D. C. Fes sen-! en
NINETEENTH ARMY CORPS
RICHARD B. IRWIN
FORMERLY LIEUTENANT-COLONEL U. S. VOLUNTEERS, ASSISTANT
ADJUTANT-GENERAL OF THE CORPS AND OF
THE DEPARTMENT OF THE GULF
G. P. PUTNAM S SONS
NEW YORK LONDON
2 7 WEST TWENTY-THIRD STREET 24 BEDFORD STREET, STRAND
&fje fimtherbockex |)ress
G. P. PUTNAM S SONS
Electrotyped, Printed, and Bound by
Ube Iknicfcerbccfcer ipress, 1Wew Uor??
G. P. PUTNAM S SONS
IN LOVING REMEMBRANCE OF THEIR
MAJOR-GENERAL WILLIAM HEMSLEY EMORY
AND OF THE MANY COMRADES
WHO LAID DOWN THEIR LIVES IN THE SERVICE OF THEIR COUNTRY
THIS HISTORY IS INSCRIBED BY THE
SURVIVING MEMBERS OF THE
SOCIETY OF THE NINETEENTH ARMY CORPS
I. NEW ORLEANS .
II. THE FIRST ATTEMPT ON VICKSBURG
III. BATON ROUGE .
IV. LA FOURCHE .
V. BANKS IN COMMAND
VI. ORGANIZING THE CORPS .
VII. MORE WAYS THAN ONE .
VIII. FARRAGUT PASSES PORT HUDSON .
IX. THE TECHE
X. BlSLAND .
XL IRISH BEND
XIII. BANKS AND GRANT .
XV. BACK TO PORT HUDSON .
XVI. THE TWENTY-SEVENTH OF MAY
XVII. THE FOURTEENTH OF JUNE .
XVIII. UNVEXED TO THE SEA .
XIX. HARROWING LA FOURCHE
XX. IN SUMMER QUARTERS .
XXI. A FOOTHOLD IN TEXAS .
XXII. WINTER QUARTERS .
XXIII. THE RED RIVER
XXIV. SABINE CROSS-ROADS
2 5 6
XXV. PLEASANT HILL . *
XXVI. GRAND ECORE
XXVII. THE CROSSING OF CANE RIVER
XXVIII. THE DAM . . . . .
XXIX. LAST DAYS IN LOUISIANA
XXX. ON THE POTOMAC . . . . .
XXXI. IN THE SHENANDOAH .
XXXII. THE OPEQUON . .
XXXIII. FISHER S HILL . .
XXXIV. CEDAR CREEK .
XXXV. VICTORY AND HOME , , . . .
ROSTERS .... .
LOSSES IN BATTLE . . . / . . .
OFFICERS KILLED OR MORTALLY WOUNDED,
PORT HUDSON FORLORN HOPE .
ARTICLES OF CAPITULATION . .
NOTE ON EARLY S STRENGTH . .
MAPS AND PLANS.
MAP OF LOUISIANA. SHEET I. .16 and 17
" " II. . . . 3 2 33
" III. . . . 80 " 81
BATTLE PLAN OF BISLAND, APRIL 12-13, 1863 . 96
BATTLE PLAN OF IRISH BEND, APRIL 14, 1863 . 112
BATTLE PLAN OF PORT HUDSON. . . 192
MAP OF LOUISIANA. SHEET IV. . 288 and 289
BATTLE PLAN OF SABINE CROSS-ROADS, APRIL 8,
1864. FROM GENERAL EMORY S MAP . 304
BATTLE PLAN OF PLEASANT HILL, APRIL 9, 1864.
FROM GENERAL EMORY S MAP . . 3 2
BATTLE PLAN OF CANE RIVER CROSSING OR
MONETT S BLUFF, APRIL 23, 1864. FROM GEN
ERAL EMORY S MAP ... .
THE RED RIVER DAM ... .
MAP OF SHENANDOAH VALLEY CAMPAIGN. FROM
MAJOR W. F. TIEMANN S "HISTORY OF THE
159TH, NEW YORK ... .
BATTLE PLAN OF OPEQUON, SEPTEMBER 19, 1864.
FROM THE OFFICIAL MAP, 1873 34 aiid
BATTLE PLAN OF FISHER S HILL, SEPTEMBER 22,
1864. FROM THE OFFICIAL MAP . . 400
BATTLE PLAN OF CEDAR CREEK, OCTOBER 19, 1864.
FROM THE OFFICIAL MAP OF 1873 . 4 l6 and 4*7
THE history of the Nineteenth Army Corps, like
that of by far the greater number of the organizations
of like character, in which were arrayed the great
armies of volunteers that took up arms to maintain
the Union, is properly the history of all the troops
that at any time belonged to the corps or served
within its geographical limits.
To be complete, then, the narrative my comrades
have asked me to write must go back to the earliest
service of these troops, at a period before the corps
itself was formally established, and must continue on
past the time when the earlier territorial organization
became merged or lost and the main body of the corps
was sent into the Shenandoah, down to the peace, and
the final muster of the last regiment.
If hitherto less known and thus less considered
than the proud record of those great corps of the
Armies of the Potomac, of the Tennessee, and of the
Cumberland, on whom in the fortune of war fell the
heat and burthen of so many pitched battles, whose
colors bear the names of so many decisive victories,
yet the story of the Nineteenth Army Corps is one
whose simple facts suffice for all that need be told or
claimed of valor, of achievement, of sacrifice, or of
patient endurance. I shall, therefore, attempt neither
eulogy nor apology, nor shall I feel called upon to
2 INTRO D UCTOR Y.
undertake to criticise the actions or the failures of the
living or the dead, save where such criticism may
prove to be an essential part of the narrative. From
the brows of other soldiers, no one of us could ever
wish to pluck the wreaths so dearly won, so honor
ably worn ; yet, since the laurel grows wild on every
hill-side in this favored land, we may without trespass
be permitted to gather a single spray or two to
decorate the sacred places where beneath the cypresses
and the magnolias of the lowlands of Louisiana, or
under the green turf among the mountains of Vir
ginia, reposes all that was mortal of so many thou
sands of our brave and beloved comrades.
THE NINETEENTH ARMY CORPS.
THE opening of the Mississippi and the capture of
New Orleans formed important parts of the first
comprehensive plan of campaign, conceived and pro
posed by Lieutenant-General Scott soon after the
outbreak of the war. When McClellan was called to
Washington to command the Army of the Potomac,
one of his earliest communications to the President
set forth in general terms his plans for the suppres
sion of the Rebellion. Of these plans, also, the cap
ture of New Orleans formed an integral and important
part. Both Scott and McClellan contemplated a move
ment down the river by a strong column. However
nothing had been done by either toward carrying out
this project, when, in September, 1861, the Navy
Department took up the idea of an attack on New
Orleans from the sea.
At the time of the secession of Louisiana, New
Orleans was not only the first city in wealth, popula
tion, and importance in the seceded States, but the
sixth in all the Union. With a population of nearly
170,000 souls, she carried on an export trade larger
4 THE NINETEENTH ARMY CORPS.
than that of any other port in the country, and en
joyed a commerce in magnitude and profit second
only to that of New York. The year just ended
had witnessed the production of the largest crop
of cotton ever grown in America, fully two fifths of
which passed through the presses and paid toll to the
.factors of. New. Orleans. The receipts of cotton at
1860-1861 were but little less than
; bales/ t valued at nearly $100,000,000. Of
SUgr> &airiLy:t&6 production of the State of Louisi
ana, the receipts considerably exceeded 250,000 tons,
valued at more than $25,000,000 ; the total receipts of
products of all kinds amounted to nearly $200,000,-
ooo. The exports were valued at nearly $110,000,-
ooo ; the imports at nearly $23,000,000. It is doubtful
if any other crop in any part of the world then paid
profits at once so large and so uniform to all persons
interested as the cotton and sugar of Louisiana.
If cotton were not exactly king, as it was in those
days the fashion to assert, there could be no doubt
that cotton was a banker, and a generous banker for
New Orleans. The factors of Carondelet Street grew
rich upon the great profits that the planters of the
"coast," as the shores of the river are called, paid
them, almost without feeling it, while the planters
came, nearly every winter, to New Orleans to pass
the season and to spend, in a round of pleasure, at
least a portion of the net proceeds of the account
sales. In the transport of these products nearly two
thousand sailing ships and steamers were engaged,
and in the town itself or its suburb of Algiers, on
the opposite bank, were to be found all the appli
ances and facilities necessary for the conduct of so
extensive a commerce. These, especially the work-
NEW ORLEANS. 5
shops and factories, and the innumerable river and
bayou steamers that thronged the levee, were des
tined to prove of the greatest military value, at first
to the Confederacy, and later to the forces of the
Union. For food and fuel, however, New Orleans
was largely dependent upon the North and West.
Finally, beside her importance as the guardian of the
gates of the Mississippi, New Orleans had a direct
military value as the basis of any operations destined
for the control or defence of the Mississippi River.
About the middle of November the plan took
definite shape, and on the 23d of December Far-
ragut received preparatory orders to take command
of the West Gulf Squadron and the naval portion
of the expedition destined for the reduction of New
Orleans. Farragut received his final orders on the
2Oth of January, 1862, and immediately afterward
hoisted his flag on the sloop-of-war Hartford.
The land portion of the expedition was placed
under the command of Major-General Benjamin F.
Butler. On the loth and i2th of September, 1861,
Butler had been authorized by the War Department
to raise, organize, arm, uniform, and equip, in the
New England States, such troops as he might judge
fit for the purpose, to make an expedition along
the eastern shore of Maryland and Virginia to Cape
Charles ; but early in November, before Butler s
forces were quite ready, these objects were accom
plished by a brigade under Lockwood, sent from
Baltimore by Dix. On the 23d of November the
advance of Butler s expedition sailed from Portland,
Maine, for Ship Island, in the steamer Constitution,
and on the 2d of December, in reporting the sailing,
Butler submitted to the War Department his plan for
6 THE NINETEENTH ARMY CORPS.
invading the coast of Texas and the ultimate capture
of New Orleans.
On the 24th of January, 1862, McClellan, then
commanding all the armies of the United States, was
called on by the Secretary of War to report whether
the expedition proposed by General Butler should
be prosecuted, abandoned, or modified, and in what
manner. McClellan at once urged that the expedi
tion be suspended. In his opinion, "not less than
30,000 men, and it is believed 50,000, would be re
quired to insure success against New Orleans in a
blow to be struck from the Gulf." This suggestion
did not meet the approval of the government, now
fully determined on the enterprise.
Brigadier-General J. G. Barnard, the chief engi
neer of the Army of the Potomac, an engineer also of
more than common ability, energy, and experience,
was now called into consultation. On the 28th of
January, 1862, he submitted to the Navy Depart
ment a memorandum describing fully the defences of
Forts Jackson and St. Philip and outlining a plan for
a combined attempt on these works by the army and
navy. The military force required for the purpose
he estimated at 20,000 men.
Meanwhile the work of transferring Butler s forces
by sea to Ship Island had been going on with vigor.
He had raised thirteen regiments of infantry, ten
batteries of light artillery, and three troops of cavalry,
numbering in all about 13,600 men. To these were
now added from the garrison of Baltimore three
regiments, the 2ist Indiana, 4th Wisconsin, and 6th
Michigan, and the 2d Massachusetts battery, thus
increasing his force to 14,400 infantry, 275 cavalry,
and 580 artillerists; in all, 15,255 officers and men.
NEW ORLEANS. 7
On the 23d of February, 1862, Butler received his
final orders : " The object of your expedition," said
McClellan, " is one of vital importance the capture
of New Orleans. The route selected is up the Missis
sippi River, and the first obstacle to be encountered
(perhaps the only one) is in the resistance offered by
Forts St. Philip and Jackson. It is expected that
the navy can reduce these works. Should the navy
fail to reduce the works, you will land your forces
and siege-train, and endeavor to breach the works,
silence their guns, and carry them by assault.
"The next resistance will be near the English
bend, where there are some earthen batteries. Here
it may be necessary for you to land your troops to
co-operate with the naval attack, although it is more
than probable that the navy, unassisted, can accom
plish the result. If these works are taken, the city
of New Orleans necessarily falls."
After obtaining possession of New Orleans, the
instructions went on to say, Butler was to reduce all
the works guarding the approaches, to join with the
navy in occupying Baton Rouge, and then to en
deavor to open communication with the northern
column by the Mississippi, always bearing in mind the
necessity of occupying Jackson, as soon as this could
safely be done. Mobile was to follow, then Pensa-
cola and Galveston. By the time New Orleans should
have fallen the government would probably reinforce
his army sufficiently to accomplish all these objects.
On the same day a new military department was
created called the Department of the Gulf, and
Butler was assigned to the command. Its limits
were to comprise all the coast of the Gulf of Mexico
west of Pensacola harbor, and so much of the Gulf
8 THE NINETEENTH ARMY CORPS.
States as might be occupied by Butler s forces. Since
the middle of October he had commanded the expe
ditionary forces, under the name of the Department
of New England.
Arriving at Ship Island on the 2oth of March,
he formally assumed the command of the Department
of the Gulf, announcing Major George C. Strong,
as Assistant Adjutant-General and Chief of Staff,
Lieutenant Godfrey Weitzel as Chief Engineer, and
Surgeon Thomas Hewson Bache as Medical Director.
To these were afterward added Colonel John Wilson
Shaffer as Chief Quartermaster, Colonel John W.
Turner, as Chief Commissary, and Captain George A.
Kensel, as Acting Assistant Inspector-General and
Chief of Artillery.
By the end of March all the troops destined for
the expedition had landed at Ship Island, with the
exception of the i3th Connecticut, i5th Maine,
7th and 8th Vermont regiments, ist Vermont and
2d Massachusetts batteries. Within the next fort
night all these troops joined the force except the
2d Massachusetts battery, which being detained
more than seven weeks at Fortress Monroe, and
being nearly five weeks at sea, did not reach New
Orleans until the 2ist of May. Meanwhile, of the
six Maine batteries, all except the ist had been di
verted to other fields of service.
While awaiting at Ship Island the completion of the
preparations of the navy for the final attempt on the
river forts, Butler proceeded to organize his com
mand and to discipline and drill the troops composing
it. Many of these were entirely without instruction
in any of the details of service. On the 22d of
March, he divided his forces into three brigades of five
NEW ORLEANS. 9
or six regiments each, attaching to each brigade one
or more batteries of artillery and a troop of cavalry.
The brigades were commanded by Brigadier-Generals
John W. Phelps and Thomas Williams, and Colonel
George F. Shepley of the I2th Maine. When finally
assembled the whole force reported about 13,500
officers and men for duty, and from that moment
its strength was destined to undergo a steady diminu
tion by the natural attrition of service, augmented, in
this case, by climatic influences.
The fleet under Farragut consisted of seventeen
vessels, mounting 154 guns. Four were screw-sloops,
one a side-wheel steamer, three screw corvettes, and
nine screw gunboats. Each of the gunboats carried
one i i-inch smooth-bore gun, and one 3O-pounder
rifle ; but neither of these could be used to fire at an
enemy directly ahead, and, in the operations awaiting
the fleet, it is within bounds to say that not more
than one gun in four could be brought to bear at any
given moment. With this fleet were twenty mortar-
boats, under Porter, each carrying one 1 3-inch
mortar, and six gunboats, assigned for the service of
the mortar-boats and armed like the gunboats of the
river fleet. Farragut, with the Hartford, had reached
Ship Island on the 2oth of February ; the rest of the
vessels assigned to his fleet soon followed. Then
entering the delta, from that time he conducted the
blockade of the river from the head of the passes.
The Confederacy was now being so closely pressed
in every quarter as to make it impossible, with the
forces at its command, to defend effectively and at the
same moment every point menaced by the troops
and fleets of the Union. Thus the force that might
otherwise have been employed hi defending New
io THE NINETEENTH ARMY CORPS.
Orleans was, under the pressure of the emergency,
so heavily drawn from to strengthen the army at
Corinth, then engaged in resisting the southward
advance of the combined armies of the Union under
Halleck, as to leave New Orleans, and indeed all
Louisiana, at the mercy of any enemy that should
succeed in passing the river forts. At this time the
entire land-force, under Major-General Mansfield
Lovell, hardly exceeded 5,000 men. Of these, 1,100
occupied Forts Jackson and St. Philip, under the
command of General Duncan ; 1,200 held the Chal-
mette line, under General Martin L. Smith, and about
3,000, chiefly new levies, badly armed, were in New
Orleans. Besides this small land-force, the floating
defences consisted of four improvised vessels of the
Confederate navy, two belonging to the State of
Louisiana, and six others of what was called the
Montgomery fleet. These were boats specially con
structed for the defence of the river, but most of them
had been sent up the river to Memphis to hold off
Foote and Davis. The twelve vessels carried in all
thirty-eight guns. Each of the boats of the river-
fleet defence had its bows shod with iron and its
engines protected with cotton. This was also the
case with the two sea-going steamers belonging to the
State, Of this flotilla the most powerful was the
iron-clad Louisiana^ whose armor was found strong
enough to turn an n-inch shell at short range, and,
as her armament consisted of two 7-inch rifles, three
9-inch shell guns, four 1 8-inch shell guns, and seven
6-inch rifles, she might have proved a formidable
foe had her engines been equal to their work.
At the Plaquemine Bend, twenty miles above the
head of the passes and ninety below New Orleans, the
NEW ORLEANS. n
engineers of the United States had constructed two
permanent fortifications, designed to defend the
entrance of the river against the foreign enemies of
the Union. These formidable works had now to be
passed or taken before New Orleans could be occu
pied. Fort St. Philip, on the left or north bank, was a
work of brick and earth, flanked on either hand by a
water battery. In the main work were mounted, in
barbette, four 8-inch columbiads and one 24-pounder
gun ; the upper water battery carried sixteen 24-
pounders, the lower one 8-inch columbiad, one 7-inch
rifle, six 42-pounders, nine 32-pounders, and four 24-
pounders. Besides these, there were seven mortars,
one of 13-inch calibre, five of lo-inch, and one of
8-inch. Forty-two of the guns could be brought to
bear upon the fleet ascending the river.
Fort Jackson, on the south or left bank of the river,
was a casemated pentagon of brick, mounting in the
casemates fourteen 24-pounder guns, and ten 24-
pounder howitzers, and in barbette in the upper tier
two lo-inch columbiads, three 8-inch columbiads, one
7-inch rifle, six 42-pounders, fifteen 32-pounders, and
eleven 24-pounders, in all sixty-two guns. The water
battery below the main work was armed with one
lo-inch columbiad, two 8-inch columbiads, and two
rifled 32-pounders. Fifty of these pieces were avail
able against the fleet, but of the whole armament of
one hundred and nine guns, fifty-six were old 24-
The passage of the forts had been obstructed by a
raft or chain anchored between them. The forts once
overcome, no other defence remained to be encoun
tered until English Turn was reached, where earth
works had been thrown up on both banks. Here at
12 THE NINETEENTH ARMY CORPS.
Chalmette, on the left bank, it was that, in 1815,
Jackson, with his handful of raw levies, so signally
defeated Wellington s veterans of the Peninsula,
under the leadership of the fearless Pakenham.
Fort St. Philip stands about 700 yards higher up
the river than Fort Jackson ; the river at this point is
about 800 yards wide, and the distance between the
nearest salients of the main works is about 1,000 yards.
A vessel attempting to run the gauntlet of the bat
teries would be under fire while passing over a dis
tance of three and a half miles. The river was now
high, and the banks, everywhere below the river level,
and only protected from inundation by the levees,
were overflowed. There was no standing room
for an investing army ; the lower guns were under
water, and in the very forts the platforms were
When the fleet was ready, Butler embarked eight
regiments and three batteries under Phelps and Wil
liams on transports, and, going to the head of the
passes, held his troops in readiness to co-operate with
the navy. On the i6th of April the fleet took up its
position. The mortar-boats, or " bombers/ as they
began to be called, were anchored between 3,000 and
4,000 yards below Fort Jackson, upon which the
attack was mainly to be directed. From the view of
those in the fort, the boats that lay under the right
bank were covered by trees. Those on the opposite
side of the river were screened, after a fashion, by
covering their hulls with reeds and willows, cut for
On the 1 8th of April the bombardment began.
It soon became evident that success was not to be at
tained in this way, and Farragut determined upon
NEW ORLEANS. 13
passing the forts with his fleet. Should he fail
in reducing them by this movement, Butler was to
land in the rear of Fort St. Philip, near Quarantine,
and carry the works by storm. Accordingly, he
remained with his transports below the forts, and
waited for the hour. Shepley occupied Ship Island
with the rest of the force.
Early in March the raft, formed of great cypress
trees, forty feet long and fifty inches through, laid
lengthwise in the river about three feet apart, anchored
by heavy chains and strengthened by massive cross-
timbers, had been partly carried away by the flood.
To make good the damage, a number of large
schooners had then been anchored in the gap. On
the morning of the 2ist of April this formidable
obstruction was cleverly and in a most gallant manner
broken through by the fleet.
On the night of the 23d of April, Farragut moved
to the attack. His fleet, organized in three divisions
of eight, three, and six vessels respectively, was
formed in line ahead. The first division was led by
Captain Bailey, in the Cayuga, followed by the
Pensacola, Mississippi, Oneida, Varuna, Katahdin,
Kineo, and Wissahickon ; the second division followed,
composed of Farragut s flag-ship, the Hartford, Com
mander Richard Wainwright, the Brooklyn, and the
Richmond ; while the third division, forming the rear
of the column, was led by Captain Bell, in the Sciota,
followed by the Iroquois, Kennebec, Pinola, Itasca,
At half-past two o clock on the morning of the 24th
of April the whole fleet was under way ; a quarter of
an hour later the batteries of Forts Jackson and St.
Philip opened simultaneously upon the Cayuga. It was
14 THE NINETEENTH ARMY CORPS.
some time before the navy could reply, but soon
every gun was in action. Beset by perils on every
hand, the fleet pressed steadily up the river. The
Confederate boats were destroyed, the fire-rafts were
overcome, the gunners of the forts were driven from
their guns, and when the sun rose Farragut was
above the forts with the whole of his fleet, except
the Itasca, Winona, and Kennebec, which put back dis
abled, and the Varuna, sunk by the Confederate gun
boats. The next afternoon, having made short work
of Chalmette, Farragut anchored off New Orleans,
and held the town at his mercy.
The casualties were 37 killed and 147 wounded,
in all 184. The Confederate loss was 50, n killed
and 39 wounded. The Louisiana, McCrea, and De
fiance, sole survivors of the Confederate fleet, escap
ing comparatively unhurt, took refuge under the
walls of Fort St. Philip.
Leaving Phelps, with the 3Oth Massachusetts and
T2th Connecticut and Manning s 4th Massachusetts
battery, at the head of the passes, in order to be
prepared to occupy the works immediately on their