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Company A, Captain Dulaney, to the right, and Company B, Captain Grimsley, directly up the turnpike.
"Company B was first upon the enemy, and charged most gallantly right through their lines, breaking them and throwing them into confusion. This company was supported by Company E from the left, and Companies K and A on the right. The enemy was driven from this position, but soon reformed in an orchard on the right of the turnpike, where these companies again charged and put them to complete route.
"When the charge was commenced, their cavalry took to flight. The two pieces of artillery were abandoned and taken, and nearly the entire infantry force taken prisoners.
"Company D, Captain Richards, and Company I, Captain Row, came up in time to engage in the pursuit. The other companies of the 6th and 2d Regiments were prevented from coming in time to I take part on account of the difficulty in crossing the bridge, which alone prevented their taking the most active part in the fight.
"The officers and men engaged acted with the greatest intrepidity and courage, executing every order with promptness, and gained a complete victory over the enemy.'
In his report of the fight at Winchester, after referring to the absence of the cavalry under Generals Ashby and George H. Steuart, and the failure of the latter to pursue the enemy promptly when ordered to do so, on the ground that the order did not come through General Ewell, under whose immediate command he was, General Jackson says:
"There is good reason for believing that, had the cavalry played its part in this pursuit as well as the four companies under Colonel Flournoy two days before in the pursuit from Front Royal, but a small portion of Banks' army would have made its escape to the Potomac."
The reports of some of the subordinate Federal officers engaged in this fight are somewhat amusing, inasmuch as they estimate one attacking force all the way from 3,000 to 10,000 men, and one even says that we attacked then with these overwhelming numbers, carrying a black flag, and giving no quarter-this in the face of the fact that no one ever saw a black flag in Virginia during the war, and of the further fact that we took alive about 700 prisoners, which shows
under what mental and optical delusion some people may labor during the excitement of such an occurrence, or else, what deliberate lying they will do in order to make their own part in the affair appear as great as possible.
This article has been written simply in vindication of historical truth, and in justice to the heroic dead and of the living, as well. In further verification of the foregoing, I refer to Judge Grimsley, of Culpeper, Va., and Colonel R. H. Dulany, Welbourne, Va.
Hughesville, Va., May 8, 1896.
JOHN C. DONOHOE.
[From the Philadelphia Times, March 14, 1896.]
A PARALLEL FOR GRANT'S ACTION.
Here is a Comparison of his Campaign in 1864 and Lee's in 1862.
THEIR STRATEGY WAS SIMILAR.
And the Losses Incurred in the Wilderness and the Subsequent Bat-
When General Grant, having been made lieutenant-general, came East and assumed direction of the armies operating against Richmond, the war had been in progress three years; about a dozen great battles had been fought between the two principal Virginia armies, in which alone the aggregate losses in killed and wounded were over 90,000; half as many more had fallen in scores of lesser actions-all to no purpose, for, notwithstanding the fact that perhaps equal losses had been inflicted on the Confederates, the situation of the beligerents in Virginia remained substantially the same as when the first battle of Bull Run occurred in 1861.
Retaining Meade in command of the Army of the Potomac, but casting his personal fortunes with that magnificent but unfortunate
army, Grant inaugurated a campaign against Lee which involved a succession of bloody battles hardly paralleled in modern warfare, in which the Confederate commander, almost constantly acting on a careful defensive, to husband his rapidly failing strength, was barely able throughout this terrible summer to hold his own and protect Richmond. By thus always fighting behind fortified lines and taking few chances, Lee was enabled to inflct far greater losses on the Union army than his own sustained. But, nevertheless, the Confederate losses were also quite large. Confederate bulletins and newspapers from time to time announced the repulse of the Yankees with "great slaughter," and showered enthusiastic praises upon the brave and brilliant defense their great leader was making against overwhelming numbers, yet the Union army day by day drew nearer and nearer Richmond, and the very terseness with which, after the first trial of strength with Grant, the heretofore bold and dashing Confederates hugged their breastworks, was evidence that they were cowed and dismayed by this new order of warfare. Grant at once detected this after the Wilderness; he asserted to his government that Lee was already whipped, and that it was impossibie to get a battle out of him in the open. Grant pressed the fighting with such ferocity and persisted in it with such bull dog tenacity that he began to be* stigmatized by his enemies North and South as a "butcher.'
It is my purpose to indulge in some speculations concerning this campaign, and the Union losses, comparing them with other campaigns of the war, and then let the reader form his own conclusions as to whether Grant's eventual success was dearly bought or otherwise. The period of which I shall treat is the forty-one days beginning with the battle of the Wilderness, on the 5th of May, and ending with the crossing of the James on the 15th of June, 1864. The fighting, beginning on the 5th, was almost continuous throughout the month of May, but practically ended with the battle of Cold Harbor on the third of June. The total Union losses in all the battles of this period in killed and wounded (I do not include prisoners, as they are not counted in the butcher's bill), was follows:
The campaign in which these losses were made may be truthfully
described as a series of seige operations, alternating with flank movements toward Richmond to turn the Confederates out of fortified positions too strong and too well defended to be broken through. But Lee, who was an able engineer officer, having always the inner line, found it easy again to interpose and throw up new defenses. This process was repeated four different times-first at Spotsylvania, then at the North Anna river, again at Cold Harbor, and finally in front of Petersburg.
It is not necessary to my purpose to discuss the Confederate losses in these operations further than to say that they also were quite heavy. There is no complete return of them, but subordinate reports leave no room for doubt that at the Wilderness, where Lee at first assumed the offensive, there were not less than 10,000, and perhaps as many as 12,000 killed and wounded; around Spotsylvania between 8,000 and 10,000; North Anna, Cold Harbor, etc., about 5,000. I think the total may be fairly stated at 25,000 men. The The fighting, it will be seen, was not all one-sided. Even the Confederate fortified lines were several times pierced by fierce attacks, and the safety of Lee's entire army momentarily imperiled.
The Wilderness is generally assumed to have been a drawn battle, but in fact it was a Union triumph. Grant had not actually driven Lee from the field, but he had maintained himself south of the river, offering, if not again delivering battle. While safely covering his own capital, Grant still menaced the enemy's, for he held the roads leading south, and at once actually proceeded to advance further into the interior of Virginia. He had held the enemy at bay, inflicting such staggering blows as to at last change the policy of that enemy from a hitherto generally successful offensive-defensive into a purely and very careful and timid defensive one. More, General Grant had destroyed the illusion in the Union army that Lee was absolutely infallible and that the Rapidan was a sort of Chinese wall which could not be successfully passed while Lee defended it. This was a victory in itself. Just one year previously Lee had boldly attacked Hooker on this same ground and disastrously defeated and driven him back across the Rappahannock. Hooker's forces in the Chancellorsville campaign were greater by 20,000 than Grant's in the Wilderness, while Lee's were about the same in both. At Spotsylvania Hancock broke through the Confederate breastworks and captured many prisoners. Feeble attempts of the Confederates at Spotsylvania, North Anna, and Bethesda Church to take the offensive were easily repulsed, and with considerable loss.
In short, in this campaign the Union army was handled with a boldness and confidence unknown in its previous history, and with a success in the presence of R. E. Lee which surprised those to whom his name had been a terror for three years. All expectation of outmanoeuvering and defeating the superior Federal army in the open had evidently been put aside, though it is plain Lee had confidence that he could repeat the Chancellorsville episode when he marched on Grant in the Wilderness. His previous successes in this favorite field against large armies gave him ground for such expectation. But the cyclone tactics of the Confederate leader of 1862-3 were now completely reversed. True, Lee was largely outnumbered, but not so largely as at Chancellorsville.
It is not likely that many favorable openings were afforded by General Grant for promising attack, but in the numberless movements at Spotsylvania of corps back and forth, it seems strange that Lee did not make an opportunity with his old-time skill to strike effectively, but here he preferred a strict defensive, a policy in marked contrast with the bold advance at the Wilderness on May 5, and Longstreet's attack on the 6th.
Grant's style of fighting was a new sensation on this front. partisans of defunct Federal generals previously cleaned out by Lee, who prognosticated disaster, were silenced by Grant's advance; opposition journals and the supporters of McClellan, who had declared that the war was a failure, spread exaggerated lists of killed before the country for political purposes. Through such agencies there was created a popular impression that Grant's warfare was utterly devoid of sense or science; that by mere weight of numbers and through sheer stolidity he was maintaining a losing fight; that General Leea great military genius-was constantly outgeneraling him, watchfully biding his time and from behind impregnable breastworks shooting down the Union troops like pigeons almost at will, while losing very few himself. Cheap historians afterward followed these lines. Many ignorant people are still of that impression, especially those who have read only the earlier histories and have depended upon sensational newspaper accounts for their knowledge of the war, written before the contemporaneous official reports of both sides were accessible.
Never was there a greater mistake. Lee had previously been lucky in his adversaries; now he had met one who understood his business; who like himself knew how to weigh relative chances; who knew when his army was licked and also when it wasn't; who,