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General said to him that it was impossible to advance; upon which he returned to me to show why General Franklin thought it was impossible to advance. When he communicated the reply to me, he says that my reply was, " But he (General Franklin) must advance." I then sent Captain Goddard to General Franklin with an order, which the following statement will explain:
"I was sent on the day of the battle of Fredericksburg to General Franklin, on the left, with this order from General Burnside: 'Tell General Franklin, with my compliments, that I wish him to make a vigorous attack with his whole force. Our right is hard pressed.' This order was given me about 1:30 o'clock in the afternoon, and I delivered it to General Franklin in the presence of General Hardie, before 2:30 o'clock. R. H. I. GODDARD, Captain, and A. D. C.
I had before this sent to General Franklin an order by telegraph, directing him to make an attack upon the heights immediately in his front. General Sumner's corps was held in position until after eleven o'clock, in the hope that Franklin would make such an impression upon the enemy as would enable him (Sumner) to carry the enemy's line near the telegraph and plank roads. Feeling the importance of haste, I now directed General Sumner to commence his attack. He had already issued his orders, but had, in accordance with my instructions, directed his troops to be held in readiness for the attack, but not to move without further orders from him. The enemy was strongly posted along the crest in his front, covered by rifle-pits and batteries, which gave him a commanding sweep of the ground over which our troops had to pass. I supposed, when I ordered General Sumner to attack, that General Franklin's attack on the left would have been made before General Sumner's men would be engaged, and would have caused the enemy to weaken his forces in front of General Sumner, and I therefore hoped to break through their lines at this point. It subsequently appeared that this attack had not been made at the time General Sumner moved, and, when it was finally made, proved to be in such small force as to have had no permanent effect upon the enemy's line.
General Sumner's order directed the troops of General Combs' corps to commence the attack: French's division led, supported by Hancock, and finally by Howard. Two divisions of WilCox's corps (Sturgis' and Getty's) participated in the attack. Never did men fight more persistently than this brave, grand division of General Sumner. The officers and men seemed to be inspired with the lofty courage and determined spirit of their noble commander; but the position was too strong for them. I beg to refer to the report of General Sumner for a more extended account of the working of his command, and the cavalry division under General Pleasonton.
At 1:30 P. M. I ordered General Hooker to
support General Sumner with his command soon after receiving the order, he (General H.) sent an Aide-de-Camp to me with a statement that he did not think the attack would be successful. I directed him to make the assault. Some time afterward General Hooker came to me in person with the same statement. I reiterated my order, which he then proceeded to obey.
The afternoon was now well advanced. General Franklin before this had been positively ordered to attack with his whole force, and I hoped before sundown to have broken through the enemy's line. This order was not carried out. At four P. M. General Humphreys was directed to attack, General Sykes' division moving in support of Humphreys' right. All these men fought with determined courage, but without success. General Humphreys was conspicuous for his gallantry throughout the action.
Our forces had been repulsed at all points, and it was necessary to look upon the day's work as a failure. It is not pleasant to dwell upon these results even at this distance of time, and I have, therefore, been thus brief in my statement of them.
From the night of the thirteenth until the night of the fifteenth, our men held their positions. Something was done in the way of intrenching, and some angry skirmishing and annoying artillery firing was indulged in in the meantime.
I directed preparations to be made for another attack on the morning of the fourteenth, but, for reasons not necessary to mention here, I countermanded the order.
On the night of the fifteenth I decided to remove the army to the north side of the river, and the work was accomplished without loss of men or material. The reports of the grand division commanders give the details of this movement. My Aide-de-Camp, Major William Cutting, remained on the south side until the last of the troops passed over, and reported to me at daylight that the bridges were being taken up. The grand divisions returned to their respective positions.
On the seventeenth of December I made a report to General Halleck. I refer to this because it was understood by many that it was written at the suggestion of the President or Secretary of War. Such is not the fact. It was written at my headquarters, without consultation with anybody outside of my own personal staff, and is correct in all particulars.
Immediately after the engagement on the thirteenth I sent Major William Goddard with despatches to Washington, and on the following morning forwarded others by Colonel Lloyd Aspinwall, requesting them both to give to the authorities at Washington verbal information of what had transpired.
Preparations were at once commenced to refit the army, and I decided to make another movement against the enemy. On the twentysixth of December I ordered three days' cooked
field will ever be cherished and honored by a grateful country.
To the staff officers of my headquarters and
rations, with ten days' supply in the wagons, together with a supply of forage, beef cattle, ammunition, and other stores, and for the entire army to be ready to move at twelve hours' no-to those gentlemen who so kindly volunteered tice. It is not worth while to give the details their services for the day, I am indebted for of this intended movement. It will be enough their cheerful and hearty co-operation and assistto say that the cavalry had already started upon ance. The great numbers which necessarily it, and the necessary orders were prepared for composed the staff render it impossible to indiall the forces, when I received from the Presi- vidualize, and for fear of doing injustice by dent a despatch in the following words: making improper distinctions, I must content myself with simply thanking them in a body.
"I have good reasons for saying that you must not make a general movement without first letting me know of it."
I at once countermanded the order and proceeded to Washington, and was told by the President that some General officers of my command had represented to him that the army was not in condition to move, and he was induced by their statement to telegraph me as he did.
Soon after this I made the fourth attempt, which was to cross at the fords above Falmouth, and moved the entire command for that purpose; but owing to a severe storm, which rendered the roads almost impassable, together with other obstacles, I was forced to return the army to its old position.
The list of casualties, as shown by the reports of the grand division commanders, were as given below. I would state that a large proportion of the wounds were slight, not requiring hospital attention, and many reported as missing proved to be stragglers, and returned to their respective commands:
RIGHT GRAND DIVISION.
LEFT GRAND DIVISION.
Many difficulties had presented themselves to Ninth Corps... me in the exercise of the command of this army. I was the first officer to take charge of it after its, first commander had been relieved; I had not been identified with the Peninsular campaign, and was unacquainted with a large portion of its officers. The season was very far advanced, which rendered all military movements precarious. The army had not been paid for several months, which caused great dissatisfaction among the soldiers and their friends at home, and increased the number of desertions to a fearful extent, and, in short, there was much gloom and despondency throughout the entire command.
When to this is added the fact that there was a lack of confidence on the part of many of the officers in my ability to handle the army, it does not seem so strange that success did not attend my efforts. I made four distinct attempts between the ninth day of November, 1862, and the twenty-fifth day of January, 1863. The first failed for want of pontoons; the second was the battle of Fredericksburg; the third was stopped by the President; and the fourth was defeated by the elements and other causes.
After the last attempt to move, I was, on the twenty-fifth day of January, 1863, relieved of the command of the Army of the Potomac.
I am not disposed to complain of my lack of success in the exercise of the command, and in view of the glorious results which have since attended the movements of this gallant army, I am quite willing to believe that my removal was for the best.
The courage and heroism displayed by the army at the battle of Fredericksburg has not been excelled during the war, and the memories of the brave officers and men who fell on that
CENTRE GRAND DIVISION.
Right Grand Division.
Left Grand Division.
the movement was commanded by Major-General N. P. Banks; the navy by Rear-Admiral D. D. Porter. The disastrous battle of Sabine Cross Roads, fought April eighth, compelled the abandonment of the object of the expedition, which was the capture of Shreveport, and the army and navy fell back to Grand Ecore. Nothing now remained to be done but to take measures for relieving the squadron from the critical position in which it was placed by reason of the low water in the Red River. There was strong ground for apprehending that all the vessels under Admiral Porter's command, comprising some of the most effective iron-clads of the Mississippi fleet, would have to be destroyed to prevent their falling into the hands of the enemy. The capture or destruction of the squadron, with some two millions of dollars, would involve the blockade of the Red River, and great inconvenience to the army, if not its destruction, and would also for a time give the rebels control of the Mississippi.
of regiments from the Western States. There were also employed in the construction of this great work some two hundred army wagons and about a thousand horses, mules, and oxen. Several hundred hardy lumbermen belonging to a regiment from Maine, were employed on the right, or north bank in felling trees, while an equal number were engaged in hauling them to the river bank. Flat-boats were constructed on which stone was brought from above, after being quarried, and the work was begun at the foot of the falls by running out a tree-dam made from the heavy timber and stone, crosstied with the trunks of other large trees, and strengthened in every way which Yankee ingenunity could devise. This dam extended out into the river a distance of about three hundred feet. Four large navy coal barges were then filled with stone and brick and sunk at the end of the dam. From the left, or south bank-there being no timber there-a series of heavy cribs were constructed from material obtained by demolishing some old mills and barns, while the brick, iron, and stone required to sink them and hold them in their place, were procured by tearing down two large sugar houses, and by taking up a quantity of railroad iron, buried in the vicinity of Alexandria. In this work several colored regiments were employed, while the white troops carried forward the work on the other side of the river, both details working day and night.
After the gunboats succeeded in passing over the bar near Grand Ecore, the army moved from there to Alexandria, having on the way several severe skirmishes with the enemy, and a battle at Monett's Bluffs, on Cane River. On the arrival of the fleet at the falls near Alexandria, which are about a mile in length, filled with rugged rocks, it was discovered that the water had fallen so low that it would be impossible for the vessels to pass them. This difficulty had been anticipated by many officers of The width of the Red River at the lower end the army, who were acquainted with the treach- of the falls, the point where the dam was conerous character of Red River navigation, be-structed, is seven hundred and fifty-eight feet, fore our return to Grand Ecore, and the idea and the depth of the water from four to six feet, had been suggested of rescuing the squadron the current running about ten miles an hour. by means of a dam. Lieutenant-Colonel Joseph Night and day the work was carried on without Bailey, of Wisconsin, who had had much expe- cessation, the men working willingly and cheerrience on the rivers of the North-west, and was fully, although many were compelled to stand up familiar with the difficulties of swell-water nav- to their waists in water during the damp and igation, consulted with Major-General William chilly nights, and under a burning sun by day, B. Franklin, commanding the Nineteenth army and notwithstanding very many had no faith in corps, on whose staff he was at the time, and the success of the great undertaking. The scene submitted to him the plan of a tree-dam. No presented in the vicinity of the dam was novel action was, however, taken until the arrival of and interesting. Oak, elm, and pine trees, whose the forces at Alexandria, when the matter was gigantic growth dated from the days of the placed before General Banks, and the proposed daring De Soto, were falling to the ground unplan explained in detail by Lieutenant-Colonel der the blows of the stalwart pioneers of Maine, Bailey. The General entered fully into the pro-bearing with them in their fall trees of lesser ject, with perfect confidence in its practicability, and Major-General David Hunter, who was then at Alexandria, on a mission from the Lieutenant-General of the army, suggested that, although he had little confidence in its feasibility, he nevertheless thought the experiment had better be tried, inasmuch as General Franklin, an engineer, recommended it. The Admiral had no faith in its success. As he expressed it in his own way: "If damming would get the fleet over, it would have been afloat long before."
On the morning of April thirtieth the work was begun by Lieutenant-Colonel Bailey, who was aided by several staff officers, and details of nearly three thousand men, consisting chiefly
growth; mules and oxen were dragging the trees, denuded of their branches, to the river's bank; wagons heavily loaded were moving in every direction; flat-boats carrying stone were floating with the current, while others were being drawn up the stream in the manner of canal boats. Meanwhile hundreds of men were at work at each end of the dam, moving heavy logs to the outer end of the tree-dam, throwing in brushwood and branches of trees to make it tight; wheeling brick out to the cribs, carrying bars of railway iron to the barges, and in various other ways contributing to the completion of the work, while on each bank of the river were to be seen thousands of spectators, consisting of officers of both services, groups
of sailors, soldiers, camp-followers, and citizens
"Well, Yank, how's the dam ?" Even the rebel
On the morning of the eighth of May the water had risen sufficiently on the upper falls to allow three of the iron-clads to cross and proceed down to within a short distance of the dam. In another day it would undoubtedly have been sufficiently high to enable all the other vessels of the fleet to pass the upper falls. UnPassing on our rounds one morning about fortunately, at five o'clock on the morning of three o'clock, a colored soldier caused consider- the ninth, the pressure of the water became so able delay by carelessly allowing his wheelbar- great that it swept away two of the large coal row load of brick, which were being used in barges that were sunk at the end of the dam the cribs, to run off the long track or gangway, near the centre of the river. When the accident thereby detaining for a few moments a line of was observed, the Admiral rode to the point thirty or forty African citizens, following be- where the upper vessels were anchored and orhind. "Hit dat fifty-dollar nigga in de head dered the Lexington to pass the upper falls, if wid a brick !" "Git dat wheelbarrer out ob de possible, and immediately attempt to go through way!" "What doin' dar, nigga?" "Kick dat the opening in the dam, along which the water blind child into de ribber!" "Smath dat black was rushing as fiercely as over the rapids at man ober de shin!" "Now den, you be quick Niagara. The Lexington succeeded in getting dar, mighty quick!" "What de debbel de mat- over the falls and then steered directly for the ter wid dat nigga?" "Mis'ble nigga, don't you opening in the dam, through which the water knows you'se working for your sculp? De reb- was dashing so furiously that it seemed as if els git you, you is done gone sure!" Such were certain destruction would be her fate. Ten a few of the utterances of which his sable fel- thousand spectators breathlessly awaited the low-laborers delivered themselves, while the result. She entered the gap with a full head of Captain of the squad assailed the culprit with steam; passed down the roaring, rushing torcertain pithy expressions not proper to be re-rent; made several spasmodic rolls; hung for corded. Feeling considerable sympathy for the subject of this deluge of abuse, we kindly inquired if he was tired. "Oh! Lordy, yass, massa Cunnel, I'se werry tired toten brick. It's a heap harder dan picken cotton."
During the construction of the dam, daily and almost constant skirmishing was carried on with the enemy, who were around us in strong force, and not only anticipated the capture of Admiral Porter's entire fleet, but made it their boast that the army would be forced to surrender to General Kirby Smith. The dam they looked upon as a huge joke, and the salutation with which Union prisoners, whom the chances of war threw into their hands, were met, was:
a moment, with a harsh, grating sound, on the rocks below; was then swept into deep water, and rounded to by the bank of the river. Such a cheer arose from that vast multitude of sailors and soldiers, when the noble vessel was seen in safety below the falls, as we had never heard before, and certainly have not heard since. Then all eyes were turned above the dam again, when another iron-clad was to be seen approaching. She did not fare as well as the Lexington, being considerably injured in the passage; but the other two passed through without any accident. It was perhaps a fortunate circumstance that a portion of the dam was carried away in the manner that it was, as
the two barges that were forced out by the terrific pressure of the water swung round against some dangerous rocks, making a cushion for the vessels, and doubtless preventing, as afterwards appeared, the certain destruc on of a portion of the fleet.
channel. Several of these were built on each side of the river, thereby increasing the depth one foot two inches, and enabling all the fleet to pass the upper falls. This was accomplished in three days and nights, the wing-dams being constructed in the same manner as the tree-dam on the north side of the lower falls, and on the fourth day the work was completed on the main dam, by which the depth of water was increased five feet four and a half inches-a depth suffi cient to enable the largest iron-clads to cross. On the afternoon of the twelfth, three of the ery precaution taken to guard against accident, safely passed the dam. Early the following morning the remaining five passed in succession, amid the cheers of the assembled thousands. By three o'clock that day the vessels were coaled; the guns and ammunition, which had been removed to lighten the vessels, replaced; the pontoon bridge at Alexandria laid down to facilitate operations on the dam, taken up; and the whole fleet, with their convoy of army transports, were steaming down the river, while the troops moved forward on the river road to cover and protect them from the attacks of the enemy. A few hours later, after the rearguard had left Alexandria, the enemy took possession of the town, and, with rueful and elongated countenances, gazed sadly upon the work of a Northern army, whereby a fleet worth several millions of dollars, with a magnificent armament of powerful guns, which they had looked upon as their certain prize, had been rescued.
General Banks, in a communication addressed to the Chairman of the Committee on the Conduct of the War, says: "The water has been raised upon the dam for a mile and a quarter, about seven feet, with a fall below the dam of about six feet, making in all a fall of about thirteen feet, above and below the falls. The press-gunboats, their hatches battened down and evure of the water at its completion was terrific. I went over the work at eleven o'clock on the evening of the eighth, with one of my staff officers, and felt that the pressure of the water was so great that it could not stand. I rode immediately to the point above where the fleet was anchored to ascertain if possible if they were ready to follow the three boats that had already passed the rapids. I reached the fleet about twelve o'clock, midnight. Scarcely a man or light was to be seen. It was perfectly apparent that the boats were not in a condition to take advantage of the completion of the dam; and feeling that it could not stand another day, I wrote a note to Admiral Porter at one o'clock on the morning of the ninth, which was delivered in person at two o'clock A. M., by Colonel J. G. Wilson, stating my belief as to the condition of the dam and fleet, and asking that measures should be taken to put the boats in condition to move over the rapids at the earliest possible moment in the morning. My apprehensions were fully verified. A little after five o'clock on the morning of the ninth, I saw myself a material part of the dam swept away The three boats that had passed the rapids the afternoon before were able to pass below through the opening which the waters had made. Only one of the vessels above the falls, the Lexington, was ready to move when the dam gave way, and that came down after the break, and passed the dam safely, with all the vessels that were below the rapids. Had the others been ready to move, all would have passed the rapids and the dam safely on Monday."
The army, not in the least disheartened, immediately commenced the reconstruction of the dam, but not to close the breach, that being left substantially as it was. The question originally was, whether we should make one dam at the foot of the falls, with an opening for the ships to pass through, with wing-dams above, thus dividing the pressure, or trust all to one principal structure. The dam had been carried away because the whole body of water had been stopped at one point, leaving no passage for the escape of any portion of it; Lieutenant-Colonel Bailey, therefore, determined to leave the gap of about seventy feet, caused by the carrying away of the two barges, and construct a series of wing-dams on the upper falls in accordance with his original plan, thue turning all the water into one narrow
As the Admiral says in his report to the Secretary of the Navy: "This is, without doubt, the best engineering feat ever performed. Under the best circumstances a private company would not have completed the work under one year, and to an ordinary mind the whole thing would have appeared an utter impossibility. I do not believe that there ever was a case where such difficulties were overcome in so short a space of time, and without any previous preparation." The Colonel of the Fif teenth regiment Maine volunteers testified before the Committee on the Conduct of the War, in January, 1865, "that it was a very common thing among the lumbermen of Maine to build such dams, and that he had one hundred and fifty men in his regiment who could build just such a dam," a statement which we presume must be taken cum grano salis.
The construction of the Red River dam was almost exclusively the work of the army. But little aid or encouragement was rendered by the navy, except by Volunteer Lieutenant Langthorne, commanding the Mound City,who assisted in setting the heavy cribs and coal barges. The soldiers labored zealously night and day, in and out of the water, from the thirtieth of April to the twelfth of May inclusive, when the passage of the boats below the upper falls was completed. The dam still remains intact as we left it, and bids fair, if undisturbed, to stand a hun