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AFFAIRS IN VIRGINIA-ARMY OF THE POTOMAC.
Wise and Floyd in Virginia — Carnifex Ferry – Rebel General Lee — His plans against Reynolds — Rosecrane
at Gauley River - Kelly's dash on Romney -- Milroy's attempt - End of the season — - Rosecrans' address to his troops McClellan at Washington - His efforts to improve the army - Public sentiment towards him — Sabbath order — "Memorandum ” for the President - Extracts - Active exertions — Rebels retire from vicinity of Washington - Grand review — McClellan's statement of the condition of the army at end of October-His views as to forward movements-Attacks on newspaper offices—Grand Jury on freedom of the press — Military arrests — Passport system - Government circular as to coast defences - Col. Gcary at Bolivar Heights — Reconnaissance ordered - Gen. McCall at Dranesville — Gen. Stone and his proceedings — Orders troops to cross the Potomac Philbrick's report - Stone's orders Col. Devens crosses — Attacked by the enemy - Col. Baker ordered to sustain him— Miserable lack of means of crossing the river – Disaster at Ball's Bluff — Baker killed — Heavy loss — Who is responsible ?– Severe trial to loyal people – Effect on the rebels -Scott retires —McClellan general-in-chief –His plans — Gen. Lockwood marches to " Eastern shore ” — Good result – Gen. Ord defeats Stuart near Dranesville — Navigation of the Potomac — Rebel batteries -McClellan not ready to move - Order as to fugitive slaves in Washington -- Confederate Congress — Davis's message - General tone of it - Proceedings of rebel congress of no great moment.
TURNING our attention again to Vir- | he had surprised Col. Tyler's 7th Ohio ginia (see p. 44) we see that, by the regiment at Cross Lanes, near Summersend of July, the Kanawha Valley was ville, and routed them entirely. Gen. freed from secession troops, and that Rosecrans, who had a force numbering Wise (formerly governor), having de nearly 10,000 under his command, de
stroyed all the bridges he termined to attack Floyd at once, and
could, and carried off wagons his determination was carried into and teams of the people, had decamped. effect on September 10th. The rebel A month or more of comparative quiet commander had some 3,000 to 5,000 was spent in repressing insurgent men, and sixteen field pieces in position, marauders in the mountainous regions. and was inaccessible on either flank or Early in September, however, J. B. rear, his front being masked with jungle Floyd, whose reputation for honesty and forest. A spirited attack was was none of the best (see vol. iii., p. made in the afternoon, and Gen. Rose564), and who was now in command crans ordered the men to sleep on their of rebel troops, occupied a high hill at arans, ready to assault the post in the Carnifex Ferry, on the north bank of morning; but Floyd, deeming discre. the Gauley River, a position of con- tion the wisest thing for him, silently siderable value. On the 26th of August, made off in the night, and by destroy.
AFFAIRS IN WESTERN VIRGINIA.
ing the bridge and the ferry boats, he tacked and driven by Benham, Col. put the Gauley River, with its rushing Croghan, its commander, being killed. tide, between him and Rosecrans' army. Floyd retreated to Peterston, more Floyd retreated some thirty miles to than fifty miles distant. Big Sewell Mountain, and thence to In the north-east, Gen. Kelly, who Meadow's Bluff, out of harm's way for was guarding a part of the Baltimore the present. Wise, who, it was expect and Ohio Railroad, started from New ed, would help Floyd, remained at Big Creek on the night of Oct. 25th, and Sewell, and called his position by the advanced to Romney. In this spirited sounding title, “ Camp Defiance.” dash he drove out the rebel battalion,
Gen. R. E. Lee, a person subsequently captured two cannon and sixty prisoners, of much note in the rebellion, arrived and a variety of valuable stores. from the northward with a force of 9,000 Gen. Milroy, who succeeded men and some eight or ten pieces of Gen. Reynolds at Cheat Mountain, atartillery; he took command of Floyd's tempted a similar dash, Dec. 12th, on and Wise's troops, which raised his the rebels in his front, strongly posted numbers to 20,000 men. While on his at Alleghany Summit, twenty-two miles way, in August, he found Gen. Rey. distant on the turnpike to Staunton nolds in command at Cheat Mountain Over 3,000 men went on the expedition and Elk Water. His plan was, if pos- but it failed of success.
. sible, to capture Reynold's forces by On the approach of winter, Gen. Lee strategy, and for that purpose he push- was ordered to take charge of the ed forward two bodies to take our men southern coast defences; Wise was orin front and rear. For three days, Sep. dered to Richmond; and all the rebel tember 12–14th, there was skirmish forces were withdrawn, except a small ing, more or less sharp, going on. Col. one under Floyd. Soon after, in DeJohn A. Washington, one of Lee's aids, cember, Floyd was removed to Tennesand recently proprietor of Mount sec, for service there; and thus ended Vernon, was killed, with about 100 the operations of the season, the Union other rebels. The Union loss was arnıy being left in full possession of probably about equal.
Western Virginia. Gen. Rosecrans having taken post
Gen. Rosecrans also, the campaign at Gauley Mount on New River, Floyd having been brought to a close, issued planted himself on the opposite (south) a stirring, earnest address to his troops. side of the river, and opened fire on Among other things he said: “Your ube Union troops and others in sight. patience and watchings put the traitor Rosecrans tried to flank and surprise Floyd within your reach, and though him; but a sudden rise in the river by a precipitate retreat he escaped your rendered it impassable, and Gen. Ben- grasp, you have the substantial fruits ham failed to get in the rear and cut of victory. Western Virginia belongs off Floyd's retreat. On the 14th of to herself, and the invader is expelled November, Floyd's rear guard was at- from her soil.”
Gen. McClellan, as previously stated beginning to be learned and appreci
. (see p. 45), on the call of the govern. ated ment, proceeded at once to Washington, The government, as well as the
peoand entered upon the work of no light ple, were disposed to regard Gen. Mc. magnitude, in the existing crisis. “I Clellan, though comparatively a young found,” he says, in a letter to the secre- man (born, 1826), as worthy of almost tary of war, “no army to command; a unlimited confidence; and he was mere collection of regiments cowering on eulogized, for a time, in terms the banks of the Potomac, some perfect. which formed a painful contrast ly raw, others dispirited by the recent to subsequent exhibitions of popular defeat (at Bull Run). Nothing of any feeling. On the 20th of August, he consequence had been done to secure formally entered upon command of the the southern approaches to the capital, Army of the Potomac, which, as at that by means of defensive works; nothing time constituted, comprised the troops whatever had been undertaken to de serving in the former departments of fend the avenues to the city on the Washington and North-eastern Virnorthern side of the Potomac. The ginia, in the valley of the Shenandoah, troops were not only undisciplined, un. and in the states of Maryland and Deladrilled and dispirited; they were not warc. even placed in military positions. The At the president's request, McClellan city was almost in a condition to have prepared a paper, which he called a been taken by a dash of a regiment of “ Memorandum," and on the 4th of cavalry."
August, submitted it to Mr. Lincoln. Gen. McClellan came to his work A passage or two may be quoted as with much prestige, and great things giving the views of one who was enwere expected of him on all hands. He began by enforcing military disci- * On the 6th of September, the following order was pline in the camps at the capital, issu-issued: “The Majorgeneral commanding desires and
requests that in future there may be a more perfect re ing an order to this effect, July 30th ; spect for the Sabbath on the part of his command. officers of all grades were required to be We are fighting in a holy cause, and should endeavor
to deserve the benign favor of the Creator. Unless in at their posts and attend to their duties; the case of an attack by the enemy, or some other exand a board was appointed for examina. treme military necessity, it is commended to comtion of the officers of volunteer regi- manding officers, that all work shall be suspended on
the Sabbath ; that no unnecessary movements shall be ments. Congress, as we bave seen, au- made on that day; that the men shall, as far as poesi thorized the president to call for 500,- ble, be permitted to rest from their labors ; that they
shall attend Divine service after the customary Sunday 000 volunteers; and the loyal states morning inspection, and that officers and men shall nobly responded to the call. The les alike use their influence to insure the utmost decorum son of the defeat at Bull Run was now gards this as no idle form. One day's rest in seven is
and quiet on that day. The General commanding re
necessary to men and animals. More than this, the Report of Gen. George B. McClellan upon the Or- observance of the Holy Day of the God of mercy and of ganization of the Army of the Potomac, and its Cam- battles is our sacred duty.” At a later date (Nov. 27th), paigns in Virginia and Maryland, from July 26th, 1801, this order was directed to take effect in all the camps to November 7th, 1862.”
of the United States Army.
trusted with the important and respon- that a smaller force might accomplish sible position of commanding-general, the object in view, but I understand and who, at this early period of the it to be the purpose of this great nation struggle, seemed to have entertained a to re-establish the power of its govern
. strong conviction of the powers of re- ment, and restore peace to its citizens, sistance possessed by the rebels. in the shortest possible time.
“ The object of the present war differs Every mile we advance carries us furfrom those in which nations are enga- ther from our base of operations, and ged, mainly in this: that the purpose of renders detachments necessary to cover ordinary war is to conquer a peace, and our communications, while the enemy make a treaty on advantageous terms; will be constantly concentrating as he in this contest it has become necessary falls back. I propose, with the force to crush a population sufficiently nu- which I have requested, not only to merous, intelligent, and warlike to con- drive the enemy out of Virginia and ocstitute a nation. We have not only to cupy Richmond, but to occupy Charlesdefeat their armed and organized forces ton, Savannah, Montgomery, Pensacola, in the field, but to display such an over- Mobile, and New Orleans; in other whelming strength as will convince all words, to move into the heart of the our antagonists, especially those of the enemy's country and crush the rebellion governing aristocratic class, of the utter in its very heart.” impossibility of resistance. Our late For several months, McClellan was reverses make this course imperative. busily engaged in getting the Army of
When we have re. the Potomac into shape, and in renderorganized our main army here, ing it fit for active operations. The 10,000 men ought to be enough to pro- new levies were recruited and pressed tect the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad forward with great rapidity; arms and and the Potomac, 5,000 will garrison equipments were manufactured and Baltimore, 3,000 Fort Monroe, and not supplied as fast as possible; and the more than 20,000 will be necessary at general voice of the people, full of pa- : the utmost for the defence of Washing. triotism and sanguine of success, was in ton. For the main army of operations favor of immediate advance. I
urge the following composition: 250 As the army gained strength and regiments of infantry, say 225,000 men; greater adaptedness for the work before 100 field batteries, 600 guns, 15,000 it, the rebels, who seem to have been kept men ; 28 regiments of cavalry, 25,500; well supplied, by spies and traitors, 5 regiments of engineer troops, 7,500 ; with information in respect to matters total, 273,000. This force must be sup- in and about Washington, called in plied with the necessary engineer and their advanced pickets, and seasonably pontoon trains, and with transportation retired from their posts of observation for every thing save tents.
near the capital, and from our powerful The force I have recommended is large; force gathered there. A grand review the expense is great. It is possible of artillery and cavalry was held on the
8th of October ; it was an imposing be postponed beyond Nov. 25th, or a affair, and seemed to furnish evidence few weeks from the date at which he of the spirit and energy of the army, was writing. and its capability soon to march against During the summer there were vari. the enemy. There were 6,000 cavalry ous exhibitions of violent
angry feeling and 112 guns, with an artillery force of at the North, in attacks upon some 1,500 men; and the president and other newspaper offices and editors who celebrities were present.
sympathized with, and tried to advo At the close of October, McClellan cate, the cause of secession and rebei submitted a “statement of the condition lion. The grand jury of the United of the army under his command, and States Circuit Court, sitting in New the measures required for the preserva York, presented several papers as “ dis- .
tion of the government and the loyal presses,” “ encouraging the rebels,"
suppression of the rebellion." and injuring the interests of the Union. In this statement, inferring from what The government sanctioned this view had been learned through spies, prison of the subject, and held that the neces ers, etc., that the rebels had a force on sities of the case required some limit the Potomac not less than 150,000 to be placed on the present unbounded, strong, well drilled and equipped, ably licentious freedom of the commanded and strongly entrenched,* same plea of necessity was put forth McClellan expressed his opinion that to justify the numerous arrests of perthe army was not powerful enough to sons of influence, who were suspected advance with any prospect of success. of disloyalty, or known to be rendering Holding, too, that the salvation of the assistance, in different ways, to the country depended on the army he was rebel machinations against the govern commanding, he was indisposed to ment; and it was ably, if not satisfac move until he had, beside 150,000 torily, argued, that these and all per men for advance, some 60,000 more sons acting in a hostile manner, opeu for garrison and guard duty, and until or secret, to the lawful authority of the he had 200 more guns at least, and land, must be arrested, and restrained everything else requisite. The actual by the supreme executive of the United force at this date (October 27th) he States.* stated, was only 76,000 fit for an ad.
On the 14th of October, a circular vance, and about 200 guns. Possibly, was issued by the government, directed he thought, the army might, by special, to the governors of the northern states persistent effort, assume, this present on the seaboard and lakes; and atten season, offensive operations; and in his tion was asked to the improvement judgment, the advance ought not to
* Nearly 200 persons were committed to Fort * This number was greatly exaggerated, as we now Lafayette during the three months from July to October, know, since the rebel force in Virginia at this date 1861. For a discussion of the “ War Powers under the amounted to less than 70,000 men; in drill and discip- Constitution of the United States," see the volume with line the rebels were also far inferior to McClellan's this title, by William Whiting, Esq., Solicitor of the
War Depuinent; pp. 343