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Being again assailed, in position described, by an overwhelming force, and not being able longer to hold the ground against the enemy, I ordered the division to fall back to the line occupied by General Hurlbut, and at 9.05 a.m. reformed to the right of General Hurlbut, and to the left of Brig. Gen. W. H. L. Wallace, who I found in command of the division assigned to Major-General Smith. At this point the Twentythird Missouri Infantry, commanded by Colonel Tindall, which had just disembarked from a transport, and had been ordered to report to me as a part of the Sixth Division, joined me. This regiment I immediately assigned to position on the left. My battery (Fifth Ohio) was posted to the right on the road.
At about 10 o'clock my line was again assailed, and finding my command greatly reduced by reason of casualties and because of the falling back of many of the men to the river, they being panic-stricken majority of them having now for the first time been exposed to fire communicated with General W. H. L. Wallace, who sent to my assistance the Eighth Iowa Infantry, commanded by Col. J. L. Geddes.
After having once driven the enemy back from this position Maj. Gen. U. S. Grant appeared upon the field. I exhibited to him the disposition of my entire force, which disposition received his commendation, and I received my final orders, which were to maintain that position at all hazards. This position I did maintain until 4 o'clock p.m., when General Hurlbut, being overpowered, was forced to retire. I was then compelled to change front with the Twenty-third Missouri, Twenty-first Missouri, Eighteenth Wisconsin, Eighteenth Missouri, and part of the Twelfth Michigan, occupying a portion of the ground vacated by General Hurlbut. I was in constant communication with Generals Hurlbut and Wallace during the day, and both of them were aware of the importance of holding our position until night. When the gallant Hurlbut was forced to retire General Wallace and myself consulted, and agreed to hold our positions at all hazards, believing that we could thus save the army from destruction; we having been now informed for the first time that all others had fallen back to the vicinity of the river. A few minutes after General W. H. L. Wallace received the wound of which he shortly afterwards died. Upon the fall of General Wallace, his division, excepting the Eighth Iowa, Colonel Geddes, acting with me, and the Fourteenth Iowa, Colonel Shaw; Twelfth Iowa, Colonel Woods, and Fifty-eighth Illinois, Colonel Lynch, retired from the field.
Perceiving that I was about to be surrounded, and having dispatched
my aide, Lieut. Edwin Moore, for re-enforcements, I determined to assail the enemy, which had passed between me and the river, charging upon him with my entire force. I found him advancing in mass, completely encircling my command, and nothing was left but to harass him and retard his progress so long as might be possible. This I did until 5.30 p.m., when, finding that further resistance must result in the slaughter of every man in the command, I had to yield the fight. The enemy succeeded in capturing myself and 2,200 rank and file, many of them being wounded.
The War of the Rebellion: Official Records of the Union and Confederate Armies, First Series (Washington, 1884), X, pt. i, 278–279.
III. Passing the Forts at New Orleans (1862)
BY CAPTAIN THEODORUS BAILEY
Bailey was a naval officer of long experience, having been appointed a midshipman in 1818. He was Farragut's second in command in the great naval conflict below New Orleans during the Civil War, and in the little gunboat Cayuga led the line of battle, Farragut's column being behind Bailey's. This extract is from Bailey's official report to the secretary of the navy.— Bibliography: A. T. Mahan, The Gulf and Inland Waters, ch. iii; J. F. Rhodes, History of the United States, III, 629, note; Channing and Hart, Guide, § 210.
HAT brave, resolute, and indefatigable officer, Commander D.D. Porter, was at work with his mortar fleet, throwing shells at and into Fort Jackson, while General Butler, with a division of his army, in transports, was waiting a favorable moment to land. After the mortar fleet had been playing upon the forts for six days and nights, (without perceptibly diminishing their fire,) and one or two changes of programme, Flag-Officer Farragut formed the ships into two columns, "line ahead ;' the column of the red, under my orders, being formed on the right, and consisting of the Cayuga, Lieutenant Commanding Harrison, bearing my flag, and leading the Pensacola, Captain Morris; the Mississippi, Commander M. Smith; Oneida, Commander S. P. Lee; Varuna, Commander C. S. Boggs; Katahdin, Lieutenant Commanding Preble; Kineo, Lieutenant Commanding Ransom; and the Wissahickon, Lieutenant Commanding A. N. Smith. The column of the blue was formed on the left, heading up the river, and consisted of the flag-ship Hartford, Commander R. Wainwright, and bearing the flag of the commander-in-chief, Farragut ;
the Brooklyn, Captain T. T. Craven; the Richmond, Commander Alden; the Sciota, bearing the divisional flag of Fleet-Captain H. H. Bell; followed by the Iroquois, Itasca, Winona, and Kennebec.
At 2 a.m. on the morning of the 24th [April] the signal "to advance was thrown out from the flag-ship. The Cayuga immediately weighed anchor and led on the column. We were discovered at the boom, and, a little beyond, both forts opened their fire. When close up with St. Philip we opened with grape and canister, still steering on. After passing this line of fire, we encountered the "Montgomery flotilla," consisting of eighteen gunboats, including the ram Manassas and iron battery Louisiana, of twenty guns.
This was a moment of anxiety, as no supporting ship was in sight. By skilful steering, however, we avoided their attempts to butt and board, and had succeeded in forcing the surrender of three, when the Varuna, Captain Boggs, and Oneida, Captain Lee, were discovered near at hand. The gallant exploits of these ships will be made known by their commanders. At early dawn discovered a rebel camp on the right bank of the river. Ordering Lieutenant Commanding N. B. Harrison to anchor close alongside, I hailed and ordered the colonel to pile up his arms on the river bank and come on board. This proved to be the Chalmette regiment, commanded by Colonel Szymanski. The regimental flag, tents, and camp equipage were captured.
On the morning of the 25th, still leading, and considerably ahead of the line, the Chalmette batteries, situated three miles below the city, opened a cross fire on the Cayuga. To this we responded with our two guns. At the end of twenty minutes the flag-ship ranged up ahead and silenced the enemy's guns.
From this point no other obstacles were encountered, except burning steamers, cotton ships, fire rafts, and the like. Immediately after anchoring in front of the city I was ordered on shore by the flag-officer to demand the surrender of the city, and that the flag should be hoisted on the post office, custom-house, and mint. . . .
... On the 28th General Butler landed above Fort St. Philip, under the guns of the Mississippi and Kineo. This landing of the army above, together with the passage of the fleet, appears to have put the finishing touch to the demoralization of their garrisons, (300 having mutinied in Fort Jackson.) Both forts surrendered to Commander Porter, who was
near at hand with the vessels of his flotilla.
As I left the river General Butler had garrisoned Forts Jackson and
St. Philip, and his transports, with troops, were on their way to occupy New Orleans.
I cannot too strongly express my admiration of the cool and able management of all the vessels of my line by their respective captains. After we had passed the forts it was a contest between iron hearts in wooden vessels and iron-clads with iron beaks, and the "iron hearts"
House Executive Documents, 37 Cong., 3 sess. (Washington, 1862), III, No. 1, pp. 289-290 passim.
112. Peninsular Campaign (1862)
BY MAJOR-GENERAL GEORGE BRINTON MCCLELLAN
McClellan became commander of the Army of the Potomac after the battle of Bull Run. His powers of organization were great, and he slowly brought the chaotic mass of men around Washington into an orderly, well-trained, and well-disciplined army. But his ability in the field was not equal to his opportunity; for his overcaution, tardiness, and proneness to magnify the enemy's force handicapped him in an advance against Lee, and there was a mutual lack of confidence between him and the administration. These extracts, except the letter to Stanton, which is here inserted in its chronological order, are taken from private letters and telegrams to his wife. For McClellan, see G. S. Hillard, Life and Campaigns of G. B. McClellan. Bibliography: A. S. Webb, The Peninsula, passim; J. C. Ropes, Story of the Civil War, II, vii-xii; Channing and Hart, Guide, § 210.
UNE 15, 10.15 P.M., Camp Lincoln. . . . The chances now are that I will make the first advance on Tuesday or Wednesday. By that time I think the ground will be fit for the movements of artillery and that all our bridges will be completed. I think the rebels will make a desperate fight, but I feel sure that we will gain our point. Look on the maps I sent you a day or two ago, and find "Old Tavern," on the road from New bridge to Richmond; it is in that vicinity that the next battle will be fought. I think that they see it in that light, and that they are fully prepared to make a desperate resistance. I shall make the first battle mainly an artillery combat. As soon as I gain possession of the "Old Tavern" I will push them in upon Richmond and behind their works; then I will bring up my heavy guns, shell the city, and carry it by assault. I speak very confidently, but if you could see the faces of the troops as I ride among them you would share my confidence. They do anything I tell them to do. . . .
22, [Trent's House]. . . . By an arrival from Washington to-day
I learn that Stanton and Chase have fallen out; that McDowell has deserted his friend C. and taken to S.! Alas! poor country that should have such rulers. I tremble for my country when I think of these things; but still can trust that God in His infinite wisdom will not punish us as we deserve, but will in His own good time bring order out of chaos and restore peace to this unhappy country. His will be done, whatever it may be! I am as anxious as any human being can be to finish this war. Yet when I see such insane folly behind me I feel that the final salvation of the country demands the utmost prudence on my part, and that I must not run the slightest risk of disaster, for if anything happened. to this army our cause would be lost. I got up some heavy guns to-day, and hope to give secesh a preliminary pounding to-morrow and to make one good step next day. The rascals are very strong, and outnumber me very considerably; they are well entrenched also, and have all the advantages of position, so I must be prudent; but I will yet succeed, notwithstanding all they do and leave undone in Washington to prevent it. I would not have on my conscience what those men have for all the world.
McClellan's Headquarters, June 27.-Have had a terrible fight against vastly superior numbers. Have generally held our own, and we may thank God that the Army of the Potomac has not lost its honor. It is impossible as yet to tell what the result is.
.. McClellan's Headquarters, June 28. . . . bered us everywhere, but we have not lost our honor. magnificently. I thank my friends in Washington for our repulse. . . .
They have outnum-
HEADQUARTERS, ARMY OF THE POTOMAC, SAVAGE'S STATION, June 28, 1862, 12.20 A.M.
Hon. E. M. Stanton, Secretary of War:
I now know the full history of the day. On this side of the river (the right bank) we repulsed several strong attacks. On the left bank our men did all that men could do, all that soldiers could accomplish, but they were overwhelmed by vastly superior numbers, even after I brought my last reserves into action. The loss on both sides is terrible. I believe it will prove to be the most desperate battle of the war. The sad remnants of my men behave as men. Those battalions who fought most bravely and suffered most are still in the best order. My regulars were superb, and I count upon what are left to turn another battle in company with their gallant comrades of the volunteers. Had I twenty