Fort Baker. D. C, Aug. 31st, 1862.

I have already learned that—finding much leisure time upon his hands, after all soldierly duties have been performed—the private soldier naturally craves something to divert his mind, or, as he puts it, something to pass away the time. To many men, so situated, a game of cards is peculiarly fascinating. Others spend all their leisure time in fun and mischief; telling outlandish stories, singing vile songs, or playing practical jokes upon their fellows.

Having neither taste or talent in either of these directions, I have deliberately resolved to keep a diary or memorandum of current events, and will transcribe, from day to day, the facts that interest me and the thoughts they may engender. I enlisted August 12th, 1862, was mustered into the service of the United States on the 18th, and was assigned to Company G, of the Seventeenth regiment of Michigan Volunteer Infantry, then in barracks at Detroit, Michigan. Of the ninety-three enlisted men enrolled in Company G, sixty-five were farmers, ten laborers, five carpenters, six shoemakers, three clerks, one baker, one miller, one tinner, and one professional soldier. They range in age from the smooth-faced boy of sixteen years to the fully-developed man of thirty-eight. I judge about the same ratio will apply to the other companies of the regiment, with the exception of Company E, which is composed largely of students from the State Normal School at Ypsilanti. The regiment is largely made up of men verging on middle life, who have left business, wife, and children, dearer to them than life, sternly resolved to meet death on the field of battle, rather than suffer rebellion to triumph and the Nation be torn asunder. We left the barracks at ten o’clock in the forenoon of August 27th, marched three miles to the wharf, where we left our baggage; then escorted General Wilcox around the city until five o’clock p. m., when we marched on board the steamer Cleveland, bound for the City of Cleveland.

The weather was fine, and we reached Cleveland at five o’clock the next morning, and immediately took cars for Washington, D. C, by way of Pittsburg and Baltimore. We arrived at Pittsburg at 7 p. m. of August 28th, and were most enthusiastically received, the whole population, seemingly, escorting us, with shouts, flags, and banners of various devices, to the City Hall, where a bountiful supper was spread for us. The hall was finely decorated. Among other mottoes was: “Pittsburg Welcomes Her Country’s Defenders.”

We left Pittsburg at nine o’clock in the evening and reached Harrisburg the next day at 10 a. m., where we took breakfast; then, “All aboard for Baltimore.” We crossed the Alleghenies in the night, but when morning dawned I went out on the platform and could still see them in the distance, rearing their blue heads in solemn grandeur, forming a most charming background to the beautiful picture spread out before us. We were then running with lightning speed down the beautiful Juniata Valley, about sixty miles above Harrisburg, and a more picturesque spot I never beheld.

Hemmed in by long ranges of high hills, some running at right angles to the stream, others parallel with it, now rising in perpendicular bluffs with hardly room for the cars to pass, then receding, formed lovely valleys, dotted here and there with pleasant villages. We reached Baltimore about seven o’clock Friday evening, and were warmly greeted by the loyal citizens. After partaking of a hearty supper, we took cars for Washington at ten o’clock.

We had expected a row in Baltimore, and were prepared for it, but nothing transpired of a more serious nature than a few personal encounters. One hot-headed fellow jumped on board the officers’ car and demanded to see their colors, cursing Unionists and swearing vengeance. Lieutenant Somers, stirred by righteous indignation, struck him a heavy blow in the face and knocked him headlong from the car. A crowd gathered, swords and pistols flashed in the gaslight, epithets were exchanged, and there the matter ended.

We reached Washington Saturday morning, and were assigned to Fort Baker, six miles south of the city.

Fort Baker is pleasantly situated on a high hill that overlooks the surrounding country for many miles. Fifty thousand troops are encamped in sight of us.

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Map of battle-field of Manassas, Va., giving positions and movements of troops, August 30th, 1862

Map of battle-field of Manassas, Va., giving positions and movements of troops, August 30th, 1862; Creator, Warren, G. K.

Notes

    • Scale 1:63,360.
    • LC Civil War Maps (2nd ed.), 577.4
    • “Positions of troops were given in testimony before the Army Board at West Point, and laid down on maps by the witnesses and officers present on the field.”
    • “The Federal troops are shown in blue; the Confederate troops in red.”
    • “The red arrows show the route of the Confederate troops, Aug. 30th, p.m.”
    • Map has been annotated in red ink to show “Rickett’s route on 29th,” “Porter 9:20 a.m. 29th,” and “Porter’s corps 9:30 a.m. 29.”

Library of Congress map

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Centreville, Aug. 31, 1862.

Dear Father, — We had a severe battle at Bull Run yesterday, and were obliged to retire to this place. The retreat was conducted in good order, and without the loss of wagons, etc. General Porter’s corps did most of the fighting. Pope made a complete muddle of the whole affair and ordered us into a place where we were hit hard. I can only thank God that I got out safe. We were under a very severe fire of musketry, round shot, shell and case-shot. My horse was slightly wounded in the leg by a musket shot. If we ever reach Washington in safety, it will be more than I expect.

Pope has blundered terribly. He let Jackson get between him and Washington, destroy any number of cars and the railroad track at Manassas Junction and the telegraph. Jackson then went to Centreville, then to Bull Run. Ewell[1] is killed on the rebel side. Lee commanded the rebel centre where we attacked. Pope knows he is dead if he retreats to Washington and so he keeps us here, where the enemy may cut off our supplies. The place itself is very strong and we occupy the enemy’s old works. . . .


[1] This was a mistake. Ewell lost a leg on August 28, but was not killed.

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August 31 —Last night at nine o’clock we received marching orders, and half an hour afterwards found us on the move through the dark. The sky was overcast with thick clouds, and the night all through was as dark as black could make it. We went to within a mile of Amissville, then turned to the left and moved in a northeastern direction over a rough road until we crossed the Rappahannock. Then the road was smoother. We forded the Rappahannock just before day. The ford was very rough and the Fauquier side was very slippery and steep, consequently some of the army wagons that were in front of us stalled, and we were detained some little time before we cleared the river. We marched till night, and camped one mile west of Salem in Fauquier County.

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Upton‘s Hill (near Washington), August 31. — Mustered the men for July and August. A rainy, cool day. The great battle of yesterday and the day before, so near here that we heard the roar distinctly, is supposed to have resulted favorably to our arms. How decisively is not yet known here. We hear all sorts of rumors, such as the capture of Jackson and sixteen thousand men and the like; but nothing definite is known. The appearances are favorable. We inquire of every one to get facts and get only vague rumors.

This Sunday evening the reports from the battlefield are less favorable than the morning rumors. There is talk of “no result,” a “drawn battle,” and the like; that our army has fallen back four miles to Centreville. Another [report] says McDowell withdrew a division from one outlet and let Jackson escape. A report says our loss is ten thousand; the enemy’s much heavier. No firing all day today. This evening after dark firing of heavy guns was heard for a few minutes, apparently in the same place as before.

Received a dear letter from Lucy dated August 13 and directed to Flat Top. She says she is happy in the thought that we are doing our duty. This is good. Darling wife, how this painful separation is made a blessing by the fine character it develops, or brings to view! How; I love her more and more!

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August 31, Sunday. For the last two or three days there has been fighting at the front and army movements of interest. McClellan with most of his army arrived at Alexandria a week or more ago, but inertness, inactivity, and sluggishness seem to prevail. The army officers do not engage in this move of the War Department with zeal. Some of the troops have gone forward to join Pope, who has been beyond Manassas, where he has encountered Stonewall Jackson and the Rebel forces for the last three days in a severe struggle. The energy and rapid movements of the Rebels are in such striking contrast to those of our own officers that I shall not be seriously surprised at any sudden dash from them. The War Department — Stanton and Halleck—are alarmed. By request, and in anticipation of the worst, though not expecting it, I have ordered Wilkes and a force of fourteen gunboats, including the five light-draft asked for by Burnside, to come round into the Potomac, and have put W. in command of the flotilla here, disbanding the flotilla on the James.

Yesterday, Saturday, P.M., when about leaving the Department, Chase called on me with a protest addressed to the President, signed by himself and Stanton, against continuing McClellan in command and demanding his immediate dismissal. Certain grave offenses were enumerated. Chase said that Smith had seen and would sign it in turn, but as my name preceded his in order, he desired mine to appear in its place. I told him I was not prepared to sign the document; that I preferred a different method of meeting the question; that if asked by the President, and even if not asked, I was prepared to express my opinion, which, as he knew, had long been averse to McClellan’s dilatory course, and was much aggravated from what I had recently learned at the War Department; that I did not choose to denounce McC. for incapacity, or to pronounce him a traitor, as declared in this paper, but I would say, and perhaps it was my duty to say, that I believed his removal from command was demanded by public sentiment and the best interest of the country.

Chase said that was not sufficient, that the time had arrived when the Cabinet must act with energy and promptitude, for either the Government or McClellan must go down. He then proceeded to expose certain acts, some of which were partially known to me, and others, more startling, which were new to me. I said to C. that he and Stanton were familiar with facts of which I was ignorant, and there might therefore be propriety in their stating what they knew, though in a different way, — facts which I could not indorse because I had no knowledge of them. I proposed as a preferable course that there should be a general consultation with the President. He objected to this until the document was signed, which, he said, should be done at once.

This method of getting signatures without an interchange of views with those who are associated in council was repugnant to my ideas of duty and right. When I asked if the Attorney-General and Postmaster-General had seen the paper or been consulted, he replied not yet, their turn had not come. I informed C. that I should desire to advise with them in so important a matter; that I was disinclined to sign the paper; did not like the proceeding; that I could not, though I wished McClellan removed after what I had heard, and should have no hesitation in saying so at the proper time and place and in what I considered the right way. While we were talking, Blair came in. Chase was alarmed, for the paper was in my hand and he evidently feared I should address B. on the subject. This, after witnessing his agitation, I could not do without his consent. Blair remained but a few moments; did not even take a seat. After he left, I asked Chase if we should not call him back and consult him. C. said in great haste, “No, not now; it is best he should for the present know nothing of it.” I took a different view; said that there was no one of the Cabinet whom I would sooner consult on this subject, that I thought Blair’s opinion, especially on military matters, he having had a military education, very correct. Chase said this was not the time to bring him in. After Chase left me, he returned to make a special request that I would make no allusion concerning the paper to Blair or any one else.

Met, by invitation, a few friends last evening at Baron Gerolt’s.[1] My call was early, and, feeling anxious concerning affairs in front, I soon excused myself to go to the War Department for tidings. Found Stanton and Caleb Smith alone in the Secretary’s room. The conduct of McClellan was soon taken up; it had, I inferred, been under discussion before I came in.

Stanton began with a statement of his entrance into the Cabinet in January last, when he found everything in confusion, with unpaid bills on his table to the amount of over $20,000,000 against the Department; his inability, then or since, to procure any satisfactory information from McClellan, who had no plan nor any system. Said this vague, indefinite uncertainty was oppressive; that near the close of January he pressed this subject on the President, who issued the order to him and myself for an advance on the 22d of February. McClellan began at once to interpose objections, yet did nothing, but talked always vaguely and indefinitely and of various matters except those immediately in hand. The President insisted on, and ordered, a forward movement. Then McClellan stated he intended a demonstration on the upper waters of the Potomac, and boats for a bridge were prepared with great labor and expense. He went up there and telegraphed back that two or three officers—his favorites — had done admirably in preparing the bridge and he wished them to be brevetted. The whole thing was absurd, eventuated in nothing, and he was ordered back.

The President then commanded that the army should proceed to Richmond. McClellan delayed, hesitated, said he must go by way of the Peninsula, would take transports at Annapolis. In order that he should have no excuse, but without any faith in his plan, Stanton said he ordered transports and supplies to Annapolis. The President, in the mean time, urged and pressed a forward movement towards Manassas. Spoke of its results, — the wooden guns, the evacuation by the Rebels, who fled before the General came, and he did not pursue them but came back to Washington. The transports were then ordered round to the Potomac, where the troops were shipped to Fortress Monroe. The plans, the number of troops to proceed, the number that was to remain, Stanton recounted. These arrangements were somewhat deranged by the sudden raid of Jackson towards Winchester, which withdrew Banks from Manassas, leaving no force between Washington and the Rebel army at Gordonsville. He then ordered McDowell and his division, also Franklin’s command, to remain, to the great grief of McDowell, who believed glory and fighting were all to be with the grand army. McClellan had made the withholding of this necessary force to protect the seat of government his excuse for not being more rapid and effective; was constantly complaining. The President wrote him how, by his arrangement, only 18,000 troops, remnants and odd parcels, were left to protect the Capital. Still McClellan was complaining and underrating his forces; said he had but 96,000, when his own returns showed he had 123,000. But, to stop his complaints and drive him forward, the President finally, on the 10th of June, sent him McCall and his division, with which he promised to proceed at once to Richmond, but did not, lingered along until finally attacked. McClellan’s excuse for going by way of the Peninsula was that he might have good roads and dry ground, but his complaints were unceasing, after he got there, of bad roads, water, and swamps.

When finally ordered, after his blunders and reverses, to withdraw from James River, he delayed obeying the order for thirteen days, and never did comply until General Burnside was sent to supersede him if he did not move.

Since his arrival at Alexandria, Stanton says, only delay and embarrassment had governed him. General Halleck had, among other things, ordered General Franklin’s division to go forward promptly to support Pope at Manassas. When Franklin got as far as Annandale he was stopped by McClellan, against orders from Headquarters. McClellan’s excuse was he thought Franklin might be in danger if he proceeded farther. For twenty-four hours that large force remained stationary, hearing the whole time the guns of the battle that was raging in front. In consequence of this delay by command of McClellan, against specific orders, he apprehended our army would be compelled to fall back.

Smith left whilst we were conversing after this detailed narrative, and Stanton, dropping his voice, though no one was present, said he understood from Chase that I declined to sign the protest which he had drawn up against McClellan’s continuance in command, and asked if I did not think we ought to get rid of him. I told him I might not differ with him on that point, especially after what I had heard in addition to what I had previously known, but that I disliked the method and manner of proceeding, that it appeared to me an unwise and injudicious proceeding, and was discourteous and disrespectful to the President, were there nothing else. Stanton said, with some excitement, he knew of no particular obligations he was under to the President, who had called him to a difficult position and imposed upon him labors and responsibilities which no man could carry, and which were greatly increased by fastening upon him a commander who was constantly striving to embarrass him in his administration of the Department. He could not and would not submit to a continuance of this state of things. I admitted they were bad, severe on him, and he could and had stated his case strongly, but I could not from facts within my own knowledge indorse them, nor did I like the manner in which it was proposed to bring about a dismissal. He said among other things General Pope telegraphed to McClellan for supplies; the latter informed P. they were at Alexandria, and if P. would send an escort he could have them. A general fighting, on the field of battle, to send to a general in the rear and in repose an escort!

Watson, Assistant Secretary of War, repeated to me this last fact this morning, and reaffirmed others. He informs me that my course on a certain occasion had offended McClellan and was not approved by others; but that both the President and Stanton had since, and now, in their private conversation, admitted I was right, and that my letter in answer to a curt and improper demand of McClellan last spring was proper and correct. Watson says he always told the President and Stanton I was right, and he complimented me on several subjects, which, though gratifying, others can speak of and judge better than myself.

We hear, this Sunday morning, that our army has fallen back to Centreville.[2] Pope writes in pretty good spirits that we have lost no guns, etc. The Rebels were largely reinforced, while our troops, detained at Annandale by McClellan’s orders, did not arrive to support our wearied and exhausted men. McClellan telegraphs that he hears “Pope is badly cut up.” Schenck, who had a wound in his arm, left the battle-field, bringing with him for company an Ohio captain. Both arrived safe at Willard’s. They met McCall on the other side of Centreville and Sumner on this side. Late! late!

Up to this hour, 1 P.M., Sunday, no specific intelligence beyond the general facts above stated. There is considerable uneasiness in this city, which is mere panic. I see no cause for alarm. It is impossible to feel otherwise than sorrowful and sad over the waste of life and treasure and energies of the nation, the misplaced confidence in certain men, the errors of some, perhaps the crimes of others, who have been trusted. But my faith in present security and of ultimate success is unshaken. We need better generals but can have no better army. There is much latent disloyal feeling in Washington which should be expelled. And oh, there is great want of capacity and will among our military leaders.

I hear that all the churches not heretofore seized are now taken for hospital purposes; private dwellings are taken to be thus used, among others my next neighbor Corcoran’s[3] fine house and grounds. There is malice in this. I told General Halleck it was vandalism. He admitted it would be wrong. Halleck walked over with me from the War Department as far as my house, and is, I perceive, quite alarmed for the safety of the city; says that we overrate our own strength and underestimate the Rebels’ — a fatal error in Halleck. This has been the talk of McClellan, which none of us have believed.


[1] Prussian Minister.

[2] After the defeat in the Second Battle of Bull Run.

[3] William W. Corcoran, the banker, who among other public benefactions gave the city of Washington the art gallery which bears his name.

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31st.—We were awoke this morning at daylight, by the pattering of rain on our faces, and at once went to work preparing to meet the foe, and perhaps to fight the battle decisive of the war and the fate of our poor “friend-ridden” country. Oh, my country; both you and your friends are making a history, and when it is written, may I be there to help. * * * But we are preparing for fight. Must all of our great battles be fought on Sundays?

10 1-2 A. M.—”Fall in, fall in.” The rain pours whilst we march and counter march for an hour, forming into line of battle. Why spend so much time at what could have been done in twenty minutes. No need of delay, now that Pope is whipped.

We have remained all day at Centreville. No advance by either party. I have a bad cold to night, and lie down with wet feet, and between wet blankets, and yet with this discomfort, how enviable my condition compared with that of thousands whom, and whose families our tardiness has doomed to a life long intensity of pain or misery.

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Sunday, 31st—Our pickets at the south edge of town were driven in by the rebels, and expecting to be attacked, the right wing of our detachment was in line of battle all day. We have now been in camp at this place all month and the work which we have been called upon to do has been very strenuous. I was on picket half the time, patrolling the railroad, and I spent the other half on special picket and on fortifications. I have been in good health.

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To Mrs. Lyon.

Iuka Springs, Miss., General Hospital, Sunday, Aug. 31, 1862.—I am still here, you see, but I assure you that I am very greatly improved. The fever has now entirely disappeared, I think, for I am gaining strength rapidly. I can now walk across the room without help. My appetite is fair, but not ravenous. My principal food is mush and molasses, a little broiled beefsteak, and black tea. Dr. Thornhill promises to let me go to the regiment, the 8th, as soon as it will answer, which I think will be in a few days, say three or four, just long enough to recruit a little. Dr. and Mrs. Thornhill have been very kind to me during my illness, as was Dr. Murta while I was with him. John Humphrey and Williams have taken most excellent care of me and have spared no effort to make me as comfortable as possible. I owe my rapid recovery to the excellent nursing I have had, in a great measure.

Immediately after receiving my commission as Colonel of the 13th, General Roseerans made an order relieving me from duty in the 8th and ordering me to report to General Grant, who is at Corinth; so that is my first move when I am able; and I expect to be ordered to join my regiment, with a short leave of absence, which can not exceed twenty days, to purchase outfit, etc., but don’t be too sanguine, for I may fail to get leave. The regiment have been paid lately to the 1st of July, but not being with them I was not paid. I expect to be paid, however, when I report to General Grant, up to the time when my pay as Colonel commences, which I suppose is August 5th. I believe the pay of a Colonel is $218 per month, at least it was. Of course, my expenses will be much larger than they have been. My outfit will cost a good deal, horse, saddle, pistol, sword, mess chest, uniform, etc., etc.

I do not allow myself to pine inordinately for home, but I look upon my illness in a distant land, away from the comforts of home and the tender care of my wife and friends, as one of the sacrifices that I am called upon to make for my country, and I try to make it cheerfully.

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Sunday, 31st. Word came early to march. Sergt. Co. K and I went out a mile and got breakfast. Three sons in the rebel army. Two good horses, but papers from Gen. Salomon guarded them. Sergeant had got them to cook a few chickens, on which we lunched. At first in the rear, then hurried on and got in the advance. Passed through Nevada about noon. Got some warm bread and butter. Encamped three miles out, where water was abundant but poor. Went out and helped kill and butcher beef. Borrowed some coffee till the wagon came up. Slept out till commenced raining. Got under wagon.

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Written from the Sea islands of South Carolina.

[Diary] August 31.

Aunt Phyllis wanted to go to church and is too feeble to walk, so Captain Hooper, aide-de-camp to General Saxton, gave her his seat in the carriage and jumped on behind himself. Harry stopped the horses. “Massa, my massa, don’t do dat!” he pleaded. Then he scolded and begged, and begged and scolded, while Aunt Phyllis sat still, saying she never rode in a “cheer” before. Captain Hooper was obdurate, and Harry had to drive on in deep dejection of mind and mortification of spirit.

To-night a Mr. Simmons, I think, who had been fighting in the Southern army upon compulsion, and who now belongs to the Maine regiment here, talked of his experiences when fighting his country. We heard him with amazement and disgust that grew more and more apparent, and when he said he had had a negro whipped, Ellen and I rose and left the table.

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The retreat from the Peninsula was almost immediately, (August 29, ’62,) followed by the “Second Bull Run” disaster, which again filled the Washington and Alexandria hospitals to overflowing and taxed the hospital workers to the utmost. Chaplain Hopkins, still on hard service in Alexandria, writes:


Office of General Hospital,
12 O’clock Sunday Night.
Alexandria, August 31st, 1862.

My dear Mrs. Howland: These days are more terrible than any thing the nation has yet seen, and their horrors are at our very doors. Yesterday we sent 375 men to the north, and 433 to-day, and yet to-night we have opened a hall where, strewn on the floor, without even blankets, lie scores of wounded men unattended, with rebel lead festering in their bodies, but thankful for even that accommodation. Many of them came all the way from the battlefield in horrid army-wagons after lying in the rain and mud upon the field through the night; — patient, unmurmuring men. The best of New York and Boston blood oozes from their undressed wounds. I have just come from doing all that I could for them and am resting for the next train, which we momentarily expect at the foot of Cameron Street. . . . You have seen all this at Harrison’s Landing, but in my wildest dreams, when I first reported to you in Washington, I never thought of such scenes. Through all the wards confused heaps of torn and dirty clothes and piles of bloody bandages, tired attendants doing their best to make comfortable the poor fellows torn and mangled with shot and shell in every imaginable way. Things now, from what I hear in the hall, are coming into order, several surgeons having just reported themselves to Doctor Summers, besides large numbers of citizen attendants from the departments in Washington and from this city, too.

By the time this reaches you the papers will have informed you that last night the main part of our army on the left wing was compelled to fall back on Centreville. This morning the whole army was concentrated there, utterly disorganized, with the exception of Sumner’s Corps and some other fresh troops just arrived. They formed in front with their splendid artillery, and the rest of the army began to gather itself up for fresh encounters. The fight began again at three o’clock this afternoon, and men who left there at four o’clock say that it was going against us. God grant that the tide may have since turned.

Don’t apprehend our capture here, for the forts have been fully manned and supplied with ammunition; besides, we are going to whip them on the present battlefield to-morrow. I hear the whistle of the expected train with wounded and must stop this hasty letter.


The tide did turn. Chaplain Hopkins’ prayer was answered. The “fight which began at 3” the afternoon he wrote, ended with the repulse of the rebels by McDowell, and our troops rested that night at Centreville. There was a drop of comfort for H. H.’s poor men in the “knowledge, later, that their courage and suffering had not been all in vain, though the poor army was again, after all its frightful losses, just where it stood in March, six months before.

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Fort Corcoran, Va., Aug. 31, 1862.

Dear Mother:

Rec’d yours. We have had a tramp since writing last. Our orders came last Tuesday night to report to Gen. Sturgis at Warrenton; took up the line of march at 9 o’clock, marched seven miles that night and halted about 12 o’clk. to rest our wearied limbs in a field. Slept well; started early next morning and went two miles and halted to wash up and eat. While there, a report came that the 2nd New York (H. A.) in our brigade was all cut up, also that a battery had been taken from us. We then started on a forced march. We soon met the supply trains coming back and we marched by a train ten miles long, 1000 horses, 1500 cattle. We had got just the other side of Fairfax, about 2 miles, when at the top of a hill, in the woods, the remaining two pieces of the battery and some cavalry came rushing by, telling us the enemy were coming and for us to look out for ourselves. We jumped for the woods and waited, but they did not come; we then formed in line of battle about a mile long in the woods and waited. Co. B. was moved to the right, the hardest position, and a squad of men taken way out into the woods to look out for our flank, myself with them; this was the dangerous post, guarding a road they would pass in coming on us. This happened at 2 o’clk. We waited for them, but they did not come. The next morning, soon after getting up, we heard three shots. We jumped (our little squad) and concealed ourselves and waited; but it proved to be our pickets firing at each other. One of Co. A got shot through both legs; not hurt much. Soon after the Dr. and asst. Surgeon, steward and five others, with 2 teams and an ambulance, went back to Fairfax to make a hospital; while there, 500 Cavalry rushed on them and took all prisoners, but released the Drs. and kept the rest and teams and 8 horses, so you see the enemy had got behind us and we were in a fix. It was Lee of the cavalry and he sent a note to Col. Greene and to Gen. Sturgis; he was in the class of the Col. The Col. knew that it was not best for us to stop long, but to retreat back to Cloud’s Mills. We had considerable to look after, our teams and stores; we got ready to go, when we were sent back to old place again. Things looked rather dubious; soon we heard the roll. We all jumped to our guns ready for them; the picket came in and said that cavalry were coming. Of course we expected Rebel. I expected to get shot; hid myself in the bushes and waited, but they proved to be some cavalry come out to reinforce us, so we were all right; we sent them out scouting. They were gone an hour; they reported some 5000 rebels four miles from us, so we started as soon as possible. First went cavalry, next a battalion of our Regt., then all our wagons and 2 cannon, next two Battalions of our Regt., A. C’s. rear guard and some cavalry behind. We saw about 50 of them on the edge of the woods when we started, but they did not molest us; we kept up marching 18 miles from 7 o’clk. till 12 at night, resting only 3 times. They followed us until we came within 4 miles of Cloud’s Mills. Soon after, Col. Greene was ordered to report to McClellan, who ordered us into these forts. The report now is, that Jackson has surrendered; there was heavy fighting off there yesterday; heard the cannon plainly. All well. Love to all.

L. B., Jr.

We shall probably stay here now and not be moved off, because some one wants us! We are nearer Washington but farther up, opposite Georgetown. Very fine view.

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[31st]

The old Bull Run of 1861 was vividly before my eyes; the ground we stood upon was the identical ground occupied by the line of New Jersey troops, who gave the scattered legions of McDowell such a terrific shock. Ah, how distinctly I remember! Around, in all directions, heavy bodies of troops were massed similar to ourselves, apparently awaiting orders. In the course of a couple of hours our division deployed in line of battle, marched forward over the open ground to the edge of a piece of woods, where we expected to find the enemy; remained in this position throughout the day, without, however, getting a sight of a single rebel, and towards evening were ordered back to Washington, the enemy having passed to our right, moving towards the upper Potomac. As we were marching off the field, another order was received, directing the first division to form the rear guard and cover the retreat of the whole army. The vicissitudes of war have, as everybody knows, made our division familiar with this particular kind of duty, and on this account I suppose we are selected. The column was halted, formed on either side of the road, stacked arms, and waited for all to pass by. At 11 P. M. the roads were free, not a single man or vehicle of any description being left behind, so we fell in with a battery of guns and brought up the rear in fine order, keeping everything in front of us and a lively lookout in the rear. As usual, after a battle it rained hard all night, making the marching laborious and tedious.

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August 31, 1862.—Yesterday I arrived at Ringgold, Ga., in company with Mrs. May and Mrs. Williamson. We came here for the purpose of entering one of the hospitals at this post. We left Mobile on the 28th inst.; Dr. Pierce and many others came to see us off. Dr. P. introduced us to a Mr. Fogle from New Orleans. We crossed the Bay in the steamer Mary Wilson, which took us about three hours. We arrived at Tensas Landing in Baldwin County, and then took the cars for Montgomery. Mr. F. was very attentive, as was also a friend of his, a fine-looking old gentleman, who was a little crusty; but, as I said before, men seem to think that women have no business traveling now-a-days; so we did not mind him.

The country through which we passed was not very fertile. It is famous for manufacturing turpentine.

There was a very sick soldier on the cars, who seemed to suffer much from pain in his head, and groaned a great deal, which irritated our friend, the old gentleman. We did what we could to relieve him, for which he seemed grateful.

On the 29th we arrived at Montgomery about 6 o’clock A. M. We went to a very fine hotel, the “Exchange,” and got a nice breakfast, for which we paid one dollar each. Mr. F. and his friend found they had important business to detain them in Montgomery; so we were deprived of their pleasant company for the rest of the journey. They very kindly procured a carriage for us, and sent us to the depot, with instructions to the driver to put us in charge of the conductor, which he did. As we were on our way to the depot, Mrs. W. naively remarked, that she supposed the gentlemen had taken fright at the number of packages she had, and caused them to have such important business.

We left Montgomery about 8 A. M. on the West Point Railroad, and at 1 P. M. reached West Point, a post-village of Troup County, Ga., and is on the state line which divides Alabama and Georgia; is eighty-seven miles south-west of Atlanta, and forty miles from Columbus, Ga. The Chattahooche River runs through it.

There was a lady from Mobile on the cars, who was going with her negroes to settle at some point on the road, as it is expected that that city will soon be in the hands of the Federals. Mrs. General McCoy of Mobile was in the car, on her way to join her invalid husband in Virginia; he having gone there to visit a young son, a member of the Third Alabama Regiment, who has recently died from wounds received at one of the late battles around Richmond.

There was a broken car on the road, and the conductor was afraid he would miss the connection at West Point—the passengers did not like the idea of having to remain a day at West Point—so he did his best to hurry us on.

I think we gained by having no gentleman with us, as the conductor, Mr. Phillips, paid us special attention, which he seemed to do to all the ladies who had no escort. We changed cars at West Point, and received the same kind attention from the next conductor; and when we reached Atlanta, which was about dark, he accompanied us to the Chattanooga train, secured seats for us, and then checked our baggage. I shall never forget his kindness. I could not but contrast this trip with my last, the one on the Mobile and Ohio Railroad. But I must remember that we had no general and his staff with us this time.

We arrived at Chattanooga on the 30th, at 6 A. M., tired and covered with dust, as we had come a distance of six hundred miles in about thirty-six hours. When within about thirty miles of Chattanooga, a special guard came around and examined our passes, which caused quite a commotion, as none of us had the right kind. We had procured them from the provost marshal in Mobile, but they did not amount to any thing, as an order had just been received from head-quarters at Chattanooga prohibiting any one going in there without a special permit. The men were very angry; but they, along with some ladies, had to get out at one of the stopping-places. We told the guard our mission, and showed our order for transportation, and were allowed to go on, as it proved we were friends to the government. There was a Mrs. Hanly on the cars, whose husband is chief of General Hardee’s artillery. She had a pass from General H. to go to any part of the Confederacy; it, however, proved of no avail; the guard told her she must get out; but she said firmly she “would not go.” When he saw her so determined, he gave up talking to her, and permitted her to go on. This lady had just come from Kentucky, and while there she had been taken for a spy, and very harshly treated by the Federals. She had succeeded in eluding the vigilance of the officers at Memphis, and had brought out contraband goods from that place, which she showed us when we reached Chattanooga. She gave us some nutmegs, which were very acceptable, as every thing of that kind is scarce, and we need them in seasoning food for the soldiers.

On arriving at Chattanooga, we went to the Crutchfield House, and then were told we could not get a room without a special pass from the provost marshal, and we could not get one from him, as we were not allowed to walk a square on the street without one. We were in a dilemma now, as we could not possibly eat without at least washing our hands. The clerk told us he would send water to the parlor for us to do that, and permit us to eat breakfast. If we could not get a pass after that, we must leave Chattanooga the way we came. After waiting in vain for water, I ventured to ask a white girl, who was sweeping the hall, for it. She quietly told us we could not have any till the next morning. I suppose this femme de chambre thought we were not dusty enough; for she walked into the parlor where we were and commenced sweeping away. In despair I went in search of Mrs. Hanly, who, more fortunate than we this time, had procured a room on General Hardee’s pass, of which she very kindly gave us the use. After breakfast, a gentleman told Mrs. M. and Mrs. W. he would take them to the post surgeon’s office by a road where there were no guards.

After they left, I was sitting in the parlor, thinking how strange every thing was, when in walked my old friend from Kentucky—Major Proctor. I was never more glad to see any one. He was indeed a friend, as he came in need. I told him how we were situated. He said he would arrange matters for us. I went with him to Dr. Young of Kentucky, medical purveyor of Hardee’s corps, who procured us passes. I found Mrs. M. and Mrs. W. already there. Major P. gave his word for our being loyal Confederates, and “no spies.”

The passes gave us permission to pass on the streets in the environs of Chattanooga until further orders. On our way back to the hotel, we had to show them to the guards, who did not seem to like the idea of asking us for them; but we did not mind it. Indeed, I am rather pleased that our authorities are so vigilant, as I think the southern people are too credulous, and apt to be imposed upon.

The army has gone into Kentucky. General Bragg has every hope that the Kentuckians will be glad to rid themselves of the hated Yankee yoke, and will rise en masse to join him.

Mrs. May and I called on the assistant medical director, Dr. Flewellen. He informed us that Dr. Thornton, whom Mrs. May came to see, was here; so we concluded to leave on the evening train. We paid Dr. Young a visit before leaving, and he kindly procured transportation for us to this place; this was quite unexpected; Dr. Y. is a whole-souled southerner.

We are stopping at a very nice hotel, the “Catoosa House,” a palace compared with the Hotel de Crutchfield. This very nice little village, on the Western and Atlantic Railroad, is twenty-nine miles south of Chattanooga. When we arrived, last evening, Dr. Griffin and Mrs. C., whom I had known in Corinth, called on us, and informed us that Mrs. Glassburn was here. I went to see her; she had three of the ladies with her—the others had all gone home. Poor Mrs. Nolan died shortly after leaving Corinth; I have no doubt, from disease contracted at that miserable place.

Mrs. W. and myself went to the Methodist Church this morning; in the afternoon we took a walk, and visited a saltpeter cave. The government is using the saltpeter for making gunpowder. I am told this portion of the country abounds in such caves.

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August 31.—Fredericksburgh, Va., was evacuated by the Union army under Gen. Burnside.— The three bridges over the Rappahannock constructed by the army, the railroad buildings, including the offices of Commissary and Quartermaster, containing a quantity of army stores, and the machine-shop and foundry, were burned before the army left.

—The One Hundred and Twenty-fifth and the One Hundred and Twenty-first regiments, New York State volunteers, commanded by Colonels S. L. Willard and Richard Franchet, passed through New-York on the way to the seat of war. —Huntsville, Ala., was evacuated by the Union army under General Buell.

—Yesterday and to-day the greatest excitement existed in Boston, Mass., caused by the disaster to the Union army under General Pope. Gov. Andrew having requested contributions of linen, etc., for the wounded soldiers, the churches were converted into depots for their reception, and immense quantities of almost every thing required for the sick and wounded came rapidly in, until, at five o’clock, nine freight-cars were despatched, accompanied by six surgeons, for Washton—(Doc. 197.)

—The railway-guard at Medon Station, on the Mississippi Central Railroad, Tenn., was attacked by a superior force of rebel cavalry belonging to General Armstrong’s command, but were met by such determined resistance that they retreated, suffering great loss.—(Doc. 198.)

—Yesterday and to-day great excitement existed in Wheeling, Va., caused by the intelligence that Buckhannon had been captured, and that Weston and Clarksburgh were threatened by strong forces of rebel guerrillas. To-day a militia regiment left for Clarksburgh to reenforce the garrison already there.— Wheeling Intelligencer, September 1.

—William A. Hammond, Surgeon-General of the army, issued the following to the loyal women and children of the United States: “The supply of lint in the market is nearly exhausted. The brave men wounded in defence of their country will soon be in want of it. I appeal to you to come to our aid in supplying us with this necessary article. There is scarcely a woman or child who cannot scrape lint, and there is no way in which their assistance can be more usefully given than in furnishing us the means to dress the wounds of those who fall in defence of their rights and their homes.”

—General Maxey’s brigade, under the command of Colonel McKinstry, of the Thirty-second Alabama regiment, attacked the Yankees, one thousand two hundred strong, infantry, artillery, and cavalry, at Stevenson, Ala., at eleven o’clock to-day. After four hours’ shelling, the enemy evacuated their fortifications, leaving on the Nashville trains, common roads and through the woods. A large amount of ammunition and stores was captured. The confederate command met with the most cordial reception from the citizens, the ladies urging them not to stop till they had killed or captured the entire Yankee force. The joy of the citizens was unbounded at once more beholding the “stars and bars.” The confederates had engaged the Thirty-second Alabama, Forty-first Alabama, Twenty-fifth Tennessee, Major Gunter’s dismounted partisans, Capt Rice’s cavalry, and Freeman and Durr’s battery, the whole numbering nine hundred men. The loss was two wounded, none killed. The Yankee loss unknown.—Richmond Dispatch, Sept. 2.

—The steamer Emma, while going down the Savannah River, grounded, and was discovered by the Yankees. She was fired to prevent her from falling into their hands. She had on board seven hundred and forty bales of cotton and some turpentine.—Savannah Republican, September 1.

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August 31, 1862, The New York Herald

The news of late from the seat of war has been of such a conflicting character, on account of the expulsion of all correspondents from the army, that we have hardly known what reports to credit. Not until yesterday was any light thrown upon the subject. It came in the first despatch from General Pope to General Halleck, and dated Manassas Junction, August 28, ten P. M. Now we have some of the details of the important events of the last few days. On the 26th inst., General Pope discovered that the enemy was turning his right towards Manassas, and as the division he had ordered to take post there two days before had not yet arrived from Alexandria, he immediately broke up his camps at Warrenton Junction and Warrenton, and marched rapidly back in three columns.

It appears he directed General McDowell, with his own and General Sigel’s corps, and General Reno’s division, to March upon Gainesville by the Warrenton and Alexandria pike, General Reno’s and one division of Gen. Heintzelman’s to march on Greenwich, and with General Porter’s corps and General Hooker’s division he marched back to Manassas Junction.

General Pope ordered General McDowell to interpose between the forces of the enemy that had passed down to Manassas through Gainesville and their main body that was moving down from White Plains through Thoroughfare Gap. All these orders were successfully carried out. General Longstreet, who had passed through the Gap, was driven back to the west side. Our troops sent to Greenwich were for the purpose of [click to continue…]

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August 31, 1862, The New York Herald

Our army has immortalized itself, according to all the accounts of the battles fought on the historic Bull Run Friday, from daylight to dark, and renewed yesterday. The official order of General Pope to Major General Halleck, which we publish in another column, gives the story briefly and graphically, and, as substantiated by the detailed accounts which we presently to our readers today from other sources, furnishes a complete description of these eventful battles, the result of which has been to discomfit the enemy and place him in a trap for which he was not prepared. Instead of outflanking General Pope, as Jackson designed, he has found himself, after two days’ hard fighting, surrounded by the forces of Generals McClellan, Pope, Burnside, McDowell and Sigel.

Bull Run has been again the scene of a sanguinary conflict, but this time it has proved the scene of triumph for the Union arms. It is true that the field was won at a great sacrifice, our loss being put down as eight thousand men, and that of the enemy at fully double that number, while the amount of the rebels captured is considerable, though not yet ascertained. The movement of the rebels was a bold and daring affair, and we may well congratulate our generals upon the skill and energy which converted what was designed to be a successful advance upon the national capital into a decided defeat of Jackson’s forces and unmistakable victory for the Union armies. The two maps which we give today will illustrate the scene of the first and the recent battles on the memorable ground of Bull Run.

The wants of the wounded in these conflicts will be promptly attended to. The employees of the different government departments at Washington to the number of nearly one [click to continue…]

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August 31, 1862, The New York Herald

We publish this morning a long and semi-official account of an organization known as the Knights of the Golden Circle. The objects of this organization are said to be to throw obstacles in the way of the government, and to give aid and comfort to the rebellion in every possible way. The exposition which we publish is from the Cairo correspondence of the Chicago Tribune, and purports to be based upon the sworn affidavits of responsible parties. The ceremonies, signs and grips of the order are assumed to be fully explained, and the arrest of a member of Congress and of several other prominent citizens of Southern Illinois is reported. On the whole, the exposition in question is very curious, absurd and interesting, and will well repay perusal.

It strikes us, however, that the attempt to represent this so-called Order as a great conspiracy against the government is silly and pernicious. In our opinion, the Order of the Knights of the Golden Circle is as complete a humbug as the Order of the Sons of Malta, and the two orders very much resemble each other in their signs, grips and ceremonies. Both of these orders were devised by dissipated fellows, with the object of obtaining plentiful free drinks. The pretence that the Knights of the Golden Circle originally intended to filibuster Central America into the Union is just as great a sham and delusion as the pretence that the Sons of Malta designed to filibuster Cuba into the Union. We know all about the Sons of Malta now, and its members freely avow, since the Order has been squelched, that their intention was merely to have a little fun, […..] a few friends, and indulge in oysters and champagne at the expense of the initiation fees. The Knights of the Golden Circle had not better or worse intention. It is perfect folly to represent them as conspirators and rebel sympathizers, and to give them the credit of widespread organization, powerful supporters and numerous adherents. The exposition [click to continue…]

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August 31, 1862, The New York Herald

HEADQUARTERS, FIELD OF BATTLE, GROVETON, NEAR GAINESVILLE,
August 30, 1862. TO MAJOR GENERAL HALLECK, GENERAL-IN-CHIEF, WASHINGTON, D.C.:—

We fought a terrific battle here yesterday with the combined forces of the enemy, which lasted with continuous fury from daylight until after dark, by which time the enemy was driven from the field, which we now occupy.

Our troops are too much exhausted to push matters; but I shall do so in the course of the morning, as soon as Fitz John Porter’s corps comes up from Manassas.

The enemy is still in our front, but badly used up.

We have lost not less than eight thousand men killed and wounded, and, from the appearance of the field, the enemy have lost at least two to our one. He stood strictly on the defensive, and every attack was made by ourselves.

Our troops have behaved splendidly.

The battle was fought on the identical battle field of Bull Run, which greatly increased the enthusiasm of our men.

The news just reaches us from the front that the enemy is retreating towards the mountains. I go forward at once to see.

We have made great captures; but I am not able yet to form an idea of their extent.

JOHN POPE, Major General Commanding.

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August 31, 1862, The New York Herald

This sterling officer, whose series of military operations and brilliant victories in the West have been the theme of praise and comment from press and public, is comparatively a young men, being under forty years of age, having been born in Kentucky, March 10, 1923. His parents early settled at Kaskaskia, Illinois, from which State he was appointed to West Point in 1838. His father, Hon. N. Pope, was for a long period United States District Judge of Illinois, a sound and talented lawyer, high toned and honored member of society, and eminently worthy of such a son as is the subject of this sketch. After a scholastic term of four years at the military institution, young Pope graduated in June, 1842. In his class we find the names of Generals Rosecrans, Seth Williams, Doubleday, and may others of the Union army, and Rains, G. W. Smith, Lovell, Van Dorn, Longstreet and others in the rebel ranks. In July, 1842, the subject of our sketch was appointed Second Lieutenant of Topographical Engineers. In August, 1846, he joined General Taylor’s army in Mexico, during its advance upon Monterey, and was brevetted first lieutenant for gallant and meritorious conduct in that battle. As first lieutenant he marched with his companions through the malarious regions of Central Mexico, and was an active participant in the severely fought and dearly bought battle of Buena Vista, where he was again brevetted captain for highly gallant and meritorious conduct. For his gallantry in this engagement, and other distinguished services during the war, he was also presented with a magnificent sword by the State of Illinois.

In 1849 he conducted the exploring expedition which first laid open the fertile regions of Minnesota, and demonstrated the practicability of navigating the Red River of the North with steamers, for which services he received a vote of thanks from the Territorial Legislature of Minnesota. This labor accomplished, we next find him serving in New [click to continue…]

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