« PreviousContinue »
Colonel Upton and his gallant regiments, the produced on our tonnage; and, without troubFifth Maine and the One Hundred and Twenty-ling you with the great loss which our ship-ownfirst New-York. Prompt in their support, they ers sustain in the almost total loss of foreign deserve our heartiest thanks, as by their bravery commerce, it is only necessary to call your attenthey won a large share of the honors of the tion to the inclosed table, prepared and published day. by one of the best informed commercial journals of this city, showing the loss of the carrying trade on the imports and exports of this city alone, by which you will perceive, that while during the quarter ending June thirtieth, 1860, we imported and exported over sixty-two million dollars in American vessels, and but thirty milRus-lion dollars in foreign vessels; we have in the corresponding quarter of this year only twentythree million dollars by our own ships, while we have sixty-five million dollars by foreign vessels. The intermediate periods show a most painful decadence of our shipping interest and tonnage by transfer and sale to foreign flags, which, at this time of considerable commercial activity, does not so much indicate a want of enterprise in this field of occupation as a want of confidence in the national protection of our flag on the ocean. The national pride of many of our patriotic ship-owners has subjected them to heavy sacrifices in difference of insurance against capture, of two per cent to ten per cent, while the underwriters of the country have been compelled to make great concessions in favor of American shipping, Apart from the loss of so much individual yet without materially affecting the result, and wealth and the destruction of so valuable a source many of them encountering heavy losses by capof material power and enterprise, it is humiliat- ture, in quarters where they had every reason to ing to our pride as citizens of the first naval believe our commerce would be protected by napower on the earth that a couple of indifferently tional vessels of efficiency and power. Indeed, equipped rebel cruisers should for so long a pe- the almost total absence of efficient naval force riod threaten our commerce with annihilation. in many of the great highways of commerce has It is a painful source of mortification to every had a damaging influence on our prospects, by American, at home and abroad, that the great producing a great degree of temerity on the part highways of our commerce have hitherto been of the rebel cruisers, and corresponding misgivleft so unprotected by the almost total absence ings on the part of underwriters and others in of national armed vessels as to induce rebel inso-interest as to whether Government protection lence to attack our flag almost at the entrance of would be afforded to our ships laden with valuour harbors, and to actually blockade our mer-able cargoes. The want of adequate armed veschantmen at the Cape of Good Hope recently- sels on prominent naval stations for protection of an account of which you have here inclosed, be- our ships has become so notorious, that undering a copy of a letter recently received from a writers have no longer speculated on the chance captain of one of the blockaded ships, having a of the capture of these rebel cruisers by any of valuable cargo. We are conscious that it is no our national ships, but calculate only the chance easy matter to capture a couple of cruisers on of escape of our merchantmen, or the possible the boundless waters of the ocean, aided and destruction of the piratical craft from reported abetted as they too often have been at ports unseaworthiness or mutiny. These statements where international comity, if not international are made with all candor and in no spirit of caplaw, has been set at defiance, and we have wit- tiousness, but with a desire to concede that the nessed with satisfaction the patriotic zeal and embarrassment of the Department, which it may energy of your Department and the glorious suc- not be prudent or practicable to explain to the cesses of our navy in subduing the rebellion public, may fully justify the unfortunate position which threatens our national Union. Still we which the want of naval protection has placed think that the loyal merchants and ship-owners our commerce in. Yet, it is respectfully urged of the country, whose zeal and patriotic co- that you will give the subject the benefit of the operation have generously furnished the funds same energy and ability which have so creditably to sustain the Government, are entitled to have a marked the administration of your Department more energetic protection of their interests than in all other channels of your official duties. No has been hitherto extended to them. Your very one can better comprehend than one in your poarduous official duties have, no doubt, prevented sition the value of successful commerce at this you from investigating the serious inroads which time of great national expenditure, and a paralythe unprotected state of our carrying trade has sis of so important an interest cannot be contem
The banners of this brigade shall bear the name, Rappahannock," to perpetuate, so long as those banners shall endure, dropping and shredding away though they may be for generations, the proud triumph won by you on the seventh of November, 1863.
By command of Brigadier-General D. A.
LETTER OF NEW-YORK MERCHANTS.
Hon. Gideon Welles, Secretary of the Navy,
SIR: The continued depredations of the rebel cruisers on the mercantile marine of the country have not only destroyed a large amount of the active capital of the merchants, but seriously threaten the very existence of that valuable part of our commerce.
ROBT. L. TAYLOR, Merchant Ship-Owner.
C. H. MARSHALL, Merchant Ship-Owner.
A. A. Low & BRO., Merchant Ship-Owners.
GRINNELL, MINTURN & Co., Merchant Ship-Owners.
WILSON G. HUNT, Merchant.
CHAS. NEWCOMB, Vice-President Merchants' Mutual Insurance Company.
GENERAL HALLECK'S REPORT
HEADQUARTERS OF THE ARMY,
BROWN BROS. & Co., Bankers.
When General Burnside relieved General McClellan from his command on the seventh of November of last year, the army of the Potomac was on the south side of the Potomac, under instructions to pursue Lee by a flank march on the interior line to Richmond, hugging closely to the Blue Ridge, so as to observe its passes and to give battle to the enemy whenever an opportunity occurred.
W. T. FROST, Merchant Ship-Owner.
BOGERT & KNEELAND, Merchants.
AUGUST BELMONT & CO., Bankers.
JAS. G. KING'S SONS, Bankers.
On reaching Warrenton, however, General Burnside proposed to give up this pursuit of Lee's army toward Richmond, and to move down the north side of the Rappahannock to Fal
ARCHIBALD GRACIE, Merchant.
HOWLAND & FROTHINGHAM, Merchant Ship-Owners.
JOHN H. EARLE, President New-York Mutual Insurance Com- mouth, and establish a new base of supplies at
Acquia Creek or Belle Plain. This proposed change of base was not approved by me, and in a personal interview at Warrenton I strongly urged him to retain his present base, and to continue his march toward Richmond in a manner pointed out in the President's letter of October thirteenth, 1862, to General McClellan.
ISAAC SHERMAN, Merchant Ship-Owner.
DEPARTMENT OF WEST-VIRGINIA AND ARMY OF THE
General Burnside did not fully concur in the President's view, but finally consented to so modify his plan as to cross his army by the fords of the upper Rappahannock, and then move down and seize the heights south of Fredericksburgh, while a small force was to be sent north of the river to enable General Haupt to reopen the railroad and to rebuild the bridges, the materials for which were nearly ready in Alexandria. I, however, refused to give any official approval of this deviation from the President's
SECRETARY WELLES'S REPLY.
NAVY DEPARTMENT, WASHINGTON, November 14, 1863.
GENTLEMEN: The Department duly received your communication of the twenty-eighth ultimo, in reference to the depredations committed upon American commerce by the Alabama and other rebel cruisers. The pursuit and capture of these vessels is a matter that the Department has constantly in view, and swift steamers have been constantly in search of them, and at times very close on to them. They are under orders to fol
low them wherever they may go. The only ves-instructions until his assent was obtained. On
sel that had the impudence to attack our flag at the entrance of our harbors-the Tacony-was promptly pursued and her career was soon terminated. The Department had about thirty ves
sels after her.
I thank you for your expression that energy and ability have creditably marked the administration of the Department in all other channels of official duties. A rigid blockade of the coast has been demanded, and its accomplishment has required all the available force that the Department could bring to bear. To do this, it could not well despatch a larger force than it has in search of piratical rovers. It will continue to give this subject its attention, and hopes, as the av-been approved by the authorities in Washington, enues to the insurrectionary region are becoming and that he expected, on his arrival there, to find closed and the navy is enlarging, to be able to supplies and pontoons, with gunboats to cover have a larger force to pursue the pirates and se- his crossing. In the first place, that plan was cure the safety of our commerce abroad. never approved, nor was he ever authorized to adopt it. In the second place, he could not possibly have expected supplies and pontoons to be landed at points then occupied in force by the
It has been inferred, from the testimony of General Burnside before the Congressional Committee on the Conduct of the War, that his plan of marching his whole army on the north of the Rappahannock from Warrenton to Falmouth, had
Very respectfully, GIDEON WELLES, Secretary of the Navy. TO RICHARD LATHERS, Esq., and others.
my return to Washington, on the thirteenth, I submitted to him this proposed change in the plan of campaign, and, on its receiving his assent rather than approval, I telegraphed, on the fourteenth, authority to General Burnside to adopt it. I here refer not to General Burnside's written plan to go to Falmouth, but to that of crossing the Rappahannock above its junction with the Rapidan.
Both armies remained in position till the night of the sixteenth of October, when General Burnside withdrew his forces to the north side of the Rappahannock. General Burnside has been frequently requested to make an official report of these operations, but has furnished no information beyond that contained in his brief telegrams, sent from the battle-field, in one of which he uses the following language: "The fact that I decided to move from Warrenton to this line, rather against the opinion of the President, the Secretary of War, and yourself, and that you have left the whole movement in my hands, without giving me orders, makes me the more responsible."
enemy. Again, he was repeatedly informed that gunboats could not at that time ascend the Rappahannock to Fredericksburgh.
General Burnside did not commence his movement from Warrenton till the fifteenth, and then, instead of crossing the Rappahannock by the fords, as he was expected to do, he marched his whole army down on the north bank of the river, his advance reaching Falmouth on the twentieth. Lee's army, in the mean time, moved down the south side of the river, but had not occupied Fredericksburgh on the twenty-first. The river was at this time fordable a few miles above the town, and General Sumner asked permission to cross and occupy the heights, but it was refused, and no attempt was made to effect the passage till the eleventh of December, by which time Lee's army had been concentrated and strongly entrenched. This passage, however, was effected without serious opposition, with the right wing and centre, under Sumner and Hooker, at Fredericksburgh, and the left wing, under Franklin, on the bridges established some miles below. It was intended that Franklin's grand division, consisting of the corps of Reynolds and Smith, should attack the enemy's right, and turn his position on the heights in the rear of Fredericksburgh, while Sumner and Hooker attacked him in front. But by some alleged misunderstanding of orders, Franklin's operations were limited to a mere reconnoissance, and the direct attacks of Sumner and Hooker were unsupported. The It is also proper to remark in this place, that contest on the right wing, during the thirteenth, from the time he was placed in the coinmand of was continued till half-past five P.M., when our the army of the Potomac till he reached Fairfax men were forced to fall back, after suffering ter-Station, on the sixteenth of June, a few days rible losses. before he was relieved from the command, General Hooker reported directly to the President, and received instructions directly from him.
I received no official information of his plans or of their execution.
In the early part of June, Lee's army moved up the south bank of the Rappahannock, occupied the gaps of the Blue Ridge, and threatened the valley of the Shenandoah. General Hooker followed on at interior lines, by Warrenton Junc tion, Thoroughfare Gap, and Leesburgh. But the operations of both armies were so masked by the intervening mountains, that neither could obtain positive information of the force and movements of the other. Winchester and Martinsburgh were at this time occupied by us simply as outposts. Neither place was susceptible of a good defence. Directions were therefore given, on the eleventh June, to withdraw their garri sons to Harper's Ferry, but these orders were not obeyed, and on the thirteenth Winchester was attacked, and its armament and a part of the garrison captured. Lee now crossed the Potomac near Williamsport, and directed his march upon Harrisburgh. General Hooker followed on his right flank, covering Washington and Baltimore. On reaching Frederick, Md., on the twenty-eighth June, he was, at his own request, re
It was alleged at the time that the loss of this battle resulted from the neglect to order forward the pontoon train from Washington. This order was transmitted from Warrenton to Brigadier-lieved from the command, and Major-General General Woodbury, then in Washington, on the Meade appointed in his place. During these twelfth of November, and was promptly acted on movements, cavalry skirmishes took place at
The loss of the rebels in this battle is not known. As they were sheltered by their fortifications, it was probably less than ours, which, as officially reported, was one thousand one hundred and thirty-eight killed, nine hundred and fifteen wounded, and two thousand six hundred and seventy-eight missing. Most of the missing and many of the slightly wounded soon rejoined the regiments and reported for duty.
by him. General Burnside had supposed that the pontoon train was then in Washington or Alexandria, while it was still on the Potomac, at Berlin and Harper's Ferry, General Burnside's order to send it to Washington not having been received by the officer left in charge there. General Burnside had only allowed time for transporting pontoons from Alexandria, when they had to be first transported to that place from Berlin. Delay was therefore entirely unavoidable, and, on investigation of the matter by General Burnside, General Woodbury was exonerated from all blame.
General Hooker relieved General Burnside from his command on the twenty-fifth of January, but no advance movement was attempted till near the end of April, when a large cavalry force, under General Stoneman, was sent across the upper Rappahannock, toward Richmond, to destroy the enemy's communications, while General Hooker, with his main army, crossed the Rappahannock and the Rapidan above their junction, and took position at Chancellorsville, at the same time General Sedgwick crossed near Fredericksburgh, and stormed and carried the heights.
A severe battle took place on the second and third of May, and on the fifth our army was again withdrawn to the north side of the river. For want of official data, I am unable to give any detailed accounts of these operations or of our losses.
Beverly Ford, Brandy Station, Berryville, and Aldie, some of which were quite severe, but, in the absence of detailed reports, I am unable to give the losses on either side.
arrived on the field with the Third and Twelfth corps, which took position, one on the left and the other on the right of the new line. The bat tle for the day, however, was over.
General Meade arrived on the field during the night with the reserves, and posted his troops in line of battle, the First corps on the right, the Eleventh corps next, then the Twelfth corps, which crossed the Baltimore pike; the Second and Third corps on the Cemetery ridge. On the left of the Eleventh corps the Fifth corps, pending the arrival of the Sixth, formed the reserve. On the arrival of the latter, about two o'clock P.M., took the place of the Fifth, which was ordered to take position on the extreme left. The enemy massed his troops on an exterior ridge, about a mile and a half in front of that occupied by us. General Sickles, misinterpreting his orders, instead of placing the Third corps on the prolongation of the Second, had moved it nearly three fourths of a mile in advance, an error which nearly proved fatal in the battle. The enemy attacked this corps on the second with great fury, and it was likely to be utterly annihilated, when the Fifth corps moved up on the left, and enabled it to re-form behind the line it was originally ordered to hold. The Sixth corps, and part of the First, were also opportunely thrown into this gap, and succeeded in checking the enemy's advance about sunset. The rebels retired in confusion and disorder.
When General Meade, under orders of the President, took command of the army of the Potomac, on the twenty-eighth of June, it was mainly concentrated at Frederick, Maryland. Lee's army was supposed to be advancing against Harrisburgh, which was garrisoned by raw militia, upon which little or no reliance could be placed. Ewell's corps was on the west side of the Susquehanna, between that place and Columbia. Longstreet's corps was near Chambers-it burgh, and Hill's corps between that place and Cashtown.
Stuart's cavalry was making a raid between Washington and Frederick, cutting Meade's line of supplies and capturing his trains.
Our force at Harper's Ferry at this time was supposed to be about eleven thousand. It was incorrectly represented to General Meade to be destitute of provisions, and that he must immediately supply it, or order the abandonment of the place. Accordingly, a few hours after he assumed the command, he assented to an order drawn up by an officer of General Hooker's staff, directing General French to send seven thousand men of the garrison to Frederick, and with the remainder (estimated at four thousand) to remove and escort the public property to Washington. This order, based on erroneous representations, was not known in Washington till too late to be countermanded. It, however, was not entirely exccuted when General Meade very judiciously directed the reoccupation of that important point.
About eight P.M., an assault was made from the left of the town, which was gallantly repelled by the First, Second, and Eleventh corps. On the morning of the first, we regained, after a spirited contest, a part of our line on the right, which had been yielded to sustain other points. On the twenty-ninth, General Meade's army On the second, about one P.M., the enemy opened was put in motion, and at night was in position, an artillery fire of one hundred and twenty-five its left at Emmittsburgh, and right at New-Wind-guns on our centre and left. This was followed by an assault of a heavy infantry column on our left and left centre. This was successfully repulsed with terrible loss to the enemy. This terminated the battle, and the rebels retired defeated from the field. The opposing forces in this sanguinary contest were nearly equal in numbers, and both fought with the most desperate courage. The commanders were also brave, skilful, and experienced, and both handled their troops on the field with distinguished ability; but to General Meade belongs the honor of a well-earned victory, in one of the greatest and best-fought battles of the war.
The advance of Buford's cavalry was at Gettysburgh, and Kilpatrick's division at Hanover, where it encountered Stuart's cavalry, which had passed around the rear and right of our army without meeting any serious opposition.
On the thirtieth, the First, Third, and Eleventh corps were concentrated at Emmittsburgh, under General Reynolds, while the right wing moved up to Manchester. Buford reported the enemy in force on the Cashtown road near Gettysburgh, and Reynolds moved up to that place on the first of July. He found our cavalry warmly engaged with the enemy, and holding them in check on the Cashtown road. Reynolds immediately deployed the advance division of the First corps, and ordered the Eleventh corps to advance promptly to its support. Wadsworth's division had driven back the enemy some distance, and captured a large number of prisoners, when General Reynolds fell mortally wounded. The arrival of Ewell's corps, about this time, by the York and Harrisburgh roads, compelled General Howard, upon whom the command devolved, to withdraw his force, the First and Eleventh corps, to the Cemetery ridge, on the south side of Gettysburgh. About seven P.M., Generals Sickles and Slocum
On the morning of the fourth, the enemy apparently occupied a new line in front of our left, but in reality, his army had commenced to retreat, carrying off a part of his wounded. His lines, however, were not entirely evacuated till the morning of the fifth, when the cavalry and Sixth corps were sent in pursuit. The days of the fifth and sixth were employed by General Meade in succoring the wounded and burying the dead left on the battle-field. He then started in pursuit of Lee by a flank movement upon Middletown. In the mean time General French had reōccu
On the seventh of November, Generals Sedgwick and French attacked the enemy at Rappahannock Station and Kelly's Ford, capturing several redoubts, four guns, and eight battle-flags, and about two thousand prisoners. Our loss in killed and wounded was three hundred and seventy. The enemy now retreated to his old position, south of the Rapidan.
pied Harper's Ferry, destroyed the enemy's pon-loss at Bristoe Station was fifty-one killed and toon train at Williamsport and Falling Waters, three hundred and twenty-nine wounded. We and captured its guards. Halting a day at Mid-captured five cannon, two colors, and four hundred dletown, General Meade crossed the South-Moun- and fifty prisoners. In the several skirmishes tain, and on the twelfth found the enemy occu- between the ninth and twenty-third of October, pying a strong position on the heights of Marsh the casualties in our cavalry corps were seventyRun, in front of Williamsport. Instead of at- four killed, three hundred and sixteen wounded, tacking Lee in this position, with the swollen wa- and eight hundred and eighty-five missing. The ters of the Potomac in his rear, without any enemy's loss is not known, but must have been means of crossing his artillery, and where a de- heavy, as we captured many prisoners. Troops feat must have caused the surrender of his entire sent out from Harper's Ferry, forced him to inarmy, he was allowed to construct a pontoon mediately retreat. bridge with lumber collected from canal-boats and the ruins of wooden houses, and on the morning of the fourteenth his army had crossed to the south side of the river. His rear-guard, however, was attacked by our cavalry and suffered considerable loss. Thus ended the rebel campaign north of the Potomac, from which importal political and military results had been expected. Our own loss in this short campaign had The operations of our troops in West-Virginia been very severe, namely, two thousand eight are referred to here as being intimately connected hundred and thirty-four killed, thirteen thousand with those of the army of the Potomac; the seven hundred and two wounded, and six thou-force being too small to attempt any important sand six hundred and forty-three missing-in all, campaign by itself, has acted mostly upon the twenty-three thousand one hundred and eighty- defensive, in repelling raids and in breaking up six. We captured three guns, forty-one stand-guerrilla bands. When Lee's army retreated ards, thirteen thousand six hundred and twen- across the Potomac, in July last, Brigadier-Gen ty-one prisoners, and twenty-eight thousand one eral Kelly concentrated all his available force on hundred and seventy-nine small arms. The en- the enemy's flank, near Clear Springs, ready to tire loss of the enemy is not known, but judging cooperate in the proposed attack by General from the numbers of his dead and wounded left Meade; they also rendered valuable services in on the field, it must have been much greater than the pursuit after Lee had effected his passage of the river. On the twenty-fourth of July, Colonel Toland attacked the enemy at Wytheville, on the Eastern and Virginia Railroad, capturing two pieces of artillery, seven hundred muskets, and one hundred and twenty-five prisoners. Our loss was seventeen killed and sixty-one wounded; the enemy's killed and wounded reported to be seventy-five.
In August, General Averill attacked a rebel force under General Sam Jones, at Rocky Gap, in Green Brier County, capturing one gun, one hundred and fifty prisoners, and killing and wounding some two hundred. Our loss in killed, wounded, and missing, was one hundred and thirty. On the eleventh of September, Imboden attacked a small force of our troops at Morefield, wounding fifteen and capturing about one hundred and fifty. On the fifth of November, General Averill attacked and defeated the enemy near Lewisburgh, capturing three pieces, over one hundred prisoners, and a large number of small arms, wagons, and camp equipage. The enemy's loss in killed and wounded estimated at three hundred.
After crossing the Potomac, Lee continued his retreat up the valley of the Shenandoah, and through the gaps of the Blue Ridge, till he reached the south bank of the Rapidan, near Orange Court-House, where he took up a defensive position to dispute the crossing of the river. General Meade continued his flank pursuit by Harper's Ferry, Berlin, and Warrenton, till he reached Culpeper Court-House, where he halted his army, not deoming it prudent to cross the river and attack the enemy, who was now intrenched on the south bank, which completely commanded the approaches on the north side. During this advance, several cavalry skirmishes took place, but without serious loss on either side.
A considerable part of Lee's army was now withdrawn, to reenforce Bragg in the West; but with his diminished numbers he assumed a threatening attitude against General Meade, manoeuvred to turn his flank, and forced him to fall back to the line of Bull Run. Having destroyed the Orange and Alexandria Railroad from the Rapidan to Manassas, the rebels again fell back | to their former position near Orange Court-House. During these operations there were several severe engagements between detached forces-but no general battle: October tenth and eleventh, at Robertson's River; twelfth, at Brandy Station; fourteenth, at Bristoe Station; nineteenth, at Buckland Mills; twenty-fourth, at Bealton and the Rap- ant positions previously captured from the rebpahannock Bridge; and on the seventh of No-els. Nevertheless, General Foster has given vember, on the south bank of that river. Our much annoyance to the enemy, and taken every
DEPARTMENT OF VIRGINIA AND NORTH-CAROLINA. Our force in North Carolina, during the past year, has been too small for any important operations against the enemy, and, consequently, has acted mostly on the defensive, holding the import