Page images



circumstances should demand and the and informed that Manassas would be General's orders should require. No attacked on Tuesday, the 16th. On the reply was received ; but on the 27th 13th I was telegraphed: 'If not strong the General telegraphed me that he enough to beat the enemy early next supposed I was that day crossing the week, make demonstrations so as to river in pursuit of the enemy.

detain him in the valley of Winchester.' “On that day the enemy was in I made the demonstrations, and on condition to cross the river to pursue the 16th, the day General Scott said he

He had over 15,000 men and from would attack Manassas, I drove the twenty to twenty-four guns, while I had enemy's pickets into his intrenchments but about 10,000 men and six guns- at Winchester, and on the 17th marched the latter immovable for vant of har- to Charlestown.

On the 28th I informed the Gen- “On the 13th I telegraphed the eral of the strength of the enemy and General-in-chief that Johnston was in a of my own force ; that I would not, on position to have his strength doubled my own responsibility, attack without just as I could reach him, and that I artillery, but would do so cheerfully and would rather lose the chance of accompromptly if he would give me an explicit plishing something brilliant than by order to that effect. No order was given. hazarding my column destroy the fruits On the 24th I received the harness for of the campaign by defeat, closing my single battery of six smooth-bore my dispatch thus : 'If wrong, let me guns, and on the 30th gave the order to be instructed.'

.' But no instructions On the 2d of July I crossed, came. This was eight days before the met the enemy, and whipped them. battle of Manassas. On the 17th General

“On the 9th of July a council was Scott telegraphed: McDowell's first held, at which all the commanders of day's work has driven the enemy bedivisions and brigades and chiefs of staff yond Fairfax Court House. To-morrow, were present. Colonel Stone, the junior probably, the Junction will be carried. line officer, spoke twice and decid- With this information I was happy. edly against an advance, advocating a Johnston had been detained the apdirect movement to Shephardstown and pointed time, and the work of my colCharlestown. All who spoke opposed umn had been done. an advance, and all voted against one. On “On the 18th, at half-past one in the the same day I informed the General- morning, I telegraphed General Scott in-chief of the condition of affairs in the the condition of the enemy's force and valley, and proposed that I should go to of my own, referring to my letter of the Charlestown and occupy Harper's Ferry, 16th for full information, and closed the and asked to be informed when he would dispatch by asking. 'Shall I attack ?' attack Manassas. On the 12th I was This was plain English and could not be directed to go where I had proposed, misunderstood, but I received no reply.


[blocks in formation]

1 expected to be attacked where I of transportation, came over slowly. was, and if Manassas was not to be Many of them did not come across till attacked on that day, as stated in eight or nine days after the time fixed General Scott's dispatch of the day pre- upon, and went forward without my vious, I ought to have been ordered even seeing them, and without having down forthwith to join in the battle, been together before in a brigade. The and the attack delayed until I came. sending reinforcements to General PatI could have been there on the day that terson, by drawing off the wagons, was the battle was fought, and my assistance a further and unavoidable cause of delay. might have produced a different result. Notwithstanding the Herculean efforts

On the 20th I heard that Johnston of the Quartermaster-General, and his had marched, with 35,000 Confederate favoring me in every way, the wagons troops and a large artillery force, in a for ammunition, subsistence, etc.,

, and the southeasterly direction. I immediately horses for the trains and the artillery, telegraphed the information to General did not arrive for more than a week Scott, and know that he received it the after the time appointed to move. I same day.

was not even prepared as late as the “ In accordance with instructions I | 15th ultimo, and the desire I should came to Harper's Ferry on the 21st, move became great, and it was wished which place I held until relieved." I should not, if possible, delay longer

The delay which ensued in the advance than Tuesday, the 16th ultimo. When of our army against the enemy was an- I did set out, on the 16th, I was still other cause of the defeat at Bull Run. deficient in wagons for subsistence. But If the attack had been made at an earlier I went forward, trusting to their being day, Beauregard would have been caught procured in time to follow me. The at a time when the aid of Johnston must trains thus hurriedly gathered together, have failed him. The causes which com- with horses, wagons, drivers, and wagon pelled McDowell's delay are best stated managers, all new and unused to each in his own words. He says:

other, moved with difficulty and disor" When I submitted to the General- der, and was the cause of a day's delay in-chief, in compliance with his verbal in getting the provisions forward, makinstructions, the plan of operations and ing it necessary to make on Sunday the estimate of force required, the time I attack we should have made on Saturwas to proceed to carry it into effect was day. I could not, with every exertion, fixed for the 8th of July, Monday. get forward with the troops earlier than Every facility possible was given me by we did. I wished to go to Centreville the General-in-chief and the heads of the second day, which would have taken the administrative departments in mak- us there on the 17th, and enabled us, so ing the necessary preparations. But the far as they were concerned, to go into regiments, owing, I was told, to a want | action on the 19th, instead of the 21st ;


but when I went forward from Fairfax artillery of the New York Eighth Militia, Court House, beyond Germantown, to whose term of service expired, insisted urge them forward, I was told it was on their discharge. I wrote to the regiimpossible for the men to march farther. ment, expressing a request for them to They had only come from Vienna, about remain a short time, and the Hon. Secsix miles, and it was not more than six retary of War, who was at the time on and a half miles farther to Centreville-- the ground, tried to induce the battery in all a march of twelve and a half to remain at least five days. But in miles; but the men were foot weary; vain. They insisted on their discharge not so much, I was told, by the distance that night. It was granted, and the marched, as by the time they had been next morning, when the army moved on foot, caused by the obstructions in forward into battle, these troops moved the road, and the slow pace we had to to the rear to the sound of the enemy's move to avoid ambuscades. The men were, moreover, unaccustomed to march- “In the next few days, day by day, ing, their bodies not in condition for I should have lost 10,000 of the best that kind of work, and not used to armed, drilled, officered, and disciplined carrying even the load of light marching troops in the army. In other words, order."

every day which added to the strength Why, on the other hand, having been of the enemy made us weaker." compelled to delay so long, it was iin- McDowell, thus unfavored by fortune, practicable to secure safety by a longer lost the battle of Bull Run, and paid arrest of movement, is a question for the penalty of his ill-success by being the answer to which it is best again to compelled to yield the chief command refer to the frank statement of McDowell, to a younger, and, as yet, more fortunate

officer. General McClellan superseded “I could not, as I have said, more him as the commander of the forces on early push on faster, nor could I delay. the Potomac. McDowell, with the modA large and the best part of my forces esty of true worth, graciously yielded were three months volunteers, whose his place, and, without a word of comterm of service was about to expire, but plaint, assumed a subordinate position who were sent forward as having long under the younger superior, with whom enough to serve for the purpose of the he acted in perfect accord, ready to serve expedition. On the eve of the battle his country and make every personal the Fourth Pennsylvania Regiment of sacrifice consistent with the preservation Volunteers, and the battery of volunteer of personal honor.

who says:

[merged small][ocr errors][merged small]

The popular call for Fremont.-His popularity explained.--The favorite of the Republican Party.--Appointed a Major

General.- Return of Fremont from France.-Command in the West.-His popularity there.—Life of Fremont.His Parentage.—Marriage of his Father.-Youth.-Collegiate Education.-Dismissal from College.--An early love passage.—Teacher of Mathematics.--A Cruise at Sea.-Professor of Mathematics in the Navy.-A Civil Engineer.— Explorer.--A Lieutenant in the Army.-In love with Jessie Benton.-A Runaway Match.-Explorations.--Conquest of California.- Dismissed from the Army.-A Pardon refused.-Fresh Explorations.—A Landowner. – Visit to Europe.-Fremont's return to the United States.-His Command in the Army.-Lingering on his way to St. Louis. - Important events in Missouri.-Lyon's Exploits. - Colonel Sigel --His Life and Career.-His Command in Missouri.-His Advance to the Southwest.-His Force.-Moves against the Enemy.--The Battle of Carthage.Position of the Enemy.-A graphic account of the Engagement by an eye-witness. - The Enemy's account.General Lyon's Advance.- His Force. — How diminished. The reported strength of the Enemy.- The Rendezvous. -Crane Creek.-A severe March in pursuit of the Enemy.-Dug Springs.-A brilliant Skirmish.—Return to Springfield.-An urgent demand for Reinforcements.---No Answer.- A Mission.--A bootless Errand. -- The great Explorer on his Dignity.-A repulsed Official.—Lyon's Resolve.- Apologies for Fremont. Partial Judgments.- Difficulty of Decision.

From the commencement of the civil | appointment Fremont was in France,

struggle there was a popular call, whence, after exercising his character1861.

especially among the “Republi- istic energy in supplying the immediate cans,” for the services of Fremont. It needs of the Federal Government with was not only his pre-eminence in the arms, he hastened back to the United Republican party, of which he had been States. After lingering awhile in Washa candidate for President, but the spirit ington, in consultation with the Presiand capacity which he had exhibited in dent and cabinet upon the plans of the his adventurous explorations through | campaign, he proceeded to St. Louis, the pathless regions of the West and in where he was to establish his headthe conquest of California, which marked quarters. There was a general concurhim out, in popular estimation, as a rence in the fitness of his appointment proper leader in the war. The Presi- and great expectations of his success. dent of the United States, Mr. Lincoln, In the West, with which his career as an with a ready response to the universal explorer had identified him, and where acclamation of his party, and in graceful his adventurous character was in symconcession to the claims of one who had pathy with the pioneer life of the people, July been its chosen chief, at once ap- he was especially popular. Though

9. pointed Fremont a major-general, military formalists may have doubted and gave him the command of the West- the policy of appointing a man with so ern Department. At the time of his little skill and experience in the art of


war to lead a great army, most believed | board of the United States sloop-of-war that one who had proved himself, in Natchez, and sailed on a cruise to the danger and difficulty, so capable of con coast of South America. trolling his fellows, would be equal to all On his return to Charleston, after an the trials of his new position.

absence of two years, he was honored John Charles Fremont was born in by the college from which he had been Savannah, Georgia, on the 21st of Jan-expelled, with the degrees of bachelor uary, 1813. His father, a Frenchman and master of arts. Soon after, having by birth, had emigrated to Norfolk, Va., passed a rigorous examination, he was where he taught his native language. appointed professor of mathematics in Here he fell in love with a Mrs. Pryor, the navy, and ordered to the frigate the divorced wife of Major Pryor, Independence. He, however, now deforty-five years her senior, and whom, termined to give up the sea, and betakthrough the influence of her friends, she ing himself to civil engineering on land, had been persuaded to marry while a was employed for awhile on the railroads girl of seventeen. The marriage was of South Carolina and Tennessee. In naturally an unhappy one, and recourse 1837 he was, with Captain Williams, enwas had, by the consent of both parties, gaged in a military reconnoissance of to a bill of divorce. The Major subse the mountainous regions of Georgia, quently married his housekeeper, and North Carolina, and Tennessee, made in Mrs. Pryor became the wife of Fremont's anticipation of a campaign against the father. Her maiden name was Anne Cherokee Indians. In 1838-9 he acBeverly Whiting, and she claimed to be companied M. Nicollet, appointed by connected by marriage with the family the Government to explore the country of Washington.

between the Missouri and the British Fremont's father having died in 1818, line. While thus engaged, he received, his widow removed to Charleston with from President Van Buren, the comher three children. John Charles, her mission of second lieutenant in the son, was sent, at the age of fifteen, to corps of Topographical Engineers. In Charleston College, where he entered 1840, while occupied at the capital in the Junior class. He was making good preparing the reports of his expedition, progress in his studies, when he was he fell in love with Miss Jessie Benton, suddenly distracted from his academic the daughter of Colonel Thomas H. duties by a youthful love passage. This Benton, a United States senator from led to irregularities and inattention, Missouri. His suit was accepted by the which caused his expulsion from col maid, but refused by her parents on the lege. He now sought and obtained score of her extreme youth, she being employment as a private teacher of his only fifteen years of age. Fremont soon favorite pursuit, the mathematics. In after received, at the instigation prob1833 he was appointed schoolinaster on / ably of Colonel Benton, a peremptory

« PreviousContinue »