W[illiam] D B[ickham].

Rosecrans' campaign with fourteenth army corps, or the Army of the Cumberland: a narrative of personal observations with ... official reports of the battle of Stone river (Volume 2) online

. (page 1 of 38)
Online LibraryW[illiam] D B[ickham]Rosecrans' campaign with fourteenth army corps, or the Army of the Cumberland: a narrative of personal observations with ... official reports of the battle of Stone river (Volume 2) → online text (page 1 of 38)
Font size
QR-code for this ebook


^






.•i'""^^



- •^^ -^„ ^







V "^ ^ , V -'^ A ^^ -^ o , X "^ A




'"7!^^^ .o3






^0-^^.



- ^






♦" ^'^^ ""^.



o






# r""''"



^ .-y



^ v^^



1^'



^



^^



f" s^-r,^^>



■< . „ 'ft. a\ ^ ■< " « , Oj aV » ■■ * " f ^ ,«>



^ • ^ / o^



— or —

Captain NMiCHLERr^

Corp,s Top ^} Enxfin-cer-s, TIS-A.

' BY

MAJ.J.F. WEYSS,

ZieM.T M^Ueav. ITS. V5l f




JExolanatory -TU« re»>ei line of b»Ule and their line ot attACk •» the ftm d»y ;»« •eprtwmted ia tlie 0*9)1

do aot cor/espond. It wm 5i« s-oasible for tbe Topographer to represent both. He th^efof* cho38 the a«««f »>»»«« "^ »J
rebels u^.tUtbey aoveA to oiie ^.tuuk. The divisioua.-f Cleborne and McCown then obUqued » the left, tmtU the •^ftt*'"'*
Uce projo^ted beyon.j the right of Johnsoi^-s right, Cankiug him. The reader will bear in mind that the att^jk flnrt )W
npon the left of Jobason's division, U.en his right brigade, H.ea Da-Hs and Sherridau. Tho posiUon occupied on the flr.
day of January, h uot fnUy represented ; the entire Une of the Left Wing not appearing In the map. This ^as omitted b
the Topographer t» avoid oonfasion in a reduced map. Otherwise the diagram is ▼er7 perffect.



ROSECRANS' CAMPAIGN



WITH THE



Foiirteentli Army Corps,



OR THE



AEMY OF THE CUMBEELAND:



A NARRATIVE OF PERSONAL OBSERVATIONS, WITH AN APPENDIX,
CONSISTING OF OFFICIAL REPORTS OF THE



BATTLE OF STONE BIVER.



By " W. D. B.,"4.

CORKBSPONDKNT OP THE CtNCWNATI CoMMKBCIAL.



-■< ^» » ►■

CINCINNATI:
MOORE, WILSTACII, KEYS & CO.,

25 WEST FOURTH STREET.

1863.



N ^ ^.



cdlA-



.V



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

BY MOORE, WILSTACH, KEYS & CO.,

Tii the Clerk's Office of the District Court of the United States for the Southern

District of Ohio.



PREFACE.



This volume presents a narrative of the personal observa-
tions of the author during the three months' campaign of
Major General Rosecrans, commanding the original Fourteenth
Army Corps — popularly designated the Army of the Cumber-
land. It embraces a period beginning with the 30th day of
October, 1862, when General Rosecrans assumed command
of the Department of the Cumberland, and the Fourteenth
Army Corps, and concludes with the occupation of Murfrees-
boro, Tennessee, immediately after the memorable battle of
Stone River. Doubtless it contains some statements which
might have been wisely omitted. Certainly many very inter-
esting facts which could have been profitably introduced, were
excluded. But it is purely narrative. It aspires to nothing
but to record the truth candidly and clearly. No ill-natured
flings or ex parte criticisms are indulged. An earnest effort
is made to deal fairly with all the actors in the great drama
which culminated in the victory on Stone River.

The description of the Battle of Stone River, which con-
cludes the narrative, was written partially from personal
observation, and partially with the assistance of the ofl&cial
reports. The successive action of brigades is followed as
nearly as possible. Biographies of regiments, obviously, could
not be included without unduly expanding the proportions
of the volume. The plan adopted by the author, of gen-
erally describing the disaster to the Right Wing, and the
concurrent preparations of the General-in-Chief to retrieve
the misfortunes of Wednesday morning, up to the period of
the first repulse of the enemy, and then returning to follow

(iii)



IV PREFACE.

the tide of battle as it flowed tumultuously from Right to
Left, until it had involved the entire army, was conceived
to be the best for the development of the whole series of
involved engagements. Time and circumstances were elusive.
Distinct actions were convulsing the field simultaneously,
and to bring out each clearly, required some sacrifice of the
important elements of time and continuit3\ To write a sum-
mary description of the battle, and compensate for omission
of the special engagements of brigades and divisions by the
ultimate introduction of rhetoric, would be comparatively
easy. As the author wrote this volume more particularly for
the Army of the Cumberland and its friends, he preferred,
at the sacrifice of some proprieties of descriptive writing, to
exhibit the action of each division or brigade, as far as pos-
sible. If any are slurred it is the misfortune of the author.
It certainly was not his purpose to overlook or unjustly dis-
parage any of the worthy soldiers who, by their valor and
conduct, are entitled to a nation's gratitude.

The Appendix embraces the OflScial Reports of the Com-
mander-in-Chief of the Army, of the three Corps Commanders,
of all the Division Commanders, of the Chief of Cavalry and
some of his subordinates. The author desires to express his
obligations to Corporal Thomas Worthington, of the One
Hundred and Sixth Ohio Volunteers — a gentleman who
merits a much higher position in the army than he now
holds — for appreciated services in assisting him to collect the
official documents in the Appendix.

The author is also sincerely obliged to the accomplished
Major J. F. Weyss, of the Topographical Engineers, Depart-
ment of the Cumberland, for the beautiful reduced map of
the battle-field of Stone River, which precedes the title page.

WM. D. BICKHAM.

Cincinnati, March 20, 1863.



CONTENTS.



PA.GE

Preface 3

CHAPTER I.

The Army of the Ohio— Discontent of the Soldiers — Major General
Buell Retires from Command — The Army Countermarches Again
— Assumption of Command by Major General W. S. Rosecrans —
Popular Fallacies — Embarrassments of the New Commander —
His Communications — Condition of the Army — The Cavalry Arm. 9

CHAPTER II.

General Order No. 1 — The Temporary Staff — Their Qualifications
— Position of the Fourteenth Army Corps — Bragg's Movements
— Nashville Invested by Rebel Cavalry— Five Millions of Ra-
tions — Railroad Annoyances , 15

CHAPTER III.

Introduction of Headquarters to the Female Rebel Element —
Business at Headquarters — Improvement of the Cavalry Arm —
Mounted Infantry — Pack Mules — East Tennessee — Discipline.... 21

CHAPTER IV,

Working Habits of the General Commanding — His Fancy for Young
Men — His Searching Inspections — His Injunctions to Careless or
Neglected Soldiers — Major General Thomas 28

CHAPTER V.

Regimental Pioneer Corps — McCook moves to Nashville — Attack
upon Nashville — Morgan's Dishonorable Ruse — The Attack
Foiled — Breckinridge — The Fifty-First Illinois Volunteers 34

CHAPTER VI.

The Right Wing at Nashville — Railway Communications Re-
sumed — Organization of the Army — Sketches of McCook, Crit-
tenden, Rousseau, Negley, and other Division Generals 38

CHAPTER VII.

SABBA.TH in the Army — The Situation — The Army Moving — Out-
lines of the Campaign — Its Relations to Other Departments —
Bragg's Advantages — Rosecrans' Difficulties. 44

CHAPTER VIII.

Mounted — Rebel Ruins — Picture of Desolation — Fire in the Forest
— Copy of Blue Grass — Bivouac Fires and Tattoo 49

(V)



VI CONTENTS.

CHAPTER IX.

Cunningham House — Nashville in Military Dress — Fort Negley —
Social Tyranny — Female Despotism — Non-Intercourse with Yan-
kees — The Pass System — The Ruined Suburbs of Nashville 55

CHAPTER X.

Administration of the Department — The Provost Marshal General
— Persistence of Rebel Women — Female Smugglers — The Chief
of Army Police — His Signal Services 62

CHAPTER XI.

In Front of Nashville — Changes in Commands — Operations of the
Enemy — General Orders — The Night-cap Order — The Perma-
nent Staff 71

CHAPTER XII.

Governor Johnson — The Contraband Question — The Railroad Re-
paired — The Enemy in Front — His Cavalry Enterprises — Colonel
John Kennett Strikes Back — The Night-cap Battalion 84

CHAPTER XIII.

Moral Influence of Success — The Hartsville Disgrace — John
Morgan Captures a Federal Brigade — The Fight — Vain Gal-
lantry of the Soldiers — Imbecility of the Commander 92

CHAPTER XIV.

Official Intercourse between Generals Rosecrans and Bragg —
Efi^orts to Meliorate the Severities of War — Mutual Reproaches —
Violation of a Flag of Truce — Bragg's Apology — Repetition of
the Outrage — Correspondence Ended by General Rosecrans 98

CHAPTER XV.

The Hartsville Affair Retrieved — Brilliant Repulse of the Enemy —
Successful Foraging — Gallantry of the Soldiers — Good Conduct
Approved by the General — Cavalry Exploit — General Stanley
Routs the Rebels — Spirit of the Men 106

CHAPTER XVI.

The "Grapevine" Telegraph — Fabrication of False Intelligence —
Southern Ladies' Aid Society — Social Life in Nashville — Slavery
and the Proclamation — Jubilee — Church-Going — Army Chap-
lains — Their Fidelity and Devotion 112

CHAPTER XVIL

Pressure upon the Commander — He Resents it — His Views of
War — His Situation — Number of Effectives — Organization — New
Regiments — Spirit of the Army — The Enemy Defiant 120



CONTENTS. Vll

CHAPTER XVIII,

Orders to March — Excitement in Nashville — Christmas Night —
Consultation of Generals — "Fight them! " — Plan of Movement —
The Military Household — Headquarters — Nocturnal Scenes —
Lectures to Young Officers — Conversation 132

CHAPTER XIX.

The Army Advances — Its Spirit in Gloomy Weather — Movements
— The Enemy Driven and Two Guns Captured — The Left Wing —
The First Day's Operations — A Night's Adventure 147

CHAPTER XX.
Operations on Saturday 164

CHAPTER XXI.

Operations on Sunday and Monday — Rosecrans at the Front —
Picket Skirmishing — Headquarters at Lavergne — Rousseau joins
the Center — McCook's Reconnoissance — Hardee Retires to Mur-
freesboro — The Left Wing in front of Murfreesboro — Crittenden
Ordered to Occupy the Town — Monday Night 172

CHAPTER XXIL

Tuesday, December 30 — The First Shot at the General Command-
ing — An Orderly Decapitated — Garesche and his Missal — The
Rebel Position — Obstinate Resistance of the Enemy — Ominous
Sounds — Starkweather's Combat — Rebel Cavalry in the Rear —
Rosecrans Orders McCook to Prepare for Battle 181

CHAPTER XXIII.

The Line of Battle — Vigilance of Commanders — Position of the
Enemy — McCook's Information from the Enemy — The Plan of
Battle — Explanations — Address to the Army — Tlie Army on the
Eve of Battle 193

CHAPTER XXIV.

The 31st of December, 18G2— Prayer before Battle— Din of Battle-
Evil Tidings — Panic — Anxiety at Headquarters — Incredible
Reports — Firmness of General Rosecrans — The Plan of Battle
Defeated — The General in Front — The Day going Against us —
New Line Formed — Batteries Massed in the Center — The Gen-
eral Commanding Leads a Charge — The Tide of Battle Turns —
St. Clair Morton and the Pioneer Brigade — Night 205

CHAPTER XXV.

Prague upon Austerlitz— The Onset of the Rebels — The Columns
of Attack— Edgarton's Battery — Willich Unhorsed and Cap-
tured — Davis' Division — Splendid Resistance of Sherridan —
Death of General Sill — Repulse of the Enemy — Roberts Charges
and Falls — The Missouriaus at Bay with Empty Muskets 225



Vlll CONTENTS.

CHAPTER XXVI.

Neglet's Division — Gallant. Struggle — Staunch Fighting of Miller

and Stanley "Father" Moody — Turchiu's Ftegiment — The

Pennsylvanians — Charge — Rousseau's Division — The Regulars. 248

CHAPTER XXVII.

Preparations — Readjustment of the Lines — Grand Battle Scene —
A Spectacle of Dreadful Splendor — Desti-uction ot Human Life —
Garesches Death — The Field's our own 270

CHAPTER XXVIII.

After the Conflict — Headquarters — Consultation of Generals —
Decision of the Commander-in-Chief — Our Losses — Orders for
January 1st — The Heroism of the Soldiers — The Medical Staff... 289

CHAPTER XXIX.

January 1, 1863 — Change of Division and Brigade Commanders —
Position of Divisions — Demonstrations by the Enemy — The
Regulars Double-Quick to Stewart's Creek and back — Brilliant
Affair of Colonel Innis and his Michiganders at Lavergne —
A Trying Mew Year's Day — Effect of Wednesday's Reverse at
Nashville 297

CHAPTER XXX.

Friday, January 2 — Heavy Artillery Battle — Movements of the
Troops — Onslaught upon Van Cleve's Division — It is Broken —
The Batteries Massed — The Center and Right Wing Assisting
the Left — A Banner and a Battery Captured — Awful Effect of
Our Artillery— The Rebels Routed 306

CHAPTER XXXL

Saturday's Operations — The Front Harassed — East Tennesseeans
Charge with a Slogan — The Last Hostile Guns in Battle — The
Wounded — Rebel Prisoners Eating Parched Corn — A General
Sur[)rised — The Rebels Retreat — Sunday — Mass — Official Sum-
mary of Battle 319

CHAPTER XXXIL

Review of the Field — Self-Reliance of the General Commanding —
Moral l*ovver — Special Mention for Important Services — Consoli-
dated Report of Casualties — Bragg's Ai-my — His Grand Tactics. 328

CHAPTER XXXIIL

Incidents and Anecdotes — Ambulance Corps on the Field — The
Generals, how they Appeared in Battle 359

APPENDIX.
Official Reports of the Battle of Stone River 371



ROSECRANS' CAMPAIGN



WITH THE



FOURTEENTH ARMY CORPS.



CHAPTER I.

The Army of the Ohio — Discontent of the Soldiers — Major General
Buell Retires from Command — The Army Countermarches Again —
Assumption of Command by Major General W. S. Rosecrans — Pop-
ular Fallacies — Embarrassments of the New Commander — His Com-
munications — Cumberland River Innavigable, the Louisville and
Nashville Railroad a Wreck — Condition of the Army — Its Partial
Demoralization — The Cavalry Arm.

General Bragg and liis army had just escaped from
Kentucky. The federal army was discouraged, and
the nation profoundly disappointed. A twelve month
had been spent in fruitless campaigning ; millions of
money had been lavished without compensation ; and
the bones of thousands of brave men were moldering
among the hills and valleys of the South, sad monu-
ments of unrequited toil, and uncomplaining sacrifice.
It was no fault of the gallant soldiers who carried
muskets and manned our cannon. They still rallied
around the old flag, but sternly and bitterly, while
they clamored for a chieftain to lead them to victory.
The powerful Army of the Ohio, which had been
renowned for discipline and steady valor, was now

(9^



10 THE FOURTEENTH ARMY CORPS.

much wasted by tedious mar dies and distressing vicis-
situdes, and partially demoralized by the dissatisfaction
of the troops and their officers with their commander.
Their discontent, and the popular distrust of Major
General Buell, engendered by his failure to achieve
results adequate to the means within his control, ren-
dered his removal imperative. Wheeling his columns
in the direction which they had so eagerly pursued at
the heels of the fugitive battalions of Albert Sidney
Johnson but a few months before, he left them in
charge of Major G-eneral Thomas, and repairing to
Louisville, met orders requiring him to relinquish his
command to Major General William S. E^osecrans,
then freshly crowned with the laurels of brilliant vic-
tories in Mississippi.

Prior to the assignment of General E^osecrans to
the command of this army, it had been designated
the ''Army of the Ohio." The War Department,
which had frequently displayed a knack for cutting
up the territory of the United States into military
departments — more, it seems, for the purpose of pro-
viding commands for superfluous chieftains, with
which it had embarrassed itself, than for any other
appreciable reason — now carved out another slice of
military territory, denominated it the Department of
the Cumberland, changed the designation of the
Army to " Fourteenth Army Corps," and nominated
Major General Rosecrans to the command. The
department consisted of all that portion of Tennessee,
east of the Tennessee River, and so much of the
States of Alabama and Georgia as General Rosecrans
might occupy. Fort Henry and Fort Donelson were
subsequently included, inasmuch as they were essen-



THE FOURTEENTH ARMY CORPS. 11

tial to the water line of communication with the
department, and had no intimate relationship with
the contiguous departments of Major General Grant,
and Major General Wright.

General Rosecrans assumed command under pecu-
liarly embarrassing circumstances. His uniform suc-
cess as department commander and field officer, had
inspired the nation with confidence in him, and the
popular imagination was inflated with visions of vic-
tories which were only probable under the brightest
auspices. The people, informed that his army was one
of the largest in the nation, and inaccurately impressed
that it was perhaps the best disciplined and best
appointed, and smarting under recent and trying dis-
appointments, were clamorous for achievements which
would swiftly wipe out the stains upon the national
escutcheon, and revive their flagging hopes. They
presumed and assumed that the instruments of suc-
cess were already prepared to the hand of the com-
mander, and that nothing remained for him to do but
to move upon the enemy and destroy him.

Strange that the costly lessons of experience should
have been so quickly forgotten. Strange that the
disasters of the Peninsula, and the fruitless Siege of
Corinth, should have so soon escaped their memory.
It would seem that a people possessing facilities such
as we enjoy for acquiring information, scarcely needed
a reminder of the tedious delays and serious obstruc-
tions which must now protract decisive operations.

To say that General Rosecrans was profoundly
impressed with the gravity of the responsibilities he
assumed is almost a pointless phrase. He encoun-
tered formidable discouragements from the moment



12 THE FOURTEENTH ARMY CORPS.

he assumed commaud. We can but glance at some
of the most conspicuous. He had relieved General
Buell at the expiration of a year of almost barren
campaigning. The army had marched through Ken-
tucky and Tennessee into the borders of Alabama
and Mississippi, toiled through weary months in the
mountains and swamps of the South without victor}^,
and had vainly countermarched again in pursuit of
an inferior enemy which had twice eluded their
commander. Its shattered columns were at right
about toiling listlessly and dispirited toward the des-
olated and hostile territory which they had twice
traversed within a single year, and which, ravaged and
exhausted by war, promised but little forage and no
subsistence. The season was pressing sharply upon
winter — and winter in Tennessee means cold, and
snow, and rain, and boundless mud ; and these mean
hospitals thronged with suffering soldiers, and val-
le3^s crowded with the bodies of the dead. The only
water line of communication with the seat of hostil-
ities was a thin ribbon which would barely buoy a
shallop, and the capricious season, now provokingly
constant, offered no prospect of navigation before the
dissolution of winter. A single thread of railroad from
Louisville to I^ashville, insufficient without hostile
interruption — even if managed by an enterprising and
zealous directory — to properly meet the requisitions
of the service, was wrecked and obstructed from
Green River to ]^ashville — more than three-fifths of
the leno^th of the line of communication from the
primary to the immediate base of operations at Nash-
ville. It was evident that it would require a month of
incessant labor to repair it, and it was liable to contin-



THE FOURTEENTH ARMY CORPS. 13

uous irruptions of liostile cavalry organized to destroy
it, requiring the detail of large detachments of the
effective force of the army for its protection. These,
among other equally serious and protracting embar-
rassments were to be overcome, before a decisive
movement could be ventured.

General Rosecrans was unacquainted with his army
— a matter of no trifling moment — ^but happily his
previous career had prepared it to confide in him.
The nation had been taught to consider it a standard
of discipline. History, when she lingers tearfully at
the little green graves of Chaplin Hills, will attest the
valor of its trusty soldiers. But it was no longer the
proud army which had swept the frightened foe from
the heart of Kentucky into the far distant cotton fields
of Mississippi. It had not been bruited that the
solidity of those once splendid legions had been well
nigh dissolved by repression of their fiery ardor in
retreat, by the vicissitudes of painful marches, and
confidence destroyed. It had not been told by light-
ning tongues that nearly ten thousand of those heroes,
heart-sick with barren efforts and unrequited trials
had deserted when the columns countermarched to
Louisville, nor that it required the highest exercise of
patriotism on the part of those veterans, and the
sternest vigilance of their ofiicers to prevent the regi-
ments from melting to skeletons — a result almost to
have been feared had not the spirits of those wearied
and discouraged troops been revived by the substitu-
tion of a new commander whom they had learned to
admire, for one, who, by his coldness and apathy had
alienated the confidence they had reposed in him.

General Rosecrans hardly dreamed that almost one-



14 THE FOURTEENTH ARMY CORPS.

third of liis army was in hospitals ; or scattered over
the great "West, fugitives from duty to the flag.
Moreover, many of his regiments were raw levies
without drill or discipline, and were often inefficiently
commanded. Ages of experience had attested the
inability of an armed mob to withstand veteran bat-
talions like those of the rebel armies in shock of bat-
tle. Besides, the army was barely half equipped,
and its cavalry arm was so inadequate in numbers,
and so deficient in equipment and discipline, as to
excite astonishment and alarm. A few weeks later
the General Commanding wrote officially that " the
enormous superiority of the rebel cavalry, kept our
little cavalry force almost within the infantry lines,
and gave the enemy control of the entire country
around us."



THE TEMPORARY STAFF. 15



CHAPTEE II.

Popular Expectations — General Order No. 1 — The Temporary Staff —
Their Qualifications — Lieutenant Colonel Ducat — The Chief Com-
missary — Position of the Fourteenth Army Corps — Bragg's Move-
ments — Nashville Invested by Rebel Cavalry — Five Millions of
Rations — Railway Annoyances — Military Superintendent of Trans-
portation.

It is well to consider tlie degree of success, and
the period of its accomplishment that a just and
discriminating people could expect of an officer under
the circumstances which domineered over General
Rosecrans. Had the nation guaged its expectations
by the achievements of commanders of other great
armies during the war, and upon these demanded but
moderate improvement, it had more accurately con-
formed to the logic which had been established for
reflection. "We shall expect much of you," said
authority. The people had been so often disappointed
by results immeasurably inadequate to the instru-
mentalities employed in conducting the war, and had
grown so restive and impatient, that they were now
inclined to require too much. Though grateful to
General Rosecrans for his past and invariable success,
they were disposed to be more patient with him than
they would have been with any other commander who
might have been assigned to the department.

]!^evertheless General Rosecrans assumed his respon-
sibilities cheerfully, and begun his labors with char-
acteristic earnestness and vigor. The summons from



16 THE TEMPORARY STAFF.

the War Department had reached him at the head of
his command in Mississippi, and he promptly repaired
to his new department, tarrying but sixty hours with
his family and friends in Ohio. On the 30th October,
1862, he relieved General Buell, and assumed com-
mand by virtue of the following order :

Headquarters 14th Army Corps, ^

Department of the Cumberland, >

Louisville, Ky., Oct. 30, 1862. j

GENERAL ORDERS NO. 1.

I. By direction of the General-in-Chief, the undersigned
assumes the command of the Department of the Cumberland,
and the troops under General Buell's command, which will



Online LibraryW[illiam] D B[ickham]Rosecrans' campaign with fourteenth army corps, or the Army of the Cumberland: a narrative of personal observations with ... official reports of the battle of Stone river (Volume 2) → online text (page 1 of 38)