Edward Alfred Pollard.

The first year of the war online

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594 & 596 BKOADWAY.

THE II. W^ '^K

" A-'Cr, J 5:'

R 1934

Entered according to Act of Congress, in the year 1863,


In the Clerk's Office of the District Court of the United States for the Southera

District of New York.


Stekeotvpf.ks and Elfxtrottpeks,

81, 83, and 8D Centie-isiieel,

New Yohk.

81, 83 4- 86 Cenlre-Strtct, N. Y.








THE K.W V.'»-.K

5B1401 A

R 1931

Entered according to act of Congress, in the year 1862,


In the Clerk's Office of the District Court of the Confederate States for the Eastern

District of Virginia.



It is scarcely necessary to state that the following pages
have been written withont any thing like literary ambition.
They have been composed by the author, with but little aid,
within the short period of three months, and in the midst of
exacting occupations in the editorial department of a daily

These explanations are not made to disarm criticism. Their
purpose is only to define the claim which the author's work
makes at the bar of public criticism. He does not pretend to
have written a brilliant or elaborate book ; but he does claim
to have composed, without seeking after literary ornaments, or
taxing his style with intellectual refinements, a compact, faith
ful, and independent popular narrative of the events of the
first year of the existing war.

The author acknowledges some assistance from Mr. B. IM.
DeWitt, in the collection of materials. He has but little other
of obligation to express, except to his publishers, Messrs. West
& Johnston, of Eichmond, to whom he would make a public
acknowledgment for their generous encouragement, liberality,
and enterprising endeavors, which have enabled him, under
many inauspicious circumstances, to complete his work.

Jiichmond, Virginia, J'uly, 1862.


The author, in presenting to the public a second edition of his work,
has taken occasion to correct some errors, to make material annotations,
and to add a supplementary chapter, tracing the progress and develop-
ments of the war from the concluding point of the first year of its his-
tory to the period of publication.

He desires to make his grateful acknowledgments for the favor with
which his work has already been received by the public ; for numerous
kind notices of the newspaper press, and for words of encouragement
spoken by many whom he is proud to call his friends. The success with
which his work has so far met, being unprecedented, he believes, in the
literary enterprises of the South, has surprised and gratified the author.
He protests, however, that, under any circumstances, he has but little
literary vanity to be inflated ; that he composed his work in haste, with
neither time nor purpose to polish his style, or to captivate the taste of
readers, and that he is content to ascribe the success of his book to the
fact that, though rudely written and imperfect in many particulars, it is,
as he believes, honest, fair, independent, and outspoken.

AVhile such has been the general character of the reception given his
book by the public, the author is sensible that some attacks have been
made upon it from malicious and disappointed sources, and that the
honest record which he has attempted of the truth of history, has been
encountered by many unjust, ignorant, and contemptible criticisms,
emanating mainly from favorites of the government and literary slatterns
in the Departments. The author has made no attempt to conciliate
either these creatures or their masters ; he is not in the habit of toady-
ing to great men, and courting such public whores as " official" news-
papers ; he is under no obligations to any man living to flatter him, to
tell lies, or to abate any thing from the honest convictions of his mind.
He proposed to write an independent history of some of the events of
the existing war. He is willing for his work to be judged by the strict-
est rule of truth ; he asks no favors for it, in point of accuracy ; he only
protests against a rule of criticism, which exalts paid panegyric above
honest truth, and reduces the level of the historian to that of the scrubs
and scribblers who write poetry and puffs in newspaper corners.


The flatterer's idea of the history of the present war would no douht
be to plaster the government with praises ; to hide all the faults of the
people of the South while gilding their virtues; to make, for a consid-
eration, " especial mention" of all the small trash in the army ; to coat
his puflfs thickl}'^ with fine writing and tremendous adjectives ; and to
place over the whole painted and gilded mass of falsehood, the figure of
Mr. Jefterson Davis, as the second Daniel come to judgment. The au-
thor has no ambition to gratify in these literary elegances.

In the eyes of the historian the person of Mr. Jeff"erson Davis is no
more sacred than that of the meanest agent in human aftairs. The au-
thor has not been disposed to insult the dignity of office by coarse
speeches; he recognizes a certain propriety of style even in attacking
the grossest public abuses ; but, while he has avoided indecency and
heat of language, and has, on the other hand, not attempted the elegance
and elevation of the literary artist, he trusts that he has given his opin-
ions of the government and public persons with the decent but fearless
and uncompromising freedom of the conscientious historian. He is cer-
tain that he has given these opinions without prejudice against the Ad-
ministration in this war. The danger is, in such a contest as we are
waging, that we will be too favorably and generously disposed towards
the government, rather than prejudiced against it — that we will be blind
to its faults, rather than eager and exacting in their exposure.

The author is aware that the views expressed in this work of the autoc-
racy of President Davis, and the extraordinary absorption in himself of
all the offices of the government, have been resented with much temper
by critics in some of the newspapers. He would ask these persons who
are so anxious to vindicate the character of Mr. Davis in this respect, for
a single instance in the history of the war, where the Cabinet has inter-
posed any views of its own, addressed any counsel to the government, or
been any thing more than a collection of dummies. In all our experience
hitherto of republican government, we hear of views of the Cabinet and
the counsel of this or that member. In this war these common observa-
tions are lacking; the Cabinet is dumb or absolutely servile; we have
never heard a syllable from it on a single question of national importance,
and the voice of the President alone decides the conduct of the war,
distributes the patronage of the government, and forces into practice the
constitutional fiction of himself being the commander-in-chief of our
armies. These facts are notorious in the streets of Richmond.

The Cabinet of President Davis has really no constitutional existence
The Cabinet has many objects to serve in our system of government. 1\
was designed as a check to Executive power ; it was intended to cuH
and collect the wisdom of the country in the management of public af-


fairs ; it shares the qualities of a popular system of representation with
the conservatism and virtues of aristocracy ; it constitutes the highest
and gravest council in our form of government. Certainly not one of
these constitutional offices has been fulfilled by the Cabinet of President
Davis, and history is forced to confess that the harmony of our govern-
ment has been deranged by striking from it an important, valuable, and
essential part.

The author is sensible that another ignorant rule of criticism besides
that of the professional political flatterer, has been unjustly applied to his
work. He is informed that there are persons so childish and contempt-
ibly ignorant as to have decried his work on the ground that it has ex-
posed abuses in our administration, and faults in our people, which will
be a gratification and comfort to the enemy. The objection is simply
absurd and contemptible. Throwing out of consideration the interest of
truth, it is surely much better, even on the narrow ground of expediency,
to expose abuses, and to let the enemy have what pleasure and comfort
he can from them, than to permit them, unnoticed and uncorrected, to
sap the strength of our country, and publish their conclusion to the
world in the ultimate ruin of our cause. There are ignoramuses in the
Southern Confederacy who think it necessary in this war that all the
books and newspapers in the country should publish every thing in the
South in couleur de rose ; drunken patriots, cowards in epaulets, crippled
toadies, and men living on the charity of Jefterson Davis, trained to damn
all newspapers and publications in the South for pointing out abuses in
places of authority, for the sage reason that knowledge of these abuses
will comfort the enemy and tickle the ears of the Yankees. These
creatures would have a history written which would conceal all the
shortcomings of our administration, and represent that our army was
perfect in discipline, and immaculate in morals ; that our people were
feeding on milk and honey ; that our generalship was without fault, and
that Jefi'erson Davis was the most perfect and admirable man since the
days of Moses — all for the pm-pose of wearing a false mask to the enemy.
They would betray our cause while hoodwinking the enemy ; they would
make a virtue of falsehood ; they would destroy the independence of all
published thought in the country. The author spits upon the criticisms
of such creatures.

So much the author has thought it necessary to say with reference to
two classes of critics, who have attacked not only his book, but every
form of free and independent thought in the country. "With reference
to the public, confident as the author is of the rectitude of their decision,
he is content to submit his work to their judgment, without importuning
their favor.


Finally, the author begs to make, without temper and in the fewest
words, a plain and summary vindication of the character and objects of
his work.

Every candid mind must be sensible of the futility of attempting
high order of historical composition in the treatment of recent and in-
complete events; but it does not follow that the contemporary annal, the
popular narrative, and other inferior degrees of history, can have no
value and interest, because they cannot compete in accuracy with the
future retrospect of events. The vulgar notion of history is, that it is a
record intended for posterity. The author contends that history has an
office to perform in the present, and that one of the greatest values of
contemporary annals is to vindicate in good time to the world the fame
and reputation of nations,

"With this object constantly in view, the author has composed this
work. He will accomplish his object and be rewarded with a complete
satisfaction, if his unpretending book shall have the effect of promoting
more extensive inquiries; enlightening the present; vindicating the
principles of a great contest to the contemporary world ; and putting be-
fore the living generation, in a convenient form of literature, and at an
early and opportune time, the name and deeds of our people.

Richmond^ September, 1862.



Delusive Ideas of the Union. — Administration of John Adams. — The " Strict Con-
ptructionists." — The "State Kinjlits" Men in the North. — The Missouri Kestriction.—
General Jackson and the NuUilieatiou Question. — Tlie Compromise Measures of 1850.
—History of tlie Anti-Slavery Party.— The " Pinckney Resolutions."— Tl?e Twenty-
first Kule. — The Abolitionists in the Presidential Canvass of 18-'J2.— The Kansas-
Kebraska Bill.— The Rise and Growth of the Republican Party.— The Election of
President Buchanan. — The Kansas Controversy. — "Lecompton" and " Anti-Lecomp-
ton." — Results of the Kansas Controversy. — The John Brown Raid.—" Helper's
Book."— Demoralization of the Northern Democratic Party.— The Faction of Stephen
A. Douglas,— The Alabama Resolutions.— The Political Platforms of I860.— Election
of Abraham Lincoln, President of the United States. — Analysis of the Vote.— Political
Condition of the North.— Seces.sion of South Carolina.— Events in Charleston Harbor.
— Disagreements in Mr. Buchanan's Cabinet. — The Secession Movement in Progress.
— Peace Measures in Congress. — The Crittenden Resolutions. — The Peace Congress. —
Policy of the Border Slave States. — Organization of the Confederate States Govern-
ment. — President Buchanan. — Incoming of the Administration of Abraliam Lincoln.
— Strength of the Revolution Page 11


Mr. Lincoln's Journey to "Washington. — Ceremonies of the Inauguration. — The In-
augural Speech of President Lincoln.— The Spirit of the New Administration. — Its Fi-
nancial Condition. — Embassy from the Southern Confederacy. — Perfidious Treatment
of the Southern Commissioners.— Preparations for War.— The Military Bills of the
Confederate Congress. — General Beauregard. — Fortifications of Charleston Harbor. —
Naval Preparations of the Federal Government. — Attempted Reinforcement of Fort
Sumter. — Perfidy of the Federal Government. — Excitement in Charleston. — Reduction
of Fort Sumter by the Confederate Forces.- How the News was received in Wash-
ington. — Lincoln's Calculation. — His Proclamation of War. — The " Reaction" in the
North. — Displays of Rancor towards the South. — Northern Democrats. — Replies of
Southern Governors to Lincoln's Reqiiisition for Troops. — Spirit of the South. — Seces-
sion of Virginia.— Maryland. — The Baltimore Riot. — Patriotic Example of Missouri.—
Lincoln's Proclamation blockading the Southern Ports. — General Lee.— The Federals
evacuate Harper's Ferry. — Burning of the Navy Yard at Norfolk. — The Second
Secessi-onary Movement. — Spirit of Patriotic Devotion in the South. ^Supply of
Arms in the South. — The Federal Government and the State of Maryland. — Tlie Pros-


.Page 41



Confidence of tlie North. — Characteristic Boasts. — " Crushing out the Rebellion." —
Volunteering in the Northern Cities. — The New York "Invincibles."~Misrepresenta-
tions of the Government at Washington. — Mr. Seward's Letter to the French Govern-
ment.— Another Call for Federal Volunteers.— Opening Movements of the Campaign.
— The Federal Occupation of Alexandria.— Death of Col. Ellsworth.— Fortress Mon-
roe.— The Battle of Bkthel.— Results of this Buttle.— Gen. Joseph E. Johnston. —
The Upper Potomac. — Evacuation and Destruction of Harper's Ferry. — The Move-
ments in the Upper Portion of the Valley of Virginia.— Northwestern Virginia. — The
Battle of Rich Mountain.— Carrock's Ford.— The Retreat of the Confederates. —
General McClellan.— Meeting of the Federal Congress,— Mr. Lincoln's Message.—
Kentucky. — Western Virginia.— Large Requisitions for Men and Money by the Fed-
eral Government. — Its Financial Condition.— Financial Measures of the Southern
Confederacy. — Contrast between the Ideas of the Rival Governments. — Conserva-
tism of the Southern Revolution.— Despotic Excesses of the Government at Wash-
ington Page 70


The " Grand Army" of the North.— General McDowell.— The Affair of Bnll Run.—
An Artillery Duel. — The Battle of Manassas. — " On to Richmond." — Scenery of the
Battle-Held.— Crises in the Battle.— Devoted Courage of the Confederates.— The Rout.
— How the News was received in Washington. — How it was received in the South. —
General Bee.— Colonel Bartow.— The Great Error.— General Johnston's Excuses for
not advancing on Washington. — Incidents of the AIanassas Battle Page 95


Results of the Manassas Battle in the North.— General Scott.— McClellan, " the
Young Napoleon." — Energy of the Federal Government. — The Bank Loan. — Events
in the West. — The Missouri CAMPAioN.-^Governor Jackson's Proclamation. —Sterling
Price. — Tlie Affair of Booneville. — Organization of the Missouri forces. — The Battle
OF Carthage. — General McCulloch. — The Battle of Oak Hill. — Death of General
Lyon. — The Confederate Troops leave Missouri. — Operations in Northern Missouri. —
General Harris. — General Price's march towards the Missouri. — The Affair at Dry-
wood Creek.— The Battle of Lexington. — The Jayhawkers. — The Victory of" the
Five Hundred." — General Price's Achievements.- His Retreat, and the necessity for
it. — Operations of General Jeff. Thompson in Southeastern Missouri. — The Affair of
Fredericktown.- General Price's passage of the Osage River.— Secession of Missouii
from the Federal Union. — Fremont superseded.— The Federal forces in Missouri de-
moralized. — General Price at Springfield. — Review of his Campaign. — Sketch ov
Genekal Piuce. — Coldness of the Government towards him Page 124


The Campaign in Western Virginia.— General Wise's Command.— Political Influ-
ences in Western Virginia.— Tiie Atlair of Scary Creek.— General Wise's Retreat to
Lewisburg.— General Floyd's Britrade.— Tiie Affair at Cross Lanes.— Movements on
the Gauley. — The Affair of Carnifax Ferry.— Disagreement between Generals Floyd


and Wise. — The Tyrecs. — A Patriotic 'Vroman. — Movements in Northwestern Vir-
ginia. — General Lee. — The Enemy intrenclied on Ciieat Mountain. — General
crans. — Failure of General Lee's Plan of Attack. — He rei'noves to the Kanawha Ee-
pion. — The Opportunity of a l^ecisive Battle lost. — Retreat of Rosecrans. — General
H. R. Jackson's Affair on the Greenbrier. — The Approach of Winter. — The Campaign
in Western Virginia abandoned. — The Affair on the Alleghany. — General Floyd at
Cotton Hill.— His masterly Retreat.— Review of the Campaign in Western Virginia.—
Some of its Incidents. — Its Failure and unfortunate Results. — Other Movements in
Virginia. — The Potomac Line. — The Battle of Leesbuug. — Overweening Confidence
of the South Page 1.^9


The Position and Policy of Kentucky in the War. — Kentucky Chivalry.— Reminis-
cences of the " Dark and Bloody Ground." — Protection of the Northwest by Ken-
tucky. — How the Debt of Gratitude has been repaid. — A Glance at the Hartford
Convention. — The Gubernatorial Canvass of 1859 in Kentucky. — Division of Parties. —
Other Causes for the Disloyalty of Kentucky. — The "Pro-Slavery and Union" Resolu-
tions.— The " State Guard." — General Buckner.— The Pretext of " Neutrality," and
what it meant. — The Kentucky Refugees. — A Reign of Terror.— Judge Monroe in
Nashville.— General Breckinridge.— Occupation of Columbus by General Polk.— The
Neutrality of Kentucky first broken by the North. — General Buckner at Bowling
Green.— Camp " Dick Robinson." — The " Home Guard."— The Occupation of Colum-
bus by the Confederates explained.— Cumberland Gap.— General Zollicoflter's Procla-
mation.— The Affair of Barbonrsville. — "The Wild-Cat Stampede." — The Virginia
and Kentucky Border. — The Aflair of Piketon. — Suffering of our Troops at Pound
Gap. — The "Union Party" in East Tennessee. — Keelan, the Hero of Strawberry
Plains.— The Situation on the Waters of the Ohio and Tennessee. — The Battle or
Belmont.— Weakness of our Forces in Kentucky.— General Albert Sidney Johnston. —
Inadequacy of his Forces at Bowling Green. — Neglect and Indifference of the Con-
federate Authorities. — A Crisis imminent. — Admission of Kentucky into the Southern
Confederacy Page 183


Prospects of European Interference. — The selfish Calculations of England. — Effects
of the Blockade on the South. — Arrest by Capt. Wilkes of the Southern Commission-
ers. — The Indignation of England. — Surrender of the Commissioners by the Lincoln
Government. — Mr. Seward's Letter. — Review of Affairs at the Close of the Year
1861. — Apathy and Improvidence of the Southern Government. — Superiority of the
North on the Water. — The Hatteras Expedition. — The Port Royal Expedition.— The
Southern Privateers. — Their Failure. — Errors of Southern Statesmanship. — "King
Cotton."— Episodes of the War.— The Affair of Santa Rosa Island.— The Affair o'f
Dranesville. — Political Measures of the South. — A weak and halting Policy. — The
Spirit of the War in the North. — Administration of the Civil Polity of the Southern
Army. — The Quarter-master's Department. — Hygiene of the Camps. — Ravages of the
Southern Army by Disease.— The Devotion of the Women of the South Page 206


Prospects of the Year 1862.— The Lines of the Potomac— General Jackson's Expe-
dition to Winchester. — The Battle of Mill Springs im Kentuckt. — General Crit-


tenden.— Death of General Zollicoffer.— Sufferings of Crittenden's Army on the
Retreat. — Comparative Unimportance of tlie Disaster. — The Battle of Eo\noke
Island. — Importance of the Island to the South. — Death of Captain Wise. — Causes of
the Disaster to the South. — Investigation in Congress. — Censure of the Government.—
Interviews of General Wise with Mr. Benjamin, the Secretary of War. — Mr. Benjamin
censured by Congress, but retained in the Cabinet. — His Promotion by President
Davis. — Condition of the Popular Sentiment Page "J20


The Situation in Tennessee and Kentucky. — The affair at Woodsonville. — Death ot
Colonel Terry. — The Strength and Material of the Federal Force in Kentucky. — Con-
dition of the Defences on the Tennessee and Cumberland Rivers. — The Confederate
Congress and the Secretary of the iS'avy.— The Fall of Fort Henry. — Fort Donelson
threatened.— The Army of General A. S. Johnston.— His Interview with General
Beauregard. — Insensibility of the Confederate Government to the Exigency. — General
Johnston's Plan of Action. — Battle or Fort Donelson. — Carnage and Scenery of the
Battle-field. — The Council of the Southern Commanders. — Agreement to surrender.
— Escape of Generals Floyd and Pillow. — The Fall of Fort Donelson develops the
Crisis in the West. — The Evacuation of Nashville. — The Panic. — Extraordinary
Scenes. — Experience of the Enemy in Nashville. — The Adventures of Captain John
Morgan. — General Johnston at Murfreesboro. — Organization of a New Line of Defence
South of Nashville. — The Defence of Memphis and the Mississippi. — Island No. 10. —
Serious Character of the Disaster at Donelson. — Generals Floyd and Pillow " re-
lieved from Command." — General Johnston's Testimony in favor of these Officers. —
President Davis's Punctilio. — A sharp Contrast.— Negotiation for the Exchange of
Prisoners.— A Lesson of Yankee Perfidy.— Mr. Benjamin's Release of Yankee
Hostages Page 285


Organization of the permanent Government of the South. — The Policy of England.
— Declaration of Earl Russell.— Onset of the Northern Forces. — President Davis's
Message to Congress. — The Addition of New States and Territories to the Southern
Confederacy. — Our Indian Allies. — The Financial Condition, North and South. — De-
ceitful Prospects of Peace.— Effect of the Disasters to the South.— Action of Congress.
—The Con.script Bill.— Provisions vs. Cotton.— Barbarous Warfare of the North.— The
Anti-slavery Sentiment. — How it was unmasked in the War. — Emancipation Measures
in the Federal Congress. — Spirit of the Southern People. — Tlie Administration of Jef-
ferson Davis.— His Cabinet.— The Defensive Policy.— The Naval Engagement in
Hampton Roads. — Iron-clad Vessels. — What the Southern Government might have

Online LibraryEdward Alfred PollardThe first year of the war → online text (page 1 of 36)