Saturday, December 4, 2021

Major-General Ulysses S. Grant to Major-General Henry W. Halleck, May 24, 1863

HEADQUARTERS DEPARTMENT OF THE TENNESSEE,        
Near Vicksburg, Miss., May 24, 1863.
Maj. Gen. H. W. HALLECK,
        General in-Chief, Washington, D.C.:

GENERAL: My troops are now disposed with the right (Sherman's corps) resting on the Mississippi, where the bluff strikes the water, we having the first crest and the upper of the enemy's water batteries. McClernand is on the left with his corps, his right having about one brigade north of the railroad, the rest south of it. One division occupies the roads leading south and southeast from the city. The position is as strong by nature as can possibly be conceived of, and is well fortified. The garrison the enemy have to defend it I have no means of knowing, but their force is variously estimated from 10,000 to 20,000.

I attempted to carry the place by storm on the 22d, but was unsuccessful. Our troops were not repulsed from any point, but simply failed to enter the works of the enemy. At several points they got up to the parapets of the enemy's forts, and planted their flags on the outer slope of the embankments, where they still have them. The assault was made simultaneously by the three army corps at 10 a.m. The loss on our side was not very heavy at first, but receiving repeated dispatches from General McClernand, saying that he was hard pressed on his right and left and calling for re-enforcements, I gave him all of McPherson's corps but four brigades, and caused Sherman to press the enemy on our right, which caused us to double our losses for the day. The whole loss for the day will probably reach 1,500 killed and wounded.

General McClernand's dispatches misled me as to the real state of facts, and caused much of this loss. He is entirely unfit for the position of corps commander, both on the march and on the battle-field. Looking after his corps gives me more labor and infinitely more uneasiness than all the remainder of my department.

The enemy are now undoubtedly in our grasp. The fall of Vicksburg and the capture of most of the garrison can only be a question of time. I hear a great deal of the enemy bringing a large force from the east to effect a raising of the siege. They may attempt something of the kind, but I do not see how they can do it. The railroad is effectually destroyed at Jackson, so that it will take thirty days to repair it. This will leave a march of 50 miles over which the enemy will have to subsist an army) and bring their ordnance stores with teams. My position is so strong that I could hold out for several days against a vastly superior force. I do not see how the enemy could possibly maintain a long attack under these circumstances. I will keep a close watch on the enemy, however.

There is a force now at Calhoun Station, about 6 miles north of Canton, on the Mississippi Central Railroad. This is the force that escaped from Jackson, augmented by a few thousand men from the coast cities, intended to re-enforce the latter place before the attack, but failed to reach in time.

In the various battles from Port Gibson to Big Black River Bridge, we have taken nearly 6,000 prisoners) besides killed and wounded, and scattered a much larger number.

The enemy succeeded in returning to Vicksburg with only three pieces of artillery. The number captured by us was seventy-four guns, besides what was found at Haynes' Bluff. From Jackson to this place I have had no opportunity for communicating with you. Since that, this army fought a heavy battle near Baker's Creek, on the 16th, beating the enemy badly, killing and capturing not less than 4,000 of the enemy, besides capturing most of his artillery. Loring's division was cut off from retreat, and dispersed in every direction.

On the 17th, the battle of Big Black River Bridge was fought, the enemy again losing about 2,000 prisoners, seventeen pieces of artillery, and many killed and wounded. The bridges and ferries were destroyed. The march from Edwards Station to Big Black River Bridge was made, bridges for crossing the army constructed, and much of it over in twenty-four hours.

On the 19th, the march to this place was made and the city invested. When I crossed the Mississippi River, the means of ferriage was so limited, and time so important, that I started without teams and an average of but two days' rations in haversacks. Our supplies had to be hauled about 60 miles, from Milliken's Bend to opposite Grand Gulf, and from there to wherever the army marched. We picked up all the teams in the country and free Africans to drive them. Forage and meat were found in great abundance through the country, so that, although not over five days' rations were issued in twenty days, yet there was neither suffering nor complaint witnessed in the army.

As soon as reports can be got from corps commanders, I will send in a report, embracing the campaign from Milliken's Bend to the investment, if not the capture, of Vicksburg.

When I crossed the Mississippi River, it was my intention to detach an army corps, or the necessary force, to cooperate with General Banks to secure the reduction of Port Hudson and the union of the two armies, but I received a letter from General Banks, stating that he was in Louisiana, and would return to Baton Rouge by May 10. By the reduction of Port Hudson he could add only 12,000 to my force. I had certain information that General Joe Johnston was on his way to Jackson, and that re-enforcements were arriving there constantly from Port Hudson and the Southern cities. Under this state of facts, I could not afford to delay. Beating the enemy to near Port Gibson, I followed him to Hankinson's Ferry, on the Big Black River. This placed my forces 15 miles on their way from Grand Gulf to this place, Big Black River Bridge, or Jackson, whichever I might turn my attention to. Altogether, I am satisfied that my course was right, and has given us with comparative ease what would have cost serious battles by delay.

This army is in the finest possible health and spirits.

I am, general, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
U.S. GRANT,        
Major-general.

SOURCE: The War of the Rebellion: A Compilation of the Official Records of the Union and Confederate Armies, Series I, Volume 24, Part 1 (Serial No. 36), p. 37-9

Monday, November 29, 2021

McFadden's State Militia Cavalry Company.

Duty at Warrenton, Mo.

SOURCE: Frederick H. Dyer, A Compendium of the War of the Rebellion, Part 3, p. 1313

Mountain Rangers.

Reconnoissance from Springfield to Pea Ridge February 23-24, 1862. (See 14th Missouri State Militia Cavalry.)

SOURCE: Frederick H. Dyer, A Compendium of the War of the Rebellion, Part 3, p. 1313

Osage Rifles.

Organized at St. Louis, Mo., November 1, 1861. Assigned to "Curtis Horse," 5th Iowa Cavalry, as Company "M," December, 1861.

SOURCE: Frederick H. Dyer, A Compendium of the War of the Rebellion, Part 3, p. 1313

Schofield's Hussars.

See 13th Missouri State Militia Cavalry, Company “I.”

SOURCE: Frederick H. Dyer, A Compendium of the War of the Rebellion, Part 3, p. 1313

Soboleski's Independent Company Rangers.

Organized at Benton Barracks, Mo., November and December, 1861. Mustered out January 24, 1862.

SOURCE: Frederick H. Dyer, A Compendium of the War of the Rebellion, Part 3, p. 1313

Stewart's Cavalry Battalion.

Organized at St. Louis, Mo., September to November, 1861. Duty in District of Southeast Missouri till February, 1862. Mustered out February 2, 1862.

SOURCE: Frederick H. Dyer, A Compendium of the War of the Rebellion, Part 3, p. 1313

Tuesday, November 23, 2021

Official Reports of the Campaign in North Alabama and Middle Tennessee, November 14, 1864-January 23, 1865: No. 205. — Report of Maj. Thomas G. Williamson, Tenth Indiana Cavalry, of operations December 28, 1864-January 6, 1865.

No. 205.

Report of Maj. Thomas G. Williamson, Tenth Indiana Cavalry,
of operations December 28, 1864-January 6, 1865.

HEADQUARTERS TENTH INDIANA VOLUNTEER CAVALRY,        
Near Waterloo, Ala., January 11, 1865.

LIEUTENANT: In accordance with orders received, I have the honor to make the following report of the part taken by the detachment of the Tenth Indiana Volunteer Cavalry under my command in the raid south of Decatur, Ala., from December 28, 1864, to January 6, 1865, inclusive, the detachment being at this time in a brigade, composed of Tenth Indiana, Second Tennessee, and Fifteenth Pennsylvania Cavalry, under the immediate command of Lieutenant-Colonel Prosser, Second Tennessee Cavalry:

On the 28th we marched from Decatur south on the Decatur and Courtland road, going into camp eight miles south of Decatur. On the 29th we overtook the rear of General Roddey's command, charging them for about six miles, capturing 30 prisoners, killing 2 and wounding 3 of the enemy. We went into camp two miles from Courtland, Ala. On the 30th of December we marched through Courtland to Leighton, on the Memphis and Charleston Railroad. Here we captured 3 prisoners. We camped at Leighton that night. On December 31 we marched toward Russellville, leaving La Grange to the left. Near Russellville we killed 1 man, captured 1 lieutenant and 6 men. We then marched on through Russellville, and at 8 p.m. we attacked Hood's pontoon train, consisting of eighty pontoons, also forty-five wagons loaded with cordage, equipments, forges, &c. We burned and destroyed the entire train and teams.

On January 1, 1865, we moved at daylight and marched on a trot all day, continued the march at night, and at 2 a.m., when we overtook and charged another wagon train, capturing and destroying the wagons by fire and killing the mules, about 500 in number, dismounted men taking some of the best mules to ride. The train consisted of about 125 wagons (this was Hood's supply train). On the 2d of January we marched back toward Decatur, Ala.., meeting no enemy this day, going over the mountain roads that I do not know the names of. On the 4th of January we overtook and attacked Colonel Russell, commanding the Fifth [Fourth] Alabama Cavalry, capturing his entire train, also about 30 prisoners, killing 3 of the enemy and wounding about 20; we also captured and burned General Roddey's headquarters papers. We lost here in this charge 1 killed and 1 wounded. Traveling all night, we stopped to rest at daylight, going into camp near Leighton. On the 5th we went to within twenty miles of Decatur, and on the 6th at sundown we arrived at Decatur. Our march was from Decatur to within thirty miles of Aberdeen, Miss., about three miles from the line.

In submitting this report I will respectfully call your attention to the conduct of Capts. William Mead and George R. Mitchell and their companies, D and H. They are deserving of great praise for the manner in which they conducted themselves during the entire raid.

Respectfully submitted.
THOS. G. WILLIAMSON,        
Major, Commanding Tenth Indiana Volunteer Cavalry.
Lieut. W. H. WHITWORTH,
        Acting Assistant Adjutant-General.

[Indorsement.]

HDQRS. FIRST BRIG., SEVENTH DIV., CAVALRY CORPS,        
Gravelly Springs, January 19, 1865.

Respectfully forwarded for the information of major-general commanding Cavalry Corps.

Major Williamson is the ranking officer present, the Lieutenant-Colonel Prosser mentioned being Major Prosser, of the Second Tennessee, now at Nashville, and Major Williamson's report is that of the expedition.

J. H. HAMMOND,        
Brevet Brigadier-General.

SOURCE: The War of the Rebellion: A Compilation of the Official Records of the Union and Confederate Armies, Series I, Volume 45, Part 1 (Serial No. 93), p. 606-8

Official Reports of the Campaign in North Alabama and Middle Tennessee, November 14, 1864-January 23, 1865: No. 204. — Report of Bvt. Brig. Gen. John H. Hammond, commanding First Brigade, Seventh Division, of operations December 15-27, 1864.

No. 204.

Report of Bvt. Brig. Gen. John H. Hammond,
commanding First Brigade, Seventh Division, of operations December 15-27, 1864.

HDQRS. FIRST BRIG., SEVENTH DIV., CAVALRY CORPS,        
Camp Near Sugar Creek, Tenn., December 27, 1864.

CAPTAIN: I have the honor to report, that my command left Nashville on the afternoon of December 15, 1864, and encamped near the Granny White pike. On the 16th retired to Hillsborough pike, where the Ninth Indiana was sent to support of the Fourteenth Ohio Battery in an attack on the front and right. About noon moved to the Granny White pike, and crossing it occupied a hill on our extreme right, and well on the left flank of the enemy. In this the Tenth Indiana did some fighting and lost killed and wounded. Our position was maintained with considerable fighting, in which the whole brigade participated, until about 5 p.m., when, under orders from General Knipe, a line was formed and a charge made on our right, not finding any enemy. On the 17th, at daybreak, the brigade moved to the Franklin pike, the Nineteenth Pennsylvania in advance, and engaged the enemy, driving him in confusion, and taking prisoners, to Hollow Tree Gap, six miles from Franklin. Seeing the strength of the position and finding our men falling back in some confusion, I moved with what men I could collect to the left, by a pass leading to the enemy's rear, and sent several messengers to General Knipe, informing him of this and asking him to make a show in front and send me what force he could spare. I reached a strong position in the enemy's rear, but no re-enforcement arriving was compelled to return. Part of the Tenth Indiana Cavalry, under Lieutenant-Colonel Gresham, captured in this movement 2 flags, 2 colonels, 2 lieutenant-colonels, 1 major, a number of line officers, and 110 enlisted men, mostly Louisiana troops. On returning I found that General Knipe had been repulsed in an attack on the gap, losing 22 killed and wounded and 63 captured from the Tenth Indiana and Nineteenth Pennsylvania. The enemy having retreated we followed rapidly, the Ninth Indiana in advance, to near Franklin, and drove the enemy across the river into the town, capturing, it is reported, 2 stand of colors and near 200 prisoners. In this charge we lost three fine officers, among whom was Captain Hobson, Ninth Indiana Cavalry, a man remarkable for the prompt discharge of his duties and his bravery. He is a great loss to the service. The Ninth Indiana was supported by the Tenth Indiana and Fourth Tennessee, but the first regiment deserves the principal credit of the charge and success. General Hatch's command arriving soon after, the Fourth Tennessee was pushed over the river and through the town, gaining a position in the enemy's rear. Being joined by the remainder of the brigade we moved first to the Lewisburg and then to the Franklin pike, and about 4 p.m. engaged the enemy on the right of General Hatch's division. Soon after, under orders from General Wilson, the command moved on the enemy's left, and just after dark attacked in the rear on the pike. At first successful, we inflicted heavy loss and took many prisoners, but in the darkness part of the command mistook the road, and the enemy, abandoning his artillery, brought his infantry up, and we were compelled to retire. In this attack the Tenth Indiana led and was supported by the Ninth Indiana. Both suffered, but are repaid in the knowledge that this attack caused the abandonment of four cannon by the enemy.

On the 18th the command moved through fields to near Spring Hill; on the 19th, to Rutherford's Creek; on the 23d crossed Duck River; 24th marched through fields on the right of General Croxton; 25th, moved on the right, and was ordered to support Colonel Harrison in an attack on Anthony's Hill. The Seventh Ohio Cavalry breaking to the rear, cut my column in two just as the Fourth Tennessee, my regiment in advance, had successfully gone into action, driving the enemy into his works; and the enemy was for a time between my led horses and the remainder of the command. I was obliged to withdraw the Fourth Tennessee to save the horses. When remounted, being joined by part of the Second Tennessee, we attacked the enemy in flank and drove him into his works again, holding the position until ordered away. The remainder of the brigade went into action by order of General Wilson and attacked along with General Hatch's division. The Fourth Tennessee reached the enemy's [works] in time to see him in retreat. The next morning, moving in pursuit at a rapid pace, the Second Tennessee, Lieutenant-Colonel Cook commanding, in advance, we drove the enemy out of his position five miles from Anthony's Hill, and pushed the rear guard back on the main body, posted in a strong position on the south bank of Sugar Creek. A spirited action followed, in which the Second Tennessee, supported by the Fourth, drove the enemy into his works. A charge was made in turn by two columns of infantry, with cavalry in the center, driving us back about 300 yards across the creek, where we rallied and drove them back to their works, holding the position until the afternoon, when the Fourteenth Ohio Battery shelled their rear guard out of log-works commanding the road, and pursuit was continued to this place.

During this campaign I have had continual occasion to admire the bravery of both officers and men, and to lament want of discipline. The brigade is composed of detachments of regiments unacquainted with each other, but has exhibited evidence of material for a fine command. The personal bravery of Captain Smith, Nineteenth Pennsylvania; Lieutenant Claiborn, Tenth Indiana, and Lieutenant Owings, Ninth Indiana, I have had opportunities of noticing, and, although many are no doubt as deserving as they, I can call attention to them from personal observation.

The regiments claim as follows: Ninth Indiana, 4 commissioned officers, 263 enlisted men prisoners, and 2 colors; Tenth Indiana, 15 officers and 185 enlisted men, 2 colors; Second Tennessee, 2 officers and 18 enlisted men; Fourth Tennessee, 30 enlisted men prisoners; Nineteenth Pennsylvania, 242 enlisted men prisoners and 1 color. Captain Huston, division provost-marshal, having received everything captured until December 18, can judge as to the strength of these claims.

For casualties, see the report of Doctor Culbertson, brigade surgeon, already forwarded, on which I prefer to rely, as his report embraces only those disabled; regimental reports show all hurt.

Prisoners captured since December 18, 25, turned over by Captain Huyett, provost-marshal, to Major Young, provost-marshal of the corps.

My acting assistant adjutant-general, Lieutenant Payne, Ninth Indiana, and Lieutenant Branham, Tenth Indiana, and Lieutenant Allen, Nineteenth Pennsylvania, showed great energy and bravery. Payne and Branham have been very bold in action, and Lieutenant Allen captured a color, received from him by General Knipe.

I am, captain, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
J. H. HAMMOND,        
Brevet Brigadier-General.
Capt. FRANK REEDER,
        Acting Assistant Adjutant-General.

SOURCE: The War of the Rebellion: A Compilation of the Official Records of the Union and Confederate Armies, Series I, Volume 45, Part 1 (Serial No. 93), p. 606-8

Official Reports of the Campaign in North Alabama and Middle Tennessee, November 14, 1864-January 23, 1865: No. 203. — Report of Col. James Biddle, Sixth Indiana Cavalry, commanding Second Brigade, of operations December 15-21, 1864.

No. 203.

Report of Col. James Biddle, Sixth Indiana Cavalry,
commanding Second Brigade, of operations December 15-21, 1864.

HDQRS. SECOND BRIG., SIXTH DIV., CAVALRY CORPS,                
MILITARY DIVISION OF THE MISSISSIPPI,        
Edgefield, Tenn., December 24, 1864.

SIR: In accordance with directions from division headquarters, I have the honor to submit the following report of the operations of the Second Brigade in the recent campaign in Middle Tennessee:

The brigade broke camp at 3 a.m. on the 15th, and at 6 a.m. moved out on the Charlotte pike, as previously directed. After passing the outer lines of our works the command was formed in column of battalion to await further orders. At 8 a.m. orders having been received the brigade moved forward on the Charlotte, parallel with Colonel Harrison's (First) brigade. Four miles from the city we were met by the enemy in force, with artillery posted on the west side of —— Creek. Here the brigade was deployed, covering the road and closely supporting Colonel Harrison's (First) brigade. The battery attached to the division took position on the east side of the creek; the Second Brigade was brought up to support the battery. The enemy being dislodged from his position, the brigade moved forward some four miles, where the enemy again made a stand. Here the Sixth Indiana Cavalry supported the artillery, the Fourteenth Illinois Cavalry filling a gap between the mounted portion of the Sixth Division and the First Division, General Croxton. This gap was afterward closed by General Croxton moving to the right, when the Fourteenth Illinois were withdrawn, and shortly afterward I ordered them to report to Colonel Harrison to fill a gap in his line. On the 16th the brigade moved from the Charlotte pike to the Hardin pike, taking charge of the division trains, and holding the bridge across Harpeth River. On the 17th the brigade moved across the country to the crossing of the Harpeth River by the Hillsborough pike, holding the fords at that place to prevent any flank movement of the enemy in that direction. While there we captured a captain and 12 men. On the 18th we moved in the direction of Franklin, on the east side of the river—not being able to cross owing to high water—and camped there. On the 19th moved to Franklin, where orders were received to move to Nashville, via Nashville and Franklin pike, where the command arrived December 21, 1864.

The men suffered severely owing to constant rains and the bad condition of the roads, they being unaccustomed to marching, from which cause I was not able to reach the enemy after the first day.

I am, captain, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
JAS. BIDDLE,        
Colonel Sixth Indiana Cavalry, Commanding Brigade.
Capt. E. T. WELLS,
        Assistant Adjutant-General.

SOURCE: The War of the Rebellion: A Compilation of the Official Records of the Union and Confederate Armies, Series I, Volume 45, Part 1 (Serial No. 93), p. 606

Official Reports of the Campaign in North Alabama and Middle Tennessee, November 14, 1864-January 23, 1865: No. 202. — Report of Maj. J. Morris Young, Fifth Iowa Cavalry, of operations November 28, 1864.

No. 202.

Report of Maj. J. Morris Young, Fifth Iowa Cavalry, of operations November 28, 1864.

HEADQUARTERS FIFTH IOWA CAVALRY,        
Near Nashville, Tenn., December 3, 1864.

I have the honor to report the following action of my regiment and others temporarily under my command during the evening and night of November 28, 1864:

The Fifth Iowa Cavalry, under my command, was disposed, by order of Colonel Capron, commanding the First Brigade of the Sixth Division, Cavalry Command, in different positions on the north side of Duck River, above and below the crossing of the turnpike running from Franklin to Lewisburg, to guard the fords and prevent the enemy from crossing to this side, which was successfully performed in my command and front. At 5 p.m. my patrols and pickets reported the enemy in force in my rear and Colonel Capron, commanding the brigade, gone. Hastily withdrawing my regiment, except Company A, which was posted four miles above, with the enemy between us, I formed the Fifth Iowa in charging column on the pike, and was in the act of giving the command "forward," when the other regiments of the brigade, consisting of the Eighth Michigan, Fourteenth and Sixteenth Illinois, came in successively, much to my surprise, for I had supposed them gone out with Colonel Capron, and reported the enemy closing in in [sic] all directions.

I made the following disposition of my new forces as hastily as possible (see also plat attached*): The Eighth Michigan in line dismounted, to the left of and perpendicular to the head of the Fifth Iowa column; the Sixteenth Illinois disposed in like manner on the right; the led horses of both regiments to follow up at a safe distance in their respective rears; the Fourteenth Illinois was placed in column of fours, to the left and rear of the Eighth Michigan and parallel to the Fifth Iowa, which was in column on the turnpike. The left was the most exposed to a counter charge by the enemy, who were known to be in heavy force on that flank. As soon as the enemy's fire was drawn the dismounted men were to immediately fall back, mount, and follow out the Fifth Iowa Cavalry, which was to go through with sabers. In fifteen minutes, these dispositions being completed, the command was given, "forward." In fifteen minutes more we struck the enemy in line, barricaded and posted in the outhouses and buildings just evacuated by Colonel Capron. We received their fire and instantly sounded the "charge," riding them down and scattering them in all directions. At 10 p.m. I reported the brigade entire to Major-General Wilson.

In this charge, which was most gallantly executed, reflecting great credit on all the troops engaged, I do not think our entire loss, out of over 1,500 brought through safe, was more than thirty killed, wounded, and missing. Having been superseded in command immediately by Colonel Capron, who had preceded me some two hours, I have no means of ascertaining definitely our loss. The injury inflicted upon the enemy must have been considerable. The groans and cries of their wounded, as we rode, cut, or shot them down, could be heard distinctly above the noise and din of the charge.

Permit me to add in closing the fact of the growing confidence amongst our troops that good cavalry never can be captured.

J. MORRIS YOUNG,        
Major, Commanding Fifth Iowa Cavalry.
Capt. E. T. WELLS,
        Asst. Adjt. Gen., Sixth Cavalry Division.
­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­_______________

* See p. 605.



SOURCE: The War of the Rebellion: A Compilation of the Official Records of the Union and Confederate Armies, Series I, Volume 45, Part 1 (Serial No. 93), p. 604-5

Official Reports of the Campaign in North Alabama and Middle Tennessee, November 14, 1864-January 23, 1865: No. 201. — Report of Col. Thomas J. Harrison, Eighth Indiana Cavalry, commanding First Brigade, of operations December 25, 1864.

No. 201.

Report of Col. Thomas J. Harrison, Eighth Indiana Cavalry,
commanding First Brigade, of operations December 25, 1864.

HDQRS. FIRST BRIG., SIXTH DIV., CAVALRY CORPS,                
MILITARY DIVISION OF THE MISSISSIPPI,        
Near Sugar Creek, Tenn., December 27, 1864.

CAPTAIN: I have the honor to report that on the 25th instant this brigade had the advance in pursuit of the enemy, moving out of camp ten miles north of Pulaski at 5 a.m. The enemy's rear guard was struck about two miles from the camp, when active skirmishing commenced. The Fifth Iowa Cavalry was in advance, drove the enemy from every position, and when near Pulaski charged gallantly through the town, saving the covered bridge across Richland Creek, which the enemy had fired, and which he was attempting to hold with a heavy force until destroyed. I immediately ordered two guns in position and deployed a force along the creek, obliging the enemy to withdraw. Crossing the bridge I followed up the pursuit rapidly, dislodging the enemy from strong positions, until reaching the head of a narrow gorge, some seven miles from Pulaski, where the enemy had taken position on a high hill behind strong barricades. His position was admirably selected, being hidden from view by heavy timber until within a few feet of it. Supposing that the enemy would retire from this position, as he had from others on a flank movement from us, I deployed the Seventh Ohio Cavalry on the right and the Sixteenth Illinois Cavalry on the left of the Fifth Iowa Cavalry, all dismounted. These regiments moved upon the enemy most gallantly, when suddenly he opened from a masked battery of three guns and charged over his works, in two lines of infantry with a column of cavalry, down the main road. Before this overpowering force my men were obliged to fall back about half a mile, when we checked the enemy, and, receiving support, drove him back.

I regret to state that Company I, Fourth U.S. Artillery, were obliged to abandon one gun and limber at this time. The battery had been placed in position by General Wilson's order. The stand made by the enemy at this point was to save his train, as we had driven his rear guard sharp upon it. From prisoners I learn that this rear guard consisted of seven brigades of infantry and one division—Jackson's—of cavalry, all under General Forrest. In the hasty evacuation of Pulaski the enemy threw two cannon into the creek, burned a locomotive and train of five cars loaded with arms and ammunition, and it is reported he left near town two locomotives in good order. For six miles below Pulaski the road was strewn with abandoned artillery ammunition, and burning and abandoned wagons. I think he saved some twenty wagons entire.

We captured during the day 1 captain, 2 lieutenants, and some 50 or 60 men, also some 150 wounded at Pulaski.

Our casualties, mostly from the Fifth Iowa Cavalry, consisted of 3 killed, 18 wounded, and 5 missing. In charging the bridge at Pulaski the Fifth Iowa Cavalry lost 3 killed and 3 wounded.

Brevet Major-General Wilson expressed himself much pleased with the operations of the brigade during the day. The officers and men of the brigade behaved admirably; they are men who can be relied upon.

T. J. HARRISON,        
Colonel, Commanding Brigade.
Capt. E. T. WELLS,
        Assistant Adjutant-General.

SOURCE: The War of the Rebellion: A Compilation of the Official Records of the Union and Confederate Armies, Series I, Volume 45, Part 1 (Serial No. 93), p. 603

Thursday, November 18, 2021

Diary of Gideon Welles: Wednesday, March 1, 1865

Judge J. T. Hale called on me to say he had had a conversation with the President and had learned from him that I had his confidence and that he intended no change in the Navy Department. He said a great pressure had been made upon him to change. I have no doubt of it, and I have at no time believed he would be controlled by it. At no time have I given the subject serious thought.

Mr. Eads and Mr. Blow inform me that Brandagee in his speech, while expressing opposition to me for not favoring New London for a navy yard, vindicated my honesty and obstinacy, which Blaine or some one impugned. Blaine is a speculating Member of Congress, connected, I am told, with Simon Cameron in some of his projects, and is specially spiteful towards the Navy Department. I do not know him, even by sight, though he has once or twice called on me. Some one has told me he had a difficulty with Fox. If so, the latter never informed me, and when I questioned him he could not recollect it.

SOURCE: Gideon Welles, Diary of Gideon Welles, Secretary of the Navy Under Lincoln and Johnson, Vol. 2: April 1, 1864 — December 31, 1866, p. 250

Diary of Gideon Welles: Thursday, March 2, 1865

Had a houseful of visitors to witness the inauguration. Speaker Colfax is grouty because Mrs. Welles has not called on his mother, — a piece of etiquette which Seward says is proper. I doubt it, but Seward jumps to strange conclusions.

Hale, as I expected he would, made an assault on Fox's appendix to my reply, and denounces it as egotistical autobiography, and is determined it shall not be printed. The poor fellow seems not aware that he is advertising and drawing attention to what he would suppress.

SOURCE: Gideon Welles, Diary of Gideon Welles, Secretary of the Navy Under Lincoln and Johnson, Vol. 2: April 1, 1864 — December 31, 1866, p. 250-1

Diary of Gideon Welles: Friday, March 3, 1865

The city quite full of people. General Halleck has apprehensions that there may be mischief. Thinks precautions should be taken. Advises that the navy yard should be closed. I do not participate in these fears, and yet I will not say it is not prudent to guard against contingencies.

At the Cabinet-meeting to-day, the President gave formal notice that he proposed inviting McCulloch to the Treasury early next week. He said that doing this rendered a change necessary or essential in the Interior, concerning which he already had had conversation with Mr. Usher, and should have more to say; that in regard to the other gentlemen of the Cabinet, he wished none of them to resign, at least for the present, for he contemplated no changes.

SOURCE: Gideon Welles, Diary of Gideon Welles, Secretary of the Navy Under Lincoln and Johnson, Vol. 2: April 1, 1864 — December 31, 1866, p. 251

Diary of Gideon Welles: Saturday, March 4, 1865

Was at the Capitol last night until twelve. All the Cabinet were present with the President. As usual, the time passed very pleasantly. Chief Justice Chase came in and spent half an hour. Later in the night I saw him in the Senate. Speed says Chase leaves the Court daily to visit the Senate, and is full of aspirations. I rode from the Capitol home at midnight with Seward. He expressed himself more unreservedly and warmly against Chase than I have ever heard him before.

The inauguration took place to-day. There was great want of arrangement and completeness in the ceremonies. All was confusion and without order, — a jumble.

The Vice-President elect made a rambling and strange harangue, which was listened to with pain and mortification by all his friends. My impressions were that he was under the influence of stimulants, yet I know not that he drinks. He has been sick and is feeble; perhaps he may have taken medicine, or stimulants, or his brain from sickness may have been overactive in these new responsibilities. Whatever the cause, it was all in very bad taste.

The delivery of the inaugural address, the administering of the oath, and the whole deportment of the President were well done, and the retiring Vice-President appeared to advantage when contrasted with his successor, who has humiliated his friends. Speed, who sat at my left, whispered me that “all this is in wretched bad taste”; and very soon he said, “The man is certainly deranged.” I said to Stanton, who was on my right, “Johnson is either drunk or crazy.” Stanton replied, “There is evidently something wrong.” Seward says it was emotion on returning and revisiting the Senate; that he can appreciate Johnson's feelings, who was much overcome. I hope Seward is right, but don't entirely concur with him. There is, as Stanton says, something wrong. I hope it is sickness.

The reception at the President's this evening was a crowded affair, — not brilliant, as the papers say it was. In some respects the arrangement was better than heretofore for the Cabinet gentlemen and their families, but there is room for much improvement. Such was the crowd that many were two hours before obtaining entrance after passing through the gates. When I left, a little before eleven, the crowd was still going in.

The day has been fatiguing and trying. The morning was rainy. Soon after noon the clouds disappeared and the day was beautiful; the streets dreadful.

SOURCE: Gideon Welles, Diary of Gideon Welles, Secretary of the Navy Under Lincoln and Johnson, Vol. 2: April 1, 1864 — December 31, 1866, p. 251-2

Diary of Gideon Welles: Monday, March 6, 1865

The weather continues to be fine. Thousands have left the city, which is still crowded. The inauguration ball of this evening is a great attraction, particularly to the young. Seward has sent to me a request to attend, and Dennison desires it. I have no desire to go, but my family have, as well as my associates.

Current business at Department has accumulated, and the day has been one of unceasing application. Did not leave Department until after five o'clock. McCulloch's name was sent in to-day for the Treasury. I fear he wants political knowledge and experience, though as a financier he may not be unequal to the position; but will not prejudge him. He has been a successful banker, and that seems to have furnished the argument for his appointment. It by no means follows, however, that a successful banker, good at business details and accumulating interest, is able to strike out and establish the policy of the nation in regard to its currency and finance. He may have these essential financial qualities, but I do not think they entered into the considerations which led to his selection.

SOURCE: Gideon Welles, Diary of Gideon Welles, Secretary of the Navy Under Lincoln and Johnson, Vol. 2: April 1, 1864 — December 31, 1866, p. 252-3

Wednesday, November 17, 2021

Diary of Gideon Welles: Tuesday, March 7, 1865

The meeting at the Cabinet was interesting, the topics miscellaneous. Vice-President Johnson's infirmity was mentioned. Seward's tone and opinions were much changed since Saturday. He seems to have given up Johnson now, but no one appears to have been aware of any failing. I trust and am inclined to believe it a temporary ailment, which may, if rightly treated, be overcome.

Chief Justice Chase spent an hour with the President last evening, and is urging upon him to exempt sundry counties in eastern Virginia from the insurrectionary proclamation. He did not make his object explicit to the President, but most of the Cabinet came, I think, to the conclusion that there was an ulterior purpose not fully disclosed.

It is obvious that Chase has his aspirations stimulated. This movement he considers adroit. By withdrawing military authority and restoring civil jurisdiction he accomplishes sundry purposes. It will strike a blow at State individuality and break down Virginia, already by his aid dismembered and divided. It will be a large stride in the direction of the theory of the radicals, who are for reducing old States to a Territorial condition. It is centralizing, to which he has become a convert; [it] will give the Chief Justice an opportunity to exercise his authority on questions of habeas corpus, military arrests, etc.

The Chief Justice had also certain views on the present condition of the blockade, and took occasion to inform the President that his original opinion, which corresponded with mine, had undergone quite a modification; that he is now satisfied that closing the ports by a public or international blockade was better than to have closed them by legislative enactment or executive order, in effect a municipal regulation. Artful dodger. Unstable and unreliable. When Speed made some inquiry on these matters, the President stated “it related to one of the early and most unpleasant differences we had ever had in Cabinet.” It was one of the subjects that made me distrust and doubt Chase, who, while fully assenting to my opinions in our private conversations, did not vigorously sustain me in a Cabinet discussion.

The Spanish mission being vacant, it was asked if any of the number wished it. Whether it was intended as a polite tender to Usher I know not, or to any other, but I think not to any one but Usher, and perhaps not to him. This mission is a sort of plaything in the hands of Seward. The truth is, there is little utility in these legations near the governments of foreign potentates, but they are convenient places for favorites or troublesome fellows who are to be sent away.

SOURCE: Gideon Welles, Diary of Gideon Welles, Secretary of the Navy Under Lincoln and Johnson, Vol. 2: April 1, 1864 — December 31, 1866, p. 253-4

Tuesday, November 16, 2021

Diary of Gideon Welles: Friday, March 10, 1865

At the Cabinet to-day Seward could not suppress his delight over intelligence, just received, that the Danish-French ironclad sold to the Rebels was stopped at Corunna. We have had multitudinous and various pieces of intelligence respecting this vessel, none of them reliable. The next arrival may bring statements in direct opposition to those we now have.

Each of the Departments finished up their matters with the Senate, which will doubtless adjourn to-morrow.

SOURCE: Gideon Welles, Diary of Gideon Welles, Secretary of the Navy Under Lincoln and Johnson, Vol. 2: April 1, 1864 — December 31, 1866, p. 254-5

Diary of Gideon Welles: Saturday, March 11, 1865

Mr. Eames tells me the Court has decided adversely in the matter of cotton captured by the Navy on the Red River. I perceive that the Court is adjudicating on the Treasury regulations and policy of the Chief Justice.

John P. Hale has been nominated and confirmed as Minister to Spain, a position for which he is eminently unfit. This is Seward's doings, the President assenting. But others are also in fault. I am told by Seward, who is conscious it is an improper appointment, that a majority of the Union Senators recommended him for the French mission, for which they know he has no qualifications, address, nor proper sense to fill. Some of the Senators protested against his receiving the mission to France, but Seward says they acquiesced in his going to Spain. I am satisfied that Seward is playing a game with this old hack. Hale has been getting pay from the War Department for various jobs, and S. thinks he is an abolition leader.

SOURCE: Gideon Welles, Diary of Gideon Welles, Secretary of the Navy Under Lincoln and Johnson, Vol. 2: April 1, 1864 — December 31, 1866, p. 255

Diary of Gideon Welles: Monday, March 13, 1865

Rear-Admiral Porter spent the evening at my house. Among other things he detailed what he saw and knew of Jeff Davis and others in the early days of the Rebellion. He was, he admits, and as I was aware, on intimate terms with Davis and Mrs. Davis, and had been so for some years. On the evening after reception of the news that South Carolina passed the secession ordinance he called at Davis's house. A number of Secession leaders, he says, were there. It was a rainy, disagreeable evening, but Mrs. Davis came down stairs bonneted and prepared to go out. She caught him and congratulated him on the glorious news. South Carolina had declared herself out of the Union, which was to be broken up. She was going to see the President, Buchanan, and congratulate him. Wanted to be the first to communicate the intelligence to him. Porter told her the weather and roads were such she could not walk, and, one of the Members of Congress having come in a hack, he, Porter, took it and accompanied her. On the way he inquired why she should feel so much elated. She said she wanted to get rid of the old government; that they would have a monarchy South, and gentlemen to fill official positions. This, he found, was the most earnest sentiment, not only of herself but others. Returning in the carriage to Davis's house, he found that the crowd of gentlemen was just preparing to follow Mrs. D. to call on the President and interchange congratulations. They all spoke of Buchanan, he says, as being with them in sentiment, and Porter believes him to have been one of the most guilty in that nefarious business; that he encouraged the active conspirators in his intercourse with them, if he did not openly approve them before the world.

Governor Canby [sic]1 of Maine called on me a week ago and spoke of having a naval vessel on the eastern coast for recruiting purposes and for protection. After a little discussion of the subject, he said there was a committee in Washington who had procured themselves to be appointed to come on and make formal application; that they desired to attend the inauguration, and had got up this excuse; would make probably a little display and hoped they might be gratified with a few words of recognition, etc., etc. Two or three hours later, the committee, Mr. Poor and his two associates, came in with Mr. Pike, who introduced them. Mr. Poor was the chairman and presented me a paper containing sundry resolutions indorsed by the President, to the effect that he wished them to have vessels if they could be spared. Mr. Poor was verbose and pompous; let me know his official importance; wanted their application should be granted. I told them their proposition for steamers to patrol the Maine coast was inadmissible, but such protection as could be extended and the occasion required would be regarded. My remarks were not such as suited the pragmatical chairman. The other gentlemen exhibited more sense.

Two or three days after, I had a communication from the committee, who wanted to know if their application in behalf of the State of Maine could be granted. Remembering Governor Canby's remarks, I wrote them at some length the views I had expressed orally at our interview.

Soft words and a superfluity of them only added fuel to Chairman Poor's vanity, and he replied by a supercilious and silly letter which indicated a disposition to cut a figure; and I replied by a brief but courteous line, tersely containing the same opinions I had given.
_______________

1 The governor of Maine in office at this time was Samuel Cony.

SOURCE: Gideon Welles, Diary of Gideon Welles, Secretary of the Navy Under Lincoln and Johnson, Vol. 2: April 1, 1864 — December 31, 1866, p. 255-7

Diary of Gideon Welles: Tuesday, March 14, 1865

The President was some indisposed and in bed, but not seriously ill. The members met in his bedroom. Seward had a paper for excluding blockade-runners and persons in complicity with the Rebels from the country.

John P. Hale's appointment to Spain was brought up. Seward tried to gloss it over. Wanted Hale to call and see me and make friends with Fox. Hale promised he would, and Seward thought he might get a passage out in a government vessel.

The capture and destruction of a large amount of tobacco at Fredericksburg has created quite a commotion. It was a matter in which many were implicated. Several have called on me to get permission to pass the blockade or have a gunboat to convoy them. One or more have brought a qualified pass from the President. Colonel Segar, the last of them, was very importunate. I told him, as I have all others, that I should not yield in this matter; that I was opposed on principle to the whole scheme of special permits to trade and had been from the time that Chase commenced it; that I was no believer in the policy of trading with public enemies, carrying on war and peace at the same time. Chase was the first to broach and introduce this corrupting and demoralizing scheme, and I have no doubt he expected to make political capital by it. His course in this matter does much to impair my confidence in him. It was one of many not over scrupulous intrigues. Fessenden followed in the footsteps of Chase, not from any corrupt motives, nor for any political or personal aspirations, but in order to help him in financial matters. He had a superficial idea that cotton would help him get gold, — that he must get cotton to promote trade and equalize exchange.

SOURCE: Gideon Welles, Diary of Gideon Welles, Secretary of the Navy Under Lincoln and Johnson, Vol. 2: April 1, 1864 — December 31, 1866, p. 257-8

Monday, November 15, 2021

Brigadier-General Rutherford B. Hayes to Lucy Webb Hayes, Friday Evening, December 9, 1864

Camp RUSSELL, VIRGINIA, December 9 (Evening), 1864.

MY DARLING:— We have had two winter days. It has been snowing for the last hour or two. We feel that this ends our campaigning for this year. The last of the Sixth Corps left this morning One "grapevine” (our word for camp rumor) says they have gone to Kentucky or Tennessee by way of the Ohio River, and another that they passed through Washington on the way to Grant. I conjecture the last is the truth.

General Crook gave me a very agreeable present this afternoon – a pair of his old brigadier-general straps. The stars are somewhat dimmed with hard service, but will correspond pretty well with my rusty old blouse. Of course I am very much gratified by the promotion. I know perfectly well that the rank has been conferred on all sorts of small people and so cheapened shamefully, but I can't help feeling that getting it at the close of a most bloody campaign on the recommendation of fighting generals like Crook and Sheridan is a different thing from the same rank conferred well, as it has been in some instances.

Dr. Joe is busy court-martialling one of his brethren, who as medical chief of our hospitals at Winchester turned into private profit the medicines, stimulants, chickens, eggs, etc., which had been provided for our wounded.

We hope to get home together the last of this month or early next, but no one can yet tell what is to be our fate. We are waiting on Sherman and the weather. – My love to all.

Affectionately ever, your
R.

P.S. – I am ever so glad that Governor Chase is Chief Justice. I had given up all hope of his appointment.

I sent to Gallipolis directing my trunk or valise to be expressed to Chillicothe care of William McKell. If he is put to expense, as he will be, perhaps, have it paid. Get into it — my duds may need airing. – I shall want two or three pairs knit woollen socks.

MRS. HAYES.

SOURCE: Charles Richard Williams, editor, Diary and Letters of Rutherford Birchard Hayes, Volume 2, p. 545-6

Diary of Brigadier-General Rutherford B. Hayes, Saturday, December 10, 1864

A cold day; deep snow (eight inches) on the ground. [I] am the centre of congratulations (on promotion to generalship) in the camp. General Duval and staff, Colonel Comly, etc., drink poor whiskey with me! A rational way of doing the joyful, but all we have!

SOURCE: Charles Richard Williams, editor, Diary and Letters of Rutherford Birchard Hayes, Volume 2, p. 546

Diary of Brigadier-General Rutherford B. Hayes, Sunday, December 11, 1864

Snow still on the ground. Wind high and very cold. Men must suffer on picket. Three deserters came in from Early. Early going to Staunton – perhaps to Richmond. Sherman and Hood "as they were." Am getting anxious about Sherman.

SOURCE: Charles Richard Williams, editor, Diary and Letters of Rutherford Birchard Hayes, Volume 2, p. 546

Diary of Brigadier-General Rutherford B. Hayes, Monday, December 12, 1864

A bright, cold day, less wind. Miss Hastings and Miss Defendrefer came out with Captain Hastings' nurse (Miss Wilber) in a sleigh. Their first visit to a winter camp. I give them wine and warm up. A pleasant call, the first from ladies.

SOURCE: Charles Richard Williams, editor, Diary and Letters of Rutherford Birchard Hayes, Volume 2, p. 546

Brigadier-General Rutherford B. Hayes to Sardis Birchard, Monday, December 12, 1864

CAMP RUSSELL, VIRGINIA, December 12, 1864.

DEAR UNCLE:— The snow is at least eight inches deep. A fierce northwester has been blowing for the last fifteen hours and the cold is intense. I fear that men on the picket line will perish of cold. We probably notice severe weather more when living as we are in rather poor tents, but I certainly have seen nothing worse than this even on the shore of the lake.

The campaign in the Valley has closed. The Rebel infantry has all been withdrawn. Our own is leaving rapidly. It goes to Grant. The destination of Crook's command is not yet known. It probably waits news from Sherman.

I shall ask for a leave of absence as soon as we get orders to go into winter quarters, which may come any day.

I have been promoted to brigadier-general. The honor is no great things, it having been conferred, particularly at the first part of the war, on all sorts of men for all sorts of reasons; but I am a good deal gratified, nevertheless. It is made on the recommendation of General Crook, approved by Sheridan. This at the close of such a bloody campaign is something; besides, I am pleased that it seems so well received by officers and men of the command. It has not yet been officially announced, and will not be for perhaps a week or so.

I am very glad Governor Chase is Chief Justice. I had almost given up his appointment. I received letters from Swayne's friends urging me to write in his behalf. I heard nothing of the kind from the friends of Governor Chase. I suppose they felt safe. I replied to Perry and others that I was for Governor Chase.

It seems I have a place at West Point at my disposal. It is quite encouraging to know that my district abounds in young Napoleons. I hear of a new one almost every mail. The claim of one is based largely on the fact that he has two brothers in the service. I happen to know that they (both officers) have been so successful in finding soft places in the rear that neither of them after more than three years' service, has ever been in a battle!

I begin to feel very anxious about Sherman. His failure would be a great calamity in itself. Besides, it would bring into favor the old-fogy, anaconda style of warfare. Boldness and enterprise would be at a discount. If he has made a mistake, it is in not moving with more celerity.

We ought to have another draft without delay – or rather another call for troops, to be followed by a draft if volunteering failed to produce the required number within a reasonable period.

Sincerely,
R. B. HAYES.
S. BIRCHARD.

SOURCE: Charles Richard Williams, editor, Diary and Letters of Rutherford Birchard Hayes, Volume 2, p. 546-8

Diary of Brigadier-General Rutherford B. Hayes, Tuesday, December 13, 1864

Snow still on the ground; very cold. Sleigh-ride with Captain McKinley to Winchester Depot. Run against hay team. Hastings improving decidedly. News from Sherman encouraging but meagre. Hood as he was, before Nashville. Early gone.

SOURCE: Charles Richard Williams, editor, Diary and Letters of Rutherford Birchard Hayes, Volume 2, p. 548

Diary of Brigadier-General Rutherford B. Hayes, Wednesday, December 14, 1864

Snow going off rapidly; sun shining at intervals. In quarters almost all day. News from Sherman favorable. He is near Savannah and can probably avoid a fight and go to the sea if he wishes to do so. Nothing new from Nashville.

SOURCE: Charles Richard Williams, editor, Diary and Letters of Rutherford Birchard Hayes, Volume 2, p. 548

Diary of Brigadier-General Rutherford B. Hayes, Thursday, December 15, 1864

Cold, a little sleet. This evening we get the first message from Sherman's army. “So far all well,” says General Howard from camp five miles from Savannah. Rebel news is that a battle for the possession of Savannah was raging on the 12th. God protect the right!

SOURCE: Charles Richard Williams, editor, Diary and Letters of Rutherford Birchard Hayes, Volume 2, p. 548

Diary of Brigadier-General Rutherford B. Hayes, Friday, December 16, 1864

A thawing, raw day; no rain. General Thomas attacks Hood's left with good results. We hope for a complete victory. Nothing new from Sherman.

Fifty guns fired.

SOURCE: Charles Richard Williams, editor, Diary and Letters of Rutherford Birchard Hayes, Volume 2, p. 548

Diary of Brigadier-General Rutherford B. Hayes, Saturday, December 17, 1864

An inspection of First Brigade. (The) Twenty-third looked well, but alas! very few of the old men. I shed tears as I left the line. It never looked better. Abbott, wounded at Cloyd's Mountain and a prisoner for months, joined us today. General Thomas completed his victory at Nashville. One hundred guns fired here. General Crook fears that one division will go to Grant.

SOURCE: Charles Richard Williams, editor, Diary and Letters of Rutherford Birchard Hayes, Volume 2, p. 548

Diary of John Beauchamp Jones: June 11, 1864

Sunshine and cloudy-warmer.

There is a calm in military matters, but a storm is gathering in the Valley of Virginia. Both sides are concentrating for a battle. If we should be defeated (not likely), then our communications may be cut, and Grant be under no necessity of fighting again to get possession of Richmond. Meantime it is possible Grant will retire, and come again on the south side of the James River.

Congress is debating a measure increasing the President's compensation—he cannot subsist on his present salary. Nor can any of us. Mr. Seddon has a large private income, and could well afford to set the patriotic example of working “for nothing.”

We have heard to-day that Lincoln was nominated for re-election at Baltimore on the 7th inst., and gold rose to $196. Fremont is now pledged to run also, thus dividing the Republican party, and giving an opportunity for the Democrats to elect a President. If we can only subsist till then, we may have peace, and must have independence at all events.

But there is discontent, in the Army of the West, with Gen. Johnston, and in the East with Bragg, and among the croakers with the President.

New potatoes sold to-day for $5 per quart, $160 per bushel!

Mr. Rhodes, Commissioner of Patents, told me to-day that Gen. Forrest, at last accounts, was at Tupelo, Miss., doing nothing,—Gen. Wheeler, his junior in years, superior in rank, to whom he is again subordinated by the potency of Gen. Cooper's red tape, having most of his men.

Robert Tyler has been with the Departmental Battalion at Bottom's Bridge, doing service as a private, though the head of a bureau.

This evening at 7 o'clock we heard artillery in the direction of Lee's army

SOURCE: John Beauchamp Jones, A Rebel War Clerk's Diary at the Confederate States Capital, Volume 2p. 229

Saturday, November 13, 2021

Diary of John Beauchamp Jones: June 12, 1864

Cold and cloudy.

Some firing again this morning, supposed to be merely an artillery duel. Heard from Custis, in pencil mark on the back of envelope; and he has applied for and obtained a transfer from ordnance duty in the rear, back to his company in the front.

It is rumored that Sheridan has cut the road between Gordonsville and Charlottesville, and between that place and Lynchburg. If this be true, he will probably strike south for the Danville Road. Then we shall have confusion here, and the famine intensified. There seems to be no concert among the military commanders, and no unity of purpose among civil functionaries. They mistrust one another, and the people begin to mistrust them all. Meantime the President remains inflexible.

All has been quiet to-day. I suppose the enemy is fortifying, with an intention to move half his army to the south side of the river—distracting us by menacing the city and threatening our communications at the same time.

It is believed here by the croakers that Gen. Lee has lost much of his influence, from the moment Mr. Foote named him as Dictator in the event of one being declared.

Now, it would seem, if the plan of Beauregard, rejected by Bragg, had been adopted, our condition would have been better. It is the curse of Republics to be torn by the dissensions of rival chieftains in moments of public danger!

SOURCE: John Beauchamp Jones, A Rebel War Clerk's Diary at the Confederate States Capital, Volume 2p. 229-30

Diary of John Beauchamp Jones: June 13, 1864

Clear and cool.

Gen. Bragg sent to the Secretary of War to-day a copy of a letter from him to the President, yesterday, proposing to send 6000 more troops to Western Virginia, as Breckinridge has only 9000 and the enemy 18,000.

Lieut.-Gen Holmes sends from Raleigh, N. C., a letter from Hon. T. Braggrevealing the existence of a secret organization in communication with the enemy, styled the “H. O. A.;" and asking authority to arrest certain men supposed to be implicated.

A letter was received from G. W. Lay, his son-in-law, by the Assistant Secretary of War, Judge Campbell, dated near Petersburg, stating that the Southern Express Company would bring articles from Charleston for him. That company seems to be more potential than ever.

Cannonading was heard far down the Chickahominy this morning. And yet Lieut.-Gen. Ewell marched his corps to-day out the Brooke Road, just in the opposite direction. It is rumored that he is marching away for Washington! If he had transportation, and could march in that direction, no doubt it would be the speediest way of relieving Richmond. Gen. Lee, however, knows best.

At the conclave of dignitaries, Hunter, Wigfall, and Secretary Seddon, yesterday, it is reported that when Mr. Seddon explained Grant's zigzag fortifications, Senator Hunter exclaimed he was afraid we could never beat him; when Senator Wigfall said nothing was easier—the President would put the old folks and children to praying at 6 o'clock A.M. Now if any one were to tell these things to the President, he would not believe him.

SOURCE: John Beauchamp Jones, A Rebel War Clerk's Diary at the Confederate States Capital, Volume 2p. 230-1

Diary of John Beauchamp Jones: June 14, 1864

Clear and cool.

Gen. Grant has changed his base—disappearing from the front of Lee in the night. He is supposed to be endeavoring to get his army below the city, and in communication with Butler on the south side.

A dispatch from Gen. Lee says Gen. Hampton has defeated Sheridan.

Forrest has gained a victory in the West.

Lincoln has been nominated Andrew Johnson, of Tennessee, for Vice-President.

Gen. Whiting writes that supplies from abroad are coming in abundantly at Wilmington, N. C.

If we can only preserve our communications with the South, I regard the campaign, if not the war, pretty nearly at an end, and Richmond safe! Grant has failed, after doing his utmost to take Richmond. He has shattered a great army to no purpose; while Lee's army is as strong as ever. This is true generalship in Lee. But Grant can get more men.

SOURCE: John Beauchamp Jones, A Rebel War Clerk's Diary at the Confederate States Capital, Volume 2p. 231

Diary of John Beauchamp Jones: June 15, 1864

Clear and cool; warm late in the day.

It is rumored now that the enemy got to Westtown yesterday, some ten miles below the point on this side occupied by Butler; and to-day he is leaving, either crossing to the south side (probably to cut the railroad), or embarking in his transports for no one knows whither. So, this attempt to take Richmond is as bad a failure as any.

Grant has used up nearly a hundred thousand men—to what purpose? We are not injured, after withstanding this blow of the concentrated power of the enemy. It is true some bridges are burned, some railroads have been cut, and the crops in the line of the enemy's march have been ruined; but our army is intact: Lee's losses altogether, in killed and wounded, not exceeding a few thousand.

A report of an officer states that the James River is not fordable anywhere above for forty miles.

There is a rumor on the street that the head of Ewell's corps (commanded by Gen. Early) crossed the Rappahannock, yesterday, at United States Ford. If this be so, there must be consternation in Washington; and the government there will issue embarrassing orders to Grant.

The spirits of the people here are buoyant with the Western news, as well as with the result of Lee's campaign.

The death of Gen. Polk, however, is lamented by a good many.

The operations of Forrest and Morgan are inspiring.

SOURCE: John Beauchamp Jones, A Rebel War Clerk's Diary at the Confederate States Capital, Volume 2p. 231-2

Diary of John Beauchamp Jones: June 16, 1864

Clear and pleasant weather, but dusty.

The Departmental Battalion marched away, last night, from the Chickahominy (guarding a ford when no enemy was on the other side!) for Chaffin's Farm, on the James River. They were halted after marching an hour or so, and permitted to rest (sleep) while the rest of the brigade passed on.

When Custis awoke he was alone, the battalion having left him; and he was ill, and knew not the road. So he set out for the city, with the intention of going down the river road this morning. But he grew worse after reaching home. Still, he resolved to go; and at 8 A.M., having marched all night nearly, he set out again, and met his sergeant—who had likewise diverged as far as the city—who said if he was really too ill to march, he would deliver the captain a surgeon's certificate to that effect, which would be a sufficient explanation of his absence. So, Surgeon C. Bell Gibson, upon an examination, pronounced him sick, and certified to the captain that he could not be fit for service for a week or ten days. At 3 P.M. he is in bed with a raging fever.

There was a fight at Malvern Hill yesterday, the enemy being repulsed.

There was also another assault on Petersburg, repulsed three times; but the fourth time our forces, two regiments, were forced back by overwhelming numbers from the outer line of defenses..

To-day it is reported that they are fighting again at Petersburg, and great masses of troops are in motion. The war will be determined, perhaps, by the operations of a day or two; and much anxiety is felt by all.

A letter from Hon. G. A. Henry, on the Danville Railroad, saying only 1000 men were there to defend it, with but two cannon without appropiate ammunition!

Soon after a dispatch came from Col. Withers, at Danville, stating it was reported 10,000 of the enemy were approaching the road, and only thirty-two miles distant. He called for reinforcements, but stated his belief that the number of the enemy was exaggerated.

I delivered these to the Secretary myself, finding him engaged writing a long letter to Gen. Kirby Smith, beyond the Mississippi!

In this moment of doubt and apprehension, I saw Mr. Randolph, formerly Secretary of War, and Mr. G. A. Myers, his law colleague, at the telegraph office eagerly in quest of news.

To-day the President decided that Marylanders here are “residents," or "alien enemies;" if the former, they must fight-if the latter, be expelled. A righteous judgment.

Last night, as Custis staggered (with debility) upon the pickets at the fortifications of the city, not having a passport, he was refused permission to proceed. He then lay down to rest, when one of the pickets remarked to him that he was not "smart, or he would flank them.” Custis sprang up and thanked him for the hint, and proceeded to put it in practice.

The Examiner to-day says that Col. Dahlgren, a month before his death, was in Richmond, under an assumed name, with a passport signed by Gen. Winder, to go whithersoever he would. think this probable.

At 3 P. M. the wires cease to work between here and Petersburg, and there are many rumors.

But from the direction of the wind, we cannot hear any firing.

SOURCE: John Beauchamp Jones, A Rebel War Clerk's Diary at the Confederate States Capital, Volume 2p. 232-3

Diary of John Beauchamp Jones: June 17, 1864

Clear and pleasant.

A dispatch from Beauregard states that two assaults of the enemy yesterday, at Petersburg, were repulsed with loss; and it is reported that he recovered all lost ground to-day. Yet Beauregard has an enemy in his rear as well as in his front.

When the battles were fought on the south side of the river in May, it appears that one of Gen. B.'s brigadiers (Colston) stopped some battalions on the way to Richmond, in an emergency, and this has certainly given umbrage to the President, as the following indorsement, which I found on a paper to-day, will show:

“No officer has a right to stop troops moving under the orders of superior authority. If he assumes such power, he does it at his hazard, and must be justified by subsequent events rather than by good intentions.

Gen. Beauregard has, in this case, by approving and continuing the order (Gen. Colston's) assumed the responsibility of the act. – J. D. June 16th, 1864."

SOURCE: John Beauchamp Jones, A Rebel War Clerk's Diary at the Confederate States Capital, Volume 2p. 233-4