Page images

were a few instances where the officers exhibited less zeal than their men; some of whom having absented themselves and were found on the Maryland side when their regiments were recalled. As it is pos. sible they may be able to justify their conduct, I forbear to mention their names.

As far as I have been enabled to learn, 1 man was killed by the enemy, 1 shot by mistake, and 1 of the enemy wounded and taken prisoner.

General Lander, whom I presume came as a volunteer on the occasion, received a flesh wound in the leg. These are all the casualties I know of.

It is much to be regretted that circumstances, over which the com. manding general could have no control, prevented the troops assembled on the Maryland side from crossing in time to re-enforce those already over, as I am fully impressed with the belief, from information received through various sources, and where there could be no collusion, the enemy's forces at the time my brigade crossed did not exceed 4,400 at or near Leesburg. If so, in six hours after we reached Virginia the division under your command might have been in possession of it.

J. J. ABERCROMBIE, Brigadier-General, Commanding First Brigade Volunteers. Major-General BANKS, Commanding Division.

No. 16.

Report of Maj. Gen. Nathaniel P. Banks, U. S. Army, of march to re.

enforce General Stone.


Edwards Ferry, October 22, 1861. SIR: I received the order of the commanding general to send General Hamilton's brigade to Poolesville at 4 o'clock yesterday evening, and at 5.30 an order to march to Seneca Mills with the remaining brigades of my division. At 8 o'clock all the troops were in motion except the sick and those left in charge of the camps. General Hamilton reached Poolesville at 10 o'clock, and was placed in position to cover Harrison's Island by General Stone, which position he still holds with his brigade. Harrison's Island is nearly opposite Poolesville, and is important chiefly as it facilitates the passage of the river from either side. The Virginia shore opposite the island is abrupt and rocky, in possession of the enemy, who seem to possess it in some force. The deticiency of materials for forcing a passage has rendered it impossible to do more than protect the troops who occupied it, and who brought to the island the wounded and dead of yesterday. It is, however, less tenable than I represented in my dispatch of this morning. The enemy can shell it from the promi. nent shore they occupy, and dislodge our men, unless it be strongly for. titied and defended. This may be done.

The two brigades en route for Seneca Mills reached their destination at 10 o'clock. At 12 o'clock midnight they received an order from the commanding general to march at once to Poolesville, and taking the river road the head of the column reached Edwards Ferry between 3 and 4 o'clock. marching during the night about 18 miles. The exigency which first required their presence here was probably over before they had received the order to march. The morning presented a different

state of affairs. The point of land made by the intersection of Goose Creek with the Potomac was occupied by some 2,000 of our troops, no demonstration having been made by either side during the night or thus far in the day to disturb the quiet which existed, except to threaten by the enemy the possession of Harrison's Island. It was impossible to execute our order by immediately crossing the river. There were but three boats-one canal-boat and two flats. It would have occupied more than the entire day to have set one division over. General Abercrombie commenced moving his brigade over, and completed it by 12 o'clock. General Williams will follow, but it may be deferred on account of an order received to-day. There are now 4,400 troops on the Virginia shore, a statement of which in detail I inclose.

The suggestion by the commanding general as to the occupation of the ground I think the best that could be made. We can obtain in a day or two boats enough to make the passage of the river perfectly secure and to bridge Goose Creek also. Strong intrenchments can be made, and the occupied point can be defended from the Maryland side as well as on the ground itself. We have about twenty pieces of artillery, and shall have a force of nearly 16,000 men.

Everything is in perfect quiet across the river up to this hour.

I am unable to give an account of the affair of yesterday or its results, which I suppose you have already learned.

With great respect, I am, your obedient servant,

Brigadier-General WILLIAMS,

Major-General, Commanding Division.

Asst. Adjt. Gen., &c., Army of the Potomac.

No. 17.

Reports of Francis L. Buxton, U. S. Secret Service, of the Confederate forces at Leesburg, &c.

October 25, 1861.

COLONEL: I have just arrived here, and to begin at the end of my journey I will first say to you that there are no troops north of Leesburg except Home Guards and pickets. The Mississippi regiment which was at Winchester joined the force at Leesburg on the very morning of the day on which the engagement took place between Leesburg and the Potomac. The force at Leesburg remains at the numbers I last stated to you, viz, 11,000, with the addition of the Mississippi regiment just attached, 750 strong, and two regiments which were out on picket duty-one Mississippi and one Virginia. Each numbers about 600 men. The numbers are therefore now:

Sixteen regiments....

One regiment.....

Two regiments............................

Total force now at Leesburg (on Sunday, yesterday)..................................

11, 000

750 1,200


I have been thus particular on account of rumors in the neighborhood that there were 50,000 men at Leesburg. This I pledge you my life is not the case. I was distressed beyond measure in coming through Virginia to hear the jubilant tone of the Army. They have the most

exaggerated reports; people really believe that 10,000 Union men were opposed to 4,000 rebels, and that the latter almost massacred them. I am very glad to learn that it is not so bad as was at first supposed. Poor Baker must have been very rash to rush with his small force into the jaws of 7,000 men.

I wish to inform you, colonel, of what I know from an undoubted source, that signals were made from the Maryland shore when the first boat crossed, which enabled the rascals to be ready for just what they are waiting for, to entrap a small force at a disadvantage. This is their only object and policy at Leesburg. Had 20,000 men been quickly transported across the river and made a simultaneous advance, they would not have fought there. I dare not disguise from you the fact that their generals have made great capital out of this engagement, and have to some extent succeeded in creating enthusiasm among the men. They are erecting earthworks about a mile and a half south of Leesburg near the railway, and another in the woods about a mile to the west of it, but at present there are no guns there. I think they are to cover a retreat if one is necessary.

The army at Manassas and forward to Centreville is neither diminished nor augmented, except that two regiments have been removed from Fredericksburg to Gainesville. They say they have invincible batteries on the lower Potomac, but evidently do not believe it themselves, as they continually fear an attack from that direction. Two batteries have recently been erected on James River; one is at a point commanding the river and a creek near Williamsburg, the other I cannot find out, but free negroes have been compelled to go from Richmond to work on them, and some guns have been sent there. Some free negroes who pleaded other employment were told that they would be sold and sent farther South if they did not go.

I meant to have said, in connection with Leesburg, that they give the list of 60 officers as having been killed there.

The general belief in Richmond is that the fleet at Old Point Comfort is bound for Galveston, and some information has reached Mr. Davis that there is no doubt of it. What action he has taken I am unable to say; but no troops have left Manassas, and, except some stray companies, there are none in Richmond to send.

There are preparations making at Norfolk to run the blockade as soon as the fleet leaves there. A large ship, the name of which I forget, is said to be ready for sea. I know not whether the information is of any value, but I can assure you beyond a doubt that there is no force above the hill about a mile north of Leesburg, and will reiterate that I am quite certain that the numbers stated at Leesburg are, strictly speaking, correct.

I shall return to-morrow morning to Leesburg; hope to get away before daylight. I have drawn upon General Banks for some money ($125), having none, which you will please refund. If I get any important information within two or three days I shall return here and come to Washington. I do not believe the rebels have any plan of attack whatever, but are simply waiting (Micawber-like) for something to turn up. They are certainly in better spirits than they were two weeks ago and better off for provisions. It is openly boasted at Manassas that they have Confederates in the United States Army, but in such a way as would lead one to suppose that it is mere braggadocio.

With great respect, I am, colonel, your obedient servant,

Colonel MARCY, Headquarters Army of the Potomac.


POINT OF ROCKS, October 28, 1861.

GENERAL: I beg you to send this report to Colonel Marcy. I am deeply grieved at General Stone's disaster. It was only ten days ago, a day or two before it happened, that General McClellan had positive information from me, via Fort Monroe, that there were 11,000 men still at Leesburg. It would therefore seem he (Stone) must have acted without proper information.

They have been waiting there for no other purpose than to catch a small party at a disadvantage.

I am, general, your most obedient servant,

Major-General BANKS.


No. 18.

Brig. Gen. Charles P. Stone's letter to Hon. Benjamin F. Wade, chairman of Joint Committee on the Conduct of the War.

WASHINGTON, D. C., March 6, 1863.

SIR: During my recent examination (27th ultimo) you asked me the question, "Who arrested you?" My answer was loug, and referred to a number of papers which I had not with me. As my answer indicated, I am yet in doubt as to whom the responsibility of the arrest attaches; but I inclose copies of such papers (ten in number) as are now in my possession, and respectfully place them at the disposition of the honorable the committee.

Very respectfully, I am, sir, your most obedient servant,




Washington City, D. C., January 28, 1862.

Ordered, That the general commanding be, and is hereby, directed to relieve Brig. Gen. C. P. Stone from command of his division in the Army of the Potomac forthwith, and that he be placed in arrest and kept in close custody until further orders.

Secretary of War.

Washington, February 8, 1862.

GENERAL: You will please at once arrest Brig. Gen. Charles P. Stone, U. S. volunteers, and retain him in close custody, sending him under suitable escort by the first train to Fort Lafayette, where he will be placed in charge of the commanding officer. See that he has no communication with any one from the time of his arrest.

Very respectfully, yours,


Brig. Gen. ANDREW PORTER, Provost-Marshal.


Washington, February 8, 1862. SIR: This will be handed to you by the officer sent in charge of Brig. Gen. Charles P. Stone, who is under close arrest.

You will please confine General Stone in Fort Lafayette, allowing him the comforts due his rank, and allowing him no communication with any one by letter or otherwise, except under the usual supervision.



WASHINGTON, D. C., February 9, 1862. GENERAL: This morning about 1 o'clock I was arrested by Brigadier-General Sykes, commanding city guard, and made a close prisoner by order, as I was informed, of the Major-General Commanding-in-Chief.

Conscious of being and having been at all times a faithful soldier of the United States, I most respectfully request that I may be furnished, at as early a moment as practicable, with a copy of whatever charges may have been preferred against me and the opportunity of promptly meeting them. Very respectfully, I am, general, your most obedient servant,


Brigadier-General. Brig. Gen. S. WILLIAMS,

Assistant Adjutant-General, Hdqrs. Army of the Potomac.


April 5, 1862. COLONEL : I respectfully request of you a copy of the order by au. thority of which, on the 10th of February last, I was confined in Fort Lafayette. Very respectfully, I am, colonel, your most obedient servant,


Brigadier-General. Lieut. Col. MARTIN BURKE, Fort Hamilton.

P. S.-I would also request copies of any letters which have passed between any authority in Washington and yourself relating to the nature and place of my confinement since that date.


September 7, 1862. Sir: I have been applied to by General Stone for permission to serve with the Army during the impending movements, even if only as a spectator.

I have no doubt as to the loyalty and devotion of General Stone, but am unwilling to use his services unless I know that it meets the approval of Government.

I not only have no objection to his employment in this army, but, more than that, would be glad to avail myself of his services as soon as circumstances permit. Very truly, yours,


Major-Gencral. Hon. E. M. STANTON, Secretary of War.

« PreviousContinue »