MILITARY REMINISCENCES OF THE CIVIL WAR

 

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MILITARY REMINISCENCES OF THE CIVIL WAR

BY JACOB DOLSON COX, A.M., LL.D.

Formerly Major-General commanding Twenty-Third Army Corps

VOLUME I

APRIL 1861--NOVEMBER 1863  

CONTENTS

Preface

CHAPTER I

THE OUTBREAK OF THE WAR

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

CHAPTER II

CAMP DENNISON

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

CHAPTER III

McCLELLAN IN WEST VIRGINIA

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

CHAPTER IV

THE KANAWHA VALLEY

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

CHAPTER V

GAULEY BRIDGE

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

CHAPTER VI

CARNIFEX FERRY--TO SEWELL MOUNTAIN AND BACK

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

CHAPTER VII

COTTON MOUNTAIN

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

CHAPTER VIII

WINTER-QUARTERS

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

CHAPTER IX

VOLUNTEERS AND REGULARS

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

CHAPTER X

THE MOUNTAIN DEPARTMENT--SPRING CAMPAIGN

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

CHAPTER XI

POPE IN COMMAND--TRANSFER TO WASHINGTON

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

CHAPTER XII

RETREAT WITHIN THE LINES--REORGANIZATION--HALLECK AND HIS SUBORDINATES

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

CHAPTER XIII

SOUTH MOUNTAIN

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

CHAPTER XIV

ANTIETAM: PRELIMINARY MOVEMENTS

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

CHAPTER XV

ANTIETAM: THE FIGHT ON THE RIGHT

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

CHAPTER XVI

ANTIETAM: THE FIGHT ON THE LEFT

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

CHAPTER XVII

McCLELLAN AND POLITICS--HIS REMOVAL AND ITS CAUSE

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

CHAPTER XVIII

PERSONAL RELATIONS OF McCLELLAN, BURNSIDE, AND PORTER

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

CHAPTER XIX

RETURN TO WEST VIRGINIA

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

CHAPTER XX

WINTER QUARTERS, 1862-63--PROMOTIONS AND POLITICS

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

CHAPTER XXI

FAREWELL TO WEST VIRGINIA--BURNSIDE IN THE DEPARTMENT OF THE OHIO

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

CHAPTER XXII

THE VALLANDIGHAM CASE--THE HOLMES COUNTY WAR

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

CHAPTER XXIII

BURNSIDE AND ROSECRANS--THE SUMMER'S DELAYS

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

CHAPTER XXIV

THE MORGAN RAID

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

CHAPTER XXV

THE LIBERATION OF EAST TENNESSEE

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

CHAPTER XXVI

BURNSIDE IN EAST TENNESSEE

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

 APPENDIX A

 APPENDIX B

 

 

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