John's Top Matches
About John Singleton Mosby, Col
Mosby Famous Raid
Mosby is famous for carrying out a daring raid far inside Union lines at the Fairfax County courthouse in March 1863, where his men captured three Union officers, including Brig. Gen. Edwin H. Stoughton. Mosby wrote in his memoirs that he found Stoughton in bed and roused him with a "spank on his bare back." Upon being so rudely awakened the general indignantly asked what this meant. Mosby quickly asked if he had ever heard of "Mosby". The general replied, "Yes, have you caught him?" "I am Mosby," the Confederate ranger said. "Stuart's cavalry has possession of the Court House; be quick and dress." Mosby and his 29 men had captured a Union general, two captains, 30 enlisted men, and 58 horses without firing a shot.
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From tThe Memoirs of Colonel John S. Mosby:
I had strong personal reasons for being friendly with General Grant. If he had not thrown his shield over me, I should have been outlawed and driven into exile. When Lee surrendered, my battalion was in northern Virginia, on the Potomac, a hundred miles from Appomattox. Secretary of War Stanton invited all soldiers in Virginia to surrender on the same conditions which were offered to Lee's army; but I was excepted. General Grant, who was then all-powerful, interposed, and sent me an offer of the same parole that he had given General Lee. Such a service I could never forget. When the opportunity came, I remembered what he had done for me, and I did all I could for him.
John Singleton Mosby was born to Alfred D. Mosby and Virginia McLaurine Mosby on December 6, 1833. After growing up on his parents' farm in Albermarle County, Virginia, Mosby enrolled in the University of Virginia in 1850. Three years later, he was imprisoned for shooting a man "unlawfully" in defense of a woman's good name, and spent seven months in jail. Following his release, Mosby studied law under William J. Robertson, his former prosecutor, before opening a practice of his own in Howardsville, Virginia. In 1858 he married Pauline Clark with whom he had eight children. At the onset of the Civil War, Mosby joined the First Virginia Cavalry as a private. Although promoted to lieutenant a year later, he resigned his commission when an officer he disapproved of took command of the regiment. However, Mosby remained involved in the war effort, unofficially joining J.E.B. Stuart's staff to serve as scout and spy. In 1862, Stuart gave Mosby permission to organize what would become the 43rd Battalion of Virginia Cavalry, a guerrilla operations corps that performed covert raids inside Union territory. Known throughout several Virginia counties as "Mosby's Confederacy," the Battalion provided General Lee with valuable reconnaissance leading to the Confederate army's capture of thousands of Union soldiers and Union supplies worth several hundred thousand dollars. Mosby never formally surrendered with the South, disbanding his troops twelve days after Lee's surrender at Appomattox. Despite his vigilant service for the Confederacy, he later befriended President Ulysses S. Grant and became a Republican. Mosby wrote Stuart's Cavalry in the Gettysburg Campaign (1908) and his autobiography entitled The Memoirs of John S. Mosby (1917), which was published posthumously.
The Memoirs of John S. Mosby (1917) begins with an introduction by its editor, Charles Wells Russell, who describes John Mosby as one of the most celebrated officers in the Confederate army. Working alongside J.E.B. Stuart, Mosby was a legendary figure who sparked the imaginations of both the North and the South with his daring conquests. Providing commentary from both Confederate and Union officers, Russell conveys Mosby's martial genius and cunning, which earned him an honored place in military history. The narrative that follows further supports these assertions, with Mosby recounting his impressions of the Civil War from an analytical perspective. His narrative serves not simply to describe his own actions, but to reconsider battle strategy and critical decisions made by Confederate generals.
Mosby opens with an account of his boyhood spent on his parents' farm and in school, portraying himself as a frail individual who initially seemed unfit for war. Yet he records his early war experiences with a tone of impatience. He clearly preferred guarding the outposts to encampment and was an early critic of General Johnston's movements in northern Virginia. Although only a private, Mosby explains how he eventually gained the admiration of Generals J.E.B. Stuart and Robert E. Lee by offering his services for daring reconnaissance missions. Time and again he describes outwitting the Union army, earning letters of praise and recommendations for promotion from both Stuart and Lee, which he reprints in the narrative. Mosby also offers detailed portraits of Lee, Grant, and Stuart, for whom Mosby felt great affection and admiration. Mosby had served loyally beside Stuart for years, and out of this devotion he dedicates a section of his narrative to clearing Stuart's name by defending his actions at the Battle of Gettysburg. Lee and others had accused Stuart of joyriding rather than scouting the Union army's movements, but Mosby suggests that the fault remained Lee's. Mosby concludes his narrative with poignant descriptions of Generals Lee and Grant, and recalls Lee's last words to Mosby: "Colonel, I hope we shall have no more wars." His reconstruction of experiences and impressions during the war are strengthened by the incorporation of letters to his wife, Pauline, official correspondence from both Confederate and Union officials, and references made by notable military historians.
John Singleton Mosby was born in Powhatan county, Virginia, December 6, 1833, son of Alfred D. and Virginia I. (McLaurine) Mosby, and grandson of Catharine (Steger) Mosby and of Jane (Ware) McLaurine. He prepared for college in Charlottesville and graduated at the University of Virginia with honors in Greek, June 29, 1852. He studied law and practiced in Bristol, Washington county. He was married, December 30, 1856, to Pauline Clarke, of Kentucky, and they had eight children. In 1861 he enlisted in a company recruited by William E. Jones, for the First Virginia Cavalry, of which he became adjutant. Later, he was a scout at Gen. J. E. B. Stuart's headquarters, and guided Stuart's command to the rear of McClellan's army on the Chickahominy, June 14, 1862. In January, 1863, he recruited a force of cavalry in northern Virginia with which, aided by friendly citizens of Fauquier and Loudoun counties, he harassed the Federals, cut communications and destroyed supply trains. When not on active duty his men scattered for safety, with the understanding that they were to assemble at a given time and place. This system of warfare exasperated the Federal commanders who tried to capture the partisan leader, and this failing, the searching party destroyed the crops and farmhouses belonging to the citizens thought to have harbored or abetted Mosby or his men. At Chantilly, March 16, 1863. he routed a superior Federal cavalry force, and at Dranesville, April 1, 1863, defeated a detachment of cavalry sent to capture him. During the battle of Chancellorsville he surprised a body of Federal cavalry at Warrenton Junction, but was obliged to retreat before overpowering numbers, which he did without loss to his command. He then procured a howitzer and passed in the rear of Gen. Hooker's army; wrecked a railroad train laden with supplies; inflicted severe damage on the troop guarding the train, and finally cut his way through and escaped. He captured a transport near Aquia creek in May, 1864, while Grant was engaged in the Wilderness and the Federal commander was obliged to detach a cavalry force to protect his communications. With twenty-nine men he marched into Fairfax Court House on the night of March 7, 1863, captured Gen. E. H. Stoughton at his headquarters with a number of his staff, and delivered them as prisoners to Gen. J. E. B. Stuart. His command was known as the Forty-third Batallion, Virginia Cavalry, and he was commissioned successively captain, majof, lieutenant-colonel and colonel, C. S. A. After the close of the war he engaged in the practice of law at Warrenton, Virginia. In 1876 he made public through a letter to the "New York Herald" his intention to support the candidacy of Rutherford B. Hayes for the presidency, and in this letter first applied the phrase the "Solid South." President Hayes appointed him United States consul to Hong Kong, China, in 1878, and he retained the office until 1885. Returning to the United States he began the practice of law in San Francisco, California, and became counsel for the Southern Pacific Railroad Company. On September 23, 1899, a granite monument, twenty-five feet high, was unveiled at Front Royal, Virginia, by "Mosby's men," in memory of the seven comrades executed near the spot, September 23, 1864, while prisoners of war in the hands of the Federal army. In July, 1901, he was appointed special agent of the general land office, with headquarters at Sterling, Colorado. He is the author of "A Bit of Partisan Service" and "The Confederate Cavalry in the Gettysburg Campaign" in "Battles and Leaders of the Civil War" (Vol. III, pages 148 and 251), and of "Mosby's War Reminiscences and Stuart's Cavalry Campaign" (1887). See "Partisan Life with Mosby" by John Scott, (1867); "Mosby and His Men" by J. M. Crawford, (1867), and "Mosby's Rangers," by J. J. Williamson (1895).
THE MEMOIRS OF COLONEL JOHN S. MOSBY CHAPTER I EARLY LIFE
I WAS born December 6, 1833, at the home of my grandfather, James McLaurine, in Powhatan County, Virginia. He was a son of Robert McLaurine, an Episcopal minister, who came from Scotland before the Revolution. Great-grandfather McLaurine lived at the glebe and is buried at Peterville Church in Powhatan. After the church was disestablished, the State appropriated the glebe, and Peterville was sold to the Baptists. My grandfather McLaurine lived to be very old. He was a soldier of the Revolution, and I well remember his cough, which it was said he contracted from exposure in the war when he had smallpox. My grandfather Mosby was also a native of Powhatan. He lived at Gibraltar, but moved to Nelson County, where my father, Alfred D. Mosby, was born. When I was a child my father bought a farm near Charlottesville, in Albemarle, on which I was raised. I recollect that one day I went with my father to our peach orchard on a high ridge, and he pointed out Monticello, the home of Thomas Jefferson, on a mountain a few miles away, and told me some of the history of the great man who wrote the Declaration of Independence.
At that time there were no public and few private schools in Virginia, but a widow opened a school in Fry's Woods, adjoining my father's farm. My sister Victoria and I went as her pupils. I was seven years old when I learned to read, although I had gone a month or so to a country school in Nelson, near a post office called Murrell's Shop, where I had learned to spell. As I was so young my mother always sent a negro boy with me to the schoolhouse, and he came for me in the evening. But once I begged him to stay all day with me, and I shared my dinner with him. When playtime came, some of the larger boys put him up on a block for sale and he was knocked down to the highest bidder. I thought it was a bona fide sale and was greatly distressed at losing such a dutiful playmate. We went home together, but he never spent another day with me at the schoolhouse. The first drunken man I ever saw was my schoolmaster. He went home at playtime to get his dinner, but took an overdose of whiskey. On the way back he fell on the roadside and went to sleep. The big boys picked him up and carried him into the schoolhouse, and he heard our lessons. The school closed soon after; I don't know why. It was a common thing in the old days of negro slavery for a Virginia gentleman, who had inherited a fortune, to live in luxury with plenty of the comforts of life and die insolvent; while his overseer retired to live on what he had saved. Mr. Jefferson was one example of this. I often heard that Jefferson had held in his arms Betsy Wheat, a pupil at the school where I learned to read. She was the daughter of the overseer and, being the senior of all the other scholars, was the second in command. She exercised as much authority as the schoolmistress. As I have said, the log schoolhouse was in Fry's Woods, which adjoined my father's farm. To this rude hut I walked daily for three sessions, with my eldest sister - later with two - often through a deep snow, to get the rudiments of an education. I remember that the schoolmistress, a most excellent woman, whipped her son and me for fighting. That was the only blow I ever received during the time I went to school. A few years ago I visited the spot in company with Bartlett Bolling, who was with me in the war. There was nothing left but a pile of rocks - the remains of the chimney. The associations of the place raised up phantoms of the past. I am the only survivor of the children who went to school there. I went to the spring along the same path where I had often walked when a barefooted schoolboy and got a drink of cool water from a gourd. There I first realized the pathos of the once popular air, "Ben Bolt"; the spring was still there and the running brook, but all of my schoolmates had gone. The "Peter Parley" were the standard schoolbooks of my day. In my books were two pictures that made a lasting impression on me. One was of Wolfe dying on the field in the arms of a soldier; the other was of Putnam riding down the stone steps with the British close behind him. About that time I borrowed a copy of the "Life of Marion", which was the first book I read, except as a task at school. I remember how I shouted when I read aloud in the nursery of the way the great partisan hid in the swamp and outwitted the British. I did not then expect that the time would ever come when I would have escapes as narrow as that of Putnam and take part in adventures that have been compared with Marion's. When I was ten years old I began going to school in Charlottesville; sometimes I went on horseback, and sometimes I walked. Two of my teachers, - James White, who taught Latin and Greek, and Aleck Nelson, who taught mathematics - were afterwards professors at Washington and Lee, while General Robert E. Lee was its president. When I was sixteen years old I went as a student to the University of Virginia - some evidence of the progress I had made in getting an education. In my youth I was very delicate and often heard that I would never live to be a grown man. But the prophets were wrong, for I have outlived nearly all the contemporaries of my youth. I was devoted to hunting, and a servant always had coffee ready for me at daylight on a Saturday morning, so that I was out shooting when nearly all were sleeping. My father was a slaveholder, and I still cherish a strong affection for the slaves who nursed me and played with me in my childhood. That was the prevailing sentiment in the South - not one peculiar to myself - but one prevailing in all the South toward an institution 1 which we now thank Abraham Lincoln for abolishing. NOTE: Colonel Mosby never had a word to say favorable to slavery - a fact which may be attributed to the influence of Miss Abby Southwick, afterwards Mrs. Stevenson, of Manchester, Massachusetts, who was employed to teach his sisters. She was a strong and outspoken abolitionist and a friend of Garrison and Wendell Phillips. All the Mosby family were, and remained, devoted to Miss Southwick. She and young Mosby had numerous talks on the subject of slavery and other political topics. At the close of the war she immediately sent money and supplies to the family and told how anxiously she had read the papers, fearing to find the news that he had been killed. I had no taste for athletics and have never seen a ball game. My habits of study were never regular, but I always had a literary taste. While I fairly recited Tacitus and Thucydides as a task, I read with delight Irving's stories of the Moors in Granada. Colonel Mosby's career at the University of Virginia, where he graduated in Greek and mathematics, was not so serene throughout as that of the ordinary student. One incident made a lasting impression upon his mind and affected his future course. He was convicted of unlawfully shooting a fellow student and was sentenced to a fine and imprisonment in the jail at Charlottesville. It was the case of defending the good name of a young lady and, while the law was doubtless violated, public sentiment was indicated by the legislature's remitting the fine and the governor's granting a pardon. The Baltimore Sun published an account of this incident, by Mr. John S. Patton, who said that Mosby had been fined ten dollars for assaulting the town sergeant. The young Mosby had been known as one not given to lawless hilarity, but as a "fighter." "And the Colonel himself admits," continues Patton, "that he got the worst of these boyish engagements, except once, when the fight was on between him and Charles Price, of Meachem's, - and in that case they were separated before victory could perch. They also go so far as to say that he was a spirited lad, although far from 'talkative' and not far from quiet, introspective moods. . . . His antagonist this time was George Turpin, a student of medicine in the University. . . . Turpin had carved Frank Morrison to his taste with a pocket knife and added to his reputation by nearly killing Fred M. Wills with a rock. . . . "When Jack Mosby, spare and delicate - Turpin was large and athletic - received the latter's threat that he would eat him 'blood raw' on sight, he proceeded to get ready. The cause of the impending hostilities was an incident at a party at the Spooner residence in Montebello, which Turpin construed as humiliating to him, and with the aid of some friends who dearly loved a fisticuff, he reached the conclusion that John Mosby was to blame and that it was his duty to chastise him. Mosby was due at Mathematics lecture room and thither he went and met Professor Courtnay and did his problems first of all. That over, he thrust a pepper-box pistol into his jacket and went forth to find his enemy. He had not far to go; for by this time the Turpins were keeping a boarding house in the building then, as now, known as the Cabell House, about the distance of four Baltimore blocks from the University. Thither went the future partisan leader, and, with a friend, was standing on the back porch when Turpin approached. He advanced on Mosby at once - but not far; the latter brought his pepper-box into action with instant effect. Turpin went down with a bullet in his throat, and was taken up as good as dead. . . . The trial is still referred to as the cause célèbre in our local court. Four great lawyers were engaged in it: the names of Robertson, Rives, Watson, and Leach adorn the legal annals of Virginia." The prosecutor in this case was Judge William J. Robertson, of Charlottesville, who made a vigorous arraignment of the young student. On visiting the jail one day after the conviction, much to his surprise Robertson was greeted by Mosby in a friendly manner. This was followed by the loan of a copy of Blackstone's "Commentaries" to the prisoner and a lifelong friendship between the two. Thus it was that young Mosby entered upon the study of law, which he made his profession.
Colonel Mosby wrote on a newspaper clipping giving an account of the shooting incident: "I did not go to Turpin's house, but he came to my boarding house, and he had sent me a message that he was coming there to 'eat me up.' " Mosby's conviction affected him greatly, and he did not include an account of it in his story because - or at least it would seem probable - he feared that the conclusion would be drawn that he was more like the picture painted by the enemy during the war, instead of the kindly man he really was. However this may be, nothing pleased him more than the honors paid to him by the people of Charlottesville and by the University of Virginia. He spoke of these things as "one of Time's revenges." In January, 1915, a delegation from Virginia presented Colonel Mosby with a bronze medal and an embossed address which read as follows:
To Colonel John S. Mosby, Warrenton, Virginia.
Your friends and admirers in the University of Virginia welcome this opportunity of expressing for you their affection and esteem and of congratulating you upon the vigor and alertness of body and mind with which you have rounded out your fourscore years. Your Alma Mater has pride in your scholarly application in the days of your prepossessing youth; in your martial genius, manifested in a career singularly original and romantic; in the forceful fluency of your record of the history made by yourself and your comrades in the army of Northern Virginia; and in the dignity, diligence, and sagacity with which you have served your united country at home and abroad. Endowed with the gift of friendship, which won for you the confidence of both Lee and Grant, you have proven yourself a man of war, a man of letters, and a man of affairs worthy the best traditions of your University and your State, to both of which you have been a loyal son.]
CHAPTER II THE WAR BEGINS I WENT to Bristol, Virginia, in October, 1855, and opened a law office. I was a stranger and the first lawyer that located there. When attending court at Abingdon in the summer of 1860 I met William Blackford, who had been in class with me at the University and who was afterwards a colonel of engineers on General Stuart's staff. Blackford asked me to join a cavalry company which he was assisting to raise and in which he expected to be a lieutenant. To oblige him I allowed my name to be put on the muster roll; but was so indifferent about the matter that I was not present when the company organized. William E. Jones was made captain. He was a graduate of West Point and had resigned from the United States army a few years before. Jones was a fine soldier, but his temper produced friction with his superiors and greatly impaired his capacity as a commander. There were omens of war at this time, but nobody realized the impending danger. Our first drill was on January Court Day, 1861. I borrowed a horse and rode up to Abingdon to take my first lesson. After the drill was over and the company had broken ranks, I went to hear John B. Floyd make a speech on the condition of the times. He had been Secretary of War and had lately resigned. Buchanan, in a history of his administration, said that Floyd's resignation had nothing to do with secession, but he requested it on account of financial irregularities he had discovered in the War Department. But to return to the campaign of 1860. I never had any talent or taste for stump speaking or handling party machines, but with my strong convictions I was a supporter of Douglas 1 and the Union. Whenever a Whig became extreme on the slave question, he went over to the opposition party. No doubt the majority of the Virginia Democrats agreed with the Union sentiments of Andrew Jackson, but the party was controlled by a section known as "the chivalry", who were disciples of Calhoun, and got most of the honors. It was for this reason that a Virginia Senator (Mason), who belonged to that school, was selected to read to the Senate the dying speech of the great apostle of secession and slavery (Calhoun). It proved to be a legacy of woe to the South. NOTE: Colonel Mosby was almost the only Douglas Democrat in Bristol; that is to say he was in favor of recognizing the right of a territory belonging to the United States to vote against slavery within its borders. The Breckinridge Democrats believed, especially after the decision of the Supreme Court in the Dred Scott case, in the right of the slaveholders to take their slaves into the territories and hold them there in slavery against the wishes of the inhabitants. I met Mr. Mason at an entertainment given him on his return from London after the close of the war. He still bore himself with pride and dignity, but without that hauteur which is said to have characterized him when he declared in the Senate that he was an ambassador from Virginia. He found his home in the Shenandoah Valley desolate. It will be remembered that, with John Slidell, Mason was captured when a passenger on board an English steamer and sent a prisoner to Fort Warren (in Boston Harbor), but he was released on demand of the English government. Mason told us many interesting things about his trip to London - of a conversation with Lord Brougham at a dinner, and the mistake the London post office had made in sending his mail to the American minister, Charles Francis Adams, and Mr. Adams's mail to Mason. Seeing him thus in the wreck of his hopes and with no future to cheer him, I was reminded of Caius Marius brooding among the ruins of Carthage. William L. Yancey, of Alabama, did more than any other man in the South to precipitate the sectional conflict. In a commercial convention, shortly before the campaign of 1860, he had offered resolutions in favor of repealing the laws against the African slave trade. Yancey attacked Thomas Jefferson as an abolitionist, as Calhoun had done in the Senate, and called Virginia a breeding ground for slaves to sell to the Cotton States. He also charged her people with using the laws against the importation of Africans to create for themselves a monopoly in the slave market. Roger A. Pryor replied to him in a powerful speech. Yancey was more responsible than any other man for the disruption of the Democratic Party and, consequently, of the Union. He came to Virginia to speak in the Presidential canvass. I was attending court at Abingdon, where Yancey was advertised to speak. A few Douglas men in the county had invited Tim Rives, a famous stump orator, to meet Yancey, and I was delegated to call on the latter and prepare a joint debate. Yancey was stopping at the house of Governor Floyd - then Secretary of War. I went to Floyd's home, was introduced to Yancey, and stated my business. He refused the joint debate, and I shall never forget the arrogance and contempt with which he treated me. I heard his speech that day; it was a strong one for his side. As the Virginia people had not yet been educated up to the secession point, Yancey thinly veiled his disunion purposes. That night we put up Tim Rives, who made a great speech in reply to Yancey and pictured the horrors of disunion and war. Rives was elected a member of the Convention that met the next winter, and there voted against disunion. Early in the war, the company in which I was a private was in camp near Richmond, and one day I met Rives on the street. It was the first time I had seen him since the speech at Abingdon. I had written an account of his speech for a Richmond paper, which pleased him very much, and he was very cordial. He wanted me to go with him to the governor's house and get Governor Letcher, who had also been a Douglas man the year before, to give me a commission. I declined and told him that as I had no military training, I preferred serving as a private under a good officer. I had no idea then that I should ever rise above the ranks. A few days before the presidential election, I was walking on the street in Bristol when I was attracted by a crowd that was holding a Bell and Everett meeting. Some one called on me to make a Union speech. I rose and told the meeting that I saw no reason for making a Union speech at a Bell and Everett meeting; that it was my mission to call not the righteous, but sinners, to repentance. This "brought down the house." I little thought that in a few months I should be regarded as one of the sinners. I was very friendly with the editor of the secession paper in my town. One day he asked me what I intended to do in the case of a collision between the Government and South Carolina. I told him I would be on the side of the Union. He said that I should find him on the other side. "Very well," I replied, "I shall meet you at Philippi." Some years after the war he called upon me in Washington and jokingly reminded me of what I had said to him. As he was about my age and did not go into the army, I was tempted to tell him that I did go to Philippi, but did not meet him there. 1 NOTE: The editor in question, Mr. J. A. Sperry, of the Bristol Courier, has told the story in a somewhat different way. In writing his reminiscences of Mosby he said: "Mosby pursued the even tenor of his way until the memorable Presidential Campaign of 1860. So guarded had been his political utterances that but few of the villagers knew with which of the parties to class him, when he suddenly bloomed out as an elector on the Douglas ticket. This seemed to fix his status as a Union Democrat. I say seemed, for I am now inclined to think his politics was like his subsequent fighting, - independent and irregular. "We saw little of him in the stirring times immediately succeeding the election. One morning about the middle of January, 1861, I met him in the street, when he abruptly accosted me, 'I believe you are a secessionist per se.' " 'What has led you to that conclusion?' " 'The editorial in your paper to-day.' " 'You have not read it carefully,' said I. 'There is nothing in it to justify your inference. In summing up the events of the week, I find that several sovereign States have formally severed their connection with the Union. We are confronted with the accomplished fact of secession. I have expressed no opinion either of the right or the expediency of the movement. I am not a secessionist per se, if I understand the term; but a secessionist by the logic of events.' " 'I am glad to hear it,' he rejoined. 'I have never coveted the office of Jack Ketch, but I would cheerfully fill it for one day for the pleasure of hanging a disunionist per se. Do you know what secession means? It means bloody war, followed by feuds between the border States, which a century may not see the end of.' " 'I do not agree with you,' I said. 'I see no reason why secession should not be peaceable. But in the event of the dreadful war you predict, which side will you take?' " 'I shall fight for the Union, Sir, - for the Union, of course, and you?' " 'Oh, I don't apprehend any such extremity, but if I am forced into the struggle, I shall fight for my mother section. Should we meet upon the field of battle, as Yancey said to Brownlow the other day, I would run a bayonet through you.' " 'Very well, - we'll meet at Philippi,' retorted Mosby and stalked away. " 'Several months elapsed before I saw him again, but the rapid and startling events of those months made them seem like years. I was sitting in my office writing, one day in the latter part of April, when my attention was attracted by the quick step of some one entering and the exclamation, 'How do you like my uniform?' "It was a moment before I could recognize the figure pirouetting before me in the bob-tail coat of a cavalry private. " 'Why, Mosby!' I exclaimed, 'This isn't Philippi, nor is that a Federal uniform.' " 'No more of that,' said he, with a twinkle of the eye. 'When I talked that way, Virginia had not passed the ordinance of secession. She is out of the Union now. Virginia is my mother, God bless her! I can't fight against my mother, can I?' "
In April, 1861, came the call to arms. On the day after the bombardment by South Carolina and the surrender of Fort Sumter that aroused all the slumbering passions of the country, I was again attending court at Abingdon, when the telegraph operator told me of the great news that had just gone over the wire. Mr. Lincoln had called on the States for troops to suppress the rebellion. In the preceding December, Floyd had ordered Major Anderson to hold Sumter against the secessionists to the last extremity. Anderson simply obeyed Floyd's orders. When the news came, Governor Floyd was at home, and I went to his house to tell him. I remember he said it would be the bloodiest war the world had ever seen. Floyd's was a sad fate. He had, as Secretary of War, given great offense to the North by the shipping of arms from the northern arsenals to the South, some months before secession. He was charged with having been in collusion with the enemies of the Government under which he held office, and with treachery. At Donelson he was the senior officer in command. When the other brigadiers refused to fight any longer, he brought off his own men and left the others to surrender to Grant. This was regarded as a breach of discipline, and Jefferson Davis relieved him of his command. When Lincoln's proclamation was issued, the Virginia Convention was still in session and had not passed a secession ordinance, so she was not included with States against which the proclamation was first directed. With the exception of the northwestern section of the State, where there were few slaves and the Union sentiment predominated, the people of Virginia, in response to the President's call for troops to enforce the laws, sprang to arms to resist the Government. The war cry "To arms!" resounded throughout the land and, in the delirium of the hour, we all forgot our Union principles in our sympathy with the pro-slavery cause, and rushed to the field of Mars. In issuing his proclamation, Lincoln referred for authority to a statute in pursuance of which George Washington sent an army into Pennsylvania to suppress the Whiskey Insurrection. But the people were persuaded that Lincoln's real object was to abolish slavery, although at his inaugural he had said: There has never been any reasonable cause for such apprehension that by the accession of the Republican administration their property and their peace and personal security were endangered. Indeed, the most ample evidence to the contrary has all the while existed and been open to their inspection. It is found in nearly all the published speeches of him who now addresses you. I do but quote from one of those speeches when I declare that "I have no purpose, directly or indirectly, to interfere with the institution of slavery in the States where it exists." I believe I have no lawful right to do so, and I have no inclination to do so. The South had always been solid for slavery and when the quarrel about it resulted in a conflict of arms, those who had approved the policy of disunion took the pro-slavery side. It was perfectly logical to fight for slavery, if it was right to own slaves. Enforcing the laws was not coercing a State unless the State resisted the execution of the laws. When such a collision came, coercion depended on which was the stronger side. The Virginia Convention had been in session about two months, but a majority had opposed secession up to the time of the proclamation, and even then a large minority, including many of the ablest men in Virginia, voted against it. Among that number was Jubal Early, who was prominent in the war. Nobody cared whether it was a constitutional right they were exercising, or an act of revolution. At such times reason is silent and passion prevails. The ordinance of secession was adopted in April and provided that it be submitted to a popular vote on the fourth Thursday in May. According to the States' Rights theory, Virginia was still in the Union until the ordinance was ratified; but the State immediately became an armed camp, and her troops seized the United States Armory at Harper's Ferry and the Norfolk Navy Yard. Virginia went out of the Union by force of arms, and I went with her. CHAPTER III A PRIVATE IN THE CAVALRY IN that fateful April, 1861, our local company, with other companies of infantry and cavalry, went into camp in a half-finished building of the Martha Washington College in the suburbs of Abingdon. Captain Jones allowed me to remain in Bristol for some time to close up the business I had in hand for clients and to provide for my family. A good many owed me fees when I left home, and they still owe me. My last appearance in court was at Blountville, Tennessee, before the Chancellor. My first night in camp I was detailed as one of the camp guards. Sergeant Tom Edmonson - a gallant soldier who was killed in June, 1864 - gave me the countersign and instructed me as to the duties of a sentinel. For two hours, in a cold wind, I walked my round and was very glad when my relief came and I could go to rest on my pallet of straw. The experience of my first night in camp rather tended to chill my military ardor and was far more distasteful than picketing near the enemy's lines on the Potomac, which I afterwards did in hot and cold weather, very cheerfully; in fact I enjoyed it. The danger of being shot by a rifleman in a thicket, if not attractive, at least kept a vidette awake and watching. At this time I was the frailest and most delicate man in the company, but camp duty was always irksome to me, and I preferred being on the outposts. During the whole time that I served as a private - nearly a year - I only once missed going on picket three times a week. The single exception was when I was disabled one night by my horse falling over a cow lying in the road. Captain Jones had strict ideas of discipline, which he enforced, but he took good care of his horses as well as his men. There was a horse inspection every morning, and the man whose horse was not well groomed got a scolding mixed with some cursing by Captain Jones. Jones was always very kind to me. He drilled his own company and also a company of cavalry from Marion, which had come to our camp to get the benefit of his instruction in cavalry tactics. In the Marion company was William E. Peters, Professor at Emory and Henry College, who had graduated-in the same class in Greek with me at the University. When he and I were students reading Thucydides, we did not expect ever to take part in a greater war than the Peloponnesian. Peters had left his literary work to be a lieutenant of cavalry. He was made a staff officer by General Floyd in his campaign that year in West Virginia. For some reason Peters was not with Floyd when the latter escaped from Fort Donelson in February, 1862. Peters was a strict churchman, but considered it his duty to fight a duel with a Confederate officer. He became a colonel of cavalry. Peters's regiment was with McCausland when he was sent by General Early in August, 1864, to Chambersburg, and his regiment was selected as the one to set fire to the town. Peters refused to obey the order, for which he is entitled to a monument to his memory. Reprisals in war can only be justified as a deterrent. As the Confederates were holding the place for only a few hours, while the Northern armies were occupying a large part of the South, no doubt, aside from any question of humanity, Peters thought it was bad policy to provoke retaliation. General Early ordered a reprisal in kind on account of the houses burned in the Shenandoah Valley a few months before by General Hunter. As General Early made no mention of Peters in his book, I imagine it was because of his refusal to apply the torch to Chambersburg. On his return from this expedition, McCausland was surprised by Averill at Moorefield, and Peters was wounded and captured. He told me that he had expected to be put under arrest for disobedience as soon as he got back to Virginia. Hunter was a member of an old Virginia family, but he showed no favor to Virginians. At Bull Run he commanded the leading division that crossed at Sudley and was badly wounded, but there was no sympathy for him in Virginia. A relative of his told me that when Hunter met a lady who was a near relative, he offered to embrace her, but was repelled. She thought that in fighting against Virginia he was committing an unnatural act and that he had the feelings, described by Hamlet, of one who "would kill a king and marry with his brother." On Hunter's staff was his relative, Colonel Strother, who had won literary distinction over the pen name of "Porte Crayon." Both men seemed to be animated by the same sentiments towards their kin. Hunter presided over the court that condemned Mrs. Surratt as an accessory to the assassination of President Lincoln. He closed his life by suicide. But to return to our company of cavalry and my first days as a soldier. We were sent, within a few days, to another camping ground, where we had plank sheds for shelter and where we drilled regularly. Several companies of infantry shared the camp with us. Once I had been detailed for camp guard and, having been relieved just as the company went out to drill, I saddled my horse and went along. I had no idea, that it was a breach of discipline to be doing double duty, until two men with muskets came up and told me that I was under arrest for it. I was too proud to say a word and, as my time had come, I went again to walking my rounds. Once after that, when we were in camp on Bull Run, I was talking at night with the Colonel in his tent and did not hear the bugle sounded for roll call. So a lieutenant, who happened to be in command, ordered me, as a penalty, to do duty the rest of the morning as a camp guard. He knew that my absence from roll call was not wilful but a mistake. I would not make any explanation but served my tour of duty. These were the only instances in which I was punished when a private. Our Circuit Judge, Fulkerson, who had served in the Mexican War, was appointed a colonel by Governor Letcher, and took command of the camp at Abingdon. But in a few days we were ordered to Richmond. Fulkerson, with the infantry, went by rail, but Jones preferred to march his Company all the way. As he had been an officer in the army on the plains, we learned a good deal from him in the two weeks on the road, and it was a good course of discipline for us. I was almost a perfect stranger in the company to which I belonged, and I felt so lonely in camp that I applied to Captain Jones for a transfer to an infantry company from Bristol. He said that I would have to get the approval of the Governor and forwarded my application to him at Richmond. Fortunately the next day we were ordered away, and I heard nothing more about the transfer. On May 30, in the afternoon, our company - one hundred strong - left Abingdon to join the army. In spite of a drizzling rain the whole population was out to say farewell; in fact a good many old men rode several miles with us. We marched ten miles and then disbanded to disperse in squads, under the command of an officer or of a non-commissioned officer, to spend the night at the country homes. I went under Jim King, the orderly sergeant, and spent the night at the house of Major Ab. Beattie, who gave us the best of everything, but I was so depressed at parting with my wife and children that I scarcely spoke a word. King had been a cadet at West Point for a short time and had learned something of tactics. He was afterwards transferred to the 37th Virginia Infantry and was killed in Jackson's battle at Kernstown. When the roll was called the next morning at the rendezvous at old Glade Spring Church, I don't think a man was missing. The men were boiling with enthusiasm and afraid that the war would be over before they got to the firing line. I remember one man who was conspicuous on the march; he rode at the head of the column and got the bouquets the ladies threw at us; but in our first battle he was conspicuous for his absence and stayed with the wagons. Our march to the army was an ovation. Nobody dreamed of the possibility of our failure and the last scene of the great drama at Appomattox. We made easy marches, and by the time we got to Wytheville, all of my depression of spirits had gone, and I was as lively as anybody. It took us two weeks to get to Richmond, where we spent a few days on the Fair Grounds. We were then sent to a camp of instruction at Ashland, where we remained a short time or until we, with a cavalry company from Amelia County, were ordered to in Joe Johnston's army in the Shenandoah. I well remember that we were in Ashland when news came to us that Joe Johnston, on June 15, had retreated from Harper's Ferry to Winchester. To begin the war by abandoning such an outpost, when there was no enemy near and no necessity for it, was a shock for which we were not prepared, and it chilled our enthusiasm. I couldn't understand it - that was all - but my instinct told me at the time what was afterwards confirmed by reason and experience - that a great blunder had been committed. At Wytheville, on our third days march to Richmond, we got the papers which informed us that the war had actually begun in a skirmish at Fairfax, where Captain Marr had been killed. We were greatly excited by the news of the affair. Our people had been reading about war and descriptions of battles by historians and poets, from the days of Homer down, and were filled with enthusiasm for military glory. They had no experience in the hardships of military service and knew nothing, had no conception, of the suffering it brings to the homes of those who have left them. In all great wars, women and children are the chief sufferers. Our company joined the First Virginia Cavalry, commanded by Colonel J. E. B. Stuart, in the Shenandoah Valley. At Richmond, Captain Jones, who stood high with those in authority, had procured Sharp carbines for us. We considered this a great compliment, as arms were scarce in the Confederacy. We had been furnished with sabres before we left Abingdon, but the only real use I ever heard of their being put to was to hold a piece of meat over a fire for frying. I dragged one through the first year of the war, but when I became a commander, I discarded it. The sabre and lance may have been very good weapons in the days of chivalry, and my suspicion is that the combats of the hero of Cervantes were more realistic and not such burlesques as they are supposed to be. But certainly the sabre is of no use against gunpowder. Captain Jones also made requisition for uniforms, but when they arrived there was almost a mutiny. They were a sort of dun color and came from the penitentiary. The men piled them up in the camp, and all but Fount Beattie and myself refused to wear them. We joined Joe Johnston's army in the Shenandoah Valley at his headquarters in Winchester and rested there for a day. Then we went on to join Colonel J. E. B. Stuart's regiment at Bunker Hill, a village about twelve miles distant on the pike leading to Martinsburg, where Patterson's army was camped. We were incorporated into the First Virginia Cavalry, which Stuart had just organized, now on outpost to watch Patterson. I had never seen Stuart before, and the distance between us was so great that I never expected to rise to even an acquaintance with him. Stuart was a graduate of West Point and as a lieutenant in Colonel Sumner's regiment, the First Cavalry, had won distinction and had been wounded in an Indian fight. At the beginning of the war he was just twenty-eight years old. His appearance - which included a reddish beard and a ruddy complexion - indicated a strong physique and great energy. In his work on the outposts Stuart soon showed that he possessed the qualities of a great leader of cavalry. He never had an equal in such service. He discarded the old maxims and soon discovered that in the conditions of modern war the chief functions of cavalry are to learn the designs and to watch and report the movements of the enemy. We rested a day in camp, and many of us wrote letters to our homes, describing the hospitable welcome we had met on our long march and our anxiety to meet the foe who was encamped a few miles away. On the following day, to our great delight, Captain Jones was ordered to take us on a scout towards Martinsburg. My first experience was near there - at Snodgrass Spring - where we came upon two soldiers who were out foraging. They ran across the field, but we overtook them. I got a canteen from one - the first I had ever seen - which I found very useful in the first battle I was in. It was a trophy which I prized highly. We got a good view of Patterson's army, a mile or so away, and returned that evening to our bivouac, all in the highest of spirits. Nearly every man in the company wrote a letter to somebody the next day.
CHAPTER IV JOHNSTON’S RETREAT FROM HARPER’S FERRY THE first great military blunder of the war was committed by Johnston in evacuating Harper's Ferry. Both Jackson and General Lee, who was then in Richmond organizing the army and acting as military adviser, were opposed to this. They wanted to hold it, not as a fortress with a garrison, but to break communication with the West, and a salient for an active force to threaten the flank of an invading army. On April 27, Stonewall Jackson was ordered to the command of Harper's Ferry, which the militia had seized a few days before. Harper's Ferry is situated in a gap in the Blue Ridge through which flow the waters of the Potomac anal the Shenandoah. John Brown had seized the place in his rebellion. The fact that he tried to start a slave insurrection in a region where there were few slaves is proof that he was a monomaniac. But Harper's Ferry was a place of great strategic value for the Confederates, as the railroad and canal on the Potomac from Washington, fifty miles below, passed through the gap. It was a salient position; its possession by the Confederates was a menace to the North and broke direct communication between the Capital and the West. A strategic offensive on the border was the best policy to encourage Southern sentiment in Maryland and defend the Shenandoah Valley from invasion. A Virginian lieutenant, Roger Jones, had been stationed at Harper's Ferry with a small guard to protect the property of the Government. He remained until the force coming to capture the place was in sight, then set fire to the buildings, and retreated. His example in holding the position to the last extremity was not followed by the Confederates. When Jackson arrived at the scene of his command, without waiting for instructions, he prepared to hold it by fortifying Maryland Heights. "I am of the opinion," he wrote to General Lee, "that this place should be defended with the spirit that actuated the defenders of Thermopylae and if left to myself such is my determination." General Lee was in accord with Jackson's sentiments. Now Jackson did not mean that Harper's Ferry should be held as a fortress to stand a siege; nor that he would stay there and die like the Spartans in the Pass, but that he would hold it until a likelihood of its being surrounded by superior numbers was imminent. There was no prospect of this being the case, for no investing force was near. The best way to defend the Shenandoah Valley was to hold the line of the Potomac as a menace to Washington. Major Deas, who had been sent to Harper's Ferry as an inspector of the Confederate War Department, thought that the troops showed an invincible spirit of resistance. On May 21 he wrote: "I have not asked Colonel Jackson his opinion on the subject, but my own is that there is force enough here to hold the place against any attack which, under the existing state of affairs, may be contemplated." And on May 23, the day before McDowell's army at Washington crossed into Virginia, he reported that there were "about 8000 troops at Harper's Ferry and the outposts, including five companies of artillery and a naval battery, and that 7300 were then able to go into battle well-armed. The Naval Batteries," he said, "under Lieutenant Fauntleroy, are placed on the northern and southern salients of the village of Harper's Ferry and envelop by their fire the whole of the town of Bolivar and the approaches of the immediate banks of the Potomac and Shenandoah rivers. The cavalry under Lieutenant-Colonel J. E. B. Stuart is in very good condition and quite effective. All the infantry regiments are daily drilled in the school of the soldier and company, and valuable assistance is received in this respect from the young men who have been instructed at the Military School at Lexington." Neither Jackson nor Major Deas knew of any immediate danger of Harper's Ferry being invested. On May 24, in accordance with orders from the Confederate Government at Montgomery, General Joseph E. Johnston assumed command at the Ferry, and in a few days Jackson was given a brigade of five Virginia regiments. The outposts at the Ferry then extended from Williamsport on the Potomac to Point of Rocks on the river below. Johnston at once submitted a memorandum to Richmond on the conditions at Harper's Ferry, which displayed the caution for which he became distinguished. He seemed to have little confidence in his troops and thought the position could be easily turned from above or below, taking no account of the fact that he might turn the flank of an enemy who was flanking him. Johnston asked instructions from General Lee in relation to the manner in which the troops he commanded should be used. And on May 28 he again wrote in the same tone of despair: "If the Commander-in-Chief has precise instructions to give I beg to receive them early. I have prepared means of transportation for a march. Should it be decided that the troops should constitute a garrison this expense can be recalled," which shows he was getting ready for a retreat. With this letter Johnston enclosed a memorandum from a staff officer, Major Whiting, in which the latter spoke of troops that were gathering at Carlisle and Chambersburg, intimating that in the event of the advance of this force it might be necessary to move out to prevent being shut up in a cul-de-sac. But such a thing was too remote and contingent to constitute a danger of investment at that time. No place is absolutely impregnable; Gibraltar has been captured. The answer Johnston should have received to this request for orders was that he did not command a garrison to defend a fortress, but an active force in the field; and that Harper's Ferry might be held as a picket post. The discipline of Johnston's troops ought to have been as good as that of the three months' men that Patterson was collecting at Chambersburg, fifty miles away. In addition to the cadets of the Virginia Military Institute, who were drilling his regiments, Johnston had in his army at least ten officers who had lately resigned from the U. S. Army. Nearly all of the field officers of Jackson's brigade had been educated at the Military Institute, and several had been officers in the Mexican War. Their conduct in battle a few weeks afterwards shows how much Johnston had underrated them. The men were volunteers full of enthusiasm for a cause and rendered cheerful obedience to orders; it was not necessary to drill such material into machines to make them soldiers. Johnston complained of the want of discipline of his army and the danger of being surrounded by a superior force. The force that was coming to surround the Ferry was a spectre. McDowell's and Patterson's armies were fifty miles away and a hundred miles apart. At the request of Governor Pierpont a few regiments had crossed the Ohio, but McClellan's headquarters were still at Cincinnati. Any movement from that direction would naturally be through central Virginia - towards Richmond - in coöperation with McDowell. Johnston continued to show great anxiety about his position and wrote about it several times to General Lee. But neither Lee nor President Davis could see the danger as he saw it, and on June 7 General Lee - to calm his fears wrote him: "He (the President) does not think it probable that there will be an immediate attack by troops from Ohio. General N. J. Garnett, C. S. Army, with a command of 4000 men, has been dispatched to Beverly to arrest the progress of troops. . . . Colonel McDonald has also been sent to interrupt the passage of troops over the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad. It is hoped by these means you will be relieved from an attack in that direction, and will have merely to meet an attack in front from Pennsylvania." In the meantime reinforcements were going to Beauregard and Johnston almost daily. Wise and Floyd had been sent to the Kanawha Valley to counteract any movement there, and Garnett, with four thousand troops, had been sent to northwest Virginia. Patterson's was the only force from which Johnston could expect an attack, and as he would have to make detachments from it to guard his communications, Patterson could not be much superior in numbers when the collision should come. General Lee, as adviser to the War Department, was really the de facto Secretary of War and directed all operations in the field. He had selected Manassas Junction as a strategic point for the concentration of troops, on account of its being in connection with the Valley. On return from Manassas Junction, to relieve Johnston of anxiety about his flank being turned, Lee wrote to him that he had placed Colonel Ewell in advance at Fairfax Court House and Colonel Eppa Hunton at Leesburg on the Potomac, each with a force of infantry and cavalry in reservation, who would inform him of any movement to his rear. But Johnston continued uneasy and, although he was receiving reinforcements, he again wrote that he had heard that Patterson had 10,000 troops at Chambersburg, that some of McClellan's troops had reached Grafton, and he apprehended a junction of all of those forces against him. He should at least have waited for the development of such a plan and then, instead of retreating, have taken the offensive to defeat it. Johnston's suggestion meant the abandonment of the Valley. Patterson, who was organizing the force at Chambersburg, was a political general, only remembered for having allowed the force he commanded in the Shenandoah Valley to render no service at a critical time. Patterson proposed to capture Harper's Ferry, which, of course, General Scott was very willing to do. But the only support Scott could promise from Washington was to make a demonstration towards Manassas to prevent reinforcements going to the Valley and to send a force of 2500 on a secondary expedition up the Potomac. As the Ferry was of great strategic value as an outpost, Scott warned Patterson of the desperate resistance he might expect from the Confederates. He did not suspect that the Confederates were then packing up to leave. On June 14 the Confederates began the evacuation of Harper's Ferry and retreated ten or twelve miles to Charles Town. No movement had been made against them from any direction. Several regiments had just arrived - there were about 3000 militia at Winchester, and a force of the enemy had retreated from Romney. On June 13, after repeated requests for instructions about holding Harper's Ferry, which showed clearly a desire to shift the responsibility for it, the War Department wrote him the conditions on which the place should be evacuated: "You have been heretofore instructed to use your own discretion as to retiring from your position at Harper's Ferry and taking the field to check the advance of the enemy. . . . As you seem to desire, however, that the responsibility of your retirement should be assumed here, and as no reluctance is felt to bear any burden which the public interest may require, you can consider yourself authorized, whenever the position of the enemy shall convince you that he is about to turn your position and thus deprive the country of the services of yourself and the troops under your command, to destroy everything at Harper's Ferry." Johnston seems to have met this letter at Charles Town while it was on the way, and did not wait for it at the Ferry. Johnston's report says he met a courier from Richmond with a despatch authorizing him to evacuate Harper's Ferry at his discretion. The dispatch he received had no such instructions; the conditions on which he was authorized to abandon the place had not arisen; no enemy was threatening to turn his position. On June 15 Patterson crossed the Maryland line. His leading brigade was commanded by Colonel George H. Thomas, a Virginian, who was an officer in the Second Cavalry under Lee. It had been expected that he would go with the people of his native State. On the sixteenth his brigade waded the Potomac. When Patterson heard that Harper's Ferry had been abandoned, he was incredulous and thought it was a ruse, giving Joe Johnston a credit he himself never claimed. The evacuation of Harper's Ferry before it was compelled by the presence of an enemy was not approved at Richmond, nor was it done to act in concert with any other force, as was then supposed. The victory at Bull Run a few weeks afterwards confirmed the impression that the movement had been made in coöperation with Beauregard. The latter knew nothing of such a purpose until he heard that the Confederates had lost their advantage, and that the enemy held the key to the Shenandoah Valley. In plain words it was a retreat. The evacuation of the post before there was any pressure to compel it made Johnston the innocent cause of a comedy at Washington. General Scott could not comprehend what could be the motive for it, except on the theory of its being a feigned retreat to capture Washington by a stratagem. No other reason could be conceived why the Confederates should surrender, without making a defense, the advantage of Harper's Ferry as a base. After a part of his force had crossed the Potomac, to his surprise, Patterson received a telegram from General Scott, on June 16, ordering him to send at once to Washington all the regular troops, horse and foot, and Burnside's Rhode Island regiment. And on the 17th of June, Scott repeated the order and said: "We are pressed here. Send the troops I have twice called for without delay." Where the pressure could come from was a mystery to Patterson, as he knew that Johnston was still in the Shenandoah Valley, but the order was imperative, and he obeyed. "The troops were sent," he said, "leaving me without a single piece of artillery, and for the time with but one troop of cavalry, which had not been in service over a month." So the hostile armies retreated in opposite directions. Patterson recrossed the Potomac, and Johnston, unconscious of the alarm which his retreat had given in Washington, went on to Winchester.
There was another amusing episode on June 16 as a result of the Harper's Ferry operations. In anticipation of the demonstration he was to make in favor of Patterson's predicted attack on Harper's Ferry, McDowell had sent General Schenck on the Loudoun railroad as an advance guard. When turning a curve near Vienna, a fire was opened on the train by what Schenck called a "masked battery." The engine was in the rear, and as the engineer could not draw the train out of the range of fire, he detached the engine and disappeared under a full head of steam. So Schenck and his men had to walk back. Under a flag of truce he asked permission to bury the dead and take care of the wounded. Schenck afterwards gained notoriety as U. S. Minister at London and was recalled. The only distinction he won in the war was as the inventor of the term "masked battery." The battery that did so much damage was commanded by my schoolmate, Del Kemper.
The whole country was greatly surprised by the news of the evacuation of Harper's Ferry. If Johnston had waited a day longer for the answer to his request for instructions, his retreat would have been a disobedience of orders. The conditions did not exist, in the opinion of the War Department, which would justify the evacuation. Johnston sent a reply in which he disclaimed a desire to shift responsibility - which was clearly inconsistent with his request for instructions. Harper's Ferry should have been held until danger was imminent. It must have been a position of strategic value as well as of tactical strength since it was held by 11,000 men against the Confederates and used as a base in the Gettysburg campaign and also when Early invaded Maryland. When the Ferry was evacuated, McDowell's army was fifty miles below defending Washington, and Beauregard, in his front, fully occupied his attention. Patterson was at Hagerstown, had not crossed the Potomac, and had given no sign of doing so.
CHAPTER V RECOLLECTIONS OF BATTLE OF MANASSAS 1 THE First Virginia Cavalry remained in the Shenandoah Valley until the eighteenth of July when, by forced marches, it was sent to join the army and take its part in the Battle of Manassas. When we left the Valley, Stuart sent Captain Patrick's company to watch Patterson, whose army was in camp at Charles Town, and to screen the transfer of the army to the east of the Blue Ridge. It was well known that in a few days the most of Patterson's regiments would be mustered out of service and would go home. It was evident that his prime object had been not to divert Johnston's army but to avoid a collision. Patterson no doubt thought that he had effected his purpose and was content to rest where he was. Stuart's regiment arrived at the scene of the approaching battle on the evening of July go and went into bivouac near Ball's Ford. The armies were so close together that there was a great deal of picket firing, and I remember very well the foreboding I felt when I lay down under a pine tree to rest beside Fount Beattie. When the bugle sounded on the morning of the twenty-first, in counting off, I was Number 1 in the first set of fours and rode at the head of the squadron that day. Nothing afterwards occurred in my military career that gives me more satisfaction to remember. A few days before six Colt pistols had been sent to our company, and Captain Jones had selected the men who were to have them. I was one of the six - I don't know why. But to reconcile those who got no pistols, Jones told them that the six should be selected for the most dangerous work. Shortly after breakfast on the morning of the battle, Stuart sent Jones to make a reconnaissance over Bull Run. When we reached the woods where he thought the enemy might be, Jones called for the six men. We all responded and rode off into the woods to reconnoitre, but we didn't find an enemy. So the company recrossed the Run. NOTE: This, the first battle of the war, was known in the North as the Battle of Bull Run, and in the South as the Battle of Manassas Our regiment was divided during the battle, and the squadron to which I belonged was placed under a Major Swan, a Marylander. Late in the day when the enemy was in retreat, Swan halted us in a field within fifty yards of Kemper's guns, which were firing on the retreating troops. That was the very time for us to have been on the enemy's flank. I was near Captain Jones. He rose in his stirrups and said indignantly, "Major Swan! You can't be too bold in pursuing a flying enemy." But he made no impression on Swan. After dark Swan marched us back over Bull Run, and I slept in a drenching rain in a fence corner. Swan did not get a man or a horse scratched. He did a life insurance business that day. Instead of Swan supporting the battery, the battery supported Swan. Afterwards my last official act as adjutant of the company was to carry an order from Jones who had become colonel, for Swan's arrest. We lay all the next day near the battlefield, and I rode over it, carrying a despatch to Stuart at Sudley. But the first thing I did in the morning was to make a temporary shelter from the rain in a fence corner and write a letter to my wife. Monday, July 22d, Battlefield of Manassas. My dearest Pauline:
There was a great battle yesterday. The Yankees are overwhelmingly routed. Thousands of them killed. I was in the fight. We at one time stood for two hours under a perfect storm of shot and shell - it was a miracle that none of our company was killed. We took all of their cannon from them; among the batteries captured was Sherman's - battle lasted about 7 hours - about 90,000 Yankees, 45,000 of our men. The cavalry pursued them till dark - followed 6 or 7 miles. Genl. Scott commanded them. I just snatch this moment to write - am out doors in a rain - will write you all particulars when I get a chance. We start just as soon as we can get our breakfast to follow them to Alexandria. We made a forced march to get here to the battle - travelled about 65 miles without stopping. My love to all of you. In haste. Yours devotedly, Early on Tuesday morning (July 23) Stuart's regiment and Eley's brigade moved to Fairfax Court House and camped near there on opposite sides of the Alexandria pike. Stuart's dispatch to General Johnston, who was still at Manassas, says we got there at 9.30 A.M. The country looked very much like Egypt after a flood of the Nile - it was strewn with the debris of McDowell's army. I again wrote to my wife and used paper and an envelope which the Zouaves had left behind. On it was a picture of a Zouave charging with a fixed bayonet and an inscription - "Up guards and at them" - which is said to have been Wellington's order at Waterloo. The Zouaves were then charging on New York.
Fairfax Court House, July 24th, 1861. My dearest Pauline:
I telegraphed and wrote you from Manassas early the next morning after the battle. We made a forced march from Winchester to get to Manassas in time for the fight, - travelled two whole days and one night without stopping (in the rain) and getting only one meal. We arrived the morning before the fight. It lasted about ten hours and was terrific. When we were first brought upon the field we were posted as a reserve just in rear of our artillery and directly within range of the hottest fire of the enemy. For two hours we sat there on our horses, exposed to a perfect storm of grapeshot, balls, bombs, etc. They burst over our heads, passed under our horses, yet nobody was hurt. I rode my horse nearly to death on the battlefield, going backward and forward, watching the enemy's movements to prevent their flanking our command. When I first got on the ground my heart sickened. We met Hampton's South Carolina legion retreating. I thought the day was lost and with it the Southern cause. We begged them, for the honor of their State, to return. But just then a shout goes up along our lines. Beauregard arrives and assures us that the day will be ours. This reanimated the troops to redouble their efforts. Our regiment had been divided in the morning; half was taken to charge the enemy early in the action and the remaining part (ours and Amelia Co.) were held as a reserve, to cover the retreat of our forces, if unsuccessful, and to take advantage of any favorable moment. When, late in the evening, the Yankees gave way, they seemed overwhelmed with confusion and despair. They abandoned everything - arms, wagons, horses, ammunition, clothing, all sorts of munitions of war. They fled like a flock of panic-stricken sheep. We took enough arms, accoutrements, etc. to equip the whole army. They were splendidly equipped, had every imaginable comfort and convenience which Yankee ingenuity could devise. The fight would not have been half so long had it been an open-field one, but the Yankees were protected by a thick pine woods, so that it was almost impossible to get at them with the cavalry. They never once stood to a clash of the bayonet - always broke and ran. In the evening, when they gave way, the order was given to charge them. We were then in the distant part of the field. In a moment we were in full pursuit, and as we swept on by the lines of our infantry, at full speed, the shouts of our victorious soldiers rent the air. We pursued them for six or eight miles, until darkness covered their retreat. The whole road was blocked up with what they abandoned in their flight. All our regiment (in fact, nearly all the soldiers) now have splendid military overcoats which they took. I have provided myself very well. We took every piece of their artillery from them - 62 pieces - among them, one of the finest batteries in the world. Their total loss cannot be less then 5000. Our company is now equipped with Yankee tents, (I am writing under one). We are also eating Yankee provisions, as they left enough to feed the army a long time . . . All of the Northern Congress came out as spectators of the fight. A Senator was killed by a cannon ball - Foster. All of our troops fought well, but the Virginia troops bore the brunt of the battle, especially Jackson's brigade. A Washington paper says they were scarce of ammunition - a lie, for we took enough from them to whip them over again. Our Captain (who you know is an old army officer) complimented our company very much for their coolness and bravery in standing fire, - said that we stood like old veterans. We were placed in the most trying position in which troops can be placed, to be exposed to a fire which you cannot return. . . . There was scarcely a minute during the battle that I did not think of you and my sweet babes. I had a picture of May [his daughter] which I took out once and looked at. For a moment the remembrance of her prattling innocence almost unfitted me for the stern duties of a soldier, - but a truce to such thoughts. We are now marching on to bombard Washington City. Fairfax Court House, July 27, 1861. Dearest Pauline:
We are here awaiting for the whole army to come up . . . Several of our men got scared into fits at the battle. A Dr. - put a blister on his heart as an excuse not to go into battle; one named - was so much frightened when the shells commenced bursting around us that he fell off his horse - commenced praying; the surgeon ran up, - thought he was shot; examined him, told him he was only scared to death. He got up and left the field in double-quick time. I could tell you of a good many such ludicrous incidents.
CHAPTER VI THE STRATEGY OF THE BATTLE OF MANASSAS ON May 24, 1861, the day after Virginia ratified the Secession Ordinance, McDowell's army crossed the Potomac on three bridges. McDowell made his headquarters at Arlington, General Lee's home, and it should be recorded to his credit that he showed the highest respect for persons and property. One regiment of the New York Zouaves, commanded by Colonel Ellsworth, went on a steamer to Alexandria and landed under the guns of the Pawnee. A Confederate flag was flying from the top of a house which was owned by a citizen named Jackson. Ellsworth went up and pulled down the flag. As he descended the stairs, Jackson shot him and was himself shot by a Union soldier. On June 26, McDowell's total strength present for duty was 153,682 men and twelve guns; Patterson's was 14,344 men. Of McDowell's twenty regiments, seventeen were three months' men. With the exception of one infantry regiment, four companies of cavalry, and three artillery companies, Patterson's force was composed of three months' men. Johnston's force at the same time was 10,654 men and five or six batteries. General Lee had selected Manassas Junction as the point for the concentration of the Confederate troops on account of its being in connection with the Valley. Beauregard was in command here, while Jackson and Johnston with their forces were across the Blue Ridge in the Shenandoah Valley. On June 15, Johnston retired towards Winchester, because, as he said, Patterson's army had reached the Potomac twenty miles above, and he wanted to be in a position to repel an invasion of the Valley, or quickly to reinforce Beauregard at Manassas. Johnston thought, so he said, that Patterson was making a combined movement with McDowell, who was expected to move from Washington on Richmond. If so, Johnston at Harper's Ferry had the interior line and the choice of reinforcing Beauregard or striking Patterson. As Patterson hesitated, it showed that he was afraid to cross the Potomac with Johnston on his flank. Johnston's movement to Winchester, which, as I have said, was really a retreat, about doubled the distance between him and Beauregard. If he had really wanted to join Beauregard, his quickest way to do it would have been to march directly from Harper's Ferry to Bull Run. The distance would have been shorter than his march from Winchester to the railroad station, on his way to Manassas. There he left nearly half of his army for want of transportation. It is remarkable, however, that Jackson's biographers, Dabney, Cook, and Henderson, regarded the retreat to Winchester as only a strategic move. Jackson did not think so. Jackson's brigade and Stuart's regiment of cavalry were sent to observe Patterson on the upper Potomac. Patterson had no cavalry for outpost duty, while Johnston had the regiments of Stuart and Ashby. Jackson's orders were to feel out the enemy, but to avoid an engagement. On July 2 Patterson crossed the Potomac, and Jackson showed sufficient resistance to compel him to display his force and retired as his orders required. He was sure that Patterson had no aggressive purpose, but was only making a feint to create a diversion and retain Johnston in the Valley, when McDowell moved against Beauregard at Manassas. Jackson thought that a blow at Patterson would have been the best way to cooperate with Beauregard. As Jackson had strict ideas of military discipline, he would not criticise his superiors, and, although the order to fall back was a disappointment, he did not, like Achilles, sulk in his tent. But a letter he wrote at the time to his wife, read between the lines, shows the chagrin he felt. Colonel Henderson, in his "Life of Jackson", said: The Federal army crawled on to Martinsburg Halting seven miles southwest, Jackson was reinforced by Johnston's whole command and here for four days the Confederates drawn up in line of battle awaited attack. But the Federals stood fast in Martinsburg and on the fourth day Johnston withdrew to Winchester. The Virginia soldiers were bitterly dissatisfied. At first even Jackson chafed. He was eager for action. His experience at Falling Waters had given him no exalted notion of the enemy's prowess and he was ready to engage them singlehanded. "I want my brigade," he said, "to feel that it can itself whip Patterson's whole army and I believe that we can do it." The truth is that the numerical difference in the strength of the two armies was inconsiderable, but Johnston's had a great advantage in morale and a superior force of cavalry. On July 15, in obedience to General Scott's orders, Patterson moved up the Valley, threw some shells at Stuart's regiment, and then turned squarely around and retreated towards Harper's Ferry. The movement was so timid that it was more a farce than a feint. Patterson was not seeking a fight; his movement was only a blind. If the Confederates had then taken the offensive, there would have been a footrace towards the Potomac, and McDowell would not have moved against the troops at Manassas. The most effective way to aid Beauregard was to strike Patterson. The next year Jackson did what should have been done in 1861. He turned on Banks and swept him out of the Shenandoah Valley, creating such alarm in Washington that McDowell, who was moving from Fredericksburg to join McClellan at Richmond, was recalled to save the Capital. The following dispatch to McClellan from Mr. Lincoln shows what Jackson did in 1862 and what he would have done in 1861, if he had been in command: May 24th, 1862. In consequence of General Banks's critical position I have been compelled to suspend General McDowell's movements to join you. The enemy are making a desperate push on Harper's Ferry and we are trying to throw General Fremont's force and a part of McDowell's in their rear. The next that was heard of Jackson, he had defeated Fremont and Shields in the Valley and then turned off on McClellan's flank at Cold Harbor. In July 1861, the larger part of the troops at Manassas should have gone to Johnston, instead of his reinforcing Beauregard. That is, if Johnston was willing to take the offensive and cross the Potomac. That was the best way to defend Richmond. On July 17, McDowell began his movement towards the Confederate Capital. Mr. Davis telegraphed to Johnston at Winchester to join Beauregard, if practicable. He said: General Beauregard is attacked. To strike the enemy a decisive blow a junction of all your effective force will be needed. If practicable make the movement, sending your sick and baggage to Culpeper Court House either by railroad or by Warrenton. In all arrangements exercise your discretion. President Davis endorsed on Johnston's report of the battle that his order, or rather request to Johnston to join Beauregard gave him discretion because Johnston's letters of July 12 and 13 "made it doubtful whether General Johnston had the power to effect the movement." In the letters Johnston said that he had to "defeat Patterson or elude him." It would have been impossible for him to defeat Patterson as the latter was running; as Patterson was trying to elude Johnston, the latter had no trouble in eluding Patterson. On July 13 General Johnston telegraphed to President Davis: "Unless he (Patterson) prevents it, we shall move toward Beauregard to-day." Up to that time Johnston does not seem to have contemplated, nor was there any plan for, any concerted action between Johnston and Beauregard. The march to Manassas did not begin until noon of the eighteenth. Jackson's brigade was in the advance. It waded the Shenandoah, climbed the Blue Ridge, and arrived at Manassas by rail on the next day. When the troops left Winchester, they could not have been expected to join Beauregard at Manassas before a battle, because McDowell's delay of three days at Centreville could not have been anticipated. On the seventeenth General Scott telegraphed Patterson that McDowell would take Manassas the next day, which probably would have been done if Scott's program to cross the Occoquan and turn the Confederate right had been carried out. But McDowell changed the plan, waited to make a reconnaissance on the Confederate left, and decided to cross Bull Run at Sudley. Beauregard was not expecting aid from Johnston, for in a telegram to the War Department he said, "I believe this proposed movement of General Johnston is too late. Enemy will attack me in force to-morrow morning."
When Johnston left the Valley, Patterson was in camp at Charles Town. As late as the nineteenth Patterson insisted that Johnston was at Winchester receiving reinforcements; but on the twentieth he acknowledged that Johnston had gone. It was then too late for him to give assistance to McDowell in the battle the next day. When Patterson was reproached for what he had not done, he consoled Scott by telling him that if he had attacked Joe Johnston, he (Scott) would have had to mourn the loss of two battles instead of one. Johnston arrived at Beauregard's headquarters at Manassas at noon on July 20, but nearly half of his army was left behind him. Beauregard's army was posted on Bull Run at five or six fords stretching from Stone Bridge to Union Mills, a distance of eight miles. Bull Run is a creek running through a largely wooded country, and is passable anywhere but for its steep banks. Johnston's troops were posted behind Beauregard's at the fords, and Jackson was placed in the rear of Bonham. McDowell's headquarters were in plain view six miles distant at Centreville and also in view of the signal station Captain Alexander had established on the Manassas plain.
Beauregard proposed an offensive plan which Johnston approved, but no attempt was made to execute it. The battle was defensive on the Confederate side. Early on the morning of the twenty-first the signal officers discovered McDowell's column marching towards Sudley to turn our left at Stone Bridge. They reported the movement to General Evans, who commanded there, and to headquarters. Johnston's brigades were in the rear of the fords as reserves ready to be moved to any point on the line. As Bull Run presented no defensive advantages, it is hard to discover why that line was selected. No matter whether Beauregard intended to act on the offensive or defensive, his army should have been concentrated at one or two fords, instead of being distributed at several. Long afterwards Beauregard claimed that Johnston accepted his plan of battle, waived his rank, and consented to act as his chief of staff. As there was no emergency that required such an abdication of authority, and as there was ample time for Johnston to learn the conditions and get all the topographical knowledge necessary, it would have been shirking responsibility for him to have done so. His objective, McDowell's army, was in sight; he was near Bull Run, and he could easily learn from maps where the fords were and the roads that led to them. Beauregard and his staff officers could have easily told him how the troops were disposed. With such explanation Johnston might, in an hour or so, have taken in the whole situation. Very few commanders were ever on the ground more than a few hours before a battle; it is not their business to act as guides - the country furnishes plenty of them. Of course, generals must utilize other men's knowledge. But the inconsistency is that Beauregard claims the credit as commander-in-chief for winning the victory, but makes Johnston responsible for the failure to reap the fruit of it. He contradicts his own report, written a few days after the battle, which says that the army, after the hard day's fighting, was in no condition to pursue. He did not seem to know that he had 15,000 fresh men on the field and that the remainder of Johnston's men arrived next morning. In his "Military Memoirs", General Alexander, who was chief signal officer and also in the evening carried orders on the field, said: Not far off Stonewall Jackson, who had been shot through the hand but had disregarded it until victory was assured, was now having his hand dressed by Doctor Hunter McGuire. Jackson did not catch the President's (Davis) words and Doctor McGuire repeated them to him. Jackson quickly shouted, "We have whipped them! They ran like sheep! Give me 5000 men and I will be in Washington City tomorrow morning." Doctor Edward Campbell, a surgeon in Jackson's brigade, told me soon after the war that he heard Jackson make that speech. But Johnston's endorsement on Beauregard's order of battle shows that so far from waiving he asserted his rank as commander. Here it is: 4.30 A.M., July 21st.
The plan of battle given by General Beauregard in the above order is approved and will be executed accordingly.
(Signed) J. E. Johnston, General, C. S. Army. As Beauregard submitted his program to Johnston's approval, he recognized Johnston as his superior officer. Orders are not submitted to the approval of subordinates. As a worse plan of operations could hardly have been devised, Johnston might have given Beauregard credit for it if he had adopted it. As there was no attempt to execute it, however, it is immaterial who was the author. The battle was fought on McDowell's plan. What was most remarkable was that instead of directing its immediate execution by an advance of his columns on Centreville, it instructed brigade commanders to hold themselves in readiness to advance but to wait orders. None but D. R. Jones received such an order to cross the Run that morning, and his was soon revoked. As the enemy was in their front, old soldiers like Jackson, Longstreet, and Ewell, ought to have been presumed to be ready for combat without instructions. If the Confederates were to assume the offensive to turn McDowell, their movement should have been begun, as McDowell's was, before daybreak; and as they would have had to move through a wooded country, their columns should have been as much as possible in sight of and in supporting distance of each other. But what is stranger still is that Beauregard's order of battle, although it contemplated the offensive, is dated at 4.30 A.M. July 21, long after McDowell's army was in motion. McDowell issued his order of battle on the twentieth. McDowell saw the danger of keeping the wings of his army so far apart and said: I had felt anxious about the road from Manassas by Blackburn's Ford to Centreville along this ridge, fearing that while we should be in force to the front and endeavoring to turn the enemy's position, we ourselves should be turned by him by this road. For if he should once obtain possession of this ridge, which overlooks all the country to the west to the foot of the spurs to the Blue Ridge, we should have been irretrievably cut off and destroyed. I had, therefore, directed this point to be held in force, and sent an engineer to extemporize some field works to strengthen the position. . . . The divisions were ordered to march at 2.30 o'clock A.M., so as to arrive on the ground early in the day and thus avoid the heat which is to be expected at this season.
If the Confederates had moved in two columns from the lower fords, while Evans and Cocke attracted the attention of the enemy above, they would have reached Centreville before McDowell reached Sudley, and they would have been between McDowell and Washington. In that event McDowell said his army would have been destroyed. McDowell saw more clearly than the Confederate generals what they ought to do, but he trusted to their not doing it. Beauregard's first plan for a simultaneous advance from all the Bull Run fords to Centreville was impracticable in the wooded country, and it was well that no attempt was made to execute it. His line of battle would have been several miles long.
Beauregard commanded that day under Johnston as Meade commanded the Army of the Potomac under Grant. Beauregard's report said:
General Johnston arrived here about noon of the both of July, and being my senior in rank he necessarily assumed command of the forces of the Confederate States then concentrating at this point. Made acquainted with my plan of operations and dispositions to meet the enemy, he gave them his entire approval and generously directed their execution under my command. Beauregard must have forgotten, when he wrote afterwards and claimed that he was commander-in-chief at Bull Run, that he had ever written that Johnston was. Beauregard said that, being informed at 5.30 A.M. that a strong force was deployed in front of Stone Bridge, he ordered Evans and Cocke to maintain their positions to the last extremity, and that he thought the most effective method of relieving his left was by making a determined attack by his right. No doubt that was so. He knew, long before McDowell reached Sudley, that Ewell, Holmes, Jones, and Early had not advanced on Centreville, and there was then abundance of time for them to have reached Centreville before McDowell reached Sudley. But he said that the news from the left afterwards changed his plan. As it was clear that McDowell was making only a feeble demonstration in our front and none on our right, he must have known early in the morning that the main portion of his army was moving against our left. He could not have expected McDowell to stand still; nor does he give a satisfactory reason for a change of plan, but the reverse. McDowell was doing what he ought to have wanted him to do. At 7.10 A.M., D. R. Jones, whose brigade was at McLean's Ford near headquarters, said he received the following order:
Brigadier-General D. R. Jones, General:
General Ewell has been ordered to take the offensive upon Centreville. You will follow the movement at once by attacking him in your front. July 21st, 1861 [Signed] G. T. Beauregard, Brigadier. Ewell was at the next ford below, with Holmes's brigade in support. It was not pretended that any such orders were sent to the brigades at the fords above. Longstreet, who was at Blackburn's Ford, with Early in support, said that in obedience to orders of the twentieth to assume the offensive, he crossed Bull Run early on the morning of the twenty-first, but as he immediately came in contact with the enemy and ordered his men to lie down under cover from the artillery fire, he does not seem to have been ordered to move on Centreville, and does not refer to any such order. He must have been waiting for further orders. It is clear that Bonham received no orders to cross the Run, as he did not attempt it, although the enemy opened fire on him early in the morning. He said that before daylight one of his aides, General McGowan, brought intelligence that the enemy was moving on his left, and that he arose and with a field glass discovered the enemy moving on the pike to Stone Bridge. He said that he immediately communicated the news to headquarters and directed his command to prepare for action, as he supposed "an assault would be made early along our whole line." But no such assault was ordered. Early, who was near McLean's farm in support of Longstreet, did not mention receiving any order to move on Centreville; neither did Jackson, who was supporting Bonham at Mitchell's Ford. He simply got an order to place himself in position where he could reinforce either Cocke or Bonham. In the meantime Jackson ascertained that Bee, who had been sent with his own and Bartow's brigades to reinforce Evans, was hard pressed. He seems to have moved, in the exercise of his own discretion, where the sound of the cannon indicated that the real conflict was. When he reached the plateau where the Henry house stood, he met the shattered brigades of Bee and Bartow retreating. Jackson formed his brigade on the crest of the ridge, which will forever be associated with his name. General Alexander described the scene as follows: A fresh brigade was drawn up in line on the elevated ground known as Henry House Hill and its commander, till then unknown, was henceforth to be called Stonewall. Bee rode up to him and said "General, they are driving us!" "Then, Sir," said Jackson, "we must give them the bayonet." Bee galloped among his retreating men and called out to them: "See Jackson standing like a stone wall - rally behind the Virginians." It was at this moment when Jackson's and Hampton's were the only organized troops opposing the Federal advance and Bee and Bartow were attempting to rally their broken forces, that Johnston and Beauregard reached the field. This was the crisis of the battle, as Jackson's heroic bearing electrified the troops and saved the day. Jackson selected this place as a battleground, and the great struggle was for the possession of the plateau. This was crescent shaped, the ridge forming a cover which protected his men from artillery fire. Jones said that after getting the order from Beauregard to cross the Run and follow Ewell, he sent a message to Ewell but crossed and took a position on the road from Union Mills to Centreville and waited for Ewell. In the meantime he received the following order directing him to return: 10.30 A.M. General Jones:
On account of the difficulties in our front it is thought preferable to countermand the advance of the right wing. Resume your position. Beauregard said that as early as 5.30 A.M. the enemy opened fire on Evans at Stone Bridge, and that by 8.30 A.M. he discovered that it was a mask to cover a movement around his flank, and Evans promptly moved to meet it. So it was then clear that the enemy would be on the left. Instead of a change of plans and a retrograde movement, when this was discovered, it was the opportune moment to order our right to advance. Only four companies were left to hold Stone Bridge against Tyler's division; they held it all day. The sound of the battle now informed our generals where the main effort of the enemy would be made. The "difficulties" in his front, of which Beauregard spoke in his note to Jones as the cause for revoking the order to advance, instead of deterring should have encouraged him to take the offensive. It was now clear that there was only a small force between him and the enemy's rear at Centreville. Hunter's and Heintzelman's divisions reached Sudley Ford, at least eight miles away, about 9.30 A.M. They halted for rest and for the men to fill their canteens from the stream. The main body of the Confederate army was then about half the distance from Centreville that Sudley is. The three brigades of Miles that were in reserve on the road to Blackburn's and McLean's fords could easily have been brushed aside before any reinforcements could have reached them. Then one of his brigade commanders, Richardson, reported that Colonel Stevens, who commanded a regiment there, said, "We have no confidence in Colonel Miles, because Colonel Miles is drunk;" all of which was in our favor. It was much better for the Confederates if Ewell's and Jones's forward movements were delayed until nine o'clock by a miscarriage of orders, for by that time McDowell had progressed too far to turn back when he heard of it. When at Austerlitz Napoleon saw the allies marching towards his rear, he told his marshals to be quiet, not to interrupt them. After their movement had developed sufficiently, he struck such a blow as Johnston and Beauregard might have repeated at Centreville. McDowell dreaded such a counterstroke, and in the morning on the road to Sudley he halted Howard and kept his brigade in reserve near the pike until noon to meet such a contingency. On the field McDowell saw what he might do; and reports from the signal stations and heavy firing told Johnston and Beauregard what they could do - that the enemy had exposed his rear. But "in my judgment," said Beauregard, "it was now (10.30 A.M.) too late for the contemplated movement." Napoleon would have thought it was the hour for it to begin. It is a mystery why the Confederate generals abandoned their plan - if they ever had such a plan. Alexander said, "About 8 A.M. Johnston and Beauregard, accompanied by their staffs and couriers, rode to the vicinity of Mitchell's Ford, where they left their party under cover and took position on an open hill some 200 yards to the left of the road." Richardson was in their front, making a feint by shelling the woods. If he had intended a real attack, he would not have halted. The resistance made by Evans's small force on the Sudley road showed that, with reinforcement of Cocke's brigade at the ford below, McDowell's turning column could have been held in check until ours took Centreville. The fact is that the roaring guns and the despairing cry for help from Centreville would have stampeded McDowell. General Johnston said the news from our left made their plan impracticable. I think it showed not only that it was practicable, but a dead sure thing if they had attempted to execute it. McDowell thought so too. I am not judging the Confederate generals by the lights that are now before me but by what their reports say was before them then. Again quoting Alexander: As he rode out in the morning, Beauregard directed me to go with a courier to the Wicoxen signal station and remain in general observation of the field, sending messages of all I could discover. I went reluctantly as the opportunity seemed very slight of rendering any service. There were but two signal stations on our line of battle - one in rear of McLean's Ford and one near Van Pelt's house on a bluff a few hundred yards to the left and rear of Stone Bridge. Beyond the latter the broad, level valley of Bull Run for some miles with its fields and pastures as seen through the glass was foreshortened into a narrow band of green. While watching the flag of this station with a good glass, when I had been there about half an hour, the sun being in the east behind me, my eye was caught by a glitter in this narrow band of green. I recognized it at once as the reflection of the morning sun from a brass field piece. Closer scrutiny soon revealed the glittering of bayonets and masked barrels. It was about 8.45 A.M., and I had discovered McDowell's turning column the head of which at this hour was just arriving at Sudley, eight miles away. I appreciated how much it might mean and thought it best to give Evans immediate notice, even before sending word to Beauregard. So I signalled Evans quickly, "Look out for your left, you are turned." Evans afterwards told me that a picket, which he had at Sudley, being driven in by the enemy's advanced guard, had sent a courier, and the two couriers, one with my signal message and one with the report of the picket, reached him together. The simultaneous reports from different sources impressed him, and he acted at once with sound judgment. He left four companies of his command to watch the bridge and the enemy in his front - Tyler and his three brigades. With the remainder of his force (six companies of the 4th S. C. and Wheat's La. Battalion) he marched to oppose and delay the turning column, at the same time notifying Cocke, next on his right, of his movement. . . . Having sent Evans notice of his danger, I next wrote to Beauregard as follows: "I see a body of troops crossing Bull Run about two miles above the Stone Bridge The head of the column is in the woods on this side. The rear of the column is in the woods on the other side. About half a mile of its length is visible in the open ground between. I can see both infantry and artillery." This message reached Beauregard in a few minutes. Johnston's report said: About 8 o'clock General Beauregard and I placed ourselves on a commanding hill in rear of Gen Bonham's left (Mitchell's Ford). Near nine o'clock t
Colonel John "The Gray Ghost" Mosby (CSA)'s Timeline
December 6, 1833
Edgmont, Powhatan Co, VA
December 30, 1857
May 10, 1859
October 1, 1860
December 6, 1863
September 19, 1866
Warrenton, Fauquier, Virginia
July 20, 1869
Warrenton, Fauquier, Virginia
May 10, 1871
August 27, 1873
Warrenton, Fauquier, VA