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their own operations invariably are. Allan and Hotchkiss wrote with only the Richmond records before them, in addition to such information from the Federal standpoint as may be found in general orders, the evidence given before the Committee on the Conduct of the War, and newspaper correspondence. At that time many of the Federal reports were not to be had: such as were at the War Department were hardly accessible. Reports had been duly made by all superior officers engaged in and surviving this campaign, excepting only the general in command; but, strange to say, not only did Gen. Hooker refrain from making a report, but he retained in his personal possession many of the records of the Army of the Potomac covering the period of his command, and it is only since his death that these records have been in part recovered by the Secretary of War. Some are still missing, but they probably contain no important matter not fully given elsewhere.
Although Hooker testified before the Committee on the Conduct of the War: "Without an exception I forwarded to that office ” — the War Department — “all the reports and returns and information concerning the army, and furnished them promptly, and, as I think, as no other army commander has done,” his memory had at the moment played him traitor, for a considerable part of these records were not disposed of as stated. It should be remarked, however, that Hooker is not singular in this leaning towards the meum in the matter of records.
The sources relied on for the facts herein given are the reports of the officers engaged, both Federal and Confederate, added to many private notes, memoranda, and maps, made by them; the testimony before the Committee on the Conduct of the War, which included Hooker's examination ; and the maps made by the Engineer Department of the United-States Army, and those of Capt. Hotchkiss.
This latter officer was the topographical engineer of the Second Corps of the Army of Northern Virginia, and made his surveys by order of Gen. Lee immediately after the campaign. They are of the greatest assistance and value.
Eighteen years have elapsed since North and South crossed swords upon this memorable field; and it would seem that all Americans can now contemplate with unruffled heart the errors under which “ the Army of the Potomac was here beaten without ever being fought,” as well as boast with equal pride, not only of the abundant courage displayed by either side, but of the calm skill with which Gen. Lee wrested victory from a situation desperately compromised, and of the genius of that greatest of his lieutenants, Thomas J. Jackson, who here sealed with his blood his fidelity to the cause he loved so well.
It has been said that this campaign furnishes as much material for the psychological as for the military student. And certainly nothing less than a careful analysis of Hooker's character can explain the abnormal condition into which his mental and physical energy sank during the second act of this drama. He began with really masterly moves, speedily placing his wary adversary at the saddest disadvantage. But, having attained this height, his power seemed to pass away as from an overtasked mind. With twice the weight of arm, and as keen a blade, he appeared quite unable to parry a single lunge of Lee's, quite unable to thrust himself. He allowed his corps commanders to be beaten in detail, with no apparent effort to aid them from his abundant resources, the while his opponent was demanding from every man in his command the last ounce of his strength. And he finally retired, dazed and weary, across the river he had so ably and boastingly placed behind him ten days before, against the opinion of nearly all his subordinates ; for in this case the conditions were so plain that even an informal council of war advised a fight.
With character-study, however, this sketch has nothing to do. It is confined to describing events, and suggesting queries for the curious in military history.
CONDITION OF THE COMBATANTS.
HE first two years of civil strife had closed. The
American people, which so far had shown more aptness at learning than skill in waging war, may be said to have passed through its apprenticeship in arms. The broad plan of operations, intelligently but rudely conceived at the outset by the greater spirits among our commanders, began to be more clearly grasped. The political strategy of both contestants made Virginia the field on which the left wing of the Federal armies pivoted, while the right swung farther and farther south and east, and the Confederates gallantly struggled for every foot of territory, yielding only to the inexorable.
This right wing had already possession of the Mississippi as far south as Vicksburg, around which place Grant was preparing to tighten his coils; it had occupied the line of the Tennessee River, and had rendered useless to the Confederates the railroad from Memphis to Chattanooga, which had been the great central artery between Richmond and the trans-Mississippi States. The Southern partisans, with Morgan and Forrest as typical chiefs, had up to this period played, in the West especially, a very important part. They as much exceeded our cavalry in enterprise as they had advantage over it in knowledge of the country and in assistance from its population. They had on more than one occasion tapped the too long and slender lines of operation of our foremost armies. They had sent Grant to the right-about from his first march on Vicksburg, thus neutralizing Sherman's attempt at Chickasaw Bayou. They had compelled Buell to forfeit his hardlyearned footing, and to fall back from the Tennessee River to Louisville at the double-quick in order to beat Bragg in the race towards the gate of the Northern States, which disaster was happily soon retrieved by the latter's bloody check before Murfreesborough. Yet, despite these back-sets, the general course of events showed that Providence remained on the side of the heaviest battalions; and the spring of 1863 saw our armies extended from the pivot midway between the rival capitals in a more or less irregular line, and interrupted by the Alleghany Mountains, to Vicksburg and the Father of Waters.
Great as was the importance of success in Virginia, the Confederates had appreciated the fact as had not the political soldiers at the head of the Federal department of war.
Our resources always enabled us to keep more men, and more and better material, on this battle-ground, than the Confederates could do; but this strength was constantly offset by the ability of the Southern generals, and their independence of action, as opposed to the frequent unskilfulness of ours, who were not only never long in command, but were then tied hand and foot to some ideal plan for insuring the safety of Washington. The