Tuesday, September 11, 2012

September 11, 1862

September 11, 1862: In Maryland, Rebel divisions under Gen. McLaws and Gen. John Walker are advancing into position on Maryland Heights and Loudon Heights respectively, both of which overlook Harper’s Ferry and dominate the town. Jackson, with more divisions, has crossed the Potomac back into Virginia, and is moving in from the north.

—Captain William J. Bolton, serving in the 51st Pennsylvania Infantry Reg., writes in his journal about their movements across Maryland, as Burnside’s corps continues looking for the Rebels:
Regiment left their bivouac at 6 o’clock A.M. passed through the little town of Unity and went into bivouac after dark near the town of Damascus. Burnside has pushed a strong reconnaissance across the National Road and the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad towards New Market. A corresponding movement of all the troops in the centre and on the left moved in the direction of Urbana and Poolesville.
Andrew Curtin, Governor of Pennsylvania

—Gov. Andrew Curtin reveals considerable panic as he writes a telegram to Pres. Lincoln insisting that 80,000 troops be sent to protect Harrisburg and Philadelphia. Gen. McClellan is the one who answers, revealing, on his part, a profound ignorance of where exactly Lee is or what the Rebels’ plans are:
HARRISBURG, PA., September 11, 1862.
(Received 8.30 p. m.)

His Excellency the PRESIDENT:
I have information this evening of a private character, which I deem entirely reliable, that the whole of the rebel army has been moved from Frederick, and their destination is Harrisburg and Philadelphia. You should order a strong guard placed upon the railway lines from Washington to Harrisburg to-night, and send here not less than 80,000 disciplined forces, and order from New York and States east all available forces to concentrate here at once. To this we will add all the militia forces possible, and I think that in a few days we can muster 50,000 men. It is our only hope to save the North and crush the rebel army. Do not suppose for one instant that I am unnecessarily alarmed. I believe I know all that I have stated to be true. I have had the country examined west of the river to-day by competent military engineers, and their report this evening is that defensive works cannot be erected to be useful against 50,000 men. The enemy will bring against us not less than 120,000, with large amount of artillery. The time for decided action by the National Government has arrived. What may we expect?

Governor of Pennsylvania.

September 11, 1862-1.15 p. m.

Gov. ANDREW G. CURTIN, Harrisburg, Pa.:
I am in hourly expectation of gaining definite news from Ridgevillle and New Market. I thought to-day to know definitely whether the enemy are still massed near Frederick; whether they have any force east of the Monocacy; whether they have moved on Hagerstown in large force. I now think nearly all their available forces is on this side of the Potomac.
I would urge upon Your Excellency, in the event of their moving upon Pennsylvania, to take sure means to delay their advance by destroying bridges, obstructing the roads, harassing their front, flank, and rear, destroying supplies, &c. This in necessary to enable me to gain time to take the best route to foil their purpose.

Major-General, Commanding.

—George Eyster, of Chambersburg, Pennsylvania, writes a hurried note to his brother-in-law John Riddle Warner in Gettysburg, giving voice to the atmosphere of panic in southern Pennsylvania in anticipation of the Confederate advance, as Rebel troops have entered Hagerstown this morning. close to the state line:
We think ourselves now in actual danger. Our town is to-night under strict military surveillance. Judge Kinwell being the Provost Marshall. At least 500 men are under arms and posted on the various roads. An hour ago a dispatch was received from the government saying we had reliable intelligence that it was the intention of the rebels to enter Pennsylvania. Capt Ward telegraphs just now from Greencastle that he has the roads strongly picketed, but apprehends no attack before morning. The rebels are certainly at Hagerstown in very strong force.

—In northern Mississippi, both armies are operating with little information about the other. Gen. Earl Van Dorn, with one Rebel army, has left Vicksburg and is pushing northward to threaten Grant’s line between Memphis and Corinth. Gen. Price has another Rebel army at Tupelo, and has been toying with idea of striking at Iuka, just east of Corinth, at Gen. Rosecrans’ small Army of the Mississippi—mainly to keep Rosecrans from marching north to reinforce Buell as Buell lumbers northward after Bragg. (In fact, the Confederates’ fears are valid; Rosecrans has just sent off a division under Gen. Jefferson C. Davis—true story—to reinforce Buell at Nashville.) On this date, Gen. Sterling Price’s army steps off, marching for Iuka. Also, Gen. Grant---who has been unable to discern the Rebels’ intentions up till now—finally decides that Price is going to attack Iuka. Grant leaves Sherman in command at Memphis and goes to Corinth.

—In Kentucky, there is skirmishing along the West Licking River, just seven miles south of Cincinnati, as Gen. Kirby-Smith’s Rebels arrive in Latonia Springs and begin probing the Union defenses there.

—Rebel cavalry under Col. Tom Rosser rides into Westminster, Maryland, sealing up the town and seizing stores of all kinds, especially shoes, and a locomotive with cars. The Southerners pay for what they take with Confederate scrip.

—George Templeton Strong, ever the keen observer but also a director of the U.S. Sanitary Commission, dedicated to the health of the soldiers and care for the wounded, writes in his journal on this date concerned the Army’s shameful neglect in Virginia of the Union wounded:
Letters from Agnew full of interest. He has been all over our last battlefields under a flag of truce; thirty-six hours in the saddle. . . . Our wounded were left in the field, without shelter, food, or water, from Saturday night till Wednesday morning, because "that scoundrel, Pope" was too busy cooking up his report to think of sending out a flag of truce. Very many perished from starvation and exposure. Our Commission wagons were first on the ground and did good service, thank God; and the relations of our inspectors and agents with the medical staff seem perfectly harmonious. All, from the Surgeon-General down, recognize the value of what we are doing, or rather of what the people is doing through us as its almoner.

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