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Confederate war papers : Fairfax Court House, New Orleans, Seven Pines, Richmond and North Carolina

Date: 1884 | Identifier: E487 .S64 1884
Confederate war papers : Fairfax Court House, New Orleans, Seven Pines, Richmond and North Carolina / by Gustavus W. Smith. New York : Atlantic Publishing and Engraving Co., 1884. 381 p. : port., fold. maps ; 19 cm. more...
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CONFEDERATE
WAR PAPERS.
Gustavus W. Smith.






























[Illustration:

From a Photo By Brady in 1861.
]













CONFEDERATE WAR PAPERS.

FAIRFAX COURT HOUSE, NEW ORLEANS, SEVEN PINES, RICHMOND AND NORTH CAROLINA.

BY
GUSTAVUS W. SMITH, Late Major General Confederate States Army.

SECOND EDITION.NEW YORK:ATLANTIC PUBLISHING AND ENGRAVING CO.1884.



COPYRIGHT, 1883, BY GUSTAVUS W. SMITH.





PREFACE.

THE war policy of the Confederate States Administration in the Autumn of 1861-as shown by the conference, early in October, between President Davis and the three senior officers of General J.E. Johnston's Army-is the subject discussed in the first of the following series of papers. Apart from the inherent importance of this matter, the questions brought up by the Ex-President, in regard to it, give additional interest to what is believed to have been a turning point in the struggle make by the Southern States for political independence. The second paper of the series refers to the circumstances attendant upo9n the defence and the evacuation of New Orleans-the third relates to Confederate operations at Seven Pines or Fair Oaks-and the fourth treats of the defences of Richmond and of North Carolina in the latter part of 1862 and early months of 1863. It is believed that, up to the present time, some of the subjects discussed in these papers are in many essential points not clearly understood. The author has endeavored to furnish authentic data, and proof, in regard to principal facts in this connection- and hopes the following pages may aid in the formation of correct views in regard to the events referred to and be useful in obviating, at least in part, false impressions which are certainly liable to be conveyed by some of the writings heretofore published.

NEW YORK CITY, October, 1883.









CONTENTS.
PART I. WAR POLICY OF THE CONFEDERATE STATES ADMINISTRATION.

CHAPTER I.PAGE
Mr. Davis disappointed when he received notice of his election to the Presidency of the Confederate States—thought himself better adapted to command in the field—Generals J. E. Johnston, Beauregard, and G. W. Smith favor an active campaign of invasion—statement of the proceedings of the conference at Fairfax Court House signed by these three Generals.13
CHAPTER II.
Mr. Davis says that he writes for the purpose of elucidating obscurity and correcting error—gratifying to him “only to notice for praise each and all who wore the gray”—the Generals in the conference at Fairfax Court House asked for “disciplined, seasoned troops”—his account of that conference—comments on the paper signed by the three Generals.21
CHAPTER III.
Author's comments on Mr. Davis's statements—information received by the three generals—reasons for their writing an account of what occured in the conference—more detailed notice of some of the incidents. President Davis satisfied, at the end of the year 1861, with the results of his defensive war-policy.29





CHAPTER IV.PAGE
General J. E. Johnston's army falls back to the vicinity of Richmond—conference at Richmond—President Davis orders the army to the Peninsula—service in the trenches—conscript law—election of new regimental officers—General Johnston withdraws from the Peninsula.40
CHAPTER V.
Ex-President Davis's account of the conference at Richmond—General Randolph's testimony—description of General Magruder's lines—works at Williamsburg—the retreat successfully conducted—inconclusive conversation with General Johnston—gunboats attack Drewry's Bluff—General Johnston crosses the Chickahominy river—Author's comments on Mr. Davis's statements.50

PART II. THE DEFENCES OF LOUISIANA AND THE EVACUATION OF NEW ORLEANS.

CHAPTER I.
Description of the locality—President Davis warned, in February, 1861, of the “danger which at last proved fatal”—testimony of the Hon. Charles M. Conrad—Governor of Louisiana asks that the defences “be no longer neglected”—President Davis could not bring himself to believe the Governor's apprehensions would be realized—General Mansfield Lovell assigned to the command—testimony in regard to the condition of the Department at the time.59





CHAPTER II.PAGE
Condition of the defences in November, 1861—delayed by want of competent officers—heavy guns could not be obtained—preparations for defence pressed forward—organized, armed, and equipped, a brigade of 5000 men—ordered to seize, arm, man, and equip, fourteen, named, river steamboats—one million dollars appropriated by the Confederate Congress.66
CHAPTER III.
Five thousand men sent from New Orleans to Columbus, Ky., by direction of President Davis.—General Lovell expresses regret at being thus deprived of all his available force—President Davis calls for more troops to be sent to Corinth—General Lovell protests against sending the ironclad Louisiana up the river—refusal of the Government to change the order—important letter from General Lovell to the Secretary of War.71
CHAPTER IV.
Forts bombarded on 16th—guns from forts could not reach the enemy—On the 17th the Governor of Louisiana protests against sending the Louisiana up the river—President Davis replies—“The wooden vessels are below; the iron gunboats are above. The forts should destroy the former if they attempt to ascend”—enemy's ships passed the forts on the 24th—official reports of Generals Lovell, Duncan, and M. L. Smith.80
CHAPTER V.
General Lovell applies for a Court of Inquiry—conduct approved by Generals R. E. Lee, J. E. Johnston, and Beauregard. Complaint made by the Governor of Louisiana—General Lovell's reply—application for Court of Inquiry renewed—General Van Dorn ordered to supersede General Lovell—the latter serves under the former in the campaign against Corinth—relieved from duty in the field—renews his application for a Court of Inquiry—official correspondence called for by Congress—Court of Inquiry ordered.91





CHAPTER VI.PAGE
Court met in April, 1863—the word “accused” not to be used to designate General Lovell—instructions from the War Department April 21st—instructions from the War Department June 15th—report of facts—opinion of the Court.99
CHAPTER VII.
Comments upon the opinion of the Court.—General Lovell asks the War Department to inform him of the action of the Court—Congress calls for a copy of the proceedings—General Lovell applies to be assigned to duty—proceedings of the Court of Inquiry transmitted.108
CHAPTER VIII.
Ex-President Davis reviews the events connected with the fall of New Orleans—difficult to reach a satisfactory conclusion—attests the zeal and capacity of the Secretary of the Navy.116
CHAPTER IX.
Testimony of Captain Beverly Kennon—of Captain George N. Hollins—of Captain William C. Whittle—and of the Hon. Charles M. Conrad.127
CHAPTER X.
Summary and Comments.134





PART III. NOTES ON THE BATTLE OF SEVEN PINES OR FAIR OAKS.

CHAPTER I.PAGE
Preliminary movements: Report that McDowell was advancing on the 27th—General Johnston orders preparations to attack the Federal right on the north bank of the Chickahominy—McDowell's forces turn back—General Johnston reverts to his first intention to attack the Federal left on the Richmond side of the Chickahominy—letter from General Johnston to General Whiting.144
CHAPTER II.
Ex-President Davis's account of preliminary operations around Richmond—Tells General Lee why and how he was dissatisfied—General Johnston's reported proposed plan—President rides out to see the action commence—account of that ride—Author's comments.152
CHAPTER III.
Description of the battle ground of Seven Pines—Position and number of Confederates—of Federals—General Johnston's plan and intentions—documentary proof.158
CHAPTER IV.
Operations on the Nine Miles road—casualties in G. W. Smith's division, under General Whiting—letter from one of General Whiting's staff officers—General Smith meets the President and General Lee—the situation after dark.173
CHAPTER V.
General Mindil's account of Federal operations on the 31st of May. Correspondence between Generals Johnston and Smith185





CHAPTER VI.PAGE
Ex-President Davis's description of operations on the 31st of May. Author's comments.194
CHAPTER VII.
Operations on the 1st of June. General Longstreet directed to renew the fighting—notes calling for help—five thousand men sent to him from the crest of the Chickahominy Bluffs—General Lee assigned to the command of the Army—position held by Smith's division under Whiting ten days after the battle.204
CHAPTER VIII.
General Mindil's account of Federal operations on the 1st of June. Statement made by Mr. Swinton. Ex-President Davis's account of operations on the 1st of June—Author's comments.216
CHAPTER IX.
General J. E. Johnston's account of the battle of Seven Pines—Author's comments224
CHAPTER X.
General Taylor's statement. General Webb's account of the battle of Fair Oaks or Seven Pines—Author's comments. Letter from Major S. B. French.—General remarks241

PART IV. THE DEFENCES OF RICHMOND AND OF NORTH CAROLINA IN THE LATTER PART OF 1862 AND THE EARLY MONTHS OF 1863.

CHAPTER I.
Richmond in September, 1862—protection of General Lee's line of communication—forces in and near Richmond—negroes drafted to work on fortifications—General Smith asks why six of his juniors had been promoted over him—written reply to reasons assigned for the wholesale over-slaughing to which he had been subjected.252





CHAPTER II.PAGE
Brigade from General Lee's army ordered to North Carolina by Secretary of War—forces under General Smith's orders check movements of the enemy against General Lee's rear—General Smith appointed Secretary of War ad interim—Enemy at Fredericksburg and on the Black Water—number and position of troops—reference to future operations.263
CHAPTER III.
General Beauregard sends troops from Charleston to Wilmington—Evans fighting in front of Kinston, N. C.—General French ordered to reinforce Evans—driven back, burns the bridge at Kinston—fight at Whitehall Bridge—enemy driven back with severe loss—troops from Richmond had not arrived—enemy burns one of the two bridges—General Smith's report to the Secretary of War—General Clingman's report—position of forces in North Carolina—political feeling in that State—another invasion anticipated.271
CHAPTER IV.
The state of affairs in North Carolina—Ransom's division (two small brigades) detached from General Lee's army—conflict of opinion in regard to the movements of Ransom's division—letter from General Smith to Secretary of War.279
CHAPTER V.
Federal expedition reported moving from Newbern against Wilmington—the North Carolina militia—enemy left Trenton, burned the bridge, and retired towards White Oak—memorandum sent by General Smith to General Davis—reply—Quartermaster-General in Richmond interferes with railroad transportation in North Carolina—Secretary of War orders General Smith to Richmond.290





CHAPTER VI.PAGE
Interview with President Davis—letter from General Whiting—General Smith's letters of resignation—anomalous organization—Secretary of War, by direction of President Davis, orders wholesale changes in the position of troops in North Carolina.296
CHAPTER VII.
Endorsements made by President Davis on General G. W. Smith's letters of resignation—endorsement made by the Secretary of War — resignation accepted — letter from General Smith to President Davis in reply to endorsements 305
CHAPTER VIII.
Illustrative incidents—General Van Dorn ordered to General J. E. Johnston's army — President Davis appoints an Aide-de-Camp for General Smith—reorganizing brigades—alleged proposal to depose President Davis—his mind “poisoned”316

APPENDIX A.
Letters addressed to General G. W. Smith in reference to his resignation.333

APPENDIX B.
Extracts from sketch of life of Gustavus W. Smith.343

APPENDIX C.
Severe Accusations—Refuted by plain facts.354

MAPS (AT END OF VOLUME).

I.—The vicinity of Richmond.

II.—Battlefield of Seven Pines, May 31st.

III.—Battlefield of Seven Pines, June 1st.





PART I. WAR POLICY OF THE CONFEDERATE STATES ADMINISTRATION.
CHAPTER I.

Mr. Davis disappointed when he received notice of his election to the Presidency of the Confederate States—thought himself better adapted to command in the field—Generals J. E. Johnston, Beauregard and G. W. Smith favor an active campaign of invasion—statement of the proceedings of the conference at Fairfax Court House signed by these three Generals.

Before referring to the proceedings of the Conference held in October, 1861, at Fairfax Court House—in which President Davis enforced, for the time, a defensive rather than active offensive war policy—it is but fair that he should be introduced to the reader in his own words. He says:* “I had gone to my home, Brierfield, in Warren County, and had begun, in the homely but expressive language of Mr. Clay ‘to repair my fences.’ While thus engaged, notice was received of my election to the Presidency of the Confederate States, with an urgent request to proceed immediately to Montgomery for inauguration. As this had been suggested as a probable event, and what appeared to me adequate precautions had been taken to prevent it,

[note]



I was surprised, and, still more, disappointed. For reasons which it is not now necessary to state I had not believed myself as well suited to the office as some others. I thought myself better adapted to command in the field.”

In reference to the author it may be stated here, that, soon after he arrived within the Confederate States, in September, 1861, he proceeded to Richmond believing that the true policy of those States, at that time, was to make an active campaign of invasion before Winter set in. Within a week after his arrival in Richmond he was appointed Major General, ordered to report for duty, to General J. E. Johnston, and was at once assigned to command the Second corps of Johnston's army, then near Fairfax Court House, Va. The first corps of that army was commanded by General Beauregard. Soon after the author joined the army he learned that Generals Johnston and Beauregard already favored an immediate offensive campaign, beyond the Potomac, provided an adequate force could be concentrated for that purpose: and he urged General Johnston to request President Davis to visit the headquarters of the army with a view to discuss and determine this question. The President came in compliance with General Johnston's invitation.

“The following statement dated Centreville, Va., January 31st, 1862, signed by General Johnston and his two Corps Commanders, gives the substance of what occurred, at the October Conference, in reference to crossing the Potomac.

“On the 26th of September, 1861, General Joseph E. Johnston addressed a letter to the Secretary of War in regard to the importance of putting this army in condition to assume the offensive, and suggested that the





President, Secretary of War, or some one representing them should at an early day come to the headquarters of the army, then at or near Fairfax Court House, for the purpose of deciding whether the army could be reënforced to the extent that the Commanding General deemed necessary for an offensive campaign.

“The President arrived at Fairfax Court House, a few days thereafter, late in the afternoon, and proceeded to the quarters of General Beauregard. On the same evening General Johnston and I called to pay our respects. No official subjects of importance were alluded to in that interview. At eight o'clock the next evening, by appointment of the President, a conference was had between himself, General Johnston, General Beauregard and myself—various matters of detail were introduced by the President, and talked over between himself and the two senior Generals.

“Having but recently arrived, and not being well acquainted with the special subjects referred to, I took little or no part in this conversation. Finally, with perhaps some abruptness, I said, ‘Mr. President, is it not possible to put this army in condition to assume the active offensive?’ Adding that this was a question of vital importance upon which the success or failure of our cause might depend. This question brought on discussion. The precise conversation which followed I do not propose to give—it was not an argument—there seemed to be little difference of opinion between us in regard to general views and principles.

“It was clearly stated, and agreed to, that the military force of the Confederate States was at the highest point it could attain without arms from abroad—that the portion of this particular army present for duty was in the finest fighting condition—that if kept inactive it





must retrograde immensely in every respect during the winter, the effect of which was foreseen and dreaded by us all. The enemy were daily increasing in numbers, arms, discipline, and efficiency. We looked forward to a sad state of things at the opening of a Spring campaign.

“These and other points being agreed upon without argument, it was again asked—‘Mr. President, is it not possible to increase the effective strength of this army and put us in condition to cross the Potomac and carry the war into the enemy's country? Can you not by stripping other points to the last they will bear—and even risking defeat at all other places, put us in condition to move forward? Success here at this time saves everything—defeat here loses all.’

“In explanation, and as an illustration of this, the unqualified opinion was advanced, that, if for want of adequate strength on our part in Kentucky, the Federal forces should take military possession of that whole state, and enter and occupy a portion of Tennessee, a victory gained by this army beyond the Potomac would, by threatening the heart of the Northern States, compel their armies to fall back, free Kentucky—and give us the line of the Ohio, within ten days thereafter. On the other hand should our forces in Tennessee and Southern Kentucky be strengthened so as to enable us to take, and to hold, the Ohio River as a boundary, a disastrous defeat of this army would at once be followed by an overwhelming wave of Northern invaders, which would sweep over Kentucky and Tennessee, extending to the Northern part of the Cotton States, if not to New Orleans.

“Similar views were expressed in regard to ultimate results in North-Western Virginia, being dependent





upon the success or failure of this army, and various other special illustrations were offered. Showing, in short, that success here was success everywhere—defeat here, defeat everywhere,—and that this was the point upon which all the available forces of the Confederate States should be concentrated.

“It seemed to be conceded by all that our force at that time here was not sufficient for assuming the offensive beyond the Potomac, and that even with a much larger force, an attack upon their army under the guns of their fortifications, on this side the river, was out of the question. The President asked me what number of men was necessary in my opinion to warrant an offensive campaign—to cross the Potomac, cut off the communications of the enemy with their fortified Capitol, and carry the war into their country. I answered ‘Fifty thousand effective seasoned soldiers’—explaining that, by seasoned soldiers, I meant such men as we had here, present for duty. And added that they would have to be drawn from the Peninsula, about Yorktown, Norfolk, Western Virginia, Pensacola, or wherever might be most expedient. General Johnston and General Beauregard both said that a force of sixty thousand such men would be necessary, and that this force would require large additional transportation and munitions of war—the supplies here being entirely inadequate for an active campaign in the enemy's country, even with our present force.

“In this connection there was some discussion of the difficulties to be overcome, and the probabilities of success; but, no one questioned the disastrous results of remaining inactive throughout the winter.

“Notwithstanding the belief that many in the Northern army were opposed on principle to invading the





Southern States, and that they would fight better in defending their own homes than in attacking ours, it was believed that the best, if not the only, plan to insure success, was to concentrate our forces and attack the enemy in their own country.

“The President, I think, gave no definite opinion in regard to the number of men necessary for that purpose, and I am sure no one present considered this a question to be finally decided by any other person than the Commanding General of this army. Returning to the question that had been twice asked—the President expressed surprise and regret that the number of surplus arms here was so small—and I thought spoke bitterly of this disappointment. He then stated, that at that time no reinforcements could be furnished to this army of the character asked for—that the most that could be done, would be to furnish recruits to take the surplus arms in store here, (say 2500 stand)—that the whole country was demanding protection at his hands, and praying for arms and troops for defence. He had long been expecting arms from abroad but had been disappointed—he still hoped to get them, but had no positive assurance that they would be received at all. The manufacture of arms in the Confederate States was, as yet, undeveloped to any considerable extent. Want of arms, was the great difficulty; he could not take any troops from the points named, and without arms from abroad could not reinforce this army. He expressed regret, and seemed to feel deeply as did every one pressent.

“When the President had thus clearly and positively stated his inability to put this army in the condition deemed by the Generals necessary before entering upon an active offensive campaign, it was felt that it might





be better to run the risk of almost certain destruction fighting upon the other side of the Potomac, rather than see the gradual dying out and deterioration of this army, during a winter, at the end of which the term of enlistment of half the force would expire. The prospect of a spring campaign to be commenced under such discouraging circumstances was rendered all the more gloomy by the daily increasing strength of an enemy already much superior in numbers. On the other hand was the hope and expectation that before the end of winter, arms would be introduced into the country—and all were confident, that we could then not only protect our own country but successfully invade that of the enemy.

“General Johnston said, that he did not feel at liberty to express an opinion as to the practicability of reducing the strength of our forces at points not within the limits of his command. With but few farther remarks from any one, the answer of the President was accepted as final, and it was felt that there was no other course left but to take a defensive position and await the enemy. If they did not advance we had but to await the winter and its results.

“After the main question was dropped the President proposed, that, instead of an active offensive campaign, we should attempt certain partial operations—a sudden blow against Sickles or Banks—or to break the bridge over the Monocacy. This, he thought, besides injuring the enemy, would exert a good influence over our troops, and encourage the people of the Confederate States generally.

“In regard to attacking Sickles, it was stated in reply that, as the enemy controlled the river with their ships of war, it would be necessary for us to occupy two points on





the river—one above, and another below the point of crossing—in order that we might, by our batteries, prevent their armed vessels from interfering with the passage of the troops. In any case the difficulty of crossing large bodies over wide rivers, in the vicinity of an enemy, and then recrossing, made such expeditions hazardous. It was agreed, however, that if an opportunity should occur offering reasonable chances of success that the attempt would be made.

“During this Conference or Council which lasted, perhaps, two hours, all was earnest, serious, deliberate. The impression made upon me was deep and lasting; and I am convinced that the foregoing statement is not only correct, as far as it goes, but, in my opinion, it gives a fair idea of all that occurred, at that time, in regard to the question of our crossing the Potomac.

“Gustavus W. Smith, Major-General.”

“My recollection of the above Conference agrees fully with this statement of General G. W. Smith.

“G. T. Beauregard, General C. S. A.

“J. E. Johnston, General.

Signed in triplicate.

“Centreville, Va., January 31, 1862.”

The following extract is from a letter dated October 8th, 1861, written by General G. W. Smith to President Davis: “A forward movement is almost a positive necessity to the existence of this army. Every time the subject presents itself—and that is every hour of the day and night—I am tempted to ask again: ‘Is it not possible to put us in condition to take the offensive?’ As often comes the answer: ‘Want of arms and the present impossibility of supplying them.’ ”





CHAPTER II.

Mr. Davis says that he writes for the purpose of elucidating obscurity and correcting error—gratifying to him “only to notice for praise each and all who wore the gray.”—the Generals in the conference at Fairfax Court House asked for “disciplined, seasoned troops”—his account of that conference—comments on the paper signed by the three Generals.

As a preliminary Mr. Davis says:* “To such general remarks in regard to campaigns, sieges, and battles as may seem to me appropriate to the scope and object of my work, I shall append or insert, from time to time, the evidence of reliable actors in those affairs, as well to elucidate obscurity as to correct error.” On page 442, he adds: “I propose to set forth the facts by correspondence and otherwise. So far as in doing this blame shall be transferred from me to others, it will be the incident, not the design, as it would be most gratifying to me only to notice for praise each and all who wore the gray.”

A little later, in alluding to the troops being raised by the State of Virginia, in the spring of 1862, he says:† “The feeling heretofore noticed as arousing in Virginia a determination to resist the abandonment of her Northern frontier, and which caused the assurance of reinforcements, bore fruit in the addition of about thirty thousand men, by a draft made by the Governor of the State. These, it is true, were not the disciplined, seasoned

[note][note]



troops which were asked for by the Generals in the Conference at Fairfax Court House.”

In reference to that Conference, he says:* “I will now proceed to notice the allegation that I was responsible for inaction by the army of the Potomac, in the latter part of 1861 and in the early part of 1862. After the explosion of the fallacy that I had prevented the pursuit of the enemy from Manassas in July, 1861, my assailants have sought to cover their exposure by a change of time and place, locating their story at Fairfax Court House, and dating it in the autumn of 1861. When at that time and place I met General Johnston for conference, he called in the two generals next in rank to himself, Beauregard and G. W. Smith. The question for consideration was, What course should be adopted for the future action of the army? And the preliminary inquiry by me was as to the number of troops there assembled. To my surprise and disappointment, the effective strength was stated to be but little greater than when it fought the battle of the 21st of the preceding July. The frequent reënforcements which had been sent to that army in no wise prepared me for such an announcement. To my inquiry as to what force would be required for the contemplated advance into Maryland, the lowest estimate made by any of them was about twice the number there present for duty. How little I was prepared for such a condition of things will be realized from the fact that previous suggestions by the generals in regard to a purpose to advance into Maryland had induced me, when I went to that conference, to take with me some drawings made by the veteran soldier and engineer Colonel Crozet, of the falls of

[note]



the Potomac, to show the feasibility of crossing the river at that point. Very little knowledge of the condition and military resources of the country must have sufficed to show that I had no power to make such an addition to that army without a total disregard of the safety of other threatened positions. It only remained for me to answer that I had not power to furnish such a number of troops, and unless the militia bearing their private arms should be relied on, we could not possibly fulfil such a requisition until after the receipt of the small arms which we had early and constantly striven to procure from abroad, and had for some time expected. After I had written the foregoing and all the succeeding chapters on kindred subjects, a friend, in October, 1880, furnished me with a copy of a paper relating to the conference at Fairfax Court House, which seems to require notice at my hands. Therefore, I break the chain of events to insert here some remarks in regard to it. The paper appears to have been written by General G. W. Smith, and to have received the approval of Generals Beauregard and J. E. Johnston, and to bear date the 31st of January, 1862. It does not agree in some respects with my memory of what occurred, and it is not consistent with itself. It was not necessary that I should learn in that interview the evil of inactivity. My correspondence of anterior date might have shown that I was fully aware of it, and my suggestions in the interview certainly did not look as if it was necessary to impress me with the advantage of action. In one part of the paper it is stated that the reënforcements asked for were to be ‘seasoned soldiers,’ such, as were there present, and who were said to be in the ‘finest fighting condition.’ This, if such a proposition had been made, would have exposed its absurdity, as well as the loophole it offered





for escape, by subsequently asserting that the troops furnished were not up to the proposed standard. In another part of the paper it is stated that there were hope and expectation that, before the end of the winter, arms would be introduced into the country, and then we could successfully invade that of the enemy; but this supply of arms, however abundant, could not furnish ‘seasoned soldiers;’ and the two propositions are therefore inconsistent. In one place it is written that ‘it was felt it might be better to run the risk of almost certain destruction fighting upon the other side of the Potomac, rather than see the gradual dying out and deterioration of this army during a winter,’ etc.; but, when it was proposed to cross into Eastern Maryland, on a steamer in our possession, for a partial campaign, difficulties arose like the lion in the path of the sluggard, so that the proposition was postponed and never executed. In like manner the other expedition in the Valley of Virginia was achieved by an officer not of this Council, General T. J. Jackson. In one place it is written that the President stated, ‘At that time no reënforcements could be furnished to the army of the character asked for.’ In another place he is made to say he could not take any troops from the points named and, ‘without arms from abroad, could not reënforce that army.’ Here, again, it is clear from the answer that the proposition had been for such reënforcement as additional arms would enable him to give. Those arms he expected to receive, barring the dangers of the sea, and of the enemy, which obstacles alone prevented the ‘positive assurance that they would be received at all.’ It was, as stated, with deep regret and bitter disappointment that I found, notwithstanding our diligent efforts to reënforce this army, before and after the battle of Manassas, that its strength had but little





increased, and that the arms of absentees and discharged men were represented by only twenty-five hundred on hand. I cannot suppose that General Johnston could have noticed the statement that his request for conference had set forth the object of it to be to discuss the question of reënforcement. He would have known that in Richmond, where all the returns were to be found, any consideration of reënforcement, by the withdrawal of troops, from existing garrisons, could best be decided. Very little experience or a fair amount of modesty without any experience would serve to prevent one from announcing his conclusion that troops could be withdrawn from a place or places without knowing how many were there, and what was the necessity for their presence. I was at the Conference by request; the confidence felt in those officers is shown by the fact that I met them alone, and did not require any minutes to be made of the meeting. About four months afterward a paper was prepared to make a record of the conversation; the fact was concealed from me, whereas, both for accuracy and frankness, it should have been submitted to me, even if there had been nothing due to our official relations. Twenty years after the event, I learned of this secret report, by one party, without notice having been given to the other, of a conversation said to have lasted two hours. I have noticed the improbabilities and inconsistencies of the paper, and without remark, I submit to honorable men the concealment from me in which it was prepared, whereby they may judge of the chances for such co-intelligence as needs must exist between the Executive and the Commanders of armies to insure attainable success. The position at Fairfax Court House though it would answer very well as a point from which to advance was quite unfavorable for defence; and when





I so remarked, the opinion seemed to be that to which the Generals had previously arrived. It, therefore, only remained to consider what change of position should be made in the event of the enemy threatening soon to advance. But in the mean time I hoped that something could be done by detachments from the army to effect objects less difficult than an advance against his main force, and particularly indicated the lower part of Maryland, where a small force was said to be ravaging the country and oppressing our friends. This, I thought, might be feasible by the establishment of a battery near to Acquia Creek, where the channel of the Potomac was said to be so narrow that our guns could prevent the use of the river by the enemy's boats, and, by employing a steamboat lying there, troops enough could be sent over some night to defeat that force, and return before any large body could be concentrated against them. The effect of the battery and of the expedition, it was hoped, would be important in relieving our friends and securing recruits from those who wished to join us. Previously General Johnston's attention had been called to possibilities in the Valley of the Shenandoah, and that these and other like things were not done, was surely due to other causes than ‘the policy of the administration’ as will appear by the letters hereto annexed:

“ ‘Richmond, Virginia, August, 1 1861.

“ ‘General J. E. Johnston:

“ ‘. . . General Lee has gone to Western Virginia, and I hope may be able to strike a decisive blow in that quarter, or, failing in that will be able to organize and post our troops so as to check the enemy, after which he will return to this place. The movement of Banks will require your attention. It may be a ruse, but if a real movement





when your army has the requisite strength and mobility, you will probably find an opportunity, by a rapid movement through the passes, to strike him in rear or flank, and thus add another to your many claims to your country's gratitude. . . . We must be prompt to avail ourselves of the weakness resulting from the exchange of the new and less reliable forces of the enemy for those heretofore in service, as well as of the moral effect produced by their late defeat. . . .

“ ‘I am, as ever, your friend,

“ ‘Jefferson Davis.’

“From the correspondence which occurred after the conference at Fairfax Court House, I select a reply made to General Smith, who had written to me in advocacy of the views he had then expressed about large reënforcements to the Army of the Potomac, for an advance into Maryland. Nothing is more common than that a General, realizing the wants of the army with which he is serving, and the ends that might be achieved if those wants were supplied, should overlook the necessities of others, and accept rumors of large forces which do not exist, and assume the absence of danger elsewhere than in his own front.

“ ‘Richmond, Virginia, October 10, 1861.

“ ‘Major-General G. W. Smith, Army of the Potomac:

“ ‘. . . . Your remarks about the moral effect of repressing the hope of the volunteers for an advance are in accordance with the painful impression made on me when in our Council, it was revealed to me that the Army of the Potomac had been reduced to about one half the legalized strength, and that the arms to restore the number were not in depot. As I there suggested,





though you may not be able to advance into Maryland and expel the enemy, it may be possible to keep up the spirits of your troops by expeditions such as that particularly spoken of against Sickles's brigade on the lower Potomac, or Banks's above. By destroying the canal and making other rapid movements wherever opportunity presents, to beat detachments or to destroy lines of communication. . . .

“ ‘Very truly your friend,

“ ‘Jefferson Davis.’

“ ‘Richmond, Virginia, November 13, 1861.

“ ‘General J. E. Johnston:

“ ‘. . . . If a large force should be landed on the Potomac below General Holmes, with the view to turn or to attack him, the value of the position between Dumfries and Fredericksburg will be so great that I wish you to give to that line your personal inspection. With a sufficient force, the enemy may be prevented from leaving his boats, should he be able to cross the river. To make our force available at either of the points which he may select, it will be necessary to improve the roads connecting the advance posts with the Armies of the Potomac and of the Acquia, as well as with each other, and to have the reqnisite teams to move heavy guns with celerity. . . .

“ ‘Very respectfully yours,

“ ‘Jefferson Davis.’





CHAPTER III.

Author's comments on Mr. Davis's statements—information received by the three generals—reasons for their writing an account of what occurred in the conference—more detailed notice of some of the incidents. President Davis satisfied, at the end of the year 1861, with the results of his defensive war-policy.

At the time of the Fairfax Court House Conference the number of enlisted men present for duty in General Johnston's Army was something more than Forty thousand. Whilst writing the foregoing account Mr. Davis had before him the written statement of the three Generals, in which it is asserted that General G. W. Smith asked for a reënforcement, of effective seasoned soldiers, sufficient in number to increase the army to fifty thousand men. This number was, therefore, less than ten thousand. Yet, Mr. Davis says: “The lowest estimate made by any of them was about twice the number there present for duty.” In other words he asserts that the lowest estimated, necessary, reënforcement was about forty thousand when it was less than ten thousand. He bases his argument upon this perversion of facts—well known to him—fails to furnish his readers with a copy of the paper which he attempts to controvert, and proceeds to say that, very little knowledge of the condition and military resources of the country must have sufficed to show that he had no power to send a reënforcement of about forty thousand men to that army without a total disregard of the safety of other threatened positions.

At that time he had a large body of disciplined, seasoned





soldiers, well organized, under General Bragg at Pensacola; which place was abandoned, in the Spring of 1862, after this force had remained there, idle and comparatively useless, for nearly a year. There were troops at various other points that might well have been made available in October, 1861, for reënforcing General J. E. Johnston's army with ten thousand men.

Mr. Davis knows that seasoned soldiers were asked for by General Smith; but he proceeds to say that: If such a proposition had been made it would have exposed its absurdity as well as the loophole it offered for escape, by subsequently asserting the troops furnished were not up to the proposed standard. At the same time he laments that he is not able “to notice for praise each and all who wore the gray.”

In his effort to prove it was not necessary that he should learn in that interview the evil of inactivity and the advantage of action, he introduces two subjects which were not alluded to in the conference. One is his suggestion to General Johnston on the 1st of August, 1861, in reference to a rapid movement through the passes to strike Banks in rear or flank, “and thus add another to your many claims to your country's gratitude;” the second is his statement that, “in like manner the other expedition in the Valley of Virginia was achieved by an officer not of this Council, General T.J. Jackson.”

At the time of the Fairfax Court House Conference General Jackson commanded a brigade in General G. W. Smith's corps. A few weeks after the Conference General Jackson urged General Smith to use his influence with Generals Johnston and Beauregard, and with the government at Richmond, in favor of reënforcing the army, and making an energetic campaign of invasion before winter set in. This resulted in General Smith's





communicating to General Jackson the substance of what occurred in the conference on that subject. This information was a severe blow to Jackson's hopes. He and his brigade were detached from the Second corps a short time after, and transferred to the Valley of Virginia. He had not been long in this separate command before the action of the Government at Richmond toward him was such that he felt constrained to resign his commission in the army.

The additional proofs of Mr. Davis's comprehension of the evil of inactivity and the advantage of action in the Autumn of 1861—as now presented by himself—are that, he took with him to the Conference “some drawings made by the veteran soldier and engineer, Colonel Crozet, of the falls of the Potomac, to show the feasibility of crossing the river at that point”—suggested “expeditions such as that particularly spoken of against Sickles's brigade on the lower Potomac, or Banks's above”—and directed General Johnston “to improve the roads connecting the advance posts with the armies of the Potomac and of the Acquia, as well as with each other, and to have the requisite teams to move heavy guns with celerity.”

In view of the main question under discussion in the conference at Fairfax Court House, it seems—on his own showing—that Mr. Davis had, at that time, no very exalted idea of “the advantage of action,” or of “the evil of inactivity.”

When General G. W. Smith joined the army, in the latter part of September, 1861, so far as he then knew or had any reason to believe, no well-defined, comprehensive war policy had been adopted by the Confederate Government. The authorities in Richmond seemed to be floundering in a discursive plan for trying to protect





all the assailable points in the Country, hoping that something favorable would turn up from abroad.

The three senior Generals were all satisfied that the number of men present for duty in General J. E. Johnston's army was not sufficient for making an active campaign of invasion; and they thought if the President would come to the headquarters of the army—away from the interruptions caused by disturbing elements surrounding him in Richmond—he, too, would be satisfied that the best policy, at that time, would be to concentrate, in that vicinity, as rapidly as possible, all the available forces of the Confederacy, cross the Potomac with the army thus reënforced, and by pressing the fighting in the enemy's country, make a determined effort, in the autumn of 1861, to compel the Northern States to recognize our independence. The campaign to be sharp and, if possible, decisive before active operations would have to be suspended because of the approaching winter.

The army of the enemy in front of us, though greatly exceeding ours in numbers, was, in large proportion, but recently recruited and therefore little better, in active campaign, than an armed mob. The Northern States were not then prepared to successfully resist invasion by an army of fifty thousand effective, well-disciplined soldiers.

Attention was called to the fact that during the coming winter the large force of the enemy in front of us would become a well-organized army; whilst the term of enlistment of half our force would expire early in the Spring. The President decided that he could furnish no reënforcement of the character asked for. His decision on this point was accepted as final, and if the facts had not been, afterwards, misrepresented by him





nothing further would probably have been heard of the request for reënforcement or of his decision in the case.

But, in the latter part of January, 1862, it became known to these three generals that, in the highest official circles in Richmond it was given out that the President was in favor of active operations in the autumn of 1861—that, he had impressed these views upon the Commanding General in the latter part of the summer—and early in the autumn; and had visited the headquarters of the army about the 1st of October for the purpose of urging active operations beyond the Potomac before winter set in—that, he had specially suggested an attack on Sickles's brigade by crossing the lower Potomac or an expedition across the upper Potomac against Banks's brigade, and to break the Canal bridge over the Monocacy. It was asserted in Richmond that these suggestions of the President were coldly received by the Generals and had not been acted upon—that the inactivity of the army during the autumn of 1861 was due to the indisposition of the Generals to assume the offensive—and that this feeling on their part could not be overruled by the President in any way short of a peremptory order, which he was unwilling to give without taking personal command of the army in the field: and this he could not do with justice to the civil government.

The reference to Sickles's brigade below, and that of Banks's above, and the Monocacy bridge, indicated clearly that the opinion which prevailed in Richmond in regard to the cause of the inactivity of the army was based upon statements that must have emanated from the President. In view of these facts the three Generals deemed it expedient—whilst the whole subject was fresh in their recollection—to write out an account of





what actually occurred in that conference in reference to crossing the Potomac.

The statement was mildly drawn, care being taken to make it as respectful as possible consistent with the facts. It was not intended to be used unless it became necessary to publish it in vindication of the truth. No use was made of it, that General G. W. Smith is aware of, until long after the war.

It is now proposed to allude more in detail to some of the incidents of this conference. In doing so it will be convenient for the author to write in the first person.

For nearly an hour—after we met—the President led the conversation and restricted it to irrelevant details in regard to transfers of soldiers* from one company, or regiment, to another — reorganizing brigades — and similar matters. I, finally, asked him with some abruptness, if it was not possible for him to reënforce the army sufficiently to enable us to make an active offensive campaign in the enemy's country. This brought up the question he was invited there to discuss and to decide. If he decided to reënforce the army, we proposed then to discuss, and arrange with him, the general plan of invasion and the requisite preparations. It was believed by the three senior Generals that the headquarters of the army was the best place to hold such a conference—they could not all leave the army and go to Richmond at that time—and the substance of any returns, in the war office, that might be needed, could easily be brought to Fairfax Court House.

After the above question was asked, some conversation followed, in reference to the proposed campaign,

[note]



which resulted in the President's asking me how many men would, in my opinion, be necessary for the purpose. I told him this was a matter for General Johnston to decide—he insisted that I should give him my opinion on this point—finally I told him Fifty thousand was the least number with which I would consider it advisable to undertake the contemplated campaign—and said, if the number was no more than Fifty thousand it would be necessary that the reënforcement should consist entirely of seasoned soldiers. He requested me to explain the meaning I attached to the expression “seasoned soldiers.” I told him I could not well say veteran soldiers because we had none of that description in the Confederate States—that by seasoned soldiers I meant men similar to the Forty thousand or more we then had present for duty in that army—that ten thousand more such men would in my opinion answer the purpose intended; but with only Fifty thousand to start with, it would not do to have the reënforcement composed of fresh volunteers. We had no time to drill raw recruits or wait for them to get over the measles, mumps, whooping cough and other similar diseases which had, but a short time before, made the camps of that army very like a grand, general hospital. Winter was rapidly approaching and we had no time to spare if we were going to make the contemplated death struggle for our independence before the enemy could get ready to resist us.

In urging these and other points I did not assume that the President needed “to learn” these things. I merely intended to present the case clearly—believing that the course proposed offered the best chance for success. We had not entered upon this war for the purpose of subjugating the Northern States—but merely





to compel them to permit the Confederate States and people to govern themselves. I believed that, by the course proposed, we could, before winter set in, convince the people of the Northern States that it was unwise for them to persist in trying to hold the Southern people in the Union at the point of the bayonet.

Some time later in the conference the President asked me from what place or places I would suggest that such troops as I named should be drawn. I told him, this was a question for him to decide. He insisted that I should name the place or places. I called his attention to the fact that I had very recently arrived in the Confederate States, and knew too little of the condition of affairs at other points to advise him. He persisted. Finally I told him that if it were left to me I would take them from Pensacola; or any place, or places, from which they could best be spared, rather than throw away the chance offered by the contemplated campaign. Soon after this the President announced it to be impracticable to furnish any reënforcement of the character asked for.

No further reference was made to an active campaign of invasion. It is not necessary to discuss now the results that might have followed a different decision, but it is well to endeavor to get at the truth in reference to what did occur at that time in regard to the war policy of the Confederate administration; and incidentally to illustrate the conduct of President Davis in this regard.

He knew that I designated the kind of reënforcement asked for—and he means me, when he says: “This, if such a proposition had been made, would have exposed its absurdity, as well as the loophole it offered for escape, by subsequently asserting that the troops furnished were not up to the proposed standard.” But he





carefully refrained at that time from giving any intimation about loopholes for escape by subsequent subterfuge.

In reference to Mr. Davis's remarks about a “very little experience or a fair amount of modesty without any experience,” I have to say, in addition to what has been stated above, that neither of the three generals in that conference had any occasion to stand in awe of the practical military experience of Jefferson Davis. In early manhood he was, for a few years, a lieutenant in the United States army—first in the infantry, then in the dragoons; later he was colonel of a Mississippi regiment of volunteers in General Quitman's brigade at the battle of Monterey, in Mexico. When this brigade proceeded to Vera Cruz, Colonel Davis with his regiment was detached from Quitman's command. After this he was at the battle of Buena Vista, under his father-in-law, General Zachary Taylor—on which occasion it is claimed that he improvised a tactical formation in the shape of the letter V, which, it is said by some, had much to do with Taylor's victory that day. The regiment Colonel Davis commanded was a fine body of men. How much of the credit they gained in these two battles was due to the military qualities of their colonel is not material now; he commanded them, and, as these things usually go, has received credit for their deeds. Such, in brief, was Mr. Davis's practical military experience previous to the Secession War. How much he learned, or what he did, at the battle of Manassas seems to be, as yet, not fully determined.

Each of the three generals who were in conference with him at Fairfax Court-house were in the Mexican War, and had taken an active part in General Scott's campaign from Vera Cruz to the city of Mexico, inclusive.





No great experience, perhaps; but such as it was, the President might have refrained from making contemptuous comments upon their lack of experience after he had appointed them to high command and was in conference with them. In regard to the “modesty” element in his remarks, I have to repeat that my suggestions on the point in question were peremptorily insisted upon by him.

After the President had refused to furnish the reenforcement asked for, I felt that we had probably better make the death-struggle for our independence, fighting on Northern soil that autumn with the force we then had, rather than let this chance pass from us. Mr. Davis sets against this the fact that the three generals did not jump at his suggestion and send a small force, “in a small steamboat lying there, across the lower Potomac into Eastern Maryland, some night, to defeat another small force, said to be ravaging the country in that neighborhood, and thus relieve our friends and secure recruits from those who wished to join us.” Our real trouble at that time was want of arms for the recruits we already had in camp.

He more than intimates that General Johnston's request for a conference with him did not “set forth the object of it to be to discuss the question of reënforcement.” And he dwells upon this as a vital matter. He was told very plainly, about an hour after the conference commenced, what question he was invited there to discuss; and it would have been brought to his attention sooner but for his determined persistence in bringing forward comparatively unimportant subjects.

In his preamble introducing an extract from a letter of his addressed to me, he says: “Nothing is more common than that a general, realizing the wants of the army





with which he is serving, and the ends that might be achieved if those wants were supplied, should overlook the necessities of others, and accept rumors of large forces which do not exist, and assume the absence of danger elsewhere than in his own front.” These cheap glittering generalities are nothing more than the mere small-talk of proverbial philosophy applied to war, and have no proper application to the case in question.

Without referring further to the peculiar tone of Mr. Davis's remarks, or making additional comments upon his misstatements, in regard to the conference at Fairfax Court-house, the question of responsibility for the failure of the Confederate army in Virginia to make an active campaign of invasion, fighting on Northern soil, in the autumn of 1861, is left to the decision of impartial history.

The following quotation is offered in illustration of the satisfaction with which, at the end of that year, President Davis viewed the results of the defensive policy which he adopted at the beginning of the war, and so determinedly adhered to in the conference at Fairfax Court-house. He says:* “Instead of their threatened march of unchecked conquest, the enemy were driven at more than one point to assume the defensive; and upon a fair comparison between the two belligerents as to men, military means, and financial condition, the Confederate States were relatively much stronger at the end of the year than when the struggle commenced.” In this he utterly ignores the almost superhuman efforts made by the Union Government and people during the six months he had allowed them in

[note]



which to get ready for active operations in the spring of 1862.

After Mr. Davis had decided not to reënforce the army, General Johnston placed his troops in the vicinity of Centerville, in position more convenient to the railroad junction at Manassas, from which supplies were drawn. In the mean time, whilst we could not make a campaign of invasion, our hope was that the enemy, with the large army of raw troops in front of us, would make a determined forward movement into our country. In this we were disappointed.

CHAPTER IV.

General J. E. Johnston's army falls back to the vicinity of Richmond—Conference at Richmond—President Davis orders the army to the Peninsula—Service in the trenches—Conscript law—Election of new regimental officers—General Johnston withdraws from the Peninsula.

When Brigadier-Generals Longstreet, E. K. Smith, and Ewell were promoted to the rank of Major-General, and General Beauregard had been relieved from duty with the army in Virginia and ordered to Tennessee, divisions were formed for these officers, and General G. W. Smith was assigned to command the 1st division of the Confederate Army of the Potomac. In falling back from Centerville to Orange Court-house, a short time after, General Smith was placed in command of one wing of the army, whilst General Johnston took the immediate charge of the other—still, of course, commanding the whole army. Soon after the army reached Orange Court-house, General G. W. Smith was detached





from his division and ordered to Fredericksburg, to control the withdrawal of the troops from the district of the Acquia.

The following statement of what occurred in the conference at Richmond about the middle of April, 1862, is compiled from memoranda made by General G. W. Smith, just after he resigned his commission in the Confederate States army, in February, 1863.

The President, the Secretary of War, Generals R. E. Lee and J. E. Johnston, and Major-Generals G. W. Smith and James Longstreet, were present. The conference commenced about ten o'clock in the morning, and continued with but little interruption until near midnight. General Smith heard of the proposed meeting only half an hour before it began; and in that time he prepared a short memorandum showing his views in regard to the future operations of General J. E. Johnston's army, and submitted the paper to General Johnston a few moments before the conference commenced.

After reading the memorandum, General Johnston handed it to the President, saying he had just received it from General Smith, adding that he concurred in the opinions therein expressed. The President read the paper aloud: the discussion commenced, and turned, upon these written views.

General Smith presented two plans. In one it was proposed that all the troops that could well be spared from the Carolinas and Georgia should be brought to the vicinity of Richmond, and that the forces at Norfolk and near Yorktown should be withdrawn without making prolonged defence of those places; thus concentrating all our available strength near the capital, draw McClellan from his gunboats and water-base, and then attack and beat him near Richmond with our combined





forces, including Jackson's from the valley of Virginia. The other plan was to garrison Richmond, occupy McClellan in besieging that place, move the larger portion of our army rapidly across the border, and make an active offensive campaign beyond the Potomac, striking Baltimore and Washington, if not Philadelphia and New York, before McClellan could take the works around the Confederate capital.

In the conference which followed, General Smith urged that one or the other of these two plans should be adopted; expressed a decided preference for the latter; and earnestly advised against sending the army to the vicinity of Yorktown.

General Lee and the Secretary of War opposed the evacuation of Norfolk and Yorktown, and General Lee insisted that the Peninsula offered great advantages for the defensive. The conference was protracted, and at times very heated. During the first four or five hours the President took no active part in the discussion. General Johnston was determinedly opposed to taking the main body of the army to the Peninsula. Longstreet said very little, but was understood to coincide with Generals Johnston and Smith.

The persistent opinions of the Secretary of War and General Lee, in favor of sending the army to the lines of Warwick River, on the Peninsula, precluded a full discussion of the plan of invasion as compared with that of giving the decisive battle near Richmond.

In objecting to the proposed movement of his army to the Peninsula, General Johnston stated that, whilst the lines at Yorktown and along the Warwick River were strong against attack in front, the position could be readily turned. It was believed that the forces already there under General Magruder could successfully





resist open assault; that all the forces we could send there would not enable us to hold it against regular approaches, or against a movement upon our flank and rear. The utmost that could reasonably be expected from sending the army to support Magruder was the gain of a few weeks’ time; and this advantage could, at least in part, be secured to us by the forces Magruder then had.

The evil that must result to the army, if it was sent to the Peninsula, was fully set forth. The effect of notoriously bad water, the unhealthy swamps, fatigue, and exposure in wet and muddy trenches, and the injury to the morale of the army which would arise from an inevitable and prompt withdrawal, were all dwelt upon, and attention was very pointedly called to the fact that the capital would be in great danger whilst the bulk of our army was planted in the mud of the Peninsula, and hemmed in between two broad and deep rivers.

It was not believed that any opportunity would be offered there for us to attack and beat the enemy; but even if this should occur, we could not reap the advantages of victory, because the Federal army could retire to the shelter of strong permanent fortifications close at hand.

For reasons already stated, General Johnston did not believe that the whole of his army could hold Yorktown and Norfolk for any great length of time. He therefore advised that measures be taken looking to the abandonment of these two places, and the concentration of our strength in the vicinity of Richmond, with a view to fighting there the decisive battle of the campaign. In this connection, he asked that all the troops that could be spared from the Carolinas and Georgia should





be brought up as soon as possible for the defence of the capital.

When the President began to take an active part in the conference, it soon appeared that he favored the views of the Secretary of War and General Lee, rather than those of General Johnston and his two principal officers; but it was not until about midnight that Mr. Davis ordered General Johnston to move his army to the lines near Yorktown. The army remained there in wet and muddy trenches for several weeks whilst General McClellan was constructing his siege-approaches; and Johnston retired when McClellan was ready to open the attack.

Whilst in the trenches near Yorktown, General Johnston's army suffered very little loss from the enemy, but the loss from exposure, impure water, and consequent disease was very great. Apart from an ill-considered and badly conducted assault made on our lines, and the sickness that prevailed amongst the troops, the only incident of note, whilst we remained near Yorktown, was the reorganization of the regiments that had volunteered for twelve months. These troops, by recent act of the Confederate Congress, found themselves “conscripts for the war” at the end of the period for which they had been asked to volunteer; but they were allowed to elect new regimental and company officers. In most cases this resulted in replacing competent commanders of regiments and companies by others inexperienced in the duties they were at once called upon to perform in the immediate presence of the enemy.

In retiring from the defensive line at Yorktown, General Johnston ordered Magruder's command to commence the movement at dusk by a road central between the James and York rivers leading to Williamsburg, to





halt at the junction of the roads just before reaching the town, and occupy the fortifications near that point. Longstreet's division was to follow Magruder's. D. H. Hill's division was to move by the road from Yorktown to Williamsburg, to be followed by G. W. Smith's division on the same road. The divisions of Longstreet, D. H. Hill, and G. W. Smith were to pass through Williamsburg,—Smith to halt on the Barhamsville road far enough out to leave room for the other troops between his position and the town.

It was expected that Magruder and Hill would start from the lines on Warwick River early enough to clear the way for Longstreet and Smith by nine o'clock P.M., and that the whole army would reach Williamsburg soon after midnight. It was sunrise next morning before the road was clear for Smith's troops to begin their movement. About noon, he, with the rear of his column, reached the fortifications east of Williamsburg. After the whole of his command had passed, he discovered that Magruder's troops were not at that point. The enemy were skirmishing with our pickets about two miles back, and there was now nothing to prevent their march into Williamsburg excepting a small body of men that had stopped to rest between the fortifications and the town, and they were just starting to join their command on the Richmond side.

General Smith ordered these troops to halt where they were, and a few minutes later he reported this state of things to General Johnston at his headquarters in the suburbs of Williamsburg, on the Yorktown side. In less than half an hour the advance of the enemy had reached the immediate front of the fortifications. The nearest of our troops, under command of General McLaws, were hurriedly brought back, and, with the





small body before referred to, the advance of the enemy was held in check until General Stuart, with a detachment of cavalry from the direction of King's Bridge, had time to come in. General Johnston directed these movements in person, and General Smith was with him.

This flurry being ended, it was found that Magruder's troops had passed through Williamsburg, and halted at the junction of the roads toward Richmond instead of the junction on the Yorktown side. Later in the afternoon, General Johnston ordered General Smith to move at half-past two o'clock next morning, place his division north of Barhamsville, and hold in check any attempt against our line of retreat the enemy might make on that side from the York River. Longstreet's division and that of D. H. Hill were to follow Smith's and Magruder's for about six miles on the road to Barhamsville, then turn off at the Burnt Tavern and take the Charles City road to Richmond, which crosses the Chickahominy at Long Bridge. Magruder's command was to move by the road through New Kent Court-house which crosses the Chickahominy at Bottom's Bridge. From Barhamsville Smith's division was to follow Magruder's. All the troops on this road being under the command of General G. W. Smith. Those on the Charles City road were under General Longstreet.

Smith's division moved from Williamsburg promptly at the time designated by General Johnston. A heavy rain had just commenced; in less than an hour it poured in torrents. The roads soon became axle-deep in mud, and extraordinary efforts were required on the part of the whole command to get the wagons along. The head of the column had nearly reached Barhamsville, late in the afternoon, when General Smith received a





communication from General Johnston directing him to suspend the movement, and informing him that a heavy attack had been made on the fortifications at Williamsburg, in which Longstreet's and D. H. Hill's divisions had been engaged. The day after this, a large fleet of transports and vessels of war reached the head of York River and commenced landing troops. At this time General Smith had learned that our army had resumed its march from Williamsburg unmolested. He was looking on when the enemy commenced disembarking at Eltham landing. He directed that they should not then be opposed, and suggested to General Johnston that measures be taken to overwhelm this force if it came out from the protection of the gunboats. This was assented to. General Johnston ordered nearly the whole army to the vicinity of Barhamsville, and came there in person. The next day, the 7th of May, the enemy advanced in small force a short distance, but very soon retired, without giving us the opportunity to cut them off. They gave no further trouble, and General Johnston's army then quietly resumed its march toward Richmond.

The road followed by the two divisions under General Smith was nearly parallel to the Pamunky River, and only a few miles distant from it. In this part of its course the Pamunky is a deep, navigable stream with many good landings; and good roads leading from these landings intersected the road on which the troops under General Smith were marching. But the enemy followed very slowly on the main road, giving our rear-guard little trouble, and not interfering at all with the flank of the long column moving parallel to the river. During the march from Barhamsville, by direction of General Johnston the commander of the





cavalry, General J. E. B. Stuart, reported to, and received orders from, General G. W. Smith.

When we reached the vicinity of the Richmond and York River Railroad, at a point about midway between the Pamunky and Chickahominy rivers, General Johnston halted his army, and determined to contest McClellan's advance between these two streams. Longstreet's command and Smith's were again within easy supporting distance; and the troops, having rested from the tiresome service in the trenches and the march through deep mud, were elated at the idea of meeting the enemy on an open field of battle.

The Chief Engineer of General Johnston's army, Major W. H. Stevens, and the Adjutant-General of General Smith's command, Major Jasper Whiting, were sent to Richmond, and directed to look after the state of the defences on the James River at and near Drewry's Bluff, some eight miles below.

One of the alleged advantages to be derived by sending the army to the lines of the Warwick River was to gain time enough to arrange these defences so as to prevent Richmond from being taken by water after Norfolk and Yorktown should be abandoned. General Johnston had checked the enemy for several weeks, and we all supposed the James River had been blocked, and that every preparation possible had been made for the local defence of the capital.

On the 14th of May Major Stevens wrote from Richmond: “The enemy's gunboats are reported above City Point. They entered the Appomattox yesterday. The obstruction in the Appomattox is four and a half miles below Petersburg. There is nothing to prevent their landing at City Point or above, up to Drewry's Bluff, in force. The danger is on the south side of James River.”





The same day, but later, Major Whiting wrote to his brother, General Whiting: “Stevens and I have done all we can to stir up the imbeciles. It is perfectly discouraging to see how absolutely nothing has been done. Hood's brigade or yours (any good brigade) might save Richmond yet. I mean, keep back the gunboats. A little work, well done and quickly, will do it. . . . Show this to ‘G. W.,’ and come and help us.”

The next day, the 15th of May, Major Whiting wrote to General Smith from Drewry's Bluff: “It won't do to trust these people in any way. We can't get anything done. . . . If not too late, a good brigade under an energetic officer might perhaps save the city. A few more vessels sunk; a gun or two well placed, with bomb-proofs; some sharpshooters intelligently located—all with strong field-artillery and infantry supports, and some one in charge—might give us, or somebody else, time to do something above. Everything now is at odds and ends; everybody frightened; and everybody looking out for his own affairs. I have never been so much ashamed of our people before. . . . Can't you come here?”

This news from Drewry's Bluff and Richmond, and the attempt of the gunboats to approach the city, induced General Johnston to cross the Chickahominy.





CHAPTER V.

Ex-President Davis's account of the conference at Richmond—General Randolph's testimony—description of General Magruder's lines—works at Williamsburg—the retreat successfully conducted—inconclusive conversation with General Johnston—gunboats attack Drewry's Bluff—General Johnston crosses the Chickahominy River—Author's comments on Mr. Davis's statements.

Mr. Davis says: * “As soon as it was definitely ascertained that General McClellan with his army was on the Peninsula, General J. E. Johnston was assigned to the command of the department of the Peninsula and Norfolk, and directed to proceed thither to examine the condition of affairs there. After spending a day or two on General Magruder's defensive line, he returned to Richmond, and recommended the abandonment of the Peninsula, and that we should take a defensive position nearer to Richmond. The question was postponed, and an appointment made for its discussion, to which I proposed to invite the Secretary of War, General Randolph, and General Lee—then stationed in Richmond, and in general charge of army operations. General Johnston asked that he might invite General Longstreet and General G. W. Smith to be present, to which I assented. At this meeting, General Johnston announced his plan to be the withdrawal of General Magruder's troops from the Peninsula, and of General Huger's from Norfolk, to be united with the main body of the Army

[note]



of Northern Virginia, and the withdrawal of the troops from South Carolina and Georgia; his belief being that General Magruder's line was indefensible with the forces we could concentrate there; that the batteries at Gloucester Point could not be maintained; and that the enemy would turn the position at Yorktown by ascending the York River, if the defensive line there should possibly be maintained. To this plan the Secretary of War objected, because the Navy Yard at Norfolk offered our best if not our only opportunity to construct in any short time gunboats for coastwise and harbor defence. General Lee, always bold in his views and unusually sagacious in penetrating the designs of the enemy, insisted that the Peninsula offered great advantages to a smaller force in resisting a numerically superior assailant, and, in the comprehensive view which he usually took of the necessities of other places than the one where he chanced to be, objected to withdrawing the troops from South Carolina and Georgia, as involving the probable capture of Charleston and Savannah. By recent service in that section he was well informed as to the condition of those important ports. General G. W. Smith, as well as I remember, was in full accord with General Johnston, and General Longstreet partially so. After hearing fully the views of the several officers named, I decided to resist the enemy on the Peninsula, and, with the aid of the navy, to hold Norfolk and keep the command of the James River as long as possible. Arrangements were made, with such force as our means permitted, to occupy the country north of Richmond, and the Shenandoah Valley, and with the rest of General Johnston's command to make a junction with General Magruder to resist the enemy's forces on the Peninsula. Though General J. E. Johnston





did not agree with this decision, he did not ask to be relieved, and I had no wish to separate him from the troops with whom he was so intimately acquainted, and whose confidence I believed he deservedly possessed. . . . General Randolph, in his testimony before a joint special committee of the Confederate States Congress, said: ‘When the council of war met (the conference with the President heretofore referred to), it was supposed that, if the enemy assaulted our army at the Warwick River line, we should defeat them; but that if, instead of assaulting, they made regular approaches to either flank of the line and took advantage of their great superiority of heavy artillery, the probability would be that one flank or both of the army would be uncovered, and thus the enemy, ascending the York and James rivers in transports, could turn the flank of the army and compel it to retreat. . . . They made regular approaches, mounted the largest-sized guns, such as we could not compete with, and made the position of Yorktown untenable. Nearly all of our heavy rifled guns burst in the water-batteries.’ . . . By availing himself of the Warwick River, a small stream which runs through a low, marshy country from near Yorktown to the James River, General Magruder constructed an intrenched line across the Peninsula, and with equal skill and intrepidity had thus far successfully checked every attempt to break it, though the enemy was vastly superior in numbers to the troops under his command. . . . With the knowledge possessed by us, General McClellan certainly might have sent a detachment from his army which, after crossing the York River, could have turned the position at Gloucester Point, and have overcome our small garrison at that place; but this is but one of the frequent examples of war in which the





immunity of one army is derived from the mistakes of the other. . . . As a second line of defence, a system of detached works had been constructed by General Magruder near to Williamsburg (about twelve miles in rear of the first line), where the width of the Peninsula, available for the passage of troops, was only three or four miles. The advantage thus secured to his forces, if they should be compelled to retreat, will be readily appreciated. . . . The month of April was cold and rainy, and our men poorly provided with shelter and with only the plainest rations; yet, under all these discomforts, they steadily labored to perfect the defences, and, when they were not on the front line, were constantly employed in making traverses and epaulments in the rear. . . . The order for withdrawal of the army from the line of the Warwick River, on the night of the 2d of April, was delayed until the next night, because, as I have been informed, some of the troops were not ready to move. . . . The loss of public property, as was anticipated, was great, the steamboats expected for its transportation not having arrived before the evacuation was made. . . . At Williamsburg, about twelve miles from Yorktown, General Magruder, as had been mentioned, had constructed a line of detached works. The largest of these, Fort Magruder, was constructed at a point a short distance beyond where the Lee's Mill and Yorktown roads united, and where the enemy in his pursuit first encountered our retiring forces, and were promptly repulsed. General Magruder, whose arduous service and long exposure on the Peninsula has been noticed, was compelled by illness to leave his division. His absence at this moment was the more to be regretted, as it appears that the positions of the redoubts he had constructed were not all known to the commanding





general, and some of them being unoccupied were seized by the enemy, and held subsequently to our disadvantage. . . . The next morning after the battle of the 5th at Williamsburg, Longstreet's and D. H. Hill's divisions, being those there engaged, followed in the line of retreat, Stuart's cavalry moving after them. They marched that day about twelve miles. In the mean time Franklin's division had gone up the York River, and landed a short distance below West Point, on the south side of York River, and moved into a thick wood in the direction of the New Kent road, thus threatening the flank of our line of march. Two brigades of General G. W. Smith's division, Hampton's and Hood's, were detached under the command of General Whiting to dislodge the enemy, which they did after a short conflict, driving him through the wood to the protection of his gunboats in York River. On the next morning the rear divisions joined those in advance at Barhamsville, and the retreat of the whole army was resumed, Smith's and Magruder's divisions moving by the New Kent Court-house to the Baltimore cross-roads, and Longstreet's and Hill's to the Long Bridge, where the whole army remained in line facing to the east for five days. The retreat had been successfully conducted. . . . Soon after General Johnson took position on the north side of the Chickahominy, accompanied by General Lee, I rode out to his headquarters in the field, in order that by conversation with him we might better understand his plans and expectations. He came in after we arrived, saying that he had been riding around his lines to see how his position could be improved. A long conversation followed, which was so inconclusive that it lasted until late in the night, so late that we remained until the next morning. As we rode back to Richmond, reference





was naturally made to the conversation of the previous evening and night, when General Lee confessed himself, as I was, unable to draw from it any more definite purpose than that the policy was to improve his position as far as practicable, and wait for the enemy to leave his gunboats, so that an opportunity might be offered to meet him on the land. . . . In consequence of the opening of the James River to the enemy's fleet, the attempts to utilize this channel for transportation, so as to approach directly to Richmond, soon followed. We had then no defences on the James River below Drewry's Bluff, about seven miles distant from Richmond. There an earthwork had been constructed and provided with an armament of four guns. Rifle-pits had been made in front of the fort, and obstructions had been placed in the river by driving piles, and sinking some vessels. . . . On the 15th of April (May?) the enemy's fleet of five ships of war, among the number their much-vaunted Monitor, took position and opened fire upon the fort between seven and eight o'clock. . . . The armor of the flag-ship Galena was badly injured and many of the crew killed or wounded. The Monitor was struck repeatedly, but the shot only bent her plates. At about eleven o'clock the fleet abandoned the attack, returning discomfited whence they came. . . . After the repulse of the enemy's gunboats at Drewry's Bluff, I wrote to General Johnston a letter to be handed to him by my aide, Colonel G. W. C. Lee. . . . After some speculations on the probable course of the enemy, and expressions of confidence, I informed the General that my aid would communicate freely to him and bring back to me any information with which he might be intrusted. Not receiving any definite reply, I soon thereafter rode out to visit General Johnston at his headquarters, and was





surprised, in the suburbs of Richmond, viz., on the other side of Gillis's Creek, to meet a portion of the light artillery, and to learn that the whole army had crossed the Chickahominy. General Johnston's explanation of this, to me, unexpected movement was, that he thought the water of the Chickahominy unhealthy, and had directed the troops to cross and halt at the first good water on the southern side, which he supposed would be found near the river. He also adverted to the advantage of having the river in front rather than in the rear of him—an advantage certainly obvious enough, if the line was to be near it on either of its banks.”

Comments.—In saying that General Johnston's belief was “that General Magruder's line was indefensible with the forces we could concentrate there,” Mr. Davis fails to state that General Johnston believed the forces Magruder already had in that line were sufficient to repel open assault. The position was considered indefensible, because it could be easily turned. The forces we could concentrate there could not long resist an attack by regular siege approaches. The most that could be gained by sending the army to join Magruder's forces was a few weeks’ time. Mr. Davis admits that the batteries at Gloucester Point could not have been maintained by us if they had been seriously assaulted; and that, with these batteries in the possession of the enemy, the York river would have been virtually open to their steamers. In which case the lines along Warwick river, and the lines at Williamsburg, would both become untenable.

In saying that General Johnston's plan was to withdraw the troops from the Peninsula, Norfolk, South Carolina, and Georgia, “to be united with the main body of the Army of Northern Virginia,” and “that we





should take a defensive position nearer to Richmond,” Mr. Davis fails to state that General Johnston urged the immediate and pressing necessity for perfecting the fortifications around the city, and concentrating in that vicinity all the available troops of the Confederate States, in order that we might attack and beat the enemy in a decisive battle when they approached the capital.

In another connection, Mr. Davis says:* “After minute inquiry General Early . . . reachers the conclusion that ‘the whole force received by General Lee was about 23,000’ ” This, he states, is “the number given by General Early as the entire reënforcement received by General Lee after the battle of Seven Pines and before the commencement of the Seven Days’ Battles.” Of these 8000 came from Jackson's command in the Valley of Virginia. This would show that 15,000 came from the Carolinas and Georgia. But when General Johnston, in the conference at Richmond, asked that all the troops that could be spared from that section be brought up to reinforce his army, Mr. Davis tells us that General Lee—“always bold in his views and unusually sagacious in penetrating the designs of the enemy, . . . in the comprehensive view which he usually took of the necessities of other places than the one where he chanced to be”—objected.

Without further allusion to Mr. Davis's account of the Conference at Richmond and the operations which followed on the Peninsula, reference will now be made to the account he gives of his first ride, “out to General Johnston's headquarters in the field.” On this point it

[note]



is, perhaps, enough to say that General Johnston then promptly and plainly told the President he intended to contest the farther advance of the Federal Army on ground between the Pamunkey and Chickahominy rivers. The long and “inconclusive” conversation which followed related principally to irrelevant subjects, introduced, and enlarged upon, by the President. Prominent amongst these was the question of reorganizing the brigades—so that each brigade would be composed of troops from a single State.

In reference to Mr. Davis's account of his second ride “out to visit General Johnston at his headquarters,” the reader is requested to bear in mind the facts—already stated—in regard to the reasons which induced General Johnston to cross his army over the Chickahominy. No comment is needed upon Mr. Davis's assertion that General Johnston's explanation of this movement was, that “he thought the water of the Chickahominy unhealthy.”





PART II. THE DEFENCES OF LOUISIANA AND THE EVACUATION OF NEW ORLEANS.
CHAPTER I.

Description of the locality—President Davis warned, in February, 1861, of the “danger which at last proved fatal”—testimony of the Hon. Charles M. Conrad—Governor of Louisiana asks that the defences “be no longer neglected”—President Davis could not bring himself to believe the Governor's apprehensions would be realized—General Mansfield Lovell assigned to the command—testimony in regard to the condition of the Department at the time.

The City of New Orleans is on the left bank of the Mississippi, in the alluvial delta of that river, which is low, flat ground, cut up with bayous, filled with swamps, and subject to inundation. Forts Jackson and St. Philip are located on opposite sides of the river, about seventy-five miles below the city and twenty-five miles above the head of the passes. There are many approaches to New Orleans by water, which renders the defence difficult without a strong naval force. The only land communication it has with the country above is by the narrow neck of ground between the river and Lake Pontchartrain. To protect the country from overflow levees have been constructed on the banks of the river, extending from far above the city to about thirty miles below. When the river is high the whole country from





this point to the Gulf of Mexico is covered with a sheet of water. The tops of the levees are from five to eight feet above the general level of the land, so that the surface of the river is often higher than the surrounding country. The swamps adjacent to the city cover much of the circumference and thus diminish the extent of intrenchments required to protect the place against a land attack. In case war steamers should, at time of high-water, ascend the river to the city their guns would have a plunging fire upon it and command its only communication with the country above. By breaking the levees the whole land including the city itself would be deeply inundated.

The President of the Confederate States formally warned of “the danger which at last proved fatal.”—In his testimony before a Court of Inquiry, Hon. C. M. Conrad said:* “In February, 1861, before the President was inaugurated, either Major, now General Beauregard, or some one else, sent me a slip from a paper containing a letter from General Beauregard, in regard to the defences of New Orleans. In this letter he expressed the opinion that the forts below the city would not be sufficient to prevent the passage of steam vessels of war, even if their armament was complete and the guns of the heaviest calibre. He recommended, therefore, that some measures should be adopted retarding the progress of such vessels, keeping them under the fire of the forts. He suggested two modes that might be adopted to accomplish this end: the one was the stretching of heavy chain cables across the river, the

[note]



other, which he considered most effective, the construction of a raft in the channel, and stated that he had prepared a plan of such a raft and gave an estimate of its cost. Considering this communication a very important one, I summoned the Committee of Naval Affairs and laid it before them. They agreed with me, and it was determined that we should summon naval officers of the highest rank in order to lay this subject before them. The summons was issued to Captains Ingraham, Rosseau, Tatnall, Randolph, and Commander Semmes. They all obeyed the summons and, at the time appointed, came to Montgomery and appeared before the committee, when I laid before them the communication of Major Beauregard, and requested them carefully to consider it and furnish the committee with their views in writing at the next meeting. They did so, and sent me a report expressing their entire concurrence in the view of General Beauregard as to the ability of a fleet of steam vessels of war to pass the forts, even with a complete armament of heavy guns. A day or so after the inauguration I laid this communication of General Beauregard and the report of the naval officers before the President.”

Condition of the Defences of New Orleans inSeptember, 1861.—The State of Louisiana withdrew from the Union on the 26th of the preceding January. On the 18th of February of that year Jefferson Davis was inaugurated President of the Confederate States; and on the 20th of September, seven months after, the Governor of Louisiana addressed a letter to President Davis, saying:* “I am now endeavoring to organize the

[note]



militia of my State, in order that we may be in some state of preparation for an attack. . . . I have already represented to you the necessity of having an officer here, who, with youth, energy, and military ability, would infuse some activity in our preparations and some confidence in our people. . . . Asking only that this city, the most important to be preserved of any in the Confederacy, and our coast, the most exposed of all the States, be no longer neglected.”

On the 22d of September the Governor wrote to Hon. J. P. Benjamin, Secretary of War:* “I am looking for the officers you promised to send us. A gentleman by the name of Smith, I believe from New York, is much desired here, or Captain Boggs at Pensacola. . . . I am not satisfied with our situation—not at all; and should we be attacked by any strong force, I am fearful of the result. My arms have all been given out, and all gone. We could get the men, but they would be of no use. . . . It is high time ample provision was made for the reception of our enemies.”

On the 26th of September President Davis wrote to the Governor of Louisiana: † “. . . I have, however, directed General Mansfield Lovell, who is no doubt known to you by reputation, to be appointed a Brigadier-General, and assigned to duty in connection with the defences of New Orleans and the adjacent coast. . . . Should your worst apprehensions be realized, which I cannot bring myself to believe, when I remember how much has been done for the defence of New Orleans since 1815, both in the construction of works

[note][note]



and facilities for transportation, I hope a discriminating public will acquit this government of having neglected the defence of your coast and approaches to New Orleans.”

Condition of the Defences of New Orleans inOctober, 1861.—On the 13th of October the Secretary of War wrote to the Governor of Louisiana: “. . . I have used every effort in my power to put affairs in such a position as shall allay all fears relative to the defences of New Orleans. Major-General Mansfield Lovell, a brilliant, energetic, and accomplished officer, has been assigned to the command of your Department.”

On the 17th of October President Davis wrote to General Lovell: * “I am induced by the impression made on the mind of the Secretary of War, in a conversation which you had with him just before your departure, to write to you on the subject of your relations to the officers of the Navy. When you mentioned the subject to me, I supposed you referred to the case provided for in the 61st and 62d Articles of War, as enacted by the Congress of the Confederate States. Therefore it was that I read and commented on those Articles, particularly the 62d. The fleet maintained at the port of New Orleans and its vicinity is not a part of your command, and the purposes for which it is sent there or removed from there are communicated in orders and letters of a Department with which you have no direct communication. It must, therefore, be obvious to you that you could not assume command of chese officers and vessels coming within the limits of your geographical department, but not placed on duty with you, without serious detriment to discipline and

[note]



probable injury to the public service. To promote harmony, to secure co-operation, and increase the power for public defence, it will often be desirable that each arm should know the objects and means of the other; to this end it is hoped that there will be unrestrained intercourse and cordial fraternization.”

The Military Department of Louisiana embraced that State and that part of the southern half of the State of Mississippi which lies east of the New Orleans, Jackson and Great Northern Railroad. On the sea-coast it extended from Texas to Pascagoula Bay. General Lovell assumed command on the 18th of October, 1861, and on that day wrote to the Secretary of War:* “As this city, the first in importance in the Confederacy, has been greatly drained of arms, ammunition, medical stores, clothing and supplies, for other points, I would respectfully suggest that the heads of bureaux be requested to order nothing further of that description to be forwarded from here until we have provided ourselves with a fair supply for the force required for the defence of this city. Anything that, in my judgment, could be spared I would readily send forward, but it will require great exertions to put ourselves in a proper state of defence, and nothing should be diverted from that purpose until the object is attained. The actual state of preparation I shall not put on paper.”

In his testimony before the Court of Inquiry, General Lovell says: † “My predecessor, Major-General Twiggs, made no official report to me of the condition of affairs, but stated to me verbally that the Department was almost entirely defenceless; that he had been unable

[note][note]



to get anything done, and that at many points ‘we could not make an hour's fight.’ He dwelt particularly upon the want of guns and ammunition. He gave me little or no information, as he said his feeble state of health had prevented him from making personal inspections of the various points of the Department. In order to acquaint myself with the exact condition of the defences, the topography of the country, the approaches, etc., of all of which I was ignorant, I made personal inspections and critical examinations throughout the whole extent of the Department. These inspections, together with the details of the office, occupied me night and day for more than two weeks. I found matters generally so deficient and so incomplete that I was unwilling to commit their condition to paper for fear of their falling into wrong hands, and so stated to the Secretary. . . . The troops (three regiments) on the Mississippi coast were badly armed and had very little ammunition—one of the regiments not more than five rounds per man*. . . . Forts Jackson and St. Philip, owing to the exertions of General (then Colonel) Duncan, were in a better state of preparation than the other works, but still sadly deficient in very many respects for their full defence, and much of the ammunition on hand was so inferior in quality as not to give more than half range. . . . The ammunition did not average more than twenty rounds per gun. . . . No measures had been taken for obstructing any of the rivers or passes, either by felling timber, driving piles, or making rafts, except that the materials had been collected, in part, for making a raft to be placed in the Mississippi River at the forts, and the work on it had been commenced. A line of intrenchments around the

[note]



city itself had been planned, and was commenced some weeks before my arrival by Major (now General) M. L. Smith; but it was entirely unfinished: not a gun was mounted, a magazine built, or a platform laid. . . . There was a vast amount of Engineer and ordnance work to be done, and both of these important branches were imposed upon Major Smith, who found it impossible to do justice to them both. . . *The general plan adopted was to have two lines of works, an exterior line passing through the forts and earthworks which guarded the various water approaches, and an interior line, embracing New Orleans and Algiers, which was intended principally to repel an attack by land. . . †Several new regiments were in process of organization and preparation at Camp Moore, seventy-eight miles north of the city, but were only partially armed and equipped. There were in all five new regiments which were yet unfit to take the field.”

CHAPTER II.

Condition of the defences in November, 1861—delayed by want of competent officers—heavy guns could not be obtained—preparations for defence pressed forward—organized, armed, and equipped, a brigade of 5000 men—ordered to seize, arm, man, and equip, fourteen, named, river steamboats—one million dollars appropriated by the Confederate Congress.

In continuing his testimony General Lovell says:† “I commenced at once, with all the available means at my disposal, to supply deficiencies. . . In making these preparations, however, I was materially delayed by the

[note][note]



want of a sufficient number of competent officers of experience and detailed knowledge. This deficiency was made known to the War Department, and relief asked on several occasions, but without success. Having completed my inspection in the early part of November, I telegraphed on the 5th to Colonel Gorgas, Chief of Ordnance, at Richmond, for mortars and columbiads. He replied the next day that ‘He had no mortars or columbiads to spare at present.’ I then telegraphed General Bragg at Pensacola to send me, if possible, some ten-inch guns and mortars. He answered ‘Not a gun to spare.’ Knowing that there was no other point to look to for guns, I then turned my attention to making arrangements, in New Orleans, for casting eight and ten-inch columbiads, and ten-inch sea-coast mortars. I procured all the large chains and anchors that could be had from Pensacola, Savannah, and other places for the purpose of constructing rafts and booms to place in the various water approaches, giving particular attention to that in the Mississippi River. . . . And soon commenced the manufacture of powder, which was submitted to the eprouvette test before it was received. Having arrangements made with the foundries in New Orleans for casting shot and shell, I proceeded, with the permission of the Secretary of the Treasury, to convert one half of the large new Marine Hospital into an arsenal. A cartridge manufactory was established, in which a number of hands were employed, and which not only supplied my Department, but enabled me to send more than a million rounds to the army in Tennessee. . . . Earthwork forts, mounting from two to six guns each, were commenced on the Grand Caillou, on Bayou Lafourche, on Bayou Barrataria, at the Manshac passes, and at Proctorsville; and two forts on Berwick's Bay were almost





entirely reconstructed. On the Mississippi River works were put up above the city; and on the southern and western shores of Lake Pontchartrain. . . . Twenty independent companies of infantry, raised by my predecessor, were organised by me into regiments, placed as garrisons in the various works of the exterior line, and thoroughly drilled in the heavy artillery service. The infantry at Camp Moore was brought to the city, placed in camp, and when General Ruggles (after four weeks of severe illness) reported for duty, he was charged with the organization of a brigade out of these troops. . . . Previous to taking command at New Orleans, I had verbally stated, both to the President and Secretary of War that, in my opinion, batteries on shore could be passed by ships of war under steam with the loss of but few vessels, and had repeated this opinion to the latter in my letter of November 19th, 1861.”

Condition of the Defences of New Orleans inDecember, 1861.—In his testimony before the Court of Inquiry General Lovell says:* “I reported, quite in detail, to the War Department, my progress in the duties of my command on the 5th of December, 1861. During the succeeding four weeks I was directed, from Richmond, to send out of the Department twenty-two heavy guns to Tennessee and Charleston, South Carolina; and to provide one gun each for the fourteen vessels of the river defence fleet, intended for service on the upper river. I also turned over to the navy ten forty-two-pounders for arming the steamers Bienville and Carondelet, for service in Lake Pontchartrain and Mississippi Sound; besides which, I supplied them with powder and the

[note]



men to serve their guns, as they had neither guns, powder, nor crews to make the ships available.”

On the 25th of December General Lovell wrote to the Secretary of War: * “In conversation with the President before leaving Richmond, I understood him to say that I could call for such troops as the case might require, taking care not to create more expense for maintaining men than was absolutely necessary. As the enemy is congregating at Ship Island I shall organize the forces here as rapidly as possible.” On the 29th he wrote: † “The enemy has now at Ship Island twenty-two vessels, large and small, and is landing troops in large numbers. . . . They cannot take New Orleans by a land attack with any force they can bring to bear. . . . I am almost entirely deficient in the way of officers. General Ruggles and Colonel Duncan are the only two serving with troops who can render me aid. No other department is so deficient, and certainly none is more important.”

Condition of the Defences of New Orleans inJanuary, 1862.—On the 7th of this month General Lovell wrote to the Secretary of War: ‡ “You will recollect our conversation the evening before I left Richmond, in which you took a different view from myself. I felt satisfied that if the protection of the navigable streams running up into the country was removed from my control, it would in all probability not be properly arranged in connection with the land defences, while the general commanding the Department would be considered by the people at large as responsible for inroads into the territory of his command. This is just what has happened.”

[note][note][note]



On the 8th he wrote: * “Some six weeks since, at the urgent call of an officer in Kentucky, and believing that I would be safe from attack until January, I sent two regiments to Columbus, with the distinct understanding on my part, and so expressed both to Generals Johnston and Polk, that when the enemy appeared here they should be returned. General Polk now, in answer to my call, telegraphs me that he has asked you to send me other troops, and you have consented. I hope that this is not so. The troops I sent him are natives of this part of the country and cannot be replaced by others.”

In his testimony before the Court of Inquiry, General Lovell says: † “I received orders about the 15th January, 1862, from the Secretary of War, to seize fourteen steamers, then at New Orleans, which were to be strengthened, protected with cotton bales, armed, manned and equipped under my general supervision, by Captains Montgomery, Townsend, and others named by them. For this purpose one million of dollars was placed to my credit. . . .” On the 19th the Secretary of War, referring to the telegraphic order directing the seizure of these vessels, wrote to General Lovell: ‡ “These instructions were sent you in consequence of the passage by Congress of two laws, Nos. 344 and 350, herewith forwarded, providing one million of dollars for application to floating defences for the Western rivers, to be expended at the discretion of the President. . . . The Department relies confidently on your co-operation in rendering effective this plan, which may perhaps not only be of vast importance for the peculiar service now hoped for on the upper Mississippi, but may prove very formidable aids to your future operations in the lower

[note][note][note]



part of the valley. . . . To a commander of your intelligence and capacity it is deemed sufficient thus generally to sketch the outline of a scheme of defence, without attempting to lay down any minute rules or details for carrying out what is necessarily a novel experiment, yet one from which much is hoped by the Government.”

CHAPTER III.

Five thousand men sent from New Orleans to Columbus, Ky., by direction of President Davis—General Lovell expresses regret at being thus deprived of all his available force—President Davis calls for more troops to be sent to Corinth—General Lovell protests against sending the ironclad Louisiana up the river—Refusal of the Government to change the order—Important letter from General Lovell to the Secretary of War.

On the 8th of February the Secretary of War wrote to General Lovell: * “The President desires that, as soon as possible on receipt of this letter, you dispatch five thousand men to Columbus. . . . New Orleans is to be defended from above by defeating the enemy at Columbus.” On the 12th General Lovell wrote to the Secretary of War: † “I regret the necessity for sending away my only force at this particular juncture. . . . I borrowed from the navy two launches of one gun each. . . . The Secretary of the Navy requires that they be returned. . . . I should like to have authority to use any funds that may be in my hands to construct two more. . . . I can get no assistance from the navy as they have no funds.”

[note][note]



On the 23d the Secretary of War wrote to General Lovell:* “The order for the defence of the Mississippi coast was issued against my judgment, but the urgency of the members from that State on the President was so great that it was not politic to refuse at the time to gratify their wish. Events have shown how unreasonable was their demand, and we must dismiss all idea of scattering our force in defence of unimportant points, and concentrate them at vital lines.”

On the 27th General Lovell wrote to the Secretary of War:† “People are beginning to complain that I have stripped the Department so completely. . . . I am a good deal delayed by the want of competent officers to assist me in the laborious details of this Department. We want an ordnance officer here badly. Many things are necessarily kept back by having Major Smith perform the duties of engineer and of ordnance officer, either one of which would tax a competent man to the utmost. It is neither justice to him nor the service to make him responsible for such an immense and varied amount of detailed work.”

Condition of the Defences of New Orleans inMarch, 1862. On the 5th General Lovell wrote the Secretary of War:‡ “This Department is being completely drained of everything. . . . We have filled requisitions for arms, men, and munitions until New Orleans is about defenceless. . . . Mobile and Pensacola, even Galveston, are defended by 10-inch columbiads, while this city has nothing above an 8-inch, and but few of them. The fortified line about the city is complete, but I have taken ten of the guns for the navy and sixteen for the vessels that we are fitting up for the river expedition.

[note][note][note]



My reliance to defend these lines will be upon the militia with double-barrelled shot-guns and thirty-two-pound carronades. If now you take the powder from me, we shall be in no condition to resist. The only thing to provide is a sufficiency of powder to enable us to resist a prolonged attack by ships and mortar-boats upon two points, Forts Pike and Macomb, and Forts Jackson and St. Philip. If the first are passed we still have a land defence to make; if the last, a fleet can proceed at once to the city. . . . I cannot organize the militia left here without the assistance of a general officer of experience and detailed knowledge. . . . I am hunting all over the Confederacy to procure saltpetre to rework the powder lately arrived from Cuba. They are sending it from Memphis to Augusta. . . . Permit me again to urge upon you the necessity of sending here an officer of ordnance. . . . I am somewhat fearful that a little too much latitude has been given to the steamboat captains and pilots in charge of the river expedition. . . . The Calhoun runs up the river below the forts, and we have nothing to keep her back. . . . I hope the Secretary of the Navy will keep at least one vessel here to prevent the enemy from making reconnaissances under our very guns.” On the 7th General Lovell telegraphed to the Secretary of War:* “In case of evacuation of points now occupied (Pensacola), please order 10-inch guns and mortars here.”

The raft gives way.—In his testimony before the Court of Inquiry, General Lovell says:† “In the latter part of February, the great raft in the Mississippi River at the forts began to show signs of giving way. The

[note][note]



drift had accumulated greatly, and the river was higher than ever known before. I employed steamboats and skiffs to remove the drift, but it gained on us so rapidly that the attempt was given up. The raft gave way at various points, and by the end of the first week in March, the main chains snapped and it ceased to be any longer an obstruction. . . . As soon as the raft had given way, I applied for and got one hundred thousand dollars from the City Council of New Orleans, by whom the money for the previous raft had been furnished, and sent Colonel Higgins, an able and efficient officer, formerly of the United States Navy, down to endeavor to repair the raft. I gave him full authority to take or hire steamers, employ men, and do anything that might be necessary to accomplish his purpose. It was found impossible to restore the raft; but a new obstruction was made of parts of the old raft, and with schooners anchored and fastened together by chains. This obstruction was, however, far inferior to the other, and was by no means satisfactory; but heavy chains for anchoring a more formidable obstruction could not be obtained by the most strenuous endeavors.”

On the 8th General Lovell wrote to General Beauregard:* “The current and drift have finally got the upper hand of my raft between St. Philip and Jackson. This, taken in connection with the facts that Commodore Hollins has taken up the river every vessel that mounts a gun, and that General Polk declined to ship me the chains and anchors at Columbus, which would have saved my raft, compels a new disposition as to the fourteen vessels of Montgomery's expedition.”

On the 9th General Lovell wrote to the Secretary of

[note]



War:* “You will thus perceive that this Department has been completely stripped of every organized body of troops. . . . Persons are found here who assert that I am sending away all troops so that the city may fall an easy prey to the enemy. . . . All requisitions for ammunition have been filled until I have none left, except what is in the hands of troops. Neither have I funds placed at my disposal to create supplies in place of those sent off. . . . If the enemy intends an attack here, he will make it soon, and I trust no further calls will be made until we are placed in a defensible condition.” On the 10th he wrote: “. . . I should have sent the whole number (fourteen river steamboats) up as soon as they were ready, had not the heavy drift and current broken up, in a great measure, the river obstructions at Fort Jackson. . . . The enemy's fleet is collecting and beginning to enter the mouths of the river with boldness, and have an open passage to New Orleans if the forts below are passed. The fleet threatening us below is much more formidable than that above, and I object strongly to sending every armed vessel away from New Orleans at this time. This city has been already too much weakened by detachments of all kinds.” On the 11th he telegraphed to the Secretary of War:† “Quarter-master, Commissary, river defence, Engineer, and medical funds exhausted; can't move rapidly without money.”

On the 12th the Secretary of War wrote to General Lovell:‡ “I have your letter of the 27th ult., together with its enclosures. I have also received several communications in relation to the command of the river steamer defences, and both the President and myself have felt much embarrassed by them. The expedition

[note][note][note]



was planned and gotten up by Captains Montgomery and Townsend, recommended by the whole Missouri delegation, and General Polk, and the objections made to them now appear to us of the most vague and inconclusive character. . . . The expedition ought to go as promptly as possible, subject to the orders of General Beauregard, as regards the service required of it. . . . As soon as I can get one moment, I will answer the rest of your letter, but, I conclude by saying that your whole conduct of your Department justifies the confidence reposed in you, and that I have not yet found a single act of yours which I disapprove in the smallest degree. . . . P. S. The expedition is in no event to be put under control of officers of the navy.”

On the 22d of March, Mr. Benjamin, Secretary of War, wrote to General Lovell:* “Before turning over the affairs of the War Department to my successor, I am anxious to give you full replies to your letters of the 6th, 9th, and 10th insts., as well as those points remaining unanswered in your letter of the 27th ult. . . . Nothing is more gratifying than the zeal and activity you have so intelligently applied to remedying the deficiency under which we labor in the conduct of this war. Exercise your discretion in concentrating all our resources for the public defence, and feel assured of executive support and approval. No more calls will be made on you for any supplies. . . . Your assistance to the army in Tennessee has been most timely and valuable, and exceeded what I had hoped. . . . In view of the great extent to which you have been weakened, by sending aid up the river, you are right in retaining some of the steamboat fleet below.”

[note]



On the 22d General Lovell wrote to the Secretary of War:* “Within the past few days they (the enemy) have had thirteen ships near the mouth of the river and have succeeded in towing inside several large (war) steamers, which in my opinion only await the arrival of the mortar fleet to attempt to come up the river to New Orleans. . . . In guns of large calibre we are greatly deficient, as I have mentioned before. It was to be hoped that on the evacuation of Pensacola some teninch columbiads would be sent here, but I have only succeeded in getting one, and that by sending a persevering officer after it. . . . We are called upon here from all quarters to furnish everything—powder, food, equipments, and ordnance stores of all kinds; and it is impossible to make any estimate which will suit the requirements of the bureaus in Richmond. . . . We know not what urgent requisition may come upon us by telegraph at a moment's notice. Bragg telegraphed to-day for five hundred thousand pounds of hard bread; yet the estimate of my Commissary, approved by me, has been returned from Richmond for details of what we would require. Such red tape will kill us.” On the same day he sent telegram: “Please order General Jones, at Mobile, to send me some ten-inch columbiads and sea-coast mortars promptly. . . . Seven vessels of enemy inside of mouth of river. All our naval ships at Memphis. I will have to retain six of Montgomery's fleet for service below.”

“Note:† On the 24th of March, 1862, Hon. G. W. Randolph entered on the duties of the office of Secretary of War.”

On the 29th General Lovell telegraphed to the Secretary

[note][note]



of War:* “I cannot get heavy guns from Mobile. The enemy is in large force at the mouth of the river. Please order commanding officer at Mobile to send immediately.” The new Secretary of War, General Randolph, replied, the same day: “What guns do you mean? Guns in batteries, or guns on their way to you?” On the 31st General Lovell answered: “A part of the ten-inch columbiads and sea-coast mortars which were at Pensacola. New Orleans has only one of the former and none of the latter.”

Condition of the Defences of New Orleans inApril, 1862.—On the 3d of April General Lovell telegraphed to the Secretary of War: “The seizure of Governor Moore's guns by the War Department leaves me in a precarious condition. We sent off all of our men, relying upon these guns to arm others. Please order them here.” On the 10th he telegraphed: “Can you possibly order here four or five thousand small arms? I have sent all my troops to Corinth, but have several unarmed war regiments.”† On the same day President Davis telegraphed to the Governors of Louisiana, Mississippi, South Carolina, Georgia, and Alabama:‡ “General Beauregard must have reënforcements to meet the vast accumulation of the enemy before him. The necessity is imminent: the case of vital importance. Send forward to Corinth all the armed men you can furnish.” On the 11th Governor Moore replied: “Can troops be armed if I send them? I have no arms here except those General Lovell thinks we should keep, those just received from Pensacola.” On the same day the President answered: “No arms to furnish. You will not fail to appreciate the necessity which caused the application to you. If

[note][note][note]



you could spare armed troops for a few weeks, they might be returned to you.”

On the same day General Lovell telegraphed to the Secretary of War:* “With forty vessels in the lower river, please protest in my name against sending the Louisiana up the river.” To this the Secretary replied: “The Louisiana was ordered up the river to meet three iron-clad boats which have succeeded in passing Island Number Ten, and her presence there is deemed very important to the defence of New Orleans.” On the same day the Secretary of the Navy telegraphed to Captain Hollins: “Every effort that nautical skill, invention, and courage can put forth must be made to oppose the enemy's descent of the river, and at every hazard.”

On the 12th General Lovell wrote to the Secretary of War:† “I have the honor to report that we shall in a few days have about five thousand men in this part of the State, enlisted for the war, for whom I have no arms. All the troops for the interior lines about the city that I had organized were sent to Corinth, and the defence of those lines left in the hands of a few badly organized volunteers, very poorly armed. The forces of the enemy at Ship Island and Isle Briton cannot be less than ten or twelve thousand men, and I deem it my duty to lay before you the entirely defenceless condition of the city against any attack by land. . . . The condition of our defences, so far as regards artillery, has been represented to the Department; yet, upon the evacuation of Pensacola, the greater portion of the heavy guns were sent to Mobile and other points, and that, too, at a time when the whole mortar fleet of the enemy and

[note][note]



twelve (war) steamers were in the river below the forts. . . . Dissatisfaction exists among the people here, who, having sent arms, and everything they had, to Virginia and Tennessee, now find the enemy at their doors, both by land and water, while they can obtain neither heavy guns nor small arms, which they learn by the papers are being sent to places which certainly are not considered so important as the city of New Orleans and the mouth of the Mississippi. . . . It is scarcely probable that the gunboats of the enemy would come down the river much in advance of their army. Meanwhile we might clear the mouth of the river and then send the whole fleet above and drive them back to Cairo. . . . I would also earnestly urge the confirmation of Colonel Smith as a brigadier-general. I have but one officer of that rank in the Department, which compels me to do a great deal of work that should devolve upon subordinate officers.”

CHAPTER IV.

Forts bombarded on 16th—guns from forts could not reach the enemy—On the 17th the Governor of Louisiana protests against sending the Louisiana up the river—President Davis replies, “The wooden vessels are below; the iron gunboats are above. The forts should destroy the former if they attempt to ascend”—enemy's ships passed the forts on the 24th—official reports of Generals Lovell, Duncan, and M. L. Smith.

On the 15th General Lovell telegraphed the Secretary of War:* “The enemy is preparing for a formidable attack on the forts below. He shelled them a little for

[note]



past two days—no harm done. Twenty-seven vessels in sight from forts.” On the same day he wrote: “The river pilots (Montgomery and Townsend) who are at the head of the fleet are men of limited ideas, no system, and no administrative capacity whatever. . . . Unless some competent person of education, system, and brains is put over each division of this fleet it will, in my judgment, prove an utter failure. . . . The enemy has forty vessels just below Fort Jackson. . . . I think they will locate their mortar-ships, shell the forts for several days or weeks, and then try to dash by with their steamers.” On the 16th he telegraphed:* “My commissary, Major Lanier, is out of funds. Cannot use bonds. Heavy demands made on him. He can get no answer from Commissary General.”

On the 17th the Governor of Louisiana telegraphed President Davis:† “Forts bombarded an hour and a half yesterday. General Duncan telegraphs ‘None of our guns will reach them.’ Commodore Whittle has orders from Secretary of Navy to send the Louisiana to Tennessee. Duncan and Higgins both telegraph she is absolutely a necessity at the Forts for the safety of New Orleans, and that it is suicidal to send her elsewhere. With the enemy's plan of attack our safety may depend upon her timely arrival there. I earnestly beg her destination may be changed, and protest against her being sent up the river. Excitement among the people great on the subject.” The President replied, the same day:‡ “The wooden vessels are below; the iron gunboats are above. The forts should destroy the former if they attempt to ascend. The Louisiana may be indispensable to check the descent of the iron boats.

[note][note][note]



The purpose is to defend the city and valley; the only question is as to the best mode of effecting the object. Military men must decide; and to-day their discretionary power has been enlarged.”

On the 22d General Lovell telegraphed the Secretary of War:* “I require funds for river defence fleet immediately, or cannot keep it up.” And on the 23d to Adjutant-General of the army: “Bombardment continues with unabated vigor; now five days and nights. We still hold out, with four casualties; but Fort Jackson much cut up. Want more powder if it can be had.”

On the 24th the Governor of Louisiana telegraphed to President Davis:† “Enemy's ships passed the forts this morning, after several days’ bombardment.” On the same day the President replied: “Your despatch in relation to enemy's ships this day received. I am in hopes that, while the forts divide the fleet, the Louisiana will not lose the opportunity. In painful anxiety wait further intelligence.”

Evacuation of New Orleans.—On the 26th General Lovell wrote, from Camp Moore, to the Adjutant-General of the army:‡ “The bombardment of Fort Jackson, which commenced on Friday, the 19th inst., was continued day night until about three o'clock A.M. on the 24th, when the whole of the enemy's fleet came up abreast the forts, and while a portion of them engaged our batteries and vessels, the remainder passed under the fire, our men being greatly worn and exhausted with an incessant fight of six days. General Duncan and Colonel Higgins were in command of the troops. I

[note][note][note]



had just arrived in a river steamer, and was about to disembark as the engagement commenced. When the enemy's fleet passed I was satisfied that New Orleans could not be held for more than twenty-four hours. I therefore started at once for the city in order to remove as many of the troops and as large a quantity of stores as possible. I was well aware that my batteries of thirty-two-pounders at the lower lines (four or five miles below the city), manned, by inexperienced troops, could not detain for any length of time the heavy ships of war of the enemy, armed with nine and eleven inch guns. I will state that when the current and drift had carried away the obstructions of the river, I became convinced that a portion at least of their fleet would pass whenever the attempt was made, and had already given orders to prepare for removal a large quantity of the Government stores, directing cars and steamers to be held in readiness for that purpose. On my arrival at New Orleans I gave orders to the few regiments that I was organizing there to be ready to move, and had the larger portion of the Government property placed in the boats and cars and started North. In this manner a very inconsiderable portion of our stores were left behind. The guns on the lines about the city could not be removed for want of transportation. Moreover, as soon as it became known that the enemy had passed the forts, laborers refused to work, and the large majority of persons declined to take any more Confederate notes for property bought. On the morning of the 25th thirteen of the enemy's ships engaged our batteries five miles below the city, and after two hours’ firing, during which time they drove the men from one battery and disabled the other, they passed up and anchored abreast the city. General M. L. Smith had a few companies





of his brigade at these works. At eleven A.M. our last batteries were passed. I immediately ordered the troops and stores to be sent off rapidly by rail towards Jackson, Mississippi. At three P.M., Captain Bailey and another officer of the Federal navy came ashore and demanded the surrender of the city, and that the United States flag be put upon the principal public buildings. I declined peremptorily to surrender, saying to Captain Bailey that while they were too strong for us on water, I felt abundantly able to beat them on land, but that as I did not feel willing to bring on the bombardment of a city filled with the wives and children of absent soldiers, I should evacuate with my command, and turn the city over to the Mayor; that if they were willing to consent to this proposition I would quietly withdraw; if not, they might commence the bombardment at once. He said he would report to his commander. At his request I sent two of my staff with them to their boat to protect them from the people. I then continued the removal of troops and stores, and left the city at three P.M., on the last train of cars. I have been unable to receive any report from General Duncan or General Smith, so am unable to give any details further than above stated, but will communicate with the Department as soon as possible. I shall probably fall back to Jackson to prevent the enemy from going up to Vicksburg and coming in rear of Beauregard. P. S. I will add, as a postscript to my letter, that, as far as I could see, the river-defence boats, six in number, made a very poor show—want of discipline, system, and training. I had a few regiments apart from the miscellaneous and self-armed militia of the city, and think I shall endeavor to collect such men as I can from the various forts in the Department, and





fall back to Jackson to prevent the enemy, now in possession of the river, from getting in rear of Beauregard, by way of the Vicksburg and Jackson Railroad. I write this in great haste, and without any facilities or conveniences.”

On the 30th, General J. K. Duncan, commander of the sea-coast defences of the Department of Louisiana, who was in person in Fort Jackson, made an elaborate report of the contest at the forts, from which the following quotations are taken:* “April 15th.—The enemy brought up his whole fleet, extending the same from the head of the Passes to the point of woods below the forts. Orders were repeatedly given to Captain Stephenson, of the river-defence fleet, to cause the firebarges to be sent down nightly upon the enemy; but every attempt seemed to be a perfect abortion, the barges being cut adrift too soon, so that they drifted against the banks directly under the forts, firing our wharves and lighting us up, but obscuring the position of the enemy. . . . April 16th.—Two mortar boats were brought out into the stream. These boats opened fire upon Fort Jackson at five P.M., which was continued for an hour and a half. . . . April 18th.—At nine o'clock A.M., the enemy opened upon Fort Jackson, with his entire mortar fleet of twenty-one vessels and with rifled guns from his gunboats. . . . Our fire disabled one gunboat and one mortar boat, causing those in the stream to retire behind the cover of the woods. Generally our shots fell short. . . . I endeavored to get the naval forces to carry down fire-barges against the enemy, so as to disperse it, but they were all let go above the raft, and with such a lack of judgment that

[note]



they only lodged under the forts and did not reach the enemy. None of the boats acted as a guard boat below the raft at night, so that, in consequence, the enemy sent up two launches to examine the character of the raft obstructing the river. . . . April 19th.—The mortar fleet again opened at half-past six o'clock A.M., and the fire was kept up throughout the day. Gunboats constantly came above the point during the day to engage the forts, but were as constantly driven back by our fire. . . . Bombardment continued very regularly and accurately all night. Failures again made in sending down fire-barges. . . . April 20th.—Bombardment constant throughout the day. . . . No fire-barges sent down to light up the river or distract the attention of the enemy at night. In consequence, between eleven and twelve o'clock P.M., under cover of the heaviest shelling during the bombardment thus far, one of the enemy's gunboats came up in the darkness and attempted to cut the chains of the raft and drag off the schooners. A heavy fire was opened upon her, which caused her to retire, but not until she had partially accomplished her purpose. The raft after this could not be regarded as an obstruction. . . . April 21st.—Firing continued all day and all night without interruption. . . . Fort Jackson, by this time, was in need of extensive repairs almost everywhere, and it was with extreme pleasure that we learned of the arrival during the night of the iron-clad steamer Louisiana, under cover of whose heavy guns we expected to make the necessary repairs. . . . April 22d.—On the morning of this date I learned that the motive power of the Louisiana was not likely to be completed within any reasonable time, and that, in consequence, it was not within the range of probabilities that she could





be regarded as an aggressive steamer, or that she could be brought into the pending action in that character. As an iron-clad, invulnerable floating battery, with sixteen guns of the heaviest calibre, however, she was then as complete as she would ever be. Fort Jackson had already undergone, and was still subjected to, a terrible fire of thirteen-inch mortar shells, which it was necessary to relieve at once, to prevent the disabling of all the best guns at that fort. . . . I considered that the Louisiana could only be regarded as a battery, and that her best possible position would be below the raft, close in on the Fort St. Philip shore, where her fire could dislodge the mortar boats from behind the point of woods, and give sufficient respite to Fort Jackson to repair in extenso. . . . Accordingly, I earnestly and strongly urged these views upon Captain Mitchell, in a letter of this date, but without avail. . . . He is sustained by all the naval officers present having the command of vessels. . . . April 23d.—The bombardment continued. . . . Captain Mitchell's aid came on shore about nine o'clock P.M., to inform me that the Louisiana would be ready for service by the next evening—the evening of the 24th. I informed him that time was everything to us, and that to-morrow would in all probability be too late. Lieutenant-Colonel Higgins warmly seconded my opinion, and warned Lieutenant Shryock (Captain Mitchell's aid) that the final battle was imminent within a few hours. In regard to lighting the river, Lieutenant Shryock stated that fire-barges would be regularly sent down during the night, every two hours. . . . To my surprise, not one single fire-barge was sent down the river, notwithstanding, at any hour of this night. It was impossible for us to send them down, as everything afloat here had been turned over to Captain Mitchell.





. . . The bombardment continued all night, and grew furious towards morning. . . . April 24th.—At half-past three o'clock A.M., the larger vessels of the enemy were observed to be in motion. . . . A rapid rush was made by the enemy in columns of twos in echelon, so as not to interfere with each other's broadsides. The mortar fire was furiously increased upon Fort Jackson, and, in dashing by, each of the vessels delivered broadside after broadside, of shot, shell, grape, canister, and spherical case, to drive the men from our guns. Both the officers and the men stood up manfully under this galling and fearful hail, and the batteries of both forts were promptly opened at their longest range, with shot, shell, hot shot, and a little grape, and most gallantly and rapidly fought, until the enemy succeeded in getting above and beyond our range. The absence of light on the river, together with the smoke of the guns, made the obscurity so dense that scarely a vessel was visible. . . . The heroic courage displayed by the officers and men at both forts was deserving of a better success, especially after the fortitude which they constantly exhibited through the long tedium of a protracted bombardment, unsurpassed for its terrible accuracy, constancy, and fury. Thirteen of the enemy's vessels, out of twenty-three, succeeded in getting by. . . .

“April 25th.—About twelve o'clock M. one of the enemy's gunboats from below made her appearance under a flag of truce, bearing a written demand for the surrender of the forts, signed by Commander David D. Porter, U. S. N., commanding mortar flotilla. The forts refused to surrender. . . . April 27th.—So far, throughout the entire bombardment and final action, the spirit of the troops was cheerful, confident, and courageous. They were mostly foreign enlistments,





without any great interests at stake in the ultimate success of the revolution. . . . The garrison at Fort Jackson (about midnight) revolted en masse, seized upon the guard and posterns, reversed the field-pieces commanding the gates, and commenced to spike the guns; while many of the men were leaving the fort, in the mean time, under arms. All this occurred as suddenly as it was unexpected. The men were mostly drawn up under arms, and positively refused to fight any longer; besides endeavoring by force to bring over the St. Mary's cannoneers, and such other few men as remained true to their cause and country. . . . There seemed to be but one course open to us, viz., to await the approach of daylight, communicate then with the gunboats of the mortar flotilla below under a flag of truce, and negotiate for a surrender under the terms offered us by Commodore Porter on the 25th inst. . . . The terms of the capitulation are attached hereto: in addition to which Commander Porter verbally agreed not to haul down the Confederate flag or hoist the Federal until the officers should get away from the forts.”

The casualties at Fort Jackson were, nine killed and thirty-five wounded: at Fort St. Philip, two killed and four wounded.

The interior line of defence at New Orleans was intended to protect the city from a land attack. This line was under the immediate command of General M. L. Smith. In his official report General Smith says: “The short resistance made by the few guns mounted in the two batteries (on the river below the city) of the interior line was made through a sense of duty, but without any expectation of success, the enemy numbering as many vessels, less one, as we had guns. . . . The enemy's vessels had approached within about the fourth





of a mile, before we opened on them, the first gun being from Pinckney's battery (nine guns on the right bank of the river), and immediately followed by several from the battery (five guns) on the opposite side, and as promptly replied to from the enemy's vessels. The engagement lasted until every round of ammunition on hand was fired, both officers and men displaying a coolness and intrepidity that was gratifying, especially as regards the men, who then for the first time in their lives discharged a heavy gun. The firing on our side was spirited, perhaps a little uncertain; on the enemy's, heavy, and rather well-directed. During the engagement, their vessels gradually lessened the distance until near enough to open with grape and canister. The ammunition being expended, and every sense of duty satisfied, permission was given to Colonel Pinckney to withdraw his command along the line of field-works, affording shelter, which was done deliberately, officers and men retiring together. The casualties were (on the right bank, where General Smith was in person during the engagement) one killed and one wounded. The battery on the Chalmette side (opposite) seemed well served, and no doubt was so, judging from the character of the officers present. The enemy steaming up between us and the city prevented the retreat of the troops to that point. They were accordingly directed to gain the Opelousas Railroad and reach Camp Moore via Lafourche, or such route as might be found best.”





CHAPTER V.

General Lovell applies for a Court of Inquiry—conduct approved by Generals R. E. Lee, J. E. Johnston, and Beauregard. Complaint made by the Governor of Louisiana—General Lovell's reply—application for Court of Inquiry renewed—General Van Dorn ordered to supersede General Lovell—the latter serves under the former in the campaign against Corinth—relieved from duty in the field—renews his application for a Court of Inquiry—official correspondence called for by Congress—Court of Inquiry ordered.

The outcry and howl of indignation against the Commanding General after the fall of New Orleans was terrific. He had repeatedly warned the Government at Richmond that the people were saying that he (General Lovell) was stripping New Orleans of its defences in order that it might become an easy prey to the enemy; this, too, when men, arms, ships, supplies, and munitions of war were being sent away in compliance with positive orders from Richmond; against the judgment, and in spite of the appeals of the Commanding General.

On the 2d of May General Lovell made application, through the Adjutant-General of the Army, for a Court of Inquiry. The following is his letter of that date:* “I have the honor to request that the Department will appoint a board of competent officers to examine into and report upon the circumstances preceding and attendant on the evacuation of the city of New Orleans, as well as the passage of the Forts (Jackson and St. Philip) by the fleet of the enemy, which brought about

[note]



that evacuation. This is necessary as an act of justice to myself and officers, as well as to vindicate the truth of history.”

In the mean while, apparently regardless of the wild clamor of denunciation and injustice with which he was assailed by the public, General Lovell rapidly pressed forward preparations for the defence of Vicksburg. He knew that the authorities at Richmond had access to all the facts, and believed that they would in due time have them promulgated—at least to such extent as would relieve him of the unjust odium cast upon his reputation and conduct connected with the defence and the fall of New Orleans.

On the 8th of May, General R. E. Lee, then at Richmond, in general charge of army operations, wrote to General Lovell:* “Your letter of the 26th ult., to the Adjutant-General, containing a report of the circumstances attending the fall of New Orleans, is received. The loss of the city is a very severe blow to us, and one that we cannot fail to feel most sensibly; but it is believed that, with the means of defence at your disposal, you have done all in your power. Your plan of collecting all the troops you can, and taking a position which will enable you to defend the rear of General Beauregard, and protect his communications, is fully approved, and I regard it as a matter of great moment.” Again, on the 24th of May, General Lee wrote to General Lovell:† “I have had the honor to receive your letter of the 11th inst. My reply to your former communication will have made known to you the opinion I entertain of your course in evacuating New Orleans. That opinion is confirmed by the additional particulars

[note][note]



contained in your letter just received. After the enemy succeeded in passing the Forts, it seems there was nothing left for you to do but to withdraw the troops. I think you may confidently rely upon the judgment of intelligent and reflecting men for the justification of your course, as soon as the facts as they actually existed, shall be known.” The hue and cry against General Lovell was such as to induce Generals J. E. Johnston and Beauregard to write to him expressing views similar to those contained in the letters of General Lee above quoted.

By the last week in May, twenty-three heavy guns, ranging in calibre from thirty-two-pounders to ten-inch columbiads, were mounted at Vicksburg, and protected by entrenchments and an infantry force of three thousand men. On the 21st of May the Governor of Louisiana wrote to President Davis:* “The Fort at Grand Caillou had been evacuated on the 27th of April by order of General Lovell—the guns spiked, and the powder thrown into the bayou. Eleven days after, the enemy made their first appearance there. This is the manner in which all our Forts (of course I do not include Jackson and St. Philip) were evacuated. There was not a Yankee near one of them until more than a week after the powder was all destroyed and the interior of the fort burned. Ample time was had to have saved the guns as well as powder, etc. If, for these acts, some of the officers are not cashiered or shot, we need not expect either a brave or a disciplined army. The Navy emulated this conduct of the Army—the fleet in Pontchartrain being run up the bayous and scuttled or burnt. It is absolutely necessary that some

[note]



steps should be taken to stop the incursions of the enemy in the lower part of the State.” The letter from which the above extract is quoted was endorsed by the President:* “Secretary of War for special attention. Call on General Lovell for report as to Fort at Grand Caillou. J. D.”

On the 10th of June the Secretary of War wrote to General Lovell:† “Your attention is respectfully called to the annexed copy of a letter, received from a person in Louisiana, in regard to the evacuation of the Forts at Grand Caillou, and you are requested to report to this Department the facts of the case.” That enclosure was a paragraph from the foregoing letter of Governor Moore. General Lovell was not informed that the allegations contained in the above extract were made by the Governor to the President; neither did he know that the President had directed the Secretary to call for a report as to Fort at Grand Caillou.

On the 19th of June, General Lovell wrote to the Secretary of War:‡ “In reply to your letter of the 10th inst., requesting the reasons for evacuating Fort Quitman, on the Bayou Grand Caillou, I have to state that it was a little earthwork, with two smooth-bore thirty-two-pounders, established by me to prevent ingress for marauding purposes by the enemy in small vessels, through the Caillou, and other inlets, into the southern parishes of Louisiana. The fall of New Orleans laid open the route to those parishes, and as the troops stationed in the Fort, were supplied from the city, and were at any moment liable to be taken in rear and captured by way of the Opelousas Railroad, which was in the enemy's hands, I ordered the guns to be

[note][note][note]



spiked and the garrison (a small company of twelve-months’ volunteers) to bring away their small arms, the ammunition, and the stores, and to rejoin me at Camp Moore. The enemy did not go down, it is true, for some days; but they could have gone at any hour and any day and taken the men, with their arms, which I was anxious to preserve. The order I gave was not obeyed. Instead of joining me at Camp Moore, the men mutinied and disbanded, and both officers and men returned to New Orleans. It would be well, as your correspondent suggests, to punish the officers; but, as they are now in New Orleans, such a step is impracticable. A glance at the map, which I sent to the Department some months ago, will show that after the City fell, the little works on the coast must be abandoned. . . . I trust that the Department will not give ear to the many false and absurd rumors that are set afloat by persons who think there should be an army stationed on every plantation for its protection. I am satisfied that our present condition is to be attributed, in a great measure, to the fact that we have followed this plan too much already, dispersing, instead of concentrating our troops, and thus rendering them an easy prey to the enemy.”

Upon this letter the following endorsements were made, viz.: by the Secretary of War, “Respectfully submitted to the President for his information;” by the President, “Read—it might be well to furnish the complainant with a copy of this reply. The abandonment of the Fort was a necessary consequence of the fall of New Orleans and the subsequent events. Whether it was possible to save the armament for use elsewhere, was a question which the Commanding-General, of course, duly considered. As he established the





post under the discretionary power conferred on him, the application of his remark about the error of dispersion is not perceived. J. D.”

About this time General Lovell was informed by Senator Gwinn that Mr. Davis had said to him—in the presence of several others—that General Lovell had not kept the Government at Richmond informed of the danger to New Orleans—and that, had he done so, he (Mr. Davis) would have taken prompt measures for preventing the catastrophe. After being assured that Senator Gwinn was not mistaken in regard to what Mr. Davis had formally and publicly said on this subject, General Lovell showed the official correspondence to Senator Gwinn. The latter was amazed, by this direct proof, that Mr. Davis had perverted the facts.

On the 20th of June, 1862, General Lovell wrote to President Davis:* “I learned yesterday from a mutual acquaintance that you had remarked to him that you thought I ‘had not less than thirty thousand men in New Orleans at the time of its evacuation.’ If this be correct, the War Department could not certainly have communicated to you the information contained in my letters. . . . I have been content to bide the storm of popular clamor rather than make public, at this time, the weakness and straitened means of the Government; but, feeling confident of my ability to vindicate myself, I requested the Department, on the 2d of May, to order an investigation relative to the fall of New Orlans in order that I might stand in the right light before the country and to prevent my usefulness from being impaired by a want of popular confidence. This request has never elicited a reply. I learn, however, indirectly

[note]



that a general officer (Van Dorn) has been directed to supersede me in my command—abruptly and without notice to me—thus indicating a want of confidence on the part of the administration. . . . General Beauregard offers me the command of a fine corps in his army, a far better position for a soldier than one where he is incessantly striving to accomplish important objects with ridiculously disproportionate means.”

On the 10th of December, 1862, General Lovell wrote from Jackson, Miss., to the Adjutant-General, in Richmond:* “Arriving in Grenada in charge of the rearguard of our army on a long and tedious retreat, I found myself relieved from the command of my corps, because I had not been assigned to duty here by the War Department. This is a very mortifying result to me, General, after the severe labors of the last three months. Under the orders of General Van Dorn I had organized, clothed, equipped, and provided as fine a corps as any in the army, consisting of 13,000 present at Abbeville and 1,500 at Port Hudson. They had been with me in battle and on the march, and I have no hesitation in saying that officers and men had become attached to me, and placed entire confidence in me as a commander. I beg leave to say, with deference, that I do not see the difference between my assignment to duty here, and that of General Van Dorn. I was in command of the Department and was superseded by him, and he in turn by General Pemberton, and both have remained here on duty, under the same conditions. When in Richmond I requested the President to relieve me from duty in this Department, and he replied that ‘he did not see why I could not serve under General Van Dorn.’ I asked General Bragg

[note]



then in command of this section of the country for assignment under him, and he telegraphed me, that probably General Van Dorn could give me a position. The Court of Inquiry having been postponed until further orders, he gave me a command, and I can refer to his written reports to show that I have done my duty. With regard to my conduct at Corinth, on the retreat thence to Holly Springs, and from there to Grenada, I am willing to be judged by the officers and soldiers of my command. Their opinion, as universally expressed, is one of entire satisfaction and confidence; and much regret was manifested by them at my removal. I hope that the President will see fit to place me again on active duty, as I dislike greatly to remain idle while there is so much to be done.”

On the 8th of December, 1862, General Van Dorn wrote to General Lovell: “I regretted to learn to-day that you had been relieved of your command. . . . The order comes from the War Department. . . . I don't know what it means. . . . Let it be your proud consolation that you have fought gallantly, skilfully at Corinth—persistently and bravely on the long retreat as rear-guard from that unfortunate field to Holly Springs—and subsequently from Holly Springs to Grenada. . . . I am truly sorry to lose you from the Army.”

On the 27th of January, 1863, General Lovell, in Richmond, wrote to President Davis: “I have the honor to request that the consideration of my case be not permitted to escape your mind. It is now two months since I was relieved from duty in Mississippi to await the action of a Court of Inquiry, and it would be a source of great satisfaction to me to have this matter (so long held in suspense) finally settled. If deemed incompatible with the public interest to convene





a Court, I respectfully ask that I may be placed on duty.”

The delay in ordering this investigation had induced General Lovell to apply to one of his friends in Congress to have the official correspondence between himself and the Government called for. This was done by resolution of the House of Representatives passed on the 8th of February, 1863. On the 18th of the same month the Court of Inquiry was ordered.*

CHAPTER VI.

Court met in April, 1863—the word “accused” not to be used to designate General Lovell—instructions from the War Department April 21st—instructions from the War Department June 15th—report of facts—opinion of the Court.

The Court consisted of three members—Major-General T. C. Hindman, Brigadier-General T. F. Drayton, and Brigadier-General W. M. Gardner. Major L. W. Page, Assistant Adjutant-General, was appointed Judge Advocate and Recorder of the Court. It was ordered to assemble at Jackson, Miss., on the 10th of March, 1863, or as soon thereafter as practicable, “to examine into the facts and circumstances attending the capture of the city of New Orleans by the enemy in April, 1862, and the defence of the city and the evacuation of the same by our troops under the command of Major-General Mansfield Lovell. . . . And report the facts resulting from the investigation, together with their opinion thereon,

[note]



for the information of the President.” The Court was ordered “by direction of the President, on the application of Major-General Mansfield Lovell.”

The Court met in April, 1863, and preliminary to the investigation it was ordered by the Court that the word “accused” should not be used to designate Major-General Mansfield Lovell in their proceedings; “there being no accusation or imputation against him before the Court.” When the Court had been some time in session the Judge Advocate asked that a witness be directed to exclude from his reply any opinion touching the efficiency or inefficiency of the officers of the Confederate States Navy. After an elaborate argument by the Judge Advocate, the Court stated that: “It is the duty of the Court to obey the order under which it acts.” The examination of witnesses continued without excluding opinions touching the efficiency of naval officers; but, the question raised by the Judge Advocate was referred by the Court to the War Department. On the 27th of April the following telegram, dated Richmond, Va., April 21st, 1863, was received from the Adjutant and Inspector General of the Army “The Court is required by the order to examine into the facts and circumstances attending the capture of New Orleans, the defence of that city, and the evacuation of the same. The inquiry is broad and not restrictive, and will embrace every fact and every officer, whether of Army or Navy, connected with the object of the inquiry. It is fully competent for the Court, and it is expected of it, to report all the facts of the whole subject, of the capture, defence, and evacuation of New Orleans, which included the defences on the river, below the city, and to report their opinion thereon.”

Under these instructions the Court continued its investigations





until the 15th of June, when the Judge Advocate read to the Court the following letter, of that date, from the Adjutant-General of the Army, addressed to the President of the Court:* “I have the honor to refer to you the enclosed copy of a letter of the Secretary of the Navy, with the President's endorsement thereon, on the subject of the examination of Navy operations by the Court over which you preside. Recurring to my answer of 21st of April last to the telegram of the Judge Advocate on this subject, I find that my language was not as precise as could be wished, and in order that there may be no misunderstanding, I desire now to state my views. The Court of Inquiry, being an Army Court, is, of course, without authority to express any opinion upon the conduct of any officers of the Navy Department. But where the General, whose conduct is under investigation, alleges that the fall of the city was attributable to the misconduct or failure of any person not under his control, it is perfectly proper to examine as witnesses all that are cognizant of the facts, even if they be officers of the Navy. The inquiry is to be directed solely to the purpose of ascertaining whether the defence of the General is true: if it be so, the Court will pronounce, of course, that the failure to defend the city arose from causes not within his control; but, will not express any opinion as to the conduct of the officers of another Department of the service. If, on the contrary, the defence of the General is rebutted by the evidence, the Court will give its opinion that his defence is not sustained. In this way the truth may be reached without the Court touching at all on the province of a Naval Court. It is plain that no opinion of the conduct of an officer connected

[note]



with the Navy can be expressed by the Court; because, if the Court desires to examine into the conduct of any other officer than General Lovell, the Court would be compelled to cite the officer before it; and it has no power to do so with a navy officer, whose conduct can only be inquired into by a naval court.”

The following is the letter of the Secretary of the Navy, above referred to. It is dated June 8th, 1863, and is addressed to President Davis:* “I learn to-day, from an authentic source, that the Court of Inquiry convoked by the War Department, at the request of General Lovell, and now in session in Richmond, for the ostensible purpose of investigating his conduct as connected with the defence and fall of New Orleans, is engaged in taking testimony, formally, as to the official conduct of the Navy Department and that of all its officers, civil and military, in any way connected with its operations in New Orleans and on the Mississippi River; embracing within the field of its enquiry the manner in which this Department transmitted its funds from Richmond, how it met its expenditures, its correspondence with its subordinates, the construction and equipment of vessels, etc. A Court of Inquiry is a tribunal whose results necessarily shape public opinion, and obvious justice demands that if this Court could properly enter upon such investigation at all, the parties whose conduct is to be inquired of and whose fame may be disparaged by its results, should have notice of its purpose, and opportunity for explanation and defence. I will not dwell upon the evils which may follow a precedent thus established of subjecting the conduct of one department of the Government and its officers to the formal inquiry of the officers of a different

[note]



department and this, too, without notice; but I cannot refrain from saying that, in my judgment, the proceeding is illegal, and is fraught with mischief to both branches of the military service. The naval officer in command afloat at New Orleans has been subjected to a Court of Inquiry formed of his peers, and the entire operations of the Department connected with the defence of New Orleans have been investigated by a Committee of Congress, and the testimony in both cases is of record. I respectfully submit these facts to your attention as the Commander-in-Chief of the Army and Navy.’

The above letter was endorsed:* “Respectfully referred to Adjutant and Inspector-General, that proper notice may be given to the Court. Jefferson Davis: June 9th, 1863.”

This order from President Davis changed the whole character of the investigation, and restricted it, in the words of the Judge Advocate of the Court,† to “The case of Major-General M. Lovell, on trial in Richmond.” But evidence damaging to the Secretary of the Navy and already become of record in the proceedings —and remained there.

On the 9th of July, 1863,‡ the Court having maturely considered the evidence adduced, submitted the following report of facts and opinion thereon:

“Report of Facts.§—Department No. 1 is interested by numerous streams which, in high-water, afford ten or twelve different approaches to New Orleans, and render its defence difficult without a strong naval force. When General Lovell assumed command of the Department on the 18th of October, 1861, but little had been done in constructing the land defences of New Orleans.”

[note][note][note][note]



A general summary of facts as already shown by the testimony then follows; and it is stated* that, “owing to the high stage of water, the river being higher than it had been before for twenty-five years, the efforts to employ sharpshooters outside the forts proved ineffectual. In the forts the water rose to a height of from twelve to eighteen inches, causing great discomfort to the garrisons, and requiring the men in Fort Jackson to work day and night to prevent the magazines being flooded. . . . The country between the forts and New Orleans is of a character most unfavorable for the construction of batteries, the banks of the river, in its highest stages, being below the surface of the water, and only protected from inundation by levees which might be easily destroyed by an enemy. . . . There were no suitable guns in Department No. 1 for such batteries, and no infantry forces adequate to their protection against a land attack. . . . It is shown that but little or no provision was made for an evacuation before the passage of the forts. After that event the work of removing supplies was prosecuted with energy, and a vast amount of property belonging to the Confederate and State Governments, as well as that of private individuals, was saved. . . . In their movement from the city there was no greater confusion manifested than is usual among such bodies of men. The last troops in Department No. 1 had been sent to reinforce General A. S. Johnston after the fall of Fort Donelson. General Lovell had also sent many supplies from his Department to the army of that general. Between General Lovell and the naval officers on duty in Department No. 1 there existed good feeling and a desire to co-operate for the public

[note]



defence. General Lovell often supplied the navy with guns and ammunition. During the bombardment it was designed by Generals Lovell and Duncan that the Louisiana should be placed in a position from which they thought she could enfilade and drive off the mortar fleet of the enemy, but this request was not complied with—Captain J. K. Mitchell, commanding the defences afloat, alleging, in reply, that the Louisiana was without motive-power, that in the position indicated her guns could not be given sufficient elevation to reach the enemy, while she would be in fair range of his mortar fleet, and that her top deck was flat and vulnerable. These statements are proven to be true. He also added as his opinion, sustained by a council of navy officers, that the desired movement would result in the destruction of the vessel by the enemy. . . . The proof shows that General Lovell's demeanor was cool and self-possessed during the evacuation.”

“OPINION OF THE COURT.*

“1. As against a land attack by any force the enemy could probably bring, the interior line of fortifications, as adopted and completed by Major-General Lovell, was a sufficient defence of the city of New Orleans, but his ability to hold that line against such an attack was greatly impaired by the withdrawal from him, by superior authority, of nearly all his effective troops.

“2. The exterior line, as adopted and improved by him, was well devised, and rendered as strong as the means at his command allowed.

“3. Until the iron-clad gunboats Louisiana and Mississippi

[note]



should be ready for service, it was indispensably necessary to obstruct the navigation of the Mississippi River between Forts Jackson and St. Philip. The raft completed under General Lovell's direction was adequate for the purpose while in position, but it was swept away, and left the river unimpeded, either by reason of some error in its construction or neglect in preventing the accumulation of drift, or because of insuperable mechanical difficulties, as to which this Court feels unprepared to give an opinion. General Lovell communicated to the Government no opinion as to the insecurity of the raft, nor any apprehension that it might be swept away, nor did he immediately make known that fact when it occurred. In this it is considered that he was remiss in his duty.

“4. When the raft was swept away, General Lovell, with great energy, immediately endeavored to replace it, and partially succeeded; but, without fault on his part, this last obstruction was broken by the carelessness of vessels of the river-defence fleet colliding with it and by fire rafts drifting against it, and by the failure of the guard-boats to protect it against night expeditions of the enemy.

“5. The non-completion of the iron-clad gunboats Louisiana and Mississippi made it impossible for the navy to co-operate efficiently with General Lovell.

“6. The so-called river-defence fleet was wholly useless as a means of resistance to the enemy, for which General Lovell was in no wise responsible.

“7. Under the existing circumstances, the passage of the forts by the enemy's fleet could not have been prevented by General Lovell with any means under his control, and the forts being passed, the fall of New Orleans was inevitable and its evacuation a military necessity.





“8. When the first raft was broken, and the danger of New Orleans thus became imminent, all necessary preparation should have been made for removing the public property and private property available for military uses, and when the second obstruction was swept away the removal of such property should have been commenced immediately. The failure to take these timely steps caused the losses of property that occurred; but there was comparatively little property lost for which General Lovell was responsible.

“9. The failure of General Lovell to give proper orders to Brigadier-General M. L. Smith for the retirement of his command from Chalmette is not sufficiently explained, and is therefore regarded a serious error.

“10. The proposition of General Lovell to return to New Orleans with his command was not demanded by his duty as a soldier, involving, as it did, the useless sacrifice of himself and his troops, though it explains itself upon the ground of sympathy for the population and a natural sensitiveness to their reproaches.

“11. General Lovell displayed great energy and an untiring industry in performing his duties. His conduct was marked by all the coolness and self-possession due to the circumstances and his position, and he evinced a high capacity for command, and the clearest foresight in many of his measures for the defence of New Orleans.

“The Court respectfully reports that its assembly was delayed by the failure of its President to receive his orders in due time, and that its session was protracted by the taking of testimony, under the order of the War Department, as to the conduct of naval officers on duty in Department No. 1. This order was rescinded, thus rendering irrelevant and useless much of the labor of the Court. The testimony referred to, although appearing





of record, was not considered by the Court in determining its findings and opinion. There being no further business before them the Court adjourned sine die.”

On the 13th of July, 1863,* the record of proceedings and accompanying documents were transmitted to General S. Cooper, Adjutant and Inspector General, Richmond, Va.

CHAPTER VII.

Comments upon the opinion of the Court—General Lovell asks the War Department to inform him of the action of the Court—Congress calls for a copy of the proceedings — General Lovell applies to be assigned to duty—proceedings of the Court of Inquiry transmitted.

The opinion of the Court must be accepted as a full vindication of General Lovell in all essential points. It is now proposed to make some reference to those points in the opinion of the Court which are somewhat adverse to him.

1. The Raft.—It appears in General Lovell's testimony that: “In the latter part of February the great raft in the Mississippi River began to show signs of giving way. . . . By the end of the first week in March the main chains snapped and it ceased to be any longer an obstruction. . . . As soon as the raft had given way, I applied for and got one hundred thousand dollars from the City Council of New Orleans, by whom the money for the previous raft had been furnished, and sent Colonel Higgins, an able and efficient officer, formerly of

[note]



the United States Navy, down to repair it.” Colonel Higgins testified: “At the time spoken of (the early part of March, 1862) I was informed by General Lovell that the raft had broken from its fastenings on the Fort Jackson side of the river, and left about one third of the river open. He instructed me to go down with a number of barges and fill up the gap. . . . Each vessel had two anchors down, and sixty fathoms of chain to each anchor, and three one-inch chains were stretched across all of them, connecting them with the raft sections remaining in position, forming a barrier which, I am confident, none of the enemy's ships could have forced under fire from the forts.”

Whilst these efforts were being made at the raft, General Lovell, in a letter dated March 10th, 1862, informed the Secretary of War that:* “The heavy drift and current had broken up, in a great measure, the river obstructions at Fort Jackson.” The Judge Advocate asked General Lovell the following:† “Question—In your testimony you speak of many deficiencies in Department No. 1 which are not mentioned in your official correspondence with the War Department; why were you silent as to these points? Answer—I did not particularize all the deficiencies in my letters to the War Department, because, before I assumed command, and, while in Richmond, I learned from conversations with the Secretary of War and heads of bureaus, in substance, that, as the Department and its various bureaus had been but lately set on foot, there was in almost all the kinds of material required for war purposes many deficiencies, not only in the materials, but in the mechanical means

[note][note]



and appliances for creating them; and I was informed that my predecessor had made persistent appeals for things which, as yet, the Department had no means of furnishing, which was a source of some annoyance; and I stated that I should make the most of the means at my disposal, without bothering the Department about deficiencies in which I knew they could not help me.”

As to opinion in regard to the insecurity of the raft—at time of high-water—the only question in the minds of those who had any knowledge of the Mississippi River was the possibility of securing the obstruction. All such persons—and amongst these were the President and Secretary of War, whose homes had long been on that river—knew the insecurity of the raft at a time of unprecedented freshet, without a special report from General Lovell, or any one else, informing them that there was cause for apprehension that it might be swept away. The damage to the first obstruction had been repaired more than a month before the action commenced at the forts. The Court says: “Without fault on his (General Lovell's) part, this last obstruction was broken by the carelessness of the river-defence fleet colliding with it, and by fire rafts drifting against it, and by the failure of the guard-boats to protect it against night expeditions of the enemy.”

2. The loss of public property.—In General Lovell's testimony, he states: “Believing that the iron-clads would probably be completed before the enemy would make his final attack, I did not feel so insecure as to justify me in removing the public stores, which removal I knew could not be kept secret and would create a great panic among our own people, and also convey to the enemy the impression that we despaired of holding our position. . . . I did, however, make arrangements,





as already stated, to remove the property under my control, in case of disaster at the lower forts.” That these arrangements were adequate is sufficiently attested by the statement of the Court that: “There was comparatively but little property lost for which General Lovell was responsible.”

3. The alleged failure of General Lovell to give proper orders for the retirement of General M. L. Smith's command from Chalmette.—The latter states, in his official report,* that he was in person at the battery opposite Chalmette during the action, and that the ammunition being expended, permission was given to Colonel Pinckney to withdraw his command. They were accordingly directed to gain the Opelousas Railroad and reach Camp Moore via Lafourche, or such route as might be found best. In his testimony, General Smith says: “Orders would not probably have reached me after the enemy's fleet passed Chalmette.” He was the commander of the interior line, and it was just as proper for him to give orders to the troops in the battery at Chalmette as to those on the opposite side of the river. But, the troops at Chalmette having exhausted their ammunition, very wisely withdrew themselves from the lines; and this being done in plain sight of General Lovell there was no occasion for him to send an order to General M. L. Smith to retire this command. General Smith and his troops joined the main body soon after at Camp Moore.

4. “The proposition of General Lovell to return to New Orleans with his command was not demanded by his duty as a soldier.”—The testimony in reference to this matter shows clearly that certain parties in New

[note]



Orleans, after the evacuation, proposed to organize a force to board the vessels of the enemy, then lying in the stream abreast of the city, and carry them in a hand-to-hand fight. In this enterprise they desired regular military countenance and authority. When General Lovell was appealed to he strongly advised these parties against the project—but finally told them that, if they could get a thousand men in the city to attempt it, and the civil authorities and people desired to bring this risk on their city, he would consent to return with his command and share their fate. They wisely concluded to abandon the idea. The Court says that General Lovell's course in this matter “explains itself upon the ground of sympathy for the population and a natural sensitiveness to their reproaches.”

But, even if it were admitted that all the adverse comment on General Lovell's conduct, expressed in the opinion given by the Court, is well founded, it will be seen that these points are of comparatively little moment; and that, in all matters of importance, he stands fully vindicated in the opinion of the Court; the conclusion of which is, that “General Lovell displayed great energy and an untiring industry in performing his duties. His conduct was marked by all the coolness and self-possession due to the circumstances and his position, and he evinced a high capacity for command, and the clearest foresight in many of his measures for the defence of New Orleans.”

On the 5th of May, 1864, General Lovell, from Columbia, S. C., wrote to the Secretary of War:* “I have the honor to submit for your consideration the following facts and to request your decision and action thereon.

[note]



On the 18th October, 1861, I assumed command of Department No. 1, by virtue of orders from the War Department. On the 22d June, 1862, two months after the evacuation of New Orleans, and after I had fortified, armed, and garrisoned Vicksburg, and the attack on that place had commenced, I was superseded by General Van Dorn without subsequent orders, thus leaving me on duty under him. On the 2d of May previous I had applied for a Court of Inquiry in reference to the evacuation of New Orleans, which application remained unanswered. After my supercession I repaired to Richmond, with General Van Dorn's permission, and urged the convening of the Court of Inquiry. In an interview with the President, on the 18th of July, he alluded to the inconvenience of assembling a court of general officers at that time, and I then requested him to make the necessary examinations and to decide the matter himself. This he declined to do, saying that, ‘It was a very important matter which he did not wish to take the responsibility of deciding,’ but added that he would order the Court; which was in fact done soon after. I returned to Jackson, Miss., where orders from the War Department shortly reached me, postponing the meeting of the court, and soon afterwards General Van Dorn, my immediate senior, assigned me to the command of a division, with which I assisted in the attack on Corinth on the 3d and 4th of October. The report of that officer will explain the part I took in that attack and as commander of the rear guard on the retreat to Holly Springs. He there assigned me an additional division, thus making a corps, which (after General Van Dorn was superseded by Lieutenant-General Pemberton) I commanded as a rear guard on the retreat to Grenada. On the 5th of December, with this command, I engaged the





advancing enemy at Coffeeville, defeating him with loss and checking his farther advance. Immediately afterwards I was relieved from my command by orders from the War Department; the dispatch (dated 7th December, 1862) stating that I ‘was considered off duty until the investigation by a Court of Inquiry in my case was completed and final action had thereon.’ The Court met in the following April, and their finding and opinion was submitted to the Department in July, but was not acted on until the following November. In the mean time an application for my services by General Joseph E. Johnston was declined for the reason that these proceedings had not been published. After the publication of the opinion of that Court exonerating me from blame for the loss of New Orleans, I was entitled not only by the custom of military service but as an act of justice, to be restored to the command from which I had been relieved. Nearly six months, however, have elapsed since that time; but, notwithstanding my personal application for duty, and the request of the distinguished commander of one of our armies to have my services with him in the field, I still remain without a command, although during that time twelve assignments of major-generals have been made, four of them by promotion. By this declension to restore me to duty I am virtually tried, condemned, and punished by a suspension from command, after a Court of Inquiry, composed of three general officers, detailed by the Department, has pronounced an opinion under which, according to military usage, I should at once have been placed again in position. The effect of this course of action is to impair my reputation in the eyes of the country at large, and under the circumstances there is no redress other than an appeal to the usages of military service and the sense of justice of the administration.





This appeal I now make, and ask your action thereon at the earliest moment that your official convenience will allow.”

On the 8th of June, 1864, President Davis sent the following message to the House of Representatives: “In response to a resolution of the House of Representatives of January 15, 1864, I herewith transmit for your information a communication from the Secretary of War, covering a copy of the proceedings of the Court of Inquiry relative to the capture of New Orleans.”*

On the 24th of December, 1864, General Lovell, at Columbia, S. C., wrote to the Governor of that State: “The occupation of Savannah. by the enemy in large force renders the invasion of this State quite probable. Under these circumstances, as I am unemployed in my official position, I beg leave to say that, if, in this emergency, I can render any service, or render you any assistance in military matters, I will do so most cheerfully. My sole desire is to contribute to the utmost of my ability to the success of the common cause.”†

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CHAPTER VIII.

Ex-President Davis reviews the events connected with the fall of New Orleans—difficult to reach a satisfactory conclusion—attests the zeal and capacity of the Secretary of the Navy.

Mr. Davis says: “New Orleans was the most important commercial port in the Confederacy. . . . Its defence attracted the early attention of the Confederate Government.”* “In March, 1861, the Navy Department sent from Montgomery officers to New Orleans, with instructions to purchase steamers and fit them for war purposes. Officers were also sent to the North to purchase vessels suited to such uses, and in the ensuing May an Agent was dispatched to Canada and another to Europe for like objects; and in April, 1861, contracts were made with foundries at Richmond and New Orleans, to make guns for the defence of New Orleans. On the 8th of May, 1861, the Secretary of the Navy communicated at some length to the Committee on Naval Affairs of the Confederate Congress his views in favor of iron-clad vessels, arguing as well for their efficiency as the economy in building them, believing that one such vessel could successfully engage a fleet of the wooden vessels which constituted the enemy's Navy. His further view was that we could not hope to build wooden fleets equal to those with which the enemy were supplied. The Committee, if it should be deemed expedient

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to construct an iron-clad ship, was urged to prompt action by the forcible declaration, ‘not a moment should be lost.’ ”* “So promptly had the ironclad boats been put under contract that the arrangements had all been made in anticipation of the appropriation, and the contract was signed ‘on the very day the law was passed.’ ”† “New Orleans had never been a ship-building port, and when the Messrs. Tift, the Agents to build the iron-clad Steamer Mississippi, arrived there, they had to prepare a ship-yard, procure lumber from a distance, have the foundries and rolling-mills adapted to such iron-work as could be done in the city, and contract elsewhere for the balance. They were ingenious, well informed in matters of ship-building, and were held in high esteem in Georgia and Florida, where they had long resided. They submitted a proposition to the Secretary of the Navy to build a vessel on a new model. The proposition was accepted after full examination of the plan proposed, the novelty of which made it necessary that they should have full control of the work of construction.”‡ “The Secretary of the Navy knew both of the Tifts, but had no personal relations or family connection with either, as was recklessly alleged. He, in accepting their proposition, connected with it the detail of officers of the Navy to supervise expenditures and aid in procuring materials. Assisted by the Chief Engineer and Constructor of the Navy, minute instructions were given as to the manner in which the work was to be conducted. As early as the 19th of September, he sent twenty ship

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carpenters from Richmond to New Orleans to aid in the construction of the Mississippi. On the 7th of October, authority was given to have guns of the heaviest calibre made in New Orleans for the ship. Frequent telegrams were sent in November, December, and January, showing great earnestness about the work on the ship.”* “On December 12th, 1861, the Secretary of the Navy submitted an estimate for an appropriation to meet the expenses incurred ‘for ordnance and ordnance stores for the defence of the Mississippi River.’ ”† “In February and March, 1862, notice was given of the forwarding from Richmond of Capstan and Main Shaft, which could not be made in New Orleans. On March 22d, the Secretary, by telegraph, directed the Constructors to ‘strain every nerve to finish the ship,’ and added, ‘work day and night.’ April 5th, he again wrote: ‘Spare neither men nor money to complete her at the earliest moment. Cannot you hire night gangs for triple wages?’ April 10th, the Secretary again says: ‘Enemy's boats have passed Island 10. Work night and day with all the force you can command to get the Mississippi ready. Spare neither men nor money.’ April 11th he asks, ‘When will you launch and when will she be ready for action?’ These inquiries indicate the prevalent opinion, at that time, that the danger to New Orleans was from the iron-clad fleet above and not the vessels at the mouth of the river; but the anxiety of the Secretary of the Navy and the efforts made by him were of a character applicable to either or both the sources of danger. Thus we find as early as the 24th of February, 1862, that he instructed Commander

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Mitchell to make all proper exertions to have guns and carriages ready for both the iron-clad vessels, the Mississippi and the Louisiana. Reports having reached him that the work on the latter vessel was not pushed with sufficient energy, on the 15th of March he authorized Commander Mitchell to consult with General Lovell; and, if the contractors were not doing everything practicable to complete her at the earliest moment, that he should take her out of their hands, and, with the aid of General Lovell, go on to complete her himself. On the 5th of April, 1862, Secretary Mallory instructed Commander Sinclair, who had been assigned to the command of the Mississippi, to urge on by night and day the completion of the ship.”* “Two powerful vessels were under construction, the Louisiana and the Mississippi, but neither of them was finished.”† “The defences afloat except the Louisiana, consisted of tugs and river steamers, which had been converted to war purposes by protecting their bows with iron so as to make them rams, and putting on them such armament as boats of that class would bear: and these were again divided into such as were subject to control as naval vessels, and others which in compliance with the wish of the Governor of Louisiana and many influential citizens were fitted out to a great extent by State and private resources, with the condition that they should be commanded by river steamboat captains, and should not be under the control of the naval commander. This, of course, impaired the unity requisite in battle.”‡ “The means of defence mainly relied on were the two heavy armed Forts, Jackson and St. Philip, with the obstruction placed

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between them: this was a raft consisting of cypress trees, forty feet long, and averaging four or five feet at the larger end. They were placed longitudinally in the river, about three feet apart, and held together by gunwales on top and strung upon two two-and-a-half-inch chain cables fastened to their lower sides. This raft was anchored in the river abreast the forts.”* “The prevailing belief that vessels of war, in a straight, smooth channel, could pass batteries, led to the construction of a raft between the two forts which, it was supposed, would detain the ships under fire of the forts long enough for the guns to sink them, or at least compel them to retire. The power of the river when in flood, and the driftwood it bore upon it, broke the raft; another was constructed, which, when the driftwood accumulated upon it, met a like fate. Whether obstructions differently arranged, such as booms secured to the shores with apparatus by which they could be swung across the channel when needful, or logs such as were used, except that being unconnected together, but each separately secured by chain and anchor, they might severally yield to the pressure of the driftwood, sinking, so as to allow it to pass over them, and when relieved of the weight rise again—or whether other expedients could have been made permanent and efficient, is a problem which need not be discussed, as the time for its application has passed from us.”† “A number of fire rafts had been also provided, which were to serve the double purpose of lighting up the river in the event of the hostile fleet attempting to pass the forts under cover of the night, and of setting fire to any vessel with which they might become entangled.”‡ “Commander George Minor,

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Confederate States Navy, Chief of the Bureau of Ordance, reported the number of guns sent by the Navy Department to New Orleans, between July 1st, 1861, and the fall of the city to have been one hundred and ninety-seven, and that before July twenty-three guns had been sent there from Norfolk, being a total of two hundred and twenty guns, of which forty-five were of large calibre, supplied by the Navy Department for the defence of New Orleans.”* “The argument that the guns were not of sufficiently large calibre to stop the fleet is not convincing. If all the guns had been of the largest size that would not have increased the accuracy but would have diminished the rapidity of the fire, and therefore in the same degree would have lessened the chances of hitting objects in the dark. Further, it appears that the forts always crippled or repulsed any vessels which came up in daylight. The forts would have been better able to resist bombardment if they had been heavily plated with iron; but that would not have prevented the fleet passing them as they did. Torpedoes might have been placed on the bar at the mouth of the river before the enemy got possession of it, and subsequently, if attached to buoys, they might have been used in the channel above. Many other things might and probably would have been done had attention been earlier concentrated on the danger which at last proved fatal.”† “Captain Hollins, who was in command of the squadron at New Orleans, and who had on a former occasion shown his fitness for such service, had been sent with the greater part of his fleet up the river to join the defence there being made.”‡ “In the

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early part of 1862, so general an opinion prevailed that the greatest danger to New Orleans was by an attack from above, that General Lovell sent to General Beauregard a large part of the troops then in the city.”* “In the winter of 1861-62, I sent one of my Aides-de-camp to New Orleans to make a general inspection, and hold free conference with the commanding General. Upon his return, he reported to me that General Lovell was quite satisfied with the condition of the land defences—so much so as to say that his only fear was that the enemy would not make a land attack.”† “Under the supposition entertained by the Generals nearest to the operations, the greatest danger to New Orleans was from above, not from below the city; therefore, most of the troops had been sent from the city to Tennessee, and Captain Hollins, with the great part of the river fleet had gone up to check the descent of the enemy's gunboats.”‡ “Considered since the event, it may seem strange that after the fall of Donelson and Henry, and the employment of the enemy's gunboats in the Tennessee and Cumberland, it was still generally argued that the danger to New Orleans was that the gunboats would descend the Mississippi and applications were made to have the ship Louisiana sent up the river as soon as she was completed.”§ “On the 23d of April, 1862, General Lovell, commanding the military department, had gone down to Fort Jackson, where General Duncan, commanding the coast defences, then made his headquarters. The presence of the Department Commander did not avail to secure the full co-operation

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between the defences afloat and the land defences which was then of most pressing and immediate necessity.”* “The sloops of war and the gunboats were each formed in two divisions, and selecting the darkest hour of the night, between 3 and 4 A. M. of the 24th, moved up the river in two columns.”† “In the mean time, while the fleet moved up the river, there was kept up from the mortars a steady bombardment on the forts, and these opened a fire on the columns of ships and gunboats, which from the failure to send down the fire rafts to light up the river, was less effective than it otherwise would have been. The straight deep channel enabled the vessels to move at their greatest speed, and thus the forts were passed.”‡ “One of the little river boats, the Governor Moore, commanded by Lieutenant Beverly Kennon, like the others, imperfectly protected at the bow, struck and sunk the Varuna in close proximity to other vessels of the enemy's fleet.”§ “When the enemy's fleet passed the forts, he (General Lovell) hastened back to New Orleans, his headquarters. The confusion which prevailed in the city when the news arrived that the forts had been passed by the enemy's fleet shows how little it was expected. There was nothing to obstruct the ascent of the river between Forts Jackson and St. Philip and the batteries on the river where the interior line of defence rested on its right and left banks, about four miles below the city. The guns were not sufficiently numerous in these batteries to inspire much confidence; they were nevertheless well served until the ammunition was exhausted,

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after which the garrison withdrew.”* “On the 25th of April, the enemy's gunboats and ships of war anchored in front of the city and demanded its surrender. Major-General M. Lovell, then in command, refused to comply with the summons; but, believing himself unable to make a successful defence, and in order to avoid a bombardment, agreed to withdraw his forces, and turn it over to the civil authorities. Accordingly the city was evacuated on the same day.”† “About midnight on the 27th, the garrison of Fort Jackson revolted en masse, seized upon the guard, and commenced to spike the guns. Captain S. O. Conway's company, the Louisiana cannoneers of St. Mary's Parish, and a few others remained true to their cause and country.”‡ “A flag of truce was sent (on the 28th), to Commodore Porter to notify him of a willingness to negotiate for the surrender of the forts. . . . The garrisons were paroled, the officers were to retain their side arms, and the Confederate flags were left flying over the forts until after our forces had withdrawn.”§ “Sad though the memory of the fall of New Orleans must be, the heroism, the fortitude, and the patriotic self-sacrifice exhibited in the eventful struggle at the forts must ever remain the source of pride and of such consolation as misfortune gathers from the remembrance of duties well performed.”∥ “Many causes have been assigned for the fall of New Orleans. Two of them are of undeniable force: First, the failure to light up the channel; second, the want of an obstruction which would detain the fleet under fire of the forts. General Duncan's

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report and testimony justify the conclusion that to the thick veil of darkness the enemy was indebted for his ability to run past the forts.”* “Had the city been filled with soldiers whose families had been sent to a place of safety, instead of being filled with women and children whose natural protectors were generally in the army and far away, the attempt might have been justified to line the levee with all the effective guns and open fire on the fleet at the expense of whatever property might be destroyed before the enemy should be driven away. The case was the reverse of the hypothesis, and nothing could have been more unjust than to censure the Commanding General for withdrawing a force large enough to induce a bombardment, but insufficient to repel it.”† “The fall of New Orleans was a great disaster, over which there was general lamentation, mingled with no little indignation. The excited feeling demanded a victim and conflicting testimony of many witnesses most nearly concerned made it convenient to select for censure those most removed, and least active in their own justification. Thus the naval constructors of the Mississippi and the Secretary of the Navy became the special objects of attack. The selection of these had but little of justice in it, and could not serve to relieve others of their responsibilities, as did the old-time doom of the scapegoat.”‡ “Secretary Mallory, in answer to inquiries of a joint committee of Congress, in 1863, replied that he had sent a telegram to Captain Whittle, April 17th, 1862, as follows: ‘Is the boom, or raft, below the forts in order to resist the enemy, or has any part of it given way? State condition.’

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On the next day the following answer was sent: ‘I hear the raft below the forts is not in best condition: they are strengthening it by additional lines.’ To further inquiry about the raft by the Committee, the Secretary answered: ‘The Commanding-General at New Orleans had exclusive charge of the construction of the raft, or obstruction, in question, and his correspondence with the War Department induced confidence in the security of New Orleans from the enemy. I was aware that this raft had been injured, but did not doubt that the Commanding-General would renew it, and place an effectual barrier across the river, and I was anxious that the Navy should afford all possible aid. . . . A large number of anchors were sent to New Orleans from Norfolk for the raft.’ ”* “The Courts of Inquiry and the investigation of Congress have brought out all the facts of the case, but with such conflicting opinions as to render it very difficult, in reviewing the matter, to reach a definite and satisfactory conclusion. This much it may be proper to say, that expectations, founded upon the supposition that these improvised means (tugs and river steamers which had been converted to war purposes) could do all which might fairly be expected from war vessels, were unreasonable, and a judgment based upon them is unjust to the parties involved.”† “Though much more might be added, it is hoped that what has been given above will sufficiently attest the zeal and capacity of the Secretary of the Navy, and his anxiety, in particular, to protect the city of New Orleans, whether assailed by fleets descending or ascending the river.”‡

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CHAPTER IX.

Testimony of Captain Beverly Kennon—of Captain George N. Hollins—of Captain William C. Whittle—and of the Hon. Charles M. Conrad.

Before commenting upon Mr. Davis's “review”—of which the foregoing is quite a full synopsis—attention is called to the following evidence taken by the Court of Inquiry, before he peremptorily ordered a change to be made in the character of the investigation.

“Captain Beverly Kennon was then sworn and examined as a witness. . . . I was in charge of the Ordnance Department of the navy . . . at New Orleans in October, 1861. . . . The Secretary of the Navy ordered that all work that I had ordered should be stopped. He gave as a reason that the ‘expenditures in the Ordnance Department were enormous, and must be curtailed.’ This note or order, or whatever it may be termed, came from the C. S. Naval Ordnance Department, I suppose, with Mr. Mallory's endorsement. . . . All contracts were stopped, and in the majority of cases all purchases returned. By all contracts I mean the manufacture of guns and carriages, shot, shell, spherical case, and pretty much everything belonging to an Ordnance Department. . . . Amongst the contracts, or work in progress, I had three hundred submarine batteries, which Mr. Mallory would not use or allow to be completed for use. . . . I started a powder-mill, which was broken up by order from Richmond. To bring this answer to a close, every contract was more or less broken in upon by Mr. Mallory's order, until just before New Orleans fell,





when it was too late to repair damages. . . . The vessels belonging to private parties or companies at New Orleans in the fall of 1861 numbered somewhere in the neighborhood of twenty tow-boats, strong and comparatively fast, which would and could have made excellent rams,—there were about as many large ocean steamers, which in smooth water could have carried on an average, twenty heavy guns,—and there were also about a dozen ships, brigs, etc., which on an average could have carried six heavy guns each. Yet Mr. Mallory did not take any of these vessels. I was making preparations to arm and equip all these vessels, when I was relieved of my command in New Orleans and ordered to Richmond. I then resigned my commission as a naval officer. After I resigned, the State of Louisiana took many of these vessels, but there was too little time then to fit them, man, and officer them. . . . I did take part in the engagement below New Orleans with the Federal fleet. I was then commander of the steamer Governor Moore, and with her sunk the U. S. steam sloop of war Varuna. . . . My ship was an ordinary merchant mail steamer; strong, fast, and of much weight. Her battery was only two thirty-two-pounder rifles. The Varuna was a regular man-of-war-built ship, with a crew of two hundred and fifty-nine men, and eight eight-inch guns, four heavy thirty-two-pounders, two twenty-pounder Parrott's, and one twelve-pounder howitzer. . . . I lost seventy-four men out of ninety-three. . . . Had all our vessels been at the forts, and had all the vessels alongside the wharves been fitted up properly, I am sure that the enemy would not have passed us. All the assistance was given by the C. S. naval vessels present that could be given, but Mr. Mallory ordered Captain Mitchell to take command near the forts at an hour too late





to do much service. As to the river-defence fleet, they behaved very shamefully: every single vessel ran away, or were deserted by all hands, without fighting.”*

Captain George N. Hollins, C. S. Navy, testified: “At New Orleans I commanded all the vessels afloat and the Naval Station. In the West, near New Madrid and Island No. 10, I only commanded the vessels afloat. I left New Orleans in January or February, 1862, Captain Whittle then assuming command of the station, but not the vessels afloat. . . . I took with me from New Orleans eight vessels, averaging six guns each, except the Manassas, that had but one gun. I left no naval force at New Orleans. General Lovell urged me to leave some of the vessels there, but this I could not do, as my orders from the Navy Department were to take them all above. . . . I had good opportunities of observing him (General Lovell) whilst I was in command of the naval station at New Orleans, living in the same house with him, and seeing him day and night. I thought him active, zealous, and most attentive to his duties. . . . All the powder I used was obtained from General Lovell. I could scarcely ever get money. I borrowed from the merchants of the city forty-five thousand dollars in bankable funds, which the Department after a delay of four months, wanted to refund in Confederate bonds, which were then at a heavy discount, and I believe the debt was so settled. I was all the time cramped to pay even the smallest debts due to the wives of soldiers who were making cartridge bags. I had no control whatever of the Louisiana or Mississippi. The work seemed to progress well, although I think at one time they were delayed for want of iron. There was but little energy

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or promptitude displayed by the Navy Department in the conduct of naval affairs at that station. My ordnance officer, Lieutenant Beverly Kennon, made contracts for naval supplies of all sorts at low rates, but many of these contracts were annulled by the Secretary of the Navy. Such articles would now bring seven or eight times the price that they were contracted for then. I rather avoided any close inspection of the working upon the ‘Louisiana’ and ‘Mississippi:’ special agents, not naval officers, were assigned to that duty. The general custom is that bills for construction of ships are always to be approved by the officer commanding the station, who has a general supervision of ships building within the limits of his command; but such was not the case with regard to these steamers. . . . General Lovell, Captain Whittle, and myself had a conversation at that time (‘shortly before the fall of New Orleans’) in which we agreed that such an expedition (a proposed co-operation for the purpose of driving the enemy from the lower Mississippi) should be made. I had often passed the Yankee batteries and knew that they could pass ours, and I was anxious that my squadron, which was up the river, should be ordered down to resist Farragut. . . . I had previously presented this plan to the Secretary of the Navy, but it was rejected, he replying that the main attack on New Orleans was to be from above and not below. . . . General Lovell and Captain Whittle prevailed upon me to remain a day longer in New Orleans, while they could communicate with the Secretary of the Navy and urge his consent to such an expedition. I did remain twenty-four hours, but no reply was received.”*

Captain William C. Whittle, C. S. Navy, assumed

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command of the naval station at New Orleans, about the 28th of March, 1862, by order of the Secretary of the Navy. Testimony: “Question—Was there cordial co-operation between yourself and General Lovell as far as the circumstances of the respective arms of service would allow, and always good feeling between you? Answer—There was. I believe the very best feeling existed between us. Question—Were the naval means at your disposal for co-operation in the defence of the Mississippi River at all adequate for that purpose? Answer—They were not, in my judgment.”*

Hon. C. M. Conrad testified on the 10th of June: “From the commencement of the war a great deal of anxiety was felt by the citizens (of New Orleans) for its safety. . . . At that time no preparations whatever had been begun to resist an attack by land; under these circumstances, the city authorities determined to provide as far as possible for the defence of the city, aided also by the Governor of the State. They made a large appropriation in money, and, I think also, the Governor assumed the responsibility of advancing some, on behalf of the State, for the purpose of erecting fortifications around the city. Engineers were employed for this purpose. These works were commenced, but they seemed to advance slowly. . . . Great complaints were made as to a want of energy in the construction of the works, and great anxiety manifested lest they should not be done in time; under these circumstances, the Government determined to send General Lovell to take command. . . . He immediately visited all the forts (which General Twiggs's infirmities prevented him from doing), and it was understood that he had made important

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changes in the land defences. I left there favorably impressed with his administration, although without accurate knowledge on the subject, and so stated on my arrival here. I observed, however, that the iron-plated gunboats were progressing slowly. I went up to look at them; the work on one of them, I think it was the Mississippi, had been suspended for ten or twelve days. While I was there, this was a subject of remark among the citizens generally. During the course of that winter I received frequent letters from my constituents complaining of the slowness with which the work advanced, and they requested that I should urge the adoption of measures to expedite the work. Either before I left New Orleans or after arriving here, some one suggested that arrangements should be made to have the vessels worked upon at night and on Sundays, as there were many mechanics idle in the city that could relieve each other. I saw the Secretary of the Navy frequently upon the subject of these vessels; told him that I considered that the safety of New Orleans depended mainly if not entirely upon them, so far as a naval attack was concerned, which was the only one I apprehended, and I informed him of the anxiety that was felt by the people of New Orleans on the subject. The Secretary did not, however, seem to be alive to the magnitude of the danger. . . . I mentioned the suggestion, which I thought a good one, that the work upon the vessels should be continued at night and on Sundays. I do not remember what he said about night work, but in regard to working on Sundays, he said it would shock the religious sensibilities of the people. I told him, in reply, that so far as my constituents were concerned, there were none of them that would be at all shocked; that the enemy would not hesitate to attack us on Sunday,





and I did not see why we should not prepare to defend ourselves on Sunday. The letters to me also mentioned, on several occasions, that the mechanics employed on the naval works were not punctually paid, and, in consequence, they were greatly dissatisfied and much indisposed to work for that arm of the service. I think they stated that numbers had left on that account, refusing to work. I invariably informed the Secretary of the navy of these complaints or read him that portion of the letters; he did not seem at all surprised at this information, but stated that the Treasury Department failed to supply him with funds as fast as they were needed. . . . After this, however, the complaints about the slow progress of the work still continued, and I frequently saw the Secretary and informed him of the uneasiness felt by the citizens for the safety of New Orleans, in which I fully participated. I at last came to the conclusion that New Orleans would be taken, the only question in my mind being whether by the gunboats from above or the fleet from the sea; so strong was my belief that I mentioned it confidentially to several of my friends, though I did not publicly declare it, not deeming it prudent. Mr. Mallory having addressed a letter to the Chairman of the Committee on Naval Affairs, recommending the construction of a foundry and naval depot at New Orleans, I mentioned to the committee my opinion on this subject as a reason why the suggestion should not be adopted, as I thought New Orleans would probably be taken that spring, and accordingly I wrote a letter to the Secretary, in reply to his note, in which I mentioned, as our reason why his suggestion was disapproved by the committee, the belief, or the apprehension felt by them, that New Orleans would be captured owing to the backwardness





of the naval preparations at that place. This was some five or six weeks before the attack on the forts. I also felt it my duty, both as the representative from New Orleans and as Chairman of the Committee on Naval Affairs, publicly to proclaim in Congress my conviction of the incapacity or inefficiency of the Secretary of the Navy.”*

CHAPTER X. Summary and Comments.

It will be remembered that, within a few days after his inauguration, the attention of President Davis was very pointedly called to the immediate and pressing necessity for placing an obstruction in the river at the forts below New Orleans, and arming these works with guns of the heaviest calibre. Seven months later the Governor of Louisiana asked that the defences of New Orleans and the coast be no longer neglected. The President replied, saying—when he remembered how much had been done for the defence of that city since 1815—he could not bring himself to believe that the Governor's apprehensions would be realized.

A month later a competent military commander was placed in charge of the Department of Louisiana; but the President refused to permit him to exercise any control of naval officers within its limits. About the same time the construction of two iron-clad vessels was commenced; but, all other naval preparations at that station were virtually stopped by orders from Richmond. After this time the military defences were pressed with vigor by the newly appointed military commander.

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In February, 1862, the President directed that 5000 men—all the troops available for the defence of the city—be sent to Columbus, Ky. Soon after this every naval vessel afloat was sent up the river by order of the Secretary of the Navy. In the preceding month, the Commanding General at New Orleans had been ordered to seize, and fit out for war purposes, fourteen, named, river steamers, then lying at the wharves. One million dollars — appropriated by the Confederate Congress — was placed at his disposal for preparing this river-defence fleet; and he was ordered on no account to place these vessels under command of officers of the Navy.

When the obstruction at the forts had given way, and the Federal fleet had entered the lower river, the appeal of the Commanding General for heavy guns from Pensacola—after that place was abandoned—was ignored; his protest against sending the Louisiana to Tennessee, when forty armed steamers were in the river below, was disregarded; the joint application of the Naval and Military Commanders for authority to bring the fleet from Memphis to assist in the defence below was also refused; and it was not until the forts had been bombarded for several days that the President yielded to the earnest protest of the Governor; and reluctantly permitted the iron-clad Louisiana to be sent to aid the forts below New Orleans in resisting the passage of the Federal fleet, and at the same time he enlarged the discretionary power of the “military men.”

Long before the fall of the city, the Government at Richmond knew that the Commanding General was very severely and unjustly censured for stripping New Orleans of its defences; and all knew that immediately after the evacuation this discontent broke out into wild





clamors of howling denunciation against General Lovell. But, the President, while failing to notice General Lovell's application for an official investigation of all the facts connected with the defence and fall of the city, actively promoted the unjust hue and cry against him by saying that the commanding General had failed to inform the War Department of the true state of affairs; and that had he (President Davis) known of the defenceless condition of the city, the Government would have taken measures to assure its safety.

After General Van Dorn had superseded General Lovell in command of the Department, President Davis said he did not see why the latter could not serve under the former; but, when Lovell had won distinction in that position, the President relieved him from duty in the field, on the pretext that he had not been regularly assigned by the War Department and that he must await the action of a Court of Inquiry. Still the Court was not ordered. In this state of affairs Congress—on General Lovell's application—called for the official correspondence between the Commanding General at New Orleans and the War Department. This would have brought out the main facts. Suppression being no longer possible, the President ordered the Court of Inquiry to convene.

It was nearly a year after General Lovell applied for an investigation before the Court met. The inquiry was ordered to embrace every fact and every officer, whether of Army or Navy, connected with the defence of New Orleans and the evacuation of that city. Testimony damaging to the Secretary of the Navy and to the administration was being taken, when new instructions were issued to the Court—by direction of President Davis—on an application made by the Secretary of the





Navy restricting the inquiry to “the case of Major-General M. Lovell, on trial.” The Court exonerated the Commanding General, and it would seem that justice demanded he should then be returned to duty. General J. E. Johnston applied for his services in the Western Army—this application was refused on the ground that the finding and opinion of the Court had not been promulgated. Yet President Davis delayed acting in the case for about four months; and when the order promulgating the opinion of the Court was published it omitted to state that the Court had been applied for by General Lovell. Such omission is understood to imply the subordinate had not asked for investigation, and that the proceedings in the case had been initiated by the Government.

In publishing the finding and opinion of the Court the testimony and proceedings in the case were not made known—these were afterwards called for by Congress—but their transmittal was delayed by the President as long as practicable. By this time all interest was concentrated upon the fast approaching crisis of the war, and men had almost ceased to care to inquire who was responsible for the mismanagement of the defences of New Orleans. The President had, for the time, unjustly fastened that responsibility upon the Commanding General; and he tried to hold it there by persistently refusing, until the end of the war, to permit him to be assigned to any duty.

From the time President Davis officially recorded his failure to perceive the application of General Lovell's remark about “the error of dispersion” his conduct toward that officer was characterized by a spirit born of wounded vanity and nursed by fear of the truth.

In his account of the defence and fall of New Orleans





Mr. Davis would have it appear that his main purpose was to “attest the zeal and capacity of the Secretary of the Navy;” who, in connection with the naval constructors of the Mississippi, he tells us, was made the special object of attack. But he makes no distinct reference to the damaging testimony of the Naval Ordnance Officer and the Naval Commanders at New Orleans, nor to that of the Hon. C. M. Conrad. That testimony induced President Davis to direct that the Court be ordered not to inquire into the conduct of the naval defences—and not to express any opinion thereon. Yet Mr. Davis now says: “Courts of Inquiry and the investigation of Congress have brought out all the facts of the case; but, with such conflicting opinions as to render it very difficult, in reviewing the matter, to reach a definite and satisfactory conclusion.”

He quotes a profusion of telegrams, in March and April, indicating that the Secretary of the Navy was aroused to some activity, at least on paper, very late in the day. But, even then—with complete disregard of what was taking place at the mouth—his whole attention, until nearly the last moment, was directed to the danger from the upper river.

Mr. Davis also furnishes a copy of telegram sent by the Secretary of the Navy to Captain Whittle, April 17th, 1862, several days after the bombardment of the forts had commenced: “Is the boom, or raft, below the forts in order to resist the enemy, or has any part of it given way? State condition;” and he quotes from the testimony of the Secretary before a Joint Committee of Congress: “I was anxious that the Navy should afford all possible aid.” These are samples of the proof Mr. Davis offers, in attesting the zeal and capacity of Mr. Mallory; without attempting to refute the positive testimony





of Captains Kennon, Hollins, and Whittle, and of Charles M. Conrad.

He makes no mention of the fact that his attention was early called to the immediate necessity for placing an obstruction in the river at the forts below New Orleans. Neither does he state that the city furnished the means for making the obstruction and for repairing it after the first raft had given way. His indifference at the time clearly indicates that he then considered such an obstruction unnecessary; but, the detailed disquisition he now publishes would naturally lead to the supposition that he then fully realized the practical importance of an effective obstruction at the forts and was an expert on subjects of that character.

He makes no mention of the fact that he was very formally warned of the necessity for placing guns of the heaviest attainable calibre in the forts below the city; neither does he explain the reason for ordering such guns to Mobile and Galveston, from Pensacola—after the latter place was abandoned—instead of sending them to the forts below New Orleans then threatened by a fleet of forty war steamers at the mouth of the river. But, he now says: “If all the guns had been of the largest size that would not have increased the accuracy, but would have diminished the rapidity of the fire.” Artillerists and engineers all over the world were, however, relying upon the largest attainable shell guns for the destruction of wooden ships.

Mr. Davis says the first cause for the fall of New Orleans was the failure to light up the channel. He evidently believed war steamers could not pass these forts except in darkness. But, he does not state that the failure to light up the river was directly chargeable to the inefficiency of the river steamboat fleet which





was fitted out by direction of the President—expenses paid out of the Confederate Treasury—and that these vessels were, by special orders from Richmond, placed under the command of river steamboat captains, to the exclusion of Naval officers. On the contrary, he says these vessels, “in compliance with the wish of the Governor of Louisiana and many influential citizens, were fitted out to a great extent by State and private resources, with the condition that they should be commanded by river steamboat captains, and should not be under the control of the Naval Commander.” In view of established facts such a misstatement is inexcusable.

He says too that “One of the little river boats, the Governor Moore, commanded by Lieutenant Beverly Kennon,” struck and sunk the Varuna. The facts were that the Governor Moore was an ordinary merchant, mail, ocean steamer—strong, fast and of much weight—fitted out by the State of Louisiana. After Lieutenant Kennon had been prohibited from seizing and arming the twenty ocean steamers lying at the wharves, and all his contracts were stopped by orders from the Navy Department, he resigned his commission in the Confederate States Navy, and was appointed by the Governor of Louisiana to command the Governor Moore.

Mr. Davis says: “Torpedoes might have been placed on the bar at the mouth of the river.” But, he fails to say that the naval ordance officer at New Orleans testified that he had in progress of construction “three hundred sub-marine batteries, which Mr. Mallory would not use or allow to be completed for use.”

He says: “The forts would have been better able to resist bombardment if they had been heavily plated with iron. . . . Many other things might and probably would have been done had attention been earlier concentrated





on the danger which at last proved fatal.” There was no iron to be had for plating the forts; and had these been plated six feet thick that would have availed nothing—in the absence of a sufficient number of heavy guns—in preventing the passage of the forts. What Mr. Davis refers to in saying “many other things might and probably would have been done” is not explained; but, it is quite certain that he paid very little attention to the defences of New Orleans for seven or eight months after he was warned of “the danger which at last proved fatal;” and then his attention was concentrated up the river—and held there—until the Federal fleet had passed the forts below.

Mr. Davis says: “In the early part of 1862, so general an opinion prevailed that the greatest danger to New Orleans was by an attack from above, that General Lovell sent to General Beauregard a large part of the troops then in the city.” The official record shows that General Lovell, with regret, sent away all his available force in compliance with a positive order issued by direction of the President.

Mr. Davis says: “Captain Hollins, with the great part of the river fleet, had gone up to check the descent of the enemy's gunboats.” Captain Hollins says, in his testimony: “I left no naval force at New Orleans. General Lovell urged me to leave some of the vessels there, but this I could not do, as my orders from the Navy Department were to take them all above.”

Mr. Davis says: “It was still generally argued that the danger to New Orleans was that the gunboats would descend the Mississippi, and applications were made to have the ship Louisiana sent up the river as soon as she was completed.” But he makes no mention of the fact that General Lovell protested against sending this vessel





up the river, and that Governor Moore telegraphed the President: “Commodore Whittle has orders from Secretary of Navy to send the Louisiana to Tennessee. Duncan and Higgins both telegraph she is absolutely a necessity at the forts for the safety of New Orleans and that it is suicidal to send her elsewhere;” he also fails to state that the President replied: “The wooden vessels are below; the iron gunboats are above. The forts should destroy the former if they attempt to ascend.”

After the batteries of the interior line on the banks of the river below the city were passed there were no effective guns, and but very little ammunition that could be used against the Federal fleet. The result of the contest at the batteries indicates clearly that the best guns available “to line the levee” in front of the city would not have driven the fleet away. Generals Lee, Johnston, and Beauregard then said there was nothing left for General Lovell to do but to withdraw the troops after the enemy succeeded in passing the forts; and General Lee added that the judgment of intelligent and reflecting men would justify the evacuation of the city as soon as the facts, as they actually existed, should become known. It would seem therefore that there was hardly proper occasion for Mr. Davis—in discussing an assumed hypothesis in regard to this matter—to say that “the attempt might have been justified to line the levee with all the effective guns and open fire on the fleet at the expense of whatever property might be destroyed before the enemy should be driven away.”

In another connection he says: the generals nearest to the operations entertained the supposition that the greatest danger to New Orleans was from above, not from below the city, and adds: “The fall of New





Orleans was a great disaster, over which there was general lamentation, mingled with no little indignation. The excited feeling demanded a victim and conflicting testimony of many witnesses most nearly concerned made it convenient to select for censure those most removed, and least active in their own justification. Thus the naval constructors of the Mississippi and the Secretary of the Navy became the special objects of attack.” Those most nearly concerned in the defence of New Orleans were the principal Army and Navy officers in that Department. These were Generals Lovell, Duncan, and M. L. Smith of the Army; and Captains Hollins and Whittle and the Ordnance Officer, Lieutenant Kennon, of the Navy. These are the witnesses whose “conflicting testimony,” Mr. Davis says, “made it convenient to select for censure those most removed and least active in their own justification.” Far above all others in that Department the Commanding General was responsible for the defence of New Orleans. A Court—the majority of whose members were special friends of Mr. Davis, selected by himself—fully exonerated General Lovell. But, to screen himself and his administration, President Davis refused to permit that officer to be again assigned to any duty: and now attempts to withdraw himself—and his conduct toward that general—as far as possible from view, by defending Mr. Mallory and the constructors of the Mississippi, from the attacks he says were made against them by the conflicting testimony of those most nearly concerned in the defence and the fall of New Orleans. This, too, whilst professing to write in the name of justice and truth—for the purpose of elucidating obscurity and correcting error—lamenting that he cannot mention for praise “each and all who wore the gray.”





PART III. NOTES ON THE BATTLE OF SEVEN PINES OR FAIR OAKS.
CHAPTER I.

Preliminary movements: Report that McDowell was advancing on the 27th—General Johnston orders preparations to attack the Federal right on the north bank of the Chickahominy—McDowell's forces turn back—General Johnston reverts to his first intention to attack the Federal left on the Richmond side of the Chickahominy—letter from General Johnston to General Whiting.

Preliminary.—In withdrawing from the Peninsula, formed by the James and York rivers, the Confederate Army of Northern Virginia, under the command of General Joseph E. Johnston, moved upon two lines from Williamsburg to Richmond. The divisions of D. H. Hill and Longstreet on the Charles City Road—both under General Longstreet—crossed the Chickahominy River at Long Bridge. G. W. Smith's division, the two divisions which formed Magruder's command, the main body of the cavalry, and the reserve artillery—all under General G. W. Smith—followed the Old Stage road through New Kent Court-house, and crossed the Chickaominy at Bottom's Bridge. The Federal Army of the Potomac, commanded by General George B. McClellan, advanced by the road upon which the forces under General G. W. Smith retired.





The following note from General Longstreet is illustrative of the time:

“Headquarters, Second Corps, “Palo Alto, May 8th, 1862.

“My dear General:

“Yours of this morning is received. If your road can beat this for mud I don't want to see it. I will stop near Forge Bridge to-night—headquarters three wall tents. My men have their bellies full, also their cartridge boxes; so I don't fear McClellan or any one in Yankeedom. If you see the General say to him that we are as happy as larks over here till we get 126 wagons (the total number) up to the hub at one time. Anything less we can endure with composure. Write often.

“With respect, “J. Longstreet, Maj.-Gen'l Comdg.

“General G. W. Smith, Comdg. First Corps.”

After General Johnston's army crossed the Chickahominy Magruder's troops were placed in position to guard the passage of the bridges and fords of that river from the Mechanicsville Bridge* to New Bridge, and extended from the latter point along the New Bridge road across the Nine Miles road to the Richmond and York River Railroad. G. W. Smith's division was on the Williamsburg or Old Stage road two or three miles from the city, with one brigade in observation near Bottom's Bridge. The two divisions under General Longstreet took position south of the Williamsburg road three or four miles from Richmond.

On the 23d of May Brigadier-General Hatton reported from a point on the Williamsburg Road nine and a half

[note]



miles east of Richmond that the enemy had moved out from their position this side of Bottom's Bridge, and was in his immediate front with infantry, artillery, and cavalry. The next day he wrote as follows:

“Junction* of 7 and 9 Miles Roads, “7 p.m., May 24th, 1862.

“General Smith:

‘I will retire my command to-night to a point, on the 7 miles road,† one and a half miles from this. The enemy are in considerable force in my immediate front. In my skirmish to-day I lost but three men.

“R. hatton, Brig.-Genl.”

The same night General Stuart reported to General Smith that the Meadow Bridges were in the hands of the enemy—that General Semmes had, during the day, repulsed a party attempting to cross at New Bridge— and that, later, the enemy's pickets crossed above and slipped through the swamps and occupied this side of that bridge. At the same time General Cobb reported to General Smith, through General McLaws, that a crossing was being established by the enemy about half a mile below Mechanicsville Bridge.

On the 27th General McLaws reported the enemy's skirmishers pressing ours in front of Semmes's and Griffith's brigades, just east of the New Bridge fork of the Nine Miles road.

About 1 o'clock, p.m., on the 27th General Smith received the following note from General Johnston:

“We must get ready to fight. Anderson reports (Junction, 11 a.m.) that his videttes have informed him

[note][note]



that McDowell is advancing ‘in force’—his pickets at Guinea's. The Army reported six miles this side of Fredericksburg. His main force at Half Sink—three regiments under Hamilton at the junction. We must get ready for this.”

Up to this time General Johnston's intention had been to strike an effective blow upon the enemy, approaching by the Williamsburg road, as soon as they came near enough, in force, to enable him to engage the larger part of his army in the direction of Seven Pines without exposing Richmond too much to an attack coming from the north bank of the Chickahominy. He knew that a large portion of two corps of McClellan's army were in the vicinity of Bottom's Bridge and at a point near Seven Pines—and considered them still too far off—but was expecting them to come nearer—and had held his army ready to strike in that direction at the shortest notice.

On the receipt of General Johnston's note stating that McDowell was moving to form a junction with McClellan, General Smith proceeded at once to the headquarters of the Army, and it was there soon arranged that he should go in person to the left—that A. P. Hill, whose division was then near Ashland, should be ordered up—that Smith's Division, under Whiting, should move to the vicinity of Meadow Bridges, and that General Smith should be relieved of the duty of commanding General Magruder, who would report direct to General Johnston. But, D. R. Jones’ division, which was on the left, should be, for the time, placed under General Smith's orders. In the new arrangement the divisions of A. P. Hill, D. R. Jones, and Smith's division, under General Whiting, would constitute the left wing of the Army.

General Smith was directed by General Johnston to make every preparation to attack the right of the enemy





on the north bank of the Chickahominy, with these three divisions, as soon as practicable. A little before sunset, on the 28th, he returned to General Johnston's headquarters and informed him that A. P. Hill's division would be in the immediate presence of the enemy at Mechanicsville before midnight; and would assault that position at the dawn of day. This would clear the way for Smith's division, under Whiting, and D. R. Jones’ division, to cross the river at Meadow Bridges and the Mechanicsville Bridge. After carrying the works at Mechanicsville, A. P. Hill was ordered to press on to Beaver Dam Creek, to which point he would be quickly followed by the other two divisions, and the three would make a combined assault on the enemy's line along the eastern crest of that creek. This position had been closely examined by the Chief Engineer of the Army, and by General Smith's chief of staff, whilst General Johnston's Army was awaiting the enemy between the Pamunky and Chickahominy rivers. They had reported it to be very strong—in natural features of the ground—especially against an attack coming from the direction of Mechanicsville; and that it could not be turned from that side, without making a wide detour which would consume a good deal of time. General Smith distinctly advised that the direct attack should be made, as there was no time to lose if we expected to beat the enemy before McDowell's forces formed a junction with those of McClellan. Every confidence was felt that A. P. Hill would take the works at Mechanicsville with certainty and without delay—and it was believed that the three divisions could carry the lines at Beaver Dam Creek; but, it would be bloody work. More than justified, however, because of the necessity for accomplishing decisive results before the arrival of McDowell.





When General Johnston informed the officers present that McDowell's forces had returned to Fredericksburg, and it was believed they were moving further north, General Smith advised that the attack, he had just previously urged, should not be made; at least, until it was known that McDowell was moving to join McClellan—and stated that, until this fact was known there was no occasion to cross the Chickahominy, all of the bridges and fords of which stream were held by the enemy, in order to attack three corps on the north side—having a strong position like that of Beaver Dam Creek—when two corps were on our side of the river, almost within reach, where there were no such strong natural features of the ground against us.

General Longstreet thought the attack ought to be made as contemplated before it was known that McDowell had gone back to Fredericksburg. General Johnston decided that this was inexpedient: and he directed General Smith to order A. P. Hill to withdraw from his position—in contact with the enemy at Mechanicsville—before daylight, and take position on the extreme left of the army on the Richmond side of the Chickahominy. General Longstreet then urged that an attack be made, next morning, against the enemy on our side of the river, in the direction of Seven Pines. General Johnston said that so soon as it should become certainly known that McDowell was not coming, he would revert to his former intention, to strike an effective blow on the enemy approaching by the Williamsburg road, when a respectable force, worth crushing, came within easy and safe reach—and stated that the disposition of our forces, made whilst it was supposed McDowell was on the way to join McClellan, was too strong on the extreme left to warrant an attack toward Seven Pines next morning—





and that Huger's division was expected to arrive very soon. For these reasons it was not deemed expedient to adopt Longstreet's suggestion that an attack be made in the direction of Seven Pines on the morning of May 29th.

Before midnight General Smith sent several different messengers to A. P. Hill directing him to withdraw before daylight: only one of whom reached him. Apprehending that none of the messengers would succeed in finding their way through the intricate swamps of that locality in time to countermand the order for Hill's attack—General Smith informed General Johnston that, in case the change of order did not reach General Hill—and the latter should become involved with superior forces on the north bank of the river—he (General Smith) would feel bound to take the other two divisions over the river to Hill's assistance; and asked that in this case General Johnston would hold the rest of the army in readiness for whatever action might be necessary. General Johnston acquiesced in this, and at midnight General Smith proceeded to the vicinity of the Meadow Bridges. In the morning there was a dense fog. Before it lifted, about eight o'clock A.M., General Smith learned that A. P. Hill's division had been withdrawn, without its presence having been suspected by the enemy, and Hill was moving quietly to take the position assigned him on the Richmond side of the river. General Smith then proceeded to the extreme left to confer with General Hill and General J. E. B. Stuart.

Whilst with General Hill, General Smith received the following letter transmitted to him by General Whiting, to whom it was addressed by General Johnston:





“Headquarters, Harrison's, May 29, 1862.

“My Dear General:

I have just received the note you wrote in regard to your camp. I will give precise orders not to let it be interfered with. I received a message from Huger to the effect that his troops had not arrived at 6.30 this morning—no cars having been sent for them. The Quartermaster who had charge of the matter reported to me at sunset that the trains were ready and would be off at 9 o'clock. Lee ordered John G. Walker's brigade to Petersburg and Holmes ordered it back. For any purpose but that contemplated yesterday the present disposition of our troops is not good, too strong on the extreme left. If nothing is heard of McDowell we must bring you back to a more central place. D. H. Hill reported an hour ago that one of his advanced brigadiers had sent forward two hundred skirmishers who very soon met a brigade of the enemy with cavalry and artillery. Who knows but that in the course of the morning Longstreet's scheme may accomplish itself. If we get into a fight here you'll have to hurry to help us. I think it will be best for A. P. Hill's troops to watch the bridges and for yours to be well in this direction ready to act anywhere. Tell G. W.

“Yours truly, J. E. Johnston.

“Brigadier-GeneralWhiting.”

On the same day at 4.30 P.M. General J. E. B. Stuart, commander of the cavalry, reported to General G. W. Smith — “Before I could get to Ashland the enemy with infantry and cavalry returned and now hold it, doubtless with the view of removing the stores there. No advance here. Some sharp shooting on Telegraph Road.”





General Johnston's letter of the 29th, to General Whiting, required new arrangements of the troops to be made. On the 30th A. P. Hill was brought nearer to the Meadow Bridges, and Whiting (commanding G. W. Smith's division) was directed to take ground nearer Richmond in position to move towards Seven Pines, if General Johnston determined to strike in that direction, or on Mechanicsville in case it should be found that McDowell, after all, was really coming to join McClellan.

It will thus be seen that the movement of McDowell, reported to General Johnston in the afternoon of the 27th, had resulted in removing General Smith from the Williamsburg Road, where his division had been watching the advance of the enemy on that side, and placing him in command of the left wing of the Army; whilst General Longstreet became the Senior Officer of all the troops on the right.

CHAPTER II.

Ex-President Davis's account of preliminary operations around Richmond—Tells General Lee why and how he was dissatisfied—General Johnston's reported proposed plan—President rides out to see the action commence—account of that ride—Author's comments.

Mr. Davis says: * “Our army having retreated from the Peninsula and withdrawn from the north side of the Chickahominy to the immediate vicinity of Richmond,

[note]



I rode out occasionally to the lines and visited the headquarters of the commanding General. There were no visible preparations for defence, and my brief conversations with the General afforded no satisfactory information as to his plans and purposes. We had, under the supervision of General Lee, perfected as far as we could the detached works before the city, but these were rather designed to protect it against a sudden attack than to resist approaches by a great army. They were, also, so near to the city that it might have been effectually bombarded by guns exterior to them. Anxious for the defence of the ancient capital of Virginia, now the capital of the Confederate States, and remembering a remark of General Johnston, that the Spaniards were the only people who now undertook to hold fortified towns, I had written to him that he knew the defence of Richmond must be made at a distance from it. Seeing no preparation to keep the enemy at a distance, and kept in ignorance of any plan for such purpose, I sent for General R. E. Lee, then at Richmond, in general charge of army operations, and told him why and how I was dissatisfied with the condition of affairs. He asked me what I thought it was proper to do. Recurring to a conversation held about the time we had together visited General Johnston, I answered that McClellan should be attacked on the other side of the Chickahominy before he matured his preparations for a siege of Richmond. To this he promptly assented, as I anticipated he would, for I knew it had been his own opinion. He then said: ‘General Johnston should of course advise you of what he expects or proposes to do. Let me go and see him, and defer this discussion until I return.’ When General Lee came back, he told me that General Johnston proposed, on the next Thursday, to





move against the enemy as follows. General A. P. Hill was to move down on the right flank and rear of the enemy. General G. W. Smith, as soon as Hill's guns opened, was to cross the Chickahominy at the Meadow Bridge, attack the enemy in flank, and by the conjunction of the two it was expected to double him up. Then Longstreet was to cross on the Mechanicsville Bridge and attack him in front. From this plan the best results were hoped by both of us. On the morning of the day proposed I hastily dispatched my office business, and rode out toward the Meadow Bridge to see the action commence. On the road I found Smith's division halted, and the men dispersed in the woods. Looking for some one from whom I could get information, I finally saw General Hood, and asked him the meaning of what I saw. He told me he did not know anything more than that they had been halted. I asked him where General Smith was; he said he believed he had gone to a farm house in the rear, adding that he thought he was ill. Riding on to the bluff which overlooks the Meadow Bridge, I asked Colonel Anderson, posted there in observation, whether he had seen anything of the enemy in his front. He said that he had seen only two mounted men across the bridge, and a small party of infantry on the other side of the river, some distance below, both of whom, he said, he could show me if I would go with him into the garden back of the house. There, by the use of a powerful glass, were distinctly visible two cavalry videttes at the farther end of the bridge, and a squad of infantry lower down the river, who had covered themselves with a screen of green boughs. The Colonel informed me that he had not heard Hill's guns; it was, therefore, supposed he had not advanced. I then rode down the bank of the river,





followed by a cavalcade of sight-seers, who, I suppose, had been attracted by the expectation of a battle. The little squad of infantry, about fifteen in number, as we approached, fled over the ridge, and were lost to sight. Near to the Mechanicsville Bridge I found General Howell Cobb, commanding the support of a battery of artillery. He pointed out to me on the opposite side of the river the only enemy he had seen, and which was evidently a light battery. Riding on to the main road, which led to the Mechanicsville Bridge, I found General Longstreet, walking to and fro in an impatient, it might be said fretful, manner. Before speaking to him, he said his division had been under arms all day waiting for orders to advance, and that the day was now so far spent that he did not know what was the matter. I afterward learned from General Smith that he had received information from a citizen that the Beaver-dam Creek presented an impassable barrier, and that he had thus fortunately been saved from a disaster. Thus ended the offensive defensive programme from which Lee expected much, and of which I was hopeful.”

Comments.—General Smith has no recollection of ever having spoken to President Davis in reference to the position of the Federals at Beaverdam Creek; he certainly never said anything to any one which could justify Mr. Davis in making the statement, just quoted, in regard to that subject. General Smith's information on that matter was derived from his Chief of Staff and from the Chief Engineer of the Army, both of whom had closely examined the ground in question. In speaking of Beaverdam Creek in another connection Mr. Davis says, on page 134, volume ii., “Rise and Fall of the Confederate States Government:” “This position was naturally strong, the banks of the Creek in front being high





and almost perpendicular, and the approach to it was over open fields commanded by the fire of artillery and infantry under cover on the opposite side.”

It should be borne in mind that the front of the Federal main line on the north bank of the Chickahominy was nearly parallel to that stream, its right being thrown back along the eastern crest of Beaverdam Creek, almost at right angles to the main line. At Mechanicsville, about a mile west of Beaverdam Creek, the Federals had an intrenched outpost, with videttes at the Meadow Bridges. When it was believed that McDowell was moving to form a junction with McClellan, General G. W. Smith advised that A. P. Hill's division should carry the Federal outpost at Mechanicsville at daylight on the 29th and push on against the right of their main line. In the attack upon the enemy's position at Beaverdam Creek, A. P. Hill's division was to be closely supported by D. R. Jones's division and G. W. Smith's division, under Whiting. It was believed that these three divisions could carry the right of the Federal line by direct assault. But Mr. Davis says: “General A. P. Hill was to move down on the right flank and rear of the enemy. General G. W. Smith, as soon as Hill's guns opened, was to cross the Chickahominy at the Meadow Bridge, attack the enemy in flank, and by the conjunction of the two it was expected to double him up. Then Longstreet was to cross on the Mechanicsville Bridge and attack him in front. From this plan the best results were hoped.”

It has already been stated that the right of the Federal main line, in position along the eastern crest of Beaverdam Creek, could not be turned without making a long detour to the north. Mr. Davis does not explain how A. P. Hill and G. W. Smith were to attack the





enemy in rear and flank and double him up; whilst Longstreet would cross on the Mechanicsville Bridge—a mile west of the right of the enemy's main line—and attack him in front. But, he says that from this alleged plan the best results were hoped by both General Lee and himself.

It should be remembered that the order to attack on the morning of the 29th was countermanded by General Johnston on the night of the 28th; and that whilst President Davis was riding out on the 29th “to see the action commence,” General Johnston had written to General Whiting, then commanding Smith's division, saying: “For any purpose but that contemplated yesterday the present disposition of our troops is not good—too strong on the extreme left. If nothing is heard of McDowell we must bring you back to a more central place. . . . If we get into a fight here you'll have to hurry to help us. I think it will be best for A. P. Hill's troops to watch the bridges—and for yours to be well in this direction, ready to act anywhere. Tell G. W.”

The letter from which the foregoing quotation is made was received by General Whiting and by him transmitted to General Smith—on the extreme left of the army—whilst President Davis having “hastily dispatched his office business,” was riding out toward the Meadow Bridge “to see the action commence;” was catechising General Hood; looking through a powerful glass at two of the enemy's videttes; riding down the bank of the river, followed by a cavalcade of sightseers; frightening a little squad of infantry, about fifteen in number; conversing with General Cobb about the only enemy he had seen; and finding General Longstreet, who told him “the day was now so far spent that he did not know what was the matter.” Such is the account





Mr. Davis now gives of “the offensive defensive programme,” from which he says he was hopeful and Lee expected much.

Without further allusion to General Johnston's contemplated attack upon the right of the Federal army in the direction of Mechanicsville on the 29th, attention will now be called to the battle of the 31st of May.

CHAPTER III.

Description of the battle-ground of Seven Pines—Position and number of Confederates—of Federals—General Johnston's plan and intentions—documentary proof.

The point known as Seven Pines is merely the junction of two roads. It is on the Williamsburg, or old stage road, seven miles east of Richmond. From the north-east suburb of Richmond another road, lying between the Williamsburg road and the Chickahominy, leads to Seven Pines. This is called the Nine Miles road, and the distance from Richmond to Seven Pines by this road is nine miles; it crosses the Richmond and York River Railroad, at Fair Oaks station, a little less than one mile from Seven Pines. At a point on the Nine Miles road, about six and a half miles from Richmond, a road turns off north and leads across the Chickahominy at New Bridge. The Charles City road branches off from the Williamsburg road at a point some four miles west of Seven Pines; lateral roads lead from it into the Williamsburg road. The country about Seven Pines is mostly flat, farm land, quite heavily wooded and swampy. In rainy weather it is very boggy and difficult of passage, even in the beaten tracks. Besides





the main roads already mentioned, the country is intersected by farm and wood roads.

Position and Number of the Confederate Forces.—At night, on the 30th of May, the right wing of General Johnston's army was east of the city. This wing, 30,000 strong, was commanded by General Longstreet. It was composed of three divisions—Longstreet's 14,000, six brigades, on and near the Nine Miles road, three brigades in the vicinity of Richmond, and the other three brigades three and a half miles from the city. D. H. Hill's, 11,000, on the Williamsburg road, about two and a half miles from Richmond, and Huger's, 5000 strong, near Hill. The centre of the army, commanded by General Magruder, consisted, at this time, of McLaws's division, 11,000 strong—it was guarding the Chickahominy from the Mechanicsville road to New Bridge, and thence along the New Bridge road across the Nine Miles road. The left wing of the army, 19,500 strong, commanded by General G. W. Smith, was composed, at this time, of three divisions—D. R. Jones's, 5,000, on the crest of the Chickahominy Bluff, guarding the Mechanicsville and Meadow Bridges roads—A. P. Hill's, 4000 strong, guarding the crossings of the Chickahominy on the extreme left—and Smith's division, under General Whiting, 10,500 strong, on the Meadow Bridges road, a little in rear of the troops that held the crest of the Chickahominy Bluff at that point. There were 1300 cavalry under General J. E. B. Stuart, and 900 reserve artillery under Colonel Pendleton. The total strength of the Confederate army was a little more than 62,000.*

Position and Number of the Federal Forces.—The

[note]



following summary is taken from an account of the “Battle of Fair Oaks,” given by General George W. Mindil. At night, on the 30th of May, there were two corps of General McClellan's army on the Richmond side of the Chickahominy, and three corps on the north bank of that stream. The latter extended from near the Railroad Bridge to Mechanicsville. Of the two corps on the Richmond side, “The Fourth,” 12,000 effectives, was commanded by General Keyes—it was composed of two divisions—Casey's, 5000, had its left on the Williamsburg road half a mile west of Seven Pines, its right near the Richmond and York River Railroad, two or three hundred yards in advance of Fair Oaks station; Couch's division, 7000, was in line along the Nine Miles road, its left at Seven Pines, its right a little beyond the railroad near Fair Oaks station, with an intrenched picket across the Nine Miles road, about one mile in advance of Fair Oaks. The front of each of these divisions was protected by lines of riflepits, strengthened by abattis. On the left of Casey's line there was a small, unfinished, pentangular redoubt. The flanks of both divisions were “in the air.” About one third of a mile in front of Keyes's main force there was a line of pickets from the White Oak Swamp to the Chickahominy.

The third corps, 13,000, commanded by General Heintzelman, was composed of two divisions—Kearney's, 6500, at Bottom's Bridge, was ordered at 4 P.M. on the 30th to prepare to march early next morning to the support of Keyes's corps, and Hooker's division, 6500, at the White Oak Bridge, was instructed to get ready, and—after leaving a sufficient guard of artillery and infantry at the bridge crossings, to follow Kearney at the earliest practicable moment. The two corps,





25,000 effectives, were under the command of General Heintzelman.

Besides têtes-de-pont at these two bridges, and the rifle-pits and abattis protecting the front of the two divisions near Seven Pines, a strong line had been constructed at right angles to, and south of, the Williamsburg road, about a mile and a half east of Seven Pines. This was called the “third line of defence”—it was unoccupied on the 30th of May. The third corps numbered 17,088 “total present” in camp on the 25th of May, but the effective force did not exceed 13,000 muskets. The fourth corps numbered, at the same time, 15,678 present in camp, or about 12,000 “effectives” for line of battle.

General Johnston's information on the 30th of May when he gave orders for battle—was not so specific as the foregoing—taken from General Mindil's account—but it was reasonably accurate in all essential particulars; including the probable reënforcement of the corps at Seven Pines.

Note.—In a work entitled “The Peninsula,” by General Alexander S. Webb, it is stated, page 97, that “the consolidated returns of the army (General McClellan's) show an aggregate of 126,089 officers and men present on May the 31st, with 280 pieces of field artillery.”

General Johnston's Plan and Intentions.—At 12.30 A.M. on the 31st, Gen. G. W. Smith, at his headquarters, on the Brook turnpike, about four miles from Richmond, received the following order from Gen. Johnston:

“Headquarters Department Northern Virginia, “May 30, 1862, 9.15 P.M.

“General:

“If nothing prevents we will fall upon the enemy in front of Major-General Hill—who occupies the position





on the Williamsburg road from which your troops moved to the neighborhood of Meadow Bridges early in the morning—as early as practicable. The Chickahominy will be high—and passable only at the bridges—a great advantage to us. Please be ready to move by the Nine Miles road—coming as early as possible to the point at which the road to New Bridge turns off. Should there be cause of haste, General McLaws, on your approach, will be ordered to leave his ground for you, that he may reënforce General Longstreet.

“Most respectfully your obedient servant, “J. E. Johnston.”

“A copy of this has been sent to General Whiting who is directed to act upon this order in your absence.

“J. E. J.”

Before sunrise that morning General Smith reached General Johnston's headquarters near the Nine Miles road, in the north-east suburb of Richmond. He informed General Johnston that the head of the division, under Whiting, had moved before daylight, and would soon arrive at the point where the Nine Miles road leaves the city; and that it would be able to reach the point where the New Bridge road turns off by eight o'clock. He also informed General Johnston that the command of the remainder of the left wing of the army had been temporarily turned over to General A. P. Hill; who was ordered to place his own division nearer to Meadow Bridges—take command of D. R. Jones's troops and all others in that vicinity—and guard against any movement the enemy might make in that direction from the North bank of the Chickahominy.

General Smith told General Johnston that he did not propose relieving General Whiting of the command of





the division; but that he would accompany it to the designated point, and take whatever part circumstances might require of him in the coming contest. General Johnston approved this, and at once explained his intentions. He said that Longstreet had been ordered to attack the enemy at Seven Pines, as early as possible that morning, with the whole right wing of the army. Longstreet's own division moving into action by the Nine Miles road, which it was already on, part of it three or four miles out from Richmond. D. H. Hill's division to move on the Williamsburg road—and Huger's on the Charles City road, in position to guard against any movement of the enemy on that side; and by lateral roads, come into action on the left flank of the enemy, in case the attack made by Longstreet's and Hill's divisions should meet with prolonged resistance.

One brigade and two regiments of McLaws's division were just east of the New Bridge fork of the Nine Miles road. Longstreet's division on the Nine Miles road could easily have reached that point—about one mile and a half from Fair Oaks station—before seven o'clock. D. H. Hill's division on the Williamsburg road could have moved up to his picket line before that time. General Johnston expected a crushing blow to be struck in the vicinity of Seven Pines by 8 A.M.—and hoped that it would be completely successful before reënforcements of the enemy could reach that point, from the direction of Bottom's Bridge, or from the North bank of the Chickahominy.

But, to provide against contingencies—be ready to meet any reënforcements the enemy might send across the Chickahominy—and be within supporting distance in case Longstreet should need help in his attack—General Johnston said he had considered it prudent to order





the division under Whiting, from the left wing of the army to the right. He was well aware that three of the five corps of General McClellan's army were on the north bank of the Chickahominy—their right at Mechanicsville—and that all the crossings of the river had been for several days in the hands of the enemy. And he fully realized that whilst the bulk of the Confederate army was engaged at Seven Pines and beyond, Richmond would be in danger of attack coming from the north side of the river. He expressed his determination to take position with the supporting division on the Nine Miles road—leaving to General Longstreet the conduct of the attack on Seven Pines.

About 6 A.M. General Whiting, with the head of his column, reached the vicinity of General Johnston's headquarters; but was prevented from reaching the Nine Miles road by troops of Longstreet's division, who were across the line of march of Whiting's command; and were breaking up their camps, loading baggage wagons, and getting ready for march. In a short time General Whiting became very impatient. General Smith then sent an aide-de-camp to General Longstreet, informing him of the cause of delay, and requesting that it be remedied as soon as possible. This aide, Lieutenant R. F. Beckham, asked General Smith where General Longstreet was to be found. General Smith referred him to General Johnston, who was present at the time. The latter said that Longstreet's division was moving on the Nine Miles road, and that General Longstreet, in all probability, was with it. In about an hour General Smith received a note from his aide stating that the division was not on the Nine Miles road: adding, he would cross the country to the Williamsburg road and try to find General Longstreet. It was now about 9 A.M. and





reports were coming in, from our line along the crest of the Chickahominy Bluffs, between New Bridge and the Mechanicsville road, indicating some movement of the enemy on the north bank of the river. By this time Longstreet's troops and baggage trains had ceased crossing Whiting's line of march; but, General Johnston directed that Whiting should not move further until it could be determined where Longstreet's division was.

When General Johnston learned that General Smith's aide reported that Longstreet's division was not on the Nine Miles road—he sent one of his own aides to General Longstreet with instructions to send back at least three brigades to that road, if they had not moved so far as to make the change involve a serious loss of time. General Johnston's aide went rapidly on the Nine Miles road, in search of General Longstreet, and soon found himself within the enemy's picket lines—a prisoner.

The foregoing statement of General Johnston's intentions is different from that given by many writers. For that reason the following documentary proof is presented here:

First. Extracts from a letter addressed to General G. W. Smith, dated February 7, 1863, written by R. F. Beckham, Major of Ordnance, who was a lieutenant and General Smith's aide at the battle of Seven Pines. He says: “I was directed to carry an order to General Longstreet urging him to push forward with his division so that the road might be cleared to enable your division to take up the march. . . . I then asked General Johnston if he could give me any idea of General Longstreet's whereabouts. His reply was that he did not know, but that he ought to be on the march on the Nine Miles road. With instructions to find him if possible, I started off, but could learn nothing of him on the route





indicated by General Johnston. After having gone as far as was necessary to satisfy me that General Longstreet's division was not on the Nine Miles road, I sent, by courier, a note to you stating this fact; and I also remember to have said in it that I would go over to the Williamsburg, or old stage road, and see if General Longstreet could be found there. I found his headquarters at a house on the side of the road, belonging, I think, to a Mr. Poor, and there delivered to him the order given me. Kemper's brigade, which formed a part of General Longstreet's division, was at a halt on the road when I got to General Longstreet's headquarters, and, what surprised me most, was accompanied by wagons loaded with baggage and camp equipage. You will remember that I mentioned this thing to you when I came back to General Johnston's headquarters. I do not remember at what hour I reached General Longstreet. Judging from the time of my joining you at General Johnston's, and the time which must have elapsed before the order was given me, I would suppose it to have been about ten o'clock when I reached Poor's house.”

Second. The following extract is from a letter dated Richmond, June 28th, 1862, written by General J. E. Johnston to General G. W. Smith: “I enclose herewith the first three sheets of your report, to ask a modification—or omission rather. They contain two subjects which I never intended to make generally known, and which I have mentioned to no one but yourself—and mentioned to you as I have been in the habit of doing everything of interest in the military way. I refer to the mention of the misunderstanding between Longstreet and myself in regard to the direction of his division—and that of his note to me, received about 4





o'clock, complaining of my slowness—which note I showed you. As it seems to me that both of these matters concern Longstrret and myself alone, I have no hesitation in asking you to strike them out of your report—as they in no manner concern your operations. I received information of Longstreet's misunderstanding (which may be my fault as I told you at the time) while his troops were moving to the Williamsburg road, and sent to Longstreet to send three brigades by the Nine Miles road, if they had not marched so far as to make the change involve a serious loss of time. This, after telling you of the misunderstanding. Your march from General Semmes's headquarters was not in consequence of the letter from Longstreet. Whiting* had gone at my request, with your permission, to ascertain the state of things with Longstreet. Just before 4 o'clock we heard musketry for the first time, and Whiting† was ordered to advance. Just then Major Whiting rode up and reported from Longstreet—and a moment after the note was brought me—which, after reading it, I showed it to you.”

Third. The following is a copy of the three sheets of General Smith's report addressed to Major Thomas G. Rhett, Adjutant-General, Department of Northern Virginia, and returned by General Johnston. The portions which were omitted, at the request of General Johnston, are placed in italics and marked by brackets.

[note][note]



“Richmond, Va., June 23d, 1862.

“Major:

“On the 28th of May, by direction of General Johnston, I assumed command of the left wing of the army, and on the same day placed my own division temporarily under command of the Senior Brigadier-General, W. H. C. Whiting. At half-past 12 o'clock on the morning of the 31st of May, at my headquarters on the Brook Turnpike, I received a note from General Johnston directing that my division should take position as soon as practicable upon the Nine Miles road, near the New Bridge fork, ready to support, if necessary, the divisions upon the right in an attack upon the enemy which was to be made early in the morning. I was informed that, in case my division did not arrive in time, a portion of the troops composing the centre would be moved forward, and I was directed, in that event, to replace the troops, thus moved, by my division. [On arriving at the headquarters of General Johnston, about sunrise, I learned from him that his intention was that General Longstreet's division should move by the Nine Miles road—that of General D. H. Hill by the Williamsburg stage road—and General Huger's by the Charles City road. The enemy it was understood had already upon this side of the Chickahominy river a force variously estimated at from twenty to forty thousand men. The recent rains had materially increased the difficulty of crossing that stream; and notwithstanding the very bad condition of the roads over which we had to pass, and the boggy, swampy condition of the fields and woods through which our troops would have to operate, it was believed that an energetic attack, early in the morning, properly supported and followed up, would result in defeat to that portion of





the enemy already upon this side, before the other, portion of their army could cross the swollen river; either to reënforce their troops, or to attack the city in our rear. About 8 o'clock, I directed Captain Beckham, Aide-de-Camp, to see General Longstreet on the Nine Miles road, and learn from him the state of affairs, and communicate to me all the information he could obtain in regard to the probable movements of the troops under General Longstreet, in order that I might understandingly give instructions to General Whiting, who had arrived with the head of the division near General Johnston's headquarters—having been for some time waiting for General Longstreet's troops to pass. In about an hour I learned by note from Captain Beckham that neither General Longstreet nor any portion of his command were on the Nine Miles road. This note was immediately shown to General Johnston, who despatched his Aide-de-Camp, Lieutenant Washington, to General Longstreet with directions to turn his division into the Nine Miles road, provided it could be done without material loss of time. This message did not reach General Longstreet. General Johnston's intentions as then explained to me were that whilst General D. H. Hill's division was attacking the enemy's advanced position on the Williamsburg stage road in front, General Huger's division, from the Charles City road, would attack the left flank, and General Longstreet's division would engage the enemy on Hill's left. An hour later Captain Beckham reported that he had found Longstreet's division on the Williamsburg road, halted, for the purpose of allowing General D. H. Hill's troops to file by; and soon after returned with information that General Hill's troops had passed, and that General Longstreet was making all his dispositions





to attack the enemy in conjunction with General Hill's division on the Williamsburg road—his own division being held in reserve on that road.] I then directed General Whiting to move three brigades, viz.: his own, Hood's, and Pettigrew's, near to the fork of the Nine Miles and New Bridge roads; and placed the other two—Hatton's and Hampton's—in reserve near Mrs. Christian's farm. About one o'clock I rejoined General Johnston at the head of the three brigades in position upon the Nine Miles road, and found him anxiously awaiting the development of affairs upon our right. As the day wore on and nothing decisive was heard from General Longstreet's attack, except occasional firing of cannon, and, for some two or three hours, but little musketry, it seemed that no real attack was likely to be made that day, at least. [But between four and five o'clock a note was received from General Longstreet stating that he had attacked and beaten the enemy after several hours, severe fighting; that he had been disappointed in not receiving assistance upon his left; and, although it was now nearly too late, that an attack, by the Nine Mile road, upon the right flank and rear of the enemy would probably yet enable him to drive them into the Chickahominy before dark.”]

The marked portions of the foregoing quotation from General Smith's report are those indicated in pencil by General Johnston, on the return sheets, with a request that they be omitted. This request was based upon his statement that he did not intend to make generally known either Longstreet's note or the misunderstanding between Longstreet and himself in regard to the direction in which Longstreet's division was to move into action; and, upon his opinion that this misunderstanding in no manner concerned the operations of the division, under





Whiting, which bore General Smith's name. Although satisfied, at the time, that General Johnston was mistaken in this opinion, General Smith, whose health was then in a very critical condition, complied with the request of General Johnston, who was lying seriously wounded.

After General Johnston had been informed that Longstreet's division had crossed over to the Williamsburg road, he still had full faith in the ability of the 30,000 men, under Longstreet, to crush the enemy in the vicinity of Seven Pines. In view of this fact, the move-movements of Smith's division under Whiting, which were directed by General Johnston in person, from soon after sunrise until a little before sunset that day, become easily intelligible. Until it was known that the action had fully commenced on the Williamsburg road General Johnston held the supporting division on the Nine Miles road, just within McLaws's picket line. To have moved it farther to the front would have brought it immediately in contact with the enemy, and this would have begun the battle by placing first in action the only force available for holding in check reënforcements the enemy might send from the north bank of the river. In short, would have radically changed General Johnston's plan.

When the heavy musketry firing was heard, in the direction of Seven Pines, there was no longer any necessity for holding the supporting division within the Confederate picket line; and, General Johnston would, no doubt, have ordered this division forward, without waiting for Longstreet's note calling for help. But the hurried advance of this division, into action, directed by General Johnston, in person, would hardly have been so urgently pressed, but for the character of Longstreet's





note, received at the moment the musketry firing was first heard. This note was taken as sufficient evidence that the time had come when the supporting division was needed, in close action, against the enemy in front of Longstreet.

Before giving an account of the operations that followed on the Nine Miles road, attention is called to the following extracts from a leter written by General C. M. Wilcox, dated March 24th, 1875, addressed to General G. W. Smith, giving a description of the movements of three brigades of Longstreet's division on the 31st of May. He says: “I send you the map of Seven Pines. I cannot, as you requested, mark on the map where my command was on the night of the 30th; but, it was about three and a half miles from Richmond on the road that crossed the Chickahominy at New Bridge. We left camp before sun up, and halted near the forks of the Williamsburg and Charles City roads. Remained at the forks of the road until about 3 P.M., then moved down the Charles City road with my own, Pryor's and Colston's brigades of Longstreet's division, and Armistead's and Blanchard's brigades of Huger's division. We were ordered to keep abreast of the musketry then raging fiercely on the Williamsburg road, but nearly a mile off apparently, though in reality a great deal farther in front of us. We moved more than a mile down the Charles City road, and were then ordered, by Longstreet, back to the forks of the road and to move down the Williamsburg road. We had nearly reached the forks when ordered back down the Charles City road, guided by a courier—and to cross over to the Williamsburg road, more than a mile in rear of the fighting, where Longstreet was personally. I was ordered forward, with my own brigade and Pryor's, to report to General D. H. Hill.





Reached him after sunset. One of my regiments, a part of it, engaged, and Colonel Moore, 11th Ala., mortally wounded. At ten o'clock P.M. was ordered by Hill, conducted by one of R. H. Anderson's staff, to move to the front and relieve Anderson's brigade. Found him near two houses, east of Seven Pines—marked on the map by two dots. One regiment, the 19th Miss., farther east, several hundred yards, on picket. Armistead, or a part of his brigade, was a little to the left of Pryor.”

Had Longstreet's division, 14,000, moved on the Nine Miles road at daylight—D. H. Hill's, 11,000 at the same time on the Williamsburg road—and Huger's 5000, on Hill's right by the Charles City road—General Johnston's plan would have been carried out; and his expectations in regard to the success of the attack, he had ordered to be made by the right wing of his army, would, in all probability, have been realized. But, without dwelling longer, at this time, upon what was intended by General Johnston—or what might have happened if his intentions had been carried into effect—an account of what occurred near Fair Oaks, that day, will now be given.

CHAPTER IV.

Operations on the Nine Miles road—casualties in G. W. Smith's division, under General Whiting—letter from one of General Whiting's staff officers—General Smith meets the President and General Lee—the situation after dark.

After General Johnston received General Longstreet's note, at four o'clock P.M., it seemed clear that the enemy in the vicinity of Seven Pines had already been





largely reënforced. For this reason the division on the Nine Miles road, held in observation until that time, was pushed rapidly in the direction of Seven Pines—to assist Longstreet—without further regard to reënforcements of the enemy from the north bank of the river. The three brigades at hand were moved at once—General Johnston directing the movement in person. General Smith was ordered to have Hampton's and Hatton's brigades brought up rapidly, from the position in which they had been placed by direction of General Johnston, and follow the other three brigades. In a few minutes, General Smith, having learned that Hampton and Hatton were in motion, joined Generals Johnston and Whiting in the advance.

A little more than half a mile east of the New Bridge fork of the Nine Miles road the troops swept over the intrenched picket line, and supports, of the enemy, without a halt; passed through their camps, and the head of the column had about reached the point where the Nine Miles road crosses the Richmond and York River Railroad, at Fair Oaks station, when they were fired upon, from a point five or six hundred yards north of that station. At this time Generals Johnston and Whiting were in the advance. General Smith had halted, about half a mile back, in order to give instructions to General Hampton—the head of whose brigade had just reached the rear of Pettigrew's.

In the mean time General Johnston had ordered Hood's brigade to bear to the right—and assist Longstreet in the direct attack. When General Hampton came up to the point at which General Smith had halted, the latter directed him to move his brigade by a wood road, leading to the left and front; and, after gaining a little more than a brigade length, resume his line of march parallel





to the Nine Miles road, which would bring him into line of battle on Pettigrew's left. Hatton was ordered to continue his march on the Nine Miles road; this would place his brigade in reserve behind the line formed by Whiting's, Pettigrew's, and Hampton's brigades.

Upon reaching the edge of the dense wood, some three hundred yards from the clump of trees at Fair Oaks station, General Smith saw the brigades of Whiting and Pettigrew moving into action north of Fair Oaks. For a few minutes it seemed probable that Hampton's brigade in the dense wood—under orders just given by General Smith—would come in collision with the leading brigades, now moving in a direction almost exactly opposite to that contemplated at the time the orders were given to Hampton. Information of the movement of the latter was at once communicated to the two leading brigade commanders and to General Whiting. In a very short time the three brigade commanders understood each others position: and preparations were made to attack the battery again. This attack was repulsed, and in a few minutes our troops, on the right, came streaming back in the direction of the clump of trees at Fair Oaks—two batteries seemed to open upon us.

It was now clear that the movement upon Seven Pines, to assist Longstreet in his attack on that place, must be changed into resisting reënforcements of the enemy that had evidently come from the north bank of the Chickahominy. This was the principal, original purpose in ordering Smith's division from the left wing of the army. Longstreet, from last accounts, was not more than equal to the task of beating the enemy already in his front. This new movement was against his left flank and rear; and must be stopped before it reached him.

When our troops were beaten back, and the two batteries





opened upon us, General Johnstou was at the grove near Fair Oaks, and General Smith was at the point from which he had first observed the two leading brigades moving into action. It was now near six o'clock P.M. General Johnston sent word to General Smith to have all the available troops brought up quickly. Hatton's brigade had just arrived, and was in the open field north of the Nine Miles road, between the large woods and Fair Oaks. General Smith sent General Johnston's order to the nearest of Magruder's brigade commanders direct. In the mean time the men who had been driven back on our right had reformed and were again fighting. The firing was redoubled. On receipt of General Johnston's order to have the troops brought up, General Smith ordered Hatton's brigade and Lightfoot's regiment of Pettigrew's brigade, which was in reserve in the oat field, to move into the wood north of Fair Oaks—take position in the front line—and drive the enemy back if possible. He went into action with these troops; and had not proceeded far in the wood before he met General Hampton. The enemy's line of infantry was very close to that of Hampton, whose ranks had been much opened in order to prevent his left flank from being overlapped. Hatton's brigade and Lightfoot's regiment formed in the front line with the troops already engaged. General Hatton was killed just as his troops reached the extreme front; about the same time General Pettigrew was wounded (supposed mortally), and was taken prisoner; and a few minutes later, General Hampton was wounded and disabled.

Repeated attempts were made to force the enemy back; but, no perceptible change occurred in their line or ours, on that part of the field, after General Smith reached the extreme front. The conflict was close and





deadly—a large proportion of field officers were killed or disabled. At dark we had failed to drive the enemy back—but we had stopped their movement upon the left flank and rear of Longstreet's forces at Seven Pines.

When it became almost too dark in the wood to distinguish friend from foe—and the firing had virtually ceased—General Smith gave directions to have word passed along the line to fall back slowly and reform in the open field, about one hundred yards to the rear. He then rode back through this field to the Nine Miles road. One or two of Magruder's brigades came up just before dark, but too late to take any part in the action. Hood's brigade—which had been sent direct to Longstreet's assistance by General Johnston—had been recalled—but did not reach Fair Oaks until the battle was ended, at dark.

The following official report shows the number of killed, wounded, and missing in each brigade of G. W. Smith's division. The division was commanded by Brigadier-General W. H. C. Whiting.

“Consolidated report of casualties in the 1st Division, 1st Corps, May 31, 1862:

Brigades.Killed.Wounded.Missing.Total.
1st Brigade—HoodNone13None13
2d Brigade—Hampton45284None329
3d Brigade—Whiting2828642356
4th Brigade—Pettigrew4724054341
5th Brigade—Hatton4418713244
16410101091283

“Respectfully submitted,

“John T. Darby,

“Acting Chief Surgeon, 1st Division, 1st Corps.”





This division was 10,500 strong. The four brigades engaged numbered something over 8000. The Confederates had no artillery in this action, because of the boggy nature of the ground, and the hurried character of the movement called for by General Longstreet's note to General Johnston.

An officer of General Whiting's staff describes the movements of this division on the 31st of May.—The following extract is from a letter dated Milledgeville, Ga., February, 1868, addressed to General G. W. Smith by Colonel B. W. Frobel, of the Confederate States Engineers, who was a Major on General Whiting's staff at the battle of Seven Pines: “You ask me to give you my recollection of the part taken by your division in the battle of Seven Pines, and I do so with pleasure. On the night of the 30th of May we were encamped at Dill's farm near the Meadow Bridge road. About midnight an order was received from General Johnston directing us to prepare for action. General W. H. C. Whiting was at that time commanding your division, you being in command of the left wing of the army. About 3.30 A.M. I was sent by General Whiting down the Nine Miles road, to make myself familiar with it, that I might make no mistake in guiding Pettigrew's brigade down that road to the position assigned them in the coming battle. Pettigrew moved out of camp about 6 A.M. On reaching the Nine Miles road in the vicinity of General Johnston's headquarters, we found other portions of the division halted, as I afterwards learned, to let Longstreet's troops pass. These troops were moving across the Nine Miles road to the right. So soon as they were out of the way we moved on, as rapidly as the condition of the roads would admit, to a position near the forks of the Nine Miles and New Bridge





roads. Here we halted and formed line of battle, waiting for the signal to advance, which was to be heavy firing on our right from Longstreet's troops, who were on the Williamsburg road. General Johnston, as well as yourself, had accompanied the division, and both of you were with it at this time. After waiting several hours, near 5 P.M. the signal was heard. Orders were at once given to advance, which we did, driving the enemy before us, with scarcely a show of resistance, to the open field near the small house where General Johnston was afterward wounded. Hood's brigade was moving on the right of the Nine Miles road, and Whiting's brigade on the left. Hampton and Pettigrew were still farther to the left, and Hatton in reserve. Generals Johnston and Whiting were following immediately after Whiting's brigade. As Whiting's brigade reached the road near the railroad crossing, I was sent to halt it. On returning after doing this, I joined Generals Whiting and Johnston, who were riding toward the crossing. General Whiting was expostulating with General Johnston about taking the division across the railroad—insisting that the enemy were in force on our left flank and rear. General Johnston replied, ‘Oh! General Whiting, you are too cautious.’ At this time we reached the crossing, and nearly at the same moment the enemy opened an artillery fire from the direction pointed out by General Whiting. We moved back up the road near the small white house. Whiting's brigade was gone—it had been ordered forward to charge the batteries which were firing on us. The brigade was repulsed, and in a few minutes came streaming back through the little skirt of woods to the left of the Nine Miles road near the crossing. There was only a part of the brigade in this charge. Pender soon rallied and re-formed these on the edge of





the woods. General Whiting sent an order to him to reconnoitre the batteries, and if he thought they could be taken, to try it again. Before he could do so some one galloped up, shouting ‘Charge that battery!’ The men moved forward at a double-quick, but were repulsed as before, and driven back to the woods. In the mean time there was heavy fighting going on to the left, Hatton's, Hampton's and Pettigrew's brigades having engaged the enemy in that direction. At this moment matters had become so critical on that portion of the field that, although not commanding the division, you had gone to Hampton's and Hatton's brigades and taken a personal supervision over their immediate line of battle. Hampton was wounded, Pettigrew wounded and a prisoner, and Hatton killed, and his brigade much demoralized. At this time I was ordered to bring up Hood. I found him to the right of the railroad, a little to the left of the Williamsburg road and not a great way from Seven Pines. By the time he reached the position indicated on the left of the railroad it was nearly dark. I joined General Whiting and yourself in the little oat-field where the battle began, and about two hundred yards from the place where General Johnston had been wounded. Whiting's brigade still held the wood where they had made their first charge, and so did Hampton's, Hatton's, and Pettigrew's brigades. You immediately set about reforming our lines.”

General Smith meets the President, and sends for General Longstreet.—When General Smith, at dark, ordered the line to withdraw a short distance and re-form in the open field, he had not heard that General Johnston was wounded, and he knew nothing of what had occurred in the right wing of the army later than General Longstreet's note to General Johnston received at 4 P.M.





Just after leaving the wood General Smith was informed that General Johnston had been disabled and taken from the field; and within three minutes thereafter he reached the point in the oat-field near the Nine Miles road from which he first saw the brigades of Whiting and Pettigrew moving into action. He there met President Davis and General Lee. In answer to inquiries made by the President General Smith explained fully what he knew of General Johnston's intentions and expectations at sunrise that morning, as already stated—the unexpected movement of Longstreet's troops from the Nine Miles road to the Williamsburg road—the consequent delays—the note received by General Johnston from General Longstreet at 4 P.M. asking for help—the hurried movement made under General Johnston's immediate personal direction in aid of Longstreet—the sudden appearance of the enemy from the north bank of the Chickahominy which resulted in the contest north of Fair Oaks—General Johnston's order for all of the troops that were within reach to be brought up rapidly—described the contest that had occurred in the woods, on the left of our line—and then asked if anything had been heard on the Nine Miles road from the 30,000 men under Longstreet—later than the note received by General Johnston at 4 o'clock.

Nothing further had been heard, and the President then asked General Smith what were his plans. In answer General Smith told him that he could not understandingly determine what was best to be done until something was known of the condition of affairs in the right wing of the army—and some data obtained in regard to the position and strength of the enemy on that side; and added it might be found expedient to withdraw to better ground covering Richmond, or it might





not—all depended on what had occurred in the right wing.

The President suggested that, if we remained, the enemy might withdraw during the night, which would give us the moral effect of a victory. General Smith replied that he would not withdraw without good reason—all would depend upon what had occurred on the Williamsburg road—nothing had happened on our side to make it necessary to retire. Soon after this, the President and General Lee rode away. General Smith sent parties, by different routes, to communicate with General Longstreet and request him to come over to the Nine Miles road for conference and instructions; and arranged with General Whiting the rectification of his lines upon the field—and the reorganization of the brigades which had lost their commanders and a large portion of field officers.

A short time after dark, General J. E. B. Stuart, who had been, during the day, on the extreme right, with a portion of the cavalry, picketing the Charles City road and the White Oak Swamp, reached the field near Fair Oaks, and informed General Smith that the enemy had not moved south of Williamsburg road, from the position they had held at White Oak Bridge—that, our troops had carried the intrenched position at Seven Pines some time before sunset, and had moved beyond that point—but he did not know how far. He had several good guides with him, and he offered to go in person to General Longstreet and have him piloted to the headquarters on the Nine Miles road. The gap between Whiting's right and Longstreet's left was then believed to be about a mile.

The situation after dark.—When General Smith succeeded to the command the condition of affairs was not





what General Johnston had hoped for and expected at sunrise that morning. The sudden and, if possible, crushing blow which he intended should be delivered early in the morning, had been delayed until the afternoon—time had been allowed for the enemy to bring up reënforcements to Seven Pines from the direction of Bottom's Bridge—and to bring on to the field, north of Fair Oaks, reënforcements from the left bank of the Chickahominy. Whilst the Confederates had succeeded finally in carrying the works at Seven Pines, the contest on that part of the field only ceased at dark, and was indecisive. North of Fair Oaks the Confederate troops that were moving by the Nine Miles road to Longstreet's support at Seven Pines, had been interrupted in their march by heavy reënforcements of the enemy from the left bank of the Chickahominy. These reënforcements were checked in their forward movement, but the Confederate attempt to drive them back into or across the river in their rear, had failed.

After the President and General Lee left the field Hood's brigade was placed along the Nine Miles road, its right a little west of Fair Oaks station; Whiting's brigade on the left of Hood's, extending into the large wood on the north of the Nine Miles road, and the other three brigades within close supporting distance. General Smith then returned to the headquarters on the Nine Miles road, near the New Bridge fork. About nine o'clock P.M. the following was received there from General McLaws: “I am at the position opposite the New Bridge. The colonel in command informs me that there is a heavy force opposite this point, and that this evening the pickets reported that the enemy had been throwing heavy objects in the river. As pontoon boats have been seen there, it is supposed they are making a





pontoon bridge. The force to guard this point is two regiments. . . . We have no force to fill up the gap between this and your left except two regiments of Kershaw's, and Semmes's brigade. . . . If this position is forced your command will be in great danger, as you are aware.”

About the same time General A. P. Hill, temporarily commanding the left wing of the army, reported that all had been quiet during the day near Meadow Bridges in front of his division; but the enemy's batteries in the vicinity of Mechanicsville had been firing heavily without inflicting any material damage. About half-past eleven o'clock the following, dated 11 P.M., was received from General McLaws: “The positions of the troops are as follows: General Cobb, five regiments, from the Mechanicsville road to General Harvey's place; General Kershaw from General Harvey's to Baker's; Generals Griffith and Semmes from General Kershaw's right to New Bridge, and on the line down New Bridge road and across the country to connect with the railroad. Notice has been received that General Cobb's brigade is to be relieved from Mechanicsville and sent towards the right—the arrangement of the troops will be relatively the same, but more concentrated.”

A short time before midnight General Smith received a note from General Stuart stating that, at half-past ten o'clock P.M., he had failed to find General Longstreet. At midnight General Smith had heard nothing from General Longstreet.

General Whiting's division, in front of the enemy, was supported by a very thin line on the left, and on its right there was a gap—supposed to be about a mile—between Whiting's troops and the right wing of the army, under Longstreet, east of Seven Pines. At forty





minutes after midnight General Smith wrote to General Longstreet asking the position of his command at dark, the condition of his men, and requesting his views in regard to the operations to be undertaken in his front that morning.

At this time General Smith supposed that all the troops of the right wing of the army bad been closely engaged from early in the afternoon until dark; he knew that heavy reënforcements of the enemy from the north bank of the Chickahominy had come over the river late in the afternoon—had no reason to believe that all the bridges had become impassable—therefore, assumed that additional reënforcements might arrive during the night, and did not know at what point in our rear the enemy might cross the very slightly-guarded river.

CHAPTER V.

General Mindil's account of Federal operations on the 31st of May Correspondence between Generals Johnston and Smith.

General Mindil says:* “There were no troops in position on Casey's left, and his line on that flank only extended some two hundred yards beyond the main road. Had Longstreet, with but half of his division, moved promptly forward and occupied the ground to Casey's left—and there was nothing to prevent him—he would have reached the flank and rear of the Union line, just where Huger was expected to strike it after a wide detour. To wait for Huger six hours before commencing

[note]



the attack, and then to withhold two strong divisions for four hours more, was certainly not great generalship. Such a movement by Longstreet as we have just described would in itself have been decisive. . . . The troops (Casey's division) were ordered under arms, the artillery was brought into position, and a line of battle was formed about one third of a mile in front of the intrenchments. At about half-past one o'clock this line met Hill's fierce onset, and though resisting gallantly, was soon obliged to retire. . . . At the intrenchments the fighting was heavy and severe, but by dint of superior numbers in front and in flank (Rain's brigade having turned the redoubt) Casey was compelled to relinquish his works. So sudden and unexpected was the flank movement of the Confederates on the left, that the Union troops retired rapidly, and in some confusion. The greater part of Casey's division did not again become engaged, but retired to ‘the third line of defence,’ where they were re-formed and supplied with ammunition. . . . But Keyes did have in position along the Nine Miles road the division of General Couch, about 7000 strong, the gallant remnant of Naglee's brigade, some 1200 more, and four or five batteries of artillery. Against this force, partly protected by an abattis and a line of low rifle-pits, Hill's troops, now re-formed and reënforced by Longstreet's brigade, under Anderson, were directed to advance. . . . In their advance the Confederates were exposed to a galling fire in front, as well as to a most destructive fire in flank, from Kearney's troops, that Heintzelman had pushed forward. Berry's brigade, under the intrepid Kearney, swept like a gale through the woods on the left of the road, and in the audacious advance soon drove the foe out of the slashing in their front, and occupying the felled timber





themselves, soon commanded with their rifles the left of Casey's abandoned camps. In this advanced but well-protected position Kearney changed his front to the right, and at once ordered a terrible fire of musketry against the flank of the Confederate column pushing east along the Williamsburg road. Jameson's brigade of Kearney's division now reached the field. . . One division of Heintzelman's (corps) had now been brought into action, and its determined attack and splendid fighting encouraged to renewed efforts the brave but almost exhausted men of Couch's line. . . . The annoying fire of his (Kearney's) troops on the Confederate flank and rear caused the latter to cross to the north of the road, there to add their weight to the already too heavy column engaged with Couch. . . . This overwhelming advance on Couch's right could not be resisted, and a rapid change of front to the rear on the left battalion opposed a new oblique line of battle, facing north-west, against the advance of the Southern columns. General Couch, a few moments previous to this break in his line, had passed over to the railroad, taking with him three of his regiments to reënforce the small force consisting of Brady's battery of four guns, and the Thirty-first Pennsylvania regiment of infantry, hotly engaged near the station with Smith's advance. . . . Longstreet, by pushing across the Nine Mile road, had isolated Couch with his battery and four regiments from the rest of his division. . . . It was now five o'clock, and Kearney was still holding the advance position on the extreme left, while the brigades of Devens, Abercrombie, Peck, and Naglee, near Seven Pines, were stubbornly contesting every foot of ground. . . . Birney's brigade—which had halted on the railroad, owing to a most unfortunate conflict in orders for which he





was not responsible—had not fired a shot—was now again directed to advance, and Birney had hardly passed half a mile to the front when his skirmishers were fired upon from a piece of woods running south from the railroad and skirting the western front of Mrs. E. Allen's farm. . . . And he was just in time, after a bloody encounter, to repulse a formidable flank movement then in progress against Keyes's right. The Confederates, after crossing the Nine Miles road, had advanced their left column along a farm road running parallel with and about equidistant to the railroad and Williamsburg road, and it was on this small road, near the south-west corner of the Allen field, that Birney struck their head of column and caused them to desist from their efforts in that direction. . . . Darkness was rapidly approaching, and Longstreet and Hill now redoubled their efforts to drive from the shelter of the wood, between the farm road just referred to and the Williamsburg road, and east of the Nine Miles road, the Union troops that had so gallantly disputed its possession. . . . Kearney, with Berry's brigade, held his position far to the front and on the extreme left, but the Confederate advance beyond the Seven Pines had cut him off from the rest of his troops. . . . Facing the Thirty-seventh New York regiment to the rear, under cover of their fire, he quickly withdrew his intercepted regiments, passing over a wood road, via Anderson's Mill, into the White Oak Swamp, and from there, by a short detour, regaining the Williamsburg road. By this bold manœuvre he not only saved his regiments, but reached the intrenched line in time to aid in organizing its defence, and in again pushing forward some of his gallant men to the aid of the main line, still contesting every inch of ground three fourths of a mile in front. The last





attack of the enemy was made in deep masses just before dark, and met with a complete repulse.”

In reference to the movements of General Sumner's column and that portion of General Couch's division which was cut off and thrown back north of the railroad, General Mindil says:* “About four o'clock in the afternoon of May 31st while Longstreet and Hill, with their divisions, were still struggling in vain to force the abattis in Couch's front, the Confederate chieftain, ‘deeming it idle to keep General Smith longer out of action for a contingency so remote as the coming of reënforcements from the Federal right,’ gave orders for the troops massed on the Nine Mile road to move forward into battle. The two advance brigades of Law (Whiting's) and Pettigrew were gallantly met by the 31st Pennsylvania regiment and Brady's battery, afterward reënforced by three additional regiments under General Couch in person. Johnston, believing that this small force of Union troops was already attacked by numbers sufficiently strong to insure their defeat, passed to the south of the railroad with Hood's brigade, and ordered it into line on Longstreet's left. . . . As early as two o'clock P.M. General Heintzelman had sent to Generals McClellan and Sumner for aid. And it was in response to his repeated calls that Sumner put his divisions in march, arriving with Sedgwick's near the field of battle at a most critical time, when the new flank movement of Smith's column was dangerously threatening Heintzelman's right. The defeated forces under General Couch, heretofore alluded to as being cut off from the remainder of his command, after gallantly contesting the Confederates’ overwhelming advance, had slowly retired, in good order, in the direction of the Chickahominy bridges, where aid, if any, could be expected.

[note]



To this force were joined the advancing regiments under Sedgwick and a new forward movement commenced. The Confederates that had been pushing Couch were now pressed back in turn; and General Johnston, seeing this new reënforcement suddenly appear on the field, ordered Smith to desist from his advance to the south of the railroad, and to change front against the line of blue now rapidly advancing with all the enthusiasm of success. Smith's five brigades were ordered into action, and the division of General Magruder was brought up to the support. Charge after charge, with the most reckless daring, was made against the Union line, but each in turn was disastrously repulsed. Kirby's battery of regulars, formerly Magruder's, succeeded in crossing with the infantry. . . . Three separate charges were made on the guns, but Kirby fired them with a rapidity never surpassed, and the deadly volleys of grape and canister, at short range, poured into the enemy's ranks, caused him to stagger, reel, then fall back, while the second and third lines of the infantry, firing over the first, cut them down by hundreds. It was Sumner's turn to charge. . . . He hurled five regiments with fixed bayonets against the foe. The attack was irresistible; the enemy's line was broken and forced in disorder from the field to the dark belt of woods beyond. This heroic charge decided the battle on that flank, and darkness being near all firing soon ceased, General Sumner remaining in possession of the field he had so gallantly won. During the progress of the fighting we have just described, General Heintzelman was by no means idle. Feeling certain, between six and seven o'clock, that he had checked the enemy in his own front, and no longer fearing for his immediate right, he again ordered Birney forward in the direction





of the heavy and continuous firing beyond the railroad. Birney met with but slight opposition in his advance, captured some two hundred prisoners, among them Colonel Bratton of the 6th South Carolina, and finally reached the open field (Hyer's) to Sumner's left rear; the 7th Massachusetts regiment being sent by Sumner to complete the connection. The battle of the day was over. . . . But seven pieces of artillery had reached the field (including Brady's); Richardson's division and the batteries of the corps not joining Sumner until after the action.”

It is thus seen that, a short time before dark, the Confederate right wing, thirty thousand men, under General Longstreet, had been so thoroughly checked, that General Heintzelman ordered Birney's brigade to move in the direction of the heavy and continuous firing, north of Fair Oaks station, where Sedgwick's division and four or five regiments from Couch's division, with seven pieces of artillery, well posted, were still being closely pressed by four brigades of the division under General Whiting—Hood's brigade of that division having been previously sent, by General Johnston, direct to Longstreet's assistance. In other words, the Confederate supporting force, on the Nine Miles road, after sending one brigade direct to Longstreet's assistance, had not only held at bay the Federal reënforcements from the north bank of the Chickahominy and the four (or more) regiments, and a battery cut off from Couch's division; but pressed them so hard that General Heintzelman, a short time before dark, detached a brigade from the forces that had thoroughly checked General Longstreet's advance and ordered it to move in the direction of the heavy and continued firing north of Fair Oaks station.





Extracts from Correspondence between Generals Johnston and Smith.—On the 19th of December, 1867, General J. E. Johnston wrote to General G. W. Smith, saying: “The accounts of Federal officers of our operations in 1862 have revived an intention that I formed at the close of the war to make a military report. To assist me in doing so I ask your evidence on two points in which you are no less interested than myself.” The first point referred to by General Johnston was the conference held at Richmond, in April. The second was in reference to Seven Pines. In regard to the latter General Johnston says: “General Sumner, in his testimony before the Committee on the Conduct of the War, in his narrative, describes the opening of the battle and its continuance for a short time—and then says that five or six regiments which he had on the left of the artillery, charged over a broken fence and routed the rebels—and ended the battle for that day, the 31st. I can't contradict him with effect without official evidence. My recollection is very distinct of the impression that the action was terminated by night, and that you bivouacked on the ground.”

On the 23d of the same month General Smith replied, giving in substance what had occurred on the Confederate left that afternoon, and added, “There is a good deal yet to be told before the world will understand what occurred at Seven Pines or Fair Oaks. Have you ever seen the ‘History of the Army of the Potomac’ (Federal), by Swinton? He attributes to my slowness—or worse—the failure of your plans; and leaves the impression that his narrative of events on the Confederate side was obtained from yourself and General Longstreet. When you requested me to omit certain facts, stated in my hurried official report to you, because, in





your opinion, they did not concern me or my command, I acceded to the earnest request of a friend, and directed the paragraphs indicated, in pencil, by you, to be omitted. And ‘History’ now says (see Swinton's ‘Army of the Potomac,’ p. 135), ‘Meantime, though the divisions of Longstreet and Hill had thus for three hours been vigorously pushing forward on the Williamsburg road, the column of G. W. Smith, to which had been intrusted the important flanking operation already indicated in Johnston's original plan, had not yet moved.’ And a good deal more of the same sort of ‘History’ about the battle of Seven Pines. . . . I have always regretted that the serious attack of illness which I suffered from on the 2d of June (the day after Lee relieved me—and from which I have never fully recovered) prevented my requiring all subordinates to make full reports to me of what transpired during the eighteen hours I commanded on that battle-field. . . . I am ‘interested,’ and I want all the facts known.”

On the 16th of January, 1868, General Johnston replied to the above, saying, “I thank you for your explanation of the incident in the battle of Fair Oaks, which is so magnified by General Sumner and Mr. Swinton. I regard the passage of Mr. Swinton's book, which you quote, and the next passage, as representing me (and truly) as fixing the time when your troops were put in motion. I think that examination of the two passages in connection will bring you to the same conclusion.”

General Smith wrote in reply to this, on the 19th of January, 1868, saying, “The question in reference to Swinton's account of the battle of Seven Pines, quoted in my letter of the 23d ult., is not as to whether you put my troops in motion at a given time, but in reference





to the slowness of G. W. Smith in carrying out your ‘original plan.’ ”

General Johnston replied to this on the 21st of January, but confined his remarks exclusively to the first of the two points referred to in his letter of the 19th of December. He made no allusion to ‘his original plan’—Swinton's history—or the Battle of Seven Pines.

Colonel Frobel in his letter addressed to General Smith, already quoted from, says: “You have called my attention to the account given by Mr. Swinton—in his ‘History of the Army of the Potomac’—of this battle. Mr. Swinton is surely greatly mistaken. The division was under the immediate command of General Whiting, and he directly under General Johnston, who was with the division the whole day until he was wounded late in the afternoon. I am satisfied that no blame can attach to General Whiting for not being on the field sooner. Mr. Swinton must also be mistaken about the slowness of that division frustrating an important flank movement indicated in ‘Johnston's original plan.’ I never heard of the movement until I saw it mentioned in Mr. Swinton's book, and certainly no mention was made of it in any battle order sent to our headquarters.”

CHAPTER VI.

Ex-President Davis's description of operations on the 31st of May. Author's comments.

The official position held at the time by Mr. Davis, his early education, service in the regular army of the United States and in the volunteers during the Mexican War, his experience in the civil service of the government





of the United States, as Secretary of War, and in both houses of Congress—all tend to give weight to his opinions. As President of the Confederate States he was the Commander-in-Chief of the Army and Navy, had access to all official information, and power to compel a complete exhibit of facts. In view of his experience, opportunities, and declared intentions, it would seem reasonable to suppose that his statements would be strictly correct.

The following quotations are from his account of this battle: * “In the forenoon of the 31st of May, riding out on the New Bridge road, I heard firing in the direction of Seven Pines. As I drew nearer, I saw General Whiting, with part of General Smith's division, file into the road in front of me; at the same time, I saw General Johnston ride across the field from a house before which General Lee's horse was standing. I turned down to the house and asked General Lee what the musketry firing meant. He replied by asking whether I had heard it, and was answered in the affirmative; he said he had been of that impression himself, but General Johnston had assured him it could be nothing more than an artillery duel. It is scarcely necessary to add that neither of us had been advised of a design to attack the enemy that day. We then walked out to the rear of the house to listen, and were satisfied that an action, or at least a severe skirmish, must be going on. General Johnston states in his report that the condition of the air was peculiarly unfavorable to the transmission of sound. . . . General Lee and myself then rode to the field of battle, which

[note]



may be briefly described as follows: the Chickahominy, flowing in front, is a deep, sluggish, and narrow river, bordered by marshes and covered with tangled wood. The line of battle extended along the Nine Mile road, across the York River Railroad and Williamsburg stage road. The enemy had constructed redoubts, with long lines of rifle-pits covered by abattis, from below Bottom's Bridge to within less than two miles of New Bridge, and had constructed bridges to connect his forces on the north and south sides of the Chickahominy. The left of his forces on the south side was thrown forward from the river, the right was on its bank, and covered by its slope. . . . Our main force was on the right flank of our position, extending on both sides of the Williamsburg road, near to its intersection with the Nine Mile road. This wing consisted of Hill's, Huger's, and Longstreet's divisions, with light batteries, and a small force of cavalry. The division of General G. W. Smith, less Hood's brigade, ordered to the right, formed the left wing, and its position was on the Nine Mile road. There were small tracts of cleared land, but most of the ground was wooded, and much of it so covered with water as to seriously embarrass the movement of the troops. When General Lee and I, riding down the Nine Mile road, reached the left of our line, we found the troops hotly engaged. Our men had driven the enemy from his advanced encampment, and he had fallen back behind an open field, to the bank of the river, where, in a dense wood, was concealed an infantry line, with artillery in position. Soon after our arrival, General Johnston, who had gone farther to the right, where the conflict was expected, and whither reënforcement from the left was marching, was brought back severely wounded, and, as soon as an





ambulance could be obtained, was moved from the field. Our troops on the left made vigorous assaults under most disadvantageous circumstances. They made several gallant attempts to carry the enemy's position, but were each time repulsed with heavy loss. After a personal reconnaissance on the left of the open in our front, I sent one, then another, and another courier to General Magruder, directing him to send a force down by the wooded path, just under the bluff, to attack the enemy in flank and reverse. Impatient of delay, I had started to see General Magruder, when I met the third courier, who said he had not found General Magruder, but had delivered the message to Brigadier-General Griffith who was moving by the path designated, to make the attack. On returning to the field, I found that the attack in front had ceased; it was, therefore, too late for a single brigade to effect anything against the large force of the enemy, and messengers were sent through the wood to direct General Griffith to go back. The heavy rain during the night of the 30th had swollen the Chickahominy; it was rising when the battle of Seven Pines was fought, but had not reached such height as to prevent the enemy from using his bridges: consequently, General Sumner, during the engagement, brought over his corps as a reënforcement. He was on the north side of the river, had built two bridges to connect with the south side, and, though their coverings were loosened by the upward pressure of the rising water, they were not yet quite impassable. With the true instinct of the soldier to march upon fire, when the sound of the battle reached him, he formed his corps and stood under arms waiting for an order to advance. He came too soon for us, and, but for his forethought and promptitude, he would have arrived too late for his friends. It may be granted





that his presence saved the left wing of the Federal Army from defeat. As we had permitted the enemy to fortify before our attack, it would have been better to have waited another day, until the bridges should have been rendered impassable by the rise of the river. General Lee, at night-fall, gave instructions to General Smith, the senior officer on that part of the battle-field, and left with me to return to Richmond. Thus far I have only attempted to describe events on the extreme left of the battle-field, being that part of which I had personal observation; but the larger force and consequently the more serious conflict were upon the right of the line. To these I will now refer. Our force there consisted of the divisions of Major-Generals D. H. Hill, Huger, and Longstreet, the latter in chief command. In his report first published in the ‘Southern Historical Society Papers,’ Vol. III. pp. 277, 278, he writes: ‘Agreeably to verbal instructions from the commanding General, the division of Major-General D. H. Hill was, on the morning of the 31st ult., formed at an early hour on the Williamsburg road, as the column of attack upon the enemy's front on that road. . . . The division of Major-General Huger was intended to make a strong flank movement around the left of the enemy's position and attack him in rear of that flank. . . . After waiting some six hours for these troops to get into position, I determined to move forward without regard to them, and gave orders to that effect to Major-General D. H. Hill. The forward movement began about two o'clock, and our skirmishers soon became engaged with those of the enemy. The entire division of General Hill became engaged about three o'clock, and drove the enemy speedily back, gaining possession of his abattis and part of his intrenched camp: General Rodes, by a movement





to the right, driving in the enemy's left. The only reënforcements on the field in hand were my own brigades, of which Anderson's, Wilcox's, and Kemper's were put in by the front on the Williamsburg road, and Colston's and Pryor's by my right flank. At the same time the decided and gallant attack made by the other brigades gained entire possession of the enemy's position, with his artillery, camp equipage, etc. Anderson's brigade, under Colonel Jenkins, pressing forward rapidly, continued to drive the enemy until night-fall. . . . The conduct of the attack was left entirely to Major-General Hill. The entire success of the affair is sufficient evidence of his ability, courage, and skill.’ This tribute to General Hill was no more than has been awarded to him by others who knew of his services on that day, and was in keeping with the determined courage, vigilance, and daring exhibited by him on other fields.”

The Ex-President exonerates General Huger, and proceeds to say:* “From the final report of General Longstreet already cited, it appears that he was ordered to attack on the morning of the 31st, and he explains why it was postponed for six hours; then he states that it was commenced by the division of General D. H. Hill, which drove the enemy steadily back, pressing forward until night-fall. The movement of Rodes’ brigade on the right flank is credited with having contributed much to the dislodgment of the enemy from their abattis and first intrenchments. As just stated, General Longstreet reports a delay of some six hours in making this attack because he was waiting for General Huger, and then made it successfully with Hill's division

[note]



and some brigades of his own. These questions must naturally arise in the mind of the reader: Why did not our troops on the left, during this long delay, as well as during the period occupied by Hill's assault, co-operate in the attack? and why, the battle having been preconceived, were they so far removed as not to hear the first guns? The officers of the Federal army, when called before a committee of their Congress to inquire into the conduct of the war, have, by their testimony, made it quite plain that the divided condition of their troops and the length of time required for their concentration, after the battle commenced, rendered it practicable for our forces, if united, as taking the initiative they well might have been, to have crushed or put to flight first Keyes's and then Heintzelman's corps before Sumner crossed the Chickahominy, between five and six o'clock in the evening.”

Comments.—It was after four o'clock in the afternoon, and not in the forenoon, when General Johnston rode from the house Mr. Davis refers to. At that time heavy and continuous musketry firing had been distinctly heard, and General Johnston had received General Longstreet's note calling for help. Mr. Davis speaks as if the firing and the movement of the troops under Whiting—the conversation he had with General Lee—and his going to the rear of the house to listen—all occurred in the forenoon. This extreme inaccuracy is inexcusable in an account of a battle.

But this is of little importance compared with the gross errors contained in his description of the battlefield. The Chickahominy is about two miles from the right of the Federal position; which was on the Richmond and York River Railroad, near Fair Oaks. The Chickahominy flowed in rear of their troops on the





Richmond side of the river, and not “in front.” He is equally in error in stating that “the enemy had constructed redoubts with long lines of rifle-pits covered by abattis, from below Bottom's Bridge to within less than two miles of New Bridge.” They had constructed a tête-de-pont at White Oak Bridge; another at Bottom's Bridge; a strong line of works at right angles to the Williamsburg road, about a mile and a half east of Seven Pines; and two lines of rifle-pits with abattis, from the Williamsburg road, in the vicinity of Seven Pines, to the railroad near Fair Oaks station. At a point half a mile west of Seven Pines, just south of the Williamsburg road, there was a small, unfinished, pentangular redoubt; and across the Nine Miles road, about a mile in advance of Fair Oaks station, the Federals had a line of rifle-pits supporting their pickets.

Mr. Davis says: “The division of General G. W. Smith, less Hood's brigade ordered to the right, formed the left wing of the Confederate forces.” But, he knew, from General Smith, at dark on the 31st, that this division, under Whiting, had been ordered from the left wing of the army to the point designated on the Nine Miles road, just within the Confederate picket lines, to act as a supporting force; and was not ordered, or expected to attack unless the right wing failed to overpower the Federal corps, isolated at Seven Pines; or, unless the Federals sent reënforcements from the north bank of the Chickahominy.

Mr. Davis says the enemy on the Nine Miles road “had fallen back behind an open field to the bank of the river,” when he and General Lee reached the left of our line. The position of the enemy north of Fair Oaks was in fact nearly two miles from the river. Before General Johnston was wounded he had sent instructions





to General Smith directing that all the available troops should be brought up as rapidly as possible. General Johnston's order was at once transmitted to the commanders of the only two brigades within reach that had not already been brought up, and the action north of Fair Oaks continued until dark. It is not considered necessary to comment upon the extraordinary efforts President Davis says he made to achieve victory, with a single brigade, by taking personal command on the field—or to say anything about the reasons he assigns for the failure of his special effort.

When the order was given, in the afternoon of the 30th, for the right wing of the Confederate army to attack the enemy at Seven Pines, it had not commenced to rain. At that time the cover in front of the lines of the enemy in the vicinity of Seven Pines was unfinished—Kearney's division was near Bottom's Bridge—Hooker's at White Oak Bridge—and both of these divisions had orders to march, on the morning of the 31st, to support the Fourth Corps at Seven Pines.* “The crossings of the Chickahominy at the Upper Trestle and New Bridges were favorable for artillery, cavalry, and infantry on the morning of June 1st, and the railroad bridge remained intact during the storm and freshet.” In view of these facts it is not necessary to comment on Mr. Davis's assertion that, “as we had permitted the enemy to fortify before our attack, it would have been better to have waited another day.”

In describing what occurred on the Williamsburg road. Mr. Davis, after quoting General Longstreet's report, showing that the forward movement began about 2 P.M., and the entire division of D. H. Hill became engaged

[note]



about 3 P.M., and drove the enemy steadily back, asks: “Why did not our troops on the left during this long delay, as well as during the period occupied by Hill's assault, co-operate in the attack? and why, the battle having been preconceived, were they so far removed as not to hear the first guns?” Mr. Davis knew from General Smith, at dark on the 31st, that at sunrise General Johnston had intended, and expected, that Longstreet's division would be moved promptly into action by the Nine Miles road—D. H. Hill's by the Williamsburg road, and Huger's on Hill's right—as early as possible in the morning. General Johnston believed that the thirty thousand men in the right wing of his army, under Longstreet, would be able to crush the enemy at Seven Pines. But, to guard against contingencies, as previously stated, he ordered ten thousand men from the left wing of his army to move to the right, and take position just within the Confederate picket line; and he held them there as a supporting force. To have moved them any farther to the front, before knowing that the right was in close action and needed help, would have brought the supporting force at once in contact with the enemy, changed Johnston's plan entirely, and would have left no force to oppose reënforcements the enemy might send from the north bank of the river. Hill's division became engaged at 3 P.M.—at 4 P.M. General Johnston received General Longstreet's note calling urgently for immediate help—the supporting division was at once moved very hurriedly forward to Longstreet's aid. All this Mr. Davis knew; but, he does not ask why Longstreet's division was transferred from the Nine Miles road to the Williamsburg road, or why the fighting on the latter road was left almost exclusively to Hill's division.





General Johnston did not need the testimony of Federal officers to convince him that the force of the enemy isolated at Seven Pines could be crushed or put to flight early in the morning of the 31st, before it could be reënforced. He assigned this task to the right wing of his army. If the whole of this wing had been brought into action, as he intended, early in the morning, or even after 3 P.M., when Longstreet's division had been placed on the Williamsburg road, there would have been no pretext for asking why the supporting force was not moved forward sooner, or why it was not held nearer before the action commenced.

In commenting on the ex-President's account of the battle of the 31st of May it is only necessary to add: he is entirely in error when he asserts that “General Lee at night-fall gave instructions to General Smith, the senior officer on that part of the field.” General Smith was at that time in command of the army, General Lee gave him no instructions or suggestions.

CHAPTER VII.

Operations on the 1st of June. General Longstreet directed to renew the fighting—notes calling for help—five thousand men sent to him from the crest of the Chickahominy Bluffs—General Lee assigned to the command of the army—position held by Smith's division under Whiting ten days after the battle.

One of the parties sent by General Smith to communicate with General Longstreet, succeeded in finding him about midnight. Soon after General Smith's note of 12.40 A.M. was written, General Longstreet, without





having received it, arrived at General Smith's headquarters. He reported that only a portion of his own division had been seriously engaged in close action, and that Huger's division had scarcely been engaged at all; the principal fighting had been done by D. H. Hill's division. The enemy's works at Seven Pines had been carried late in the afternoon—their troops had been pressed back about a mile beyond that point—and the fighting had continued until dark.

General Smith then directed General Longstreet to send one brigade of Huger's division to support the troops on the Nine Miles road—and renew the fighting with the remainder of the right wing as early as possible after daylight—directing his efforts north, instead of any farther east—pivoting this movement on Whiting's position. General Longstreet was assured that when a determined attack by the right wing was well developed, it should be favored by a strong demonstration—and, if necessary, by a real attack—made by the division under Whiting and other troops brought up by the Nine Miles road.

After General Longstreet left General Smith's headquarters to carry out these instructions, the latter wrote to General Lee telling him what had been determined upon, and what orders had been given. The following is General Lee's reply:

“Richmond, 1st June, 1862.

5 A.M.

“General:

“Your letter of this morning just received. Ripley will be ordered and such forces from General Holmes as can be got up will be sent. Your movements are judicious and determination to strike the enemy right. Try and ascertain his position and how he can best be hit.





I will send such Engineers as I can raise. But with Stevens, Whiting, Alexander, etc., what can I give you like them. You are right in calling upon me for what you want. I wish I could do more. It will be a glorious thing if you can gain a complete victory. Our success on the whole yesterday was good, but not complete.

“Truly, R. E. Lee, General.

“Genl. G. W. Smith, Comdg. Army of N. Va.”

Whiting, Magruder, and A. P. Hill were notified of the contemplated movements; and some changes of troops were ordered to be made at once. Magruder was directed to place Cobb's brigade and Kershaw's nearer to New Bridge, and hold them in readiness to move at the shortest notice to replace the troops at that point and along that road so the latter could promptly reënforce Whiting. A. P. Hill was directed to hold his division ready to march, leaving a small guard at Meadow Bridges. D. R. Jones was directed to look after the crest of the Chickahominy Bluff, from Meadow Bridges to the vicinity of New Bridge, in case the contemplated movement of A. P. Hill's and Magruder's troops was carried into effect.

Soon after daylight brisk firing commenced some distance to the right and front of Whiting. In a short time it ceased. About six o'clock A.M. Whiting wrote: “They are advancing a battery of six pieces beyond the wheat-field of yesterday evening's fight—in front of where we stood last night. Hood is back in the woods extending to the railroad in a swamp. My brigade partly in those woods and partly in the large woods to the left of the field. . . It is very difficult to make an effective disposition—that is, so the troops can be handled well—and you know that four of my brigades





are without their commanders.” At half-past six o'clock A. M. Whiting reported: “We will have to attack the position we tested last night, and that I own I don't like. Besides, it is just what the enemy wants. Heavy firing in advance of us and on the right.”

It now seemed that the right wing, under Longstreet, was beginning the movement ordered. In reply to General Whiting's two notes General Smith wrote: “I fully appreciate your want of brigade commanders, and, if your force is increased by fresh troops, will have to send with them an officer of rank who will relieve you of a portion of your onerous duties.” Major-General McLaws was the “officer of rank” referred to. General Smith intended, as soon as Longstreet's attack was fully developed, to place the brigades of Griffith and Semmes in line with Whiting's and Hood's at Fair Oaks—put McLaws in command of these four brigades—place Hampton's, Hatton's, and Pettigrew's brigades in second line, take immediate command of them—and control, in person, the movements of both lines until A. P. Hill could reach the field.

About this time, Major Jasper Whiting, who was watching the enemy on the north bank of the Chickahominy, reported the movement of troops and batteries passing down that bank. Soon after this General Whiting wrote: “I am going to try a diversion for Longstreet, and have found as reported, a position for artillery. The enemy are in full view and in heavy masses. . . . I have ordered up Lee with four pieces. The musketry firing in advance is tremendous.” On the far side of the gap, previously referred to, between Whiting's right and Longstreet's left, our troops were falling back. The firing had been, at times, quite heavy; but, there was nothing observed, from the Nine Miles road,





indicating that any large portion of the right wing had begun, in earnest, the movement in which Whiting was ordered to co-operate.

The first information from General Longstreet was received about half-past eight A.M.: his note was dated eight o'clock. He said: “Major: Yours of six received. I have ordered a brigade of General Huger's, as agreed upon, to the support of General Whiting. Please send a guide for it.” About nine A.M. General Whiting reported: “The enemy are in very heavy force and bringing up artillery. If I don't receive an answer in half an hour I shall commence withdrawing my force. The position is bad—a line extended, and thin, and weak, over a mile or two in length, with no means of intercommunication.” A few minutes later, Whiting wrote: “Some of Griffith's regiments might be sent down to the railroad in rear of the position occupied by Hood, which, with a heavy enemy's battery directly in his rear, has become untenable.”

Major Jasper Whiting's reports continued to indicate some movement of the enemy, on the north bank, down the river. On our side they were penetrating the gap between Longstreet and Whiting. The latter was ordered to throw back his right, and take position a little nearer to the New Bridge fork of the Nine Miles road; and try to establish, and keep up, some sort of communication with Longstreet's left. At half-past ten A.M. General Smith wrote to General Longstreet: “The enemy are; from all accounts, crossing the river and concentrating below upon this side. I have as yet heard nothing of Ripley's brigade or of that from Huger's division. Ask Stuart if he cannot devise means for keeping your left and Whiting's right in communication with each other, I have directed Whiting





to take closer defensive relations with Magruder's troops. . . . At any rate, that was absolutely necessary to enable a good defence to be made whilst you are pivoting on Whiting's position.”

Before this note of 10.30 A.M. was dispatched the following was received from General Longstreet: “The brigade cannot be spared. Every man except a brigade is in action. As you are not fighting, I did not send it, nor can I spare it. If I find myself at any time so that I can spare it, I will send it. But I am not able to do without it.” About the same time the following—from General Longstreet addressed to the Adjutant-General—was handed to General Smith: “Major: Yours of to-day received. The entire army seems to be opposed to me. I trust that some diversion may be made in my favor during these successive attacks, else my troops cannot stand it. The ammunition gives out too readily.”

At this time, General Smith was about half a mile east of the New Bridge fork of the Nine Miles road in consultation with General McLaws, General Whiting, and the Chief Engineer of the Army, Major Stevens. The latter had just returned from a reconnaissance in front of Whiting's command. He reported that the position held by the enemy north of Fair Oaks, the previous evening, was a good one for defence; that it had been fortified during the night, and was occupied by a strong force of infantry and artillery. During this conference, and but a few minutes after the foregoing notes from General Longstreet were read, the following was received from him:





“Headquarters, 10 A. M., June 1st.

“General:

“Can you reënforce me? The entire army seems to be opposed to me. We cannot hold out unless we get help. If we can fight together we can finish the work to-day, and Mac's time will be up. If I can't get help I fear I must fall back.

J. Longstreet.”

Longstreet's left, certainly, had already fallen back, and the enemy had got into position on Whiting's right and rear an hour before. If Longstreet fell back but a little farther, the right of Whiting's new line would be turned. In view of the Chief Engineer's report it was inexpedient for Whiting's command to attack again the position it had failed to carry the previous afternoon. The rapidly repeated demands made for help, by Longstreet, were so urgent, that it seemed the engagement of the right wing with the enemy that morning had been far more serious than was indicated by anything observed from the Nine Miles road.

General Smith ordered about five thousand men from the crest of the Chickahominy Bluff to move rapidly to Longstreet's assistance; and Ripley's brigade, which was expected to arrive by the Nine Miles road, was ordered to move as fast as possible by the Williamsburg road as soon as it reached Richmond. General McLaws was sent to Longstreet to inform him of the reënforcements ordered, assure him that the whole army of the enemy was not in his front, and tell him that he must not fall back any farther—but, drive the enemy and, if possible, regain the ground he had lost.

About one o'clock P.M. General Smith received a note from General McLaws stating: “Longstreet says he can hold his position with five thousand more men. He has





now the same ground the enemy held yesterday.” About the same time the following note was received by General Smith from General Lee:

“Headquarters, Richmond, 1st June, 1862.

“General G. W. Smith,

“Commanding Army of Northern Virginia.

“General:

“The communication with the right wing of your army, as long as it is in the position in which I left it last evening, can be conveniently maintained by means of the York River and Richmond R. R. Cars will be put on the railroad, if you desire it, with orders to go to such point as you may direct.

“Very respectfully, “Your obedient servant, “R. E. Lee.”

By the expression “right wing of your army” General Lee evidently means the forces engaged the previous day—viz., the right wing and the supporting division which had been ordered to the right from the left.

General Lee assigned to the command of the army.—About 1.30 P.M. President Davis rode up to General Smith's headquarters, and asked for General Lee. Upon being told that General Lee was not there, he expressed so much surprise, that General Smith asked him if he had any special reason for supposing General Lee would be there at that time. To this he replied, Yes; and added, he had, early that morning, ordered General Lee to take command of the army at once. To this General Smith answered: Ah! in that case he will probably soon be here; requested the President to take a seat, and await the appearance of General Lee. The President





chatted upon a variety of commonplace subjects; but made no allusion to anything pertaining to the state of affairs on the field.

General Lee came in, about two o'clock P.M., and General Smith at once turned over to him the command of the Army of Northern Virginia, and commenced explaining to him what had occurred during the day. To these explanations Mr. Davis seemed to give some attention: particularly to General Longstreet's notes asking for help. Whilst General Smith was still speaking, to General Lee, of the state of affairs upon the field of battle, the following communication was received from General Longstreet:

“Headquarters, June 1st, 1862. “1.30 P.M.

“General:

“I have just received a note from Major Melton. I will give instructions to General Hill to extend his line of skirmishers to the railroad. The next attack will be from Sumner's division. I think that if we can whip it we shall be comparatively safe from the advance of McClellan's army. I hope that those who were whipped yesterday will not appear again. The attack this morning was made at an unfortunate time. We had but little ammunition, but we have since replenished our supply, and I sincerely hope that we may succeed against them in their next effort. Oh that I had ten thousand men more!

“Most respectfully, “J. Longstreet, Maj.-Gen. Comdg.

“Our line is already connected, General Stuart says, by Cavalry Videttes. J. L.”





After reading the above note General Smith handed it to General Lee; and requested him to read, and hand it to the President. General Lee looked very serious whilst reading, and when the President read it he seemed to take a little more interest in what was going on; but said nothing. General Smith, still addressing General Lee, informed him that Longstreet was mistaken in regard to the state of things. That the two corps of the enemy on the north bank of the river, that morning, had not yet crossed to our side; that the force attacked north of Fair Oaks, the previous afternoon, still held that position; that 5,000 men, ordered from the crest of the Chickahominy Bluffs; were already closely approaching Longstreet's position on the Williamsburg road; that Ripley's brigade, which was expected, was ordered to move on the same road—that this would still leave Longstreet more than 30,000 men, even if his losses had already reached 5000—that the ground he now occupied was favorable to us—and that the danger to Richmond, if any, was not then on the Williamsburg road.

About three P.M. the President rode off, leaving General Lee and General Smith in conference, alone. General Lee made no adverse comment upon General Smith's management of the army—gave no orders—and at four P.M. he and General Smith, with a courier as a guide, went over to the Williamsburg road; where they found the President, and several members of his cabinet, talking with General Longstreet. They were at a point about half a mile west of the unfinished pentangular redoubt where our troops first struck the enemy's main line the previous day. Everything was quiet—the reënforcements from the Chickahominy had arrived.

In about an hour the President and members of his cabinet started for Richmond. General Lee and General Smith





accompanied them about two miles on the Williamsburg road; and then, leaving the party, crossed over to the Nine Miles road in the direction of General Lee's headquarters on that road, which were two or three miles nearer Richmond than the headquarters at which the President found General Smith that afternoon. The battle was over.

General Lee gave no orders to General Smith on the 1st of June. Smith's division, under Whiting, continued to occupy the position it held during the night of the 31st; except the right had been withdrawn slightly, in the morning of the 1st, in order to prevent being turned by the enemy who were following Longstreet's retiring forces; and this necessitated a new alignment, in better defensive relations with Magruder's troops, in advance of the New Bridge fork of the Nine Miles road. General Smith is not aware that General Lee gave any orders to General Longstreet that afternoon. If he gave authority for the right wing to retire farther toward Richmond, it was not because of any pressure from the enemy, but must have been merely to get the troops out of the swamps and place them upon more comfortable ground.

The following extracts from a letter addressed by General Whiting to the Adjutant-General, of General Smith's proper command at that time, shows the position of “Smith's division,” under Whiting, for some ten days after the battle.

“Headquarters, 1st Division, 1st Corps, June 10, 1862. “Major:

“The attention of the General commanding the army should be called, at once, to the condition of this division. Its effective strength is daily decreasing. Since





Yorktown, with the exception of some four days during which it was encamped near Richmond, it has been constantly in contact with the enemy. It has fought two battles, the last an engagement of great severity, in which it suffered heavy loss, especially in officers; followed by two days of great hardship and privation. It now occupies an important position, where the service is exceedingly onerous, directly in the face of the enemy, with whom they are constantly engaged. They are in a swamp of an exceedingly unhealthy character, and to properly defend our centre, the labor is exhausting. . . . It is absolutely necessary that other troops relieve the 1st division. If no other offers, the 2d division (that of A. P. Hill) might take its place. The Major-General, no doubt, is well aware of the condition of affairs, and although not now on duty, I appeal to his influence if it can be exerted. A copy of this is sent direct to the General commanding the army.”

In the letter from Colonel Frobel, to General Smith, previously referred to, it is stated that: “At daylight on Sunday morning, June the 1st, heavy firing began on Hood's right. Hood occupied the same position he had during the night, while the left of Whiting's brigade was advanced so as to form with Hood's line an obtuse angle. The firing on the right was very heavy, both musketry and artillery, and lasted several hours. We remained in the position indicated, but not engaged, until the afternoon, when the brigades were withdrawn a short distance (some three or four hundred yards) to the shelter of heavy woods in our rear. I do not think after this that we changed our position for several days.”

General C. M. Wilcox, in a letter to General Smith, already quoted from, says: “Next morning (June 1st)





the first shots heard were north of the two houses, a little west. We soon formed in line parallel with the Williamsburg road, and facing north; Pryor on the left; soon became engaged for twenty minutes or more. Ordered by D. H. Hill to withdraw, did so; and formed on the right of the Williamsburg road at Seven Pines, facing east. Four or five other brigades were there also in line. After dark all on Williamsburg road withdrew. My brigade slept from two A.M. till daylight near the forks of Charles City and Williamsburg roads; then moved to their previous camp.”

CHAPTER VIII.

General Mindil's account of Federal operations on the 1st of June. Statement made by Mr. Swinton. Ex-President Davis's account of operations on the 1st of June—Author's comments.

General Mindil says:* “On the extreme right, facing west-northwest, partly in open ground and partly in the woods facing Dr. Courtney's farm, and near the Adams house, was General Sedgwick's division of three brigades, the three regiments of Couch, already mentioned, and five batteries of artillery. While farther to the left, at an angle, and parallel with the railroad, and near Fair Oaks station, the division of General Richardson, which had arrived about midnight, was formed in three lines of a brigade front each—one battery of artillery on the right of the first line, the remaining three batteries of the division in reserve; then in Hyer's clearing, behind the railroad and facing south, the 7th

[note]



Massachusetts and 3d and 4th Maine regiments of Birney's brigade; the 38th and 40th New York regiments of the same brigade were in position to the south of the railroad, in the edge of the woods directly west of the Allen farm. Farther to the left, but somewhat in rear, covering the large open field between the railroad and Williamsburg road, was Hooker's division, ready and eager for battle; the line to the south of the Williamsburg road, ‘the third line of defence,’ being held by Kearney's division and the two divisions of the Fourth Corps. A numerous artillery, over sixty pieces, defending them. . . . Sumner's line had been reënforced to double its numbers, and every practicable approach to it was commanded by a numerous artillery. The troops were partially protected, a line of rifle-pits having been thrown up during the night. . . . About five o'clock on Sunday morning, in the gray of dawn, the Confederate skirmishers in front of Richardson opened fire. French's brigade with a regiment of Howard's, at once crossed to the south of the railroad, in readiness for the expected attack. Hazard's battery of the 4th Artillery (6 10-pound Parrot rifle guns) being posted on the right to command the large open field in that direction. Howard's brigade was in a second line while Meagher's Irish regiments, with eighteen pieces of artillery, occupied the third, or reserve line. A slight attempt on the part of the Confederates to cross the open field with a heavy skirmish line and some regiments of cavalry was checked by Hazard's guns. At half-past six o'clock a determined assault was made against General French's line, the enemy pushing forward, along the two wood roads that crossed the line, heavy columns of attack—supporting them on both flanks by battalions of infantry in deployed line. The firing





commenced within half-musket-shot, and was maintained at close quarters for nearly an hour and a half before the enemy's column wavered and broke. French's men having exhausted their ammunition—sixty rounds per man—were relieved to enable them to refill their cartridge-boxes, Howard's five regiments taking their places. Hardly had this been done, when the enemy's column, strongly reënforced, gave a general yell, and again dashed forward to the attack. This renewed fight was of the most desperate and sanguinary character, lasting more than an hour, when the enemy were again driven back, without gaining a single point of the Union Line—their retreat being more precipitate than before, a rapid artillery fire accelerating their flight. So fierce was the fighting in Richardson's front, that he sustained a loss of nearly 800 men, in a division much smaller in numbers than Sedgwick's. . . . This desperate encounter was but a part of Sunday's battle, for when the firing first became heavy on the right, General Heintzelman sprang to Sumner's aid. ‘At half-past seven on Sunday morning, when the firing became heavy on the right,’ says General Heintzelman, ‘I sent forward one brigade and two regiments under General Hooker, and on the right General Birney's brigade, under the command of Colonel Ward.’ The 5th and 6th New Jersey regiments under General Hooker, moving through the woods towards Allen's farm and the railroad, soon joined the left of Ward's command, when, with the 38th and 40th New York regiments, the move was continued through the timber, the enemy falling back before this determined advance. As Hooker neared the clearing on Hyer's farm, he ordered his four regiments to charge; this cleared the woods, and the enemy were entirely broken, when they were met in the open ground by the destructive flank





fire of three regiments posted behind the railroad. Hooker was now on the right flank and rear of the forces engaged with Richardson, and he was not slow to improve his opportunity. While this was transpiring along the railroad, General Sickles with the Excelsior brigade of five regiments, moved out the Williamsburg road about a mile, and when nearly opposite the two houses in front of which Colonel Poe fought so well the preceding evening, he changed the head of his column to the left, and brought it on the right by file into line. As soon as line was formed, his troops opened fire and advanced. In the woods the battle raged quite heavily for a few minutes, but Sickles gradually gained ground to the front. He certainly advanced to fight, and that his brigade was not more seriously engaged, as were the troops farther to the right, was no fault of his, the enemy yielding after slight resistance the ground along the Williamsburg road. Sickles soon joined Hooker, and in union with Richardson a general advance was made. No serious opposition was encountered, and Casey's camp was reoccupied before two o'clock P.M. “the ground being covered with the rebel dead and wounded as well as our own.’ . . . From the files of the War Department we gather the following statement of losses on Sunday, June 1st. In Richardson's division, three brigades, 765; in Birney's, four regiments, 196; in General Hooker's, seven regiments engaged, 313; a total of 1276. The enemy's loss must have been nearly double, and for the reason that he assaulted Richardson's command, no less than three times with heavy masses; and in front of Hooker's, his loss was at least equal.”

That there was some very heavy firing between a portion of Longstreet's command and the Federal forces, for several hours, there can be no doubt, but the contest





made by the right wing of the Confederate army on the 1st of June was not of the character contemplated in General Smith's order. General Longstreet says the ammunition gave out too rapidly. The right wing withdrew from the position it occupied during the night of the 31st, instead of pushing its success of the previous day—making a real combined attack—fighting north—pivoting the movement on the position of General Whiting.

Mr. Swinton, in his “History of the Army of the Potomac,” after stating the number of killed and wounded, in the two days’ fighting, says: “A severer loss befell the Confederates than is expressed even in this heavy aggregate; for the able chief of the Army of Northern Virginia was struck down with a severe hurt. The command, for the time being, devolved upon General G. W. Smith, but the failure to make good the purpose of the attack, the heavy loss already suffered, and the disabling of General Johnston, determined General Smith to retire his forces. Preparations for withdrawal were actively pushed forward during the night; but through some accidental circumstances, a portion of Sumner's line having become engaged on the morning of the 1st of June, there ensued a recontre of some severity, which lasted for two or three hours. It ended, however, after some brisk sallies, in the withdrawal of the entire Confederate force to the lines around Richmond. . . . General Johnston has frequently expressed to the writer his amazement at the swelling bulk assumed by the ‘skirmish’ of the 1st. Though not present, having been removed to Richmond after his hurt, General Johnston yet knew by constant reports from the field, what was going on, and asserts that nothing more severe than an affair of the rear-guard took place. In his official





report General Johnston simply says: ‘Major-General Smith was prevented from resuming his attack on the enemy's position next morning by the discovery of strong intrenchments not seen on the previous evening. On the morning of June 1st the enemy attacked the brigade of General Pickett, which was supported by that of General Pryor. The attack was vigorously repelled by these two brigades, the brunt of the fight falling on General Pickett. This was the last demonstration made by the enemy. In the evening our troops quietly returned to their own camps.’ ”

In view of established facts, already related, it is not worth while to make any comment upon these extracts from Mr. Swinton's History.

Ex-President Davis's Account of Operations on the 1st of June.—“When riding from the field of battle with General Robert E. Lee, on the previous evening, I informed him that he would be assigned to the command of the army, vice General Johnston, wounded, and that he could make his preparations as soon as he reached his quarters, as I should send the order to him as soon as I arrived at mine.”* “On the morning of June the 1st I rode out toward the position where General Smith had been left on the previous night, and where I learned from General Lee that he would remain. After turning into the Nine Mile road, and before reaching that position, I was hailed by General Whiting, who saw me at a distance and ran towards the road to stop me. He told me I was riding into the position of the enemy, who had advanced on the withdrawal of our troops, and there, pointing, he said, ‘is a battery which I am surprised has not fired upon you.’

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I asked where our troops were. He said his was the advance, and the others behind him. He also told me that General Smith was at the house which had been his (Whiting's) headquarters, and I rode there to see him. To relieve both him and General Lee from any embarrassment, I preferred to make the announcement of General Lee's assignment to command previous to his arrival. After General Lee arrived I took leave, and, being subsequently joined by him, we rode together to the Williamsburg road, where we found General Longstreet, his command being in front, and then engaged with the enemy on the field of the previous day's combat.”* “General Longstreet states that a serious attack was made on our position, and that it was repulsed. This refers to the works which Hill's division had captured the day before, and which the enemy endeavored to retake.”† “The operations of that day were neither extensive nor important, save in the collection of the arms acquired in the previous day's battle.”‡ “During the night our forces on the left had fallen back from their position at the close of the previous day's battle, but those on the right remained in the one they had gained, and some combats occurred there between the opposing forces.”§ “There have been various attempts made to point out the advantage which might have been obtained if General Lee, in succeeding to the command, had renewed on the 1st of June the unfinished battle of the 31st of May.”∥

Comments.—Mr. Davis says he rode out in the morning. He reached General Smith's headquarters in the afternoon, having the previous evening ordered General Lee

[note][note][note][note][note]



to take command of the army. The headquarters at which the President—after his, graphically described, perilous ride to the front—found General Smith, were two or three miles in advance of the place already selected by General Lee as his headquarters in the field. General Smith had never informed General Lee, or any one else, that he would remain in person at the point where he was when the President and General Lee left him the previous night. Mr. Davis knew that General Smith ordered General Longstreet to renew the attack early in the morning of that day; he saw the notes from General Longstreet written to General Smith during the morning, and that dated 1.30 P.M. ending with the exclamation, “Oh that I had ten thousand men more!” he knew that the division under Whiting bivouacked on the field of battle; and that late in the forenoon the right of this division had to be slightly thrown back, and the line otherwise adjusted, because the enemy in following Longstreet's withdrawing forces, were threatening the right flank and rear of Whiting's line; and he knew that on the 1st of June our troops on the right lost the ground they had gained on the 31st of May. In asserting that, on the 1st of June, General Lee accompanied him to the Williamsburg road, where they found General Longstreet, Mr. Davis makes another mistake.

In stating that, in the evening of the 31st, he ordered General Lee to take command of the army—then intimating that General Lee took command in the morning—and referring to “the advantage which might have been obtained if General Lee, in succeeding to the command, had renewed on the 1st of June the unfinished battle of the 31st of May”—Mr. Davis practically ignores the fact, well known to him, that General Lee did not take





the command until about two o'clock in the afternoon. It is not deemed necessary to say here anything more about the ex-President's professed attempt to elucidate obscurity and correct error in regard to the operations on the 1st of June.

CHAPTER IX.

General J. E. Johnston's account of the battle of Seven Pines—Author's comments.

After stating that a reconnaissance made on the Williamsburg road on the morning of the 30th* under the direction of General D. H. Hill, encountered Federal outposts more than two miles west of Seven Pines, in such strength as indicated the presence of a corps at least, General Johnston proceeds to say: “This fact was reported to me by General Hill soon after noon. He was informed in reply that he would lead an attack upon this enemy next morning. An hour or two later, orders were given for the concentration of twenty-three of our twenty-seven brigades against McClellan's left wing. . . . Longstreet and Huger were directed to conduct their divisions to D. H. Hill's position as early as they could next morning; and Smith to march with his to the point of meeting of the New Bridge and Nine Miles road, near which Magruder had five brigades—Longstreet, as ranking officer of the three divisions to be united near Hill's camp, was instructed verbally to form his own and Hill's division in two lines crossing the

[note]



Williamsburg road at right angles, and to advance to the attack in that order; while Huger's division should march along the Charles City road by the right flank, to fall upon the enemy's left flank as soon as our troops became engaged with those in front. General Smith was to engage any troops that might cross the Chickahominy to assist Heintzelman's and Keyes's corps; or if none came, he was to fall upon the right flanks of those troops engaged with General Longstreet.”

Comments.—At the time General Johnston says he gave orders for concentrating more than five sixths of his army in the vicinity of Seven Pines, it had not commenced to rain. The crossings of the Chickahominy, by the fords and bridges, as far up as Meadow Bridges, were all in the hands of the enemy. The right of the Federal forces was at Mechanicsville, and three of the five corps of their army were known to be on the north bank of the river. The first duty of the Confederate army was to protect the city of Richmond, and it is hardly credible that General Johnston, early in the afternoon of the 30th, deliberately gave orders looking to the engagement of such a large proportion of his army against the comparatively small force of the enemy at Seven Pines, thus leaving the city open to attack by the mass of the Federal army crossing the river in his rear, anywhere between New Bridge and Meadow Bridges. Certainly, if such a movement against the enemy at Seven Pines was contemplated, the utmost celerity in its execution was imperatively demanded.

The records show that this extreme concentration of Confederates, in the vicinity of Seven Pines, was not ordered at all, much less, early in the afternoon of the 30th, before it commenced to rain. General Johnston entrusted the attack upon the Federal corps at Seven





Pines to the right wing of his army. The only concentration of other troops was that directed by him at 9.15 P.M. on the 30th. In his written order, which has already been given in full, he says, in reference to G. W. Smith's division under Whiting: “Please be ready to move by the Nine Miles road—coming as early as possible to the point at which the road to New Bridge turns off. Should there be cause of haste, General McLaws, on your approach, will be ordered to leave his ground for you, that he may reënforce General Longstreet.”

McLaws's division was guarding the crossings of the Chickahominy from the Mechanicsville road to New Bridge, with one brigade and two regiments along the New Bridge road. The division under Whiting was on time, and McLaws's troops were not moved. General Johnston believed—with good reason—that the 30,000 men in the right wing of his army, under General Longstreet, were sufficient to crush the comparatively small portion of General McClellan's army in the vicinity of Seven Pines; and his main purpose in ordering the division under Whiting to move from the left wing of the army to the right, was to guard against reënforcements of the enemy from the north bank of the Chickahominy.

At 11 A.M. on the 31st, whilst McLaws's division was guarding the Chickahominy as already stated, and D. R. Jones's division was guarding the crossings at the Mechanicsville and Meadow Bridges roads; with A. P. Hill's division in supporting distance of Jones—General Johnston directed General G. W. Smith to take two brigades of the division, under Whiting, proceed to the crest of the Chickahominy Bluff between the Mechanicsville road and New Bridge, examine into the state of affairs, and, if necessary, remain there and take





command of all the Confederate forces guarding the crossings of the river. These facts show, clearly enough, that General Johnston did not so far disregard the safety of Richmond, an hour or two after 12 M. on the 30th, as to order “the concentration of twenty-three of our twenty-seven brigades against McClellan's left wing.”

General Johnston's letter, to General G. W. Smith, dated June 28th, 1862; General Smith's official report, to General Johnston, dated June 23d, 1862; and the letter of Major Beckham, to General Smith, dated February 7th, 1863, all of which have been previously quoted from, show that, about sunrise on the morning of the 31st of May, General Johnston intended, and expected, that Longstreet's division would move into action early that morning, by the Nine Miles road. Until he saw General Johnston's published Narrative, General Smith never heard of the verbal instructions General Johnston says he gave General Longstreet to conduct his own division from the Nine Miles road to the Williamsburg road, and, “form his own and Hill's division in two lines crossing the Williamsburg road at right angles, and to advance to the attack in that order.”

There is nothing in General Johnston's order, of 9.15 P.M. on the 30th, indicating that, in any contingency, the division, under Whiting, was to make any “important flanking operation.” If General Johnson contemplated such a movement by this division, the fact that he was with it in person, and directed all its operations, from about sunrise until he was wounded just before sunset that day, must exonerate its commander, General Whiting, from all censure for not attacking “the right flanks of those troops engaged with Longstreet.”





In continuing his Narrative, General Johnston says:* “Being confident that Longstreet and Hill, with their forces united, would be successful in the earlier part of the action, . . . I left the immediate control on the Williamsburg road to them, under general instructions, and placed myself on the left, where I could soonest learn the approach of Federal reënforcements from beyond the Chickahominy. . . . An unexpected delay in the forward movement on the right disappointed me greatly, and led to interchanges of messages between Longstreet and myself for several hours. At three o'clock the Federal advance troops were encountered. They were a long line of skirmishers supported by five or six regiments of infantry covered by abattis. . . . The resolution of Garland's and George B. Anderson's brigades, that pressed forward on the left through an open field, under a destructive fire; the admirable service of Carter's and Bondurant's batteries, and a skilfully combined attack upon the Federal left, under General Hill's direction, by Rodes's brigade in front and that of Rains in flank, were finally successful, and the enemy abandoned their intrenchments. Just then reënforcements were received from their second line, and they turned to recover their lost position. But to no purpose—they were driven back, fighting, upon their second line—Couch's division at Seven Pines. R. H Anderson's brigade, transferred by Longstreet to the first line, after the capture of Casey's position, bore a prominent part in the last contest. Keyes's Corps, united in this second position, was assailed with such spirit by the Confederate troops that, although reënforced by Kearney's division of Heintzelman's corps,

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it was broken, divided, and driven from its ground, the greater part along the Williamsburg road, to General Heintzelman's intrenched line, two miles from Bottom's Bridge, and two brigades to the southeast into White Oak Swamp. General Hill pursued the enemy toward Bottom's Bridge, more than a mile; then, night being near, he gathered his troops and re-formed them, facing to the east, as they had been fighting. The line thus formed crossed the Williamsburg road at right angles. The left, however, was thrown back to face Summer's corps at Fair Oaks. In an hour or two Longstreet's and Huger's divisions, whom it had not been necessary to bring into action, came into this line under General Longstreet's orders.”

Comments.—The first delay occurred, near General Johnston's headquarters in the suburbs of Richmond, a little after sunrise, caused by troops of Longstreet's division breaking up their camps and moving with their baggage trains across Whiting's line of march; thus preventing the head of his column from getting on to the Nine Miles road. About nine o'clock A.M. General Johnston first learned that Longstreet's division had been moved from the Nine Miles road—this information came from General Smith's Aide. General Johnston then sent his own Aide to General Longstreet directing that three brigades be sent back to the Nine Miles road if they had not gone so far that sending them back would cause a serious loss of time. General Johnston's Aide was captured and the message to General Longstreet was not delivered. At 11 A.M. General Johnston learned, through General Smith's Aide, that Longstreet's division, with its baggage train, was on the Williamsburg road, halted—waiting for D. H. Hill's division, which had just passed—and preparations were





being made on the Williamsburg road to move forward to the attack. At 4 P.M. General Johnston learned through General Smith's Chief of Staff, that the troops on the Williamsburg road had been engaged for an hour or more and that General Longstreet was greatly disappointed because the troops on the Nine Miles road were not fighting—a few moments later, General Johnston received a note from General Longstreet urgently asking for immediate help; and about the same time heavy musketry firing, in the direction of Seven Pines, was first heard on the Nine Miles road.

Previous to the receipt of the note just referred to, General Johnston—although evidently much annoyed by the delay on the Williamsburg road, and apprehensive that time had been allowed for reënforcements from the direction of Bottom's Bridge to reach the enemy at Seven Pines—was still confident that the 30,000 men under Longstreet “would be successful.” But when General Johnston put the division, under Whiting, in motion he had reason to believe that Longstreet's whole forces were hardly equal to the task assigned them. In speaking of the successes of Hill's division aided by R. H. Anderson's brigade of Longstreet's division, and the position they occupied at dark, about a mile east of Seven Pines, General Johnston says: “In an hour or two Longstreet's and Huger's divisions, whom it had not been necessary to bring into action, came into the line under General Longstreet's orders.” He makes no mention of the note he received from Longstreet, at 4 P.M., asking for help: and no adverse comment on Longstreet's failure to put more than five of his thirteen brigades into the fight.

Continuing his narrative in reference to the operations of Smith's division, under Whiting, General Johnston





says: * “When the action began on the right, the musketry was not heard at my position on the Nine Miles road, from the unfavorable condition of the air to sound. I supposed, therefore, that the fight had not begun and that we were having an artillery duel. However, a staff officer was sent to ascertain the fact. He returned at four o'clock with intelligence that our infantry as well as artillery had been engaged for an hour, and that our troops were pressing forward with vigor. As no approach of Federal troops from the other side of the Chickahominy had been discovered or was suspected, I hoped strongly that the bridges were impassable. It seemed to me idle, therefore, to keep General Smith longer out of action, for a contingency so remote as the coming of reënforcements from the Federal right. He was desired, therefore, to direct his division against the right flank of Longstreet's adversaries. I thought it prudent, however, to have Magruder's division in reserve. It was under arms near. General Smith moved promptly along the Nine Miles road. His leading regiment, the Sixth North Carolina, soon became engaged with the Federal skirmishers and their reserves, and in a few minutes drove them off entirely. On my way to Longstreet's left, to combine the action of the two bodies of Confederate troops, I passed the head of General Smith's column near Fair Oaks, and saw the camp of a body of infantry of the strength of three or four regiments, apparently, in the northern angle between the York River Railroad and the Nine Miles road, and the rear of a body of infantry moving in quick time from that point toward the Chickahominy by the road to the Grapevine Ford. A few minutes after this a

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battery, at the point where this infantry had disappeared, opened its fire upon the head of the Confederate column. A regiment sent against it was received with a volley of musketry, as well as canister, and recoiled. The leading brigade, commanded by Colonel Law, then advanced, and so much strength was developed by the enemy that General Smith formed his other brigades and brought them into battle on the left of Law's. An obstinate contest began, and was maintained on equal terms, although the Confederates engaged superior numbers in a position of their own choosing. I had passed the railroad some little distance with Hood's brigade when the action commenced, and stopped to see its termination. But, being confident that the Federal troops opposing ours were those whose camps I had just seen, and therefore not more than a brigade, I did not doubt that General Smith was quite strong enough to cope with them. General Hood was desired to go forward, therefore, and, connecting his right with Longstreet's left, to fall upon the right flank of his enemy. The direction of the firing was then (near five o'clock) decidedly to the right of Seven Pines. It was probably at Casey's intrenched position. The firing at Fair Oaks soon increased and I rode back to that field—still unconvinced, however, that General Smith was fighting more than a brigade, and thinking it injudicious to engage Magruder's division yet, as it was the only reserve. While waiting the conclusion of this struggle, my intercourse with Longstreet was maintained through staff officers. The most favorable accounts of his progress were from time to time received from them. The contest on the left was maintained with equal determination by the two parties, each holding the ground on which it had begun to fight. This condition of affairs





existed on the left at half-past six o'clock, and the firing on the right seemed then to be about Seven Pines. It was evident, therefore, that the battle would not be terminated that day. So I announced to my staff officers that each regiment must sleep where it might be standing when the contest ceased for the night, to be ready to renew it at dawn next morning. About seven o'clock I received a slight wound in the shoulder from a musket shot, and, a few moments after, was unhorsed by a heavy fragment of shell which struck my breast. Those around had me borne from the field. . . . The firing ceased, terminated by darkness only, before I had been carried a mile from the field. As next in rank, Major-General G. W. Smith succeeded to the command of the army. His division remained in the immediate presence of the enemy during the night, its right resting on the rail-road, where it joined Longstreet's left. Magruder's division was within supporting distance.”

Comments.—Magruder's division, referred to by General Johnston, was McLaws's division—a part of the centre of the army commanded by General Magruder. D. R. Jones's division was also a part of Magruder's regular command—but, several days before the battle of Seven Pines, when an attack upon the enemy north of the Chickahominy, in the direction of Mechanicsville, had been contemplated by General Johnston, he had placed D. R. Jones's division temporarily in the left wing, under the command of General G. W. Smith. The position occupied by McLaws's division has already been stated. It will be remembered that the left of this division was on the Mechanicsville road, nearly six miles, in an air line, from Fair Oaks station. Just before General Johnston was wounded, he sent a message to General Smith directing that all the available troops be





brought up as soon as possible. General Smith sent this order direct to the only two brigades of Magruder's troops that were within reach. These brigades were in McLaws's division—they reached the field just before dark, too late to take any part in the action. After dark they were sent back; because, at the end of the action north of Fair Oaks the enemy were threatening our left flank on the immediate field, and the bringing up of Magruder's (McLaws's) two brigades had left a gap in our line from Fair Oaks to New Bridge.

General Johnston and General Whiting directed the movements against the enemy north of Fair Oaks until General Johnston was wounded. General Smith had no specific command on the field. At the time General Johnston sent instructions to have all the available troops brought up, the right of Whiting's line had been driven very hurriedly back toward the clump of trees at Fair Oaks where General Johnston then was. General Smith at once rode to the front where our left was closely engaged in the wood several hundred yards north of the Nine Miles road—and upon learning that the enemy were being rapidly reënforced on that part of the field, and that our troops had already suffered severely and were in danger of being crushed or routed—he ordered Hatton's brigade and Lightfoot's regiment of Pettigrew's brigade into close action—went with them to the extreme front, and remained there until the firing ceased at dark.

When General Smith went into the front line it was clear that the enemy had sent strong reënforcements from the north bank of the Chickahominy—how many had arrived, or how many more might be coming, was not known—but there were already enough engaged to make it very doubtful whether the four Confederate





brigades on that part of the field could hold them back, and prevent them from reaching the left flank and rear of the troops in the Confederate right wing—which, judging from the character of Longstreet's note, received by General Johnston at 4 P.M., had, in their front, all they could successfully contend with.

Before reading General Johnston's Narrative General Smith never heard that during the engagement north of Fair Oaks General Johnston received most favorable accounts of General Longstreet's progress: nor that General Johnston, before he was wounded, had announced to his “staff officers that each regiment must sleep where it might be standing, when the contest ceased for the night, to be ready to renew it at dawn next morning.” At dark on the 31st there was a considerable gap—believed to be about a mile—between Longstreet's left and Whiting's right. It has already been stated that the left of what General Johnston calls “Magruder's division” was on the Mechanicsville road, about six miles from Fair Oaks, and the remainder of this division was guarding the crossings of the Chickahominy from that point to the New Bridge; with one brigade and two regiments on the line between the latter point and Whiting's left.

At the time General Johnston announced to his “staff officers that each regiment must sleep where it might be standing when the contest ceased for the night,” there was nothing in the situation decidedly favorable to the Confederate arms. On the morning of the 31st of May the Federals had, on the Richmond side of the Chickahominy, one corps at and near Seven Pines and another at Bottom's and White Oak Bridges. On the morning of the 1st of June they had three corps on the field of battle in the vicinity of Seven Pines. General Johnston





had the initiative on the morning of the 31st, and the enemy did not expect to be attacked at that particular time. There was every reason for the belief that the Confederates would derive great advantage from an unexpected, sudden, and determined attack, in full force, upon a single Federal Corps, early in the morning of the 31st of May. But on the morning of the 1st of June, the three Federal Corps on the battle-field, fully aware of the immediate presence of the Confederates, were prepared for the attack.

General Johnston's account of what occurred on the 1st of June.—Continuing his narrative he says:* “Next morning, Brigadier-General Pickett, whose brigade was near the left of Longstreet's and Hill's line, learned that a strong body of Federal troops was before him and near. He moved forward and attacked it, driving it from that ground. Very soon, being reënforced apparently, the Federals (several brigades) assumed the offensive, and attacked him. In the mean time General Hill had sent two regiments of Colston's brigade to him. Although largely outnumbered, Pickett met this attack with great resolution, and after a brisk but short action repulsed the enemy, who disappeared, to molest him no more. I have seen no Confederate officer who was conscious of any other serious fighting, by the troops of those armies, on Sunday. . . . The loss in Longstreet's and Hill's divisions (in the two days) was about three thousand. . . . About five-sixths of the loss was in the latter division, upon which the weight of the fighting on the right fell.”

Comments.—In regard to what General Johnston says of the fighting that occurred on the 1st of June,

[note]



the reader is referred to General Longstreet's battle-field notes addressed to General Smith, and to General Mindil's account of the operations on that day. It is believed that there was a great deal more, and harder, fighting done on the 1st of June than is indicated in Johnston's Narrative, and not so much as might be inferred from Longstreet's notes.

But, without dwelling upon this point, attention will now be called to what General Johnston more than intimates ought to have been accomplished by the Confederates on the 1st of June. He says:* “The troops in position to renew the battle on Sunday were, at Fair Oaks, on the Federal side, two divisions and a brigade. . . . On the Confederate side, ten brigades in Smith's and Magruder's divisions, six of which were fresh, not having fired a shot. On the Williamsburg road four Federal divisions, three of which had fought and been thoroughly beaten—one, Casey's, almost destroyed. On the Confederate side, thirteen brigades, but five of which had been engaged on Saturday—when they defeated the three Federal divisions that were brought against them successively. After nightfall, Saturday, the two bodies of Federal troops were completely separated from the two corps of their right, beyond the Chickahominy, by the swollen stream, which had swept away their bridges; and Sumner's corps at Fair Oaks was six miles from those of Heintzelman and Keyes, which were near Bottom's Bridge; but the Confederate forces were united on the front and left flank of Sumner's corps. Such advantage of position and superiority of numbers would have enabled them to defeat that corps had the engagement been renewed on Sunday

[note]



morning, before any aid could have come from Heintzelman, after which his troops, in the condition to which the action of the day before had reduced them, could not have made effectual resistance. I was eager to fight on the 31st, from the belief that the flood in the Chickahominy would be at its height that day, and the two parts of the Federal Army completely separated by it; it was too soon, however. We should have gained the advantage fully by a day's delay. This would also have given us an accession of about eight thousand men that arrived from the south next morning, under Major-General Holmes and Brigadier-General Ripley. No action of the war has been so little understood as that of Seven Pines; the Southern people have felt no interest in it because, being unfinished in consequence of the disabling of the commander, they saw no advantage derived from it.”

Comments.—Before proceeding to show how greatly mistaken General Johnston is, in his statement of the positions occupied by the contending forces on the morning of the 1st of June, it is well to look at the evidence showing what did occur on that day. In General G. W. Smith's report, to General Johnston, dated June 23d, 1862, it is stated that, “General Longstreet was directed to push his successes of the previous day as far as practicable, pivoting his movement upon the position of General Whiting on his left. The latter was directed to make a diversion in favor of General Longstreet's real attack.”

The engagement was renewed on Sunday morning. On the Confederate side the battle-field notes of General Longstreet, already given, show that before 10 A. M. he wrote to General Smith: “The brigade cannot be spared, Every man except a brigade is in action.”





About the same time he wrote to the Adjutant-General: “The entire army seems to be opposed to me. I trust that some diversion may be made in my favor during these successive attacks, else my troops cannot stand it. The ammunition gives out too readily.” At 10 A.M. he wrote to General Smith: “Can you reënforce me? The entire army seems to be opposed to me. We cannot hold out unless we get help.” And at 1.30 P. M.: “The next attack will be from Summer's division. I think that if we can whip it we shall be comparatively safe from the advance of McClellan's army.”

On the Federal side, General Mindil, as already stated, says: “In the gray of dawn the Confederate skirmishers in front of Richardson opened fire. . . . At half-past six o'clock a determined assault was made against General French's line. . . . The firing commenced within half-musket shot, and was maintained at close quarters for nearly an hour and a half before the enemy's column wavered and broke. . . . The enemy's column, strongly reënforced, gave a general yell and again dashed forward to the attack. This renewed fight was of the most desperate and sanguinary character, lasting more than an hour. . . . So fierece was the fighting in Richardson's front, that he sustained a loss of nearly 800 men. . . . This desperate encounter was but a part of Sunday's battle.”

At the time in question the centre of the Confederate army, under General Magruder, and the left, under General A. P. Hill, were substantially in the positions occupied before the order to attack was issued on the 30th of May. The connection between the division under Whiting near Fair Oaks and Magruder's right was very weak; and the enemy north of Fair Oaks had been specially pressing in that direction at dark on the





31st. Between Whiting's right, which was on the railroad a little west of Fair Oaks station, and Longstreet's left—which it now appears was near the two wood roads leading to the railroad about a half mile east of that station, there was a gap of about three quarters of a mile. Longstreet's right was across the Williamsburg road a little east of the two houses marked on the map by two dots.

General Mindil says: Keyes's corps was in the “third line of defence,” about one mile and a half east of Seven Pines, the interval between Keyes's corps and Sumner's was held by the brigade of Birney, Hooker's division, and part of Kearney's; the troops were partially protected—a line of rifle-pits having been thrown up during the night, the pickets of the three corps thus disposed were in communication throughout. And he adds: “The crossings at the Upper Trestle and New Bridges were favorable for artillery, cavalry, and infantry, on the morning of June the 1st.”

It is not considered necessary to comment upon General Johnston's statement that he “was eager to fight on the 31st from the belief that the flood in the Chickahominy would be at its height that day;” or, say anything further in regard to his assertion that, “we should have gained the advantage fully by a day's delay.”





CHAPTER X.

General Taylor's statement. General Webb's account of the battle of Fair Oaks or Seven Pines—Author's comments. Letter from Major S. B. French. General remarks.

General Richard Taylor,* in speaking of the battle of Seven Pines, says: “General Johnston's ‘offensive’ must be limited to Seven Pines or Fair Oaks. Here his plan was well considered and singularly favored of fortune. Some two corps of McClellan's army were posted on the southwest or Richmond side of the Chickahominy, and a sudden rise of that stream swept away the bridges and overflowed the adjacent low lands, cutting off these corps from their supports. They ought to have been crushed, but Johnston fell severely wounded, upon which confusion ensued, and no results of importance were attained.”

This was written by General Taylor several years after General Johnston's Narrative was published. It is quoted here to show the effect of General Johnston's claim that the battle was “unfinished in consequence of the disabling of the commander.”

General Webb's account of the Battle of Seven Pines or Fair Oaks.—In the beginning of the preface to his work, entitled “The Peninsula,” General Webb says that, “To be of any practical use, all history, and particularly military history, must be gradually sifted and reduced to small compass.” He then proceeds to say that to his “task has been added the special work required in comparing and collating for careful investigation

[note]



the new material gathered by the War Department, and now for the first time made the basis of a history of that period.” He says that he has “been forced to choose between repeating the well-known accounts of various battles and giving from new data the proof.” And adds that he has “chosen the latter course.” In concluding his preface he says he is “under special obligations to Secretary of War Lincoln, to Secretary of the Navy Hunt, to Colonel Robert N. Scott, of the Bureau of Archives in the War Department, to Generals Wright, Meigs, Barnes, Humphreys, Keyes, and others for their kindness in furnishing maps and documents.” That he was “An actor himself in everything here treated of”—and on the title-page we find this work is “By Alexander S. Webb, LL.D., President of the College of the City of New York; Assistant Chief of Artillery, Army of the Potomac; Inspector-General, Fifth Army Corps; General commanding second division Second Corps; Major-General assigned, and Chief of Staff, Army of the Potomac.”

He devotes a special chapter to, what he styles, “The first bloody and important contest of the campaign, known as the Battle of Fair Oaks or Seven Pines.” Amongst other things he says that early in the afternoon of the 30th, orders were promptly given by General Johnston,* “to concentrate twenty-three out of twenty-seven brigades of the Rebel army against the two Union corps, about two fifths of McClellan's army. . . . Longstreet and Huger were directed to move to D. H. Hill's position as early as possible next morning, and Smith to march, with his brigade, to the point of meeting of the New Bridge and Nine Miles roads, near

[note]



which Magruder had five brigades. . . . General Smith was to engage reënforcements should any be sent across the Chickahominy; and in case he should encounter none, to attack on the left of the troops already engaged. Although the second in command, General Smith was not transferred to the point of first attack, lest the delay in moving his troops from the left, where they lay, should take up valuable time.” “But he went to that point and remained there.” “Their order of battle, it will be remembered, put G. W. Smith on the left, Johnston being with him, Longstreet and D. H. Hill in the centre, and Huger on the right, with orders to move on the left flank and rear of the Federals. Some recrimination was indulged in by the commanding officers on account of the delay on Longstreet's part in making the attack, and the alleged total failure of Huger to co-operate at all.”* “Huger seems to have defended himself successfully. As to Smith, on the other hand, a cause for the delay in his attack is found in a peculiar condition of the elements. . . . The wind proved an unreliable courier; it took up the sound of the cannon and carried that only to Johnston and Smith. It was not until Hill's movement resulted in a heavy engagement which had lasted for some hours that, about three o'clock P.M., Smith was informed of the state of affairs and pushed in on Couch's right, cutting the latter off from the remainder of his division. These mistakes on the part of the enemy saved us from a more serious disaster than we suffered.”† “The troops to whom this line (Sedgwick's division and five regiments of Couch's) was opposed during the latter part of the day were Hood's brigade, Whiting's, Pettigrew's, Hampton's,

[note][note]



and Hatton's.* . . . General Hampton reports that after driving the enemy a short distance through the woods, he found that they were being rapidly reënforced and held a strong position either fortified or affording natural shelter, and were fast extending beyond his (Hampton's) left. . . . General Smith expresses the rather sanguine opinion that if he could have had an hour more of daylight, with the assistance of Hood's brigade of Texans on the right, supported by Griffith's, of Mississippi, on the left, as well as by the brigade of General Semmes, all fresh troops, the enemy would have been driven into the swamps of the Chickahominy. . . . Three times, in his report of this day's action, General Smith speaks of the enemy's (Federal) strong position, as ‘either fortified or affording natural shelter;’ again, the ‘strong position of the enemy is better understood;’ again, ‘reconnoissance made during the morning developed the fact that the enemy (Federal) was strongly fortified in the position attacked by my division on the previous evening.’ There was no fortification, or the semblance of one, on any part of the line held by the fragment of Couch's division under General Abercrombie and the troops of Summer's corps as they arrived on the field in the afternoon. . . . The imaginary fortified position which Smith encountered was, in fact, the living wall of brave men who withstood his advance and compelled him finally to retreat. . . . The Second Mississippi, upon whom General Smith relied to take the enemy's (Federal) fortifications the next morning, were withdrawn before daylight.” “The attempt of the Rebels to drive the left wing into the Chickahominy, and cut McClellan's line of supply from White House,

[note]



which opened with every prospect of success, was turned first into failure and then into disaster, which sent them back to Richmond in a panic on the night of June 1st. General Johnston, who refers in his report to the intrenchments which prevented General G. W. Smith from attacking the right of Sumner's line on June 1st, claims a victory on that day, when he was not on the field. . . . D. H. Hill, who led the advance on Casey's camp, claims to have driven the Union troops first a mile and a half, and subsequently a mile farther, meeting with a constant series of successes on May 31st and June the 1st, until by reason of the ‘Yankees’ occupying ground in his rear on the Nine Miles road (a strange place for a beaten army to be in) it was deemed best to withdraw to Richmond.”* General G. W. Smith “directed operations until June 2d, when General R. E. Lee was placed in command of the army of Northern Virginia.”†

On page 105 Gen. Webb says: “Sergeant Porter, left guide of the One Hundred and Fourth, was struck over the neck with a musket. . . . It was necessary to leave the guns, most of the horses having been killed, with the exception of a part of Regan's battery which was brought off, the men supporting the wounded horses to keep them from falling in the traces.” On page 102: “It is not often that within the stern brevity required by a military report, any allusion is made such as the fury of the storm drew from General Keyes, who in speaking of it says: ‘From their beds of mud and the pelting of this storm the Fourth Corps rose to fight the battle of the 31st of May.’ ” He adds: “Longstreet's division was called right wing at Seven Pines;”‡ informs his readers

[note][note][note]



that the story of this battle “is well known to all;”* and asserts that it has been discovered since the war the Federal army “could have gone to Richmond.”†

Comments.—The foregoing quotations, from General Webb's description of the battle of Fair Oaks or Seven Pines fairly illustrate the result of his labors in sifting new material and reducing the data to small compass. It is not proposed to follow him closely, upon the elevated plane which he professes to have occupied, whilst executing his assigned task of recording condensed truth in regard to the “first bloody and important contest” of the Peninsula campaign against Richmond.

In view of facts already stated no comment is needed here in reference to his assertion that Smith was ordered to march his brigade to the point of meeting and attack in case Federal reënforcements from the north bank of the Chickahominy were not encountered—that Smith relied upon the Second Mississippi regiment to take the Federal fortifications next morning—or his various other gross errors in regard to the part taken by General Smith in this action. But, it may well be said, General Webb's conclusion that disaster to the Confederates sent them back to Richmond in a panic on the night of the 1st of June is just as unfounded as his gratuitous postponement, to the 2d of June, of General Lee's assignment to the command of the army of Northern Virginia.

In his description of this battle General Webb appears to have blindly adopted many of the errors, in regard to Confederate movements, contained in the narratives which preceded his own, and to have introduced some new ones. On the other hand it must be conceded that,

[note][note]



in sifting new material, he reduces military history to small compass, for “practical use,” by saying: “Sergeant Porter (Federal), left guide of the One Hundred and Fourth, was struck over the neck with a musket.”

Without further reference to General Webb's account of this battle, attention is called to the following letter from Major Seth B. French, which was written to General Smith soon after the publication of Mr. Swinton's account of General Johnston's original plan of the battle of Seven Pines.

“Chattanooga, Tenn., July 8, 1867.

“My Dear General:

“In compliance with your request I have the pleasure of furnishing you, to the best of my recollection, with incidents and facts associated with movements made on the 31st of May, 1862—the battle of Seven Pines. On the morning of that day, under your orders, I, with other members of your staff, followed you to the headquarters of General Johnston, known as the Stubbs House, and there learned, as an officer of your staff, particulars of movements preparatory to an attack upon the enemy's forces on the south side of the Chickahominy. General Longstreet had been ordered to move his own division on the Nine Miles road; General D. H. Hill on the Williamsburg, and General Huger on the Charles City, three divisions, forming the right wing of the army, under the command of General Longstreet. General Whiting commanding your own proper division, had been ordered by General Johnston to move at an early hour to the Nine Miles road and act as a support to General Longstreet, who had been directed to engage the enemy. General Whiting with his command, within a short distance of General Johnston's headquarters,





reported that his march was impeded by the movement of General Longstreet's troops across his line of march, and in the direction of the Williamsburg road. With this information, you ordered Colonel Beckham, then Lieutenant and Aide-de-Camp, to go to General Longstreet and find out his exact position, and report to him the delay—in the movement of Whiting's command—caused by Longstreet's division crossing Whiting's line of march—and have it remedied. In about an hour after that a courier arrived from Lieutenant Beckham, stating that he could not find General Longstreet or his command, and was fully satisfied that neither he nor his division was on the Nine Miles road. General Johnston on receipt of this information—and being satisfied that Beckham must be mistaken—despatched his Aide-de-Camp, Lieutenant Washington, in search of General Longstreet on the Nine Miles road, which resulted in the capture of Washington. Colonel Beckham, on his return to headquarters, reported that General Longstreet was on the Williamsburg road, and the troops he saw had halted, having with them their baggage wagons, etc. Some time after Beckham returned, you, with a selection of officers of your staff, moved under orders from General Johnston, to a point, and with an object, not known to me; leaving myself and a number of your officers to accompany General Johnston on the Nine Miles road. Which we did, and remained with him until you rejoined us about half a mile this side of the junction of the New Bridge and Nine Miles roads. At the house selected for headquarters much anxiety was manifested because of the unaccountable delay of General Longstreet in striking the enemy. General Johnston requested me to listen for musketry, and when I reported that I could not hear any, he said that he





wished the troops were back in their camps. Subsequently information was received at headquarters that Longstreet had engaged the enemy. I cannot remember the hour when this information arrived, but am inclined to think it was after four o'clock in the afternoon when General Johnston left his headquarters and galloped down the Nine Miles road to the point where General Whiting was in command of your division. You followed soon after General Johnston. When I arrived on the field General Johnston was, in person, giving orders for the movement of the troops under General Whiting, and called upon different members of your staff to assist him, which they cheerfully did. I understood at the time of the fight, in fact prior to leaving General Johnston's headquarters (in the suburbs of Richmond), that you were on the field without an immediate command—though a portion of your troops under General Whiting were engaged—for the purpose of rendering any assistance occasion might demand, and watching the movements of the enemy. I do not remember now of your taking any active part in the affair until it was reported that General Hampton's command was in much peril, and unless assistance was rendered it would possibly be crushed. This aid you promptly rendered, so far as it was in your power, and in person went immediately to the scene of action. I saw very little of you after that during the engagement; but, was quite near General Johnston when he was wounded. Captain Fauntleroy, of General Johnston's staff, started off to inform you of the Commanding-General's wound, though I do not think he found you. When you returned to the Nine Miles road the firing had ceased, it was quite dark and rainy, and I am under the impression it was there that you first heard of they





injury sustained by the General Commanding, who had retired from the field. I regret I cannot go more into detail.

“Most truly your friend, “S. B. French.”

General Johnston's letter to General Smith, dated the 28th of June, 1862, shows clearly that he intended Longstreet's division, or at least a large portion of it, should move into action by the Nine Miles road. It is quite certain that previous to the receipt of General Longstreet's note, at 4 P.M. on the 31st, General Johnston believed—and with good reason—that the thirty thousand men in the right wing of his army would be able to defeat the enemy in the vicinity of Seven Pines. He did not direct the division under Whiting to move from the left wing of the army to the right in order to attack the right flank of the enemy at Seven Pines in case it did not encounter Federal reënforcements from the north bank of the Chickahominy. In other words, no important flanking operation was entrusted to this division in General Johnston's original plan. But, when General Longstreet—within less than an hour after only one of the three divisions under his command was fully engaged—called upon General Johnston for immediate help, the latter moved the supporting division under Whiting, rapidly to Longstreet's assistance. Four brigades of that division encountered, and held at bay, Federal reënforcements from the north bank of the Chickahominy, whilst the other brigade was sent by General Johnston direct to Longstreet. It is believed that General Johnston is correct in saying that only five of the thirteen brigades under Longstreet were brought into action on the 31st, and that five sixths of the loss





sustained by the right wing, in the two days’ fighting, was suffered by D. H. Hill's division.

All that is said and intimated by General Johnston, Mr. Davis and others, in reference to the advantage that might have been gained by the Confederates, if the unfinished battle of the 31st of May had been renewed early on the morning of the 1st of June, is sufficiently answered by the fact that the Federals had three corps on the battle-field on the 1st whilst they had only one on the morning of the 31st—and the Confederate force on that field on the first of June was the same as that ordered by General Johnston on the 30th of May. But, apart from this, General G. W. Smith, who assumed command at dark on the 31st, ordered the Confederate attack to be renewed as soon after daylight as practicable next morning. The result is indicated in General Longstreet's battle-field notes, ending with that of 1.30 P.M., in which he exclaims, “Oh that I had ten thousand men more!”





PART IV. DEFENCES OF RICHMOND AND NORTH CAROLINA IN THE LATTER PART OF 1862—AND EARLY MONTHS OF 1863.
CHAPTER I.

Richmond in September, 1862—protection of General Lee's line of communication—forces in and near Richmond—negroes drafted to work on fortifications—General Smith asks why six of his juniors had been promoted over him—written reply to reasons assigned for the wholesale overslaughing to which he had been subjected.

When General Lee's army left the vicinity of Richmond, in the latter part of August, 1862, and moved North against the Federal forces under General Pope, General G. W. Smith, the second officer in rank in Lee's army, was assigned to command in North Carolina and that part of Virginia south of the immediate theatre of Lee's active operations, with headquarters in Richmond. The Commanders of the Military Departments of North Carolina and of Henrico—the latter embracing the city of Richmond, were directed by the Secretary of War to report to General Smith and obey his orders. On the 19th of September General Smith wrote to General Lee: “Captain H. H. Walker, C. S. regular army, has been appointed Colonel in the Provisional army, and ordered by me to report to General Winder, who has been directed





to assign Colonel Walker to command all the guards in the city. I have managed to gather force enough, I think, to enable them to systematize and control things here. . . . The Secretary of War has appointed Dr. E. S. Gaillard, Medical Director of my command, and has placed the general hospitals (in Virginia and North Carolina) under my control. The authority heretofore exercised by General Winder and a Medical Board in regard to discharges and furloughs is withdrawn from them and conferred upon me and the medical officers under me. . . . I have not overlooked your suggestion in regard to expelling the enemy from our borders and securing a point lower down the James River. . . . General French is moving on Suffolk, and General Wise is moving on Williamsburg. . . . I shall never cease to regret that I could not be with you; but you may rest assured that I will, on that account, abate no effort to perform as well as I can the part assigned me by the Government.”

On the 26th of September General Smith wrote to General Lee: “The expedition against Suffolk and that against Williamsburg, had to be relinquished—the enemy having been reënforced at both places, making their numbers in each case largely superior to ours. . . . Our picket lines are extended farther than formerly and the enemy kept within narrower limits than heretofore. . . . . The expeditions recently undertaken have delayed the work upon the defences. Negroes are difficult to procure. . . . I am endeavoring to introduce order and system into the city and press forward military preparations of every kind. I sometimes feel that the task is hopeless; but will continue to try to improve and perfect instead of allowing things to remain as they are.”





On the 28th of September: “One of my best staff officers, Major Beckham, ordnance officer of my command, has been sent to Gordonsville, Culpepper, Warrenton, and Winchester, with special instructions and authority as Acting Inspector-General to regulate all matters in that section of my command. . . . Officers here who are acting under the immediate orders of Heads of Departments of the General Government claim to be, and are in fact, under authority higher than mine. (They trace right back to the President.) But so far we have managed, by extra trouble and a good deal of worry, to procure in time nearly all that is necessary. . . . General French reports the force of the enemy at Suffolk increasing. . . . The enemy are still reported near Bristoe Station. . . . There are no means here, or on the road, sufficient to prevent the advance of a column from Washington, or that direction, against the flank of your line of communications.”

On the 2d of October: “Colonel Chambliss, Colonel Niemeyer, and the Second North Carolina, when it gets up, will continue to give their attention to pressing the stragglers forward to your army as well as to watching and holding the enemy in check. I enclose with this copies of letters just received from General French and my reply. These will give you an idea of our condition at Petersburg and in North Carolina—and my intentions. . . . We have had such poor success in procuring negroes for work upon the fortifications that the Secretary of War has applied to the Legislature to pass an act drafting negroes into the service for this work. . . . At the risk of being considered intrusive I will say, in closing this letter, if you cannot strike a decisive blow in a short time from your present position, I think you ought to be nearer Richmond.”





On the 6th of October: “Wise (Chapin's Bluff), 1755 effectives; Daniels (Drewry's Bluff), 3044; artillery, heavy and light, 1825; City Guard, under Colonel H. H. Walker, 838; four regiments, not brigaded, 2091. Total effectives in and near Richmond, 9553. This does not include the cavalry picketing from the James River to the upper Rappahannock, nor the 61st Virginia Infantry in advance of Culpepper Court House. . . . General French has been directed to place troops in position to defend Weldon from attack coming from Suffolk. The yellow-fever at Wilmington will prevent the enemy from attempting anything in that quarter for some time to come. During the epidemic the troops will be removed except from the fortifications.”

On the 15th of October, General G. W. Smith addressed a note to the Secretary of War, as follows: “Having been informed to-day that six Major-Generals, my juniors, have been recently promoted to rank me in the army, I respectfully ask the reasons therefor.”

On the 16th General Smith wrote General Lee: “There is enough confusion and disorder here at the best, but it is vastly increased by (unassigned) conscripts held back from the front—paroled prisoners—and sick and stragglers from your army. . . . By last advices from General French the force of the enemy at Suffolk is still increasing. . . . They are also said to be reënforcing at Newbern. The recent arrivals are supposed to be new levies. . . . The signs indicate that they contemplate operations south of the James River, but I think they are not yet ready to take the field. . . . I am sorry to say that in the execution of the most difficult, complicated, and important work with which I have ever been charged, I feel that the Government has not helped me—or the cause—by placing six Major-Generals—who





were recently my juniors—over me in the army.”

“Headquarters, Richmond, Oct. 21st, 1862.

“General Geo. W. Randolph,

Secretary of War.

“General:

“On the 15th inst. I had the honor to address you a letter stating that I had been that day informed that six Major-Generals, my juniors, had been recently promoted to rank me in the army, and respectfully asking the reasons therefor.

“To this letter I have received no written reply, but have been informed by you that the President, in explanation, states that Senator Wigfall did not consider that my present command came within the intention of the law authorizing the appointment of Lieutenant-Generals.

“On the 19th of September, 1861, I was appointed Major-General, and was at once assigned to command the 2d Corps of the Army of the Potomac. From the time General Beauregard left that army in January last, until the 31st of May, I was the second officer in rank in the field this side of the Alleghany Mountains, and commanded during most of that time one, or the other, wing of the army. When General J. E. Johnston was wounded at the battle of Seven Pines, or Fair Oaks, the command of the army devolved upon me. I was, however, superseded during the battle by General R. E. Lee, by order of the President, on the 1st of June. On the 2d of June I retired from the field on account of ill-health and was unable to return until about the 10th of August.

“On reporting to General Lee for duty, I asked to be





assigned to my own division. This was refused. I was assigned to another division, and in a few days was placed in command of the right wing of General Lee's army. About the time of the commencement of General Lee's operations on the Rappahannock, I was ordered to remain in Richmond, and, without being formally separated from Lee's army, was instructed to communicate direct with the War Department and to command in place of General Lee from the mouth of the Cape Fear River north to the line of Lee's active operations.

“I objected to remaining here and claimed to be allowed to go with the division to which I had been recently assigned. I was overruled in this matter and given to understand that the Government considered my services more necessary in my present position. It is not for me to say how the duty imposed upon me has been performed. I will say, however, that I have found it to be a position of vital importance, vast in extent, complicated and annoying. The difficulties and responsibilities have been great, the enemy threatening—collisions taking place along the line from the upper Rappahannock to Wilmington. My command of troops in the field, operating against the enemy, being made all the more difficult by the vexatious interferences and details connected with command in this city. I may have made mistakes, but if General Lee, to whom I report all matters of interest by letter, yourself or the President are not satisfied with what I have done, I am not aware of that fact.

“I am not acting under a General, but have absolutely relieved General Lee of a large portion of his command, and am in direct communication with the Government; and, if numbers are to be taken into consideration as an





element in estimating the importance of a command, I venture the opinion that not one of the six Major-Generals promoted to rank me have as many enlisted men under them as are within the limits of my command and under my orders. My position and duties here are more assimilated to those properly pertaining to the rank of General than to that of Lieutenant-General.

“In addition to the above statement in regard to the nature of my present command, and of that previously exercised by me, I beg leave to refer to the subject of the command proper of a Major-General, which, in an army organized like ours, is a division. When the two corps of which the Army of the Potomac was composed were broken up, I most willingly accepted the command of a division instead of a corps. It was the proper command for my rank. And I would most gladly have retained the command of the old 1st Division of the Army of the Potomac to the end of the war—shared its fate—and united my destiny with that of the gallant officers and men who composed it. But the division was broken up, and I was ordered to another command, without my consent, against my wishes, and without being consulted. I submitted without complaint. Had we been engaged in any other than a war for existence I would have resigned rather than be thus separated from my division. But the command to which I was assigned contained two brigades which had formerly belonged to the 2d Corps: that of Whiting and that of Hood. This division was also broken up and distributed amongst my juniors. I objected to this, but to no purpose. I was then assigned to another division which was ordered off, and I ordered to remain here.

“I have heretofore made no complaint—I make none now. I have applied for nothing—and apply





for nothing now. I have not been consulted by the Government in regard to the duties and positions assigned me since receiving a commission—unless this may be called an exception—viz.: The President informed me that he had told a distinguished gentleman from South Carolina that he would order me to Charleston to command the Department of South Carolina and Georgia in July last if my health would permit. I was consulted on the state of my health alone. That subject was referred to the Medical Director of my command. He decided that the state of my health would not justify my attempting to take that command at that time. Or this, viz.:

“When most of the troops of my command were ordered forward to the Rapidan, the Secretary of War told me that it was desirable for me to remain here. I expressed an unqualified preference to go with my troops. But told him that, if, in his judgment, it was to the interest of the service and the cause for me to remain, I would obey his order to do so, in a willing spirit, and be none the less useful here because of my decided and clearly expressed desire to go with my troops. The Secretary then gave the order for me to remain. But I had reason to believe afterwards that the President had previously determined to keep me here.

“My sole desire is to aid in resisting Northern despotism—to drive back the invaders, and establish our independence. But the recent action of the Government, in putting over me six of my juniors, diminishes my usefulness in the position I now occupy to an extent which makes it incumbent upon me to give place to some one who is not laboring under the great disadvantage of condemnation in advance.

“I know that the President has the right to select general





officers, and I would under other circumstances say nothing. But I maintain that I was selected to perform duties clearly pertaining to the rank of Lieutenant-General, that I commanded a corps when most if not all of those who have been promoted over me were commanding brigades, that I have had a Lieutenant-General's command nearly all the time I have been in service, that I commanded the right wing of General Lee's army, and was by him ordered to the front with my command, and was selected and ordered by the Secretary of War to remain here in a position in which he considered that I could render more important services to the country than by going to General Lee's army with the three divisions then under my command—a position in which I am commanding more troops than are in the three divisions that went on without me.

“The responsibilities and difficulties connected with my present duties are well known to the Government. I have been selected to perform these duties, and when a law is passed, authorizing the appointment of Lieutenant-Generals—a rank corresponding to the position I have so long occupied, and hold now—I am selected to be over-slaughed.

“The morale in war is an essential element of success and cannot with safety be ignored. Had I been allowed to command my own division I would have been not only satisfied to command it, and it alone, to the end of the war, but would have been proud and glad to remain with it, and share its fate—and the Government as far as concerned me, might have selected six hundred instead of six of my juniors and made them Lieutenant-Generals—It would have been no affair of mine.

“But the old 1st Division was broken up and taken from me—the division to which I was next assigned was broken





up and distributed amongst my juniors—the division to which I was afterwards assigned was ordered off and I ordered to remain here. I have no division now, and, if one should be given me, I have no reason to believe that I would be allowed to remain with it long enough to become its real commander.

“I have the honor, sir, to tender my resignation as Major-General of the Provisional army of the Confederate States, and request its immediate acceptance.

“Very respectfully, your obedient servant,

“Gustavus W. Smith, Major-General.”

“Mem. October 21st, 1862.—The above letter was not delivered to the Secretary of War for reasons stated in a memorandum appended to the letter after our interview of this morning. Instead of the letter as above recorded, a copy of it, excepting the last paragraph, was sent informally to the Secretary of War for file in his office. G. W. S.”

“Headquarters, Richmond, October 21st, 1862.

“Mem. to be appended to copy of letter of this date to be filed with Secretary of War.

“On Saturday last I had an interview with the Secretary of War, and in that interview gave him to understand that I was not satisfied with what he then told me of the reasons for not appointing me Lieutenant-General. He requested me to delay action in the matter until he could have another interview with the President on the subject. Believing that no satisfactory answer would be given—on the next day—I prepared a letter to him on the subject, and called on him this morning with the intention of delivering that letter, a copy of which is on record. The letter was not delivered, but the substance





of it was talked over, and I stated freely, without reserve, all that I felt. I did not tell the Secretary that I had the letter, because of his remarks, when I told him that I intended to resign; which were to the effect that my place could not now be filled. That my resignation at this time would embarrass the business of his office fearfully, and would certainly be a great injury to the Confederate cause. He said that there was no want of confidence in me on the part of the Government, that the fact of my being passed over was accidental or incidental, that the nominations were very hurriedly made, that the subject had not been finally disposed of—that time and a revision of work that had been too much hurried would set all things right. That my services here as an administrative officer, in addition to commanding troops in the field, had been of the greatest benefit to the President, to himself and the whole War Department. That if I left now, the confusion and disorder would be worse than ever—and he urged me to defer action until some one who now ranked me came to take command, or until the whole matter was satisfactorily arranged. At least wait until Richmond was in less danger than it is now and has been during the time I have been in command. I told him that I would rather have been shot dead than to have had my usefulness in so important a command impaired, if not destroyed, by the recent wholesale overslaughing to which I had been subjected. And told him it had unfitted me for the command; and that I would not for any consideration on earth retain rank at the hazard and risk of the vital interests of the country. He said that I ought to allow the government to judge of my fitness for the position, and again urged and advised me to wait for a time.

“I told him at the end of an hour's conversation that





I would stand by him in defence of the city and see him through it. With the understanding between us that if one of my former juniors, now promoted over me, came here to relieve me, or if after a reasonable time the whole matter was not satisfactorily settled, that I would be entirely free to take the course I proposed.

“G. W. Smith, Major-General.”

CHAPTER II.

Brigade from General Lee's army ordered to North Carolina by Secretary of War—forces under General Smith's orders check movements of the enemy against General Lee's rear—General Smith appointed Secretary of War ad interim—Enemy at Fredericksburg and on the Black Water—number and position of troops—reference to future operations.

On the 30th of October, General Smith wrote to General Lee: “The negroes under the draft seem to be almost as slow coming in as they were under the old arrangement, but we are still expecting them. . . . General French is satisfied that his information is correct in regard to the force of the enemy at Suffolk. . . . The railroad from Wilmington to Petersburg is very accessible to them. . . . I have not yet succeeded in getting a Brigadier-General to command the four unattached regiments here.”

On the 5th of November, General Smith telegraphed to General Lee, at Culpepper Court-house: “General French urgently asks that a brigade be sent to him at once. Can you send it immediately? It is needed.” And, later, on the same day: “The Secretary of War says send a brigade through to Weldon as soon as it can





possibly be done.” General Smith wrote to General Lee, same date: “Daniel's brigade cannot be sent away from Drewry's Bluff. Wise's brigade is very small and not sufficient to guard the batteries at Chapin's Bluff. The only available force with which to reënforce either of these points or the heavy batteries around Richmond, is the brigade of General Jo. Davis, composed of the four unattached regiments previously referred to. So far from having any troops to send to General French, I require, here, for the defence of this city, against sudden attack by way of James River, at least a division in addition to the force we now have.”

On the 9th of November: “General French estimates the enemy at four to one against him, and considers his force unequal to the task of holding the rich seaboard counties with a view to procuring from them the large supplies of provisions and forage they contain (which are so essential to your army). His instructions are to protect Weldon, Petersburg, and the railroad. I think he can do this with the force he now has: but, a portion of this force must be returned to Wilmington in a few days; the yellow fever having abated, and these troops being the regular garrison at Wilmington. . . . The enemy's cavalry dashed into Fredericksburg to-day, but were driven across the river again and chased several miles.”

On the 10th of November, Telegram to General Lee, at Culpepper Court House: “Colonel Ball's regiment, 15th Va. Cavalry—is at Fredericksburg. He and Colonel Chambliss have instructions to keep in communication with each other. Colonel Ball has been instructed to communicate with you direct. General French telegraphs that the enemy have fallen back to Plymouth.”





On the 11th, Telegram to General French: “The Secretary of War directs that you send four regiments to the vicinity of Wilmington immediately.” On the same day, telegram to General Lee: “The following telegram is just received from Colonel Davidson, commanding at Staunton: ‘The enemy are within thirty-five miles of this place. One column at McDowell and one at Raleigh Springs. Amounting to five or six thousand. Can you send me more troops?’ ”

On the 16th, telegram to General Lee: “Colonel Ball, at Fredericksburg, applies for more force. I have already sent more than can well be spared from here.” The same day telegram to General Lee: “Colonel Ball thinks an immediate advance on Fredericksburg certain.”

“Richmond, Va., November 17th, 1862.

“Major-General G. W. Smith is hereby appointed Secretary of War ad interim.

“Jefferson Davis.”

On the 18th, telegram to Colonel Ball: “It is important to delay the enemy's crossing. The question of risk of battery and other points is left to your discretion. You will undoubtedly be justified in shooting down any man who deserts his guns.”

On the same day telegram to General Lee: “General French says, ‘The enemy are reported to be in full force on the Blackwater. Prisoners report it a real advance.’ Later same day, ‘Colonel Ball reports no further advance on the town. Prisoners taken say it is Sumner's corps opposite Fredericksburg. Lieutenant Reese, 13th Va. Cavalry, on picket at Ellis's Ford, reported a large force advancing on Fredericksburg rapidly.’ ”

On the 26th, General Smith wrote to General Lee:





“Everything tends to confirm the impression that the enemy are preparing to strike determined blows south of James River. There are only four regiments of infantry at Wilmington. Evans's brigade is at Kinston, with a superior force of the enemy at Newbern threatening Goldsboro. At Weldon, there are two new cavalry regiments being instructed under General Robertson. The enemy are pressing upon the Blackwater. Two regiments are at Petersburg. . . . I hope you will soon be able to send back to me the 61st Va. Infantry, and the 13th Va. Cavalry, for service on the south side of James River. We are extremely weak in numbers at all points from Richmond to Wilmington, inclusive. In order that we may be prepared, in this quarter, detachments should be made from your army as soon as it is safe. . . . Upon your refusal to part with General Early, Major-General Sam Jones, who was to have been assigned to the command of the local defences of this city, was ordered to Western Virginia. I am very anxious to visit North Carolina, but, up to this time, have not been able to do so.”

On the 29th, General Smith wrote to General Whiting, the commander at Wilmington. “I am satisfied we will not get a man or a gun from General Lee at present. . . . I have directed General French to order Evans to support you in case of emergency, and I will do all in my power to put you in condition.”

General R. E. Lee to General G. W. Smith.

“Headquarters, Army N. Va., 6th Dec., 1862.

“Major-General G. W. Smith, Comdg., etc., Richmond.

“General:

“I have received copies of dispatches of the 2d inst., forwarded to you by officers serving south of James River.





They, like others transmitted to me, knowing none of the circumstances connected with them, present no definite idea of operations which may be in progress or contemplation. I presume you know what weight to give them, and should like always to have your opinion. . . . The reports that I have received from other sources do not make the force at Suffolk so large as is represented by the informants of General French, and the Northern papers seem rather to indicate an apprehension of an attack by you, which I have considered was the cause of the reënforcements being sent under General Corcoran and others. General Burnside's army, I am inclined to believe, is encamped between the Rappahannock and Potomac—nor can I learn of any preparations to transfer it elsewhere. . . . The withdrawal of this army from the front of General Burnside, or even a portion of it, would, I think, cause his advance to Richmond, and cut us off from the supplies we are drawing from the valley of the Rappahannock. I think it important to keep him at a distance as long as possible. If you can, with the forces in the vicinity of Richmond, retard, if not successfully oppose, the advance of the enemy south of James River, the army could arrive there in time to give battle. I hope your strength is sufficient for this purpose, and I should be glad to know the number of troops you would be able to concentrate when occasion requires it.

“I am, very respectfully, your obedient servant, “R. E. Lee, General.”

“Richmond, Dec. 10th, 1862.

“General R. E. Lee, Comdg. Army N. Va.

“General:

“Your letter of the 6th inst. is received. To answer your inquiry as to the number of troops in this command





that could be concentrated should occasion require, it will be necessary first to state in general terms the number and position of the troops and the nature of the points they are guarding.

“1st. Richmond.—At Chapin's Bluff we have Wise's brigade, about 1700 effectives. At Drewry's Bluff Daniel's brigade, about 3000 effectives. Neither of these brigades ought to be removed from this vicinity. In case of attack by troops landed just below either of the Bluffs they would have to be promptly reënforced or we would lose the gate through which gunboats could pass to our wharves. There is one brigade. Davis's, here in reserve numbering 2318 effective men Besides these three brigades, we have artillery, heavy and light, numbering 1497; and the guard of the city numbering about 1000 men. My conviction is that no portion of this force should be removed from Richmond so long as the James River is open to the enemy to Chapin's Bluff.

“2d. At Wilmington—the other end of the line—we have, besides artillerists in the forts and batteries forming the water defences, four regiments of infantry (say about 2000). Making total force at Wilmington about 4000. I do not think that it would be safe to remove any of this small infantry force from Wilmington because the enemy can bring troops by water and disembark within a very short distance without going near the defences at the mouth of the river.

“It is not necessary for me to enlarge upon the importance of holding Richmond and Wilmington and preparing to resist any force that might be landed within a few miles of either; at least, until reënforcements could be brought to their assistance. Neither of the two places have anything like adequate garrisons. But





Richmond is now within supporting distance of your army. I feel great anxiety for Wilmington, as you are already aware, and fear its isolation by the breaking of the railroad communication between that point and Richmond.

“3d. Petersburg.—General French commands here and to the Cape Fear District. By his last report he had about 11,000 men. Two regiments have since that time gone to Wilmington and form a part of the force at Wilmington as given above. Deduct these from the number stated in General French's last return, and his present force is about 10,000, viz.: Pettigrew's brigade, at Petersburg and on the Blackwater, 3465. Pryor's, on the Blackwater, 2151. Robertson, near Weldon, 1322. (Cavalry under instruction.) And Evans at Kinston, about 2000. These with detachments and small guards make the command of General French, as already stated, about 10,000.

“Petersburg is too accessible from City Point—to say nothing about Suffolk—to leave without a garrison, and the force cannot with any safety be reduced to less than it is now, viz.: about 2000.

“4th. Kinston.—Evans's small force at this point, in front of Newbern, and covering Goldsboro, cannot well be withdrawn. Besides, this is the only means we have for reënforcing Wilmington without taking the troops from the Blackwater for that purpose, which would uncover Weldon and allow the enemy from Suffolk to break our connection with North Carolina without a blow being struck to prevent it.

“In short, the force in my command is entirely adequate to the work to be done, and I know of no good reason why, within the last two months, the enemy have not broken the line of railroad at one or more points





between Richmond and Wilmington, at any time they chose to make the effort.

“If they attack this place I can, with aid from the Blackwater, hold them in check until a portion of your army can come to our relief. If they attack Petersburg, our forces being in their present positions when they attempt it, we could hold Petersburg until assistance could arrive from your army. If by demonstrations in North Carolina they draw our forces in that direction from the Blackwater and Petersburg a fatal blow might be struck at Petersburg before you could prevent it. If they send an expedition against Wilmington, I have no adequate reënforcements for that place without exposing Richmond, Petersburg, and Weldon. Even if disposed to do this, which is very far from my intention, I am by no means satisfied that troops could reach Wilmington from here, in time to save that place if they were not started until a landing had been commenced by the enemy against it. . . . Major-General Elzey has reported to me for duty. As soon as he can get his staff, I shall assign him to command here and go in person to North Carolina—see the condition of affairs—and endeavor to put everything in the best condition to meet whatever may come. Rest assured that I shall do the best I can. I would be pleased to have your views. Will keep you promptly informed of all movements of importance even at the risk of occasionally sending crude and imperfect information.

“Very respectfully, your obedient servant,

“G. W. Smith, Major-General.”





CHAPTER III.

General Beauregard sends troops from Charleston to Wilmington—Evans fighting in front of Kinston, N. C.—General French ordered to reënforce Evans—driven back, burns the bridge at Kinston—fight at Whitehall Bridge—enemy driven back with severe loss—troops from Richmond had not arrived—enemy burns one of the two bridges—General Smith's report to the Secretary of War—General Clingman's report—position of forces in North Carolina—political feeling in that State—another invasion anticipated.

Telegram, December 13th, 1862, to Brigadier-General W. H. C. Whiting, Wilmington: “The Secretary of War has directed General Beauregard to send to you all the force he can spare, without too much risk at Charleston, in case the troops from Banks's fleet are landed at a point threatening Wilmington. General Beauregard has been requested, in case communications are cut off between this place and Wilmington, to give special attention, and such aid to your command as may be in his power. In this contingency you will of course obey the orders of General Beauregard.”

Telegram, December 13th, 1862, to General R. E. Lee: “Evans is fighting near Kinston. I have directed General Whiting to give all the aid he can to prevent the railroad communications from being cut. The enemy were driven back completely on the Blackwater yesterday. General French has been directed to send all the force he can spare to Evans. I have ordered Davis's brigade south of the James River, and will move it to Petersburg if required.”

On the 15th General Smith—from Weldon, N. C.—ordered





by telegram, that Daniel's and Davis's brigades be sent at once to Goldsboro. Evans had retired across the river at Kinston about dark on the 14th and burned the bridge. General Beauregard telegraphed that he would send five thousand infantry and their batteries from Charleston to Wilmington. General Smith arrived at Goldsboro about 3 P.M. and telegraphed the Secretary of War: “The telegraph with Evans is cut. By latest information he is at Falling Creek, six miles this side of Kinston.”

On the 16th, General Smith, from Goldsboro, to the Secretary of War: “At midnight it was reported that the enemy were passing up the river on the south side towards Dudley Station or this place. General Evans appealed strongly for cavalry—reporting that he had but one company. I had no troops of any kind. With the assistance of Governor Vance, who is here, I improvised the best means I could for obtaining information from the south side of the river. There were no troops of ours there whatever—the battalion picketing on that side below Kinston having been enveloped by the enemy. General French arrived about seven o'clock this morning with one regiment from Petersburg—he has gone down to Bear Creek, about twelve miles, to join General Evans. During the night, not knowing when the troops from Petersburg might be expected, I ordered Evans to send one regiment to a bridge six miles below here, and one to this place to guard the railroad bridge and the common road bridge near it. We can get nothing through the telegraph from Wilmington. Heavy firing is now heard distinctly upon the river below—supposed to be at White Hall bridge fifteen miles below or perhaps near the Six Miles Bridge. There is, as usual, great delay and difficulty in the railroad transportation.





I hope soon to obtain information of the movements of the enemy, and, on the arrival of the troops from Richmond, will endeavor to strike an effective blow. Banks's fleet is reported to General Whiting as certainly at Beaufort—but it is not known whether the troops have landed. They are within ten or twelve hours’ sail of Whiting. . . . We have no cavalry, no transportation, and are laboring under some other difficulties. My staff officers are not yet here.”

December 16th, 1862, to Major-General S. G. French: “I send you a despatch which the operator attempted to transmit to you some three or four hours since. You will see by memoranda on it that we can't depend upon our telegraph. The enemy's cavalry, estimated at a regiment, set fire to a turpentine still at Mount Olive, about 2 P.M. to-day, cut down the telegraph poles and injured the railroad track, to what extent is not known. Scouts sent out this morning report the enemy three miles this side of White Hall. A large force of cavalry advancing towards Dudley or Goldsboro had not reached the forks of the road. . . . We must concentrate in this direction and cross over and whip them if they attempt the railroad bridge.”

Telegram, December 16th, 1862, to Secretary of War. “The enemy made this morning a serious attack at White Hall bridge, on the right and rear of our position this side of Kinston. . . . Later.—The enemy has been driven back from White Hall bridge—his loss severe—ours not so. None of the troops from Richmond have arrived.”

December 16th, 1862, to Major-General S. G. French: “I will send down five empty trains to-night. It will be well to have the men sleep on board. In case the enemy move upon the railroad and the County bridges,





General Clingman should be reënforced at once or we lose all chance of taking the offensive when the troops arrive from Richmond. . . . The two thirty-pounders reached here to-day, but without horses they are almost useless, if not in the way. . . . One regiment, the 52d N. C., has just arrived—it will be sent over the river. If it is practicable, General Pettigrew had better come up in the first train with Burgwyn's regiment and Pettigrew's own troops immediately after. Let General Robertson hold position at Spring Bank bridge with two regiments and two pieces, and let General Evans with his brigade take position to cover the town—support Robertson if it should be necessary—and be in place to support, in time, the troops beyond the bridge here if required. There are five field-pieces now beyond the bridge with Colonel Pool's battalion of artillery and Clingman's two regiments of infantry. . . . If Pettigrew's brigade crosses over I desire that you take command of the force on that side—that is, of Clingman's and Pettigrew's brigades. When the six regiments from Richmond get here we will, I hope, be strong enough to protect this place (its depots and supplies) from any movement they may make against it from below by means of their pontoon bridges—and at the same time be strong enough on the other side to beat them in any attempt they may make to burn the railroad bridge and county bridge.”

Telegram, December 17, 1862, to Brigadier-General W. H. C. Whiting, Wilmington: “I have no cavalry, and learn but little of the movements of the enemy. Troops from Richmond expected here to-night. Move your force up the railroad to a point this side of Magnolia; reconnoitre and use your own judgment. I will endeavor to keep you informed of my movements.”





Telegram, December 18, 1862, to Secretary of War: “Yesterday afternoon the enemy made a sudden movement in large force upon the two bridges near this place—drove back our pickets and succeeded in burning the railroad bridge. Several brigades were afterwards passed over the County bridge; attacked and drove the enemy back and saved the County bridge. The enemy were in large numbers, their second position was a strong one, night was at hand, only a portion of the troops from Richmond had arrived, none of the artillery, and no cavalry from either Richmond or Petersburg. I did not consider it advisable to attack again at dark. The enemy retired during the night. The few mounted men we now have, about sixty, have been sent to ascertain their position and probable intentions. It was supposed that the whole force of the enemy was present. Without cavalry it has been almost impossible to obtain accurate or prompt information in regard to their movements or numbers. They are burning mills and houses and devastating the country. We have not transportation sufficient even for ammunition. I shall move as soon as possible.”

Telegram, December 18, 1862, to Secretary of War. “One of my best officers returned at 2 P.M., having followed the enemy thirteen miles on the road to Newbern. He is satisfied they are rapidly moving to that place.”

General T. L. Clingmanin an official report, datedDecember 21, 1862, says: “Colonel Marshall with the Fifty-second N. C. regiment (of Pettigrew's brigade) was stationed in front of the railroad bridge; and Colonel Shaw with the Eighth N. C., supported by a section of Starr's battery, placed in the field in front of the County bridge; while Colonel Allen with the Fifty-first





N. C. was between the two to support either in case of need. The enemy soon opened heavily both with cannon and musketry against Colonel Marshall, evidently with a view of reaching the railroad bridge. I carried, therefore, the Fifty-first regiment to his support, and placed it on his left flank. So heavy, however, was the fire from the large force of the enemy that these regiments were broken and fell back. They were soon rallied and taken back to their position. The increasing volleys of musketry and the rapid falling of shells from the numerous batteries of the enemy, in spite of all my efforts to keep them longer in position, caused them to give way a second time. It being obvious that so small a force could not long maintain a contest against such heavy odds, they were formed in the rear, and carried back in good order to the County bridge, and with the force stationed there recrossed the river. To defend the bridge, the two guns of Starr's battery, under command of Lieutenant Fuller, were placed near it, and Colonel Marshall's regiment lined the river bank below, and Colonel Allen occupied it above, while Colonel Shaw's was placed as a reserve in the rear. For the defence of the railroad bridge there was in position on the north side of the river Colonel Pool's battalion with several pieces of artillery.”

After stating that the railroad bridge was burned General Clingman says: “General Evans ordered me to advance across the County bridge with my command and attack the enemy and feel his strength. The Sixty-first N. C. regiment of my brigade, in charge of Lieutenant-Colonel Devane, having by this time arrived, it, with the three already under my command, and the two field-pieces above mentioned, were moved across the river. Skirmishers were thrown forward and the enemy





were found to be posted from the river for a mile and a half, along the railroad in line of battle, well protected by the high embankment of the road in front of them.”

General Clingman describes his preparations for attacking both flanks of the enemy's line, with his force of two thousand infantry and two pieces of artillery, states what occurred, and says: “Evans's brigade soon filled up the centre. After retreating from this position (along the railroad) the enemy occupied a high field in our front with a large number of cannon, and heavy bodies of infantry drawn up in two lines with an interval of one or two hundred yards between them. . . . During the evening the regiments of Colonels Marshall and Allen, by General Evans's order, as I have since learned, made a charge against the enemy's position on the hill. They advanced most courageously, but were repulsed by heavy showers of grape and musketry. . . . Immediately after dark, the enemy retreated with his entire army. . . . Having been threatened with attack on both wings at the same moment, while the swamp in his front prevented his attacking and dividing our centre, he seems to have been terrified and induced to abandon as strong a position as the art of the engineer could have made, and fled with his large army toward the coast.”

Letter from General G. W. Smith to the Secretary of War, dated Goldsboro, Dec. 28th, 1862.—“On my return from Wilmington last night, I received your letter of the 23d inst. and sent you a telegram saying that Clingman's brigade had been ordered to Wilmington, General Beauregard having recalled his troops from that point. Before leaving for Wilmington, I informed you that Pettigrew's brigade and Leaventhorpe's regiment had been sent back to Petersburg, Weldon, and the Blackwater. General French returned with these





troops. There are now here only three regiments of Daniel's brigade and three Mississippi regiments of Davis's brigade. Evans's brigade, numbering about 1200, is at Kinston. If Beauregard's troops could have been left at Wilmington, I would have felt secure at that point, and would even have counted upon co-operation from there in case of another foray in force—but as things stand now we are nowhere strong enough to resist successfully a real determined attack. I do not wish to be importunate or troublesome, but it is necessary to say again that the forces from Richmond to Wilmington, inclusive, are inadequate for the protection of the important points upon that line. The state of feeling in North Carolina is such that reverses will do us immense injury politically; and the military consequences of disaster here would be felt with great effect by the army in Virginia. Has not the time arrived when a portion of General Lee's forces can be returned to this section of the country? He has two regiments of cavalry—the 13th Va., Colonel Chambliss, and the 15th Va., Colonel Ball—and the 61st Va. Infantry, and two batteries of artillery, all of which properly belong to my command. These troops were sent up, by me, to protect General Lee's line of communication whilst he was at Winchester and beyond the Potomac. Nothing short of their absolute necessity to the success of his army will justify his keeping them any longer. But my intention is not so much to call your attention, at this time, to these minor details as to urge upon you to consider now the question of preparing at once to resist the invasion and occupation of North Carolina by the enemy. We have no reason to expect much further assistance from this State for a month or two, and I fear not much then. Conscripts come in very very slowly,





and are worth but little when they do come. I beg you to think over the question of the defence of this State, and, if possible, furnish in time something like an adequate force for that purpose. If nothing occurs to prevent my leaving here, I expect to return to Richmond in a few days, and will then bring to your notice, not only the matters referred to in this letter, but the question of organization in this command—which is now more geographical than military, and requires revising to adapt it to practical war purposes.”

CHAPTER IV.

The state of affairs in North Carolina—Ransom's division (two small brigades) detached from General Lee's army—conflict of opinion in regard to the movements of Ransom's division—letter from General Smith to Secretary of War.

“Richmond, Va., Jan. 1st, 1863.

“General R. E. Lee,

“Commanding Army N. Va., “Fredericksburg, Va.

“General:

“I returned from North Carolina on the night of the 30th ult. At the time I left Goldsboro all seemed to be quiet, and I returned for the purpose of communicating to the War Department, and to yourself, my views and conclusions in regard to the existing condition of affairs in North Carolina.

“You are aware that, by orders from the War Department, my headquarters are in Richmond. Until Saturday, the 13th of December last, besides the general command over all that part of your Department not including





the immediate theatre of operations of your army in the field, I was the local commander in Richmond. The day that General Elzey assumed the local command in this city, I started to North Carolina for the purpose of visiting and inspecting Wilmington and other points. At Petersburg I heard of the advance of the enemy upon Kinston, and immediately proceeded to Goldsboro, ordering forward such troops as could be spared from Richmond, Petersburg, and Wilmington, and directed my staff officers to join me at once. The railroad officers showed perfect willingness to do everything in their power, but we were twenty-four hours late in effecting the concentration of troops. General Beauregard reënforced Wilmington, and my opinion is that, if the enemy had remained forty-eight hours longer in the interior, we would have been able, in spite of their great superiority of force, to have beaten them.

“General Beauregard's troops have been withdrawn, the forces from Petersburg, Weldon, and the Blackwater had to be returned. The brigade from Wilmington was sent back there when General Beauregard's troops were withdrawn, and we are pretty much as before. But the enemy are constantly reënforcing Suffolk and passing troops from Suffolk to Newbern. I am satisfied that they ought to, and will, make a serious attempt in large force against points in North Carolina. Wilmington is of vast importance; Goldsboro and Weldon are important points; Petersburg is directly connected with the defences of this city on the south side; from Richmond to Wilmington inclusive there are not troops enough to enable us, if they were all concentrated on one point, to meet the enemy in equal force. But Richmond, Petersburg, Wilmington, etc., cannot be entirely stripped of troops. I have no confidence





in the ability of our railroads to transport troops with promptness and regularity, and have no reason to believe that they will ever do better than they did on the recent trial.

“The state of affairs in North Carolina is such that reverses will do us immense injury politically—and the military consequences of disaster there would be felt with great effect in Virginia. I do not consider it necessary to dwell upon the peculiar geographical features giving advantages to the enemy—thus increasing largely the difficulties in defending such a line—but it is my duty to inform you fully of my opinion in regard to this portion of your command. I do not hesitate to say that the forces are inadequate on every point, and I respectfully urge upon you again the question of reënforcing this portion of your command by detachments from Fredericksburg. I am satisfied that the enemy are prepared to make a struggle for ascendency in North Carolina, and that to meet it successfully detachments will have to be made from the main army under your own immediate command. There are no other means that I know of, and to be effective your action in this matter should be immediate. Perhaps the time has already passed when this could have been done to the best advantage. These are my views, but you have information of what is in your front and will decide what can be done. I may be mistaken as to the intentions of the enemy, but there is no mistake in regard to the vast interests at stake and the injurious political as well as military consequences that will result from disaster to us in North Carolina at this time.

“Jan. 2. Since writing the above I have received a telegram from Goldsboro—copy of which is herewith enclosed. I consider the information reliable in the





main. And have no doubt they are rapidly preparing another expedition to move from Newbern either against Goldsboro or Wilmington—more likely the latter. The Secretary of War has requested General Beauregard to render all the aid he can. Cavalry is very much needed in North Carolina, and I would like, at any rate, to have Colonel Chambliss and Colonel Ball's regiments and the two batteries that were sent from here with those regiments.

“Appearances certainly strongly indicate that whilst your army is at Fredericksburg the enemy will strike in force at Wilmington. I think that at least twenty thousand men, thoroughly organized and effective, should be sent at once to North Carolina. If there is a possibility of your being able to send the whole or any considerable proportion of this amount I would be glad to confer with you in regard to it. Please answer as soon as practicable and oblige.

“Very respectfully and truly yours,

“G. W. Smith, Major-General.”

Letter from General R. E. Lee to General G. W. Smith.

“Headquarters Army of N. Va.,

“Camp near Fredericksburg, Jan. 4, 1863.

“Major-General G. W. Smith,

Commanding, etc., Richmond.

“General:

“Your letter of the 1st inst. has been received. As you seem to be certain the enemy are reënforcing Suffolk and passing troops from that point to Newbern, I would recommend that you collect a force at Goldsboro and within supporting distance of it, adequate to oppose them. I do not think that the enemy can bring into the





field, in that region, at present, a large or stable force. Their troops must be new and not very reliable, nor have they an officer there, that I am aware of, in whom much confidence is reposed by his Government. It is as impossible for him to have a large operating army at every assailable point in our territory as it is for us to keep one to defend it. We must move our troops from point to point as required, and by close observation and accurate information the true point of attack can generally be ascertained. I may be mistaken, but I have thought that the troops at your disposal would be sufficient to drive back the threatened incursions of the enemy south of James River, until he is reënforced from some of his armies now in the field. General Burnside has all of his army between Fredericksburg and Acquia Creek, with the addition of Siegel's corps. His own headquarters are near Burke's station, nor is there any indication of an embarkation, or retrograde movement, or going into winter quarters. I think it dangerous to diminish this army until something can be ascertained of the intention of that opposed to it; and I hope you will be able, by judicious arrangements and concentration of the troops under your command, to protect the frontier line of North Carolina. Partial encroachments of the enemy we must expect, but they can always be recovered, and any defeat of their large army will reinstate everything. From information received from the Secretary I yesterday put Ransom's division in motion to Hanover Junction, and will continue him to Richmond unless I receive other information. You will find it necessary in North Carolina to dispose your troops so that they can march to the points required instead of trusting to the railroad, otherwise it will be impossible to collect your troops as rapidly as necessary.





The railroads must be reserved for transporting munitions of war. I would recommend that you take the field in person and endeavor to get out troops from the State of North Carolina for her defence. Wilmington should be defended at all hazards.

“I have the honor to be, with great respect,

“Your obedient servant,

“R. E. Lee, General.”

January 7th, 1863. General Smith, from Goldsboro, to Brigadier-General W. H. G. Whiting, Wilmington. —“I returned from Richmond last night. General Lee advises that we draw troops from the State of North Carolina for her defence, and adds that Wilmington must be defended at all hazards. I have just inquired of you, by telegraph, asking what number of Beauregard's troops you now have, and in what contingency you will have to give them up. I have here Daniel's and Davis's brigades; Pettigrew is at Rocky Mount; French, with a brigade, is at Weldon; Pryor has four regiments on the Blackwater and Ransom's division—only two small brigades—arrived at Richmond last night. The enemy are concentrating at Newbern and have a force in Gates County threatening Weldon, but ready to be transported by water to Newbern or other points. I still hope we will receive additional forces from General Lee's army, but if they are not faster they will be too late. If Beauregard can furnish you with troops to hold the enemy in check long enough for me to bring forces to your relief all will be well. If he cannot, I will, if possible, send enough to enable you to hold on until more troops can be brought from above.”

Telegram, January 7th, 1863. To Secretary of War: “There is no change since the information sent you by





General French from Weldon yesterday. I expect to go to Raleigh to-night and return to-morrow.”

Telegram, January 8th, 1863, from General Smith at Raleigh, to Secretary of War: “It will do no good to call out the militia at this time. I propose to order Ransom's division to North Carolina. I return to Goldsboro in the morning.”

“Goldsboro, N. C., January 9, 1863.

“Hon. James A. Sedden, “Secretary of War, Richmond, Va.

“Sir:

“I returned this evening from Raleigh, which place I visited at the solicitation of Governor Vance. I sent you a telegram from there last night, saying that it is not advisable to call out the militia at this time. I will add that I do not think it ever will be advisable to do so. I telegraphed at the same time that I proposed ordering Ransom's division into North Carolina. I would have done this whilst at Richmond, had I felt at liberty to act in the case upon my own judgment—will do it from here at once as soon as a movement of the enemy in force is known. But, as my general views have been laid before the War Department, and General Lee: and the latter only detached Ransom's division for the protection of Richmond and Petersburg; I refrain from ordering it farther, on mere anticipated action of the enemy—but, it is needed here, and many more troops will be required to put us on anything like equality of numbers with the enemy. General Beauregard, has left two regiments and a battery at Wilmington. This, in addition to Clingman's brigade, which is about 2000 effectives, leaves General Whiting's force too small for manœuvres far from his interior line of intrenchments, and materially





lessens the chances of his being effectively aided by a force from here. General Beauregard evidently considers it hazardous to place any large number of his troops in Wilmington when there is a prospect that the enemy's iron-clads may take possession of the Cape Fear river. There is much reason in this view of the case.

“Upon information received from Beaufort and Newbern it is certain that the enemy are concentrating rapidly at Newbern through the sound; and by sea through Beaufort harbor. Had not their principal iron-clad vessel been lost, and others injured, they would, in all probability, ere this have made a combined attack by land and sea upon Wilmington. I have no confidence that either Fort Caswell or Fort Fisher can prevent the passage of heavy iron-clad steamers into the river. If either of these forts are passed, by such vessels, both forts will fall. A storm at sea has deferred the time of attack. I hope we have still time enough to get ready for them.

“General Lee's letter to me, which I showed you the night before I left Richmond, almost deters me from referring any further to the subject of reënforcements from that end of the line—but I beg that you will bear in mind that it is far more easy to hold Wilmington than to retake it. The same is true of other points in this State and true of the State itself. I send with this copies of communications just received from General Beauregard and from General Whiting. I may have to reënforce Wilmington from here. I have one brigade at Kinston (Evans's) about 1200—two here, one of 1300—the other about 3000. Ransom's two brigades should have been sent on at once and others should now be rapidly following. Please let me know, as soon as possible, whether General Lee can look after Richmond and Petersburg if Ransom's troops are ordered here: and decide what additional





forces, if any, are to be sent. It is very important that I should know what force I am to have—and that I have it in hand as soon as possible.

“Yours respectfully, “G. W. Smith, Maj.-Gen.”

Telegram, January 10th, 1863, to Secretary of War: “In addition to information sent you by letter last night, General Whiting telegraphs to-day that there are twenty-one gunboats at Beaufort, and that a very large force is concentrated at Morehead City. Where is Lieutenant-General E. K. Smith? Telegrams are being received here for him.”

Telegram, January 10th, 1863, to Secretary of War: “I cannot encourage calling out the North Carolina militia, for the reason that it will do no good. I cannot consent to Ransom's troops returning to Drewry's Bluff unless that point is attacked. I must have means in hand here. There is but one source from which they can be drawn—we are losing time.”

Telegram, January 10th, 1863, to Brigadier-General Robert Ransom: “I have, as yet, no further instructions for you than those contained in my letter to you from Richmond. Your position for the present is Petersburg. Keep your command in readiness to move at short notice.”

January 11th, 1863, to Major-General S. G. French, Weldon, N. C.: “Yours of the 9th inst. is received. In regard to Ransom's division there is some conflict of opinion. General Lee ordered it to Richmond. I ordered it to be moved to Petersburg without stopping in Richmond to take position in that immediate vicinity—to be held constantly in readiness to move in any direction on the shortest notice. General Lee objects to its





being this side of Drewry's Bluff. I object to its returning to Drewry's Bluff unless that place is attacked, and have asked to be allowed to order it into North Carolina. This is objected to at present. I consider the division in transitu, and can determine nothing definite in regard to it now. Fifty telegrams and letters, I think, have passed in regard to it from quartermasters, railroad men, State officers, and the general government officials.”

Telegram, January 14th, 1863, to General French, at Weldon: “Telegrams just received from Whiting and Evans indicate an attack upon Wilmington. Enemy's artillery and supplies going by water and troops by land. Be ready to move.”

“Goldsboro, N. C., January 14, 1863.

“Hon. James A. Sedden,

“Secretary of War, Richmond.

“Sir:

“I have sent several telegrams within the last three or four days, all going to show that the enemy are reënforcing rapidly in North Carolina and actively preparing for an offensive campaign. The force here is, as I have often stated before, inadequate for the protection of the important points from Wilmington to Richmond, inclusive; and we have no troops in reserve ready to take the offensive and meet the enemy when they come out in force. I have asked that Ransom's two brigades be placed at my disposal and additional troops be sent from above. Of course if this cannot be done we must get along here as best we can without them.

“But it is my business to speak plainly upon these subjects, and continue to speak thus, so long as there is any probability that the necessary measures for preparing





to resist the invasion now impending will be adopted. I remember well what force was in the army of the Potomac under Johnston holding position at Fairfax Court House and that vicinity; and it was then not only decided to be impracticable to reënforce that army, but detachments were made from it and sent to North Carolina.

“What I mean is this—General Lee in command of an army at Fredericksburg is not in the same point of view and does not see things precisely as they appeared to him when Johnston commanded that army and Lee was in Richmond overlooking and judging of all the general military operations of the Confederate States. This is natural, and perhaps could hardly be avoided by any one. But it is for the government at Richmond to decide whether—when the enemy in force have evidently commenced active operations against important points in this State—it is not necessary to diminish somewhat the army under General Lee at Fredericksburg.

“Before I was reduced from second in rank in General Lee's command to fourth, it was a question whether General Lee or myself should command the active forces in Northern Virginia—the other to take the command I have exercised. I would like this subject considered by the War Department under the supposition that I commanded at Fredericksburg and General Lee was in command here. Would he in such case probably allow me to retain the whole army now at Fredericksburg whilst an attack in force was preparing against Wilmington?

“You are aware that my visit to Richmond, the latter part of last month, was for the purpose of conveying to the General Government and to General Lee my convictions in regard to the condition of affairs in this State, and to urge that preparations be made in time. You





saw my letter to General Lee and his reply. I received a telegram from you on the 10th inst. stating that General Lee opposed Ransom's two brigades being brought this side of Drewry's Bluff. I have received nothing since from the War Department, and, I think, nothing but this telegram, since I left Richmond on the 5th inst. I fear your communications to me have again miscarried.

“Yours respectfully,

“G. W. Smith, Major-General.”

CHAPTER V.

Federal expedition reported moving from Newbern against Wilmington—the North Carolina militia—enemy left Trenton, burned the bridge, and retired towards White Oak—memorandum sent by General Smith to General Davis—reply—Quartermaster-General in Richmond interferes with railroad transportation in North Carolina—Secretary of War orders General Smith to Richmond.

Telegram, January 14th, 1863, to Brigadier-General Robert Ransom, Petersburg: “You will move at once to this place with your division by the shortest practicable means of conveyance. Troops, batteries, ammunition, and light field baggage by railroad if cars can be at once procured. Your wagons by land. Let me know from time to time how you are getting along.”

Telegram, January 15th, 1863, to Gov. Z. B. Vance, Raleigh: “Colonel Leventhorp cannot well be spared. Would not some officer not commanding a regiment answer your purpose? Whitford reports the enemy will make a show at Kinston to-day to cover their movement against Wilmington. He says the expedition has left





Newbern. Artillery and horses shipped on the 13th. Help us all you can with railroad transportation. The Government agent here is acting by authority of Colonel Wadley, and will let you know what trains we require. Will be glad to see you whenever you can come.”

Telegram.—January 18th, 1863, to Governor Z. B. Vance, Raleigh: “Your letter of the 15th, enclosing copy of order reorganizing militia, is just received. Please order them out as soon as possible and inform me when they are ready for active duty.”

Telegram, January 18th, 1863, to Secretary of War: “Governor Vance informs me he has ordered the militia to be reorganized and will call them out whenever I wish. I have requested him to order them out as soon as possible, and inform me when they are ready for active duty. The advanced guard of the enemy entered Trenton at 11 A.M. to-day. Ransom's division has arrived here.”

Telegram, January 19th, 1863, to Brigadier-General W. H. C. Whiting, Wilmington: “If the enemy move in force in this direction my intention is to repel them and then assist you. If they only make a demonstration here, and the real land attack is against you, I propose to attack their flank and rear. You must delay their advance and hold out to the last. I will get to your assistance as soon as possible.”

January 19th, 1863, to Brigadier-General W. H. C. Whiting, Wilmington: “I am placing three brigades in the vicinity of Kenansville, under General French, and have requested him to place Colonel Hall, formerly Sheriff of New Hanover County, in advance with his regiment towards the N. E. Railroad Bridge, and upon the Holly Shelter road. The rest of General Cook's brigade in supporting distance. The troops from Weldon





have not arrived yet, but are expected this afternoon or to-night.”

Telegram.—January 19th, 1863, to Secretary of War: “The enemy left Trenton at 10 A.M. to-day. Four regiments and two batteries, and four hundred mounted men. They burned the bridge and retired towards White Oaks. Leventhorp's regiment has just arrived; Burgwyn's expected in the morning; General Colston is left in command of Petersburg, Blackwater, and Weldon, with instructions to look to Richmond for help if he needs it.”

Memorandum, sent by General G. W. Smith from Goldsboro, N. C., January 20th, 1863, to General J. R. Davis, Richmond, Va.: “If possible, get another Mississippi regiment to complete your brigade. I would like you to have two more if you can. Call attention to insufficient number of troops in this State. Organization of the command from Richmond to Wilmington inclusive. It is suggested that North Carolina including Petersburg be made a separate Department. Form it into three districts under French, Elzey, and Whiting. Order D. H. Hill's division to North Carolina and give him command of the Department. Let Richmond and its defences constitute a separate command. There are reasons referring to my rank and state of health which would make the local command in Richmond more desirable to me than the present command—provided, always, that it would be agreeable to the Government. Of course this is dependent upon the enemy's not coming out at once. If they move immediately I wish to try to beat them with the means we have. G. W. S.”





“Confederate States of America,

“Executive Department,

“Richmond, Va., January 21st, 1863.

“General:

“I have had some conversation with the President and think matters can be arranged satisfactorily to you and all parties. I will renew the subject to-morrow and hope to arrive at some definite conclusion. Have not broached my own matter of an additional regiment for my command, but fear that it is a forlorn hope. As you know, I am not satisfied with the thing as it now stands, but must do the best I can. Would be very much obliged to hear from you by telegram on receipt of this as to the necessity of my immediate return.

“Very respectfully yours,

“Jos. R. Davis.”

“Goldsboro, January 21st, 1863.

“Hon. James A. Sedden,

“Secty. of War, Richmond.

“The reports from the front to-day are that the enemy in some force, exact numbers not known, were, last night within three miles of Jacksonville, Onslow County, with cavalry, infantry, and artillery. Probably the same force that appeared at Trenton about three days since. . . . Our latest advices go to show that the effect of the storm upon their iron-clads—opposition to the proclamation freeing the negroes—and the rapid retreat of Foster from this place in December have together caused great discontent and shaken the morale of their army. I suppose there is some truth in these reports. That their plans have been interfered with to some extent is certain; and I think but for the disaster to the Monitor and the recent storms on the coast, they would have been out in force before now. There is, at this time, only one battery behind; it is expected to-night,





and is intended for Kinston, which place has been fortified since the recent raid, and the bridge there rebuilt. I think Evans can hold Kinston for several days against almost any force that may be brought against it. He, however, calls loudly for reënforcements upon any collision of the extreme pickets. His brigade has been recently strengthened by returning soldiers, some five or six hundred I understand. Governor Vance sent me a copy of his order reorganizing the militia and offered to call them out whenever I wanted them. I sent him a telegram asking him to order them out at once and let me know when they were organized and ready for service. In the new shape they will probably be of some service, but he tells me there is no law for the reorganization and the whole subject, I expect, will be brought up for discussion in the Legislature. . . . The Governor has shown the utmost willingness to co-operate with us in all matters here affecting transportation, supplies, recruiting, and general efficiency of the command. General French, and Ransom's two brigades, and the brigades of Pettigrew and Cook, are at Kenansville, Warsaw, and Magnolia. The two brigades of Daniel's and Davis are here, and Robertson's cavalry covers the front. Besides the garrisons at Wilmington and Petersburg there is one regiment at Hamilton and Greenville. I shall endeavor to concentrate upon the enemy and beat them whatever way they may come. If their main attack is against Wilmington, and the iron-clads don't succeed in passing the forts, we will, I think, beat them badly. It is a long line to defend from Richmond to Wilmington. They are in very superior numbers—but we expect to

“Yours respectfully,

“G. W. Smith, Major-General.”





Telegram, January 23d, 1863, to Secretary of War: “I returned from Wilmington this morning. Found affairs there in satisfactory condition. As long as General Beauregard's troops remain we will be able to make effective resistance at that place against land attack. The enemy are reported to have retired across White Oak River—burning bridges. Our pursuit has been impeded by high water.”

Telegram, January 26th, 1863, to Secretary of War: “Colonel Wadley left here for Charleston some ten days since. He told me that Mr. Whitford was his representative here, and would, in his (Wadley's) absence, act for him. Which has been done to my entire satisfaction. I am this moment in receipt of a letter from Mr. Whitford stating that the Quartermaster-General has notified him that his services as government transportation agent were dispensed with on the 20th inst. This, without notice to me or any Quartermaster under me. By this act of the Quartermaster-General my control over railroad transportation is rendered nugatory; and this at a time when the enemy are reported advancing on Kinston in force. I will not be responsible for operations here if I am interfered with and crippled in this manner from Richmond. I am fighting for a railroad, and must be allowed to control it.”

Telegram, January 27th, 1863, to Major-General S. G. French, Magnolia, N. C.: “The Secretary of War has telegraphed that my presence in Richmond is desired. In my absence you will assume command. I leave at half-past three o'clock P.M.”

Telegram, January 27th, 1863, from Assistant Adjutant-General Riley to General French: “The Major-General Commanding directs me to say that he has just received a telegram, from the Secretary of War, requiring





his presence in Richmond. He expects, without any positive information, however, to return in a few days. He instructs me to say that during his absence you will take command of the troops in this vicinity and control all their movements. General Whiting has been notified by telegram that you will be in command during General Smith's absence.”

CHAPTER VI.

Interview with President Davis—letter from General Whiting—General Smith's letters of resignation—anomalous organization—Secretary of War, by direction of President Davis, orders wholesale changes in the position of troops in North Carolina.

The following statement of facts is based upon memoranda made by General G. W. Smith, at Richmond, inFebruary and March, 1863.—On my arrival, January 28th, I reported at the office of the Adjutant and Inspector-General, where I learned that the President had ordered General French to repair to Goldsboro and take command. I was told, informally, that it was in contemplation to order General E. K. Smith to relieve me, and that I was to be ordered to command in Louisiana and Texas, where there were already two Major-Generals with the troops. An hour later, I called on the Secretary of War. He expressed great regret on account of my being relieved from active command in North Carolina. In a few moments after I met the Secretary the President sent for him; he insisted that I should go with him to see the President. I did so, and remained about an hour. General Cooper was the only





other person present at this interview between the President, the Secretary of War, and myself. The conversation was desultory: the President taking the initiative and leading part. He addressed a few questions to me in reference to unimportant details of matters in North Carolina, but no subject of any moment was alluded to. Having been invited there by the Secretary—who had himself been called by the President—seeing the Adjutant-General present—and no reference being made by any of them to anything of importance to me, or any one else, I inferred that I was interrupting some business the President desired to transact with the Secretary and Adjutant-General, and very soon started to withdraw; but was detained by an intimation to remain, followed by an irrelevant question asked me by the President. After various attempts to retire, all met in the same way as the first, and finding that nothing of moment was alluded to by either of the three, I walked over to where the President was seated and asked him if there was anything he wished to say to me in regard to matters of importance in North Carolina, and expressed my readiness to enter willingly upon the discussion of any subject on which he desired an opinion or information from me. He said “No,” very indifferently, and added that he had only asked me some questions that happened to come into his mind. I then withdrew and left the three together in the President's office.

A few hours later, I asked Adjutant-General Cooper if he had any orders for me. He said no. Afterward I asked the Secretary of War the same question, and he said no. I then asked if I was relieved from any portion of my duties. He said no, but that it was understood I would remain in Richmond. The Secretary added that





he did not think it was fair for the President to put these matters upon him, and requested me to see the President. I replied, saying: The President has ordered me to Richmond. I am here. I have reported in person to the Adjutant-General and to yourself; have called on the President and expressed my willingness to enter fully into any subject he wishes to hear me upon. I cannot go any further without, at least, some intimation from him. The Secretary then said he would ask the President to send for me and discuss with me the various pending differences. I waited several days without hearing anything further on the subject.

In the mean time matters in my command were getting badly tangled in many respects. In illustration it is enough, at present, to give the following from a letter addressed to me by General Whiting, dated Wilmington, February 5th, 1863. He says: “I have just received a telegram from Evans informing me that he is ordered to report to me with his brigade. Que diable allait il faire dans cette galerie? And why is the senior brigadier of French's command selected to serve under the senior brigadier of the Army? I believe I can claim that position except old Wise—having acted as a Major-General for a year and a half and been overslaughed about twenty-five times. What shall I do with ‘Shanks’?* Pettigrew ought to have been sent to me and Evans left in Kinston, ‘where he is used to it,’ as the Irish say. For myself, personally, I should prefer—as I began with Mr. Foster at Fort Sumter—I should end him here—and after that my military career in a service where I have been treated with such contemptuous

[note]



injustice. I have thought that I had grown callous to Mr. Davis's treatment, but every now and then the papers inform me of his promoting men who have served under me, and who have been placed under me because they couldn't be trusted to go alone—and the Old Adam in me rises. But let that pass.”

Having waited until the 7th of February—in accordance with the request of the Secretary of War—for some intimation on the part of the President that he desired to confer with me; or, at least, give somebody some sort of instructions in regard to the anomalous state of affairs—and seeing matters going from bad to worse in my command—I addressed the following letter to the War Department:

“Richmond, Va., February 7th, 1863.

“Hon. James A. Sedden, “Secretary of War.

“Sir:

“I have the honor to enclose a copy of my letter* of resignation addressed to your predecessor, Mr. Randolph, dated 21st of October, 1862, and copy of memorandum of same date, explaining why the letter was not forwarded at that time.

“General Lee's army has since then taken position within supporting distance of Richmond, and two Major-Generals have been appointed and assigned to duty in this command. After these changes I might have held with reason that the time had elapsed during which I had told Mr. Randolph that I would remain. But, whatever doubt there may previously have been on this point, there was none on my mind after I learned that

[note]



the Government had determined to order me to another command.

“This intention has for some reason not been carried into effect, but it is very clear that my services here are no longer considered absolutely essential, and I am therefore free from all obligation on account of my promise to Mr. Randolph.

“The nature and amount of my duties in this city during the last summer and fall, and the annoyance consequent upon the action of the Government in reference to myself, have prevented the thorough re-establishment of my health. In this respect I have labored under some disadvantages, but I am not conscious of having failed on this account to perform satisfactorily the duties of my position, which are certainly not those of commander of a division properly pertaining to my rank, but are higher, more important, and more difficult than those of a corps commander.

“About ten days ago I was ordered back to Richmond from North Carolina, and now understand that I am expected to command, as heretofore, from the immediate theatre of General Lee's active operations on the north, extending south to Wilmington, with orders to remain in this city.

“I cannot consent to remain here and be responsible at this time for operations in North Carolina. Neither am I willing to serve under the orders of those who were recently my juniors. There is no alternative left me but to resign my commission in the army. I shall endeavor in another sphere to aid in securing the independence of the Confederate States, and assist in freeing them from the rule of Yankees. Leaving to others equally capable—of higher rank—and better supported, the task of performing duties heretofore imposed upon me.





“I cannot close this letter without thanking yourself and your predecessor, Mr. Randolph, for the kind consideration you have both ever shown to me in official and personal intercourse.

“I hereby tender my resignation as Major-General in the Provisional Army of the Confederate States.

“Very respectfully, your obedient servant,

“Gustavus W. Smith, Maj.-Gen'l.”

“Richmond, February 7th, 1863.

“Hon. James A. Sedden,

“Secty. of War.

“Sir:

“Since writing to you a letter of this date resigning my appointment as Major-General in the Provisional Army of the Confederate States, I have heard that you, on the 3d inst., ordered General Whiting and General French to make certain changes in the disposition of their troops. I am also informed that certain changes have been made by your order in regard to heavy ordnance for an important point in my command. I do not question your power—and refrain from comment—only alluding to the manner in which these orders have been given, as an additional inducement for me to urge that my resignation be immediately accepted.

“Very respectfully, your obedient Servant,

“Gustavus W. Smith, Maj.-Gen'l.”

“Richmond, February 13th, 1863.

“Gen'l. S. Cooper,

“A. & I. Gen'l.

“General:

“Your assignment of Major-General D. H. Hill to the command of the troops in the State of North Carolina, makes it necessary again to bring to the notice of the





War Department the anomalous and mixed organization of this command—which originated incidentally—was intended to be only temporary—but has gone on from time to time until it has now lasted seven or eight months.

“The Department of North Carolina extends from Drewry's Bluff to Wilmington, inclusive, and is commanded by Major-General S. G. French. I directed that the troops at Drewry's Bluff should report direct to the commander in Richmond. Afterwards the Department ordered Brigadier-General Whiting to take command of the District of Cape Fear, his headquarters being at Wilmington. No orders were given General Whiting to report to any one, but he has reported to me. The subject is still constantly coming up in various ways. General French feels that he is Commander of a Department by order from your office fixing the limits of his command. Regulations, laws, orders, and usage define the powers and authority of Department Commanders. I am not a Department Commander, but am constructively and in fact in separate command. General D. H. Hill, by your order assigning him to command of the troops in the State of North Carolina, is directed to report to me. So far as regards troops in the State of North Carolina General French is under General Hill, but a portion of General French's command is not within the limits of the State of North Carolina. French is a Department Commander, Hill is not. All of us are under General Lee, and orders are given by the Government without consulting me. It requires an extraordinary amount of labor and watchfulness to prevent confusion and disorder in every branch and portion of the command; Medical Officers, Quartermasters, Commissaries, Engineers, Ordnance officers, Adjutants-General,





and Generals. This is, in my opinion, unnecessary. I have, I think, brought this subject before yourself, the Secretary of War, or President at least twenty times within the last five months; often in writing, oftener still verbally.

“I have again to request that an order be issued from your office properly organizing this command, or if that is not done, please issue an order doing away with the present mixed and anomalous arrangement, and give authority to the Senior officer of the command to organize it.”

“Very respectfully and truly yours,

“G. W. Smith, Maj.-Gen'l.”

“February 14th, 1863.—General G. W. Smith to the Secretary of War: “On the 7th inst. I had the honor to address you a letter tendering my resignation as Major-General in the Provisional Army. I respectfully request an answer at your earliest convenience.”

“Confederate States of America,

“War Department,

“Richmond, February 15th, 1863.

“General G. W. Smith, Comdg., etc.

“Sir:

“After consultation with the President, I desire that you will order Brigadier-General Davis with his Brigade to reënforce General Pryor on the Blackwater and Clingman's brigade from Wilmington to Charleston. That you will send a brigade of Daniel's division at once to Wilmington to replace Clingman's and hold another ready to move in the same direction, so that in case events require, it likewise may be forwarded to Charleston and be itself replaced at Wilmington; perhaps afterwards followed to Charleston by another





brigade of Daniel's division. The residue of his force General French will dispose as he deems most judicious for the defence of Weldon, Goldsboro, and the line of the railroad.”

“With high esteem, very truly yours,

“James A. Seddon, Secty. of War.”

“Richmond, February 15th, 1863.

“6h. 30m. P.M.

“Hon. James A. Seddon,

“Secty. of War.

“Sir:

“Your note directing me to order General French to make certain disposition of his troops is received and the instructions will be given at once. As Daniel has only one brigade I suppose Ransom is intended instead of Daniel. Please let the A. A. G. know if Ransom is intended for Daniel and oblige,

“Very respectfully and truly yours,

“G. W. Smith, Maj.-Gen.”

Telegram, Richmond, Feb. 15, 1863, from General Smith to General French, Goldsboro, N. C: “Send General Davis's brigade to reënforce Pryor on the Blackwater. Send Daniel's brigade to Wilmington to replace Clingman's, which has been ordered to Charleston. Hold another brigade ready to move to Wilmington, and keep a brigade in position to follow if necessary. Dispose of your remaining force so as best to defend Weldon, Goldsboro, and the line of the railroad.”

Telegram, Richmond, Feb. 16, 1863, from General Smith to Major-General S. G. French, Goldsboro, N. C.: “The Secretary of War directs that you will send Cook's brigade instead of Daniel's, and hold Ransom in readiness to follow. Evans remains at Wilmington.”





CHAPTER VII.

Endorsements made by President Davis on General G. W. Smith's letters of resignation—endorsement made by the Secretary of War—resignation accepted—letter from General Smith to President Davis in reply to endorsements.

Late in the afternoon of the 16th the Secretary of War sent to General Smith, by an Assistant Adjutant-General, General Smith's letters of resignation with the President's endorsements thereon. The letter of resignation, dated October 21, 1862, was endorsed as follows:

“This remarkable paper, received and read the 10th of February, surprises me as much by its statements as its prevailing spirit. If, as asserted, the sole desire be to aid in the achievement of our independence, it might have been expected that less importance would be attached to provisional rank. As this letter is addressed to a former Secretary of War, and refers to matters with which the present Secretary is not familiar, it devolves upon me to correct a few of its errors. All that is said of his position as the commander of a corps is valueless, because there was no such organization then sanctioned by law or recognized by the Department. If there had been properly two corps then in the army of the Potomac Generals Johnston and Beauregard were there, and for a part of the time General Van Dorn, all of whom ranked General Smith. As to the references to Generals Longstreet and Jackson as juniors who have been put over him, it is strange that no memory recalls the fact that when he joined our cause he found those officers in service commended for gallantry and good conduct in a memorable battle, and that while he was absent sick,





these officers were winning fresh laurels on fields which a grateful country can never forget. Their example in not complaining in the first instance of his appointment over them is commended to imitation. As to the complaint that he was superseded by the assignment of General Lee after the battle of Seven Pines it would be needless to offer any explanation, because it is known that before that battle General Lee had been recalled from South Carolina, was on duty in Richmond, and subject at any time, as the senior officer, to be ordered to take command of the army in the field in Virginia. It also appears by General Smith's statement that immediately after that battle, in which General Johnston was wounded, General Smith reported sick, and left the army, a fact not consistent with the supposition that he was willing and able to command it in active operations.

“As to conversations reported to have been held with the former Secretary of War, I will only say that there was neither haste nor want of due consideration on my part in the selection of officers to be appointed lieutenant-generals, nor had I any purpose by a subsequent arrangement to disturb the rank then assigned to them in the army, and that had I known General Smith's earnest desire to take the field, I should have been pleased to gratify it. When a General of Division, for an uncertain and probably a long period, leaves his command, it being in the presence of the enemy, he should expect another officer to be selected to succeed him, the public interest rather than personal wishes being the proper rule of conduct.

“Jefferson Davis.

“February 10th, 1863.”





General Smith's letter of resignation, dated February 7th, 1863, was endorsed by the President as follows:

“Secretary of War.—If the alternative of resignation or appointment as Lieutenant-General be presented as a claim founded on former relative rank as a Major-General it will only be proper to accept the resignation, as to admit the claim would be in derogation of the legal power of the Executive and in disregard of the consideration due to services rendered in battle and campaign.

Jefferson Davis.”

The second letter of resignation, dated Feb. 7th, 1863, was endorsed by the Secretary of War as follows:

“The orders referred to were given by telegram—directly, in consequence of pressing intelligence from General Beauregard of expected attack on Charleston, and whilst it was known General Smith was en route for Richmond. They were mentioned to him orally on his arrival in Richmond. Certainly no disrespect to him was thought of, but the course pursued what in other cases I have unhesitatingly adopted when I considered the urgency of the case required immediate action.

“J. A. S., Secretary.”

Reply to Endorsements.—General Smith's resignation was accepted on the 17th, and a few days thereafter he addressed the following letter to the President:

“Richmond, Feb. 23, 1863.

“To His Excellency Jefferson Davis, “President of the Confederate States.

“Sir:

“In addressing a letter to the Secretary of War, on the 7th inst., resigning my commission as Major-General in the Provisional army, I had supposed that my





letter, and the accompanying papers, contained all that I would have to say upon the subject. But your endorsements thereon are of such a nature that I feel compelled to notice them.

“The insinuation conveyed in your first remark was uncalled for. I tendered my resignation, it has been accepted, there was no alternative in it. I have not directly or indirectly applied to you for promotion, and there was no proper occasion afforded for your saying that, ‘if the alternative of resignation or appointment as Lieutenant-General be presented,’ the resignation must be accepted, because my appointment as Lieutenant-General would be in disregard of the consideration due to services rendered in battle and campaign.

“My gratification on account of your handsome allusion to the distinguished services of my esteemed friends, Generals Longstreet and Jackson, is, I regret to say, diminished by the painful necessity thus imposed upon me, of asking you what consideration was due at that time to Generals Holmes and Pemberton for services rendered in battle and campaign? I stated that I was overslaughed by wholesale. It is not an answer for you to say that Generals Longstreet and Jackson while I was absent sick were winning fresh laurels on fields which a grateful country can never forget. There are four more names on the list. Can the same be said of them?

“In stating my own case I refrained from alluding to individuals; delicacy, good taste, and proper regard for the six Lieutenant-Generals, all forbade an irrelevant discussion on my part of their real or relative merits. Besides, I had to take my place below all or none of them. But your allusion by name to Generals Longstreet and Jackson, gives me the opportunity, and makes it necessary for me to say, even at the risk of drawing





comparisons which I had hoped to avoid, that I told the Secretary of War, and many others, at the time, and now say again, that I was glad these two generals had been promoted over me. Although not conceding that either of them had fairly won that advantage over me, whilst we were all in the field, it had been my misfortune to be absent sick at a time when they, more favored than I, had rendered the most important services to their country, and won for themselves, on many hard-fought fields, the right to command.

“You state that they were Brigadiers when I joined our cause; and as I was appointed Major-General over them, you commend their example to my imitation, and read me a lecture because I made a plain statement of facts. I preceded my own State in joining our cause. Did they? Did they come so early and did I come so late—and without reason for delay—that you now find it necessary to draw comparisons as to order of time in coming? Had I ever served under them? Had their brigades been taken from them again and again? When I was appointed to rank them had they been for nearly a year commanding as Major-Generals?

“They continued to command their own proper brigades long after I was appointed Major-General, and when promoted retained their brigades, as a part of their new commands, which was proper and right.

“I do not know whether General Longstreet was satisfied with your action in appointing me over him or not. That is for you and himself to settle. But I do know that General Jackson was. At any rate, it was not the first time I had ranked both of them. But in commending their example to my imitation you should not have ignored my statement, then before you, to the effect that if I had been allowed to retain my own





proper command, the old First Division of the Army of the Potomac, you might have promoted six hundred instead of six of my juniors to rank me, it would have been no concern of mine. I would not only have been content—but proud—to have commanded that division, and it alone, to the end of the war.

“But you transferred to my division Brigadier-General D. R. Jones, whose brigade was soon to go out of service. My division was composed almost entirely of war men. You then ordered me away from the division and left General Jones in command of it. You say that ‘when a General of Division for an uncertain and probably a long period leaves his command, it being in the presence of the enemy, he should expect another officer to be selected to succeed him, the public interest rather than personal wishes being the proper rule of conduct.’ This is all well enough in the abstract, but I do not see what it has to do with the case in point.

“And I consider it equally inapplicable to the second case in which my division was broken up. There is nothing in my letter about another officer being appointed to command my division whilst I was absent sick.

“Before the battle of Seven Pines I commanded the left wing of the army. My division was commanded before, during, and after that battle by the Senior Brigadier-General W. H. C. Whiting. The division was separated, and when I objected General Lee assured me that this was only temporary, and promised that the division should be reformed; this has not been done. The Third Division, to which I was assigned, was ordered off, and I ordered to remain here.

“You say that if you had known General Smith's





earnest desire to take the field you would have been pleased to gratify it. My answer is that you decided this, as you have done nearly all other matters concerning myself, without regard to my wishes. I have reason to believe that, at the time I was ordered to remain here, you did know that I desired to go with my division. You had no reason to think otherwise, and you might have easily informed yourself had you desired to do so.

“In imposing upon yourself the task of correcting a few of my errors you begin by stating that ‘all that is said of his (my) position as the commander of a corps is valueless, because there was no such organization then sanctioned by law or recognized by the Department.’ And you add: ‘If there had been properly two corps then in the Army of the Potomac, Generals Johnston and Beauregard were there, and for a part of the time General Van Dorn, all of whom ranked General Smith.’ Whether sanctioned by law and recognized by the Department or not, there were two separate General's commands in the Army of the Potomac at that time—and they were called and known as corps. General Johnston commanded one, General Beauregard the other.

“It was at your suggestion that I visited the Army of the Potomac almost immediately after my first arrival in Richmond from the State of Kentucky. Within twenty-four hours after my arrival at Fairfax Court-house, Generals J. E. Johnston and Beauregard, of their own accord, united in writing a letter to you, requesting you to appoint me a Major-General and order me to the Army of the Potomac, that I might relieve General Johnston of the command of his, the Second Corps of that army, and thereby enable him to give his whole time to the general command of the





army. I delivered the letter and was asked by you if this would be satisfactory to me. I answered that it would, and stated that I was only fearful I would not be fully equal to the task. You told me that you would give the necessary instructions in the case.

“I arrived here in the early part of September, 1861. For several years previous to the war I had been living in the city of New York, to which place I moved from New Orleans. Two weeks before the bombardment and capture of Fort Sumter, I was suddenly stricken down in New York City by a fearful disease which confined me to my room for several months. Immediately after my recovery I went to my native State, Kentucky, and before my strength was reëstablished, came here.

“The lamented General A. S. Johnston arrived here a few days before me. Unsolicited by me, he urged you to appoint me to the highest military rank within your power, and order me to the west, as second to him, if possible. You appointed me Major-General, I was ordered to the Army of the Potomac, was assigned to General J. E. Johnston's corps, and placed in command of it. You knew that this was intended, and you knew that it was done, and I am satisfied that you know it now. For you can hardly have forgotten a conference which was held at Fairfax Court-house—between yourself, General Johnston, General Beauregard and myself—soon after I took command of the Second Corps.

“It is true that General Van Dorn received soon after an appointment as Major-General and was ordered to the Army of the Potomac. His appointment was made to date the same day as mine, and he ranked me by virtue of having been a Brigadier-General, whereas I was appointed from private life. But you knew then, and you know now, that General Van Dorn was assigned





to the First Corps, which was commanded by Beauregard; and that I continued to command the Second Corps after General Van Dorn joined the Army of the Potomac. At any rate the facts are as stated, and no selected phrases, or even flat denial, can alter them.

“You say that I complained of being superseded by General Lee during the Battle of Seven Pines. I stated the fact, nothing more. Is it denied? As to your lengthy argument endeavoring to prove that because I reported sick the next day I was not able and willing to command the army in active operations—passing by the covert insinuations—I have only to say in answer to the plain substance of the remark, that no symptoms of the disease—the same by which I had been stricken down more than a year before—had shown themselves until the battle was over, and I had been actually superseded by General Lee for more than eighteen hours; of course a longer time had elapsed after your order was given to General Lee directing him to take command.

“You speak of ‘conversations reported to have been held with the former Secretary of War,’ and then state that there was neither haste nor want of due consideration on your part in making the appointments of Lieutenant-Generals. You saw proper to place over me six of my juniors in one day, and that at a time when I was commanding, by your order, more as a General than as a Lieutenant-General. My division, the proper command for my rank, had been taken from me. I asked you respectfully through the Secretary of War, in writing, to give me the reasons for overslaughing me. An answer in writing was refused; the official paper was returned to the Adjutant and Inspector-General's office,





endorsed, ‘This will be answered orally.’ Had you given, or allowed a straightforward answer to have been given, me in writing there would have been no conversation on the subject. If, in my recollection that night when I appended the substance of the ‘oral answer’ to the records of my office on which my letter of resignation of that date had been placed, I have in any manner misapprehended Mr. Randolph, I am perfectly willing to accept, and abide by, any corrections or changes he may desire to make. You treated my respectful written request with contempt—and but for the consideration shown me by the Secretary of War, my letter of resignation dated the 21st of October last would then have been forwarded; and I would have left the service—forced out, but not as you endeavor to make it appear, because Longstreet and Jackson were promoted over me—nor yet because I was not appointed Lieutenant-General.

“The appointment of some of the Lieutenant-Generals over me had a certain influence in producing the deep conviction forced upon my mind, that I was not respected, supported, and confided in by the Government to an extent sufficient to authorize my remaining in its service—but I have no disposition to repeat here my letters of resignation nor to give even a synopsis of them.

“I have only to add in comment upon your endorsements, that in giving up the rank of Major-General, whatever ‘importance it might be supposed’ I attached to ‘Provisional rank’ I attach much more to the Confederate Cause. And you may rest assured that I was in earnest in saying to you, that no consideration on earth would induce me to hold rank and position at the hazard and risk of the vital interests of the country.

“Having disposed of your endorsements, it remains for





me to notice the endorsement of the Secretary of War upon my second letter of the 7th inst. That letter referred to two cases in which important orders had been given to my command without even informing me.

“Mr. Sedden is entirely mistaken in supposing that these orders were given ‘whilst it was known General Smith was en route for Richmond.’ I have a copy of his telegraphic order in regard to the movement of troops within my command, dated February 3d, 1863. I had then been in Richmond at least five days. I heard of the order by telegram from Generals Whiting and Evans on the 6th, and it was only after inquiry, on the 7th, that I learned from the Adjutant and Inspector-General's office, that the order had been given. Mr. Sedden says nothing upon the second case alluded to in my letter.

“But that interference was as nothing compared with the order of the Secretary of War, issued to me, in writing, on the 15th inst., two days before the acceptance of my resignation. By your direction he gave me specific instructions, without either he or yourself consulting me, to change the position of nearly every brigade in the State of North Carolina. The instructions spoke of the ‘Division’ of a General who never had but one brigade. After disposing of two of the brigades of the ‘Division’ it is gravely stated that they will afterwards, perhaps, be followed by another brigade of the same ‘Division:’ and you order me, through the Secretary of War, to direct General French to dispose of the residue of his forces as ‘he deems most judicious for the defence of Weldon, Goldsboro, and the line of the railroad.’

“I have felt compelled to resign the commission conferred upon me by you, and I will here say again what was stated in my letter of resignation—I shall endeavor in another sphere to aid in securing the independence of





the Confederate States. Leaving to others—equally capable, of higher rank, and better supported—the task of performing duties heretofore imposed upon me.

“Very respectfully, your obedient servant,

“Gustavus W. Smith.”

The above communication remains unanswered.

CHAPTER VIII.

Illustrative incidents—General Van Dorn ordered to General J. E. Johnston's army—President Davis appoints an Aide-de-Camp for General Smith—reorganizing brigades—alleged proposal to depose President Davis—his mind “poisoned.”

Very soon after the Conference at Fairfax Courthouse, in October, 1861, the President ordered General Van Dorn to report to General J. E. Johnston for duty. There were at that time two corps in that army but no organized divisions. General Van Dorn ranked General Smith, and it was supposed that the effect of the President's order to Van Dorn would be to supersede General Smith in the command of the Second Corps. This was certainly expected by Van Dorn, and must have been intended by Mr. Davis. But, General Johnston had not applied for Van Dorn, and had no desire to displace General Smith from the command to which he had been recently assigned. Van Dorn was ordered to the First Corps, and two or more brigades of that corps were formed into a division for the purpose of providing a command for him suitable to his rank. This arrangement was unsatisfactory to him, and the President was not pleased with it. Van Dorn protested, and, soon





after, applied to be relieved from duty with that army. Before leaving he addressed the following letter to General G. W. Smith:

“Union Mills, October 20th, 1861.

“Dear Smith:

“I hand in a protest and appeal to the President this morning in regard to my position. I would not have you think from it that I feel in the slightest degree any unkindness toward you. I am rather sorry, indeed, that the President did not date your appointment a day or so before mine—but a man of good sense can well perceive that it is my duty to myself and friends that I should maintain my position according to the rank given to me by the President. I am asked constantly how it is that I am in command of a division merely whilst you are commanding a corps with privileges and authority superior to mine. These things mortify me, and I can't stand it. I am sensitive and proud, and you would do as I am doing—this I know.

“Truly yours,

“Earl Van Dorn.”

It will be remembered that on General Smith's letter of resignation, dated October 21st, 1862, addressed to the Secretary of War, President Davis endorsed the following: “All that is said of his (General Smith's) position as the commander of a corps is valueless, because there was no such organization then sanctioned by law or recognized by the Department. If there had been properly two corps then in the army of the Potomac Generals Johnston and Beauregard were there, and for a part of the time General Van Dorn, all of whom ranked General Smith.” This quotation is repeated here for convenience in contrasting the President's selected phrases about the





“Commander of a corps” with the facts on this subject plainly stated in the above-quoted letter from General Van Dorn. If anything further was needed on this point, extracts could be given from letters written by President Davis to General G. W. Smith distinctly recognizing the latter as commander of a corps in General J. E. Johnston's army.

President Davis appoints an Aide-de-Camp for General G. W. Smith.—When General Johnston relinquished the executive command of the Second Corps, and restricted his own duties to those of commander of the army, he took all his staff officers from that corps. When General Smith assumed command he had no staff officers. The day after the conference at Fairfax Courthouse he represented the urgency of this matter to President Davis, and applied specially for the appointment of Mr. Horace Randal as Inspector-General for the Second Corps. The President said he would give due consideration to this subject when he returned to Richmond. On the 7th of October, 1861, Mr. Benjamin, Secretary of War, wrote to General Smith: “Lieutenant Randal never having made any explanation, either to the President or this Department, of his resignation, cannot be appointed to the post you suggest. If that officer thinks injustice has been done him, he owes it to the President, as well as to himself, to state his case and ask for redress. As long as he fails to take this course he cannot be the recipient of an appointment from the Executive.”

Mr. Randal graduated at West Point six or seven years before the war—served with distinction in the United States cavalry on the Indian frontier—and was one of the most promising young officers in that service. When Texas, the State of which he was a citizen, seceded





from the Union, Lieutenant Randal resigned his commission in the United States Army—was appointed Lieutenant in the Confederate States regular army and ordered to Pensacola. After serving at that station about six months, he tendered his resignation, intending to proceed to Texas and raise a regiment of volunteers for the war. His resignation was accepted, and he arrived in Richmond about the time General Smith was assigned to the command of the Second Corps of the Confederate Army of the Potomac. General Smith was much in need of the help which Mr. Randal was so well qualified to give, and as the latter was then out of service and willing to postpone his contemplated visit to Texas, he accepted General Smith's invitation to come up to the army at Fairfax Court House, and aid in any way he could. He was acting as volunteer assistant to General Smith, without rank or pay, when the latter requested his appointment as Inspector-General of the corps.

The foregoing letter from the Secretary of War was the beginning of a lengthy correspondence—including reports from the Adjutant and Inspector-General's office, other letters from the Secretary of War, and the President; indicating that Mr. Davis would not appoint, in the provisional army, any citizen who had resigned a commission in the Confederate States regular army; unless the resignation of the commission in the regular army was recalled.

General Smith wrote to the President on the 25th of October, saying: “In regard to Mr. Randal there seems to be some misapprehension. The Secretary of War, under date of 19th inst., writes to me that Lieutenant Randal has been allowed to withdraw his resignation on condition that he returns to his post at Pensacola. The





condition was not accepted by Mr. Randal, and his resignation is therefore not withdrawn.”

This ended the matter of Mr. Randal's appointment as Inspector-General. But General Smith did not suppose that the ground taken by the President would be extended to cover the case of an application made by a general officer for the appointment of a citizen to the grade of Lieutenant in the provisional army, in order that he might legally perform the service of aide-de-camp to that general.

Soon after the refusal of Mr. Randal to recall his resignation on the conditions imposed by the President, a vacancy occurred among General Smith's aides. Mr. Randal then consented to remain with the Army of the Potomac until all prospect of active operations should be ended by the approaching winter; and General Smith did not hesitate to place him on duty as acting aide-de-camp, at the same time informing the President of this fact and requesting that the appointment of Lieutenant and Aide-de-Camp be conferred upon him. In answer to this the President on the 29th of October, 1861, wrote to General Smith: “You inform me that Mr. Randal has resigned, that his resignation has been accepted, that you have nominated him to be your Aide-de-Camp, that you have announced that fact to the troops under your command, that you wish his appointment made out as soon as practicable, and that you desire me to give him as high rank as the senior Aide-de-Camp of a Major-General may be entitled to. By reference to the laws, of which I suppose you have a copy, you will perceive that the largest number of aides allowed to any general is two, and the highest rank is that of subaltern. Until recently they were required to be selected from the line of the army, and now can only be taken from civil life





at the discretion of the President. Had Mr. Randal returned to his station at Pensacola, your application for his services as your Aide-de-Camp would probably have been referred by the Adjutant-General to General Bragg, and the generosity and self-abnegation which have on more important occasions been manifested by that officer, leave little room to doubt that he would have recommended the transfer desired. You have a right to recommend persons for appointment, and your recommendation would receive from me a most respectful consideration in any comparison which it might be necessary to institute between applicants. The value of your recommendation could not however be enhanced by the announcement in orders of the fact that you had made it, nor would the power which the law vests in the President and the Congress be thereby diminished. I am therefore at a loss to perceive why the fact of your having made a nomination was announced in orders to the troops.”

Before General Smith left Richmond, in the latter part of September, 1861, the President requested him to write fully in regard to matters of interest connected with the army. Correspondence with the President had been kept up by General Smith with the full knowledge and approval of General Johnston. The latter had been grossly insulted by the President only a few days before General Smith arrived in Richmond, and General Johnston had then no other than strictly formal, official relations with Mr. Davis. The friendly, informal, semi-official correspondence between General Smith and the President—commenced at the earnest solicitation of the latter—resulted in about one month in the foregoing letter.

In order that the reader may appreciate the full meaning





of the President's next letter to General Smith, it is necessary to state here that an intimate personal and political friend of Mr. Davis had sent him by General Smith a special warning against one in whom they had confided up to the time when Mr. Davis left the United States Senate. Subsequent events, of which it was supposed Mr. Davis could have no knowledge, had satisfied this friend of his, that the person referred to above was not worthy of trust. This person had gone to Richmond. Hence the warning sent to Mr. Davis. That warning, in full, was delivered to Mr. Davis by General Smith.

The day after the President wrote the foregoing letter to General Smith, the person against whom the latter had warned the former, wrote to General Smith, saying: “The President has assured me that he will at once assign me to duty with you, but it is necessary you give me a formal ‘call’ designating the duty you design me for. Now, General, it rests with you whether or not my most eager desire is to be gratified.” General Smith, of course, declined to make the call. On the 2d of November, 1861, President Davis wrote to General Smith: “Charles E. L. Stuart in a letter to me about his wish to be in active service, refers to you as having written to him that ‘recent circumstances’ forbade you to make a special call, etc. This suggests that you referred to the explanatory letter I wrote to you about the case of Mr. Randall, and induces me to say that if he does not choose to adopt the view presented of his case in my letter to you, but prefers to resign, I will act upon your application for him as your Aide appointing him a Lieutenant in the Provisional Army to qualify him for that station. I will add that it still seems better that he should not adhere to his purpose to leave the Confederate





Army, and have hoped that due reflection would bring him to the same conclusion. If you have supposed any unkindness to him or to you dictated the letter before referred to, you have been greatly mistaken. Neither the circumstances nor the state of my feelings incline me to alienation from any one who confronts our common enemy in this war for constitutional liberty and State rights.”

General Smith's silence for nearly a month and his declining to make the “call” suggested seem to have convinced Mr. Davis that he had gone too far in promising an important appointment to the person against whom he had been so specially warned; and this no doubt induced the marked change between the tone of his letter of the 29th of October and that of the 22d of November. He appointed Mr. Horace Randal Aide-de-Camp, although he could not force him to recall his resignation as a Lieutenant in the Confederate States regular army, and report in person to General Bragg at Pensacola, where there was nothing of importance going on.

It took six weeks’ time—prolonged discussion by the authorities in Richmond—voluminous reports from the Adjutant and Inspector-General's Department—and elaborate correspondence on the part of the Secretary of War and President with General Smith—before Mr. Davis would appoint such a soldier as Horace Randal to be a Lieutenant in the Provisional Army of the Confederate States in order that he might be legally eligible to the position of Aide-de-Camp.

After General Johnston's Army went into winter quarters Lieutenant Randal resigned his appointment as Aide-de-Camp to General Smith—proceeded to Texas—raised a regiment of Volunteers for the war—was





elected its Colonel—was soon after assigned by the Commander of the Trans-Mississippi Department, to the command of a brigade—and was killed at the battle of Jenkins's Ferry whilst leading his troops to victory.

Reorganizing the brigades.—One of the subjects introduced by the President at the Fairfax Court-house conference was the reorganization of brigades—so that each should be composed of men from a single State. This was urged very strongly by Mr. Davis, but he did not give a positive order in the case. The Generals were all opposed to disturbing the existing organization at that time. The rivalry between regiments from different States was friendly and pleasant—the men in each brigade had been accustomed to each other, and to their officers, and there seemed to be no good military reason for disturbing the organization. In fact the commanding General hardly dared risk in the immediate presence of the enemy such comprehensive changes of the relations between officers and men as would be produced by the proposed reorganization. Active operations were impending—the enemy were close to us—and in vastly superior numbers. General Johnston finally stated, that when he saw an opportunity for making the changes, without too much risk, he would have the measure carried into effect.

On this subject the President wrote to General Smith, on the 10th of October, 1861, as follows: “How have you progressed in the solution of the problem I left—the organization of the troops with reference to States and terms of service. If the volunteers continue their complaints that they are commanded by strangers and do not get justice, and that they are kept in camp to die, when reported for hospital by the surgeon, we shall soon feel a reaction in the matter of volunteering. Already





I have been much pressed on both subjects, and have answered by promising that the Generals would give due attention, and I hoped make satisfactory changes. The authority to organize regiments and brigades and the latter into divisions is by law conferred only on the President—and I must be able to assume responsibility of the action taken by whomsoever acts for me in that regard. By reference to the law you will see that in surrendering the sole power to appoint general officers it was nevertheless designed, as far as should be found consistent, to keep up the State relation of troops and generals. Kentucky has a Brigadier, but not a brigade; she has, however, a regiment, and that regiment and Brigadier may be associated together. Louisiana had regiments enough to form a brigade, but no Brigadier in either corps; all the regiments were sent to that commanded by a Georgia General. Georgia has nine regiments now organized into two brigades—she has on duty with that army two Brigadiers, but one of them serves with other troops. Mississippi troops were scattered as if the State was unknown. Brigadier-General Clark was sent to remove a growing dissatisfaction, but though the State had nine regiments there, he, Clark, was put in command of a post and depot of supplies. These nine regiments should form two brigades—Brigadiers Clark and (as a native of Mississippi) Whiting should be placed in command of them, and the regiments for the war put in the army man's brigade. Both brigades should be put in the division commanded by General Van Dorn of Mississippi. Thus would the spirit and intent of the law be complied with, disagreeable complaint be spared me, and more of content be assured under the trials to which you look forward. It is needless to specify further.”





To the above General Smith replied on the 14th of the same month: “The present is considered an inopportune moment for reorganizing the brigades. We have had several long discussions of the subject since you suggested it. Generals Johnston and Beauregard are entirely satisfied that, at this time, it is inexpedient and might be dangerous to the army. After we beat McClellan, and are not so closely pressed by superior numbers, they propose to carry out the plan as far as practicable. I must say that I entirely concur with them in this matter.”

The following extracts from a letter written by Brigadier-General W. H. C. Whiting to General G. W. Smith, dated October 24th, 1861, indicate the prevalent opinion in the army, at that time, in regard to the proposed reorganization: “I had heard that attempts were on foot to organize the regiments into brigades by States—a policy as suicidal as foolish. . . . For my own part I shall protest to the bitter end against any of my regiments being taken from me—they are used to me and I to them, and accustomed to act together. If left to their own desires, not one would be willing to change. It has been reported to me that a General Clark of Mississippi came into my camp and wanted Falkner and Liddell, commanding two of the best regiments in service, to unite with him in getting them under his command—they refused. He did not do me the honor to call upon me, nor did I know of his presence or his object—had I known his purpose I would have put him in arrest. He was miffed because they preferred to remain as they are. If they persist at Richmond they will be guilty of inconceivable folly. . . . For one, I am not disposed to submit for one moment to any system which is devised solely for the advancement





of logrolling, humbugging politicians—and I will not do it. If the worst comes I can go back to North Carolina or Georgia, where I shall be very welcome, and where I shall find enough to do in defending the coast.”

Mr. Davis continued from time to time to urge this matter upon General Johnston's attention, and it became a great annoyance to all parties. Finally, both of General Johnston's corps commanders advised him to have the reorganization carried into effect because Mr. Davis might presently issue a peremptory order on this subject at the most inopportune moment. General Johnston said he had intended, from the time the President first brought up the subject, to have the measure carried out just as soon as in his judgment it could safely be done; but he did not intend to do it sooner unless the President gave him a positive order. Mr. Davis never gave the order, but kept pressing the subject. The reorganization of the brigades was not accomplished until General Lee was assigned to command the army. It was a source of irritation from the time of the Fairfax Court-house Conference until after the battle of Seven Pines—all of which would have been avoided had Mr. Davis either given the order or trusted to General Johnston's judgment.

Alleged Proposal to Depose President Davis.—“Whilst General G. W. Smith was in command of the defences of Richmond and of North Carolina, the territory around Wilmington constituted the military district of Cape Fear; and was practically taken out of the Military Department of North Carolina. Brigadier-General W. H. C. Whiting commanded the Cape Fear District, and reported direct to General G. W. Smith. The latter had repeatedly insisted that Whiting, in all fairness, ought to be promoted to the rank of Major-General,





The importance of the command he then exercised would more than justify his advancement; and his previous services, as commander of a division, in more than one campaign and upon various important battle-fields, had fully entitled him to this promotion. His ability was unquestioned.

“On one occasion, in the President's office, no person being present except the President, the Secretary of War, and General G. W. Smith—the latter was specially persistent in pressing the promotion of General Whiting. In reply the President asked General Smith if he knew that General Whiting had, at a Council of General Officers, held while the army was near Yorktown—deliberately proposed and urgently advocated that the civil government of the Confederate States be deposed and General Johnston declared dictator. Before General Smith could reply, the President added that he would not require an answer, because he did not wish General Smith to say anything that might implicate himself or his friends. General Smith denounced the whole matter as false; using no measured or doubtful language; and then explained to General Randolph, that he not only never heard of anything of the kind, but, that it could not have happened without his knowing it, because, he commanded the reserve of the army, at that time, with orders to keep himself thoroughly informed of what was going on in the lines—and move his whole command into action whenever and wherever he deemed it necessary; reporting, however, at once, to General Johnston. This placed General Smith in constant intercourse with every part of the army—General Whiting was under his immediate command—General Smith lived with General Johnston—and these three officers were on the most intimate terms of personal and official





friendship. For these reasons General Smith felt justified in saying not only that he never heard anything about the subject of Mr. Davis's inquiry; but, that he knew nothing of the kind ever occurred. He then turned to Mr. Davis and asked him to give the name of his informant. Mr. Davis refused, and added: ‘I am not on the witness stand.’ General Smith then requested him to tell his informant that, no one but a coward would, in a matter of this kind, hide himself behind the official robes of the Chief Executive.”

President Davis's mind “poisoned.”—The following extracts are from a letter written by Major S. B. French, Assistant to the Commissary General of the Confederate States Army, addressed to General G. W. Smith. Major French was Chief Commissary of General Smith's command up to the time the latter left the service. “Give me at once a full report of your connection with the army from the time we left Lee's farm on the Peninsula to the date of your sickness, and the part you took in the battle of Seven Pines. I cannot in this letter, or even by mail, give you the reasons for this request. Suffice it to say they are good. . . . I tell you frankly and candidly that Seven Pines is the trouble with you and the President; and his mind, I am satisfied, has been poisoned about your connection with it. . . . Colonel Northrup desires to be remembered to you.”

In reply General Smith, in a letter dated Etowah, Ga., May 3d, 1863, said: “Be not confident of accomplishing any real good, even if the antidote to the ‘Seven Pines poison’ is administered. . . . Allow me to say that Mr. Davis's endorsements upon my two letters of resignation—until withdrawn, with full explanation and apology—preclude all thought of amicable adjustment.”





In speaking of the halt made by General Johnston's army after reaching the Richmond and York River Railroad, between the Pamunky and the Chickahominy rivers, General Smith says: “Whilst we were at Crump's farm, in position to live, awaiting the advance of the enemy, and anxious for them to come on—and before we heard of their attack on Drewry's Bluff—I sent, with General Johnston's sanction, a reconnoitring party upon the ground between the Chickahominy and Pamunky as far as Mechanicsville. Stevens, Whiting, Alexander, Beckham, and Collins composed the party. Upon the result of that examination turned not only the contemplated operations of General Johnston previous to the 31st of May; but General Lee's operations (north of the Chickahominy) during the seven days’ fight before Richmond in June. The danger to Richmond from want of previous preparation against attack by way of James River compelled General Johnston to fall back to the immediate vicinity of the city. It was well understood that the whole army must perish before the city would be allowed to fall into the hands of the enemy. At this time Mr. Davis showed extreme anxiety to learn the plans of the Commanding General, and was evidently not satisfied when he learned all, viz.: That ‘we would await the movements of the enemy and take advantage of every opportunity to beat them.’ . . . After reaching Richmond I continued to command Magruder's corps, my own, the reserve artillery of the army, and Stuart's cavalry. On the 27th of May, whilst at dinner, I received a note from General Johnston saying that McDowell was advancing from Fredericksburg to join McClellan, and that we must get ready to fight. I went at once to General Johnston's, and from his quarters proceeded to Meadow Bridges. By his direction I assumed





command of the left wing of the army; and, at my urgent and repeated solicitation, was relieved from commanding Magruder.”

General Smith describes what occurred up to the time of his arrival at General Johnston's headquarters about sunrise on the 31st of May, states what General Johnston said in regard to his plans and expectations on that day, and adds: “I had temporarily turned over the command of the remainder of the left wing of the army to Major-General A. P. Hill—and informed General Johnston of this fact, telling him at the same time that I did not purpose relieving Whiting from the command of my division; but, in case they went into action, I desired to see how they would acquit themselves; and if, at any time or place, it should become necessary for me to do so, I would not hesitate to assume command. I told him at the same time that my taking command of the division might bring on a question as to Longstreet's command—because I ranked him—and, as this affair had been planned entirely between himself and General Longstreet, I had no disposition to interfere, but looked upon myself somewhat in the light of a volunteer amateur on the field, willing and glad to help anybody in any way that might be required.”

General Smith's letter then describes what followed that day and up to the time of his being taken ill on the 2d of June. It was shown by Major French to Colonel Northrup. But, the “trouble” with Mr. Davis could not be removed thereby, because the main facts in regard to General Smith's connection with the battle of Seven Pines were known to the President during that action.

From what he says, in his “Rise and Fall of the Confederate Government,” it is now clear that the “poison”





referred to entered Mr. Davis's mind, at the Fairfax Court-house Conference, within ten days after General G. W. Smith joined the Confederate army. Its effects are distinctly traceable from that time to the present.





APPENDIX A.

LETTERS ADDRESSED TO GENERAL G. W. SMITH IN REFERENCE TO HIS RESIGNATION.

From the Governor of North Carolina.

“Executive Department, Raleigh, February 3d, 1863.

“Dear General:

“I heard yesterday by accident (for the War Department rarely consults me except when they want more conscripts) that you were to be removed from this Department. I wish to express to you, in this manner, my regret at the news, and to say that I have written the President asking him not to do so, and have also asked our entire delegation in Congress to interpose. What reasons of public necessity require your removal I am of course uninformed, and therefore I make no criticism upon the President's conduct. But I hear it is done at the request of the representatives of Texas. If this be the case I should feel aggrieved, as would our whole people. The people of North Carolina are certainly entitled to as much consideration as the people of Texas, or any other State. I know not whether you desire to remain in North Carolina, as some more inviting field may be offered you. I am confident, however, that you could not anywhere give greater satisfaction than you





have done here to both the people and the authorities of this State. After the many and confidential conversations which I held with you, I was satisfied that you not only understood our military situation, but, what is of quite as much significance, the political status of our people; and I was always gratified to find that our notions and prejudices were respected. Such a state of things, I thought, promised the best possible results in our expected campaign against the invaders of the State. I fear that so thorough an understanding can never be obtained with your successor, though I shall endeavor that it shall not be my fault. I desire to say in conclusion, General, that my best wishes attend you, and I sincerely trust and believe you may be largely instrumental in delivering our country from her foes and restoring us again to the blessings of peace.

“Most sincerely yours,

“Z. B. Vance.”

From the Aide-de-Camp of the Governor of Virginia.

“Executive Mansion, Richmond, February 10th, 1863.

“Dear General:

“With unaffected sorrow I learned last night that you purposed to retire from the charge of this Department and the service of the Confederate States. This step, so pregnant with interest to the country and bearing so directly upon the safety of the territory committed to you, including the capital of the State, renews the anxiety of our fellow-citizens, in a very great measure allayed by your assignment to this command. In the declaration of my own opinions I but give expression to the public mind when I assure you that, with Lee on the northern border and yourself in charge of the defences of the southern, we felt that our altars and the homes of





our dear ones were under the protecting ægis of high valor, consummate skill, and unalloyed patriotism. With the expression of the warmest regard for you, as an officer and a gentleman, and the earnest hope that a bright and happy future may be reserved to you,

“I am, dear General, most truly your friend,

“S. Bassett French, Colonel and A. D. C.”

“From General W. H. C. Whiting.

“Wilmington, North Carolina, February 14th, 1863.

“My Dear G. W.:

“I received your note with great sorrow. It came on me like a clap of thunder, being so entirely unexpected—and it leaves me in the dark about the causes of so serious a step—so disastrous to our cause. I suppose unwarranted interference with your command is the immediate reason. An aide to the President is now here on a tour of inspection. He tells me your resignation had not been acted on—I presume owing to his illness. I hope he won't accept it. Please write and tell me all about it. I see D. H. Hill is ordered to report to you and to take command of the troops in North Carolina. I have sent all the troops I could spare to Beauregard and my ten-inch gun besides. That matter of the armament of my forts is a great worry to me. We are strengthening Caswell every day, but it wofully needs a heavier armament. Amongst us all here your resignation is deeply regretted. For my own part I think the President could sooner spare his whole list of Major-Generals to say nothing of nearly all of the grade above. Write to me.

“Yours truly,

“Whiting.”





From General Junius Daniel.

“Kinston, N. C., February 16th, 1863.

“My Dear General:

“It was with deep regret that I read your letter announcing your determination to leave the service. I assure you there is no one with whom I had rather serve, or in whom I have more confidence than yourself; and I sincerely trust that the cause which induced you to tender you resignation may be removed and a sufficient atonement made to allow you to remain with us until this matter is ended by our soundly thrashing the North. But, General, should you leave the service, be assured that in me you will always find a true friend, and that you are universally esteemed and respected amongst those of my command who know you. Your leaving this State has caused much regret amongst the troops stationed here.

“Very truly your friend,

“Junius Daniel.”

From General Joseph R. Davis.

“Muskee Depot, near Franklin, N. C., February 17th.

“Dear General:

“I received yours of the 7th two days ago, announcing the tender of your resignation. I regret your determination for both personal and public considerations. I regret to lose the association of a superior officer with whom my intercourse, official and personal, has been so entirely satisfactory, and yet more the loss of an officer whose services were so useful to the country. Day before yesterday I received an order from General French to move my command to Ivon on the Petersburg





and Norfolk Railroad. Your telegram was received just on the eve of my departure, directing my brigade to reënforce General Pryor. This, much to my regret, seems to change my destination. May I not ask that my brigade be allowed to proceed to Ivon if consistent with the interests of the Department? At Ivon I would be guarding some of the approaches to Petersburg and at the same time in supporting distance of Brigadier-General Pryor. I ask this because it seems to me proper in itself and at the same time accords with my wishes, but of course most cheerfully submit to your decision. Hoping that yet something may occur to induce you to remain in the service,

“I am most respectfully,

“Jos. R. Davis.”

From General J. J. Pettigrew.

“Goldsboro, N. C., February 19th, 1863.

“My Dear General:

“For some time back I have been hearing rumors of your resignation, and I learn to-day that the rumors are confirmed. There has been doubtless imperative reasons for this action on your part; yet I cannot sufficiently regret that the country is deprived of your eminent assistance and we of a commander, our confidence in whose skill was not surpassed by our attachment to his person. I shall ever consider it my greatest good fortune in this war, that I was so early brought under your command and so long remained with you; and in thus speaking I echo the sentiments of all who serve, or who have ever served, under me. As a native of this State, I feel obliged to you for having by the mere skill of your arrangements and disposition of forces, saved it from a





devastating invasion without firing a gun. I trust, however, that this farewell is only for a time, and that I soon may have the happiness of saluting you again as my commander. Believe me, General, with the highest respect and sincere friendship,

“J. Johnston Pettigrew, Brig.-Genl.”

From General D. H. Hill.

“Goldsboro, N. C., February 20th, 1863.

“Dear General:

“I have just seen the order accepting your resignation and feel much embarrassed by it, especially as General French has read me a letter from you speaking with some feeling of the proposed supersedure of yourself by General E. K. Smith or myself. When the offer was made me of command in N. C. I expressly stated that I preferred a subordinate position under you. This I did both by telegraph and in a letter to the Secretary of War. If my assignment then has had anything to do with your resignation, I hope that it will be reconsidered. I have always said and felt that I would prefer serving under you to having the chief command. At present I feel at a loss what to do. I have not yet assumed command and do not wish to do so. I came here with the understanding that I was to serve under you. Honestly and truly I prefer that position and shrink from the other. The train is about starting to Kinston and I must close. I simply wish to express my regret at being directly or indirectly the cause of your difficulty and to assure you that I have always desired to serve under you. May I not hope that it is not yet too late to save the Confederacy from losing one of its very best officers?

“Yours truly, D. H. Hill.”





From General W. H. C. Whiting.

“Wilmington, N. C., February 23d, 1863.

“My Dear G. W.:

“I wish you would write to me and tell me something about your affairs, in which I feel as much concern as if they were my own. I got your letter written some time ago announcing that you had resigned; since then many papers from your office indicating that you are still in command. D. H. has been down to see me, but has assumed no command, as yet. I do not know how matters stand in this Department or how they are going to turn out. You know the understanding on which I was sent here—you were to be my commander. But it is not on that account that I say I hope your resignation is not and will not be accepted. It is because I know they have no one to fill your place in a command second to none in importance to the country and infinitely more difficult to fill, as you fill it, than any other—a hard post it is true, and harder still in that its labors are so great and so little appreciated. I know you have a great deal of injustice to put up with, and harder yet I see the Secretary interfering in the subordinate details of your command; but remember what you told me when I too was smarting under injustice of no common kind. However, if it is done I have nothing to say why you should not do it, only to say ‘I am sorry’ as you said to Randolph. I have no objections to our friend Daniel Harvey. He and I will always get on well I suppose—certainly always did. But if you are going to quit us, I must say that I think it will be better for this District to be made a separate Department reporting to the War Department, whether I command it or not. It was so considered in ordering





me here and my assignment was to the defence of Wilmington. Mind, this, only in case you quit. I need hardly state why I say this: that I know of no one else they can put in charge of Richmond with head enough to manage his own business and mine too. Please write to me. Do you intend to have a talk with the ‘Gefe’ of all?

“Yours always, Whiting.”

From Major R. F. Beckham.

“Richmond, Va., April 5th, 1863.

“.My Dear General:

“I have received orders to leave here and report to General Lee, and consequently will not have an opportunity of seeing you on your return to Richmond. I cannot begin to express the doubts by which I am troubled when now about to go into the field under an officer other than yourself. When with you I always felt sure of going very nearly in the right direction, but I now feel as if I must, for the future, rely almost altogether upon myself. Your resignation has made a very large vacancy in the army. Each day seems but to augment the importance of the position which you held. Lieutenant-General Longstreet and three Major-Generals now command your old Department. Very strange isn't it, that so many are deemed necessary for a command not long since thought so unimportant? Time will, I am sure, make all things right. May good fortune attend you in all your undertakings! May the time be very near at hand when the justice and propriety of the stand which you took will be vindicated before an impartial world! There is no one in the country who will rejoice more than myself at your prosperity.

“With highest esteem, your obedient servant,

“R. F. Beckham.”





From the Provisional Governor of Kentucky.

“Richmond, Va., April 22d, 1863.

“General:

“I had heard, with deep regret, that you had resigned your office of Major-General in the Confederate States army, and I had purposed writing to you on the subject, but delayed in consideration of my intended visit to Richmond, which would give me an opportunity of seeing you personally. Since reaching here I have learned that you are in Georgia. I do not entertain a doubt that you acted from imperative convictions of duty and honor. I repeat my expressions of deep regret for the event, both from my regard for you personally and for the interests of the public service, which in my judgment you were so well fitted to maintain. I wish very much that I could have understood the matter in time to have endeavored to prevent the result. I am aware that you are in the same condition of many other friends of the Confederate States, I mean one of exile, without the means of support outside of the Government. At present I cannot perceive any just conjecture as to the termination of the war, nor am I very sure as to the action of Kentucky when peace is made. At present I have the firmest conviction that two thirds or three fourths of our people are for the South, but bribery and intimidation are constantly at work against us and the slavery interest is constantly being undermined. I have ardently hoped that our army would enter Kentucky this spring, but now there is no well-grounded expectation of such an event. If such should be the case I am informed and believe that I shall, as Provisional Governor of the State, have large powers in the organization of the military forces to be raised in Kentucky. If I have





the power and opportunity, I state to you that I will—from a sense of duty and from my high appreciation of your fitness and capacity—confer upon you the first and largest military authority within my gift. Whenever the way is open, and we are permitted to go into Kentucky, with the expectation of maintaining our position, I hope you will be prepared to go with me, and I will do for you the utmost in the range of my power.

“Very truly yours,

“R. Hawes.”





APPENDIX B.

EXTRACTS FROM A SKETCH OF THE LIFE OF GENERAL G. W. SMITH, PUBLISHED IN THE “ENCYCLOPÆDIA OF CONTEMPORARY BIOGRAPHY OF NEW YORK” (Vol. II., 1882).

“Smith, General Gustavus Woodson, late a Major-General in the Confederates States army, was born in Scott County, Kentucky, January 1, 1822, and is now a resident of New York City. . . . He entered the United States Military Academy as a cadet in 1838, was graduated in 1842, was then appointed Lieutenant in the United States Corps of Engineers, and ordered to New London, Connecticut, as assistant engineer in the construction of the fortifications of that harbor. He remained on this duty two years, and was ordered to West Point, in 1844, as junior Assistant Professor of Civil and Military Engineering and the Art of War in the U. S. Military Academy. After serving two years in this capacity he was ordered to join the army of General Zachary Taylor, in Mexico. Soon after the declaration of war between the United States and Mexico, in 1846, Congress passed an act authorizing the raising of a company of sappers and miners, or engineer soldiers, as part of the regular army of the United States. Captain Alexander J. Swift, of the Corps of Engineers, was





assigned to the command of the company; Gustavus W. Smith was the senior, and George B. McClellan the junior Lieutenant. Captain Swift, one of the most prominent officers of that grade in the corps to which he belonged, had served two years in the school for engineer officers at Metz, France, and Lieutenant McClellan was graduated at West Point in 1846. Soon after the company arrived in Mexico, Captain Swift was taken ill at Matamoras, on the Rio Grande, and the command of the engineer company devolved upon Lieutenant G. W. Smith. Lieutenant John G. Foster, U. S. Engineer Corps, joined the company at Vera Cruz. In the campaign from Vera Cruz to the city of Mexico, inclusive, the engineer company made a proud and worthy name in the annals of American history. Tbe following extracts are selected from an official abstract of the records of the War Department in Washington. General Totten, Chief Engineer, in his annual report, 1848, in giving a summary of the services of engineer officers in Mexico, says: ‘Lieutenant G. W. Smith was in command of the engineer company in the march from Matamoras to Tampico, and in the siege of Vera Cruz, and in all the battles in General Scott's march to the city of Mexico.’ In his official report to General Scott, dated Camp Washington, before Vera Cruz, March 28th, 1847, he speaks in terms of highest praise of the officers and men of the engineer company. Battle of Cerro Gordo, April 18th, 1847.—Colonel W. S. Harney, commanding. 1st Brigade, says in his official report, dated Jalapa, Mexico, April 21, 1847: ‘Lieutenant G. W. Smith, of the engineers, with his company, rendered very efficient service in his own department, as well as in the storming of the fort.’ In reference to the same battle, General D. E. Twiggs, commanding





2d Division, says in his official report, dated Jalapa, April 24th, 1847: ‘Lieutenant G. W. Smith, of the engineers, with his company of sappers and miners, joined Colonel Harney's command in the assault on the enemy's main work, and killed two men with his own hand.’ Battles of Contreras and Churubusco, 19th and 20th of August, 1847.—General Persifer F. Smith, commanding 1st brigade, 2d division, says in his official report, dated August 28th, 1847: ‘Lieutenant G. W. Smith, in command of the engineer company, and Lieutenant G. B. McClellan, his subaltern, distinguished themselves throughout the whole of the three actions. Nothing seemed to them too bold to be undertaken or too difficult to be executed; and their services as engineers were as valuable as those they rendered in battle at the head of their gallant men.’ Referring to these battles General D. E. Twiggs says in his official report, dated August 23, 1847: ‘To Captain R. E. Lee, of the engineers, I have again the pleasure of tendering my thanks for the exceedingly valuable services rendered throughout the whole of these operations; and to Lieutenant G. W. Smith of the engineers, who commanded the sappers and miners, I am under many obligations for his services on this and on other occasions. Whenever his legitimate duties with the pick and spade were performed, he always solicited permission to join in the advance of the storming party with his muskets, in which position his gallantry, and that of his officers and men, was conspicuously displayed at Contreras as well as Cerro Gordo.’ City of Mexico, 13th and 14th of September, 1847.—General W. J. Worth, commanding 1st division, says in his official report, dated September 16th, 1847: ‘Lieutenants I. I. Stevens, G. W. Smith, and G. B. McClellan, engineers, displayed the gallantry, skill,





and conduct which so eminently distinguished their corps.’ In reference to these operations General Scott, in his official report, dated National Palace of Mexico, September 18th, 1847, says: ‘Lieutenants Beauregard, Stevens, and Tower, all wounded, were employed with the divisions; and Lieutenants G. W. Smith and G. B. McClellan with the company of sappers and miners. These five Lieutenants of engineers, like their Captain (R. E. Lee), won the admiration of all about them.’ In an official letter dated January 27th, 1854, General Scott says: ‘I have never known a very young officer so frequently and so highly distinguished as Captain G. W. Smith was in the campaign of Mexico.’ He was recommended by General Scott for a third brevet, that of Major, and General Scott adds: ‘I was afterwards surprised to learn that Smith's name had been stricken off by the Secretary of War and President, on the ground that no Second Lieutenant could be allowed to hold three brevets at once, no matter what his merits or services.’ Upon the return of the army to the United States, at the end of the war in 1848, Captain Smith was, at his own request, relieved from duty with the engineer company. In 1849 he was appointed principal Assistant Professor of Engineering and the Art of War in the Military Academy, and ordered to West Point. He remained in this position until he resigned his commission in the United States army in 1854. The following extract is from a letter written by General Totten, Chief Engineer, U. S. Army, dated December 26th, 1854, and addressed to Captain Smith on the subject of his resignation: ‘I am parting in the present case with an officer whose services in the field have, by their marked gallantry and high professional character, added to the reputation of the corps and the army. These considerations





strengthen my regret at the loss we are now sustaining.’ After resigning his commission in the army, Captain Smith selected New Orleans as his future home. In 1855 the Secretary of the United States Treasury, James B. Guthrie, appointed him Superintendent of the repairs of the Branch Mint, and of the construction of the New Marine Hospital at New Orleans. In 1856 he resigned this position, and came to the city of New York for the purpose of accepting, in the house of Messrs. Cooper & Hewitt, the position of Chief Engineer of the Trenton Iron Company. In 1858 the Mayor of New York, Daniel F. Tiemann, on the recommendation of Messrs. Cooper & Hewitt, and of Mr. Peter Cooper, nominated Captain G. W. Smith, to be Street Commissioner of New York City, and he was unanimously confirmed by the Board of Aldermen. He retained this position to the end of the term for which he was appointed, and continued in office for nearly a year longer, awaiting the appointment of his successor. He finally resigned in September, 1861; turning the control of the Street Department over to his deputy, Mr. Edward Ewing, who continued to manage the business for several months, until a new Commissioner was appointed to fill the vacancy. It was generally conceded in New York that the Street Department business had been ably and honestly conducted by Captain Smith. In fact, the press and the people were unanimous in this opinion. The following extract from one of the leading journals of the city, published October 5, 1861, illustrates the feeling in reference to his resignation: ‘It is stated that Captain Gustavus W. Smith, late Street Commissioner of New York City, and Chairman of the National Democratic Committee of the City and County of New York, has been appointed a Major-General in the rebel army.





. . . As Street Commissioner of this city, he showed himself as competent to discharge the duties of a civil, executive, and administrative office as he had previously done as a soldier and engineer. . . . It is a sad reflection that he has turned a traitor to his country, and, as a Major-General in the rebel army, is using his unquestionable talents to assist in the attempted overthrow of this Government, and in the dishonor of the flag under whose graceful folds he won such distinguished fame.’ It is hardly necessary to say that Captain Smith, in leaving New York and returning to his own people, did not consider that he was a traitor to his country, attempting to overthrow this Government, and to bring dishonor on its flag. He had taken an earnest and very active part in the Presidential election in 1860, because he was convinced that the election of Mr. Lincoln, on the platform of principles adopted by the party of which he was the candidate, would lead to the secession of, at least, some Southern States; that this meant war, which must result either in disunion or union enforced at the point of the bayonet. . . . From the time Mr. Lincoln was elected, Captain Smith took no part in the politics of the country, but gave his time and attention exclusively to the public business of the city entrusted to his control, and waited, rather anxiously, for the appointment of his successor in the Street Department. About two weeks before the difficulties between the two sections of the country culminated in actual hostilities—at Fort Sumter, in Charleston harbor—Captain Smith was suddenly stricken down with a terrible disease, brought on by overwork in his department. He was confined to his room on a bed of sickness, and for several months was cut off from all intercourse except with his physicians, nurses, and immediate family. When sufficiently recovered





to be able to travel, he was advised by his physician—in the latter part of July—to go to his friends in Kentucky, remain there until cold weather, and then proceed to Hot Springs, Arkansas. Soon after his arrival in Kentucky, he learned that the authorities in Washington intended to arrest and imprison him. He then resigned his position as Street Commissioner of New York City, left Kentucky, went to Richmond early in September, and at once offered his services to the Confederate Government.”

That portion of this sketch which refers to the period between General Smith's appointment as Major-General in the Confederate States Army and the acceptance of his resignation is omitted.

“The day that General Smith tendered his resignation as Major-General in the Confederate States Army, he offered his services to General Beauregard, as a volunteer in the defence of Charleston, and they were accepted. He was with General Beauregard when the fleet of iron-clads attacked Fort Sumter. After the Keokuk was sunk and the whole fleet had been repulsed, he proceeded to Georgia, and in a short time thereafter was offered, and finally accepted, the Presidency of the Etowah Manufacturing and Mining Company at Etowah, in that State. He was soon afterward appointed Aid-de-Camp to the Governor of Georgia, and in that capacity directed the construction of such fortifications as were made by the State for the defence of important points, which could not well be attended to by the Confederate army, then in Tennessee and North Georgia. In May, 1864, the Confederate army having crossed the Etowah River, the works at that place had to be abandoned, and they were burned by the Federal army. About this time the Governor of Georgia





ordered the civil and military officers of the State, who were exempt from Confederate conscription, to assemble at Atlanta. They were organized into companies and regiments, and formed into three brigades. This body of militia, about three thousand in number, elected General Smith their commander. The Governor placed this force at the disposal and under the control of the commander of the Confederate army, then operating in that State. The militia of Georgia afterwards increased by calling out the men of the State up to fifty-five years of age, performed well all the duties of regular soldiers. . . . When the Confederate army marched into Alabama and Tennessee, the militia held in check the large Federal garrison of Atlanta. When General Sherman started on his march to the sea, the militia confronted him in the works at Griffin. He went around without touching that place. When his troops appeared before Forsyth it was occupied by the militia, and the Federals made no serious attempt against it. When the Confederate cavalry were jammed back to the river at East Macon, the attacking party recoiled from the fortifications of that place, held by the militia. A day or two later General Hardee, at the suggestion of the President, ordered the militia to Augusta. A large portion of them, in the absence of General Smith, became involved with a force of the Federals, intrenched in strong position, and, ill advisedly, against orders, made a determined attack and persisted in it for several hours, finally retiring, under instructions, without being pursued. The command was withdrawn to Macon, and by authority of General Richard Taylor, in the absence of General Hardee, was taken by rail to Savannah. When the leading trains, containing about one thousand men, arrived in Savannah, they passed into South Carolina,





and with two hundred Confederate troops, which were all that could be brought there in time, defeated a large force of Federals, which was moving to cut off railroad communication between Charleston and Savannah, and meet Sherman's army on the Savannah River, thus opening to him easy communication with Port Royal on the South Carolina coast. After a fight lasting five or six hours, the Federal force retired precipitately, leaving more than two hundred dead upon the field. The number of their killed and wounded in this action, at Honey Hill, near Grahamville Station, on the Charleston and Savannah Railroad, was believed to be nearly equal to the whole force of Georgia militia engaged there. General Smith was the only Confederate General officer present. That night, after the Federals had retired to their gunboats, several thousand Confederate troops arrived, including three or four Brigadier-Generals, and after breakfast the next morning Lieutenat-General Hardee came over by rail from Savannah. There being no further occasion for the Georgia militia to remain in South Carolina, General Smith took them back to Savannah, where he found the remainder of his command, except one brigade, ordered by General Hardee to guard a bridge, some distance west of Savannah, which brigade was soon cut off by the Federals getting between them and the city. There were no troops at or near Savannah when the militia arrived there, except a small guard and the heavy artillery in the forts below. The affair of the Georgia militia at Honey Hill saved the communications with Savanah, enabled the Confederate Government to send about 15,000 troops with supplies and ammunition into the place, and compelled Sherman to besiege it, instead of passing quietly and quickly to the coast at Port Royal. In the lines around





Savannah, the militia, about 2500 strong, were on a front of two miles and a half, with two corps of General Sherman's army close against them. When General Smith learned from General Hardee that it was not intended to hold Savannah to the last extremity, but only to delay the Federals as long as possible and then withdraw, he advised Hardee that it would be necessary to construct a bridge over which his army could pass the Savannah River. General Hardee thought the army could be taken over to the South Carolina shore in the steamboats then lying at the wharves, and that a bridge, even if one were needed, could not be constructed in time. General Smith persisted, and General Hardee reluctantly consented to let him try it, and gave the order without which the material proposed to be used, being private property, could not be seized. The bridge was constructed; the command, including artillery and baggage wagons, passed over it, the militia being the rear-guard. General Hardee afterwards stated that if he had continued to rely upon the steamboats his army would have been captured. After getting out of Savannah, the Georgia militia were engaged in protecting Augusta. They were afterwards transferred to Macon, where General Smith, with a portion of his troops under General Cobb, surrendered at the end of the war, April, 1865. In 1866, General Smith accepted the position of General Manager of the business of the South-Western Iron Company, at Chattanooga, Tennessee. In 1870, he was appointed Insurance Commissioner of the State of Kentucky. The First National Convention of the Insurance Commissioners of the different States was held in New York City in 1871. Twenty-eight States were represented, and it is safe to say that no one in that body of State officers exercised greater influence than Gustavus





W. Smith. This influence continued unabated in the annual sessions for the five years during which he held the office of Insurance Commissioner of the State of Kentucky. Although not a professional actuary, he understood the simple principles upon which net money values in life-insurance are computed, when based upon data designated by law as the State standard of safety for these companies. This special knowledge—possessed at that time by a very limited number of persons in the United States—together with his regard for justice and right, as between the insurer and insured, combined to give him the great influence which he wielded. His works on the subject of Life Insurance and his published official reports made to the several annual Insurance Conventions, have done much toward enlightening the public in regard to the elementary principles upon which calculations of legal net values in life-insurance are founded. In 1876, General Smith returned to New York City, where he has since resided.”





APPENDIX C.

SEVERE ACCUSATIONS—REFUTED BY PLAIN FACTS.

In illustration of the nature of the accusations widely circulated by the Press against Gustavus W. Smith, soon after he joined the Confederate States Army, attention is called to the following editorial article published in the New York Herald, October 11th, 1861.

“SECRET REVOLUTIONARY CONSPIRACY IN NEW YORK.

“The late Street Commissioner of the City of New York is now Major-General Smith of the Army of the Confederate States. Mr. Mansfield Lovell, who occupied, until within a week or two, the position of Deputy Street Commissioner, is said to have been also promoted to a high rank in the rebel army. These gentlemen have monopolized a large share of the patronage of this metropolis, up to a very recent period. Their influence has been next to unbounded, for over three years, and, although they have neither of them dabbled with the petty concerns of municipal plunder, and Pewter Mug intrigue, they have been known to be men of large capacity and truly statesmanlike talent. Incapable of identifying themselves with the venal and corrupt cliques by which the city is governed, both Mr. Smith and Mr. Lovell have, nevertheless, steadily labored to accomplish





the object for which they remained here, of fostering sympathy with rebellion. Educated at West Point, and graduates of the highest distinction from the national Military Academy, they deservedly rank among the ablest officers in the country, and little surprise has been elicited by the intelligence that both Beauregard and Johnston have been thrown into the shade by their superior reputation. General Smith announced his intention, long since, of joining the insurrectionary army, in case Kentucky should secede. Meanwhile, preparatory for that event, he labored assiduously to create a disunion party in this city and State: nor did he leave here until his plans were fully matured. The instruments with which he intended to act were known by him thoroughly, and he was able to lay his hand on every one of those who would aid in getting up a sudden revolution, in favor of the South, whenever the rebel troops should have passed the Potomac and occupied Maryland and Pennsylvania. No scheme could have been laid more carefully than that which Mr. Smith concocted to effect his purpose, and, through the patronage which he so extensively controlled, it was easy for him so to identify himself with party organizations, here and in the interior, that it is not improbable candidates for office have been selected with a sole view to their treasonable proclivities. The general plan of the conspirators who are laboring to overthrow the nationality of the North American republic, and disserver the union between the States, is well known. As long ago as last November, the columns of the Herald contained an elaborate exposition of the details of the plot which had been entered into by Jefferson Davis and his associates. Their idea was to reconstruct the nation upon a slavery basis, and,





after having seized upon Washington, to dictate such terms to New York, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Ohio, and the Northwest, as should compel submission to the programme laid down at the Montgomery Congress, and a revolution in favor of the cherished institution of the seceding States. In order to accomplish this object the co-operation of the Democratic party at the North was, for a while, implicitly relied on, and after the patriotic outburst of feeling, on the part of leading individuals of the conservative portion of the community, had dispelled this delusion, a hope still remained that enough disaffection might be found to distract the councils of the administration, and thwart the measures that had been taken to crush out treason. Street Commissioner Smith, and his Deputy, Mr. Lovell, made it their principal occupation to foster disloyalty, and it has become transparent now that their efforts were not unattended with success. Neither of them belonged to the class of mean, plundering, pettifogging politicians. On the contrary, they contemplated with disgust the corruption of metropolitan demagogues, and refused to sanction their intrigues to empty the pockets of our tax-payers. Their labors were deeper, and of far more extensive signification, than any that the petty cliques of New York could point out. Through the Regency at Albany, and affiliated seditious elements in this city, they aimed a death-blow, which it was intended should strike at the very heart of our institutions, and, so soon as the ends of the rebel army on the Potomac should have been obtained, cause a general uprising in the Central States, in favor of a permanent alliance with the South, against the constitution bequeathed to us by Washington, Jefferson, and Madison. Jefferson Davis and his allies entertained no doubt, a





a few months since, the hope that, ere this, the national capital, Baltimore, and even Philadelphia, would have passed under their control. With true Southern arrogance, they contemplated the future of a confederation which would be subject to the military dictation of a nigger-driving oligarchy, and include Northern wealth together with Southern products. In this found dream they have been disappointed. But, up to the very latest period, the expectation has remained that a party, nominally enlisted under the banners of peace, although really pledged to secession, would rise up to espouse their cause. Messrs. Smith and Lovell continued to reside in New York, wielding the patronage of one of the most lucrative offices in the gift of the city, whose ramifications extend even throughout the State, up to the moment that their presence was more needed elsewhere than here, and until they had paved the way for an outbreak, whenever such a movement might be deemed prudent and expedient. Their efforts have been unflagging in behalf of the South, and no reasonable individual can doubt for an instant that, but for the prompt and efficient steps taken by the administration, formidable factitious opposition might have raised its head, in the Northern States, against the course of our statesmanlike President in crushing out rebellion. The evidence can easily be presented, that, from the Street Commissioner's Office as a centre, rebellion, under the direction of Messrs. Smith and Lovell, radiated forth into every corner of this city, and permeated the councils of the rotten leaders of the Regency party in the State. They did not go away, to assume high command in the South, until they had thoroughly matured their plans, and left behind them representatives who would seize upon the first opportunity to subvert the existing order





of things, and proclaim adhesion to the Montgomery Government, so soon as a fitting occasion should offer. These representatives are to be found among the parties which lay claim to title to public confidence at the approaching elections, and it is the duty of loyal citizens to sift them out and to refuse to give to any of their candidates their suffrages.”

Passing to a period nearly ten years later, attention is called to the following extracts from the Congressional Globe—Part VI., Proceedings of the Senate—July 8th, 1870:

“Mr. Cameron. I am very anxious to gratify the Senator from Kentucky; there is hardly anything in reason that I would not do to gratify him, but I never will vote to take the disabilities off such a man as Gustavus W. Smith. I remember the impression his leaving New York made upon the patriots of the country at the time. It was done with a flourish of trumpets. It was said that here was a man holding one of the most lucrative offices in this country, who gave it up to go to the South and fight in the cause of his countrymen against ours. He is a man who had received his education from the Government, the very education which gave him the office at New York, and the one which gave him all the distinction he had in his life; and he was not content with throwing that up and going quietly to his countrymen down there, but he made a flourish of it, and boasted himself that he gave up this office yielding him, as I was told, forty or fifty thousand dollars a year, to sustain that cause which he called a holy one. How can gentlemen here vote to take the disabilities off such a man as he?”

“Mr. Howard. There is the name of Mr. Smith. According to my recollection his case was a most wanton





one. He was educated at the Military Academy of the United States, and raised in the free State of New York; he had received employment in the City of New York, and went off to the rebellion and joined the Southern insurgents without any excuse or apology at all, not even the apology of residence in the insurgent States. I hope that name will be stricken out; for if there is anything in the world, in my judgment, that shows a bad character, it is the act of a military officer who has taken the formal oath to be true to the flag and then goes off wantonly, without excuse deserts his flag, and joins the enemies of his country. Why, sir, that will never do. I move, therefore, to strike out the name of Gustavus W. Smith.”

“Mr. Conkling, As I contributed the fact that Gustavus W. Smith was Street Commissioner of the City of New York, I will say that I did not mean to contribute it in the direction in which the Senator from Kentucky employs it. I did not know that Gustavus W. Smith was paralyzed. If I believed as much as those of greater faith do in the general harmony of things, I should not wonder that he is paralyzed. When the war began he held in the City of New York a lucrative and honorable place; and it is true, therefore, that without the extenuation arising from the force of example, of locality, and of surrounding, this man, who had been conspicuously treated with kindness in a free State, flung down the opportunities which he enjoyed to go into the rebellion. I confess I am surprised to see his name in this bill. If paralysis has overtaken him, I do not know but that people of greater faith than I might suppose that even that is something more than the mere accident of things. When the war broke out with two or three men who belonged to the same coterie with him,





and who like him had been conspicuously treated with generosity and kindness in the community which he deserted, he turned against it and went into the rebellion. I am sorry for him if he is paralyzed. I am sorry for him as a man; I am sorry for him as a Senator; but I confess I listen with some surprise to the suggestion that Gustavus W. Smith, who was educated and nurtured at the public cost, and who afterward drew against the country the sword the country gave him and taught him how to wield, comes here so hastily after the blood has dried which he helped to spill and seeks condonation for his offences.”

It is believed that a plain statement of facts will be sufficient answer to the foregoing accusations.

On entering the Military Academy at West Point Gustavus W. Smith obligated himself to serve in the United States Army for five years unless sooner discharged. He served more than sixteen years. His resignation as an officer of that army was accepted in December, 1854. The official records of the War Office show the character of his services; and it may be safely stated that, after the acceptance of his resignation, the general Government had no special legal claim upon him for further military service because of the fact that he had graduated at the West Point Academy.

For the four years next after his resignation from the army he was engaged in civil pursuits. During a large portion of that time circumstances brought him very closely under the observation of Messrs. Edward Cooper and Abram S. Hewitt and of Mr. Peter Cooper. In their opinion he had shown himself capable of performing well the important duties of Street Commissioner of the City of New York. When the nomination to that office was tendered him, on their recommendation, in





the early part of the year 1858, he declined it. In November of that year, however, he accepted the nomination, and was unanimously confirmed by the Board of Aldermen. The salary of the Street Commissioner was five thousand dollars a year—no perquisites of any kind.

In taking control of the Street Department he promoted Mansfield Lovell to the position of Deputy Commissioner, and appointed Mr. Edward Ewing to the office of Superintendent of Street Improvements, made vacant by Lovell's promotion. It was conceded by all acquainted with public affairs in this city, that no better selection than that of Edward Ewing could have been made for the important office in question. No other changes of officers in the Street Department were made at that time by the new Commissioner; and very few occurred until 1860, when Mr. Fernando Wood became Mayor of the city. In the contest in the Board of Aldermen which soon after took place between the regular Democratic and the Republican Aldermen on one side against Fernando Wood and the Mozart Hall Aldermen on the other, the Street Commissioner supported the former, and used what is called the patronage of the Department in upholding the regular Democratic and the Republican Aldermen. In other words, whilst refusing to allow about fifty of the more important officers of the Department to be interfered with, the Street Commissioner allowed the Aldermen, whom he was supporting, to nominate persons to fill nearly all of the subordinate places, requiring only that in all cases the persons nominated should be of good character and fully competent to perform well the duties of the positions to which they were appointed. This resulted in a decided improvement in the fitness





of the subordinate officers of the Department. Very few changes were made from that time until a new Street Commissioner was appointed in December, 1861.

In the summer of 1860, after the Presidential candidates were nominated, Gustavus W. Smith took an active part in national politics. He consented, at the earnest solicitation of James T. Brady and other leading Democrats, to accept the position of Chairman of the National Democratic Committee of the City and County of New York. In this capacity he favored combined action on the part of all those who were opposed to the election of Mr. Lincoln. This proposition, made in July, was not then acceptable to the Douglas Democrats or to the Bell and Everett party. But, in October of that year a “fusion” ticket, in the State of New York, was proposed against Mr. Lincoln. At the request of those who initiated this “fusion” movement, the Democratic Committee of which Gustavus W. Smith was Chairman, cordially united with them in this—too long delayed—effort to unite the opponents of the Republican party. Mr. Lincoln was elected. During that canvass no attempt was made by the Street Commissioner to use the patronage of that Department with a view to affecting the Presidential election in any manner whatever.

The term for which Gustavus W. Smith was appointed Street Commissioner expired just after the Presidential election in 1860. From that time he held the office, only awaiting the appointment of his successor. In the latter part of 1860 the Governor of Kentucky tendered him position with a view to his ultimately taking command of the organized military forces of that State. The offer was declined. But, in refusing the position tendered him, he said that, in case





of war between the two sections of the country, he would return to his native home and take whatever place might be assigned him in the defence of that State. In the early part of the year 1861, he took part in the famous “Pine Street Meeting,” of citizens of New York, for the purpose of helping to devise measures to avert the impending war. He favored the “Crittenden Compromise,” and all other measures which had for their object a settlement of the differences between the two sections of the country without a resort to arms.

Early in April, 1861, he was stricken with paralysis brought on by overwork, as Street Commissioner, in behalf of the interests of the people of the city of New York. For nearly three months he was confined to his home in this city. When sufficiently recovered to permit of his removal he was taken to Sharon Springs, New York. During his long illness the duties of Street Commissioner were performed by the Deputy; but no changes were made in the organization, or business methods, of the Department.

In the latter part of July his physician, in New York, advised him that a visit to the Hot Springs of Arkansas offered the best, if not the only, chance for his complete recovery. In the mean time his physician suggested that he should go to his friends in Kentucky, and await there until October or November before proceeding on his journey to the Hot Springs. Having determined to act on this advice, he returned to the city of New York and appointed Edward Ewing Deputy Street Commissioner. The appointment to take effect as soon as the then Deputy was ready to turn over to him the control of the Department. No better selection could have been made in the interests of the people of the city of





New York than that of Mr. Edward Ewing. He controlled the Street Department until the new Commissioner was appointed in December of that year.

When Gustavus W. Smith, on his way to his friends in Kentucky, reached the city of Cincinnati he was too much fatigued to proceed farther without rest. Long after the war he was credibly informed his presence at a hotel in that place was promptly telegraphed to the Government at Washington, and orders were immediately issued for his arrest and detention until further instructions were received. But, entirely unconscious of this action on the part of the United States Government, he had proceeded on his way early the next morning and arrived at Lexington, Kentucky, that day. Within a few weeks he received information that the Government at Washington intended to arrest and imprison him. He then determined to resign the position of Street Commissioner of the City of New York and pass at once into the Confederate States. He had held that office nearly a year beyond the expiration of the term for which he was appointed; and after his resignation the city of New York had no claim upon him based upon services already rendered.

Having been constrained to leave Kentucky before the time when it would be prudent for him to attempt the journey to the Hot Springs, he proceeded to Richmond and tendered his services to the Confederate States Government. Until he was within the lines of the Confederate States he had committed no act inconsistent with the duties of a citizen of New York and of the United States.

In 1870 an over-zealous, indiscreet friend, without authority, made an application to Congress, petitioning for the removal of the political disabilities of Gustavus





W. Smith. The latter never heard of the petition until he saw the published proceedings of the Senate, as reported in the Congressional Globe.

In view of the facts here stated, and others contained in the sketch of the life of Gustavus W. Smith previously given, it is not deemed necessary to make further allusion, in this paper, to the alleged “Secret Revolutionary Conspiracy in New York,” or to the above-quoted speeches made by Messrs. Cameron, Howard, and Conkling in the Senate of the United States.

The following extracts are from Collins's History of Kentucky. They are given as an illustration of feeling, opinion, and action in that State during the winter and spring of 1861. As a preliminary, it is desired to call attention to the fact that, until the winter of 1870-71, Gustavus W. Smith had never heard that his name had been even mentioned as one of a board of five persons to whom it was proposed to entrust the raising, arming, organizing and equipping the military forces of Kentucky.

“January 21st, 1861.—The following resolutions, by George W. Ewing, of Logan County, adopted in the House; the first unanimously, the second by 87 to 6:

“Resolved, That this general assembly has heard with profound regret of the resolutions recently adopted by the States of New York, Ohio, Maine, and Massachusetts, tendering men and money to the President of the United States, to be used in coercing sovereign States of the South into obedience to the Federal Government.

“Resolved, That this general assembly receives the action of the Legislatures of New York, Ohio, Maine, and Massachusetts, as the indication of a purpose upon the part of the people of those States to further complicate existing difficulties, by forcing the people of the





South to the extremity of submission or resistance. And so regarding it, the Governor of the State of Kentucky is hereby requested to inform the Executives of each of said States that it is the opinion of this general assembly, that whenever the authorities of these States shall send armed forces to the South for the purpose indicated in said resolutions, the people of Kentucky, uniting with their brethren of the South, will as one man resist such invasion of the soil of the South at all hazards and to the last extremity. . . . .

“May 10th, 1861.—At an informal conference of leading men of both the Bell and Douglas parties, John J. Crittenden, Archibald Dixon, and Samuel S. Nicholas were selected as representatives of those parties, to negotiate with three representative men of the Breckinridge party whom they selected and proposed—Governor Beriah Magoffin, John C. Breckinridge, and Richard Hawes—and who should first be recognized by that party. It was believed that those six persons would be authorized—by the respective members of those parties in the Legislature, then in session—to devise an adjustment that all would combine to make the united action of the State, in the then alarming condition of the country. Those men promptly and cheerfully left their homes and repaired to Frankfort, anxious, if possible, to avert the threatened civil war and preserve the peace of the State, if not of the country. In the evening of the day they arrived, a caucus of the Breckenridge members of the Legislature was held in the representative hall, and a similar one of the united Bell and Douglas (who called themselves the ‘Union’) parties in the Senate Chamber—each eagerly consenting to the mode of arbitrament proposed and agreeing (the former, at least, unanimously) to abide by, and carry out by legislative action,





whatever the six ‘arbitrators’ should agree in recommending.”*

The six arbitrators agreed in recommending “that the State of Kentucky should not take part either with the Federal Government or with the seceded States, in the conflict then impending; but should occupy a position of armed neutrality, forbidding and resisting the entrance of either upon her territory.”

It was further agreed to entrust the raising, arming, organizing, and equipping the military forces of the State to a board of five persons to be established by act of the Legislature. Finally the following persons were named to constitute this board, viz.: “General S. B. Buckner, Gustavus W. Smith, George W. Johnson, Archibald Dixon, and Samuel Gill.”

Mr. Hawes was delegated to communicate the conclusions of the arbitrators to the Breckinridge party, and Mr. Nicholas to the Bell and Douglas parties in the Legislature. “The caucus of the legislative Breekinridge party agreed unanimously to the report of Mr. Hawes, and pledged themselves to carry it out.” “Judge Nicholas, at an early hour next morning, called upon the Breckinridge arbitrators, expressed himself as deeply mortified that the caucus of his party could not agree to carry out the award—adding with much chagrin, that he would wash his hands of the whole business, and leave on the morning train for his home in Louisville, which he did.”

[note]







INDEX.

Accusations, against Gustavus W. Smith, 354-360; refuted by plain facts, 360-365.

Advantage of action and evil of inactivity, Confederate, 15, 18, 20, 22, 23, 26, 28, 31, 39.

Alleged proposal to depose President Davis, 327.

Arms, Confederate, want of, 18, 20, 23, 27, 38.

Army of the Potomac, Confederate, near Fairfax Court-house, effective strength, 29; reënforcement of “seasoned soldiers,” 17, 21, 23, 29, 30, 36.

Army of the Potomac, Federal, in front of Fairfax Court-house, 16, 19, 32; Confederate Generals disappointed that it did not advance, 40; transferred to the Peninsula, 50; in front of Richmond, 159.

Army of Northern Virginia—second name of the Confederate “Army of the Potomac”—conference at Richmond, 40; battle of Seven Pines, 159; reenforcements previous to the Seven Days’ Battles, 57.

Ball, Colonel, commanding regiment and battery at Fredericksburg, protecting General Lee's communications, 264, 265, 278, 282.

Banks, General; his “movement may be a ruse,” 26; position on upper Potomac, 28; fleet at Beaufort, N. C., 273.

Beauregard, General G. T., commanding First Corps, Confederate Army of the Potomac, 14; proceedings of conference at Fairfax Court-house, 13-20; transferred to General A. S. Johnston's Army in the West, 40; opinion and advice in regard to Mississippi river at Forts Jackson and St. Philip, 60; sends troops from Charleston to aid in the defence of Wilmington, N. C., 271; troops recalled to Charleston, 277, 280, 286.

Beaverdam Creek, natural strength of position described by Mr. Davis, 155; ground examined and reported upon by the Chief Engineer of the army and by General Smith's chief of staff, 148; attack advised by General G. W. Smith, 148; advice modified when it was understood that McDowell's forces were no longer approaching Richmond, 149; Mr. Davis's statement of what General Smith said about attacking, 155; comments on that statement, 155.

Beckham, Lieutenant R. F., aide to General Smith at battle of Seven Pines, letter from, in reference to the movements of Longstreet's division, 165; letter from, in reference to General G. W. Smith's resignation, 340.

Benjamin, Judah P., Secretary of War; letter to the Governor of Louisiana in reference to the defences of New Orleans, 63; by direction of President Davis orders General Lovell to seize, arm, and equip for war purposes fourteen named river steamers, 70, 75; by direction of President Davis





orders General Lovell to send 5000 men from New Orleans to Columbus, Ky., 71; explains the President's reasons for certain orders in reference to the defence of the Mississippi coast, 72; highly commends General Lovell, 76; informs General Smith that Mr. Horace Randall cannot be the recipient of an executive appointment, 318.

Brigades, reorganization of, in General J. E. Johnston's army, suggested by President Davis in the conference at Fairfax Court-house, 324; correspondence between the President and General Smith on this subject, 324-6; letter from General Whiting, 326; the President continues to urge the matter, but does not give a positive order, 327; constant source of dissatisfaction until General Lee was assigned to command the Army of Northern Virginia, 327.

Cameron, Senator, speech in U. S. Senate, 358; refuted by facts, 360.

Campaign of invasion advocated, in the Conference at Fairfax Court-house, 15; in conference at Richmond, 42.

Camp Moore, seventy-eight miles north of New Orleans, on the Jackson Railroad, 66; point to which the Confederate forces retired after the evacuation of New Orleans, 82-90.

Casey, General Silas, commanded advanced division of Keyes's corps at the battle of Seven Pines, 160; retired to “third line of defence,” 186.

Chickahominy River, said by Mr. Davis to be flowing in front of the field of battle at Seven Pines, 196; its real position in relation to that battle-field, 200.

Chambliss, Colonel, protecting General Lee's communications, 254, 278.

Clingman, General Thomas L., official report of the operations of his command in the action near Goldsboro, N. C., 275.

Cobb, General Howell, commanded a brigade of McLaws's division on the Bluffs of the Chickahominy river near the Mechanicsville road, 146, 155, 184.

Conference at Fairfax Court-house, 13-40.

Conference at Richmond, and operations that followed, 41-58.

Conkling, Senator, speech in U. S. Senate, 359; refuted by facts, 360.

Conrad, Hon. Charles M., testimony, 60, 131.

Couch, General Darius N., commanded division of Keyes's corps, in second line, at battle of Seven Pines, 160.

Court of Inquiry, in regard to the evacuation of New Orleans, applied for by General Lovell, 91; President Davis delayed action, 96, 98, 99; court finally ordered to convene, 99; instructions to the court, 100; instructions changed, 101; letter from Secretary of the Navy to President Davis on which the change of instructions was based, 102; facts found by the court, 103; opinion of the court, 105; comments on that opinion, 108; promulgation of opinion delayed, 114; proceedings of the court called for by Congress, 137; delay of President Davis in transmitting the proceedings, 137; Mr. Davis finds it difficult, in reviewing the matter, to reach a satisfactory conclusion, 126.

Daniel, General Junius, commanded brigade at Drewry's Bluff, 268; at Goldsboro, 284; letter in reference to General G. W. Smith's resignation, 336.

Darby, Dr. John T., report of casualties in the 1st Division, 1st Corps, at the battle of Seven Pines, 177.

Davidson, Colonel, guarding General Lee's communications, 265.





Davis, Jefferson, surprised and disappointed at his election to the Presidency, 13; thought himself better adapted to command in the field, 14; writes of military events in order to elucidate obscurity and correct error, 21; gratifying to him “only to notice for praise each and all who wore the gray,” 21; notices the allegation that he was responsible for the inactivity of the army in the autumn of 1861, 22; account of the conference at Fairfax Court-house, 22; criticises the written statement made by the three senior generals, 23; account of conference at Richmond and subsequent operations, 50; formally warned of “the danger which at last proved fatal” to New Orleans, 60; could not bring himself to believe that the apprehensions of the Governor of Louisiana would be realized, 62; assigns General Lovell to command the military department of Louisiana, 63; refuses to authorize him to control the naval defences, 63; directs that General Lovell seize, arm, and equip, for war purposes, fourteen named river steamboats, 70, 75; these vessels “in no event to be put under control of officers of the navy,” 76; directs that five thousand men be sent from New Orleans to Columbus, Ky.; “New Orleans is to be defended from above,” 71; men, arms, and munitions sent away until New Orleans was about defenceless, 72; telegraphs to the Governor of Louisiana, “The wooden vessels are below, the iron gunboats are above. The forts should destroy the former if they attempt to ascend,” 81; enlarges the powers of the “military men” after the fight at the forts had commenced, 82; fails to perceive the application of General Lovell's remark about “the error of dispersion,” 96; delays action on General Lovell's application for a Court of Inquiry, 96; said General Lovell had not kept the Government informed of the condition of the defences of New Orleans, 96; orders General Van Dorn to supersede General Lovell, 97; does not see why Lovell could not serve under Van Dorn, 97; Court of Inquiry ordered, but indefinitely postponed, 113; General Lovell relieved from duty in the field, 97, 98, 114; official correspondence between the Government and General Lovell in regard to the defences and the fall of New Orleans called for by Congress, 99; Court of Inquiry again ordered, 99; instructions to the court, 100; instructions changed, 101; delay in promulgating the opinion of the court, 114; proceedings of the court called for by Congress, 115; delay in transmitting, the proceedings, 115; refuses to grant General Lovell's request to be assigned to duty, 114; reviews the circumstances connected with the fall of New Orleans, 116; account of his ride on the Meadow Bridge road “to see the action commence,” 154; account of operations, battle of Seven Pines, May 31st 194; June 1st, 221; General G. W. Smith ordered from Goldsboro to Richmond, 295; interview with that officer, 296; directs the Secretary of War to order changes in the command, without consulting or informing the commander of the troops, 298, 299, 301-303, 315; endorsements on General G. W. Smith's letters of resignation, 305; orders General Van Dorn to General J. E. Johnston's army, 316; letters to General G. W. Smith in reference to the appointment of an aide, 320, 322; letter to General G. W. Smith in reference to the reorganization of brigades, 324; inquiries about alleged proposal to depose the Confederate Government, 328; his mind “poisoned,” 329, 332.

Davis, General Joseph R., assigned to command of a brigade in Richmond 264; at Goldsboro, N. C., 284; letter to General G. W. Smith, in reply, to





memoranda of the latter, 293; letter in reference to General G. W. Smith's resignation, 336.

Duncan, General J. K., commander of the sea-coast defences of the Military Department of Louisiana, 63; protests against sending the iron-clad Louisiana up the river, 81; official report of the action at the forts, 85.

Eltham Landing, near West Point, at the head of York river, action between Confederate and Federal forces, 47, 54.

Elzey, General Arnold E.; assigned to local command of the city of Richmond, 270.

Evans, General N. G., detached from General Lee's army in compliance with order of Secretary of War, 263; fighting near Kinston, 271; retires and burns the bridge, 272; falls back toward Goldsboro, 272; ordered to cover that place and protect the two bridges, 274; orders a charge which was repulsed, 277; reoccupies Kinston, 294; ordered to Wilmington, 298.

Fairfax Court-house Conference, statement of the three senior generals, 14; Mr. Davis's statement, 21; comments on Mr. Davis's statement, 29.

Fair Oaks; see Seven Pines.

Fredericksburg, held by Colonel Ball, defending General Lee's line of communication, 264-5.

French, Colonel S. Bassett, Aide-de-Camp to the Governor of Virginia; letter in reference to General G. W. Smith's resignation, 334.

French, Major Seth Barton, Chief Commissary of General G. W. Smith's command; opinion that President Davis's mind had been “poisoned,” 329; letter in regard to operations of G. W. Smith's division, under General Whiting, at Seven Pines, 247.

French, General S. G., in command of the Department of North Carolina, including Drewry's Bluff, 302; moves on Suffolk, 253; number and position of his troops, 269; at Goldsboro, 272; operations in that vicinity, 272-275; returns to Weldon, 284; again ordered to Goldsboro, 288; sent with three brigades to Kenansville, 291; placed in command of troops operating in North Carolina during General G. W. Smith's absence, 295.

Frobel, Colonel B. F., letter in reference to the operations of G. W. Smith's division, under Whiting, at the battle of Seven Pines, 178, 194, 215.

Goldsboro, N. C., operations in that vicinity December, 1862, 272; General Smith's report to Secretary of War, 275; General Clingman's report, 275; operations in that vicinity January, 1863, 284-295.

Hampton, General Wade, commanding brigade in the action near Fair Oaks Station, battle of Seven Pines, 174, 175, 176; losses in action, 177; statement from his official report, 244; wounded and disabled, 176.

Hatton, General Robert, reports enemy in his immediate front at Seven Pines on the 24th of May, 146; killed in action, 176; losses in his brigade, 177.

Hawes, Richard, Provisional Governor of Kentucky, letter in reference to General G. W. Smith's resignation, 341.

Heintzelman, General S. P., in command of his own corps, and that of General Keyes at the battle of Seven Pines, 161.

Riggins, Colonel, formerly a Lieutenant in the U. S. Navy, ordered to endeavor to repair the raft at the forts below New Orleans, 74; made a new obstruction by using parts of the old raft and additional schooners and chains, 74; assigned to command both forts, Jackson and Saint Philip,





82; advised that the iron-clad Louisiana should take position below the raft, 87.

Hill, General A. P., ordered to take the works at Mechanicsville by assault at daylight on the 29th of May, and move on at once against the enemy's main line at Beaver Dam Creek, 148; order countermanded by direction of General Johnston on the night of the 28th, 149.

Hill, General D. H., commanded division in the right wing, under General Longstreet, at the battle of Seven Pines, 159; fully engaged the enemy's first line at 3 P.M., and carried it after some hours of hard fighting, 198; assisted by Anderson's brigade of Longstreet's division carried the second line and pressed the enemy back until nightfall, 199; on the 1st of June the Confederate right wing under Longstreet yielded the ground gained the previous day by Hill's division and Anderson's brigade, 223; five sixths of the loss in Longstreet's command, thirteen brigades, fell upon the four brigades of D. H. Hill's division, 286; his conduct highly praised by General Longstreet and by Mr. Davis, 199; assigned to command the Confederate forces in North Carolina, 302; letter in reference to General G. W. Smith's resignation, 338.

Hollins, Captain George N., Confederate States Navy; testimony before Court of Inquiry, 129.

Hood, General John B., commanded brigade of Texans in the affair near Eltham Landing, at the head of York river, 54; at the battle of Seven Pines was ordered by General Johnston to bear to the right, and assist Longstreet, 174; recalled before reaching Longstreet's position, and returned too late to take any part in the action, 177, 180; position of Hood's brigade on the morning of June 1st, 215; withdrawn slightly during the forenoon, 208, 215.

Hooker, General Joseph, commanded division in Heintzelman's corps, battle of Seven Pines, 160; engaged on the 1st of June, 218.

Howard, Senator, speech in U. S. Senate, 358; refuted by facts, 360.

Huger, General B. F., in command of Confederate forces at Norfolk, 50; his division had not arrived in Richmond at 6.30 A.M., May 29th, 151; formed a part of the right wing of the army under General Longstreet, 159; ordered by General Johnston to move into action at Seven Pines by the Charles City road, 163; charged with being late in getting into position, 198; defended himself successfully, 243.

Inaction of the Army of the Potomac in the autumn of 1861; see Conference at Fairfax Court-house, 14; Mr. Davis's reply to alleged attacks made by his “assailants,” 22; comments on his reply, 29.

Illustrative incidents, 316-332.

Jackson, General T. J. (Stonewall), commanded a brigade in General G. W. Smith's corps, 30; decision of President Davis, in the Fairfax Court-house Conference, a severe blow to Jackson's hopes, 31; ordered with his brigade to the Valley of Virginia, 31; tenders his resignation, 31; his example commended for imitation, 306.

Johnston, General Albert Sydney, commander of the Confederate forces in Kentucky and Tennessee, arrived in Richmond in September, 1861, 312; urges President Davis to appoint Gustavus W. Smith to high military rank and send him to the Western army, as second to him, if possible, 312.

Johnston, General Joseph E., commander of the Confederate Army of the





Potomac, invites President Davis to visit the headquarters at Fairfax Court-house, 14, 25, 38; proceedings of conference, 14; opinions expressed in the conference at Richmond, 42; ordered by President Davis to take the army to the lines near Yorktown, 44, 52; withdraws from those lines, 44-48; halts north of the Chickahominy river, 48; reasons for crossing to the Richmond side of that stream, 49; Mr. Davis's statement of these reasons, 56; contemplated attack on the Federal right north of the Chickahominy in the direction of Mechanicsville, at daylight on the 29th of May, 147; order for that attack countermanded, on the 28th, when it was learned that McDowell's forces had returned to Fredericksburg, 149; letter to General Whiting, dated May 29th, in reference to movements then in contemplation, 151; order, on the 30th, directing Smith's division, under General Whiting, to move toward Seven Pines, 161; intentions and expectations at sunrise on the 31st of May, 163; documentary proof on these points, 165-171; accompanied Smith's division, under Whiting, and directed its movements, from about sunrise until he was wounded a little before sunset that day, 194, 227, 249; correspondence with General Smith in regard to the battle of Seven Pines, 192; extracts from “Johnston's Narrative” of the events of that battle, and author's comments, 224-240.

Jones, General D. R., transferred to General G. W. Smith's division, 310; afterward placed in command, 310; attached to the centre of the army under General Magruder, 147; temporarily transferred to the left wing of the army under General G. W. Smith, 147.

Kearney, General Phil., commanded a division in Heintzelman's corps at the battle of Seven Pines, 160, 186.

Kennon, Captain Beverly, commander of the Governor Moore, a Louisiana war vessel; testimony before court of inquiry, 127.

Kentucky resolutions, 1861, 365; refusal of the Douglas party and the Bell party to abide by the decision of arbitrators chosen by themselves, 367.

Keyes, General Erasmus, in command of a Federal corps at Seven Pines, 160, 186.

Lee, General Robert E., stationed in Richmond in general charge of Confederate military operations, 50; opinions and advice given in the conference at Richmond, 42, 51, 57; conversation with President Davis in regard to General Johnston's plans, 153; rides with President Davis to the battlefield of Seven Pines, 196; informed, about dark on the 31st, that he would be ordered to take command of the army as soon as practicable next morning, 221; approves General Smith's determination to renew the attack on the 1st, 205; relieves General Smith of the command of the army of Northern Virginia, 212; rides with General Smith to the Williamsburg road, where they find the President with General Longstreet, 213; alleged advantage that might have been obtained “if General Lee, in succeeding to the command, had renewed on the 1st of June the unfinished battle of the 31st of May,” 222, 223, 251; letter to General G. W. Smith, December 6, 1862, 266; letter to General G. W. Smith, January 4, 1863, 282.

Longstreet, General James, in conference at Richmond, agrees partially with General J. E. Johnston, 51; division engaged at Williamsburg, 47; commands second corps in the withdrawal from the Peninsula, 46, 145; on the night of the 28th of May advised that an attack be made next morning upon the right of the enemy's line on the north side of the





Chickahominy, 149; later, advised an attack upon the left of the enemy near Seven Pines, 149; in command of the right wing, consisting of D. H. Hill's division, Huger's and his own, at the battle of Seven Pines, 159; calls upon General Johnston for help about 4 P.M. on the 31st of May, 166, 170; ordered by General G. W. Smith to renew the attack as early as practicable on the morning of the 1st of June, 205; notes addressed to General Smith during that day, 208-212; official report as quoted by Mr. Davis, 198, 222; his example commended by President Davis to General G. W. Smith for imitation, 306.

Louisiana, Military Department No. 1; boundaries of, 64.

Louisiana, iron clad, ordered up the river, 79; General Lovell protests, 79; Governor Moore protests, 81; President reluctantly enlarges the discretionary power of the “military men,” 82; arrival of the Louisiana at the forts, 86; unfit for service, 87, 105.

Lovell, General Mansfield, assumed command of the Military Department of Louisiana, Oct. 18th, 1861; letter of that date to Secretary of War, 64; authority for him to control the naval defences refused by President Davis, 63; state of military defences when Lovell took command, 64; military preparations rapidly pressed forward, 66; delayed by want of competent officers, 67, 69, 72, 73, 80; supplied the navy with guns, powder, and men to serve their guns, 68; reported New Orleans safe from land attack, 69; deprived of all available troops by direction of President Davis, 71; every naval vessel ordered up the river, 129; ordered, by direction of the President, to seize, arm, and equip, for war purposes, fourteen, named, river steamboats, 70, 71, 75, 76; ordered “in no event” to put these vessels under control of officers of the navy, 76; filled requisitions “until New Orleans is about defenceless,” 72; “persons are found here who assert that I am sending away all troops so that the city may fall an easy prey to the enemy,” 75; reports to the War Department that the raft had given way 75; reasons for not mentioning all deficiencies to the War Department, 109; applies for and gets one hundred thousand dollars from the city of, New Orleans to repair the raft, 74; new obstruction made, 74, 106, 109, 110; after Pensacola was abandoned, urged that heavy guns from that place be sent to Forts Jackson and St. Philip, 77, 78, 79, 139; war steamers “only await the arrival of the mortar fleet to attempt to come up the river to New Orleans,” 77; not probable that the enemy's gunboats would come down the river much in advance of their army, 80; might bring down the Confederate fleet, “clear the mouth of the river, and then send the whole fleet above and drive them back to Cairo,” 80, 130; the enemy will shell the forts, “and then try to dash by with their steamers,” 81; no confidence in the river-defence fleet, 81; protests against sending the iron-clad Louisiana up the river, 79; important letter, April 12th, to Secretary of War, 79; report on the evacuation of New Orleans, 82; application for Court of Inquiry, 91; conduct approved by Generals R. E. Lee, J. E. Johnston and Beauregard, 92; report on the evacuation of a two-gun battery, 94; outcry against him, 91; makes preparation for the defence of Vicksburg, 92; President Davis asserts that the disaster at New Orleans would have been averted if the commanding general had informed the Government of its condition, 96; superseded by General Van Dorn, 97; serves with distinction in Van Dorn's campaign against Corinth, 93; relieved





from duty in the field, 97; renews his application for a Court of Inquiry, 98; official correspondence called for by Congress, 99; Court of Inquiry ordered to convene, 99; no charges against General Lovell, 100; instructions to the court, 100; instructions changed on application of the Secretary of the Navy, 101; General Lovell placed on trial by the new instructions, 103; vindication by the court, facts, 103; opinion of the court, 105; delay in promulgating the opinion of the court, 114; the order failed to state that the investigation was applied for by General Lovell, 137; refusal to assign him to duty, 137; appeal to the Secretary of War, May 5th, 1864 112; not permitted to exercise any command after he was relieved from duty in 1862, 143.

Magruder, General John B., in command of the defensive line on the Peninsula, 50; “successfully checked every attempt to break it,” 52; it was believed that the forces already there, under Magruder, could successfully resist open assault, 42; these lines could not resist regular siege approaches, and could be easily turned, 43; mistake in regard to the junction of the roads near Williamsburg, 45; placed under command of General G. W. Smith, 144; relieved and ordered to report direct to General Johnston, 147.

Mallory, S. R., Secretary of the Navy; Captain Kennon's testimony, 127; Captain Hollins's testimony, 129; testimony of Hon. C. M. Conrad, 131; letter to President Davis in regard to testimony, 102; zeal and capacity of, attested by Mr. Davis, 126.

McClellan, General George B., commander of the Federal Army of the Potomac, disappointed the Confederate generals by not making a determined forward movement in the autumn of 1861, 40; moved his army to the Peninsula, 50; constructed siege approaches against the Confederate lines near Yorktown, 44; attacked the fortifications at Williamsburg, 47; followed slowly after the retiring Confederate army, 47; moved two corps to the Richmond side of the Chickahominy river, leaving three corps on the north bank of that stream, 160; during the battle of the 31st of May, moved another corps to the Richmond side of the Chickahominy, 189.

McDowell, General Irving, in command of Federal forces at Fredericksburg, advanced a short distance toward Richmond, 147; returned to Fredericksburg and moved north, 149.

McLaws, General Lafayette B., commanded division that repelled the Federals in the first day's action at Williamsburg, 45; ordered to leave his ground on the 31st of May, in order to reënforce General Longstreet, should there be cause of haste, 162; letter indicating danger in the direction of New Bridge, 183; letter stating position of each brigade of his division, at 11 P.M. on the 31st, 184; in consultation with General Smith at 10.30 A.M. on the 1st of June, 209; carries message from General Smith to General Longstreet, 210; “Longstreet says he can hold his position with five thousand more men,” 210.

Militia, of North Carolina, 285, 291, 294.

Mindil, General George W., aide-de-camp to General Phil. Kearney, author of pamphlet entitled the “Battle of Fair Oaks;” statement of number and position of Federal forces on the south side of the Chickahominy, May 30th, 160; account of operations on the. Williamsburg road on the 31st, 185;





north of Fair Oaks same day, 189; position and strength of Federal Forces at daylight June 1st, 216; operations that day, 217.

Mississippi Coast, defence of, 72.

Mitchell, Captain J. K., in command of everything afloat in the fight at the forts below New Orleans, refused to allow the iron-clad Louisiana to be placed below the raft at the Forts, 87; sustained by all the naval officers present, 87; and by Court of Inquiry, 105.

“Modesty and experience,” 25, 36, 37.

Montgomery, Captain of Mississippi river steamboat, assigned, in connection with Captain Townsend, to command river-defence fleet, 70, 76; want of discipline and efficiency, 81; Confederate States Government hopeful of this experiment, 71; its failure, 84-86, 126, 129, 135, 139.

Moore, Governor, of the State of Louisiana, asks that the defences of New Orleans be no longer neglected, 62; protests against sending the iron-clad Louisiana up the river, 81; complains of the evacuation of a two-gun battery on the Grand Caillou, 93.

Negroes drafted to work on fortifications of Richmond, 254, 263.

New Orleans, description of locality, 59; President Davis warned of its danger, 60; he could not bring himself to belief that the apprehensions of the Governor would be realized, 62; drained of men, arms, and munitions of war, 72; to be defended from above, 71; every gun afloat ordered up the river, 129; the raft gives way, 73; efforts to procure heavy guns, 79; raft repaired, 74; Federal war steamers pass the forts, 82; action at the water batteries below the city, 83; city evacuated, 84; General Lovell's official report, 82; General Duncan's official report, 85; General M. L. Smith's official report, 89; report of facts by Court of Inquiry, 103; opinion of court, 105; comments on opinion, 108; Mr. Davis's account, 116; testimony of naval officers, 127; testimony of C. M. Conrad, 131; summary and comments, 134.

New York Herald, editorial, “secret revolutionary conspiracy in New York,” 354; refuted by facts, 360.

Niemeyer, Colonel, guarding General Lee's communications, 254.

Pettigrew, General J. J., commanded brigade in G. W. Smith's division, under General Whiting, in the battle of Seven Pines, 175; losses in his brigade, 177; severely wounded and taken prisoner, 176; commanded brigade in the operations near Goldsboro, N. C., 274; letter in reference to General G. W. Smith's resignation,

Political effect likely to be produced by military reverses in North Carolina, 278, 281.

Porter, Admiral D. D., U. S. Navy, in command of mortar flotilla in the attack on the forts below New Orleans, 88; forts surrender to, 89.

Raft, recommended by General Beauregard, 60; funds for its construction furnished by the city authorities of New Orleans, 74; raft gives way, 73; city of New Orleans furnished one hundred thousand dollars for repairs, 74; another obstruction constructed, 74; injured by the enemy and by Confederate fire-boats, 86; the second obstruction gives way, 86, 108; Mr. Davis's account of, 120; comments, 139.

Randal, General Horace, resigns his commission as Lieutenant in the Confederate States regular army, 319; ineligible to appointment by the Chief Executive, until he recalls his resignation, 318; President Davis refused to





appoint him Lieutenant in the Provisional Army, 320; President changes his decision and makes the appointment, 322; Randal resigned, raised a regiment of volunteers for the war, was elected Colonel—assigned to the command of a brigade—killed in battle, 323, 324.

Randolph, General George W., Secretary of War, favored sending the army to the lines near Yorktown, 42; testimony before Committee of Confederate Congress, 52; oral answer to General G. W. Smith in regard to promotions to the grade of Lieutenant-General, 256; urges General Smith not to resign, 292.

Ransom, General Robert, ordered by General Lee to Hanover Junction with his division, 283; discussion in reference to movements of, 285, 287, 290; ordered to Goldsboro, 290.

Richardson, General, commanded division in Sumner's corps, June 1st, 1862, in battle of Seven Pines, 216.

Richmond, capital of the Confederate States, Conference at, in April, 1862, 41; General G. W. Smith in command of, 252; number of troops for its defence, 255; General Elzey appointed to the local command under General Smith, 270.

River-defence fleet, Mississippi steamboats. See Montgomery.

Robertson, General Beverly H., commanded two regiments of cavalry under instruction, at Weldon, N. C., 269; successfully resisted Federal forces at White Hall Bridge, 273.

“Seasoned soldiers,” 17, 21, 23, 29, 30, 36.

Sedgwick, General John, commanded division of Sumner's corps in battle of Seven Pines, 190.

Sedden, James A., Secretary of War, directs General Beauregard to send all the force he could spare to Wilmington, 271; orders General G. W. Smith to Richmond, 295; invites him to call on the President, 296; expresses dissatisfaction with the President's action, 298; by direction of the President, orders General G. W. Smith to change the position of nearly every brigade in North Carolina, 303; sends to General Smith the endorsements made by the President and himself on that officer's letters of resignation, 395; his endorsement on General Smith's second letter of resignation, 307; mistaken as to facts, 315.

Seven Pines: first skirmish in that vicinity, 146; description of the battlefield, 158; position and strength of Confederate forces, 159; Federal forces, 160; General Johnston's plan, intentions, and expectations, and the documentary proof, 161-171; operations on the Nine Miles road on the 31st of May, 173; General Mindil's account, 185; correspondence between General Johnston and General Smith, 192; President Davis's account of operations on the 31st, 194; comments, 200; operations on the 1st of June, 204; General Smith directs General Longstreet to renew the fighting as soon as possible after daylight, 205; General Lee approves, 205; General Longstreet's notes during the forenoon, 209, 210; and at 1.30 P.M., 212; General Lee takes command at 2 P.M., 212; General Mindil's account of operations on the 1st of June, 216; Mr. Swinton's remarks, 220; Mr. Davis's account of operations on the 1st, 221; Comments, 222; General Johnston's account and author's comments, 224-240; General Richard Taylor's statement, 241; General Webb's account, 241; comments, 246; letter from Major S. B.





French, 247; remarks, 250; letter from General G. W. Smith, 329; President Davis's mind “poisoned,” 329, 332.

Smith, General E. K.; it was contemplated he should relieve General G. W. Smith in command of the defences of Richmond and of North Carolina, 296; for some reason this intention not carried into effect, 300.

Smith, General G. W., assigned to command the Second Corps of General J. E. Johnston's army, 14; account of proceedings in conference at Fairfax Court-house, 14; application to have Mr. Horace Randal appointed on his staff, 318; General Van Dorn ordered to that army, 316; General Smith continues to command the Second Corps, 317; opposed to sending the army, under General Johnston, to the Peninsula, 41; commanded the reserve near Yorktown, 328; and all the forces on the road leading through New Kent Court-house, in the withdrawal from the Peninsula, 46; ordered to the left wing of the army, and relieved of the duty of commanding General Magruder, 147; proposed attack on the right of the Federal main line at Beaver-Dam Creek, 148; advised that this movement be relinquished when it was learned that McDowell's forces had returned to Fredericksburg, 149; his division, under General Whiting, ordered to move from the left wing, in order to check any Federal reënforcements that might be sent from the north bank of the Chickahominy, and be in position to support the right wing under Longstreet, if required, 161; takes command of the front line in the action north of Fair Oaks Station, 176; assumes command of the army at dark, on the 31st of May, 180; orders General Longstreet to renew the fighting at daylight next morning, 205; relieved by General Lee, at 2 P.M., on the 1st of June, 212; stricken with severe illness on the 2d, 256; reported again for duty in August, 256; in command of the right wing of General Lee's army, 257; in command of the defences of Richmond, and of North Carolina, 257; six of his juniors promoted in one day to rank him in the army—asks the reasons for this, 255; not satisfied with the answer, writes letter of resignation, 256; induced by the Secretary of War not to resign at that time, 262; operations described in letters to General Lee, 263-270; takes command in the field in North Carolina, 272; operations around Goldsboro, 272-279; visits Richmond to confer with the War Department and General Lee, 279; returns to North Carolina, 284; ordered back to Richmond, 295; President Davis interferes with the command, 303; letter of resignation, 299; endorsements by the President and the Secretary of War, 305-307; resignation accepted, 307; reply to endorsements on his letters of resignation, 307; letters from friends in reference to his resignation, 333; sketch of life of, 343; severe accusations against, 354; refuted by plain facts, 360; named as one of a board to be entrusted with raising, arming, organizing, and equipping the military forces of Kentucky, 367.

Smith, General M. L., chief engineer, and chief of ordnance department of Louisiana, 66; appointed brigadier-general, and placed in command of the interior line of defence around New Orleans, 111; official report of action with Federal fleet at water batteries, 89.

Stevens, General Walter H., chief engineer, Army of Northern Virginia, report of reconnaissance, Beaver-Dam Creek, 148; danger to Richmond “is on the south side of James river,” 48.

Stuart, General J. E. B., commander of the cavalry; succeeded in bringing in his command at Williamsburg, 46; reported to and received orders from





General G. W. Smith during the withdrawal of the army from the Peninsula, 48; on the 24th of May reported to General Smith that the Meadow Bridges and New Bridge were in the hands of the enemy, 146; in conference with General Smith and General A. P. Hill on the 29th of May, 150; reported to General Smith, same day, that before he could get to Ashland, the enemy had returned to that place, 151; 1300 cavalry under his command, May 30th, 159; picketing the Charles City road and White Oak swamp with a portion of his troops, 182; informs General Smith that the enemy from the White Oak bridge had not moved forward south of the Williamsburg road, 182; offered to go in person to General Longstreet and have him piloted to the headquarters of the army, 182; failed to find General Longstreet, 184.

Sumner, General E. V., commanded the Second Corps of the Federal Army at Seven Pines, 189.

Swinton's History of the Army of the Potomac, extracts from, 192-4, 220.

Taylor, General Richard, says: The two corps of the Federal Army on the Richmond side of the Chickahominy “ought to have been crushed, but Johnston fell severely wounded; upon which confusion ensued, and no results of importance were obtained,” 241.

Tift, Messrs., agents to build the iron-clad steamer Mississippi, 117.

Twiggs, General D. E.; in command of the Department of Louisiana, relieved by General Lovell, in October, 1861, 64; could get nothing done, 65; feeble state of health, 65.

Vance, Z. B., Governor of North Carolina, orders the militia to be reorganized, and offers to call them out whenever desired by General Smith, 291; requested to order them out as soon as possible, 291; “In the new shape they will probably be of some service, but there is no law for the reorganization,” 294; shows the utmost willingness to co-operate in all matters affecting transportation, supplies, recruiting, and general efficiency of the Confederate forces in North Carolina, 294; letter in reference to General G. W. Smith's resignation, 333.

Van Dorn, General Earl, appointed Major-General, and ordered to report to General J. E. Johnston for duty soon after the conference at Fairfax Court-house, 316; it was supposed this would deprive General Smith of the command of the corps to which he had been recently assigned, 316; Van Dorn assigned to Beauregard's corps, 316; dissatisfied, he protests; see letter to General G. W. Smith, 317; applies to be relieved from duty with General J. E. Johnston's army, 317; ordered by President Davis to supersede General Lovell, 97; letter expressing regret that Lovell was relieved from duty in the field after the Corinth campaign, 98.

War Policy of the Confederate Administration; defensive, in 1861, 31, 39.

Walker, Colonel H. H., commanding local guards of the city of Richmond, 252.

Warwick River Lines, strong against attack in front, 42; General Magruder's forces in that line believed to be sufficient to repel open assault, 42; the position could be readily turned, 42; considered indefensible for any length of time, 56; impure water, wet, muddy, and unhealthy trenches, 44; the President orders General Johnston's army to that position, 44; the lines easily held until General McClellan had constructed regular siege approaches, 44; the position indefensible against such an attack, 43; General





Johnston withdrew when General McClellan was ready to open fire with his siege guns, 44.

Webb, General Alexander S., account of the battle of Fair Oaks, or Seven Pines, 241; comments thereon, 246.

White Hall Bridge, action at, 273.

Whitford, Mr., Acting Confederate States Agent for Railroad Transportation in North Carolina, 295; notified by Quarter-Master General that his services were no longer required, 295.

Whiting, General W. H. C., letter in reference to reorganizing brigades, 326; letter from General Johnston in regard to the movement of Whiting's troops, 151; in command of G. W. Smith's division, 147; ordered by General Johnston to move the division by the Nine Miles road to the point where the road to New Bridge turns off, 162; impatient at the delay caused by troops of Longstreet's division crossing his line of march, 164; the division under Whiting accompanied by General Johnston, 194; difference of opinion between Generals Johnston and Whiting in regard to the Federal force north of Fair Oaks station, 179; operations of this division near Fair Oaks on the 31st of May, 173; on the 1st of June, 204; letter in reference to the position and condition of this division for ten days after the battle of Seven Pines, 214; in command of Wilmington and the Military District of Cape Fear, 327; his promotion strongly urged upon President Davis, 328; President's inquiry about alleged proposition to subvert the Confederate Government, 328; letter in reference to General G. W. Smith's resignation, 335; second letter on same subject, 339.

Whiting, Major Jasper, A. A. G., Chief of Staff of General G. W Smith's command; report of reconnaissance, Beaver Dam Creek, 148; communicates with General Longstreet for General Johnston on the 31st of May, 167; observations of Federal movements, June 1st, 207.

Whittle, Captain W. C., Confederate States Navy, testimony, 130.

Wilcox, General Cadmus M., commanded a brigade in Longstreet's division at the battle of Seven Pines; describes the movements of his brigade and others previous to, during, and after that battle, 172-215.

Wilmington, N. C., number of garrison, 268.

Wise, General Henry A., commanded a brigade at Chapin's Bluff, 255; moves on Williamsburg, 253.

Yorktown; fortified left flank of the Confederate lines along the Warwick river on the Peninsula, 42.

Zeal and capacity of the Secretary of the Navy attested by Mr. Davis, 116-126; disputed by testimony of Hon. Charles M. Conrad, 131; Captain George N. Hollins, 129; and Captain Beverly Kennon, 127.






[Illustration:

Position of Forces on Richmond side of the Chickahominy River at dark on the 30th of May 1861.
]










[Illustration:

SEVEN PINES, OR FAIR OAKS. POSITION OF FORCES AT DARK MAY 31st.
]










[Illustration:

SEVEN PINES, OR FAIR OAKS. POSITION OF FORCES ON MORNING OF JUNE 1st.
]