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stone bridge over Bull run. The brigades of Longstreet,
from the center southward, were those of Wilcox, Hood,
Kemper and D. R. Jones. R. H. Anderson was in
reserve, with his 6,000 men, on the turnpike to the rear.
Lee then had about 50,000 men at command in his two
far-reaching wings, the great jaws of the war monster,

* "After the arrival of Longstreet the enemy charged his position
and began to concentrate opposite Jackson's left. . . . Colonel
Walton placed a part of his artillery upon a commanding position
between the lines of Generals Jackson and Longstreet by order of
the latter, and engaged the enemy vigorously for several hours.
Soon afterward General Stuart reported the approach of a large
force from the direction of Bristoe Station, threatening Longstreet's
right. The brigades under General Wilcox were sent to reinforce
General Jones [Longstreet's right], but no serious attack was made.
. . . While the battle was raging on Jackson's left General Long-
street ordered Hood and Evans to advance, but before the order
could be obeyed Hood was himself attacked, . . . " (Report of
Gen. R. E. Lee.)


into which the army of Pope was preparing to move,
unconscious of the fate that awaited it when these jaws
should close and crush it in defeat.

Noticing that the nearby skirmishers of the previous
day had disappeared, Pope again rashly concluded that
the Confederate army had been defeated, by his assaults
of the day before, and was now in full retreat, seeking
safety behind the Bull Run mountains; therefore he
ordered a prompt pursuit along the Warrenton road to
Gainesville, and then toward the Thoroughfare gap. He
had brought up Porter's corps, which had been holding
the line of Dawkin's branch on the road from Manassas
Junction to Gainesville, and placed it in his center ; so it
fell to that brave and skillful officer to lead in the sup-
posed pursuit. Recalling Cold Harbor, Porter did not
believe, as Pope did, that Lee and Jackson had given up
the contest and were retreating, so he formed his men
into a triple line of battle, across the turnpike, and
placed King's division to support his right and Reynolds'
his left; in his rear followed Sigel's corps and half of
Reno's. These dispositions were made in the dense for-
est along the turnpike and to the east of the Sudley road,
and thence Porter was ready to advance on Lee's center.

Pope, having had, on the previous day, bitter experi-
ence of the sharp temper of Jackson's left, massed the
whole of Heintzelman's and the half of each of the corps
of McDowell and Reno, ready to throw them against
Jackson with the advance of Porter. In the morning,
Heintzelman moved against A. P. Hill with Ricketts'
division, but soon drew back from the hot reception he
met. The skirmishers of Reynolds met the same fate,
from S. D. Lee's guns, when they advanced to feel Lee's
center. It was three in the afternoon when Pope was
good and ready, with his entire armj'- in hand, for his grand
assault. The signal was given and Porter's men rushed
forward, wheeling on their left, and struck the Stonewall
brigade, now in command of Starke, and Lawton's divi-
sion. The contest was as fierce and earnest as brave men
could make it; the lines, for some minutes, were almost
within touch, and the dead and dying on both sides
strewed the ground. As Porter closed in, across the
open field, his left was exposed to S. D. Lee's masked
batteries, which now swept through his lines their shot
and shell and aided to stagger Porter's attack, while Long-


Street opened with three batteries upon his left rear.
Thus unexpectedly received, Porter's men fled in routed
masses, followed by the men of Jackson's old division,
from his right, who leaped across their defenses and
chased them in hot pursuit. The fierce attacks of Pope
on Jackson's left had, in the meantime, been also

Lee now saw that the supreme moment for action had
come, and he ordered Longstreet to close in upon the
Federal left ; but his veteran soldiery, now well trained in
the art of war, had at the same moment reached the
same conclusion, and without waiting for the word of
command, they fairly leaped forward, swinging on their
left, and, with Lee leading in person in the midst of them,
charged grandly to the front, responding to the move-
ment of all of Jackson's men on the left and hurrying on
the rout of the Federal army. * The Confederate batter-
ies also joined in the rushing charge and were abreast of
their infantry comrades all along the lines, where there
was opportunity for giving parting shots to the retreating
Federals. Stuart, on the right, on the old Alexandria
road, heard the well-known shouts of Confederate pursuit,
and rushed his brigades and batteries far in advance
against the Federal left. Warren's attempt to stem the
tide, just east of Groveton, cost him dearly. Schenck,
with German tenacity, hung on to the Bald hill, on the
Federal left, but the victory-compelling Confederates
swarmed upon his flank and forced him from the summit.
Hood swept the line of the turnpike to the east of the
Stone house. Pope's reserves, on the Henry hill, the
old plateau which was the center of the fierce fighting of
the year before, resisted the tide of victory, for a time,
on his left, until Jackson closed down with his left, upon
the retreating 'Federals, toward the stone bridge, until
darkness put an end to his advance, and gave Pope's
demoralized brigades an opportunity to follow the crowd
of fugitives that, long before the sun went down, crowded
over that bridge, seeking safety behind Franklin's corps,
then advancing from Alexandria, and the earthworks at
Centreville. This day's advance and retreat cost Pope
some 20,000 of his brave men, in killed, wounded and

•"General Longstreet, anticipating the order for a general ad-
vance, now threw his whole command against the Federal center
and left." (Report of Gen. R. E. Lee.)


missing. Since Jackson met him at Cedar run, he had
lost 30,000 men, 30 pieces of artillery, and military stores
and small-arms worth millions in value and many thou-
sands in number. This great victory of Groveton
Heights cost Lee 8,000 men, mostly in Jackson's com-
mand, including many of his noblest and bravest ofificers.*
A deluge of rain followed the great battle, such as had
followed most of those that had preceded it ; but through
that, and the mud that followed it, Stuart rode in the
early morning of Sunday, August 31st, across Bull run
to learn what had become of Pope. He found the rein-
forcements, that had the day before come up from Wash-
ington, holding the formidable intrenchments at Centre-
ville bristling with artillery. Informed of this delay in
Pope's retreat, Lee ordered Jackson, who was on his left
and nearest Centreville, to cross Bull run and march to
the Little River turnpike, which enters the Alexandria
road near Fairfax Court House, turn Pope's right and
cut off his retreat to Washington. The rain and mud
made the march a difficult one for Jackson's weary and
battle worn surviving veterans; but they, instinctively,
divined their important mission and eagerly followed
their great leader. When Pope learned of Jackson's new
flanking movement, although he had in hand 20,000 fresh
troops who had not fired a gun, he hastened in retreat to
Fairfax Court House, after placing Reno's corps across
the two converging turnpikes covering the approaches to
Fairfax Court House from Centreville and Chantilly,
with orders to keep back the irrepressible Confederates.
Jackson, by continuing his march well into the night,
took position across the Little River turnpike, at Ox
hill, in front of Chantilly. In the midst of a terrific
storm of driving rain, with almost continuous thunder
and lightning, on Monday, September ist, he met and
repulsed a Federal advance under Reno, ordering the
use of bayonets when informed that the rain-soaked
ammunition could not be used. Heintzelman supported

*The losses of Longstreet's corps, August 23-30, were reported
as 663 killed, 4,016 wounded, and 46 missing; total, 4,725. Jackson
reported his losses from the Rappahannock to the Potomac, at 805
kiUed, 3,547 wounded, and 35 missing; total, 4,387. The Federal
loss, in the campaign from the Rappahannock to the Potomac, has
been stated by Northern authority, approximately, at 1,747 killed,
8,452 wounded, and 4,263 captured or missing; total, 14,462.


Reno, but Jackson's well-directed blows forced them
both back until darkness ended the contest, when they
followed Pope's line of retreat to within the fortifications
of the Federal city, where his brief career, of less than
two months' duration, as commander of the army of Vir-
ginia, came to an inglorious end, and McClellan again
took charge to reorganize the army of the Potomac from
the broken Federal forces there gathered.

Longstreet followed Jackson to Chantilly, but did not
reach there in time to take part in the battle. Lee
paused in his onward march, at this noble "Chantilly"
mansion of one of his relatives, to give his men much-
needed rest and bring forward the supply trains which
his rapid marches had left far in the rear. In four short
months the army of Northern Virginia had, under his
leadership, with its 80,000 men, met and driven Banks,
Fremont, McDowell, McClellan and Pope, with their
200,000 veteran troops, from far within the bounds of
Virginia, in disastrous retreat, to beyond its borders,
with the exception of a small body that still held the line
of the Baltimore & Ohio, in the lower Valley, and the
remnant that had found refuge within the fortifications
of Washington, on the Virginia side of the Potomac.



RESTING at Chantilly, with every reason to be well
content with what he had accomplished during the
three months that he had personally commanded
the army of Northern Virginia, and anxious to
keep the Federal invaders from the soil of Virginia, Lee,
on the 3d of September, suggested to President Davis
that now was "the most propitious time since the com-
mencement of the war for the Confederate army to enter
Maryland;" but he would not conceal the condition of
that army after the fierce contests it had just passed
through, so he continued :

The army is not properly equipped for an invasion of an enemy's
country. It lacks much of the material of war, is feeble in trans-
portation, the animals being much reduced; the men are poorly pro-
vided with clothes, and in thousands of instances are destitute of
shoes. Still we cannot afford to be idle, and though weaker than
our opponents in men and military equipments, must endeavor to
harass if we cannot destroy them. I am aware that the movement
is attended with much risk, yet I do not consider success impossible,
and shall endeavor to guard it from loss. As long as the army of
the enemy is employed on this frontier, I have no fears for the safety
of Richmond, yet I earnestly recommend that advantage be taken
of this period of comparative safety to place its defenses, both by
land and water, in the most perfect condition.

Without waiting to hear from President Davis, after
having been joined by the divisions of D. H. Hill and
McLaws, Hampton's cavalry and several batteries, which
he had ordered forward from Richmond, Lee issued orders
September 2d, for his army to march to the vicinity of
Leesburg, but by way of Dranesville, as if threatening
Washington, in order to bring his men into the more
inviting Piedmont country of the county of Loudoun,
abounding in grain and cattle, and to place it where he
could easily cross the Potomac, if his Maryland campaign
were not forbidden by the Confederate government. In
writing to President Davis again, on the 4th, he expressed
no fears as to the fighting ability of his army, but was
only uneasy about his "supplies of ammunition and sub-
sistence. "



Jackson led the advance, Lee still marching left in
front, giving the stridtest of orders in reference to the
marching and resting of his men, that they might be kept
closed up, ready for meeting any attack from toward
Washington, in passing, and wearied as little as possible
by the dusty roads and the intense heat that had fol-
lowed the preceding storms. He put a major-general, in
command of a division, under arrest, while on the march,
for failing to halt his command at the minute ordered, to
show his officers that his orders must be promptly and
thoroughly obeyed.

At Leesburg, the army was stripped of all superfluous
transportation, broken down horses, and wagons and
batteries not supplied with good horses, were left behind,
and everj^hing was put in the best possible condition cir-
cumstances would permit, for the campaign, under new
conditions of the field of action, that was about to begin.
' The glorious autumn days of the Southland had come,
when, on the 5 th day of September, to the martial
strains of "Maryland, My Maryland" from every band
in the army, and with his men cheering and shouting
with delight, Jackson forded the Potomac at Edwards'
ferry, where the river was broad but shallow, near the
scene of Evans' victory over the Federals in the previous
October, and where Wayne had crossed his Pennsylvania
brigade in marching to the field of Yorktown in 1781.
By the 7th of the month, Lee had concentrated the most
of his army in the vicinity of Frederick City, in a land
teeming with abundance. He had issued the most strin-
gent orders, forbidding depredations on private property
and requiring his quartermasters to purchase and pay for
supplies for his army. On the 8th he issued a stirring
proclamation, calling upon the men of Maryland to join
the men of his command, gathered within their borders
from their sister Southern States; appealing to their
manhood to avail themselves of this opportunity to reas-
sert their sovereign rights and join in securing the inde-
pendence of the South, assuring them that his army
had only come to aid them in throwing off a foreign yoke
and to enable them ' ' again to enjoy the inalienable
rights of freemen and restore independence and sov-
ereignty to their State. ' ' In closing he said :

This, citizens of Maryland, is our mission, so far as you are con-
cerned. No constraint upon your free will is intended ; no intimida-


tion will be allowed within the limits of this army at least. Mary-
landers shall once more enjoy their ancient freedom of thought and
speech. We know no enemies among you, and will protect all, o£
every opinion. It is for you to decide your destiny freely and with-
out constraint. This army will respect your choice, whatever it may
be ; and while the Southern people will rejoice to welcome you to
your natural position among them, they will only welcome you
when you come of your own free will.

This magnanimous declaration fell upon cold ears, for
the Piedmont region, in which Frederick is situated, con-
tained few sympathizers with the Confederate cause.
The majority of its people were contented and well-to-do
owners of small farms, most of them of German descent,
whose affiliations were more with Pennsylvania to the
north than with Virginia to the south of them. It would
have been quite different had Lee arrived among the
men of Midland or Tidewater Maryland ; but he had no
time to wait on political action, for McClellan had gath-
ered up full 90,000 men, veterans and new recruits, and,
without orders from the authorities at Washington, was
marching to again attack Lee. This made it important
for him to at once turn his attention to military affairs.
The alarm that followed the retreat of Pope to Washing-
ton had somewhat subsided, but there was no telling
what Lee, Jackson and Stuart might attempt to do, and
so Banks was held within the. fortifications of the Federal
city, with 75,000 men, to guard against an emergency.
McClellan, resting his right on the Baltimore & Ohio and
his left on the Potomac, advanced his lines, slowly and
cautiously, toward the banks of the Monocacy, along which
he had been informed Lee's army was encamped.

Lee desired to draw McClellan further from his base of
supplies than the valley of the Monocacy ; preferred to
contend with him beyond the Blue ridge (here called the
South mountain), in the vicinity of Hagerstown, if he
could draw him that far away, where, at the same time,
he could threaten an invasion of Pennsylvania, which
was one of the cherished designs of Stonewall Jackson.
The one obstacle to delay this movement was the Federal
garrison, of some 12,000 men, holding Harper's Ferry,
with outposts at Martinsburg and other points on the Balti-
more & Ohio. Lee had ordered Loring, in the Kanawha
valley, to move his force to Winchester, which place he
had selected as the rendezvous for his stragglers and men
from hospitals, and for a depot of supplies. This made



it necessary for him to first clear out the Federal garri-
son at Harper's Ferry and establish connection with Win-
chester before he could engage in a contest with McClel-
lan west of the Blue ridge or make an offensive movement
into 'Pennsylvania. After a conference with Jackson, at
Frederick City, he issued a general order on the 9th of
September, for the movements of his troops, for the two-
fold purpose of capturing the Federal stronghold at Har-
per's Ferry and for the concentration of his army in the
vicinity of Hagerstown.

Jackson was perfectly familiar with the topographical
conditions at Harper's Ferry, and knew, from his late
experience in threatening but not capturing that place,
the strategic and tactic movements that would be neces-
sary to successfully invest and secure possession of it.
Therefore, with good reason, Lee had taken Jackson into
his councils and provided to put in his hands the execu-
tion of the plan of campaign decided on.

Harper's Ferry, located in the fork at the junction of
the Shenandoah and the Potomac, just above where the
united rivers break through the Blue ridge, cannot be
held and defended unless Loudoun heights on the south,,
across the Shenandoah, the northeastern end of the
double Blue ridge, and Maryland heights, across the
Potomac, the southwestern end of the Blue ridge in
Maryland, are both occupied and defended at the same
time; for each of these positions overlooks and thor-
oughly commands the fronts and flanks of the defenses
of Harper's Ferry proper. The Federals had not occu-
pied Loudoun heights, but they had Maryland heights,
with formidable batteries placed to command the ap-
proaches to Harper's Ferry from Virginia, and with
defensive works to protect in the rear from Maryland.

The instructions of Lee's order were, that Jackson
should march westward in the early morning of Septem-
ber loth, along the great National road leading from
Frederick across the Blue ridge (South mountain) to
Boonsboro, with his fourteen brigades, then take the
macadam road leading to Williamsport, on the Potomac,
and there, having turned the flank of the Federal out-
post at Martinsburg, to cross the Potomac, break the Fed-
eral line of communication from the west by the Balti-
more & Ohio railroad, then move upon the garrison at
Martinsburg, and either capture or drive it in toward


Harper's Ferry, following in pursuit and investing that
place with his left resting on the Potomac and his right
on the Shenandoah. Walker's division, which had been
advanced from Frederick along the line of the Baltimore
& Ohio toward Harper's Ferry, was to cross the Potomac
at Cheek's ford, and occupy Loudoun heights, connecting
with Jackson's right and thus extending the investment
from the Shenandoah to the Potomac below Harper's
Ferry. Longstreet's command was to follow Jackson
across the Blue ridge and halt at Boonsboro, in the Great
valley, at the western foot of the mountain. McLaws,
with his own and Anderson's division, was to follow
Longstreet as far as Middletown, in the Catoctin valley,
and there turn to the southwest, by roads leading toward
Harper's Ferry, and from the rear secure possession of
Maryland heights, resting his left on the Potomac below
Harper's Ferry, opposite Walker's right, and his right on
the same river above Harper's Ferry, opposite Jackson's
left, thus completing the circle of investment. D. H. Hill
was to bring up the rear on the National road, preceded
by the ordnance and supply trains and reserve artillery,
at the same time guarding the rear of both McLaws and
Longstreet. Stuart, after furnishing squadrons of cav-
alry to Jackson, Longstreet and McLaws, was to cover
the entire rear of the army with the main body of his

The conception of this plan of offensive operations and
providing for defensive ones, was every way worthy of
the famous commander of the army of Northern Virginia,
and he felt confident of success because he had intrusted
its execution to able hands. The prompt Jackson, always
eager for the fray, and now burning with desire to cap-
ture the stronghold that had barred his way to Washing-
ton the last of the preceding May, marched at 3 in
the morning of the loth; bivouacked on the line of the
Baltimore & Ohio, across the Potomac, at Williamsport,
on the evening of the nth; captured Martinsburg on the
morning of the 12th; by noon of the 13th was in front
of Harper's Ferry, and on that day completed his portion
of its investment. Walker crossed the Potomac at Point
of Rocks, after finding Cheek's ford covered by the
enemy's artillery from the high bluffs east of the Monoc-
acy, on the loth, but did not reach the foot of the Blue
ridge until the 13th, or complete his portion of the invest-


ment until Sunday, the 14th, on the morning of which he
put five guns in position on Loudoun heights, supported
by two regiments of infantry, after placing the larger
part of his force so as to command the road from Har-
per's Ferry down the Virginia side of the Potomac, to pre-
vent a Federal retreat in that direction. McLaws, with
ten infantry brigades in his command, crossed the South
mountain, by the Brownsville gap, into the Pleasant valley,
on the nth, and by the evening of the 13th, after a spir-
ited contest with the force defending Maryland heights,
secured possession of that formidable position and com-
pleted the investment of Harper's Ferry. These disposi-
tions not only closed all avenues of escape, but sealed the
fate of the beleaguered town whenever Jackson, the com-
mander of the gathered forces, should order his circle of
fire to pour down upon it. To further guard his right on
the Shenandoah, he had sent a portion of his own imme-
diate command across that river and placed it, with artil-
lery, on a bluffy shoulder of Loudoun heights, below the
point held by Walker's guns; so that all things were now
ready for assaulting and capturing Harper's Ferry on
the 14th, except that McLaws was delayed by the neces-
sity for constructing a road by which to bring his artillery
from the Pleasant valley to the top of Maryland heights.

It is now important to return to the commands of Long-
street and D. H. Hill and recount what had happened to
General Lee while the investment of Harper's Ferry was
being completed. Marching with Longstreet on the loth,
Lee crossed the South mountain to Boonsboro, where,
learning that a Federal force was threatening Hagers-
town from the direction of Harrisburg, he proceeded to
that point, and there placed Longstreet in bivouac on the
evening of the nth, on which day D. H. Hill crossed the
South mountain, but still holding its crest with his rear,
and encamped at Boonsboro ; Stuart still held back Mc-
Clellan's advance in the Piedmont country, althoiigh the
latter was pressing him with unusual and unaccountable

Writing to President Davis, on the 12th, Lee urged the
necessity for food and clothing for his army. On the
13th he anxiously awaited news from Walker and Mc-
Laws, as they were not yet closed in on Jackson in the
investment of Harper's Ferry. To this anxiety was
added another when he reflected on the depleted condi-


tion of his army, and as he wrote to the President, he
said: "Our ranks are very much diminished — I fear
from a third to one-half of the original numbers. ' ' Still

Online LibraryClement Anselm EvansConfederate military history; a library of Confederate States history → online text (page 33 of 153)