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he thenceforward commanded an army from which his parting wrung
tears more bitter than any the fall of their cause could extort ; an
army which followed him, after three years of glorious vicissitudes,
into private life without one thought of further resistance against the
fate to which their adored chief yielded without a murmur?" But
he asks again : " Is it therefore asserted that Lee, as a commander,
was faultless ? Far from it. We say with all humility," he adds,
" but without any doubt, that from first to last he committed most
grave errors ; errors which only his other high qualities prevented
from being fatal to his reputation. Chief of these," he says, "was
his permitting tne continuance of the laxity of discipline which
throughout the war clogged the movements of the Confederates and
robbed their most brilliant victories of their reward. The fatal habit
of straggling from the ranks on the least pretext ; the hardly less
fatal habit of allowing each man to load himself with any superfluous
arms or clothes he chose to carry ; the general want of subordina-
tion to trifling orders, which was the inheritance of their volunteer
origin ; these evils Lee found in full existence when he took com-
mand before Richmond, and he never strove to check them."

Colonel Chesiiey says : " As the war went on the rifts caused by
indiscipline and carelessness in the Confederate armies widened more
and more, and in the end these faults were hardly less fatal to the
fortunes of the South than the greater material resources of her
adversary. Her fall," he continues, "was a new proof to the world
that neither personal courage nor heroic leadership can any more
supply the place of discipline to a national force than can untrained
patriotism or vaunts of past glories."

After reading this distinguished officer's memoirs of Lee and Grant,

Beunion of Virginia Division, A. N. V. Association. 205

I am so grateful to him for his appreciation of our beloved leader
and the picture he has drawn of him for history; I am so satisfied, so
more than satisfied, with the tribute he pays to the Army of Northern
Virginia that I am little inclined to question any criticism he makes
upon Lee or his army. 1 am content to let the picture stand just as
he has drawn it. And if his picture was to be that of history, if
others were not to be put beside it, some doing us less justice and
others none at all, I for one would rather leave it as it is without
attempting to point out where I think Colonel Chesney was mistaken.
But this charge of .want of discipline has been made by others who
have had no such kindly feeling to us, nor desire to do us justice.
Somewhat of this sting, too, is increased by the fact that our critics
can quote General Lee himself as authority for the charge. " My
army is ruined by straggling, " General Lee said to a distinguished
officer at Sharpsburg. And in the last address before this Associ-
ation General D. H. Hill makes the same admission.

That the Army of Northern Virginia was depleted by straggling
in the Maryland campaign no one can deny. But I, as a line officer,
do deny that the cause of this straggling was, in the main, the want
of discipline. The difficulty, I believe, was simply that of the limit
of human endurance. The day after we captured the stores at the
Second Manassas, 1 was ordered to send all the barefooted men in
the First South Carolina volunteers to the junction to get the shoes
we found there, and well recollect that out of the three hundred in
the regiment I sent one hundred men whose feet were on the ground.
The enemy pressed, and the stores were burnt and the barefooted
men sent back without shoes, and then moved out to protect the
burning stores. I admit that there was fault here. I have always
thought a great fault, but it was not the fault of the want of disci-
pline of the line. It was only an instance of what I believe was a
great evil in our organization, which may or may not have been
inevitable from the circumstances under which our army was organ-
ized — the evil of the want of a properly organized staff If we had
had at first a Meigs at the head, of our quartermaster's department,
as the Federal troops had at their' s, I cannot but think that some of
these evils would have been checked. But however that may be, I
cannot allow that this straggling was from the lack of discipline. I
insist that it was but the result of human exhaustion. Consider what
this army had done from Kernstown, on the 22d March, to Sharps-
burg, 17th September.

It had fought the battles of Kernstown, McDowell, Front Royal,

206 Southern Historical Society Papers.

Winchester. Strasburg, Cross Keys and Port Republic (constituting
the Valley campaign), Williamsburg, Barhamsville, Hanover Court-
house, Seven Pines, Mechanicsville, Gaines's Mill, Savage Station,
White Oak Swamp, Malvern Hill (constituting the Richmond cam-
paign), Cedar Run, Manassas Junction, Manassas Plains, August
29th, Manassas Plains, August 30th (constituting the campaign of
Northern Virginia), Harper's Ferry, Boonesboro' and Sharpsburg
(constituting in part the campaign in Maryland). History does not
record a series of battles like these, fought by one army in so short
a space of time. To fight these battles the army had' marched and
counter-marched hundreds and hundreds of miles in these six
months. In the item of shoes alone it would have required the most
ample supplies and the most efficient quartermaster's department to
have kept us sufficiently shod to stand this work. While, on the
contrary, those of us who took part in the campaign in Northern
Virginia well know that the plains of Manassas were strewed with
dead men whose bare feet were cut up with the rocks on the road
over which they had struggled there to die. How was it possible,
then, for those who survived and escaped wounds, but whose feet were
in like condition, to keep up with the forced marches in Maryland?
The hospital steward of the First South Carolina volunteers, after-
wards an assistant surgeon, killed at Fredericksburg, marched bare-
footed from Manassas to Sharpsburg.

I would call attention, too, to the fact that this charge of straggling
from want of discipline is always traced back to the straggling which
took place in the Maryland campaign, which, including the march to
Manassas, was the first great march the army had made, when the
army was, as I have described, barefooted and physically exhausted.

There certainly was no straggling on the next great march — ^Jack-
son's march from Winchester to Fredericksburg — in which he trans-
ferred his corps one hundred and eighty miles in ten days, two of
which were rest. It happened that on that march I was detailed to
the command of the rear guard of our division, which was also the
rear guard of the corps the day we crossed the Blue Ridge at Milan
Gap. My orders were to allow no one to remain behind, but to
gather up all stragglers and to force them on, whether sick or well,
lame or sound. It was a bitter cold day, and the ground was cov-
ered with snow. I did not move from our bi\'ouac with the guard
until the morning had well advanced and until the rear of the column
was some distance up the mountain. I shall never forget the scene,
I could see from the valley below, the whole corps, like a huge snake,

Reunion of Virginia Division, A. N. V. Association. 207

crawling and winding its way up the snow- covered sides of the
mountain. It was one of my most painful experiences of the war,
for by. noon I had gathered up a party of stragglers, a few of whom
were stragglers from pure viciousness, but the rest from sheer suffer-
ing. The poor fellows were actually barefooted, and their feet were
cracked and bleeding on the ice, and these I had to force on, painfully
climbing the frozen mountain road. We did not cross the mountain
until some time after night-fall, when I reported with the prisoners
and sufferers who I had brought up, and was directed to send them
to their respective commands.

No more admirable march, I am sure, was ever made by any body
of troops. Notwithstanding the want of shoes and clothing, Jack-
son's corps had marched from Winchester to Fredericksburg, in the
depth of winter, with the utmost regularit)' and precision, and took
up their position behind the Massaponax hills ready for the battle.

It has never been charged that there was any straggling on the
march to Gettysburg; and Lee could not have made his famous de-
fensive campaign against Grant from the Wilderness to Cold Harbor
with a straggling army.* That campaign was one of tactical manoeu-
vring, which required for the success it attained not only disciplined
but skilled troops.

There was, it is true, very little drill in our army. The Union
army was formed upon and around the United States regulars and
the famous Seventh regiment of New York, and other "crack" com-
plete regimental organizations from the Northern cities. They had,
therefore, excellent models of drilled troops on which to form the

*In singular corroboration of what I have been maintaining as the cause
of the straggling in the Maryland campaign, and that it was exceptional,
since writing this I have read in The Century for July (1886), in a paper
entitled " In the Wake of Battle," this account of the stragglers in Shep-
herdstown at this time (September 13th, 1862) :

" They were stragglers at all events — professional, some of them, but some worn
out by the incessant strain of that summer. When I say that they were hungry, I convey
no impression of the gaunt starvation that looked from their cavernous eyes. All day they
crowded to the doors of our houses with always the same drawling complaint: ' I've been
a-marchin' an' a-fightin' for six weeks stiddy, and I ain't had n-a-rthin' to eat 'cept green
apples an' green caun, an' I wish you'd please to gimme a bite to eat.'

"Their looks bore out their statements, and when they told us they had ' clean gin out,'
we believed them, and went to get what we had. * * * * i know nothing of numbers,
nor what force was or was not engaged in any battle, but I saw the troops march past us
every summer for four years, and I know something of the appearance of a marching army,
both Union and Southern. They are ahvays stragglers of course, but never before or after
did I see anything comparable to the denioi alized state of the Confederates at this time.
Never were want and exhaustion more visibly put before my eyes, and that they could
march or fight at all seemed incredible."

208 Southern Historical Society Papers.

regiments as they were organized. We had nothing of the kind.
Few even of our officers had ever seen a well drilled regiment.
The wonder is how well and quickly they learned what they did.
But they did learn with great facility the elementary and essential
movements from line into column, and from column into line.

Few regiments could go through a respectable dress-parade, and
with all their picketing they knew very little about the niceties of
guard -mounting. But few in the army ever went through the cere-
monies of the "Grand Rounds." Soldiers treated officers with
respect — if they deserved it — but they never thought of giving a
military salute, nor would they have known how to make one if
ihey had. They took off their hats to Lee, and shouted for Jack-
son ; but few officers ever knew the ceremonies of turning out
the guard for the commanding officer. There was no time to learn
these things. It was this absence of all ceremonial that struck
foreign officers and our own officers who had been in the regular
army. After the close of the Franco- Prussian war I saw this shrewd
observation in a letter from Berlin. The writer said that there were
many martinets in the Prussian service to whom war was an annoy •
ing interruption to the serious business of army life. One may
become just a little too professional a soldier, too much imbued with
the technology of the camp and parade ground, rather than with
the bivouac and battlefield. To such a one the Confederate army
was but a sorry sight. *

* Since the delivery of this address, it has been suggested that these
observations in regard to the lack of attention to the minutics of drill are
too general — " that to apply the statement universally would do great in-
justice to the numerous el^ves of the Virginia Military Institute— the so-
called West Point of the South — some of whom were to be found among
the officers of every Virginia regiment, and not a few from other States,
who estimated these matters as highly as any Prussian martinet, and who
spent the late fall and winter of 1861 in industriously and successfully
drilling officers and men in every nicety of the art-military." — [Letter in
Charleston Sunday News, October 31, signed K.]

No doubt it would have been unjust and untrue to have said tliat there
were no regiments in the Confederate service trained and drilled in these
things; but I think still that the observation is generally true, as I have
made it — that is. that there were few regiments which were so drilled.

Besides the graduates of llie Virginia Military bistitute there were also
the graduates of the .South Carolina Military Academy, who did for some
South Carolina regiments what those of the Virginia Military bistitute did
for the Virginia troops; and in the regiment to which 1 had the honor to

Reunion of Virginia Division, A. N. V. Association 209

But I maintain that of discipline, real discipline, prompt obedience
to orders, there was no lack, and certainly in Jackson's corps at least
obedience was enforced. I can relate two instances in my own expe-
rience which will illustrate this.

The afternoon the head of Jackson's corps reached the Rappahan-
nock on the Manassas campaign, 2Tst August, 1862, there came up a
very severe rain-storm, which lasted into the night. It happened that
Gregg's brigade bivouacked in the farm-yard to the house in which
General Jackson had taken up his headquarters, and the five regi-
ments filing in were placed for the night, so that the First South
Carolina volunteers, which I commanded, was next a very nice pal-
ing fence. We had not taken our positions before an order was
issued by General Jackson — in the midst of all his anxiety about
Early's brigade, which you recollect had crossed the river and been
cut ofif by the sudden rise in its waters — that a certain worm- fence
at a Httle distance might be used for fire-wood, but that the officers
of the brigade should see that none of the palings were touched.
The night was a very severe one, and just recovering from a serious
illness I had thought myself fortunate in securing shelter in an
out-house. During the night I heard some one knocking away at
the palings, and sent at once to stop it. The report to me was,
that the men who had been taking the palings belonged to one of
the other regiments of the brigade, and I did nothing more than
stop any further damage. The next morning by daylight I saw
General Jackson ride through the yard, and a few moments after-
wards was ordered to report to General Gregg, with whom I found
the other four commanding officers of regiments of the brigade, and
was told that General Jackson had ordered us all under arrest. We
were released upon an arrangement with the owner of the farm to
pay for the damage done. Five regimental commanders — and I

belong great attention was paid to the minuter detail. General Gregg,
who organized and drilled it, was himself a great drill-master, having been
in the regular service in Mexico and having under him several officers
who were trained in the South Carolina Military Academy. He brought
his regiment to the standard of Regulars. Young men with historic, colo-
nial and Revolutionary names— with pocket edition of classic authors in
their coats— walked post, and presented arms after the most approved
standards of military etiquette; and twice at least on the battlefield I saw
disaster averted by the splendid drill of the regiment. But, in the army
generally, regiments so drilled and trained were few indeed. In regard to
our army generally, I think I am correct in saying " there was no time to
learn these things."

210 Southern Historical Society Papers.

always believed, but never actually knew, our brigadier himself —
all arrested for a (ew palings of an ornamental fence taken under
such circumstances ! And then to be told that there was no discipline
in our army !

The other instance to which I allude, is one that I recall of the
winter of 1 863-' 64. I had been detailed as judge-advocate of a
general court-martial, and was quartered at a farm-house, around
which our division was encamped, and I remember while there being
struck with the fact that the poultry were safely walking about the
farm-yard, which was enclosed by a worm-fence only, not a rail from
which was taken, while our men had to bring their wood from aj
considerable distance.

What greater proof of the discipline of any army could be given
than was by ours in the Pennsylvania campaign, where property was
protected even, though we had such great provocation for retaliation ?
Even the fanatical Doubleday, the historian of Gettysburg in the
Scribner series, admits that we paid for whatever we took; but com-
plains that we paid for it in Confederate currency — as if we had an}'
other. He tells as a good joke General Jenkins, while at Cham-
bersburg, having had some horses stolen, called upon the city autho-
rities to pay him their full value. "They did so," he says, "without
a murmur, m Confederate curre?icy.'^*

If the conduct of troops in an invading army is any test of disci-
pline, let us compare two incidents.

A Northern correspondent thus describes the conduct of the Fed-
eral troops on taking possession of Athens, Alabama:

"The citizens had their houses and stores broken open and robbed of
everything valuable, and what was too unwieldy to be transported easily,
broken or otherwise ruined ; safes were forced open and rifled of thousands,
of dollars; wives and mothers insulted, and husbands and fathers arrested,
if they dared to murmur; horses and negroes taken in large numbers; ladies
robbed of all their wearing apparel except what they had on — in a word,,
every outrage was committed and every excess indulged in that ever was
heard of, by a most savage and brutal soldiery, towards a defenceless and
alarmed population. This is an everlasting disgrace, that can never be wiped,
from the page of history."!


*' Chancellorsville and Gettysburg."— Doubleday, page 96.

+ Marginalia by Personne, army correspondent of the Charleston Courier^
page 45 It should be mentioned that the officer in command. Colonel John
fj. Turchin, was arrested, tried, and cashiered by a court-martial, of which
General Garfield was president. He was, however, immediately appointed
Brigadier-General by President Lincoln.— Records War of Rebellion, VoL
XVI, page 273-'8.

Reunion of Virginia Division, A. N. V. Association. 211

Now let us turn to the other: When the army was passing through
Pennsylvania, the ladies frequently came out of their houses to show
their feelings of hostility to us and to display some evidence of it.
At one place a beautiful girl ran down the steps of an elegant man-
sion, and standing on the terrace in front, waved a miniature United
States flag in the face of our troops. Behind her, applauding her act,
was grouped a party of ladies, all richly and fashionably attired, evi-
dently belonging to a family ol some note. The troops passed by
quietly, offering no insult to the flushed beauty, as she flaunted her
flag in their faces. At that moment General Lee rode up. His
noble face and quiet reproving look met her eye, and the waving flag
was lowered. For a moment she looked at him, and then throwing
down the miniature banner, exclaimed audibly, as she clasped her
white hands together, " Oh! I ivish he was ours!" *

It is true, however, that the volunteer company organization, or
rather the clan system of our organization, together with the want
of drill, had some evil effects which remained with the army until
the end. I recall a conversation with an English officer, who had
joined us just after the Maryland campaign and had been assigned
to General A. P. Hill's headquarters, and who had taken part with us
in the battles of Fredericksburg, Chancellorsville, and Gettysburg,
which struck me very forcibly. He was extolling, in what even
to me seemed extravagant terms, the glorious conduct of our little bat-
talions, as they would hurl themselves upon divisions of the enemy^
when suddenly he paused and said: "But they will never do it
again ! " I resented this, and asked him why he thought we would
turn cowards all at once. He begged me not to take offence, but to
think for a moment and count up with him the number of officers
who had fallen in Jackson's corps, and especially in the Light
Division since he had joined us, and then to think who these men
were whom we had lost. He went on to recount the list, including
Jackson himself, Gregg, Pax ton, and Pender, and many regimental
officers with whom he had become well acquainted, and then he said,
don't you see your system :eeds upon itself? You cannot, he said,
fill the places of these men. Your men do wonders, but every time
at a cost you cannot afford.

The Army of Northern Virginia did even greater wonders after
this conversation, for it fought through Grant's campaign of 1864
in which it placed hors de combat a number of the enemy equal to

* Marginalia, page 21.

212 Southern Historical Society Papers.

its entire numerical strength at the commencement of the campaign.*
So that if we suppose the two armies starting out on the campaign
with equal numbers, Grant would have had no army left after the bat-
tle of Cold Harbor on the 3d June. Within one month Lee would
have entirely destroyed it. But there was, nevertheless, much truth
in Colonel Gordon's remark. Our system of battle required too
much exposure of our officers. Our officers had to lead rather than
to direct. It was example and not order so much by which our
troops were guided. And undoubtedly it was fearfully expensive in
officers. Again and again regiments, and sometimes even brigades,
came out of battle under subalterns Had our men been better
drilled many valuable officers might have been spared to have devised,
guided and directed subsequent battles.

A distinguished Federal officer, who has frequently discussed this
matter with me, hdS constantly maintained that in fact the troops of
our army were better disciplined than their' s. It is certain that our
army on no occasion suffered from panic, or was routed as the Fed-
eral army in both the battles on Manassas Plains in i86i and '62, and
at Chancellorsville.

Our system of recruiting was certainly wiser than that of the Fed-

* Swinton says : " Grant's loss in the series of actions from the Wilderness
to the Chickahominy reached the enormous aggregate of sixty thousand
men put hors de combat — a number greater than the entire strength of
Lee's army at the opening of the campaign. He had inflicted on Lee a
loss of twenty thousand— the ratio being three to one. The Confederates,
elated at the skillful manner in which they had constantly, been thrust
between Richmond and the Union army, and conscious of the terrible price
in blood they had exacted from the latter, were in high spirit, and the
morale of Lee's army was never better than after-the battle of Cold Har-
bor." See Army of the Potomac, Swinton, pages 491, 492. Four Years
with General Lee, Taylor, page 135. Southern Historical Papers, General
C. M. Wilcox, page 75.

Hut General Humphreys, in his Virp;inia Campaign of '64 and '65, puttingj
our forces at 61,953 at the commencement of the campaign (page 17), gives
the Federal losses as follows: Wilderness (page 53), 15,387; Spotsylvania
(page 116), 17,723; North Anna (page 133), 2,100; Cold Harbor (page 191),]
12,970; total, 48,180.

True, Lee had received reinforcements at Hanover, which Generall
Humphreys estimates at 8,700 muskets and 600 officers (page 125). But h<
admUs that before Lee had received these reinforcements, with an army o^
6',953 "len, he had inflicted a loss upon the enemy of 33,100. Is that not
enough for the vindication of Lee's strategy and of his army's skill andj
discipline ?

Reunion of Virginia Division, A. N. V. Association. 213

erals. At each call for more troops the Governors of the Northern
States insisted upon furnishing them in new organizations — regiments,

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