Showing posts with label Beauregard. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Beauregard. Show all posts

Sunday, October 11, 2020

Diary of John Beauchamp Jones: February 8, 1864

The air is filled with rumors—none reliable. It is said Gen. Lee is much provoked at the alarm and excitement in the city, which thwarted a plan of his to capture the enemy on the Peninsula; and the militia and the Department Battalions were kept yesterday and to-day under arms standing in the cold, the officers blowing their nails, and “waiting orders,” which came not. Perhaps they were looking for the “conspirators;” a new hoax to get “martial law.”

A Union meeting has been held in Greensborough, N. C. An intelligent writer to the department says the burden of the speakers, mostly lawyers, was the terrorism of Gen. Winder and his corps of rogues and cut-throats, Marylanders, whose operations, it seems, have spread into most of the States. Mr. Sloan, the writer, says, however, a vast majority of the people are loyal.

It is said Congress is finally about to authorize martial law. My cabbages are coming up in my little hot-bed—half barrel. Gen. Maury writes from Mobile that he cannot be able to obtain any information leading to the belief of an intention on the part of the enemy to attack Mobile. He says it would require 40,000 men, after three months' preparation, to take it.

Gov. Brown, of Georgia, says the Confederate States Government has kept bad faith with the Georgia six months’ men; and hence they cannot be relied on to relieve Gen. Beauregard, etc. (It is said the enemy are about to raise the siege of Charleston.) Gov. B. says the State Guard are already disbanded. He says, moreover, that the government here, if it understood its duty, would not seize and put producers in the field, but would stop details, and order the many thousand young officers everywhere swelling in the cars and hotels, and basking idly in every village, to the ranks. He is disgusted with the policy here. What are we coming to?

 Everywhere our troops in the field, whose terms of three years will expire this spring, are re-enlisting for the war. This is an effect produced by President Lincoln's proclamation; that to be permitted to return to the Union, all men must first take an oath to abolish slavery!

SOURCE: John Beauchamp Jones, A Rebel War Clerk's Diary at the Confederate States Capital, Volume 2p. 145-6

Friday, September 25, 2020

Diary of John Beauchamp Jones: February 2, 1864

So lax has become Gen. Winder's rule, or deficient, or worse, the vigilance of his detectives,—the rogues and cut-throats,—one of them keeps a mistress in a house the rent of which is more than his salary, that five Jews, the other day, cleared out in a schooner laden with tobacco, professedly for Petersburg, but sailed directly to the enemy. They had with them some $10,000 in gold; and as they absconded to avoid military service in the Confederate States, no doubt they imparted all the information they could to the enemy.

Mr. Benjamin, Secretary of State, asked the Secretary of War to-day to make such arrangements as would supply the State Department with regular files of Northern papers. They sometimes have in them important diplomatic correspondence, and the perusal of this is about all the Secretary of State has to do.

It is rumored that the Hon. Robert Toombs has been arrested in Georgia for treason. I cannot believe it, but I know he is inimical to the President.

The British papers again seem to sympathise with us.

Senator Orr writes to the Secretary that a resolution of the Senate, asking for copies of Gen. Beauregard's orders in 1862 for the fortification of Vicksburg (he was the first to plan the works which made such a glorious defense), and also a resolution calling for a copy of Gen. B.'s charges against Col. ——, had not been responded to by the President. He asks that these matters may be brought to the President's attention.

The weather is beautiful and spring-like again, and we may soon have some news both from Tennessee and North Carolina. From the latter I hope we shall get some of the meat endangered by the proximity of the enemy.

SOURCE: John Beauchamp Jones, A Rebel War Clerk's Diary at the Confederate States Capital, Volume 2p. 140-1

Monday, September 21, 2020

Captain Charles Wright Wills: November 21, 1864

Near Macon, Ga., November 21, 1864.

This makes seven days from Atlanta, 114 miles by the roads we have marched. I think that time for an army like ours, over bad roads, too, for at least four days, is unprecedented.

Our cavalry had a little skirmish at Macon last evening and were driven back. I heard some cannonading, but don't think it amounted to much. There was a little skirmish about the rear of our division at 4 this p. m., but beside racing and maybe capturing some half-dozen of our foragers, it amounted to nothing. Our left occupied Milledgeville. Governor Brown is here at Macon, also Beauregard, and they have scraped together some ten or a dozen things to defend the town with. I don't think from looks at present, that “Pap” is going to try the town, but can't tell. We have thrown up a little rail barricade this evening, which looks as if we were intending to destroy the Macon and Savannah railroad, on which rests the right of our brigade. We are afraid at this writing that Sheaff Herr was captured to-day. He was foraging where that little skirmish took place this p. m., and Rebels were seen after, and within 75 yards of him. It has rained steadily all day and for the last 60 hours, but has turned cold and is now clear.

SOURCE: Charles Wright Wills, Army Life of an Illinois Soldier, p. 322

Thursday, August 20, 2020

Diary of Private Daniel L. Ambrose: Saturday, April 5, 1862

Nothing of note has occurred to relieve the monotony of camp life. There is now a large army concentrated here. Far away on the hills and in the ravines the tents and the soldiers are seen. Up to this time we have had consid[er]able rain. The roads and by-ways into the camps are cut up terribly. It is with difficulty that the Seventh keeps above mud and water. Vague rumors are afloat this evening to the effect that Albert Sidney Johnson is moving towards the Tennessee with his entire command; however, not much credit is attached to it. But we may anticipate days of desperate strife—days of fire and carnage in Tennessee, for no doubt there has been or is being a concentration of the rebel armies under Johnson and Beauregard, with headquarters at Corinth, Mississippi, twenty-five miles from Pittsburg Landing. Their hopes are no doubt beating high for revenge upon Grant's army, in consideration of the blow wielded against them, in those stormy days of battle around Fort Donelson.

SOURCES: Daniel Leib Ambrose, History of the Seventh Regiment Illinois Volunteer Infantry, p. 47-8

Tuesday, July 21, 2020

United States Military Installations Named For Confederate General

Military Installation
Named For
Fort A. P. Hill
Ambrose Powell Hill
Camp Beauregard
P.G.T. Beauregard
Fort Benning
Henry L. Benning
Fort Bragg
Braxton Bragg
Fort Gordon
John Brown Gordon
Fort Hood
John Bell Hood
Fort Lee
Robert E. Lee
Fort Pickett
George Pickett
Fort Polk
Leonidas Polk
Fort Rucker
Edmund Rucker

Saturday, May 30, 2020

Major-General Benjamin F. Butler to Edwin M. Stanton, May 8, 1862

HEADQUARTERS DEPARTMENT OF THE GULF,                  
New Orleans, May 8, 1862.

SIR: I have the honor to report my further operations since my dispatch of the 29th ultimo.

I commenced the disembarkation of my men on May 1; when I took formal possession of New Orleans.

The Twenty-first Indiana was landed at Algiers, a small town on the right bank of the river, opposite New Orleans, at the inner terminus of the New Orleans and Opelousas Railroad. All the rolling stock of the road has been seized, and the road is now running under my direction, only for the purpose of bringing in provisions to the city. That regiment under Colonel McMillan, on the 5th of May was sent to Brashear, 80 miles (the whole length of the railway), and Berwick Bay, and there captured two brass 6-pounder field guns, With ammunition for the same, some 1,500 pounds of powder, and some other ordnance stores, and dispersed a military organization there forming, captured and brought off two citizens who persisted in insulting our troops.

There are now no Confederate forces on the right or western bank of the Mississippi within possible reaching distance of which I have any intelligence.

The remainder of my troops which I had been able to take with me by means of any transportation which I had, to wit, Thirtieth and Thirty-first Massachusetts, Fourth Wisconsin and Sixth Michigan, Ninth and Twelfth Connecticut, with Manning's and Everett's Fifth and Sixth Massachusetts Batteries, and Holcomb's Second Vermont Battery, and two companies of cavalry, I landed in the city proper, posting and quartering them at the custom-house, city hall, mint, and Lafayette Square. I thought it necessary to make so large a display of force in the city. I found it very turbulent and unruly, completely under the control of the mob; no man on either side daring to act independently for fear of open violence and assassination. On landing we were saluted with cheers for Jeff. Davis and Beauregard. This has been checked, and the last man that was heard to call for cheers for the rebel chief has been sentenced by the provost judge to three months' hard labor at Fort Jackson, which sentence is being executed. No assassinations have been made of any United States soldiers, with the exception of a soldier of the Ninth Connecticut, who had left his camp without orders in the night and was found dead the next morning in an obscure street, having probably been engaged in a drunken brawl.

My officers and myself now walk in any part of the city where occasion calls by day or night, without guard, obstruction, or annoyance. There is, however, here a violent, strong, and unruly mob; that can only be kept under by fear.

On the 5th instant I sent Brigadier-General Phelps, with the Ninth and Twelfth Connecticut and Manning's battery, to take possession of the rebel works on the north side of the city, which run from the river to the marshes of Lake Pontchartrain, about 7 miles above the city. I could make no earlier movement, because all the steamers captured and in repair were claimed by the Navy, and were used either in towing their supply ships or tugging off the Rhode Island, which had gone on shore and detained us all three days. This point, in the judgment of the engineers on both sides, is a most defensible one on the northerly side, had been fortified by the rebels with heavy earthworks, and can be maintained with a few regiments against any force, however large, that may be brought against it.

The sloop-of-war Portsmouth and the gunboat Iroquois are anchored so as to enfilade the front of the embankments which were abandoned by the rebels. These can easily be put in defensible condition, although before the arrival of the army and after the evacuation by the enemy, who spiked the guns, a party from the advanced gunboats landed and burned the gun-carriages, which we must supply from those captured at the customhouse.

All the rolling stock of the Jackson Railroad was carried away by the retreating General Lovell, and he has cut the road 14 miles above the city. I am now taking measures to possess ourselves of the whole road to Manchac Pass. The fleet have gone up the river as far as Baton Rouge. The flag-officer started yesterday, and I have sent two regiments to accompany him and make any landing necessary.

The projected expedition from Vicksburg to Jackson, of which I spoke in my last dispatch, has become nugatory, because I am reliably informed from different sources that Beauregard has fallen back upon Jackson with his whole army, and is there concentrating his means of defense. My spies inform me that he is suffering greatly for want of food; that his army is daily becoming demoralized and leaving him.

As soon as all necessary points can be occupied here and my instructions carried out as regards Mobile, I will endeavour to march upon his rear with all the force I can spare consistently with reasonable safety of this point.

As in case of defeat he must retreat upon us, it will be perceived that I must be prepared to meet the débris of his army, or indeed, as he has ample rolling stock (the Telegraph says 13 miles of cars), he may precipitate any amount of force upon me at any moment; for which we will try to be ready. I have caused Forts Pike and Wood, the defenses of Lake Pontchartrain, to be occupied by detachments of the Seventh Vermont and Eighth New Hampshire Regiments. I have not yet occupied either the Chalmette, Tower Dupré, or Battery Bienvenue. Our boats hold the lake, and these are only defenses from exterior enemies; are in no need to occupy them at present. The same observation will apply to Fort Livingston.

I have the honor to inclose copies of a proclamation and the several general orders necessary in the administration of the affairs of so large a city.*  The order most questionable is the one in regard to cotton and sugar, No. 22; but it has had a most salutary effect. Both cotton and sugar are now being sent for to be brought into this market, and the burning through the adjacent country has ceased.

My action in regard to provisions was made absolutely necessary by the starvation which was falling upon the "just and the unjust," and as the class of workmen and mechanics on whom it is pressing most heavily, I am persuaded, are well disposed to the Union, I may have to take other measures to feed these.

It will become necessary for me to use the utmost severity in rooting out the various rebel secret associations here, which overawe the Union men, and give expression to the feelings of the mob by assassination and murder, and usurping the functions of government when a government was here pretended to. I propose to make some brilliant examples.

I take leave to suggest whether it might not be well to send to this point or Mobile a large force by which to operate on the rebel rear, so as To cut him off completely.

I send this dispatch by Colonel Deming, a gentleman known to you, who is possessed of my confidence, and will present to you some matters of interest more at length than could be done in this form of communication. I desire, however, to add urgently to anything he may say that there is an immediate necessity for a paymaster here. As well for the spirit, health, and comfort of the troops, I have established the strictest quarantine at the proper point (the quarantine grounds), and hope to preserve the present good health of my command. I hope my action will meet the approval of the President and the Department of War. Much of it has been done in the emergencies called for by a new and untried state of things, when promptness and movement were more desirable than deliberation. I await with anxiety instructions from the Department for my guidance in the future.

I have the honor to be, most respectfully, your obedient servant,

 BENJ. F. BUTLER,             
 Major-General, Commanding.
 The SECRETARY OF WAR.
_______________

* See “Correspondence, etc.,” post.

SOURCE: The War of the Rebellion: A Compilation of the Official Records of the Union and Confederate Armies, Series I, Volume 6 (Serial No. 6), p. 506-8

Friday, May 29, 2020

Major-General Benjamin F. Butler to George Coppell, May 11, 1862

HEADQUARTERS DEPARTMENT OF THE GULF,                  
New Orleans, May 11, 1862.
GEORGE COPPELL,
Acting as Her Majesty's Consul, New Orleans:

SIR: I have your communication of May 8. With its evasions of facts I have nothing to do. A plain statement of the matter is this:

A number of residents of this city, who were enjoying the protection and advantages of the United States Government in their large trade and property for many years (some of them more than a decade), and now claiming to have been born subjects of Her Majesty Queen Victoria, organized themselves into a military body, known as the "British Guard," and armed, and uniformed, and equipped, patrolled the streets till the fleet of the United States had the city under its guns. This body then, after a discussion in presence of its captain and at least one other officer, at 11 o'clock at night, deliberately voted, in an organized meeting, to send the arms and uniforms of the company to the army of the rebel General Beauregard, which vote was carried into effect by sending to the rebels substantially all the arms, uniforms, and equipments in their armory. This transaction was concealed from me for some days. I then sent for Captain Burrowes and he acknowledged the facts materially as above stated. For this flagrant breach of the laws of nations, of the United States, your Queen's proclamation, and the laws of God, I directed him to order the company to leave the city within twenty-four hours.

To this he objected, saying, among other things, that this would be punishing the innocent with the guilty, as there were some members absent at the time of the vote; that each soldier of the Guard owned his arms and uniform as private property, and it would be hard to compel those to leave the city who still retained their arms and uniforms and did not concur in the vote. I then modified the order, directing those to report to me who still retained their arms and uniforms; all others, having forfeited all rights of neutrality and hospitality, to leave the city within twenty-four hours, or I should have them arrested and sent to Fort Jackson as dangerous and inimical persons. These people thought it of consequence that Beauregard should have sixty more uniforms and rifles. I thought it of the same consequence that he should have sixty more of these faithless men, who may fill them if they choose.

I intended this order to be strictly enforced. I am content for the present to suffer open enemies to remain in the city of their nativity, but law-defying and treacherous alien enemies shall not. I welcome all neutrals and foreigners who have kept aloof from these troubles which have been brought upon the city, and will, to the extent of my power, protect them and their property. They shall have the same hospitable and just treatment they have always received at the hands of the United States Government. They will see, however, for themselves that it is for the interest of all to have the unworthy among them rooted out, because the acts of such bring suspicion upon all. All the facts above set forth can most easily be substantiated, and indeed are so evasively admitted in your note by the very apology made for them. That apology says that these men when they took this action, &c., sent these arms and munitions of war to Beauregard, "did it with no idea of wrong or harm." I do not understand this. Can it be that such men, of age to enroll themselves as a military body, did not know that it is wrong to supply the enemies of the United States with arms? If so, I think they should be absent from the city long enough to learn so much international law; or do you mean to say that, "knowing their social proclivities and the lateness of the hour when the vote was taken," that therefore they were not responsible? There is another difficulty, however, in these people taking any protection under the British flag. The company received a charter or commission, or some form of rebel authorization from the Governor of Louisiana, and one of them whom I have under arrest accompanied him to the rebel camp.

There is still another difficulty, as I am informed and believe, that a majority of them have made declaration of their intentions to become citizens of the United States and of the supposed Confederate States, and have taken the proper and improper oaths of allegiance to effect that purpose.

Thus far you will do me the honor to observe that I have treated your communication as if it emanated from the duly authorized consul of Her Majesty's Government at this port. The respect I feel for that Government leads me to err, if at all, upon the side of recognition of all its claims and those of its officers, but I take leave to call your attention to the fact that you subscribed yourself "Her Britannic Majesty's Acting Consul," and that I have received no official information of any right which you may have so to act, except your acts alone, and pardon me if I err in saying that your acts in that behalf, which have come to my knowledge, have not been of such a character as to induce the belief on my part that you do rightfully represent that noble Government.

I have the honor to be, your obedient servant,

BENJ. F. BUTLER,              
Major-general, Commanding.

SOURCE: The War of the Rebellion: A Compilation of the Official Records of the Union and Confederate Armies, Series III, Volume 2 (Serial No. 123), p. 126-7

George Coppell to Major-General Benjamin F. Butler, May 13, 1862

BRITISH CONSULATE,                 
New Orleans, May 13, 1862.
Maj. Gen. BENJAMIN F. BUTLER, U.S. Army,
Commanding Department of the Gulf, New Orleans:

SIR: In answering your communication of date of the 11th instant it is my intention to confine myself to a correction of errors in your statement of facts.

The "British Guard" was organized under the general call for service from all residents within the ages which give legal exemption, and as the least obnoxious form in which, as neutrals, they could comply with the requisition. The privileges asked for them, and with some difficulty obtained, limited their service to the lines around the city proper.

From the time it was ascertained that a portion of the U.S. fleet had passed the forts until its arrival before the city, the public mind was disturbed by apprehended violence at home, and the city authorities called upon the foreign brigades, of which the "British Guard" formed part, to suppress any such attempt. Their services were from that moment those of an armed police, which were by yourself and Commodore Farragut gratefully acknowledged.

After several fatiguing days and nights passed in the fulfillment of these duties, between the hours of 2 and 3 a.m. (not 11, as you have it) the Guard left their stations and returned to their armory to deposit their arms, considering that their mission was at an end and that they were no longer wanted. Their existence as an organized body had virtually ceased. One, or it may be two, officers were in the armory, returning with the rest. No meeting was either called or held; there was no voting beyond the few, not exceeding fifteen, with whom the measure originated; no formal announcement of the proposal to dispose of the arms was ever exhibited.

Some of the members left the armory ignorant of any such proposition, though there, when in desultory conversation, among others, it was made and agreed to. It was the resolution of the moment, hardly to be characterized as a deliberate act, and the impulse which prompted it, [it] seems to me, can be reasonably referred to feelings which would actuate men whose friends and former companions [were] with the forces to which the arms are asserted to have been forwarded.

The number of muskets did not exceed thirty-nine, if all were sent, for I am assured that there never was the number you have given (sixty) in the armory.

These facts are verified by all who can speak from personal participation in the whole of parts of them.

The British Guard comprises gentlemen who have large responsibilities intrusted to their charge, and whose absence from the city would result in irreparable injury to the interests confided to their care, and whose word may be received with every confidence as vouchers for the verity of the above statement. The injustice of an order which includes those parties to the act and those who were not requires no explanation on my part. I have before observed that it is not my wish or intention to justify the act; my object is to explain its real import and to diminish the importance which, unexplained, it bears upon its face by stripping it of features which do not properly belong to it.

With reference to that part of your communication which has relation to myself, I would merely add that I furnish in proof of my official capacity letters addressed to me and signed by Earl Russell and Lord Lyons, which, as part of my official register, I must request may be returned to me, and that I am not aware that my accountability for the manner in which I may have fulfilled my duties extend beyond the source from which that authority emanated, and to which your letter will of course be forwarded in all its crudity.

In conclusion, I would say that Mr. Burrowes, to whom I shall exhibit my last communication before sending it, now says that he did tell you that the arms were intended for General Beauregard, but that he could not, from his own knowledge, state whether they were actually forwarded.

Referring to my last communication, I have the honor to be, sir, your obedient servant,

GEORGE COPPELL,                       
Her Britannic Majesty's Acting Consul.

SOURCE: The War of the Rebellion: A Compilation of the Official Records of the Union and Confederate Armies, Series III, Volume 2 (Serial No. 123), p. 127-8

Saturday, May 2, 2020

Diary of John Beauchamp Jones: January 8, 1864

Dispatches from both Beauregard and Whiting indicate a belief of an intention on the part of the enemy to attempt the capture of Charleston and Wilmington this winter. The President directs the Secretary to keep another brigade near Petersburg, that it may be available in an emergency.

It snowed again last night, but cleared off to-day, and is bitter cold.

A memorial was received to-day from the officers of Gen. Longstreet's army, asking that all men capable of performing military service, including those who have hired substitutes, be placed in the army.

To-day I bought a barrel of good potatoes (Irish) for $25, and one of superior quality and size for $30. This is providing for an anticipated season of famine.

Gen. Morgan received the congratulations of a vast multitude to-day. One woman kissed his hand. Gov. Smith advertises a reception to-night.

Yesterday a committee was appointed to investigate the report that a certain member of Congress obtained passports for several absconding Jews, for a bribe.

SOURCE: John Beauchamp Jones, A Rebel War Clerk's Diary at the Confederate States Capital, Volume 2p. 125-6

Monday, April 27, 2020

General P. G. T. Beauregard to General William E. Martin, August 3, 1862

BLADEN, ALABAMA, Aug. 3, 1862.

MY DEAR GENERAL:—I regret much to hear of ——— being wounded. I hope he will soon be able to face the Abolitionists. In this contest we must triumph or perish; and the sooner we make up our minds to it the better. We now understand the hypocritical cry of “Union and the Constitution,” which means, and always did mean, “spoliation and murder.”

We will yet have to come to proclaiming this war “a war to the knife,” when no quarter will be asked or granted. I believe it is the only thing which can prevent recruiting at the North. As to ourselves, I think that very few will not admit that death is preferable to dishonour and ruin.

Our great misfortune is, that we have always relied on foreign intervention “and peace in sixty days.” No nation will ever intervene until it is seen that we can maintain alone our independence; that is, until we can no longer require assistance. England is afraid to admit that she cannot do without our cotton, for then she would virtually be in our power. France is unwilling to interfere, for fear of the treachery of the latter. She always remembers her as “la perfide Albion.”

But if France concludes to take Mexico, she will require the alliance of the Southern Confederacy to protect her from Northern aggression. Nations as well as individuals always consult their own interests in any alliance they may form. Hence, our best reliance must be in our “stout hearts and strong arms.”

I have been very unwell for several months, but could not rest until now. I hope shortly to return to duty, with renewed health and vigour. I know not yet to what point I shall be ordered. I hope to do something shortly by taking the offensive with a well-organized army. However, “l’homme propose et Dieu dispose;” hence, I shall go with alacrity wherever I am ordered.

With kind regards, etc., I remain, yours sincerely,

P. G. T. BEAUREGARD.
Gen. WM. E. MARTIN, Pocotaligo, S. C.

SOURCE: Edward Alfred Pollard, Lee and His Lieutenants, p. 255-6

Thursday, April 9, 2020

Major-General William T. Sherman to Lieutenant-General Ulysses S. Grant, November 6, 1864

HDQRS. MILITARY DIVISION OF THE MISSISSIPPI,                       
In the Field, Kingston, Ga., November 6, 1864.
Lieut. Gen. U.S. GRANT,
Commander-in-Chief, City Point, Va.:

DEAR GENERAL: I have heretofore telegraphed and written you pretty fully, but I still have some thoughts in my busy brain that should be confided to you as a key to future developments. The taking of Atlanta broke upon Jeff. Davis so suddenly as to disturb the equilibrium of his usually well-balanced temper, so that at Augusta, Macon, Montgomery, and Columbia, S. C., he let out some of his thoughts which otherwise he would have kept to himself. As he is not only the President of the Southern Confederacy but also its Commander-in-Chief, we are bound to attach more importance to his words than we would to those of a mere civil chief magistrate. The whole burden of his song consisted in the statement that Sherman's communications must be broken and his army destroyed. Now, it is a well-settled principle that if we can prevent his succeeding in his threat we defeat him and derive all the moral advantages of a victory. Thus far Hood and Beauregard conjointly have utterly failed to interrupt my supplies or communications with my base. My railroad and telegraph are now in good order from Atlanta back to the Ohio River. His losses at Allatoona, Resaca, Ship's Gap, and Decatur exceed in number (his losses in men) ours at the block-houses at Big Shanty, Allatoona Creek, and Dalton; and the rapidity of his flight from Dalton to Gadsden takes from him all the merit or advantage claimed for his skillful and rapid lodgment made on my railroad. The only question in my mind is whether I ought not to have dogged him far over into Mississippi, trusting to some happy accident to bring him to bay and to battle. But I then thought that by so doing I would play into his hands by being drawn or decoyed too far away from our original line of advance. Besides, I had left at Atlanta a corps and railroad guards back to Chattanooga, which might have fallen an easy prey to his superior cavalry. I felt compelled to do what is usually a mistake in war, divide my forces, send a part back into Tennessee, retaining the balance here. As I have heretofore informed you, I sent Stanley back directly from Gaylesville and Schofield from Rome, both of whom have reached their destinations, and thus far Hood, who had brought up at Florence, is farther from my communications than when he started, and I have in Tennessee a force numerically greater than his, well commanded and well organized, so that I feel no uneasiness on the score of Hood reaching my main communications. My last accounts from General Thomas are to 9.30 last night, when Hood's army was about Florence in great distress about provisions, as he well must be. But that devil Forrest was down about Johnsonville and was making havoc among the gun-boats and transports. But Schofield's troops were arriving at Johnsonville and a fleet of gun-boats reported coming up from below, able to repair that trouble. But you know that that line of supplies was only opened for summer use when the Cumberland is not to be depended upon. We now have abundant supplies at Atlanta, Chattanooga, and Nashville, with the Louisville and Nashville Railroad and the Cumberland River unmolested, so that I regard Davis' threat to get his army on my rear, or on my communications, as a miserable failure. Now as to the second branch of my proposition, I admit that the first object should be the destruction of that army, and if Beauregard moves his infantry and artillery up into that pocket about Jackson and Paris, I will feel strongly tempted to move Thomas directly against him and myself move rapidly by Decatur and Purdy to cut off his retreat. But this would involve the abandonment of Atlanta and a retrograde movement, which would be very doubtful of expediency or success; for, as a matter of course, Beauregard, who watches me with his cavalry and his friendly citizens, would have timely notice and would slip out and escape to regain what we have earned at so much cost. I am more than satisfied that Beauregard has not the men to attack fortifications or meet me in battle, and it would be a great achievement for him to make me abandon Atlanta by mere threats and maneuvers. These are the reasons which have determined my former movements. I have employed the last ten days in running to the rear the sick and wounded and worthless, and all the vast amount of stores accumulated by our army in the advance, aiming to organize this branch of my army into four well-commanded corps, encumbered by only one gun to 1,000 men, and provisions and ammunition which can be loaded up in our mule teams, so that we can pick up and start on the shortest notice. I reckon that by the l0th instant this end will be reached, and by that date I also will have the troops all paid, the Presidential election over and out of our way, and I hope the early storms of November, now prevailing, will also give us the chance of a long period of fine healthy weather for campaigning. Then the question presents itself, What shall be done? On the supposition always that Thomas can hold the line of the Tennessee, and very shortly be able to assume the offensive as against Beauregard, I propose to act in such a manner against the material resources of the South as utterly to negative Davis' boasted threat and promises of protection. If we can march a well-appointed army right through his territory, it is a demonstration to the world, foreign and domestic, that we have a power which Davis cannot resist. This may not be war, but rather statesmanship, nevertheless it is overwhelming to my mind that there are thousands of people abroad and in the South who will reason thus: If the North can march an army right through the South, it is proof positive that the North can prevail in this contest, leaving only open the question of its willingness to use that power.

Now, Mr. Lincoln's election, which is assured, coupled with the conclusion thus reached, makes a complete, logical whole. Even without a battle, the result operating upon the minds of sensible men would produce fruits more than compensating for the expense, trouble, and risk. Admitting this reasoning to be good, that such a movement per se be right, still there may be reasons why one route would be better than another. There are three from Atlanta, southeast, south, and southwest, all open, with no serious enemy to oppose at present. The first would carry me across the only east and west railroad remaining in the Confederacy, which would be destroyed and thereby sever the communications between the armies of Lee and Beauregard. Incidentally, I might destroy the enemy's depots at Macon and Augusta and reach the seashore at Charleston or Savannah, from either of which points I could re-enforce our armies in Virginia. The second and easiest route would be due south, following substantially the valley of the Flint River, which is very fertile and well supplied, and fetching up on the navigable waters of the Appalachicola, destroying en route the same railroad, taking up the prisoners of war still at Andersonville, and destroying about 400,000 bales of cotton near Albany and Fort Gaines. This, however, would leave the army in a bad position for future movements. The third, down the Chattahoochee to Opelika and Montgomery, thence to Pensacola or Tensas Bayou, in communication with Fort Morgan. This latter route would enable me at once to co-operate with General Canby in the reduction of Mobile and occupation of the line of the Alabama. In my judgment the first would have a material effect upon your campaign in Virginia, the second would be the safest of execution, but the third would more properly fall within the sphere of my own command and have a direct bearing upon my own enemy, Beauregard. If, therefore, I should start before I hear further from you or before further developments turn my course, you may take it for granted that I have moved via Griffin to Barnesville; that I break up the road between Columbus and Macon good, and then, if I feint on Columbus, will move, via Macon and Millen, to Savannah, or if I feint on Macon you may take it for granted I have shot off toward Opelika, Montgomery, and Mobile Bay or Pensacola. I will not attempt to send couriers back, but trust to the Richmond papers to keep you well advised. I will give you notice by telegraph of the exact time of my departure. General Steedman is here to clear the railroad back to Chattanooga, and I will see that the road is broken completely between the Etowah and the Chattahoochee, including their bridges, and that Atlanta itself is utterly destroyed.

I am, with respect,
W. T. SHERMAN,                
Major-General.

SOURCE: The War of the Rebellion: A Compilation of the Official Records of the Union and Confederate Armies, Series I, Volume 39, Part 3 (Serial No. 79), p. 658-61

Wednesday, April 1, 2020

Major-General William T. Sherman to Major-General Henry W. Halleck, December 24, 1864

HEADQUARTERS MILITARY DIVISION OF THE MISSISSIPPI,     
In the Field, Savannah, Ga., December 24, 1864.
Maj. Gen. H. W. HALLECK,
Chief of Staff, Washington City, D.C.:

GENERAL: I had the pleasure to receive your two letters of the 16th and 18th instant to-day, and I feel more than usually flattered by the high encomiums you have passed on our recent campaign, which is now complete by the occupation of Savannah. I am also very glad that General Grant has changed his mind about embarking my troops for James River, leaving me free to make the broad swath you describe through South and North Carolina, and still more gratified at the news from Thomas in Tennessee, because it fulfills my plan, which contemplated his being fully able to dispose of Hood in case he ventured north of the Tennessee River; so I think, on the whole, I can chuckle over Jeff. Davis' disappointment in not turning my Atlanta campaign into a Moscow disaster. I have just finished a long letter to General Grant, and have explained to him that we are engaged in shifting our base from the Ogeechee over to the Savannah River, dismantling all the forts made by the enemy to bear upon the salt-water channels, and transferring the heavy ordnance, &c., to Fort Pulaski and Hilton Head, and in remodelling the enemy's interior lines to suit our future plans and purposes. I have also laid down the programme of a campaign which I can make this winter, and put me in the spring on the Roanoke, in direct communication with him on the James River. In general terms, my plan is to turn over to General Foster the city of Savannah, and to sally forth, with my army resupplied, cross the Savannah, feign on Charleston and Augusta, but strike between, breaking en route the Charleston and Augusta Railroad, also a large part of that front Branchville and Camden toward North Carolina, and then rapidly moving to some point of the railroad from Charleston to Wilmington, between the Santee and Cape Fear Rivers; then, communicating with the fleet in the neighborhood of Georgetown, I would turn upon Wilmington or Charleston according to the importance of either. I rather prefer Wilmington, as a live place, over Charleston, which is dead and unimportant when its railroad communications are broken. I take it for granted the present movement on Wilmington will fail, because I know that gun-boats cannot take a fort, and Butler has not the force or the ability to take it. If I should determine to take Charleston I would turn across the country, which I have hunted over many a time, from Santee to Mount Pleasant, throwing one wing on the peninsula between Ashley and Cooper. After accomplishing one or other of these ends I would make a bee-line for Raleigh, or Weldon, when Lee would be forced to come out of Richmond or acknowledge himself beaten. He would, I think, by the use of the Danville railroad, throw himself rapidly between me and Grant, leaving Richmond in the hands of the latter. This would not alarm me, for I have an army which I think can maneuver, and I would force him to attack me at a disadvantage, always under the supposition that Grant would be on his heels; and if the worst came to the worst I could fight my way down to Albemarle Sound or New Berne.

I think the time has come now when we should attempt the boldest moves, and my experience is that they are easier of execution than more timid ones, because the enemy is disconcerted by them—as for instance, my recent campaign. I also doubt the wisdom of concentration beyond a certain point, as the roads of this country limit the amount of men that can be brought to bear in any one battle; and I don't believe any one general can handle more than 60,000 men in battle. I think my campaign of the last month, as well as every step I take from this point northward, is as much a direct attack upon Lee's army as though I were operating within the mound of his artillery. I am very anxious that Thomas should follow up his successes to the very uttermost point. My orders to him before I left Kingston were, after beating Hood, to follow him as far as Columbus, Miss., or Selma, Ala., both of which lie in districts of country which I know to be rich in corn and meat. I attach more importance to these deep incisions into the enemy's country, because this war differs from European wars in this particular. We are not only fighting hostile armies, but a hostile people, and must make old and young, rich and poor, feel the hard hand of war, as well as their organized armies. I know that this recent movement of mine through Georgia has had a wonderful effect in this respect. Thousands who had been deceived by their lying papers into the belief that we were being whipped all the time, realized the truth, and have no appetite for a repetition of the same experience. To be sure, Jeff. Davis has his people under a pretty good state of discipline, but I think faith in him is much shaken in Georgia; and I think before we are done, South Carolina will not be quite so tempestuous. I will bear in mind your hint as to Charleston, and don't think salt will be necessary. When I move the Fifteenth Corps will be on the right of the Right Wing, and their position will bring them, naturally, into Charleston first; and if you have watched the history of that corps you will have remarked that they generally do their work up pretty well. The truth is the whole army is burning with an insatiable desire to wreak vengeance upon South Carolina. I almost tremble at her fate, but feel that she deserves all that seems in store for her. Many and many a person in Georgia asked me why we did not go to South Carolina, and when I answered that I was en route for that State the invariable reply was, “Well, if you will make those people feel the severities of war, we will pardon you for your desolation of Georgia.” I look upon Columbia as quite as bad as Charleston, and I doubt if we shall spare the public buildings there, as we did at Milledgeville. I have been so busy lately that I have not yet made my official report, and think I had better wait until I get my subordinate reports before attempting it, as I am anxious to explain clearly, not only the reasons for every step, but the amount of execution done, and this I cannot do until I get the subordinate reports; for we marched the whole distance in tour or more columns, and, of course, I could only be present with one, and generally that one engaged in destroying railroads. This work of destruction was performed better than usual, because I had an engineer regiment provided with claws to twist the bars after being heated. Such bars can never be used again, and the only way in which a railroad line can be reconstructed across Georgia will be to make a new road from Fairburn Station, twenty-four miles southwest of Atlanta, to Madison, a distance of 100 miles; and before that can be done I propose to be on the road from Augusta to Charleston, which is a continuation of the same. I felt somewhat disappointed at Hardee's escape from me, but really am not to blame. I moved as quick as possible to close up the “Union Causeway,” but intervening obstacles were such that before I could get my troops on the road Hardee had slipped out. Still, I know that the men that were in Savannah will be lost, in a measure, to Jeff. Davis; for the Georgia troops, under G. W. Smith, declared they would not fight in South Carolina, and have gone north en route for Augusta, and I have reason to believe the North Carolina troops have gone to Wilmington—in other words, they are scattered. I have reason to believe that Beauregard was present in Savannah at the time of its evacuation, and I think he and Hardee are now in Charleston, doubtless making preparations for what they know will be my next step.

Please say to the President that I received his kind message through Colonel Markland, and feel thankful for his high favor. If I disappoint him in the future, it shall not be from want of zeal or love to the cause. Of you I expect a full and frank criticism of my plans for the future, which may enable me to correct errors before it is too late. I do not wish to be rash, but want to give my rebel friends no chance to accuse us of want of enterprise or courage.

Assuring you of my high personal respect, I remain, as ever, your friend,

W. T. SHERMAN,    
Major-General.

[Indorsement.]

Maj. Gen. H. W. HALLECK,
Chief of Staff of the Army:

GENERAL: This letter was brought by Lieutenant Dunn, of my staff, with the request that I would open and read it, as it contained one or two points which his letter addressed to me does not contain.

Respectfully,
U.S. GRANT,
Lieutenant-General.

SOURCE: The War of the Rebellion: A Compilation of the Official Records of the Union and Confederate Armies, Series I, Volume 44 (Serial No. 92), p. 798-800

Friday, March 20, 2020

Major-General Howell Cobb to James A. Seddon, January 8, 1865

HDQRS. GEORGIA RESERVES AND MIL. DIST. OF GEORGIA,     
Macon, Ga., January 8, 1865.
Hon. JAMES A. SEDDON,
Secretary of War, Richmond, Va.:

SIR: Your letter of the 30th of December received by yesterday's mail. I beg to assure you that I have spared no efforts or pains to prosecute vigorously the recruiting of our Army through the conscript camp. It is true, as you say, there are many liable to conscription who have not been reached, and for reasons I have heretofore given I fear never will be reached. Rest assured, however, that I will not cease my efforts in that regard. In response to your inquiries, how our Army is to be recruited, I refer with strength and confidence to the policy of opening the door for volunteers. I have so long and so urgently pressed this matter that I feel reluctant even to allude to it, and yet I should not be true to my strong convictions of duty if I permitted any opportunity to pass without urging and pressing it upon the proper authorities. It is in my opinion not only the best but the only mode of saving the Army, and every day it is postponed weakens its strength and diminishes the number that could be had by it. The freest, broadest, and most unrestricted system of volunteering is the true policy, and cannot be too soon resorted to. I think that the proposition to make soldiers of our slaves is the most pernicious idea that has been suggested since the war began. It is to me a source of deep mortification and regret to see the name of that good and great man and soldier, General R. E. Lee, given as authority for such a policy. My first hour of despondency will be the one in which that policy shall be adopted. You cannot make soldiers of slaves, nor slaves of soldiers. The moment you resort to negro soldiers your white soldiers will be lost to you; and one secret of the favor with which the proposition is received in portions of the Army is the hope that when negroes go into the Army they will be permitted to retire. It is simply a proposition to fight the balance of the war with negro troops. You can't keep white and black troops together, and you can't trust negroes by themselves. It is difficult to get negroes enough for the purpose indicated in the President's message, much less enough for an Army. Use all the negroes you can get, for all the purposes for which you need them, but don't arm them. The day you make soldiers of them is the beginning of the end of the revolution. If slaves will make good soldiers our whole theory of slavery is wrong—but they won't make soldiers. As a class they are wanting in every qualification of a soldier. Better by far to yield to the demands of England and France and abolish slavery, and thereby purchase their aid, than to resort to this policy, which leads as certainly to ruin and subjugation as it is adopted; you want more soldiers, and hence the proposition to take negroes into the Army. Before resorting to it, at least try every reasonable mode of getting white soldiers. I do not entertain a doubt that you can by the volunteering policy get more men into the service than you can arm. I have more fears about arms than about men. For heaven's sake try it before you fill with gloom and despondency the hearts of many of our truest and most devoted men by resorting to the suicidal policy of arming our slaves.

Having answered the inquiries of your letter, let me volunteer in a few words a suggestion. Popularize your administration by some just concessions to the strong convictions of public opinion. Mark you, I do not say yield to popular clamor, but concede something to the earnest convictions of an overwhelming, and, I will say, an enlightened public opinion. First, yield your opposition to volunteering in the form and manner which I have heretofore urged; second, restore General Johnston to the command of the Army of Tennessee, and return General Beauregard to South Carolina.

With Lee in Virginia, Johnston here, and Beauregard in South Carolina you restore confidence and at once revive the hopes of the people. At present I regret to say that gloom and despondency rule the hour, and bitter opposition to the Administration, mingled with disaffection and disloyalty, is manifesting itself. With a dash of the pen the President can revolutionize this state of things, and I earnestly beseech him to do it.

Sincerely, yours,
HOWELL COBB,     
Major-general.

SOURCE: The War of the Rebellion: A Compilation of the Official Records of the Union and Confederate Armies, Series IV, Volume 3 (Serial No. 129), p. 1009-10

Saturday, March 7, 2020

Diary of John Beauchamp Jones: December 24, 1863

Another interposition of Providence in behalf of my family. The bookseller who purchased the edition of the first volume of my “Wild Western Scenes—new series,” since Mr. Malsby's departure from the country, paid me $300 to-day, copyright, and promises more very soon. I immediately bought a load of coal, $31.50, and a half cord of wood for $19. I must now secure some food for next month.

Among the papers sent in by the President, to-day, was one from Gen. Whiting, who, from information received by him, believes there will be an attack on Wilmington before long, and asks reinforcements.

One from Gen. Beauregard, intimating that he cannot spare any of his troops for the West, or for North Carolina. The President notes on this, however, that the troops may be sent where they may seem to be actually needed.

Also an application to permit one of Gen. Sterling Price's sons to visit the Confederate States, which the President is not disposed to grant.

The lower house of Congress yesterday passed a bill putting into the army all who have hitherto kept out of it by employing substitutes. I think the Senate will also pass it. There is great consternation among the speculators.

SOURCE: John Beauchamp Jones, A Rebel War Clerk's Diary at the Confederate States Capital, Volume 2p. 118-9

Saturday, February 29, 2020

Major-General Henry W. Halleck to Brigadier-General Ulysses S. Grant, January 30, 1862

HEADQUARTERS DEPARTMENT OF THE MISSOURI,         
Saint Louis, January 30, 1862.
Brig. Gen. U.S. GRANT,
Cairo, Ill.:

SIR: You will immediately prepare to send forward to Fort Henry, on the Tennessee River, all your available forces from Smithland, Paducah, Cairo, Fort Holt, Bird's Point, &c. Sufficient garrisons must be left to hold these places against an attack from Columbus. As the roads are almost impassable for large forces, and as your command is very deficient in transportation, the troops will be taken in steamers up the Tennessee River as far as practicable. Supplies will also be taken up in steamers as far as possible. Flag-Officer Foote will protect the transports with his gunboats. The Benton and perhaps some others should be left for the defense of Cairo. Fort Henry should be taken and held at all hazards. I shall immediately send you three additional companies of artillery from this place.

The river front of the fort is armed with 20-pounders, and it may be necessary for you to take some guns of large caliber and establish a battery on the opposite side of the river. It is believed that the guns on the land side are of small caliber and can be silenced by our field artillery. It is said that the north side of the river below the fort is favorable for landing. If so, you will land and rapidly occupy the road to Dover and fully invest the place, so as to cut off the retreat of the garrison. Lieutenant-Colonel McPherson, U.S. Engineers, will immediately report to you, to act as chief engineer of the expedition. It is very probable that an attempt will be made from Columbus to re-enforce Fort Henry; also from Fort Donelson at Dover. If you can occupy the road to Dover you can prevent the latter. The steamers will give you the means of crossing from one side of the river to the other. It is said that there is a masked battery opposite the island below Fort Henry. If this cannot be avoided or turned it must be taken.

Having invested Fort Henry, a cavalry force will be sent forward to break up the railroad from Paris to Dover. The bridges should be rendered impassable, but not destroyed.

A telegram from Washington says that Beauregard left Manassas four days ago with fifteen regiments for the line of Columbus and Bowling Green. It is therefore of the greatest importance that we cut that line before he arrives. You will move with the least delay possible. You will furnish Commodore Foote with a copy of this letter. A telegraph line will be extended as rapidly as possible from Paducah, east of the Tennessee River, to Fort Henry. Wires and operators will be sent from Saint Louis.

H. W. HALLECK,    
Major-general.

SOURCE: The War of the Rebellion: A Compilation of the Official Records of the Union and Confederate Armies, Series I, Volume 7 (Serial No. 7), p. 121-2

Sunday, December 29, 2019

Diary of John Beauchamp Jones: December 2, 1863

No battle yet, though still hourly expected on the old field near the Rappahannock. And we have nothing definite from the West.

The appointment of Beauregard to succeed Bragg is not officially announced; and the programme may be changed.

SOURCE: John Beauchamp Jones, A Rebel War Clerk's Diary at the Confederate States Capital, Volume 2p. 110

Diary of John Beauchamp Jones: December 3, 1863

Meade recrossed the Rapidan last night! This is a greater relief to us than the enemy has any idea of. I hope the campaign is over for the winter.

And we have authentic advices of a terrible check given the enemy at Ringgold, Ga.; their killed and wounded being estimated at 2000, which caused Grant to recoil, and retire to Chickamauga, where he is intrenching.

After all, it is doubted whether Beauregard is to succeed Bragg. Lieut.-Gen. Hardee is in command, temporarily, and it may be permanently. Bragg was relieved at his own request. I know he requested the same thing many months ago. A full general should command there.

SOURCE: John Beauchamp Jones, A Rebel War Clerk's Diary at the Confederate States Capital, Volume 2p. 110

Wednesday, December 4, 2019

Diary of William Howard Russell: July 21, 1861

Punctual to time, our carriage appeared at the door, with a spare horse, followed by the black quadruped on which the negro boy sat with difficulty, in consequence of its high spirits and excessively hard mouth. I swallowed a cup of tea and a morsel of bread, put the remainder of the tea into a bottle, got a flask of light Bordeaux, a bottle of water, a paper of sandwiches, and having replenished my small flask with brandy, stowed them all away in the bottom of the gig; but my friend, who is not accustomed to rise very early in the morning, did not make his appearance, and I was obliged to send several times to the Legation to quicken his movements. Each time I was assured he would be over presently; but it was not till two hours had elapsed, and when I had just resolved to leave him behind, that he appeared in person, quite unprovided with viaticum, so that my slender store had now to meet demands of two instead of one. We are off at last. The amicus and self find contracted space behind the driver. The negro boy, grinning half with pain and u the balance with pleasure, as the Americans say, held on his rampant charger, which made continual efforts to leap into the gig, and thus through the deserted city we proceeded towards the Long Bridge, where a sentry examined our papers, and said with a grin, You'll find plenty of congressmen on before you.” And then our driver whipped his horses through the embankment of Fort Runyon, and dashed off along a country road, much cut up with gun and cart-wheels, towards the main turnpike.

The promise of a lovely day, given by the early dawn, was likely to be realized to the fullest, and the placid beauty of the scenery as we drove through the woods below Arlington, and beheld the white buildings shining in the early sunlight, and the Potomac, like a broad silver ribbon dividing the picture breathed of peace. The silence close to the city was unbroken. From the time we passed the guard beyond the Long Bridge, for several miles, we did not meet a human being, except a few soldiers in the neighborhood of the deserted camps, and when we passed beyond the range of tents we drove for nearly two hours through a densely-wooded, undulating country; the houses, close to the roadside, shut up and deserted, window-high in the crops of Indian corn, fast ripening for the sickle; alternate field and forest, the latter generally still holding possession of the hollows, and, except when the road, deep and filled with loose stones, passed over the summit of the ridges, the eye caught on either side little but fir-trees and maize, and the deserted wooden houses, standing amidst the slave-quarters.

The residences close to the lines gave signs and tokens that the Federals had recently visited them. But at the best of times the inhabitants could not be very well off. Some of the farms were small, the houses tumbling to decay, with unpainted roofs and sidewalls, and windows where the want of glass was supplemented by panes of wood. As we get farther into the country the traces of the debatable land between the two armies vanished, and negroes looked out from their quarters, or sickly-looking women and children were summoned forth by the rattle of the wheels to see who was hurrying to the war. Now and then a white man looked out, with an ugly scowl on his face, but the country seemed drained of the adult male population, and such of the inhabitants as we saw were neither as comfortably dressed nor as healthy-looking as the shambling slaves who shuffled about the plantations. The road was so cut up by gun-wheels, ammunition and commissariat wagons, that our horses made but slow way against the continual draft upon the collar; but at last the driver, who had known the country in happier times, announced that we had entered the high-road for Fairfax Court House. Unfortunately my watch had gone down, but I guessed it was then a little before nine o'clock. In a few minutes afterwards I thought I heard, through the eternal clatter and jingle of the old gig, a sound which made me call the driver to stop. He pulled up, and we listened. In a minute or so, the well-known boom of a gun, followed by two or three in rapid succession, but at a considerable distance, reached my ear. “Did you hear that?” The driver heard nothing, nor did my companion, but the black boy on the led-horse, with eyes starting out of his head, cried, “I hear them, massa; I hear them, sure enough, like de gun in de navy yard;” and as he spoke the thudding noise, like taps with a gentle hand upon a muffled drum, were repeated, which were heard both by Mr. Warre and the driver. “They are at it! We shall be late! Drive on as fast as you can!” We rattled on still faster, and presently came up to a farmhouse, where a man and woman, with some negroes beside them, were standing out by the hedgerow above us, looking up the road in the direction of a cloud of dust, which we could see rising above the tops of the trees. We halted for a moment. “How long have the guns been going, sir?” “Well, ever since early this morning,” said he; “they've been having a fight. And I do really believe some of our poor Union chaps have had enough of it already. For here's some of them darned Secessionists marching down to go into Alexandery.” The driver did not seem altogether content with this explanation of the dust in front of us, and presently, when a turn of the road brought to view a body of armed men, stretching to an interminable distance, with bayonets glittering in the sunlight through the clouds of dust, seemed inclined to halt or turn back again. A nearer approach satisfied me they were friends, and as soon as we came up with the head of the column I saw that they could not be engaged in the performance of any military duty. The men were marching without any resemblance of order, in twos and threes or larger troops. Some without arms, carrying great bundles on their backs; others with their coats hung from their firelocks; many footsore. They were all talking, and in haste; many plodding along laughing, so I concluded that they could not belong to a defeated army, and imagined McDowell was effecting some flank movement. “Where are you going to, may I ask?”

“If this is the road to Alexandria, we are going there.”

“There is an action going on in front, is there not?”

“Well, so we believe, but we have not been fighting.”

Although they were in such good spirits, they were not communicative, and we resumed our journey, impeded by the straggling troops and by the country cars containing their baggage and chairs, and tables and domestic furniture, which had never belonged to a regiment in the field. Still they came pouring on. I ordered, the driver to stop at a rivulet, where a number of men were seated in the shade, drinking the water and bathing their hands and feet. On getting out I asked an officer, “May I beg to know, sir, where your regiment is going to?” “Well, I reckon, sir, we are going home to Pennsylvania.” “This is the 4th Pennsylvania Regiment, is it not, sir?” “It is so, sir; that's the fact.” “I should think there is severe fighting going on behind you, judging from the firing?” (for every moment the sound of the cannon had been growing more distinct and more heavy). “Well, I reckon, sir, there is.” I paused for a moment, not knowing what to say, and yet anxious for an explanation; and the epauletted gentleman, after a few seconds' awkward hesitation, added, “We are going home because, as you see, the men's time's up, sir. We have had three months of this sort of work, and that's quite enough of it.” The men who were listening to the conversation expressed their assent to the noble and patriotic utterances of the centurion, and, making him a low bow, we resumed our journey.

It was fully three and a half miles before the last of the regiment passed, and then the road presented a more animated scene, for white-covered commissariat wagons were visible, wending towards the front, and one or two hack carriages, laden with civilians, were hastening in the same direction. Before the doors of the wooden farm-houses the colored people were assembled, listening with outstretched necks to the repeated reports of the guns. At one time, as we were descending the wooded road, a huge blue dome, agitated by some internal convulsion, appeared to bar our progress, and it was only after infinite persuasion of rein and whip that the horses approached the terrific object, which was an inflated balloon, attached to a wagon, and defying the efforts of the men in charge to jockey it safely through the trees.

It must have been about eleven o'clock when we came to the first traces of the Confederate camp, in front of Fairfax Court House, where they had cut a few trenches and levelled the trees across the road, so as to form a rude abattis; but the works were of a most superficial character, and would scarcely have given cover either to the guns, for which embrasures were left at the flanks to sweep the road, or to the infantry intended to defend them.

The Confederate force stationed here must have consisted, to a considerable extent, of cavalry. The bowers of branches, which, they had made to shelter their tents, camp-tables, empty boxes, and packing-cases, in the debris one usually sees around an encampment, showed they had not been destitute of creature comforts.

Some time before noon the driver, urged continually by adjurations to get on, whipped his horses into Fairfax Court House, a village which derives its name from a large brick building, in which the sessions of the county are held. Some thirty or forty houses, for the most part detached, with gardens or small strips of land about them, form the main street. The inhabitants who remained had by no means an agreeable expression of countenance, and did not seem on very good terms with the Federal soldiers, who were lounging up and down the streets, or standing in the shade of the trees and doorways. I asked the sergeant of a picket in the street how long the firing had been going on. He replied that it had commenced at half-past seven or eight, and had been increasing ever since. “Some of them will lose their eyes and back teeth,” he added, “before it is over.” The driver, pulling up at a roadside inn in the town, here made the startling announcement, that both he and his horses must have something to eat, and although we would have been happy to join him, seeing that we had no breakfast, we could not afford the time, and were not displeased when a thin-faced, shrewish woman, in black, came out into the veranda, and said she could not let us have anything unless we liked to wait till the regular dinner hour of the house, which was at one o'clock. The horses got a bucket of water, which they needed in that broiling sun; and the cannonade, which by this time had increased into a respectable tumult that gave evidence of a well-sustained action, added vigor to the driver's arm, and in a mile or two more we dashed in to a village of burnt houses, the charred brick chimney stacks standing amidst the blackened embers being all that remained of what once was Germantown. The firing of this village was severely censured by General McDowell, who probably does not appreciate the value of such agencies employed “by our glorious Union army to develop loyal sentiments among the people of Virginia.”

The driver, passing through the town, drove straight on, but after some time I fancied the sound of the guns seemed dying away towards our left. A big negro came shambling along the roadside — the driver stopped and asked him, “is this the road to Centreville?” “Yes, sir; right on, sir; good road to Centreville, massa,” and so we proceeded, till I became satisfied from the appearance of the road that we had altogether left the track of the army. At the first cottage we halted, and inquired of a Virginian, who came out to look at us, whether the road led to Centreville. “You're going to Centreville, are you?” “Yes, by the shortest road we can.” “Well, then — you're going wrong—right away! Some people say there's a bend of road leading through the wood a mile farther on, but those who have tried it lately have come back to Germantown and don't think it leads to Centreville at all.” This was very provoking, as the horses were much fatigued and we had driven several miles out of our way. The driver, who was an Englishman, said, “I think it would be best for us to go on and try the road anyhow. There's not likely to be any Seceshers about there, are there, sir?”

“What did you say, sir,” inquired the Virginian, with a vacant stare upon his face.

“I merely asked whether you think we are likely to meet with any Secessionists if we go along that road?”

“Secessionists!” repeated the Virginian, slowly pronouncing each syllable as if pondering on the meaning of the word — “Secessionists! Oh no, sir; I don't believe there's such a thing as a Secessionist in the whole of this country.”

The boldness of this assertion, in the very hearing of Beauregard's cannon, completely shook the faith of our Jehu in any information from that source, and we retraced our steps to Germantown, and were directed into the proper road by some negroes, who were engaged exchanging Confederate money at very low rates for Federal copper with a few straggling soldiers. The faithful Muley Moloch, who had been capering in our rear so long, now complained that he was very much burned, but on further inquiry it was ascertained he was merely suffering from the abrading of his skin against an English saddle.

In an hour more we had gained the high road to Centreville, on which were many buggies, commissariat carts, and wagons full of civilians, and a brisk canter brought us in sight of a rising ground, over which the road led directly through a few houses on each side, and dipped out of sight, the slopes of the hill being covered with men, carts, and horses, and the summit crested with spectators, with their back turned towards us, and gazing on the valley beyond. “There's Centreville,” says the driver, and on our poor panting horses were forced, passing directly through the Confederate bivouacs, commissariat parks, folds of oxen, and two German regiments, with a battery of artillery, halting on the rising-ground by the road-side. The heat was intense. Our driver complained of hunger and thirst, to which neither I nor my companion were insensible; and so pulling up on the top of the hill, I sent the boy down to the village which we had passed, to see if he could find shelter for the horses, and a morsel for our breakfastless selves.

It was a strange scene before us. From the hill a densely wooded country, dotted at intervals with green fields and cleared lands, spread five or six miles in front, bounded by a line of blue and purple ridges, terminating abruptly in escarpment towards the left front, and swelling gradually towards the right into the lower spines of an offshoot from the Blue Ridge Mountains. On our left the view was circumscribed by a forest which clothed the side of the ridge on which we stood, and covered its shoulder far down into the plain. A gap in the nearest chain of the hills in our front was pointed out by the by-standers as the Pass of Manassas, by which the railway from the West is carried into the plain, and still nearer at hand, before us, is the junction of that rail with the line from Alexandria, and with the railway leading southwards to Richmond. The intervening space was not a deal level; undulating lines of forest, marked the course of the streams which intersected it, and gave, by their variety of color and shading an additional charm to the landscape which, enclosed in a framework of blue and purple hills, softened into violet in the extreme distance, presented one of the most agreeable displays of simple pastoral woodland scenery that could be conceived.

But the sounds which came upon the breeze, and the sights which met our eyes, were in terrible variance with the tranquil character of the landscape. The woods far and near echoed to the roar of cannon, and thin frayed lines of blue smoke marked the spots whence came the muttering sound of rolling musketry; the white puffs of smoke burst high above the tree-tops, and the gunners' rings from shell and howitzer marked the fire of the artillery.

Clouds of dust shifted and moved through the forest; and through the wavering mists of light-blue smoke, and the thicker masses which rose commingling from the feet of men and the mouths of cannon, I could see the gleam of arms and the twinkling of bayonets.

On the hill beside me there was a crowd of civilians on horseback, and in all sorts of vehicles, with a few of the fairer, if not gentler sex. A few officers and some soldiers, who had straggled from the regiments in reserve, moved about among the spectators, and pretended to explain the movements of the troops below, of which they were profoundly ignorant.

The cannonade and musketry had been exaggerated by the distance and by the rolling echoes of the hills; and sweeping the position narrowly with my glass from point to point, I failed to discover any traces of close encounter or very severe fighting. The spectators were all excited, and a lady with an opera-glass who was near me, was quite beside herself when an unusually heavy discharge roused the current of her blood — “That is splendid. Oh, my! Is not that first-rate? I guess we will be in Richmond this time to-morrow.” These, mingled with coarser exclamations, burst from the politicians who had come out to see the triumph of the Union arms. I was particularly irritated by constant applications for the loan of my glass. One broken-down looking soldier observing my flask, asked me for a drink, and took a startling pull, which left but little between the bottom and utter vacuity.

“Stranger, that's good stuff and no mistake. I have not had such a drink since I come South. I feel now as if I’d like to whip ten Seceshers.”

From the line of the smoke it appeared to me that the action was in an oblique line from our left, extending farther outwards towards the right, bisected by a road from Centreville, which descended the hill close at hand and ran right across the undulating plain, its course being marked by the white covers of the baggage and commissariat wagons as far as a turn of the road, where the trees closed in upon them. Beyond the right of the curling smoke clouds of dust appeared from time to time in the distance, as if bodies of cavalry were moving over a sandy plain.

Notwithstanding all the exultation and boastings of the people at Centreville, I was well convinced no advance of any importance or any great success had been achieved, because the ammunition and baggage wagons had never moved, nor had the reserves received any orders to follow in the line of the army.

The clouds of dust on the right were quite inexplicable. As we were looking, my philosophic companion asked me in perfect seriousness, “Are we really seeing a battle now? Are they supposed to be fighting where all that smoke is going on? This is rather interesting, you know.”

Up came our black boy. “Not find a bit to eat, sir, in all the place.” We had, however, my little paper of sandwiches, and descended the hill to a by-lane off the village, where, seated in the shade of the gig, Mr. Warre and myself, dividing our provision with the driver, wound up a very scanty, but much relished, repast with a bottle of tea and half the bottle of Bordeaux and water, the remainder being prudently reserved at my request for contingent remainders. Leaving orders for the saddle-horse, which was eating his first meal, to be brought up the moment he was ready — I went with Mr Warre to the hill once more and observed that the line had not sensibly altered whilst we were away.

An English gentleman, who came up flushed and heated from the plain, told us that the Federals had been advancing steadily, in spite of a stubborn resistance, and had behaved most gallantly.

Loud cheers suddenly burst from the spectators, as a man dressed in the uniform of an officer, whom I had seen riding violently across the plain in an open space below, galloped along the front, waving his cap and shouting at the top of his voice. He was brought up by the press of people round his horse close to where I stood. “We've whipped them on all points,” he cried. “We have taken all their batteries. They are retreating as fast as they can, and we are after, them.” Such cheers as rent the welkin! The congressmen shook hands with each other, and cried out, “Bully for us. Bravo! didn't I tell you so.” The Germans uttered their martial cheers and the Irish hurrahed wildly. At this moment my horse was brought up the hill, and I mounted and turned towards the road to the front, whilst Mr. Warre and his companion proceeded straight down the hill.

By the time I reached the lane, already mentioned, which was in a few minutes, the string of commissariat wagons was moving onwards pretty briskly, and I was detained until my friends appeared at the roadside. I told Mr. Warre I was going forward to the front as fast as I could, but that I would come back, under any circumstances, about an hour before dusk, and would go straight to the spot where we had put up the gig by the road-side, in order to return to Washington. Then getting into the fields, I pressed my horse, which was quite recovered from his twenty-seven miles' ride and full of spirit and mettle, as fast as I could, making detours here and there to get through the ox fences, and by the small streams which cut up the country. The firing did not increase but rather diminished in volume, though it now sounded close at hand.

I had ridden between three and a half and four miles, as well as I could judge, when I was obliged to turn for the third and fourth time into the road by a considerable stream, which was spanned by a bridge, towards which I was threading my way, when my attention was attracted by loud shouts in advance, and I perceived several wagons coming from the direction of the battle-field, the drivers of which were endeavoring to force their horses past the ammunition carts going in the contrary direction near the bridge; a thick cloud of dust rose behind them, and running by the side of the wagons, were a number of men in uniform whom I supposed to be the guard. My first impression was that the wagons were returning for fresh supplies of ammunition. But every moment the crowd increased, drivers and men cried out with the most vehement gestures, “Turn back! Turn back! We are whipped.” They seized the heads of the horses and swore at the opposing drivers. Emerging from the crowd a breathless man in the uniform of an officer with an empty scabbard dangling by his side, was cut off by getting between my horse and a cart for a moment. “What is the matter, sir? What is all this about?” “Why it means we are pretty badly whipped, that's the truth,” and continued.

By this time the confusion had been communicating itself through the line of wagons towards the rear, and the drivers endeavored to turn round their vehicles in the narrow road, which caused the usual amount of imprecations from the men and plunging and kicking from the horses.

The crowd from the front continually increased, the heat, the uproar, and the dust were beyond description, and these were augmented when some cavalry soldiers, flourishing their sabres and preceded by an officer who cried out, “Make way there — make way there for the General,” attempted to force a covered wagon in which was seated a man with a bloody handkerchief round his head through the press.

I had succeeded in getting across the bridge with great difficulty before the wagon came up, and I saw the crowd on the road was still gathering thicker and thicker. Again I asked an officer, who was on foot, with his sword under his arm, “What is all this for?” “We are whipped, sir. We are all in retreat. You are all to go back.” “Can you tell me where I can find General McDowell?” “No! nor can any one else.”

A few shells could be heard bursting not very far off, but there was nothing to account for such an extraordinary scene. A third officer, however, confirmed the report that the whole army was in retreat, and that the Federals were beaten on all points, but there was nothing in this disorder to indicate a general rout. All these things took place in a few seconds. I got up out of the road into a corn-field, through which men were hastily walking or running, their faces streaming with perspiration, and generally without arms, and worked my way for about half a mile or so, as well as I could judge, against an increasing stream of fugitives, the ground being strewed with coats, blankets, firelocks, cooking tins, caps, belts, bayonets — asking in vain where General McDowell was.

Again I was compelled by the condition of the fields to come into the road; and having passed a piece of wood and a regiment which seemed to be moving back in column of march in tolerably good order, I turned once more into an opening close to a white house, not far from the lane, beyond which there was a belt of forest. Two field-pieces unlimbered near the house, with panting horses in the rear, were pointed towards the front, and along the road beside them there swept a tolerably steady column of men mingled with field ambulances and light baggage carts, back to Centreville. I had just stretched out my hand to get a cigar-light from a German gunner, when the dropping shots which had been sounding through the woods in front of us, suddenly swelled into an animated fire. In a few seconds a crowd of men rushed out of the wood down toward the guns, and the artillerymen near me seized the trail of a piece, and were wheeling it round to fire, when an officer or sergeant called out, “Stop! stop! They are our own men;” and in two or three minutes the whole battalion came sweeping past the guns at the double, and in the utmost disorder. Some of the artillerymen dragged the horses out of the tumbrils; and for a moment the confusion was so great I could not understand what had taken place; but a soldier whom I stopped, said, “We are pursued by their cavalry; they have cut us all to pieces.”

Murat himself would not have dared to move a squadron on such ground. However, if could not be doubted that something serious was taking place; and at that moment a shell burst in front of the house, scattering the soldiers near it, which was followed by another that bounded along the road; and in a few minutes more out came another regiment from the wood, almost as broken as the first. The scene on the road had now assumed an aspect which has not a parallel in any description I have ever read. Infantry soldiers on mules and draught horses, with the harness clinging to their heels, as much frightened as their riders; negro servants on their masters' chargers; ambulances crowded with unwounded soldiers; wagons swarming with men who threw out the contents in the road to make room, grinding through a shouting, screaming mass of men on foot, who were literally yelling with rage at every halt, and shrieking out, “Here are the cavalry! Will you get on?” This portion of the force was evidently in discord.

There was nothing left for it but to go with the current one could not stem. I turned round my horse from the deserted guns, and endeavored to find out what had occurred as I rode quietly back on the skirts of the crowd. I talked with those on all sides of me. Some uttered prodigious nonsense, describing batteries tier over tier, and ambuscades, and blood running knee-deep. Others described how their boys had carried whole lines of intrenchments, but were beaten back for want of reinforcements. The names of many regiments were mentioned as being utterly destroyed. Cavalry and bayonet charges and masked batteries played prominent parts in all the narrations. Some of the officers seemed to feel the disgrace of defeat; but the strangest thing was the general indifference with which the event seemed to be regarded by those who collected their senses as soon as they got out of fire, and who said they were just going as far as Centreville, and would have a big fight to-morrow.

By this time I was unwillingly approaching Centreville in the midst of heat, dust, confusions, imprecations inconceivable. On arriving at the place where a small rivulet crossed the road, the throng increased still more. The ground over which I had passed going out was now covered with arms, clothing of all kinds, accoutrements thrown off and left to be trampled in the dust under the hoofs of men and horses. The runaways ran along-side the wagons, striving to force themselves in among the occupants, who resisted tooth and nail. The drivers spurred and whipped and urged the horses to the utmost of their bent. I felt an inclination to laugh, which was overcome by disgust, and by that vague sense of something extraordinary taking place which is experienced when a man sees a number of people acting as if driven by some unknown terror. As I rode in the crowd with men clinging to the stirrup-leathers, or holding on by anything they could lay hands on, so that I had some apprehension of being pulled off, I spoke to the men, and asked them over and over again not to be in such a hurry. There's no enemy to pursue you. All the cavalry in the world could not get at you.” But I might as well have talked to the stones.

For my own part, I wanted to get out of the ruck as fast as I could, for the heat and dust were very distressing, particularly to a half-starved man. Many of the fugitives were in the last stages of exhaustion, and some actually sank down by the fences, at the risk of being trampled to death. Above the roar of the flight, which was like the rush of a great river, the guns burst forth from time to time.

The road at last became somewhat clearer; for I had got ahead of some of the ammunition train and wagons, and the others were dashing up the hill towards Centreville. The men's great-coats and blankets had been stowed in the trains; but the fugitives had apparently thrown them out on the road, to make room for themselves. Just beyond the stream I saw a heap of clothing tumble out of a large covered cart, and cried out after the driver, “Stop! stop! All the things are tumbling out of the cart.” But my zeal was checked by a scoundrel putting his head out, and shouting with a curse, “If you try to stop the team, I'll blow your ——brains out.” My brains advised me to adopt the principle of non-intervention.

It never occurred to me that this was a grand debacle. All along I believed the mass of the army was not broken, and that all I saw around was the result of confusion created in a crude organization by a forced retreat; and knowing the reserves were at Centreville and beyond, I said to myself, “Let us see how this will be when we get to the hill.” I indulged in a quiet chuckle, too, at the idea of my philosophical friend and his stout companion finding themselves suddenly enveloped in the crowd of fugitives; but knew they could easily have regained their original position on the hill. Trotting along briskly through the fields, I arrived at the foot of the slope on which Centreville stands, and met a German regiment just deploying into line very well and steadily — the men in the rear companies laughing, smoking, singing, and jesting with the fugitives, who were filing past; but no thought of stopping the wagons, as the orders repeated from mouth to mouth were that they were to fall back beyond Centreville.

The air of the men was good. The officers were cheerful, and one big German with a great pipe in his bearded mouth, with spectacles on nose, amused himself by pricking the horses with his sabre point, as he passed, to the sore discomfiture of the riders. Behind the regiment came a battery of brass field-pieces, and another regiment in column of march was following the guns. They were going to form line at the end of the slope, and no fairer position could well be offered for a defensive attitude, although it might be turned. But it was getting too late for the enemy wherever they were to attempt such an extensive operation. Several times I had been asked by officers and men, “Where do you think we will halt? Where are the rest of the army?” I always replied “Centreville,” and I had heard hundreds of the fugitives say they were going to Centreville.

I rode up the road, turned into the little street which carries the road on the right-hand side to Fairfax Court House and the hill, and went straight to the place where I had left the buggy in a lane on the left of the road beside a small house and shed, expecting to find Mr. Warre ready for a start, as I had faithfully promised Lord Lyons he should be back that night in Washington. The buggy was not there. I pulled open the door of the shed in which the horses had been sheltered out of the sun. They were gone. “Oh,” said I, to myself, “of course! What a stupid fellow I am. Warre has had the horses put in and taken the gig to the top of the hill, in order to see the last of it before we go.” And so I rode over to the ridge; but arriving there, could see no sign of our vehicle far or near. There were two carriages of some kind or other still remaining on the hill, and a few spectators, civilians and military, gazing on the scene below, which was softened in the golden rays of the declining sun. The smoke wreaths had ceased to curl over the green sheets of billowy forest as sea-foam crisping in a gentle breeze breaks the lines of the ocean. But far and near yellow and dun-colored piles of dust seamed the landscape, leaving behind them long trailing clouds of lighter vapors which were dotted now and then by white puff-balls from the bursting of shell On the right these clouds were very heavy and seemed to approach rapidly, and it occurred to me they might be caused by an advance of the much spoken-of and little seen cavalry; and remembering the cross road from Germantown, it seemed a very fine and very feasible operation for the Confederates to cut right in on the line of retreat and communication, in which case the fate of the army and of Washington could not be dubious. There were now few civilians on the hill, and these were thinning away. Some were gesticulating and explaining to one another the causes of the retreat, looking very hot and red. The confusion among the last-portion of the carriages and fugitives on the road, which I had outstripped, had been renewed again, and the crowd there presented a remarkable and ludicrous aspect through the glass; but there were two strong battalions in good order near the foot of the hill, a battery on the slope, another on the top, and a portion of a regiment in and about the houses of the village.

A farewell look at the scene presented no new features. Still the clouds of dust moved onwards denser and higher; flashes of arms lighted them up at times; the fields were dotted by fugitives, among whom many mounted men were marked by their greater speed, and the little flecks of dust rising from the horses' feet.

I put up my glass, and turning from the hill, with difficulty forced my way through the crowd of vehicles which were making their way towards the main road in the direction of the lane, hoping that by some lucky accident I might find the gig in waiting for me. But I sought in vain; a sick soldier who was on a stretcher in front of the house near the corner of the lane, leaning on his elbow and looking at the stream of men and carriages, asked me if I could tell him what they were in such a hurry for, and I said they were merely getting back to their bivouacs. A man dressed in civilian's clothes grinned as I spoke. “I think they'll go farther than that,” said he; and then added, “If you're looking for the wagon you came in, it's pretty well back to Washington by this time. I think I saw you down there with a nigger and two men.” Yes.” “They're all off, gone more than an hour and a half ago, I think, and a stout man — I thought was you at first — along with them.”

Nothing was left for it but to brace up the girths for a ride to the Capitol, for which, hungry and fagged as I was, I felt very little inclination. I was trotting quietly down the hill road beyond Centreville, when suddenly the guns on the other side, or from a battery very near, opened fire, and a fresh outburst of artillery sounded through the woods. In an instant the mass of vehicles and retreating soldiers, teamsters, and civilians, as if agonized by an electric shock, quivered throughout the tortuous line. With dreadful shouts and cursings, the drivers lashed their maddened horses, and leaping from the carts, left them to their fate, and ran on foot. Artillerymen and foot soldiers, and negroes mounted on gun horses, with the chain traces and loose trappings trailing in the dust, spurred and flogged their steeds down the road or by the side paths. The firing continued and seemed to approach the hill, and at every report the agitated body of horsemen and wagons was seized, as it were, with a fresh convulsion.

Once more the dreaded cry, “The cavalry! cavalry are coming!” rang through the crowd, and looking back to Centreville I perceived coming down the hill, between me and the sky, a number of mounted men, who might at a hasty glance be taken for horsemen in the act of sabreing the fugitives. In reality they were soldiers and civilians, with, I regret to say, some officers among them, who were whipping and striking their horses with sticks or whatever else they could lay hands on. I called out to the men who were frantic with terror beside me, “They are not cavalry at all; they're your own men” — but they did not heed me. A fellow who was shouting out, “Run! run!” as loud as he could beside me, seemed to take delight in creating alarm; and as he was perfectly collected as far as I could judge, I said, “What on earth are you running for? What are you afraid of?” He was in the roadside below me, and at once turning on me, and exclaiming, “I'm not afraid of you,” presented his piece and pulled the trigger so instantaneously, that had it gone off I could not have swerved from the ball. As the scoundrel deliberately drew up to examine the nipple, I judged it best not to give him another chance, and spurred on through the crowd, where any man could have shot as many as he pleased without interruption. The only conclusion I came to was, that he was mad or drunken. When I was passing by the line of the bivouacs a battalion of men came tumbling down the bank from the field into the road, with fixed bayonets, and as some fell in the road and others tumbled on top .of them, there must have been a few ingloriously wounded.

I galloped on for a short distance to head the ruck, for I could not tell whether this body of infantry intended moving back towards Centreville or were coming down the road; but the mounted men galloping furiously past me, with a cry of “Cavalry! Cavalry!” on their lips, swept on faster than I did, augmenting the alarm and excitement. I came up with two officers who were riding more leisurely; and touching my hat, said, “I venture to suggest that these men should be stopped, sir. If not, they will alarm the whole of the post and pickets on to Washington. They will fly next, and the consequences will be most disastrous.” One of the two, looking at me for a moment, nodded his head without saying a word, spurred his horse to full speed, and dashed on in front along the road. Following more leisurely I observed the fugitives in front were suddenly checked in their speed; and as I turned my horse into the wood by the road side to get on so as to prevent the chance of another block-up, I passed several private vehicles, in one of which Mr. Raymond, of the “New York Times,” was seated with some friends, looking by no means happy. He says in his report to his paper, “About a mile this side of Centreville a stampede took place amongst the teamsters and others, which threw everything into the utmost confusion, and inflicted very serious” injuries. Mr. Eaton, of Michigan, in trying to arrest the flight of some of these men, was shot by one of them the ball taking effect in his hand.” He asked me, in some anxiety, what I thought would happen. I replied, “No doubt McDowell will stand fast at Centreville to-night. These are mere runaways, and unless the enemy's cavalry succeed in getting through at this' road, there is nothing to apprehend.”

And I continued through the wood till I got a clear space in front on the road, along which a regiment of infantry was advancing towards me. They halted ere I came up, and with levelled firelocks arrested the men on horses and the carts and wagons galloping towards them, and blocked up the road to stop their progress. As I tried to edge by on the right of the column by the left of the road, a soldier presented his firelock at my head from the higher ground on which he stood, for the road had a deep trench cut on the side by which I was endeavoring to pass, and sung out, “Halt! Stop — or I fire!” The officers in front were waving their swords and shouting out, “Don't let a soul pass! Keep back! keep back!” Bowing to the officer who was near me, I said, “I beg to assure you, sir, I am not running away. I am a civilian and a British subject. I have done my best as I came along to stop this disgraceful rout. I am in no hurry; I merely want to get back to Washington to-night. I have been telling them all along there are no cavalry near us.” The officer to whom I was speaking, young and somewhat excited, kept repeating, “Keep back, sir! keep back! you must keep back.” Again I said to him, “I assure you I am not with this crowd; my pulse is as cool as your own.” But as he paid no attention to what I said, I suddenly bethought me of General Scott's letter, and addressing another officer, said, “I am a civilian going to Washington; will you be kind enough to look at this pass, specially given to me by General Scott.” The officer looked at it, and handed it to a mounted man, either adjutant or colonel, who, having examined it, returned it to me, saying, “Oh, yes! certainly. Pass that man!” And with a cry of “Pass that man!” along the line, I rode down the trench very leisurely, and got out on the road, which was now clear, though some fugitives had stolen through the woods on the flanks of the column and were in front of me.

A little further on there was a cart on the right-hand side of the road, surrounded by a group of soldiers. I was trotting past when a respectable-looking man in a semi-military garb, coming out from the group, said, in a tone of much doubt and distress — “Can you tell me, sir, for God's sake, where the 69th New York are? These men tell me they are all cut to pieces.” “And so they are,” exclaimed one of the fellows, who had the number of the regiment on his cap.

“You hear what they say, sir?” exclaimed the man.

“I do, but I really cannot tell you where the 69th are.”

“I'm in charge of these mails, and I'll deliver them if I die for it; but is it safe for me to go on? You are a gentleman, and I can depend on your word.”

His assistant and himself were in the greatest perplexity of mind, but all I could say was, “I really can't tell you; I believe the army will halt at Centreville to-night, and I think you may go on there with the greatest safety, if you can get through the crowd.” “Faith, then, he can't,” exclaimed one of the soldiers.

“Why not?” “Shure, arn't we cut to pieces. Didn't I hear the kurnel himsilf saying we was all of us to cut and run, every man on his own hook, as well as he could. Stop at Cinthreville, indeed!"
I bade the mail agent* good evening and rode on, but even in this short colloquy stragglers on foot and on horseback, who had turned the flanks of the regiment by side-paths or through the woods, came pouring along the road once more.

Somewhere about this I was accosted by a stout, elderly man, with the air and appearance of a respectable mechanic, or, small tavern-keeper, who introduced himself as having met me at Cairo. He poured out a, flood of woes on me, how he had lost his friend and companion, nearly lost his seat several times, was unaccustomed to riding, was suffering much pain from the unusual position and exercise, did not know the road, feared he would never be able to get on, dreaded he might be captured and ill-treated if he was known, and such topics as a selfish man in a good deal of pain or fear is likely to indulge in. I calmed his apprehensions as well as I could, by saying, “I had no doubt McDowell would halt and show fight at Centreville, and be able to advance from it in a day or two to renew the fight again; that he couldn't miss the road; whiskey and tallow were good for abrasions;” and as I was riding very slowly, he jogged along, for he was a bur, and would stick, with many “Oh dears! Oh! dear me!” for most part of the way joining me at intervals till I reached Fairfax Court House. A body of infantry were under arms in a grove near the Court House, on the right-hand side of the road. The door and windows of the houses presented crowds of faces black and white; and men and women stood out upon the porch, who asked me as I passed, “Have you been at the fight?” “What are they all running for?” “Are the rest of them coming on?” to which I gave the same replies as before.

Arrived at the little inn where I had halted in the morning, I perceived the sharp-faced woman in black standing in the veranda with an elderly man, a taller and younger one dressed in black, a little girl, and a woman who stood in the passage of the door. I asked if I could get anything to eat. “Not a morsel; there's not a bit left in the house, but you can get something, perhaps, if you like to stay till supper-time.” “Would you oblige me by telling me where I can get some water for my horse?” “Oh, certainly,” said the elder man, and calling to a negro he directed him to bring a bucket from the well or pump, into which the thirsty brute buried its head to the eyes. Whilst the horse was drinking, the taller or younger man, leaning over the veranda, asked me quietly “What are all the people coming back for? — what's set them a-running towards Alexandria?”

“Oh, it's only a fright the drivers of the commissariat wagons have had; they are afraid of the enemy's cavalry.”

“Ah!” said the man, and looking at me narrowly he inquired, after a pause, “Are you an American?”

“No, I am not, thank God; I'm an Englishman.”

“Well then,” said he, nodding his head and speaking slowly through his teeth; “there will be cavalry after them soon enough; there is 20,000 of the best horsemen in the world in old Virginny.”

Having received full directions from the people at the inn for the road to the Long Bridge, which I was most anxious to reach instead of going to Alexandria or to Georgetown, I bade the Virginian good-evening; and seeing that my stout friend, who had also watered his horse by my advice at the inn, was still clinging along-side, I excused myself by saying I must press on to Washington, and galloped on for a mile, until I got into the cover of a wood, where I dismounted to examine the horse's hoofs and shift the saddle for a moment, wipe the sweat off his back, and make him and myself as comfortable as could be for our ride into Washington, which was still seventeen or eighteen miles before me. I passed groups of men, some on horseback, others on foot, going at a more leisurely rate towards the capital; and as I was smoking my last cigar by the side of the wood, I observed the number had rather increased, and that among the retreating stragglers were some men who appeared to be wounded.

The sun had set, but the rising moon was adding every moment to the lightness of the road as I mounted once more and set out at a long trot for the capital. Presently I was overtaken by a wagon with a small escort of cavalry and an officer riding in front. I had seen the same vehicle once or twice along the road, and observed an officer seated in it with his head bound up with a handkerchief, looking very pale and ghastly. The mounted officer leading the escort asked me if I was going into Washington and knew the road. I told him I had never been on it before, but thought I could find my way, “at any rate we'll find plenty to tell us.” That's Colonel Hunter inside the carriage, he's shot through the throat and jaw, and I want to get him to the doctor's in Washington as soon as I can. Have you been to the fight?”

“No, sir,”

“A member of Congress, I suppose, sir?”

“No sir; I'm an Englishman.”

“Oh, indeed, sir, then I'm glad you did not see it; so mean a fight, sir, I never saw; we whipped the cusses and drove them before us, and took their batteries and spiked their guns, and got right up in among all their dirt works and great batteries and forts, driving them before us like sheep, when up more of them would get, as if out of the ground, then our boys would drive them again till we were fairly worn out; they had nothing to eat since last night and nothing to drink. I myself have not tasted a morsel since two o'clock last night. Well, there we were waiting for reinforcements and expecting McDowell and the rest of the army, when whish! they threw open a whole lot of masked batteries on us, and then came down such swarms of horsemen on black horses, all black as you never saw, and slashed our boys over finely. The colonel was hit, and I thought it best to get him off as well as I could, before it was too late. And, my God! when they did take to running they did it first-rate, I can tell you;” and so, the officer, who had evidently taken enough to affect his empty stomach and head, chattering about the fight, we trotted on in the moonlight: dipping down into the valleys on the road, which seemed like inky lakes in the shadows of the black trees, then mounting up again along the white road, which shone like a river in the moonlight — the country silent as death, though once as we crossed a small watercourse and the noise of the carriage-wheels ceased, I called the attention of my companions to a distant sound, as of a great multitude of people mingled with a faint report of cannon. “Do you hear that?” “No, I don't. But it's our chaps, no doubt. They're coming along fine, I can promise you.” At last some miles further on we came to a picket, or main guard, on the roadside, who ran forward, crying out, “What's the news — anything fresh — are we whipped ? — is it a fact?” “Well, gentlemen,” exclaimed the Major, reining up for a moment, “we are knocked into a cocked hat — licked to h--1.” “Oh, pray, don't say that,” I exclaimed, “it's not quite so bad; it's only a drawn battle, and the troops will occupy Centreville to-night, and the posts they started from this morning.”

A little further on we met a line of commissariat carts, and my excited and rather injudicious military friend appeared to take the greatest pleasure in replying to their anxious queries for news, “We are whipped! Whipped like h--1.”

At the cross-roads now and then we were perplexed, for no one knew the bearings of Washington, though the stars were bright enough; but good fortune favored us and kept us straight, and at a deserted little village, with a solitary church on the roadside, I increased my pace, bade good-night and good speed to the officer, and having kept company with two men in a gig for some time, got at length on the guarded road leading towards the capital, and was stopped by the pickets, patrols, and grand rounds, making repeated demands for the last accounts from the field. The houses by the roadside were all closed up and in darkness, I knocked in vain at several for a drink of water, but was answered only by the angry barkings of the watch-dogs from the slave quarters. It was a peculiarity of the road that the people, and soldiers I met, at points several miles apart, always insisted that I was twelve miles from, Washington. Up hills, down valleys, with the silent grim woods forever by my side, the white roads and the black shadows of men, still I was twelve miles from the Long Bridge, but suddenly I came upon a grand guard under arms, who had quite different ideas, and who said I was only about four miles from the river; they crowded round me. “Well, man, and how is the fight going?” I repeated my tale. “What does he say?” “Oh, begorra, he says we're not bet at all; it's all lies they have been telling us; we're only going back to the ould lines for the greater convaniency of fighting to-morrow again; that's illigant, hooro!”

All by the sides of the old camps the men were standing, lining the road, and I was obliged to evade many a grasp at my bridle by shouting out “Don't stop me; I've important news; it's all well!” and still the good horse, refreshed by the cool night air, went clattering on, till from the top of the road beyond Arlington I caught a sight of the lights of Washington and the white buildings of the Capitol, and of the Executive Mansion, glittering like snow in the moonlight. At the entrance to the Long Bridge the sentry challenged and asked for the countersign. “I have not got it, but I've a pass from General Scott.” An officer advanced from the guard, and on reading the pass permitted me to go on without difficulty. He said, “I have been obliged to let a good many go over to-night before you, congressmen and others. I suppose you did not expect to be coming back so soon. I fear it's a bad business.” “Oh, not so bad after all; I expected to have been back tonight before nine o'clock, and crossed over this morning without the countersign.” “Well, I guess,” said he, “we don't do such quick fighting as that in this country.”

As I crossed the Long Bridge there was scarce a sound to dispute the possession of its echoes with my horse's hoofs. The poor beast had carried me nobly and well, and I made up my mind to buy him, as I had no doubt he would answer perfectly to carry me back in a day or two to McDowell's army by the time he had organized it for a new attack upon the enemy's position. Little did I conceive the greatness of the defeat, the magnitude of the disasters which it had entailed upon the United States or the interval that would elapse before another army set out from the banks of the Potomac onward to Richmond. Had I sat down that night to write my letter, quite ignorant at the time of the great calamity which had befallen his army, in all probability I would have stated that McDowell had received a severe repulse, and had fallen back upon Centreville, that a disgraceful panic and confusion had attended the retreat of a portion of his army, but that the appearance of the reserves would probably prevent the enemy taking any advantage of the disorder; and as I would have merely been able to describe such incidents as came under my own observation, and would have left the American journals to narrate the actual details, and the despatches of the American Generals the strategical events of the day, I should have led the world at home to believe, as, in fact, I believed myself that McDowell's retrograde movement would be arrested at some point between Centreville and Fairfax Court House.

The letter that I was to write occupied my mind whilst I was crossing the Long Bridge, gazing at the lights reflected in the Potomac from the city. The night had become overcast, and heavy clouds rising up rapidly obscured the moon, forming a most fantastic mass of shapes in the sky.

At the Washington end of the bridge I was challenged again by the men of a whole regiment, who, with piled arms, were halted on the chaussée, smoking, laughing, and singing, “Stranger, have you been to the fight?” “I have been only a little beyond Centreville.” But that was quite enough. Soldiers, civilians, and women, who seemed to be out unusually late, crowded round the horse, and again I told my stereotyped story of the unsuccessful attempt to carry the Confederate position, and the retreat to Centreville to await better luck next time. The soldiers along-side me cheered, and those next them took it up till it ran through the whole line, and must have awoke the night owls.

As I passed Willard's Hotel a little further on, a clock — I think the only public clock which strikes the hours in Washington — tolled out the hour; and I supposed, from what the sentry told me, though I did not count the strokes, that it was eleven; o'clock. All the rooms in the hotel were a blaze of light. The pavement before the door was crowded, and some mounted men and the clattering of sabres on the pavement led me to infer that the escort of the wounded officer had arrived before me. I passed on to the livery-stables, where every one was alive and stirring.

“I'm sure,” said the man, “I thought I'd never see you nor the horse back again. The gig and the other gentleman has been back a long time. How did he carry you?”

“Oh, pretty well; what's his price?”

“Well, now that I look at him, and to you, it will be 100 dollars less than I said, I'm in good heart to-night.”

“Why so? A number of your horses and carriages have not come back yet, you tell me.”

“Oh, well, I'll get paid for them some time or another. Oh, such news! such news!” said he, rubbing his hands. “Twenty thousand of them killed and wounded! Maybe they're not having fits in the White House tonight!”

I walked to my lodgings, and just as I turned the key in the door a flash of light made me pause for a moment, in expectation of the report of a gun; for I. could not help thinking it quite possible that, somehow or another, the Confederate cavalry would try to beat up the lines, but no sound followed. It must' have been lightning. I walked up-stairs, and saw a most welcome supper ready on the table — an enormous piece of cheese, a sausage of unknown components, a knuckle-bone of ham, and a bottle of a very light wine of France; but I would not have exchanged that repast and have waited half an hour for any banquet that Soyer or Careme could have prepared at their best. Then, having pulled off my boots, bathed my head, trimmed candles, and lighted a pipe, I sat down to write. I made some feeble sentences, but the pen went flying about the paper as if the spirits were playing tricks with it. When I screwed up my utmost resolution, the “y’s” would still run into long streaks, and the letters combine most curiously, and my eyes closed, and my pen slipped, and just as I was aroused from a nap, and settled into a stern determination to hold my pen straight, I was interrupted by a messenger from Lord Lyons, to inquire whether I had returned, and if so, to ask me to go up to the Legation and get something to eat. I explained, with my thanks, that I was quite safe, and had eaten supper, and learned from the servant “that Mr. Warre and his companion had arrived about two hours previously. I resumed my seat once more, haunted by the memory of the Boston mail, which would be closed in a few hours, and I had much to tell, although I had not seen the battle. Again and again I woke up, but at last the greatest conqueror but death overcame me, and with my head on the blotted paper, I fell fast asleep.
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* I have since met the person referred to, an Englishman living in Washington, and well known at the Legation and elsewhere. Mr. Dawson came to tell me that he had seen a letter in an American journal, which was copied extensively all over the Union, in which the writer stated he accompanied me on my return to Fairfax Court House, and that the incident I related in my account of Bull Run did not occur, but that he was the individual referred to, and could swear with his assistant that every word I wrote was true. I did not need any such corroboration for the satisfaction of any who know me; and I was quite well aware that if one came from the dead to bear testimony in my favor before the American journals and public, the evidence would not countervail the slander of any characterless scribe who sought to gain a moment's notoriety by a flat contradiction of my narrative. I may add, that Dawson begged of me not to bring him before the public, “because I am now sutler to the ——th, over in Virginia, and they would dismiss me.” “What! For certifying to the truth?” “You know, sir, it might do me harm.” Whilst on this subject, let me remark that some time afterwards I was in Mr. Brady's photographic studio in Pennsylvania Avenue, Washington, when the very intelligent and obliging manager introduced himself to me, and said that he wished to have an opportunity of repeating to me personally what he had frequently told persons in the place, that he could bear the fullest testimony to the complete accuracy of my account of the panic from Centreville down the road at the time I left, and that he and his assistants, who were on the spot trying to get away their photographic van and apparatus, could certify that my description fell far short of the disgraceful spectacle and of the excesses of the flight.

SOURCE: William Howard Russell, My Diary North and South, Vol. 1, p. 442-66