Showing posts with label Emory Upton. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Emory Upton. Show all posts

Sunday, November 22, 2020

Emory Upton to Maria Upton, February 25, 1857

February 25, 1857.

DEAR SISTER: . . . I am glad to hear of your good health and assiduity to study, and that you are exerting every faculty in the laudable pursuit of education. I am striving equally hard for the same. I am sure that few have the facilities offered for getting an education which I have, and not to take advantage of these privileges is inconsistent. I study from 6 to 7 A. M., and from 8 A. M. to 1 P. M., including recitations; then from 2 to 4 P. M. I read newspapers and write letters; from 4 P. M. till sundown is release from quarters, which I usually spend in the library reading, and then study from 7 to 9.30 P. M.; so that you see my time is pretty well occupied. Perhaps a few of my daily marks would give you an idea of my progress. . . . So long as I can keep up to these marks I am not in danger of being found deficient. . . . I am passionately attached to West Point, and would not give up my appointment here for a million dollars.  I want you to come here next encampment and see the beautiful scenery that I have often tried to describe.

 SOURCE: Peter Smith Michie, The Life and Letters of Emory Upton, p. 12-13

Emory Upton to Maria Upton, April 12, 1857

WEST POINT, April 12,1857.

MY DEAR SISTER: . . . In your last letter you asked if I sincerely believed in a God.  I can say yes.  I also believe in the religion inculcated by the ministers of God. . . . Few men now disbelieve religion, and those are mostly ignorant men.  Voltaire, the greatest modern infidel, shrank from death; and why?  Because of his unbelief.  He was afraid to enter eternity.  I hope that you will never desert the good cause you have espoused, and that you will do much good in your life.  As for myself, I take the Bible as the standard of morality, and try to read two chapters in it daily.

SOURCE: Peter Smith Michie, The Life and Letters of Emory Upton, p. 13

Emory Upton to Maria Upton, September 7, 1857

WEST POINT, September 7, 1857.

MY DEAR SISTER: . . . In your letter you allude to my demerit.  I must say that it gave me the bluest kind of blues; not because it made me have any apprehension of being “found,” but because you look upon them in a wrong light.  Now, I’ll disabuse you of this error.  You use the term “bad marks.” Bad signifies to you, evil, wrong, immoral, and wicked, which placed before Marks signifies that I have been doing something wrong or immoral—something which conscience disapproves.  That is wrong, not only in the sight of a military man, but of God.  Now, what moral wrong is there in “laughing in the ranks,” in being “late at roll-call,” “not stepping off at command,” “not having coat buttoned throughout,” and kindred reports?  Now is that wrong in the sight of God?  I say, no!  But it is wrong only in the sight of a military man, and it is from such reports that I get my demerits or “bad marks.”  I can say I have never received an immoral report, such as “using profane language.”  I thank you for the kind admonition, and to please you I will try to get as few as possible. I have only one so far this month, and if I get no more that will come off. I certainly shall be careful enough to prevent being cut a single day on furlough.

SOURCE: Peter Smith Michie, The Life and Letters of Emory Upton, p. 13-4

Emory Upton to Maria Upton, February 13, 1858

WEST POINT, February 13, 1858.

DEAR SISTER: . . . I received a letter from Sister L— in which she says that she and S— have experienced religion. I hope they may have the strength to defend and exemplify it throughout their whole lives. I also hope they have attained it through a firm conviction of its being right, and that the irresistible current of a protracted meeting did not hasten them to take such an important step. Do not infer from this that I am opposed to such meetings, for I am not; on the contrary, I think they cause two thirds of the true conversions, but you know that young and inconsiderate persons often catch the enthusiasm of an excited minister, and believe they have found religion; but, as soon as the meetings cease, their enthusiasm subsides, from the want of thorough conviction, and they necessarily revert to their primitive state. My reason for not seeking religion can only be ascribed to a queer kind of apathy.

SOURCE: Peter Smith Michie, The Life and Letters of Emory Upton, p. 14

Emory Upton to Maria Upton, February 9, 1859

WEST POINT, February 9, 1859.

MY DEAR SISTER: . . . The perusal of your last letter gave me great pain, yet I am glad you gave me so clear an insight into brother Le Roy’s disease.  I have but little hope of his recovery, and I only ask that he may be prepared for his great change.  Oh, that I could by look, ward, or deed, ease his condition, but I can only thing of and pity him!  My last thoughts at night and my first waking thoughts are of him.  How I wash I was at home, to watch by him and contribute my might toward comforting him!  May he not delay in making his peace with God!  How thankful I am for such parents as we have!  Their sacred influence is ever about us, shielding us from temptation, and teaching us the true object of life.  If Le Roy can not get well, I wish to be sent for; I can not part with him forever without a last farewell.

SOURCE: Peter Smith Michie, The Life and Letters of Emory Upton, p. 15

Emory Upton to Maria Upton, March 26, 1859

WEST POINT, March 26, 1859.

DEAR SISTER: . . . Dear Le Roy’s request to me shall not be unheeded.  I have resolved, yes, begun to seek the Lord, and shall continue till I find him.  “He is slow to anger and of great kindness.”  Relying on the promise that “whosoever will seek mercy shall obtain it.”  I will leave no effort untried, but will work diligently to the end. . . .

SOURCE: Peter Smith Michie, The Life and Letters of Emory Upton, p. 15

Emory Upton to Maria Upton, April 23, 1859

WEST POINT, April23, 1859.

DEAR SISTER: . . . You have doubtless heard that I have my trust in the “Friend that sticketh closer than a brother.”  Such is my hope.  Life is but an instant as compared with eternity, and, when we reflect that our future condition depends upon our actions here in this world, it is but reasonable that we should bow before the Creator, to acknowledge his supremacy and ask his forgiveness for our manifold violations of his law. I feel that I could resign everything to do his will and to gain his approbation. To-day being Easter, the Lord's Supper will be celebrated. I intend to partake of it willingly, and hope that I may be strengthened in my resolutions to serve him faithfully to the end. The army is a hard place to practice religion; though few scoff at it, yet a great majority totally disregard it. Still, through the prayers of others I hope to lead a Christian life, and to do as much good in the army as in any other profession. I do not think that Christians have ever disgraced the profession of arms; on the contrary, they are those who have most ennobled it.

SOURCE: Peter Smith Michie, The Life and Letters of Emory Upton, p. 15-16

Emory Upton to his cousin E——, May 1, 1859

WEST POINT, May 1, 1859.

DEAR COUSIN E——: I have heard that you have experienced a change of heart, and that you propose to live hereafter a Christian life. This gives me great joy. I, too, have given myself up to God. Being, therefore, new laborers in the vineyard of the Lord, I thought that a correspondence might mutually benefit and strengthen us in the determination we have made. I do sincerely hope that you have “offered yourself as a sacrifice, holy and acceptable before the Lord,” and have a hope of immortality. What a blessed thought! Is it not a sufficient inducement to remain faithful to the end? Yes! what is the length of life, compared with never-ending eternity?  Infinitely small.  Yet our actions during this instant are to determine our future condition throughout the eternity.  Let us strive to show ourselves worthy of the kingdom of heaven.  Let us be true to the trust confided in us.  We must necessarily encounter difficulties.  We may have to bear the scoffs of the world, but we should recollect that the Son of God not only had to bear this, but he was crucified, and his blood was shed for us.  Doubts may arise in our minds; but we must remember that we are infinite beings, and God is infinite.  How, therefore, can we expect to comprehend the ways of an Infinite Being?  Let us drop these doubts whenever they arise, and I hope and trust in God, “who is just and merciful, slow to anger, and of great kindness.” The more difficulties we triumph over, the greater will be our reward.  Let us not, therefore, be discouraged our disheartened, but may we grow in the knowledge and love of God, that we may finally be accounted worthy of a seat at his right hand.

SOURCE: Peter Smith Michie, The Life and Letters of Emory Upton, p. 16-17

Monday, August 24, 2020

Congressman Benjamin Pringle to Emory Upton, March 12, 1856

House of REPRESENTATIVES, WASHINGTON, D.C., March 12, 1856.

DEAR SIR: I have the pleasure of indorsing a notice signed by the Secretary of War, informing you that the President has conditionally appointed you a cadet in the military service of the United States. I selected you for the place because, from representations made by your friends concerning you, and from my slight acquaintance with you, I believed that you possessed sufficient talent and ability, honesty and integrity, industry, energy, and perseverance to enable you to pass the ordeal at West Point creditably. Should you fail, it will be mortifying to me and to your other friends, but I trust there will be no failure. You will enter the academy under favorable circumstances, and you must make every reasonable effort to attain and maintain a high standing in your class, and if possible carry off the first honors. You can hardly imagine the interest that I feel and shall continue to feel for your success. By doing well for yourself, you will honor me. The place to which you are appointed has been sought by many and supported by influential friends, but I thought best to choose you, and you must prove to the world that I have made a good choice.

[Benjamin Pringle.]

SOURCE: Peter Smith Michie, The Life and Letters of Emory Upton, p. 7-8

Tuesday, March 27, 2018

Diary of 2nd Lieutenant Luman Harris Tenney: May 10, 1864

During the day went to the regt. Some beef, 16½ cents per pound. Thomas and I went to the front. Arrived there at nearly sundown just as a charge was to be made. Gen. Grant, Meade and several lesser generals with staffs out. We fell in. Col. Upton's Brigade charged and took the enemy's works with a brigade of rebs under Dough. Grant had one of his never-ending stubs in his mouth, and puffed freely. Both Grant and Meade looked serious and thoughtful till the news of success came. Then they seemed pleased. Grant said “That looks like desperation, surrendering without firing a gun.” But they had held their ground stubbornly during the day. Grant said “A brigade today, will try a corps tomorrow.” Never felt more animated. I felt such a relief from the suspense and anxiety which had been upon me for several days. I presume nearly the whole of the army and country are as uneasy and anxious as I. I awake frequently during the night. "H." moved half a mile last night towards Fredericksburg. Rained most all day. Heavy fighting all day, with little success. Several charges made, but rebs repulsed them.

SOURCE: Frances Andrews Tenney, War Diary Of Luman Harris Tenney, p. 115

Wednesday, February 14, 2018

Brigadier-General John D. Stevenson to Edwin M. Stanton, September 20, 1864 – 11:40 a.m.

HARPER'S FERRY, W. VA., September 20, 1864 — 11.40 a.m.
Secretary of War:

Just received the following official from General Sheridan, dated 1 o'clock this morning:

GENERAL: We fought Early from daylight until between 6 and 7 p.m. We drove him from Opequon Creek through Winchester and beyond the town. We captured 2,500 to 3,000 prisoners, 5 pieces artillery, 9 battle-flags, all the rebel wounded and dead. Their wounded in Winchester amount to some 3000. We lost in killed General David Russell, commanding division, Sixth Army Corps; wounded, Generals Chapman, Mcintosh, and Upton. The rebels lost in killed the following general officers: General Rodes, General Wharton, General Gordon, and General Ramseur. We just sent them whirling through Winchester', and we are after them to-morrow. This army behaved splendidly.

I am sending forward all medical supplies, subsistence stores, and all ambulances.

JNO. D. STEVENSON,        

SOURCE: The War of the Rebellion: A Compilation of the Official Records of the Union and Confederate Armies, Series I, Volume 43, Part 2 (Serial No. 91), p. 124

Lieutenant-Colonel James W. Forsyth to Brigadier-General John D. Stevenson, September 20, 1864 – 1 a.m.

Winchester, September 19 [20], 1864 — 1 a.m.
[Brigadier-General STEVENSON:]

GENERAL: We fought Early from daylight this morning until between 6 and 7 p.m. to-night. We drove Early from the Opequon Creek through Winchester and beyond the town. We captured between 2,500 and 3,000 prisoners, 5 pieces of artillery, and 9 battle flags, all the rebel wounded and dead. Their (the rebels’) wounded in Winchester amounts to some 3.000. We lost in killed, General David Russell, commanding division Sixth Army Corps; wounded, Generals Chapman, Mcintosh, and Upton. The rebels lost in killed the following general officers: General Rodes, General Wharton, General Gordon, and General Ramseur.* We just sent them a whirling through Winchester, and we are after them to-morrow. The army behaved splendidly.

Lieutenant-Colonel and Chief of Staff.

P. S. — Please hurry up all the medical supplies. We have about 2,000 wounded, and we should have them here as soon as possible.

* Error as to Wharton, Gordon and Ramseur.

SOURCE: The War of the Rebellion: A Compilation of the Official Records of the Union and Confederate Armies, Series I, Volume 43, Part 2 (Serial No. 91), p. 124

Friday, August 18, 2017

In The Review Queue: Emory Upton, Misunderstood Reformer

by David J. Fitzpatrick

Emory Upton (1839–1881) is widely recognized as one of America’s most influential military thinkers. His works—The Armies of Asia and Europe and The Military Policy of the United States—fueled the army’s intellectual ferment in the late nineteenth century and guided Secretary of War Elihu Root’s reforms in the early 1900s. Yet as David J. Fitzpatrick contends, Upton is also widely misunderstood as an antidemocratic militaristic zealot whose ideas were “too Prussian” for America. In this first full biography in nearly half a century, Fitzpatrick, the leading authority on Upton, radically revises our view of this important figure in American military thought.

A devout Methodist farm boy from upstate New York, Upton attended the United States Military Academy at West Point and served in the Civil War. His use of a mass infantry attack to break the Confederate lines at Spotsylvania Courthouse in 1864 identified him as a rising figure in the U.S. Army. Upton’s subsequent work on military organizations in Asia and Europe, commissioned by Commanding General William T. Sherman, influenced the army’s turn toward a European, largely German ideal of soldiering as a profession. Yet it was this same text, along with Upton’s Military Policy of the United States, that also propelled the misinterpretations of Upton—first by some contemporaries, and more recently by noted historians Stephen Ambrose and Russell Weigley. By showing Upton’s dedication to the ideal of the citizen-soldier and placing him within the context of contemporary military, political, and intellectual discourse, Fitzpatrick shows how Upton’s ideas clearly grew out of an American military-political tradition.

Emory Upton: Misunderstood Reformer clarifies Upton’s influence on the army by offering a new and necessary understanding of the military’s intellectual direction at a critical juncture in American history.

About the Author

David J. Fitzpatrick is Professor of History at Washtenaw Community College in Ann Arbor, Michigan. His articles have been published in the Journal of Military History.

ISBN 978-0806157207, University of Oklahoma Press, © 2017, Hardcover, 344 pages, 12 Color Maps, Photographs & Illustrations, End Notes, Bibliography & Index. $39.95.  To Purchase the book click HERE.

Friday, April 28, 2017

Diary of 1st Lieutenant Lemuel A. Abbott: Monday, September 19, 1864 – Part 13

“At the critical moment General Wright, who was for the day in command of the Sixth and Nineteenth Corps, though (as he says) ‘it was too early in the battle to choose to put in the reserves, still, seeing that the fate of the day depended on the employment of this force,’ promptly ordered in the First Division with two batteries; it marched gallantly down, with its full Division front, to the very face of the enemy, relieving the Third Division, which, reforming, presently took up its position still further to the right, where the interval had before been left. Sheridan held back General Upton's Brigade of the First Division until it could strike the flank of the charging column of the rebels, when it made the most remarkable and successful charge of the day, completely breaking up the rebel assault, and permitting our shattered line again to knit itself into coherence. General Upton was there wounded and the brave unostentatious Russell, the idol of the Division he commanded, was shot dead, while personally employed restoring the broken line.

“The two hours following were spent in re-arranging the troops, issuing ammunition, and making dispositions for another advance.” * * *

General Russell's Division started to march on the field en masse and deployed en route; it was one of the grandest sights of the day or entire war. I never saw such splendid discipline under fire in a large body of men. It didn't relieve our brigade in the sense taken above, but did in partially drawing the enemy's musketry and artillery fire from us, which was appalling and effective. Our Brigade didn't reform. I was close on the enemy's rail breastworks in the ravine with my men leading the assault. There was no chance to reform: it was give and take. Russell's men didn't even get the opportunity of getting near enough the rebels to get satisfaction, for they ran when my men and I were within a rod of their works directly in front. There was no considerable bend in the road or anything else that obliqued my men either way to any great extent. The enemy ran before Russell was within effective striking or flanking distance. The enemy didn't charge. If General Upton assaulted its flank it wasn't here. I am emphatic in this, for not twenty seconds after I was twice almost simultaneously wounded during the enemy's last volley, it was running for dear life and Sheridan thirty seconds later was on his horse on the high ground close in my rear looking through his field glass to see where the enemy was going to make a second stand, and at other things evidently displeasing to him on his left, where Colonel Walker and the Second Division were. The whole field of active fighting could be seen from here. Five of the battlefield views herein were taken from this point. Colonel Walker is such a graceful, fluent writer it is a pity he couldn't know the whole facts about the battles the Vermont troops were in. His works would doubtless then be charmingly interesting and entertaining.

As several eminent persons, mistakenly as I think, in recent years, in a moment of weakness and gush have classed General R. E. Lee as one of the greatest of modern field marshals, and as the battles of Opequan Creek or Winchester, Va., Sept. 19, 1864, and Gettysburg, Pa., July 1-3, 1863, both of which I have carefully studied, furnish an excellent opportunity for a few pertinent questions as to the ability of Generals Grant, Sheridan and Lee to plan and manage successfully great battles, I cannot refrain from taking up the matter at this point, and I defy any honest man of expert judgment to successfully controvert my stand.

It might as well be said of Sheridan or of Grant, as it has already been of Lee by partial and incompetent judges, that either of the former were the equal of Marlborough or Wellington, and far more truthfully so than of Lee. Had the fortunes of war placed Sheridan in command of the Army of the Potomac at any period of the Civil War, there is no doubt but what that war would have developed in him a field marshal exceeding in dash, ability and brilliancy any military genius of either ancient or modern times. He was a born soldier, unspoilt by training, success or anything else, and was blessed with splendid common sense. He was a genius, for, says a popular poet:

“There is no balking Genius. Only death
Can silence it or hinder. While there's breath
Or sense of feeling, it will spurn the sod,
And lift itself to glory, and to God.
The acorn sprouted — weeds nor flowers can choke
The certain growth of th’ upreaching oak.”

One secret of Sheridan's success lay largely in his ability to so plan a battle as to fight his whole command effectively all at once, and in such a way that with his dash and unexpected coup de main, the enemy was usually whipped before the fight was fairly commenced. With Sheridan in command during the Civil War, President Lincoln would never have had to urge action on the part of the Army of the Potomac as with McClellan and others, except Grant, when ready to fight, nor would it have been fought in detail, which was invariably a fatal fault with both armies, for Sheridan didn't fight that way; there were no unfought reserves in his army. When he struck it was with so much method, dash, determination and judgment it brought brilliant results, such as astonished even his own army, which always expected victory, as well as the enemy and every one else; and in consequence he could accomplish more with fewer men than any other General in the army; not only because he used his force to the best advantage by fighting it all at once, but because his personal magnetism, or hypnotism, enthused the men and gave them confidence, which is a great thing in battle; besides, they had implicit faith in his ability, splendid judgment and quick perception on the battlefield, which are indispensable gifts in a great General; and when combined with an alert, active temperament such as his, it was grand. He was a great field marshal. This is proven from the fact that anything he undertook in the Civil War was not only well done if decently supported, but he proved himself grandly equal to any occasion on the field of battle, wherever the fortunes of war placed him — not tamely so, but brilliantly; he electrified his men as well as the world by his splendid dash, pluck and surprisingly overwhelming victories. A slight reverse not only left him undaunted but, like a raging lion, it seemed to arouse his wonderful gifts and raise him to such sublime heights it awed one; so that the moment the eye of his command caught a vision of him at any distance on the battlefield, his very pose and action was such it electrified and imbued his men with the same spirit of conquer or die that dominated him, and no enemy could or ever did stand for any length of time before his intrepid command.

SOURCE: Lemuel Abijah Abbott, Personal Recollections and Civil War Diary, 1864, p. 192-7

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Diary of 2nd Lieutenant Lemuel A. Abbott: Wednesday, June 1, 1864

It has been a terribly warm day. The enemy being too well posted at Totopotomy to attack, Grant concluded to move to Cold Harbor about fifteen miles away, last night. General Sheridan had taken it yesterday afternoon but being hard pressed by the enemy's Infantry he had started to leave when he was ordered by General Meade not to do so. The Sixth Corps in accordance with this plan started for that point at about 2 o'clock this morning over a narrow road leading a part of the way through swamps which are the source of the Totopotomy and Matadequin rivers, arriving at Cold Harbor which was being held by General Custer's Cavalry, at about 2 o'clock this afternoon. Characteristic of Custer when in a hot place, his band was playing Hail Columbia while his men were fighting like Trojans to hold their ground. He had had a goodly number killed and wounded who lay on the field uncared for because all his men were absolutely required for fighting in order to hold the place. Soon the dry grass and underbrush took fire and the helpless wounded were roasted to death, their charred remains being found afterwards. It was a sad sight for any one, and especially a thoughtful person.

Our line of battle consists of the Sixth and Eighteenth Corps, Major General W. F. Smith commanding the latter of about ten thousand men just from Bermuda Hundred being on the right of the line. Our Corps with its Third, First and Second Divisions in the order named from right to left was on the left of the line. The Third Division, Sixth Corps went into line about 3 o'clock p. m. just west of an old tavern at Cold Harbor Cross Roads or Old Cold Harbor, from which tavern the place probably took its name, owing to its custom of entertaining especially at an early day when its grounds were allowed for camping purposes to travelers and they cared mostly for themselves.

Our part of the line was in an open field behind a narrow strip of woods with the enemy's breastworks just beyond about a mile more or less away in our front. We were formed by regiments four lines deep. Our regiment was on the skirmish line all night on Totopotomy Creek, but was relieved about daylight and after a hot dusty march joined our Division in the foregoing position just in season for the assault at about 6 o'clock p. m., our brigade being on the left of our Division. We were all worn out from being on the skirmish line all night followed by a rapid but all-day march, so near asleep at times en route as to frequently actually unconsciously march into scrub trees by the wayside or anything else in the line of march before awaking. It was simply impossible to keep awake as overtaxed nature had reached its limit.

We were ordered to guide left on the First Division of the Sixth Corps in the assault, but owing to some misunderstanding at first there was some delay, but our brigade soon got in motion and advanced rapidly in unbroken lines soon all alone on its right, until broken by the woods, leaving the troops on our right far in the rear, which caused us to oblique to the right when, before we were half-way through the woods and swamp which were wider in our front than to our left, our brigade had deployed so we had only one line of battle where I was with no support on my right whatever which, owing to an enfilading fire from the enemy in that direction, greatly handicapped the right of the line here. This caused quite a sharp angle in the Union line of battle at this point, and when we were afterwards drawn back a little to connect with our right it brought our line of works here closer the enemy's than at any other point. The fact is we had no support either in rear or to our right and were in a precarious situation until drawn back in continuous line of battle with the rest of the assaulting line.

It was a determined charge though, through the woods and swamp. It was my first experience as Company Commander in an assault, and it did seem queer to step in front of my men to lead them, one of if not the youngest among them. But I was on my mettle and had I known a solid shot would have cut me in part the next second, pride would have kept me up to the rack, for the Company Commanders of the Tenth Vermont did not follow but led their men in battle ever after the first one at Locust Grove and some did there. The men of Company K are splendid fighters, and I am proud of them. If there was a man who shirked I didn't see him. They followed me splendidly, have gained my respect and esteem, and I shall hate to give up the Company when the time comes to do so.

A part of our Division together with General Emery Upton's Brigade of our Corps, quite largely went over the enemy's works in the assault to-night, but could not hold them because not supported on either flank. It was a plucky fight. Our opponents were Generals Hoke, Kershaw, Pickett and Field's Divisions. General Clingman's Brigade was on the right of Hoke's Division, and was badly broken up in the assault, as well as the Brigade on either side of his, one of which belonged to Kershaw's Division. Our regiment captured the Fifty-first North Carolina Infantry, the commanding officer of which surrendered his sword to Captain E. B. Frost of Company A, acting Major. Our Division and Upton's Brigade captured five hundred prisoners, most of whom were probably taken by our regiment. Such as were taken by it were sent to the rear, without guard, but were again picked up en route so we got no credit for them. We could not spare men to send them under guard for we had more than we could do to hold the works after taking them.

The loss in the Sixth Corps was twelve hundred, of which over eight hundred were from our Division. The splendid work of the Third Division here put it in full fellowship with the rest of the Sixth Corps. We had proved our mettle grandly even if a shorter time in service than the Second and Third Divisions. The loss from our Brigade was twenty-one officers, seven of whom were killed, ten wounded and four were taken prisoners; one hundred enlisted men were also killed and two hundred and seventy-five wounded. Our regiment lost nineteen killed and sixty-two wounded, and Company K, one killed and four wounded. Lieutenant Colonel Townsend of the One Hundred and Sixth New York, Lieutenants Ezra Stetson of Company B, and C. G. Newton of Company G, Tenth Vermont, were killed; Colonel W. W. Henry and Lieutenant William White of the Tenth Vermont, Colonel W. S. Truex of the Fourteenth New Jersey, commanding First Brigade, Colonel Schall of the Eighty-seventh Pennsylvania were wounded, and Major McDonald of the One Hundred and Sixth New York and Lieutenant J. S. Thompson of Company A, Tenth Vermont were taken prisoners and two other officers.

SOURCE: Lemuel Abijah Abbott, Personal Recollections and Civil War Diary, 1864, p. 69-74

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Official Reports of the Advance of the Union Forces to the Line of the Rappahannock, Va., November 7-8, 1863: No. 17. Report of Maj. Gen. John Sedgwick, U.S. Army, commanding Right Column, of engagement at Rappahannock Station, with Congratulatory Orders.

No. 17

Report of Maj. Gen. John Sedgwick, U.S. Army, commanding Right Column, of engagement at Rappahannock Station, with congratulatory orders.

NEAR BRANDY STATION, January 3, 1864
Brigadier-General S. WILLIAMS,
Assistant Adjutant-General.

GENERAL: I respectfully submit the following report of the operations of the Right Column of the Army of the Potomac, on the 7th of November ultimo, at Rappahannock Station:

In compliance with the order of the general commanding, the Fifth Corps (Major-General Sykes) and the Sixth Corps (Brigadier-General Wright) took the positions assigned them on the left and right of the railroad near the enemy's intrenched position at Rappahannock Station, and at 3 p.m. pushed forward their skirmishers to the river bank on the left and right of the general line. The enemy's skirmishers were driven to their rifle-pits. These extended from the railroad a distance of 1,000 yards up the river upon a slope of excellent command. Near the railroad and upon the crowning points of this slope redoubts had been erected, which covered all approaches from the front. This position was one of unusual strength.

During the afternoon three batteries of the Sixth Corps, two of the Fifth Corps, and one of the Artillery Reserve maintained a vigorous fire upon the redoubts, to which the enemy as vigorously replied. At dusk an assault was ordered, and brilliantly executed by Brigadier-General Russell with two brigades of his division, commanded, respectively, by Colonels Upton and Ellmaker. The works were carried gallantly. Two brigades of the enemy, numbering over 1,700, including the brigade commanders, and 130 commissioned officers, 4 pieces of artillery, with caissons and ammunition, 2,000 stand of arms, 8 colors, and a pontoon bridge were captured in the assault.

I desire to call the attention of the general commanding to the fact that the enemy's intrenchments were defended by a force numerically equal to the attacking party, and to say that the officers and troops engaged in the assault, particularly Brigadier-General Russell, Colonels Upton and Ellmaker, and the Fifth Wisconsin and the Sixth Maine Volunteers, deserve the highest praise that can be bestowed upon a soldier.

The casualties in my command were as follows:

Fifth Corps: Killed, 7 enlisted men; wounded, 3 officers and 42 enlisted men.*

Sixth Corps: Killed, 8 officers and 68 enlisted men; wounded, 26 officers and 258 enlisted men.*

A list of names has already been forwarded.
For a more detailed account of the operations herein generally described, I respectfully refer to the accompanying reports of Major-General Sykes and Brigadier-General Wright.

I am, general, very respectfully,
Your obedient servant,
Major-General, Commanding Rigid Column.
 Brig. Gen. S. WILLIAMS,
Assistant Adjutant-General.



* See revised statement, p. 558

SOURCES: George William Curtis, Correspondence of John Sedgwick, Major-General, Volume 2, p. 169-71; The War of the Rebellion: A Compilation of the Official Records of the Union and Confederate Armies, Series I, Volume 29, Part 1 (Serial No. 48), p. 574-5

Monday, August 24, 2015

Major-General John Sedgwick’s General Orders, No. 1, November 8, 1863


November 8, 1863.

The general commanding the Right Column congratulates the troops of his command on the admirable success which attended their operations of yesterday. The enemy was attacked in an intrenched position of great strength, in inclosed works, defended by artillery and infantry, and compelled to surrender, after a sharp conflict, to an assaulting column actually inferior in numbers to the force defending the works. Four pieces of artillery, 4 caissons, filled with ammunition, the enemy's pontoon bridge, 8 battle-flags, 2,000 stand of small-arms, 1,600 prisoners, including 2 brigade commanders, and 130 commissioned officers are the fruits of the victory.

The prompt advance of the Fifth Corps to the river, the assault from the right of its line, and its gallant entry into the redoubt simultaneously with the troops of the Sixth Corps, are worthy of high praise.

The taking of the heights on the right by Neill's and Shaler's brigades of the Sixth Corps, under Brigadier-General Howe, to obtain position for the batteries, was admirably accomplished.

The assault of the storming party, under General Russell, conducted over rough ground in the full fire of the works, could not be surpassed in steadiness and gallantry. The brigades of Colonel Ellmaker and Colonel Upton, and the troops of the Fifth Corps which participated in the assault, have nobly earned the admiration and gratitude of their comrades and commanders.

The Sixth Maine and Fifth Wisconsin Volunteers, for carrying the redoubts; the One hundred and twenty-first New York, Fifth Maine, and Forty-ninth and One hundred and nineteenth Pennsylvania Volunteers, for taking the line of rifle-pits with the bayonet and seizing the enemy's bridge, deserve especial honor.

By command of Major-General Sedgwick:
Chief of Staff, and Assistant Adjutant-General.

SOURCE: The War of the Rebellion: A Compilation of the Official Records of the Union and Confederate Armies, Series I, Volume 29, Part 1 (Serial No. 48), p. 575-6

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Official Reports of the Mine Run (Virginia) Campaign: No. 77. Report of Maj. Gen. John Sedgwick, U. S. Army, commanding Sixth Army Corps.

No. 77.

Report of Maj. Gen. John Sedgwick, U. S. Army, commanding Sixth Army Corps.

Headquarters Sixth Army Corps,
December 4, 1863.
Brigadier-General S. Williams,
A.A.G., Army of the Potomac.


I respectfully submit the following report of the operations of this corps from November 26 to December 3:

In obedience to the orders of the commanding general, the corps commenced its march on the morning of the 26th at 6 o'clock, and moved to Brandy Station, where it halted in readiness to follow the Third Corps as directed in the order of march. The road was not cleared until 11 a.m. At that hour the march was resumed and continued with many interruptions, owing to the crowded condition of the roads, until late at night. The column reached the Rapidan after dark, well closed on the Third Corps, crossed, and went into bivouac with the exception of the trains, the artillery, and the rear guard, consisting of Upton's brigade. The artillery and trains were ordered to Germanna Ford. The batteries crossed at that point during the night and rejoined the corps the following morning.

On the morning of the 27th, Upton's brigade having crossed the river, the corps was placed under arms at daylight and drawn out in order of march, ready to follow and support Major-General French, as directed. The head of the column continued closed on the Third Corps, but made no progress until 3 p.m., at which time the firing in the front having increased I rode forward to General French's headquarters and found him deploying to resist a serious attack upon his advance. I immediately moved forward two divisions, the First and Second, and as the engagement progressed advanced Ellmaker's brigade upon the right and Neill's and Upton's brigades upon the left to support General French's line, and held Torbert's and Grant's brigades in rear as a reserve. The Third Division remained near the river, in obedience to the order of the commanding general, to cover the bridges and trains at Germanna Ford. The artillery could not be made available, owing to the wooded character of the country, and was massed in rear of the reserve. None of the troops of my command became engaged. They bivouacked on the field until midnight, at which time, in obedience to an order received at 11 p.m., I marched in the direction of the turnpike to form a junction with General Warren. At daylight I took position, with my entire command, on the right of the Second Corps.

At 7.40 a.m. I received the order of the commanding general to attack the enemy, in conjunction with the other corps. I advanced at once in the execution of this order, and discovered that the enemy had retired during the night. I then moved forward on the turnpike in rear of the Second Corps, and took position on its right in front of the line taken up by the enemy on Mine Run, and advanced a line of skirmishers to the stream. The movements of this day were much embarrassed by the rain and the troops suffered extremely.

On the following day the Third Division, Brigadier-General Terry, and Martin's battery were detached, by the order of the commanding general, to report to General Warren. With the other divisions I remained in position holding the right of the line. The enemy's position in my front was one of great natural strength and extensively intrenched.

At 2 a.m. on the morning of the 30th, having been placed in command of the Fifth and Sixth Corps, I moved about 2 miles to the right, leaving two brigades and the batteries to hold the lines which the two corps had occupied. It was the intention of the general commanding to make a sudden and determined attack upon the enemy's left, under a concentrated fire from our batteries. The movement of the troops had been carefully concealed from the enemy, and at the appointed time, 8 a.m., I opened fire from six batteries, and prepared to move promptly upon the enemy's position at 9 a.m., the hour fixed for the assault. The enemy replied promptly from several batteries. At 8.45 I received the order of the commanding general to suspend my attack until further orders. This was accordingly done. The batteries ceased firing upon both sides, and the enemy proceeded to make the alterations in his line and the character of his defenses which the threatened attack from the direction of his left rendered essential to his safety. During the day I was ordered back with my command to my former position, and executed the movement as soon as it was dark.

On the following day, December 1, I remained in position. The condition of the supplies of forage and subsistence, and the impossibility of replenishing in our then position rendering all further offensive movements impracticable, and a return to our base of supplies being, in my opinion, a matter of necessity, I made the necessary preparations for a night movement to the river. During the night, in obedience to orders, I recrossed the Rapidan with the rest of the army, and halted near Stevensburg on the morning of the 2d instant. On the 3d instant, I resumed the march to the vicinity of Wellord's Ford, and re-occupied my former camp.

I am, very respectfully,
Your obedient servant,
John Sedgwick,


List of Casualties in the Sixth Army Corps during the movements of the Army of the Potomac to the south side of the Rapidan, November 26- December 2.

Enlisted men wounded:         
Third Division
Artillery Brigade

*See revised statement, p. 685

SOURCE: George William Curtis, Correspondence of John Sedgwick, Major-General, Volume 2, p. 162-6; The War of the Rebellion: A Compilation of the Official Records of the Union and Confederate Armies, Series I, Volume 29, Part 1 (Serial No. 48), p. 796-7

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Cadet Emory Upton to Maria E. Upton, January 6, 1860

West Point, January 6, 1860.

My Dear Sister: Another year has joined the past, and 1860, bright with promises, has dawned upon us. “We know not what a day may bring forth.” 1860 may be as indelibly stamped upon our memories as 1859 or 1856, when our loved ones were summoned from earth. As we look over our diminished numbers, we ask who is to go next. The one most robust in health may be the first to succumb to disease. Let us thank-God for his goodness and for we feel that he has called them unto his glory. We should be more watchful, more diligent in our services to God than we have been. Let our united prayers ascend to God that he may hasten the conversion of those of our family who still delay.

SOURCE: Peter S. Michie, The Life and Letters of Emory Upton, p. 17-8

Sunday, November 30, 2014

Lieutenant-Colonel Theodore Lyman to Elizabeth Russell Lyman, May 10, 1864

May 10, 1864

[Tuesday] there was sharp fighting all along the line. General Mott's division of the 2d Corps was put on the left of the 6th Corps, with the idea of making a connection with Burnside and then swinging our left to take the enemy in flank. I was ordered early to go to General Wright and explain to him, then to General Mott and direct him to demonstrate along his front and feel on the left for Burnside. General Wright had moved his Headquarters and had put them a little back and on one side, being moved thereto by the fact that the first selection was a focus for shells. Then I rode along the lines to General Mott and got his position as well as I could, and gave him the order. Coming back to General Wright, I had a sharp corner to go through. A battery was firing at one of ours and the shells coming over struck right among our infantry. They cut the pine trees about me in a manner I didn't like, and one burst close by, throwing the pieces round just as you see them in French battle pictures. All day there was firing. About eleven came General Meade and told me to go out at once to Mott and to get a written report from him, which I did; and a sharpshooter shot at me, which I hate — it is so personal. More by token, poor General Rice, a Massachusetts man and very daring, was to-day killed by a sharpshooter. The ball broke his thigh, and, when they amputated his leg, he never rallied. As he lay on the stretcher, he called out to General Meade: “Don't you give up this fight! I am willing to lose my life, if it is to be; but don't you give up this fight!” All day we were trying to select places for an assault. Barlow crossed the Po on the right, but was afterwards ordered back, and had a brilliant rear-guard fight in which he punished the enemy. From five to six P.M. there was heavy cannonading, the battalions firing by volley. At 6.30 Upton, with a heavy column of picked men, made a most brilliant assault with the bayonet, at the left of the Sixth Corps. The men rushed on, without firing a shot, carried the breastworks in the face of cannon and musketry, and took 900 prisoners. Some of the men, who faltered, were run through the body by their comrades! But Mott's men on the left behaved shamefully, and so Upton was obliged again to fall back, bringing his prisoners with him.1 . . .

1 “11 P.m. Grant in consultation with Meade. Wright came up also; he uttered no complaints, but said quietly and firmly to Meade: ‘General, I don't want Mott's men on my left; they are not a support; I would rather have no troops there!’ Warren is not up to a corps command. As in the Mine Run move, so here, he cannot spread himself over three divisions. He cannot do it, and the result is partial and ill-concerted and dilatory movements.” — Lyman's Journal.

SOURCE: George R. Agassiz, Editor, Meade’s Headquarters, 1863-1865: Letters of Colonel Theodore Lyman from the Wilderness to Appomattox, p. 108-10