Clement Anselm Evans.

Confederate military history; a library of Confederate States history online

. (page 8 of 153)
Online LibraryClement Anselm EvansConfederate military history; a library of Confederate States history → online text (page 8 of 153)
Font size
QR-code for this ebook


way of Leesburg, was under the enemy's guns on the
north side of the river ; and if McClellan should come in
by the Northwestern turnpike to Winchester, he would
be completely in the rear of Johnston's army. For these
reasons it was manifest that Winchester, and not Har-
per's Ferry, was the point to occupy, and he expressed
these views in several letters in May and June to the
authorities at Richmond, who in reply dissented from his
opinions, and held the maintenance of the existing
arrangements necessary for retaining command of the
valley and communication with Maryland. Notwith-



CONFEDERATE MILITARY HISTORY. 73

standing, Jolinstoa decided that he would hold Harper's
Ferry only until his command was needed elsewhere in
consequence of movements of the enemy, and continued
to urge the change of location of his command. He also
conferred with Beauregard (who took command at
Manassas Junction, opposing McDowell's advance, a
week after Johnston took command at Harper's Ferry),
and he, because of their mutual dependence for aid, con-
curred in Johnston's views.

During this period Stuart and Ashby with their cav-
alry held Johnston's front along the Potomac from the
Point of Rocks entirely across the Shenandoah valley to
within the North mountains, as they had done for Jack-
son. Johnston had cartridge boxes, belts and cartridges
manufactured in the neighboring towns and villages, and
smuggled in percussion caps, in small quantities, from
Baltimore. At Captain Pendleton's suggestion, caissons
were constructed by fixing roughly-made ammunition
chests on the running gear of farm wagons. Horses and
harness were collected for the artillery, and horses and
wagons for field transportation, from the surrounding
country ; and the removal of machinery from the armory
to Richmond was continued. The two heavy guns that
Jackson had placed in battery west of the village, John-
ston mounted on Furnace ridge, the extension of Bolivar
heights to the Potomac, to command the approach by
railway from the west. During the first week in June
the Seventh and Eighth Georgia and the Second Ten-
nessee regiments reached Harper's Ferry.

On June loth. Col. Lew Wallace, with the Eleventh
Indiana, occupied Cumberland, Md., and on the 15th
Patterson advanced his troops to Hagerstown from
Chambersburg, Pa., where he had been collecting, organ-
izing and instructing them for some days. From the
information he could gather, Johnston concluded that
Patterson had about 18,000 men, in twenty-f our regiments
of infantry, and several companies of artillery and cavalry.
Johnston had at that time at Harper's Ferry about 7,000
men of all arms. At sunrise, June 13th, Johnston was
advised, from Winchester, that 2,000 Federal troops, sup-
ppsed to be the advance guard of McClellan's army, had
marched into Romney, 43 miles west of Winchester by
turnpike. As this information came from most relia-
bly sources, Johnston at once sent Col. A. P. Hill, with



"74 CONFEDERATE MILITARY HISTORY.

his Thirteenth Virginia, regiment, and Col. S. B. Gib-
bons, with his Tenth Virginia, by special train to Win-
chester. Colonel Hill, in command, was instructed to
also take Colonel Vaughn's Third Tennessee regiment,
which had just reached Winchester, as part of his detach-
ment, move toward Romney without delay, and do the
best he could to retard the progress of the Federal troops
toward the Shenandoah valley.

When Patterson ordered Lew Wallace to occupy Cum-
berland with the Eleventh Indiana, June loth, he warned
him to be very cautious, but the ambitious colonel, learn-
ing that a considerable Confederate force was quartered
at Romney, Hampshire county, in the South Branch val-
ley, left Cumberland at lo p. m. of the 12th, with eight
companies of infantry, about 500 in number, and went
by rail 21 miles southwest to New Creek (Keyser) station
of the Baltimore & Ohio. On the morning of the 13th,
about 4 a. m. , he started to march across the mountains,
by a rough country road, hoping to reach Romney, 23
miles distant, by about 8 a. m. When within a mile and a
half of the town, coming from the west from Mechanics-
burg, his advance was fired upon by a mounted picket,
which fell back and gave the alarm, although the camp
had an hour's previous notice of his coming. Pushing
forward to the bridge over the South Branch, he saw the
little band of Confederates drawn up on the bluff in front
of the town, supporting a battery of two guns which
commanded the road by which he must approach. Wal-
lace's advance guard crossed the bridge on a run, and
-came under a warm fire from the windows of a large brick
house not far to the right, which continued for several
minutes, during which a second company crossed the
bridge, and following up a ravine got into a position from
which it drove the Confederates from the house and into
the mountain back of it. Wallace then pushed a flanking
party up a hill to the right, but before these men got
within rifle range, the Confederates limbered up their
guns and retreated over the bluff. The Federals at once
■entered, taking possession of empty houses and a lot of
negroes, and searching for arms, and after a short stay
returned to Cumberland, making a forced march. It was
this movement that misled Johnston and induced him to
send Hill to Romney.

The advance of Patterson to Hagerstown, within a day's



CONFEDERATE MILITARY HISTORY. 75

-match of Martinsburg, and the reported Federal advance
toward Romney, convinced Johnston that the time had
come to abandon Harper's Ferry and put his army in a
defensive or active offensive position; so during the 13th
and 14th the heavy baggage of the troops (Johnston says
nearly every private soldier had a trunk), the property of
the quartermaster and commissary departments, and the
remaining machinery of the armory were sent by rail to
Winchester, and the bridges over the Potomac, from the
Point of Rocks to Shepherdstown, were destroyed. The
machinery from the armory was sent forward, by wagons,
from Winchester to Strasburg, and thence by the Manas-
sas Gap railroad to Richmond.

The Confederates evacuated Harper's Ferry on the
morning of the 15th, moved out on the Berry ville road
and bivouacked three or four miles beyond Charlestown.
The next morning, before the resumption of the march,
the cavalry outposts reported that the advance of Patter-
son's army had crossed the Potomac below Williamsport
and was marching on Martinsburg. Johnston at once
decided to oppose this advance toward Winchester by
marching across the country to Bunker Hill, midway on
■ the turnpike between Martinsburg and Winchester, and
by thus opposing Patterson prevent his anticipated junc-
tion with McClellan. While waiting for a guide, he re-
ceived a letter from Cooper, dated June 13th, giving him
permission to abandon Harper's Ferry and retire toward
Winchester, and, if not sustained by the people of the
valley so that he could turn on the enemy before reach-
ing Winchester, to continue to retire to the Manassas Gap
road; that it was hoped he could make an effective
stand, even against superior forces, in some of the mount-
ain passes ; but if he was forced so far as to make a junc-
tion with Beauregard, he would leave the enemy free to
occupy the valley of Virginia and move on the rear of
Manassas Junction.

Johnston broke camp at 9 a. m., June i6th, and march-
ing through Smithfield, reached Bunker Hill in the after-
noon and bivouacked on Mill creek, the full-flowing
branch of the Opequan running through that village from
the west, where armies so often encamped during
the subsequent years of the war. Next morning the
troops were advanced toward Martinsburg, to high ground
favorable for battle, to await the approach of the Federal



76 CONFEDERATE MILITARY HISTORY.

army. About noon, information came that Patterson
had recrossed the Potomac, because, it was supposed, of
Johnston's movement, but really because Wallace, at
Cumberland, had reported himself hard pressed by Hill's
move on Romney, and Patterson ordered five regiments
of infantry and cavalry and artillery up the Potomac to
his support. Johnston then followed out his original
intention and marched toward Winchester, going into
camp some 3 miles east of the town, on the Martins-
burg road, but replacing his cavalry in observation along-
the Potomac, under Colonel Stuart, who, as Johnston
says, "had already won its full confidence and mine."

Mansfield, in command at Washington, notified Colonel
Stone, on the Potomac line, that the Confederates were
evacuating Harper's Ferry and advised him to watch the
lower Potomac fords, as though he feared Johnston might
advance on Washington. On the i6th he informed Stone
that the large force reported at Manassas Junction was
probably that of Johnston from Harper's Ferry. In
view of the demonstrations in front of Washington, Scott,
on the 18th, thought of having Patterson march from
Hagerstown to Frederick and join Stone in a movement
down the Potomac, from Leesburg, to meet one by Mc-
Dowell moving up the river.

After reaching Romney, Col. A. P. Hill, resenting-
Wallace's raid, sent Col. J. C. Vaughn with two compa-
nies of his Tennesseeans and two of the Thirteenth Vir-
ginia to New Creek depot by the same back road Wallace
used, to attack a Federal force there located. Vaughn
found the enemy well posted on the north bank of the
Potomac near the railroad bridge, but with no pickets
out. After reconnoitering he gave orders, at 5 a. m. of
the 19th, to charge the position. The order was gallantly
and enthusiastically executed, but as soon as his men
came in sight of the enemy, the latter broke and fled in
all directions, firing a few random shots and wounding
one of Vaughn's men. They did not fire their two-
pieces of artillery, which were captured loaded but
spiked. These and the enemy's colors were brought
away, and the railroad bridge over New creek was
burned. Vaughn made a march of 36 miles between
8 p. m. of the i8th and noon of the 19th, when he returned
to his camp. Hill commended the handsome manner in
which his orders had been executed, and Johnston called



CONFEDERATE MILITARY HISTORY. 77

attention to "the difEerence it exhibited between the
spirit of our troops and that of those of the United
States."

Assured that no considerable body of Federal troops
was approaching from the west, Hill's detachment was
called back to Winchester. Some rough gunstocks hav-
ing been left at Harper's Feriry, Lieut. -Col. G. H. Steuart
was sent, with his Maryland battalion, to bring these
away, which he did, leaving nothing there worth re-
moving. Jackson's brigade was left near Martinsburg, in
supporting distance of the cavalry along the Potomac.

While Johnston was tarrying at Winchester, President
Davis wrote him that, while governed by circumstances,
he must bear in mind that the general purpose of his
command was to resist invasion and repel the invaders
whenever it could be done ; that reinforcements had been
steadily sent forward to Manassas Junction, and that
others would be sent to that place and to him as the cur-
rent of events might determine on which line to advance ;
that a large supply of ammunition had been sent him on
the 19th, and more would be sent the next day; that the
movements of the enemy indicated the importance at-
tached to the valley of Virginia, and to the power he
would acquire if he could advance as far as Staunton, cut
off communication with the West and South, and operate
on the flank and rear of Beauregard's army, at the same
time provisioning his own army from the valley of the
Shenandoah, and by so doing dispensing with a long line
of transportation from Pennsylvania; therefore, every-
thing should be destroyed that would facilitate such a
movement through the valley.

In the meantime, the army of the Shenandoah was
strengthened by the arrival of more regular army oificers
and of regiments from different States, and Johnston,
early in July, proceeded to organize four brigades of
infantry : The First, a Virginia brigade, under Col. T. J.
Jackson, composed of the Second, Fourth, Fifth and
Twenty-seventh Virginia regiments and Pendleton's
Rockbridge artillery; the Second, under Col. F. S. Bar-
tow, composed of the Seventh, Eighth and Ninth Geor-
gia regiments, Duncan's dnd Pope's Kentucky battalions,
and Alburtis' Virginia battery; the Third, under Brig.-
Gen. B. E. Bee, composed of the Fourth Alabama, Sec-
ond and Eleventh Mississippi, First Tennessee, and Imbo-



78 CONFEDERATE MILITARY HISTORY.

den's Virginia battery; the Fourth, under Col. Arnold
Elzey, composed of the First Maryland battalion, Third
Tennessee, Tenth and Thirteenth Virginia, and Grove's
battery, leaving the First Virginia cavalry and the
Thirty-third Virginia infantry unbrigaded. These com-
mands numbered, on June 30, 1861, 10,654 present for
duty, of which 10,010 were infantry, 334 cavalry and
278 artillery.

Learning that Patterson was again preparing to cross
the Potomac, Jackson was sent with his brigade to the
vicinity of Martinsburg to support the cavalry, and at the
same time protect and aid an agent of the government
who was sent to select and remove locomotives from the
Baltimore & Ohio railroad shops at Martinsburg, hauling,
them with horses along the turnpike through Winchester
to the Manassas Gap railroad at Strasburg. Jackson was.
also instructed to destroy all Baltimore & Ohio .rolling
stock that could not be brought away. On June 2 2d,
President Davis wrote General Johnston that if the enemy
had withdrawn from his front to make an attack east of
the Blue ridge, they would probably attempt to advance
from Leesburg to seize the Manassas Gap railroad and
turn Beauregard's left, and if he had timely information
of this, he might make a flank attack through the passes
of the Blue ridge, and in conjunction with Beauregard,
achieve a glorious and beneficial victory.

During this waiting time some 2,500 of the militia of
Frederick, Shenandoah and adjacent counties, were
assembled at Winchester, under Brigadier-Generals
Carson and Meem. To encourage these and add to their
efficiency. Major Whiting, of the engineers, was directed,
to throw up some light defensive works, on the most
commanding positions northeast of the town, and have
some heavy guns, found in Winchester, mounted there.

Maj.-Gen. Robert Patterson, with the Federal army
which he had concentrated, left Hagerstown June 30th,
with the intention of invading Virginia in two columns, -
one crossing the Potomac at Dam No. 4, and the other at
Williamsport, to converge at Hainesville, near which, at ^
Camp Stephens, was encamped Jackson's brigade. Find-
ing the fording difficult at Dam No. 4, his whole force
crossed the Potomac at Williamsport, July 2d, and ad-
vanced on the main road toward Martinsburg, detaching |
Negley's brigade, a mile beyond the ford, to march by-



CONFEDERATE MILITARY HISTORY. 79-

way of Hedgesville and guard the right, coming into the
main road again at Hainesville. About 5 miles from the.
ford, Patterson's skirmishers became engaged with the Con-
federates, posted in a clump of trees, and soon with the.
main force in front, sheltered by fences, woods and houses.

From Darkesville, July 3d, Jackson made report con-
cerning this battle, his first engagement with the enemy.
At about 7 :3o a. m. of the 2d, Colonel Stuart informed'
him that the Federal troops had advanced to within 4j^
miles of Camp Stephens, and he promptly sent:
forward Colonel Harper's Fifth Virginia regiment and
Captain Pendleton's Rockbridge battery, and gave orders-
for moving baggage to the rear and advancing his other
regiments; that reaching the vicinity of Falling Waters,
he found the Federals in position, as indicated by Stuart,,
when he directed Harper to deploy two companies, under
Major Baylor, to the right of the road ; that the enemy
soon advanced, deployed and opened fire, when Harper's
skirmishers drove them back on their reserve ; that from
a house and bam, of which he had taken possession, an
apparently deadly fire was poured on the advancing foe
until his position was about being turned, when he
ordered Harper to gradually fall back; that the enemy
opened with artillery, to which Captain Pendleton replied,
with one of his guns, from a good position in the rear
with a solid shot which entirely cleared the road of the.
enemy crowding it in front. Satisfied that the enemy
were in force, Jackson, as Johnston had ordered, then fell
back, checking the enemy as they advanced through the-
fields and woods, in line as skirmishers and endeavoring
to outflank him, by deploying his men and by an occa-
sional shot from Pendleton's gun. Allen's and Preston's
regiments had also been advanced to support Harper if
necessary, and once Allen took position for that purpose,
but was not brought into action, as Jackson had already
accomplished the object of his movement.

Before Jackson's arrival on the field, Stuart, leaving Cap-
tain White with his company to watch on the main road and
fall back before the enemy, had moved forward, by a road
farther to the west, to turn Patterson's right flank, and, if
possible, capture -his advance. Informed of Stuart's-
intention,but fearing that he might be cut off, Jackson had
informed him by messenger, that he would make a stand
about a mile and a half in front of Martinsburg and wait.



80 CONFEDERATE MILITARY HISTORY.

for him ; but Stuart joined him soon after he had posted
Harper's regiment and a single gun, at Falling Waters.
Leaving Stuart in front of Martinsburg, Jackson fell back
to Big Spring, 2j^ miles the other side, where he en-
camped for the night, and the next day retired to Darkes-
ville. Patterson entered Martinsburg -at noon of
July 3d. ' "^

Stuart reported to Jackson the capture of a whole com-
pany of the Fifteenth Pennsylvania, with the exception
of the captain, after killing three ; that one of the enemy
was killed by Captain Carter's negro servant and one of
Captain Patrick's company; that the captured 49 of the
enemy were from the Fifteenth Pennsylvania, the First
Wisconsin and the Second United States cavalry. Jack-
son highly commended Stuart and his command, and
wrote-^of the former, ' ' He has exhibited those qualities
which are calculated to make him eminent in his arm of
the service." Jackson concluded his report with the
reasons which induced him to advance on the enemy.
They were: "A desire to capture him if his strength
was only a few hundred ; if he should appear in force, to
hold him in check until his baggage wagons could be
loaded and moved in column to the rear. ' '

Jackson's brigade, on the 30th of June, had 128 officers
and 2,043 men of the infantry, and 4 officers and 81
men of the artillery, present for duty. Stuart's cavalry
had 21 officers and 313 men. At that time, Patterson had
present for duty in his command, the department of
Pennsylvania, 14,344, of which 395 were cavalry, 258
artillery and 13,691 infantry. This force was composed
entirely of three months' men, under Lincoln's call for
75,000, with the exception of the Fourth Connecticut
infantry, four companies of United States cavalry, and
three of United States artillery.

In his account of "the affair at Falling Waters," as he
calls it, Johnston wrote, after describing Jackson's oper-
ations, that hearing of this attack, at sunset of the 2d, he
ordered the rest of his army forward, from the front of
Winchester, and met Jackson's brigade, retiring, at
Darkesville, about daybreak of the 3d ; that he there biv-
ouacked his whole army, in ordfer of "battle, expecting
the Federals to advance and attack, and waited four days,
in this expectation, supposing that Patterson had invaded
Virginia for that purpose ; but, as Patterson did not come



CONFEDERATE MILITARY HISTORY. 81

on, and being unwilling to attack superior numbers in a
town so defensible as Martinsburg, with its numerous
stone and brick buildings, he ordered his troops back to
Winchester, much to their disappointment, as they were
all eager to fight. Johnston's effective force at that time
was not quite 9,000 men of all arms. <

In a letter to General Cooper, from Darkesville, July 4,
1 86 1, transmitting the reports of Colonel Jackson and
Lieutenant-Colonel Stuart, General Johnston wrote:
"Each of these two officers has, since the commencement
of hostilities, been exercising the command correspond-
ing to the next grade above the commission he holds, and
proved himself fully competent to such command. I
therefore respectfully recommend that Colonel Jackson
be promoted without delay to the grade of brigadier-gen-
eral, and Lieutenant-Colonel Stuart to that of colonel."

Capt. W. N. Pendleton wrote, concerning the affair at
Falling Waters, that the enemy praised the Confederate
artillery firing. Pendleton says his orders for aim-
ing the gun were: "Steady, now; aim at the horses'
knees," which he considered the first important lesson
for making efficient artillerists.

>< Stuart's exploit at Falling Waters, which introduced
this young Scotch-Irish Virginia cavalryman as a wily
strategist and bold fighter, furnishes a good opportunity
for telling how he got into the Virginia army and more
about this exploit, as told by his biographer, Maj. H. B.
McClellan.

In March, 1861, Lieut. J. E. B. Stuart obtained a two
months' leave of absence from his regiment, the First
United States cavalry, then at Fort Lyon, Kan. , a portion
of which he spent with his family in St. Louis. After
three weeks of anxious waiting on Virginia's action, he
returned to Fort Riley, where he learned that Virginia
had adopted an ordinance of secession. As his leave had
not yet expired, he promptly removed his family to St
Louis, and himself took steamboat for Memphis, forward-
ing from Cairo, to the United States war department, his
resignation as an officer in the United States army, at
about the same time that he received notice that he had
been promoted to a captaincy in his regiment. He
reached Wytheville, Va. , the nearest railway station to
his old home in Patrick county, on the 7th of May, the
very day his resignation was accepted by the United

Va.6



82 CONFEDERATE MILITARY HISTORY.

States war department. Informed of this, he went at
once to Richmond, and offered his sword in defense of
Virginia, his native State, and on the loth was commis-
sioned lieutenant-colonel of infantry, in the Virginia
army, and ordered to report to Col. T. J. Jackson at
Harper's Ferry. On reporting for duty he was assigned
to the command of the cavalry, some 350 men, then in
the Shenandoah valley. With this small force, with the
skill, energy and activity that had already won him repu-
tation, he held, and efficiently watched, a front of nearly
100 miles along the Potomac, from east of the Blue ridge
entirely across the Shenandoah valley and nearly to the
Alleghany range, and duly reported every forward move-
ment of the enemy. His early discovery of Patterson's
move across the Potomac, at Williamsport, the ist of
July, enabled Johnston to send Jackson's brigade to the
assistance of the cavalry north of Martinsburg, and to
participate in the creditable affair at Falling Waters.
There he displayed the prompt courage for which he
afterward became famous, and converted threatened dis-
aster into victory, when, riding alone in advance of his
men, and emerging suddenly from a thick piece of
woods, he found himself confronting a body of Federal
infantry only separated from him by a fence. Quickly
comprehending the possibilities of the emergency, he un-
hesitatingly rode forward and ordered some of the Fed-
eral soldiers, who probably mistook him for one of their
own officers, as he was still dressed in his United States
uniform, to throw down the fence. This order was
promptly obeyed. He then ordered the whole party to
lay down their arms and surrender, on the peril of their
lives. Bewildered by this audacity and boldness, they
obeyed, when Stuart, filing them off through the gap in
the fence, soon had them surrounded by his troopers, his
prize proving to be 49 men, nearly an entire company of
the Fifteenth Pennsylvania volunteers, from the right of
Patterson's line of battle.

On the loth of July, President Davis wrote to Johnston
that he was trying, by every means at his command, to,
reinforce him ; that he expected to send off Colonel For-
ney's regiment the next morning, and others as fast as
railway transportation could be secured. On the 13th
he gave notice that another regiment, fully equipped,



Online LibraryClement Anselm EvansConfederate military history; a library of Confederate States history → online text (page 8 of 153)