Showing posts with label Theophilus H Holmes. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Theophilus H Holmes. Show all posts

Sunday, October 11, 2020

Diary of John Beauchamp Jones: February 9, 1864

A letter from Gen. Johnston says he received the “confidential instructions” of the President, from the Secretary of War, and succeeded in getting Gen. Cleburn to lay aside his “memorial,” the nature of which is not stated; but I suspect the President was getting alarmed at the disposition of the armies to dictate measures to the government.

Hon. Mr. Johnson, Senator, and Hon. Mr. Bell, Representative from Missouri, called on me to-day, with a voluminous correspondence, and “charges and specifications” against Lieut.-Gen. Holmes, by my nephew, Lieut.-Col. R. H. Musser. They desired me to read the papers and submit my views. I have read them, and shall advise them not to proceed in the matter. Gen. Holmes is rendered unfit, by broken health, for the command of a Western Department, and his conviction at this time would neither benefit the cause nor aid Lieut.-Col. Musser in his aspirations. It is true he had my nephew tried for disobedience of orders; but he was honorably acquitted. Missouri will some day rise like a giant, and deal death and destruction on her oppressors.

Col. Gorgas, Chief of Ordnance, says the enemy have taken more guns from us than we from them—exclusive of siege artillery —but I don't think so.

Our people are becoming more hopeful since we have achieved some successes. The enemy cannot get men again except by dragging them out, unless they should go to war with France—a not improbable event.

SOURCE: John Beauchamp Jones, A Rebel War Clerk's Diary at the Confederate States Capital, Volume 2p. 146

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

Diary of John Beauchamp Jones: August 5, 1863

A letter from Hon. W. Porcher Miles to the Secretary of War, received the 15th July, urging the government to send some long-range Brooke guns for the salvation of Charleston, and saying that the President had once promised him that they should be sent thither, being sent by the Secretary to the President, was, to-day, August 5th, returned by the President, with a paper from the Secretary of the Navy, showing that, at the time Mr. Miles says he was promised the Brooke guns, there were really none on hand. Thus Mr. Miles has been caught by the President, after the lapse of twenty days! It is not denied, even by the Secretary of the Navy, that long-range guns were on hand at the time — but there were no Brooke guns, simply. Thus while Charleston's fate hangs trembling in the balance, and the guns are idle here, twenty days are fruitlessly spent. Mr. Miles appears to be a friend of Beauregard. Every letter that general sends to the department is sure to put twenty clerks at work in the effort to pick flaws in his accuracy of statement.

A report of the ordnance officers of Bragg's army shows that in the late retreat (without a battle) from Shelbyville to Chattanooga, the army lost some 6000 arms and between 200,000 and 300,000 cartridges!

Our naval commanders are writing that they cannot get seamen —and at Mobile half are on the sick list.

Lee writes that his men are in good fighting condition — if he only had enough of them. Of the three corps, one is near Fredericksburg (this side the river), one at Orange C. H., and one at Gordonsville. I doubt if there will be another battle for a month. Meantime the Treasury notes continue to depreciate, and all the necessaries of life advance in price — but they do not rise in proportion.

The Examiner had a famous attack on the President to-day (from the pen, I think, of a military man, on Gen. Scott's staff, when Mr. Davis was Secretary of War), for alleged stubbornness and disregard of the popular voice; for appointing Pemberton, Holmes, Mallory, etc., with a side fling at Memminger.

SOURCE: John Beauchamp Jones, A Rebel War Clerk's Diary at the Confederate States Capital, Volume 2, p. 5-6

Monday, September 18, 2017

Diary of John Beauchamp Jones: July 28, 1863

The rumor that Gen. Lee had resigned was simply a fabrication. His headquarters, a few days ago, were at Culpepper C. H., and may be soon this side of the Rappahannock. A battle and a victory may take place there.


Col. J. Gorgas, I presume, is no friend of Pemberton; it is not often that Northern men in our service are exempt from jealousies and envyings. He sends to the Secretary of War to-day a remarkable statement of Eugene Hill, an ordnance messenger, for whom he vouches, in relation to the siege and surrender of Vicksburg. It appears that Hill had been sent here by Lieut.-Gen. Holmes for ammunition, and on his way back to the trans-Mississippi country, was caught at Vicksburg, where he was detained until after the capitulation. He declares that the enemy's mines did our works no more injury than our mines did theirs; that when the surrender took place, there were an abundance of caps, and of all kinds of ordnance stores; that there were 90,000 pounds of bacon or salt meat unconsumed, besides a number of cows, and 400 mules, grazing within the fortifications; and that but few of the men even thought of such a contingency as a surrender, and did not know it had taken place until the next day (5th of July), when they were ordered to march out and lay down their arms. He adds that Gen. Pemberton kept himself very close, and was rarely seen by the troops, and was never known to go out to the works until he went out to surrender.

Major-Gen. D. Maury writes from Mobile, to the President, that he apprehends an attack from Banks, and asks instructions relative to the removal of 15,000 non-combatants from the city. He says Forts Gaines and Morgan are provisioned for six months, and that the land fortifications are numerous and formidable. He asks for 20,000 men to garrison them. The President instructs the Secretary, that when the purpose of the enemy is positively known, it will be time enough to remove the women, children, etc.; but that the defenses should be completed, and everything in readiness. But where the 20,000 men are to come from is not stated — perhaps from Johnston.

SOURCE: John Beauchamp Jones, A Rebel War Clerk's Diary at the Confederate States Capital, Volume 1, p. 389-90

Wednesday, August 9, 2017

Captain Charles Wright Wills: December 8, 1862

Provost Marshal's Office, 4th Division,
Army of the Tennessee, near Tallahatchie, Miss.,
December 8, 1862.

Still we tarry by the wayside anxiously awaiting the order to move forward. We did provide three days' rations once, but devoured them without leaving camp. Two divisions, McKean’s and Ross’, have left here, while the remainder of the army has pushed onward. We hear of the advance skirmishing 50 miles in front of us. Think the main force is at Oxford, about 25 miles from here. We're probably waiting for the railroad to be repaired so that supplies can be furnished us when we move. The retreating Rebels destroyed every culvert and bridge as they fell back, and it of course takes time to rebuild so many. The road is not yet in running order to Holly Springs, and everything has to be wagoned to the army, which but a very little rain in this country makes impossible. We suffered three days of cold, drizzling rain last week which most effectually blockaded the roads, but the last three days have been beautifully clear, etc., and travel is again resumed. We will change camp to-morrow to improve our water facilities, probably moving four or five miles back toward Holly Springs. One mile northward is harder to travel than 10 in the opposite direction. My whole company is detached from the regiment as provost guard. It relieves us from picket duty, fatigue, etc., gives us officers' quarters in a house (there are a sofa, two rocking chairs, soft-bottomed chairs, a library, feather bed, etc., in the room I am now writing in and occupy). I've soldiered long enough to never refuse these little good things Providence throws in my way. The detail is permanent, but suppose I can get back to my regiment when I feel disposed. The 7th Cavalry had a little skirmish in front a day or two since; Coe, and a number of others were taken prisoners. Nelson was a prisoner once, I hear, but was retaken by his men, or the 2d Illinois Cavalry. Rumor has it to-day, that our forces have possession of Jackson, Miss., and have captured 3,000 of General Holmes' Army, which was attempting to reinforce Pemberton. Don't think the rumor worth doubting, unless McClernand has got within striking distance. Can't hear a word from his expedition. Wonder what the deuce Banks is going to try to do. Hope we won't fool away his time and the lives of his men in Texas. We've had enough of those coast expeditions. The one under Butler was the only one that paid expenses. Burnside is beaten badly. Will bet that another change of base will be necessary before Richmond is ours. We're out of all patience with that army. We are slow enough in all reason, but they certainly beat us crawling, wonderfully, making slowness the gage. Our men are using this country awfully rough. Such animals as chickens, fences, swine, etc., are entirely unseeable and unfindable within 15 miles of where our camp has been this last week. This alone is not so bad; but if you wink at this amount of license in soldiers, they go farther and insult and almost scare to death women and children, all citizens indiscriminately. Guess that 'tis the intention of the general commanding to reform this matter. Says he is going to hold company officers responsible for the conduct of their men and punish officers, not soldiers, hereafter for outrages committed. I send my boys out as patrols, and whenever they catch a man with poultry or meat of any kind they relieve him thereof, take him under guard to his regimental commander, and Company G eats up the chickens or pork, or potatoes, of course; so you see this provost duty is not so bad as it might be on us. I have also in my charge 35 Rebel prisoners, Louisianians and North Carolinians. Price had three Kentucky regiments, but they have nearly all deserted him, hundreds have taken the oath at different points along our line and gone to their homes. I have an old negro here now that I wish I could send to you to cut the wood and do your errands. He is 63 years old, but is good for twenty years yet.

SOURCE: Charles Wright Wills, Army Life of an Illinois Soldier, p. 133-4

Thursday, July 20, 2017

Diary of John Beauchamp Jones: June 13, 1863

Col. Baylor, of Arizona, has been heard from again. He confesses that he issued the order to slaughter the Apaches in cold blood, and says it is the only mode of dealing with such savages. The President indorses on it that it is “a confession of an infamous crime.”

Yesterday the enemy appeared on the Peninsula, in what numbers we know not yet; but just when Gen. Wise was about to attack, with every prospect of success, an order was received from Gen. Arnold Elzey to fall back toward the city, pickets and all.

A letter from Gen. Holmes, containing an account from one of his scouts, shows that the enemy's militia in Arkansas and Missouri are putting to death all the men, young or old, having favored the Confederate cause, who fall into their hands. These acts are perpetrated by order of Gen. Prentiss. The President suggests that they be published, both at home and abroad.

Mr. L. Heyliger, our agent at Nassau, sends an account of the firing into and disabling the British steamer Margaret and Jessee by the United States steamer Rhode Island, within a half mile of shore. Several British subjects were wounded. This may make trouble.

Mr. J. S. Lemmon applied by letter to-day for permission to leave a Confederate port for Europe. Major-Gen. Arnold Elzey indorsed on it: “This young man, being a native of Maryland, is not liable to military service in the Confederate States.” Well, Arnold Elzey is also a native of Maryland.

SOURCE: John Beauchamp Jones, A Rebel War Clerk's Diary at the Confederate States Capital, Volume 1, p. 346-7

Thursday, June 29, 2017

Diary of John Beauchamp Jones: May 25, 1863

Dispatches from the West inform us that three attempts to carry the city of Vicksburg by assault have been repulsed with heavy loss. Johnston is on the enemy's flank and rear, engendering a new army with rapidity, and if the garrison can hold out a little while, the city may be safe.

Gens. Ewell and A. P. Hill have been made lieutenant-generals and will command Jackson's corps. It appears that the Senate has not yet confirmed Hardee, Holmes, and Pemberton.

The Washington correspondent of the New York Commercial Advertiser says Hooker's loss in killed and wounded amounted to “over 23,000 men, and he left 24 guns on the other side of the Rappahannock.” We got 8000 prisoners, which will make the loss 31,000 men, and it is said the stragglers, not yet collected, amount to 10,000 men! Only 13 guns fell into our hands, the rest fell — into the river!

SOURCE: John Beauchamp Jones, A Rebel War Clerk's Diary at the Confederate States Capital, Volume 1, p. 332-3

Tuesday, May 2, 2017

Diary of John Beauchamp Jones: April 14, 1863

We have nothing additional from Gen. Wise's expedition against Williamsburg; but it was deprecated by our people here, whose families and negroes have been left in that vicinity. They argue that we cannot hold the town, or any portion of the Peninsula in the neighborhood; and when the troops retire, the enemy will subject the women and children to more rigorous treatment, and take all the slaves.

We have news from Tennessee, which seems to indicate that Gen. Van Dorn has been beaten, losing a battery, after a sanguinary battle of several hours. Van Dorn had only cavalry — 7000. This has a depressing effect. It seems that we lose all the battles of any magnitude in the West. This news may have been received by the President in advance of the public, and hence his indisposition. We shall have news now every day or so.

Albert Pike is out in a pamphlet against Gens. Holmes and Hindman. He says their operations in Arkansas have resulted in reducing our forces, in that State, from forty odd thousand to less than 17,000. It was imprudent to publish such a statement. Albert Pike is a native Yankee, but he has lived a long time in the South.

Gov. Vance is furious at the idea of conscribing magistrates, constables, etc. in North Carolina. He says it would be an annihilation of State Rights — nevertheless, being subject to militia duty by the laws of the State, they are liable under the Act of Conscription.

Well, we are getting only some 700 conscripts per month in Virginia — the largest State! At this rate, how are we to replenish the ranks as they become thinned in battle? It is to be hoped the enemy will find the same difficulty in filling up their regiments, else we have rather a gloomy prospect before us. But God can and will save us if it be His pleasure.

SOURCE: John Beauchamp Jones, A Rebel War Clerk's Diary at the Confederate States Capital, Volume 1, p. 292-3

Saturday, January 7, 2017

Diary of John Beauchamp Jones: January 21, 1863

Last night the rain fell in torrents, and to-day there is a violent storm of wind, from the N.W. This may put an end, for a season, to campaigning on land, and the enemy's fleet at sea may be dispersed. Providence may thus intervene in our behalf.

It is feared that we have met with a serious blow in Arkansas, but it is not generally believed that so many (5000 to 7000 men) surrendered, as is stated in the Northern papers. Gen. Holmes is responsible for the mishap.

Conscription drags its slow length along. It is not yet adding many to the army. The Assistant Secretary of War, and several others, “by order of the Secretary of War,” are granting a fearful number of exemptions daily. Congress, I hope, will modify the exemption bill immediately. It is believed enrolling officers, surgeons, and others are permitting thousands to remain at home “for a price.” liven clerks in the War Department, it is said, are driving a lucrative business in “getting men off,” who should be on duty, in this war of independence. Young men in the departments, except in particular eases, will not stand in good repute “when the hurly burly's done, when the battle's lost and won.”

Congress is at work projecting the organization of a Supreme Court.

SOURCE: John Beauchamp Jones, A Rebel War Clerk's Diary at the Confederate States Capital, Volume 1, p. 243

Sunday, December 18, 2016

Diary of John Beauchamp Jones: January 6, 1863

To-day we are all down again. Bragg has retreated from Murfreesborough. It is said he saved his prisoners, captured cannon, etc., but it is not said what became of his own wounded. The Northern papers say they captured 500 prisoners in the battle, which they claim as a victory. I do not know how to reconcile Bragg's first dispatches, and particularly the one saying he had the whole field, and would follow the enemy, with this last one announcing his withdrawal and retirement from the field.

Eight thousand men were taken from Bragg a few days before the battle. It was not done at the suggestion of Gen. Johnston; for I have seen an extract of a letter from Gen. J. to a Senator (Wigfall), deprecating the detachment of troops from Bragg, and expressing grave apprehensions of the probable consequences.

A letter was received from R. R. Collier, Petersburg, to-day, in favor of civil liberty, and against the despotism of martial law.

Senator Clark, of Missouri, informed me to-day that my nephew, R. H. Musser, has been made a colonel (under Hindman or Holmes), and has a fine regiment in the trans-Mississippi Department.

Lewis E. Harvie, president of the railroad, sends a communication to the Secretary (I hope it will reach him) inclosing a request from Gen. Winder to permit liquors to be transported on his road to Clover Hill. Mr. Harvie objects to it, and asks instructions from the Secretary. He says Clover Hill is the point from which the smuggling is done, and that to place it there, is equivalent to bringing it into the city.

SOURCE: John Beauchamp Jones, A Rebel War Clerk's Diary at the Confederate States Capital, Volume 1, p. 232-3

Monday, November 28, 2016

Diary of John Beauchamp Jones: December 23, 1862

The battle of Fredericksburg is still the topic, or the wonder, and it transpired more than nine days ago. It will have its page in history, and be read by school-boys a thousand years hence. The New York Times exclaims, “God help us — for man cannot.” This is another war sheet. The Tribune is bewildered, and knows not what to say. The Herald says “everything by turns, and nothing long.” Its sympathies are ever with the winning party. But it is positively asserted that both Seward and his son have resigned, to be followed by the rest of the cabinet. That example might be followed here without detriment to our cause. And it is said Burnside has resigned. I doubt that — but no doubt he will be removed. It is said Fremont has been appointed his successor. That would be good news. I think Halleck will be removed, and MeCIellan will be recalled. No matter.

It is said our President will command in Mississippi himself — the army having no confidence in Pemberton, because he is a Yankee.

We have a letter to-day from Gen. Pike (another Yankee), saying the Indian country is lost — lost, because Gens. Holmes and Hindman — Southern men — won't let him have his own way! The news from North Carolina is still cloudy. Gen. G. W. Smith is there (another Northern man).

Gen. Elzey has been appointed to command this department during Gen. L.'s abseuce. Gen. E. is a Marylander. In the President's absence, it is said this appointment was made by Gen. S. Cooper (another Yankee) to insult Virginia by preventing the capital from being in the hands of a Virginian. The Richmond papers occasionally allude to the fact that the general highest in rank in the Confederacy is a Yankee — Gen. S. Cooper.

Gen. Lee says his ammunition is bad in quality, and that his new guns burst in the late battle — all under charge of the chief of the Bureau of Ordnance — another Yankee. Gen. D. H. Hill writes a scathing letter to the department in response to a rebuke from the new Secretary, occasioned by some complaints of Major Palfrey in Gen. Cooper's (A. and I. General) office. I do not know where Major P. came from; but the fact that he was not in the field, gave the general occasion to rasp him severely. It must have been caused by an order transferring, furloughing, or discharging some soldier in Gen. H.'s division — and his patience vanished at the idea of having his men taken out of the ranks without consulting him, by carpet knights and civilian lawyers. He says 8000 are now absent from his command — and that Gen. Johnston's army, last spring, was reduced from the same cause to 40,000 men, where he had to oppose 138,000 of the “rascally Yankees.” He concludes, however, by saying it is the duty of subordinate generals in the field to submit in all humility to the behests of their superiors comfortably quartered in Richmond. But if justice were done, and the opinions of the generals in the field were regarded in the matter of discharges, etc., the lawyers, who have grown fat on fees by thinning our ranks, would be compelled to resort to some more laudable means of making a living.

A letter from Gov. Shorter, of Alabama, introduces Judge Rice, agent for P. S. Gerald and J. R. Powell, who propose to bring goods into the Confederate States through Mexico, to be paid for in cotton, etc. This was referred by the Secretary to the Quartermaster-General — who protests against it on the ground that it might interfere with his agents already engaged in the business.

The President publishes a retaliatory proclamation to-day against Gen. Butler, for hanging Mr. Munford, of New Orleans, who took down the United States flag before the city had surrendered. He declares Butler to be out of the pale of civilization; and orders any commander who may capture him, to hang him as an outlaw. And all commissioned officers serving under Butler, and in arms with negroes, to be reserved for execution.

There is a rumor that an agent of the Federal Government has arrived in the city, to propose an armistice. No armistice, unless on the basis of uli possidetis ante bellum!

Bethel, Leesburg, and Fredericksburg are victories memorable for our great success when fighting in advantageous positions. They teach a lesson to generals; and it will be apparent that no necessity exists for so great an expenditure of life in the prosecution of this war. The disparity of numbers should be considered by our generals. I fear the flower of our chivalry mostly perished in storming batteries. It is true a prestige was gained.

SOURCE: John Beauchamp Jones, A Rebel War Clerk's Diary at the Confederate States Capital, Volume 1, p. 221-3

Thursday, November 3, 2016

Diary of John Beauchamp Jones: December 10, 1862

Not a word from the Rappahannock. But there soon will be.

Official dispatches from Gen. Bragg confirm the achievement of Col. Morgan, acting as brigadier-general. There was a fight, several hundred being killed and wounded on both sides; but Morgan's victory was complete, his captures amounting to 1800 men, a battery, wagon train, etc.

We have also a dispatch that Major-Gen. Lovell, the Yankee, had a battle with the enemy, killing, wounding, and capturing 34!

A characteristic letter was received to-day from Mr. Sanford, Alabama, recommending Col. Dowdell for a brigadiership. I hope he may get it, as he is a gallant Southerner. Mr. S. has some hard hits at the government; calling it a government of chief clerks and subordinate clerks. He hopes Mr. Seddon will not be merely a clerk.

Gen. Jos. E. Johuston has written from the West a gloomy letter to Mr. Wigfall, Texan Senator. He says he is ordered to reinforce Lieut.-Gen. Pemberton (another Northern general) from Bragg's army. Pemberton is retreating on Grenada, Mississippi, followed by 40,000 of the enemy. How is he, Gen. J., to get from Tennessee to Grenada with reinforcements, preceded by one army of the enemy, and followed by another?

Mr. Wigfall recommends the Secretary (as if he could do it!) to concentrate all the armies of the West, and beat the enemy out of the Mississippi Valley. Gen. Johnston says Lieut.-Gen. Holmes has been ordered to reinforce Pemberton. Why, this is the very thing Mr. Randolph did, and lost his clerkship for it! The President must have changed his mind.

Gen. Randolph sent in his resignation as brigadier-general today. The younger brigadiers, Davis (the President's nephew) and Pryor, have been recently assigned to brigades, and this may have operated on Randolph as an emetic.

There are two war steamers at Charleston from abroad; one a Frenchman, the other an Englishman. Gen. Beauregard entertained the officers of the first the other day.

Gen. Banks has sailed down the coast on an expedition, the nature of which, no doubt, will be developed soon.

SOURCE: John Beauchamp Jones, A Rebel War Clerk's Diary at the Confederate States Capital, Volume 1, p. 209

Friday, September 30, 2016

Diary of John Beauchamp Jones: November 19, 1862

Hon. James A. Seddon (Va.) has been appointed Secretary of War. He is an able man (purely a civilian), and was member of our Revolutionary Convention, at Metropolitan Hall, l6th April, 1861. But some thought him then rather inclined to restrain than to urge decisive action. He is an orator, rich, and frail in health. He will not remain long in office if he attempts to perform all the duties.

Two letters were received from Gen. Lee to-day. Both came unsealed and open, an omission of his adjutant-general, Mason. The first inclines to the belief that Burnside intends to embark his army for the south side of James River, to operate probably in Eastern North Carolina.

The second, dated 17th inst. P.M., says the scouts report large masses advancing on Fredericksburg, and it may be Burnside's purpose to make that town his base of operations. (Perhaps for a pleasant excursion to Richmond.) Three brigades of the enemy had certainly marched to Fredericksburg. A division of Longstreet's corps were marched thither yesterday, 18th, at early dawn. Lee says if the reports of the scouts be confirmed, the entire corps will follow immediately. And he adds: “Before the enemy's trains can leave Fredericksburg (for Richmond) this whole army will be in position.” These letters were sent immediately to the President.

A letter from Gen. Holmes' calls for an immediate supply of funds ($24,000,000) for the trans-Mississippi Department. A letter from Gen. Pike says if Gen. Hindman (Ark.) is to control there, the Indian Country will be lost.

We shall soon have a solution of Burnside's intentions. Lee is in spirits. He knows Burnside can be easily beaten with greatly inferior numbers.

We hear of sanguinary acts in Missouri — ten men (civilians) being shot in retaliation for one killed by our rangers. These acts exasperate our people, and will stimulate them to a heroic defense.

The cars this afternoon from the vicinity of Fredericksburg were crowded with negroes, having bundles of clothing, etc., their owners sending them hither to escape the enemy. A frightened Jew, who came in the train, said there was an army of 100,000 near Fredericksburg, and we should hear more in a few days. I doubt it not.

Salt sold yesterday at auction for $1.10 per pound. Boots are now bringing $50 per pair; candles (tallow) 75 cts. per pound; butter $2.00 per pound. Clothing is almost unattainable. We are all looking shabby enough.

Mr. K., the young Chief of the Bureau, who came in with Mr. Randolph, declines the honor of going out with him, to the great chagrin of several anxious applicants. It is an office “for life.”

I shall despair of success unless the President puts a stop to Gen. Winder's passport operations, for, if the enemy be kept advised of our destitute condition, there will be no relaxation of efforts to subjugate us. And Europe, too, will refuse to recognize us. I believe there are traitors in high places here who encourage the belief in the North and in Europe that we must soon succumb. And some few of our influential great men might be disposed to favor reconstruction of the Union on the basis of the Democratic party which has just carried the elections in the North.

Everything depends upon the result of approaching military operations. If the enemy be defeated, and the Democrats of the North should call for a National Convention — but why anticipate?

SOURCE: John Beauchamp Jones, A Rebel War Clerk's Diary at the Confederate States Capital, Volume 1, p. 191-3

Tuesday, September 13, 2016

Diary of John Beauchamp Jones: November 13, 1862

The President has rebuked the Secretary of War in round terms for ordering Gen. Holmes to assume the command on this side the Mississippi. Perhaps Mr. Randolph has resolved to be really Secretary. This is the first thing I have ever known him to do without previously obtaining the President's sanction — and it must be confessed, it was a matter of some gravity and importance. Of course it will be countermanded. I have not been in the Secretary's office yet, to see if there is an envelope on his table directed to the President marked Immediate. But he has not been to see the President — and that may be significant, as this is the usual day.

A gentleman, arrived to-day from Maryland, reports that Gen. McClellan has been removed, and the command given to Burnside! He says, moreover, that this change has given umbrage to the army. This may be our deliverance; for if McClellan had been let alone two weeks longer (provided he ascertained onr present condition), he might have captured Richmond, which would be holding all Eastern and much of Central Virginia. This blunder seems providential.

We learn, also, that the Democracy have carried Illinois, Mr. Lincoln's own State, by a very large majority. This is hailed with gladness by our people; and if there should be a “rebellion in the North,” as the Tribune predicts, this intervention of the Democrats will be regarded altogether in our favor. Let them put down the radical Abolitionists, and then, no doubt, they will recover some of our trade. It will mortify the Republicans, hereafter, when the smoke clears away, to learn that Gen. Butler was trading supplies for our army during this November, 1862 — and it will surprise our secessionists to learn that our government is trading him cotton!

SOURCE: John Beauchamp Jones, A Rebel War Clerk's Diary at the Confederate States Capital, Volume 1, p. 188-9

Friday, August 26, 2016

Diary of 4th Sergeant John S. Morgan: Friday, August 7, 1863

Busy preparing for the march. Gen Holmes in town to confer with the Gen commanding object unknown

SOURCE: “Diary of John S. Morgan, Company G, 33rd Iowa Infantry,” Annals of Iowa, 3rd Series, Vol. 13, No. 7, January 1923, p. 494

Thursday, August 18, 2016

Diary of 4th Sergeant John S. Morgan: Saturday, July 4, 1863

Helena invested at 4 A. M. hard fighting till 11. A. M. 15000 rebs comanded by Lieut Gen Holmes inforce 3500. Maj. Gen Prentice our Cap 15 G. theirs 3000 Fight was desperate. Jake severely wounded in the breast

SOURCE: “Diary of John S. Morgan, Company G, 33rd Iowa Infantry,” Annals of Iowa, 3rd Series, Vol. 13, No. 7, January 1923, p. 492

Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Diary of John Beauchamp Jones: October 17, 1862

The article in the Whig is backed by one of a similar character in the Examiner. We shall see what effect they will have on the policy adopted by the Secretary of War.

Although still unofficial, we have confirmatory accounts of Bragg's victory in Kentucky. The enemy lost, they say, 25,000 men. Western accounts are generally exaggerated.

The President has appointed the following lieutenant-generals: Jackson, Longstreet, (Bishop) Polk, Hardee, Pemberton, Holmes, and Smith (Kirby).

The raid of Stuart into Pennsylvania was a most brilliant affair. He captured and destroyed much public property — respecting that of individuals. The Abolitionists are much mortified, and were greatly frightened. The plan of this expedition was received at the department to-day — just as conceived and prepared by Lee, and it was executed by Stuart in a masterly manner.

Advices from Winchester inform the government that McClellan is receiving large reinforcements. He may be determined to cross the Potomac and offer battle — as nothing less will satisfy the rabid Abolitionists. Gen. Lee is tearing up the rails on the road from Harper's Ferry.

Our improvident soldiers lose a great many muskets. We should not have arms enough on the Potomac, were it not for those captured at Harper's Ferry. An order will be issued, making every man responsible for the safe-keeping of his gun.

SOURCE: John Beauchamp Jones, A Rebel War Clerk's Diary at the Confederate States Capital, Volume 1, p. 171-2

Saturday, August 15, 2015

General Joseph E. Johnston to Senator Louis T. Wigfall, December 15, 1862

chattanooga, Dec. 15, 1862.
My dear Wigfall:

On my return from Murfreesboro' a day or two ago I had the pleasure to find your letter, and the President. The latter is on a military tour, and has taken immediate command in this country. Unless he is greatly mistaken Mr. Seddon has not carried our point and reinforced Pemberton with Holmes's troops. On the contrary he says that H. has not had orders on the subject — requests or suggestions instead — which he thinks himself unable to comply with and therefore will not comply with. Pemberton must be reinforced. I have no other resource than the troops on this front, and must draw upon them. This has blown away some tall castles in the air. I have been dreaming of crushing Grant with Holmes's and Pemberton's troops, sending the former into Missouri, and with the latter, Bragg and Kirby Smith, marching to the Ohio. Our troops beyond the Mississippi seem to be living in great tranquillity.

Bragg's troops are in fine condition. Healthy looking and well clothed. In fine spirits too. I see no evidence of the want of confidence and dissatisfaction of which we heard so much in Richmond.

A great mistake has been made in the arrangement of my command. Mississippi and Arkansas should have been united to form it. Not this state and Mississippi, which are divided by (to us) an impassable river and impracticable country. The troops in Middle Tennessee could reach Fredericksburg much sooner than Mississippi. Then Genl. Holmes's communications depend upon our possession of the Mississippi. It is certainly his business to at least assist in the maintenance of his communications. The troops in Arkansas, as having a common object, could be naturally united.

You perhaps see no special object on my part in troubling you with this, and in truth I have no other than putting my troubles before one, who has a head to comprehend grand war, and a heart to sympathize with me.

I start, this afternoon, to Pemberton's Army. About 9,000 men are ordered from Bragg's — and I hope to bring back a great many stragglers who are scattered over the country S. W. of us.

A telegram from the War Department to the President gave us information of the fighting at Fredericksburg on Saturday. What luck some people have. Nobody will ever come to attack me in such a place.

Mrs. J. wrote to Mrs. Wigfall a day or two ago. This mild climate is very favorable to her. She is in excellent health and spirits.

I hope that you have good accounts of Halsey — of his health, I mean, for professionally there can be no doubt. Present me cordially to Mrs. Wigfall and the young ladies.

Very truly yours,
J. E. Johnston.

SOURCE: Louise Wigfall Wright, A Southern Girl in ’61, p. 104-6

Thursday, August 13, 2015

Senator Louis T. Wigfall to James A. Seddon, December 8, 1862

December 8, 1862.
My dear Sir:

I have just received a letter from Genl. Johnston which causes gloomy forebodings as to our future in the West. Pemberton, he says, has fallen back before a superior force and he, Johnston, is ordered to reinforce him with troops from Bragg's command. Consider the position of their different armies. As Pemberton falls back he will be each day one march further from Bragg. Grant is between them, with, I suppose, a superior force to either. If he falls upon either before their junction, may he not destroy him and then turn upon the other? When Bragg crosses the Tennessee river Grant may turn upon him at any moment. How long will it take to cross the Tennessee without Birago trestles or pontoon boats? Before his raid into Kentucky, Bragg was some two or three weeks in effecting a crossing. Holmes, Johnston writes me, has been ordered to reinforce Pemberton, but he does not say with what force. In that movement, it seems to me, lies our only hope of safety. Let me beg you will urge upon Holmes the utmost energy and promptness in his movements. I trust that his whole force has been ordered across. Vicksburg should be the objective point in this campaign. That being safe, as I think it would be, upon the junction of Pemberton and Holmes, the destruction of Grant's Army should be our next object. Political considerations should weigh nothing in the movement of troops. A distinguished writer upon the art of war, says, that political objective points, if adopted during a campaign, must be in accordance with the principles of strategy, and that when that is not possible, then they should be adjourned till after a decisive victory. When Oldham and Bob. Johnston were badgering me for not joining them in insisting that all the troops from the other side of the river should be returned, I told them that if I had control of the army every soldier from Arkansas and Texas should be brought at once to this side so that Bragg might at once crush Buel. The debate was published and I have to see the first man from Texas who does not approve my course. I mention this to show, that those who oppose the concentration of our troops, be it on one side, or the other, of the river, on political grounds, are mistaken as to public opinion. Our people are full of good sense and patriotism, and they will not refuse the means necessary to secure success. Let us save Vicksburg and then crush Rosecranz and then I am indifferent whether you winter the army in Kentucky or Missouri.

One word more as to the policy to govern in the West. The valley of the Mississippi should be the échequier of operations and the armies of the West should be under one head. On whichever side of the river the enemy appears, he should be met with our whole force, and crushed. If he appears on both sides, concentrate on one, and crush him there, and then cross and crush him again. I trust that the last battle has been fought by us with inferior numbers. Whenever the enemy divides, concentrate and crush; and then “follow up the hand,” as at ten pins when you make a ten strike. I am induced to write you more fully on this subject from a conversation I had with Boteler during my last visit to Richmond in which he was urging the propriety of giving Jackson a separate command. The entire army of Virginia should continue under Lee. I write you freely and unreservedly because I know you will not misunderstand me, nor regard my advice as obtrusive. I would be obliged if you would answer this letter, as I feel great anxiety and uneasiness as to the fate of Pemberton's Army. I am writing currente calamo and in great haste and beg that you will excuse this scrawl and believe me very truly and sincerely,

Louis T. Wigfall.
hon. J. A. Seddon.

P. S. Have you any information as to the state of things at Fredericksburg? If not, what is your conjecture? Does Burnside simply wish to get into Fredericksburg, claim a great victory a la McClellan and winter there?

SOURCE: Louise Wigfall Wright, A Southern Girl in ’61, p. 101-3

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

General Joseph E. Johnston to Senator Louis T. Wigfall, December 4, 1862

Chattanooga,
Dec. 4th, 1862.
My dear Wigfall:

After a perilous journey, I arrived a little after twelve last night, having been delayed by three railroad accidents. A telegram from the Ad. Genl. urges me, in the name of the President, to reinforce Pemberton, who “has fallen back from his positions by advance of very superior force of the enemy” with “a sufficient force of Genl. Bragg's command.” “Genl. Holmes has been peremptorily ordered to reinforce him — but his troops may be too late,” I am told. Genl. Pemberton in falling back, moves towards Vicksburg, where Holmes must cross the river — every step he makes, therefore, brings him nearer to his reinforcements. But as this march is in a direction exactly away from Bragg, and the enemy's army is between, every day's march makes a junction of the latter with Pemberton more difficult. I proposed the order to Holmes more than two weeks ago. Had it been given then, his troops would now be near Vicksburg, and we should be secure of our possession of the Mississippi. As matters now are, the enemy being between our armies, and probably superior to any one of them, their junction must be difficult — impossible, if his troops are well directed. I have not had time yet to learn if the movement of Bragg's troops is practicable, and if so, what time will be necessary for it, nor what Pemberton's force is, nor that of the enemy — nor where he is — nor in what direction he proposes to move. Under such circumstances a much wiser man, than any I know, might fail to plan wisely. The thing to be done is to urge Holmes to expedition. Do tell the Secretary of War to do so.

The President does not consider, in estimating the time Bragg's movement may require, what an obstacle the Tennessee is. Nor that Vicksburg at least, will secure Holmes's junction.

Nobody ever assumed a command under more unfavorable circumstances. If Rosecranz had disposed our troops himself, their disposition could not have been more unfavorable for us.

My suggestion to the President, referred to above, was to unite the troops of Pemberton and Holmes and attack Grant. It was about the 15th ulto. Genls. Cooper and G. W. Smith were present.

I shall join Bragg at Tullahoma tomorrow; the railroad arrangements make it impracticable sooner. All the information necessary to me is still to be gained.

Mrs. J. sends cordial regards to Mrs. Wigfall and yourself.

Very truly yours,
J. E. Johnston.
genl. Wigfall,
C. S. Senate.

SOURCE: Louise Wigfall Wright, A Southern Girl in ’61, p. 98-100

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Jefferson Davis to Louis T. Wigfall, October 11, 1862

executive Mansion,
richmond, Va.,
Oct. 11, 1862.
genl. L. T. Wigfall,

My dear Sir:

It has been suggested to me that you thought Holmes had failed in his duty at Malvern Hill, by being too slow in getting into position, and in that connection I wish to say to you that he was ordered up from his position on the South side of James River to aid in the attack upon McClellan's Army and if possible to prevent it from reaching the James River. It being then supposed that the enemy would endeavor to reach a landing some distance above Curl's Neck. He moved down the River Road, taking Gen. Wise and his brigade with him, to the position indicated, where I found him on Monday morning, most advantageously posted. He had made a thorough reconnoissance and fully explained to me his position and plan of operations. He was then about a mile to the right of the place where I found you with Gen. Longstreet's staff and where I met Genl. Lee. Genl. Lee had ascertained that the enemy was taking a different route by what was known as the Quaker Road and he ordered Genl. Holmes to advance and take position on that road to intercept the enemy's retreat. He did so promptly, and waited at the place indicated with his infantry for the approach of the enemy. They did not come, but halted and offered battle before reaching Poindexter's farm. Genl. Holmes thus fulfilled all his orders and proved as well his gallantry, as his candor, by subsequently expressing his regret that no one knew enough of the ground to have indicated to him what afterward was found to have been feasible, to wit, an attack upon the enemy's left and rear. It may be that such remarks have led you to suppose that he was directed to do something which he failed to perform. If so, I am sure that your fairness needs only to have the facts distinctly pointed out to you. Genl. Lee reconnoitred the ground as far as he was able and I did the same thing in person —whilst Genl. Holmes was in position and under a heavy fire from the enemy's gunboats. Genl. Lee certainly attributed no shortcoming to Genl. Holmes and it never occurred to me that any blame was fairly to be attached to him. I write this in justice to the individual but am urged much more by the consciousness of his peculiar fitness for the command to which he has been assigned.

Your friend
Jeffer. Davis.

SOURCE: Louise Wigfall Wright, A Southern Girl in ’61, p. 88-9