Saturday, June 30, 2012

150 Years-Ago -- Battle of Glendale (Frayser's Farm) June 30, 1862

Maj. Gen. John Bankhead Magruder
(Blog  author's collection)
The Richmond Daily Dispatch
July 1, 1862
The great battle.
Continuation of the fight.
successful Engagement of Magruder.
Sunday's operations.
the enemy still retreating.
          The intelligent reader will understand, and perhaps appreciate, the difficulties attending an accurate compilation of all the incidents connected with the operations of the armies around Richmond for the past five days. It is almost impossible to afford in detail descriptions of the several engagements which have shed such imperishable lustre upon the arms of the Confederacy, and which have finally resulted in the overthrow, complete and disgraceful, of the hosts marshaled under the banner of subjugation.
          Of the important results which must inevitably flow from our successes, and the discomfiture of the Northern army under McClellan, it is needless at this time to speculate. Suffice it to say that from the opening of the grand ball on Thursdayafternoon down to the hour which witnessed the enemy in full retreat, the efforts of our forces were attended with unbroken success, and at no time did the brave men upon whom hung the hopes and the confidence of the country, falter or waver in their determination to make the victory decisive. Battery after battery was stormed with the most daring disregard of human life, and the apparently impregnable positions of the enemy were carried at the point of the bayonet with the most impetuous ardor. Never did men fight more bravely, and never was valor more surely and signally rewarded.
          Our loss is heavy, both in officers and men. The soil of Virginia, the grand old mother of States is enriched with the best blood of her suffering Southern sisters, and from every State of the Confederacy the martyrs of liberty have united in pouring out the crimson tide as a rich and imperishable libation upon the altar of the one great common cause.--There is no discrimination to be made between the gallant men who constitute the most magnificent army that was ever arrayed in combat. As sons of the Confederacy they fought, and as sons of the Confederacy they conquered. If one corps distinguished itself more than another in this, the greatest battle ever fought on this continent, it was on account of its position on the field.
          Our reports thus far published are up to Saturday [June 28] evening. Sunday [June 29 Savage's Station] skirmishing began at an early hour and continued through the day at different points along the line. The great battle of the day, however, took place in the evening near the York River railroad, some three miles from the battle field of the "Seven Pines." Gen. Magruder conmmenced the attack about four o'clock, by advancing upon the Yankee entrenchments. The first line was taken after a sharp conflict and the enemy driven to another. Waiting only long enough to get the artillery in position this also was stormed, and so on until seven forts had been occupied, the Yankees fleeing from each in wild confusion. The firing continued until 10 o'clock in the night, when the battle ceased. In this brilliant fight the men of Gen. Magruder's division won great honor and maintained the fighting reputation given them on the Peninsula. The Yankees fought desperately and contested the ground closely, but they could not stand the fierce charges made upon them. The loss was heavy to the enemy, one hundred and seventy-five Yankees were laid dead upon the field, and eight hundred prisoners were taken. Our loss was not heavy, although many a good man was injured.
          The advance of our men upon the enemy is described by an eye-witness as exciting in the extreme. From one fortification to another they rushed with an impetuosity that could not be checked. In their advance several magazines were exploded and an immense quantity of stores destroyed. Arms, baggage, overcoats, knapsacks, caps, and h cks, were scattered along the route in profusion. The latest accounts of yesterday represent the Yankee army cut in twain and trying to escape towards the James. After destroying the railroad and telegraph lines and driving the Yankees this side the Chickahominy, Jackson also crossed and is now pressing hard upon them. Yesterday it was said that Generals Long street and Hill were in position in Charles City, and that the last avenue of escape for the "grand army" is cut off. Gen Magruder had gone down to reinforce Gen. Longstreet to assist in checking the retreat, while Jackson and others are steadily driving them on. The only alternative is a heavy fight the James river or an unconditional surrender of McClellan's army.
          While Magruder was thus successfully "pushing the enemy to the wall" on the south side of the Chickabominy, the redoubtable Stuart was not less successful in frustrating the plans of the young Napoleon on the north side. Dashing down to the White House, on the Pamunkey, he succeeded in bagging about 2,500 of the grand Union army at that point. A number of these were brought to the city during the day yesterday, and the others we understand, are on route hither. Of this number, there is a large sprinkling of the foreign element, representatives some of them of the "Green Isle of Erin," and' others of the German "Faderland."

Operations yesterday. [June 30]
           Of operations yesterday there is little to be said. They were not destitute of importance, however and their results were of a serious nature to the enemy. The "folds of the anaconda are tightening around him." and it is very evident that the "backbone" of the rebellion has been greatly strengthened. There was some fighting, it is true, resulting more from efforts of the foe to cover his retreat than from any concerted plan for a regular fight. We think it will require greater genius than even McClellan possesses to relieve the invading force from its present unpleasant predicament.
Our troops are still pressing upon the retreating foe, who seems to be effectually demoralized, especially those constituting the rear of the army.--They are to be seen wandering in every direction through the dense woods near, the Chickahominy, without guns or knapsacks, and many of them without hats, which indicates a thorough state of confusion among them. As an evidence of this we may state the fact that Dr. Thomas Carpenter and two companions succeeded in gathering up upwards of fifty, who, without any organization, were wandering about in apparent bewilderment. Other parties were similarly captured, and during the day small squads of a dozen or more were continually arriving in the city.
          During the day, a portion of the cavalry of Gen. Stuart captured and destroyed several transports on the Pamunkey river near West Point. Thus are the means of escape for the enemy being cut off; so that, in any view of the case, there seems to be little probability of their getting off in force.
           Early in the day it was stated, with some degree of plausibility, that the forces of Gen. Jackson had succeeded in bagging some forty-five hundred of the enemy; and although we have no positive confirmation of the statement, we are inclined to think it correct in the main. Certain it is, that the vigilance of that distinguished officer, as manifested in his Valley campaign, has not been in the least relaxed in his operations on the Chickahominy.
The enemy fleeing down the River.
          At a late hour last night the following dispatch was received from Petersburg, giving further details of the escape of the Yankees. It is highly probable that a portion of the Yankee army may succeed in effecting an escape, but a very large portion of it must fall into our hands:
            Petersburg, June 30.--A courier from Bermuda Hundreds, at 6 o'clock, reports that a portion of the Federals have been driven to the river, where, under cover of their gunboats, they are endeavoring to embark. Four transports have passed down the river heavily loaded. Our field pieces on the Chesterfield side engaged the gunboats and poured "hot fire" into them. The gunboats dropped down to Turkey Island, followed by our field pieces. The enemy were fleeing down the river bank, hotly pursued by our troops, and were falling thick and fast at last accounts. The firing was incessant.
Col. Lamar.
            In our report of the engagement of Gen. Magruder on Sunday afternoon, as published yesterday, we noticed the capture of Col. Lamar, of Georgia, after receiving a severe wound. We are gratified to be able to state that the gallant Colonel was yesterday recaptured and brought to this city. In addition, some two hundred Yankees were taken at the same point.
The gallant dead.
            We learn with much regret that Major Austin E. Smith, of Gen. Whiting's staff, died on Sunday last in this city from the effects of a wound received on Friday, while gallantly leading an assault against one of the enemy's heavy batteries. He was disabled by a fragment of shell which struck him in the shoulder, and amputation was subsequently resorted to, but he died shortly afterwards. Major S. (who was a son of ex-Governor Smith,) occupied the position of Navy Agent in San Francisco under Buchanan's Administration. He left California for Virginia after the State seceded, was arrested in New York and thrown into Fort Warren, where he remained until his exchange was effected. Since his return to Virginia he has been among the most active in the defence of his native soil.
Horrors of War.
            In addition to several hundred Confederate soldiers who lay wounded on the battle field yesterday, and of whose situation notice was given the Government authorities, there remained at a point one and a half miles from Dr. Gaines's farm, the scene of the former conflict, (which is the same distance beyond New Bridge,) where a Hospital had been established, 200 badly wounded Yankee prisoners, like our own soldiers, without a guard, no parties to wait on them or provisions to eat. Four of their own Surgeons attended them.--Sixty of their dead lay unburied in their midst, and the stench had begun to be awful. All of them were suffering greatly for want of help. A short distance from the above Hospital was a collection of our own wounded, quite as bad off as we have previously said.

Monday, June 25, 2012


The Richmond Daily Dispatch
June 30, 1862
Brig. Gen. Roger Atkinson Pryor led a
brigade at the Battle of Gaines' Mill,
June 27, 1862.
(Library  of Congress)
The great battle.
brilliant victory.
the enemy in full retreat
details of the fight
Storming of Mechanicsville.
capture of Ellyson's Mills?
battle of Beaver Dam Creek.
the fight at Gaines Mills!
           When Gen. A. P. Hill had steadily driven the enemy from Meadow Bridge, and had taken up the line of march towards Mechanicville and the road, evening had far advanced, and it was supposed that a halt would take place. Gen. Ripley, however, with the 44th and 48th Georgia, and 2d and 3d North Carolina, made an attack upon the Yankee fortifications at Ellyson's Mills, in which the 44th Georgia and 3d North Carolina suffered extremely, and did not succeed in taking them, owing to the impracticable nature of the ground.
          Operations were then suspended on our side, but the enemy kept up a deafening roar of artillery till late in the night. Longstreet's forces had meanwhile crossed, and marched parallel with the Chickahominy. The brigades of Gens. Featherstone and Pryor were in advance, and proceeding some distance, halted for the night. About midnight, Featherstone received orders to change his position, and to occupy a skirt of woods near Beaver Dam Creek, and facing the Federal batteries. He did so, and the men were scarcely asleep when, twilight approaching, the enemy discovered the bivouac, and immediately commenced to shell it vigorously. The men, thus unceremoniously aroused, seized their muskets and fell in, and Gen. Featherstone, just arrived from headquarters, led them to storm the position — mounting ten guns, and supported by two or three brigades. Sharp fighting now commenced on all sides, when Gen. Pryor sent for assistance, and Wilcox soon came upon the ground.
         To cover the infantry attack, and draw off the artillery fire, the 3d Richmond Howitzers, some pieces of the Donaldsonville and Thomas Artillery, moved up and played upon the enemy's position magnificently.--Having engaged the enemy for a long time, and finding it impossible to cross the creek without a bridge, one was constructed by some of the 19th Mississippi and 14th Louisiana, under fire when the whole force advanced, and closed up with the enemy, driving them in great confusion from the field. The difficulties of attack at this position were such that it is impossible to give a correct idea without maps — the battery being on a height, flanked by rifle pits, a deep creek at the foot of the hill, and covered with a thick hedge.

A daring attack.
            The attack of our men on this position was impetuous and daring, but the loss was great, for the foe were so screened by their position it was impossible to get at them properly. Their loss was severe. Gen. Featherstone's Adjutant General, Geo. P. Foote, was shot while riding far in advance of the 12th Mississippi, and although hailed to return, he did not, and was quickly singled out and mortally wounded. His body was shortly afterwards found despoiled — watch, money, and swordsmen. The 12th Mississippi went out in the morning with 397 men, lost in this engagement 12 killed, 68 wounded, and 9 missing; the regiment was commanded by Major W. H. Lilly. who was wounded leading a charge,--the Colonel being absent and sick, and the Lieutenant Colonel wounded. The 19th Mississippi went into action with 521--had 31 killed, 150 wounded. The 2nd Mississippi battalion, Col. Taylor, went into action with 234 men, and had 30 killed and wounded. The loss of Pryor's brigade we have not learned; but hear that the 14th Louisiana and the remnant of St. Paul's battalion suffered severely,--Wilcox, being in support, did not lose many. The Generals speak in high terms of the execution of our field pieces in this attack, the 3rd Richmond Howitzers, some of the Donaldsonville, and Thomas artillery, having caused great destruction among the enemy, and with slight loss to themselves. The rapidity of their fire quite astonished the Yankees, and could be distinctly heard over all our city, long before dawn had fairly broken.
Fight at Ellyson's Mills.

          While Featherstone, Pryor, and Wilcox were thus successfully engaging the enemy on the right of our advance, Gen. Maxcy Gregg and his brigade were also hard at work, and successfully stormed the strong position of Ellyson's Mills, and took up the line of march on the left. They did not advance on the Mills by the road, as had been done on Friday evening by Ripley, but simply made a feint in that direction, crossed the main body higher up the creek, took the redoubts and rifle pits en flank carried them with the bayonet, pushed through the camps, and followed the road towards Gaines's Mills, whither the enemy were retiring.
At Gaine's Mills.
           From prisoners captured at both positions — who proved to be of the Valley Army — it was ascertained that we might expect stout resistance at Gaines's Mills, since three or four whole divisions were strongly encamped there, McClellan commanding in person, with Major Generals McCall, Porter, Sedgewick, and others — their estimated force being not less than thirty-odd thousand men. As our three columns moved by parallel lines, we followed and conversed with prisoners, who informed us that their loss on Friday at Meadow Bridge, Mechanicsville, and Ellsyson's Mills, had been fearful, and that the whole night had been occupied in burial. The Federals carry off all their dead and wounded, as fast as shot, and we only discover those who fall and are left at the actual moment of retreat. This [ information ] we believe to be correct.
           The heads of our three columns having reached Waller Hogan's farm, north bank of the Chickahominy, about 9 miles northeast of Richmond, all came to a halt, and Gens. Lee and Longstreet took up quarters in the house and made dispositions for a further advance towards Gaines's Mills, distant about one mile through the woods. Featherstone's brigade having suffered much in the morning, Wilcox led, being followed by Pryor, and Featherstone in reserve. The composition of Wilcox's command is mostly Alabamans; Pryor has the 14th Louisiana, St. Paul's battalion, 3d Virginia, and one other regiment; Featherstone has the 19th and 12th Mississippi, and 2d Mississippi battalion.
Character of the ground.
           Emerging from the woods, the road leads to the left and then to the right round Gaines's house, when the whole country, for the area of some two miles, is an open, unbroken succession of undulating hills. Standing at the north door of Gaines's house, the whole country to the fight, for the distance of one mile, is a gradual slope towards a creek, through which the main road runs up an open hill and then winds to the right. In front, to the left, are orchards and galleys, running gradually to a deep creek. Directly in front, for the distance of a mile, the ground is almost table land, suddenly dipping to the deep creek mentioned above, being faced by a timber-covered hill fronting all the table land. Beyond this timber-covered hill, the country is again open, and a perfect Plataean, a farm house and out houses occupying the centre, the main road mentioned winding to the right and through all the Federal camps. To the left and rear of the second mentioned farm, a road comes in upon the flat lands, joining the main road mentioned. Thus, to recapitulate, except the deep creek and timber-covered hill, beyond it, the whole country, as seen from the north door of Gaines's house, is unbroken, open, undulating, and table land, the right forming a descent to the wood- covered creek, the left being dips and gullies, with dense timber still farther to the left; the front being for the most part table land. These particulars of the position are as correct, perhaps, as can be mentioned; but without a map it will always be difficult to understand the topography of this hard fought and victorious field of Gaines's Mills.
          But to the southeast of Gaines's house is a large tract of timber, commanding all advances upon the main road, and in this McClellan and McCall had posted a strong body of skirmishers, with artillery, to annoy our flank and rear when advancing on their camps on the high grounds, if we did so by the main road or over the table lands to the north.
Pvt. Peter Kurtz, 5th Virginia Infantry. The 5th
Virginia was part of the Stonewall Brigade, which
stormed the Union right at Gaines' Mill.
Storming entrenchments.
           It now being 3 P. M., and the head of our column in view of the Federal camps, Gen. Pryor was sent forward with his brigade to drive away the heavy mass of skirmishers posted to our rear to annoy the advance. This being accomplished with great success, and with little loss to us, Pryor returned and awaited orders. Meanwhile the Federals, from their camps and several positions on the high grounds, swept the whole face of the country with their numerous artillery, which would have annihilated our entire force if not screened in the dips of the land and in gullies to our left. Advancing cautiously but rapidly in the skirt of woods and in the dips to the left, Wilcox and Pryor deployed their men into line of battle — Featherstone being in the rear — and suddenly appearing on the plateau facing the timber-covered hill, rushed down into the wide gully crossed it, clambered over all the felled timber, stormed the timber breastworks beyond it, and began the ascent of the hill, under a terrific fire of sharpshooters and an incessant discharge of grape and canister, from pieces posted on the brow of the hill, and from batteries in their camps to the right on the high flat lands.
          Such a position was never stormed before. In descending into the deep creek, the infantry and artillery fire that assailed the three brigades was the most terrific on record. Twenty-six pieces were thundering at them, and a perfect hailstorm of lead fell thick and fast around them. One of Wilcox's regiments wavered,--down the General rushed, furiously, sword in hand, and threatened to behead the first man that hesitated. Pryor steadily advanced, but slowly; and by the time that the three brigades had stormed the position, passed up the hill through timber, and over felled trees, Featherstone was far in advance. Quickly the Federals withdrew their pieces, and took up a fresh position to assail the three brigades advancing in perfect line of battle from the woods and upon the plateau. Officers had no horses, all were shot — Brigadiers marched on foot, sword in hand,--regiments were commanded by Captains, and companies by Sergeants, yet onward they rushed, with yells and colors flying, and backward, still backward fell the Federals, their men tumbling every moment in scores.
          But what a sight met the eyes of these three gallant brigades! In front stood Federal camps, stretching to the northeast for miles! Drawn up in line of battle were more than three full divisions, commanded by McCall, Porter, Sedgewick, &c.--banners darkened the air — artillery vomited forth incessant volleys of grape, canister and shell — heavy masses were moving on our left through the woods to flank us! Yet onward came Wilcox to the right, Pryor to the left, and Featherstone in the centre--one grand, matchless line of battle — almost consumed by exploits of the day — yet onward they advanced to the heart of the Federal position, and when the enemy had fairly succeeded in almost flanking us on the left, great commotion is heard in the woods!--volleys upon volleys are heard in rapid succession, which are recognized and cheered by our men--"It is Jackson!" they shout, "on their right and rear!"
          Yes, two or three brigades of Jackson's army have flanked the enemy, and are getting in the rear! Now, the fighting was bitter and terrific. Worked up to madness, Wilcox, Featherstone and Pryor dash forward at a run, and drive the enemy with irresistible fury — to our left emerge Hood's Texan brigade, Whiting's comes after, and Pender follows! The line is now complete, and "forward" rings from one end of the line to the other, and the Yankees, over 30,000 strong, begin to retreat! Wheeling their artillery from the front, the Federals turn part of it to break our left, and save their retreat. The very earth shakes at the roar! Not one piece of ours has yet opened! all has been done with bullet and bayonet, and onward press our troops through camps upon camps, capturing guns, stores, arms, clothing, &c. Yet, like bloodhounds on the trail, the six brigades sweep everything before them, presenting an unbroken, solid front, and closing in upon the enemy, keep up an incessant succession of volleys upon their confused masses, and unerringly slaughtering them by hundreds and thousands!
Stonewall at work.
         But "where is Jackson?" ask all.--He has traveled fast, and is heading the retreating foe, and as night closes in, all is anxiety for intelligence from him. Tis now about 7 P. M., and just as the rout of the enemy is complete — just as the last volleys are sounding in the enemy's rear, the distant and rapid discharges of cannon tell that Jackson has fallen upon the retreating column, broken it, and captured 3,000 prisoners! Far in the night, his insatiable troops hang upon the enemy, and for miles upon miles are dead, wounded, prisoners, wagons, cannon, &c., scattered in inextricable confusion upon the road! Thus, for four hours, did our inferior force, unaided by a single piece of artillery, withstand over thirty thousand of the enemy, assisted by twenty-six pieces of artillery!
In total, we captured many prisoners, and thirty [ peices ] of artillery up to 5 P. M.Friday, and in the battle of Gaines's Mills, captured 26 field-[ peices, ] 15,000 stand of arms, 6 stand of colors, three Generals, (Reynolds, Sanders and Rankin,) and over 4,000 prisoners, including dozens of officers of every grade — from Colonel to Lieutenants of the line.
The Federal force.
           Every arm of the service was well represented in the Federal line — cavalry were there in force, and when our men emerged from the woods, attempted to charge, but the three brigades on the right, and Jackson's three brigades on the left, closed up ranks and poured such deadly volleys upon the horsemen, that they left the ground in confusion and entirely for their infantry to decide the day. McCall's, Porter's and Sedgewick's "crack" divisions melted away before our advance, however; and had the fight lasted one half hour longer, not one whole regiment would have survived it. McClellan, prisoners say, repeatedly was present, and directed movements, but when the three brigades to our left emerged from the woods, such confusion and havoc ensued, that he gave orders to retreat, slipped off his horse, and escaped as best he could. Some say that he was severely wounded, and many officers (prisoners) believe the report that he was on the field is undoubtedly true; for everything had been previously prepared for a grand fight at Gaines's Mills, McClellan even promising to capture our whole force, should we attempt to storm his camps. Results were different, and so the Fates reward the greatest Liar of his age!
Charges and repulses.
           Much has been said of repeated "charges" made, and "repulses." Wild imaginations have concocted many such foolish reports. There was but one. "charge," and from the moment the word of command was given--"fix bayonets; forward!" our advance was never stopped despite the awful reception which met it. It is true that one or two regiments became confused in passing over the deep ditch, abattis, and timber earthwork,--it is also true that several slipped from the ranks and ran to the rear, but in many cases these were wounded men; but the total number of "stragglers" would not amount to more than one hundred. This is strictly true, and redounds to our immortal honor.
          These facts are true of Wilcox's, Pryor's, and Featherstone's brigades, who formed our right, and we are positive that from the composition of Whiting's, Hood's, and Pender's brigades, who flanked the enemy and formed our left, they never could be made to falter, for Whiting had the 11th 16th and 2nd Mississippi, and two other regiments, unknown to us — Hood had four Texan and one Georgia regiment, and the material of Pender's command was equally as good as any, and greatly distinguished itself. These were the troops mostly engaged and that suffered most. It is gross injustice in any to talk of our troops making "three charges,""repulses," &c., &c. Our troops received the command but once, and if Satan and all his host had confronted them, instead of mortal Yankees, the result would have been the same. There were no repulses — all arrangements worked like a charm; and we ought not only to do our soldiers justice, but heartily thank Providence for his guiding hand and assistance, in the immortal events of Thursday and Friday.
"Who took the batteries?"
           It is always a difficult matter to ascertain with any degree of certainty who took this or that battery, for ever since the capture of Sherman's at Manassas the question of conquered batteries has always been a vexed one. The position of regiments changes so often in an engagement that one, perhaps, who did but little, by some lucky chance, finds itself before a feebly defended or deserted battery, and simply for the trouble of planting a flag thereon has honor conferred on it for doing nothing! There were not less than six batteries captured in the battles of "Gaines's Mill," yet not one of any of our regiments can lay positive claim to any single one piece, for all are contested property. Some of the 12th Mississippi claim the beautiful brass pieces so much admired, and officers say that when they arrived in front a young man named Cassidy jumped upon one of the horses, and wished to drive them off or turn them on the enemy, but was not allowed. The 5th Texas, after hard fighting, found itself before a battery and cleared it, but yet some other regiment claimed it. A Georgia regiment of Hood's brigade claims one, Wilcox's brigade claims another, and so it is — they all fight for them, yet none can lay positive individual claim to any! Yet all enjoy the joke and laugh right heartily over the dangers of capture, and chat around camp fires right merrily, never counting the danger, but only desiring new occasions to distinguish themselves.
           Money was found quite abundantly among the slain. Some men, in interring the dead, often searched the pockets, &c., one man finding not less than $150 in gold; another fished out of some old clothes not less than $500; another $1,000 in Federal notes-Watches, both gold and silver, were found among the spoils, one lucky individual having not less than six chronometers ticking in his pocket at one time. As a general thing, more money was found upon the dead on the field than on any other of which we have heard.
           Clothing in abundance was scattered about, and immense piles of new uniforms were found untouched. Our men seemed to take great delight in assuming Federal officers' uniforms, and strutted about seriocomically, much to the amusement of dusty powder begrimed youths, who sat lolling and smoking in the shade. Every conceivable article of clothing was found in these Divisional Camps, and came quite apropos to our needy soldiery, scores of whom took a cool bath, and changed old for new underclothing, many articles being of costly material and quite unique.
          The amount of ammunition found was considerable, and proved of very superior quality and manufacture. The exact amount captured we have not yet ascertained, but from the immense piles of boxes scattered through the camps, we conjecture that the enemy had laid in quite an unusual supply, expecting to use it, doubtless, upon our devoted men, and so they would, did our troops stand, as they do, at "long taw," and not come to "close quarters."
          The cannon and arms captured in this battle were numerous and of very superior workmanship. The 26 pieces were the most beautiful we have ever seen, while immense piles of guns could be seen on every hand — many scarcely having the manufacturer's "finish" even tarnished. The enemy seemed quite willing to throw them away on the slightest pretext, dozens being found with loads still undischarged. The number of small arms captured, we understand, was not less than 15,000, of every calibre and every make.
           The Federal wounded were collected together, and formed a very large field hospital. The court-yard of a farm house was selected, and scores could be seen reclining on the grass, and expert surgeons operating with much skill and zeal. By mutual agreement surgeons are not considered prisoners of war, hence at the close of the late battle, many Federal surgeons remained behind, and their services seemed very much appreciated by the men. As many as could be were conveyed to town and attended to, good conveyance being furnished, and much care manifested for their welfare.
The gallant dead--Col. Wheat,
           Among the many heroic spirits who sacrificed their lives on the altar of our country in the dreadful, but glorious, struggle at "Gaines's Mills" on Friday, June 27th, we would particularly mention the name of the immortal Wheat, of Wheat's Battalion,--the master-spirit of that heroic band, who, from the dawn of our struggle until the present, he always been found in the van-guard battling manfully for our lives, liberties, and homes. At Manassas, the name of Wheat became historical in our annals, for as long as that victory shall remain known to fame, so long will the name of Robert Wheat be coupled with it. Despising petty intrigue, Col. Wheat desired nothing more than to secure his own beloved South, and to be in active service was his chief delight Joining Jackson in the Valley, and winning imperishable fame, this gallant man fought all through that arduous but all glorious campaign, and while leading the small remnant of his once numerous battalion to the charge, at Gaines's Mills, was mortally shot in the head. "Bury me on the field, boys, " said he, and placidly expired. May he rest in peace.
            It is impossible to get correct returns of the killed and wounded. Our loss is probably not over 2,000, at the highest calculation. The Federal loss is estimated at 20,000, killed, wounded, and prisoners, if not more. The following items we have from Featherstone's brigade.
           The casualties in the 12th regiment Mississippi volunteers, Featherstone's brigade, Long street's division, commanded by Major W. H Lilly, are as follows. Major W. H. Lilly, wounded early in the morning's action, while leading the regiment in the first charge. In the morning engagement this regiment lost 12 killed, 68 wounded, and 9 missing. Number taken into the field, officers, non-commissioned officers, and privates, 397. In the evening engagement, (Capt. S. B. Thomas commanding regiment,) the loss was 6 killed, 38 wounded, and 18 missing. Number of officers and prisoner taken into battle, 308. The regiment lost 153 killed, wounded, and missing, during the day, out of 397 men.
            The above is as near correct as it is possible to be certain, as several reported missing have been found killed, and others wounded.
            The 19th Mississippi volunteers lost 31 killed and 150 wounded, out of 521 that went into action in the morning.
            The 2d Mississippi battalion lost 106 killed and wounded, out of 234 taken into action in the morning.
           The following is a list of casualties in the Purcell Battery, in the battle of Thursday evening last: Killed--Lieut. Wm. A. Allen; Corporal Murphy, Privates Boyd and Stillman.
Wounded--Lieut. H. M. Fitzhugh; Serg't Crow, McGruder, Temple, Ball, Messier; Corporals Eddins, Beck; Privates Beckham, Cheatham, Thos. Berry, Donahoe, Geo. Dockerty, Davis, Daniel, Ege, Flemming, Finnell, Mott, Grigsby, Herring, Holland, Heart, Harrow, Geo. W. Johnston, E. P. Jones, W. T. Flint, James, Kimball, Mitchell, Mahoney, McLeod, Morton, O Brien, F. S. Price, Ritchie, Rose, Sacrey, T. H. Thompson, B. M. Temple, Partington, W. T. Smith, T. T. Yager.
           This list proves the desperate bravery exhibited by the command in the bloody strife.--We learn that Mr. Dawson, a young English man, who came over in the Nashville, volunteered for the engagement, and received a wound while acting most gallantly.
            The Crenshaw Battery, of this city, (attached to Gregg's brigade,) acted with distinguished gallantry in Friday's battle. The casualties are: Serg't S. Strother and Private Robt Hines, killed; Corporal Wm. B. Allen, Marion Knowles, Geo. Young, Benton Graves, Daniel Lancaster, Thos. Mallory, and Thomas Ryder, wounded. The company lost fully one third of their horses, and had three of their guns disabled. All the pieces were brought off the field, however, though, owing to a lack of horses, some had to be dragged away by hand
             Casualties in Co. E., 44th Ga. Regiment, engaged before Ellyson's Mills, Thursdayevening: Killed--Privates A. Bagwell, J. Lee, E. Davis, R. M. Dawson, J. H. Digby. Missing — W. J Reeves. M. P. Swinney. Wounded--Capt. J. W. Adams, slightly in arm; Lieut. J H. Connally, slightly in chest; Lieut. S. A Scott, slightly in shoulder and knee; Lieut Manly, in hand and knee; Corp'l A C Cald well, badly; Corp'l T. L. Hatcher; Corp'l Madden, slightly; Privates J. M. Davis, W. S. Brown, J. W. Perkins, slightly; E. G. Curbow, badly; Daniel Curbow, slightly; Wm Bagwell, J. A. Collins, Joseph Beall, Robert Norris, J. Norris, F. J. Weldon, Green Allison, W. S. Futral, N. T. Gibson, H. H. Gibson, Wm. Jester, T. T. Bishop.
Engagement at Coal Harbor.
           In the fight on Friday, Johnson's Battery, of this city, occupied an exposed position on the Coal Harbor road, about one mile from Coal Harbor, and was subjected to a fire remarkable for its accuracy, which (as an eye witness informs us) the command encountered without flinching Capt. Johnson was conspicuous for his bravery throughout the period in which his battery was engaged, and our informant says that not an inch of ground would have been yielded while a man remained to serve the guns, had not Gen. Lee, observing the deadly effect of the enemy's fire, ordered them to withdraw from the contest. The casualties, both in men and horses, were heavy.
            Among the sad incidents of the battle may be mentioned the death of Lieut. W. Eugene Webster, of Maryland, chief executive officer of the Arsenal, who was acting as Aid to Gen. Rodes. He fell in the thickest of the fight, while gallantly cheering on a regiment His body was brought to the city on Saturday. Lieut. W. was a relative of Gen. Lee.
            We regret to learn that Major T. S. Skinner, 1st N. C., was killed in the engagement on Thursdayevening, in the attack on the Federal entrenchments.
At Garnett's farm.
           About eleven o'clock Saturday, Capt. Monday's battery opened fire upon the entrenchments of the enemy located just beyond Garnett's farm. The battery fired some ten or fifteen minutes, and meanwhile a body of infantry, consisting of the 7th and 8th Georgia regiments, moved up under cover of the fire from the field pieces. The 8th, in advance, charged across a ravine and up a hill, beyond which the Yankee entrenchments lay. They gained the first line of works and took possession of them, but, it is proper to state, this was unoccupied at the time by the Yankees. --The fire of the enemy was murderous, and as soon as our men reached the brow of the hill, rapid volleys of grape, canister, and musketry were poured into them. It was found almost impossible to proceed farther, but the attempt would have been made, had not orders been received to fall back, which was done in good order, still under fire.
            The loss in the 7th is reported at seventy-odd men killed, wounded, and missing. In the 8th, upwards of eighty. Col. Lamar, of the 8th, was severely wounded in the groin, and fell into the hands of the enemy. Lieut. Col. Towers was captured, but uninjured. The Yankees were completely hidden behind their works, and did not suffer much apparently. We took a captain, lieutenant, and some five or six privates, the Yankee picket force at the point. Later a flag of truce was granted to take away our dead and wounded, but a conference with Col. Lamar was refused. The Federal surgeons, however, did not think his wound a fatal one, and, therefore, would not allow him to be taken away.
Gen. Toombs's brigade.
           On FridayGeneral Toombs was ordered to "feel" the enemy entrenched to the East and front of Garnett's farm. After receiving written orders to advance, Gen. Toombs sent forward the 2d, 15th and 17th Georgia. The enemy had near three brigades in a skirt of woods behind an abattis of felled timber and brushwood. The Georgians advanced spiritedly upon the Yankees and drove them back, not, however, until they had fought desperately for the ground. Finding it unfavorable to flank our force, the Yankees withdrew and left us in possession of the field. It was maintained until orders were sent for Gen. Toombs to retire.
           Our total loss may be summed up as follows Killed 24; wounded 160, and 4 missing, up to the time the reports came in Col. McIntosh of the 15th, lost his leg, Capt. Birch was killed' Capt. Tilley dangerously wounded, and Lt. Edwards slightly wounded. This engagement was a spirited and creditable affair, General Toombs obeying strictly his written orders.
            Gen. Lee pushed his advance until 10 o'clock last night, (Saturday,) and at 11 was in occupancy of the York River Railroad, the enemy's principal line of communication. This in effect pierces the enemy's centre, and separates their forces on the northside of the Chickahominy from those on the southside. Brig. Gen. Riker is among the prisoners brought to the city yesterday morning.
           Among the wounded may be mentioned Maj. John M. Daniel, editor of the Richmond Examiner, and late of Gen. Floyd's staff, but now acting with Gen. Hill. His arm was shattered.
Capt. Wm. Randall, company K, 1st Louisiana, was not killed as at first reported. He received a severe wound in the right arm at the elbow joint. Maj. Edward Savage, N. C. State troops, was among the wounded. Among the well known citizens of Richmond who met soldiers deaths were Clarence Warwick, son of Abram Warwick Bradfute Warwick, son of Corbin Warwick and Samuel D. Mitchell, son of the late Wm. Mitchell, Jr. They were all young men. Col. J. G. Seymour, of the 6th Louisiana was killed Saturday.
           Among the killed in the desperate fight of Fridayafternoon, was Col. J. W. Allen of the 2d regiment Virginia volunteers. He was shot through the head and expired almost instantly. At the time he received the fatal shot, he was acting Brigadier-General of Jackson's celebrated "Stonewall Brigade." His body was brought to this city yesterday morning, and during the day deposited in Holly wood Cemetery. Maj. Frank B. Jones, of the same regiment, is thought to be mortally wounded, having lost a leg. His condition is at least, exceeding critical.
           Capt. Wood McDonald, son of Col. Angus W. McDonald, of Winchester, and aid to Gen. Elzey, was killed in the same engagement. Major P. J. Sinclair, of the 5th North Carolina regiment, received a painful wound in the thigh, and was brought to the city yesterday afternoon by Dr. Coffin, by whom his wound was dressed. He is now at the American Hotel. Private Charles Lucas, of the "Wise Artillery," from Martinsburg, was killed on Fridayafternoon. His brother, Serg't Benj. Lucas, of the same company, was seriously wounded.
            In the engagement near "Fair Oaks," yesterday afternoon, Brigadier General Griffith had one of his legs broken, and apprehensions are felt that amputation may be necessary. A Federal Lieutenant, who was captured yesterday morning and brought to the head quarters of Gen. Lee, reports that two entire regiments had deserted during the morning. The Confederate forces yesterday afternoon occupied the enemy's position at the White House, on the Pamunkey, but all the stores of the enemy at that point were destroyed by them in their retreat.
An official Dispatch.
The following dispatch was received by President Davis at a late hour on Friday night. It relates to the operations of Friday
Headquarters, June 27, 1862
His Excellency, President Davis:
Mr. President
            --Profoundly grateful to Almighty God for the signal victory granted to us, it is my pleasing task to announce to you the success achieved by this army to-day.
           The enemy was this morning driven from strong position behind Beaver Dam Creek, and pursued to that behind Powhite Creek, and finally after a severe contest of five hours entirely repulsed from the field.
            Night put an end to the contest. I grieve to stand that our loss in officers and men is great.
We sleep on the field, and shall renew the contest in the morning.
            I have the honor to be, very respectably,
(signed)R. E. Lee, General

Friday, June 22, 2012


The Richmond Daily Dispatch
June 28, 1862
General Robert E. Lee began receiving
recognition for his military genius in the
Seven Days Battles, 150-years-ago.
           The reader was informed yesterday morning of the beginning of that great struggle which will have a more decisive effect upon events to come than any and probably all the battles that have yet occurred. The armies opposed were the largest ever brought in conflict on this continent. Ours made the attack. It was in the highest degree gratifying to our citizens to know with what spirit and success on our side this momentous conflict begun. It was continued yesterday, with what result we are out fully informed when we write; but we are confident that victory crowned the gallant deeds of our brave soldiers. Our news column will give the reader the fullest details possible to obtain.
           The great battle was conducted and, we suppose, planned, by General Lee, and we anticipate it will win for that distinguished officer lasting honor and fame. He had the co-operation of some of some of our very best Generals, who, too, will have their honors and their place in the nation's gratitude.
           Never was battle inaugurated more auspiciously — never was attack made with more irresistible ardor and bravery. Some of the charges upon the enemy's powerful batteries on their right wing would have gilded the brightest pages of military history. There could be nothing in war more intrepid and dauntless. The enemy was compelled to abandon his strong positions and leave them to the possession of our heroic volunteers. The enemy's right was fortified on chosen positions, approached only from gradually ascending and wide plains. These our soldiers traversed at a double-quick in the face of a hail storm of death, and reaching the breast works, passed over them in pursuit of the fleeing enemy, in many cases turning their own guns upon them with effect. The charge upon the powerful and extensive battery at Ellerson's Mill, in Hanover, which look place yesterday morning, must be one of the most brilliant achievements of the conflict for the capital. It is noticed in the news column.
           We cannot now go fully into a reference to the plan of the grand attack; but we are confident it will end in the defeat of the powerful army brought to take this city. If this confident belief — justified by the success thus far, and the completeness of the plan of our operations — should be realized, a great change will take place in the relations of the Confederacy to the world — a great change must be wrought upon the extravagant calculations and preparations of the unscrupulous and relentless despotism of the North. But let us await the issue before speculating further, and let us pray to the God of Battles for His protection and favor to our brave troops in their grand struggle for honor and right.

Thursday, June 21, 2012

150-Years-Ago -- The Seven Days Battles

[Editor's note: The Battle of Mechanicsville, June 26, 1862]

The Richmond Daily Dispatch
June 27, 1862

Maj. Gen. A.P. Hill led the Confederate attack at
Mechanicsville. (Library of Congress)
Opening of the Great battle.
heavy engagement on the left of our lines.
            Our city was startled, late yesterday evening, by reports of heavy ordnance, and by one consent it was universally announced that the Great Battle had at last opened, and that the greatest and most momentous conflict of the age was fully inaugurated. As far as we can ascertain, at a late hour of night it appears that our forces attacked the enemy with unparalleled fury at Mechanicsville, and the suddenness of the attack, the enemy were nonplussed and driven from three large re-depots in rapid succession, seizing the guns and ming them with terrific effect upon the foe.--This accomplished, our forces advanced and captured two lines of entrenchments and field, works, taking everything before them in gallant style. 
          Co-operating with the movement on the supreme right and rear of the enemy, our Generals crossed the Chickahominy at two points, viz! by the Mechanicsville bridge and Meadow bridge, attacking the enemy with great dash and ardor, having in their outposts, and ascending the opposing hills, seized the batteries erected thereon, and fully commanding the future movements of our forces in crossing the stream. In doing this, the rapidity of movement was such that the enemy was unprepared, and lost a monster battery, which our troops to the right and left of River Railroad. This achievement in of incalculable value, and is equivalent to the saving of five thousand lives. Gen. Branch, we understand, led the advance down the Meadow Bridge road with a brigade of North Carolinians, crossing, were instantly reinforced by troops of Gen. Hill's division. The field works and batteries opposed to their advance were assailed by our men in the coolest most nonchalant style imaginable, and while having the heavy masses of Federal infantry before were ably seconded by our heavy guns, which, with terrific noise, threw large shells thick and fast upon the enemy's chosen positions and camps, thus preventing our first forces from being overpowered by the swarming hordes of McClellan's hirelings. While these brilliant movements were progressing in the neighborhood of Meadow Bridge, our troops beyond the Mechanicsville Bridge formed a junction with them, thus forming a perfect cordon with others operating from the village of Mechanicsville itself. Our line being perfect, a general advance took place, but the brave Confederates had not progressed far ere they were encountered by the Federals in great force, and a terrific fight ensued; but onward pressed our infantry and artillery, until at 9 P. M. when the heavy cannonading ceased, it was generally known that the enemy had been driven fully three miles, having experienced great loss in every shape, but particularly in artillery. Purcell's battery, we are informed, immortalized itself, and was the first corps that crossed Mechanicsville bridge, and opened fire on the enemy. At Mechanicsville, the heaviest fighting is said to have taken place on Watts's farm, but resulted magnificently to us. 
          All the heights beyond the Chickahominy are in our possession, thus ensuring the safe and speedy transportation of troops and munitions to the other side. From the late hour at which we write, it is impossible to obtain particulars of the sanguinary engagement of yesterday, but the facts stated are substantially correct, while much more was effected by the forces engaged than the most sanguine could have expected or predicted. The enemy were totally routed whenever they made a stand — batteries, entrenchments, field- works, camps, and farms, were captured with great rapidity, and our loss is much less than could have been imagined. In all likelihood, the engagement to-day will prove a general one at all points, and let us reverently hope that the God of Battles will smile propitiously upon our efforts, and crown our forces with a complete and glorious triumph over malignant and relentless enemies.
[The Battle of King's School House June 25, 1862
An unidentified Louisiana soldier.
(Library of Congress)
         The more we learn of the fight near the old battle ground of Seven Pines, on Tuesday, the greater are we satisfied that it was one of the most brilliant affairs of the war, redounding greatly to our honor, and worthy of fitting memory and commendation.
           From the best information, we learn that the 1st Louisiana and 3d Georgia had brought upon themselves the especial hatred of the Yankees, while on picket service near Barker's farm; for on one occasion last week these two regiments suddenly appeared before the affrighted enemy, (Sickles's Excelsior brigade,) and, without much ceremony, drove them from their picket posts, and chased them through adjacent camps, inflicting much loss. From deserters and others, it was ascertained that the officers of Sickles's brigade had offered $100 to any one bringing in any man of the two named regiments, whether dead or alive, and vowed eternal vengeance against them, determining to lay some snare to entrap them. At 8 A. M. Tuesday the pickets along the Williamsburg road, near the old battle ground, gave warning of the enemy's approach in force, and retired, as usual, to their supports.
           Believing an attack was imminent, Gen. Wright ordered up the 48th North Carolina (Col. Rutledge's) regiment, which moved up the road and took position to the left of it, in an open field, with dense woods on their left flank. The right of the road was occupied by the 1st Louisiana, and to their right were the 22d and 4th Georgia. The North Carolinians were in an exposed position, but maintained their ground without flinching, losing not less than 100 killed and wounded. The position of the 1st Louisiana was equally disadvantageous. --Before them was a thick chaparral, in which the enemy were strongly posted. Behind this, also, several brigades were drawn up, their flanks extending beyond, so that they kept up a continual fire upon the Louisianians, inflicting sad loss.      Being ordered to charge, the 1st advanced nobly, with the "Butler! and New Orleans!" and at the first dash drove the enemy forth with great havoc.--But emerging into the open field behind, they were astonished to discover not less than three brigades opposing them, viz: Thomas Francis Meagher's Irish brigade, Sickles's Excelsior brigade, and another one, the name of which we could not ascertain. 
          Bravely holding their ground, the Louisianians maintained the unequal contest with great dash and boldness, the enemy quailing and retiring before their steady and deadly fire. To their right, however, things were progressing favorably, where the 4th and 22d Georgia were holly engaged with the enemy, who, after some two hours hard fighting, slowly and reluctantly retired. Comparisons are odious, but it is admitted that the conduct of the 48th N. C., 1st La., and 4th Ga., was beyond all praise. The first of these regiments was perfectly fresh from home, and had never been under fire before; yet there they stood, in open field, waiting for the cowards to advance, and although Col. Rutledge reports a loss of 100 killed and wounded, his brave fellows never gave an inch of ground, but kept up a murderous fire upon the foe, who suffered so much that, although five to one, they did not dare to leave the woods. The Louisianians went into action with 300, and lost 144 killed and wounded. These figures are more than enough to demonstrate their conduct in the fight — for every second man fell! The 4th Georgia, it is said, acted like very devils, and fought and charged three regiments three several times!--and, more than this routed them, losing not less than 50 in killed and wounded. The 22d Georgia lost some ninety odd in killed and wounded, and behaved splendidly.
           Among the Yankee brigades engaged were Meagher's Irish Brigade, Sickles's "Excelsior Brigade," and another, unknown, some of their other regiments being the 15th and 19th Massachusetts, 2d New York, 20th Indiana, 9th New Jersey, &c., &c. Sickles's brigade had five regiments, Meagher's the same number. Our force engaged consisted of but four regiments. Being signally repulsed, the enemy withdrew under cover of their guns, but Capt. Huger's battery galloping forward engaged them in gallant style, driving them ignominiously from the field, with heavy loss. The enemy sent in a flag of truce yesterday to bury their dead, and admit a loss of 1,200 killed and wounded. Our casualties in killed, wounded and missing will not be more than one-third that loss. Among the casualties in the 1st Louisiana we may add the names of Lieut. Colonel Shivers wounded in the arm and rapidly recovering; Major Nelligan, Adjutant Cummings, and Sergeant Major Entzminger.
          Towards evening on the same day, the 25th of North Carolina were sent out on picket on the conquered ground, when the enemy endeavored to flank and cut them off. Several Federal regiments advanced stealthily for this purpose, but the North Carolinians met them with heavy vollies, held them in check, when the gallant fellows of the 4th Georgia opportunely arrived upon the ground, and attacking the enemy in flank, routed them with great slaughter, following them up for more than a mile in the woods, mercilessly butchering the Yankees at every turn. The ground conquered by us on both occasions during the day was occupied by our troops, and, together with many trophies, they brought in sixty or seventy prisoners. The prisoners confess that a deep scheme had been planned by Sickles and Meagher for the destruction of the Louisianians and Georgians, but think the loss inflicted upon their forces was so severe, and the of our men so irresistible, that the Federals were only too happy in effecting their escape. The prisoners themselves were particularly joyed, and seemed to regard their capture as a great blessing.
         We would conclude by mentioning the heroic conduct of Private James Henderson, Company A, First Louisiana. This brave fellow had undergone the severe fiery ordeal with his regiment in the morning, and when it was ordered to fall back he voluntarily moved to the front to assist the wounded, as there were neither surgeon nor stretcher bearers with his regiment. Henderson brought off Col. Shivers from the field on his back, returned and recovered the same officer's sword and other equipments, and whenever finding a wounded man sufficiently strong to be removed, he carried him from the field on his back, despite the repeated vollies which the cowardly enemy fired upon him.--More than this — when the enemy had posted their pickets, this fine soldier stole through the grass upon his hands and knees, and actually stole our wounded men from under the enemy's guns! We always delight to record the deeds of privates, but can any words of our add to the honor of such a brave fellow as Henderson? There are, doubtless, many who did as well, in some capacity or other, but we regret that none will advise us of their names and deeds.
           In this connection we would add an incident regarding a faithful servant at the battle of Chickahominy. When Gen. Rhodes brigade had driven the enemy from their redoubts and had captured the guns, the General was wounded in the arm, but would not leave the field or make known his injury to the troops. Becoming weak, he espied an Arkansas negro, named Archie, manfully fighting behind his master, and ordered him to bring water from a distant well. Mounting a horse, Archie dashed off to the well under a shower of shot, and soon returned. The regiment to which he was attached (12th Mississippi) was soon afterwards ordered to occupy one of the captured redoubts, and to hold it at all hazards. Some of the companies being in want of ammunition, Archie again volunteered his services, and under a murderous fire went fully one mile to the rear and returned to the redoubt loaded down with haversacks filled with cartridges! This noble deed was witnessed by the whole brigade, and was applauded with hearty cheers. Such deeds speak for themselves, and require no comment.

Friday, June 15, 2012

150-YEARS-AGO -- Sibley's New Mexico Campaign

Brig. Gen. Henry Hopkins Sibley
(Library of Congress)
The Richmond Daily  Dispatch
June 17, 1862
Sibley's campaign in New Mexico.
Richmond, June 13, 1862.
To the Editors of the Dispatch:
      It having been said in a city paper that "not one single Southern soldier has yet set his foot on the soil of a Northern State," allow me to point out wherein the writer is mistaken. Not only one Southern foot, but a whole army have pressed Northern soil. In the month of November inst, Gen. Henry H. Sibley, with a small army of Texas, left San Antonio to conquer the United States Territory of New Mexico.
      He had no newspapers to tell the people that his march was the most successful one of modern times--thirteen hundred miles over or comparative desert, often making fifty miles without water, his men living for fifteen days on beefs his defeating in two pitched battles three times his own number of the best troops in the United States army, (almost twice his number being old United States Regulars;) of his having marched three hundred miles into the enemy's country, planting the Confederate flag over the capital of the enemy's conquered territory.
          I saw that flag raised. It was made of a captured United States flag; it was raised upon a Federal flag-staff; a salute was fired by batteries of captured United States guns, and "Dixie" played by a captured United States band!
          Gen. Henry Sibley is on the Stonewall Jackson style. When he entered the Territory of New Mexico, although in the 35th parallel, and winter just coming in. He destroyed every tent in his army. His officers carry no trunks or mess chests.
          They sleep where night finds them; whip the enemy wherever he shows himself, and have never seen a shovel or pick since they opened the campaign.--Sibley graduated at West Point in 1836, distinguished himself in the Mexican War, for which he was twice brevetted, and at the time of the present revolution was one of the first to resign and come to the relief of his native South.
          He was Major of the Second Dragoons. He is a Creole, having been born in Louisiana, and if he has a chance, he will show the enemy west of the Mississippi, that there is a "Stonewall" on both sides of the river. His standing order to his officers is to "attack the enemy at all times, " always on the offensive and never on the defensive, although the enemy have invariably brought three and four times his number against him.
          When a Federal battery annoys Sibley, he has it taken in this way. He has silenced all the artillery the enemy had in that country.--His is the only army of invasion the Confederate States has yet sent out. If he was well reinforced, he would dip the Confederate flag into the Pacific at San Francisco before another year.
A Soldier.

Monday, June 11, 2012

150-years-ago -- THE TEXAS BRIGADE

Hood's Texas Brigade. (Library of Congress)
[Editor's note: Apparently  the  below report is on one af the daily independent probing and scouting missions taken by the Texans around Richmond following the Battle of Seven Pines, May 31-June 1, 1862]

The Richmond Dispatch
June 11, 1862

The Texas Brigade.
On the Lines, June2nd.
To the Editors of the Dispatch:
           A modern philosopher, whose teachings are to be valued more for their worldly wisdom, perhaps, than for their classic antiquity, whose proverbs are more practical than poetic, used to get before his son as a perpetual monitor, for his intercourse with his fellow man, this injunction. "Blow your own horn." At the risk of being numbered as of this school, I claim a short space in your columns.
           In your account in this morning's Dispatch of the skirmish in which the Texans were engaged, there are some inaccuracies which I wish to correct, by simply telling she story as it is, myself being a witness on the spot, and a participator in the fight.
           On yesterday morning, beneath the warm garb of the Sabbath sunshine, while yourself and other friends in the city were no doubt quietly performing your Sabbath ablutions, this skirmish took place, and inasmuch as military men here think it was creditable, I give you the facts:
          A detail of one hundred and fifty men, from the 1st, 4th and 5th Texas regiments, was made on the morning for the purpose of securing the woods in front of our line on the Nine-mile road, seeing what Yankee force there was in the woods, and to drive them out if possible.
            We found the enemy posted in the woods a few hundred yards from our front line of pickets. After reconnoitering, we discovered a strong force of the enemy's whole brigade, it was supposed — to the left of the wood, and a large force, then unknown, immediately in our front. The force on the left were silent, calculating that they had a dead thing on us, while those in front were bold and impudent, keeping up a constant fire at us from among the trees. We let them amuse themselves for a while in this manner, occasionally silencing one as he became too annoying, until our line was fully established and safeguards placed against our friends on the left of the road.
           The command was then given, "Forward, bays! Give them!--H!" The Texas war whoop rose on the and a thousand Yankees rose like dark spirits through the gloom of the forest. The voice of their officers could be heard amid the din of battle urging their men to stand, but it was in vain they essayed to stop our fast-advancing line. they fired but one volley and took to their heels, our boys following. We pursued them out of the timber, under cover of their batteries, when they took refuge in their trenches, and fired back at us. Here we had a comrade killed; but regardless of the fierce fire poured upon them, four men bore him on their shoulders out of the field back to our camp.
          In the mean while our friends on the left of the road attempted to succor their companions and to "suck us in" They started to come in our rear, but a small "family battery" we had in the right place opened on them and deterred them from their purpose." One well aimed shell fell in their midst, killing seven and wounding a number.
            The enemy's loss in this engagement was forty-five killed, including a Lieut.-Colonel and two Lieutenants. We secured the sword of one Lieutenant and a revolver from the other. On the pistol was engraved, "Presented to. Lieut. M. C. Flost, by the citizens of. --Ward. Philadelphia." The force against us was one regiment, the 71st Pennsylvania, besides those gentry who threatened as on the left. We suppose the force that routed them did not exceed one hundred men, as a notion of our small party had to defend points in the woods to protect our flanks.--Our men were under command of Lieutenant Baizizi, of the 4th, Lieut. Jammeson, of the 1st, and Lieut. Nash, of the 5th regiment, who all acted discreetly and bravely, and led their men to the charge. Our loss was one killed; and four wounded, slightly.
          Texas scouts run these same, Yankees to their batteries a week ago yet nothing not have even been many to that the Richmond picket.
           We are too much pre occupied to give details of our engagements, but we think that the by which intelligences every fight in which Virginia are engaged are open to the press, and ought to be brought into requisition. An prevails with the arms that you are disposed to magnify on the one side and to neglect the other.
           Not partaking of this opinion. I send you this, with a simple prediction that when " the fight" takes place the Texas Brigade will kill more Yankees, storm more batteries, and capture fewer prisoners than any in the service. ATexas Scout.

Friday, June 8, 2012


Benjamin "Beast" Butler, whose
"Women's Order" in New Orlans
brought outrage in the South. Here he
is depicted as Bluebeard in this period
carte-de-visite photograph.
(Library of Congress)

The Richmond Daily Dispatch
June 9, 1862
            The order of Gen. Butler concerning the ladies of New Orleans was read in the camp of the 11th North Carolina regiment, near Wilmington, on the 31st ult., with the following address from Col. Leaventhorpe, of that regiment:
           Fellow Soldiers: The infamous order which you have just heard read proceeds from the General whom the fortune of war has placed in possession of one of the noblest cities of the South. The base enemy whom we oppose, not content with the crimes of invasion, with insurrectionary attempts among our domestic population, and with pillaging the fairest regions of our country, has openly dared to threaten our most sacred relations, and to place our wives and our daughters upon the footing of common prostitutes of the town.
           Gentlemen of North Carolina, the debased passions of his soldiery needed no such incentive. The records of crime written in the and annuals of Maryland, and in there other unfortunate portions of our country which have been polluted by the enemy's feet, prove but too well the fate, worse than death, which awaits these most dear to us on the event of his conquest and our humiliation. But, follow soldiers, with the blessing of God, we need fear no such dusting for our country. Relying, then, on that blessing, let us resolve as one man that Wilmington shall not be reached by the invader, and, in the hour of trial, recalling these scandalous threats against the wives and daughters of New Orleans, let us meet him sternly and hurl him back upon his boats at the point of the bayonet.
Pvt. W. T. Harbison of Company B, 11th North
Carolina Infantry. (Library of Congress/
Liljenquist Family Collection
of Civil War Photographs)