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Thread: 150 years ago today

  1. #2001
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    "15th.—General Stuart has just returned to camp after a most wonderful and successful raid. He left Richmond two or three days ago with a portion of his command; went to Hanover Court-House, where he found a body of the enemy; repulsed them, killing and wounding several, and losing one gallant man, Captain Latane, of the Essex cavalry; continuing his march by the “Old Church,” he broke up their camp and burnt their stores; thence to Tunstall’s Station on the York River Railroad; fired into the train, destroying a part of it, and taking some prisoners; thence to Pamunky River; found three transports loaded with provender, which they burned; filled their haversacks with West India fruit, which had been brought on for Federal consumption; then went on towards Charles City Court-House, encountering a train of wagons; took their horses, mules, and drivers, and burnt the wagons and contents; thence they went to a Yankee sutler’s stand, took what they wanted, and burnt the rest; thence across the Chickahominy and on to Richmond; bringing 175 prisoners and a number of horses and mules. We are all full of excitement and delight, hoping that he discovered much about the Federal army which may be useful, but which, of course, is kept from the public; and I trust most fervently that our dear ones at S. H. and W. may have been cheered by their presence, for they must have gone very near them, if not immediately by their gates—how the appearance of our men must have excited them! I wish I could see some member of the cavalry who could tell me all about it—where they went, and whom they saw. General Stuart must have gone, it is said, within a few miles, perhaps nearer, of his father-in-law, the Federal General Cooke. I wonder what the old renegade Virginian thinks of his dashing son-in-law? If he has a spark of proper feeling left in his obdurate heart, he must be proud of him."


    Diary of a Southern Refugee During the War, by Judith White McGuire

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  2. #2002
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    In the Shenandoah Valley, General Stonewall Jackson awaited the return of his envoy from Richmond, Congressman Alexander Boteler. Jackson had sent him to request reinforcements from Lee, so he (Jackson) could launch a campaign into Pennsylvania.

    Boteler returned to Jackson’s army, near Port Republic, with a verbal message from Lee. The invasion into Pennsylvania would take more troops than could be spared from the Army of Northern Virginia. In all probability, Jackson and his army, newly reinforced to 18,000, was about to be called to Richmond.

    Later on the 16th, a written message from Lee arrived:

    .................................................. ................................................HEADQUARTERS,
    .................................................. ................................................Near Richmond, VA., June 16, 1862.

    Major General THOMAS J. JACKSON,

    Commanding Valley District:

    GENERAL: I have received your letter by the Honorable Mr. Boteler. I hope you will be able to recruit and refresh your troops sufficiently for the movement proposed in my letter of the 11th.* You have only acknowledged my letter of the 8th. I am therefore ignorant whether that of the 11th has reached you.

    From your account of the position of the enemy I think it would be difficult for you to engage him in time to unite with this army in the battle for Richmond. Fremont and Shields are apparently retrograding, their troops shaken and disorganized, and some time will be required to set them again in the field. If this is so, the sooner you unite with this army the better. McClellan is being strengthened; Burnside is with him, and some of McDowell's troops are also reported to have joined him. There is much sickness in this ranks, but his re-enforcements by far exceed his losses. The present, therefore, seems to be favorable of a junction of your army and this. If you agree with me, the sooner you can make arrangements to do so the better. In moving your troops you could let it be understood that it was to pursue the enemy in your front. Dispose those to hold the valley so as to deceive the enemy, keeping your cavalry well in their front, and at the proper time suddenly descending upon the Pamunkey. To be efficacious, the movement must be secret. Let me know the force you can bring, and be careful to guard from friends and foes your purpose and your intention of personally leaving the valley. The country is full of spies, and our plans are immediately carried to the enemy. Please inform me what arrangements you can make for subsisting your troops. Beef cattle could at least be driven, and if necessary we can subsist on meat alone.

    Unless McClellan can be driven out of his entrenchments he will move by positions under cover of his heavy guns within shelling distance of Richmond. I know of no surer way of thwarting him than that proposed. I should like to have the advantage of your views and be able to confer with you. Will meet you at some point on your approach to the Chickahominy.

    I inclose a copy of my letter of the 11th, lest the original should not have reached you.

    I am, with great respect, your obedient servant,

    ..............R. E. LEE,
    ..............General.

    Though worded as a mere suggestion, as many of Lee's instructions were, to be undertaken should Jackson agree, it was, in reality, an order. Jackson was to bring his 18,000 men across the Blue Ridge to Richmond. As Jackson prepared his men to move, he kept Lee’s order a secret, not even telling the officers under him.

    The yankees under Generals Fremont and Shields had indeed retreated. Fremont was still at Mount Jackson, while Shields had retreated all the way back to Front Royal. General Irvin McDowell’s First Corps, including Shields’ and Ord’s Divisions, was being moved from the Valley to join McClellan’s Army of the Potomac before Richmond. If he moved quickly enough, Jackson, with a somewhat shorter distance to Richmond, would arrive before McDowell.

    Official Records, Series I, Vol. 12, Part 3, Ch. XXIV, p. 913.

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    "June 16.—A few days ago Mrs. Thornton received news that her eldest son had been wounded in the late battle near Richmond. She is a good deal worried about him, but bears the news with fortitude. She is one who would think life a disgrace, received as the price of liberty. She is very hopeful as to his being well cared for, and is certain that some good woman is administering to his wants in that grand old patriotic state—Virginia. We hear much about the kindness of the people there to the sufferers."


    Kate Cumming: A Journal of Hospital Life in the Confederate Army of Tennessee.

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    June 16 - "This day, while a few soldiers were hunting for deserters in the vicinity of Culpeper, Va., they suddenly came upon a rebel mail-carrier who was endeavoring to conceal himself in the woods. He was immediately arrested, after a slight resistance, and taken to headquarters at Manassas. A large number of letters to prominent officers in the rebel service, many of which contained valuable information, were found in the mail-bag, also ten thousand dollars in confederate bonds. The carrier’s name was Granville W. Kelly."

    Baltimore American, June18. 1862.

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    Before dawn, the division under Union General Isaac Stevens was within rifle range of the Confederate positions on James Island, just south of Charleston, South Carolina. They had moved undetected several miles through the dark from their camps and fortifications. The overall Federal commander, General Henry Benham, had been ordered by department commander, General David Hunter, to keep his 6,600 men behind their own earthworks. Instead, on this overcast morning of June 16, he was drawn up to assail Fort Lamar, an “M” shaped earthwork, fortified with 2,000 or so Confederate infantry and artillery under General “Shanks” Evans.

    The yankees attacked at 4:00am, storming out of the woods, which had hidden them from the fort. Men from Massachusetts, Connecticut and Pennsylvania, led by two regiments from New York and Michigan, charged through the narrow ground between the marshes leading towards the unsuspecting defenders, driving in or capturing pickets as they went. The pickets that alluded capture alerted Col. Thomas Lamar, in command of the fort bearing his own name. He sent word to General Evans, in camp a mile or so distant, and prepared his batteries to meet the invaders. Lamar leaped on a large, 8-inch columbiad and aimed it himself at the Union line, now advancing at the double-quick and only 700 yards distant. With grapeshot, the guns from the fort exploded into the center of the Union line, splitting it to the left and to the right, throwing bodies like dolls, and buying time for the Southern infantry to take their places. The Confederates then unleashed cannister upon their oncoming foes.

    Though the carnage, a Michigan regiment had scaled the parapets and were firing into the Confederate works, just occupied by the Southern infantry, which fought back with savage ferocity. Seeing the Michiganders wavering, the 79th New York Highlanders surged forward on their right, clambered up the embankment and fired down upon the Confederate gunners, killing them at their posts.


    Remains of Fort Lamar, James Island, S.C.

    As Confederate reinforcements continued ti file into their works, General Stevens pushed forward a Connecticut regiment via the narrow passage. The Michigan troops had been mauled, and the New Yorkers were fairing little better. Soon after ordering the Pennsylvania and Massachusetts units to join the fray as well, Stevens realized that it wasn’t working, and ordered his command to fall back to the woods to await reinforcements.


    Battle of Secessionville, S.C.

    As Stevens' men were reforming, on his left, he saw troops under Col. Robert Williams moving to his aid. Behind was an entire division of General Horatio Wright. With them was General Benham, arriving to direct the battle. These men would more than double the Union attacking force.

    Several regiments from Williams’ command moved in on Stevens’ left, but were caught in a crossfire from Southern troops at the fort and a detachment of infantry and artillery even farther to their left. While his brigades were forming line of battle, General Wright ordered a battery of field artillery to fire upon the detached Confederate infantry and soon was able to silence their guns.

    The remaining regiments of Stevens’ Division, as well as the troops from Williams’ Brigade fired at long range upon the Fort Lamar, which replied with volley after volley of artillery. To storm the works, across the narrow stretch of ground commanded so completely by the Confederate guns would have been pointlessly futile. General Benham, at 9:00am, ordered a withdrawal. Gathering as many dead and wounded as they could, the Federal troops retired back to their camps, several miles away.

    Though clearly a defeat, General Benham refused to even acknowledge the affair as a battle. In his report, he asserted that “the main object of the reconnaissance was accomplished in ascertaining the nature of the fort."

    For merely a "reconnaissance," the casualties were serious. Federal losses numbered 107 killed, 487 wounded and 89 missing. The Confederates lost 52 killed, 144 wounded and 8 missing.

    General Hunter, headquartered at Hilton Head, would not learn of Benham’s attack on Ft. Lamar and of his defeat for another two days. The Confederate victory on James Island served as a powerful propaganda victory, increasing morale particularly in Charleston.

    Official Records
    , Series 1, Vol. 14, Ch. XXVI, p. 59. Stevens’ Report.
    Official Records, Series 1, Vol. 14, Ch. XXVI, p. 94. Lamar’s Report.
    Official Records, Series 1, Vol. 14, Ch. XXVI, pp. 59-60. Stevens’ Report.
    Official Records, Series 1, Vol. 14, Ch. XXVI, p. 55. Wright’s Report.
    Official Records, Series 1, Vol. 14, Ch. XXVI, p. 53. Benham’s Report.
    Official Records, Series 1, Vol. 14, Ch. XXVI, p. 51, 90. Casualty Reports.
    Last edited by DrEdward; 06-16-2012 at 08:47 PM.

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    "The Crucible of War."

    "The present war has changed many of the opinions of the world. It has effectually exploded the notion that Cotton is King. That supposed monarch is dethroned, and his own infatuated followers are now consigning the object of their idolatrous worship to the flames. No one commodity of commerce has ever before had such potent sway as Cotton, and cotton has failed to sustain the vices and violence of a stupendous insurrection against republicanism and civilization.

    Another error exploded by the war is the belief of European politicians, that the American Republic had no inherent central and saving power to preserve it from intestine discord. Against foreign Governments the Union had always proved a unit. But monarchists and imperialists never believed the bond more than a rope of sand, if it should come to be tried by internal agitation. In the growing alienation between North and South, for some years past, these Anti-Republican prophets plainly foresaw the downfall of a Power of which they had become fearful and jealous. But time has falsified their faith, and henceforth the American Union will be regarded with an interest far deeper than ever before, by the so-called “leading Powers” of the old world. It is not likely that a new convention could be called to meet in London, or near any other European Court, to decide the fate of Mexico, or any other country on this continent, to which the United States Government had not been invited to send a Commissioner, and found it agreeable to do so.

    These are great revolutions in the commercial and in the political world. But we have an equally astounding revolution in the moral or social world, the effects of which will not fail to be felt in future in all circles of camp and court. The boasted “chivalry” of the South, which Southerners always arrogated, and which many Northern citizens somewhat reluctantly conceded, and Europe accepted as a fact, has been dissipated as a cheat and delusion.

    “Chivalry” implied many things to the Southern mind. It meant high birth, to begin with. And here the ardent imagination of the Southrons reveled in complacent pride. South Carolina looked back to a little colony of Huguenots as the founders and fathers of her present heroic race. Old Virginia claimed the noble blood of the Cavaliers as the element that made her statesmen the leaders of the Republic for the first fifty years of its existence. While Louisiana and much of the valley of the Lower Mississippi was equally proud of a Gallic extraction. It was the special pride of all these Southron tribes to disown the “Puritanical” stock of New-England, and the sturdy Dutch infusion that had, in their opinion, debased the population of New-York, Pennsylvania, and the lesser Middle States. They were noble — these latter were ignoble. They were born of the gods — these latter “were of the earth, earthy” — and of the shop, “greasy.”

    “Blood will tell,” boasted these arrogant slaveholders. They were high born, therefore they possessed all the traits that adorn high positions — a palpable non-sequitur, as history so uniformly shows. They assumed that they were gallant, polite, of indomitable spirit, and naturally warlike. They were the men to hew down great hecatombs of enemies; to rush upon the points of bayonets, to chase foes from every field; and after conquest, to spare the cravens whom it would be a dishonor to slay in cold blood. Or if such a programme were not from the first followed — if an enemy should come against them too numerous to be scattered by their stormy and right royal wrath — then they were the men to “shed the last drop of their blood,” to “die in the last ditch,” and astonish the world by the spectacle of a brave people seeking death rather than survive defeat. How many in the loyal States believed all this fustian, let the early sympathizers with treason bear witness. How many knavish men in England still pretend to believe it, let the perpetual croakings of the British Press testify.

    “We present the facts of the war, however, to the world, and ask their decision on the claims of rebel “chivalry.” How is it in regard to the humane chivalry of the battle-field? how in regard to the treatment of captured prisoners? how in regard to the hundred other points which, in time of war, constitute the severest test of a Nation’s civilization? The facts on these points, on the rebel side, are too dark to bear often repetition, while, our enemies themselves being witnesses, the Nationalists have been more than just — have been humane to a degree never before known in war.

    How is it in regard to the chivalry’s prowess? We point to Sumter, and boast of the chivalry of ANDERSON and his garrison of seventy men, who kept their colors flying until the flames were licking the lintels of the door to their magazine, and the walls of the fore were crumbling before the batteries of seven thousand rebel troops. We point to the brave commander of the Cumberland, who refused to strike his colors to an iron sea-monster,and fired his last gun at his encased enemy as the waves were closing over his upper deck. We point to Capt. MCRAE, who fought his battery against an overwhelming force of half-savage Texans, stood by his gun until every other man was shot down at his side, and then deliberately drew his pistols, as the infuriated assailants rushed upon him, and slew one, two, three, and a score of them, until he fell, riddled by a hundred bullets — never having yielded an inch.

    Such are specimens of the fighting done by those who do not claim the bloody attributes of the Southern chivalry. We look in vain in all the history of the rebels for any deeds that approach those, or reach even the average of heroism. Where has any extraordinary achievement signalized either the army or the navy of the rebels? Not at Fort Donelson, where two Generals ran away, and an army of 15,000 men surrendered without a death-struggle for escape or for victory; not at New-Orleans, where two forts, a formidable fleet and a large army succumbed, without losing one hundred men, all told; not in Elizbeth River, where the Merrimac, the “terror of her time,” committed suicide, after her Commander had refused to take her on a perilous mission past Fortress Monroe; not at Yorktown, where the flower and strength of the rebel army grew pale behind their gigantic defences, and fled from the approaches of MCCLELLAN. Nowhere on all the theatre of war, can we find a spot that will live in history as a Southern Thermopylae, made memorable by the heroic endurance or courage of Southern rebels — fighting, as they claim, for their homes, their negroes and their native land. Most woefully has the “Southern chivalry” failed to make good its claims.

    The rebels have been arrogant and have paid the penalty. They are no better than other people — let them take care that they become no worse. There is danger of this latter, for conceit is the first phase of declining virtue. Let the rebels prune their vices, and all may yet be well. Let them study manhood, moderation, patience, subordination to law. Then, with an infusion among them of Northern industry and common sense, they and we will certainly become again, as we have been, A Great People."


    The New York Times,
    June 17, 1862.

    "Half-savage Texans?" Laid on a bit thick by the editorial writer perhaps, and certainly not accurate as to some of the details.Yet Southerners did view themselves as different from their northern counterparts. The "fleeing before McClellan line" was decidedly about to be proved completely wrong.

    Last edited by DrEdward; 06-17-2012 at 08:07 AM.

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    The Army of the Southwest under Major General Samuel R. Curtis had been operating in the interior of Arkansas since Pea Ridge. Curtis believed that Confederate forces of the Trans-Mississippi Department were gathering to attack him. Fearing that he would be cut off, he had requested that communications be established between his army and that on the Mississippi River. Either the Arkansas River or the White River would have served his purposes, but the Arkansas was too low for water transport, so a Union expedition was sent up the White River with intent to give Curtis the aid he had asked for. A single regiment, the 46th Indiana Volunteers, embarked in army transports; they were accompanied by two armored gunboats, Mound City and St. Louis, two unarmored gunboats, and an armed tug. On June 13, the expedition entered the White River and proceeded uneventfully upstream for four more days.

    With an intention of only slowing down the progress of the Union vessels and not to make a determined stand, the Confederates had set up a pair of batteries on the bluffs near St. Charles, Arkansas, some 80 miles above the river mouth. The guns were taken from a gunboat which they had then scuttled in the middle of the stream as a further impediment. On June 17, the Federal flotilla arrived at Saint Charles; the soldiers went ashore to attack the batteries from the land, while the two armored gunboats came up the river, USS Mound City leading. Shots were exchanged between the gunboats and the shore batteries; one shot from the upper battery penetrated the casemate of the Mound Cityl. The shot killed some men in its passage, but most of the damage was caused when it hit the vessel’s steam drum. Hot steam immediately filled the entire boat, killing and scalding most of the crew. By the time the carnage was over, 125 sailors were dead. An additional 25 were injured by the steam. Among the wounded was Commander Kilty, who survived and later returned to service in the Navy, although he lost his left arm. Only 25 men of the entire crew escaped without major injury.

    Meanwhile, the soldiers had moved into position to assault the batteries, so the Confederates withdrew, leaving their guns behind, as they had no means to transport the former ship-board pieces.


    .
    First Master John A. Duble of the gunboat Conestoga took temporary command in place of Commander Kilty. Replacements for the crew were taken from other vessels in the expedition. Mound City was then towed back to Memphis, Tennessee and repaired.. The expedition turned back without meeting the Army of the Southwest. Soon enough Curtis was able to move his army to Helena, Arkansas, where he was able to reestablish his communications without the support of the Gunboat Flotilla.

    "The White River Expedition, June 10 - July 15, 1862," by Edwin C. Bearss. Vol. 21, No. 4 (Winter,1962) The Arkansas Historical Quarterly. 1962.
    Line engraving after a sketch by Alexander Simplot, published in Harper's Weekly; 1862
    Last edited by DrEdward; 06-17-2012 at 08:40 AM.

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    .................................................. .................................................. .............HEADQUARTERS RIGHT WING,
    .................................................. .................................................. .............Army before Richmond, June 17, 1862.

    SOLDIERS: You have marched out to fight the battles of your country, and by those battles you must be rescued from the shame of slavery. Your foes have declared their purpose of bringing you to beggary; and avarice, their natural characteristic, incites them to redoubled efforts for the conquest of the South, in order that they may seize her sunny fields and happy homes. Already has the hatred of one of their great leaders attempted to make the negro your equal by declaring his freedom. They care not for the blood of babes nor carnage of innocent women which servile insurrection thus stirred up may bring upon their heads. Worse than this, the North has sent forth another infamous chief, encouraging the lust of his hirelings to the dishonor and violation of those Southern women who have so untiringly labored to clothe our soldiers in the field and nurse our sick and wounded. If ever men were called upon to defend the beloved daughters of their country, that now is our duty. Let such thoughts nerve you up to the most dreadful shock of battle; for were it certain death, death would be better than the fate that defeat would entail upon us all. But remember, though the fiery noise of battle is indeed most terrifying, and seems to threaten universal ruin, it is not so destructive as it seems, and few soldiers after all are slain. This the commanding general desires particularly to impress upon the fresh and inexperienced troops who now constitute a part of this command. Let officers and men, even under the most formidable fire, preserve a quiet demeanor and self-possessed temper. Keep cool, obey orders, and aim low. Remember while you are doing this, and driving the enemy before you, your comrades may be relied on to support you on either side, and are in turn relying upon you.

    Stand well to your duty, and when these clouds break away, as they surely will, the bright sunlight of peace falling upon our free, virtuous, and happy land will be a sufficient reward for the sacrifices which we are now called upon to make.


    ............JAMES LONGSTREET,

    ............Major-General, Commanding.

    Official Records, Series I, Vol. 11, Part 3, Ch. XXIII, p. 606.

    Something of an 1862 pre-game pep talk. Longstreet was not as good at it as were others. Here, he anticipates the battles coming soon by appealing to the patriotism of his troops. He also uses the actions of Hunter in issuing a proclamation emancipating slaves in South Carolina and Butler's infamous "women order" in New Orleans. But he also gives some very practical advice for some of his soldiers who had yet to see combat. He speaks of the noise and shock of combat and points out, rightly, that although death in battle is possible it is not certain and to rely on each other.

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    .................................................. .................................................. ..........NEAR WEYER'S CAVE,
    .................................................. .................................................. ..........June 17, 1862.
    Colonel T. T. MUNFFORD,
    Commanding Cavalry, Valley District:

    COLONEL: The arms you spoke of sending have not yet been received. Did you send them here or to Staunton? It is important that you picket from the Blue Ridge to the Shennandoah Mountain or to the mountain west of Harrisonburg.

    Until further orders send your dispatches to Brigadier General C. S. Winder, near Weyer's Cave.

    Do all you can to cut off communication across the lines between us and the enemy. Also let there be as little communication as practicable between your command and that of our infantry. Let your couriers be men whom you can trust, and caution them against carrying news forward, as it may thereby reach the enemy.

    Respectfully, your obedient servant,

    ..........T. J. JACKSON,
    ..........Major-General.

    Official Records, Series I, Vol. 12, Part 3, Ch. XXIV, p. 914.

    Jackson, in response to Lee's order, was preparing to head east to Richmond. He was going to isolate his army's movements even more than usual from the yankees down the Valley. He had not even told his own officers of their destination and he was not going to let anyone else know if he could help it.

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    Jefferson Davis had not been very thrilled with the fall of Corinth, Mississippi. Neither was the loss of Fort Pillow, nor the surrender of Memphis the stuff his dreams were made of. In his mind, General P.G.T. Beauregard, commander of the Army of Mississippi, was to blame. It was Beauregard who abandoned Corinth without bothering to notify Richmond. It was Corinth’s fall that necessitated the retreat from Fort Pillow, on the Mississippi River. With Pillow no longer an obstacle for Union gunboats, the city of Memphis shortly surrendered.

    Though he had left Corinth on May 30, by June 12, now headquartered at Tupelo, Beauregard had still not reported to Richmond. The next day, Beauregard wrote out his report and sent it to the President. In it, he described in detail his reasons for the retreat and the retreat itself. Still unconvinced, with some justification, that Corinth had to be abandoned at all, Davis now moved swiftly.

    He had been looking to oust the general from his Western Army and turned to South Carolina’s Governor Francis Pickens for some diplomatic justification/cover. Pickens was unhappy with the current military commander, General John Pemberton, and wished for a replacement:

    .................................................. .................................................. ....................COLUMBIA, S. C.,
    .................................................. .................................................. ....................June 11, 1862.
    [CONFIDENTIAL.]

    President JEFFERSON DAVIS,

    Richmond, Va.:

    I fear Charleston is to be sacrificed by a total incompetency in the officer commanding and a total want of knowledge of the country. I earnestly call your immediate attention to it. The enemy have made a lodgment on James Island and will make regular approaches.

    ...............F. W. PICKENS.

    This was, of course, before yesterday's Union defeat at Secessionville, but even that would not have altered Pickens' opinion.

    Practically jumping at the chance, Davis offered the Governor Beauregard, who had defended the city during the bombardment of Fort Sumter.

    .................................................. .................................................. ....................RICHMOND, VA.,
    .................................................. .................................................. ....................June 12, 1862.
    Governor F. W. PICKENS,
    Columbia, S. C.:

    Your telegram received, and read with regret and disappointment. To which commanding officer do you refer? Can you suggest some one who will supply the want of local knowledge? I desire your advice, and you may rely upon my doing whatever practicable.

    ..........JEFFERSON DAVIS.

    .................................................. ..........--------------------------------------

    .................................................. .................................................. .....................COLUMBIA,
    .................................................. .................................................. .....................June 12, 1862 .
    President JEFFERSON DAVIS,
    Richmond, Va.:

    Would be entirely pleased with Beauregard. Deeply obliged for your kikdness. Will telegraph him now. Sea air [will] strengthen him.*

    ..........F. W. PICKENS.

    Beauregard had been sick and Davis used the illness as an excuse, suggesting that the salt air would do him some good. Pickens concurred and the ball was set in motion. Before the day was out, Pickens had written Beauregard, inviting him to “fight our batteries again.” Union troops had landed on James Island, near Charleston and, with another mention of the salt-air, Pickens insisted that Beauregard was needed. Beauregard, however, declined. “Would be happy to do so,” replied the General, “but my presence absolutely required here at present. My health still bad. No doubt sea-air would restore it, but have no time to restore it.”

    Meanwhile, President Davis had sent Col. W.P. Johnston, son of late-General Albert Sidney Johnston, with a series of accusatory questions for Beauregard.(see previous post) Davis wished to know why he had retreated from Corinth; what were the future plans?; why had so many troops fallen ill?; why hadn’t he tried to reoccupy Nashville?; what had he done to defend the Mississippi River and Memphis after Island No. 10 fell?; and lastly, how many troops and supplies were lost in the retreat from Corinth?

    But General Beauregard’s health had declined sharply. His entire body seemed to be shutting down. For a third time, his doctors suggested that he take advantage of the lull and retire for a week or so to take a rest. Finally, on June 14, the same day that Davis dispatched Col. Johnston, Beauregard agreed. His doctors gave him the proper papers to leave his command.

    Also on that day, President Davis had side-stepped military etiquette by directly wiring General Braxton Bragg, a commander under Beauregard. Davis informed Bragg that he (Bragg) was to take command of the troops in Jackson, Mississippi, then under General Mansfield Lovell, recently of New Orleans.

    The following day, Beauregard again wrote to Richmond, detailing that he would be at Bladon Springs, near Mobile, Alabama, for a week or ten days. In his absence, General Bragg was the temporary commander of the Army of Mississippi: Unsure of how to handle such a breach, General Bragg passed the order to Beauregard, who replied the same day. Bragg’s “presence here I consider indispensable at this moment,” wrote Beauregard to Davis, “especially as I am leaving for a while on surgeon’s certificate.” While promising to return soon to head up an offensive, he reiterated “I must have a short rest.”

    The following day, Beauregard again wrote to Richmond, detailing that he would be at Bladon Springs, near Mobile, Alabama, for a week or ten days. In his absence, General Bragg was the temporary commander of the Army of Mississippi.

    Now on the 17th, Beauregard left Tupelo for Mobile, believing that he had done everything possible to notify his superiors that he would be absent from his post. Though he did not seek permission to leave, Richmond knew where he would be and when he would return. After Col. Johnston caught up with him, they would also learn his future plans.


    Official Records
    , Series I, Vol. 10, Part 1, Ch. XXII, pp. 762 - 765, 786
    The Military Operations of General Beauregard, Vol. 1 by Alfred Roman.
    Official Records
    , Series I, Vol. 17, Part 2, Ch. XXIX, p. 599, 601, 612.
    Official Records,
    Series I, Vol. 53, (Supplements), Ch. LXV, p. 247.
    Last edited by DrEdward; 06-19-2012 at 09:43 AM.

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    "June 18th. At three o’clock this afternoon, the picket line was advanced to a crest, a short distance in front, which was desirable on account of the shelter it afforded the rebel sharpshooters. Of course, it brought on a contest immediately; all the redoubts fired their big guns, and pandemonium broke loose. We fell in and hurried down to the works, but by that time our troops had gained the desired position, and the fighting ceased. We marched back to camp and were just dismissing the parade when a furious fire opened all along the line, and we were hurried back again to the front. The enemy came on this time in long lines of battle, extending over a mile along the works; they drove in the pickets and reserves, and came within sight of our works for the first time. They did not remain long, however. All the guns opened fire, and instantly one continued blaze enveloped forts and redoubts, torrents of leaden hail, and bursting shells were hurled against them; their line soon halted, then broke and ran for shelter, without making a second effort to reach us.

    They lost a heap of men in this effort, and gained nothing whatever. We remained all night under arms. The slashing in front of the earthworks is very intricate and formidable. All the trees immediately in front were felled, so that they fell away from the works; then the tops and branches were slashed, and tied, and twisted, so that, if we were not shooting, it would take an hour’s time to climb through them; when one imagines a steady line of good soldiers, behind a bulletproof rampart shooting at every man advancing, it is not difficult to imagine the strength of our position. Of course, the line is so constructed that every part is covered by a flanking fire of both musketry and artillery."

    Diary of a Young Officer–Josiah Marshall Favill (57th New York Infantry)


    The action described here was a demonstration ordered by Lee to help assure that the McClellan continued to occupy the positions he currently held rather than extending his flank to James River and shifting his base of operations to that river from the York.

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    "THE REBELLION."

    "The War Department has received the important information, through a dispatch from Gen. MORGAN, dated the 18th in st., that Cumberland Gap, leading into East Tennessee. has been occupied by the National forces. Gen. MORGAN states that after great difficulty he reached a position near the Gap, and at 1 o’clock on the morning of the 18th he advanced to the Gap to attack the rebel forces, but was just in time to learn that their rear guard had left about four hours before his arrival."


    New York Times,
    June 20, 1862.

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    The foregoing bit of actual reporting prompted an editorial in the Times as to the importance of Morgan's achievement:

    "THE GATEWAY OF EAST TENNESSEE."

    "Our troops are truly and actually in possession of Cumberland Gap at last. On Wednesday morning, at 1 o’clock, while all New-York and all the country were asleep, four brigades of our gallant Southwestern soldiers took up their line of march, amid darkness, solitude and the wild mountains, for the famous Gap — the key of East Tennessee. They arrived there probably in the gray dawn of the morning — for they had not a very long march to make — expecting to find the foe; but they found that the foe had fled, and that this important position was ours without a battle.

    A year ago the capture of this position would have thrilled the country with joy. Its capture a year ago would have saved the life of many a Unionist in East Tennessee. It does not, at first sight, look so important in its bearing upon the war now as it did then; but, if we mistake not, it will be found to be vitally important still. In the first place, in its relations to East Tennessee.

    Our troops will, doubtless, advance at once upon Knoxville — for there is no purpose whatever in our holding Cumberland Gap itself — and in conjunction with Gen. MITCHEL, who is near Chattanooga, will scatter and destroy the detachments of rebel troops who are still in East Tennessee; and thereby give liberty to that long-persecuted people, and bring the whole State, from the mountains to the Mississippi River, under the loyal rule of Gov. ANDREW JOHNSON.

    The capture of the Gap is vitally important, considering its proximity to the Virginia and East Tennessee Railroad, and considering the relations of that road and the country through which it threads, to the rebel army at Richmond. The holding of that railroad will cut off one of the most feasible lines of retreat of the rebels, and by advancing eastward upon it some distance from Knoxville, we will dry up a great source of their supplies, and in conjunction with the forces of FREMONT, BANKS and SIGEL, can operate directly upon their rear.

    Our troops did not, of course, spend a single day at the Gap. but doubtless pushed forward at once to Jonesborough or Knoxville, and are now probably in a fair way of achieving both these important objects. We shall probably soon see the effect of this and other quiet movements now being made, upon JEFF. DAVIS’s main army at Richmond."


    New York Times, June 20, 1862.

    This crucial pass through the Appalachians was a key point for controlling movements between the eastern theater in Virginia and the west in Kentucky and Tennessee. The editorial overstates the strategic consequences of this victory, because Morgan, without support and with tenuous supply lines, would be unable to move on from the Gap in any major way.

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    Jackson had been called by General Robert E. Lee to bring his 18,000 men to Richmond. After what had already become a legendary campaign of fighting, deception and hard marching, his force was needed to reinforce the Army of Northern Virginia, protecting the capital from the yankee hordes of Union General George McClellan’s Army of the Potomac.

    Jackson had received his orders on the 16th. The next day was spent readying his troops for a move. Nobody – not even the top officers in his army – knew what was about to happen. Secrecy was always a top priority for Jackson, but now he was taking it farther than he ever had before.

    Through the past week, Jackson’s numbers had been bolstered by the addition of two divisions. Whether they had been sent as a diversion or whether Lee, who gave the orders, entertained a desire for Jackson to renew his campaign is open to some debate. But their arrival convinced Jackson’s men that soon they would be storming back down the Valley. Soon, Strasburg, Front Royal, Winchester and perhaps even Harpers Ferry would again be back in the hands of friends.

    The first inkling anyone had of Jackson’s intentions came at dawn on the 18th. Yesterday had indicated that there would certainly be a movement. Even the fresh troops could see that. Two brigades under General William Whiting, had arrived at Staunton two days ago with plans for a march today to Jackson’s camp near Port Republic, twenty miles north. But before they could get on the road, Jackson ordered Whiting to load his men back on trains bound for Gordonsville, east across the Blue Ridge Mountains. Whiting, who had just come through Gordonsville, was furious and questioned Jackson’s sanity.Of course, he was not the first to have done so.

    Jackson was simply keeping his own council as well as his sanity. As Whiting’s men headed east on the rails, Jackson’s main body was marching south towards Waynesboro, Virginia roughly following current US 340 along South River.

    The road towards Rockfish Gap wound itself up and over a pass in the Blue Ridge. As the troops made the ascent, they could look behind them, seeing lines of their comrades zig-zagging through the switchbacks towards the summit. By evening, the side of the entire mountain was dotted with campfires built by men who likely had little idea what Jackson was up to. They had crossed the Blue Ridge before this spring, only to head back to the Valley immediately.


    View from the top of Rockfish Gap

    Jedediah Hotchkiss, Jackson’s topographer, caught up with the General around 5:00pm. Together, they rode to the top as the dark drew itself over them. Hotchkiss told Jackson during the growing darkness, “General, I fear we will not find our wagons tonight.” Jackson soberly replied, “Never take counsel of your fears.” Hotchkiss held onto that advice for the rest of his life.

    That night, the small party found their way to the eastern foot of the Blue Ridge. Before bed on the night of the 18th, Jackson devoted a much longer than usual amount of time to prayers. Perhaps due to his communion, he slept better than he had in a long, long time.


    Stonewall Jackson
    by James I. Robertson.
    Make Me a Map of the Valley by Jedediah Hotchkiss.
    Last edited by DrEdward; 06-18-2012 at 04:16 PM.

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    Default Re: 150 years ago today

    .................................................. ..................................................WAR DEPARTMENT,
    .................................................. ..................................................Washington, D. C., June 18, 1862.
    Major-General McCLELLAN:

    Yours of to-day making it probable that Jackson has been re-enforced by about 10,000 from Richmond is corroborated by a dispatch from General King at Fredericksburg, saying a Frenchman just arrived from Richmond by way of Gordonsville met 10,000 to 15,000 passing through the latter place to join Jackson.

    If this is true it is as good as a re-enforcement to you of an equal force. I could better dispose of things if I could know about what day you can attack Richmond, and would be glad to be informed, if you think you can inform me with safety.

    ................A. LINCOLN.


    ............................................---------------------------------------


    .................................................. .................................................. ...................McCLELLAN'S,
    .................................................. .................................................. ...................June 18, 1862.

    The PRESIDENT:

    I have the honor to acknowledge receipt of your dispatch of to-day. Our army is well over the Chickahominy, except the very considerable forces necessary to protect our flanks and communications. Our whole line of pickets in front runs within 6 miles of Richmond. The rebel line runs within musket-range of ours. Each has heavy support at hand. A general engagement may take place any hour. An advance by us involves a battle more or less decisive. The enemy exhibit at every point a readiness to meet us. They certainly have great numbers and extensive works. If 10,000 or 15,000 men have left Richmond to re-enforce Jackson it illustrates their strength and confidence. After to-morrow we shall fight the rebel army as soon as Providence will permit. We shall await only a favorable condition of the earth and sky and the completion of some necessary preliminaries.

    ...............
    GEO. B. McCLELLAN,

    ...............
    Major-General.

    .................................................. ......
    ---------------------------------------


    .................................................. .................................................. ..............McCLELLAN'S,
    .................................................. .................................................. ..............
    June 18, 1862-11.30 a.m.
    Honorable E. M. STANTON,
    Secretary of War:

    Colonel Averell has just returned from a scout to the Mattapony. A band of guerrillas he was in search of had left the day before. He destroyed the bridge, took a number of wagons and carts loaded with supplies for Richmond, destroyed a large amount of rebel grain, and took some important prisoners. As usual, he conducted the expedition most handsomely.

    Colonel Gregg made a handsome reconnaissance to Charles City Court-House and recovered some of the mules driven off by Stuart. I think we are about even with Stuart now. Am at a loss to understand the reported re-enforcements to Jackson, unless the enemy are in very great strength here. We will probably know more of the truth to-morrow.

    ...............GEO. B. McCLELLAN,

    ...............Major-General.

    Official Records, Series I, Vol. 11, Part 3, Ch. XXIII, pp. 232 - 233.

    "I think we are even with Stuart now." is a remarkable statement by McClellan. Stuart had ridden entirely around his army and knew, as did McClellan, the right wing remained "in the air" near Mechanicsville. Yet McClellan did not seem to realize the import of what Stuart had done. McClellan did, however, realize the improbability of reports of reinforcements being sent to Jackson. It had the effect, as shown here, of once again inflating in McClellan's mind the size of the Confederate army near Richmond. Inside information from roaming Frenchmen aside, Jackson on June 18th was with his army just on the eastern slopes of the Blue Ridge coming down from Waynesboro and Rockfish Gap.

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    To the northand now west of Jackson, Union General Irvin McDowell’s troops under Generals Shields and Ord were preparing to leave the Valley to reinforce McClellan’s Army of the Potomac. To take their place, and hold the Valley against what they believed was a well-reinforced Stonewall, were Generals John C. Fremont, Franz Sigel, and Nathaniel Banks.

    A Frenchman had reported seeing 10,000 to 15,000 troops heading towards Jackson’s camp on Sunday. Lincoln even sent word to McClellan about the sighting. These were probably Whiting’s troops. Word filtered up the chain of command, and it was quickly assumed that Jackson was gathering his strength for another move down the Valley.

    Additional reports, mostly coming from General Shields’ notorious scouts, related that General Ewell, Jackson’s second-in-command, was heading towards Front Royal with 40,000 men. Shields was convinced that the force seen by the “Frenchman” was that of General James Longstreet. McClellan had reported such a rumor to Washington only this morning. Though his scouts cautioned that the Confederates were heading north, Shields had heard from others that Jackson was moving to Richmond.

    At least, that’s what he told General McDowell’s Chief of Staff. To General Sigel, he warned that 8,500 Confederates were five miles south of Luray and the rest of Jackson’s force was not far behind. Sigel, it seems, saw through the General’s confusion:

    .................................................. .................................................. ...............WINCHESTER,
    .................................................. .................................................. ...............June 18, 1862.
    Major-General FREMONT:

    I have just received reports from an officer sent to Front Royal. Shields is at Front Royal. He wishes me to relieve him, as he is ordered to Manassas Junction to join McDowell.

    General Shields has no correct knowledge about the enemy's movements. He will inform me to-night.

    .............F. SIGEL,
    .............Major-General.

    But then, neither Fremont nor Sigel had any real clue as to where Jackson was either.

    Official Records
    , Series I, Vol. 12, Part 3, pp. 404, 405, 407 - 408.

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    Default Re: 150 years ago today

    In Atlanta, Georgia on this date, seven members of Anderson's Great Locomotive raid were executed, as all the raiders were deemed to have engaged in acts of unlawful belligerency; the civilians also to be unlawful combatants and spies. Those captured had been brought to trial. Andrews was tried in Chattanooga and found guilty. He was executed by hanging on June 7 in Atlanta. On June 18, seven others who had been transported to Knoxville and convicted as spies were returned to Atlanta and also hanged; their bodies were buried in Oakland Cemetery immediately across from their execution site. They were later reburied in Chattanooga National Cemetery along with Anderson..


    Andrews Raiders Memorial at the Chattanooga National Cemetery.
    Larry Miller photograph
    Last edited by DrEdward; 06-19-2012 at 09:42 AM.

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    Default Re: 150 years ago today

    CHAP. CXI.–An Act to secure Freedom to all Persons within
    the Territories of the United States.

    Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled, That from and after the passage of this act there shall be neither slavery nor involuntary servitude in any of the Territories of the United States now existing, or which may at any time hereafter be formed or acquired by the United States, otherwise than in punishment of crimes whereof the party shall have been duly convicted.

    APPROVED, June 19, 1862.

    U.S., Statutes at Large, Treaties, and Proclamations of the United States of America, vol. 12 (Boston, 1863), p. 432.

    On June 19, 1862, Congress prohibited slavery in United States territories, and President Lincoln quickly signed the legislation. By this act, they opposed the 1857 opinion of the Supreme Court of the United States in the Dred Scott Case that Congress was powerless to regulate slavery in U.S. territories. This joint action by Congress and President Lincoln also rejected the notion of popular sovereignty that had been advanced by Stephen A. Douglas as a solution to the slavery controversy, while completing the effort begun by Thomas Jefferson in 1784 to confine slavery within the borders of the existing states.
    Last edited by DrEdward; 06-19-2012 at 09:37 AM.

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    Default Re: 150 years ago today

    General David Hunter, commander of the Department of the South, headquartered on Hilton Head, South Carolina, had left strict orders for General Henry Benham to keep his 6,600 men in their entrenchments and to not attack to enemy on James Island, south of Charleston. Following the Union defeat at Secessionville, brought about by General Benham marching his men from their entrenchments to attack the enemy, a report of the “reconnaissance” penned by Benham’s hand, made its way to Hunter. Upon reading Benham’s version of events, it was clear that a "reconnaissance" that resulted in well over 600 casualties was not a reconnaissance at all, but a pitched battle.

    On June 19, Hunter took action. He immediately removed Benham from command, placing General Horatio Wright in in his stead:

    .................................................. ............................................HEADQUARTERS DEPARTMENT OF THE SOUTH,
    .................................................. ............................................Hilton Head, S. C., June 19, 1862.

    Brigadier General HORATIO G. WRIGHT,
    U. S. Army, James Island, S. C.:

    SIR: You are assigned to the command of all the troops on James Island and at Legareville. You will not attempt to advance toward Charleston or Fort Johnson till largely re-enforced and until you receive express orders from these headquarters.

    You will select a neck of land a short distance in advance of the old battery, where you can have a flanking fire from the gunboats in the Stono and on the creek and fortify it strongly. You will repair the causeway to Cole's Island, and shelter your stores and men as far as practicable by houses taken from any of the plantations on the Stono. You will make seasonable requisitions on the quartermaster, commissary, medical director, and ordnance officer at Hilton Head for all necessary supplies, and report to these headquarters the state of your command by every opportunity.

    Should you deem your present position untenable you will immediately make all the necessary dispositions for abandoning James Island and John's Island, sending off in the first place all your sick and all your stores.
    Your front being completely covered by the gunboats of the Navy, you can make the retrograde movement, should you deem it necessary, without losing a man or a pound of supplies. As soon as the stores are removed all the troops not sailing in the first detachment of transports should be at once removed to the west bank of the Stono, at Legareville. Should you determine to abandon the Stono you will have one regiment at North Edisto, and you will immediately inform me of your decision, that I may send you all the transportation in my power.

    Very respectfully, your most obedient servant,

    ...........D. HUNTER,
    ...........Major-General, Commanding.

    General Benham, unaware that he had been relieved, spent the morning shoring up his defenses, as 300 wounded were transported off the island, headed for Hilton Head.

    A steamer coming from Hilton Head docked at James Island on the afternoon of the 19th. General Hunter had given the order to Samuel Stockton, his nephew, and sent him to James Island to deliver it. Upon arrival, Stockton found Benham and delivered the news. Whatever message that Hunter had written or verbally related has been lost, but it was clear, General Benham was being relieved, as Hunter would write in his final report, for “disobeying positive orders and clear instructions.”

    By evening, Benham arrived on Hilton Head, making directly for Hunter’s headquarters. After whatever formalities were exchanged, Benham launched into a defense of his “reconnaissance.” During what was little more than a paraphrasing of Benham's own report, Hunter sat there and simply listened. He asked no questions and made no comment. When Benham was finally through, Hunter called for his order book and read aloud his June 10th order:
    “In leaving the Stono River to return to Hilton Head I desire, in any arrangements that you may make for the disposition of your forces now in this vicinity, you will make no attempt to advance on Charleston or to attack Fort Johnson until largely re-enforced or until you receive specific instructions from these headquarters to that effect.”
    When Hunter finished with the reading, he turned to Benham and said, “General, I put you under arrest.”
    Henry Benham’s career in the infantry was over. Later in the war, however, he would serve as a commander of the engineers of the Army of the Potomac, a position much more consistent with his abilities.

    Secessionville, by Patrick Brennan.
    Official Records, Series I, Vol. 14, Ch. XXVI, p. 42, 46, 355.

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    Speaking of the engineers with the Army of the Potomac, they had been a busy bunch as of late:

    .................................................. .................................................. ..HEADQUARTERS ENGINEER BRIGADE,
    .................................................. .................................................. ..Camp Lincoln, Va., June 19, 1862.

    GENERAL:

    Since my last report, of June 7, the Engineer Brigade has been engaged chiefly in the construction of a permanent bridge across the Chickahominy nearly opposite Dr. Trent's. This bridge was commenced June 9, and completed so as to allow the passage of teams June 14. It was subsequently covered with earth, and the approaches, constructed under Colonel Alexander by other regiments, were completed on the 16th and 17th instant. The dimensions of the bridge are as follows: Length, 1,080 feet; roadway, 11 feet; number of cribs, 40; number of trestles, 6. The accompanying drawing will furnish any other details required.* The Third Vermont Regiment, Colonel Hyde commanding, furnished valuable assistance in covering a portion of the crib work after completing excellent approaches on the south side.

    For the last week Captain Spaulding, with a detachment of 250 men, has been engaged in constructing an infantry bridge about 1 mile above the permanent bridge. Good progress has been made in the work.

    June 17 and 18 several detachments of the brigade, amounting to some 400 men, were engaged in constructing bridges and corduroying on the road leading to the railroad station near Fair Oaks and the road from general headquarters to General Smith's division. I have not yet received the reports of the officers in charge of the work.


    June 19, a detachment of 50 men, with their officers, still engaged on the road to Smith's division; a detachment of 500 men, with their officers, employed constructing fascines; 224 fascines were made on the line of the railroad near Fair Oaks Station.


    .............D. P. WOODBURY,

    .............Brigadier-General of Volunteers.


    General J. G. BARNARD,
    Chief Engineer, Army of the Potomac.


    Official Records, Series I, Vol. 11, Part 1, Ch. XXIII, p. 148.

    In the up coming Seven Days Battle, the role of McClellan's engineers in bridging the Chickahominy River so as to make movement between the two wings of the army possible was crucial. The bridge referred to here was also known as the Woodbury-Alexander Bridge. It was built at a right angle across the river and flooded bottom land. The 1,080 foot length included a long run down to the bridge from the north side of the river (running parallel to the river). The fascines referred to were reinforced cylindrical bundles of sticks which were used to reinforce parts of the bridge. About 1/4 mile downstream from this bridge was the Grapevine Bridge, much more well known to history as the crossing point for a large portion of McClellan's army during the "change of base".

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