adopted a careful policy of treating him
courteously without acknowledging that he was one of themselves, and
facilities were given him for running the blockade and reaching
Canada. There he established himself on the border and put himself
in communication with his followers in Ohio, by whom he was soon
nominated for the Governorship of the State.

The case, of course, excited great public interest, and was, no
doubt, the occasion of considerable embarrassment to the
administration. Mr. Lincoln dealt with it with all that shrewd
practical judgment for which he was so remarkable, and in the final
result it worked to the political advantage of the National cause.
Sending Vallandigham beyond the lines took away from him the
personal sympathy which might have been aroused had he been confined
in one of the casemates of Fort Warren, and put upon him an
indelible badge of connection with the enemies of the country. The
cautious action of the Confederates in regard to him did not tend to
remove this: for it was very apparent that they really regarded him
as a friend, and helped him on his way to Canada in the expectation
that he would prove a thorn in Mr. Lincoln's side. The President's
proposal to the leading politicians who applied to him to rescind
the sentence, that as a condition of this they should make certain
declarations of the duty to support the government in a vigorous
prosecution of the war, was a most telling bit of policy on his
part, and took the sting entirely out of the accusations of tyranny
and oppression.

It must be admitted, however, that the case was one in which the
administration ought to have left Burnside wholly untrammelled in
carrying out the proclamation of September 25, 1862, or should have
formulated a rule for its military officers, so that they would have
acted only in accordance with the wishes of the government, and in
cases where the full responsibility would be assumed at Washington.
When Burnside arrested Mr. Vallandigham, the Secretary of War
telegraphed from Washington his approval, saying, "In your
determination to support the authority of the government and
suppress treason in your department, you may count on the firm
support of the President." [Footnote: Official Records, vol. xxiii.
pt. ii. p. 316.] Yet when a little later Burnside suppressed the
"Chicago Times" for similar utterances, the President, on the
request of Senator Trumbull, backed by prominent citizens of
Chicago, directed Burnside to revoke his action. [Footnote: _Id_.,
pp. 385, 386.] This the latter did by General Order No. 91, issued
on the 4th of June. He read to me on June 7th a letter from Mr.
Stanton, which practically revoked the whole of his Order No. 38 by
directing him not to arrest civilians or suppress newspapers without
conferring first with the War Department. This would have been very
well if it had been done at the beginning; but to have it come after
political pressure from the outside, and in so marked contradiction
to the approval first expressed, shows that there was no
well-considered policy. It put Burnside himself in an intolerable
position, and, of course, made him decline further responsibility
for such affairs in his department. [Footnote: I do not find in the
Official Records the letter of Mr. Stanton above referred to; but I
speak of it from a written memorandum I made at the time.]

The whole question as to the right and the policy of military
arrests and orders in such a time bristles with difficulties. Had I
been consulted before Burnside took action, I should have advised
him to collect carefully the facts and report them to Washington,
asking for specific instructions. The subject called for directions
which would be applicable in all the military departments which
included States out of the theatre of active warlike operations; and
such general directions should be given by the government. But
Burnside was apt to act impulsively, and his impulse was to follow
the bent of his ardent patriotism. He was stirred to burning wrath
by what seemed to him an intent to give aid and comfort to the
rebellion, and meant to punish such conduct without stopping to ask
what complications might come of it.

I had found it desirable to form a judgment of my own with reference
to the extent or limitation of military authority in the actual
circumstances, and I quote the form in which I then cast it, so that
I may not seem to be giving opinions formed after my own military
duties were ended. I concluded, "First: That martial law operates
either by reason of its proclamation by competent authority, or _ex
necessitate rei_ in the immediate theatre of military operations.
Second; That when the struggle is in the nature of a revolution, and
so long as the attempted revolution is in active progress, no
definite limits can be given to the 'theatre of operations,' but the
administration must be regarded as possessing a limited
discretionary power in the use of martial law." As to the practical
application of this power, "the presumptions are always in favor of
the established civil law of the land, whenever and wherever it has
a reasonable chance of unobstructed operation. In a State or portion
of the country not the theatre of actual fighting, and where the
civil courts are actually organized and working, there must be some
strong reason for sending criminals or State prisoners before a
military tribunal; such as that the government had reason to believe
that a conspiracy was so powerful as to make an actual present
danger of its overthrowing the loyal governments in some of the
States before the civil courts could act in the ordinary process of
business. In such a case, the arrest and admission to bail of the
conspirators might be only the signal for their adherents to seize
the reins of civil power, overthrow the courts, and consummate a
revolution. The quick and summary action of military power would
then be the only thing which could avert the danger. The
justification of the use of a military tribunal depends on the
existence of 'probable cause' for believing the public danger to be

I see no reason to change the form of stating the principle I then
adopted. The limitations given it seem sufficient to secure proper
caution in applying it, and will show that I thought then, as I do
now, that the administration ought to have laid down rules by which
the commandants of military departments could be guided, and which
would have saved us from the weakness of acting with seeming vigor
on one day, only to retreat from our position the next.

In Vallandigham's case the common argument was used by his friends
that he was not exceeding a lawful liberty of speech in political
opposition to the administration. When, however, a civil war is in
progress, it is simply a question of fact whether words used are
intended to give aid and comfort to the enemy and are evidence of
conspiracy with the public enemy. If so, it is too clear for
argument that the overt acts of the enemy are brought home to all
who combine and confederate with them, and all are involved in the
same responsibility. This question of fact and intent was officially
settled by the findings of the military court. But there was another
connection of the speech with overt acts, which the public mind took
firm hold of. Among the most incendiary of Vallandigham's appeals
had been those which urged the people to resist the provost-marshals
in the several districts. It is nonsense to say that resisting the
draft or the arrest of deserters only meant voting for an opposition
party at the elections. There had been armed and organized
resistance to arrest of deserters in Noble County just before his
speech, and soon after it there was a still more formidable armed
organization with warlike action against the enrolling officers in
Holmes County, in the same region in which the speech was made. This
last took the form of an armed camp, and the insurgents did not
disperse till a military force was sent against them and attacked
them in fortified lines, where they used both cannon and musketry.
It did not seem plausible to the common sense of the people that we
could properly charge with volleying musketry upon the barricades of
the less intelligent dupes, whilst the leader who had incited and
counselled the resistance was to be held to be acting within the
limits of proper liberty of speech. Law and common sense are
entirely in harmony in regarding the conspiracy as a unit, the
speech at Mount Vernon and the armed collision on the Holmes County
hill being parts of one series of acts in which the instigator was
responsible for the natural consequences of the forces he set in

To complete the judicial history of the Vallandigham case, it may be
said that he applied to the Supreme Court of the United States a few
months afterward for a writ to revise and examine the proceedings of
the military commission and to determine their legality. The court
dismissed his application on the ground that the writ applied for
was not a legal means of bringing the proceedings of the military
court under review. The charges and specifications and the sentence
were all set forth in the application, so that the court was made
officially aware of the full character of the case. This was
naturally accepted at the time as practically sustaining the action
of the President and General Burnside. When, however, the war was
over, there was taken up to the Supreme Court the case of Milligan
from Indiana, who had been condemned to death for treasonable
conduct in aid of the rebellion, done as a member of the Knights of
the Golden Circle, an organization charged with overt acts in
attempting to liberate by force the Confederate prisoners of war in
the military prisons, and otherwise to assist the rebellion. The
current public sentiment in regard to executive power had
unquestionably changed with the return to peace, and Lincoln having
been assassinated and Johnson being in the presidential chair, the
tide was running strongly in favor of congressional rather than
executive initiative in public affairs. It cannot be denied that the
court responded more or less fully to the popular drift, then as in
other important historical junctures. In the opinion as delivered by
Judge Davis, it went all lengths in holding that the military
commission could not act upon charges against a person not in the
military service, and who was a citizen of the State where tried,
when in such State the civil courts were not actually suspended by
the operations of war. Chief Justice Chase and three of the justices
thought this was going too far, and whilst concurring in discharging
Milligan, held that Congress could authorize military commissions to
try civilians in time of actual war, and that such military
tribunals might have concurrent jurisdiction with the civil courts.
[Footnote: Ex parte Vallandigham, Wallace's Reports, i. 243. Ex
parte Milligan, _Id_., iv. 2, etc.]

We must not forget that whilst the judicial action determines the
rights of the parties in a suit, the executive has always asserted
his position as an independent co-ordinate branch of the government,
authorized by the Constitution to determine for himself, as
executive, his duties, and to interpret his powers, subject only to
the Constitution as he understands it. Jefferson, Jackson, and
Lincoln in turn found themselves in exigencies where they held it to
be their duty to decide for themselves on their high political
responsibility in matters of constitutional power and duty. Lincoln
suspended the privilege of _habeas corpus_ by his own proclamation,
and adhered to his view, although Judge Taney in the Circuit Court
for Maryland denied his power to do so. When Congress passed a
regulating act on the subject which seemed to him sufficient, he
signed the statute because he was quite willing to limit his action
by the provisions embodied in it, and not because he thought the act
necessary to confer the power.

An incident in the history of the treasonable organizations believed
to exist in Indiana emphasizes the change of mental attitude of
Judge Davis between 1863 and 1866. During the progress of the
Vallandigham case, General Burnside conceived a distrust of the
wisdom of the course pursued by Brigadier-General Carrington, who
commanded at Indianapolis, and sent Brigadier-General Hascall there
to command that district. Carrington had been the right hand of
Governor Morton in ferreting out the secrets of the Golden Circle,
and applying Order No, 38 to them, but Burnside's lack of confidence
in the cool-headed caution and judgment of his subordinate led him
to make the change. Hascall was a brave and reliable Indiana
officer, who had seen much active field service, and with whom I was
associated in the Twenty-third Corps during the Atlanta campaign. He
was ardently loyal, but an unexcitable, matter-of-fact sort of
person. He did not suit Governor Morton, who applied to the
Secretary of War to have him removed from command, declaring that
immediate action was important. Judge Davis, who was in
Indianapolis, was induced to co-operate with the governor in the
matter, and telegraphed to Mr. Stanton that Hascall's removal was
demanded by the honor and interests of the government. [Footnote:
Official Records, vol. xxiii. pt. ii. p.369. See also _Id_., p.194.]
Hascall was sent to the field, and after a short interval Carrington
was restored to duty at Indianapolis. In the continued investigation
and prosecution of the Golden Circle, and finally in the trial of
Milligan, General Carrington was, under Governor Morton, the most
active instrument; and it was, of course, to keep him at work on
that line that the changes in command were secured. Yet it was the
fruit of this very work of Carrington that was so strongly and
sweepingly declared to be illegal by the Supreme Court, Judge Davis
himself delivering the opinion and going beyond the chief-justice
and others in denying all power and authority to military courts in
such cases. Had Mr. Lincoln lived, he would no doubt have avoided
any question before the Supreme Court in regard to his authority, by
pardoning Milligan as he granted amnesty to so many who had been
active in the rebellion. But Mr. Johnson was so much hampered by his
quarrel with Congress over reconstruction that he was disposed to
avoid interference with criminal cases where his action could
subject him to the charge of sympathy with the accused. He carefully
abstained from meddling with Jefferson Davis as he did with
Milligan, and left the responsibility with the courts.

The final development of the investigation of the Society of the
Golden Circle took place after I had again obtained a field command,
and I was glad to have no occasion to form a personal judgment about
it. The value of evidence collected by means of detectives depends
so greatly on the character of the men employed and the instructions
under which they act, that one may well suspend judgment unless he
has more than ordinarily full knowledge on these points. The
findings of the military commission must stand as a _prima facie_
historical determination of the facts it reported, and the burden of
proof is fairly upon those who assert that the conclusions were not
sustained by trustworthy evidence.

I have mentioned the open resistance to the draft and to the arrest
of deserters in Noble and in Holmes counties. The first of these was
scarcely more than a petty riotous demonstration, which melted away
before the officers as soon as they were able to show that they were
backed by real power. The second looked for a time more formidable,
and assumed a formal military organization. Governor Tod issued a
proclamation warning the offenders of the grave consequences of
their acts, and exhorting them for their own sake and the sake of
their families to disperse and obey the laws. I directed General
Mason at Columbus to be sure, if military force had to be used, that
enough was concentrated to make stubborn resistance hopeless. The
insurgents maintained a bold face till the troops were close upon
them; but when they saw a strong line of infantry charging up toward
the stone fences on the hillside where they had made their camp, and
heard the whistling of bullets from the skirmishers, their courage
gave way and they fled, every man for himself. Only two or three
were seriously wounded, and comparatively few arrests were made.
[Footnote: Official Records, vol. xxiii. pt. i. pp.395-397.]
Submission to law was all that was demanded, and when this was fully
established, the prisoners were soon released without further
punishment. The fear of further prosecutions operated to preserve
the peace, and the men who had been allowed to go at large were a
guaranty, in effect, for the good behavior of the community.

Before dropping the subject, I may properly add that the arrest of
Mr. Vallandigham very naturally raised the question how far we were
willing to go in bringing disloyal men before the military courts.
Prominent citizens, and especially men in official position, often
found themselves urged to ask for the arrest of the more outspoken
followers of Vallandigham in every country neighborhood. In answer
to inquiries which had come through the Hon. Martin Welker,
[Footnote: Afterward for many years Judge of the U. S. District
Court for northern Ohio.] member of Congress for the Wayne County
district, I wrote him a letter which shows the efforts we made to be
prudent and to avoid unnecessary collisions. Judge Welker had served
as Judge Advocate on my staff in the three months' service in the
spring of 1861, and my intimacy with him made me speak as to our
policy without reserve.

"We are hopeful," I wrote, "now that the United States Circuit Court
has refused to release Mr. Vallandigham on _habeas corpus_, that his
followers will take warning and that their course will be so
modified that there may be no occasion to make many more arrests.

"I am persuaded that our policy should be to repress disloyalty and
sedition at home rather by punishment of prominent examples than by
a general arrest of all who may make themselves obnoxious to General
Order No. 38, as the latter course will involve a more frequent
application of military authority than we choose to resort to,
unless circumstances should make it imperatively necessary... I am
full of hope that the seditious designs of bad men will fail by
reason of the returning sense of those who have been their dupes,
and that the able and patriotic opinion of Judge Leavitt in the
_habeas corpus_ case will cause great numbers to take positive
ground in favor of the government, who have hitherto been more or
less under the influence of our northern traitors. If such shall be
the result we can afford to overlook bygones, and I am inclined to
await the development of public sentiment before following up
Vallandigham's arrest by many others."

This letter was written before the Secretary of War made any
limitation of Burnside's authority in enforcing his famous order,
and shows that in the District of Ohio, at least, there was no
desire to set up a military despotism, or to go further in applying
military methods to conduct in aid of the rebellion than we might be
forced to go.

Burnside's action in suppressing disloyal newspapers was not
peculiar to himself. General Wright, his predecessor, had done the
same, and other military commandants, both before and after and in
other parts of the country, had felt obliged to take the same
course. These facts only make more clear the desirability of a
well-considered system of action determined by the government at
Washington, and applicable to all such cases.



Condition of Kentucky and Tennessee--Halleck's instructions to
Burnside--Blockhouses at bridges--Relief of East
Tennessee--Conditions of the problem--Vast wagon-train
required--Scheme of a railroad--Surveys begun--Burnside's efforts to
arrange co-operation with Rosecrans--Bragg sending troops to
Johnston--Halleck urges Rosecrans to activity--Continued
inactivity--Burnside ordered to send troops to Grant--Rosecrans's
correspondence with Halleck--Lincoln's dispatch--Rosecrans collects
his subordinates' opinions--Councils of war--The situation
considered--Sheridan and Thomas--Computation of
effectives--Garfield's summing up--Review of the situation when
Rosecrans succeeded Buell--After Stone's River--Relative
forces--Disastrous detached expeditions--Appeal to ambition--The
major-generalship in regular army--Views of the President
justified--Burnside's forces--Confederate forces in East
Tennessee--Reasons for the double organization of the Union armies.

Burnside was not a man to be satisfied with quasi-military duty and
the administration of a department outside of the field of active
warfare. He had been reappointed to the formal command of the Ninth
Corps before he came West, and the corps was sent after him as soon
as transportation could be provided for it. He reached Cincinnati in
person just as a raid into Kentucky by some 2000 Confederate cavalry
under Brigadier-General John Pegram was in progress. Pegram marched
from East Tennessee about the middle of March, reaching Danville,
Ky., on the 23d. He spread reports that he was the advance-guard of
a large force of all arms intending a serious invasion of the State.
These exaggerations had their effect, and the disturbance in the
Department of the Ohio was out of proportion to the strength of the
hostile column. [Footnote: Letter of Governor Robinson, Official
Records, vol. xxiii. pt. ii. p. 97; _Id_., pp. 121, 126.] The troops
belonging to the post at Danville retreated to the hither side of
the Kentucky River at Hickman's Bridge, where they took up a
defensive position. They saved the railway bridge from destruction,
and Brigadier-General Quincy A. Gillmore, who commanded the District
of Central Kentucky with headquarters at Lexington, was able to
concentrate there a sufficient force to resume the offensive against

Burnside ordered reinforcements to Gillmore from the other parts of
Kentucky, and Pegram, whose report indicates that a foray for beef,
cattle, and horses was the principal object of his expedition,
commenced his retreat. Gillmore followed him up vigorously,
recapturing a considerable part of the cattle he had collected, and
overtaking his principal column at Somerset, routed him and drove
him beyond the Cumberland River.

The month of March had begun with pleasant spring weather, and on
the 15th General Wright had written to Halleck that an invasion of
Kentucky was probable, especially as Rosecrans showed no signs of
resuming the aggressive against Bragg's army in middle Tennessee.
[Footnote: _Id_., p. 143.] In Halleck's letter of instructions to
Burnside as the latter was leaving Washington to relieve Wright, the
general plan of an advance on East Tennessee in connection with that
of Rosecrans toward Chattanooga was outlined, but the
General-in-Chief acknowledged that the supply of an army in East
Tennessee by means of the wagon roads was probably impracticable.
[Footnote: _Id_., p. 163.] He pointed out the necessity of reducing
the number and size of garrisons in the rear, and making everything
bend to the great object of organizing the army for active
initiative against the enemy. He recommended building block-houses
to protect the principal bridges on the railroads, where very small
garrisons could give comparative security to our lines of
communication. This plan was ultimately carried out on a large
scale, and was the necessary condition of Sherman's Atlanta campaign
of 1864. Taken as a whole, Halleck's instructions to Burnside
presented no definite objective, and were a perfunctory sort of
introduction to his new command, which raises a doubt whether the
organization of a little army in the Department of the Ohio met his

The fact was that Burnside was acting on an understanding with
President Lincoln himself, whose ardent wish to send a column for
the relief of the loyal people of East Tennessee never slumbered,
and who was already beginning to despair of its accomplishment by
Rosecrans's army. The uneasiness at Washington over Rosecrans's
inaction was becoming acute, and Mr. Lincoln was evidently turning
to Burnside's department in hope of an energetic movement there. In
this hope Burnside was sent West, and the Ninth Corps was detached
from the Army of the Potomac and sent after him. The project of
following up his advance by the construction of a railroad from
Danville, then the terminus of the railway line reaching southward
from Cincinnati, was discussed, and the President recommended it to
Congress, but no appropriation of money was made. The scheme was
hardly within the limits of practicable plans, for the building of a
railway through such difficult country as the Cumberland mountain
region implied laborious engineering surveys which could only be
made when the country was reduced to secure possession, and the
expenditure of time as well as of money would be likely to exceed
the measure of reasonable plans for a military campaign. The true
thing to do was to push Rosecrans's army to Chattanooga and beyond.
With the valley of the Tennessee in our possession, and Chattanooga
held as a new base of supply for a column in East Tennessee as well
as another in Georgia, the occupation of Knoxville and the Clinch
and Holston valleys to the Virginia line was easy. Without it, all
East Tennessee campaigns were visionary. It was easy enough to get
there; the trouble was to stay. Buell's original lesson in
logistics, in which he gave the War Department a computation of the
wagons and mules necessary to supply ten thousand men at Knoxville,
was a solid piece of military arithmetic from which there was no
escape. [Footnote: _Ante_, p. 199. Official Records, vol. vii. p.

When Burnside reached Cincinnati and applied himself practically to
the task of organizing his little army for a march over the
mountains, his first requisitions for wagons and mules were a little
startling to the Quartermaster-General and a little surprising to
himself. He began at once an engineering reconnoissance of the
country south of Lexington and Danville, as far as it was within our
control, and employed an able civil engineer, Mr. Gunn, to locate
the preliminary line for a railway. [Footnote: _Id_., vol. xxiii.
pt. ii. p. 610.] These surveys were the starting-points from which
the actual construction of the road between Cincinnati and
Chattanooga was made after the close of the war.

Burnside also urged that the troops in Kentucky, exclusive of the
Ninth Corps, be organized into a new corps with General Hartsuff as
its commander. [Footnote: _Id_., p. 259.] Halleck demurred to this,
but the President directed it to be done, and the order was issued
by the War Department on 27th April. [Footnote: _Id_., pp. 269, 283,
400.] Burnside also applied himself earnestly to procuring from
Rosecrans a plan of active co-operation for an advance. As soon as
Hartsuff assumed command of the new Twenty-third Corps, Burnside
sent him, on May 3d, to visit Rosecrans in person, giving him
authority to arrange an aggressive campaign. [Footnote: _Id_., p.
312.] Hartsuff's old relations to Rosecrans made him a very fit
person for the negotiation. Rosecrans hesitated to decide, and
called a council of his principal officers. He suggested that the
Ninth Corps be sent down the Louisville and Nashville Railroad to
Glasgow, near the Tennessee line, but did not indicate any immediate
purpose of advancing. [Footnote: Official Records, vol. xxiii. pt.
ii. pp. 313, 315.] Burnside meant to take the field with both corps
of his command, which he had organized under the name of the Army of
the Ohio; but to reassure Rosecrans, he wrote that if in
co-operation the two armies should come together, he would waive his
elder rank and serve under Rosecrans whilst he should remain in
middle Tennessee. [Footnote: _Id_., p. 331.] It was now the 15th of
May, and he sent a confidential staff officer again to Rosecrans to
try to settle a common plan of operations. On the 18th Halleck had
heard of Bragg's army being weakened to give General Joseph E.
Johnston a force with which to relieve Pemberton at Vicksburg, and
he became urgent for both Rosecrans and Burnside to advance.
[Footnote: _Id_., p. 337.] He thought it probable that raids would
be attempted by the enemy to distract attention from his real
object, and pointed out concentration and advance as the best way to
protect the rear as well as to reach the enfeebled adversary.
Burnside hastened in good faith his preparations for movement. He
was collecting a pack mule train to supply the lack of wagons, and
put his detachments in motion to concentrate. He begged for the
third division of his corps (Getty's), which had been detained in
the Army of the Potomac and could not yet be spared, but did not
wait for it. [Footnote: _Id_., p. 338.] By the 1st of June he was
ready to leave in person for the front, and on the 3d was at
Lexington, definitely committed to the movement into East Tennessee.
There he was met by an order from Halleck to send 8000 men at once
to reinforce General Grant at Vicksburg. [Footnote: _Id_., p. 384.]
The promise was made that they should be returned as soon as the
immediate exigency was over, but the order was imperative. Burnside
never hesitated in obedience. The two divisions of the Ninth Corps
made about the number required, and they were immediately turned
back and ordered to the Ohio River to be shipped on steamboats.
Sorely disappointed, Burnside asked that he might go with his men,
but was told that his departmental duties were too important to
spare him from them. [Footnote: Official Records, vol. xxiii. pt.
ii. pp. 384, 386.] Major-General Parke was therefore sent in command
of the corps. Burnside returned to Cincinnati, grieving at the
interruption of his plans, yet hoping it would not be for long. His
duties at the rear were not agreeable, especially as this was just
the time when he was directed to recall his order suppressing
disloyal newspapers, and to refrain from arrests of civilians
without explicit authority from Washington.

We may safely assume that the President and his War Secretary were
as little pleased at having to order the Ninth Corps away as
Burnside was to have them go. In fact the order was not made till
they entirely despaired of making Rosecrans advance with the vigor
necessary to checkmate the Confederates. On the receipt of Halleck's
dispatch of the 18th May, Rosecrans entered into a telegraphic
discussion of the probable accuracy of Halleck's information, saying
that whatever troops were sent by the enemy to Mississippi were no
doubt sent from Charleston and Savannah and not from Bragg.
[Footnote: _Id_., p. 337.] He insisted that it was not good policy
to advance at present. On the 21st he said, "If I had 6000 cavalry
in addition to the mounting of the 2000 now waiting horses, I would
attack Bragg within three days." [Footnote: _Id_., p. 351.] He also
interposed the unfavorable judgment of his corps commanders in
regard to an advance. Military history shows that this is pretty
uniformly an excuse for a delay already fully resolved on by a
commanding general. Halleck had no more cavalry to send, and could
only say so. Burnside notified Rosecrans on the 22d that his columns
had begun the movements of concentration and that they would be
complete in three or four days. [Footnote: Official Records, vol.
xxiii. pt. ii. p. 355.] On the 28th Mr. Lincoln himself telegraphed
Rosecrans, "I would not push you to any rashness, but I am very
anxious that you do your utmost, short of rashness, to keep Bragg
from getting off to help Johnston against Grant." [Footnote: _Id_.,
p. 369.] Rosecrans curtly answered, "Dispatch received. I will
attend to it." In his dispatches to Mr. Stanton of similar date
there is no intimation of any purpose whatever to move. [Footnote:
_Ibid_.] In telegraphing to Burnside, Rosecrans said that he was
only waiting for the development of the former's concentration, and
that he wished to advance by the 4th of June. [Footnote: _Id_., pp.
372, 376.] Burnside had already informed him that he would be ready
by June 2d, and repeated it. On the date last named Rosecrans
telegraphed Burnside that his movement had already begun, and that
he wanted the Army of the Ohio to come up as near and as quickly as
possible. [Footnote: _Id_., p. 381.] Still he gave no intimation to
the authorities at Washington of an advance, for none had in fact
been made by his army, nor even of any near purpose to make one. On
June 3d, Halleck telegraphed him: "Accounts received here indicate
that Johnston is being heavily reinforced from Bragg's army. If you
cannot hurt the enemy now, he will soon hurt you." He followed this
by his dispatch to Burnside ordering reinforcements to be sent to
Grant, and the remainder of the troops in the Department of the Ohio
to be concentrated defensively in Kentucky. [Footnote: _Id_., pp.
383, 384.] The only move that Rosecrans made was to send on the 8th
to his general officers commanding corps and divisions, a
confidential circular asking their opinion in writing in answer to
the following questions, in substance,--

1. Has the enemy been so materially weakened that this army could
advance on him at this time with strong reasonable chances of
fighting a great and successful battle?

2. Is an advance of our army likely to prevent additional
reinforcements being sent against General Grant by Bragg?

3. Is an immediate or early advance of our army advisable?
[Footnote: Official Records, vol. xxiii. pt. ii. p. 395.]

With substantial unanimity they answered that it was not advisable
to move, though they seem generally to have been aware that
Breckinridge with about 10,000 men of all arms had gone from Bragg
to Johnston. When Rosecrans reported the result of this council to
Halleck, the latter reminded him of the maxim that "councils of war
never fight," and that the responsibility for his campaign rests
upon a commanding general and cannot be shared by a council of war.

The careful study of the correspondence elicited by Rosecrans's
circular would make a most valuable commentary upon the theme,
"_Why_ Councils of War never fight." The three questions were
addressed to sixteen general officers commanding corps and
divisions. [Footnote: Their answers are found in Official Records,
vol. xxiii. pt. ii. as follows: Davis, p. 395, Johnson, do., McCook,
396, Turchin, 397, Brannan, 402, Crittenden, 403, Granger, 403,
Wood, 405, Negley, 407, Palmer, do., Reynolds, 409, Rousseau, 410,
Sheridan, 411, Stanley, 412, Thomas, 414, Van Cleve, 415, Mitchell,
417, and Garfield's summing up, 420.] In reading the responses the
impression grows strong that there was what may be called a popular
feeling among these officers that their duty was to back up their
commanding general in a judgment of his on the subjects submitted,
which could hardly be other than well known. On the question as to
the probable reduction of Bragg's army by detachments sent to
Johnston, whilst they nearly all have some knowledge of the
diminution of the Confederate army to about the extent mentioned
above, most of them answer that they do not think it a _material_
weakening, that being the tenor of the inquiry put to them. Some of
them, however, say very naturally that as the secret service is
managed from headquarters and all the information received is
forwarded there, General Rosecrans should be much better able to
answer this question than his subordinates. As to the second part of
that question, nearly all seem to assume that the battle would be in
the nature of a direct attack on the fortifications at Shelbyville
and are not sanguine of a successful result. The few who speak of
turning manoeuvres feel that the further retreat of Bragg would only
lengthen their own line of communications and do no good. Strangely,
too, they argue, many of them, that an advance would not prevent
further depletion of Bragg to strengthen Johnston. They consequently
and almost unanimously advise against an immediate or early advance.

It is instructive to compare these opinions with the actual facts.
The inaction of the summer had led directly to the detachment of two
divisions of infantry and artillery and one of cavalry to reinforce
Johnston, just as the inactivity of Meade later in the season
encouraged the Richmond government to send Longstreet to Bragg from
Virginia. If Rosecrans had moved early in the season, not only must
Bragg have kept his army intact, but the battle of Chickamauga, if
fought at all, must have been decided without Longstreet, and
therefore most probably with brilliant success for our arms. It was
delay in advancing, both in Tennessee and in Virginia, that thus
directly led to disaster. If a brilliant victory at Chickamauga had
been coincident with the fall of Vicksburg and Lee's defeat at
Gettysburg, it does not seem rash to believe that the collapse of
the Confederacy would have been hastened by a year.

Two of the generals who answered these questions attained afterward
to such distinction that their replies are an interesting means of
learning their mental character and gauging their development.
Sheridan answered briefly that he believed Bragg had no more than
25,000 or 30,000 infantry and artillery, with a "large" cavalry
force. In this he was very close to the mark. Bragg's report for the
latter part of May, before sending reinforcements to Johnston,
showed his forces present for duty to be 37,000 infantry, a little
less than 3000 artillery, and 15,000 cavalry, in round numbers.
Deduct 10,000 from these, and Sheridan is found to be sufficiently
accurate. [Footnote: Official Records, vol. xxiii. pt. ii. p. 846.

The reference to Bragg's returns of strength to the
Adjutant-General's office makes this an appropriate place to note
the method of making these returns and its bearing on the much
debated question of the "Effective Total" commonly given by
Confederate writers as the force of their armies compared with ours.
The blanks for these reports were sent out from the
Adjutant-and-Inspector-General's office at Richmond, with the order
that the numerical returns be made "on the forms furnished and
according to the directions expressed on them" (General Orders No.
64, Sept. 8, 1862). The column "Effective Total" in these returns
included only enlisted men carrying arms and actually in the line of
battle. It excluded all officers, the non-commissioned staff,
extra-duty men, the sick in hospital, and those in arrest. To secure
uniformity in the method of reporting in his army and to correct
some irregularity, General Bragg issued a circular, as follows
(Official Records, vol. xxiii. pt. ii. p. 619):--


TULLAHOMA, January 29, 1863.

Hereafter, under the column of 'Effective Total' in the reports from
this army, extra-duty men and men in arrest will not be included.
The 'Effective Total' must include only the fighting field
force--those who are carried into the field of battle with fire-arms
in their hands.

By command of General Bragg.
Assistant Adjutant-General."

Before the publication of the Official Records, I had occasion to
call attention to the subject: see "The Nation," May 21, 1874, p.
334; also "Atlanta" (Scribners' Series), pp. 27, 28; and again in
"The Nation," February 2, 1893, p. 86. A fair comparison between the
Confederate and the National armies, therefore, demands a
computation of numbers by the same method; and as we did not use
forms containing the "Effective Total" as reported by the
Confederates, the columns of officers and men "present for duty"
which are computed alike in the returns on both sides are the most
satisfactory and fair basis of comparison.] He did not think Bragg
would fight, but would retreat, and thought that in such a case he
would not be hindered from sending more help to Johnston. Again, as
forage in the country was scarce, he voted against an early advance.

Thomas did not believe Bragg had been materially weakened, for if
any troops had been sent away, he thought they had returned or their
places had been supplied. He concluded that Bragg was ready to fight
with an army at least as large as that of Rosecrans; that to hold
our army where it was would sufficiently prevent further reduction
of Bragg's; that an advance would give the latter the advantage and
was not advisable. His preference for defensive warfare was very
evident. He said it was true that Bragg might be reinforced and take
the initiative, but that he "should be most happy to meet him here
with his reinforcements." In conclusion he indicated the necessity
of 6000 more cavalry to be added to the army. [Footnote: See also
_ante_, p. 478.]

When the answers were all received, Garfield summed them up in a
paper, which must be admitted to be a remarkable production for a
young volunteer officer deliberately controverting the opinions of
such an array of seniors. He gave, as the best information at
headquarters, the force of Bragg, before sending help to Johnston,
as 38,000 infantry, 2600 artillery, and 17,500 cavalry. This made
the infantry about 1000 too many, the artillery nearly exactly
right, and the cavalry 2500 too many,--on the whole a very close
estimate. From these he deducted 10,000, which was right. He stated
Rosecrans's force at 82,700 "bayonets and sabres" with about 3000
more on the way, but deducted 15,000 for necessary posts and
garrisons. The balancing showed 65,000 to throw against Bragg's
41,500. He further showed that delay would give time for the enemy's
detachments to return, whilst we could hope for no further increase
during the rest of the season. He then analyzed the military and
civil reasons for activity, declared that he believed we could be
victorious, and that the administration and the country had the
right to expect the army to try.

The result was a curious but encouraging result of bold and cogent
reasoning. Although Rosecrans reported to General Halleck on the
11th of June the opinion of his corps and division commanders
against an early advance, the logic and the facts pressed upon him
by his chief of staff evidently took strong hold of his active
intellect, so that when Halleck on the 16th asked for a categorical
answer whether he would make an immediate movement forward, he
replied, "If it means to-night or to-morrow, no. If it means as soon
as all things are ready, say five days, yes." [Footnote: Official
Records, vol. xxiii. pt. i. pp. 8-10.] No doubt the rather plain
intimation that a categorical "no" would be followed by action at
Washington helped the decision; but it would have helped it to a
decided negative if Garfield's paper, reinforced by the personal
advice and oral discussions which we now know were of daily
occurrence between them, had not had a convincing weight with him,
both as to the feasibility of the campaign of turning manoeuvres
which he devised and adopted, and as to its probable success. The
result is reckoned one of his chief claims to military renown.

But to judge properly the relations of the government to both the
commanding generals in Kentucky and Tennessee, it is necessary to go
back to the days immediately after the battle of Stone's River, and
to inquire what were the tasks assigned these commanders and the
means furnished to perform them. The disappointment of the
administration at Washington with Rosecrans's conduct of his
campaign dated, indeed, much earlier than the time indicated. He had
succeeded Buell at the end of October when Bragg was in full retreat
to the Tennessee River. The continuance of a vigorous pursuit and
the prompt reoccupation of the country held by us in the early
summer was regarded as of the utmost importance for political, quite
as much as for military reasons. It was not a time to halt and
reorganize an army. The question of foreign intervention was
apparently trembling in the balance, and to let European powers rest
under the belief that we had lost most of what had been gained in
the advance from Donelson to Shiloh and Corinth, was to invite
complications of the most formidable character. The Washington
authorities had therefore a perfect right to decide that to press
Bragg vigorously and without intermission was the imperative duty of
the commander of the Army of the Cumberland. He would be rightly
held to have disappointed the expectations of his government if he
failed to do so. Rosecrans had been chosen to succeed Buell because
of the belief that his character was one of restless vehemence
better adapted to this work than the slower but more solid qualities
of Thomas, who was already second in command in that army.
[Footnote: Since the text was written the Life of O. P. Morton has
appeared, and in it his part in the change from Buell to Rosecrans
is given. He urged the change upon Lincoln on the ground that
aggressive vigor was imperatively demanded. "Another three months
like the last six, and we are lost," said he. "Reject the wicked
incapables whom you have patiently tried and found utterly wanting."
On October 24th he telegraphed, "The removal of General Buell and
the appointment of Rosecrans came not a moment too soon." Life, vol.
i. pp. 197, 198.] Halleck was obliged very soon to remind Rosecrans
of this, and to claim the right of urging him onward because he
himself had given the advice which had been decisive when the
question of the choice was under consideration.

Yet as soon as the army was again concentrated about Nashville,
Rosecrans's correspondence took the form of urgent demands for the
means of reorganization. He insisted that his cavalry force must be
greatly increased, that he must have repeating arms for his
horsemen, that he must organize a selected corps of mounted infantry
and obtain horses for them--in short, that he must take months to
put his army in a condition equal to his desires before resuming the
work of the campaign. His energy seemed to be wholly directed to
driving the administration to supply his wants, whilst Bragg was
allowed not only to stop his rather disorganized flight, but to
retrace his steps toward middle Tennessee.

On the 4th of December Halleck telegraphed that the President was so
disappointed and dissatisfied that another week of inaction would
result in another change of commanders. [Footnote: Official Records,
vol. xx. pt. ii. p. 118.] Rosecrans replied detailing his
necessities, but taking a high tone and declaring himself insensible
to threats of removal. The next day Halleck patiently but decidedly
gave the reasons which made the demand for activity a reasonable
one, adding the reminder that no one had doubted that Buell would
eventually have succeeded, and that Rosecrans's appointment had been
made because they believed he would move more rapidly. [Footnote:
_Id_., p. 124.] Meanwhile every effort was made to furnish him with
the arms, equipments, and horses he desired.

The battle of Stone's River had many points of resemblance to that
of Antietam, and like that engagement was indecisive in itself, the
subsequent retreat of the Confederates making it a victory for the
national arms. The condition of the Army of the Cumberland after the
battle was a sufficient reason for some delay, and a short time for
recuperation and reinforcement was cordially accepted by everybody
as a necessity of the situation. Congratulations and thanks were
abundantly showered on the army, and promotions were given in more
than common number. It was not concealed, however, that the
government was most anxious to follow up the success and to make the
delays as short as possible. An aggressive campaign was demanded,
and the demand was a reasonable one because the means furnished were
sufficient for the purpose.

At the close of the month of January, Rosecrans's forces present for
duty in his department numbered 65,000, [Footnote: _Id_., vol.
xxiii. pt. ii. p. 29.] the Confederates under Bragg were 40,400.
[Footnote: _Id_., p. 622.] The end of February showed the National
forces to be 80,000, [Footnote: Official Records, vol. xxiii. pt.
ii. p. 93.] the enemy 43,600. [Footnote: _Id_., p. 654.] After this
Bragg's army gradually increased till midsummer, when it reached a
maximum of about 57,000, and Rosecrans's grew to 84,000. The
Confederates had a larger proportion of cavalry than we, but this
was at the expense of being much weaker in infantry, the decisive
arm in serious engagements. In fact this disproportion was another
reason for active work, since experience showed that the enemy kept
his cavalry at home when he was vigorously pushed, and sent them on
raids to interrupt our communications when we gave him a respite.
Our superiority in numbers was enough, therefore, to make it
entirely reasonable and in accord with every sound rule of
conducting war, that the government should insist upon an active and
aggressive campaign from the earliest day in the spring when the
weather promised to be favorable. Such weather came at the beginning
of March, and the Confederates took advantage of it, as we have
seen, by sending Pegram into Kentucky. Their cavalry under Wheeler
attacked also Fort Donelson, but were repulsed. A reconnoissance by
a brigade under Colonel Coburn from Franklin toward Spring Hill
resulted in the capture of the brigade by the Confederates under Van
Dorn. [Footnote: _Id_., p. 115.] In the same month Forrest made a
daring raid close to Nashville and captured Colonel Bloodgood and
some 800 men at Brentwood. [Footnote: _Id_., pp. 171, 732.]
Rosecrans organized a raid by a brigade of infantry mounted on
mules, commanded by Colonel Streight, with the object of cutting the
railroad south of Chattanooga. It was delayed in starting till near
the end of April, and was overtaken and captured near Rome in
Georgia. [Footnote: _Id_., pp. 232, 321.] These exasperating
incidents were occurring whilst the Army of the Cumberland lay still
about Murfreesboro, and its commander harassed the departments at
Washington with the story of his wants, and intimated that nothing
but carelessness as to the public good stood between him and their
full supply. He was assured that he was getting his full share of
everything which could be procured,--rifles, revolvers, carbines,
horses, and equipments,--but the day of readiness seemed as far off
as ever.

On the 1st of March the President, feeling that the time had come
when his armies should be in motion, and plainly discouraged at the
poor success he had had in getting Rosecrans ready for an advance,
authorized General Halleck to say to him that there was a vacant
major-generalcy in the regular army which would be given to the
general in the field who should first win an important and decisive
victory. [Footnote: Official Records, vol. xxiii. pt. ii. p. 95.]
The appeal to ambition was treated as if it had been an insult. It
was called an "auctioneering of honor," and a base way to come by a
promotion. [Footnote: _Id_., p. 111.] Halleck retorted conclusively
that Rosecrans himself had warmly advocated giving promotion in the
lower grades only for distinguished services in the field, and said:
"When last summer, at your request, I urged the government to
promote you for success in the field, and, again at your request,
urged that your commission be dated back to your services in West
Virginia, I thought I was doing right in advocating your claim to
honors for services rendered." [Footnote: _Id_., p. 138.] In view of
this unique correspondence it is certainly curious to find Rosecrans
a few days later enumerating his personal grievances to Mr. Lincoln,
and putting among them this, that after the battle of Stone's River
he had asked "as a personal favor" that his commission as
major-general of volunteers should be dated back to December, 1861,
and that it was not granted. [Footnote: _Id_., p. 146.] It was
considerably antedated, so as to make him outrank General Thomas,
much to the disgust of the latter when he learned it; but the date
was not made as early as Rosecrans desired, which would have made
him outrank Grant, Buell, and Burnside as well as Thomas.

Persuasion and exhortation having failed, Grant must either be left
to take the chances that part of Bragg's army would be concentrated
under Johnston in Mississippi, or he must be strengthened by sending
to him that part of our forces in Kentucky and Tennessee which could
most easily be spared. There can be no doubt that it was well judged
to send the Ninth Corps to him, as it would be less mischievous to
suspend Burnside's movement into East Tennessee than to diminish the
Army of the Cumberland under existing circumstances. It is, however,
indisputably clear that the latter army should have been in active
campaign at the opening of the season, whether we consider the
advantage of the country or the reputation of its commander.

If we inquire what means the administration gave Burnside to perform
his part of the joint task assigned him, we shall find that it was
not niggardly in doing so. His forces were at their maximum at the
end of May, when they reached but little short of 38,000 present for
duty in his whole department. [Footnote: Official Records, vol.
xxiii. pt. ii. p. 380.] This included, however, all the great States
of Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, and Michigan as well as the eastern half
of Kentucky, and there were several camps of prisoners and posts
north of the Ohio which demanded considerable garrisons. Eight
thousand men were used for this purpose, and nobody thought this an
excess. Thirty thousand were thus left him for such posts in
Kentucky as would be necessary to cover his communications and for
his active column. He expected to make his active army about 25,000,
and the advance movements had begun when, as has been stated, he was
ordered to suspend, and to send the Ninth Corps to Grant.

The enemy in East Tennessee were under the command of General Dabney
Maury at first, but when he was sent to Mobile, General S. B.
Buckner was made the commandant. His returns of forces for May 31st
show that he had 16,267 present for duty, with which to oppose the
advance of Burnside. The information of the latter was that his
opponent had 20,000, and he reckoned on having to deal with that
number. The passes of the Cumberland Mountains were so few and so
difficult that it was by no means probable that his campaign would
be an easy one; yet the difficulties in the first occupation were
not so serious as those which might arise if Bragg were able to
maintain an interior position between the two National armies. In
that case, unless he were kept thoroughly employed by Rosecrans, he
might concentrate to crush Burnside before his decisive conflict
with the Army of the Cumberland. This was the inherent vice of a
plan which contemplated two independent armies attempting to
co-operate; and if Rosecrans had been willing to open his campaign
on the 1st of March, it is almost certain that the troops in
Kentucky would have been ordered to him. The President did not
determine to send Burnside to the West and to give him a little army
of his own till he despaired of the liberation of East Tennessee in
that season by any activity of Rosecrans. This cannot be overlooked
in any candid criticism of the summer's work.



Departure of the staff for the field--An amusingly quick
return--Changes in my own duties--Expeditions to occupy the
enemy--Sanders' raid into East Tennessee--His route--His success and
return--The Confederate Morgan's raid--His instructions--His
reputation as a soldier--Compared with Forrest--Morgan's start
delayed--His appearance at Green River, Ky.--Foiled by Colonel
Moore--Captures Lebanon--Reaches the Ohio at Brandenburg--General
Hobson in pursuit--Morgan crosses into Indiana--Was this his
original purpose?--His route out of Indiana into Ohio--He approaches
Cincinnati--Hot chase by Hobson--Gunboats co-operating on the
river--Efforts to block his way--He avoids garrisoned posts and
cities--Our troops moved in transports by water--Condition of
Morgan's jaded column--Approaching the Ohio at
Buffington's--Gunboats near the ford--Hobson attacks--Part captured,
the rest fly northward--Another capture--A long chase--Surrender of
Morgan with the remnant--Summary of results--A burlesque

The departure of General Burnside and his staff for active service
in the field was quite an event in Cincinnati society. The young men
were a set of fine fellows, well educated and great social
favorites. There was a public concert the evening before they left
for Lexington, and they were to go by a special train after the
entertainment should be over. They came to the concert hall,
therefore, not only booted and spurred, but there was perhaps a bit
of youthful but very natural ostentation of being ready for the
field. Their hair was cropped as close as barber's shears could cut
it, they wore the regulation uniform of the cavalry, with trim
round-about jackets, and were the "cynosure of all eyes." Their
parting words were said to their lady friends in the intervals of
the music, and the pretty dramatic effect of it all suggested to an
onlooker the famous parting scene in "Belgium's capital" which
"Childe Harold" has made so familiar.

It was quite an anti-climax, however, when the gay young officers
came back, before a week was over, crestfallen, the detaching of the
Ninth Corps having suspended operations in Kentucky. They were a
little quizzed about their very brief campaign, but so
good-humoredly that they bore it pretty well, and were able to seem
amused at it, as well as the fair quizzers.

In preparation for a lengthened absence, Burnside had turned over to
me some extra duties. He ordered the District of Michigan to be
added to my command, and gave general directions that the current
business of the department headquarters should pass through my
hands. As General Parke, his chief of staff, had gone to Vicksburg
in command of the Ninth Corps, Burnside made informal use of me to
supply in some measure his place. Our relations therefore became
closer than ever. He hoped his troops would soon come back to him,
as was promised, and in resuming business at the Cincinnati
headquarters, he tried to keep it all in such shape that he could
drop it at a moment's notice.

To keep the enemy occupied he organized two expeditions, one under
Brigadier-General Julius White into West Virginia, and the other
under Colonel W. P. Sanders into East Tennessee. The latter was one
of the boldest and longest raids made during the war, and besides
keeping the enemy on the alert, destroying considerable military
stores and a number of important railway bridges, it was a
preliminary reconnoissance of East Tennessee and the approaches to
it through the mountains, which was of great value a little later.
The force consisted of 1500 mounted men, being detachments from
different regiments of cavalry and mounted infantry, among which
were some of the loyal men of East Tennessee under Colonel R. K.
Byrd. Sanders was a young officer of the regular army who was now
colonel of the Fifth Kentucky Cavalry. He rapidly made a first-class
reputation as a bold leader of mounted troops, but was unfortunately
killed in the defence of Knoxville in November of this same year.
His expedition started from Mount Vernon, Kentucky, on the 14th of
June, marched rapidly southward sixty miles to Williamsburg, where
the Cumberland River was fordable. Thence he moved southwest about
the same distance by the Marsh Creek route to the vicinity of
Huntsville in Tennessee. Continuing this route southward some fifty
miles more, he struck the Big Emory River, and following this
through Emory Gap, he reached the vicinity of Kingston on the Clinch
River in East Tennessee, having marched in all rather more than two
hundred miles. Avoiding Kingston, which was occupied by a superior
force of Confederates, he marched rapidly on Knoxville, destroying
all the more important railway bridges. Demonstrating boldly in
front of Knoxville, and finding that it was strongly held and its
streets barricaded for defence, he passed around the town and
advanced upon Strawberry Plains, where a great bridge and trestle
crosses the Holston River, 2100 feet in length, a place to become
very familiar to us in later campaigning. Crossing the Holston at
Flat Creek, where other bridges were burned, he moved up the left
(east) bank of the river to attack the guard at the big bridge, the
Confederate forces being on that side. He drove them off, capturing
150 of the party and five cannon. He not only destroyed the bridge,
but captured and burnt large quantities of military stores and camp
equipage. On he went along the railway to Mossy Creek, where another
bridge 300 feet long was burned. He now turned homeward toward the
north-west, having greatly injured a hundred miles of the East
Tennessee Railroad. Turning like a fox under the guidance of his
East Tennessee scouts, he crossed the Clinch Mountains and the
valley of the Clinch, and made his way back by way of Smith's Gap
through the Cumberland Mountains to his starting-place in Kentucky.
He had captured over 450 prisoners, whom he paroled, had taken ten
cannon and 1000 stands of small arms which he destroyed, besides the
large amounts of military stores which have been mentioned. He
marched about five hundred miles in the whole circuit, and though
frequently skirmishing briskly with considerable bodies of the
enemy, his losses were only 2 killed, 4 wounded, and 13 missing. Of
course a good many horses were used up, but as a preliminary to the
campaign which was to follow and in which Sanders was to have a
prominent place, it was a raid which was much more profitable than
most of them. He was gone ten days. [Footnote: Sanders' Report,
Official Records, vol. xxiii. pt. i. pp. 385, 386.]

The expedition under Brigadier-General Julius White was sent to beat
up the Confederate posts in the Big Sandy valley and to aid
incidentally the raid under Sanders into East Tennessee. Burnside
sent another southward in the direction of Monticello, Kentucky. The
object of these was to keep the enemy amused near home and prevent
the raids his cavalry had been making on the railway line by which
Rosecrans kept up his communication with Louisville. They seem
rather to have excited the emulation of the Confederate cavalryman
Brigadier-General John H. Morgan, who, a few days before Rosecrans's
advance on Tullahoma, obtained permission to make a raid, starting
from the neighborhood of McMinnville, Tenn., crossing the Cumberland
near Burkesville, and thence moving on Louisville, which he thought
he might capture with its depots of military stores, as it was
supposed to be almost stripped of troops. His division consisted of
about 3000 horsemen, and he took the whole of it with him, though
Wheeler, his chief, seems to have limited him to 2000. His
instructions were to make a rapid movement on the line of the
Louisville and Nashville Railroad in Kentucky and to get back to his
place in Bragg's army as quickly as possible. [Footnote: Official
Records, vol. xxiii. pt. i. p.817.]

Morgan's reputation as a soldier was a peculiar one. He had made a
number of raids which showed a good deal of boldness in the general
plan and a good deal of activity in the execution, but it cannot be
said that he showed any liking for hard fighting. Like boys skating
near thin ice, he seemed to be trying to see how close he could come
to danger without getting in. A really bold front showed by a small
body of brave men was usually enough to turn him aside. It is
instructive to compare his career with Forrest's. They began with
similar grade, but with all the social and personal prestige in
Morgan's favor. Forrest had been a local slave-trader, a calling
which implied social ostracism in the South, and which put a great
obstacle in the way of advancement. Both were fond of adventurous
raids, but Forrest was a really daring soldier and fought his way to
recognition in the face of stubborn prejudice. Morgan achieved
notoriety by the showy temerity of his distant movements, but nobody
was afraid of him in the field at close quarters.

The official order to Morgan to start on his expedition was dated on
the 18th of June, but he did not get off till the close of the
month. It would seem that he remained in observation on the flank of
Rosecrans's army as the left wing moved upon Manchester, and began
his northward march after Bragg had retreated to Decherd on the way
to Chattanooga. At any rate, he was first heard of on the north side
of the Cumberland on the 2d of July, near Burkesville and marching
on Columbia. Burnside immediately ordered all his cavalry and
mounted infantry to concentrate to meet him, but his route had been
chosen with full knowledge of the positions of our detachments and
he was able to get the start of them. Brigadier-General H. M. Judah,
who commanded the division of the Twenty-third Corps which covered
that part of our front, seems to have wholly misconceived the
situation, and refused to listen to the better information which his
subordinates gave him. [Footnote: Sketches of War History, vol. iv.
(Papers of the Ohio Commandery of the Loyal Legion). A paper by
Capt. H. C. Weaver, Sixteenth Kentucky Infantry, who was on the
staff of Brigadier-General E. H. Hobson during the pursuit of
Morgan.] After a slight skirmish at Columbia, Morgan made for the
Green River bridge at Tebb's Bend, an important crossing of the
Louisville Railroad. The bend was occupied by Colonel O. H. Moore of
the Twenty-fifth Michigan Infantry, who, under previous instructions
from Brigadier-General E. H. Hobson, intrenched a line across the
neck of the bend, some distance in front of the stockade at the
bridge. Morgan advanced upon the 4th of July, and after a shot or
two from his artillery, sent in a flag demanding the surrender of
Moore's little force, which amounted to only 200 men. Moore did not
propose to celebrate the national anniversary in that way, and
answered accordingly. The enemy kept up a lively skirmishing fight
for some hours, when he withdrew. [Footnote: Official Records, vol.
xxiii. pt. i. p. 645.] Moore had beaten him off with a loss of 6
killed and 23 wounded of the brave Michigan men. He reported
Morgan's loss at 50 killed and 200 wounded. The Confederate
authorities admit that they had 36 killed, but put their wounded at
only 46, an incredibly small proportion to the killed.

The raiders continued their route to Lebanon, where was the
Twentieth Kentucky Infantry under Lieutenant-Colonel Charles S.
Hanson, numbering less than 400 men, without artillery. A brigade
ordered to reinforce the post delayed its advance, and Hanson was
left to his own resources. After several hours of a lively
skirmishing fight without much loss, he surrendered to save the
village from destruction by fire, which Morgan threatened. The loss
in the post was 4 killed and 15 wounded. [Footnote: Official
Records, vol. xxiii. pt. i. p. 649.] Hanson reported 29 rebel dead
left on the field and 30 wounded, also abandoned. No doubt others of
the wounded were taken care of and concealed by their sympathizers
in the vicinity. Some military stores had been burned with the
railway station-house before Hanson surrendered. He and his men were
paroled in the irregular way adopted by Morgan on the raid.

Bardstown was the next point reached by the enemy, but Morgan's
appetite for Louisville seems now to have diminished, and he turned
to the westward, reaching the Ohio River on the 8th, at Brandenburg,
some thirty miles below the city. The detachments of mounted troops
which were in pursuit had been united under the command of General
Hobson, the senior officer present, and consisted of two brigades,
commanded by Brigadier-General J. M. Shackelford and Colonel F.
Wolford. They approached Brandenburg on the evening of the 8th and
captured the steamboat "McCombs" with a remnant of Morgan's men and
stores the next morning when they entered the town. They saw on the
opposite bank the smoking wreck of the steamboat "Alice Dean" which
Morgan had set on fire after landing his men on the Indiana shore.
The steamboat "McCombs" was sent to Louisville for other transports.
A delay of twenty-four hours thus occurred, and when Hobson's
command was assembled in Indiana, Morgan had the start by nearly two
days. [Footnote: Hobson's Report, Official Records, vol. xxiii. pt.
i. p. 659.]

It is claimed by Morgan's intimate friend and chronicler that he
intended to cross the Ohio from the day he left camp in Tennessee,
although it would be contrary to his orders; [Footnote: _Id_., p.
818. History of Morgan's Cavalry, by B. W. Duke, p. 410.] and that
he had made investigations in advance in regard to fords on the
upper Ohio and particularly at Buffington Island, where he
ultimately tried to cross into West Virginia. If true, this would
forfeit every claim on his part to the character of a valuable and
intelligent subordinate; for operations on a large scale would be
absolutely impossible if the commander of a division of cavalry may
go off as he pleases, in disobedience to the orders which assign him
a specific task. Except for this statement, it would be natural to
conclude that when he approached Louisville he began to doubt
whether the city were so defenceless as he had assumed, and knowing
that twenty-four hours' delay would bring Hobson's forces upon his
back, he then looked about for some line of action that would save
his prestige and be more brilliant than a race back again to
Tennessee. It is quite probable that the feasibility of crossing the
Ohio and making a rapid ride through the country on its northern
bank had been discussed by him, and conscious as he was that he had
thus far accomplished nothing, he might be glad of an excuse for
trying it. This interpretation of his acts would be more honorable
to him as an officer than the deliberate and premeditated
disobedience attributed to him. But whether the decision was made
earlier or later, the capture of the steamboats at Brandenburg was
at once made use of to ferry over his command, though it was not
accomplished without some exciting incidents. A party of the
Confederates under Captain Hines had crossed into Indiana a few days
before without orders from Morgan, being as independent of him,
apparently, as he was of General Bragg. Hines's party had roused the
militia of the State, and he had made a rapid retreat to the Ohio,
reaching it just as Morgan entered Brandenburg. It may be that the
lucky daredeviltry of Hines's little raid fired his commander's
heart to try a greater one; at any rate, Morgan forgave his trespass
against his authority as he prayed to be forgiven by Bragg, and
turned his attention to driving off the Indiana militia who had
followed Hines to the bank of the river and now opened fire with a
single cannon. Morgan's artillery silenced the gun and caused the
force to retreat out of range, when he put over two of his
regiments, dismounted, to cover the ferrying of the rest. At this
point one of the "tin-clad" gunboats of the river fleet made its
appearance and took part in the combat. The section of Parrot guns
in Morgan's battery proved an overmatch for it, however, and it
retired to seek reinforcements. The interval was used to hasten the
transport of the Confederate men and horses, and before further
opposition could be made, the division was in the saddle and
marching northward into Indiana.

At the first news of Morgan's advance into Kentucky, Burnside had
directed General Hartsuff, who commanded in that State, to
concentrate his forces so as to capture Morgan if he should attempt
to return through the central part of it. [Footnote: Official
Records, vol. xxiii. pt. i. pp.13, 679, etc.] Judah's and Boyle's
divisions were put in motion toward Louisville, and the remainder of
the mounted troops not already with Hobson were also hurried
forward. These last constituted a provisional brigade under Colonel
Sanders. It may help to understand the organization of the National
troops to note the fact that all which operated against Morgan were
parts of the Twenty-third Corps, which was composed of four
divisions under Generals Sturgis, Boyle, Judah, and White. The
brigades were of both infantry and mounted troops, united for the
special purposes of the contemplated campaign into East Tennessee.
For the pursuit of Morgan the mounted troops were sent off first,
and as these united they formed a provisional division under Hobson,
the senior brigadier present. Quite a number of the regiments were
mounted infantry, who after a few months were dismounted and resumed
their regular place in the infantry line. For the time being,
however, Hobson had a mounted force that was made up of fractions of
brigades from all the divisions of the corps; and Shackelford,
Wolford, Kautz, and Sanders were the commanders of the provisional
brigades during the pursuit. Its strength did not quite reach 3000
men. [Footnote: Official Records, vol. xxiii. pt. i. p. 658.]

Morgan's first course was due north, and he marched with some
deliberation. On the 10th he reached Salem, about forty miles from
the river, on the railway between Louisville and Chicago. [Footnote:
_Id_., pp. 717, 719.] A small body of militia had assembled here,
and made a creditable stand, but were outflanked and forced to
retreat after inflicting on him a score of casualties. The evidences
Morgan here saw of the ability of the Northern States to overwhelm
him by the militia, satisfied him that further progress inland was
not desirable, and turning at right angles to the road he had
followed, he made for Madison on the Ohio. There was evidently some
understanding with a detachment he had left in Kentucky, for on the
11th General Manson, of Judah's division, who was on his way with a
brigade from Louisville to Madison by steamboats under naval convoy,
fell in with a party of Morgan's men seeking to cross the river at
Twelve-mile Island, a little below Madison. Twenty men and
forty-five horses were captured. [Footnote: _Id_., pt. ii. pp. 729,
745.] If any of this party had succeeded in crossing before (as was
reported) they would of course inform their chief of the
reinforcements going to Madison, and of the gunboats in the river.
Morgan made no attack on Madison, but took another turn northward in
his zigzag course, and marched on Vernon, a railway-crossing some
twenty miles from Madison, where the line to Indianapolis intersects
that from Cincinnati to Vincennes. Here a militia force had been
assembled under Brigadier-General Love, and the town was well
situated for defence. Morgan, declining to attack, now turned
eastward again, his course being such that he might be aiming for
the river at Lawrenceburg or at Cincinnati.

The deviousness of his route had been such as to indicate a want of
distinct purpose, and had enabled Hobson greatly to reduce the
distance between them. Hanson's brigade on the steamboats was now
about 2500 strong, and moved on the 12th from Madison to
Lawrenceburg, keeping pace as nearly as possible with Morgan's
eastward progress. Sanders's brigade reached the river twenty miles
above Louisville, and General Boyle sent transports to put him also
in motion on the river. At the request of Burnside, Governor Tod, of
Ohio, called out the militia of the southern counties, as Governor
Morton had done in Indiana. Burnside himself, at Cincinnati, kept in
constant telegraphic communication with all points, assembling the
militia where they were most likely to be useful and trying to put
his regular forces in front of the enemy. It would have been easy to
let the slippery Confederate horsemen back into Kentucky. The force
in the river, both naval and military, unquestionably prevented this
at Madison, and probably at Lawrenceburg. On the 13th Morgan was at
Harrison on the Ohio State line, and it now became my turn as
district commander to take part in the effort to catch him. I had no
direct control of the troops of the Twenty-third Corps, and the only
garrisons in Ohio were at the prison camps at Columbus and Sandusky.
These of course could not be removed, and our other detachments were
hardly worth naming. Burnside declared martial law in the counties
threatened with invasion, so that the citizens and militia might for
military purposes come directly under our control. The relations
between the general and myself were so intimate that no strict
demarcation of authority was necessary. He authorized me to give
commands in his name when haste demanded it, and we relieved each
other in night watching at the telegraph.

A small post had been maintained at Dayton, since the Vallandigham
disturbance, and Major Keith, its commandant, was ordered to take
his men by rail to Hamilton. He went at once and reported himself
holding that town with 600 men, including the local militia, but
only 400 were armed. [Footnote: Official Records, vol. xxiii. pt. i.
pp.742, 743.] Lieutenant-Colonel Neff commanded at Camp Dennison,
thirteen miles from Cincinnati, and had 700 armed men there, with
1200 more of unarmed recruits. [Footnote: _Id_., p.749.] At both
these posts systematic scouting was organized so as to keep track of
the enemy, and their active show of force was such that Morgan did
not venture to attack either, but threaded his way around them. At
Cincinnati there was no garrison. A couple of hundred men formed the
post at Newport on the Kentucky side of the river, but the main
reliance was on the local militia. These were organized as soon as
the governor's call was issued on the evening of the 12th. Batteries
were put in position covering the approaches to the city from the
north and west, and the beautiful suburban hills of Clifton and
Avondale afforded excellent defensive positions.

The militia that were called out were of course infantry, and being
both without drill and unaccustomed to marching, could only be used
in position, to defend a town or block the way. In such work they
showed courage and soldierly spirit, so that Morgan avoided
collision with all considerable bodies of them. But they could not
be moved. All we could do was to try to assemble them at such points
in advance as the raiders were likely to reach, and we especially
limited their task to the defensive one, and to blockading roads and
streams. Particular stress was put on the orders to take up the
planking of bridges and to fell timber into the roads. Little was
done in this way at first, but after two or three days of constant
reiteration, the local forces did their work better, and delays to
the flying enemy were occasioned which contributed essentially to
the final capture.

No definite news of Morgan's crossing the Ohio line was received
till about sunset of the 13th when he was marching eastward from
Harrison. Satisfied that Lawrenceburg and lower points on the Ohio
were now safe, Burnside ordered the transports and gunboats at once
to Cincinnati. Manson and Sanders arrived during the night, and the
latter with his brigade of mounted men was, at dawn of the 14th,
placed on the north of the city in the village of Avondale. Manson
with the transports was held in readiness to move further up the

Feeling the net drawing about him, Morgan gave his men but two or
three hours' rest near Harrison, and then took the road toward
Cincinnati. He reached Glendale, thirteen miles northwest of the
city, late in the night, and then turned to the east, apparently for
Camp Dennison, equally distant in a northeast direction. His men
were jaded to the last degree of endurance, and some were dropping
from the saddle for lack of sleep. Still he kept on. Colonel Neff,
in accordance with his orders, had blockaded the principal roads to
the west, and stood at bay in front of his camp. Morgan threw a few
shells at Neff's force, and a slight skirmish began, but again he
broke away, forced to make a detour of ten miles to the north. We
had been able to warn Neff of their approach by a message sent after
midnight, and he had met them boldly, protecting the camp and the
railroad bridge north of it. [Footnote: Official Records, vol.
xxiii. pt. i. pp. 748, 750.] The raiders reached Williamsburg in
Clermont County, twenty-eight miles from Cincinnati, in the
afternoon of the 14th, and there the tired men and beasts took the
first satisfactory rest they had had for three days. Morgan had very
naturally assumed that there would be a considerable regular force
at Cincinnati, and congratulated himself that by a forced night
march he had passed round the city and avoided being cut off. He
had, in truth, escaped by the skin of his teeth. Could Burnside have
felt sure that Lawrenceburg was safe a few hours earlier, Manson and
Sanders might have been in Cincinnati early enough on the 13th to
have barred the way from Harrison. He had in fact ordered Manson up
at two o'clock in the afternoon, but the latter was making a
reconnoissance north of the town, and was detained till late in the
night. As soon as it was learned on the 14th that Morgan had passed
east of the Little Miami River, Sanders was ordered to join Hobson
and aid in the pursuit. [Footnote: In the reports of Hobson and
Sanders there seems to be a mistake of a day in the dates, from the
12th to the 16th. This may be corrected by the copies of current
dispatches given in Official Records, vol. xxiii. pt. i. pp.
730-750.] Hobson's horses were almost worn out, for following close
upon Morgan's track, as he was doing, he found only broken down
animals left behind by the rebels, whilst these gathered up the
fresh animals as they advanced. Still he kept doggedly on, seldom
more than ten or fifteen miles behind, but unable to close that gap
till his opponent should be delayed or brought to bay.

After entering Clermont County, the questions as to roads, etc,
indicated that Morgan was making for Maysville, hoping to cross the
river there. [Footnote: _Id_., p. 749.] Manson's brigade and the
gunboats were accordingly sent up the river to that vicinity. The
militia of the Scioto valley were ordered to destroy the bridges, in
the hope that that river would delay him, but they were tardy or
indifferent, and it was a day or two later before the means of
obstruction were efficiently used. Judah's forces reached Cincinnati
on the 14th, a brigade was there supplied with horses, and they were
sent by steamers to Portsmouth. Judah was ordered to spare no effort
to march northward far enough to head off the enemy's column. On the
16th General Scammon, commanding in West Virginia, was asked to
concentrate some of his troops at Gallipolis or Pomeroy on the upper
Ohio, and promptly did so. [Footnote: _Id_., p. 756.] The militia
were concentrated at several points along the railway to Marietta.
Hobson was in the rear, pushing along at the rate of forty miles a

Morgan had soon learned that the river was so patrolled that no
chance to make a ferry could be trusted, and he made his final
effort to reach the ford at Buffington Island, between Marietta and
Pomeroy. He reached Pomeroy on the 18th, but Scammon was occupying
it, and the troops of the Kanawha division soon satisfied Morgan
that he was not dealing with militia. He avoided the roads held by
our troops, and as they were infantry, could move around them,
though a running skirmish was kept up for some miles. Hobson was
close in rear, and Judah's men were approaching Buffington. Morgan
reached the river near the ford about eight o'clock in the evening.
The night was pitchy dark, and his information was that a small
earthwork built to command the ford was occupied by a permanent
garrison. He concluded to wait for daylight. The work had in fact
been abandoned on the preceding day, but at daybreak in the morning
he was attacked. Hobson's men pushed in from west and north, and
Judah from the south. The gunboats came close up to the island,
within range of the ford, and commanded it. Hobson attacked
vigorously and captured the artillery. The wing of the Confederate
forces, about 700 in number, surrendered to General Shackelford, and
about 200 to the other brigades under Hobson. The rest of the enemy,
favored by a fog which filled the valley, evaded their pursuers and
fled northward. Hobson ordered all his brigades to obey the commands
of Shackelford, who was in the lead, and himself sought Judah, whose
approach had been unknown to him till firing was heard on the other
side of the enemy. Judah had also advanced at daybreak, but in
making a reconnoissance he himself with a small escort had stumbled
upon the enemy in the fog. Both parties were completely surprised,
and before Judah could bring up supports, three of his staff were
captured, Major Daniel McCook, paymaster, who had volunteered as an
aide, was mortally wounded, ten privates were wounded, and twenty or
thirty with a piece of artillery captured. Morgan hastily turned in
the opposite direction, when he ran into Hobson's columns; Judah's
prisoners and the gun were recaptured, and the enemy driven in
confusion, with the losses above stated. [Footnote: Official
Records, vol. xxiii. pt. i. pp. 775-777.]

As Hobson was regularly a brigade commander in Judah's division, the
latter now asserted command of the whole force, against Hobson's
protest, who was provisionally in a separate command by Burnside's
order. Fortunately, Shackelford had already led Hobson's men in
rapid pursuit of the enemy, and as soon as Burnside was informed of
the dispute, he ordered Judah not to interfere with the troops which
had operated separately. By the time this order came Shackelford was
too far away for Hobson to rejoin him, and continued in independent
command till Morgan's final surrender. He overtook the flying
Confederates on the 20th, about sixty miles further north, and they
were forced to halt and defend themselves. Shackelford succeeded in
getting a regiment in the enemy's rear, and after a lively skirmish
between 1200 and 1300 surrendered. [Footnote: _Id_., pp. 778, 781.]
Morgan himself again evaded with about 600 followers. Shackelford
took 500 volunteers on his best horses and pressed the pursuit. The
chase lasted four days of almost continuous riding, when the enemy
was again overtaken in Jefferson County, some fifteen miles
northwest of Steubenville. General Burnside had collected at
Cincinnati the dismounted men of Hobson's command, had given them
fresh horses, and had sent them by rail to join Shackelford. They
were under command of Major W. B. Way of the Ninth Michigan Cavalry
and Major G. W. Rue of the Ninth Kentucky Cavalry. They brought five
or six hundred fresh men to Shackelford's aid, and their assistance
was decisive. Morgan's course to the river at Smith's Ferry on the
border of Columbiana County was intercepted, and near Salineville he
was forced to surrender with a little less than 400 men who still
followed him. About 250 had surrendered in smaller bodies within a
day or two before, and stragglers had been picked up at many points
along the line of pursuit. Burnside reported officially that about
3000 prisoners were brought to Cincinnati. [Footnote: Official
Records, vol. xxiii. pt. i. p. 14.] General Duke states that some
300 of Morgan's command succeeded in crossing the Ohio about twenty
miles above Buffington, and escaped through West Virginia. He also
gives us some idea of the straggling caused by the terrible fatigues
of the march by telling us that the column was reduced by nearly 500
effectives when it passed around Cincinnati. [Footnote: Hist. of
Morgan's Cavalry, pp. 442, 443.] It is probable that these figures
are somewhat loosely stated, as the number of prisoners is very
nearly the whole which the Confederate authorities give as Morgan's
total strength. [Footnote: A note attached to Wheeler's return of
the cavalry of his corps for July 31st says that Morgan's division
was absent "on detached service," effectives 2743. Add to this the
officers, etc., and the total "present for duty" would be a little
over 3000. Official Records, vol. xxiii. pt. ii. p. 941. For Bragg's
circular explaining the term "effectives" as applying only to
private soldiers actually in the line of battle, see _Id_., p. 619,
and _ante_, p. 482.] Either a considerable reinforcement must have
succeeded in getting to him across the river, or a very small body
must have escaped through West Virginia. Burnside directed the
officers to be sent to the military prison camp for officers on
Johnson's Island in Sandusky Bay, and the private soldiers to go to
Camp Chase at Columbus and Camp Morton at Indianapolis. Soon
afterward, however, orders came from Washington that the officers
should be confined in the Ohio penitentiary, in retaliation for
unusual severities practised on our officers who were prisoners in
the South. Morgan's romantic escape from the prison occurred just
after I was relieved from the command of the district in the fall,
for the purpose of joining the active army in East Tennessee.

A glance at the raid as a whole, shows that whilst it naturally
attracted much attention and caused great excitement at the North,
it was of very little military importance. It greatly scattered for
a time and fatigued the men and horses of the Twenty-third Corps who
took part in the chase. It cost Indiana and Ohio something in the
plunder of country stores and farm-houses, and in the pay and
expenses of large bodies of militia that were temporarily called
into service. But this was all. North of the Ohio no military posts
were captured, no public depots of supply were destroyed, not even
an important railway bridge was burned. There was no fighting worthy
of the name; the list of casualties on the National side showing
only 19 killed, 47 wounded, and 8 missing in the whole campaign,
from the 2d of July to the final surrender. [Footnote: Official
Records, vol. xxlii. pt. i. p.637.] For this the whole Confederate
division of cavalry was sacrificed. Its leader was never again
trusted by his government, and his prestige was gone forever. His
men made simply a race for life from the day they turned away from
the militia at Vernon, Indiana. Morgan carefully avoided every
fortified post and even the smaller towns. The places he visited
after he crossed the Ohio line do not include the larger towns and
villages that seemed to lie directly in his path. He avoided the
railroads also, and these were used every day to convey the militia
and other troops parallel to his route, to hedge him in and finally
to stop him. His absence was mischievous to Bragg, who was
retreating upon Chattanooga and to whom the division would have been
a most welcome reinforcement. He did not delay Burnside, for the
latter was awaiting the return of the Ninth Corps from Vicksburg,
and this did not begin to arrive till long after the raid was over.
None of the National army's communications were interrupted, and not
a soldier under Rosecrans lost a ration by reason of the pretentious
expedition. It ended in a scene that was ridiculous in the extreme.
Morgan had pressed into his service as guides, on the last day of
his flight, two men who were not even officers of the local militia,
but who were acting as volunteer homeguards to protect their
neighborhood. When he finally despaired of escape, he begged his
captive guides to change their _rôle_ into commanders of an
imaginary army and to accept his surrender upon merciful and
favorable terms to the vanquished! He afterward claimed the right to
immediate liberation on parole, under the conditions of this
burlesque capitulation. Shackelford and his rough riders would
accept no surrender but an unconditional one as prisoners of war,
and were sustained in this by their superiors. The distance by the
river between the crossing at Brandenburg and the ferry above
Steubenville near which Morgan finally surrendered, was some six
hundred miles. This added to the march from Tennessee through
Kentucky would make the whole ride nearly a thousand miles long. Its
importance, however, except as a subject for an entertaining story,
was in an inverse ratio to its length. Its chief interest to the
student of military history is in its bearing on the question of the
rational use of cavalry in an army, and the wasteful folly of
expeditions which have no definite and tangible military object.
[Footnote: For Official Records and correspondence concerning the
raid, see Burnside's report (Official Records, vol. xxiii. pt. i.
pp.13, 14) and the miscellaneous documents (_Id_., pp.632-818).]



News of Grant's victory at Vicksburg--A thrilling scene at the
opera--Burnside's Ninth Corps to return--Stanton urges Rosecrans to
advance--The Tullahoma manoeuvres--Testy correspondence--Its real
meaning--Urgency with Burnside--Ignorance concerning his
situation--His disappointment as to Ninth Corps--Rapid concentration
of other troops--Burnside's march into East Tennessee--Occupation of
Knoxville--Invests Cumberland Gap--The garrison surrenders--Good
news from Rosecrans--Distances between armies--Divergent lines--No
railway communication--Burnside concentrates toward the Virginia
line--Joy of the people--Their intense loyalty--Their faith in the

During the Morgan Raid and whilst we in Ohio were absorbed in the
excitement of it, events were moving elsewhere. Lee had advanced
from Virginia through Maryland into Pennsylvania and had been
defeated at Gettysburg by the National army under Meade. Grant had
brought the siege of Vicksburg to a glorious conclusion and had
received the surrender of Pemberton with his army of 30,000
Confederates. These victories, coming together as they did and on
the 4th of July, made the national anniversary seem more than ever a
day of rejoicing and of hope to the whole people. We did not get the
news of Grant's victory quite so soon as that of Meade's, but it
came to us at Cincinnati in a way to excite peculiar enthusiasm.

An excellent operatic company was giving a series of performances in
the city, and all Cincinnati was at Pike's Opera House listening to
_I Puritani_ on the evening of the 7th of July. General Burnside and
his wife had one of the proscenium boxes, and my wife and I were
their guests. The second act had just closed with the famous trumpet
song, in which Susini, the great basso of the day, had created a
_furore_. A messenger entered the box where the general was
surrounded by a brilliant company, and gave him a dispatch which
announced the surrender of Vicksburg and Pemberton's army. Burnside,
overjoyed, announced the great news to us who were near him, and
then stepped to the front of the box to make the whole audience
sharers in the pleasure. As soon as he was seen with the paper in
his hand, the house was hushed, and his voice rang through it as he
proclaimed the great victory and declared it a long stride toward
the restoration of the Union. The people went almost wild with
excitement, the men shouted hurrahs, the ladies waved their
handkerchiefs and clapped their hands, all rising to their feet. The
cheering was long as well as loud, and before it subsided the
excitement reached behind the stage. The curtain rose again, and
Susini came forward with a national flag in each hand, waving them
enthusiastically whilst his magnificent voice resounded in a
repetition of the song he had just sung, and which seemed as
appropriate as if it were inspired for the occasion,--

  "Suoni la tromba, e intrepido
   Io pugnerò da forte,
   Bello è affrontar la morte,
   Gridando libertà!"

The rejoicing and the cheers were repeated to the echo, and when at
last they subsided, the rest of the opera was only half listened to,
suppressed excitement filling every heart and the thought of the
great results to flow from the victories absorbing every mind.

Burnside reckoned with entire certainty on the immediate return of
the Ninth Corps, and planned to resume his expedition into East
Tennessee as soon as his old troops should reach him again. The
Morgan raid was just beginning, and no one anticipated its final
scope. In the dispatch from the Secretary of War which announced
Grant's great victory, Burnside was also told that the corps would
immediately return to him. In answering it on the 8th July, he said,
"I thought I was very happy at the success of General Grant and
General Meade, but I am still happier to hear of the speedy return
of the Ninth Corps." He informed Rosecrans of it on the same day,
adding, "I hope soon to be at work again." [Footnote: Official
Records, vol. xxiii. pt. ii. pp.522, 524.]

The Washington authorities very naturally and very properly wished
that the tide of success should be kept moving, and Secretary
Stanton had exhorted Rosecrans to further activity by saying, on the
7th, "You and your noble army now have the chance to give the
finishing blow to the rebellion. [Footnote: _Id_., p.518.] Will you
neglect the chance?" Rosecrans replied: "You do not appear to
observe the fact that this noble army has driven the rebels from
middle Tennessee, of which my dispatches advised you. I beg in
behalf of this army that the War Department may not overlook so
great an event because it is not written in letters of blood." He,
however, did not intimate any purpose of advancing. No doubt the
manoeuvering of Bragg out of his fortified positions at Shelbyville
and Tullahoma had been well done; but its chief value was that it
forced Bragg to meet the Army of the Cumberland in the open field if
the advantage should be promptly followed up. If he were allowed to
fortify another position, nothing would be gained but the ground the
army stood on. Had Rosecrans given any intimation of an early date
at which he could rebuild the Elk River bridge and resume active
operations, it would probably have relieved the strain so noticeable
in the correspondence between him and the War Department. He did
nothing of the kind, and the necessity of removing him from the
command was a matter of every-day discussion at Washington, as is
evident from the confidential letters Halleck sent to him. The
correspondence between the General-in-Chief and his subordinate is a
curious one. A number of the most urgent dispatches representing the
dissatisfaction of the President and the Secretary were accompanied
by private and confidential letters in which Halleck explains the
situation and strongly asserts his friendship for Rosecrans and the
error of the latter in assuming that personal hostility to himself
was at bottom of the reprimands sent him on account of his delays.
It was with good intentions that Halleck wrote thus, but the wisdom
of it is very questionable. It gave Rosecrans ground to assume that
the official dispatches were only the formal expression of the ideas
of the President and Secretary whilst the General-in-Chief did not
join in the condemnation of his dilatory mode of conducting the
campaign. To say to Rosecrans, as Halleck did on July 24th, "Whether
well founded or without any foundation, the dissatisfaction really
exists, and I deem it my duty as a friend to represent it to you
truly and fairly," [Footnote: Official Records, vol. xxiii. pt. ii.
pp. 552, 555, 601.] is to neglect his duty as commander of the whole
army to express his own judgment and to give orders which would have
the weight of his military position and presumed knowledge in
military matters. When, therefore, a few days later he gave
peremptory orders to begin an active advance, these orders were
interpreted in the light of the preceding correspondence, and lost
their force and vigor. They were met by querulous and insubordinate
inquiries whether they were intended to take away all discretion as
to details from the commander of an army in the field. [Footnote:
Aug. 4, _Id_., p. 592.] It has been argued that Rosecrans's weakness
of character consisted in a disposition to quarrel with those in
power over him, and that a spirit of contradiction thwarted the good
military conduct which his natural energy might have produced. I
cannot help reading his controversial correspondence in the light of
my personal observation of the man, and my conviction is that his
quarrelsome mode of dealing with the War Department was the result
of a real weakness of will and purpose which did not take naturally
to an aggressive campaign that involved great responsibilities and
risks. Being really indecisive in fixing his plan of campaign and
acting upon it, his infirmity of will was covered by a belligerence
in his correspondence. A really enterprising commander in the field
would have begun an active campaign in the spring before any
dissatisfaction was exhibited at Washington; and if he had a decided
purpose to advance at any reasonably early period, there was nothing
in the urgency shown by his superiors to make him abandon his
purpose. He might have made testy comments, but he would have acted.

Halleck's correspondence with Burnside in July is hard to
understand, unless we assume that it was so perfunctory that he did
not remember at one time what he said or did earlier. In a dispatch
to the General-in-Chief dated the 11th, Rosecrans had said, "It is
important to know if it will be practicable for Burnside to come in
on our left flank and hold the line of the Cumberland; if not, a
line in advance of it and east of us." [Footnote: Official Records,
vol. xxiii. pt. ii. p. 529.] It was already understood between
Rosecrans and Burnside that the latter would do this and more as
soon as he should have the Ninth Corps with him; and the dispatch
must be regarded as a variation on the form of excuses for inaction,
by suggesting that he was delayed by the lack of an understanding as
to co-operation by the Army of the Ohio. On receipt of Rosecrans's
dispatch, Halleck answered it on the 13th, saying, "General Burnside
has been frequently urged to move forward and cover your left by
entering East Tennessee. I do not know what he is doing. He seems
tied fast to Cincinnati." On the same day he telegraphed Burnside,
"I must again urge upon you the importance of moving forward into
East Tennessee, to cover Rosecrans's left." [Footnote: _Id_., p.
531.] It is possible that Burnside's telegraphic correspondence with
the Secretary of War was not known to Halleck, but it is hard to
believe that the latter was ignorant of the proportions the Morgan
raid had taken after the enemy had crossed the Ohio River. The 13th
of July was the day that Morgan marched from Indiana into Ohio and
came within thirteen miles of Cincinnati. Burnside was organizing
all the militia of southern Ohio, and was concentrating two
divisions of the Twenty-third Corps to catch the raiders. One of
these was on a fleet of steamboats which reached Cincinnati that
day, and the other, under Hobson, was in close pursuit of the enemy.
Where should Burnside have been, if not at Cincinnati? If the raid
had been left to the "militia and home guards," as Halleck afterward
said all petty raids should be, this, which was not a petty raid,
would pretty certainly have had results which would have produced
more discomfort at Washington than the idea that Burnside was "tied
fast to Cincinnati." Burnside was exactly where he ought to be, and
doing admirable work which resulted in the capture of the division
of 3000 rebel cavalry with its officers from the general in command
downward. That the General-in-Chief was entirely ignorant of what
was going on, when every intelligent citizen of the country was
excited over it and every newspaper was full of it, reflects far
more severely upon him than upon Burnside.

But this was by no means the whole. He forgot that when he stopped
Burnside's movement on 3d June to send the Ninth Corps to Grant, it
was with the distinct understanding that it prevented its resumption
till the corps should return. He had himself said that this should
be as early as possible, and meanwhile directed Burnside to
concentrate his remaining forces as much as he could. [Footnote:
Official Records, vol. xxiii. pt. ii. p.384.] Burnside had been told
on the 8th of July, without inquiry from him, that the corps was
coming back to him, and had immediately begun his preparation to
resume an active campaign as soon as it should reach him. Not
hearing of its being on the way, on the 18th he asked Halleck if
orders for its return had been given. To this dispatch no answer was
given, and it was probably pigeonholed and forgotten. Burnside
continued his campaign against Morgan, and on the 24th, when the
last combinations near Steubenville were closing the career of the
raider, Halleck again telegraphs that there must be no further delay
in the movement into East Tennessee, [Footnote: Official Records,
vol. xxiii. pt. ii. p.553.] and orders an immediate report of the
position and number of Burnside's troops organized for that purpose!
He was still ignorant, apparently, that there had been any occasion
to withdraw the troops in Kentucky from the positions near the
Cumberland River.

Burnside answered temperately, reciting the facts and reminding him
of the actual state of orders and correspondence, adding only, "I
should be glad to be more definitely instructed, if you think the
work can be better done." Morgan's surrender was on the 26th, and
Burnside immediately applied himself with earnest zeal to get his
forces back into Kentucky. Judah's division at Buffington was three
hundred miles from Cincinnati and five hundred from the place it had
left to begin the chase. Shackelford's mounted force was two hundred
miles further up the Ohio. This last was, as has been recited, made
up of detachments from all the divisions of the Twenty-third Corps,
and its four weeks of constant hard riding had used up men and
horses. These all had to be got back to the southern part of central
Kentucky and refitted, returned to their proper divisions, and
prepared for a new campaign. The General-in-Chief does not seem to
have had the slightest knowledge of these circumstances or

On the 28th another Confederate raid developed itself in southern
Kentucky, under General Scott. It seemed to be intended as a
diversion to aid Morgan to escape from Ohio, but failed to
accomplish anything. Scott advanced rapidly from the south with his
brigade, crossing the Cumberland at Williamsburg and moving through
London upon Richmond. [Footnote: Official Records, vol. xxiii. pt.
ii. p. 568.] Colonel Sanders endeavored to stop the enemy at
Richmond with about 500 men hastily collected, but was driven back.
He was ordered to Lexington and put in command of all the mounted
men which could be got together there, 2400 in all, and advanced
against Scott, who now retreated by Lancaster, Stanford, and
Somerset. At Lancaster the enemy was routed in a charge and 200 of
them captured. Following them up with vigor, their train was
destroyed and about 500 more prisoners were taken. At the Cumberland
River Sanders halted, having been without rations for four days. The
remnant of Scott's force had succeeded in crossing the river after
abandoning the train. Scott claimed to have taken and paroled about
200 prisoners in the first part of his raid, but such irregular
paroles of captured men who could not be carried off were
unauthorized and void. The actual casualties in Sanders's command
were trifling. [Footnote: _Id_., pt. i. pp. 828-843; pt. ii. pp.
568, 589.]

The effect of this last raid was still further to wear out
Burnside's mounted troops, but he pressed forward to the front all
his infantry and organized a column for advance. In less than a
week, on August 4, he was able to announce to the War Department
that he had 11,000 men concentrated at Lebanon, Stanford, and
Glasgow, with outposts on the Cumberland River, and that he could
possibly increase this to 12,000 by reducing some posts in guard of
the railway. [Footnote: _Id_., p. 591.] Upon this, Halleck gave to
Rosecrans peremptory orders for the immediate advance of the Army of
the Cumberland, directing him also to report daily the movement of
each corps till he should cross the Tennessee. On the next day
Burnside was ordered in like manner to advance with a column of
12,000 men upon Knoxville, on reaching which place he was to
endeavor to connect with the forces under Rosecrans. [Footnote:
Official Records, vol. xxiii. pt. ii. pp.592-593.] The dispatch
closed with what was called a repetition of a former order from the
Secretary of War for Burnside to