The American Civil War, day by day - Page 47 - Politics Forum.org | PoFo

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#15114953
Doug64 wrote:@Potemkin

Careful with the “Native American” label, my earliest ancestor on this continent arrived in the early 1600’s and the latest, so far as I know, in the 1850’s. I think my family counts as native Americans. ;)

'Native' in the sense that their ancestors have lived in the Americas for at least ten millennia or so. Not just a few centuries. :)

Technically, of course, anyone is a 'native' of a place in which they were born and where have lived all or most of their lives. Including the children of "illegal" immigrants, I might add. And which immigrants have been more "illegal" than the Europeans who came over in the 16th and 17th centuries, eh? Lol. ;)

And actually, while many in the Indian upper classes (plural intentional, for most of the British occupation Indians did not consider themselves a single people) did adopt British ways and many of the British cultural values, they were not permitted to assimilate into the British Empire’s ruling structure—they were always aware that they were second-class in their own country, always a dangerous situation for any empire (as Solomon’s son learned the hard way).

Indeed. But I was thinking about the very highest elite Indians, the ones who ran the various Princely States for example. They were co-opted into the British ruling elite; "assimilated" is probably too strong a word, but they were certainly treated as (rather exotic) aristocrats by the British.
#15115020
Potemkin wrote:Technically, of course, anyone is a 'native' of a place in which they were born and where have lived all or most of their lives. Including the children of "illegal" immigrants, I might add.

Sure, I have no problem with permanent residency status for those brought here as young minors and eventual citizenship if they don't have a criminal record. Not their parents, though.

And which immigrants have been more "illegal" than the Europeans who came over in the 16th and 17th centuries, eh? Lol. ;)

According to whose laws, exactly? The Amerinds custom was that each tribe held as much territory as it had the strength to hold, and no more.

Indeed. But I was thinking about the very highest elite Indians, the ones who ran the various Princely States for example. They were co-opted into the British ruling elite; "assimilated" is probably too strong a word, but they were certainly treated as (rather exotic) aristocrats by the British.

Now that is certainly true, and they certainly fit well with the Roman tradition of client states. But for the Romans, that ended up being an intermediate step in the integration process--all mostly unintentional or scattershot, of course, stopgaps and improvisations rather than a long-term plan.
#15115094
August 24, Sunday

The White settlers have beaten back two Sioux attacks on New Ulm, Minnesota, but in the process much of the town has been destroyed, with 190 houses reduced to ashes. Now Judge Flandrau and his officers order the settlement evacuated. The long confinement of the townspeople and refugees, Flandrau will explain, “was rapidly producing disease among the women and children, who were huddled in cellars and close rooms like sheep in a cattle car.” Guarded by 150 recently arrived reinforcements, about 2,000 refugees leave New Ulm and make their way safely to Mankato, 30 miles down the river. The Amerinds had expected to rush down the valley to the Mississippi; but the stout defense of New Ulm and Fort Ridgely, according to Chief Big Eagle, “kept the door shut.” Veering from that direction, groups of Santees, joined by war parties of sympathetic Yankton and Yanktonai Sioux from the eastern Dakota prairies, move to the north and northwest, looking for plunder and more Whites to attack.

In Kentucky, General Kirby Smith receives bad news from the commander of his cavalry, Colonel John S. Scott. While ranging up the road toward Lexington, Scott’s troopers have run into Federal cavalry atop Big Hill, on the western edge of the Cumberland Mountains. At Scott’s approach the Federal cavalry’s commander, Colonel Metcalfe, ordered a charge but was mortified to find that not more than a hundred of his regiment followed him; the remainder, at the first cannon shot, turned tail and fled, though a few men rescued their commander. Scott has chased the Federals up the road to Richmond, twenty miles southeast of Lexington. But during the chase, the Confederate troops learned from a captured dispatch that heavy Federal reinforcements were due in Richmond yesterday.

Smith didn’t expect enemy resistance so soon, but he cannot postpone his advance on Lexington. Taking the town is now his only hope of getting supplies. He informs General Bragg that he will push on. At the same time, he makes a startling proposal: Bragg should move north across the Cumberland Mountains to distract Buell’s Federals from Smith’s operations. Smith wants an additional 3,000 men, from Brigadier General Humphrey Marshall’s Department of Western Virginia, to join him in an advance to the banks of the Ohio River. Smith doesn’t explain what they are going to do when they get there.

In Missouri skirmishing continues on Coon Creek near Lamar, on Crooked Creek near Dallas, and there is also action near Bloomfield. There is a Federal scout which continues until the twenty-eighth from Salem to Current River, Missouri. In Virginia there are actions on this day and the twenty-fifth at Waterloo Bridge.

This afternoon General Lee confers with Generals Jackson and Longstreet at a table set in a field. Jackson states that he shall move within an hour, and have his army ready to march at dawn.
#15115245
August 25, Monday

For General Jackson, his promise to move at dawn means scarcely after midnight. His corps travels light, with three day’s cooked rations in their haversacks. There is artillery, ammunition wagons, ambulances, and a herd of beef cattle. The time is so short that none of the men have cooked all and many none of their rations when ordered to fall in and start the march.

General Pope is soon aware of Jackson’s advance. By 8 am Federal signal stations on hilltops along the Rappahannock are reporting the enemy movement with an accurate count of numbers based on regimental flags. But the question is, where are they going? Pope suspects that they are headed for the Shenandoah Valley, and surmises that Lee’s whole army will soon follow. The only trouble with this thesis is that Longstreet remains in place along the Rappahannock making a conspicuous demonstration. During this busy, confusing day, the possibility that Jackson might be making for the Federal rear seems not to occur to Pope.

Many of Jackson’s troops are veterans of the grueling Valley marches, and they move northwestward with steady rhythm along the Rappahannock, upriver to Amissville, across the Orleans, on towards Salem. Here and there, farmers and townsfolk come out with biscuits, cold chicken, and buckets of cool well water. This is a good thing, because the haversacks are empty by noon and the column subsists on these contributions and green corn and apples from the fields along the route, devoured while marching. The road is stony and many men are barefoot, leaving bloodstains in the dirt. Jackson is as closemouthed as always, and rumors fly up and down the line, many asking the same question as General Pope—are they returning to the Valley? The column marches far into the night. When they finally stop, the weary men drop beside their stacked muskets and are instantly asleep, without so much as unrolling a blanket.

In Kentucky there is skirmishing at Red Bird Creek and Madisonville; in Tennessee at Fort Donelson; and in Mississippi at Bolivar. Fighting in Virginia is at Sulphur Springs.

Secretary of War Edwin M. Stanton authorizes the commander of the Southern Department to “receive into the service of the United States” Black soldiers up to five thousand in number and to train them as guards for plantations and settlements.
#15115462
August 26, Tuesday

Well before daylight, General Stonewall Jackson’s men are shaken awake and limp on in the darkness only half-awake. Then at Salem they turn east, paralleling the Manassas Gap Railroad, and the troops know where they are going. Behind them lies the Blue Ridge; up ahead are the Bull Run Mountains and Thoroughfare Gap, which leads to the plain of Manassas and the railroad junction where Pope’s vast supply depot lies. The question rippling along the line: Do the Federals wait for them at the gap? It is a narrow gash in the wooded ridge, with steep, rocky sides—a relatively small force can hold it long enough for couriers to warn General Pope so that his troops can move back. But there isn’t a Federal in sight, and the lead elements are through and descending undetected on Pope’s rear. That Pope would neglect to guard a natural route to the rear of his army seems incredible, but he is convinced that Jackson is moving to the Shenandoah Valley.

At midmorning Jackson reaches Gainesville and turns southeast toward Bristoe Station, where the Orange & Alexandria cross Broad Run. This is a full twenty miles behind Pope’s line on the Rappahannock. But the troops begin to show the effects of the hard labor and the heat, many fainting and great numbers footsore. Still, late in the afternoon the vanguard reaches Bristoe Station, overwhelms the two Federal companies there, and cuts the telegraph line. Then the Confederates hear a whistle—a train approaching from the south, bound for Alexandria to pick up supplies for Pope’s army. The men throw ties across the track, but the train shoves them aside and speeds away in a storm of bullets, carrying the alarm. Prisoners taken at the station say more empty trains will be along soon, and several Confederates tear up a rail on the embankment. The next train runs into the break in the tracks and the engine is derailed, with the cars behind it piling up on each other until the pile reaches higher than the embankment with the rear cars remaining on the track. As darkness falls a third train comes on at full speed and plows under the first three cars as its own cars telescope each other. Within an hour a fourth train approaches, but screeches to a halt and backs down the track.

Jackson sends a detail to burn the trestle over Broad Run, north of the station, and interrogates the surviving trainmen. His army, having marched 56 miles in two days, is worn out. But the Federal supply depot at Manassas Junction lies just four miles to the north. Jackson sends out two regiments with old Isaac Trimble, a brigadier general who is always ready for a fight. The attackers quietly approach their target at midnight to find the supply depot is only guarded by a couple of batteries and a handful of men. The gunners manage to get off one salvo, but are overwhelmed before they can reload.

General John Pope’s Federal army, scattered from the Rappahannock to Warrenton Junction, is ill-prepared to respond to the Confederate challenge. Pope’s original Army of Virginia remains the backbone of his force of 70,000, but it has been beset by problems. Morale in Banks’ corps is at a low ebb. Sigel’s corps is in better shape, but Pope considers Sigel so unreliable that he has put him under McDowell’s direction. Pope also has two IX Corps divisions that General Burnside has sent north from Fredericksburg. As for the reinforcements from the Army of the Potomac, the 23,000 men of Fitz-John Porter’s V Corps and Heintzelman’s III Corps at this point, it is no help to their orderly deployment that Generals Pope and McClellan are at odds. Each has sent petulant messages demanding information of General-in-Chief Halleck, who equivocates in typical fashion. Pope assumes that when McClellan comes up from the Peninsula, Halleck will take the field himself with Pope heading one wing and McClellan the other, but Halleck shows no enthusiasm for the idea. McClellan, ordered to remain in Alexandria but to hurry his men to Pope, seems to regard the whole campaign as a plot to discredit him and so does little to help. Many in Washington—including President Lincoln—believe McClellan wants Pope to fail. Pope also faces resistance from Brigadier General Samuel D. Sturgis, who commands a reserve division posted near Alexandria. The hard-drinking Sturgis despises Pope and takes no pains to conceal it.

Pope is at Warrenton Junction this evening, attempting to bring some order to his command, when word comes of the attack on the Manassas supply depot. He suspects it is just a small cavalry raid, but at 8:30 pm orders Heintzelman at Warrenton Junction to send a regiment up to Bristoe Station to see what’s afoot. The regiment takes a train to Bristoe, sees the enemy in force, and hurries back to Warrenton Junction with the news. Now Pope begins to concentrate his forces. He sends orders to McDowell and Sigel to shift from Warrenton north to Gainesville—through which, as it happens, Jackson passed through this morning.
West of Thoroughfare Gap, Brigadier General John Buford’s Federal cavalry clash with the vanguard of a large Confederate force. Buford immediately sends word to McDowell at Gainesville that Lee with Longstreet is moving along the same road Jackson took.

McClellan’s Federal II Corps of the Army of the Potomac leaves Fort Monroe for the north, continuing evacuation of the James River position.

There is skirmishing at Cumberland Iron Works and Cumberland Gap, Tennessee, and near Rienzi, Mississippi.
#15115662
August 27, Wednesday

His way prepared by General Trimble’s midnight seizure of the Federal supply depot at Manassas Junction, well before dawn General Stonewall Jackson leaves General Richard Ewell with three brigades to guard Bristoe Station and moves the bulk of his army to Manassas, the men stumbling through the night like specters. But when dawn breaks over Manassas, they see a sight that lifts their hearts and banishes exhaustion. The supply depot covers nearly a square mile. Two rail sidings, each a half-mile long, are lined with loaded boxcars. There are sheds, warehouses, stacks of ammunition, tarpaulin-covered piles of foodstuffs. There are sutler’s wagons full of luxuries, including fine wines and expensive cigars. All this is spread before men who have been living for days mainly on green corn and apples. The army promptly sets to looting, though on one score Jackson takes no chances. His first order is to knock out the heads of hundreds of barrels of whiskey, wine, and brandy. Streams of spirits run like water, and some soldiers on hands and knees drink it greedily from the ground.

On this day of plunder, the only Federal troops to engage Jackson’s force at Manassas do so by accident. In the morning, the New Jersey Brigade, part of the reinforcements from Franklin’s VI Corps, arrives by train at the bridge over Bull Run, about five miles north of Manassas Junction. Brigadier General George W. Taylor, the commander, has orders to guard the bridge. Instead, perhaps thinking that he faces a mere raiding party, Taylor marches for Manassas Junction with three of his four regiments. The Confederates lounging near the junction are amazed to see a column of bluecoats marching down the tracks as if on parade. They are so startled that they hesitate for a moment to open fire. For his part Taylor first thinks the troops sprawled out around the junction are fellow Federals and leads his men right past several batteries of artillery. He is soon disillusioned, as the men down the tracks seize their muskets and open fire on his column. At this point Jackson, in an uncharacteristic gesture, rides out waving a handkerchief and calling on the Federals to surrender. A Federal rifleman draws a bead on him but misses, the instant point-blank Confederate crossfire between infantry and artillery doesn’t. Taylor is mortally wounded, and the New Jersey Brigade flees in panic back to the Bull Run bridge. A.P. Hill pursues them, takes great numbers of prisoners, and destroys the span.

Late in the afternoon, however, Ewell at Bristoe Station sees Federal troops in great strength approaching along the tracks from Warrenton Junction to the south. After a shark skirmish, Ewell falls back as ordered to join Jackson’s main body at Manassas. The Federals are closing in, it’s time to go. Jackson’s men set fire to huge piles of supplies. Soon the night is bright with flames, and a pillar of smoke is rising behind the withdrawing Confederates.

Jackson’s next move turns out to be an astounding piece of deception. As planned, General Lee is now heading for Thoroughfare Gap with Longstreet’s wing of 30,000 men, following the same route Jackson took. Jackson has to hold out somehow until Lee arrives. For his temporary redoubt, Jackson chooses Stony Ridge, a wooded hill seven miles from Manassas on the northern edge of the Bull Run battlefield of last year. But his troops don’t march there en masse. Jackson issues vague marching orders, with the result that each of his three divisions takes a different route: Taliaferro goes directly to the objective; Ewell crosses Bull Run and moves northward; A.P. Hill takes a wrong turn and goes to Centreville, then doubles back. They will all meet at Stony Ridge, lie low, and wait for Lee. Accident or not, the three-pronged march perfectly fulfills Jackson’s own maxim: “Always mystify, mislead, and surprise the enemy if possible.”

Meanwhile, at 7 am, Pope orders Hooker’s division to advance from Warrenton Junction and drive the rebels off. It is Hooker’s troops that meet Ewell’s Confederates at Bristoe in the afternoon, prompting them to fade back toward Manassas. Pope himself reaches Bristoe at dark, as the fighting ends; what he finds there makes it clear that he is not facing an isolated raid but Stonewall Jackson himself, with a sizable force. This night he can see the sky glowing red over Manassas. Pope is delighted, for now he sees the chance to destroy Jackson and cripple Lee. Immediately he calls up Fitz-John Porter’s corps from Warrenton Junction along with three divisions from Greenwich. Pope thinks six divisions will be ample, and so leaves McDowell and Sigel near Gainesville, and thus inadvertently between Lee and Jackson. However, Pope still cannot believe that Lee has divided his force as a strategy, thinking that Jackson’s move is no more than a large-scale raid prior to a full Confederate withdrawal to the Shenandoah Valley, and therefore the rebels must now be desperate to escape back toward mountains from whence they have come—and all Pope needs to do is block that escape and finish them off. So at 9 pm he changes his orders, his verbose messages fairly throbbing with enthusiasm ordering all his troops to converge on Manassas. For all his zeal, Pope’s plan contains a monumental flaw. By ordering McDowell and Sigel to Manassas, Pope is leaving Gainesville and the road from Thoroughfare Gap—Lee’s route—uncovered. In his enthusiasm for whipping Jackson, he has neglected to keep track of Lee and Longstreet and has no inkling of the approaching danger.

Lincoln, cut off yesterday from communication with Pope, wires General Burnside at Falmouth for news of Pope. Strong forces under McClellan are disembarking and regrouping at Washington after coming north from the James. Other portions of McClellan’s army which have landed at Aquia Creek are moving to aid Pope.

In Minnesota Colonel H.H. Sibley’s expedition that left Fort Snelling on the 20th has not gone smoothly. Almost from the start rations have been short, as have been clothing, weapons, and wagons. Artillery caissons hold the wrong caliber of ammunition. The green troops have marched so slowly that impatient citizens and Minnesota newspapers complain bitterly, calling Sibley a coward, a snail, and “the state undertaker with his company of gravediggers.” Still, the column has gradually made progress. Reinforced by six more companies of the 6th Minnesota and several small militia units and groups of volunteers—bringing Sibley’s total strength to about 1,400—the army reaches beleaguered Fort Ridgely five days after the Sioux have last attacked it. Sibley puts more than 300 refugees in wagons and sends them down the valley.

In Alabama there is a skirmish at Bridgeport on the Tennessee River. In Tennessee fighting is at Fort McCook or Battle Creek, Reynolds’ Station, Richland Creek near Pulaski, near Murfreesboro, at Round Mountain near Woodbury, and near Cumberland Gap. In Mississippi there is a skirmish near Kossuth. Most of the fighting in Tennessee is the result of the Confederate Army under General Braxton Bragg undertaking preliminary dispositions for what is to be his fall invasion of Tennessee and Kentucky. E. Kirby Smith, “cooperating” with Bragg, has moved from northeastern Tennessee toward central Kentucky.
#15115967
August 28, Thursday

General Pope impatiently rouses his staff before sunrise, intending a dawn attack on Stonewall Jackson’s army at Manassas. But it is nearly noon before the Federal troops enter the smoking ruins at Manassas Junction, the Confederates long gone. The Union soldiers, many of whom have themselves been living on green corn and apples, wander about stunned at the sight of their pillaged supplies strewn about in such profusion. Then comes a report—A.P. Hill’s men, destined for Stony Ridge but now off track, have crossed Bull Run and are in Centreville. Pope assumes that Jackson is now between the Federal army and Washington, a perilous situation. Impulsively, Pope now starts his entire army toward Centreville. Pope’s soldiers have been marching hard for days; the supply wagons have lagged far behind, food supplies have run short, camps have been made without tents. The men are exhausted, disgusted, and confused.

Back at Gainesville, General McDowell has not forgotten Lee. McDowell isn’t popular among the men, but not without some military skills and has taken to heart General Buford’s message on the 26th of Lee and Longstreet following Jackson’s route. McDowell decides on his own to put men in Thoroughfare Gap to block the Confederates’ advance. While he complies with Pope’s order of the previous night to move on Manassas, sending Sigel’s corps and two of his divisions, he stretches his authority and sends his third division under Brigadier General James Ricketts to occupy the gap.

As Pope’s army is shifting its sights toward Centreville, General Longstreet’s vanguard nears Thoroughfare Gap, pushing back General Buford’s Federal cavalry. A courier from Jackson has come through the gap and told Lee it is still open, with no sign of Federal infantry. Lee is relieved. A few men with a cannon could make trouble there, and he cannot afford delay; no matter how clever, Jackson cannot hold out forever against an entire Federal army. As it happens, however, that lone division under Ricketts that McDowell sent reaches Thoroughfare Gap a few minutes before Longstreet’s advance elements. The Confederates find regiments and batteries awaiting them. Lee coolly rides to a knoll, studies the terrain with his binoculars, then issues his orders and goes off to accept a dinner invitation from a country squire nearby. His orders send one of Longstreet’s divisions through a rugged defile five miles to the north of the gap, but that route is too rough for the whole army. Hood is to dispatch a brigade to scale one of the peaks overlooking the pass, outflank the Union troops, and attack them from behind. And a couple of brigades are to ascend the mountain on either side of the road. This last proves tough duty, the men clawing painfully up the steep slopes under the musket fire of Federal skirmishers and blasts of canister. Meanwhile, the brigade assigned to outflank the Federals lose touch with their guide. They search and find a crevice where the men can get through one at a time, each helping the next up. As they negotiate this passage singly, they begin to hear thunder to the east, where Jackson’s troops are waiting. Gradually the cannonade swells to a roar; this is serious, much more than a skirmish.

All this day McDowell’s forces have been marching, first toward Manassas and then toward Centreville—where no Confederates await. One by one, the Federal brigades have moved out of Gainesville until the town is left unguarded. McDowell himself sets out to find Pope with a few staff officers. He arrives at Manassas to discover Pope has departed. Then McDowell attempts a shortcut to Centreville, wanders into deep woods and, incredibly, becomes completely lost. And lost he will spend the night, oblivious to all that is happening.

The last division to leave Gainesville is that of Brigadier General Rufus King, who had an epileptic seizure yesterday and whose haggard face, one officer will write, “showed that his illness was aggravated every day by the killing work.” King’s 4th Brigade, commanded by a 35-year-old West Pointer named John Gibbon, has about 2,100 men, all from the West. One regiment has seen a little action, but the other three are “strawfoots”—rookies—to a man. They are supported, though, by a battery of Regular Army gunners. By the time Gibbon’s brigade sets out late in the afternoon, half of McDowell’s corps—a division under Brigadier General John Reynolds—has already turned off toward Manassas. But then the orders are changed, and King’s division makes directly for Centreville, following Hatch’s brigade along the string-straight, dusty Warrenton Turnpike. It is about 6 pm, and the sun us descending over the Bull Run Mountains. Four miles ahead of Gibbon’s marching men is the Stone Bridge over Bull Run. On a nearby hill—within easy musket range of the Federals if anyone had cared—a horseman appears. A Confederate cavalryman, perhaps. He watches Gibbon’s men for a time, then turns and gallops away.

What none of the Federal marchers could have imagined is that this horseman is none other than General Jackson himself, the object of their search and Pope’s frantic scurrying. Jackson’s three-pronged march from Manassas Junction that so befuddled Pope has come to a successful end. By midafternoon, all three columns have reunited in a perfect hideaway on the old Bull Run battlefield. The masses of men are huddled in woods on the southern slope of Stony Ridge, which runs roughly parallel to the road to Centreville. In front of Jackson’s position and parallel to the ridge is the cut and leveled grade of a rail bed on which tracks have yet to be laid. The hump of the grade makes a perfect breastwork. Upon reaching Stony Ridge, Jackson slept a few hours before riding up on the ridge in plain view of the road. Shortly, one of his cavalry patrols captures a courier whose messages reveal Pope’s earlier orders for the concentration on Manassas. This makes Jackson suspect that Pope is moving to take up a defensive position north of Bull Run where he can be reinforced by troops from Washington. Jackson decides it is time to reveal himself, to sting Pope before the Federals get too strong. Jackson has seen Sigel’s and Reynold’s columns turn off toward Manassas. But then King’s division comes straight on, marching down the pike below the ridge on the way to Centreville. A brigade passes and another appears, artillery in the rear. Jackson gallops down to an assembled group of mounted officers, and in an ordinary conversational tone, orders them to bring up their men. Every officer whirls around and scurries back to the woods at a full gallop. The men have been watching and know what it means, and a hoarse roar arises from the woods.

On the pike Gibbon’s troops have been marching drowsily and unsuspecting in the quiet summer evening. Hatch’s brigade has disappeared over a rise ahead of them, two other brigades out of sight behind. Gibbon sees several columns of horsemen come out of the woods; roving cavalry, he thinks. Then he watches the lead horses swing left in unison and his artilleryman’s eye recognizes the move instantly—guns going into line. Gibbon orders up his own battery, and more orders echo up and down the line. He surmises that he is facing light artillery attached to cavalry, one of Jeb Stuart’s favorite harassments. A line of infantry skirmishers, spread out so they offer no target, will drive the Rebels off. On the slope of the ridge, just above Gibbon’s troops, is a house, an orchard, and a tidy little farm, where one John Brawner tends crops. Gibbon orders two regiments into skirmish line and joins them himself as they start up toward Brawner’s Farm.

But what is coming toward Gibbon is six Confederate brigades, 6,200 men to Gibbon’s 2,100. The Union men coming up the slope see the enemy emerge suddenly from their woods and deliver a volley from a mere 75 yards. It is a devastating attack, and Gibbon’s green troops might well have run. Instead, they hold. Those still standing in line fire, load, and fire again. Gibbon is now aware that he faces more than a mere cavalry skirmish. Suspecting that he confronts the army Pope has been seeking for days, he orders up his other two regiments and sends off couriers to King and the division’s other brigade commanders. His troops then start forward. The Confederate line falls back a few paces, then rallies and recovers its ground. Both sides settle down to wage a close, bloody fight. Two lines, Federal and Confederate, stand 75 yards from each other and fire as fast as they can load and aim. Neither side retreats, neither advances. They take no cover, but fight by the book, standing there for an hour and a half, slaying each other in great numbers as the light slowly fades until the survivors on both sides are aiming at muzzle flashes.

The help Gibbon has sent for is slow in coming. Rufus King, his epileptic division commander, is growing increasingly ill and makes no response. Hatch, the brigade commander ahead, turns back. Patrick, commanding one of the brigades behind, moves slowly. Only Abner Doubleday, commanding the other brigade behind, responds promptly. His lead regiment moves into a dangerous gap of a thousand feet that has developed between two of Gibbon’s regiments and stabilizes the Federal line. The men of the Black Hat Brigade will feel that the 76th New York has saved them. Gunsmoke now obscures the field as darkness comes on. Then the Federal left gradually falls back, not breaking but slowly giving ground, firing as savagely as ever. But the Rebels don’t follow. Each side has run down. The night is now very dark, and there are no more muzzle flashes. Survivors go back looking for wounded friends. Some hold lanterns, but Confederate snipers fire on them and they continue the search in the dark. Surgeons set up field hospitals and the bone saws begin to whine.

The casualties in this brief collision are appalling. The Black Hat Brigade has lost more than 900 of its 2,100 men, and Federal losses total around 1,300. On the Confederate side, losses are about the same, some 1,300. On both sides, the toll of officers are proportionately even higher than the enlisted men. Two of Jackson’s division commanders are wounded, Taliaferro and that talented fighting man Richard Ewell, who loses a leg and will be out of action for months.

After the battle, Gibbon finds King sitting before a campfire by the road and the two officers debate what to do now. Continuing to Centreville makes little sense, since Jackson is here, but staying is dangerous, too. McDowell has disappeared, and no one knows where Pope is. Gibbon proposes withdrawing to Manassas and King concurs, even though an hour earlier he told Reynolds that he would stand fast until that officer can bring up his division. After midnight, abandoning many of the seriously wounded, King’s division marches for Manassas. Reynolds learns of this by chance and halts the march of his tired soldiers.

Earlier in the evening, back at Thoroughfare Gap, the Confederates ordered over the mountain have fulfilled their mission. Slipping through the crevice above the pass, they form a skirmish line and descend on Ricketts’ force from behind. The Federal gunners, finding themselves assailed from front and rear, limber their guns and retreat. By nightfall the pass is open, and after dinner General Lee starts his men through. Ricketts marches back to Gainesville, looking for McDowell. Finding himself alone, he feels that his forces are much too weak to hold the town and so goes on to Bristoe. Only Buford’s tired cavalry remain in Gainesville to harass the Confederate advance. The way is open for Longstreet to march east to Jackson’s aid. In one more fateful error on the part of the Federal high command, Ricketts has neglected to alert McDowell or Pope about Longstreet’s passage through the gap.

There are also skirmishes at Centreville, Lewis’s Ford, and Haymarket. The board is being set up for a major battle on the morrow.

Out West, astonishingly, General Braxton Bragg has swallowed General Kirby Smith’s idea for him to act as a distraction for Smith’s proposed advance through Kentucky to the Ohio River. Still acting like a subordinate rather than the ranking officer, today he begins moving his Army of the Mississippi northward from Chattanooga, Tennessee.

It turns out that General Buell’s decision to concentrate his Union Army of the Ohio at McMinnville northwest of Chattanooga is the right move. General Bragg crosses the Tennessee River and begins his march north to Kentucky, heading up the Sequatchie Valley to Pikeville and then across the Cumberland Plateau toward Sparta, just twenty miles northeast of McMinnville. Bragg’s troops are now within easy striking distance, but Buell doesn’t attack, despite the urgings of his senior division commander, Major General George H. Thomas. The muddled reports of the Confederate movement confuse and alarm Buell, and instead of closing with Bragg, he will withdraw westward to Murfreesboro, 35 miles southeast of Nashville.

In Missouri there is skirmishing at Ashley and in Howard County. Another skirmish occurs near Corinth, Mississippi; and from this day to September 3 there is a Federal expedition from Helena to Eunice, Arkansas.

Belle Boyd, captured on July 29th, is released from Old Capitol Prison in Washington for lack of evidence to continue her role as the most famous of Confederate women spies.
#15116209
August 29, Friday

At his camp outside Centreville the previous night, General John Pope was delighted by the distant rumble of guns from the vicinity of Groveton, four miles to the west. The fragmentary reports that came to him seemed to indicate that Stonewall Jackson is caught! All that remained was to pin down and destroy the enemy force, and it seemed simple enough. General McDowell was approaching with 25,000 men from the west, or so Pope thought, while he had that many at Centreville. They would crush Jackson between them. Pope harbors this fatal misconception into the early hours of the morning. He is sure Jackson is trying to retreat, and in his excitement remains steadfastly ignorant of the approach of Generals Lee and Longstreet. Worse, he is so preoccupied with trapping Jackson that he ignores his own army’s need for provisions. For days his men have been marching far ahead of their supply wagons. At 3 am Pope dispatches orders to Fitz-John Porter at Bristoe Station. Porter is to march his corps to Centreville. This, Pope believes, will trap Jackson in a vise between Porter to the east and McDowell to the west.

Pope’s pleasure evaporates when he discovers that McDowell seems to have vanished into thin air; the general is nowhere to be found, and his corps is scattered in all directions. The idea of crushing Jackson in a vise is lost along with McDowell, and Pope hastily redirects his nearest troops toward the scene of the recent fighting. The result is a series of piecemeal attacks throughout the morning that never employ more than a small fraction of Federal strength. Jackson’s troops remain strongly posted behind the unfinished railroad grade, on a front 3,000 yards long. Attacks sputter all along its length this morning, but they are concentrated on Jackson’s left flank. And then a new battle line forms off to the right, growing longer and heavier as regiment after regiment pours in—Longstreet has arrived. The bulk of Longstreet’s corps had passed through Thoroughfare Gap in the dark, slept a few hours, and moved on at dawn. Hood’s men led the march so rapidly that twice Longstreet sent word ordering him to slow down. Marching through Haymarket, on through Gainesville and swinging left on the Warrenton Turnpike, their van reaches Jackson at about 10:30 and by noon the line is complete. It runs south from Jackson’s position across the Warrenton Turnpike, its right end straddling the Manassas Gap Railroad. The whole Confederate line is now nearly four miles long, with four batteries on the high ground at the center.

Lee establishes his headquarters on a hill 200 yards south of the turnpike. He sits on a stump and listens to Jackson report while Longstreet rides out for a look around. A courier from Stuart reports more Federals off to the right beyond the railroad, the firing on Jackson’s front intensifies, and Lee wants to march up and strike the Federal attackers on their flank. Longstreet advises against it—he doesn’t know the lay of the land and wants to know more about the Federals on the right. Longstreet is cautious by nature and prefers to let the enemy make the first move. Stuart, meanwhile, has sent a patrol off to the right to examine the approaching Federals and confirms Longstreet’s misgivings—to advance now will expose their own flank to attack; it is better to wait for the enemy to do something foolish. Lee mounts Traveller and goes off to see for himself.

The Federals on Longstreet’s flank consist of Fitz-John Porter’s corps plus Rufus King’s division, now commanded by Brigadier General John P. Hatch, King having grown too sick to continue. Porter’s lead division, commanded by Major General George Morell, spots cavalry in the distance; Morell calls a halt, throws out skirmishers, and urges Porter to wait for the enemy to reveal themselves. As Porter is digesting these developments, a confusing order from Pope arrives addressed jointly to him and McDowell. They are to advance toward Gainesville. Pope, oblivious to Lee’s arrival, is ordering his generals to march right through Longstreet’s position. However, the message is so loosely worded that Porter and McDowell are left to do as they please. McDowell, having finally found his way out of the woods where he was lost overnight, rides up to Porter with a message from John Buford, the cavalry commander whose troops have dogged Lee’s advance, written at 9:30: “Seventeen regiments, one battery and five hundred cavalry passed through Gainesville.” Such a force can only be the other half of Lee’s army arriving on the scene. Incredibly, McDowell doesn’t send word of Lee’s arrival to Pope. Instead he takes Hatch’s division north to join Pope, now coming up from Centreville. Porter remains where he is. Some of his skirmishers creep close enough to hear Confederates stripping a cornfield wonder out loud why the Yankee’s don’t attack.

Pope arrives at the battlefield at noon and sets up headquarters near the intersection of the Sudley road and the Warrenton Turnpike. Here on the Federal right Franz Sigel’s artillery is blazing away at Jackson’s position, but whenever Sigel’s infantry try to advance they are repulsed. Fresh troops, around 20,000, come to Sigel’s relief, but the attacks remain uncoordinated and largely ineffective. Shortly after 3 pm, Brigadier General Cuvier Grover’s brigade, part of Hooker’s division, advances on the Confederates, moving through thick woods toward an enemy firmly established on the heights beyond the railroad grade. Emerging from the woods, the Federals charge the railroad grade. A Confederate volley tears through them, but the survivors are quickly over the top even as several regiments find a gap in the embankment and pour through. The Confederate first line is driven into the second; the second line shatters and falls back against the third. But now the Federals falter and the embattled Confederate third line rallies and turns on the thinned and exhausted attackers, eventually driving them back to where they had started from. Grover’s brigade has fought alone, as Federal units have all day. Of its 1,500 men, a total of 486 are dead, wounded, or missing.

Grover’s attack is followed by several more disjoined assaults by Hooker’s and Reno’s divisions, with no more success. Then at about 5 pm, the one-armed Philip Kearny moves to the far right of the Federal position, having decided that there “I might drive the enemy by an unexpected attack through the woods.” Behind the railroad embankment, it will be the sixth heavy assault the South Carolina Brigade has faced this day. They are exhausted and their ammunition is depleted, and when the Federals press them they gradually fall back to the top of a knoll 200 yards behind the railroad embankment. There they hold. After beating off the first Federal attempt to push them off, they strip cartridges from the wounded and dead on both sides. They are very much aware that if the Federals overrun them, they could turn Jackson’s flank and roll him up. Then just as the Confederates are listening to the enemy advancing through the brush with hardly a round to greet them, two more regiments join the South Carolinians. They charge forward en masse, some with empty pieces but all with fixed bayonets, rushing down the slope to break their Federal attackers.

At 6:30 pm, some five miles to the south, Fitz-John Porter has belatedly received an order from Pope drafted two hours earlier: “Your line of march brings you in on the enemy’s right flank. I desire you to push into action at once.” Porter ponders hard after reading this. It is all very well to advance, but what of the enemy troops that lie ahead? And the sun is setting. In the end, Porter does nothing.

Ironically, Lee is having no more success in persuading Longstreet to attack. Three times Lee has urged an advance, and each time Longstreet has demurred. Longstreet does agree to send out a division to probe the enemy position, ordering Hood’s troops to move east along the Warrenton Turnpike. Hatch’s division of Federals, brought forward by McDowell, meet them near Groveton in a brutal little encounter that ends after the sun goes down.

In Washington, three times this day, President Lincoln telegraphs his generals, “What news?”

Forgotten out in Missouri there are skirmishes at Bloomfield and Iberia; another near St. Charles Court House, Louisiana; as well as an engagement between the Confederate batteries at Port Hudson, Louisiana, and USS Anglo-American.

In Confederate command changes, Beauregard is assigned to the Department of South Carolina and Georgia, relieving John C. Pemberton. For the North, Brigadier General Frederick Steele assumes command of the Army of the Southeast.

General Kirby Smith sets out from Barboursville, Kentucky, for Lexington. His small army crosses Big Hill and moves into the rolling hills of Kentucky’s lush Bluegrass country. But late in the afternoon, his cavalry commander Colonel Scott’s advance guard runs into an aggressive Federal cavalry force—Colonel Metcalfe again, but with better men under his command than their last clash on the 24th. Metcalfe’s cavalrymen drive Scott’s troopers back into the midst of the leading Confederate infantry units, then dismount to face the Confederate infantry fire. The skirmish continues until dark; then the Federals withdraw toward the town of Richmond. Smith makes plans for an early-morning attack. Although he is told that he is facing eight regiments and is slightly outnumbered, he is encouraged when he discovers that most of the Federal troops are raw recruits hastily assembled in Louisville a few days before; and he would rather fight them at Richmond than at Lexington, where the high bluffs of the Kentucky River would greatly favor the defenders.
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A large post today with two separate battles, though the second is considerably smaller.

August 30, Saturday

At Manassas, Virginia, due to his ordered probe of Federal positions, General Hood holds the position he advanced to ahead of the Confederate right flank. But he knows he is in a poor position and toward dawn General Longstreet lets him fall back. At about the same time, General Jackson marches some of his units to the rear temporarily to replenish their ammunition.

As dawn comes bright and clear with a promise of heat, General Pope is up early in a blustering good mood, marred only by his anger at General Porter’s failure to advance yesterday afternoon. Pope believes that Porter wants the campaign to fail so that McClellan will be called to the rescue. Petty as this seems, McClellan himself has given the idea some weight. He is at Alexandria with Franklin’s VI Corps, Sumner’s II Corps, and a mountain of supplies that Pope’s men now badly need. Yet Franklin—presumably with McClellan’s approval—has written Pope an outrageous message that he will send a supply train only when Pope provides cavalry to escort it. But to Pope on this morning these hitches are soon to be made trivial by the sweeping victory he anticipates this day. At dawn he received reports of the movement of Longstreet’s and Jackson’s troops, and that Confederate prisoners were talking about a retreat, and he concludes that everything has changed and the Confederates are retreating. He begins to organize a pursuit. He had already decided to shift Porter to the north, unaware that Porter’s corps stands in the way of Longstreet’s corps on the Federal left. Porter started carrying out his orders at 3 am, marching his men to the headquarters area at the intersection of the Sudley road and the Warrenton Turnpike. The only Federals now left facing Longstreet’s corps are the men of a single division under Reynolds. Strangest of all the strange oversights of this day, Longstreet’s 30,000 men remain undetected by the Union high command after nearly a full day on the scene.

Pope has a talent for ignoring what he doesn’t wish to hear. Porter’s report of a Confederate force in front of him is dismissed as an excuse to do nothing. Pope now has Buford’s report of the seventeen enemy regiments passing through Gainesville, but he dismisses it as well. The clash between Hatch’s men and Hood’s Confederates might have alerted him, but it does not. His only thought is to destroy the vanquished enemy before they escape. Pope’s plan calls for McDowell to direct the pursuit. Porter’s corps will move westward along the turnpike while James Ricketts’ division, having arrived in the night from Bristoe, will push north then west along the Sudley Springs-Haymarket Road. Strother carries the orders to Ricketts on the Federal right, and observes that Ricketts, upon reading Pope’s orders, seems both surprised and annoyed. Ricketts informs Strother that, far from retreating, the enemy is pressing him so heavily that he isn’t even sure of being able to maintain his position. Pope receives Ricketts’ report from Strother in silence, and, when Strother asks if he should return to Ricketts with further orders, hesitates a moment then says, “No, damn it. Let him go.” For some time after Pope walks to and fro, smoking and anxiously considering the contradictory evidence.

Though Ricketts can make no headway on the Federal right, Porter moves out with his corps and Hatch’s division from the Federal left to the center, just north of the turnpike. On the south side of the pike, John Reynolds’ Pennsylvanians also begin moving west—against the bulk of Longstreet’s corps. At first the Pennsylvanians meet little resistance. Then there’s scattered fire ahead and the lead regiment halts. Informed that the enemy is ahead, Reynolds rides forward to investigate and only just escapes being killed like the orderly riding with him. Alarmed at the great number of Confederates, Reynolds spurs his horse through increasingly heavy artillery fire to warn Pope. He dashes up to Pope’s headquarters around 1:30, announcing, “General Pope, the enemy is turning our left!” Pope replies, “Oh, I guess not.” Furious, Reynolds returns to his troops. North of the turnpike, Porter’s advancing columns begin to take fire from Confederate skirmishers ahead of Jackson’s line on the unfinished railroad. Even so, many Federal officers still concur with Pope’s analysis. A few minutes later the column jerks to a halt, under heavy fire. Jackson is still there. General McDowell, with Reynolds south of the turnpike, seems rattled, and now he makes an extraordinary blunder—he orders Reynolds, whom the enemy has already stopped south of the turnpike, to move to the north side to assist Porter. With Reynold’s departure, the Union left is virtually uncovered. One of the few Federal units remaining there is an artillery battery commanded by Lieutenant Charles Hazlett. Appalled, he calls on a small brigade of only two regiments. Their commander, Colonel Gouverneur K. Warren, responds at once, posting him men just south of Hazlett’s six guns. About 1,000 New Yorkers now face Longstreet’s full might.

North of the pike, meanwhile, Porter’s Federals, realizing they face an emplaced enemy beyond the railroad grade, shift from column into line of battle and advance again. They instantly come under Confederate artillery fire but continue to advance until within pistol shot. Then, all along the railroad grade, a ling of Confederates fires a withering volley—and still the Federals struggle forward, some of them mounting the bank. Three soldiers bearing the colors of the 21st New York are cut down in quick succession. Confederates mount the bank as well, some with fixed bayonets, some with large rocks on their hands. Several Federals are killed by stone-throwing Confederates. Out of the smoke and frenzy, Major Andrew Barney of the 24th New York rides his white horse atop the railroad embankment, waving his sword in defiance. He is quickly riddled with bullets, despite the calls of some admiring Confederates not to kill him. Soon Colonel William Baylor, commanding the Stonewall Brigade, leads a counterattack, waving the flag he has taken from a fallen color-bearer. It isn’t long before he, too, is killed.

South of the pike, Lee has held fire until the Federal attack is fully developed and so fully vulnerable to the great force lying unsuspected on its flank. At last, Longstreet is ready. Eighteen guns have been shelling the Federal lines to the north. Longstreet orders four more guns to join them. Almost immediately, Porter’s ranks begin to waver and in ten or fifteen minutes it crumbles into disorder and begins to fall back. Then at 4 pm, Longstreet’s 30,000 fresh troops start forward. Unopposed, they rapidly gain momentum. Off in the distance, General Pope gapes in surprise as he watches line after line of enemy infantry advancing on his left flank with light artillery at the gallop. On the Federal far left, the two lone New York regiments brace to meet the assault. But the men advancing against them are of the Texas Brigade, some of the best in the Confederate Army, and they surge into the dense woods and take the New Yorkers under heavy fire. Colonel Warren calls for his New Yorkers to fall back, but no one hears him in the noise and they stand until they are practically annihilated. The Texas Brigade sweeps on, across Young’s Branch and up the slope beyond toward where Captain Mark Kerns’ battery awaits. Panicked by the sight of onrushing Confederates, the gunners flee for their lives. But Kerns remains and rams home a charge of canister as the Confederates call on him to surrender. Instead he jerks the lanyard and at point-blank range the charge tears scores of men to pieces. Immediately Kerns is shot down and his guns captured. As he lies dying, he says: “I promised to drive you back or die under my guns, and I have kept my word.”

Despite its force the Confederate advance is uneven, for on the left Jackson’s tired men don’t get moving until 6 pm, two hours after Longstreet’s onslaught. That means that the Federals north of the turnpike are less hard-pressed. Troops there fall back in a little better order, and Pope begins shifting to meet the surge on his left. He has two crucial points there below the pike. The first is a treeless plateau called Chinn Ridge, about 500 yards behind the creek where Warren’s New Yorkers were annihilated. East of Chinn Ridge, beyond the Sudley road, is a commanding rise surmounted by a pile of rubble—the remains of the Henry family home, destroyed during the battle here last year. Now Chinn Ridge and Henry House Hill become the keys to Union survival, for they control the route of retreat down the Warrenton Turnpike and across the Stone Bridge over Bull Run. By 5:30 pm, Colonel Nathaniel C. McLean’s Ohio Brigade is already in desperate straits on Chinn Ridge, pressed hard. But fresh Federal troops, four brigades and a battery, are streaming south across the pike to McLean’s aid. Spearheading the Confederate assault, a Virginia brigade hammers into McLean’s lead elements. Two or three Federal brigades counterattack, but are broken. The Virginians are joined by Hood’s Texas Brigade, and they pause to realign as about 600 yards away on the crest of Chinn Ridge the six guns of the 5th Maine battery blast away at them. Then the Confederates surge forward, braving the artillery fire to drive off or kill the gunners and capture the guns. In many such ferocious fights the Federal soldiers are pushed back, clear across the great front that stretches on both sides of the turnpike the Federals are in trouble and beginning to break into fragments and dissolve into a multitude of fugitives. But flight is not total. The Black Hat Brigade, in the Federal center, doesn’t waver. The units to their left and right start for the rear, but the Black Hats stand alone for a time before finally starting back themselves, making the three quarters of a mile run in good order.

All thought of defeating the Confederates is now gone, the question is whether the Federal army can avoid annihilation. To do so it must hold the turnpike as far as Stone Bridge. Already masses of guns, horses, ambulances, wagons, and men are jamming a long stretch of the pike. Three Federal brigades have been driven off Chinn Ridge by 6 pm, but their stand has bought Pope time to strengthen his last line of defense, Henry House Hill. So far the Union has suffered a defeat but not quite a disaster; the Federals are being rolled back, but many continue to move in good order, making sure that the foe pays a price for their gains. Brigadier General Robert Milroy leads his brigade of Ohio and West Virginia troops onto a stretch of road just west of Henry House Hill. Here the road is sunken, making a natural bulwark. He is soon joined by Reynolds’ Pennsylvania division and a brigade of Sykes’s regulars. Meanwhile Sykes’s other two brigades and his artillery batteries are taking a position on the west slope of the hill, and Reno with one of his brigades is moving south across the turnpike to their rear. Pope and his staff are with Reno. All of them are still under bitter artillery fire.

The Confederates roll on. North of the turnpike Jackson is gaining momentum, pushing Pope’s right flank toward Bull Run. As one Confederate colonel will recall, “The ridges ran at right angles to the turnpike, and over these infantry and artillery poured in pursuit. The artillery would gallop furiously to the nearest ridge, limber to the front, deliver a few rounds until the enemy were out of range, and then gallop again to the next ridge.” As evening comes on, rain clouds begin to build. In the sunken road at the foot of Henry House Hill, the defenders driven from Chinn Ridge come rushing, panic stricken, out of the woods. Then the Confederates emerge and charge. They are driven back, but are soon reinforced and charge again and again in spite of the scathing fire from a Federal battery on the hillside. Soon the Federal battery gives way, the left generally stampedes, and a trickle starts to fall back from the rest of the Federal line, their ammunition running low and no resupply able to reach them. Finally, they begin to withdraw. Meanwhile General Reno leads his old brigade to the crest of Henry House Hill, joyfully greeted by General Milroy. The Confederates below pause to reorganize, giving Reno time to form a strong line curving along the rim with one of Sigel’s brigades lined up behind as a reserve. About a half hour before sundown the Confederate batteries open up on Henry House Hill with canister and shell and Confederate skirmishers appear on Sykes’s front and are immediately taken under fire. To reach them and Reno’s three regiments and stray battery above them, all lying down and keeping perfect silence, the Confederates have to cross several hundred yards of open ground, moving up a gentle slope. The sun has set and in the growing dark the Federals hear a confused hum and rush of many feet in their front. On being ordered they leap to their feet and open fire, ten rounds per man. Then it is quiet, and the men lay on their pieces, listening to the cry of the Rebel wounded below them. On the left, Virginians crawl up a creek choked with brush until they are facing a New York regiment on Reno’s flank. It is nearly dark when the Confederates burst from cover with a wild yell. The New Yorkers whirl in dismay, and 85 are knocked down by a ferocious volley. But a Massachusetts regiment comes swiftly to their aid, and in the dying light the New Englanders drive the Virginians down the hill.

A slow, dismal rain begins around 8 pm, as the last light of day vanishes. The Confederate attack has ended and the final Federal bastions still hold, Reno’s men on the ridge, Sykes’s Regulars below. On the turnpike long skeins of Federal troops mill undisturbed, a staff officer at the Stone Bridge sorting them out and sending them across Bull Run to safety. Off to the Federal right, north of the pike, Gibbon’s Black Hat Brigade has retired slowly, allowing the enemy to advance only with due caution. Seeing this excellent service, General McDowell pauses and gives Gibbon and the Black Hats responsibility for the rearguard. The roads begin to turn to mire in the rain, and exhausted, hungry, dispirited men who know they have been badly led trudge through the mud toward Centreville. In the turmoil and darkness units are broken up, and all along the route of retreat officers stand by standards calling their regiments’ numbers, gathering the strays. At his headquarters in Centreville, Pope tilts a chair against the wall, laces his hands behind his head, and sits staring vacant-eyed at the room. Late in the night Gibbon begins the final withdrawal. By midnight all but a few stragglers are across Bull Run, and men of the 74th Pennsylvania destroy the bridge so the Confederates cannot use it. A few miles away, by a fence-rail fire, Lee is receiving his officers’ reports. Though Longstreet will later lament the lost opportunity to destroy Pope’s army, the camp this night is buoyant. Lee writes to President Davis, “This Army today achieved on the plains of Manassas a signal victory.”

For the entire campaign August 27 to September 2, Federals will have lost 1,724 killed, 8,372 wounded, 5,958 missing for a total of 16,054 casualties. Total engaged will be put at 75,000. The Confederates lose 1,481 killed, 7,627 wounded, and 89 missing for a total of 9,197 casualties of 48,500 engaged. Once more Confederate armies stand near Washington and the victories in the West do not look so bright.

In the West the Federal decision to make a stand at Richmond, Kentucky, is based on poor timing. During the previous night, Brigadier General Mahlon D. Manson, commanding the Federal infantry at Richmond, sent a courier to Lexington for instructions from his superior officer. Major General William Nelson, who weighs 300 pounds and carries the nickname Bull, was sent north two weeks earlier to take charge of affairs in Kentucky. When the messenger reaches him at 2:30 am, he advises retreat; but Manson will receive the reply too late. Meanwhile Nelson, who has little confidence in the green troops at Richmond, gets dressed and heads out to take command himself.

The morning dawns clear and beautiful. Colonel Scott’s cavalrymen have located four Federal infantry regiments with artillery across the Lexington Pike on high ground seven miles south of Richmond. The other Federal regiments are still marching south on the pike. Brigadier General Patrick R. Cleburne moves his division into position but delays his attack until Brigadier General Thomas J. Churchill’s division arrives. Cleburne orders his artillery to “fire very slowly and not waste a round.” The Federals begin to advance toward the Confederate right. They are met by the men of the 154th Tennessee, who hold until the rest of their brigade moves up in support. Then, at about 7:30 am, Kirby Smith arrives with Churchill’s division. Kirby Smith immediately orders Colonel T.H. McCray’s brigade of Arkansas and Texas troops to move to the left and attack the Federal right. McCray moves into position, his lines overlapping the Federal right flank. Ignoring this threat, the Federal infantry closes with the Confederates on Cleburne’s right flank, only to be repulsed with heavy casualties. Cleburne is wounded in the mouth by a bullet and has to leave the field. Colonel Preston Smith takes command of the division. Now on the defensive, the green Federal troops are still fighting well. They fall back on the left and re-form their lines, only to break again when McCray’s brigade smashes into their right. Three late-arriving Federal regiments are caught in the rout as their comrades run toward Richmond.

General Nelson arrives on the field about 2 pm and manages to re-form about 2,200 of his men for a last stand on a ridge just south of the town. It is a formidable position, its left anchored on a stone wall in the Richmond cemetery, its right in a nearly impenetrable thicket. The weary Confederates, who have been fighting all day without water, attack again at 5 pm. McCray’s brigade charges the Federal right under heavy fire, while the men of Cleburne’s division scramble up the slope of the ridge into the Federal center and left. Urged on by Preston Smith, Cleburne’s men quickly swarm over the stone wall and engage the Federal defenders in hand-to-hand combat among the tombstones of the cemetery. Churchill’s men, meanwhile, pour into the thicket on the Federal right. In no time at all, Nelson’s Federals are in full flight, racing back through the town and onto the Lexington road—into a trap. Earlier in the afternoon, Kirby Smith sent Scott’s cavalry on a wide sweep to get behind the Federal position. When the rout begins, Scott is ready; the fleeing soldiers run straight into a barrage from Confederate horse artillery. Fully half the Federal troops lay down their arms and surrender.

The figures: 206 Federals were killed and 844 wounded. Captured or missing will be put officially at 4,144 for total losses of 5,194, which is probably high considering the 6,500 engaged. For the Confederates, of 6,800 engaged, 78 were killed, 372 wounded, and 1 missing for a total of 451. The invasion of Kentucky is well under way with a small but impressive Confederate victory.

Skirmishes this day are near Plymouth, North Carolina; Altamont, Tennessee; and near Marietta, Mississippi.

In Washington President Lincoln anxiously awaits news from both Virginia and Kentucky.
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August 31, Sunday

General Pope gathers his defeated Army of Virginia on the Washington side of Bull Run at the heights of Centreville. Finally two fresh Federal corps of the Army of the Potomac report to Pope, but too late to retrieve the victory. At the Bull Run battlefield, as Confederate soldiers sort out their losses and try to deal with the wounded of both sides, Stuart’s cavalry reviews the Federal scene and report to Lee, who plans his new strategy. Jackson will cross Bull Run to the north and swing around Centreville to cut Pope’s line of retreat, with Longstreet to follow tomorrow. But the muddy roads and the troops’ exhaustion undo Lee’s strategy, Jackson’s march is slow. There is small skirmishing at various points of the lines. Lee suffers an accident when standing beside his horse Traveller when a gust of wind blows a map he is reading into the animal’s face. Traveller shies; Lee grabs the bridle, trips, and falls, breaking a bone in one hand and severely spraining the other.

At Fort Ridgely, Minnesota, Colonel H.H. Sibley, seeing no Amerinds about, dispatches Major Joseph R. Brown and Captain Hiram P. Grant with Company A and fifty volunteer cavalrymen, together with a 20-man fatigue detail, to bury the massacre victims and reconnoiter the Lower Agency.

Fighting also occurs at Little River Bridge, Missouri; Stevenson, Alabama; on the Kentucky River, Kentucky; at Roger’s Gap, Tennessee; and Franklin, Virginia.

Fredericksburg, Virginia, is evacuated by the Federals with considerable loss of supplies.

On the Tennessee River Federal transport W. B. Terry, with a few troops, passengers, and a load of coal, grounds on the Duck River Sucks and is attacked by Confederates. After a brief defense the vessel is forced to surrender.

Thus the month comes to an end with victories for the South and defeats for the North. In the North there is consternation and alarm and preparations for receiving the wounded they know will come, particularly from Virginia. The Surgeon General of the Army calls for women and children to scrape lint for bandages.
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September 1, Monday

The last scene of fighting in the Second Battle of Bull Run or Manassas is at Chantilly or Ox Hill, Virginia. Lee, maintaining his offensive, sends Jackson’s corps north around the Union right. He is met by Federals under I.I. Stevens and Philip Kearny. After severe fighting in heavy rain that lasts until evening, the Federals withdraw. Stevens and Kearny, two of the most promising Union officers, are killed. The death of the beloved and admired Kearny particularly will be mourned both North and South. Pope’s troops have held off the Confederate advance and during the night withdraw closer to Washington from Centreville, Germantown, and Fairfax Court House. Lee keeps the pressure on the distraught Federals, but Washington itself is well protected.

At the Lower Agency in Minnesota, the men dispatched there by Colonel Sibley to bury the victims of the massacre carry out their grim duty. This night they bivouac within a circle of their wagons about sixteen miles northwest of Fort Ridgely and across the river from the burned remains of the Lower Agency.

There is skirmishing at Putnam, Neosho, and Spring River, Missouri.

Major General Ormsby M. Mitchel, famed astronomer and lecturer who has fought well in Tennessee but clashed with his immediate superior, Major General Buell over his failure to impose discipline on his troops and prevent or punish reprisals on the general population for guerrilla attacks, has angrily demanded a transfer to escape Buell’s authority. Now he is assigned to command the Union Department of the South, the Federal foothold on the coasts of Georgia, South Carolina, and Florida. For the Confederates Major General J.P. McCown assumes command of the Department of East Tennessee.

Excitement in the North continues to rise; in the east over Second Bull Run, and in the west, particularly at Louisville and Cincinnati, over the nearness of Kirby Smith and his Confederates.

The Federal Navy stops the “spirit ration” of the sailors.

President Davis is having difficulty with South Carolina authorities over the enforcement of conscription.

President Lincoln, McClellan, and Halleck confer about the military situation in Virginia.
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September 2, Tuesday

Pope orders his beaten but not routed Federal Army of Virginia to pull back into the Washington area entrenchments. There are skirmishes near Fairfax Court House, Falls Church, Vienna, Flint Hill, and Leesburg. President Lincoln restores McClellan to full command in Virginia and around Washington. Pope is left without a command. McClellan, yellow sash about his middle, mounts his great stallion, Dan Webster, and starts for the Army of Virginia. On the road toward Centreville, McClellan meets Pope and McDowell riding back in defeat. They pause for a moment and then hear the sound of artillery rumbling in the distance. Pope asks if the new commander would object if he rides on to Washington. Not at all, says McClellan—but he himself will ride to the sound of firing. Hatch’s division happens to be marching behind Pope, and Hatch spurs forward to overhear the change of command. He hates Pope with a passion, and he immediately trots back to his command and bellows, “Boys, McClellan is in command of the Army again! Three cheers!” the division erupts in delight, and Pope rides away listening to his own men cheering his downfall.

To be sure, in the year since McClellan created the Army of the Potomac, his heroic image has been tarnished by his sluggish Peninsular Campaign, foiled by Lee in the Seven Days’ Battles. Secretaries Stanton and Chase oppose his reinstatement. Lincoln has grave doubts about McClellan, but suppresses them. Bringing McClellan back, the President says, is like “curing the bite with the hair of the dog.” But, Lincoln tells his young secretary, John Hay, “We must use what tools we have. There is no man in the Army who can man these fortifications and lick these troops of ours into shape half as well as he. If he can’t fight himself, he excels in making others ready to fight.” Lincoln knows that among the top generals in the East, only McClellan has the full confidence of the troops.

The victorious Confederates gather their forces near Chantilly for new adventures. Union forces evacuate Winchester in the Shenandoah Valley.

Near the Lower Agency, Minnesota, the commander of the burial detail, Captain Grant, inexplicably established the camp near the head of Birch Coulee, a deep, wooded ravine that would give any attacking Amerinds a perfect avenue of approach. Perhaps the captain, having seen no Amerind war parties, thinks the outbreak is over. But a group of Sioux led by Chiefs Gray Bird, Red Legs, and Mankato spot the camp and, creeping close during the night, surround the soldiers and attack at dawn. Many of the Minnesotans, caught half-asleep, are killed before they can take shelter. The survivors wriggle beneath the wagons and behind dead horses, returning fire and driving the Amerinds back.

At Fort Ridgely, General Sibley hears the faint sounds of the battle and sends 240 men—including fifty mounted rangers and a section of artillery under the command of Colonel Samuel McPhail—to find out what is happening. Just short of the battle site, a small party of Amerinds intercepts McPhail. The nervous colonel, fearing that he is about to be surrounded, stops, draws his force into a defensive circle, and sends back to the fort for reinforcements. Sibley leaves at once but marches so slowly that it is after midnight before he joins McPhail. Then he delays another three hours before moving toward the embattled camp near Birch Coulee.

There is a skirmish near Memphis, Tennessee, and a Federal expedition from Suffolk, Virginia, September 2-3.

Federal Flag Officer Louis M. Goldsborough is relieved of command of the North Atlantic Blockading Squadron.

About this time President Lincoln pens a “Meditation on the Divine Will,” in which he states, “In great contests each party claims to act in accordance with the will of God. Both may be, but one must be wrong. God can not be for, and against the same thing at the same time.”

Confederate General Kirby Smith now faces no real opposition in the Bluegrass or eastern Kentucky. Smith has triumphantly moved his headquarters to Lexington and sent a cavalry force to occupy the state capital at Frankfurt. The Confederates have an open road all the way to the Ohio River. At Cincinnati, Ohio, business is suspended and martial law is declared. General Lew Wallace is rushed to the city to draft civilians and lash together a makeshift defense. Citizens begin drilling in Cincinnati, Ohio, and Covington and Newport, Kentucky. President Lincoln, even while preoccupied with disaster much closer to home—Lee’s defeat of General Pope—takes time to ask fretfully the whereabouts of General Buell. Meanwhile Kirby Smith, established in Kentucky at last, suddenly runs out of ideas. He goes on the defensive and waits to see what Bragg and Buell are going to do.
#15116953
General Lew Wallace is rushed to the city to draft civilians and lash together a makeshift defense.

The same Lew Wallace who later wrote Ben Hur, I presume? :)
#15116956
Potemkin wrote:The same Lew Wallace who later wrote Ben Hur, I presume? :)

Yup, and the one that got lost at Shiloh.
#15117079
September 3, Wednesday

General Lee dispatches a long letter to President Davis. The key sentence is the very first one: “The present seems to be the most propitious time since the commencement of the war for the Confederate Army to enter Maryland.” With those words, Lee announces his intention to carry the War onto enemy soil for the first time in the Eastern theater. Lee writes Davis from his headquarters at Chantilly, Virginia, where his troops are resting after the battle there two days ago—a hotly contested coda to the savage fighting around Bull Run. Chantilly is less than 25 miles west of Washington, and the roads leading to the Union’s capital are choked with columns of retreating and disheartened Federals. Lee may be tempted to strike directly at Washington, but even so daring a general knows that such an attack would be foredoomed. The fortifications ringing the capital are too strong. And the Federal armies regrouping there will soon outnumber his Confederates by more than 2 to 1.

Lee has briefly considered two other courses of action. One is to withdraw south behind the Rappahannock River. There he can rest his exhausted army, which has been “marching, fighting and starving,” since the Seven Days’ Battles around Richmond in late June. But this move would allow the Federals time to reorganize and perhaps launch another drive against the Confederate capital. The other possibility—to remain in northern Virginia—seems out of the question. Thousands of foraging troops have stripped the fields there of food, and Lee’s supply lines are overextended. He lacks the wagons to carry sufficient food for his men and fodder for his horses over the 100-mile route from Richmond. Moreover, neither alternative will allow the army to sustain its remarkable momentum. Lee wants to maintain the initiative he seized outside Richmond.

By invading Maryland, Lee reasons, he can achieve his immediate military objectives. He can harass the enemy on enemy soil. He can feed his army and horses on Maryland’s rich autumn harvest while allowing farmers in northern Virginia to bring in what remains of their crops unmolested by hungry troops. And he can almost certainly lure most of the Federal forces away from Washington, thus preventing another enemy march on Richmond before winter sets in. Beyond these military considerations, another set of factors influence Lee’s thinking. He is intrigued by the potential political consequences of entering Maryland. Ever since the Baltimore riots early in the War, there have been signs of pro-Confederate sympathy in Maryland. Many Marylanders are serving in the Southern armies, and as Lee suggests in his letter to Davis, the presence of Confederate troops in the state might afford Maryland “an opportunity of throwing off the oppression to which she is now subject.” Lee also hopes to capitalize on the growing opposition to the War throughout the North. An invasion might strengthen anti-war Democrats in the upcoming November elections and so galvanize discontent that President Lincoln will be forced to sue for peace. Furthermore, reports from abroad indicate that Great Britain is greeting with favor the recent Confederate victories. A successful foray into the North might induce the British—and perhaps the French as well—to accord the Confederacy diplomatic recognition and even intervene in the War on its behalf.

Against all the potential benefits, Lee has to weigh one great drawback: the condition of his army. In his letter to Davis, he admits that “the army is not properly equipped for an invasion of an enemy’s territory. It lacks much of the material of war, is feeble in transportation, the animals being much reduced, and the men are poorly provided with clothes, and in thousands of instances are destitute of shoes.”

Still, Lee scarcely hesitates. This morning, he breaks camp and directs his columns toward the shallow fords of the Potomac River just above Leesburg, Virginia, 25 miles to the northwest of Chantilly. Lee has chosen this particular destination carefully. It is just east of the Blue Ridge Mountains and only about thirty miles upriver from Washington. The Federals will regard an invasion there as a direct threat to either Washington or Baltimore and will almost surely respond by massing their forces on the north side of the Potomac. This will serve to remove enemy pressure from Lee’s supply line through Manassas Junction and give the Confederate troops who have stayed behind time to collect arms and care for the wounded on the battlefields around Bull Run.

Though Lee is moving without waiting for approval from President Davis, he is almost certain that his Commander in Chief will sanction the invasion. After all, Lee’s mission is merely a foray. He doesn’t intend to occupy enemy territory permanently, which would be a sharp departure from Davis’ stated policy of fighting only to defend the Southern homeland.

Confederates occupy Winchester and there are skirmishes at Falls Church, Bunker Hill, Edward’s Ferry, and other points in northern Virginia. There are operations around Harpers Ferry, Ravenswood, Weston, Charles Town, and Martinsburg, western Virginia, and Lovettsville, Virginia.

General Pope confers with President Lincoln, and then delivers a written report to Halleck charging General Porter with disobeying orders and McClellan with failing to support him. Second Manassas or Bull Run will be refought many times in words.

Near Acton, Minnesota, where the murder of five Whites sparked the uprising, 55 fresh recruits of a company of Minnesota volunteers, heading north to protect settlers, blunders into Little Crow’s warriors and another group of Amerinds led by an elderly chief named Walker Among Sacred Stones. The troops and about twenty refugees are surrounded by the two Amerind bands. Captain Richard Strout, the officer in charge, elects to fight his way out, ordering his green troops to charge Little Crow’s braves with bayonets. The attach succeeds, although almost half of Strout’s men are killed or wounded, and the troops and settlers retreat to the partially fortified town of Hutchinson.

There is also an attack on Fort Abercrombie, far to the northwest on the border of the Dakota Territory. The few buildings of that post are unfortified, but the small garrison have quickly built breastworks of logs and earth and, aided by fire from three howitzers, successfully withstand the attack by 400 warriors.

At about 11 am Colonel Sibley arrives at Birch Coulee. Scattering the Amerinds with artillery fire, he finally rescues the survivors of the burial detail, who for 31 hours have each subsisted on one quarter of a hard cracker and one ounce of raw cabbage. Their wagons and tents are riddled with bullet holes; sobbing men, red-eyed from lack of sleep, cry for water. The air is foul with the stench of dead horses and men. Altogether, Birch Coulee has claimed the lives of nineteen soldiers, and many more have been wounded.

Sibley thinks that Little Crow is tiring of the war. Writing out a message that offers negotiations, he has it placed in a split stake and returns to Fort Ridgely. He again draws criticism for failing to press after the Amerinds. But Birch Coulee has taught him two lessons. First, his officers and men need more training in the techniques of fighting Amerinds; second, he needs more cavalry, without which the task of pursuing mounted Amerinds is impossible.

Joseph Holt of Kentucky is appointed Judge Advocate General of the United States.

A skirmish occurs at Geiger’s Lake, Kentucky.

In the North Lee’s operations in Virginia keeps the citizens in suspense, while Kentucky is aroused over E. Kirby Smith’s invasion. Troops of Smith’s command have occupied the state capital of Frankfort.
#15117278
September 4, Thursday

It is a ragtag Army of Northern Virginia that has set out for Maryland. The men are gaunt and unshaved, with shaggy hair poking through holes in their shapeless hats. The uniforms of many hang in tatters, held together by bits of rope for belts. Bodies and the shreds that clothe them are filthy and vermin-infested. Only the gleaming rifles are clean. Thousands of men trudge along in homemade footwear. Still more have no shoes at all, as much as fully one fourth of Lee’s army treads the roads to Leesburg barefoot. Even the new shoes and boots that some appropriated from the feet of dead Federals at Bull Run are of little use, being found “as unyielding as if made of cast iron.” Worse than the pain of cut and bruised feet is the gnawing hunger.

Thousands of stragglers, ill and exhausted, fall too far behind to catch up. Others drop out of the march for reasons of conscience. These men, mostly from the westernmost counties of North and South Carolina, insist that they enlisted to defend their homeland, not to invade the North. Still others, natives of northern Virginia, simply get tired of marching and fighting and return to their nearby homes without benefit of leave, there to sit out the invasion before rejoining their units—the 8th Virginia, a regiment raised in the region around Leesburg, loses two thirds of its members on the way to the Potomac. In all, about 15,000 men drop out of Lee’s army during the march. Substantial reinforcements from Richmond do join him along the way—three infantry divisions, a brigade of cavalry, and the reserve artillery. But even with these additions, amounting to about 20,000 troops, Lee will enter Maryland with scarcely more than 50,000 men.

To complicate matters, disputes among Lee’s generals cost him the services, at least temporarily, of two of the Confederacy’s best division commanders. One of them, Brigadier General John Bell Hood, the Kentuckian who has won fame as commander of the Texas Brigade, has been placed under arrest—charged with insubordination in a dispute with Brigadier General Nathan “Shanks” Evans over possession of some captured Federal ambulances. Then, this morning, Major General A.P. Hill runs afoul of his immediate superior, Major General Stonewall Jackson. Jackson takes careful note that Hill is half an hour late getting his division on the road to Leesburg. Then he watches with disapproval while Hill rides well ahead of his column, apparently unconcerned by the stream of stragglers trailing off to the rear. Finally, when Hill’s column fails to stop for a scheduled rest break, Jackson rides up and angrily halts the lead brigade. Hill comes back to find out what is happening, there is a confrontation, and Jackson places him under arrest for neglect of duty. Hill takes up a new place—at the rear of his division. To make matters worse for Lee, he is still suffering from his fall on the 31st with both hands splinted and bandaged. Unable to mount his horse, Lee rides instead in an ambulance.

Despite all the problems that beset the Confederates, the astonishing fact is that morale has never been higher. The soldiers who remain are determined veterans. “None but heroes are left,” one of them writes home. In a little more than two months these heroes have driven the Northern invaders from the outskirts of Richmond all the way back to the fortifications around Washington. Now they are about to set foot on Union soil.

Now the vanguard of the army arrives at Leesburg, where the soldiers pause long enough to fill up on food provided by loyal residents and to receive an appropriate benediction from an old woman: “The Lord bless your dirty ragged souls!” Then Major General D.H. Hill’s division—newly arrived from Richmond—marches on north to the Potomac in advance of Lee’s army. There, without opposition, the invasion of Maryland begins. At White’s Ford and the other crossing places nearby, the river is half a mile wide, but at this time of year only waist-deep. The Confederates arrive at the water’s edge in column of fours and halt, take off their fraying trousers, sling them over their muskets, shuck off shoes if they have any and, as the bands play “Maryland, My Maryland,” wade into the welcome, cool water.

One of the first reports of Lee’s invasion of Maryland comes to Washington late today, scarcely hours after the Confederate vanguard reaches the Potomac. The manner by which the word arrives does nothing to ease the sense of imminent danger: A Maryland farmer on horseback races like Paul Revere down Pennsylvania Avenue shouting the news. That news of the crossing hits Washington like an artillery shell. All week, since the Sunday reports of the debacle at Bull Run, something like panic has prevailed among Federal officials. Gunboats have been anchored on the Potomac to defend Washington. The steamer Wachusett, according to rumor, stands ready near the Navy Yard to carry President Lincoln and the members of his Cabinet to safety. Companies of hastily organized government clerks take up arms. As Lee intended, the crossing suggests to Federal authorities that the Confederates are about to march on Washington or Baltimore. And meanwhile news comes that the Confederate army in Kentucky is massing along the Ohio River across from Cincinnati.

There is skirmishing at Point of Rocks, Berlin, Poolesville, and Monocacy Aqueduct, Maryland. McClellan is reorganizing the Army of the Potomac, amid Cabinet discussions in Washington. Federals are evacuating Frederick, Maryland.

In Minnesota skirmishing with the Amerinds continues at Hutchinson. There are actions in Callaway County and at Prairie Chapel, Missouri; Shelbyville, Kentucky; Boutte Station and Bayou des Allemands, Louisiana. John Hunt Morgan and his men join E. Kirby Smith at Lexington, Kentucky. Confederate Brigadier General A.G. Jenkins culminates his raiding in western Virginia by crossing the Ohio River in the Point Pleasant area for a brief excursion into the North.
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September 5, Friday

In response to a query from Federal General John Pope about his command, General-in-Chief Halleck replies that the Army of Virginia is being consolidated with the Army of the Potomac under McClellan and that Pope should report for orders. McClellan, bringing his organizational talents to bear, is already merging the two armies with his restructured command made up of eight corps. Late today, McClellan begins marching the bulk of his army from Virginia and Washington north and west into Maryland. He will take six of his corps, about 84,000 troops, while leaving two corps behind to defend Washington.

Buell arrives at Murfreesboro and learns of Kirby Smith’s occupation of Lexington. Concluding that General Bragg must be aiming for Nashville, Buell starts his army toward that city. Buell’s supply situation is growing desperate. He will later write that he is “now reduced to ten days’ provisions. Our railroad communications north of Nashville had been broken for twenty days, and no effort was being made in Louisville to reopen it.”

In the West September 5-10 there is a Union expedition from Fort Donelson to Clarksville, Tennessee, with several skirmishes. Other action includes a skirmish at Neosho, Missouri; near Madisonville, Kentucky; Burnt Bridge, near Humbolt, Tennessee; and a scout toward Holly Springs, Mississippi, September 5-6.

Governor Morton of Indiana calls upon citizens to form military companies in areas along the Ohio River, believed to be threatened by E. Kirby Smith and Braxton Bragg. At Sparta, Tennessee, Bragg proclaims that Alabama “is redeemed. Tennesseans! your capital and State are almost restored without firing a gun. You return conquerors. Kentuckians! the first great blow has been struck for your freedom.”
#15117674
September 6, Saturday

In Washington Federal columns still throng the streets. The lines of march take many of them past the White House. There, this evening, soldiers can be seen resting on the lawn while a tall man in shirt sleeves—the President—moves among them with a dipper and a pail of water.

Stonewall Jackson’s men occupy Frederick, Maryland, as the Army of Northern Virginia establish their base of operations north of the Potomac. Federal cavalry keep in contact with the enemy in Maryland; fighting will occur every day from the sixth to the fifteenth. The Confederates have expected to pick up recruits in Maryland, but as they enter Frederick, all stores are shut, no flags fly, and an observer will write, “everything partook of a churchyard appearance.” The Southerners treat Frederick courteously as a rule, with little or no pillaging or looting.

Back in Virginia the Union evacuates Aquia Creek, near Fredericksburg, leaving much property destroyed at the important rail and port facility.

Minnesota’s adjutant general is rushing ammunition, provisions, and clothing to Colonel Sibley, and Governor Ramsey wires Secretary of War Henry Stanton and President Lincoln, asking them to authorize the purchase of 500 horses for use against the Sioux: “This is not our war, it is a National War.” The reply from Washington is unexpected but welcome. Lincoln creates the Military Department of the Northwest, to be commanded by Major General John Pope with headquarters at St. Paul. Pope’s reputation has suffered from his recent defeat at Bull Run, but he remains an energetic officer. His main job will be to cope with the Sioux uprising. Meanwhile about 400 Sioux again attempt to overrun the garrison at Fort Abercrombie, Dakota Territory. They are again beaten back, but the Sioux will continue to ambush and kill other Whites in the area for several weeks.

Other fighting is near Roanoke, Missouri; Washington, North Carolina; on the Gallatin Road, Tennessee; and there are operations in the Kanawha Valley of western Virginia.
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September 7, Sunday

The Army of Northern Virginia’s crossing of the narrow White’s Ford has required the better part of four days. The only hitch comes when a team of balky mules from the wagon train creates a traffic jam at midstream. On the Virginia shore, Stonewall Jackson calls for his quartermaster, Major John A. Harman, who rides out into the tangle of wagons and lets loose a resounding blast of profanity. With that, the mules dash for the Maryland shore. Harmon rides back to Jackson, fully expecting a stern lecture from his pious commander. “The ford is clear,” he reports. “There’s only one language that will make mules understand on a hot day that they must get out of the water.” To the surprise of all, Jackson responds with a grin. Still, today the last of Lee’s columns crosses the Potomac and catches up with the main body of Confederate troops, encamped around the city of Frederick, about 25 miles northwest of the Federals’ new forward base at Rockville.

The reception offered by the citizenry of Frederick is something less than the Confederate soldiers have anticipated. Unlike Baltimore and the communities on Maryland’s Eastern Shore, which tend to be proslavery and prosecession, this section of the state contains relatively few sympathizers. The crowds come out, especially the young women, and there is some cheering and waving of Confederate flags. But most of the townspeople appear to be indifferent; some are hostile to the Confederate cause, and others fear retribution if the Federals return. Partly out of compassion, however, most Marylanders treat the troops with kindness, often providing food and water. The soldiers, in turn, behave themselves. Lee, eager to show the Confederacy’s best face, issues strict orders against pillaging. His men are admonished to pay for everything, even the farmers’ rail fences they burn to roast their corn.

Lee has established his headquarters at Best’s Grove, two miles south of town. Under the towering oak trees there, he and his generals receive Confederate sympathizers, an awkward task for Lee because his hands are still bandaged and hurting; he chooses to dodge the attentions of the young women who ride out in family carriages to see the famous Confederate commander. Lee’s two top subordinates, Stonewall Jackson and Major General James Longstreet, are also suffering from various physical infirmities. Longstreet has a pesky heel blister and limps around headquarters in a carpet slipper. Jackson spends most of the time in his tent resting his painful back, having recently been thrown by a muscular gray mare donated by friendly Marylanders to replace his usual mount, Little Sorrel, which has recently disappeared. On this night, however, Jackson feels well enough to put in a public appearance. He rides in an ambulance to evening services at Frederick’s German Reformed Church. The minister is a Union man, and despite Jackson’s presence, offers up a prayer for the President of the United States. Jackson doesn’t hear it; as is his habit, he has nodded off at the beginning of the sermon.

The Federal Army of the Potomac under General McClellan moves slowly northward from Washington, protecting the capital and Baltimore, not knowing the enemy’s whereabouts or plans. Harrisburg, Pennsylvania; Hagerstown and Baltimore, Maryland; and other cities are scenes of “tremendous excitement.” Streets are thronged, rumors rampant, citizens armed; some flee the reported coming of Southern troops. President Lincoln, concerned over two fronts, east and west, asks, “Where is General Bragg?” and “What about Harper’s Ferry?”

Bragg in Tennessee moves steadily north toward Kentucky, bypassing the main Federal force under Buell at Murfreesboro and Nashville. Skirmishing occurs at Murfreesboro and Pine Mountain Gap, Tennessee, and Shepherdsville, Kentucky. Clarksville, Tennessee, is retaken by Federal forces after its ignominious fall.

On the Mississippi, USS Essex duels the Port Hudson batteries.

Other action is at Lancaster, Missouri, and St. Charles Court House, Louisiana.

In Minnesota, a half-breed messenger comes to Colonel Sibley with a reply from Little Crow to the offer to negotiate Sibley left at Birch Coulee. The reply lists the Amerind grievances that have led to the uprising and states that the Amerinds are holding a great many prisoners. Sibley replies that he will talk with Little Crow after the prisoners are freed.

President Davis writes his advancing generals, Lee, Bragg, and E. Kirby Smith, that they should make clear to the people “That the Confederate Government is waging this war solely for self-defence, that it has no design of conquest or any other purpose than to secure peace and the abandonment by the United States of its pretensions to govern a people who have never been their subjects and who prefer self-government to a Union with them.”
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September 8, Monday

In a further effort to garner the good will of the Marylanders, Lee issues an official proclamation. Addressed “To the People of Maryland,” it declares that the army has come prepared “to assist you with the power of its arms in regaining the rights of which you have been despoiled. It is for you to decide your destiny freely and without constraint. This army will respect your choice whatever it may be.” Lee already knows what choice most of the people have made. Many of Frederick’s stores have closed, refusing to take Confederate money. Former Maryland Governor Enoch L. Lowe, an ardent Confederate sympathizer thought to wield considerable influence in this part of the state, has not shown up in Frederick despite a telegram from Lee. And while young women might marvel at Stuart and his troopers, no more than 200 Maryland men have joined Lee’s army since the invasion. With no citizens’ revolt in sight and supplies around Frederick running low, Lee decides it is time to move on.

In Washington President Lincoln asks McClellan at Rockville, Maryland, “How does it look now?”

General Lee’s cavalry chief, Major General Jeb Stuart, the most glamorous Confederate of them all, stages a grand ball in a deserted school building at Urbana, several miles southeast of Frederick. Stuart’s cavalry is deployed in a 20-mile-long screen, running north-south and centered on Urbana, but there are no Federal patrols in sight. The handsome Stuart, notes one of Jackson’s aides, “was ready to see and talk to every good-looking woman.” About 7 pm, the guests begin arriving to find the improvised ballroom festooned with roses and regimental flags. Music is furnished by a regimental band, and the hosts are Stuart’s officers; before taking to the dance floor they gallantly hang their sabers on the wall. At the height of the festivities, the lively polkas and quadrilles are interrupted by the distant boom of artillery, then the rattle of small arms. An orderly rushes in to report that a detachment of Federal cavalry has attacked a Confederate outpost, driving in the pickets. Stuart’s men buckle on their sabers, call for their horses, and clatter off into the night, leaving their startled partners with “every pretty foot rooted to the floor where music had left it.” When Stuart and his officers arrive at the scene of action, they find that troopers have already broken the enemy attack. At about 1 am, Stuart and his men return to the ball to regale their guests with tales of the skirmish.

There is fighting at Poolesville, Maryland, and elsewhere on the fringes of the two armies in Virginia.

Major General N.P. Banks assumes command of the defenses of Washington, and the West Indies Squadron under Commodore Charles Wilkes is formed for protection of commerce.

In Kentucky there is a skirmish at Barboursville and an affair known as the Kentucky Line. In Tennessee a skirmish occurs at Pine Mountain. From this day to the thirteenth there is a Union expedition to the Coldwater River and Hernando, Mississippi; and from Fort Leavenworth, Kansas, through Jackson, Cass, Johnson, and La Fayette counties, Missouri.
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