Page images


from our main force. General Caldwell held the numbers. General H. D. Terry, commanding railroad to the plank road, and was obliged to Third division, Sixth corps, was stationed along call upon General Webb for assistance, the rebels the Catharpin road, to hold the left flank and act having pushed their line of skirmishers between as reserve. General Hayes, commanding Third him and General Prince. General Webb's divi- division, Second corps, extended his troops in sion had previously supplied one brigade to Gen- two lines to the right, reaching the railroad. eral Caldwell, which took position on the right General Webb, commanding Second division, of the corps in front.

Second corps, joined General Hayes's forces, General Warren, in order to take his position uniting with General Prince, commanding Secin rear of Colonel Miles, was obliged to use troops cond division, Third corps, which was also formed from the rear of the column to support him. in two lines. General Carr, Third division, The constant changes of the enemy on our front, Third corps, next followed, in two parallel lines, who were making desperate attempts to get in with a strong reserve reaching to the plank road. our rear, used up the last hour of daylight, and Then came General Caldwell's troops, First divientirely thwarted General Warren's well-laid sion, Second corps, acting as a reserve and supplan to assault the right or advance his left. port to General Warren's right flank.

Another serious drawback to our progress was At daybreak every thing was in readiness for the ignorance of the surrounding country, which the struggle, but a careful examination by Genhad to be thoroughly explored before any kind eral Warren revealed the important fact that the of a movement could be made. Roads had to enemy's lines had changed entirely during the be made for the safe passage of our artillery be- night. Large accessions had been made to their tween the Catharpin and plank roads, which was ranks, and every available position that could be no easy task, when we consider that miry used with advantage by our foe bristled with arstreams, dense woods, and the unfinished rail- tillery and infantry. The formidable breastroad were the obstacles that impeded our ad- works, epaulements, and abattis were finished

While this undertaking was in progress, and strengthened. the rebel commander, having discovered our in A run of eight minutes would be required for tentions, opened upon our lines with artillery, at our lines to close up the distance between them the same time changing his troops from the left and those of the enemy, during which our entire of his line to protect and strengthen his right, advancing lines would be subject to every dewhich General Warren threatened. During this scription of fire. With the number of troops at movement, General Warren lost fifty men, killed his disposal, the tremendous odds pitted against and wounded. It was now dark, and General | him, and the imminent peril in which the entire Warren at once reported to army headquarters army would be placed in case of a defeat at that in person. Upon arriving there, be learned that point, after mature and most careful deliberation, it was determined to make a general assault at General Warren deemed it imprudent to attack daylight next day, November thirtieth.

the rebels' immediate front, and he so reported General French, commanding Third corps, had to General Meade. Any movement on the part regarded an assault in his front not practicable. of General Warren to outflank the enemy with General Wright thought he could force the rebel the limited force under his command, separated line and hold a position on our right, and he as he was four miles from the right wing, risked soon reported his force in line of battle, ready his troops to the chances of a sudden attack by for the aggressive movement. The weakness of the rebels, which, with their choice position and the enemy on our left was fully admitted by overwhelmingly strong numbers, would no doubt General Warren, and in his oflicial report of the have resulted in a disastrous defeat, and appearlate campaign, to the War Department, he states ances indicated such a design on their part. this fact in the plainest terms.

Such an exposure and infeasible undertaking was General Meade, after holding a consultation not warranted, and no military principle would with General Warren's senior officers, concluded justify him in attempting so rash a movement. to increase his (General Warren's) command by The above is the opinion of veteran military the addition of two divisions of the Third corps, tacticians, regular and volunteer, and claims the and it was decided that he should attack the en- consideration of those at home in civil pursuits emy at eight o'clock the next morning, on the who "condemn what they do not comprehend." left, while our right was to participate an hour Three things only could be done that day, namelater. General Warren spent the night, which ly, expose his command to this attack from overwas a bitter cold one, in his saddle, arranging whelming numbers in their selected and fortified his troops for the grand assault on the morrow, strongholds, assault where he then was, or rejoin and as the first rays of morning appeared in the the right wing. east, he had finished his arduous task.

There was a plan under consideration to bring The following was the exact disposition of the entire army to the position occupied by GenGeneral Warren's entire force. The front line eral Warren's forces, and march the body toward extended a mile in length, and the troops were the left — the enemy's right; but to carry this formed in two and three lines, while great care had out would necessitate a complete abandonipent been taken to post strong supports at the proper of our base. It was the opinion of General Warpoints, to guard against the disastrous results ren that this plan was more feasible and much that would ensue from an attack of superior less hazardous than an attack in front.


[ocr errors]

We remained quiet the rest of the day and the The true purpose of the enemy was developed first day of December, during which time the on Thursday evening, at which time they comrebels continued, like sensible leaders, to strength- menced to cross the river, and by Friday mornen and enlarge their fortifications, improving the ing they had thrown over their whole army at the leisure and security afforded them by our inac- points designated. On Friday morning a good tivity at all points. Our whole army fell back part of our army, which had been lying around from their position on the night of December Orange Court-House, moved down the plank first. We began to retire just after dark, and on road, and it all at once became evident that a the morning of December second, in pursuance battle would be fought somewhere betwen Orange of orders from army headquarters, our troops re- Court-House and Fredericksburgh, and most crossed the Rapidan, the infantry and artillery probably in the vicinity of the Chancellorsville crossing at Culpeper and Germania Fords, and battle-ground. On Friday, about ten o'clock, the principal part of the cavalry at Ely's Ford. skirinishers from Johnson's division, which was

The Second corps, General Warren, lost in the head of Ewell's column, came up with the killed, wounded, and missing, two hundred and enemy, who were advancing up the road leading eighty-nine men, being engaged on the twenty- from the Fredericksburgh turnpike to Raccoon seventh, twenty-eighth, and twenty-ninth of No. Ford, about a mile below Bartley's Mill, in Spotvember. General II. D. Terry, Third division, sylvania County, some eighteen miles below Sixth corps, lost about twenty men.

Orange Court-House, and some twenty-two miles It was most unfortunate that General French, above Fredericksburgh, and about twelve miles of the Third corps, lost his road on the twenty- above the Chancellorsville battle-ground. The seventh of November, thereby causing so great Louisiana brigade, under General Halford, first a delay in uniting with the forces of General became engaged, and afterward the whole diviWarren. Another misfortune was the failure of sion of General E. Johnson, consisting of the a certain general to relieve the pickets at the Stonewall brigade, under General Walker, Genproper hour, which aided in frustrating the plans eral G. H. Stuart's brigade, and General G. M. of the campaign.

Jones's brigade, took part in the battle. The above lengthy review of our recent move- The force of the enemy engaged consisted of ments on the Rapidan is a correct one, my in- French's and Birney's corps. Skirmishing began formation having been derived from personal ob- about ten o'clock in the morning, and was kept servations at the front during the campaign, and up quite briskly until about three in the evening, the details are from official reports, with full ex- when the whole line of this division became enplanations from various staff-officers of the dif- gaged, and from this time until night there was ferent corps and divisions participating in the quite a severe and brisk fight. During the fight operations. I have taken considerable pains to we drove the enemy; who were the attacking secure entire accuracy, and after submitting this party, back full a mile, capturing a few prisonaccount to the close examination of officers high ers. The fight was altogether an infantry affair. in command, they have pronounced it authentic. Little or no artillery was brought into action on

our side--we could get but two pieces into posiRICHMOND “DISPATCH" ACCOUNT.

tion. The enemy, it is said, fired only twice ARMY OF NORTHERN VIRGINIA, Nov. 28, 1863. with their artillery. Our loss will be fully five The enemy have at last undertaken an advance, hundred in killed and wounded. Early's and in good faith, I suppose, and the result has been Rodes's divisions also had lines of skirmishers a collision about eighteen miles below here, on out, which were slightly engaged, but the princithe turnpike and plank road leading to Fredericks-pal fighting was done by Johnson. It is also burgh. The enemy began his forward movement said that Heth's division, of Hill's corps, was enon Wednesday last. He started on this campaign gaged for a while in skirmishing on another part with eight days' rations, which, according to of the line, but with trifling damage. Of the loss computation, will give out on Wednesday next. of the enemy I am not advised, but I am now The eneiny have their force largely strengthened disposed to doubt if it was as heavy as our own. by the return of the troops sent to New-York to They fought, I am told, quite well, and fired enforce the drast, and those sent to Pennsylvania more accurately than usual. There was no fightto influence the elections, besides those drawn ing to-day, save some slight skirmishing: from the fortifications at Washington.

Our line of battle reaches from the Rapidan As early as Wednesday last it was evident across some six or seven miles, at a line running that there was some move on hand with the at right angles with the river. Our army faced Yankee army. On Thursday morning, demon- down the plank road toward Fredericksburgh, strations were made at Morton's, Sommerville, and the enemy's line was formed facing up the and Raccoon Fords; but these were merely to plank road, with its back toward Fredericksdivert our attention while their forces effected burgh. Among the casualties on our side are crossings almost unopposed (for we had only Lieutenant-Colonel Walton, Twenty-third Vircavalry pickets at the lower sords) at Jack's, ginia, killed; General J. M. Jones, slightly Gerinania, and Ely's Fords. So soon as the ene- wounded in head; Lieutenant-Colonel Coleston, my had crossed his whole force, he turned the Second Virginia, leg amputated; Major Terry, heads of his columns up the river toward Orange Fourth Virginia, slightly wounded; LieutenantCourt-House.

Colonel Brown, First North-Carolina, slightly


wounded; Colonel Nelligan, First Louisiana, se- what their duty to the country, as well as their verely wounded in the shoulder ; Captain Merrick, own interest, demands at this crisis. The utter General Halford's staff, severely in the face. The disregard of all social rights, as well as the discolor-bearer of the First Louisiana was killed. I tinct proclamation of President Lincoln, so ruthcould not learn his name, but he is the same who lessly carried out by his minions, leave no roon was captured at Gettysburgh, and put his colors for hope, even to the most credulous, to save under his shirt and thus saved them, and after their property, and especially their negroes, even ward escaped. The country where the fighting by the base submission of men who should preoccurred is densely wooded, and similar in every fer death to dishonor. Should hopes be had respect to the country about Chancellorsville, it out to the people of Texas that they will be exbeing, indeed, but a continuation of that descrip- ceptions to the rule so vigorously enforced in her tion of country.

sister States in localities where the enemy are in During the fight General Ed. Johnson had a possession of temporary power, and should even horse shot under him, and General Stuart was the property of some, deceived into an oath of slightly wounded, but soon resumed command. allegiance by the treacherous promises of our

There was also some cavalry fighting at the enemy, be for a time respected, such hopes will upper fords on Friday, but it did not amount, I prove deceitful—such respect a

The think, to much. The wounded began to arrive playing of the ravenous cat with the harmless here yesterday evening, and were being sent off mouse is not more deceitful or fatal. Therefore, all night last night to Gordonsville, where they noble Texans, depend alone upon yourselves and will be properly cared for, it being impossible to your faithful rifles, and trust not the enemy and provide for them here.

his faithless promises. This is your interest You have, of course, heard of General Rosser Besides, the Commanding General has certain incapturing seventy wagons near Wilderness Tav- formation that the enemy has brought with him ern, fifteen miles above Fredericksburgh and five from five thousand to ten thousand muskets, above Chancellorsville, in rear of the enemy's with which to arm the slaves against their maz. lines. He destroyed fifty, brought off twenty, ters. This it is the interest of the country, the besides one hundred and fifty mules and the same interest of the State, the interest of humanity, number of prisoners.

and the duty of the Commanding General to SUNDAY MORNING, Nov. 29–11 A.M. prevent. Therefore, he calls upon the citizeris There was a little skirmishing yesterday, but of Texas living in the counties bordering upon it did not amount to any thing. Both armies the navigable portions of the streams, and within are in line of battle. The rain yesterday doubt. fifty miles of the coast, to remove their able-boxless interfered with the fighting. It is cloudy ied male slaves at once, at any cost and at all this morning, but not raining. There has been hazards, further into the interior, else he will be no cannonading, but parties from the front gave forced to drive them before him with his cavalry, it as their opinion that a battle will occur to-day in haste and without regard to their well-being, or to-morrow.

but in the solemn performance of an imperious Lieutenant-General Ewell, who has been ab- duty. Ile conceives it even better for their insent from the army for two weeks or more, terest that all but the old and decrepid should passed Orange Court-IIouse this morning, on his be at once removed, as well as jewels, plate, linway to the army to resume the command of his en, and other valuables, and particularly wagons, corps.

horses, mules, and vehicles of every kind; for if the negroes and this description of property are

saved, the enemy can do but little harm to the Doc. 16.

land and its improvements. Lose them, and

your lands become comparatively worthless GENERAL MAGRUDER'S ADDRESS.

whilst your homes will become the abodes of

your slaves. The enemy even has no power to HEADQUARTERS DISTRICT OF Texas, New-MEXICO, prevent this, for our success is his ruin. Like

AND ARIZONA, Houstox, Nov. 27, 1563. the car of Juggernaut, his progress is onward, TO THE PLANTERS OF THE Coast Counties: The and must crush whatever it meets with. Be, Commanding General announces to the citizens then, true to yourselves, and Roman in your of Texas, that a formidable invasion is attempt- virtue. Sacrifice, if necessary, in value, one ed by the coast. Early in the month, General half of your negroes and all of your crops, to Banks took possession of the Lower Rio Grande, save the other half. The law does not permit and on the eighteenth a force occupied Aransas the Commanding General to leave any thing that and Corpus Christi Passes, capturing the small will benefit the enemy within his grasp. He garrison there stationed. Despatches to the must, therefore, destroy what will benefit the twenty-third, from Colonel Bradfute, command- foe. Save him this painful necessity, and reing at Saluria, have been received, stating that move your negroes beyond the reach of the ena large force, supported by numerous ships, was emy without a moment's delay. This appeal is advancing on that place, which, by this time, made to all those who reside in counties within may have fallen. It becomes the grave duty of fifty miles of the coast, from Corpus Christi and the Commanding General to state to the inhab- Galveston, inclusive. Should any other portion itants of the counties contiguous to the coast of the coast or counties still more interior re

and Arizona.


quire this sacrifice at the hands of the planters, which were of a most complete character, extimely notice will be given of the same. tended across from the gulf to a bayou connect

J. B. MAGRUDER. ing with the back-bay. On the night after our Major-General Commanding District of Texas, New-Mexico, arrival, a fierce norther sprung up, causing my

men to suffer greatly, and rendering the prose

cution of operations exceedingly disagreeable. Doc. 17.

The norther continued for two days, rendering

it impossible for the gunboats to render us any REDUCTION OF FORT ESPERANZA, TEX. assistance. I applied for launches, with which

I intended to land troops on Bayucos Island, HEADQUARTERS, PASS CAVALLO EXPEDITION,

and cut off their communications with the main, Fort ESPERANZA, Texas, December 4, 1863. but the gale prevented their being furnished Major G. Norman Leiber Assistant Adjutant- until too late. The force within the fort was General:

from seven to eight hundred, all of whom esMAJOR: I herewith inclose reports of Briga- caped under cover of night, except six belonging dier-General T. E. G. Ransom, commanding bri- to their rear-guard. The rebels left one man on gade Second division, and Colonel H. D. Wash- the ground killed. If they had any wounded, burn, commanding First brigade First division they took them away. We lost one killed and Thirteenth army corps, detailing the action of two wounded. Lieutenant Fifer, a gallant young their respective brigades in the reduction of this officer of the Thirty-third Illinois, was severely Fort.

wounded in the breast. We captured ten guns, I refer to these reports, as containing most of ranging from twenty-four to one hundred and the details pertaining to the expedition, and for twenty-eight pounders. The fort was bombthe names of such persons as deserve specially proof and cased with railroad iron, and surroundto be honorably mentioned. On the twenty-first ed with a wide and deep moat, filled with water. ultimo, I arrived at Aransas Pass with the Thir- Five magazines were blown up, containing fortyty-third Illinois, and part of the Eighteenth In- two thousand pounds of powder. diana, on board steamer Clinton. On the twenty- For a more particular description of the fort, second ultimo, I received the order of Major- and the captures therein, I refer to the report General Banks to take command of an expedition of Captain Baker, Engineer. We also captured up the coast, for the purpose of capturing this small fort on Bayucos Island, with one twentyfort. On the same day, I proceeded to St. Jo- four pounder field-gun. I cannot express, in too seph's Island, and landed the troops and stores strong language, iy admiration of the conduct on board the Clinton by twelve m., on the of the officers and men engaged in this expeditwenty-third ultimo. I pushed forward, same tion. We left the foot of St. Joseph's Island, day, to head of St. Joseph's Island, eighteen without transportation of any kind, except twelve miles distant, having previously sent General wagons, which were used for transporting supRansom in the advance, with instructions to plies. With this small train, I had to supply bridge, if possible, the Pass between St. Joseph's two thousand eight hundred men, together with and Matagorda Island. On arriving at this Pass, animals belonging to the train, and horses for (called Cedar Bayou) I discovered that to bridge two batteries, nearly sixty miles from my base would be impossible. With a width of nearly of supply. The weather, much of the time, was three hundred yards, a strong current, and ex- very inclement, water very bad, and fuel scarce; posed to the terrible winds that here prevail, I but I never heard a complaint or murmur of any saw that our only chance to get over was to fer- kind. The troops accompanying me were as ry. Fearing that such would prove the case, I follows, namely: Eighth Indiana infantry, combrought along, on my wagons, four yawl-boats. manded by Major Kinney ; Eighteenth Indiana, By lashing together, I was able to take over my Lieutenant-Colonel Charles ; Thirty-third Illinois, troops, wagons, and artillery. My horses and Colonel C. E. Lippincott; Ninety-ninth Illinois, mules were swum across. On the twenty-fourth, Colonel Bailey; and Seventh Michigan battery, a terrific norther sprung up, rendering it impos- Lieutenant Stillman, composing First brigade; sible to cross the Pass; but on the following Twenty-third Iowa, Colonel Glasgow, of the Semorning, the gale having subsided, the force cond brigade, First division, Thirteenth army commenced to cross, and by midnight were all corps-all commanded by Colonel II. D. Washover, and the rear went into camp about eight burn: and the Thirty-fourth Iowa, Lientenantmiles up the coast, at three A.M. On the twenty- Colonel Dungan; Thirteenth Maine, Colonel sixth, marched over twenty miles, and encamped Dyer; Fifteenth Maine, Colonel IIazeltine ; and ten miles from the fort; and on the twenty- Foust's Missouri battery, of the Second brigade, seventh, at eleven A.M., came within range of the Second division, Thirteenth army corps, comguns of the fort. Spent the rest of the day re- manded by Brigadier-General Ransom. connoitring the position, the gunboats, which It affords me great pleasure to state that the were to cooperate, not having come up. I soon conduct of Brigadier-General Ransom and Coldiscovered that the fort was a large and complete onel H. D. Washburn, commanding brigarles, work, mounting heavy guns, and that all ap- was most prompt, gallant, and efficient, and deproaches were well guarded. The country serves the highest praise. The navy has shown around was a level plain, and their outworks, 'every disposition to cooperate in the most prompt

[ocr errors]

B. G. Chief of Sta.



manner; and to Captain Strong, of the Monon- under cover of the sand-hills on the beach, and gahela, commanding the fleet, and Captain Lam- opened upon the fort from the right of our line. son, of the Granite City, I am under many ob- No casualties occurred in my command. ligations. Their failure to take part in the attack During the night of the twenty-ninth ultimo, on the fort was attributable solely to the gale the enemy evacuated their works and retired which at the time prevailed.

setting fire to their magazines and stores. The Respectfully yours,

whole of the troops of my command acquitted C. C. WASHBURN, themselves creditably, and bore the hardships

Major-General of the severe “norther," of the twenty-eighth BRIGADIER-GENERAL RANSOM'S REPORT. and twenty-ninth, on short rations, with a cheerHEADQUARTERS THIRD BRIGADE, Second Division,

fulness scarcely to be expected from troops most Fort ESPERANZA, Texas, December 4, 1863. of whom had never experienced a field camMAJOR: I have the honor to report that, on paign. the twenty-second ultimo, in obedience to the I am, very respectfully, your obedient servant, order of Major-General C. C. Washburn, I moved

T. E. G. RANSOM, my command (consisting of the Thirteenth and

Brigadier General Volunteers, Fifteenth Maine, and Thirty-fourth Iowa infantry,

Major W. H. Morgan,

Assistant Adjutant-General Coast Expedition. and battery F, First Missouri artillery) from Official Copy: Aransas Pass, eight miles up St. Joseph Island,

Chas. P. Stose, and encamped at a ranch for the night. Moved on the next morning, and reached Cedar Bayou about noon, twenty-third ultimo, when my advance-guard of mounted infantry, under com

HEADQUARTERS First BRIGADE, First Division, 1 mand of Captain C. S. Ilsley, Fifteenth Maine,

SALURIA, Texas, December 3, 1864. had a slight skirmish with a scouting-party of Major: I beg leave to submit the following the enemy, in which Major Charles IIill

, com- report of the part taken by the First brigade, manding the rebel party, was killed, and Ser- First division, Thirteenth army corps, in the regeant James Sanders, company F, Fifteenth duction of Fort Esperanza, on Matagorda I-land: Maine, was slightly wounded. I halted at this At midnight, November twenty-fifth, I had place, and commenced the construction of a ferry succeeded, after much difficulty, in getting the across Cedar Bayou.

whole of my force across Ce lar Bayou upon the On the twenty-fifth ultimo, I ferried my com- island, and marched immediately to join General mand across Cedar Bayou, and encamped about Ransom, some eight miles in advance. After a seven miles up Matagorda Island, where I was few hours' rest we moved up the island, making joined by Colonel Washburn's brigade about a very hard march through the sand of twentymidnight.

three miles ; camped for the night, and mored in On the twenty-sixth, I marched my command the morning for this place. My brigade, by your about twenty miles up the island, and encamped order, moving along the beach, about twelve at a ranch about ten miles from this point. On o'clock we had advanced to the lighthouse, and the morning of the twenty-seventh, I advanced in close proximity to the enemy's works. The my brigade, under the direction of General Wash- main portion of the command was halted, and, burn, up the middle of the island, while Colonel by your order, I proceeded with one company Washburn moved his brigade in a parallel line from each of my regiments, under the command up the gulf beach. About eleven A.M., we met of Captain Ira Uloore, Thirty-third Illinois, a the advanced pickets of the enemy, and drove most excellent officer, supported by the Thirtythem into his works. After reconnoitring and third regiment Illinois infantry, to reconnoitre ascertaining the location of the works and main and endeavor to find the strength and position of fort of the enemy, I placed my command in an the enemy. Moving cautiously up the beach, we advanced position, indicated by General Wash- soon drove in the enemy's pickets, and our adburn, on the left of our line and under cover of vance was safely lodged in a range of sand-bills a slight rise of ground. This afternoon and the within three hundred yards of the outer work following day were occupied in reconnoitring of the enemy-a heavy carth-work, extending the approaches to the enemy's work, and was from the bay to a lagoon running from the bay attended with occasional skirmishing and sharp- on the mainland side of the island. The work shooting on both sides, and occasional artillery was regularly laid out, about fifteen feet in thickshots from the enemy.

ness, and from ten to fifteen feet in height. The On the night of the twenty-eighth, I threw up enemy now opened upon us, from Fort Esperanza, an earthwork in advance of my left, and on the with his one hundred and twenty-eight pounder, opposite side of a salt lagoon, which intervened and twenty-fours, throwing shells, but with little betwoen my position and the chief work of the or no effect. Ilaving found out the position and enemy, where I placed Captain Foust's battery, apparent strength of the enemy, by your order I supported by the Thirty-fourth Iowa infantry, withdrew my advance. and opened fire on the fort at daylight on the During the night a heavy “norther" coming twenty-ninth, continuing at intervals all day. In on, we were unable to do much the twentythe mean time, the Seventh Michigan battery, of eighth. The night of the twenty-eighth, Captain Colonel Washburn's brigade, had been advanced / McAllister, of the Eighth Indiana, and Captain

« PreviousContinue »