Tuesday, September 5, 2017


The Coldstream Guards are the oldest regiment in the British Army. Originally organized as a part of Oliver Cromwell's New Model Army, they were the only unit of that army to swear allegiance to the Crown upon the restoration of the Monarchy. Since that time they have seen action in every major war fought by the English, from the American Revolution to the Iraq War. The Duke of Wellington credited them with saving the day at the Battle of Waterloo with their stubborn defense of Hougoumont. It is safe to say that they have a long tradition as an elite fighting unit.

During the Civil War, Lt.Col. Arthur Fremantle of the Coldstream Guards toured the Confederacy as an observer of military maneuvers and battles. Coming away impressed by what he had seen, he published the diary he kept during his visit, Three Months in the Southern States. In his book, he gives a striking eyewitness account of the Battle of Gettysburg. Here is what he wrote about what he saw of Pickett's Charge:

3d July (Friday).--At 6 A.M. I rode to the field with Colonel Manning, and went over that portion of the ground which, after a fierce contest, had been won from the enemy yesterday evening. The dead were being buried, but great numbers were still lying about; also many mortally wounded, for whom nothing could be done. Amongst the latter were a number of Yankees dressed in bad imitations of the Zouave costume. They opened their glazed eyes as I rode past in a painfully imploring manner.

We joined Generals Lee and Longstreet's Staff; they were reconnoitering and making preparations for renewing the attack. As we formed a pretty large party, we often drew upon ourselves the attention of the hostile sharpshooters, and were two or three times favoured with a shell. One of these shells set a brick building on fire which was situated between the lines. This building was filled with wounded, principally Yankees, who, I am afraid, must have perished miserably in the flames. Colonel Sorrell had been slightly wounded yesterday, but still did duty. Major Walton's horse was killed, but there were no other casualties amongst my particular friends.

The plan of yesterday's attack seems to have been very simple--first a heavy cannonade all along the line, followed by an advance of Longstreet's two divisions and part of Hill's corps. In consequence of the enemy's having been driven back some distance, Longstreet's corps (part of it) was in a much more forward situation than yesterday. But the range of heights to be gained was still most formidable, and evidently strongly intrenched. 

The distance between the Confederate guns and the Yankee position--i.e., between the woods crowning the opposite ridges--was at least a mile,--quite open, gently undulating, and exposed to artillery the whole distance. This was the ground which had to be crossed in to-day's attack. Pickett's division, which had just come up, was to bear the brunt in Longstreet's attack, together with Heth and Pettigrew in Hill's corps. Pickett's division was a weak one (under 5000), owing to the absence of two brigades.

At noon all Longstreet's dispositions were made; his troops for attack were deployed into line, and lying down in the woods; his batteries were ready to open. The General then dismounted and went to sleep for a short time. The Austrian officer and I now rode off to get, if possible, into some commanding position from whence we could see the whole thing without being exposed to the tremendous fire which was about to commence. After riding about for half an hour without being able to discover so desirable a situation, we determined to make for the cupola, near Gettysburg, Ewell's headquarters. Just before we reached the entrance to the town, the cannonade opened with a fury which surpassed even that of yesterday. 

Soon after passing through the toll-gate at the entrance of Gettysburg, we found that we had got into a heavy cross-fire; shells both Federal and Confederate passing over our heads with great frequency. At length two shrapnel shells burst quite close to us, and a ball from one of them hit the officer who was conducting us. We then turned round and changed our views with regard to the cupola--the fire of one side being bad enough, but preferable to that of both sides. A small boy of twelve years was riding with us at the time: this urchin took a diabolical interest in the bursting of the shells, and screamed with delight when he saw them take effect. I never saw this boy again, or found out who he was. The road at Gettysburg was lined with Yankee dead, and as they had been killed on the 1st, the poor fellows had already begun to be very offensive. We then returned to the hill I was on yesterday. But finding that, to see the actual fighting, it was absolutely necessary to go into the thick of the thing, I determined to make my way to General Longstreet. It was then about 2.30. After passing General Lee and his Staff, I rode on through the woods in the direction in which I had left Longstreet. I soon began to meet many wounded men returning from the front; many of them asked in piteous tones the way to a doctor or an ambulance. The further I got, the greater became the number of the wounded. At last I came to a perfect stream of them flocking through the woods in numbers as great as the crowd in Oxford Street in the middle of the day. Some were walking alone on crutches composed of two rifles, others were supported by men less badly wounded than themselves, and others were carried on stretchers by the ambulance corps; but in no case did I see a sound man helping the wounded to the rear, unless he carried the red badge of the ambulance corps. They were still under a heavy fire; the shells were continually bringing down great limbs of trees, and carrying further destruction amongst this melancholy procession. I saw all this in much less time than it takes to write it, and although astonished to meet such vast numbers of wounded, I had not seen enough to give me any idea of the real extent of the mischief.

When I got close up to General Longstreet, I saw one of his regiments advancing through the woods in good order; so, thinking I was just in time to see the attack, I remarked to the General that "I wouldn't have missed this for anything." Longstreet was seated at the top of a snake fence at the edge of the wood, and looking perfectly calm and imperturbed. He replied, laughing, "The devil you wouldn't! I would like to have missed it very much; we've attacked and been repulsed: look there!" 

For the first time I then had a view of the open space between the two positions, and saw it covered with Confederates slowly and sulkily returning towards us in small broken parties, under a heavy fire of artillery. But the fire where we were was not so bad as further to the rear; for although the air seemed alive with shell, yet the greater number burst behind us. 

The General told me that Pickett's division had succeeded in carrying the enemy's position and capturing his guns, but after remaining there twenty minutes, it had been forced to retire, on the retreat of Heth and Pettigrew on its left. No person could have been more calm or self-possessed than General Longstreet under these trying circumstances, aggravated as they now were by the movements of the enemy, who began to show a strong disposition to advance. I could now thoroughly appreciate the term bulldog, which I had heard applied to him by the soldiers. Difficulties seem to make no other impression upon him than to make him a little more savage. 

Major Walton was the only officer with him when I came up--all the rest had been put into the charge. In a few minutes Major Latrobe arrived on foot, carrying his saddle, having just had his horse killed. Colonel Sorrell was also in the same predicament, and Captain Goree's horse was wounded in the mouth. 

The General was making the best arrangements in his power to resist the threatened advance, by advancing some artillery, rallying the stragglers, &c. I remember seeing a General (Pettigrew, I think it was)[footnote: This officer was afterwards killed at the passage of the Potomac.] come up to him, and report that "he was unable to bring his men up again." Longstreet turned upon him and replied with some sarcasm, "Very well; never mind, then, General; just let them remain where they are: the enemy's going to advance, and will spare you the trouble." 

He asked for something to drink: I gave him some rum out of my silver flask, which I begged he would keep in remembrance of the occasion; he smiled, and, to my great satisfaction, accepted the memorial. He then went off to give some orders to McLaws's division. Soon afterwards I joined General Lee, who had in the meanwhile come to that part of the field on becoming aware of the disaster. If Longstreet's conduct was admirable, that of General Lee was perfectly sublime. He was engaged in rallying and in encouraging the broken troops, and was riding about a little in front of the wood, quite alone--the whole of his Staff being engaged in a similar manner further to the rear. His face, which is always placid and cheerful, did not show signs of the slightest disappointment, care, or annoyance; and he was addressing to every soldier he met a few words of encouragement, such as, "All this will come right in the end: we'll talk it over afterwards; but, in the mean time, all good men must rally. We want all good and true men just now," &c. He spoke to all the wounded men that passed him, and the slightly wounded he exhorted "to bind up their hurts and take up a musket" in this emergency. Very few failed to answer his appeal, and I saw many badly wounded men take off their hats and cheer him. He said to me, "This has been a sad day for us, Colonel--a sad day; but we can't expect always to gain victories." He was also kind enough to advise me to get into some more sheltered position, as the shells were bursting round us with considerable frequency. 

Notwithstanding the misfortune which had so suddenly befallen him, General Lee seemed to observe everything, however trivial. When a mounted officer began licking his horse for shying at the bursting of a shell, he called out, "Don't whip him, Captain; don't whip him. I've got just such another foolish horse myself, and whipping does no good." 

I happened to see a man lying flat on his face in a small ditch, and I remarked that I didn't think he seemed dead; this drew General Lee's attention to the man, who commenced groaning dismally. Finding appeals to his patriotism of no avail, General Lee had him ignominiously set on his legs by some neighbouring gunners. 

I saw General Willcox (an officer who wears a short round jacket and a battered straw hat) come up to him, and explain; almost crying, the state of his brigade. General Lee immediately shook hands with him and said, cheerfully, "Never mind, General, all this has been MY fault--it is I that have lost this fight, and you must help me out of it in the best way you can." In this manner I saw General Lee encourage and reanimate his somewhat dispirited troops, and magnanimously take upon his own shoulders the whole weight of the repulse. It was impossible to look at him or to listen to him without feeling the strongest admiration, and I never saw any man fail him except the man in the ditch. 

It is difficult to exaggerate the critical state of affairs as they appeared about this time. If the enemy or their general had shown any enterprise, there is no saying what might have happened. General Lee and his officers were evidently fully impressed with a sense of the situation; yet there was much less noise, fuss, or confusion of orders than at an ordinary field-day: the men, as they were rallied in the wood, were brought up in detachments, and lay down quietly and coolly in the positions assigned to them. 

We heard that Generals Garnett and Armistead were killed, and General Kemper mortally wounded; also, that Pickett's division had only one field-officer unhurt. Nearly all this slaughter took place in an open space about one mile square, and within one hour.

Monday, August 28, 2017


I wrote in an earlier post about how robust states’ rights were in the antebellum United States, comparing state governors to Chinese Warlords. As an example of what I was talking about, I’d like to share a remarkable incident from the early days of the Civil War.
Fort Sumter had been fired upon; Lincoln had called for the individual states to provide 75,000 volunteers to put down the insurrection; most states had enthusiastically answered the call; but many had not. One of the reluctant states was Missouri, whose citizens had divided loyalties. Missouri Governor Claiborne Fox Jackson had announced a lukewarm allegiance to the Union, but had said that no coercion should be used against the seceding states. A convention which had been called to consider secession voted against it, but resolved that slavery should not be disturbed in peacefully resolving the differences between North and South.
President Lincoln’s call for troops inclined Jackson toward the camp of the secessionists. He denounced Lincoln’s action as a step toward civil war and despotism, said Lincoln would get no troops from Missouri, and asked the legislature to pass a Military Bill putting the state on a war footing and granting him extraordinary military authority. In recognition of Missouri’s “neutrality,” Federal General William Selby Harney, who was in charge of the Department of the West at the time, gave strict orders not to recruit inside the state. The War Department called Harney to Washington for consultation, and Harney left Captain Nathaniel Lyon in charge. Lyon began recruiting volunteers.
While the Military Bill was pending Jackson called out a part of the Missouri Volunteer Militia and had them bivouac outside St. Louis at “Camp Jackson.” Jackson also borrowed two howitzers from Jefferson Davis for use by the militia. When militiamen seized the weapons from the small arsenal in Liberty, Missouri, Lyon secretly moved most of the weapons in the much larger St. Louis Arsenal to Illinois.
Then the Camp Jackson Affair, also known as the Camp Jackson Massacre, occurred. Lyon took his volunteer troops and captured Camp Jackson. As he was marching his prisoners back to the St. Louis Arsenal to parole them. Lyon’s troops were set upon by an angry mob; shots were fired; and 28 protesters were killed. This led to days of rioting and the passage of the  Military Bill.
When Harney returned, the Missouri State Militia had become the Missouri State Guard, and open the possibility of open warfare loomed. Harney met with Major-General Sterling Price of the Missouri State Guard and the two of generals negotiated a cease-fire agreement between the United States of America and one of its own states.  Washington immediately disapproved of the Price-Harney Truce, relieved Harney of command, and promoted Lyon from Captain to Brigadier-General.
Open hostilities broke out and a number of battles were fought between the Missouri State Guard under Sterling Price and Federal forces. Missouri was eventually retained in the Union largely by force of arms, but not before Lyon’s death at the Battle of Wilson’s Creek.

Tuesday, August 22, 2017


Well, I’m continuing to bone up on the Civil War preparatory to writing “Attorney-Generals.” I’ve read approximately 2,000 pages, including Bruce Catton’s Civil War, half of Shelby Foote’s trilogy, Civil War, A Narrative, and several monographs, including James McPherson’s Battle Cry of Freedom  and Clement Anselm Evans’s Outline of Confederate Military History. I’m determined to finish the 1,500 pages left to read in Foote’s trilogy, and then I’ll decide what else must be read before re-embarking on my writing project.

Based on my reading I’ve drawn some very tentative preliminary conclusions, which are subject to change upon the assimilation of further information. My tentative conclusions are as follows:

(1) States’ rights were robust in the antebellum  United States. The governors of the various states were as powerful as Chinese Warlords, and many of them exercised their power to frustrate the efforts of both Jefferson Davis and Abraham Lincoln during the early stages of the war.

(2) Slavery, although it was destined for extinction, was in no immediate danger of being abolished at the outset of the war, and it would probably have survived for the foreseeable future had the war ended in 1861 or 1862.

(3) Absent grievous blunders by the North, the South wasn’t going to win the war unless it (a) strictly curtailed states’ rights, and (b) abolished slavery. Strict curtailment of states’ rights would have made the Confederate war effort 1000% more efficient. Enlistment of slaves into the Confederate Army with the promise of emancipation would have gone far to remedy the severe disparity in manpower between North and South, and would have eliminated the major stumbling block to formal recognition of the Confederacy by England and France. At least two Confederate generals urged the emancipation of slaves who agreed to serve in the Confederate Army—Patrick R. Cleburne, The “Stonewall of the West,” and Robert E. Lee.

(4) Ironically, the South declared its independence to preserve the two things which it had to surrender in order to gain its independence.

(5) Absent grievous blunders by the South, the North wasn’t going to win the war until it (a) strictly curtailed states’ rights, and (b) abolished slavery.

(6) The North won because it (a) strictly curtailed states’ rights, thereby greatly diminishing the individual states’ ability to undermine the war effort, and (b) abolished slavery, thereby forever blocking official recognition of the Confederacy by the European powers.

(7) The North committed enough blunders for the South to win without strictly curtailing states’ rights or abolishing slavery, but the South blundered away its opportunities to capitalize on those blunders.

(8) The South committed enough blunders for the North to win without strictly curtailing states’ rights or abolishing slavery, but the North blundered away its opportunities to capitalize on those blunders.

(9) The most momentous military decision of the war was made by Robert E. Lee when he declined Winfield Scott’s offer to command the Federal forces in the Civil War. Had he accepted the command, his tactical brilliance would have brought the war to a much speedier conclusion with a greatly reduced loss of life. Who can doubt that the First Battle of Bull Run would have been a Union victory had Lee commanded the Federal forces? Who can doubt that the Peninsula Campaign would have resulted in the capture of Richmond if Lee had been at the head of the Army of the Potomac?

(10) The Army of Northern Virginia had the best fighters in the war, but the Army of the Potomac had the best soldiers. Major-General J.F.C. Fuller summed up the Confederate soldier quite well when he wrote “Except for his lack of discipline, the Confederate soldier was probably the finest individual fighter the world has ever seen…. In battle the Confederate fought like a Berserker: out of battle he ceased to be a soldier.” Grant and Lee: A Study in Personality and Generalship, pp. 52, 56. As for the Federal soldiers of the Army of the Potomac, has any army ever endured such a lengthy string of ignominious defeats as did the Army of the Potomac without completely disintegrating? With their iron discipline and resolute determination to endure all hardship, the soldiers of the Army of the Potomac could have marched to victory after victory had they not been saddled with such a procession of mediocre generals.

Monday, August 21, 2017



[This brief sketch is abridged from the Dictionary of American Biography, 6:196, 197, supplemented by the Confederate Military History, 6:415-417.]

CLEMENT ANSELM EVANS, (Feb. 25, 1833—July 2, 1911), was born in Stewart County, Georgia. He came from a martial family, with ancestors who fought in the American Revolution, the War of 1812, and the Creek Indian War in Georgia. He studied law at William Evans Tracy Gould's law school in Augusta, and  earned his license to practice before He became a judge of the inferior court of Stewart County in 1855, and a member of the Georgia State Senate in 1859. He received his military education in various volunteer militia companies to which he belonged as a youth. As a presidential elector in 1860, he voted for John C. Breckinridge, and immediately after the election, in the expectation of war, helped to organize a local military company. He did not serve in it, however, but enlisted the next spring in the 31st Georgia Infantry, of which he was appointed major, being commissioned Nov. 19, 1861. With the exception of a few months on the defensive lines below Savannah, he served the entire war with the Army of Northern Virginia. His regiment, of which he became colonel in April 1862, was at first in Stonewall Jackson's division and then successively under Jubal Early and James B. Gordon. Evans led his regiment in the Peninsula Campaign, acted as brigade commander at times in 1862, including the latter part of the Battle of Fredericksburg, and commanded his regiment at Gettysburg. Evans was appointed brigadier-general in May 1864, assumed command of Gordon's  brigade and led it in Early's raid against Washington. Upon Gordon’s assignment to command of the Second Army Corps as acting lieutenant-general in November 1864, Evans succeeded Gordon in the command of the division. In this position he served at first on the right of Lee's army at Hatcher's Run, and subsequently in the trenches immediately opposite Petersburg. In the retreat of Lee, his division was in some kind of fighting almost daily, and in the final attack at Appomattox he led it into action, being engaged at the moment of the actual surrender. Notice that negotiations for surrender were in progress had reached neither Evans nor the Union troops opposing him, and Evans had just secured a local success, taking several guns and seventy-eight prisoners, when he received news that the surrender had taken place. General Evans was in nearly all the battles in Virginia, and was five times wounded, twice severely.

At Fredericksburg, in December 1862, he had been very much impressed and depressed by the carnage and suffering which he saw, and he later said that he made up his mind then that if he were allowed to survive the war he would spend the rest of his life trying to teach men how to live together instead of murdering each other. On his thirtieth birthday, Feb. 25, 1863, he resolved to enter the ministry, and after the war, in December 1865, he applied for admission to the North Georgia Conference of the Methodist Episcopal Church, South, and thus began a ministry of more than twenty-five years. While a resident of Augusta, Ga., he ventured into business, organizing the Augusta Real Estate & Improvement Company and the Augusta & Summerville Land Company, and was a director of the Augusta Exposition Company. In 1892 he retired from the ministry, feeling himself unfit for parochial duties because of disability resulting from the five wounds he had received in the war.

All the latter part of his life was spent in Atlanta. Upon the organization of the United Confederate Veterans in 1889, he had been chosen as its "Adjutant General and Chief of Staff," and he continued active in the work of the organization for the rest of his life. For twelve years he was commander of its Georgia division, for three years commander of a department (of seven states), and in 1908 was elected commander-in-chief. He published a Military History of Georgia in 1895, and then undertook the editorship of the Confederate Military History, a work in twelve volumes which appeared in 1899. In addition to editing the series, he contributed two articles, “A Civil History of the Confederacy,” and this monograph, “An Outline of Confederate Military History.” After the completion of this historical work, he interested himself in the movement for the establishment at Richmond of the Confederate Memorial Institute, the museum of history and art popularly known as the "Confederate Battle Abbey." He served as president of the organization until his death. The building was completed and opened some years later. He was co-editor with Allen D. Candler of Georgia, a three-volume work in cyclopedic form, published in 1906. Educational matters always interested him. He was trustee of three colleges, and helped in the establishment of a loan fund association which has assisted many young men in securing an education. He was also in charge of the finances of the Preachers Aid Association and held public office once more, as a member of the State Prison Commission.          


[From Confederate Military History, 12:197-265]

[197] ONLY a broad general view of military operations during the war between the Confederate States of America and the United States of America may be expected in this sketch. The object of the brief story of the great struggle herein told is to simply show the progress of the leading military events which at length determined the fate of the Southern Confederacy. The political aspects of the contention between the great belligerents will receive little notice, it being sufficient to observe that the Confederate States claimed the right to be one of the nations of the earth, and this claim was denied by the United States. Upon this issue war was joined between the two powers, and thereupon foreign nations accorded belligerent rights to both. The details of the struggle have been given by able writers in the various volumes of this general work [The twelve volume Confederate Military History: A Library of Confederate States History, published in 1899 by the Confederate Publishing Company and edited by Evans].


The Confederate government was formed by seven organized States, which, having seceded from the United States by separate action, and thus become each an independent State, proceeded formally, in a congress of delegates, to adopt a constitution for their confederation, under which they proposed to govern themselves. But, previous to this action, each State assumed for itself the sovereign rights and obligations of independent government. All land within any State’s boundaries became its own eminent domain; all the population became subject to its jurisdiction; its laws were supreme and its flag was the symbol of sovereignty. Each State thus became a government which must organize its armies and navies [198] for the defense of its people, as well as enact laws to meet their civic needs.

In compliance with this right and duty South Carolina, the first to secede, began to organize its small army and to seek by treaty the peaceable acquisition of certain forts and arsenals held by the military force of the United States. The other States, Mississippi, Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana and Texas, pursued a similar course, or, despairing of obtaining the consent of the United States, entered into the possession of the forts, arsenals and other government property within their boundaries, with a show of force sometimes, but happily at first without conflict of arms or shedding of blood.

South Carolina declared its independence on the 20th of December, 1860, by a convention of its people, which at the same time authorized the enforcement of its laws by civil process and the organization of a military force for protection against foreign invasion. No military movement, however, occurred in the beginning of this new political order, that indicated hostility to any State or country. But, six days after South Carolina seceded, one unfortunate act of a United States officer inaugurated “the state of war.” Major Robert Anderson, of the United States Army, commanding in the harbor of Charleston and occupying Fort Moultrie, spiked the guns of that fort, destroyed the carriages of the 32-pounders, removed or destroyed the ammunition, and moved his supplies and his garrison abruptly and secretly to join the garrison of Fort Sumter. This very decided hostile movement, by which the commanding officer concentrated his forces at the stronger fort, was unquestionably, in technical definition at least, an act of war, Major Anderson meant it to be so, since he stated as his reason for thus acting that he feared attack, and “if attacked the garrison would never have surrendered without a fight.” The object of the movement was to strengthen his position and prepare to meet his enemy at better advantage. [199] The abandoned fort was therefore promptly occupied by South Carolina troops, and the State also seized such other property as could be taken without bloodshed.

Nearly coincident with this movement of Major Anderson occurred the purchase and equipping of vessels in the New York harbor to carry reinforcements of supplies and troops to Fort Sumter. General Winfield Scott, the commander-in-chief of the United States army, who had constantly insisted on coercive military measures, again urged President [James] Buchanan, on the 30th of December, to send 250 recruits from New York harbor, with extra muskets or rifles, ammunition and subsistence stores to reinforce the fort which Major Anderson now held. The President promptly ordered the reinforcements. The secretaries of war and the navy were immediately instructed, the appropriate orders to Army and Navy officers were issued, and on the 31st day of December, 1860, the measures for an armed reinforcement of Fort Sumter were fully adopted and carried into immediate operation. A few days’ delay unexpectedly ensued, but as quickly as possible, January 5, 1861, the steamer Star of the West left New York for Charleston on a warlike mission with 250 troops and six months’ provisions, and was followed two days later by the warship Brooklyn, Captain [David] Farragut commanding.

The expedition of the Star of the West failed, notwithstanding its well-devised plans, nearly as the circumstances of the failure are related by Lieutenant [Charles R.] Woods, Ninth United States Infantry, commanding the recruits on board. His report shows that on arrival near his destination he steamed up the main channel in Charleston Harbor, and was within 134 miles of Fort Sumter, with his troops hidden from view, when his vessel was fired upon from Morris Island. The Star of the West kept on under the fire of the South Carolina battery, but finding it impossible to take the supplies and his command of infantry into Fort Sumter, Lieutenant [200] Woods reluctantly ordered the ship about, and made his way out of the harbor. Captain [John] McGowan, who commanded the Star of the West, was specially mentioned by Lieutenant Woods for his efforts “to put the troops in Fort Sumter.” This attempt at armed reinforcement occurred on the 9th of January, and is mentioned in connection with the strategy of Major Anderson as another event occurring thus early in the “inauguration of war.” Its special significance appears in the light of the principle already agreed on between the State of South Carolina and Buchanan’s administration, that reinforcement of Fort Sumter in this manner had at least a hostile bearing, equivalent, as South Carolina understood it, to an act of war.

The United States government at this date actively reinforced Forts Pickens, Taylor, Key West and Jefferson, and ordered the withdrawal of several war vessels from foreign stations for the purpose of increasing the home squadron, to be distributed along the Southern coasts. The United States naval force available for aggression was inefficient, but such as could be employed were actively threatening the Southern ports. The activity of the Buchanan administration, notwithstanding the vacillation of the President, was sufficient to withhold from the Southern seceded States many valuable positions, among which may be named the forts on the coasts of Florida, as well as Fort Pickens and Fort Sumter. The Confederate government when formed in February, at Montgomery, found its territory occupied with hostile forces at important points on the Atlantic and Gulf coasts, and the future action of the States on its northern and western borders still a painful uncertainty. The conditions at that time were already warlike.


Before further relating the military events of the Confederate war, a view should be taken of the relative situations [201] of the two great contestants. The expectation of the Confederates was to extend their government over nearly or quite all of the area commonly called the South. The north boundary line of the magnificent country which they designed to cover with the Confederate constitutional government ran westward north of Maryland, Virginia, Kentucky, Missouri and the Indian Territory. South of that long line spread many large States and territories, reaching from the Ohio River to the shores of the Atlantic Ocean and Gulf of Mexico. Fourteen great States and two or three territories lay within these boundaries, occupying a region of great fertility and beauty, with all accessories of climate and water, and all natural facilities for commerce, manufacturing, mining and agriculture. The total area was more than a million square miles; the population intelligent, brave, thrifty and increasing in wealth. Of this population, between five and a half and six millions were of the white race, almost wholly natives; the remainder, four and a half to five millions, were negroes, nearly all slaves.

The people of this fine region were not prepared for war and certainly did not desire it. When the seven States instituted the Confederacy there was no army or navy, except such as each seceded State had hastily gathered. They did not have enough guns and ammunition to fight one battle of respectable proportions, and until other States joined them they had no foundries, no powder mills, nor other manufactories of the munitions of war. They were a peaceable, agricultural and commercial people, who were ready enough to fight on provocation or for their convictions, but they had not expected a war with the Northern States and had made no preparation for that calamity. Under an act of the United States Congress there had been sent to the arsenals of the South in May, 1860, a large number of muskets and rifles, which it has been said armed the Confederacy; but on investigation these were found to be of such little service [202] that the Southern armies were glad to throw them down at Bull Run and elsewhere in order to pick up the better guns which their enemies left on the battlefields. The arms referred to were old percussion muskets, percussion rifles and altered muskets—all old patterns—which Congress gave willingly to any State that would take them. They had been deposited in the Charleston, North Carolina, Augusta, Mount Vernon and Baton Rouge arsenals, and after secession went into possession of the various States. Such of them as could be used were placed temporarily in the hands of troops.

As rapidly as possible the Confederate government made military preparations to meet the invasion of its territory that would probably take place. The seceded States turned over the forts and arsenals within their boundaries to the Confederate government, and each State began with considerable vigor to organize and equip a military force. The Confederate government attempted in the beginning to organize a small army of about 11,000 regulars, infantry, artillery, cavalry, and an engineer corps. Congress authorized [President Jefferson Davis] to call for a volunteer force of 100,000 men, and appropriated the money for its support. But the insignificant numbers put into the field before the first of May showed not only the difficulty of rapidly organizing and equipping a great military force, but also the effect of the uncertainty prevailing at the South as to the purpose of the Federal government. In illustration of the character of the military preparations of these first days of the Confederacy, it may be noted that General [Braxton] Bragg reported his force at Pensacola in March at 1,116, and accompanied his report with an appeal which elicited a promise of 5,000 more. [P.G.T.] Beauregard was then in command of 2,000 at Charleston, and other important stations were manned in the same proportion. These, however, do not comprise the entire military organized in the South, for each State had already called and accepted many companies which [203] were held in readiness to be equipped for the field of battle.

The lack of a navy was not only very apparent, but the difficulty of creating this important means of defense was nearly appalling. Many of the best officers of the United States Navy had resigned and reported at Richmond for active service in the Confederacy. [Josiah] Tattnall, [Franklin] Buchanan, [Paul Jones] Semmes, [H.J.] Hartstene, [George N.] Hollins, [Lawrence] Rousseau, [Duncan N.] Ingraham, [George W.] Randolph and others, who did great service and acquired great fame, were among the accomplished naval officers first assigned to duty by the Navy Department at Montgomery. About 200 officers of the United States Navy, of all grades, resigned their commissions early in 1861, and with a nice sense of honor, not one of them who had charge of a ship brought it into the possession of the Confederacy. What is called the nucleus of the Confederate navy consisted of the few vessels which were seized by the seven States soon after each had seceded, in the aggregate about ten, the most powerful carrying only ten guns. Congress authorized the increase of this little navy by the purchase of ten gunboats, and distributed the gallant officers who had offered their services among various naval posts. Yet, notwithstanding the lack of essentials for creating a navy, the skillful officers above named, with those of like character who subsequently joined them, gave a wonderful fame to this arm of Confederate defense.

The Southern movement was also sustained at its outset by military leaders recognized as the choice spirits of the United States army, who gave up their commissions in obedience to the action of their States. Among them were Albert Sidney Johnston, Braxton Bragg, P.[G.]T. Beauregard and the venerable David E. Twiggs, who were soon joined by Joseph E. Johnston, Robert E. Lee, and others whose names will appear hereafter. Military leaders such as these were placed from year to year in command of “the incomparable Southern armies,” winning from Mr. Horace Greeley the tribute: “The rebels [204] were seldom beaten through pusillanimity, never through the treachery of their leaders.”

Such was the general situation of the Southern Confederacy preceding the forcible attempt to reinforce Fort Sumter. The government was fully organized, the disposition was peaceful, the military and naval forces inadequate, the leadership superb, and the people ardently devoted to the cause of separate independence; but the new government was to be forced to stand by its ability to maintain itself against military power, or fall by the insufficiency of its own military support.

The preparedness of the United States for the war which they were about to make was materially greater than that of the Confederacy. The population of the United States in 1861, exclusive of the seceded States, was over twenty millions, nearly all white, almost four times the white population of the South. The States comprising the Union at that time were situated north of the Ohio and extended from the Atlantic to the Pacific Ocean. The Southern line of this vast territory lay along the northern and western borders of the Confederacy, giving advantages for invasion at many points. The States east of the Mississippi River were populous, thrifty and aggressive. In general resources for making successful war, the States of the northern section of the Union exceeded the South in a proportion much greater than their fourfold excess of population.

The general trade, domestic and foreign, of the entire United States, including the South, had steadily increased during the preceding decade, until twenty-five foreign countries were seeking business here with over 11,000 vessels, while the Southern trade alone amounted to an estimated sum of $400,000,000 annually in product of the soil exchanged for Northern manufactured goods. The imports of 1860-61 were $335,000,000 and the exports, $248,000,000. The total debt of the government was but $69,000,000.

[205] For war purposes the regular army contained 16,000 men, chiefly stationed on the western frontiers, while the volunteer militia system of the States permitted of a rapid increase of this force through requisitions upon the governors. The whole naval force in commission, as reported by a congressional committee in January, 1861, consisted of five squadrons of twenty-five ships in various foreign waters, the home squadron of eleven ships stationed in the Gulf of Mexico and along the Atlantic Coast, and twenty-eight other ships in various United States ports to be refitted for service, making a total of sixty-four vessels belonging to the Navy. To these should be added six store-ships and seven receiving ships, also serving in the Navy. The report of the Secretary of the Navy shows that in March, 1861, the total number of vessels belonging to the Navy was ninety, carrying 2,415 guns and a complement of 7,600 men, of which sixty-nine ships were available, and this valuable navy was rapidly increased by construction and purchase. The whole of it remained in the possession of the United States. For construction and preservation of all ordnance there were at least four large foundries, fifteen armories and arsenals, besides a large number of gunpowder mills and manufactories of general army equipment located in the Northern section. Notwithstanding the secession of seven large States, the government still held Fortress Monroe, Harper’s Ferry, Gosport Navy Yard at Norfolk, Forts Sumter, Pickens and many minor strongholds on the Southern coast during the first months of 1861. The oceans were open to its commerce as well as to its war fleets; its resources were magnificent as well as rapidly available, and nothing seemed to obstruct the quick subjugation of the Southern States except the obligations of a sacred instrument—the Constitution of the United States.


Abraham Lincoln, inaugurated President of the United States on March 4th, soon adopted the war policy which had been initiated by the concentration of troops by Major [Robert] Anderson at Fort Sumter in December, 1860, the ordering of the Star of the West to Charleston Harbor in January, 1861, with troops, arms and supplies, and the summons of several ships of the distant squadrons to steam homeward. The policy most practicable for immediate hostilities as became apparent to President Lincoln’s advisers, was an invasion of the Confederacy by way of the ocean and the gulf. The first objective point, Charleston; the first State to be overthrown and brought to terms, South Carolina; the first movement, reinforcement of Fort Sumter, peaceably if permitted, otherwise by force. This plan was maturely considered during March, while the Confederate leaders were held in suspense with the hope of peace. which caused them to wait for the action of the Federal administration. At length, on the 8th of April, South Carolina was officially informed that “an attempt would be made to supply Fort Sumter, peaceably if they could, forcibly if they must.” Eight armed vessels with soldiers aboard had been sent to sustain the notification, and moved so quickly on this expedition that only an unexpected storm at sea caused delay enough for the Confederate authorities to successfully meet the issue.

The Confederate States objected to this movement of the Federal authorities, because the reinforcement was invasion by the use of physical force; because it asserted the claim of the United States to sovereignty over South Carolina, which was in dispute; and because the supply of the garrison in Fort Sumter with necessary rations was not the object nor the end of the expedition. The purpose was to secure Fort Sumter, to close the port with the warships, to reduce Charleston by bombardment if necessary, to land troops from transports, and thus crush the rebellion [207] where it was supposed to have begun by overthrowing South Carolina. This admirable scheme was frustrated by the necessary, prompt and successful attack on Fort Sumter after General Beauregard had exchanged the usual formalities with Major Anderson. At 4:30 o’clock on the morning of April 12th, the Confederates opened fire on the fort, which was soon returned. The bombardment which followed for thirty-three hours at last made the fort untenable, and Anderson on the 14th surrendered his stronghold to the Confederacy, and on the 15th evacuated the position with honors.

It has been observed that at the time of the sailing of the United States fleet toward Charleston under orders to sustain Fort Sumter, neither of the two countries had armies and fleets in readiness for the impending war. The Confederate government, having had only two months of political existence, was yet scarcely in communication with the seven States which had given it the right to a place among nations. Its armies were a few thousand troops hastily gathered together from the seceded States, and its navy had only a name with an abundance of splendid officers yearning for ships. Seven great States of the South, Missouri, Arkansas, Kentucky, Tennessee, North Carolina, Virginia and Maryland, still remained in the Federal union. On the Northern side the regular army had not been made available and the volunteers were yet chiefly with their States. But the battle over the control of Charleston Harbor, although fought by artillery and without the loss of life, was followed by immediate and great preparations for the portentous American conflict.

On the day after the plan of reinforcement failed, President Lincoln issued his proclamation calling for 75,000 troops, to be immediately armed and equipped for active service. President [Jefferson] Davis construed this to be a declaration of war, and called for 100,000 troops to support the independence of the South. The governors of six of the [208] seven States which had not seceded refused to obey the requisitions upon them for troops, because the proclamation established coercion as the policy of the administration, and they would not participate in the subjugation of the Southern States. [Governor Thomas Holliday Hicks] of Maryland merely asked for delay. The “war governors” of the Northern States responded so earnestly to the first call of President Lincoln that thousands of men who had been held in preparation for this event began to pour toward Washington.

Quickly following the first proclamation, President Lincoln on the 19th of April proclaimed the first blockade of Southern ports from South Carolina to Texas, which was afterward extended, April 27th, to the ports of North Carolina and Virginia. Another proclamation, May 4th, called for about 40,000 volunteers for three years, and ordered an increase of the Regular Army by 22,000 soldiers, and of the Navy by 18,000 seamen. Orders were also issued to seize all dispatches in telegraph offices; to authorize martial law with suspension of the writ of habeas corpus in certain places; to prohibit sales of munitions of war to Southern States—these and other minor measures showing that actual war was at hand. Under this policy Washington City became a military camp, and the frowning visage of war was on all the country.

The unmistakable import of all these coercive measures caused the secession of Virginia, North Carolina, Tennessee and Arkansas; at the same time involving Missouri and Kentucky in civil war, and causing the first blood of the great struggle to flow April 19th on the soil of Maryland. Virginia seceding took possession of Harper’s Ferry and the Gosport Navy Yard, thus acquiring a large amount of machinery and munitions, but found Fortress Monroe so well garrisoned as to make its seizure impossible. Virginia troops were rapidly organized by Major-General R. E. Lee, and with such equipment as could be secured were posted at Harper’s Ferry, Norfolk [209] and other points. The States seceding with her also occupied all forts and arsenals they could seize, and began in earnest the organization of military commands for the use of the Confederacy.

North Carolina was as loath as Virginia to leave the Union, conservatively avoiding all acts that would place the State in antagonism to the general government. Certain forts were seized by a premature popular attack; but [Governor John Willis Ellis] caused them to be restored at once. Nothing warlike occurred until the attempt was made by the reinforcement plan to put South Carolina in peril, and the demand on the State to furnish its quota of troops to put down the so-called rebellion. The governor declined to obey the requisition and took the forts of the State, the arsenal at Fayetteville and the mint at Charlotte into his possession. The State seceded May 10th, and within a month raised a force of over 20,000 volunteers.

The great middle State of Tennessee was so indispensable to the Confederacy that its tardy action produced alarm. [Governor Isham Green Harris] urged immediate secession after the fight over Sumter and President Lincoln’s call on Tennessee for troops, but the State was hampered by the objection to secession which controlled almost the entire eastern section. Prominent leaders of different parties joined the governor, and at length, in May, the State agreed to enter into an alliance or league with the Confederate government, placing under Confederate control the entire military force, and the question of secession was submitted to the people. This temporary action resulted in the legal secession of this invaluable State and its incorporation with the body of the Confederacy. The governor being authorized by the legislature rapidly organized a large provisional army. Batteries were established on the Mississippi River, several thousand troops were concentrated in West Tennessee, and others were posted in East Tennessee and in camps at other places. Within two months after the passage of the act [210] of May 6th, the energetic governor had put 30,000 troops in the field. The State went at a bound to the front line of its associates.


A glance at the Western States at this date shows that in the far northwest of the Confederacy war broke out coincidently with the movements on the Atlantic side. Arkansas, at first indisposed to join the Confederacy, took its place with the seceded States immediately after coercion was inaugurated. [Governor Henry Massie Rector] answered Lincoln’s requisition with a prompt reply on the 22nd of April that his State would furnish no troops to subjugate the South. The State then seceded on the 6th of May, and its convention authorized the raising of 60,000 soldiers. The arsenal at Little Rock fell into the possession of State troops; Forts Smith, Pine Bluff and Napoleon with their stores were seized and occupied; the organization of State troops was effected with some rapidity, although no formidable invasion of the State had occurred; and several commands were sent on to Virginia. The army of the State was organized in two divisions, commanded by Generals [Ben] McCulloch and [Nicholas Bartlett] Pearce. With creditable energy Arkansas put into line in the first year about 20,000 men, out of a total voting population of about 50,000. Portions of these troops, marching to the support of [Major-General Sterling] Price in Missouri, very greatly aided in saving that State for the first year from Federal control. Later in the war its men fought bravely in the general Confederate field from Maryland to Texas.

Missouri, which had given 148,000 votes against Lincoln and only 17,000 in his favor, and retained a bitter memory of the Kansas troubles, was among the first of the Southern States to suffer the distress of armed invasion. [Governor Claiborne Fox Jackson], in January, had declared for the Union as long as it would observe the Constitution which created it, but regarded coercion as an oppression which must [211] be resisted. The convention which met first at Jefferson in February, and then at St. Louis in March, was decidedly against immediate secession. After prolonged discussion it was resolved that Missouri desired the perpetuity of the Union, that the Crittenden resolutions made a good basis for adjusting all difficulties, and that Federal troops should be withdrawn from forts where there was danger of collision, in order to prevent civil war in the State. [Evans here is referring to two documents. The first is the Crittenden Compromise, a complex prewar proposal by Senator John J. Crittenden of Kentucky which sought to preserve the Union by guaranteeing the permanence of slavery. The Compromise was voted down in the Senate. The second is the Crittenden-Johnson Resolution, a document approved by Congress which stated that the North’s purpose in waging war was not to destroy slavery but to preserve the Union.] With exceeding caution, justified, as many of its public men thought, by its specially endangered position, Missouri moved at first with an earnest purpose to prevent the horrors of war.

But war was not only inevitable; it was at hand. The fateful proclamation of the President of the United States seemed to Governor Jackson to start a civil war and to precede a consolidated despotism—and he said so; but he counseled the legislature to take no precipitate and passionate step. Great excitement was caused by the warlike news from Washington City, amidst which arms were secretly conveyed out of Missouri from the unprotected arsenal at St. Louis and delivered into the keeping of hostile parties at Springfield, Illinois. This abstraction of arms, with which the forces of the State might have been equipped, and the surrender of Camp Jackson, at the same date, caused an alarm that precipitated the passage by the legislature of the pending military bill, which authorized the governor to equip the military and take command in person, so as to suppress riots and insurrections in the State.

General [William Selby] Harney, of the Federal army, came to St. Louis April 15th, assumed command of the military department, and agreed with Major-General [Sterling] Price, representing the governor, upon a plan to preserve the peace, which proved futile because it was disapproved at Washington. Another attempt at agreement, proposed by Governor Jackson, was made June 11th, in which he and General Price acted for Missouri, while [Francis] P. Blair and General [212] [Nathaniel] Lyon represented the United States. This also failing, the governor issued his proclamation on the 12th of June, describing his extraordinary efforts to avoid war, and the causes of their failure, and at the same time called for 50,000 men “for the purpose of repelling invasion and for the protection of the lives, liberty and property of the citizens.”

General Lyon had insisted, in the peace conference with Jackson and Price, on the complete occupation of the State by the military forces of the United States, in order to reduce it, as avowed by himself, “to the exact condition of Maryland,” and on the governor’s rejection of these terms prepared at once to overthrow the State government by his military force. The day following the governor’s proclamation, Lyon moved with 1,500 men from St. Louis upon Jefferson City, which he seized, and proceeded toward Booneville, where he was met in battle by the governor, who with Colonel [John S.] Marmaduke had collected a small body of Missourians. The affair was small in casualties, but signified fully that the Federal government was resolved on the conquest of the State. After this there was rapid increase of military events. June was consumed in recruiting and marching to positions. The Federals had gained great advantage in the prolonged negotiations for peace, during which the increasing and arming of commands went on. The adjoining State of Illinois also stood prepared to throw 10,000 troops across the State lines on any day. Lyon sent out many scouting parties and various expeditions which harassed Missouri. Many small encounters occurred, and one of larger measure at Carthage, where General Price, with General [James S.] Rains and Governor Jackson, defeated [Franz] Sigel on the 5th of July. About a month later Lyon lost his life in battle at Wilson’s Creek, or Oak Hills, in which Price and McCulloch, with Missouri and Arkansas regiments, won a Confederate victory. The situation in Missouri at this period, while the First Battle of Manassas [213] was taking place in Virginia, shows that military operations were in hot progress in the Far West; but the general view here taken of the border States in these first months of the war as they were related to the entire field of operations, requires a change of attention from this interesting stage of Missouri’s affairs, to take into consideration the opening of the war in Kentucky.

Kentucky’s attitude in the general convulsion of the country was very much like that of Missouri and Maryland. In all public expressions by conventions and popular assemblies, Kentucky spoke unitedly the aversion of the people to war and a purpose to abide the administration of President Lincoln unless coercion and subjugation became his manifest policy. Crittenden, her distinguished and venerable Senator, had declared Kentucky’s position in the celebrated resolutions which the United States Congress had rejected. Yet, after the demand for troops to be furnished by the State to subjugate the South, Kentucky was in a dilemma. April and May were passed by the people in a condition of general alarm, and at the end of this waiting it was found that the neutrality which they had hoped for had been made impossible. Already had the agents of the Federal government made large enlistments in the army. An encampment of Federal soldiers had been established under Nelson on Kentucky ground, and Governor [Beriah Magoffin’s] petition to President Lincoln for their removal had been not only refused, but with the refusal he declined to entertain Kentucky’s plea for neutrality. President Davis had replied to the governor’s letter on the neutrality question that his government would respect Kentucky’s desire, provided such neutrality were strictly observed toward both parties. But even during this correspondence the northern borders were occupied by Federal volunteers, while near the southern line Confederate forces were camping, and within the State the young men were dividing in hostile camps.

[214] Military operations began in western Virginia immediately after the secession of the State. The political movement made in May to cut a new State out of the western side of Virginia, was encouraged by a prompt gathering of United States troops in Ohio and Pennsylvania. General [George B.] McClellan, the commanding general of the department, moved across the Ohio early in May, and with [William Starke] Rosecrans began a military occupation of this part of Virginia. Governor [John] Letcher met the movement by forwarding such troops as could be spared, and the Confederate government, taking upon itself the defense of this region, sent General [Henry Alexander] Wise into the Kanawha Valley and commissioned General [John Buchanan] Floyd to raise a brigade in southwest Virginia to co-operate with Wise. Colonel [George Alexander] Porterfield, commanding a small body of Confederates, was also sent to seize the Baltimore & Ohio Railroad, but his force was inadequate to the task. [General Robert Selden] Garnett and [Lieutenant Colonel John] Pegram, overmatched by Rosecrans and McClellan, were forced away from the mountain positions they had attempted to hold. The Confederates won in several affairs, but the day went against them at Philippi, June 3d; Rich Mountain, July 11th, and Corrick’s Ford, July 13th. As the outcome of these combats the Federals under McClellan held military control of northwestern Virginia, and this important left flank of the Confederate general line of defense was broken down as early as the 15th of July.

The military situation in Maryland, another of the States lying between the South and the armies of invasion, may be considered here in association with the state of affairs in Missouri, Kentucky and western Virginia. It is doubtless true that Maryland would have decided to unite with the Confederate States if the question had been left to the free action of its people. Its importance to the Confederacy was not exceeded by that of any other State. Unfortunately, the Confederate government was not able to occupy this valuable ally at once, and it fell [215] quickly into the firm grasp of the Federal forces. Across the route on which the troops called for by Lincoln’s proclamation were to march to Washington, lay this southern commonwealth pleading like Kentucky and Missouri for neutrality and imploring the stay of the threatening conflict. Maryland asked that her soil be relieved from the odium of being the passage ground of troops called to invade Virginia and the South. The reasonable request was refused, and on the 19th of April a body of Federal troops on the way to Washington landed in Baltimore, marched through its streets and encountered an excited population. Mutual firing ensued, during which the first blood of the Southern revolution was shed. The event startled the administration at Washington and caused a temporary apparent change of policy, but within a few days it became clear that Maryland was to be devoted to complete subjugation. General [Benjamin] Butler, placed in command to execute this policy, began by fortifying the position at the Relay House, and on the 5th of May took military possession of Baltimore and converted it into a military encampment. Civil authority was entirely overthrown, arrests of officials and citizens followed, and the State government was subverted.


The Confederate government was transferred from Montgomery to Richmond in May, from which situation, fronting Washington, it began preparations to meet the invasion of Virginia by the great force gathering on the Potomac, and to counteract the operations by sea and land which threatened the southern coast and the western borders. The Tredegar foundry was converted into a manufactory of guns, the machinery obtained at Harper’s Ferry was sent to Fayetteville and Richmond where it could be used in making arms, small foundries were put into service wherever they could be established, powder works were erected, and, in general statement, the [216] administration at Richmond, aided by all the Confederate States, most actively worked all plans to secure that equipment for its armies, which were now eagerly pressing into the field of action unarmed, and insufficiently equipped. With remarkable celerity the volunteers from the Northern States assembled at or near Washington, and were organized into several armies of invasion. During the latter part of April and May the War Department of the United States was busy in receiving and equipping for battle the regiments which the “war governors” were sending forward. By the last of June the great armies were ready to move. McClellan commanded in western Virginia; along the upper Potomac, with headquarters at Williamsport, General [Robert] Patterson was ready to advance against Joseph E. Johnston; Butler was at Fortress Monroe, and [General Irvin] McDowell at Washington with the main body. These troops were disposed under their various commanders in one general line fronting Virginia and extending from the Ohio River through western Virginia and Maryland, at Washington, along the left bank of the Potomac, and to Fortress Monroe. The entire force, containing in round numbers 100,000 men, was thoroughly well provided with all the munitions necessary to successful war. The Confederate line of defense matched this Federal line at all points except in numbers and munitions. In western Virginia the total Confederate force was about 5,000; General Joseph E. Johnston in the Valley with 15,000 faced Patterson; Beauregard, commanding the principal Confederate army of 20,000, was at Manassas; and besides these were the divisions under [General Theophilus H.] Holmes on the lower Potomac, and the commands of [Generals John B.] Magruder and [Benjamin] Huger at Yorktown and Norfolk. The entire Confederate strength on this long defensive line was about 65, 000.

The Federal preparations were complete in July, and the plan of operation against the Confederate defenses had been discussed and determined. Among the several [217] lines of advance discussed, that which kept Washington best protected was adopted. It was determined to overthrow Beauregard at Manassas and then march on rapidly to Richmond. With this in view the army of McDowell marched into Virginia, drove back the Confederates at Fairfax Court House, and on the 18th skirmished so successfully as to alarm General Beauregard concerning the right flank of his army. While McDowell was thus pressing Beauregard, Patterson marched against Johnston in the Shenandoah Valley, with instructions to reinforce McDowell as soon as he had succeeded in forcing Johnston to retreat across the Blue ridge. Butler, operating from Fortress Monroe, was also charged with the defeat of the Confederate forces on the peninsula.

But while Patterson was attempting to execute his part of the plan, Johnston eluded him and marched directly to the help of Beauregard, arriving on the 10th. General [Thomas J. “Stonewall”] Jackson reached the field with his brigade, and other Confederate regiments under General Holmes were rapidly added to Beauregard’s small army. Beauregard was now better prepared for that dangerous assault which McDowell made early in the morning of the 21st of July, bringing on the great historical battle of Bull Run or First Manassas. The first Federal attacks of the day were so successful as to inspire sanguine expectations. Telegrams of progressive triumphs poured from the battlefield into Washington, and from that city were distributed throughout the United States. But the Confederate divisions were handled with matchless skill by their many experienced officers, and though volunteers recently enlisted, they fought with the steadiness of trained men. They rallied from their several defeats during the morning, resuming their fight from time to time until in the afternoon their courage and fortitude were rewarded by a most remarkable victory. The Federal divisions were driven from the field by impetuous but well directed Confederate attacks. The defeated regiments were [218] broken into fragments of companies, and at length the defeat grew into a rout of the grand army that had marched into Virginia with great confidence in the power of their numbers to make one effective blow that would “end the war in sixty days.”


The condition of McDowell’s army as it fled in tatters back to the Potomac, praying for the privilege of being once more in camp behind the defenses of Washington, will not be herein described. The courage of the several great Northern armies which struggled often and long with the Army of Northern Virginia, will never be questioned by Confederate soldiers, and Southern historians may leave to others the task of criticizing the men of McDowell who in this first trial battle were beaten back to the lines from which they had advanced. The engagement at Manassas was simply an indisputable Confederate victory, won by the superior leadership of great generals sustained through the vicissitudes of a whole day’s hot encounters by the courage and endurance of the South’s fresh-fighting volunteer soldiers. It marked with a very decided emphasis the first stage in the march of events, giving the South renewed confidence in success, exciting the North to increased determination to conquer, and casting Europe into doubt as to the end of the struggle between the two sections of the Union.

Immediately after the battle the Confederate Congress authorized the raising of 400,000 soldiers, and the issue of $100,000,000 treasury notes. The army at Manassas Junction collected thousands of small-arms, thirty cannon, wagons, mules, horses and army supplies of all kinds which the enemy left on the battlefield. The Southern States at once accepted with greater readiness the companies and regiments which had been enthusiastically tendered for immediate service. The United States Congress on its part demanded a call for 500,000 men, [219] and authorized the government to raise $500,000,000 to carry on the war. General McClellan was called from western Virginia to take command of the Army of the Potomac, and his acknowledged skill as an organizer was soon thoroughly tested by the pressure of great bodies of soldiers forwarded to his department. For months his work consisted in preparing an army which he desired to be invincible, and his government sought to gratify his desire. Before the end of the winter, 200,000 well equipped soldiers constituted the Army of the Potomac, for the protection of Washington and invasion of Virginia.

On the 1st of July, 1861, the total Federal force stationed at all points was computed as 307,875 men, and after deducting the 77,875 three months’ men, there still remained at the command of the government about 230,000 soldiers. This total was increased by the 1st of December, according to the estimate of the War Department, to 660,971 volunteers and regulars, divided among the armies and navies of the east and the west.

The Confederate authorities, seeing the indisposition of McClellan to make any early advance on Richmond in the fall and winter of 1861, undertook to reorganize the armies of the Confederacy and increase their strength in all respects. The same Federal inaction also permitted an attempt to recover the ground lost in western Virginia. Battles of a minor character were fought in that region, at Grafton, Cross Lanes, Carnifex Ferry, Cheat Mountain and other places, but the Confederates failed to establish their control over this section. Accordingly the greater part of the forces engaged in the effort was withdrawn and sent to other fields.

In the western field, after the defeat of Lyon, [General Stirling] Price and [Ben] McCulloch united their commands at Wilson’s Creek, Missouri; Price moved against [General James A.] Mulligan’s division at Lexington, and compelled his surrender of 3,500 men with their arms and supplies, after which the great Missouri chieftain [220] foiled [General John C.] Fremont and occupied Springfield. The Battle of Belmont, in the lower part of the State, went against the Confederate general at first, but in the end the Federal general, Ulysses S. Grant, was compelled to take the shelter of his gunboats. The activity of military operations in Missouri during the year 1861, beginning with the affair at Boonville in June, is shown by the record of fifty-two battles, besides many unmentioned small encounters, fought on its soil during the first year of the war.

The fighting in Kentucky in 1861 did not begin until September, and has been regarded as of slight moment; yet in that year there were over twelve engagements of considerable importance. The Home Guards, formed for State protection, furnished a considerable number of men for the Confederate as well as the Federal army, and many Kentuckians went singly or in groups to various Southern commands. The Confederate forces occupied Columbus, on the Mississippi River, in September, at the time General Grant, then commanding at Cairo, took possession of Paducah. General [Felix] Zollicoffer, with a brigade of infantry and cavalry, entered the southeastern part of the State in September and became engaged in several affairs at Barbourville, Wild Cat and elsewhere with troops from Ohio and Indiana. General [William “Bull”] Nelson, who had been made useful in organizing Federal troops in Kentucky, operated in the eastern part of that State. In September, a considerable body of Federal troops from Ohio, Indiana and Illinois occupied St. Louis. About the same time, Anderson, who had commanded at Fort Sumter, was promoted brigadier-general of volunteers in the Federal army and assigned to command of the Department of Kentucky. He was succeeded by General [William Tecumseh] Sherman. General [Simon Bolivar] Buckner commanded the Confederates at Bowling Green, and General [Leonidas] Polk was assigned to the “Department of the West.’ The Federal forces in Kentucky were increased before the end of the year, until [221] they were estimated at 60,000. This large body of troops came from Minnesota, Wisconsin, Michigan, Ohio, Indiana, Illinois and Pennsylvania, except about 20,000, which had been raised in Kentucky. The Confederate forces in the State were computed at about 25,000.

In the middle of the winter, January 10, 1862, the Confederate General [Humphrey] Marshall was compelled to fall back from the northeast of Kentucky, and subsequently [General George B.] Crittenden and Zollicoffer were forced to retreat across the Cumberland. President Davis wrote of this affair as “the most serious defeat that we had hitherto met. It broke the right of our defensive line and involved the loss of eastern Kentucky.”

In Maryland the Federal military forces held the State in a duress from which the only way of escape was across the Potomac into Virginia, through which many gallant young Marylanders entered the Confederate service.


While McClellan was fully occupied in increasing the defenses around Washington and forming the great army which was designed to crush its way through Virginia, the earliest special movements of the season, directed by the War and Navy Departments, were along the extensive southern coast line. Fortress Monroe was reinforced until it was impregnable. Fort Hatteras, in North Carolina, was taken from the Confederates in August, and Port Royal, in South Carolina, was seized in November. Another of the series of expeditions designed for the conquest of the coast region had for its object the Gulf shore between New Orleans and Mobile, and succeeded in securing a position on Ship Island. The general blockade was strengthened by these operations, and although not strictly effective its injurious effects began to be seriously felt throughout the Confederacy.


It may now be seen that at the close of the first year of Mr. Davis’ administration the Confederacy, which had begun its career with seven States, had gained the almost untrammeled accession of the great States of Virginia, North Carolina, Tennessee, Arkansas, and the earnest support of a large part of Kentucky and Missouri. Civil government under constitutional provisions was established and operating throughout these States without hindrance, except in localities where the Federal forces had obtained lodgment. Armies had been raised to the computed number of 315,000 volunteers, whose equipment had been the chief difficulty, and even that obstacle had been met by an energetic use of resources which enabled the government to withstand the first assault of coercion. A navy had been created, and a system of privateering instituted which produced considerable derangement of the United States commerce. Manufactories for all kinds of military supplies were erected in many sections, and home agricultural productions were sufficient for the needs of the people and the armies. The South has never made a better exhibit of the energy and ingenuity of its people and the resources of its land than in this exposition of 1861. It now began, in February, 1862, the second year of the struggle for independence, with still the odds against it of four to one in population and greater disadvantages in general means.


The Federal lines covering the land borders of the Confederacy, extending from the mouth of the Chesapeake and passing by the amply protected capital, ran through Maryland, West Virginia, Kentucky, Missouri and on to the mouth of the Rio Grande. At Fortress Monroe, under Butler and [John E.] Wool, were 15,000 men; on the southern Potomac, [Joseph] Hooker’s division of 10,000; immediately in charge of Washington, 160,000 men under McClellan; [223] in the Shenandoah Valley, [Nathaniel P.] Banks with 16,000, and Rosecrans in western Virginia with 20,000. General [Don Carlos] Buell had united the scattered Federal forces in Kentucky into an army of 100,000, and [General Henry W.] Halleck was in Missouri with a similar number. A force of 20,000 was put in readiness to operate from Kansas to the Gulf of Mexico, and another army was assembled at Cairo under Generals Grant and [Charles Ferguson] Smith to campaign in co-operation with gunboats along the Mississippi and Cumberland Rivers.

The United States naval operations in the beginning of the second year of the invasion contemplated the blockade of the entire coast, so as to cut off the communications of the Confederacy with other nations. The reduction of all ports, and their occupation by the military as points from which various overland incursions might be made, was also a part of the general plan. For these purposes several squadrons were organized—the North Atlantic, Admiral [Louis M.] Goldsborough, on the Virginia and North Carolina coasts; the South Atlantic, Admiral [Samuel Francis] DuPont, covering South Carolina, Georgia and northeast Florida; the Eastern Gulf, Flag Officer [William Wister] McKean, and the Western Gulf, Admiral [David] Farragut, on the Gulf Coast. Three flotillas were employed—the Potomac, Commodore [Andrew A.] Hardwood; the James River, Commodore [Charles] Wilkes, and the Mississippi, Admiral [Andrew Hull] Foote—each of which operated as its name indicates. The numbers of vessels in service were about 250 steamers carrying 1,500 guns, and 100 sailing vessels—frigates, sloops-of-war, mortar fleets, barks, brigs and ships—with 1,400 guns.

The Confederate States confronted this formidable array of military and naval forces with a general long interior line. At Norfolk and Yorktown were a small force of infantry, well-fortified, and some vessels of the little navy. The main army in Virginia rested its right on the Rappahannock below Fredericksburg, and stretching its fortified line by Centerville and Manassas rested the left in the mountains beyond Leesburg. Beyond [224] this point there were other brigades at Martinsburg, Winchester and in parts of western Virginia. This long line was under the command of General Joseph E. Johnston and confronted McClellan. In Kentucky the Confederate divisions were chiefly in the lower half of the State, from Bowling Green to Columbus, also occupying Forts Donelson and Henry. The main army in Missouri, commanded by Price, was stationed near Springfield, facing the Federal forces, whose headquarters was at St. Louis. In Tennessee the Confederate troops were encamped preparatory to active campaigning at various positions, including Cumberland Gap, Chattanooga, Nashville and Memphis. Fort Pillow, Island No. 10 and Vicksburg were occupied with strong defensive works, and in Arkansas the military of that State were posted so as to operate with Price, or be sent into Tennessee. Thus the eastern and northern fronts of the Confederacy were curtained with the Southern armies to resist the threatening advances of the Federals.

Turning attention from these to the Southern coast line, the defenses are found to consist of well-fortified positions defending the harbors, and small but vigorous fleets that had been rapidly constructed. Confederate privateers were also boldly adventuring on the seas and doing great damage to the shipping of the enemy.


The extensive preparations made by the Federal government for the second grand movement for the conquest of the Southern States became so satisfactory to President Lincoln that he issued on the 27th of January, from the Executive mansion, the following unique order, containing some unusual dramatic features:

Executive Mansion, Washington, January 27, 1862.

President’s General War Order, No. I.

Ordered, That the 22d day of February, 1862, be the [225] day for a general movement of the land and naval forces of the United States against the insurgent forces:

That, especially, The army at and about Fortress Monroe, The Army of the Potomac, The Army of Western Virginia, The army near Munfordville, Kentucky, The army and flotilla at Cairo, And a naval force in the Gulf of Mexico be ready for a movement on that day;

That other forces, both land and naval, with their respective commanders, obey existing orders for the time, and be ready to obey additional orders when duly given; That the heads of departments, and especially the secretaries of war and of the navy, with all their subordinates, and the general-in-chief, with all other commanders and subordinates of land and naval forces, will severally be held to their strict and full responsibilities for the prompt execution of this order.


This peculiar order, issued early after [Edwin] Stanton’s accession to the office of War Secretary, and in the midst of winter, betrayed the impatience as well as the satisfaction of the President, and possibly was chiefly aimed at McClellan, the general-in-chief, who was strenuously devoting himself to the preparation of an army which could defeat the Confederates under Johnston and capture Richmond. The Federal forces in the West began to move about the 1st of February, without waiting for the President’s appointed time to arrive. Buell made an attempt to enter east Tennessee, but being diverted from that purpose concentrated near Munfordville. The military forces in Halleck’s department, with the gunboats designed for an expedition on the Tennessee River, all under command of General Grant, also responded to War Order No. 1 in advance of the designated date. This movement, made first against Fort Henry, resulted in the fall of that work on February 6th, and the surrender of Fort Donelson about ten days later. Nashville, necessarily [226] next abandoned by the Confederates, was occupied by Buell, while Grant moved his own army to Pittsburg Landing, near the border of the State of Mississippi.

The new Confederate line, which these Federal successes required, extended from New Madrid on the left through Corinth as the center to Murfreesboro on the right. The Confederate leaders at Richmond were shocked by these reverses that imperiled the West, but immediate preparations were made to relieve the situation. Amidst such startling events the electoral votes were counted that made [Jefferson] Davis President under the permanent constitution, and on the 22d day of February he was formally installed in office. The governors of the Gulf and Western States renewed their calls for troops, to which a patriotic response was readily made. The South was still confident of final success.

Meantime, Price, [Earl] Van Dorn and McCulloch in the West were contending valiantly against the superior forces under [Samuel Ryan] Curtis and Sigel, but without being able to recover Missouri. Looking to the Atlantic coast in February, [Ambrose] Burnside was observed commanding a naval expedition with military support sufficient to capture Roanoke Island, New Bern and Fort Macon, in North Carolina, while DuPont seized Fernandina and Jacksonville in Florida. Preparations were in progress to capture Fort Pulaski on the coast of Georgia, and the harbor of Brunswick was entered by a Federal fleet. New Orleans and Mobile, and the Gulf landings generally, were kept in a state of alarm by the demonstrations made by the constantly increasing numbers of Federal vessels at Ship Island. Texas was not yet seriously involved except in the contributions of thousands of Texans to the Confederate armies, but a Federal fleet under Commander [Henry] Eagle appeared before Galveston preparing to demand its surrender.


Thus far the Federal advances are seen to have been made with great vigor in the West and on the coast, but on the eastern side of the widely spread battlefield, where the Confederacy was fighting for life, the Federal operations were not so rapid nor so successful. The Confederates were permitted to occupy and use the Navy yard at Norfolk, and not only raise the Merrimac, which the Federals sank when they abandoned Norfolk in April, 1861, but to change it into a dangerous ironclad. On the morning of March 8, 1862, this novel vessel, rebuilt by Southern ingenuity upon a novel plan and named the Virginia, steamed away to attack the Federal war vessels lying in Hampton Roads. In the fight which followed between the Virginia and the United States vessels the entire Federal fleet was scattered except the Cumberland, which was sunk, the Congress burned, and the Minnesota run aground. During the night after this battle the Monitor, a new Federal ironclad, also just completed, came into the roads, and taking position between the Minnesota and the Virginia, received next day the blows of the Confederate vessels without being harmed, and returned dangerous shots from its revolving iron turrets. This duel of the ironclads, although nearly harmless to either, aroused the attention of both nations to the value of this class of boats, and the opportune arrival of the Monitor probably protected the ships of the enemy from destruction.

General McClellan gave the Confederate government time during the fall and winter after the battle of Manassas to enlarge the army and navy and increase the strength of the fortifications around Richmond. His antagonist, General Joseph E. Johnston, with an army very much inferior in numbers, covered Washington for months, awaiting the renewal of the invasion. On the 10th of March, McClellan’s armies began to move toward Richmond, and the Confederates were withdrawn from [228] the advanced position near Washington to the Rappahannock. On the 9th the Confederate army was entirely gone from its former position at Manassas, and on the next day McClellan moved toward the deserted entrenchments. A few days later his army changed direction and was massed near Alexandria. From this place it was transferred entire, except McDowell’s corps, to Fortress Monroe, to begin the Peninsula Campaign.

McClellan’s plans were not satisfactory to the Washington management of the war, because it began to appear from the movements of Stonewall Jackson in the [Shenandoah] Valley that the city had been left without sufficient protection. Moved by this fear, McDowell, with 30,000 men, was temporarily retained on the Potomac, but McClellan’s command still consisted of nearly 100,000 total, before which the Confederate force at Yorktown, after delaying the Federals awhile, retired, and Norfolk was necessarily abandoned.

The first of the series of battles between the two armies after Johnston had fallen back, was fought at Williamsburg on the 5th of May, and the next at Seven Pines or Fair Oaks. In this latter battle, of May 31st and June 1st, the Confederates shattered the left wing of the Federal line, capturing 6,000 muskets, ten guns and a large number of prisoners. General Johnston was severely wounded and General Robert E. Lee was assigned to the command of the army. This victory of the Confederates under General Johnston refreshed the spirit of his army and the appointment of Lee at this critical moment increased the Southern confidence. McClellan was checked for the time by the defeat at Seven Pines, which proved to be the prelude of his many reverses.


The Confederate armies in the West, commanded by Beauregard and Albert Sidney Johnston, were struggling through April and May to sustain the Confederacy [229] against the armies of Halleck’s department, while their comrades were as bravely resisting the Federals under McClellan. During the first days of April, when McClellan was slowly forcing the Confederate position at Yorktown, the two military leaders in the West, provoked by the disasters of the preceding months, moved their armies from Corinth to attack Grant and Sherman at Shiloh. Their assault was made immediately on reaching the enemy with such persisting vigor on the first day, April 6th, that the army of Grant was beaten from the field; but the great victory cost the Confederacy the loss of Albert Sidney Johnston’s life. The night screened the defeated Federals, the battle ceased, the reinforcements of Buell were hurried to Grant’s relief, and on the next day, after a resolute defense against the attack of these new forces, the wearied and unsupported Confederate victors of the day before were withdrawn from the field, taking with them hundreds of captured muskets, thirty cannon and nearly 3,000 prisoners. In this battle—one of the engagements that contributed largely to the final result—40,000 Confederates engaged the first day 44,000 Federals; and on the second day the reinforcements of the Federals were sufficient to maintain their first numbers, while the Confederates were reduced by all casualties about one-fourth and were without reserves. It is estimated that on the second day 45,000 was the total of Grant’s strength, opposed by less than 30,000 effective Confederates.

The battle of Shiloh, taken into a view that embraces the positions of both armies at the close of the first day and the condition of both after the battle was ended, is properly written down among Confederate victories. It is placed among the engagements on which Confederate fate was suspended, only because the victory was not so complete as to enable the Confederates to regain the command of Fort Donelson and the possession of all Tennessee and Kentucky. Beauregard, succeeding the fallen [230] Johnston, could only take his army unopposed back to Corinth, and Grant could only pause on the battlefield where the fierce fight had raged and inform Halleck, “It is unsafe to remain many weeks without reinforcements.” Halleck arrived on the ground ten days after the battle and said to Grant, “Your army is not now in condition to resist attack.”

Beauregard’s army was strengthened at Corinth by reinforcements from Trans-Mississippi, but it was again rapidly reduced by sickness. Unable to stand against the reinforced armies which Halleck at length brought against him, he retreated safely to Tupelo, where on June 17th his own sickness caused him to turn over the command to General Braxton Bragg.

During the first months of 1862 the entire area of the Confederacy appears as a great field of general battle. In Arkansas the State military were contending against the raids of the Federal General Curtis. John Morgan, with his cavalry, was endeavoring to open the way for the recovery of Kentucky by the Confederates. New Orleans had been forced to surrender to Farragut, and was placed under the military command of General Benjamin F. Butler. Memphis also was captured by the Federals, and the control of the Mississippi River was divided. Fort Pulaski, near the mouth of the Savannah River, was taken in April. Numerous incursions, raids and skirmishes, occurring in all directions, accompanied the more massive operations of the great armies.


General McClellan’s plan of campaign was to enlarge and equip an army for an advance against Richmond which would be so powerful as to be unaffected in its movements by any diversion the Confederate government could make, but the operations of Stonewall Jackson in the [Shenandoah] Valley of Virginia became an interference at the beginning and an obstacle in the end, which contributed [231] to the defeat of the main movement. With a few thousand men this remarkable military genius forced the management at Washington to consider him at every turn of affairs. Although repulsed now and then, his subsequent maneuvers caused the employment of great numbers of the enemy in chasing him, a chasing that led them to defeat. The forces of [James] Shields, [Robert Huston] Milroy, Fremont, [Robert C.] Schenck and Banks felt his power in several encounters, and it was the defeat of these generals while McClellan was moving away from Washington that alarmed the administration. The orders to protect Washington became more stringent, and while they were in process of execution by a concentration of Federal troops in Luray Valley, Jackson suddenly and rapidly moved to the vicinity of Richmond.

While Jackson was closing up his series of brilliant actions by the signal defeat of Shields at Port Republic and marching his victorious regiments toward the army of Lee, J.E.B. Stuart rode around the army of McClellan, and returning in safety with many prisoners as Jackson approached, joined in the battles around Richmond, which began with Mechanicsville and ended at Malvern Hill.

On the day after the battle of Seven Pines, General Robert E. Lee, who since March 13th had had control of the military operations of all the Confederate armies, was directed by President Davis to take personal command of the army then defending Richmond. Under his skillful directions the fortifications around the Confederate capital had been made strong, and on assuming command of the Army of Northern Virginia he proceeded at once to make its position secure against attack, and “to enhance its efficiency and strength by every means in his power, so as to justify aggressive movements.”

According to an estimate of the strength of the Army of Northern Virginia at the beginning of the Seven Days’ Battles, made in the office of the adjutant-general [232] from the army field returns, Lee began the battle of Cold Harbor, June 27th, with 73,000 infantry, 3,000 cavalry and 4,000 artillery. These numbers included the divisions of G.W. Smith, [James] Longstreet, Magruder, D.H. Hill, A.P. Hill, Stonewall Jackson, Huger, [William H.C.] Whiting, [Richard S.] Ewell and Holmes, comprising thirty-nine brigades of infantry besides Stuart’s cavalry and the artillery, making a total strength, in all arms, of 80,000. General Lee stated in November, 1865, that the estimate made in the adjutant-general’s office at Richmond of the Confederate strength at the chief battles, appeared to him to be larger than the true number. General Early placed Lee’s strength under 80,000 effectives. Colonel [Walter H.] Taylor, after elaborate calculations, stated the number at 80,835.

The official returns of McClellan’s armies show that at the beginning of the battles around Richmond there were present for duty 115,249 men. This superior force, equipped with whatsoever a powerful government could furnish, had reached a position within 4 miles of Richmond, only to be driven back to the James River with a loss of nearly 20,000. Transferred thence, under a quick change of commanders from McClellan to [John] Pope, it attempted another advance, with the hope of a change from defeat to victory, but only to be vanquished again at Cedar Mountain and Manassas Junction, after which, early in September, the great army under the boastful Pope took refuge again within the fortifications about the capital of the United States.


While these great military events were occurring in Virginia, General Bragg’s army was at Tupelo; Van Dorn and Price were operating in Mississippi; Kirby Smith was in east Tennessee, and the cavalry of [Joseph] Wheeler, [Nathan Bedford] Forrest and Morgan were advancing into Tennessee and Kentucky.

[233] After Shiloh, all events began to point to a general Confederate triumph, and when the summer ended the Confederate armies were marching into Kentucky under Bragg and Smith, and into Maryland under Lee. Cheered by success the Confederate people indulged the hope that recognition of their independence would soon be their reward for all their sacrifices.

Bragg moved his army, early in July, to Chattanooga, and joining Smith projected an advance into middle Tennessee and Kentucky. With the divisions of [Patrick R.] Cleburne and [Thomas James] Churchill, Smith routed the Federals at Richmond, Kentucky, and reinforced by [Henry] Heth moved into Lexington. Bragg, with Polk and [William Joseph] Hardee, marched out of Chattanooga with 30,000 men, and entering Kentucky September 5th, the date of Lee’s advance into Maryland, captured a garrison of 4,000 men at Munfordville on September 17th, the date of the Battle of Sharpsburg [Antietam]. After this successful achievement he occupied Frankfort, the capital of Kentucky.

The Federal General [Don Carlos] Buell followed these Confederate armies, gathering reinforcements as he went, and forced the Battle of Perryville, October 8th, which was well fought on both sides, but the disparity of numbers was greatly against Bragg, his effective strength being reported at 16,000 and the Federal force in active battle at about 24,000. Bragg, in his retreat, perfected his junction with Kirby Smith at Harrodsburg, as he originally intended, and awaited there a Federal attack, which Buell did not choose to make. Bragg soon gave up Kentucky and concentrated his forces at Murfreesboro in Tennessee. General Wheeler, who was the active leader of the cavalry in this campaign, says that the “two months of battles and marches by the armies of Bragg and Smith cost the Federals a loss in killed, wounded and prisoners of 26,530. We captured 35 cannon, 16,000 stand of arms, millions of rounds of ammunition, 1,700 mules, 300 wagons loaded with military stores and 2,000 [234] horses. We recovered Cumberland Gap and redeemed middle Tennessee and north Alabama.”


Lee’s plan for his northward advance included the capture of Harper’s Ferry and a general engagement in Maryland, in which he expected to be successful. He crossed the Potomac on September 5th, and unexpectedly a portion of his command fought some severe battles at South Mountain, while Jackson compelled the surrender of the large Federal command at Harper’s Ferry. On the 15th, when near Antietam, he confronted McClellan, who had again been called to command of the Federal army, succeeding General Pope. The Battle of Sharpsburg [Antietam] ensued. Lee’s entire strength in this bloody engagement has been carefully computed by Colonel [Walter H.] Taylor at 35,255 of all arms, and General McClellan states in his official report that his command was 87,164 of all arms. “Those 35,000 Confederates,” says Colonel Taylor in his Four Years with General Lee, “were the very flower of the Army of Northern Virginia, who with indomitable courage and inflexible tenacity wrestled for the mastery in the ratio of one to three of their adversaries, and with consummate skill they were maneuvered from point to point, as different parts of the line of battle were in turn assailed with the greatest impetuosity. At times it appeared as if disaster was inevitable; but succor never failed, and night found Lee’s lines unbroken and his army still defiant.” McClellan says of his command at the end of the struggle; “The next morning I found that our loss had been so great and there was so much disorganization in some of the commands that I did not consider it proper to renew the attack that day.”

On the night of the 18th Lee re-crossed the Potomac, and an attempt by the Federal advance to follow was so vigorously met and with such terrible slaughter that, in the language of General A.P. Hill, “few were left to tell [235] the tale;” they were driven in great confusion into the Potomac, “and by their own account, 3,000 men were killed and drowned.”


Lee’s army was recruited after his arrival in the lower valley of Virginia to a total of all arms, immediately under himself, of about 40,000. McClellan concentrated his army early in November about Warrenton, where he was relieved of command by General [Ambrose] Burnside, who planned at once another advance on Richmond by way of Fredericksburg. Lee therefore ordered Longstreet to that place and Jackson to Orange Court House. About the middle of the month the Federal advance appeared opposite Fredericksburg and with some surprise saw the Confederate guns already posted on the hills in their front. By the 12th of December, Burnside had his army of 100,000 men, as he testified before the [United States Congress Joint] Committee on the Conduct of the War, aligned against Lee’s 73,000 on the south side of the river, and on the morning of the 13th began the terrible battle. Attack after attack was most bravely made by the Army of the Potomac, with great pertinacity, notwithstanding their repeated repulses with fearful slaughter. Burnside’s defeat was overwhelming, and the casualties were so great that the unfortunate Federal general, after one later and futile advance, relinquished his hope of gaining Richmond and willingly retired from command.


On the 25th of December, Rosecrans began to advance upon Bragg’s position at Murfreesboro with a fighting strength of about 60,000 men. General Bragg with 35,000 held a line crossing Stone’s River. On the 30th, Rosecrans arrived with part of his force before this line, and upon his failure to attack, Bragg assailed him the [236] next day with very considerable success. Rosecrans then changed his line and awaited reinforcements, and in the meantime several brief conflicts occurred between portions of the two armies, one of them being a vigorous charge by [John Cabell] Breckinridge’s division. After a week of this desultory fighting Bragg withdrew to Tullahoma.

The Federal plan of campaign in the West, in the winter of 1862-63, embraced an invasion of the State of Mississippi, with the special object of taking Vicksburg. At that point strong works upon the bluffs commanded the Mississippi, and had successfully resisted the attacks of the Federal river fleets, in June and July of that year. In December, General Grant led an army southward through the State, to menace the rear of Vicksburg, while General Sherman attacked with a force transported upon the river. Foiled by the cutting of his own communications and the signal defeat of Sherman by General Stephen D. Lee at Chickasaw Bayou, General Grant embarked in January, 1863, at Memphis, and moved his army to the Louisiana side of the Mississippi River opposite Vicksburg. After various attempts were made to approach the city from the north side, all of which failed, Grant’s army crossed below Vicksburg, and after a brief campaign extending over the State as far as Jackson, the siege of Vicksburg was begun May 18th.


Several small Confederate victories, such as the defense of Fort McAllister on the Ogeechee River, Georgia, against the monitor Montauk and several gunboats, on the 1st and 28th of February and the 3d of March; the success of the Palmetto and Chicora, two Confederate ironclads, in clearing Charleston Harbor of the blockading fleet, and the surrender of the Isaac Smith, a Federal gunboat, to the batteries on Stono River, are notable among the early events of 1863. At Galveston [237] Harbor, Texas, on January 1st, the Union flagship Westfield was blown up, and the Harriet Lane boarded by the Texans and taken. On March 5th a Federal brigade was captured at Spring Hill, Tennessee, by [General Earl] Van Dorn. Confederate armed cruisers were playing havoc among the shipping interests in many waters. The Alabama had captured the United States ship Hatteras, and this vessel and the Florida cruised in the West India waters and off the coast of South America. The commander of the Florida estimated his captures at 70 vessels, and Captain [Paul J.] Semmes of the Alabama reported the capture by his ship of 56 vessels. Since the commencement of the war it was reported that 284 vessels with their cargoes, valued at $15,000,000, had been destroyed on the high seas by this active branch of the Confederate naval force.


For three months after the battle of Fredericksburg the Army of Northern Virginia rested in winter quarters, and when the spring opened it was well prepared for the Federal attack which General Hooker, the successor of Burnside, was expected to make with his army of nearly 132,000 men. The official report of the Confederate army arrayed on the south side of the Rappahannock against this large Federal force shows present for duty on March 31,1863: [Richard H.] Anderson’s and [Lafayette] McLaws’ divisions of Longstreet’s corps, 25,649; Jackson’s corps, 33,333; cavalry, 6,509; reserve artillery, 1,821; total of all arms, 57,212. Of this number less than 42,000 participated in the battle of Chancellorsville.

The Army of the Potomac, with which Hooker was attempting to destroy the army of Lee, was composed of seven army corps of infantry—the First, Second, Third, Fifth, Sixth, Eleventh and Twelfth, containing 119,661 men, and a corps of cavalry, 22,000, making a total of [238] 131,661. Of this number about 90,000 were employed in the Battle of Chancellorsville. The physical force of the Federals thus appears to have been about double that of the Confederate army.

The advance Federal movement began by the crossing of [John] Sedgwick below Fredericksburg and the passage by Hooker of the upper fords. Soon after moving his own force across the river, Hooker withdrew a part of Sedgwick’s force and concentrated at Chancellorsville an army of six corps, containing nearly 90,000 men under his immediate command. The dispositions thus made by the Federal commander to force a retreat by Lee at great disadvantage or a fight in which he could be crushed, have been commended by military critics, but the great abilities of the Confederate chieftain were equal to the vast responsibility now thrust upon him. With him were the superb corps and division generals, Jackson, Anderson, McLaws, Early, Stuart and Fitzhugh Lee, whose commands confided in their skill and were ready to execute their plans.

It was quickly observed by Lee that the main assault was not to be made by Sedgwick, and that a direct attack on Hooker was perilous on account of his great numbers and strong position. A flank movement by Jackson while Early held Sedgwick was therefore soon adopted as the principal feature of the plan, notwithstanding the details of execution divided the Confederate army into three parts. Jackson executed his part of the plan on the afternoon of May 2d, with such wonderful daring and skill that his onset crushed through Hooker’s right wing and spread a panic over nearly the whole of the Federal army at Chancellorsville. Sedgwick, at Fredericksburg, had meantime driven Early’s small force from his front and was directing his advance toward Hooker. But on the next morning after Jackson’s bewildering flank assault, his force, commanded by Stuart after the great hero of the first fight had fallen, joined the divisions [239] which Lee had retained near the center of his line, and these united commands attacked Hooker with an impetuosity which made them masters of the works he had constructed. Sedgwick, with his superior weight, had captured Marye’s Hill and threatened the rear of Lee’s victorious army, but this dangerous movement was foiled by Lee, who led McLaws and [Cadmus] Wilcox against Sedgwick in the afternoon, driving him back upon his reserve at nightfall. Early advanced next day on the Telegraph Road, and with a few assaults recovered Marye’s Heights and the ridges, which placed him in the rear of the enemy’s left. Hooker, in the midst of these disasters which imperiled his army, diligently fortified his position near Chancellorsville, and Lee, being unwilling to attack him with only a part of his force then at hand, was compelled to consume the greater portion of the day in getting his divided army united and in position to advance. This difficult undertaking was accomplished during the afternoon, and a short time before sunset the attack was made. The Confederates swept again into the Federal breastworks and compelled a hasty retreat during the darkness of night of the whole of Hooker’s army across the river. At the same time Fredericksburg was abandoned by Sedgwick. At sunrise of the next day the Confederates found themselves in full possession of the field, enjoying a complete victory. General Hooker, safe again on the bluffs, with the river rolling between him and Lee, reviewed the events of the week and frivolously congratulated the Army of the Potomac on their ability to fight or to retreat as circumstances required. The death of Jackson was a loss most seriously felt by the army. No estimate of his military abilities has yet appeared extravagant to the men who fought with him, but no calculations as to results had his life been spared can ever be indulged.


What policy should be pursued by the Confederate government after two years of defensive warfare and three campaigns in which all the power of the United States had been vainly exerted to reach the Confederate capital or to break into the centers of the Confederate territory? This was the question to be considered in view of the management of the war which had been made up to that time upon the States. With the single exception of the strongly organized and definite efforts to capture Richmond, the entire scope of the conflict revealed only scattered expeditions of various sizes by land and sea, producing no decided result, yet causing a measureless amount of suffering. Over a million Federal soldiers were dispersed over the borders, around the coasts, and along the rivers of the South, but there was only one Army having one definite aim. Except the Army of the Potomac, the other vast forces of the United States were operating in large and small detachments. One lone aim—to take Richmond—enchained the attention of the Administration at Washington.

Upon due reflection it was determined by General Lee on the field, and President Davis at the capital, not to attack Hooker on the heights of Fredericksburg, nor to wait on the administration at Washington to plan a new line of advance against Richmond, but to draw the Federal armies from Virginia by boldly marching the Army of Northern Virginia northward. Accordingly Lee prepared his army at once for this movement. It was reorganized into three corps: Longstreet’s, the First; Ewell’s, the Second; A.P. Hill’s, the Third; and Stuart commanding the cavalry. With this organization Lee crossed the Potomac in June, advanced into Pennsylvania, and at Gettysburg on July 1st encountered a part of the Army of the Potomac under [George G.] Meade, who had superseded Hooker.

The first day’s fighting ended in [241] the defeat of the Federals, who were driven through the village of Gettysburg to the heights beyond. General Lee from an elevated site saw the flight of the beaten regiments over the hills, and ordered the taking of the heights if it could be done. Unfortunately, the order was not obeyed; perhaps its value was not understood. The Confederate commander designed to promptly renew the fight next morning, but the troops required for the attack were not in position until 4 o’clock in the afternoon, and the assault then made, although vigorously pressed, was not sufficiently in concert to achieve the best results.

General Meade’s army had meanwhile hurried up, and stretching along the commanding “heights of Gettysburg,” fortified thoroughly their almost impregnable position. On the third day Lee’s entire army reached the ground, and after some further irritating delays was ready for the general movement to be made nearly according to the original plan. At length heavy artillery firing along the lines of both armies preceded the advance of the infantry [in an attack which history remembers as Pickett’s Charge]. The charge was designed to be general, and by divisions in concert well supported, but the plan was not carried out. Longstreet had said, “The Army of Northern Virginia is in condition to undertake anything;” but “the army” as a whole did not fight that day together. The charges were as gallant, as prolonged, and as desperate as men ever made in battle, but they were delivered in detail. At many points the heights were gained, but they could not be held. The Confederate columns heroically assailed the entrenched positions of their enemy, and here and there carried them, but being attacked on both flanks were driven back with heavy loss. The battle ended after great slaughter on both sides, and the two armies stood still before each other during the whole of the next day—the Fourth of July.


During the day following Lee’s last attack at Gettysburg his army remained in line twenty-four hours, within easy reach of Meade without being assailed. It was afterward stated in testimony before the [United States Congress Joint] Committee on the Conduct of the War, that in a council of Meade with his corps generals the propriety of the withdrawal from Gettysburg of the Federal army was earnestly discussed. To what extent any such withdrawal was considered at any time is not known, but it is clear that Meade’s army had been seriously shattered and was not in a condition which made an immediate advance advisable. The Gettysburg battle was indeed very nearly a Confederate victory. Prompt pursuit of the flying foe on the first day would have made triumph easy. Resolute attack on the morning of the second day by all divisions must have given the field to the Confederates. The fortunes of battle were uncertain on the third day, after all the Federal forces were on entrenched elevations which they were to hold by superior numbers of infantry and artillery. It was still possible by concerted heroic movement to have captured the entrenchments; and this possibility is suggested by the fact that wherever the Confederate attack was heroic and concerted the Federal lines were broken, but where concerted action and due support were lacking the movement failed. So nearly was Meade beaten that he was forced to let the recoiled line of Lee lie undisturbed while its great commander arranged the withdrawal of his army into Virginia. The issue at Gettysburg between a Confederate army of 62,000 and a Federal army (fighting on its own soil) of l05,000, reached this stage of doubt after three days of battle, with loss of Confederates 19,000 and of Federals 20,000.

On the day when Lee and Meade were thus contemplating their respective situations, the central strategic position in the West—Vicksburg and the Mississippi [243] River—was surrendered to the Federal forces after a prolonged siege. With valor similar to that which had been shown by the Army of Northern Virginia in the battles of this year, their comrades in the West had been contending for supremacy in that section. After many battles the defenders of Vicksburg endured a siege of nearly fifty days and their surrender became imperative. Four days afterward Port Hudson was also given up and the Mississippi River went out of Confederate control.

These two prominent events occurring together—the withdrawal of Lee from Gettysburg to Virginia and the loss of the Mississippi River—are indissolubly associated in the public mind as the turning point of the issue at arms between the two nations. What might have been the achievements of Lee’s army if Stonewall Jackson had not fallen at Chancellorsville is a deeply interesting speculation. What would have resulted had Meade’s army been broken into fragments, leaving Maryland delivered, and Washington open to capture, will also remain among unsolved questions. Rumor said that foreign nations were prepared to recognize the Confederate States if Lee made his advance successful; that domestic discontent throughout the North would increase to a revolt there, and that the peace party would present a front which the war party could not withstand. This sketch, however, treats of events only, and throwing them into groups as they occur will leave them to speak for themselves.

Taking fresh account of the military situation after this Fourth of July epoch in the Confederate war, it will be found that Meade after some delay transferred his army into Virginia and advanced to Culpeper, where Lee confronted him with a line along the Rapidan [River]. Lee’s army when placed in this position was about 48,000, recruited to 56,000 by the 1st of August, including all arms, and composed of the corps of Longstreet, Ewell [244] and [A.P.] Hill, the artillery and Stuart’s cavalry. Longstreet’s corps was sent to Bragg, and Lee’s army from that time varied very slightly from 43,000 after the end of 1863. Two corps were ordered away from Meade about the same time that Longstreet’s two divisions were detached from Lee and sent to Johnston. The two armies thus reduced were engaged only in desultory fighting, including one successful advance by Lee in October, and the attempt of Meade at Mine Run which failed.


Bragg, commanding in Tennessee, had fallen back in June, during Lee’s operations in Pennsylvania, from Tullahoma to Chattanooga, with his army of 44,000 men, and placed it in entrenchments there in the period of Gettysburg and the surrender of Vicksburg. Rosecrans, with an army of about 65,000, followed him across the Tennessee River, and Burnside with 15,000 took possession of Cumberland Gap. Bragg, perceiving the design of Rosecrans to turn his left flank, evacuated Chattanooga and chose a line of battle on the Chickamauga River. These movements occupied the time from July 1st to September 18th, and brought the two armies together at the Battle of Chickamauga. The first day’s fight on the 19th was a drawn battle, but General Longstreet’s divisions arrived on the field, and with this accession of strength Bragg won on the 20th the great battle that utterly defeated the whole of the army of Rosecrans except the wing which [George Henry] Thomas held with a steadiness that gained him the well-won title of “the Rock of Chickamauga.”

The routed forces of Rosecrans, that fled into Chattanooga from this battlefield, were joined by Thomas, who had made good his retreat after his heroic fighting. The Confederate army closed in about the place of refuge which Rosecrans had sought, and made critical the situation [245] of his army. The Confederate forces had now acquired an advantage which it appears was lost by the detaching of Longstreet on an expedition to drive Burnside from Knoxville; and perhaps also by the neglect of an opportunity for making a united bold advance into Tennessee. At the time that Bragg’s forces were thus weakened by the absence of Longstreet and were held as besiegers of Chattanooga in the lines along Missionary Ridge and Lookout Mountain, Federal reinforcements drawn from Virginia and Tennessee in large numbers were hurried to the relief of Rosecrans. General Grant was also ordered to take command and Rosecrans was relieved.

About the middle of November the Federal army had been increased to 80,000 men, nearly doubling the force of Bragg, and inspired with confidence by the arrival of a new commander. Confiding in this force and appreciating the value of a quick blow while Longstreet was away, General Grant moved against Bragg, and on November 25th drove him from Lookout Mountain and Missionary Ridge to a new position near Dalton, in Georgia. This much accomplished, a large reinforcement was sent rapidly to Burnside, at Knoxville, causing Longstreet to withdraw toward Virginia.


The greater part of the armies in Virginia and Tennessee rested awhile in the midst of the severe winter. Sherman, however, with an army of 30,000 marched against Meridian, Mississippi, which he entered on February 16th and began his usual work of destruction with both infantry and cavalry. But he was harassed by Forrest, who had “the genius for cavalry fighting,” and after his own cavalry force of 8,000 men had been punished so severely in a number of fights that they rode off to Memphis, Sherman retreated to Vicksburg.

During the same month the invasion of Florida by [246] [Truman] Seymour was arrested by the Confederate victory at Olustee, February 20th, fought under Generals [Alfred] Colquitt and [Joseph] Finegan. Texas and Louisiana, at this season, became the ground of an expedition of combined land and naval forces under General [Nathaniel Prentice] Banks and Admiral [David Dixon] Porter, who went up Red River early in March and advanced upon Shreveport. The expedition had large proportions and expectations of acquiring an immense quantity of cotton, but it met with most mortifying defeats by the Confederates under General [Richard] Taylor. Banks found the way to New Orleans for himself and parts of his disordered command, while Porter escaped with his gunboats by the ingenuity of an engineer. General Banks was relieved of his command.


The trial year of war had arrived, the last of those four years from April, 1861, to April, 1865, in which the Confederacy was defended by armies which had fought with unexcelled courage, and by a navy of gunboats and cruisers created with a rapidity and managed with a skill that provoked astonishment and admiration.

While little mention in this scant outline has been made of the action of the Confederate administration at Richmond during the progress of hostilities, it will be borne in mind that all departments had been thoroughly absorbed with the business of war. The President, as commander-in-chief, had often been personally in council on the field with military chieftains, and two or three times exposed in battle. The secretaries of war and the navy, the adjutant-general with his assistants, the bureaus and all chiefs of departments had little relaxation from labor. Congress in frequent and prolonged sessions prepared and passed all acts which the increasing pressure of the war demanded. Governors of States, with the officials under them, bent all their energies to the duty of meeting the demands upon them, and the people of [247] the South were industriously working to supply the armies. The numerous Confederate dead were mourned for in thousands of homes; an army of men, disabled by wounds or disease, was scattered in all sections of the Confederacy; the widows and orphans of the fallen Southern braves were receiving the attention of legislatures in their time of need, and although the numbers of the soldiery were greatly diminished and the general resources for war had shrunken everywhere, yet the budding springtime of 1864 brought a renewal of purpose to achieve independence and a revival of the hope that it could be gained.


The chief interest in the campaign of 1864 centers in the army operations in Virginia and Georgia, but before the collision came in early May between Lee and Grant in the former State, and between Joseph E. Johnston and Sherman in the latter, there had been over 200 engagements since the 1st of January, covering portions of New Mexico, Texas, Louisiana, Arkansas, Missouri, Kentucky, Tennessee, Georgia, Mississippi, Alabama, Florida, South Carolina, North Carolina and Virginia, many of these fights rising to the dignity of battles. The activity of the combatants and the great area of military operations are made apparent by this survey (at a glance) of the theater of war. The defense of the South at so many points where its territory was attacked, required local uses of its resources and detachments from the main armies of large numbers of its troops, or the arming of nearly the entire male population. In line with the policy of destruction then adopted at Washington and understood at the headquarters of the armies, many expeditions and raids invaded the Southern interior, subsisting on the country while they could and leaving desolation when they withdrew. Fighting for farm and fireside was made necessary. Agriculture was hindered, transportation [248] crippled, and all resources for successful war diminished. The Southern States still under the protection of the Confederate armies were thus left in such alarm, notwithstanding the raiders were usually driven off, that productions available for the armies were greatly reduced.

Among this large number of small affairs, the movements of Grant in Virginia to be met by Lee, and of Sherman in Georgia to be met by Johnston, indicated the coming of great events. Grant’s lone task was to take Richmond, distant only a few days’ march. The capital of the Confederacy was the castle whose capture would satisfy the monarchs of Europe that President Davis had lost his government. Belligerent rights, which had been rightfully accorded the Confederate government when organized in due form and defended by successful arms, had chafed the Washington administration. The fall of Richmond would be followed by the withdrawal of these belligerent rights, so that the Confederate movement for independence would probably at once subside. To the attainment of this great end Grant was equipped with a splendid army for his personal command, and made lieutenant-general in control of the United States army operations. Sherman’s advance southward was not so distinctly determined. Marching from Dalton upon Johnston he could move into Alabama and find his “deep water” at Mobile; or, cutting a way into Georgia he could gain Atlanta, from which he might proceed to Savannah. He could make a strong demonstration on either course and retire into Tennessee and be available in helping Grant. Sherman’s task was to further subdivide Confederate territory, destroy its resources, interrupt communications and prevent reinforcements from going to Lee. His operations were subordinate and would avail nothing unless Grant destroyed Lee’s army and captured Richmond.

Meanwhile the United States armies were well supported [249] by the dispositions of the Navy. The total number of naval vessels in use was 588, of 4,443 guns aggregate, consisting of 46 ironclad steamers for coast service, 150 guns; 29 ironclad steamers for inland service, 152 guns; 203 sidewheel steamers, 1,240 guns; 198 screw steamers, 1,578 guns; 112 sailing vessels, 1,328 guns. The number of seamen in service was over 40,000. Six squadrons were kept along the Atlantic Seaboard and the Gulf shores. One flotilla patrolled the Mississippi River, and another occupied the Potomac and the James. Other squadrons were stationed on the Pacific Coast, and a considerable number of vessels was employed in search of the bold cruisers and privateers who were destroying United States commerce. The squadrons on the Atlantic and the Gulf stood guard over Southern ports to enforce the blockade, in which duties they were often interrupted by bold attacks.


At the beginning of the campaign of 1864 the forces with which General Lee was preparing to meet Grant were, in round numbers, infantry 50,000, cavalry 8,700, artillery 4,850—the total of all arms present for duty not exceeding 64,000. These numbers had been reached since the official return of April l0th, by the arrival of the divisions of Longstreet. The army then numbering 64,000 of all arms was composed of the First Corps, Longstreet; Second Corps, A. P. Hill; Third Corps, Ewell; Cavalry Corps, J.E.B. Stuart, containing the divisions of [Wade] Hampton and Fitzhugh Lee; and the Maryland Line, [consisting of volunteers from the border state of Maryland], General Bradley T. Johnson. This force was called the Army of Northern Virginia.

The Army of the Potomac under General Grant, as reported by the Secretary of War, had on May 1st present for duty 120,380 of all arms, which number was increased by the arrival of the Ninth Corps, 27,780 strong, to the great force of 141,160 men of all arms—a few more than [250] double the army of Lee. This general statement that at the outset of the campaign the military strength of Grant’s army doubled that of the army under Lee, has been given by many investigators who made their calculations from all authoritative sources. Taking into the computation all of the men whom Grant could readily make available for an immediate advance without endangering Washington or weakening other important positions, in comparison with the force which Lee could employ to resist his advance in May, 1864, it is ascertained that the disparity in numbers was two to one. But the difference in equipment was much greater. The army of Grant moved with resources of the ordnance, quartermaster, commissary and medical departments very greatly exceeding those of the army of Lee. It must be taken into the general consideration of General Grant’s campaign that he employed the force of other columns collaterally with his own. Butler, with 30,000 men, entered the James when Grant moved across the Rapidan, and landed at Bermuda Hundred and City Point, which he fortified after one timid attempt to capture Petersburg. His operations afterward availed Grant nothing except the employment of Confederate forces under Beauregard to defeat his expeditions and finally to “bottle him up.” General Sigel invaded the [Shenandoah] Valley with about 10,000 men, where he was defeated by Breckinridge on May 15th at New Market. Hunter, relieving Sigel, achieved such considerable success as to require the detaching of Early, in June, to drive him from the Valley. Generals [George] Crook and [William Woods] Averell advanced through southwestern Virginia, but were compelled to retire before General Sam Jones to the Valley. [Philip] Sheridan’s splendid cavalry were constantly employed to the embarrassment of the Confederates from the beginning to the close of the general movement. These troops will be considered in the progress of the campaign as they increase Grant’s army and consequently enlarge the disparity between his force and Lee’s.

            [251] Almost simultaneously the armies of Sherman and Grant moved out on their respective lines of advance—Sherman to penetrate Georgia and Grant to take Richmond. General Grant, on May 4th, crossed the Rapidan to place his army between Lee and Richmond, but on the 5th and 6th found himself in sudden battle in the Wilderness. Checked in the first move, Grant turned toward Spotsylvania Court House, designing to reach that vantage ground before Lee discovered his purpose. But the Confederate commander anticipated the movement by marching Longstreet’s corps to the same point, where the two armies again faced each other and fought for position on the 9th and 10th. General Sheridan, in co-operation with this infantry movement to Spotsylvania, had been sent by Grant with a fine corps of about 10,000 cavalry to ride to the rear of Lee’s army and cut the communications with Richmond. Stuart, following after him, fought the Battle of Yellow Tavern and rescued Richmond, but lost his own life. Sheridan’s raid did not succeed and he returned to Grant.

The fighting at Spotsylvania, nearly continuous, culminated on this line on the 12th, when a salient left without proper artillery protection was carried at dawn by a Federal assault which swept over General Edward Johnson’s division and greatly imperiled Lee’s army. A most remarkable infantry struggle took place during the day of this assault, at the end of which the Federal advance was checked. For a week afterward Grant awaited the arrival of reinforcements from Washington, which were sent, and then moving behind the cover of the rivers toward Bowling Green, found Lee in line offering battle at Hanover Junction. Shifting his army eastward without having ventured to attack Lee in this new position, he maneuvered to deceive Lee, but the two great armies again met on the battlefield of Cold Harbor, where the Federals were placed at disadvantage. It was at this point that General Grant, on the 3d of June, made [252] those unavailing assaults on the lines of the Army of Northern Virginia which were so destructive to his divisions that at last they silently declined to advance. “The immobile lines pronounced a verdict,” writes [William] Swinton in his [Campaigns of the] Army of the Potomac, “silent, yet emphatic, against further slaughter. The loss on the Union side in this sanguinary action was over 13,000, while on the part of the Confederates it is doubtful whether it reached as many hundreds.”

After this victory Lee detached Early to check Hunter’s ravages in the Valley, and from the same bloody field the persistent Federal general moved his army to the south side of James River and sought retrieval by a movement to take Petersburg by surprise, in which he was foiled by Beauregard’s small command. As the general result of the entire campaign, the Army of the Potomac was concentrated south of the Appomattox River to begin the Siege of Petersburg, and the opinion was held and expressed with some vehemence at the North that Grant had slaughtered an army without gaining one decisive victory.


Charleston had also received the attention of the Federal government while plans were made against Richmond and Atlanta. It was already distinguished by the failure of repeated attempts to take it, and deserves some connected mention at this juncture of Confederate affairs. Doubtless the early capture of that city would have very greatly gratified all those in the United States who regarded it as the originator of secession. The capture of Fort Sumter in April, 1861, by the Confederates, was apparently easily accomplished, but the defense of the same spot by them was so heroic and skillful that it was never taken by force from its captors. The battles of Secessionville in June, and of Pocotaligo in October, 1862, were won in South Carolina’s defense. The blockade [253] of the port was made strong by the presence of a formidable fleet, but blockaders still came in and the fleet was often disturbed. In January, 1863, the Confederate ironclads Palmetto State and Chicora, in the harbor, boldly attacked the whole Federal wooden fleet, capturing the Mercedita and the Keystone State. The other Federal vessels steamed out to sea, leaving the harbor open for a day and night. Masked batteries opened on the Federal gunboat in the Stono River and cutting off retreat, compelled surrender. A squadron of eight ironclads was finally sent to subdue Sumter and capture Charleston. These powerful vessels, armed with guns of heavy caliber, steamed into position April 7, 1863, and opening fire on Sumter received such response from the fort and the batteries as to cause the withdrawal of the fleet, with many of the ships injured and one of them destroyed. A few months later a Federal landing was made on Morris Island, and Battery Wagner was furiously bombarded, July 11th, by the fleet and batteries, followed by General [Truman] Seymour’s assault which General [William B.] Taliaferro repulsed, causing Seymour a loss of over 1,500 men. Near the same date Sumter endured a seven days’ bombardment, which tore down its walls in a mass of ruins, but Beauregard, again commanding at Charleston, erected interior defenses and still held the ruined fort. It became necessary for the Confederates to withdraw from Fort Gregg, Battery Wagner and Morris Island, and yet they held the mass of Sumter’s ruins and defended Charleston. Both the fort and the city were in the possession of the Confederates when Grant marched in May, 1864, to overthrow Lee, and Sherman moved against Johnston. After the first terrible bombardment which reduced the fort to ruins, the Confederate engineers and soldiers converted the debris into an earthwork of such strength that it bore bombardment through all the campaigns of Grant and Sherman. It stood as the invincible protector of South Carolina’s harbor through a year [254] and a half of Federal attack, endured “for a hundred days and nights their utmost power,” and resisting all efforts to take away its crown by force, the old work saw with defiance the army of Sherman pass by in 1865 toward Columbia. The brave fort and gallant city were first in the war and last in the surrender.


During the time in which Grant was contending with Lee for the possession of Richmond, Sherman and Johnston were engaged in the campaign through Georgia. Sherman reached Atlanta soon after Grant had settled his army in the trenches at Petersburg and around Richmond, so that these cities were placed under siege about the same time, but this advantage had not been easily gained. His army, of sufficient strength to cover Johnston’s front with one-half its own, thus leaving another army free to operate on the flank, encountered skillful and vigorous opposition on many battlefields. Adopting tactics for which his superior force was well adapted, Sherman forced Johnston back by flank movements, but not without severe engagements at Resaca, May 14th; New Hope Church and Dallas, May 25th-27th; Kennesaw Mountain, June 27th; besides many small engagements in which the Federal army suffered great losses. Gathering his “three armies” around Atlanta in July, Sherman began to consider his next movements, and it has been said that the removal of Johnston at this stage of the campaign gave him great satisfaction. Johnston, who had fought him with skill from Dalton to the Chattahoochee River, but had contended with him by retreats, was succeeded by [John Bell] Hood, whose fame for impetuous leadership caused Sherman to consider that the Confederate plans would be changed.

Pausing to take observation from the position now reached, by the Confederate trend, it does not at once clearly appear that the situation had very much changed. [255] Fighting had been occurring in every Southern State since the middle of May, until the reported number of engagements was 180, besides those fought between the great armies of the two nations, and this is far below the actual number of skirmishes between small bodies in every State. The successes of Grant and Sherman had consisted in merely a gain of ground at a great loss of men. Grant was scarcely better stationed at the end of his campaign, and with the loss of thousands of men, than McClellan was when Lee caused his retreat from Richmond. The chief gain was in the reduction of Confederate numbers, which could not be replaced. Sherman had reached the piedmont of Georgia, where the table-lands stretched before him with rivers running to the sea, but his situation was perilous. Mobile, Savannah and Charleston were still Confederate strongholds, forbidding advance from the South into the Confederate interior. The Trans-Mississippi States, although cut off from the Confederacy in the East, were yet unsubdued and capable of taking care of themselves. The little navy yet left was doing good service, and the privateers were doing full damage wherever they were afloat. The general survey thus made, produced some muttering in the North and inspired some hopes in the South, but the insight of the situation showed a region beginning to suffer heavily from an exhaustion which could not be stayed. The producing area of the Confederacy had been lessened, producers had become much fewer, products had been destroyed, communication by rivers and railroads had been cut off, transportation had been alarmingly reduced, and there was no reliable money. The army official reports showed a considerable strength still left in the numbers of fighting men; but they were necessarily scattered over a vast territory, defending hundreds of important minor positions with inadequate munitions, while the combined armies of Lee and Johnston had not half the strength of either army under Grant or Sherman. [256] In these balances the Confederacy was weighed in July, 1864. There was yet a possibility of acquiring independence, and because of that possibility the administration at Richmond, the armies in the field, and the people in their homes resolved in the summer of 1864 on the continuance of the contest.

Hood, succeeding Johnston, struck one of Sherman’s corps north of Atlanta on the 10th, and the entire army on the 22d, and still again on the 28th of July. Afterward Sherman’s movements necessitated the Battles of Jonesboro and Lovejoy’s Station, in which the Federals gained advantages that caused the evacuation of Atlanta and opened it for occupation by the Federal army. General Hood, advising with the Richmond administration, planned a bold movement northward to destroy Sherman’s communications and to draw him out of Georgia into the former battle grounds of Tennessee. The movement temporarily drew a considerable part of the Federal army into northwest Georgia, and was attended with several small Confederate victories; but in September, Sherman, returning to Atlanta, wantonly burned the city as thoroughly as he could, and leaving it smoking behind him, marched southward, with little opposition, using the destructive agencies of fire and pillage along his broad route to Savannah.


While Sherman and Hood were contesting the ground in Georgia in July and September, E. Kirby Smith and General [Richard] Taylor were holding the enemy in check in the Trans-Mississippi Department; Lieutenant-General S.D. Lee, commanding the Department of Alabama, Mississippi and East Louisiana, had there vigorously engaged the Federal forces until he was transferred to command with Hood at Atlanta, while a great number of skirmishes and small engagements took place in Tennessee and Kentucky. General Forrest, under orders from General S. D. [257] Lee, had gained a great victory June 10th in the Battle of Tishomingo Creek, in Mississippi, thoroughly beating [Benjamin Henry] Grierson and [Samuel Davis] Sturgis, capturing 1,600 officers and men, 6 guns, 1,500 small-arms, besides a vast amount of ordnance and quartermaster stores. This brilliant battle was followed by other remarkable exploits of this great cavalry general at Pontotoc and Harrisburg, Mississippi; at Memphis, Tennessee, and in various other expeditions. During the same period of activity, the Federal Admiral Farragut, with four ironclad monitors and fourteen other vessels, attacked the small Confederate fleet commanded by Admiral [Franklin] Buchanan in Mobile Bay, and passing Fort Morgan, disabled several Confederate vessels and drove the remainder up the river. Having gained this advantage he soon captured the forts, with their guns and men, but was unable to wrest Mobile from the defenders in the entrenchments.

The Confederate activity in the States west of Georgia ceased somewhat on account of the great need of Hood for reinforcements during his advance northward into Tennessee, in which his army, although fighting with wonderful courage at Franklin, and afterward at Nashville, became so shattered that its retirement southward again became imperative. The remnants of this splendid army, which had fought so long under Albert Sidney Johnston, Beauregard, Bragg, Joseph E. Johnston and Hood, on returning through Georgia appeared once more in front of Sherman in South Carolina.

Meantime the Confederate line of Lee extended thirty-five miles along the breastworks which engineers, the most skillful of any army, had constructed for the protection of the Confederate capital. Fortressed by these defenses, which were manned their whole length by men far too few to occupy them, the cities of Petersburg and Richmond withstood all the assaults of the great Federal army, through the summer and winter months until the spring of 1865 had come, the details of which [258] protracted siege are given in many volumes of [the Confederate Military History] and may not be recounted here. It dragged its wearisome course through the summer while Early was pushing Hunter into the mountains of western Virginia, driving Sigel across the Potomac, defeating Wallace at Monocacy, forming line of battle in sight of Washington City, to the amazement of its defenders, mingled with no little amount of the old fear for the safety of the capital. After thus scandalizing the military management of the Federals, Early defeated Crook and Averell at Kernstown, and gained such mastery of the Valley as to require the special expedition of a new force of 40,000 infantry, attended by a chosen body of cavalry, to finally defeat him after many engagements extending into the winter.

The operations of Grant against Petersburg and Richmond from July to the opening of the following spring, were comprised in approaches by entrenchments; the explosion of a mine under the Confederate breastworks on the 30th of July [in the Battle of the Crater]; attempted extensions of his lines in August, in which he was partially successful at Globe Tavern and defeated at Reams’ Station; besides other efforts on both sides of the River James, which did not change the situation to his advantage.

The total result of events to February, 1865, was such that the Confederate government ventured, through a commission composed of [Alexander] Stephens, [Robert] Hunter and [John] Campbell, to present again to the Federal administration proposals for peace. The Confederate government was justified at this time in seeking for a basis of peace between the sections, but what the precise conditions were on which it would have accepted peace without independence, has not yet clearly appeared. The exact point of appeasement was never reached, but it is certain that President Lincoln, in his interview with the commission, did not write the word “Union” and consent to the addition thereto of whatever the commissioners desired. Mr. Lincoln was too wise to do so foolish an [259] act, and the rumor that he did is not only without evidence, but is against the testimony of the parties to the conference. Nor does it appear conclusively that the ultimatum of President Davis was independence or war. Whatever his exigency required him to declare to the public as the true basis of a treaty, it must be considered that his utterances had often committed him to restoration of the Union under the Constitution. But these questions are put aside as not being within the scope of this outline of army operations, that the situation of the great military contestants may be now observed for the last time.

Sherman left Savannah, which he had occupied after suffering the Confederate forces there to retreat without hindrance into South Carolina. His march was resumed in January through that State northward to Columbia, which he caused to be burned. Charleston, flanked by this movement, was evacuated, and from this point the Confederate forces under Johnston met the Federal advances toward North Carolina.

On the return of the Army of Tennessee from its unfortunate expedition, General Joseph E. Johnston had been recalled to command and placed in charge of all forces in South and North Carolina, in order that a concentration might be effected with which Sherman could be checked. The divisions of [Carter Littlepage] Stevenson and [Benjamin Franklin] Cheatham, brought from the Army of Tennessee; the division of [Robert] Hoke, which had been detached for some time from the Army of Northern Virginia, and the troops of [William Joseph] Hardee, withdrawn from Charleston, constituted the infantry. Wheeler and [Wade] Hampton commanded the cavalry. The strength of the forces when concentrated was probably 20,000 effective men of all arms. With this command, brought together after Bragg had fought the Battle of Kinston, and Hardee the Battle of Averasboro, General Johnston confronted Sherman’s force of 70,000 at Bentonville in engagements from the 19th to the 21st of March, after which he moved his army to Raleigh.

[260] The march of Sherman from Savannah northward bore directly upon the military situation around Richmond, and his success in placing his strong force far up into North Carolina in such dangerous proximity to Virginia brought the war to its real crisis. It is scarcely necessary to again mention the Confederate and Federal forces scattered throughout the South engaged in contests which bore slightly at this time on the impending crisis in Confederate affairs. We may, therefore, turn to Lee and Grant, so closely confronted at Petersburg that the exchange of friendly chat between the lines was often substituted for the sharp explosion of deadly arms.

Lee, having been appointed general-in-chief of all Confederate armies on the 5th of February, began to make various dispositions looking to the probability which he had contemplated before, that Richmond must be abandoned. Early in February, he placed Johnston, as already stated, in command of the Army of Tennessee, or such fragments of it as remained after the campaign of 1864, and reinforced him with all troops he could send into the Carolinas from any quarter. Communications southward were kept protected, and supplies as much as possible were placed where they would be available in case Richmond was lost. It was considered that a junction of the army in Virginia with Johnston’s command in Carolina, might result in the quick destruction of Sherman’s force, followed by a subsequent return to recover Virginia from Grant. The great Confederate military chieftain seems to have foreseen the inevitable evacuation of Richmond, and although providing with utmost care against the calamity, made the best forecast in his power for the operations of his army after that event.

During the first months of 1865, General Grant continued to increase the efficiencies of his army for the final trial of battle with the Army of Northern Virginia. Now and then he made efforts to extend to the left, bringing on several conflicts, and occasionally employed his guns [261] in practice upon the Confederate batteries. The service in the trenches and rifle-pits was dreary indeed to both armies, but especially so to the Confederates, whose rations were scant and clothing well worn. In the extremity of the siege, one bold but unsuccessful attack was made March 25th, by a part of Lee’s force, led by [John Brown] Gordon, in which Fort Stedman and a mile of breastworks were gallantly taken from the Federals, only to be lost again. One week later, on the 1st of April, Grant moved against Lee’s right, and destroying the divisions of Pickett and Bushrod Johnson by a powerful flank attack during the day, pursued his plans of assault next day with a general movement, which broke the thin Confederate line at many positions and compelled the evacuation of Petersburg and Richmond.

This Confederate disaster, occurring after four years of successful resistance, will be explained by examination into the relative condition of the two armies. The last return of the strength of Lee’s army in Virginia, made February 20, 1865, accounted for three corps of infantry, Johnson’s division, General Early’s Valley command, the cavalry divisions of W.H.F. Lee, the troops of General J.A. Walker, at the defenses of the Richmond & Danville Railroad; some unattached commands, and all artillery. The aggregate present of this whole force at all places is given at 73,349; the present and absent, 160,411. The inspection reports summed up, on the 28th of February, the aggregate present for duty 45,633, to which adding one brigade of 2,000 on picket, and the effective artillery 5,000, it is ascertained that Lee’s whole effective force at this date was about 53,000. It will also be taken into the account that serious Confederate losses occurred from this time to the beginning of Grant’s final assault, April 1st, and that a considerable part of the force mentioned in the report was detached and not directly available by Lee at the time of that assault. The estimate of Lee’s army at 45,000 of all arms when the battle on Lee’s [262] right flank at Five Forks began on April 1st, is not far from a true statement. In this battle at Five Forks the divisions of Pickett and Bushrod Johnson were overwhelmed by [Gouvernour Kemble] Warren, [Andrew Atkinson] Humphreys and Sheridan, at a loss to the Confederate army in killed, wounded and prisoners of 7,000 men; and in the fighting of April 2d, which resulted in the fall of Petersburg and Richmond, other losses, not less than 5,000 or 6,000, had been sustained. On deducting from 45,000 these casualties of all kinds which occurred on the 1st and 2d of April, it becomes clear that the general estimate, made by many calculations, that Lee began his retreat with not more than 32,000 men of all arms, is a close approximation to the actual number.

On the 1st of March, General Grant’s armies, under Meade, [Edward] Ord and Sheridan, all of which were available in the attack on Lee, contained an effective total of over 162,000, according to the official reports. It has been stated that Grant moved upon Lee April 1st with an actual force of 120,000. His cavalry, commanded by Sheridan, was the best that had been put in the field on the Federal side, and doubled the force under Hampton and Fitzhugh Lee. His infantry, freshly uniformed and equipped, made a superb appearance in their compact and well-supported advance against the gallant foe which had so long and well defended the land they loved. It was not physically possible for the reduced Army of Northern Virginia to resist on April 2d the Federal heavy columns which assailed them along the entire front from the Appomattox River to the exposed flank which had been turned on the day before. The ratio of physical force on that day was fully four to one.

Lee withdrew from all the defenses of the Confederate capital, and sought the way for junction with Johnston, but while delayed at Amelia Court House by the necessity of securing rations for his small army, was overtaken and turned from his chosen course. The fighting in retreat [263] resulted in the reduction of his army by the 9th of April to about 10,000 men, with which small force he essayed to cut through toward Lynchburg, and that last recourse becoming futile, this remnant of a great army was surrendered by the noble chieftain whom all nations admire and revere. The terms of the surrender were highly honorable to General Grant, the victorious Federal general, and greatly promoted the rapid cessation of the long, bloody, costly struggle. The armies parted in mutual respect, and notwithstanding there were other forces in the field, the conviction was settled in the public mind that the Confederate movement had been effectually checked. Over twenty small engagements occurred after the Battle of Appomattox in various parts of the Confederacy, but none was important. General Johnston surrendered his forces, April 26th, to General Sherman in North Carolina, and General Kirby Smith surrendered the Trans-Mississippi Department on the 26th of May. President Lincoln was murdered by an assassin on the 14th of April—an untimely death, deplored, not only South and North, but throughout the civilized world. President Davis, well worthy of the high honors which are paid to his memory, in attempting to reach the West beyond the Mississippi, was captured and imprisoned, but afterward released. Trial on the indictment against him could not result in conviction. The presidency of the United States passed, under the provisions of the Constitution, to Andrew Johnson. The Confederate States government ceased to exist. Serious errors were committed by Washington politicians, in reconstruction policies that fostered feeling which could have been easily allayed by wiser action, and notwithstanding Southern protestations and proof of fidelity to the faithful recognition of the real results of the war, it required the struggle with Spain, after the passing of a generation, to bring to the States of the Confederacy a just recognition of their true attitude toward the Union.


In the general statistics of this war of four years’ duration, it has been computed that there were 2,500 engagements reported by names, besides many not mentioned; the United States put 2,773,304 enlisted men in their armies, and the Confederate States 800,000. Upon the supposition that these numbers represented many re-enlistments, it will be considered that deductions must be made from both amounts alike, which will still leave the disparity of about four Federal soldiers to one Confederate actually employed in the war. One million soldiers and seamen of the two armies and navies suffered deaths or permanent disability during actual service, and a large additional number died soon after the war ended, from wounds and diseases contracted in service. Many thousands of survivors remained sufferers from the effects of this hard warfare. The loss of commerce and of labor is estimated in only a slight degree by the immense expenses of war, which were met by taxation and government loans. Over 3,000,000 men employed in the business of destructive war were taken from productive pursuits of peace. To the expenses of the two general governments in maintaining war, add the expenditures of all the States and many municipalities. Include in the account the actual destruction of valuable property, of which no reliable data can be obtained. Taking all data into calculation, the sum total of the cost has been reasonably computed at $10,000,000,000. On the credit side of this statement, it appears that not a foot of territory was added; not one of the great number of material advantages which nations ought to gain resulted from the struggle between the sections. Yet there were some inestimable results like these: State secession ceased to be a remedy for redress of popular grievances; the statehood of the State, put in peril first by coercion and next by reconstruction, stood its trial by both adversaries, and at last triumphed at a judgment bar which recognizes [265] the legal force and political worth of the Constitution of the United States; the Union of all States under the great instrument which formed it has been demonstrated to be better than a division of sections, and the Constitution to be worth fighting for against those who would subvert it. American military and naval skill was proved to the world’s nations. The Confederacy proudly presented to fame Albert Sidney Johnston, Robert E. Lee, Joseph E. Johnston, P.G.T. Beauregard among its generals in chief command, and Wheeler, Forrest, Stuart, Hampton as cavalry chieftains; while Stonewall Jackson led all in those rare, unique capacities of his own whose work was arrested by death. In its navy, Buchanan and Semmes made fame without resources, and the necessity which stimulates invention induced naval construction with devices for war with ships, that ushered a new era in naval warfare. The general fighting qualities of American soldiers, such as steadiness, celerity, courage and intelligent obedience to orders, were made apparent to all nations, and in a word, the power of the American Union of States was developed.


The Coldstream Guards are the oldest regiment in the British Army. Originally organized as a part of Oliver Cromwell's New Model Army, ...