Friday, August 31, 2012

August 31, 1862

August 31, 1862: Gen. Halleck Gen. Pope holds his army in position although larges numbers of them are on the road of retreat to Alexandria and Washington. Pope telegraphs to Halleck his report, clearly anxious for reinforcements, and also wondering whether he should retreat to Washington or not:
Numbers 87. HEADQUARTERS ARMY OF VIRGINIA, Centreville, August 31, 1862-10.45 a. m.
Major-General HALLECK,

   Our troops are all here in position, though much used-up and worn-out. I think it would perhaps have been greatly better if Summer and Franklin had been here three or four days ago; but you may rely on our giving them as desperate a fight as I can force our men to stand up to.
    I should like to know whether you feel secure about Washington should this army be destroyed. I shall fight it as long as a man will stand up to the work. You must judge what is to be done, having in view the safety of the capital.
    The enemy is already pushing a cavalry reconnaissance in our front at Cub Run-whether in advance of an attack to-day I do not yet know. I send you this that you may know our position and my purpose.

    Major-General, Commanding.
Maj. Gen. John Pope, USA

—During this campaign, McClellan has been holding back many of his troops: Sumner’s corps, the rest of Burnside, and Franklin. Now, wires Gen. Halleck, offering assistance to Gen. Pope, but not-so-subtlely hinting that he would like to be given overall command: "I am ready to afford you any assistance in my power; but you will readily perceive how difficult an undefined position, such as I now hold, must be. At what hour in the morning can I see you alone, either at your own house or the office?" Indeed, the lack of clarity about command structure has plagued the campaign from the beginning. There are already calls for McClellan’s dismissal.

—Gideon Wells, the U.S. Secretary of the Navy, writes of such activities in his journal, when other members of the Cabinet come to him about McClellan’s dismissal:
August 31, Sunday. For the last two or three days there has been fighting at the front and army movements of interest. McClellan with most of his army arrived at Alexandria a week or more ago, but inertness, inactivity, and sluggishness seem to prevail. The army officers do not engage in this move of the War Department with zeal. Some of the troops have gone forward to join Pope, who has been beyond Manassas, where he has encountered Stonewall Jackson and the Rebel forces for the last three days in a severe struggle. The energy and rapid movements of the Rebels are in such striking contrast to those of our own officers that I shall not be seriously surprised at any sudden dash from them. The War Department — Stanton and Halleck—are alarmed. . . .

Yesterday, Saturday, P.M., when about leaving the Department, Chase called on me with a protest addressed to the President, signed by himself and Stanton, against continuing McClellan in command and demanding his immediate dismissal. Certain grave offenses were enumerated. Chase said that Smith had seen and would sign it in turn, but as my name preceded his in order, he desired mine to appear in its place. I told him I was not prepared to sign the document; that I preferred a different method of meeting the question; . . . that I did not choose to denounce McC. for incapacity, or to pronounce him a traitor, as declared in this paper, but I would say, and perhaps it was my duty to say, that I believed his removal from command was demanded by public sentiment and the best interest of the country.

Chase said that was not sufficient, that the time had arrived when the Cabinet must act with energy and promptitude, for either the Government or McClellan must go down. He then proceeded to expose certain acts, some of which were partially known to me, and others, more startling, which were new to me. . . . I proposed as a preferable course that there should be a general consultation with the President. He objected to this until the document was signed, which, he said, should be done at once.

This method of getting signatures without an interchange of views with those who are associated in council was repugnant to my ideas of duty and right. . . .
We hear, this Sunday morning, that our army has fallen back to Centreville. Pope writes in pretty good spirits that we have lost no guns, etc. The Rebels were largely reinforced, while our troops, detained at Annandale by McClellan’s orders, did not arrive to support our wearied and exhausted men. McClellan telegraphs that he hears "Pope is badly cut up." . . . But my faith in present security and of ultimate success is unshaken. We need better generals but can have no better army. There is much latent disloyal feeling in Washington which should be expelled. And oh, there is great want of capacity and will among our military leaders.

—Stephen Minot Weld, a young officer in the 18th Massachusetts Infantry Regiment, writes to his father, the day after the battle:
Centreville, Aug. 31, 1862.
Dear Father, — We had a severe battle at Bull Run yesterday, and were obliged to retire to this place. The retreat was conducted in good order, and without the loss of wagons, etc. General Porter’s corps did most of the fighting. Pope made a complete muddle of the whole affair and ordered us into a place where we were hit hard. I can only thank God that I got out safe. We were under a very severe fire of musketry, round shot, shell and case-shot. My horse was slightly wounded in the leg by a musket shot. If we ever reach Washington in safety, it will be more than I expect.
Pope has blundered terribly. He let Jackson get between him and Washington, destroy any number of cars and the railroad track at Manassas Junction and the telegraph. Jackson then went to Centreville, then to Bull Run. . . . Pope knows he is dead if he retreats to Washington and so he keeps us here, where the enemy may cut off our supplies. The place itself is very strong and we occupy the enemy’s old works. . . .

—Drenching rains begin the night before, and continue throughout the day in northern Virginia. The Confederates, especially Stonewall Jackson, are impatient to launch a pursuit of Pope and to threaten Washington.

Thursday, August 30, 2012

August 30, 1862

August 30, 1862:

Second Battle of Bull Run
(or Second Manassas)

Eastern Theater, Second Bull Run Campaign

Day 2
As the morning breaks, Confederate infantry division of Maj. Gen. Richard Anderson, having arrived in the dark and attempting to find its place in line, advances too far and close to the Union lines. As Anderson withdraws, Union pickets see their movement. As this is reported to Gen. Pope, he is even more convinced that the Rebels are trying to retreat.

1. Morning: Gen. Lee decides to wait for Pope to make the first move and then use that to his advantage in releasing Longstreet’s attack. Pope also waits, although his behavior is odd considering his conviction that the Rebels are retreating and trying to get away. He maintains this delusion all morning, in spite of scouting reports from Porter, Reynolds, Kearney, and Isaac Stevens from Reno’s division: the Rebels were still clearly in position. But Pope dithers. Skirmishes break out all up and down the line throughout the morning, along with clashes of cavalry on the flanks, and artillery duels.

2. Pope attacks: Lee, believing that Pope is going to attack, places 18 guns under Col. Stephen D. Lee on high ground in front of Jackson’s center, in a position to sweep the field. Pope, after counseling with his officers (who are divided in their opinions), issues orders around 1:00 P.M.: Porter is to attack Jackson’s right, and hold on the Rebel left. 

It takes two hours for Porter to get his 10,000 men into position, with Dan Butterfield’s division in front, supported by Hatch’s division on the right, and Sykes’s division in reserve. Porter, protesting all along that large numbers of Rebels were off his left flank, finally steps off around 3:00 P.M. Col. Lee’s artillery are able to get a flanking, enfilading fire on Hatch’s division as they advance, causing high casualties. Butterfield has over 600 yards of open ground to cross, with a steep slope and a fortified enemy behind that. The assault strikes Starke’s (Jackson’s former) division, and break through the Southern line. But the famous Stonewall Brigade, in a counterattack, drives the Yankees back—but these Virginians take heavy losses, including their commander, Col. Baylor, who is killed. Longstreet’s artillery, off to the left of the Federal attack, opens up and scores flanking fire on the Union lines, too. At one point, Rebels in the brigades of Stafford and Johnson have run out of ammunition, and begin throwing rocks at the 24th New York–who begin throwing them back, instead of shooting. Porter’s men are badly cut up, though, and he calls off the attack, although some of his brigades are still pinned to the enemy line, unable to withdraw. Starke’s Rebels counterattack in a moment of ill-considered bravado, and Porter’s reserves fire devastating volleys into the charging Rebels, who return to their lines, badly diminished. At that moment, McDowell sends Reynolds’s division forward to reinforce Porter, but weakens the extreme left Union flank to do so.

3. Longstreet’s Assault: Gen. Lee and Gen. Longstreet agree that with the Union left thus weakened, the time was right for the attack. Longstreet’s four divisions (Hood, Evans, Kemper, and Jones–with Anderson in reserve), 25,000 men in a line a mile and a half long, step off in a wide right wheel, plunging into the flank and rear of the Union army. 

Only two undermanned brigades under Warren and McLean are in line ready to resist them. Warren has only two regiments, and they do not even slow down the Rebel attack. The 5th New York Zouaves, out of 500 men, suffer 300 men shot down in the first 10 minutes. McLean has better luck, and stalls the Southern advance for 30 minutes, while Gen. Pope and McDowell begin to scramble to post troops on Henry House Hill, which dominates the road junction in the center of the battlefield, and comprises the Federal’s only escape route. McLean gives way, and the Rebel assault rolls on, smashing in succession the Yankee brigades of Zealous Tower, John Stiles, and then those of John Koltes and Wlodzimierz Krzyzanowski.

4. Attack on Henry House Hill: The resistance of these six Union brigades, however, has slowed the Southern attack by more than two hours, and by this point, Pope has built a line. Longstreet sends Jones’ division forward on the right, and then two brigades from Anderson, who is able to damage the Union flank enough to ascend Henry House Hill—but Anderson fails to exploit this, due to the gathering darkness. 

Despite orders from Lee to assist, Jackson does not launch a supporting attack from his lines until late. Pope’s makeshift line holds, and during the night, his army withdraws across Bull Run and moves quickly back to the safety of the Washington defenses.

Confederate Victory.


Union                  10,000

Confederate       8,300

—1st Lieutenant William Penn Lloyd, of the 1st Pennsylvania Cavalry Regiment, offers in his journal his view of Longstreet’s attack on the Federal left flank, and his blame on Pope:

The incessant roar of musketry and the deep toned thunder of cannon as regiment after regiment came up, and battery after battery opened, mingled with the bursting of shells, the ominous and unearthly shriek of the rifled cannon shot, and the whistling of bullets, which appeared to thicken the air, showed that the action up till now was but a prelude to what was comming. Hotter and hotter, became the fire of the artillery, and closer drew the contending lines, till the space, [interweaving?] between the two armies, was filled with the struggling hosts. Wild and chaotic, indeed, was the scene, the field now presented, full forty-thousand men armed with the most improved implements of destruction, struggling in mortal combat. Dense clouds of [dust?] mingled with the smoke of battle, which rolled up in massive columns, soon hid the field from view, and it was only by the sound of the conflict or when, for a moment, the cloud which hung over the field, would shift and reveal the work of death, that you could discern when the battle raged the fiercest.

We hear of battles, and read descriptions of them; but it is only when on the field, and a spectator of the scene, that one can realize half their grandeur, or their horrors.

For more than two hours, the battle continued thus to rage, when the enemy having, [unperceived?] or [unheeded?] by our Genls., thrown a heavy body around on our left, suddenly poured a cloud of troops down on our flank and rear; and our exhausted columns, unable to withstand the torrent that came rolling against them, broke, and fell back in confusion. Here was the Great and fatal error of the day. From the time our left was attacked, till our flank was turned, Genl. Pope was repeatedly advised of the probability of the enemy attempting this movement; but deaf to all advice and entreats, he not only neglected to make the necessary disposition of his forces, to meet such a contingency; but continued with drawing troops from the extreme left, and marching them to the center and right, and even so for forgot the duties of a general, as to neglect having videtts out on the left to warn him of the approach of the enemy.

—Union army Surgeon Alfred L. Castleman, ever irrepressible in expressing his opinion, writes agrily in his journal about McClellan’s refusal to hurry to help Pope:
5 P. M.—We have just reached Centreville. The battle rages in sight, yet we stop again to rest when no one is tired, but all anxious to rush on. After having "rested" for two hours, we moved slowly forward for two miles, when we met a courier, who exclaimed: "Oh, why not one hour earlier!" Close on his heels followed the flying crowd, again overpowered, beaten and whipped at Bull Run, the disastrous battle field of last year, and we too late to save it.

Alas, my poor country! and must you at last be sacrificed to the jealousies, the selfishness, the ambition, the treachery or the incompetency of those to whom you have entrusted your treasure, life, honor, every thing? Grouchy failed to come. So did Hancock, Franklin and McClellan. There may be good reasons for our delay, and we not be permitted to know what they are. The subordinate is forbidden to discuss the merits or the motives of his superior, but we must not be blamed for thinking. Pope was whipped. Thousands of our neighbors and our friends died on that bloody field, whilst struggling to hold it till we could reach and save them, and the joyous faces of many officers of our Army of the Potomac made us think that the whipping of Pope and the slaughter of his men, had something to do with their joy. . .

—Private Robert Knox Sneden, a cartographer on the staff of Gen. Heintzelman, recounts his gruesome experience of the battle in his journal:
The Rebels had two or more Whitworth guns. The peculiar screech of their missiles were heard above the whizzing of other projectiles. The Rebel artillery was fired at a high elevation and their shells burst mostly in rear of our lines for a long while. But they rectified this when our men were ordered to lie down. Still many were killed in this position while our artillery horses were cut up badly. For an hour the Rebels, being out of ammunition, fired pieces of railroad iron at us. Two pieces bound with telegraph wire, these would stick in the tree tops and slide down on our men’s heads. This confused and mystified the troops who scattered and broke ranks continually. [They] thought it a new explosive until after it had been solved. . . .

I saw the head of one of our atillerymen taken off, shot within fifty feet of my position. His blood spattered his gun. He was pulled up by his arms a few paces away, the blood gushing in streams from his neck. . . . The other artillerymen kept on loading and firing without giving him further notice. All the guns of the battery were worked with great rapidity. The men were loading and firing like madmen. The wounded were crawling around on their hands and knees. Others were tearing up their shirts to make bandages for their bloody wounds . . . while from a low strip of bushes the Rebels were firing on our wounded in front who were crawling to our lines. The wounded and dying Rebels along our front in the open ground held up their hands in token of surrender, while piercing shrieks, yells, cheers, and oaths filled the air, heard above the deafening reports of the artillery and crash of musketry. . . . Having seen enough of the terrible fighting, I returned to our headquarters. . . .

—George Templeton Strong writes in his journal of the reaction to the battle in New York City:
A noteworthy day for good or evil; we do not certainly know which. The morning papers were not cheerful. We were out-generalled and out-flanked. Washington in danger again, everything bungled and botched. It was clear that both armies had got into each others’ rear and were so mixed up that they couldn’t be disentangled without breaking something. . . . Our loss say 8,000; rebel loss twice that; a grand victory. God grant this may be true and the whole truth. But I am not prepared to crow quite yet. Pope is an imaginative chieftan and ranks next to [James Fenimore] Cooper as a writer of fiction. . . . I expect to be informed by tomorrow morning’s papers that strategic considerations lead General Pope to follow up his victory by skedaddling at full speed, leaving guns and prisoners in the hands of the enemy. It is a bad sign that we have no extra tonight. . . .

—Battle of Richmond, Kentucky, Day 2: The day begins with an artillery duel, and then Gen. Cleburne advances his two-brigade division. Gen. Nelson has ordered up Gen. Charles Cruft and his brigade to reinforce Manson. (Most of Nelson’s troops are purely green regiments raised specifically in answer to the threatened Rebel invasion that Kirby-Smith and Bragg are now conducting.) South of Richmond, near Mt. Zion Church, Cleburne’s troops drive in the Federal skirmish line, and both sides bring up more artillery. Cleburne moves against the Federal left; Gen. Manson, in response, takes troops from his right flank and sends them to his left. But about that time, unseen by the Yankees, Gen. Thomas Churchill and his division of Arkansans and Texans come charging up out of a ravine, and hit the weakened Federal right. Manson’s green troops gave way before the assault, and the left finally collapsed as well, although Cleburne had been shot in the jaw and was taken from the field. As the Federals retreat back up the road, Manson is finally able to rally them around 11:00 A.M. Kirby-Smith orders Churchill to attack again, while Col. Preston Smith (taking Cleburne’s place) attacks the Federal left---and again the Yankee line breaks, and they continue to retreat in disorder back to Richmond. General "Bull" Nelson arrives on the field, and attempts to stem disaster: he organizes a new line in a cemetery just outside of town. Col. Smith sends his two brigades forward, and as dusk settles, this line breaks, too, and the Yankees retreat in a rout northward. Two miles north of Richmond, however, Scott;’s cavalry brigade (1st Georgia, 1st Louisiana, 3rd Tennessee, and a squadron of Kentucky riders) catch the panicked Federals and, blocking their retreat, attack. The Northerners surrender in large numbers, and only Nelson and a few troops escape. Confederate Victory.

Forces:     U.S. Maj. Gen. Wm. "Bull" Nelson, 6,500 men
                   C.S. Maj. Gen. Edmund Kirby-Smith, 6,850 men

Losses:             Killed    Wounded       Captured and Missing        Total

Union                  206          844                             4,303                           5,353

Confederate        78           372                                       1                               451
Battle of Richmond, Kentucky

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

August 29, 1862

August 29, 1862:

Second Battle of Bull Run

(or Second Manassas)

Eastern Theater, Second Bull Run Campaign

Day 1
Pope now believes he has Jackson surrounded on three sides and decides to drive his attacks head-on into Jackson’s fortified line. Meanwhile, Jackson receives a note from Gen. Lee, telling him that Longstreet’s corps has cleared Thoroughfare Gap, and will be on the field by evening. Jackson decides to stay in his position until Longstreet can come up.

Morning Prelude: The Union troops are in confusion. Porter has conflicting orders telling him to march in two directions at once. Gen. McDowell is missing, and no one has seen him since early yesterday; in fact, he is trying to find Pope. When he finds Pope, he finds that Pope has been parcelling out McDowell’s divisions to other commanders, and so McDowell has not men to command—and then spends part of the morning wrangling with Gen. Porter and others to get his troops back. This halts Porter long enough that he does not advance to where Pope wanted him.
1. Attack on Rebel left flank: Pope orders Gen. Sigel to deploy his divisions to attack Jackson’s left flank, close to Bull Run Creek, with Gen. Kearney’s division to support. Sigel half-heartedly prepares for the assault: getting his troops into position takes all morning, and it does not go forward until nearly 1:00 P.M. He sends Gen. Carl Schurz’s two brigades of mostly German-speaking troops up the Manassas-Sudley Springs Road, and they strike the Confederates of A.P. Hill’s Light Division: Georgians under Thomas and South Carolinians under Gregg. Schurz reforms and attacks again, but Philip Kearney’s division does not move to support his right flank—so Schurz falls back again.

2. Milroy attacks the center: Then, at Jackson’s center, Gen. Robert Milroy pushes only two regiments into a gap in the Rebel line, but they are unable to stay there without support. Gen. Schenk, supported by Reynold’s division, is to attack Jackson’s right flank, but has not moved close enough yet. Pope arrives on the battlefield and is dismayed to find his troops in disarray, and the attacks not coordinated.

3. Longstreet deploys on the Confederate right: By this time, Longstreet’s troops are arriving on the field, and Stuart’s cavalry guides his division into positions pre-selected by Jackson. Hood’s division lines up on Jackson’s right, and then next in line come the divisions of Kemper and Jones and Wilcox. Gen. Lee is urging Longstreet to make his attack right away, but Longstreet’s scouts report the positions of Schenk and Reynolds in his front, as well as McDowell and Porter further south, and he counsels Lee to let him wait until the Federals make a move first. Lee agrees.

4. Confusion on the Federal left: Rebel cavalry attacks the column of Porter and McDowell as it toils up the road to Manassas Junction. As the Yankees are halted, they receive a badly-written order from Pope in which he expects (but does not say) that they should advance and attack what is supposed to be Jackson’s right on Stony Ridge. Porter sees plenty of evidence that there are Rebel troops massing on his left, and he is loath to march across their front. McDowell receives a report from Gen. Buford’s cavalary that at least 17 regiments of Confederate infantry have passed through Gainesville earlier that morning, but this information is not passed on to Pope until later in the night. 

5. Pope tries to coordinate attacks on the right and left: Gen. Pope assumes that Porter and McDowell are going forward to smash Jackson’s right, and so—as a diversion—he orders forward just one brigade under Gen. Grover to charge into the left of Jackson’s line. Grover’s spirited bayonet charge hits a gap in the Rebel line, but once again Gen. Kearney does not advance as ordered to support this attack. Pender’s Rebels counterattack and drive Grover back with heavy losses. Pope sends a written order for Porter to attack, but this message does not arrive until after 6:30 PM. Reynolds’ division of McDowell’s Corps advances, but encounters Longstreet’s advance troops; upon reporting this to Pope, the commanding general chides Reynolds and believes Reynolds has only bumped into Porter’s men by accident. Pope arranges another diversion, and again orders Kearney to attack Jackson’s left, which Kearney finally does. With ten regiments, Kearney leads his men forward against Gregg’s South Carolinians, who are out of ammunition and exhausted. In the nick of time, the brigades of Early (Virginians) and Lawrence O’Bryan Branch (North Carolinians) counterattack and blunt the Federal attack. Kearney withdraws.

  Meanwhile, McDowell has finally regained control of his scattered divisions and begins sending them to the center to help with the attacks. Lee’s scouts see this movement, seeing the Yankees veering away from Longstreet’s flank, and urges Longstreet to attack, but the latter argues that it is too close to dark—but he does send forward Hood’s troops, which encounter Hatch’s division in the gathering dark and fight to a standstill.

Conclusion to Day 1: At this point, Gen. Pope has it in his mind that Jackson is retreating. Finally convinced that Longstreet is indeed on the field, Pope assumes that they are there to cover Jackson’s retreat. Darkness settles over the field, and Pope is no more enlightened as to the intentions of the Confederates than he was the day before. Jackson, although with brigade commanders Forno, Field, and Trimble wounded, has clearly come out with a victory—so far.
But out on the Federal left flank is Longstreet, lined up with four divisions, and Pope unaware and unbelieving.

—Union Surgeon Alfred L. Castleman, writes his journal:
29th.—Struck tents near Alexandria, at 10 A. M., and have marched in direction of Fairfax Court House, I suppose to go to Bull Run, to reinforce General Pope, who with fifty thousand men is now engaged with Jackson and Longstreet’s army, over one hundred thousand strong. I hope to God that may be our destination, and that we may be in time. We have marched to-day only about six miles. The day is beautiful and cool, the roads fine. Why do we not go further. Is it because we have other destination than what I hoped?

—John Beauchamp Jones, clerk with the Confederate War Department, notes in his diary: AUGUST 29TH.—Bloody fighting is going on at Manassas. All the news is good for us. It appears that Pope, in his consummate egotism, refused to believe that he had been outwitted, and "pitched into" our corps and divisions, believing them to be merely brigades and regiments. He has been terribly cut up.

—George Templeton Strong writes in his journal:

Still these brilliant, dashing, successful raids or forays of rebel cavalry within our lines. They have penetrated to Manassas, destroying supply trains and capturing guns, taking us by surprise. Are our generals traitors or imbecile? why does the Rebellion enjoy the monopoly of audacity and enterprise? Were I a general, even I, poor little feeble, myopic, flaccid effeminate George T. Strong, I think I could do better than this. . . .


—Mrs. Judith White McGuire of Richmond, tells of a meeting with an old Lynchburg neighbor, and of the old lady’s fervor in the Southern cause:
At her beautiful home, more than a mile from town, I found . . . my venerable and venerated friend Mrs. Judge C, still the elegant, accomplished lady, the cheerful, warm-hearted, Christian Virginia woman. At four-score, the fire kindles in her eye as she speaks of our wrongs. "What would your father and my husband have thought of these times," she said to me— "men who loved and revered the Union, who would have yielded up their lives to support the Constitution, in its purity, but who could never have given up their cherished doctrines of State rights, nor have yielded one jot or tittle of their independence to the aggressions of the North?" She glories in having sons and grandsons fighting for the South. Two of the latter have already fallen in the great cause; I trust that the rest may be spared to her.
Private Thomas Greene, Confederate, killed at Second Manassas on August 29


August 28, 1862

August 28, 1862: Eastern Theater, Second Bull Run Campaign - Gen. Pope’s troops get entangled on the roads: because Gen. Sigel starts late, his wagons get snarled with Gen. McDowell’s troops. Pope, with his army spread out from Centreville to Bristoe Station to Haymarket, decides to concentrate his forces, since he is still very doubtful as to where the Rebels exactly are. Earlier in the morning, there is skirmishing between Jackson’s men and Yankees from John Reynolds’ division, but it never develops into a real fight, and so Reynolds marches on. Meanwhile, Stonewall Jackson holds his Rebels concealed within the railroad cut, waiting for some Yankees to blunder by.

The Battle of Groveton (Brawner’s Farm) The Warrenton Turnpike, which runs from Gainesville to Centreville, right across Jackson’s front, has become a major avenue for the rapid movement of Union troops the last two days. Jackson is hoping that some Federals will blunder by in a vulnerable way–and some do oblige him, before too long. Crossing his front, Federal troops encounter a few Rebel pickets. After skirmishers exchange some fire, aroun 6:30 P.M., Jackson’s men come out of their railroad cut, and pounce on Gen. Rufus King’s division, commanded by Hatch, as it goes marching by on its way to Centreville. King’s division consists of the brigades of John Hatch, Abner Doubleday, John Gibbon, and Marsena Patrick. Gen. Gibbon unlimbers a battery of artillery and begins sparring with Jackson’s artillery, once the Federals figure out where it is coming from. Hatch’s brigade has already gone on, and does not deploy; Patrick’s forms up in the left rear, and so only Gibbon and Doubleday form their brigades. (It is not clear why neither Patrick nor Hatch participate in the fight.) The Federal column halts and begins to deploy into line in the woods parallel with the highway, with Gibbon sending the 2nd Wisconsin forward to chase off what he assumed was some of the Rebel horse artillery. As the 430 Wisconsin men deploy skirmishers, they drive the Rebel skirmishers back, until the famous Stonewall Brigade attacks the Wisconsin right flank. One by one, regiments are fed into the fray by both sides. Gibbon’s 2nd, 6th, and 7th Wisconsin, with the 19th Indiana, earn the sobriquet The Iron Brigade on this day, when both sides stand up and blast away at each other for several hours, until long after dark. Doubleday moves up two regiments to support Gibbon. Jackson eventually has 6,200 men in line against the 2,800 Federals. Finally, Jackson sends up some Georgia regiments to support the Stonewall Brigade, but mistaking the Stonewalls for Yankees in the dark, the Georgians pour volley after volley into their ranks, killing and wounding many of their own comrades. In the confusion of this tragedy, Gibbon and Doubleday withdraw their troops without further incident. The casualties are appalling: The Federals lose 1,100 out of 2,800, and the Rebels suffer over 1,200 casualties, with the Stonewall Brigade incurring over 40% losses. Two Georgia regiments receive over 70% losses. A number of senior Rebel officers are wounded or killed. Gen. Ewell and Gen. Taliaferro (pronounced Tolliver, believe it or not) are both wounded, and Ewell loses his leg to amputation. Taliferro writes of the battle: "In this fight there was no maneuvering and very little tactics. It was a question of endurance and both endured." Stalemate.
Battle of Groveton

This battle makes a fitting prelude to tomorrow’s battle at Bull Run—a monument of confusion and mismanagement.

—Capt. William Bolton, of the 51st Pennsylvania Infantry which serves in Gen. Reno’s division currently being hurried to the front, writes in his journal:
Left our bivouac at daylight, and passed through Manassas Junction at 12 o’clock. Here all was confusion. The rebels had reached this place ahead of us, captured seven trains of cars loaded with ammunition and provisions and army supplies generally. Ten locomotives were also destroyed. The enemy had supplied themselves with what they wanted and destroyed the balance. The ruins are still burning and it is said the destroyed property is worth $500,000. The 51st is covering the rear. . . . We have had more or less skirmishing all day. . . .

—Preston Sessoms, a student at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, writes home to his sister Bettie about how lonesome it is on campus this year:
Chapel Hill N. Carolina.
August 28th 1862.
Sister Bett.
I have again reached this place in safety, and found all things as they were when I left last January, except there has been a great deal change among the College affairs. For such a place as this, which is called a university,there had ought to be no less than three or four hundred students, but there are only fifty here now, a very small number. Very soon after I left last January nearly all the students left and went to war; some were called out by the draft some were taken by the Conscription law and some went voluntarily, So nearly all left; if there had not new students come this session, there would be hardly twenty students here now. I call it very dull and lonesome place; if it was not for one thing I would not stay here, There is but two or three boarding houses now, all have gone down, and board is very high, and but very little to eat, The college expenses are the same as the have always been. I have heard something about the second call for conscripts; if there does come another call, this college will certainly break, it will take all, sweep it clean. . . .

August 27, 1862

—August 27, 1862: Eastern Theater, Second Bull Run Campaign - Up to this point, the Northern Virginia campaign has resembled two boxers sparring, circling warily, and landing a tentative jab now and then—except that one boxer, Pope, is blindfolded. He is conducting a campaign without the benefit of knowing where the enemy is.

Gen. Pope finally realizes that Lee is moving to his rear, and he gives orders for his army to move back and north of their Rappahannock line. By this time, Pope now has Reno’s division of the IX Corps, Porter’s V Corps, and Heintzelman’s III Corps from the Army of the Potomac, nearly doubling his numbers to about 90,000. Meanwhile, Stonewall Jackson finishes looting the Union supply base at Manassas Junction, and pulls back to the crossroads of Groveton, near the 1861 battlefield. Hill’s division had gone as far east as Centreville. Believing that Jackson was actually much farther west than Manassas, Pope pushes on to Warrenton and then to Manassas Junction, in hopes of stopping Jackson’s push east (as Pope thought) and hoping to catch him coming through Thoroughfare Gap (which Jackson had passed two days before). Elements of the two armies brush each other going by. George Taylor’s Union brigade, venturing out from Washington, attacks Stonewall’s men along Bull Run Creek, but the Yankees are driven back. Gen. Joseph Hooker, commanding a division in Heintzelman’s corps, also deploys near Bristoe Station, and attacks Ewell’s division there. Ewell bloodies Hooker badly, inflicting over 300 Union casualties at the Battle of Bristoe Station. Jackson then decides to torch the base at Manassas, and move to the northern edge of the old Bull Run battlefield, where he places his divisions along an unfinished railroad cut that was concealed and yet which overlooked the two main roads nearby. Pope, convinced that Jackson is now at Manassas Junction (which he was but no longer is), and so changes his direction from west to east, just as the Rebels go north and west. Another miss.

—McClellan, now arrived at Aquia Creek, argues with Halleck that Burnsides’ Corps and Franklin’s Corps should be held back to protect the capital.

—Charles Francis Adams, Jr., an officer in the 1st Mass. Cavalry regiment, arrives at Aquia Creek, his regiment having been taken from their state of idle uselessness in South Carolina to the Virginia theater, where more cavalry was needed. He writes to his father in London (who served as the U.S. Ambassador to Great Britain) and tells what he is hearing and thinking about the state of affairs in the war:
Here I have access to certain means of information and I think I can give you a little more light than you now have. Do you know that just before leaving the Peninsula McClellan offered to march into Richmond on his own responsibility? Do you know that in the opinion of our leading military men Washington is in more danger than it ever yet has been? Do you know that but for McDowell’s jealousy we should have triumphantly marched into Richmond? Do you know that Pope is a humbug and known to be so by those who put him in his present place? Do you know that today he is so completely outgeneraled as to be cut off from Washington? Yet these are not rumors, but facts, doled out to me by members of McClellan’s and Halleck’s staffs.

Our rulers seem to me to be crazy. The air of this city seems thick with treachery; our army seems in danger of utter demoralization and I have not since the war begun felt such a tug on my nerves as today in Washington. Everything is ripe for a terrible panic, the end of which I cannot see or even imagine. I always mean to be one of the hopeful, but just now I cast about in vain for something on which to hang my hopes. I still believe in McClellan, but I know that the nearest advisers of the President — among them Mr. Holt — distrust his earnestness in this war. Stanton is jealous of him and he and Pope are in bitter enmity. All pin their hope on Halleck and we must do as the rest do; but it is hinted to me that Stanton is likely to be a block in Halleck’s way, and the jealousies of our generals are more than a new man can manage. We need a head and we must have it; a man who can keep these jealousies under subordination; and we must have him or go to the wall. . . . I do consider the outside condition of affairs very critical, but it is my glimpse behind the scenes, the conviction that small men with selfish motives control the war without any central power to keep them in bounds, which terrifies and discourages me.

—Stephen Minot Weld, of the 18th Massachusetts Infantry, writes to his father, as his regiment approaches the front:
Warrenton Junction, Aug. 27.
Dear Father, — We arrived here this morning and find that the enemy are at Manassas Gap, between us and Washington. General Pope, in my opinion, is a complete failure. He can handle 10,000 men, but no more. We still have communication with Washington via Aquia Creek. I hope we shall see a successful issue to this trouble.

—George Templeton Strong writes in his journal about the anxious times, and the scuttlebutt going around New York City concerning the campaign in Virginia:
We seem to be falling back successfully and maintaining our defensive line on the north fork of the Rappahannock. There has been sharp fighting at several points. an enterprising rebel foray seems to have beat up General Pope’s headquarters, destroyed supply trains, and carried off important papers and letters. Scandalous and disgraceful, if we have the whole truth. . . .

Monday, August 27, 2012

August 26, 1862

August 26, 1862: Learning that Stonewall Jackson’s troops had turned and were marching southeast through Thoroughfare Gap, aimed precisely at his rear and supply base, Pope details one division under Gen. Ricketts (from McDowell’s corps) to go see what Jackson was up to. Pope’s army other wise stays put down by the Rappahannock. In the meantime, two brigades of Stuart’s cavalry catch up with Stonewall’s troops. Stonewall details these riders and Gen. Ewell’s entire division to march on Bristoe Station, on the railroad that supplies Pope: there, they find a small detachment of infantry, which puts up a spirited fight—but they are driven off, and the Rebels destroy three trains as they come into the station, before the third one, damaged, backs up to warn the Union command. Jackson sends Gen. Trimble marching to Manassas to capture that depot, which Trimble finds by midnight. There is a skirmish there with a Federal detachment, which is also driven off, after the Rebels capture 300 of them.
Jackson's march around Pope


—Gen. Lee decides to move the other half of his army. Leaving Pope on the other side of the Rappahannock River to face what he thought was the bulk of Lee’s army, the Confederates begin to move out on the road that Jackson took, heading north under cover of the Bull Run mountains.


—George Michael Neese, a Confederate artilleryman, notes in his journal the orders to march out with the rest of Lee’s army:
August 26 — Last night at one o’clock our old bugle bleated around camp and waked us from a very sweet sleep to weary marching, and I felt very much like choking the man that dares to make such a blasted blowing noise at the stilly hour of midnight; but such is war when well followed. Whenever our haversacks are loaded with three days’ rations we may look for marching orders at any moment, day or night. Soon after the bugle sounded we were on the march toward the Blue Ridge. At daylight we arrived at Amissville, a small village in the southeastern edge of Rappahannock County. We halted there for the brigade wagons, which came up at nine o’clock. Then we renewed our march and moved to Gaines’ Crossroads, and camped. Gaines’ Crossroads is in Rappahannock County, twelve miles west of Warrenton. A great many of Jackson’s wagons are camped here.

—Stephen Tippetts, a Federal soldier in the 85th New York Infantry with the Army of the Potomac, writes home to his fiancee, Margaret Little. Among other things, he shares these thoughts with her:
One year ago today I entered the service of Uncle Sam and although I have seen a great many hardships; the year has passed very quickly, It does not seem to be a year since I enjoyed your society at Hugh’s how is it with you? I hope it will not be a year longer before I shall have the pleasure of enjoying your society all the while at my – our – home with no more war to call me away from my own dear Maggie. Such anticipations as these seem to cheer me in my lonely hours and nerve me in the hour of danger – was it not for the bright prospect ahead I should care but little what became of me. But I shall have to close as I have some duty to do. Please write soon and long, I hope in my next to tell you where we are located.

—The Richmond Daily Dispatch publishes this editorial on Mrs. Lincoln, taunting her with the death of two of her brothers, three of whom served in the Confederate Army:

Woe upon the Lady of the White House.

The "Lady of the White House," as Mrs. Lincoln is termed by the Northern papers, has doubtless felt deeply the woe that has been brought upon her by the unnatural war which Lincoln is waging upon the South. She has recently lost another brother, Lieut A. H. Todd, who [fell in] Baton Rouge gallantly battling for Southern independence. He was [a] noble gentleman and officer, and was attached to the 1st Kentucky. The brother was killed at Shiloh, and the only brother now left is said to be Captain Todd, now in command of the Confederate water battery below Vicksburg. May this last one be spared to his country! In penning this notice of the woe that has come upon Mrs. Lincoln. our design is not to reproach, much less to taunt or insult her. She is the sister of the gallant dead to whom we have referred and respect for their devoted patriotism and manly virtues forbid any such attempts on our part. We only refer to it to show the horrors which war produces and this unnatural one more than all. Well has it been written that.

"Man’s inhumanity to man.
Makes counties thousands mourn."

In this bloody war brothers have drawn the sword upon brothers; fathers upon sons, and sons upon fathers. Those who should have been "loving in life," and who in death, "should not have been divided," have hated in life, and been divided in death. Take only this one family of noble name and deeds — the Todd family of Kentucky–as an illustration, and what may not be written of it of heroic deeds, and of woe unutterable — of patriotic suffering, and of political pride and power! "Esther, the Queen," saved "Mordecai."
Would that a second Esther could stay this bloody war.

August 25, 1862

August 25, 1862: On this date, U.S. Sec. of War Edwin Stanton authorizes the recruiting of free men of color for service in the Army. After Gen. Hunter had been told, in the South Carolina coastal theater, to disband the regiment of black troops he had raised, now Gen. Rufus Saxton insists that he must raise 5,000 troops from among the male "contrabands" under Federal control. Stanton finally relents and allows Saxton to recruit these troops.

—Gen. Pope gets wind from his scouts of Jackson’s march around his flank, but is still unclear on where exactly Stonewall is going, nor why. But for some reason, Pope assumes that the whole Confederate army means to march to the Shenandoah Valley, so he does not, as yet, chase after Stonewall.
Federal sentries keep watch at a railroad siding near Manassas

—Sarah Morgan, receives from her sister a detailed account of how their home in Baton Rouge has been looted and pillaged, and most of their worldly goods destroyed. She records her feelings:
Well! I am beggared! Strange to say, I don’t feel it. Perhaps it is the satisfaction of knowing my fate that makes me so cheerful that Mrs. Carter envied my stoicism, while Mrs. Badger felt like beating me because I did not agree that there was no such thing as a gentleman in the Yankee army. I know Major Drum for one, and that Captain Clark must be two, and Mr. Biddle is three, and General Williams —God bless him, wherever he is! for he certainly acted like a Christian. The Yankees boasted loudly that if it had not been for him, the work would have been done long ago. . . .

Forgot to say Miriam recovered my guitar from the Asylum, our large trunk and father’s papers (untouched) from Dr. Enders’s, and with her piano, the two portraits, a few mattresses (all that is left of housekeeping affairs), and father’s law books, carried them out of town. For which I say in all humility, Blessed be God who has spared us so much.

Friday, August 24, 2012

August 24, 1862

August 24, 1862: Gen. Lee calls a conference with Generals Longstreet and Jackson. He gives Jackson orders to take his 27,000 men on a long swing to the west, around Pope’s right flank, and hit the Federal supply base at Manassas Junction. Lee knows that this is a risky move, to divide his army in the face of the enemy----but he is convinced that Pope is not sufficiently perceptive to discern his move. He is right, of course. Jackson’s route will take him behind the Bull Run Mountains, which will act as a screen, until he reaches Thoroughfare Gap, where he will turn southeast and strike at the rail junction at Manassas and hopefully snare Pope and isolate him from supplies. Longstreet, meanwhile, begins shifting to the left to cover Jackson’s part of the line. Jackson’s corps is on the road by 3:00 A.M. later tonight, marching rapidly.
Jackson's flanking march

—The New York Herald, in the wake of defeats in the Seven Days Battles before Richmond, and at Cedar Mountain, publishes an editorial that questions how a nation so superior and population and material resources can not be winning the war by now. It implicitly calls into question the matter of generalship, which is on every Northerner’s mind these days (and will be even more so before September passes away):
President Lincoln has the confidence of the country. No man doubts his honesty or his patriotism. Down to the recent seven days bloody battles near Richmond he may, perhaps, have shared with the whole people of the North the belief that this war in a week or two would be substantially ended; but those memorable seven days have convinced him, as they have convinced the North and all our loyal States, that we had vastly underrated the numbers of the rebel army and exaggerated our own. But if, in anticipation of a crowning victory at Richmond, the energies and vigilance of the Administration in regard to our army were slackened, the severe disappointment which followed has brought its compensating reaction. It has taught us — Government and people — that while our war like means, resources, and facilities are absolutely overwhelming, they go for nothing unless we bring them to bear in superior strength against the active forces of this rebellion.

—George Templeton Strong of New York City records in his journal the tone of the public anxiety over the apparently disordered military affairs in Virginia:
We are most anxious about affairs in Virginia. The streets are filled with rumors of a great disaster to General Pope’s command. They cannot be traced and are disbelieved, but these shadows are too often the forerunners of some calamitous fact. Such disaster is but too plainly probable, thanks to the refined strategy that has thus far directed the campaign. McClellan’s withdrawal to the lower end of the Peninsula makes the whole rebel army available for a dash in any direction its leaders may select. It is set free—disengaged—for offensive operations. . . . If they possess common sense, they will surely move against Pope with their whole available force, which certainly far outnumbers his, hoping to crush him and move on Washington before McClellan can join him. This is their hour. . . . They must strike now. . . . We want a strong man, a great general, very badly. Such a man would be dangerous, but we want him.

—A nearly comical series of telegrams between Gen. Halleck and Gen. McClellan make it clear that neither general knows where Gen. Pope is. McClellan’s Army of the Potomac is disembarking at Aquia Creek and Alexandria, and he is requesting orders, scarcely concealing his impatience. But Halleck does not know what to tell Little Mac, since he does not know where Pope is. Some of McClellan’s troops, such as Burnside’s IX Corps, and Porter’s V Corps, are in the field but so far have not been given any orders by Pope, either, who seems to not be aware that these reinforcements are at hand.


—Pope, on the other hand, clearly does not know where Gen. Lee and the Rebels are. Every time Pope’s troops make a thrust in any direction, they fail to make contact with the Rebels—and so his Army of Virginia continues sparring with a shadowy opponent, all the while retreating.


—General Edmund Kirby-Smith, in command of the Army of East Tennessee, writes to his wife from Barboursville, Kentucky: 
The country is aroused, the people are all against us, this is true of all the mountain region of Ky. but the blue grass region [west?] of the mountains is our dependence there the sentiment is in our favour and when we [debauch?] from the mountains, we expect support. My expedition is something like Cortez. I have burnt my ships behind me and thrown myself boldly into the enemy’s country, the results may be brilliant and if successful will be considered a stroke of inspiration and genious. pray for me darling wife.

—Near Lamar, Kansas, nine companies of Kansas cavalry are attacked by William Quantrill’s and Col. Hays’ bushwhackers. The fighting see-saws for some time, with the Federals driving off the Southern men.


—Dallas, Missouri: A hot skirmish takes places between the Rebel irregulars of Col. Jeffries and a battlion of the 12th Missouri Cavalry, U.S. The Rebels, although more numerous, and driven from the field.



Thursday, August 23, 2012

August 23, 1862

August 23, 1862: Virginia - Along the Rappahannock River, the two armies continue their wary maneuvering and artillery duelsand skirimishes. Longstreet attacks the Federal left, in order to keep McDowell’s corps from moving to the west, as Gen. Pope had ordered. Jackson, however, having sent one brigade across the Rappahannock the previous day, over beyond the Federal right flank, was unable to cross any more troops since the torrential rains of the night before had swollen the river beyond anyone’s ability to bridge it. So Gen. Early’s brigade is isolated for most of the day. In spite of Pope’s insistent orders that Gen. Sigel advance his corps and crush this one brigade, Sigel is slow to move: by evening, the river has gone down enough for Jackson to build a bridge (and he does, as he personally supervises, covered in mud), and begins crossing more troops, thus saving Early.

Jackson saves Early's brigade while Sigel piddles

—Gen. Halleck sends Maj. Gen. Horatio G. Wright to Kentucky to take command of the Department and troops there, and prepare to defend against the anticipated Confederate invasion.


—Pres. Abraham Lincoln’s Letter to Horace Greeley is published on this date in the New York Tribune. (Ironically, while Lincoln seems to suggest a cynical indifference to the fate of the slaves, at the time he writes this letter he has the Emancipation Proclamation sitting in his desk---which he has already shared with his Cabinet earlier in the summer---and he has apparently already decided to use it, just as soon as the Federal armies can come up with a convincing victory.) But these lines from his letter become some of the most oft-quoted words from the War:

My paramount object in this struggle is to save the Union, and is not either to save or to destroy slavery. If I could save the Union without freeing any slave I would do it, and if I could save it by freeing all the slaves I would do it; and if I could save it by feeing some and leaving others alone I would also do that. What I do about slavery, and the colored race, I do because I believe it helps to save the Union; and what I forbear, I forbear because I do not believe it would help to save the Union. I shall do less whenever I shall believe what I am doing hurts the cause, and I shall do more whenever I shall believe doing more will help the cause.

But many who read the letter as indifference to slavery miss the import of his concise closing thought:

I have here stated my purpose according to my view of official duty; and I intend no modification of my oft-expressed personal wish that all men everywhere could be free.

—George Michael Neese, of the Confederate artillery, recounts his battery’s experience as they move to flank Pope’s army, and the clashes between Stuart’s cavalry (and artillery) with the Yankees:

This afternoon about four o’clock we went in an orchard a little below the Springs hotel and opened fire on a Yankee ordnance train that was moving back from the river in the direction of Warrenton. It was heavily guarded and proved to be something more than an ordnance train, for immediately after we opened the Yanks returned our fire promptly and in a businesslike manner with a six-gun battery, but their gunnery was very indifferent and wild. They scattered their shell all over the adjacent fields, ranging in altitude from the earth to the moon. We kept up a steady fire for two hours. Then my gun, like a fidgety, naughty child, kicked loose from its mounting and had to be taken from the field for repairs. The other guns in the battery were fired at intervals until dark. . . . Jackson’s troops are camped near the river on the Rappahannock side opposite to the Sulphur Spring. Some of his men were building a bridge to-day across the Rappahannock near the Spring. . . . Down the river and not far away the whole country is full of Yankee infantry and artillery. I have not seen any of their cavalry to-day. I suppose they are hunting for us somewhere around Catlett, where we left our tracks last night. We have nothing on this side of the river but cavalry and our battery, and the river is past fording. If the Yanks knew how easily they could undo and rout us in our present situation they would make us get away from here quicker than lightning can scorch a cat.

—Sarah Morgan writes in her journal of the news that Baton Rouge has been sacked and looted by the Yankee soldiers:

Yesterday Anna and I spent the day with Lilly, and the rain in the evening obliged us to stay all night. Dr. Perkins stopped there, and repeated the same old stories we have been hearing, about the powder placed under the State House and Garrison, to blow them up, if forced to evacuate the town. He confirms the story about all the convicts being set free, and the town being pillaged by the negroes and the rest of the Yankees. He says his own slaves told him they were allowed to enter the houses and help themselves, and what they did not want the Yankees either destroyed on the spot, or had it carried to the Garrison and burned.

—Surgeon Alfred L. Castleman of the Army of the Potomac writes with disgust in his journal about the retreat and about the petty jealousies amongst the generals:

August 23rd.—We have now, at least for the present, bid farewell to "the Peninsula," the land of blasted hopes, the place of our disappointments, the hot-bed of disgrace to the finest army of modern times. General Pope having drawn off the rebel army to give us an opportunity to escape from our perilous position, we passed from Harrison’s Point to Hampton without a fight or without a hostile gun being fired. Never since the retreat of Napoleon from Moscow, has there been so disgraceful a failure as this Peninsula campaign indeed, not then. For, although Napoleon failed in the object of his enterprise, before he retreated he saw the Russian Capital in flames and his enemy abandon his stronghold, whilst we witnessed the daily strengthening of the enemy’s capital, and were driven out of the country we went to chastise, without having accomplished a single object of our visit. . . .
The jealousy of our commanders towards General Pope is so intense, that if I mistake not, it will, on the first occasion, "crop out" in such form as shall damage our cause more than all the cowardice, incompetency and drunkenness which have so far disgraced our campaigns. General Pope’s advance proclamation was construed into a strike at McClellan’s manner of warfare, and, notwithstanding that the former has publicly disclaimed any such intention, there has existed an intense bitterness between the friends of the two ever since, nor is it lessened by the subsequent failures of McClellan and the reported successes of Pope. It is interesting, but saddening, to witness the brightening of countenances among some of the staffs of the army of the Potomac, whilst listening to or reading the reports of the repulses of General Pope. Stonewall Jackson’s official report of his "splendid victory" over our army of Virginia, has caused more joy amongst them than would the wining of a splendid success by McClellan himself. Our Generals seem to have forgotten that this is the people’s war, not their’s; that it is waged at the cost of the treasure and of the best blood of the nation, not to promote the ambitious views of individuals or parties but to protect the people’s right to Government. I begin to fear that patriotism as an element of this army is the exception, not a rule.

August 22, 1862

August 22, 1862: Pres. Abraham Lincoln, in one of the most influential and historically significant documents he ever wrote, answers Editor Horace Greeley’s editorial of Aug. 20, just two days ago, "The Prayer of Twenty Millions," with this letter, (which Greeley later publishes). In it, notice Lincoln’s tact and tone, as well as his insistence upon restricting his reach of power within its Constitutional limits:

Washington, August 22, 1862.


    DEAR SIR: I have just read yours of the 19th addressed to myself through the New York Tribune.* If there be in it any statements or assumptions of fact which I may know to be erroneous, I do not, now and here, controvert them. If there be in it any inferences which I may believe to be falsely drawn, I do not now and here, argue against them. If there be perceptible in it an impatient and dictatorial tone, I waive it in deference to an old friend, whose heart I have always supposed to be right.

   As to the policy I 'seem to be pursuing," as you say, I have not meant to leave any one in doubt.
I would save the Union. I would save it the shortest way under the Constitution. The sooner the National authority can be restored, the nearer the Union will be "the Union as it was." If there be those who would not save the Union, unless they could at the same time slavery, I do not agree with them. If there be those who would not save the Union unless they could at the same time destroy slavery, I do not agree with them. My paramount object in this struggle is to save the Union, and is not either to save or to destroy slavery. If I could save the Union without freeing any slave I would do it, and if I could save it by freeing all the slaves I would do it; and if I could save it by feeing some and leaving others alone I would also do that. What I do about slavery, and the colored race, I do because I believe it helps to save the Union; and what I forbear, I forbear because I do not believe it would help to save the Union. I shall do less whenever I shall believe what I am doing hurts the cause, and I shall do more whenever I shall believe doing more will help the cause. I shall try to correct errors when they are shown to be errors; and I shall adopt new views so fast as they shall appear to be true views.

    I have here stated my purpose according to my view of official duty; and I intend no modification of my oft-expressed personal wish that all men everywhere could be free.


—Gen. Benjamin Butler, commandant of Union troops in New Orleans, swears into Federal service the First Regiment of Louisiana Native Guards, a regiment of free blacks that had been organized and offered to the Confederacy at first, but turned down. Since Gen. Hunter in South Carolina has been instructed to disband his black regiments, the Louisiana Native Guards now stands as the first de facto black regiment in the Union Army.


Northern Virginia: Gen. Pope’s army is now all behind the Rappahannock River. He is worried about his left flank: if the Rebels were to turn that flank, they could cut him off from Washington and McClellan’s reinforcements. However, Gen. Lee determines to let Pope stew about his left flank, and to march by the Union right flank, instead. Jackson and Longstreet begin sidestepping to the West, in an effort to shield their movement behind the Bull Run Mountains, a string of low, ragged hills parallel with the higher Blue Ridge farther west. Gen. Stuart, with Lee’s cavalry, precedes the infantry, looking for a good ford across the Rappahannock. Raid on Catlett’s Station: Gen. Stuart, finding no one to oppose him in the Federal right rear, rides to Catlett’s Station on the railroad, and bags the 100 Pennsylvania troops there who are guarding Pope’s supplies and the railroad. Stuart’s cavalry capture much of the supplies and destroy as much as they can, but heavy rains prevent them from burning the railroad bridge there. Stuart raids Pope’s headquarters, taking his papers, maps, and dress uniform with overcoat. (Some days previous, Stuart lost his signature plumed hat to a surprise Yankee raid, and he writes to Pope, suggesting an "exchange of prisoners." Pope does not respond.)

First Battle of Rappahannock Station - This is often the given name for a rolling series of heavy skirmishes along the Rappahannock River that take shape starting today, and lasting for three days: actions including Waterloo Bridge, Lee Springs, Freeman's Ford, and Sulphur Springs, result in fairly heavy casualties on both sides. The Confederates are probing for a point to cross the Rappahannock River; the Federals are probing to see what Lee is up to. At one point, Gen. Sigel orders Gen. Carl Schurz across the river with a brigade, where he carries on a see-saw firefight with Rebel troops, who will not yield to allow any Yankee reconnaisance of their operations.

—George Michael Neese, of the Confederate Horse Artillery, writes in his journal of a cannon duel between his battery and a Yankee battery near the Rappahannock River. Then his battery is ordered to limber up and follow with Stuart’s cavalry up around the Federal army to Catlett’s Station for the raid. But the lightning storm breaks upon them along with a torrential rain, and we have Neese’s vivid and picturesque description of the storm:

Soon after nightfall it commenced raining again, and shower after shower of the heaviest sort from the blackest clouds I ever saw kept pouring down till nearly midnight, while blinding flashes of lightning leaped in quick succession from the inky-hued clouds overhead and shot their fiery streams like burning rivers through the thick gloomy darkness that draped the chamber of night. At one moment the lightning
s dazzling glare rent the curtain of night and flashed its brilliant glow over the landscape, making the woods, fields, and hills appear as though they were basking in the full glory of a midday sun; the next moment the black tide of night rushed over the scene and blotted everything into nothingness. On account of the darkness, rain and deep mud we made slow progress in marching for a raid. The cavalry were all way ahead of us. We did not see or hear a sign of them anywhere, consequently toward midnight we halted in the road where the water and mud was just half knee deep. I was wet all over, and through. Cold, chilly, hungry, and sleepy all at the same time, I put myself in as small a package as I could and sat on the limber chest for three long weary hours, with wakeful dreamy visions of a good, warm, dry bed chasing one another all over me. . . . About midnight, or a little after, General Stuart through rain, storm, and darkness charged into the enemy’s encampment at Catlett’s, surprised the Yanks and drove them from their tents scatteringly into the darkness, captured some prisoners and about one hundred horses, and destroyed eighty wagons. General Pope has his headquarters at Catlett’s, and I heard that General Stuart captured his uniform coat and his code of signals to-night. If General Pope wants to save his shirt he better keep his headquarters in the saddle or else he will see something of the Rebels some of these fine nights besides their backs.

Tennessee and Kentucky: Gen. Edmund Kirby-Smith moves against the Federal base at Cumberland Gap, (where Gen. George Morgan has nearly 10,000 Federal troops there, whereas Kirby-Smith has just over 6,000) but he marches past Cumberland Gap to Barbourville, Kentucky. While there, he is joined by Gen. Henry Heth from Virginia with more troops, bringing Kirby-Smith’s force to about 10,000. Kirby-Smith then decides to strike out on his own and head north, instead of linking up with Bragg, who is beginning to move north, also. Gen. Buell, in the meantime, with the Federal Army of the Ohio, has no idea where the Rebels are or where they are moving.


—There is heavy skirmishing today at Crab Orchard, Kentucky, between Union and Confederate cavalry regiments, with the Southern men being defeated and driven off.