Horace Greeley.

The American conflict: a history of the great rebellion in the United States of America, 1860-'64 online

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Entered oooording to Act of Oongresa, in the year 1866,


In the Glerk*B OlBoe of the District Court of the United States for the

District of Conneotoit

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OP 1861-4:





▲8 AiaO or THEIR



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The author had expected to finish this work early in the cur-
rent year, but he found himself unable to compress it within the
limits originally intended. The important events of the Warfor the
Union were so many ; its area was so vast, its duration so con-
siderable ; the minor collisions and other incidents were so multifa-
rious^ yet often so essential to a clear understanding of its progress
and results, that this volume has expanded far beyond his intent,
and required for its preparation extra months of assiduous and
engrossing labor. Even now, though its contents probably exceed'
in amount those of any other single volume which the War has
called forth, it barely touches some points which may be deemed
essential to a clear understanding of the whole matter. Of the War
itself, however — that is, of the Military events which made up the
physical struggle initiated by Secession — this volume aspires to
give & clear though necessarily condensed account, from the open-
ing of the year 1862 down to the final and complete overthrow of
the Confederacy. That aU his judgments will be concurred in by
every reader, the author has no right to expect ; but his aim has
been to set forth events as they occurred, and as they will appear
to clear-sighted observers a century hence; and he rests in the
confident belief that those who dissent from his conclusions will
nevertheless respect the sincerity with which they are cherished,
tnd the frankness wherewith they are avowed.

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Thx Hifltorj which this Yolome completes was Bot contemplated by its aathor till just
after the Draft Riots by which this Emporiom was damaged and disgraced in July, 18<(8.
Up to the occarrence of those Riots, I had not been habitually confident of an auspicious
immediate issue from our momentous struggle. Never doubting that the ultimate
result would be such as to yindicate emphatically the profoundly wise beneficence of
Qodf it had seemed to me more probable— in riew of the protracted and culpable com*
plidty of the North in whatever of guilt or shame, of immorality or debasement, was
inseparable from the existence and growth of American Slavery — ^that a temporary tri-
umph might accrue to the Confederates. The real danger of the Republic was not that
of permanent division, but of general saturation by and subjugation to the despotic
ideas and aims of the Slaveholding Oligarchy. Had the Oonfederacy proved able to
wrest from the Federal authorities an acknowledgment of its Independence, and had Peaee
been established and ratified on that basis, I believe the Democratic Party in the loyal
Stated would have forthwith taken ground for 'restoration' by the secesaion of their
re^ective States, whether jointly or severally, from the Union, and their adhesion to the
Oonfederacy under its Montgomery Oonstitution— making Slavery universal and per-
petuaL And, under the moral influence of Southern triumph and Northern defeat, in
fall view of the certainty that thus only could reunion be achieved, there can be little
doubt that the law of political gravitation, of centripetal force, thus i^pealed to, must
lutve ultimately prevailed. Commercial and manufSacturing thrift would have gradually
Tanquished moral repugnance. It might have required some years to heal the wounds
of War and secure a popular m^ority in three or four of the Border States in favor of
Annexation ; but the geographic and economic indtements to Union are so urgent and
palpable, that State after State would have conduded to go to the mountain, since it
•tnbbomly refused to come to Mahomet; and, all the States that the Oonfederacy would
oooaent to accept, on conditions of penitence and abjuration, would, in time, have
booked humbly at its grim portals for admission and fellowship. That we have been
saved from such a fate is due to the valor of our soldiers, the constancy of our ruling
statesmen, the patriotic faith and courage of those citizens who, within a period of
three years, loaned more than Two Billions to their Government when it seemed to
many just tottering on the brink of ruin ; yet, more than all else, to the favor and bless-
ing of Almighty God. They who, whether in Europe or America, from July, 1862, to
July, 1868, believed the Union death-stricken, had the balance of material probabilities
OB their side : they erred only in underrating the potency of those inteDectual, moral,
and Providential forces, which in our age operate with aooelarated power and activity in
behalf of Liberty, Intelligenoe, and Civilization.

So long as it seemed probable that our War would result more immediatdy in a Rebel
triumph, I had no wish, no heart, to be one of its historians; and it was only when —
tbOowing dosdy on the heeb of the great Union successes of July, 1868, at Q«ttysburg,
Tldksburg, Port Hudson, and Hdenft— I had seen the Rebellion resisted and defeated in

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this Oitj of New York (where its ideas and vital aims were more generally cherished
than eyen in Bonth Oarolina or Looisiana), that I oonfidentlj hoped for an immediate and
palpable, rather than a remote and oironitons triumph of the Union, now and evermore
blended inseparably with Emancipation — with the legal and National recognition of
eyery man^s right to himself. Thenceforward, with momentary intervals of anxiety,
depression, and doubt, it has been to me a labor of love to deyote every available hoar
to the history of the American Oonflict

This Yolmne is essentially Ifilitary, as the former was Oivil : that is, it treats mainly
of Armies, Marches, Battles, Sieges, and the alternations of good and ill fortune that,
fh>m January, 1862, to May, 1865, befell the contending forces respectively of the Union
and the Confederacy. But he who reads with attention will discern that I have
regarded even these under a moral rather than a purely material aspect. Others have
doubtless surpassed me in the vividness, the graphic power, of their delineations of ' the
noise of the captains, and the shouting:' I have sought more especially to portray the
silent influence of these collisions, with the efforts, burdens, sacrifices, bereavements,
they involved, in gradually molding and refining Public Opinion to accept, and ultimately
demand, the overthrow and extinction of Human Slavery, as the one vital, implacable
enemy of our Nationality and our Peace. Hence, while at least three-fourths of this
Volume narrates Military or Naval occurrences, I presume a larger space of it than of any
rival is devoted to tracing, with all practicable brevity, the succession of Political events;
the sequences of legislation in Oongress with regard to Slavery and the War ; the varying
phases of Public Sentiment ; the rise, growth, and decline, of hopes that the War would be
ended through the accession of its adversaries to power in the Union. I labor under a
grave mistake if this be not judged by our grandchildren (should any of them condescend
to read it) the most important and interesting feature of my work.

I have differed from most annalists, in preferrhig to follow a campaign or distinct
military movement to its dose before interrupting its narration to give accounts of simul-
taneous movements or campaigns in distant regions, between other armies, led by other
commanders. In my historical reading, I have often been perplexed and conftised by
the facility wherewith chroniclers leap from the Euphrates to the Danube, and from the
Ebro to the Vistula. In fiill view of the necessary inter-dependence of events occurring
on widely separated arenas, it has seemed to me preferable to follow one movement to
its culmination before dealing with another ; deeming the inconveniences and obscurities
involved in this method less serious than those unavoidable (by me, at least) on any dif-
ferent plan. Others wiU judge between my method and that which has usually been

I have bestowed more attention on marches, and on the minor incidents of a campaign,
than is common : historians usually devoting their time and force mainly to the portrayal
of great, decisive (or at least destructive) batties. But batties are so often won or lost
by sagaciously planned movements, skillful combinations, well-conducted marches, and
wise dispositions, that I have extended to these a prominence which seemed to me more
clearly justified than usually conceded. He was not an incapable general who observed
that he chose to win battles with his soldiers' legs rather than their muskets.

As to dates, I could wish that commanders on all hands were more precise than they
usually are ; but, wherever dates were accessible, I have given them, even though in-
vested with no special or obvious consequence. Printed mainly as foot-noteft, they con-
sume littie space, and do not interrupt the flow of the narrative. The reader who does

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not yalae need not heed them ; while the critioal student will often find them of decided
nse. Should any one demur to this, I nrge him to examine thonghtfollj the dates of
the dispatches received and sent hj McOlellan hetween his retreat to Harrison^s bar and
Pope^s defeat at Groveton ; also, those given in my account of his movements from the
honr of his arrival at Frederick to that of Lee^s retreat from Sharpsbnrg across the

I trust it will be observed hj candid critics that, while I seek not to disgnise the fact
that I honor and esteem some of onr commanders as I do not others, I have been blind
neither to the errors of the former nor to the jnst claims of the latter — ^that mj high
estimation of Grant and Sherman (for instance) has not led me to conceal or soften the
lack of reasonable precaations which so nearly involved their country in deplorable if
not irremediable disaster at Pittsburg Landing. So with Banks's mishap at Sabine
Gross-roads and Butler's faUure at Fort Fisher. On the other hand, I trust my lack of
faith in such officers as Buell and Fitz John Porter has not led me to represent them as
incapable or timorous soldiers. What I believe in regard to these and many more of
their school is, that they were misplaced — ^that they halted between their love of country
and their traditional devotion to Slavery — that they clung to the hope of a compromise
which should preserve both Slavery and the Union, long after all reasonable ground of
hope had vanished; fighting the Rebellion with gloved hands and relaxed sinews because
they mistakenly held that so only was the result they sighed for (deeming it most be-
neficent) to be attained. If the facts do not Justify my conviction, I trust they will be
found so fiedrly presented in the following pages as to ftirnish the proper corrective for
my errors.

Without having given much heed to rival issues, I presume this volume will be found
to contain accounts (necessarily very brief) of many minor actions and skirmishes which
have been passed unheeded by other historians, on the assumption that, as they did not
perceptibly affect the great issue, they are unworthy of record. But the nature and
extent of that influence is matter of opinion, while the qualities displayed in these col-
li^ons were frequently deserving of grateful remembrance. And, beside, an affair of out-
posts or foraging expeditions has often exerted a most signal influence over the spirits
of two great antagonist armies, and thus over the issues of a battle, and even of a cam-
paign. Oompressed within the narrowest limits, I have chosen to glance at nearly every
conflict of armed forces, and to give lime to these which others have devoted to more
elaborate and florid descriptions of great battles. It has been my aim to compress within
the allotted space the greatest number of notable facts and circumstances; others must
judge how fully this end has been achieved.

Doubtless, many errors of fact, and some of judgment, are embodied in the following
pages : for, as yet, even the official reports, Ac., which every historian of this war must
desire to study, are but partiaUy accessible. I have missed especially the Confederate
reports of the later campaigns ; only a few of which have been made public, though
many more, it is probable, will in time be. Some of these may have been destroyed at
the hasty evacuation of Richmond; but many must have been preserved, in manu-
script if not in print, and will yet see the light. So far as they were attainable, I have
nsed the reports of Confederate officers as freely as those of their antagonists, and have
accorded them nearly if not quite equal credit I judge that the habit of understating
or concealing their losses was more prevalent with Confederate than with Union com-
manders; in over-estimating the numbers they resisted, I have not been able to perceive

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mj ^ttflbtenoe. It is simple truth to my that taoh OTer-eethnates seem to hare been
quite ooramoa on both sides.

I shall be penonallj obliged to anj one, no matter on what side he senred, who will
ftirnidi me with trastworthj data for the oorreotion of any misstatement embodied in
tills work. If such correction shall dictate a revimon of anj harsh judgment on friend
or foe, it will be received and conformed to with profound gratitude. "My convictions
touching the origin, indtements, and character, of the War from which we have so
happWf emerged, are very positive, being the fruits of man j years' almost exclusive
devotion to National afllairs ; but my judgments as to occurrences and persons are held
subject to modification upon farther and clearer presentments of fSacts. It is my pur-
pose to revise and correct the following pages from day to day as new light shall be
aflbrded; and I ask those who may feel aggrieved by any statement I shall herein have
given to the public, to fluvor me with the proofe of its inaccuracy. Unwilling to be
drawn into controversy, I am most anxious to render exact justice to each and all.

The subject of Beeonstruetion (er Restoration) is not within the purview of this woric,
and I have taken pains to avoid it so far as possible. The time is not yet for treating it
exhaustively, or even historically; its importance, as well as its immaturity, demand for
its treatment thoughtftil hesitation as well as fhllness of knowledge. Should I be living
when the work is at length complete, I may submit a survey of its nature, progress, and
lesnlts : meantime, I will only avow my undoubting Mik that the same Divine Benignity
which has guided our country through perils more palpable if not more formidable, will
pilot her saMy, even though slowly, through those which now yawn before her, and
bring her at last into the haven of perfect Peace, genuine Fraternity, and everlasting
TJidon — ^a Peace grounded on reciprocal esteem ; a Fraternity based on sincere, fervent
love of our common country; and a Union cemented by hearty and general recognition
of the truth, that the only abiding security for the cherished rights of any Is to be found
in a full and hearty recognition of Human Brotherhood as well as State sisterhood — ^in
the establishment and assured maintenance of All Bights for All.

H. Q.

Ifm Fork, July 21, 1866.

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L TszM and New Mezioo in 1862.


OrdlMiic* rf SMMdoo-Swrmder of U» Ry«lM»
-TWr lofXij aad 8a«>rta«-N*ir Mtiko re-

ySnSSS^ Md DMtli of MeR^»-ngit
•i AMcbi PMs-RalMb oeca^ 8uto FA-Tby

n. Ififlsoaii and Arkanaas in 1862 26

War aiiMMf Uio IsdlsM-Flgbt ai tho C^dto -

Ma driTOB into Arkanns— Ooopor raotod al
lliijvHlU-BaMto of Fnlcto Giot»

in. KentadEj, Tenne886e,aad Alabama in
1862— Forts Henry and Donelaon


flvmin Bridko— Rabeb aMMlc, wd an npaUad

HurlooB'b B«— Hookar ratarna to ICaWani —
BleCUUan wlUidrmw* to Fonraia Hobtw^ amA mtr
barfca hia Anny for AlanndrU.

VnL Gen. Pope's Virginia Campaign 172

IX. Lee'a Invasion of Maryland in 1862. .193

IT. Bumside's Expedition to N.Carolina. 73

Rouokt bund cvrfad— Elhabath dty aatelta-
DtfroMa of Nowbtm aioraMd— Newbam mrm-
darad-Fort Mmoo radnoMl-nglit at South MUk
— Foatar adTancaa to KLutoa— Falb to carry

T. Bailer's Expedition to the Gulf— Cap-
ture of New Orleans 81

X. Tennessee— Kentodcy— Mississippi—

Bragg's Invasion— Corinth 212

' XL Slavery in the War— Emancipation . . . 232

TL Tirginia in '62— McClellan's Advance. 107


■ Jakn rM« «mli Bnaak at MaelMakarlUo
MaCWlM paHially mom tho CUekahemlBT-
Mto of lUr Odha or 8a«w Plaaa-MeCUnaa
■fcvead, talaiai inaMaa and iMillataa-aiono.
dl l ai t iia iahMlM-A. P. HIU aMaaka oar

ttat MiikiaindUa-BattlaarOalaaa'fc Mltt-
M« Ftalar vonlad-lfeCMIaa latnota to
I jMM-fllM M OaaAaK «r Wklla Oak


XH Slavery and Emancipaticm in Congress. 266

TUX Eoeeorans's Winter Campaign, 1862-3 . 270

Moon at Hartarlllo— Ow AdTanea froaa Naak-
TlUa— Battla of Stoaa RI var. aoar Mu r fraaakoro * —

o£ Ufaima— l*aiaB-W»ffa* loatad kf

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flBlBna al Ttokav^ CroM-Boad*— llonMi «■»•
tans KIlialMihIowB— 0«i. H. Outer'* Raid lato
■MtTwiniea Wlwlar tmUs dowB tli«T«an««>
•M to Fort Donolioa— BMten off by OoL HanUng
—Van Dora eaptnret 1^ Unionbto at Spdag HUl
-<X>L iL S. Hall <laftati Mornn at Vaifiitf Hill
— Gordon Orannr ropalMt Van Dora atrVanklla
—OoL A. D. StrriRht rmlda Into Northorn Oooigla
—Is OTorpowsod and eaptorod noar Bontc

XIV. Siege and Capture of Yicksburg... .286

Xy. Texas and Louisiana in 1863 — Cap-
ture of Port Hudson 322

GalTtiton — RMakon bv Com. RoMhaw— Sur-
priMd by If agrador, and carried— Ckir Flaot dla-
abled and b«S«B— Dbaatm' al SaUao Paw-Tbo
eaDtoraa tho Hatt«ra»-Oen. Banks la

at New Orloano-Clearlng the AtehalS^

laya— Fight at Carney^ Bridga— Farragut paaeea
the BattCTlea at Fort HodMm— Bank* ratorna to
B•rwlck^l Bay— Advaneea to Opeloaaaand Aloso
andria, L^—Moraa tbonea to Bayoa Sara, and
erovee the Mladaelppf— laTcaii Port HudMm—
ComMnod Attack on Re DerenMe-Rapolaod with
a kwa of S/NO-Baakr proaitt the Sloge Secon d
Attack— The Rebel aapplteo exhaoated— Gardner
annendare— Dick Taylor MrprtMO Braahear City
-Fighting at Donaldaonvilfe— Fnutklln attaeka
Sabine PMa, and la beaten off— Dana aonHiaed at
Morgansla— Borbridse nirpriMd near Opelooaas
—Gen. Bank* embarka for the Rio Grand*— De-
bark* at Braaoa Santiago, and take* Browuvllle
— Captnni of Aranaaa Paia and Paaa Catrallo— Fori
Eaperanaa abandoned- Indlanola la oar hand*
Banks rotoras lo New Orleans

XVL Army of the Potomac under Bum-
side and Hooker — Fredericksburg
— Chancellorsville 342

Gen. Bnrnaldo In eotamaad In Vliglnla— Croaaea
the Rappahannock- Attacks Lee^ Army.stmmgly
postodonUie Sontheni Height»-U repoW with
beoTy hwa-Rflcrnsasa the RItot-A fresh Ad-
ranoa amsied by the Prsatdent^The Mod March
—Rebel Raids hi Vlrglnia-Bamside glvea place
to Hooker -Stoneman'b Raid on Lee's tear—
Hooker croeaes the Rappahannock, and advancsa
to OianeellorsTllle-Hts right wing tamed and
ahattsred by Jaeksoa — Pleasanlon checks the
Kaemy— Jackson mortally wounded— Desperate
flghtiag around Chancellorsrllle— Hooker stonned
— 4>ar Army reeoib— Sedgwick storms Marye^
Heights— Strikes Lee^ Rear— b driven across th«
Rlver^Hooker rtcroeses also— Stoneman^l Raid a
Failnre-Lonntreet aasatls Peck ai Saflblkf-Ia

XVn. Iiee*8 Army on Free Soil — Gettys-
burg 36"?

Lee sllenUy flanks Hooker** right, m
northward— Cavalry Fight near FalrfiuE— llllnir^
at Winchester, aarpriaed and driven over the
Potomac, with heavy leas— Cavalry encoantsn
along the Use RUgo-^eaUas raids to Cham-
berBbarg^Leeeioeess the Potomae-Hooker aad
Halleck at odda— Hooker nlleved- Meade la
oonmiaBd— KwoU at York— OoIUaloa of vaa-
narda at Gettysborg— Reynolds killed— Ualoa-
Ms ootaambered and driven— Howard halta oa
Cemeterv Hill-Sleklee comes np-Haneoek takes
aonsmand -Meade arrives— Both Amies eoaeas-

Jt with ki»-Rebel Ad-

vaaoe eheeked-Nlght &1I»-Rsbel Grand Ghana
led In Pteketfr-Terribly rspnlaed— Lee retrsata—
Heavy loasea-Feeble panait by Sedgwiek-Lea
halta tA WUllamaportp-lleads hesltatee-Lee goto
across tha Potomac— Kllpatrtck roots the RSbal
rsar-gaard— Bleade erossss al Berlin, and movea
down to tha Rappahaaaoek— Fight at ManaasM

Online LibraryHorace GreeleyThe American conflict: a history of the great rebellion in the United States of America, 1860-'64 → online text (page 1 of 113)