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EVENTS ON THE RAPPAIANNOCK.

June 8,

1868.

6 June.

Lee would repeat the folly of the previous year, because of his sad experience then; and preparations for invasion were deferred until the Confederate army, in full force, was pressing forward toward the Upper Potomac.

Lee's first step in this aggressive movement was to allure or drive Hooker from the Rappahannock. Leaving Hill's corps to occupy the lines at Fred

ericksburg, he put the remainder of his army in motion` westward toward Culpepper Court-House, where Stuart's cavalry was concentrated. Hooker, suspecting some important movement, threw

. Howe's division of the Sixth Corps over the river, at Franklin's Crossing, for observation. Hill's display of strength and numbers satisfied IIowe that the Confederates were still in nearly full force on the heights, and he withdrew. Lee, who had halted his columns to await the result of this movement, now ordered them forward, and it was three days later before Hooker was certain that his antagonist was massing his forces toward the National right. Then, informed that Stuart was at Culpepper Court-House, he ordered Pleasanton, who was at the head of the cavalry, at Catlett's Station, to cross the Rappahannock at Beverly and Kelly's fords, with two of his divisions under Buford and Gregg, supported by two infantry divisions (Russell's, of the Sixth, and Ames's, of the Eleventh Corps), and push on toward Stuart's camp by con

verging roads. Accordingly, at dawn on the 9th, Buford crossed

at Beverly Ford, and immediately encountered a brigade of Confederate cavalry under the active General Sam. Jones. A sharp engagement ensued, when the Eighth New York, under Colonel B. F. Davis, was routed, and its commander was killed. A charge by the Eightb Illinois drove the Confederates, in turn, about two miles, when Jones was re-enforced by the brigades of Hampton and W. H. F. Lee. In the mean time Russell's infantry had come up and engaged the foe in front while Buford attacked their flank, when two Confederate regiments burst from the woods on the National flank, and placed the latter, commanded by Pleasanton in person, in great peril.

Gregg, who had crossed at Kelly's Ford, had been expected for several hours. He, too, had been fighting most of the morning with cavalry under General Robertson, whom he pushed back to Brandy Station, and gallantly took possession of the heights near there. At one o'clock he and Buford joined forces, when the Confederates recoiled; but Pleasanton, satisfied that the bulk of Lee's army was on his front, fell back, and at dusk recrossed the Rappahannock with a hundred prisoners, after a loss of about five hundred

Stuart reported his loss at six hundred men, among whom was General W. H. F. Lee, wounded.

Pleasanton's cavalry reconnoissance developed the fact of Lee's grand movement, but so perfectly were his real intentions concealed, that while Hooker was expecting him to follow his route of the previous year,' and was watching and guarding the fords of the Rappahannock, he projected his left

men,

losing no time in the organization of her militia, that she may be in readiness to meet any emergency. All the signs of the times, and very many indications, visible only to those who see behind the curtain in the arena of Secessionism, tend to show that the Confederates will, if they can, invade Maryland and Pennsylvania this summer."

Mr. Barclay urged the authorities of Pennsylvania to proceed at once to the “organization of the militia 80 as to be in readiness to meet the emergency."

1 See chapter XVII., volume II.

MILROY DRIVEN FROM WINCHESTER.

51

wing, under Ewell, through the Blue Ridge at Chester's Gap, and by way of Front Royal it crossed the Shenandoah River, and burst into the valley at Strasburg like an avalanche. That energetic leader moved with the divisions of Early and Edward Johnston rapidly down the Valley pike, and arrived before Winchester, where General Milroy was in command of about ten thousand men, on the evening of the 13th, having marched from

* June, 1863. Culpepper, a distance of seventy miles, in three days. At the same time Imboden, with his cavalry, was operating in the vicinity of Romney, to prevent Milroy from being re-enforced from the line of the Baltimore and Ohio railway. This was a bold movement on the part of Lee, for it made the actual line of his army, from Hill at Fredericksburg to Ewell at Winchester, full one hundred miles in length.

Although Milroy, since the first of the month, had felt a pressure from the foe stationed up the valley, and on the 12th had sent out strong reconnoitering parties to ascertain why it was increasing, it was not until the forenoon of the 13th that he was aware of any considerable force on his front. The revelation of that force so near was astounding, and the assurance of its overwhelming numbers, given by scouts and prisoners, would have justified him in retreating at once. But Milroy, brave even to rashness, resolved to fight before flying. He called in his outposts. Colonel McReynold's, with a brigade stationed at Berryville to watch the passes of the Blue Ridge and the fords of the Shenandoah, retreated before Rodes, and very soon Milroy had his forces, not more than seven thousand effectives, well in hand. While awaiting an attack, his foe was accumulating force on his front and flank, and on the evening of the 14th, after some skirmishing, the Confederates substantially invested the city and garrison. At one o'clock the next morningMilroy, in compliance with the decision of a council of officers, resolved to retreat. He spiked his cannon, drowned his powder, and was about to fly, when the Confederates fell upon him. Then began an unequal struggle, and an equal race, toward the Poto

The fugitives were swifter-footed than their pursuers, and might all have escaped, had not Johnston's division, which had gained the rear of the post, stood in their way, four miles from Winchester. By these the flying troops were stopped, scattered, and many were made prisoners. Most of those who escaped, crossed the Potomac at Hancock, and took refuge in Bedford County, Pennsylvania; and others fled to Harper's Ferry, where Milroy's wagon-train crossed the Potomac, and was conducted in safety to Harrisburg, by way of Hagerstown and Chambersburg. Milroy lost nearly all of his artillery and ammunition. Alarmed by the approach of the Confederates in such force, the garrison at Harper's Ferry, under General French, withdrew to Maryland Heights. The Shenandoah Valley was now clear of all obstacles to the march of the invading army.

Hooker, in the mean time, had been kept in the vicinity of the Rappahannock, partly by uncertainty concerning Lee's movements, and chiefly by directions from Washington;' but the moment he was informed of the

June 15.

mac.

I Lee reported that in this affair his troops captured " more than 4,000 prisoners, 29 guns, 277 wagons, and 400 horses." These doubtless included 700 prisoners and 5 guns captured at Martinsburg by General Rodes.

? Hooker had been instructed by Halleck (January 31) to “keep in view always the importance of covering Washington City and Harper's Ferry.” On the 5th of June, when he expected a movement of General Lee

LIBRARY
UNIVERSITY OF ILLINOIS

52

LEE MARCHING FOR THE POTOMAC

1963.

6 June 9.

presence of Ewell in the Shenandoah Valley, he called Howe across the

river, and on the day when Milroy was driven from Winchester, • June 15, he moved rapidly northward, with his whole force, to Centreville

and its vicinity, keeping his cavalry well to his left to watch the passes of the Blue Ridge, while intent, himself, upon covering Washington. The National authorities, as well as those of Maryland and Pennsylvania, had, meanwhile, become thoroughly aroused by a sense of danger. The

Government had just created two new military departments in

Pennsylvania.' On the 12th, Governor Curtin, of that State, issued a call for the entire militia of the commonwealth to turn out to defend its soil, but it was feebly responded to; and on the 15th, the President called upon the States nearest the capital for an aggregate of one hundred thousand militia.? This, too, was tardily and stingily answered, while uniformed and disciplined regiments of the city of New York so promptly marched toward the field of danger that the Secretary of War publicly thanked the Governor of that State for the exhibition of patriotism. Despondency had produced apathy, and it appeared, for the moment, as if the patriotism of the loyalists was waning, and that the expectation of the Confederates, of a general cry for peace in the Free-labor States, was about to be realized. Finally, when the Confederates were streaming across the Potomac, the number of troops that responded to the call was about fifty thousand, one-half of whom were Pennsylvanians, and fifteen thousand were New Yorkers. Lee had about a week's start of Hooker in the race for the Potomac, and

when the latter disappeared behind the Stafford hills,' the occuMay 18.

pants of Fredericksburg Heights marched for Culpepper. Longstreet, in position there, his ranks swelled by a part of Pickett's division, then moved along the eastern side of the Blue Ridge, and took possession of Ashby's and Snicker's Gaps, for the purpose of seriously menacing, if not actually attempting the capture of Washington, drawing Hooker farther from his supplies, and preventing the Nationals from darting through the Blue Ridge and striking the Confederates in the Valley, into which Hill, covered by Longstreet, speedily followed Ewell, and took position at Winchester. Hooker, meanwhile, was in the vicinity of Fairfax Court-House, expecting a

direct attack from his adversary, and the cavalry of Pleasanton and

Stuart had almost daily encounters. In one of these, near Aldie,& toward the Potomac, he suggested, in a letter to the President, that in case he should do so, leaving (as he actually did) his rear resting on Fredericksburg, that it would be his “duty to pitch into" that rear, and desiring to know whether such an act would come within the spirit of his instructions. The President and General Halleck both disapproved the movement hinted at in the suggestion, and so, when Hooker found that Lee had stretched bis army into a line a hundred miles long, and his rear was still at Fredericksburg, he was deprived of the privilege of cutting off the latter by a quick movement across the Rappahannock, and forcing his way between Hill and Longstreet, at Culpepper.

1 The eastern, under General Couch, was called the Department of the Susquehanna, with head-quarters at Harrisburg; and the western, under General Brooks, the Department of the Monongahela, with head-quarters at Pittsburg. The Middle Department was under the command of General Schenck, head-quarters at Baltimore,

? Maryland was called upon for 10,000 men; Pennsylvania, 50,000; Ohio, 30,000 ; and West Virginia, 10,000.

3 The Secretary of War and Governor Curtin called upon Governor Parker, of New Jersey, for troops, and he responded by issuing a call on the 16th. On the same day, General Sanford, of New York City, issued an order for the regiments of the First Division of that State to proceed forthwith to Harrisburg, “ to assist in repelling" the invasion of Pennsylvania. In addition to these, about 1,500 volunteers from various parts of the State were organized and equipped, and sent to Harrisburg. On the 20th of June, about 50,000 men had responded to the President's call. New York had furnished 15,000; Pennsylvania, 25,000 ; New Jersey, 3,000 ; Delaware, 2,000; Maryland, 5,000. A patriotic appeal of Governor Bradford, of the latter State, fully aroused the loyal people to action.

d June 17.

d

A RAID INTO PENNSYLVANIA.

53

at the Pass between the Bull's Run and Kittoctin mountains,' the position of Lee was partially revealed to Hooker, and caused the latter to send the Second Corps to Thoroughfare Gap, the Fifth to Aldie, and the Twelfth to Leesburg. In that encounter the Confederate cavalry was charged by Kilpatrick's brigade (First Maine, First Massachusetts, and a battalion of the Fourth New York), and driven back to Ashby's Gap, whence they had emerged. Two days earlier than this, when Milroy's flying

June 15, troops were crossing the Potomac at Hancock, a brigade of Con

1863. federate cavalry, fifteen hundred in number, under General Jenkins, detached from Ewell's corps, had dashed across the river at Williamsport, in pursuit of Milroy's wagon-train, swept up the Cumberland Valley to Chambersburg, in Pennsylvania, destroyed the railway in that neighborhood, and plundered the region of horses, cattle, and other supplies. Then, with fifty kidnapped negroes, they turned their faces toward the Potomac,? encamped at and held Hagerstown, in Maryland, and there waited for the advance of Lee's army.

Jenkins's raid was a reconnoissance for information. It satisfied Lee that very little opposition might be expected to an immediate invasion in force, and he determined to advance. By skillful movements he kept the Army of the Potomac in doubt, in the vicinity of Washington, while Ewell's corps pressed to the river, crossed it at Williamsport and Shepardstown into Maryland, on the 21st and 22d of June, moved directly on Hagerstown, yet held by Jenkins, and then up the Cumberland Valley to Chambersburg, where General Knipe was in command. That officer fell back, and all Western Pennsylvania, up to its capital on the Susquehanna, appeared to be at the mercy of the invaders, for few troops had yet joined Couch or Brooks. Still farther northward Ewell advanced in two columns, Rodes's division pushing on through Carlisle to Kingston, with

• June 27. in thirteen miles of Harrisburg, while Early's division marched up the eastern side of the South Mountain range, and through Emmettsburg, Gettysburg, and York, to the banks of the Susquehanna at Wrights

June 22.

1 See map on page 586, volume I., and note 2, page 467, volume II.

? Drags and other merchandise were purchased by the Confederates in Chambersburg, and paid for in Confederate scrip. During his stay there Jenkins lost some horses, and demanded their return or their reputed value ($900) in money. The scrip to that amount was tendered to him, and he dared not refuse the worthless paper, for fear of casting “discredit on the finances of his nation.” He was compelled to “pocket the joke."

3 There was great tardiness everywhere, especially in Western Pennsylvania. Homes in that region were most endangered, and men did not like to leave their families unprotected. Some were unwilling to take up arms, because they were opposed to the war, and did all they could to prevent their friends joining the defenders. These members of the Peace Faction were fearful of being re

OLTO tained in the field beyond the fall election, and thus be deprived of voting against the supply of further men or money for the war; and “some, also," says Profesbor Jacobs (Rebel Invasion of Maryland

PENNSYLVANIA COLLEGE. and Pennsylvania, page 10), " who were brave and patriotic in words, could not make up their minds to expose themselves to the hardships of camp life, and to the perils of the battle-field.” To this general hesitation there was a noble exception. At the time of Jenkins's raid, sixty students of Pennsylvania College, at Gettysburg, together with several from the Theological Seminary there, and a few citizens under Captain F. Klinefelter, a theological student, formed a company, and marched for Harrisburg on the 17th of June. These were the first to be "mustered into the service for the emergency."-See Jacob's Rebel Invasion, &c., page 10.

[graphic]

54

ALARM IN PENNSYLVANIA.

ville, opposite Columbia, levying contributions on the people, and destroying bridges along the line of the Northern Central railway, which connects that region with Baltimore. The great railway bridge that spanned the Susquehanna between Wrightsville and Columbia was fired by National troops at the latter place, under Colonel Frick, and was in flames when the Confederates came up.'

This sudden and formidable invasion created an intense panic, especially in Pennsylvania. Flocks and herds, horses and forage, accompanied by citizens who preferred peace to war, were hurried across the Susquehanna, for there was no ionger any uncertainty; and the fact that Lee and his legions had flanked Hooker, and were on the soil of Pennsylvania, levying contributions on its citizens, and threatening its political and commercial capital with seizure and plunder, was now the burning commentary of events on the wisdom and patriotism of Governor Curtin, and the folly of disregarding his timely warnings and appeals. There seemed to be no power at hand adequate to stay the merciless tide of invasion, and for a moment it appeared probable that the Confederate footmen might have an undisturbed promenade between the Susquehanna and the Schuylkill, and that the horses of their cavalry might speedily be watered in the Delaware, and possibly neigh on the banks of the IIudson. Rumor and fear, magnifying and disturbing truth, made pale faces everywhere. Now the invaders

3

1 As General Lee's errand was partly a political one, and there was a desire to conciliate all who were disposed for peace and friendship with the Confederates, he issued a stringent order on the 21st, directed to General Ewell, forbiddling plunder and violence of every kind, directing payment to be made for all supplies received, and certificates to be given to those friends who should refuse compensation. At the same time he directed the orderly seizure, by proper authority, of all necessary supplies when owners refused to give or sell them. Also to seize all the property of any person who should conceal, or attempt to conceal, any property required by his army.

? In violation of the letter of Lee's order, commanders like Early proceeded to “ live upon the enemy," and indulge their desires for plunder and destruction. When Early's corps approached York, the meek mayor, sympathizing, it was reported, with the Peace Faction, took the trouble to go several miles in the direction of the approaching in vaders, to meet Early and surrender the borongh to him, which, because of this mark of submission, was promised special iminunity from harm. When the Confederate general occupied the town, his promise was broken, and he required the citizens to deliver, by four o'clock that afternoon, a large supply of food and clothing, and $100,000 in United States Treasury notes. Of the amount required, $28,000 were actually paid, and a larger portion of 200 barrels of flour, 40,000 pounds of fresh beef, 30,000 bushels of corn, and 1,000 pairs of shoes, and some other articles, "required for the use of Early's division," as the requisition said, were furnished.

Early also proceeded to the extensive iron works of Thaddeus Stevens, member of Congress, in that region, and, because of his eminent services in the National legislature, in providing means for crushing the rebellion, caused his property, to the amount of $50,000, to be destroyed. This was done by fire by the hands of some of Jenkins's cavalry. When the writer was at Marietta, in Georgiu, in May, 1866, he met there a captain in that cavalry, by the name of Stevens, who boasted of being one of those who committed the sturdy old patriot's property to the tlumes. Early directed certificates to be given the citizens of York for property “contributed," well knowing that they were as worthless as the “Confederate scrip" which Lee ordered to be paid for supplies. No man knew better than did Lee, at that time, that a slip of soiled paper would have been as valuable to the citizens of Pennsylvania as the ** money" he offered, " when any was offered;" and, in view of this fact, his assumed honesty in his order to Ewell of the 21st, cannot conceal the deliberate intention to plunder the people in an orderly manner.

The exhibition of ferocity on the part of the stay-at-home writers for the Confederate newspapers was sometimes sickening, but more often amusing. One of these, in the Richmond Whig of July 2, having heard that Lee was in Harrisburg, expressed a hope that he would set fire to all the anthracite coal mines in Pennsylvania. He did not doubt Lee would do it, if the opportunity offered, a'd thereby all the coal would be * redneed to ashes!" “ All that is needed," said the writer, “is to seize the anthracite fields, destroy the roads and the machinery of the pits, set fire to the mines and leave them. Northern industry will thus be paralyzed ats single blow."

3 So early as the 15th of June, the Governor, through the newspapers and by placards headed with the words, in large letters, PENNSYLVANIA IN DANGER!-CITIZENS CALLED TO ARMS! informed the inhabitants of the peril that threatened them, and said, “ Unless our people respond promptly, a large part of the State will be laid waste by the rebel in vaders." He assured them that those who volunteered would be credited on the draft, then ordered; but it was difficult to arouse them to action.

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