Showing posts with label Sharpsburg MD. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Sharpsburg MD. Show all posts

Wednesday, October 14, 2020

Colonel Rutherford B. Hayes to Lucy Webb Hayes, Tuesday Evening, July 26, 1864

CAMP NEAR SHARPSBURG, MARYLAND,
Tuesday evening, July 26, 1864. 

DEAREST: — We reached here today after two nights and one day of pretty severe marching, not so severe as the Lynchburg march, and one day of very severe fighting at Winchester. We were defeated by a superior force at Winchester. My brigade suffered most in killed and wounded and not so much in prisoners as some others. The Twenty-third lost about twenty-five killed and one hundred wounded; [the] Thirty-sixth, eleven killed, ninety-nine wounded; [the] Thirteenth, fifteen killed, sixty wounded (behaved splendidly - its first battle) ; [the] Sixth, four killed, twenty-seven wounded. In [the] Twenty-third, six new officers wounded and two killed - Captain McMillen late of [the] Twelfth and Lieutenant Gray, a sergeant of Company G. Morgan again wounded, not dangerously. Comly very slightly. Lieutenant Hubbard, late commissary sergeant, fell into [the] hands of Rebels. The rest all with us. Lieutenant Kelly slightly three times. Lieutenant Clark (late sergeant) not badly. All doing well. Lieutenant-Colonel Hall (Thirteenth) twice badly but not dangerously — a brave man, very. My horse wounded. This is all a new experience, a decided defeat in battle. My brigade was in the hottest place and then was in condition to cover the retreat as rear-guard which we did successfully and well for one day and night. 

Of course the reason, the place for blame to fall, is always asked in such cases. I think the army is not disposed to blame the result on anybody. The enemy was so superior that a defeat was a matter of course if we fought. The real difficulty was, our cavalry was so inefficient in its efforts to discover the strength of the enemy that General Crook and all the rest of us were deceived until it was too late.* 

We are queer beings. The camp is now alive with laughter and good feeling; more so than usual. The recoil after so much toil and anxiety. The most of our wounded were brought off and all are doing well. — Colonel Mulligan, commanding (the) brigade next to mine was killed. Colonel Shaw of [the] Thirty-fourth killed. 

As we were driven off the field my pocket emptied out map, almanack, and (a) little photographic album. We charged back ten or twenty yards and got them! 

There were some splendid things done by those around me. McKinley and Hastings were very gallant. Dr. Joe conspicuously so. Much that was disgraceful was done, but, on the whole, it was not so painful a thing to go through as I have thought it would be. 

This was Sunday, about 2 P. M., that we all went up. We shall stay here some time if the Rebels don't invade Maryland again and so give us business. 

I thought of you often, especially as I feared the first reports by frightened teamsters and cavalry might carry tidings affecting me. It was said my brigade was crushed and I killed at Martinsburg. By the by, the enemy followed us to that place where we turned on them and flogged their advance-guard handsomely So much, dearest, as ever.

Affectionately, 
R. 
MRS. HAYES.
_______________ 

* See Dr. Joseph T. Webb to Marietta Cook Webb, July 28, 1864

 [August 27, Hayes's command marched fourteen miles down the river road toward Harpers Ferry and camped below Sandy Hook. The next day the Potomac was crossed and a camp was established in the woods near Halltown, Virginia, a good location except that it was "too far from water.” Here the weary soldiers rested two days. Then, Saturday night, July 30, they marched back in the darkness, through dust, heat, and confusion, fourteen miles into Maryland; and Sunday ten miles farther on through Middletown to a wooded camp. Hayes writes: “Men all gone up, played out, etc. Must have time to build up or we can do nothing. Only fifty to one hundred men in a regiment came into camp in a body.”]

SOURCE: Charles Richard Williams, editor, Diary and Letters of Rutherford Birchard Hayes, Volume 2, p. 485-7

Tuesday, May 29, 2018

Diary of 2nd Lieutenant Luman Harris Tenney: August 27, 1864

Rained last night. Thunder heavy. Moved through Sharpsburg and over the Antietam battle ground. Turned towards Williamsport and camped three miles from Sharpsburg.

SOURCE: Frances Andrews Tenney, War Diary Of Luman Harris Tenney, p. 129

Tuesday, January 9, 2018

Official Reports of the Maryland Campaign, September 3-20, 1862: No. 138. – Report of Brig. Gen. Jacob D. Cox, U. S. Army, commanding Ninth Corps, of the Battle of Antietam.

HEADQUARTERS NINTH ARMY CORPS,
Mouth of Antietam, September 23, 1862.

SIR: I have the honor to submit the following report of the movements of the Ninth Army Corps on the 16th instant, and their part in the battle of Sharpsburg on the 17th:

On the evening of the 15th instant the Ninth Army Corps, having been ordered away from the remainder of the right wing, was encamped in the rear of the extreme left of the whole line of the Army of the Potomac, close to the hills on the southeast side of the valley of the Antietam, and on the left of the road from Rohrersville to Sharpsburg.

On the afternoon of the 16th the whole corps, except Willcox's division, was moved forward and to the left and front, by command of Major-General Burnside, in three columns, and took up a new position upon the rear slope of the ridges on the left bank of the Antietam, the center of the corps being nearly opposite the stone bridge over the stream on the above-mentioned road.

The positions assigned the divisions of the command were as follows: The right front to be occupied by Crook's brigade, of the Kanawha Division, supported in rear by Sturgis' division; a commanding knoll in the center to be occupied by Battery E, Second U.S. Artillery, First Lieut. Samuel N. Benjamin commanding, consisting of 20-pounder Parrott guns: the left front to be occupied by Rodman's division, supported in rear by Ewing's brigade, of the Kanawha Division, the whole of the latter division being under the command of Col E. P. Scammon. The columns were conducted to their positions by staff officers of the personal staff of General Burnside. The artillery of the command, except Benjamin's battery, was held in reserve.

Shortly after daybreak on the 17th the enemy's batteries opened upon the batteries of our line, and a brisk artillery fight began, in which Benjamin's battery and Durell's battery (the latter sent forward a little to the right of our position, under charge of Captain Rawolle, by General Sturgis) took an active part, co-operating with batteries of other corps on our right. Two of the enemy's caissons were exploded, and many of their guns silenced. The shot and shell fell thickly in our bivouac, but little damage was done us.

About 7 o'clock orders were received from General Burnside to move forward the corps to the ridge nearest the Antietam, and hold it, in readiness to cross the stream, carrying the bridge and the heights above it by assault. The command was moved forward in column as it had been formed the previous night, and promptly took position as directed, and the light artillery was ordered to cover the movement; McMullin's, Durell's, Clark's, Muhlenberg's, and Cook's batteries being placed on the heights to right and left and somewhat to the front of Benjamin's battery, to which a section of 20 pounders from Simmonds' battery was also temporarily attached. Willcox's division was also brought up and held as a reserve.

About 9 o'clock the order was received to cross the stream. Immediately the Eleventh Connecticut Infantry, Colonel Kingsbury commanding, was detailed from Rodman's division to deploy as skirmishers and drive the enemy from the head of the bridge. The column on the right Crook's brigade, of the Kanawha Division, supported by Sturgis' division) was ordered to march under cover of the Eleventh Connecticut, and attempt to carry the bridge by assault, deploying to right and left as soon as the bridge should be carried, and taking the heights above it. The column on the left (Rodman's division, supported by Ewing's brigade, of the Kanawha Division) was ordered to cross, if possible, by a ford about one-third of a mile below the bridge, take the heights above it, and join the column crossing the bridge.

The bridge itself is a stone structure of three arches, with stone parapet above, this parapet to some extent flanking the approach to the bridge at either end. The valley in which the stream runs is quite narrow, the steep slope on the right bank approaching quite to the water's edge. On this slope the roadway is scarped, running both ways from the bridge end, and passing to the higher land above by ascending through ravines above and below; the other ravine being some 600 yards above the bridge, the turn about half that distance below. On the hillside immediately above the bridge was a strong stone fence running parallel to the stream. The turns of the roadway were covered by rifle-pits and breastworks, made of rails and stone, all of which defenses, as well as the woods which covered the slope, were filled with the enemy's infantry and sharpshooters. Besides the infantry defenses, batteries were placed to enfilade the bridge and all its approaches. The crest of the first hill above the bridge is curved toward the stream at the extremes, forming a sort of natural tete-de-pont. The next ridge beyond rises somewhat higher, though with less regularity, the depression between the two being but slight, and the distance varying in places from 300 to 700 yards.

In accordance with the order mentioned above, the Eleventh Connecticut advanced to the stream and warmly engaged the enemy across it. Crook's brigade in moving forward was brought under so lively an infantry fire, as well as that of artillery, that it was forced to halt and open fire in return, and Sturgis' division, passing by the rear, came first to the bridge, and was ordered to cross under protection of the artillery fire. General Sturgis ordered forward the Second Maryland and Sixth New Hampshire, which charged at double-quick with fixed bayonets, but the concentrated fire upon the bridge forced them to fall back. After repeated brave efforts these regiments were withdrawn, and the Fifty-first New York and Fifty-first Pennsylvania, from the same division, were ordered up.

About the same time Colonel Crook, of the Second Brigade, Kanawha Division, succeeded in getting a section of Simmonds' battery, supported by the Twenty-eighth Ohio Infantry, in position to bear directly upon the enemy's positions at the farther end of the bridge, and, aided by these guns, the fresh troops charged with great enthusiasm, bearing down all opposition, and, at I o'clock, planted their banner on the opposite bank. In this desperate fight in the valley, Colonel Kingsbury, of the Eleventh Connecticut, fell, cheering his men on to duty.

General Sturgis' division immediately marched over, deploying one brigade to the right and the other to the left of the bridge, and advanced up the slope, driving the enemy before them. This division was followed by Colonel Crook's brigade of the Kanawha Division, which took position on the right.

Meanwhile General Rodman's division and the First Brigade of the Kanawha Division, under Colonel Scammon, had succeeded in crossing at the ford below, after a sharp engagement and under a heavy musketry and artillery fire, and successfully took the position assigned at the left of the line of the crest above the bridge. The three divisions of the corps at this time on the right bank of the Antietam occupied the exact positions assigned them before the commencement, except that on the right the division of Sturgis was in front, and Crook's brigade in support of it, the order being reversed by the causes before stated.

The stubbornly contested fight at the bridge having almost exhausted the ammunition and greatly fatigued the troops engaged, I sent a request to General Burnside that Willcox's division, which had been held in reserve on the left bank, might be sent over and take its place on the right front, putting Sturgis' division in reserve at the head of the bridge. This was immediately ordered by General Burnside, and General Willcox came promptly forward with his command. During the interval the enemy kept up an incessant cannonade, and, having the exact range of the valley and the ravines, his shells came in very fast, annoying us a good deal and causing numerous casualties, notwithstanding the men were kept lying on the ground near the crests of the hill while the changes in the line and the partially new formation after the arrival of Willcox's division were being made.

At about 3 o'clock, the necessary changes in the line having been completed, the order to advance was received from General Burnside, and the whole force, except Sturgis' division, was put in motion. General Willcox on the right, his whole division in line and supported by Colonel Crook, was ordered to move on Sharpsburg, which lay about a mile distant to the right of our front. General Rodman, supported by Colonel Scammon, was ordered to move in the same direction, first dislodging the enemy from his front, and then changing direction to the right, bringing his command en echelon on the left of General Willcox. The advance was partly covered by Simmonds', Muhlenberg's, Clark's, and Cook's batteries, the other batteries of the corps being in part out of ammunition, and part being necessarily kept in position on the commanding ground on the left bank of the stream. The troops moved forward in perfect order and with great enthusiasm. On the right, General Willcox and Colonel Crook quickly repulsed the enemy and drove back their artillery, pushing victoriously forward nearly to the village. On the left, General Rodman and Colonel Scammon likewise advanced rapidly, driving the rebels before them. The enemy, however, were manifestly in much greater force than ours, and massed their troops heavily on the extreme left. This necessarily made the line of march of our left wing diverge from the course intended, and opened a gap between it and the right, which it was necessary to fill up by the troops of the second line. Batteries were accumulated against us upon the semicircular ridge in advance, and the advancing line was subject to a most trying and destructive cross-fire of artillery. The enemy now brought up still more fresh troops upon the left, and while General Rodman was making disposition to meet them by a change of front of a part of his command, he fell, desperately wounded by a ball through his breast. The loss of their commander at a critical period caused confusion in a portion of the division on the extreme left.
The Second Brigade of his division, Colonel Harland commanding, was forced to retire after an obstinate contest, in which they suffered terribly.

Colonel Scammon, of the Kanawha Division, being ordered to make dispositions of the brigade with him to oppose the rebel force on the left, caused the Twelfth and Twenty-third Ohio Regiments to execute a perpendicular change of front, which was done with precision and success, the other regiment of the brigade (Thirtieth Ohio) maintaining its proper front. The whole line was now engaged, the supports being brought to the front, except the reserve division of General Sturgis at the bridge. This was now ordered up, and came promptly, though much exhausted and weakened by its previous exertions during the day.

The mass of the enemy on the left still continued to increase; new batteries were constantly being opened upon us, and it was manifest the corps would, without re-enforcements, be unable to reach the village of Sharpsburg, since the movement could not be made to the right whilst the enemy exhibited such force in front of the extreme left, and the attack both to the right and left at once would necessarily separate the wings to such an extent as to imperil the whole movement unwarrantably.

The attack having already had the effect of a most powerful diversion in favor of the center and right of the army, which by this means had been able to make decided and successful advances, and no supports being at the time available for our exhausted corps, I ordered the troops withdrawn from the exposed ground in front to the cover of the curved hill above the bridge, which had been taken from the enemy earlier in the afternoon. This movement was effected shortly before dark, in perfect order and with admirable coolness and precision on the part of both officers and men.

The line as then constituted was formed by Sturgis' division in front on the left, supported by Fairchild's brigade, of Rodman's division; the Kanawha Division, under Colonel Scammon, in the center, and Willcox's division on the right. The enemy did not venture an attack upon the position, but kept up a brisk artillery fire until night-fall.

The bravery and soldierly conduct of the men was most striking, and becomes still more noticeable when it is considered that for several days they had been marching and fighting, with scarcely any rest, by night or day, and the rapidity of the movement had prevented their having any regular supplies of food, the supply train being delayed at the rear by the advance of other troops.

The batteries on the left bank of the Antietam were used not only to assist in the movement of the corps, but also were most efficiently turned upon the enemy in his attacks on the center and right of the army. They were all very well served, and the 20-pounder battery, under Lieutenant Benjamin, was especially efficient.

In their reports (which are transmitted herewith) the commandants of divisions and separate brigades speak in the highest terms of their troops, and make special mention of numbers of officers and men who distinguished themselves. These are too numerous to be named in this report, but the whole list will very shortly be published in a special order from these headquarters. I must confine myself to the expression of my great satisfaction with the manner in which all the subordinate commands of the corps were handled. The movements were accurate as those of a parade, and the systematic order with which they were executed made the spectacle in the heat of the battle a grand and imposing one. Permit me also to express my obligations to the gentlemen on General Burnside's staff for the intelligence, courage, and unwearied industry they exhibited in the constant communication between him and the headquarters of this corps.

The casualties in the corps during the day were 2,222; of which 357 were killed, 1,742 wounded, and 123 missing.* Among numerous officers killed and wounded we have to mourn the loss of Col. Henry W. Kingsbury, Eleventh Connecticut; Lieut. Col. A. H. Coleman, commanding Eleventh Regiment Ohio Volunteers; Lieut. Col. M. Clarke, commanding Thirty sixth Regiment Ohio Volunteer Infantry, and Lieutenant-Colonel Bell, commanding Fifty-first Pennsylvania. All these gallant officers were killed in the action whilst heroically leading their men, under a terrible fire of shell, canister, and musketry.

Very respectfully, your obedient servant,
J. D. COX,
Brigadier-General, Commanding.
Lieut. Col. LEWIS RICHMOND,
Asst. Adjt. Gen., Hdqrs. Right Wing, Maj. Gen. Burnside Comdg.
_______________

* But see revised statement, p. 198.

SOURCE: The War of the Rebellion: A Compilation of the Official Records of the Union and Confederate Armies, Series I, Volume 19, Part 1 (Serial No. 27), p. 423-7

Friday, June 23, 2017

Dr. Joseph T. Webb to Lieutenant-Colonel Rutherford B. Hayes: Received October 5, 1862

[Sharpsburg, Maryland.]

We all expect to be on our way back in a few days. There is much dissatisfaction at the prospect of returning to western Virginia. For my part, I will not remain in western Virginia another winter for any consideration whatever, if there is any way to avoid it.

. . . Our young friend, William McKinley, commissary sergeant, would be pleased with a promotion, and would not object to your recommendation for the same. Without wishing to interfere in this matter, it strikes me he is about the brightest chap spoken of for the place.

SOURCE: Charles Richard Williams, editor, Diary and Letters of Rutherford Birchard Hayes, Volume 2, p. 361-2

Monday, April 24, 2017

Diary of Sergeant Major Luman Harris Tenney: April 10, 1863

Renewed our march soon after sunrise. Got some biscuit for lunch. Drake and I rode together some again. Got into Sharpsburg a little after noon. We of the commissary put our horses in a shed and slept in a hayloft. Issued one day's rations. Such a green Com., never saw. Ate supper at a sound Union family's Hart's. Sarah very pretty little girl. Saw quite a scene at the hotel about a slave. Four or five girls crying.

SOURCE: Frances Andrews Tenney, War Diary Of Luman Harris Tenney, p. 65

Friday, May 27, 2016

Diary of John Beauchamp Jones: September 20, 1862

While Jackson was doing his work, McClellan, who has been restored to command, marched at the head of 100,000 men to the rescue of Harper's Ferry, but D. P. Hill, with his single division, kept him at bay for many hours, until Longstreet came to his assistance, and night fell upon the scene.

But Lee soon concentrated his weary columns at Sharpsburg, near Shepherdstown, and on the 17th inst. gave battle. We got the first news of this battle from a Northern paper — the Philadelphia Inquirer — which claimed a great victory, having killed and taken 40,000 of our men, made Jackson prisoner, and wounded Longstreet! But the truth is, we lost 5000 and the enemy 20,000. At the next dawn Lee opened fire again — but, lo! the enemy had fled!

SOURCE: John Beauchamp Jones, A Rebel War Clerk's Diary at the Confederate States Capital, Volume 1, p. 153-4

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Captain Charles Fessenden Morse, January 6, 1863

Fairfax Station, January 6, 1863.

We have at last moved into a new camp, and are situated very comfortably; the men have good log houses with their shelter tents pitched on top, four men to each house; the camp is laid out with great regularity and is a very creditable place altogether; the officers have A tents (seven feet by seven feet) pitched on log walls, averaging a tent to two officers. We have been at work about ten days on this camp and are as well off now as we were at Sharpsburgh; no one knows, of course, whether we shall enjoy these good quarters, but we hope to do so, through the coming wet weather. The weather for the last three weeks has been remarkable, not a single storm and no severely cold days.

We had a division review on Saturday, and another one on Sunday. The first day, I was Officer of the Day and did not attend, but I went Sunday; it was before General Slocum; Captain Russell was in command, Mudge being sick. The review was a very fine one, about the best I ever saw. General Slocum told our brigade commander that our regiment was by far the best in his corps and the best he had ever seen in the service. The men did look finely; their clothes, of course, are old and worn, but their rifles, belts, and brasses shone right out. What a pride one could feel in an army, if every regiment in the service could be depended upon as ours can for any kind of work. I haven't any doubt but with good officers we could have the best army in the world.

Rumor says that Burnside will ask to be relieved before many days. Who will be our next commander, no one knows; Lord save us from Hooker, at all events!

SOURCE: Charles Fessenden Morse, Letters Written During the Civil War, 1861-1865, p. 117-8

Thursday, October 22, 2015

Captain Charles Fessenden Morse, December 15, 1862

Bivouac Near Fairfax Station,
December 15, 1862.

I will take the opportunity of a few hours' respite from marching, to let you know of my present whereabouts and good condition. We have arrived at this place after about five days' marching, making seventy miles from Sharpshurgh. We have been called up at half-past three every morning, and have not stopped until after dark any night, though our marching has been very much interrupted by bad roads, delays about the wagon trains, etc.

I met with the greatest misfortune, on my third day's march, that I have had during the war. Hogan started out about a mile ahead of the column, as was his usual custom, to forage for us; he had just got through a small town called Hillsborough, when a party of guerillas made a dash out from the side of the road, and before he had time to put spurs to my horse, they had ridden him down and seized him. They had hardly done this when our advance came in sight, and our cavalry saw them and gave chase. I saw the scamps as they rode off for their lives, but I had no idea, until nearly two hours afterwards, that my poor mare was among them. It was an awful blow when I did hear it; they told me that Hogan was between two of them; one held a pistol to his ear while they whipped the horse. The pursuit was vain, and I lost everything, Hogan, horse, saddle, bridle, overcoat, dressing-case, tobacco, rations and all. You can hardly imagine how badly I felt: to lose all my comforts and conveniences, and my poor horse also, was a great deal; but to have Hogan taken by a parcel of ruffians who haven't anything good about them, was worst of all.

Harry Russell and Bob Shaw have been very kind to me since this happened, lending me their servants and doing everything they could. Of course, our “mess” is now broken up, but we three stick together and sleep under the same blankets. We've had very good weather for marching and sleeping out since we started, being quite warm. We heard, yesterday, that Burnside had met with some success, but had been pretty badly cut up, and that fresh troops were being pressed forward in large numbers to the front. Our regiment is rear guard to-day; it will be very late before we start, and after midnight when we get into bivouac.

SOURCE: Charles Fessenden Morse, Letters Written During the Civil War, 1861-1865, p. 111-3

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Captain Charles Fessenden Morse, November 2, 1862

Camp Near Sharpsbitrgh, Md.,
November 2, 1862.

You see at once that our position is changed, although we are still on the Maryland side of the river. The orders we received at the time of my last letter were countermanded the next day, and another corps was sent across the river. Everything remained as usual for several days; Wednesday, I was sent on picket with my company up the canal to guard a length of three miles of the river. It was a beautiful October day, and I enjoyed the scenery along the Potomac very much; the trees on both sides were very brilliant. If it had not been for the existing animosity between us and our Southern brethren, I could have had some capital shooting, as the river was full of ducks.

About eight o'clock, P. M., the field officer of the day paid me a visit and informed me that I was instantly to draw in my men; that our brigade had received marching orders and probably had already started. This was interesting, but no time was to be lost. It was after nine when I left my post, and after ten when I reached the old camp ground. The regiment was gone, but one of the surgeons who was left with the hospital told me that the brigade had moved towards Sharpsburgh about two hours before. I was relieved at once by this information, for I knew I could find them there. After a little deliberation, I made up my mind that it was best to spend the night where I was. The men found no difficulty in making themselves tolerably comfortable in the skeletons of their old houses with the aid of good fires. I borrowed a blanket of the sutler and lay down on some straw on one of our old tent floors. Towards three o'clock in the morning, I woke up with awfully cold feet and amused myself till daylight making a roaring great fire, burning up our old bedsteads and other furniture.

Soon after daylight, I started with my command; after between two and three hours' pretty smart marching over a splendid road through a fine country, I came up with the brigade bivouacking by the side of the road. Very soon, we marched again to our present camp, where we relieved some regular regiments of Sykes' brigade which were on picket here. Our camp is in a beautiful open wood about five hundred yards from the river; we are on a sort of a perpetual outpost duty. Our regiment guards the principal ford (running for three-quarters of a mile along the river). This takes a hundred per day for the actual guard; the remainder of the regiment acts as a reserve. The rebel cavalry pickets are on the other side within talking distance. They seem to be peaceably inclined, and I trust the murderous practice of picket firing will not be begun on either side. It would make the duty dangerous and uncomfortable; now we can ride along the tow path within pistol shot of the enemy without feeling any anxiety.

McClellan is probably pushing southward with his army. We have heard pretty heavy and rapid cannonading to-day in the distance. I wish now that we were with the army; if the main body of it is going through a winter campaign, I want to be with it. We shall not stay here if our forces occupy Winchester and the intermediate points, I feel sure.

Yesterday I had a mighty pleasant call from Major Curtis and a friend of his from Boston, Mr. Edward Flint; they took dinner with us and we had a very pleasant time talking over old experiences. I rode back with them to the place where Major Curtis is on picket with a part of his regiment, six miles above us. I took tea there and rode home by moonlight. I lost my way about three miles from here, among an endless number of wagon tracks, paths, etc., so I threw my rein on my horse's neck and she brought me across the fields in almost a bee line to our camp.

I don't know whether I mentioned, in any of my last letters, that we had heard, the day we were at McClellan's headquarters, that Major Curtis had been mentioned as having distinguished himself on the reconnoissance towards Martinsburgh, where he had command of the cavalry.

SOURCE: Charles Fessenden Morse, Letters Written During the Civil War, 1861-1865, p. 101-3

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Samuel Breck Parkman.

SAMUEL BRECK PARKMAN, son of Samuel Breck Parkman, was born on the Sand-hills, near Augusta, Ga., the summer residence of his father, 1 November, 1836.

His father, a cotton merchant of Savannah, and for several years and at the time of his death president of the Marine Bank at Savannah, was, with his three eldest daughters and eldest son, lost in the steamer "Pulaski," between Savannah and New York, 14 June, 1838. Breck had been left, with two sisters, under the care of his maiden aunt, who ever after took the place of a loving mother to the little orphans.

When still very young he was brought to the North and placed at Mr. Maurice's school, at Sing Sing on the Hudson, where he continued till he went to Cambridge. He was tutored by Mr. Felton for a year before entering College. After graduating, he read law in Savannah, and was admitted to practice in due time. He became a member of the Georgia Historical Society, and soon after joined the Savannah troop of cavalry. In the summer of 1860, he was in Europe, and spent some time in Switzerland with Dyer, F. C. Ropes, and Sowdon; he returned in the fall, visited Boston, and there dined with some members of the Class.

In January, 1861, he married Nannie Beirne, youngest daughter of Oliver Beirne, of Western Virginia.

He probably entered the service of the Confederate States as first (some say third) lieutenant in Read's Georgia Battery; and he was reported as such at the time of his death.1 His sister, the wife of Professor W. P. Trowbridge, of New Haven, says, he was “below Richmond, under General Magruder, in infantry Company K, of MacLaws' Division. He was promoted, with the rest of the company, to a battery for meritorious conduct. From May to the latter part of August, he was around Richmond, under fire, but not in any fight, being in the reserve at Harper's Ferry and at Sharpsburg.” Elliott, in a letter to Brown, under date of 30 September, 1865, says, “Breck Parkman was killed at Sharpsburg, on the 17th of September, 1862. He was lieutenant in a Savannah battery, was riding in the rear of the battery, which was engaged at the time, when he was struck down by a small ball from a spherical case which exploded near it, entered the right shoulder, and passed through the heart. No one saw him fall; but he was found a moment after, dead. His remains were afterward taken up, and are now in the Beirne vault at Richmond.” A year or two after, his body was removed to Laurel Grove Cemetery, Savannah, where a monument marks his final resting-place.

After six years of widowhood, Mrs. Parkman married the Baron Emil von Ahlefeldt, of Schleswig Holstein. In April, 1882, the Baroness von Ahlefeldt was in New York, her first visit since 1872, accompanied by her husband. He died in June, 1882.
_______________

1 New Orleans (La.) "Delta," September, 1862. See also Brown's letter to the Class Secretary from Sharpsburg, Md., giving the testimony of a Confederate captain.

SOURCE: McKean Folsom and Francis Henry Brown, Report of the Class of 1857 in Harvard College: Prepared for the Twenty-fifth Anniversary of its Graduation, p. 96-7

Captain Charles Fessenden Morse, September 26, 1862

Maryland Heights, September 26, 1862.

In my last letter, I wrote that we had orders to march the next morning. Our whole corps was routed out before daylight; our division, under command of General Gordon, marched to Maryland Heights, our brigade occupying our old last year's camping ground. Green's division crossed the Potomac and now occupies London Heights, the other side of the Shenandoah. Sumner's corps is encamped on Bolivar Heights. I think at last we are going to have a little rest; I can't tell. Everything seems about as it did last year up here; we have as splendid views and fine sunsets as ever. We have been very busy making up our pay rolls for the last two days. They are now a month behind time; there is any quantity of other papers which have been accumulating for the last six weeks, which will keep us hard at work for a week at least.

One of the men of my company killed at Sharpsburgh, the other day, lived in Brookline, and had been out here only about six weeks; his name was Thomas Dillon, and he was a good, faithful fellow. He was buried by two men in my company who volunteered to do it. A letter came for him two days after his death, which I think, under the circumstances, was one of the most affecting things I ever read, and yet it is only one instance among thousands. I do not know of anything that has brought the horrors of the war more plainly before me than this letter. I have written to the father of Dillon, telling him of his son's death.

You remember, don't you, of my speaking of a young boy named Stephens, who was killed at Winchester; his brother was wounded at Cedar Mountain, and has since died; they were their poor father's and mother's only sons; it is one of the hardest cases I have known.

I have talked with a number of the rebel prisoners. You have no idea what innocent, inoffensive men most of them seem to be; a great many are mere boys; there are some old men, too, with humped backs. Scarcely any of them seem to have any idea of what they are fighting for, and they were almost all forced into the army. I talked with one -poor little fellow from Georgia who had received a severe wound; he could not have been more than sixteen years old. He said that all he wanted was to get into one of the hospitals at the North; that he had been abused and knocked around ever since he had been in the army, and that the first kind treatment he had received and the first kind words he had heard were from our men. He expected to be bayoneted as soon as we came up. The more I see of battle fields convinces me that instances of cruelty to the wounded are extremely rare, and that they are treated, almost universally, with kindness by the men of both sides. When we crossed the field, we drove the rebels from where their wounded were lying everywhere; but our men took the greatest pains not to touch them or hurt them in any way, although sometimes it was almost impossible to avoid it. And when we halted, the men gave almost every drop from their canteens to the poor rebels. The idea that a soldier could ever bring himself to bayoneting a wounded man, strikes me now as almost absurd; it may have been done during this war, but I don't believe it.

Our wounded at Cedar Mountain were treated with the greatest kindness by the rebels; they gave them plenty of water and built shelters to protect them from the sun in many cases. This making out the Southerners to be a lot of cut throats is perfect nonsense; their leaders give a great many harsh orders, but the soldiers are not responsible for them.

I wonder if R. knows that his class-mate and friend, Breck Parkman, was killed at the battle of Sharpsburgh, the other day. He was on some general's staff and was probably killed by the fire of our brigade. Charley Horton saw a rebel surgeon who told him of it.

I believe that we are in quite a permanent camp now. It must be so, I think, for the whole army has endured a hard campaign of six months and must have rest; neither men nor horses can hold out forever. Then we have our recruits to make soldiers of, and the new regiments need any amount of drill. But there is another thing also true, that we have only got two months more in which any work can be done before we go into winter quarters.

The best news that we have heard lately is that Harry Russell is at liberty and exchanged; we hope soon to have him back here with us. There is no one I feel more pity for than Major Savage; we heard that he had lost a leg and would probably lose one arm; I don't believe he can live through it. He is one of the finest men I ever knew; nothing coarse or rough about him. He had a very delicate constitution, but was so plucky that he would do his work when a great many in his situation would have been on the sick list. He was one of my intimate friends, and had been particularly so during the last few months before Cedar Mountain.

Captain Quincy is at last heard from, it seems, badly wounded and a prisoner at Staunton. I doubt whether he or Major Savage ever will rejoin the regiment again to do duty with it; if that is the case, Captain Cogswell will become Lieutenant-Colonel, and Mudge will be Major. I shall be third Captain and shall have the colors. No one in our regiment can complain that he has not had promotion enough to satisfy him during the last few months. You will be pleased, I think, to know that a few of us have now got a first-rate “mess” in working order. It consists of Bob Shaw, Lieutenants Oakey, John Fox, Tom Fox, Abbott and myself. We have a really good cook, who can make good coffee, cook eggs in any way very nicely, and also make pies and puddings; to roast and broil or stew is child's play to him, and although our cooking materials are of the most limited description, we have not, since we have been this side of the Potomac, had a poor meal.

We found it, in our last campaign, to be an unmistakable fact, that a horse couldn't stand as much marching as a man; it got to be a common remark among the men on our march from Culpepper here, as we passed the dead or dying animals which had been abandoned, “There, we've killed one more horse; bring on some fresh ones, we're good for a few more yet.”

SOURCE: Charles Fessenden Morse, Letters Written During the Civil War, 1861-1865, p. 90

Saturday, September 5, 2015

Captain Charles Fessenden Morse, September 21, 1862

Maryland Heights, September 21, 1862.

To go back a little; last Sunday, we marched through Frederick, almost the last corps of McClellan's army. We marched to the sound of the cannon to Middletown Heights, reaching the latter place about half-past one Monday morning, after the battle had been fought and won by our men. We lay down on the ground and slept till daylight.

Monday we marched to within about five miles of Sharpsburgh. Tuesday we united our corps to the main army. A battle was expected that day, but nothing took place beyond a little shelling. We were aroused that night at ten o'clock and marched to our position on line, reaching it between one and two A. M. We were just behind Hooker's division. There was continual picket firing throughout the night.

I awoke at daylight with the full conviction that we were going to fight a battle that day. The first thing to do, of course, was to eat a good breakfast, which I fortunately had with me. I had scarcely finished before the cannonading began, followed quickly by heavy musketry volleys. We got under arms at once and our corps marched forward. We halted just before reaching the field, while our gallant general, Mansfield, gave the orders for our disposition. He was a splendid old veteran; fine white hair and beard. He had commanded us for three days only, but we all felt his good influence. The poor man received his mortal wound before we had been under fire five minutes.

Our brigade moved up into an apple orchard; we had the right. The Third Wisconsin was engaged first, receiving a tremendous fire; we were quite well protected. Captain Mudge was slightly wounded, and about a half a dozen men. Our regiment was now called upon to support the Third Wisconsin. We formed a line almost at right angles with theirs, and poured a heavy cross-fire on the rebels, who were in a cornfield not a hundred yards off; this continued about ten minutes, when the rebel line broke, turned and ran. Our brigade now advanced with a tremendous cheer; the whole field before us was literally covered with dead and dying; we took a number of prisoners from the rebels and the battle flag of the Eleventh Mississippi. We advanced in line for several hundred yards, then halted; our part of the work had been done for the present.
It was sad, now, to look around and see the shattered battalions that were left in the places of the comparatively full regiments we had seen an hour before. The Third Wisconsin had lost more than half its numbers, and almost all its officers; it was very much the same with the Forty-sixth Pennsylvania. Our loss had been very small, though I think our fire was altogether the most effective of any regiment. Colonel Dwight caught up our rebel flag and rode by our line, waving it triumphantly; every cap went off and a cheer went up that you must almost have heard at Jamaica Plain. It was one of our poor Lieutenant-Colonel's last gallant acts, and I don't believe many who saw him will ever forget it.

All of a sudden, Sumner's whole corps came up behind us; we gave them a cheer as they passed by. They were in three lines and looked splendidly. They advanced into a wood and were met by an awful fire; they returned it gallantly, but were unequal to their task and were obliged to give way to the right a little, leaving the woods to the enemy. All this time we were lying down flat under a heavy fire of solid shot and shell, which tore the ground up around us, but as usual did no harm.

Now came our turn again; Gordon's brigade was ordered to attack the woods on the right. We crossed a high rail fence into a lane1 and ensconced ourselves behind the fence on the other side within fifty yards of the woods; we had on our right and left two new regiments. We had hardly taken our position when the rebel line came out of the woods, so near you could distinguish the features of the men. We gave them a volley which sent them back in quick time under cover of a natural breastwork they had there; then, without any cause, the new regiments bolted, officers [Sept. 22, 1862, The first sheet was written on picket: I was suddenly relieved and am now in camp in Pleasant Valley] and men, and we were left alone. We stood it for about ten minutes, losing a third of our men and several officers, when the order was reluctantly given to fall back. This we did in good order (though it was hard work getting over that high fence in our rear, with much appearance of dignity), for about a hundred yards, when the regiment was halted; then ranks closed up and again made ready for attack or defence.

Now, too, it was sad to look at our thinned ranks; I found I had lost two men killed and five wounded; many of the companies had suffered more severely, but our greatest loss was Colonel Dwight. I saw his horse shot, and saw him dismount and try and hold his horse by the head, but the animal struggled so violently that he broke away; almost immediately afterward, Colonel Dwight received his death wound. He was within six feet of Colonel Andrews at the time, and as he was struck and sank to the ground, said, "That's done for me." As soon as our regiment halted, four men immediately volunteered to bring him in; this they succeeded in doing, though all the time under a heavy fire. He was carried to a farmer's house, but lived only about thirty-six hours. Lieutenant Mills, acting Adjutant, was badly shot through both legs; Crowninshield received a flesh wound in the leg. Captain Francis was shot through the hand and lost two fingers. Colonel Andrews' horse was shot through the shoulder. Captain Shaw was struck by a spent ball in the neck; Robeson was grazed in two places; I was struck by a spent ball in the temple, which laid me on my back for a moment and raised a pretty black and blue spot; I thought at first it was all up with me, but I soon got the better of that idea. We carried into action less than two hundred and forty men and lost about eighty killed and wounded.2 During the rest of the battle, we were on different parts of the field supporting batteries. We lay down that night about ten o'clock, glad enough to get a little rest. The dead and dying were all around us and in our very midst.

At the first streak of daylight, I awoke; the first sight I saw was a squad of wounded rebels coming into our lines: you can't imagine such miserable looking objects as they were; their wounds undressed, and bleeding, and their clothes torn in tatters. I found that Bob Shaw and I had slept within fifty feet of a pile of fourteen dead rebels, and in every direction about us they were lying thick.

One of the most brilliant actions of the day was a charge of Smith's division; they passed our left and swept the rebels from their front like chaff. Our artillery was splendidly served and did great execution. Everywhere the rebels fought with desperation. Rebel prisoners stated that their army numbered over one hundred thousand, and that they expected to win the day and annihilate our army and have an open road to the North. Friday morning, we had been reinforced by at least thirty thousand men, and McClellan moved his whole army forward, but the rebels had gone, leaving dead and wounded on the field uncared for; the sight everywhere was dreadful, and one that I hope you may never see the like of; it cannot be imagined or described.

Our corps marched until two o'clock Saturday morning, over the roughest of roads and through the darkest of nights, reaching the summit of Maryland Heights ridge about ten miles from Sandy Hook; here we lay down till daylight, then marched along the ridge over rocks and stumps to Maryland Heights. Our old crowd had a nice dinner at Mrs. Buckles'; it was very pleasant. I was sent out upon our old camping ground with my company to do picket duty. Here I stayed until Sunday evening, when I was relieved and marched my company down a breakneck road to the regiment which was bivouacking in Pleasant Valley. 1 arrived about nine P. M., and lay down and slept under a blanket for the first time for a week. It was luxury enough, though there was nothing overhead but blue sky.

To-day we pitched camp and began our work with company books and papers, thinking at last we were going to rest; but to-night our hopes are dashed by an order saying, “Reveille at four o'clock; march at daylight.” I am now sitting up to finish this letter, because if we move as we have been moving, it is actually impossible to write.
_______________

1 The Hagerstown turnpike, which is quite narrow at this place.

2 Actual loss 18 killed and mortally wounded, 54 wounded. Total loss, 72.

SOURCE: Charles Fessenden Morse, Letters Written During the Civil War, 1861-1865, p. 86-90

Sunday, July 5, 2015

Major-General George B. McClellan to Major-General William B. Franklin, September 15, 1862 – 8:45 a.m.

HEADQUARTERS ARMY OF THE POTOMAC,
Bolivar, September 15, 1862 – 8.45 a.m.
Major-General FRANKLIN:

GENERAL: We have met with a complete success; have gotten possession of the pass in front of this place, and are pushing our forces forward in pursuit of the retreating enemy. General Hooker reports that he has received reliable information from citizens from Boonsborough that the enemy is retreating in a perfect panic in the direction of Shepherdstown Ferry. They say that Lee openly acknowledged they had been shockingly whipped. Communicate with General Burnside at the intersection of the Rohrersville and Boonsborough roads, and if the intelligence of the retreat of the enemy toward Shepherdstown Ferry is confirmed, push on with your whole command (cautiously and keeping up communication with Franklin [Burnside]) to Sharpsburg, and endeavor to fall upon the enemy and to cut off his retreat. Use your cavalry with the utmost vigor in following up the pursuit. In this juncture much is left by the commanding general to your judgment, trusting that you will act promptly and vigorously and complete the success thus far gained.

By command of Major-General McClellan:

GEO. D. RUGGLES,
Colonel and Aide-de-Camp.

SOURCE: The War of the Rebellion: A Compilation of the Official Records of the Union and Confederate Armies, Series I, Volume 51 (Serial No. 107), p. 835-6

Saturday, June 13, 2015

Diary of Judith Brockenbrough McGuire: Monday Night, September 22, 1862

Probably the most desperate battle of the war was fought last Wednesday near Sharpsburg, Maryland. Great loss on both sides. The Yankees claim a great victory, while our men do the same. We were left in possession of the field on Wednesday night, and buried our dead on Thursday. Want of food and other stores compelled our generals to remove our forces to the Virginia side of the river, which they did on Thursday night, without molestation. This is all I can gather from the confused and contradictory accounts of the newspapers.

SOURCE: Judith W. McGuire, Diary of a Southern Refugee, During the War, p. 156-7

Saturday, May 23, 2015

Major Wilder Dwight: Tuesday Evening, August 20, 1861


Camp Stampede, Maryland Heights,
Tuesday Evening, August 20, 1861.

A soldier's life is always gay! Yesterday, Colonel Andrews and I went out prospecting, as they say in this country, — reconnoitring, I prefer to call it.

At the Ferry we found a slight panic caused by the reported advent of a few cavalry in the town. Colonel A. and I went on up the mountain and spent the afternoon in looking about, &c. We wound down the new mountain road, built by the immortal Massachusetts Second, just at sunset, after enjoying the glorious views up the two valleys. Then we had a quiet dress-parade, and composed ourselves for the night. Composed ourselves for the night! Here comes the incident of my letter. Now for the catastrophe of my story. The Doctor appeared at the door of my tent, breaking the first sleep, to say the Colonel had just received a special message, and ridden off on horse. I refused to be disturbed or excited, and got asleep again. At half past one the Colonel appeared. “Major, get the tents struck, and set the men cooking rations. I have information that the Rebels are advancing on Harper's Ferry.” Up I went. Captains were awakened. Soon the camp was silently busy on its work for starting. Then I was ordered to saddle my horse and get a messenger to call the Massachusetts Thirteenth, Colonel Leonard, from Sharpsburg. I went galloping off in the night through the fields to a house where a Union man lives, who gave me the direction of a safe messenger, then back to camp. Then Dr. Sargent was despatched to Berlin, down the river, to get two pieces of artillery which General Banks had ordered up to protect the ford. Then the camp-fires were glowing, and I spent an hour among the cooks, urging on the rations. Then the dawn began to peep. Colonel Andrews went up the hill to gaze, through the first light, at Harper's Ferry and its surroundings. Light brought the conviction that our haste was premature.

The packed wagons were ready to move. The regiment was ready to hold ford and ferry as long as possible, and we were all agog. The morning came, and no enemy were in position. We had our stampede. The reports of the enemy were circumstantial and probable, but the appearance failed to confirm them. This morning the camp is composed again. But life has been lively and brisk, though fruitless, for the last twelve hours

Here comes the Colonel, who has been down to Sandy Hook. He brings news that the paymaster is coming. Hurrah! Also that three hundred car-loads of troops went into Washington on Monday. Good!

We are awaking, I hope, to the size of the work. A short war is the policy, but a war. I am glad you are getting awake to it. No one who can come, effectively, has a right to stay at home.

SOURCE: Elizabeth Amelia Dwight, Editor, Life and Letters of Wilder Dwight: Lieut.-Col. Second Mass. Inf. Vols., p. 79-81

Diary of Corporal Charles H. Lynch: July 26, 1864

Called up early this morning. Wade the Potomac River over into Maryland. Marching on down the river road, across the Burnside Bridge, over Antietam Creek and the battlefield, passing the Dunker Church, located in the woods on the right. The rail fences were riddled with bullet holes, showing how fierce the battle must have been. Marched on through Sharpsburg, going into camp near the town, which shows the effects of the battle. The battle is known in the South as Sharpsburg. A fearful hot day, and a hard march. Our record for today is a march of about fifteen miles. Many of us fellows are marching shoeless.

SOURCE: Charles H. Lynch, The Civil War Diary, 1862-1865, of Charles H. Lynch 18th Conn. Vol's, p. 106

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Diary of Private Charles H. Lynch: July 20, 1863

We left Upperville, near Snicker's Gap. very early in the morning, having served in the 3d Corps, Army of the Potomac about five weeks. On the march back we met the 12th Corps, meeting the 5th and 20th Connecticut Regiments of that corps. Met Charlie Corey, a boyhood friend from my old home in Hanover, New London County. It was a short meeting but we talked fast. Charlie had been in service a little over two years in the 5th Regiment, while I had been in eleven months. His mother often read his letters to me before I came to be a soldier. A pleasant meeting for a few moments. On our backward march we kept pushing along, stopping to rest at one point. Blackberries grew wild, we picked our coffee cups full and ate them while we marched along. Nothing of special interest took place, but by the time we reached Harper's Ferry, twenty miles march, we were tired and foot-sore. After a short rest and rations we were obliged to push on toward Sharpsburg, twenty miles further on. Darkness coming on we did not have the hot sun beating down upon us. The marching was over rough, stony roads, up hill and down. Reaching Sharpsburg along in the night, we learned the boys were in camp about two miles out of town, so we pushed on, reaching the camp at midnight, a march of about forty miles. The boys were sleeping, except the guard and the pickets. They did not know that we had arrived. We were glad to drop down on the ground and get sleep and rest after the severe march from Upperville, Virginia, to the town of Sharpsburg, Maryland. The command now numbered about two hundred. Consolidated into two companies. Our meeting was a very happy one. We talked over the events that had taken place during the past few weeks that we had been separated, and wondered how our boys in prison were getting along.

SOURCE: Charles H. Lynch, The Civil War Diary, 1862-1865, of Charles H. Lynch 18th Conn. Vol's, p. 26-7

Saturday, April 26, 2014

Abraham Lincoln’s Memorandum on the Dismissal of Major John J. Key, October 14, 1862

We have reason to believe that the following is an exact copy of the record upon which Major John J. Key was dismissed from the military service of the United States.


“Executive Mansion
Washington, Sept. 26. 1862.
Major John J. Key

Sir: I am informed that in answer to the question “Why was not the rebel army bagged immediately after the battle near Sharpsburg?” propounded to you by Major Levi C. Turner, Judge Advocate &c. you answered “That is not the game. The object is that neither army shall get much advantage of the other; that both shall be kept in the field till they are exhausted, when we will make a compromise and save slavery.”

I shall be very happy if you will, within twenty four hours from the receipt of this, prove to me by Major Turner, that you did not, either litterally, or in substance, make the answer stated.

Yours,
A. LINCOLN”


(Indorsed as follows)

“Copy delivered to Major Key at 10.25 A.M. September 27th. 1862.
JOHN HAY.”


At about 11 o'clock, A.M. Sept. 27. 1862. Major Key and Major Turner appear before me. Major Turner says: “As I remember it, the conversation was, I asked the question why we did not bag them after the battle at Sharpsburg? Major Key’s reply was that was not the game, that we should tire the rebels out, and ourselves, that that was the only way the Union could be preserved, we come together fraternally, and slavery be saved”

On cross-examination, Major Turner says he has frequently heard Major Key converse in regard to the present troubles, and never heard him utter a a [sic] sentiment unfavorable to the maintainance of the Union. He has never uttered anything which he Major T. would call disloyalty. The particular conversation detailed was a private one

A. LINCOLN.


(Indorsed on the above)

In my view it is wholly inadmissable for any gentleman holding a military commission from the United States to utter such sentiments as Major Key is within proved to have done. Therefore let Major John J. Key be forthwith dismissed from the Military service of the United States.

A LINCOLN.


The foregoing is the whole record, except the simple order of dismissal at the War Department. At the interview of Major Key and Major Turner with the President, Major Key did not attempt to controvert the statement of Major Turner; but simply insisted, and sought to prove, that he was true to the Union. The substance of the President’s reply was that if there was a “game” ever among Union men, to have our army not take an advantage of the enemy when it could, it was his object to break up that game.

SOURCES: Roy P. Basler, editor, Collected Works of Abraham Lincoln, Volume 5, p. 442-3; a copy of this memorandum may be found at the Abraham Lincoln Papers at the Library of Congress.

Abraham Lincoln to Major John J. Key, September 26, 1862

Executive Mansion
Washington, Sept. 26. 1862.
Major John J. Key

Sir:

I am informed that in answer to the question “Why was not the rebel army bagged immediately after the battle near Sharpsburg?” propounded to you by Major Levi C. Turner, Judge Advocate &c. you answered “That is not the game. The object is that neither army shall get much advantage of the other; that both shall be kept in the field till they are exhausted, when we will make a compromise and save slavery.”

I shall be very happy if you will, within twenty four hours from the receipt of this, prove to me by Major Turner, that you did not, either litterally, or in substance, make the answer stated.

Yours,
A. LINCOLN


[Endorsement]

Copy delivered to Major Key at 10.25 A.M. September 27th. 1862.  John Hay.

SOURCES: Roy P. Basler, editor, Collected Works of Abraham Lincoln, Volume 5, p. 442; a copy of this letter may be found at the Abraham Lincoln Papers at the Library of Congress.

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

General Robert E. Lee’s Special Orders, No. 191

SPECIAL ORDERS, No. 191.

HDQRS. ARMY OF NORTHERN VIRGINIA,
September 9, 1862.

I. The citizens of Fredericktown being unwilling, while overrun by members of this army, to open their stores, in order to give them confidence, and to secure to officers and men purchasing supplies for benefit of this command, all officers and men of this army are strictly prohibited from visiting Fredericktown except on business, in which case they will bear evidence of this in writing from division commanders. The provost-marshal in Fredericktown will see that his guard rigidly enforces this order.

II. Major Taylor will proceed to Leesburg, Va., and arrange for transportation of the sick and those unable to walk to Winchester, securing the transportation of the country for this purpose. The route between this and Culpeper Court-House east of the mountains being unsafe will no longer be traveled. Those on the way to this army already across the river will move up promptly; all others will proceed to Winchester collectively and under command of officers, at which point, being the general depot of this army, its movements will be known and instructions given by commanding officer regulating further movements.

III. The army will resume its march to-morrow, taking the Hagerstown road. General Jackson's command will form the advance, and, after passing Middletown, with such portion as he may select, take the route toward Sharpsburg, cross the Potomac at the most convenient point, and by Friday morning take possession of the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad, capture such of them as may be at Martinsburg, and intercept such as may attempt to escape from Harper's Ferry.

IV. General Longstreet's command will pursue the main road as far as Boonsborough, where it will halt, with reserve, supply, and baggage trains of the army.

V. General McLaws, with his own division and that of General R. H. Anderson, will follow General Longstreet. On reaching Middletown will take the route to Harper's Ferry, and by Friday morning possess himself of the Maryland Heights and endeavor to capture the enemy at Harper's Ferry and vicinity.

VI. General Walker, with his division, after accomplishing the object in which he is now engaged, will cross the Potomac at Cheek's Ford, ascend its right bank to Lovettsville, take possession of Loudoun Heights, if practicable, by Friday morning, Keys' Ford on his left, and the road between the end of the mountain and the Potomac on his right. He will, as far as practicable, co-operate with Generals McLaws and Jackson, and intercept retreat of the enemy.

VII. General D. H. Hill's division will form the rear guard of the army, pursuing the road taken by the main body. The reserve artillery, ordnance, and supply trains, &c., will precede General Hill.

VIII. General Stuart will detach a squadron of cavalry to accompany the commands of Generals Longstreet, Jackson, and McLaws, and, with the main body of the cavalry, will cover the route of the army, bringing up all stragglers that may have been left behind.

IX. The commands of Generals Jackson, McLaws, and Walker, after accomplishing the objects for which they have been detached, will join the main body of the army at Boonsborough or Hagerstown.

X. Each regiment on the march will habitually carry its axes in the regimental ordnance wagons, for use of the men at their encampments, to procure wood, &c.

By command of General R. E. Lee:
R. H. CHILTON,
Assistant Adjutant-General.

SOURCE: The War of the Rebellion: A Compilation of the Official Records of the Union and Confederate Armies, Series I, Volume 19, Part 2 (Serial No. 28), p. 603-4