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Thread: 150 years ago today

  1. #2261
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    Loss of the U. S. S. Sallie Wood, off Island No. 82, July 21, 1862.
    .......................................Report of Commander Walke, U. S. Navy, commanding U. S. S. Carondelet.

    .................................................. .................................................. ...................U. S. GUNBOAT CARONDELET,
    .................................................. .................................................. ...................Memphis, July 30, 1862.

    SIR: I have the honor to report the arrival of the Carondelet at this place. On the passage up, in the evening of July 23, I picked up Mr. Lucas, pilot of the steamer Sallie Wood, who informed me that that vessel was fired into by rebel light artillery at Carolina Landing and along the bend at Princeton and other points above, and that on the 21st instant the Sallie Wood was fired upon again at Argyle Landing, and again at Island No. 82, where the rebel shot took effect in piercing her steam drum and stopped the engine. The pilot ran her ashore on Island No. 82, the rebels continuing to fire upon the boat until all of her passengers, officers, and crew were driven on the island.

    As the rebels, for want of a boat, did not board her immediately, Mr. Lucas, her pilot, returned to the Sallie Wood, launched her skiff, took his trunks, and descended the river as far as Island No. 84 and concealed himself at [sic] daylight, when he saw the light of his burning steamer. The following night he descended the Mississippi, and hid 7 miles below Carolina Landing. Mr. Lucas informed me that there were about 35 persons on board the Sallie Wood, 31 or 32 of which were captured, most of whom were sick soldiers; the chief engineers wife and servant being the only females on board.

    I anchored below Carolina Landing until near daylight, when I got underway again and fired several shot and shell in and about the rebel masked battery, but perceiving no evidence of the enemy’s presence I continued on half a mile farther up to Princeton Landing, where the rebel battery halted and fired at the steamer passing. I fired four or five shot at the house, but receiving no answer I passed on to the next point and fired about the same number of 10-second shell at a house on Mr. Flournoy’s plantation, where the rebels were seen to halt and rendezvous.

    But as this place seemed to be deserted also, I passed on a quarter of a mile farther, opposite a house from which a rebel picket ran to the river bank and fired four or five rifle shot at the Sallie Wood. I returned the compliment with four or five shell. This place also appeared to be deserted.

    As we continued steaming up the river and passed Greenville no white people could be seen, except those who appeared to be very poor. The negroes, however, were very numerous, standing under the banks of the river and making signals to us at night, asking to be taken away.

    As we passed the spot where the Sallie Wood was fired at a third time, I shelled the point and woods, and (as an intelligent deserter has since informed me) came very near annihilating the party before they made their escape. From this point the rebels crossed over a peninsula to another opposite Island No. 82, where they burned the Sallie Wood.
    I arrived at No. 82 after dark, landed, and sent a party to a woodman’s house on the island to enquire after the fate of the people who were on the Sallie Wood, but finding that the house, which was lit up for a few minutes before, was deserted, we passed on slowly (being very dark) by the remains of the ill-fated steamer and rebel batteries, blowing the steam whistle and stopping occasionally to hear if any of our people were still on the island, but not a sound was heard until we reached the upper part of the island, when the feeble voice of a man was heard calling to us to come quickly to his aid.

    This was done immediately, the boat returning with one of the noblest specimens of an American soldier (First Lieutenant Wing, Company G, Fourth Wisconsin Volunteers), who had been three days without food, concealed in the driftwood, all of his companions except two others being captured by the close search of the rebels.

    In our search the Carondelet approached too close to the island and ran ashore, where she stuck fast until daylight, when we succeeded in sparring and hauling her off. There were no batteries or firing on the Arkansas side of the river.

    I picked up a deserter (a Mr. Montague, who was on picket) just above Island No. 82, who was an intelligent young gentleman, and I consider his word reliable. He informed me that their batteries were composed of four guns, two iron rifled 6-pounders and two brass 12-pounders. The negroes, he said, did not work the guns (as the pilot had told me), but they drove the teams and dug the rifle pits or trenches. He also informed me that I. N. Brown, formerly of our Navy, commanded the Arkansas, and talked of going to sea with his ram. He said that the Arkansas lost 8 men killed and 11 wounded in her fight with this vessel, by the bursting of one of our shell, which entered one of her ports. He also stated that a number of letters were taken from the Sallie Wood.

    Lieutenant Wing informed that our mail was thrown overboard with a weight attached, and that he saw it sink. Lieutenant Wing and servant took passage to Cairo on the ram Queen of the West, which passed us on the 28th. On the 27th we ran aground, which detained us eighteen hours.

    I called on General Curtis at Helena, according to your orders, and gave him all the information I had collected on my way up the river, for which he was very much gratified, as several boats had passed him without stopping. He said that he was in great want of the services of one or two small, fast gunboats to keep the river clear and prevent the enemy from crossing over to his rear. He expressed his readiness to go down to Vicksburg, but did not inform me of any contemplated movement at present. His army of about 25,000 at that place seems to be in a good condition.

    Our sick are improving generally, although our number (20) is about the same. I will coal and proceed on my way to Cairo immediately, duly apprising you of my movements and circumstances. I sent Mr. Montague to Cairo, in charge of Lieutenant Wing. I picked up (afloat) one contraband and seven refugees from Arkansas and brought them to Memphis. I am, sir, very respectfully, your obedient servant,

    ..........H. WALKE, Flag-Officer

    C. H. Davis,
    Commander, U. S. Navy.
    Last edited by DrEdward; 07-30-2012 at 08:31 AM.

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  2. #2262
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    .................................................. ......................................HDQRS. FIFTH DIVISION, ARMY OF THE TENNESSEE,
    .................................................. ......................................Memphis, July 30, 1862.
    Col. JOHN A. RAWLINS,
    Hdqrs. Corinth, Mississippi

    SIR: I had the honor to write on the 25th instant, since which nothing has happened here in the vicinity worth reporting. My infantry and cavalry pickets go well out, and I have sent two parties of cavalry, one to Hernando and one to Germantown, to be gone three days. I feel certain that small parties of cavalry and armed citizens are hovering about for mischief, but I have no reliable intelligence of any force being near us. That an attempt may be made on the river at some point north of us is very probable. Should any large force go north of the Hatrchie they would be in danger from you; if south of the Hatchie, my forces would be in position.


    I am pushing the construction of the fort, and have now at work about 800 negroes, all of which are registered and an account kept of their time and labor. The engineer, Captain Hoepner, will report progress, through Captain Prime. The armament of the fort should be ordered at once from Island Numbers 10, Saint Louis, or Pittsburg. I am informed there are no guns at Fort Pillow. I sent Colonel Fitch, who was there half a day on his way down, and he asserted all the guns there were disabled and carriages destroyed.

    General Curtis, I am informed, goes to Little Rock very soon; indeed, I hear the army moves today. I have also learned that the Navy boat Sallie Wood, with about 40 passengers of the fleet and army before Vicksburg, was disabled at Carolina Point, about 90 miles from Vicksburg, and run on shore. All passengers were made prisoners except three, who succeeded in reaching an island and getting on board the Carondelet. One of them, a lieutenant of a Wisconsin regiment, was my informant.

    Information has also reached us that our fleet before Vicksburg has raised the siege, the lower fleet returning to Baton Rouge, and upper, on its return, maybe, to this place. This will embolden Van Dorn, and we must soon expect to hear from him.

    I have been very busy in answering the innumerable questions of civilians, and hope they are now about through. I found so many Jews and speculators here trading in cotton, and secessionists had become so open in refusing anything but gold, that I have felt myself bound to stop it. This gold has but one use- the purchase of arms and ammunition, which can always be had for gold, at Nassau, New Providence, or Cincinnati. All the guards we may establish cannot stop it. Of course I have respected all permits by yourself or the Secretary of the Treasury, but in these new cases I have stopped it.

    In like manner, so great was the demand for salt to make bacon that many succeeded in getting loads of salt out for cotton. Salt is as much contraband of war as powder. All the boards of trade above are shipping salt south, and I cannot permit it to pass into the interior until you declare a district open to trade. If we permit money and salt to go into the interior it will not take long for Bragg and Van Dorn to supply their armies with all they need to move. Without money- gold, silver, and Treasury notes- they cannot get arms and ammunition of the English colonies. And without salt they cannot make bacon and salt beef. We cannot carry on war and trade with a people at the same time.

    I have had all the vacant houses registered, and the quartermaster will proceed to rent them for account of whom it may concern at once.

    Our men have received in great part new clothing, and will soon gain rest and be prepared for the fall campaign. General health is good.

    I am, with great respect, your obedient servant,

    .........W. T. SHERMAN
    .........Major-General, Commanding

    Sic Semper Tyrannis

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    .................................................. .................................................. ..........................BERKELEY, VA.,
    .................................................. .................................................. ..........................July 30, 1862-7 a.m.
    Major-General HALLECK,
    Commander-in-Chief.

    Deserters state that another regiment of rebel cavalry was to go to Hanover Court-House to-day, and that Longstreet, Hill (A. P.), and Hill (D. H.), are still with their troops in the immediate vicinity of Richmond, and have not gone to Gordonsville. Total of forces with Jackson stated at 30,000 to 35,000. I hope that it may soon be decided what is to be done by this army, and that the decision may be to re-enforce it at once.

    We are losing much valuable time and that at a time when energy and decision are sadly needed.

    ........GEO. B. McCLELLAN.
    ........Major-General.

    McClellan had gotten up early this morning to write to Halleck. Still, early risers don't always get things correct. McClellan now believed Jackson’s army to be as great as 35,000 and that General A.P. Hill was still in Richmond. Actually, Jackson’s original force had been around 10,000 and had only recently been augmented by General A.P. Hill’s troops, no longer in Richmond. D.H. Hill had been ordered to the southside of James River, but could be argued to still be in the neighborhood of Richmond.

    In a follow up letter written later in the day, he admitted that the forces in his front were fewer in number than they had been, and that if he had more men, he could advance:

    .................................................. ................................................HEADQUARTERS ARMY OF THE POTOMAC.
    .................................................. ................................................Berkeley, July 30, 1862
    Major General H. W. HALLECK.
    Commanding U. S. Army:

    GENERAL: There is nothing new of any interest to give you. The cavalry scouts are daily extending their beats, and meet with less resistance during the past few days. The enemy still at Malvern [and] its vicinity, rather in small force-probably a brigade, with a battery. Nothing seems to be doing on the other side of the James. If I had even a part of Burnside's command I would beat them up on that bank of the James as well as stir them up at Malvern. I am very weak in cavalry-not more than 3,800 for duty. Could not Williams' regiment from Port Royal and Mix's from Monroe both be ordered up here? A large part of my cavalry was taken from me when I left Washington for Fort Monroe. I feel the want of it very much. It is not true (my information goes) that either of the Hills or Longstreet are with Jackson near Gordonsville, which renders it more probable that Jackson's is more than 30,000 to 35,000,although it is possible that I may be deceived about the latter point.

    Heavy re-enforcements have arrived in Richmond and are still coming. I still feel that our true policy is to re-enforce the army by every available means and throw it again upon Richmond. Should it be determined to withdraw it, I shall look upon our cause as lost and the demoralization of the army certain.

    I sincerely hope that some decision may be promptly arrived at and that it may be in accordance with the view I have so frequently expressed.

    I am, very respectfully, your obedient servant,

    ...........GEO. B. McCLELLAN,
    ...........Major-General, Commanding.

    McClellan’s Army was still nearly 100,000-strong, while General Robert E. Lee’s Confederate Army of Northern Virginia wasn’t even 60,000 in number on this date. The catch was that McClellan believed himself to be out-manned two-to-one. Even knowing that Jackson’s force had broken off to protect the northern approaches to Richmond, McClellan still credited Lee with twice his own number.

    Official Records, Series I, Vol. 11, Part 3, Ch. XXIII, p. 342.

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  4. #2264
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    General-in-Chief Henry Halleck had been reflecting on his recent trip to Harrison’s Landing, where he had met with General McClellan. He understood that if anything were to be accomplished, he would need to somehow manage and to get along with the commander of the Army of the Potomac.

    To that end, Halleck wrote McClellan a personal letter, hoping to bridge whatever awkward gap his new promotion had dredged to the surface in McClellan:
    .................................................. .................................................. .......................WASHINGTON,
    .................................................. .................................................. ........................July 30, 1862.
    Major General GEORGE B. McCLELLAN,
    Commanding, &c., Army of the Potomac.:

    MY DEAR GENERAL:

    You are probably aware that I hold my present position contrary to my own wishes, and that I did everything in my power to avoid coming to Washington; but after declining several invitations from the President I received the order of the 11th instant, which left me no option.

    I have always had strong personal objections to mingling in the politico-military affairs of Washington. I never liked the place, and like it still less at the present time. But aside from personal feeling, I really believed I could be much more useful in the West than here. I had acquired some reputation there, but here I could hope for none, and I greatly feared that whatever I might do I should receive more abuse than thanks. There seemed to be a disposition in the public press to cry down any one who attempted to serve the country instead of party. This was particularly the case with you, as I understood, and I could not doubt that it would be in a few weeks the case with me. Under these circumstances I could not see how I could be of much use here. Nevertheless, being ordered, I was obliged to come.

    In whatever has occurred heretofore you have had my full approbation and cordial support. There was no one in the Army under whom I could serve with greater pleasure, and I now ask from you that same support and co-operation and that same free interchange of opinions as in former days. If we disagree in opinion, I know that we will do so honestly and without unkind feelings. The country demands of us that we act together and with cordiality. I believe we can and will do so. Indeed we must do so if we expect to put down the rebellion. If we permit personal jealousies to interfere for a single moment with our operations we shall not only injure the cause but ruin ourselves. But I am satisfied that neither of us will do this, and that we will work together with all our might and bring the war to an early termination.

    I have written to you frankly, assuring you of my friendship and confidence, believing that my letter would be received with the same kind feelings in which it is written.

    Yours, truly,

    .........H. W. HALLECK.

    Something had to be done with it. The Army of the Potomac couldn’t stay at Harrison’s Landing all summer. If McClellan’s figures were correct, attacking Richmond, defended by 200,000 Confederates, was asking for a bloodbath. Since they could not stay put and could not advance, there was only one other option that could be chosen.

    Halleck had tried to reinforce McClellan to the tune of 20,000 troops. But, McClellan, demanded 55,000.

    From General John Pope, who was facing off against Stonewall Jackson’s troops north of Richmond, Halleck learned that Lee’s army was moving southeast of Richmond, leaving the city scantly defended. He urged McClellan to press the enemy and find out if that was true:

    .................................................. .................................................. ......................WASHINGTON,
    .................................................. .................................................. ......................July 30, 1862-8 p.m.

    A dispatch just received from General Pope says that deserters report that the enemy is moving south of James River and that the force in Richmond is very small. I suggest he be pressed in that direction, so as to ascertain the facts of the case.

    ............H. W. HALLECK.

    At the same time, however, he also ordered McClellan to send all of his sick and wounded back to Fortress Monroe. Though he said that it would better enable the Army of the Potomac to move in any direction, it was becoming obvious what the direction was going to be:

    .................................................. .................................................. ....................WASHINGTON,
    .................................................. .................................................. ....................July 30, 1862-8 p.m.
    Major General GEORGE B. McCLELLAN.

    In order to enable you to move in any direction, it is necessary to relieve you of your sick. The Surgeon-General has therefore been directed to make arrangements for them at other places, and the Quartermaster-General to provide transportation. I hope you will send them away as quickly as possible, and advise me of their removal.

    .........H. W. HALLECK.
    .........Major-General.

    Still, with Pope’s intelligence, which was gleaned from deserters, and Halleck’s prodding a forward movement, McClellan may have thought Washington wanted him to push back the Confederate screen at Malvern Hill (six miles from his position) and make another move on Richmond – all without reinforcements. Both Pope and Halleck would supplement this idea tomorrow when Halleck wired McClellan:

    .................................................. .................................................. .........................WASHINGTON,
    .................................................. .................................................. .........................July 31, 1862-10 a.m.

    General Pope again telegraphs that the enemy is reported to be evacuating Richmond and falling back on Danville and Lynchburg.

    .........H. W. HALLECK.
    .........Major-General.

    Official Records, Series I, Vol. 11, Part 1, Ch. XXIII, pp. 76 - 77.
    Official Records, Series I, Vol. 11, Part 3, Ch. XXIII, p. 343.

    Sic Semper Tyrannis

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    The Bishop of Oxford, England, addressed a letter to the archdeacons in his diocese, directing them to instruct their clergy as follows:

    “You are earnestly desired to make your supplications to Almighty God, who is the author of peace and lover of concord, that he will promote peace among our brethren in America, and inspire their hearts with Christian unity and fellowship.”

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    Given the almost heart-felt letter Halleck had sent to McClellan today, it is ironic that only a few days prior, both McClellan and Halleck had expressed themselves rather differently to their wives. McClellan grumbled to Mary Ellen that President Lincoln never informed him that Halleck would be taking up the position of his overall commander. “We never conversed on the subject,” wrote the General, “I only know it from the newspapers.” McClellan took it personally, believing that Lincoln and his ilk did so “to make the matter as offensive as possible.” This was likely true.

    Of Lincoln, McClellan continued, writing that he “had not shown the slightest gentlemanly or friendly feeling & I cannot regard him as in any respect my friend – I am confident that he would relieve me tomorrow if he dared do so. His cowardice alone prevents it.”

    These rants against Lincoln had become the prevailing subject between husband and wife these past few weeks: “I can never regard him with other feelings than those of thorough contempt – for his mind, heart & morality.” Though McClellan felt personally slighted at Halleck’s appointment, he seemed almost optimistic about it. He naturally despised most of Lincoln’s military advisors and hoped that “Halleck will scatter them to the four winds.” He personally singled out General Irvin McDowell, calling him “morally dead” and maintaining that “he has no longer one particle of influence & is despised by all alike.”

    While McClellan complained about Lincoln, Halleck bemoaned McClellan. Their meeting, of which McClellan wrote nothing, Halleck described as “necessarily somewhat embarrassing.” He explained that “it certainly was unpleasant to tell one who had been my superior in rank that his plans were wrong, but my duty to myself and the country compelled me to do so.”

    Trying to remain diplomatic, even to his own wife, Halleck first described McClellan as “a most excellent and valuable man,” but added that “he does not understand strategy and should never plan a campaign.”

    Halleck was nearly convinced that the road ahead was a rocky one: “We can get along very well together if he is so disposed, but I fear that his friends have excited his jealousy and that he will be disposed to pitch into me. Very well. My hands are clean. When in command of the army no one did more than I did to sustain him and in justice to the and to the country he ought now to sustain me. I hope he will but I doubt it. He is surrounded by very weak advisers.”

    "Letter from George McClellan to Mary Ellen McClellan," July 27, 1862. The Civil War Papers of George B. McClellan edited by Stephen W. Sears.
    "Letter from Henry Halleck to Elizabeth Hamilton Halleck," July 28, 1862. The Collector Magazine, February, 1908.

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    EXECUTIVE ORDER

    .................................................. .................................................. .........................WAR DEPARTMENT
    .................................................. .................................................. .........................July 31, 1862

    The absence of officers and privates from their duty under various pretexts while receiving pay, at great expense and burden to the Government, makes it necessary that efficient measures be taken to enforce their return to duty or that their places be supplied by those who will not take pay while rendering no service. This evil, moreover. tends greatly to discourage the patriotic impulses of those who would contribute to support the families of faithful soldiers.

    It is therefore ordered by the President--

    I. That on Monday, the 11th day of August, all leaves of absence and furloughs, by whomsoever given, unless by the War Department, are revoked and absolutely annulled, and all officers capable of service are required forthwith to join their respective commands and all privates capable of service to join their regiments, under penalty of a dismissal from the service, or such penalty as a court-martial may award, unless the absence be occasioned by lawful cause.

    II. The only excuses allowed for the absence of officers or privates after the 11th day of August are:
    First. The order or leave of the War Department.
    Second. Disability from wounds received in service.
    Third. Disability from disease that renders the party unfit for military duty. But any officer or private whose health permits him to visit watering places or places of amusement, or to make social visits or walk about the town, city, or neighborhood in which he may be, will be considered fit for military duty and as evading duty by absence from his command or ranks.

    III. On Monday, the 18th day of August, at 10 o'clock a. m., each regiment and corps shall be mustered. The absentees will be marked, three lists of the same made out, and within forty-eight hours after the muster one copy shall be sent to the Adjutant-General of the Army, one to the commander of the corps, the third to be retained; and all officers and privates fit for duty absent at that time will be regarded as absent without cause, their pay will be stopped, and they dismissed from the service or treated as deserters unless restored; and no officer shall be restored to his rank unless by the judgment of a court of inquiry, to be approved by the President, he shall establish that his absence was with good cause.

    IV. Commanders of corps, divisions, brigades, regiments, and detached posts are strictly enjoined to enforce the muster and return aforesaid. Any officer failing in his duty herein will be deemed guilty of gross neglect of duty and be dismissed from the service.

    V. A commissioner shall be appointed by the Secretary of War to superintend the execution of this order in the respective States.

    The United States marshals in the respective districts, the mayor and chief of police of any town or city, the sheriff of the respective counties in each State, all postmasters and justices of the peace, are authorized to act as special provost-marshals to arrest any officer or private soldier fit for duty who may be found absent from his command without just cause and convey him, to the nearest military post or depot. The transportation, reasonable expenses of this duty, and $5 will be paid for each officer or private so arrested and delivered.

    By order of the President:

    ..........E. M. STANTON, Secretary of War.

    Abraham Lincoln: "Executive Order," July 31, 1862. Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project.

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    .................................................. .................................................. ............................July 31st, 1862
    Rev. Dr. Francis McFarland

    My dear Doctor,

    I am very grateful to you for your prayers to God for the success of the operation which God has entrusted to me. Please continue to pray for me and for the success of the troops entrusted to me. It cheers my heart to think that many of God's people are praying to our very kind Heavenly Father for the success of the army to which I belong. Without God's blessing I look for no success, and for every success my prayer is, that all the glory may be given unto Him to whom it is properly due. If people would but give all the glory to God, and regard his creatures as but unworthy instruments, my heart would rejoice. Alas too frequently the praise is bestowed upon the creature. Whilst we must not forget the superior importance of spiritual victories, yet I trust that you will under God's direction do what you can in securing the prayers of His people for the success of our arms, especially for the success of them which are entrusted to me, an unworthy servant, but who desires to glorify His name even in my present military calling. My trust is in God for success.

    Praying for a continuation of your usefulness I remain your much attached friend

    .........T. J. Jackson

    Stonewall Jackson Papers, Virginia Military Institute Archives, Preston Library, Lexington, Virginia 24450

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    His fleet battered after the engagement with the Arkansas, Davis was a little testy about Farragut’s failure to support him at Vicksburg. With Farragut heading south and taking Gen. Thomas R. Williams’ troops with him, Davis lacked the personnel to maintain his precarious position at Vicksburg. He decided to retreat 175 miles upriver to Helena, Arkansas.

    Extract from diary of Flag-Officer Davis, U. S. Navy.
    .................................................. .................................................. ............................Mississippi River,
    .................................................. .................................................. ............................July 31, [1862] .

    "In my last letter I believe I gave you a short account of our last attempt to destroy the Arkansas. It was a failure in every way. There was a want of cooperation, most unaccountable, on the part of Commodore Farragut, by which one important vessel was not brought into action and by which the support of his squadron was withheld. I was informed by Flag-Officer Farragut immediately after the last attack on the Arkansas that he intended to move down the river at once, in obedience to orders from the Department, and at the same moment I learned from report that General Williams was to accompany him with the troops under his command.

    I wrote to General Williams, urging him to remain and keep open communication above and below Vicksburg by railroad, the means for constructing which were at hand. He replied that his orders obliged him to go, and that without them he would be compelled to move on account of the disabled condition of his command. He had brought with him 3,200 men, of Which 2,400 were dead or in the hospital. He could only muster 800 effective men and officers.

    His departure rendered it necessary that I should abandon the position I then held, because it gave the enemy the possession of the point from the ditch down. General Williams has, in making the canal, converted it into a means of defense by constructing a continued breastwork and rifle pit on the lower border and introducing an angle where the levee crossed the canal on the upper border, so as to enfilade it.

    It was, therefore, no longer safe for my hospital, commissary, and ordnance boats to lie at the bank as they had done. I therefore moved up with my whole command to the mouth of the Yazoo. Vicksburg being thus abandoned above and below by the fleets and the Army, I had to determine on my next step.

    I had allowed the ram Sumter to go do down with Farragut, not only to assist in the attack on the Arkansas, but to assist also in maintaining the blockade of that vessel below; and in the same manner and with the same motive I consented to the Essex going down.

    I supposed that Commodore Farragut might go down. He told me that he had urged the Department to allow him to do so, but it never entered my head that I should be deserted by the Army, and it was my expectation to blockade the town on both sides, keeping up the communication between the two detachments of my squadron across the neck.

    My squadron had been reduced to a comparatively weak condition. Both the vessels engaged with the Arkansas in the Yazoo River had been sent to Cairo for repairs, and having lost the Essex and the Sumter I was reduced to the Benton, the Cincinnati in a sinking condition, the Louisville, and the ram General Bragg. Sickness had made sudden and terrible havoc with my people. It came, as it were, all at once.

    Taking into consideration all these things, I determined to return up the river as far as Helena, and am on my way there now. This decision is my own. I talked the matter over with one or two persons, but called no council of war. The responsibility is my own, and it will not worry me the least in the world if it is not approved of.

    It was not to be expected that I could take the city of Vicksburg with my squadron only without troops, and this being so I am as well at Helena as at any point lower down. As we approach Helena I am satisfied, from the reports received from the transports, towing vessels, etc., that if we had remained a week longer at Vicksburg I should not have had engineers nor firemen enough to bring the vessels up. As it is we have depended very much on the contrabands to do the work in front of the fires."


    UNION AND CONFEDERATE NAVIES IN THE WAR OF THE REBELLION. Series I Vol. 23. pp. 269 - 272.
    Last edited by DrEdward; 08-02-2012 at 06:32 PM.

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    Default Re: 150 years ago today

    The situation facing Lee at the end of July would have seemed most unpromising, with Pope strong on the upper Rappahannock, a force of unknown numbers at Fredericksburg, Burnside presumably still on his transports off Fort Monroe, and the Army of the Potomac in the entrenched camp at Harrison's Landing, supported by a navy that had undisputed command of the sea. "McClellan was believed to have received an accession of numbers and was known to have a force much larger than Lee's. If, therefore, Burnside should reinforce McClellan, after Hill's departure had left Lee with only 56,000, an advance on Richmond would be a serious matter. On the other hand, if Burnside should join Pope, he would give the Army of Virginia a number of men in excess of the 30,000 that Lee calculated Jackson would have on Hill's arrival. Burnside's movements consequently became of the utmost moment to Lee, who watched them at the end of July with more immediate concern than he felt either for Jackson or for his own army.

    The junction of Burnside and McClellan was a risk that had to be taken. Nothing could be done to prevent it. If it happened at once, only the completion of strong defenses and the stubbornest sort of fighting would negate it. If it were delayed, Jackson and Hill might meantime dispose of Pope and again be available for duty on the James. Meantime, Lee pushed the work on the fortification of Richmond and developed his plan to delay and interrupt McClellan's offensive preparation by the projected operation against his shipping. As Lee studied this diversion, he became impressed with its possibilities. He believed that if he could bring a heavy fire to bear on Harrison's Landing and could assail from the river banks the Federal supply vessels ascending the James, he could anchor McClellan to his base. This might make it possible to detach still more troops to Jackson, and thereby to drive, if not to destroy Pope. It was as Lee dwelt on the great results he might achieve if he could further reinforce Jackson that the first glimpse of the next stage of his larger strategy is to be had.

    The details of the operation against McClellan's entrenched camp and supply line were assigned to Generals S. G. French and D. H. Hill. The concentration of artillery was entrusted to General W. N. Pendleton. Preparations were made with some care. Coggin's Point, on the south side of the James, opposite Harrison's, was chosen as the most favorable position. Forty-three guns, large and small, were secretly concentrated there. On the night of July 31 - August 1, a violent bombardment of the Federal entrenched camp was begun. It caused much confusion but inflicted slight damage, and before daylight it was abandoned as the guns had to be withdrawn to avoid capture."

    R.E. Lee, by Douglas S. Freeman

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    "July 31st, At midnight we all jumped out of bed in a hurry, startled by a heavy artillery fire, which at first could not be located. The men assembled on the color line without orders and remained there until the firing ceased, about an hour in all. It turned out to be a rebel field battery, sent under cover of darkness down the right bank of the James, to shell the numerous transports anchored near the landing. Our gunboats, ton jours pres, opened immediately with their big and little guns, but did not silence them for over an hour; curiously little or no damage was done while the possibilities were immense. Two of their shells burst quite close to our regiment, which indicates they did not get the range. When the firing ceased, we turned in again and were soon asleep.

    Brigade inspection at half-past seven A. M., rations and ammunition inspected, as well as arms and accoutrements; our regiment was in fine order. Lieutenant-Colonel Parisen takes infinite trouble in seeing everything for himself. Shortly after nine o’clock it commenced raining and continued throughout the day, deliciously cooling the atmosphere and the parched earth. Anxiously awaited orders to march, which did not come, however."

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

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    Default Re: 150 years ago today

    July 31st..............

    "I believe I forgot to mention one little circumstance in my account of that first night at the Deaf and Dumb Asylum, which at the time struck me with extreme disgust. That was seeing more than one man who had no females or babies to look after, who sought there a refuge from the coming attack. At daylight, one dapper young man, in fashionable array, came stepping lightly on the gallery, carrying a neat carpet-bag in his hand. I hardly think he expected to meet two young ladies at that hour; I shall always believe he meant to creep away before any one was up; for he certainly looked embarrassed when we looked up, though he assumed an air of indifference, and passed by bravely swinging his sack — but I think he wanted us to believe he was not ashamed. I dare say it was some little clerk in his holiday attire; but I can’t say what contempt I felt for the creature.

    Honestly, I believe the women of the South are as brave as the men who are fighting, and certainly braver than the “Home Guard.” I have not yet been able to coax myself into being as alarmed as many I could name are. They say it is because I do not know the danger. Soit. I prefer being brave through ignorance, to being afraid in consequence of my knowledge of coming events. Thank Heaven, my brothers are the bravest of the brave! I would despise them if they shrunk back, though Lucifer should dispute the path with them. Well! All men are not Morgan boys! They tell me cowards actually exist, though I hope I never met one. The poor men that went to the Asylum for safety might not have what Lavinia calls “a moral backbone.” No wonder, then, they tumbled in there! Besides, I am told half the town spent the night on the banks of the river, on that occasion; and perhaps these unfortunates were subject to colds, and preferred the shelter of a good roof. Poor little fellows! How I longed to give them my hoops, corsets, and pretty blue organdie in exchange for their boots and breeches! Only I thought it was dangerous; for suppose the boots had been so used to running that they should prance off with me, too? Why, it would ruin my reputation! Miss Morgan in petticoats is thought to be “as brave as any other man”; but these borrowed articles might make her fly as fast “as any other man,” too, if panic is contagious, as the Yankees here have proved. One consolation is, that all who could go with any propriety, and all who were worthy of fighting, among those who believed in the South, are off at the seat of war; it is only trash, and those who are obliged to remain for private reasons, who still remain. Let us count those young individuals as trash, and step over them. Only ask Heaven why you were made with a man’s heart, and a female form, and those creatures with beards were made as bewitchingly nervous?"

    A Confederate Girl's Diary, by Sarah Morgan Dawson

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    Default Re: 150 years ago today

    .................................................. .................................................. ...................................HEADQUARTERS,
    .................................................. .................................................. ...................................July 31, 1862.
    General H. A. WISE,
    Commanding, &c.:

    GENERAL: It is not worth while to continue the work on the dikes. I am quite satisfied we can accomplish nothing by it. I wish you would give notice to your neighbors that they must try and get their wheat crops in. If we should have to give up their grounds, we must have the wheat destroyed rather than allow it to fall into their hands. We have rumors that the enemy is drawing off his forces, but have not been able to learn anything definite.

    Very respectfully,

    .........J. LONGSTREET,

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



    Official Records, Series I, Vol. 51, Part 2, Ch. LXIII, p. 602.

    On July 28, Longstreet had hatched a plan to divert the water flow in James River to create a new channel in which the water level would be insufficient for some time so as to stop Union gunboats from passing up river to threaten Richmond. Fortunately common sense set in relatively quickly and Longstreet abandoned the plan

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    Default Re: 150 years ago today

    The Southern reaction to the kind of war that the North was beginning to wage. The spark that ignited this conflagration was the series of orders flowing from the pen of Union General John Pope. It hadn't helped that Butler had taken the steps he had against the citizens of New Orleans.

    Recently arrived from the West, General Pope decided that Stonewall Jackson’s complete and utter victory in the Shenandoah Valley happened for two apparent reasons. First, the Union forces were not unified. Second, the citizens of the Shenandoah aided in his campaign. Gasp. What a surprise; Virginians supported their own husbands, fathers, brothers and sons against invading armies. Pope's insight was dazzling. The first was quickly dealt with by establishing Pope’s Union Army of Virginia. The second was a decision, agreed to by President Lincoln, to take the war to the people.

    From now on, any and all property of the Confederate citizenry could be commandeered (with a receipt payable at the end of the war; okay). Hitting closer to home, however, was Pope’s decision to not distinguish between a Confederate partisan and a civilian. Pope decreed that if one of his men were fired upon from the vicinity of a house, the house would be destroyed, and whomever did the firing would be shot immediately; the second aspect was fair enough. Some, like Stonewall Jackson, saw it as brutal, but were prepared to fight a brutal war anyway, if that would end the war sooner. Others, like Confederate President Jefferson Davis, interpreted it as “a campaign of indiscriminate robbery and murder.”

    Pope’s orders, wrote Davis, direct “the murder of our peaceful inhabitants as spies, if found quietly tilling the farms in his rear, even outside of his lines.” Davis, in a July 31 open letter, also mentioned General Adolph von Steinwehr, who commanded one of Pope’s divisions. Before Pope issued his infamous orders, von Steinwehr took it upon himself to call for the arrest of the five most prominent citizens of Page County, Virginia. “They will share my table and be treated as friends,” declared von Steinwehr, “but, for every one of our soldiers who may be shot by ‘bushwhackers,’ one of these hostages will suffer death, unless the perpetrators of the deed are delivered to me.”

    On August 1, the Confederate government officially addressed these concerns. Of von Steinwehr’s order, the term “bushwhackers” was defined not as unofficial Confederate partisans, but as “the citizens of this Confederacy who had taken up arms to defend their lives and families.” Taking a cue from Davis, Richmond accused the United States of transforming the conflict from a war waged between armed forces to “a campaign of robbery and murder against innocent citizens and peaceful tillers of soil.”

    Recently, Richmond had signed an agreement with Washington to exchange prisoners, the Dix - Hill Cartel (see previous post). Had Richmond known that the Union command were about to change the rules in the middle of the game, they would not have agreed to an exchange. The orders by Pope and von Steinwehr allowed the Confederate government to take the higher ground.

    They would not seek vengeance upon the citizens of the North, just as they would not seek retaliation “on the enlisted men of the army of the United States who may be unwilling instruments of the savage cruelty of their commanders.” Instead, they would seek out this compensation upon the commissioned officers serving under Pope, “who have the power to avoid guilty action by refusing service under a Government which seeks their aid in the perpetration of such infamous barbarities.” If any of these officers were captured, they would not be eligible for exchange. They would be held in close confinement until the offending orders were repealed by the United States.

    “In the event of the murder of any unarmed citizen or inhabitant of this Confederacy,” said Richmond in closing, “it shall be the duty of the commanding General of the forces of this Confederacy to cause immediately to be hung, out of the commissioned officers prisoners as aforesaid, a number equal to the number of our own citizens thus murdered by the enemy.”

    While all of this worried President Davis, there was also something else on his mind. Writing to General Robert E. Lee, he told how a northern newspaper made mention of a few Union Generals who were arming freed slaves. “The newspapers received from the enemy’s country announce as a fact that Major-General Hunter has armed slaves for the murder of their masters,” wrote Davis, “and has thus done all in his power to inaugurate a servile war which is worse than that of the savage, inasmuch as it superadds other horrors to the indiscriminate slaughter of all ages, sexes, and conditions.” Apparently, Davis understood that arming freed slaves was an incredibly bad omen for the South.

    But the Confederate hierarchy weren’t the only ones complaining about the new war policies adopted by Pope and the Union forces. General George B. McClellan, commander of the Union Army of the Potomac, also spoke out against them:

    .................................................. .................................................. ......HEADQUARTERS ARMY OF THE POTOMAC. .................................................. .................................................. ......Berkeley, August 1, 1862
    Major General H. W. HALLECK,
    Commanding U. S. Army:

    MY DEAR GENERAL: Your kind and very welcome letter of the 30th reached me this evening.
    My own experience enables me to appreciate most fully the difficulties and unpleasant features of your position. I have passed through it all and most cordially sympathize with you, for I regard your place, under present circumstances as one of the most unpleasant under the Government. Of one thing, however, you may be sure, and that is of my full and cordial support in all things.

    Had I been consulted as to who was to take my place I would have advised your appointment. So far as you are concerned I feel toward you and shall act precisely as if I had urged you for the place you hold. There is not one particle of feeling or jealousy in my heart toward you. Set you mind perfectly at rest on that score. No one of your old and tried friends will work with you more cordially and more honestly than I shall.

    If we are permitted to do so, I believe that together we can save this unhappy country and bring this war to a comparatively early termination. The doubt in my mind is whether the selfish politicians will allow us to do so. I fear the results of the civil policy inaugurated by recent acts of Congrees and practically enunciated by General Pope in his series of orders to the Army of Virginia.

    It is my opinion that this contest should be conducted by us as a war, and as a war between civilized nations; that our efforts should be directed toward crushing the armed masses of the rebels, not against the people; but that the latter should, so far as military necessities permit, be protected in their constitutional, civil and personal rights.
    I think that he question of slavery should enter into this war solely as a military one; that while we do our best to prevent the rebels from making military uses of their slaves, we should avoid any proclamations of general emancipation, and should protect inoffensive citizens in the possession of that as well as of other kinds of property. If we do not actively protect them in this respect, we should at least avoid taking an active part on the other side, and let other side, and let the negro take care of himself.

    The people of the South should understand that we are not making war upon the institution of slavery, but that if they submit to the Constitution and laws of the Union they will be protected in their constitutional rights of every nature. I think that pillaging and outrages to persons ought not to be tolerated; that private property and persons should enjoy all the protection we can afford them compatible with the necessities of our position. I would have the conduct of the Union troops present a strong contrast with that of the rebel armies, and prove by our action that the Government is, as we profess it to be, being and beneficent; that wherever its power extends protection and security exist for all who do not take an active part against us. Peculiar circumstances may force us to depart from these principles in exceptional cases; but I would have these departures the exceptions, not the rule. I and the army under my command are fighting to restore the Union and the supremacy of its laws, not for revenge. I therefore deprecate and view with infinite dread any policy which tends to render impossible the reconstruction of the Union, and to make this contest simply a useless effusion of blood.

    We need more men. The old regiments of this army should be promptly filled by immediately drafting, if necessary. We should present such an overwhelming force as to make success certain, be able top follow it up, and to convince the people of the South that resistance is useless.

    I know that our ideas as to the concentration of forces agree perfectly. I believe that the principles I have expressed in this letter accord with your own views. I sincerely hope that we do not differ widely.

    You see I have met you in your own spirit of frankness, and I would be glad to have your views on those points, that I may know what I am doing. We must have a full understanding on all points, and I regard the civil or political questions as inseparable from the military in this contest.

    It is unnecessary for me to repeat my objections to the idea of withdrawing this army from its present position. Every day's reflection but serves to strengthen my conviction that the true policy is to re-enforce this army at the earliest possible moment by every available man and to allow it to resume the offensive with the least possible delay.

    I am, general, your sincere friend,

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

    Letter by Jefferson Davis, July 31, 1862, The Rebellion Record—A Diary of American Events, by Frank Moore
    Life and Campaigns of General Robert E. Lee by James Dabney McCabe, National Publishing Company, 1866.
    General Orders No. 54, August 1, 1862. The Rebellion Record—A Diary of American Events, by Frank Moore.
    Jefferson Davis to Robert E. Lee, August 1, 1862. Jefferson Davis: ex-President of the Confederate States of America by Varina Davis, 1890.
    Official Records, Series I, Vol. 11, Part 3, Ch. XXIII, pp. 345 - 346.
    Last edited by DrEdward; 08-02-2012 at 06:33 PM.

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    Default Re: 150 years ago today

    "August 1st.—The month was ushered in by the opening of a cannonade, precisely as the clock struck twelve, on our shipping, from the south side of the river. For a short time the firing was very brisk. It was from some batteries of flying artillery which had taken position during the night. They were soon silenced, but not till after they had killed and wounded a number of our sailors, and done some damage to our shipping."


    Journal of Surgeon Alfred L Castleman.

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    Default Re: 150 years ago today

    .................................................. ..............................................HEADQUARTERS ARMY OF THE POTOMAC.
    .................................................. ..............................................Berkeley, August 1, 1862-8 a.m.

    Firing of night before last killed some 10 men and wounded about 15.

    No harm of the slightest consequence done to the shipping, although several were struck. Sent party across river yesterday to the Cole's house; destroyed it and cut down the timber. Will complete work to-day, and also send party to Coggins'Point, which I will probably occupy. I will attend to your telegraph about pressing at once. Will send Hooker out. Give me Burnside, and I will stir these people up. I need more cavalry; have only 3,700 for duty in cavalry division.

    Adjutant General's Office forgot to send Sykes' commissions as major-general with those of other division commanders; do me the favor to hurry it on.


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

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

    Major General H. W. HALLECK,
    Washington, D. C.


    Official Records, Series I, Vol. 11, Part 1, Ch. XXIII, p. 76.
    Last edited by DrEdward; 08-02-2012 at 06:33 PM.

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    Default Re: 150 years ago today

    Below is the full text of the letter President Davis addressed to Robert E. Lee on this date relative to the treatment of Confederate States of America citizens:

    .................................................. .................................................. ......................RICHMOND,
    .................................................. .................................................. ......................August 1, 1862.

    SIR : On June 29th last, you were instructed by the Secretary of War to make inquiries of the General in command of the United States forces, relative to alleged murders committed on our citizens by officers of the United States army, and the case of William B. Mumford, reported to have been murdered at New Orleans by order of Major General B. F. Butler, and Colonel John Owen, reported to have been murdered in the same manner in Missouri, by order of Major-General Pope, were specially referred to.

    The inquiries thus made by you of Major-General McClellan were referred by that officer to his Government for reply, but no answer has yet been received.

    We have since been credibly informed that numerous other officers of the armies of the United States have, within the Confederacy, been guilty of felonies and capital offences which are punishable by all law human and divine. A few of those best authenticated are brought to your notice.

    The newspapers received from the enemy's country announce as a fact that Major-General Hunter has armed slaves for the murder of their masters, and has thus done all in his power to inaugurate a servile war which is worse than that of the savage, inasmuch as it superadds other horrors to the indiscriminate slaughter of all ages, sexes, and conditions.


    Brigadier-General Phelps is reported to have imitated at New Orleans the example set by General Hunter on the coast of South Carolina.


    Brigadier- General G. N. Fitch is stated in the same journals to have murdered in cold blood two peaceful citizens, because one of his men, while invading our country, was killed by some unknown person defending his home.

    You are now instructed to repeat your inquiry relative to the cases of Mumford and Owen, and further to ask of the Commanding General of the enemy whether the statements in relation to the action of Generals Hunter, Phelps, and Fitch are admitted to be true, and whether the conduct of those Generals is sanctioned by their Government.

    You will further give notice that, in the event of our failure to receive a reply to these inquiries within fifteen days from the delivery of your letter, we shall assume that the alleged facts are true and are sanctioned by the Government of the United States.

    In such event, on that Government will rest the responsibility of the retributive or retaliatory measures which we shall adopt to put an end to the merciless atrocities which now characterize the war waged against us.

    Very respectfully yours, etc.,

    ........JEFFERSON DAVIS.

    GENERAL R. E. LEE,
    Commanding, etc.

    Jefferson Davis to Robert E. Lee, August 1, 1862. Jefferson Davis: ex-President of the Confederate States of America by Varina Davis, 1890.

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    Default Re: 150 years ago today

    On August 1, President Lincoln writes a personal letter to economist John E. Cairnes, of Galway, Ireland, and thanks him for sending a copy of Cairnes's book, The Slave Power. Lincoln writes, "The intelligent sagacity with which your views are conceived, is not less admirable than the generous candor with which they are expressed."

    Letter from Abraham Lincoln to John E. Cairnes, August 1, 1862, Collected Works of Abraham Lincoln.

    Cairnes was most certainly not John Stuart Mill or Favid Ricardo in the world of British economists. But he did manage to have some degree of influence. In 1861, Cairnes was appointed to the professorship of jurisprudence and political economy in Queens College Galway, and in the following year he published his best known work The Slave Power.



    The inherent disadvantages of the employment of slave labour were exposed with fulness and ability. The opinions expressed by Cairnes as to the probable issue of American Civil War were largely verified by the actual course of events. The appearance of the book had some degree of influence on the attitude taken by political economists in England towards the Confederate States of America. It remains among the more important works on the political economy of Southern slavery. When Cairnes characterized Southern slavery as inefficient and backward, his opinions carried enormous weight, earning him applause in the North and castigation in the slave-holding South.
    Last edited by DrEdward; 08-01-2012 at 11:12 PM.

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    Default Re: 150 years ago today

    "August 1 — Early this morning found us striking tents and packing up our all for a general move to eastern Virginia. From all appearances and indications we will bid farewell to the Valley for some time, as the shifting scenes of war seem to center at present in eastern Virginia, and Heaven only knows where the next tragedy will be put on the boards for enactment. When the bugle sounded for forward march we started up the pike, passed through Harrisonburg and Mount Crawford. At the Augusta County line we left the pike, turned to the left, and marched across the country to Weyer’s Cave, where we camped to-night."


    Three Years in the Confederate Horse Artillery by George Michael Neese.

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    Default Re: 150 years ago today

    As an obviously critical event, on August 2, President Lincoln personally address a letter to Secretary of the Navy Gideon Welles regarding "Lieutenant Commander James W. A. Nicholson, now commanding the [ship] Isaac Smith." Lincoln notes, "[Nicholson] wishes to be married, and from evidence now before me, I believe there is a young lady who sympathizes with him in that wish." Lincoln then writes, "Under these circumstances, please allow him the requisite leave of absence, if the public service can safely endure it."

    Abraham Lincoln to Gideon Welles, August 2, 1862, Collected Works of Abraham Lincoln.

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