It is all ended – happily ended – ended as never in all the records of the world’s bloody adventures was civic strife ended. If the souls of men thrill at the names of fields and leaders, how vastly more thrilling that we conquered ourselves-that today men of the Grand Army and Confederate Veterans meet on common ground, actuated by the motive of love for our common country. “By the banks of the inland river, Where the fleets of iron have fled; Where the blades of the grave-grass quiver Asleep are the ranks of the dead. From the silence of sorrowful hours The desolate mourners go, Lovingly laden with flowers, Alike for the friend and the foe. No more shall the war-cry sever, Or the winding river run red; They banish our anger forever When they laurel the graves of our dead.” Cadets and serving Officers faced a difficult situation as talk of Secession increased. The 30 page document “Secession – – A Crack in the Long Gray Line” provides an understanding of what they faced. Lee believed that the Union would cease to exist if Virginia was not part of it; therefore, he was not actually fighting against the United States. Similarly, Alabama native John Pelham, Class of 1861, believed he was not planning to fight against the true United States. In late February 1861, Cadet Pelham wrote to his brother’s wife that: You need not be afraid of hurting my Southern feelings by respecting the Stars and Stripes. Although I am a most ultra Secessionist, I am still proud of the American flag and would fight harder and longer to tear the Stars and Stripes from every N~sthern battlement than for any other cause. http://digital-library.usma.edu/libmedia/archives/toep/secession_crack_long_grey_line.pdf
Several Civil War Photos are at
In the East Army of the Potomac, the principal army in the Eastern Theater, commanded by George B. McClellan, Ambrose E. Burnside, Joseph Hooker, and George G. Meade.
Bloody Lane Antietam
Dunker Church Antietam
McClellan at Antietam
Class of 1822 Joseph,Mansfield,1822,,Alumni,287-1822,9/18/1862,DOD: 09/18/1862 Place: Antietam A-59 Notified by: Burial: Cause: KIA http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Joseph_K._Mansfield
Class of 1861 “Alonzo Hersford Cushing” “Alonzo Hersford Cushing” – Commanding 110 men with 6 cannons withstood the 2 hour Confederate bombardment which left him with only 2 guns which he pushed forward to meet the 13,000 Confederate Infantry. Helped to stand by his Sergeant, he was killed directing his guns. Cushing to receive the Medal of Honor 2014. http://books.google.com/books?id=zhE4jUAww0IC&pg=PT192&dq=cushing+to+receive+Medal+of+honor&hl=en&sa=X&ei=k2gEVKDSB9OxggSco4LwDQ&ved=0CCoQ6AEwAA#v=onepage&q=cushing to receive Medal of honor&f=false
Confederate Prisoners at Gettysburg
Overlooking Devil’s Den Gettysburg
Devil’s Den Gettysburg
Federal Headquarters Gettysburg
Army of the James, Virginia Peninsula, 1864-65, commanded by Benjamin Butler and Edward Ord.
Army of the Shenandoah, Shenandoah Valley, David Hunter, Philip Sheridan, and Horatio G. Wright.
Class of 1863 John R Meigs Army of Virginia, John Pope for the Northern Virginia Campaign.
In the West Army of the Tennessee, Kentucky, Tennessee, Mississippi, Georgia, and the Carolinas; commanded by Ulysses S. Grant, William T. Sherman, James B. McPherson, and Oliver O. Howard. William T Sherman Army of the Cumberland, Tennessee, and later Georgia, commanded by William S. Rosecrans and George Henry Thomas.
Army of Georgia, March to the Sea and the Carolinas commanded by Henry W. Slocum.
Army of the Gulf, around Gulf of Mexico, commanded by Benjamin Butler, Nathaniel P. Banks, and Edward Canby.
Army of the Mississippi, Mississippi River, under John Pope and William S. Rosecrans in 1862; under John A. McClernand in 1863.
Army of the Ohio, Kentucky and later Tennessee and Georgia, commanded by Don Carlos Buell, Ambrose E. Burnside, John G. Foster, and John M. Schofield.
Western Territories Class of 1859 Roderic Stone Infantry, frontier duty in New Mexico; killed in the Battle of Valverde in the War between the States, fighting for the Union. Class of 1860 “Lyman Mishler” Killed Valverde NM fighting for the Union (attached McRae’s Battery) 21 Feb 1962
R E Lee
Ambrose Powell Hill 1847, remembered as A P Hill, his Division made extraordinary march and ferocious attack at Antietam, securing Lee’s Right Flank. Killed 3/2/1865 when Grant broke Lee’s defenses at Petersburg as Hill attempted to rally his Corps. Southern Lore has it that both Jackson and Lee called for Hill on their death beds, with Lee saying “Tell Hill he must come up”. Camp A P Hill, Va. Honors him. https://forwhattheygave.com/2012/06/22/a-p-hill/
Confederate Hagerston Rd Antietam
Jackson’s Valley Campaign
Army of the Northwest Robert S. Garnett, Henry R. Jackson, William W. Loring, Edward Johnson
Army of the Peninsula John B. Magruder, Daniel H. Hill Army of the Potomac P. G. T. Beauregard, Joseph E. Johnston
Army of the Valley (also known as Second Corps, Army of Northern Virginia) Jubal Early Army of the Kanawha (Western Virginia – early in the war) Henry A. Wise, John B. Floyd, Robert E. Lee
In The West Army of Mississippi March 1862 – November 1862: P. G. T. Beauregard, Albert Sidney Johnston, Braxton Bragg, William J. Hardee, Leonidas Polk, (also known as the Army of the Mississippi;
Redesignated Army of Tennessee on November 20, 1862) December 1862 – July 1863: John C. Pemberton, Earl Van Dorn, (1863) William W. Loring (also known as Army of Vicksburg) July 1863 – June 1864: William J. Hardee, Leonidas Polk, William W. Loring (also known as the Army of the Mississippi; redesignated III Corps, Army of Tennessee in May 1864, but continued to use its old name) Army of Tennessee Braxton Bragg, Samuel Gibbs French, William J. Hardee, Daniel H. Hill, John Bell Hood, Joseph E. Johnston, Richard Taylor
Joseph E. Johnston Army of Kentucky Edmund Kirby Smith (Eventually commander of all forces West of the Mississippi) Army of Central Kentucky Simon B. Buckner, Albert Sidney Johnston Army of Missouri Sterling Price Army of Middle Tennessee John C. Breckinridge Army of Western Louisiana Richard Taylor, Edmund Kirby Smith Army of Arkansas Sterling Price, Edmund Kirby Smith Army of the Trans-Mississippi Thomas C. Hindman, Theophilus Holmes, Edmund Kirby Smith James Longstreet’s Corps
The Far West Army of the West Earl Van Dorn Class of 1849 James,McIntosh,1849,,Alumni,1449-1849,1/7/1862,”DOD: 01/07/1862 Place: Pea Ridge, AR Notified by: Burial: Cause: KIA Obit: Age: 34″ http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Battle_of_Pea_Ridge http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/James_M._McIntosh Army of New Mexico Henry H. Sibley
Photos not sorted
Major General Henry Heath
James Longstreet – Lee’s War Horse
Dixon,Miles,1824,,Alumni,387-1824,9/16/1862,DOD: 09/16/1862 Place: Harper’s Ferry Notified by: Burial: Cause: DOW Obit: Age: 58 Albert,Johnston,1826,,Alumni,436-1826,4/6/1862,DOD: 04/06/1862 Place: Shiloh Notified by: Burial: Cause: KIA Obit: Age: 59 Leonidas,Polk,1827,,Alumni,477-1827,6/14/1864,”DOD: 06/14/1864 Place: Pine Mountain, GA Notified by: Burial: Cause: KIA Obit: Age: 58 ” Seneca,Simmons,1834,,Alumni,771-1834,6/30/1862,DOD: 06/30/1862 Place: Glendale Notified by: Burial: Cause: KIA Obit: Age: 53 Lloyd,Tilghman,1836,,Alumni,887-1836,5/16/1863,”DOD: 05/16/1863 Place: Baker’s Creek, MS Notified by: Burial: Cause: KIA Obit: Age: ” Robert,Jones,1837,,Alumni,903-1837,5/31/1862,DOD: 05/31/1862 Place: Fair Oaks Notified by: Burial: Cause: KIA Obit: Age: 46 John,Sedgwick,1837,,Alumni,914-1837,5/9/1864,DOD: 05/09/1864 Place: Spottsylvania Notified by: Burial: Cause: KIA Obit: Age: 50 William,Walker,1837,,Alumni,936-1837,7/22/1864,”DOD: 07/22/1864 Place: Atlanta, GA Notified by: Burial: Cause: KIA Obit: Age: 47 ” Thomas,Williams,1837,,Alumni,902-1837,8/5/1862,”DOD: 08/05/1862 Place: Baton Rouge, LA Notified by: Burial: Cause: KIA Obit: Age: 47″ Isaac,Stevens,1839,,Alumni,986-1839,9/1/1862,DOD: 09/01/1862 Place: Chantilly Notified by: Burial: Cause: KIA Obit: Age: 44 Reuben,Campbell,1840,,Alumni,1043-1840,6/27/1862,DOD: 06/27/1862 Place: Gaines Mill Notified by: Burial: Cause: KIA Obit: Age: 44 Stephen,Captenter,1840,,Alumni,1051-1840,12/31/1862,DOD: 12/31/1862 Place: Stone River Notified by: Burial: Cause: KIA Obit: Age: 44 Julius,Garesche,1841,,Alumni,1074-1841,12/31/1862,DOD: 12/31/1862 Place: Stone River Notified by: Burial: Cause: KIA Obit: Age: 42 Robert,Garnett,1841,,Alumni,1085-1841,7/13/1861,DOD: 07/13/1861 Place: Carrick’s Ford Notified by: Burial: Cause: KIA Obit: Age: 41 Richard,Garnett,1841,,Alumni,1087-1841,7/3/1863,DOD: 07/03/1863 Place: Gettysburg Notified by: Burial: Cause: KIA Obit: Age: 44 Nathaniel,Lyon,1841,,Alumni,1069-1841,8/10/1861,DOD: 08/10/1861 Place: Wilson’s Creek Notified by: Burial: Cause: KIA Obit: Age: 42 Francis,Thomas,1844,,Alumni,1211-1844,7/21/1861,DOD: 07/21/1861 Place: Bull Run Notified by: Burial: Cause: KIA Obit: Age: 37 Alexander,Hays,1844,,Alumni,1225-1844,5/5/1864,DOD: 05/05/1864 Place: At Wilderness Notified by: Burial: Cause: KIA Obit: Age: 44 David,Russell,1845,,Alumni,1268-1845,9/19/1864,”DOD: 09/19/1864 Place: Opequan, VI Notified by: Burial: Cause: KIA Obit: Age: 42 ” William,Whiting,1845,,Alumni,1231-1845,3/10/1865,DOD: 03/10/1865 Place: Governor’s Island Notified by: Burial: Cause: POW-DOW Obit: Age: 40 Jesse,Reno,1846,,Alumni,1279-1846,9/14/1862,DOD: 09/14/1862 Place: South Mountain Notified by: Burial: Cause: KIA Obit: Age: 39 Otis,Tillinghast,1847,,Alumni,1343-1847,7/23/1861,DOD: 07/23/1861 Place: Bull Run Notified by: Burial: Cause: DOW Obit: Age: 38 William,Jones,1848,,Alumni,1378-1848,6/5/1864,”DOD: 06/05/1864 Place: Piedmont, VA Notified by: Burial: Cause: KIA Obit: Age: 40 ”
Battery D, 5th U S Artillery in action at Fredericksburg
Benson’s battery – Fair Oaks or 7 Pines
Bloody Lane – Confederate dead
Burford /Reynolds Gettysburg
Civil War Deserter
Civil War Female Soldier
Confederate dead – 6th Maine penetrated Fredericksburg
Confederate prisoners Belle Plain. Va
Confederates – Frederick Md
Cushing – Cadet
Donated for scrap WWII
Federal HQ Gettysburg
From little Round Top
Gen Meade’s Hq several days after Picketts Charge
Gen Philip Sheridan
I won a battle once. It was awful.
John Pelham – “The Gallant Pelham”
Robert E Lee
Little Round Top
Longstreet Monument Gettysburg
A breakdown of the ten finest commanders of the greatest–and bloodiest–war in American history.
The American Civil War is a source of great fascination to millions of military aficionados. More Americans died in this conflict than any other American has engaged in, before or since. Many of the soldiers who served and the men who led them were amateurs, products of the State Militia system. As is often the case, Americans rose to the challenge, learning on the job the grim lessons of battle.
The Civil War produced many examples of leadership, both wretched and inspiring. It is not surprising that America’s greatest conflict produced some of its best generals. Of these, most worth graduates of the United States Military Academy at West Point (or of some other equivalent) and had served at least some time as officers in the “Regular” Army. One of the finest commanders was a gifted amateur, a born military genius who found his calling in the cauldron of conflict.
Here is a breakdown of the top ten:
10. Jubal Early, CSA
￼ Photo credit: Wikimedia Commons
“Old Jube” to his soldiers, the peppery-tempered Confederate lieutenant general commanded Jackson’s Second Corp late in the war. He learned his trade as one of Jackson’s Brigade and Division commanders, and Early resembled his brilliant commander in dash and his penchant for rapid maneuver. During the three-day Battle of Gettysburg, Early’s division occupied York, Pennsylvania—the largest Northern town to fall to the Rebels during the war. In 1864 he led the last Confederate invasion of the North, reaching the defenses of Washington. Unable to break the defenses, he withdrew to Virginia, commenting, “We haven’t taken Washington, but we scared Abe Lincoln like hell!”
9. George Gordon Meade, Union
￼ Photo credit: Wikimedia Commons. George Meade is pictured with his staff, fourth from the right.
Nicknamed “Old Snapping Turtle,” Meade seldom gets much credit as a commander, despite defeating the great Robert E. Lee at Gettysburg, the decisive battle of the war. Though a West Point graduate and veteran of the Mexican War, Meade returned to service during the Civil War as a “captain of volunteers.” The move retarded Meade’s promotion progress, and he had to serve in lesser positions throughout the war while less capable men (George B. McClellan, Ambrose Burnside, Joseph Hooker) took their turns commanding the Army of the Potomac. A successful and aggressive brigade and division commander, Meade distinguished himself at the Second Battle of Bull Run and the Battle of South Mountain. At Antietam, he replaced the wounded Hooker before being wounded himself. At Fredericksburg, his division made the only breakthrough in the Confederate line; but his successful penetration went unsupported and ultimately failed. He was rewarded, however, with a corps command. His V Corps was held in strategic reserve during the Battle of Chancellorsville, a blunder Meade later criticized Hooker for. When Hooker resigned days before Gettysburg, Meade was tapped to command the Army of the Potomac after four senior generals turned President Abraham Lincoln down. With no time to organize his staff or to assert his authority over Hooker’s subordinates (particularly the troublesome Major General Daniel Sickles, commanding III Corps), he found himself in command of the Union forces at the greatest battle of the Civil War. At Gettysburg, Meade showed sound judgment in his choice of terrain. Despite disobedience by Sickles, Meade held his position for three days, allowing Lee’s army to break itself against the Union’s strong positions. Meade was criticized after the battle for not pursing Lee’s retreating army more aggressively, but this can partially be explained by the loss of so many men during the battle (some 23,000 killed, wounded or missing), and the lack of support of his chief of staff, a Hooker appointee. Meade served the rest of the war commanding the Army of the Potomac, but under the direct supervision of Ulysses S. Grant, who came east to take command of all Union forces.
8. James Longstreet
￼ Photo credit: Wikimedia Commons
Lee’s “Old War Horse,” Longstreet was the anvil upon which the Union forces so often broke (or were hammered). A master of conducting attack or defense in forested terrain, he devised novel approaches at both Chickamauga and the Wilderness. Longstreet was known for his calm temperament in the midst of battle, a rare gift. At Gettysburg he famously disagreed with Lee about the place and conduct of the battle; he was, arguably, correct in his assessments. Longstreet’s flanking attack at the Battle of the Wilderness rolled up Union General Winfield S. Hancock’s Second Corps “like a wet blanket.” Only Longstreet’s accidental wounding, which brought the attack to a halt, saved Grant’s army from severe defeat.
7. George Henry Thomas
￼ Photo credit: Wikimedia Commons
Known as “the Rock of Chickamauga” and “Pap Thomas” to his men, Thomas won the Union’s first key victory at the Battle of Mills Spring in January 1862. He “earned his spurs” at the Battle of Chickamauga, where Thomas held on in the center while his army’s commander fled the field; Thomas’ stubborn refusal to retreat saved the Union army that day and earned him his sobriquet, “the Rock of Chickamauga.” After William T. Sherman detached his army to “march to the sea,” Thomas was tasked with defending Tennessee from John Bell Hood’s Confederate Army of Tennessee. He attacked and annihilated Hood’s forces at the Battle of Nashville, securing the Tennessee and Union victory in the Western Theater.
6. Philip Sheridan
￼ Photo credit: Wikimedia Commons
Grant’s chief cavalry commander, Sheridan was known for his energy and aggressiveness. He first earned distinction and came to Grant’s attention in the West. Brought to the Eastern Theater to command Grant’s Cavalry Corps, Sheridan proved ideally suited to his new role. In May ’64 he relentlessly pursed Jeb Stuart’s cavalry to destruction at Yellow Tavern, where Stuart was mortally wounded. In response to Early’s raid on Washington, Sheridan defeated Early and scourged the Shenandoah Valley, presaging the scorched earth tactics in Sherman’s famous March to the Sea. In 1865 Sheridan’s unrelenting pursuit of Lee’s Army of Northern Virginia at Appomattox. Grant summed up his service thus: “I believe General Sheridan has no superior as a general, either living or dead, and perhaps not an equal.”
5. Nathan Bedford Forrest
Photo credit: Wikimedia Commons
“The Wizard of the Saddle,” Forrest was not only the finest cavalry commander that America ever produced, he was a first-rate practitioner of mobile warfare and combined arms. His rapidly moving strike forces were composed of cavalry/mounted infantry, supported by batteries of horse artillery. A gifted military genius, Forrest had no formal military education, enlisting as a private at the start of the war. A very wealthy man, he soon raised his own force of cavalry, which under his leadership soon became the most feared force in the Western Theater (and he the most feared commander of the war). Throughout the war, Forrest is credited with killing, personally with his own hands, 30 enemy soldiers, the most ever by an American general. When asked after the war what the secret to his success was, Forrest responded, “By getting there first with the most men.” (Not, as often quoted, “Git thar firstest with the mostest!”) His operations are more reminiscent of a 20th century panzer leader, such as Heinz Guderian or Erwin Rommel, than of any commander of his age.
4. Ulysses S. Grant
Photo credit: Getty Images
The man who did more than any to win the war, it may surprise many that U.S. Grant doesn’t either head this list or come in second place. However, Grant’s virtues were not that of a great general so much as a resolute and fearless “manager” of war. Unlike the cautious George McClellan, Grant was a “fighting general” who lost little sleep concerning the enemy’s plans. After taking a terrible beating the first day at Shiloh, Sherman remarked, “Well, Grant, we’ve had the devil’s own day, haven’t we?” Grant looked up. “Yes,” he replied, puffing on his cigar; “Yes. Lick ’em tomorrow, though”. After a string of victories in the West, Lincoln, promoted Grant to lieutenant general—a position in the American Army previously held only be George Washington and Winfield Scott—and brought him east to take command. (When first warned about Grant’s heavy drinking, Lincoln is said to have responded, “Find out what he drinks and send my other commanders a case!”) Over the next year, Grant proved relentless and unflappable, using his superiority in numbers and equipment to hammer Lee in ways his predecessors had failed. Unmoved by casualties, Grant continued to press Lee till the latter was forced to surrender at Appomattox Courthouse.
3. William T. Sherman
￼ Photo credit: Library of Congress and Wikimedia Commons
The melancholy and cerebral Sherman emerged during the Civil War as perhaps the most hated (by southerners) and admired general of the war. His March to the Sea and scorched earth policy broke the economic back of the Confederacy, destroying its will to fight on. Sherman was a practitioner of maneuver warfare in contrast different his friend and superior U.S. Grant. Prone to deep bouts of depression, Sherman would later say, “Grant stood by me when I was crazy, and I stood by him when he was drunk, and now we stand by each other.” When Grant was sent east to take over that theater, Sherman took his place as commander in the Western Theater. Cutting himself and his army loose from their dependence on railheads for supply, he invaded Georgia in the spring of 1864. Living off the land, his “foot cavalry” continuously outmaneuvered his opponents and threatened multiple objectives, preventing Confederate forces from concentrating sufficient forces to stop him. Sherman was an early proponent of what in the 20th century came to be called “total war” (which he, himself, termed “hard war”). His strategy of destroying the economic heart of the south, as much as Grant’s pugnacious campaign of relentlessly pummeling Lee, led to the South’s eventual defeat. He is the only man to have twice received the thanks of Congress during the war, and is arguably the best strategist of the Civil War.
2. Robert E. Lee
Perhaps America’s most respected general, “Marse Robert” had already obtained legendary status as America’s greatest living soldier prior the outbreak of the Civil War. He played only a minor role till June 1862, when General Joe Johnston was wounded, resulting in Lee taking command of the Army of Northern Virginia. During the Peninsula Campaign, Lee’s relentless aggressive and audacious tactics drove George B. McClellan’s Army of the Potomac from the gates of Richmond in the Seven Days Battles. Despite heavy casualties in the process, Lee’s counter-offensive turned the tide and won him the devotion of his army. Within 90 days of taking command, Lee had driven McClellan off the peninsula, and the battle lines had moved from 6 miles outside Richmond to 20 miles outside Washington. During these two years, Lee invaded the north twice, keeping the Union forces on the defensive. In the final seasons of the Civil War, Lee employed a tenacious defensive strategy against a superior Union long after the point where a lesser general would have been defeated.
1. Thomas “Stonewall” Jackson
￼ Photo credit: Wikimedia Commons
The eccentric Jackson was an instructor at Virginia Military Institute when the war broke out. Assembling a force at Harper’s Ferry (which became the famous “Stonewall Brigade”) Jackson joined the Confederate forces at First Bull Run. Here he became the hero of the day, earning his nickname. Jackson’s finest hour came when a Union army invaded the valley in the spring of 1862. In what came to be called the Valley Campaign, Jackson conducted a series of brilliant operations of surprise and maneuver, covering 46 miles in 48 days and winning five significant victories. In the process, his 17,000 men defeated a combined force of 60,000 Union troops. He joined Lee for the Seven Day’s Battle, beginning a partnership that was one of the great ones of the war (second only to Grant and Sherman). In the battles and campaigns that followed, Jackson’s corps was Lee’s hammer, while Longstreet’s was the anvil. The strategy proved especially fruitful at Second Manassas and at Antietam. In May of 1863, Union General Joseph Hooker crossed the Rapidan River to the west of the Confederate army opposite Fredericksburg. Leaving Longstreet to hold that position, Lee marched west. Jackson was tasked with driving rapidly south through the dense forest, below the Union forces around Chancellorsville. As the sun was low in the western sky on May 2, Jackson’s Corps unexpectedly attacked from that direction. The Union forces were caught completely by surprise, and only the fall of darkness prevented the route of Hooker’s entire army. While conducting a reconnaissance that evening beyond his pickets, Jackson was accidentally fired upon and wounded by his own sentries. His wounded left arm was amputated, leading Lee to comment, “General Jackson has lost his left arm; but I have lost my right.” The wound turned gangrenous, and Jackson died in bed on May 10, 1863. His death deprived Lee of his best Corps commander, the best general of the war on either side. Had he lived to fight at Gettysburg a month later, the outcome of that battle may have been very different.
Barry C. Jacobsen is a former Green Beret and the publisher of The Deadliest Blogger.
Civil War Horses
At the start of the war, the North had about 3.4 million horses; the Confederacy had about 1.7 million, and there were distinctions in their suitability for service. The horses in the North were primarily farm animals and were better suited for moving equipment; those in the South were bred for riding and racing, so the Confederacy was better prepared to build a cavalry. More than one million horses and mules died during the course of the war.
Today’s military officers would marvel at the thought of having to provide 26 pounds of fuel per day to their “modes of transportation” but that was the reality of the 1860s. Horses needed 14 pounds of hay and 12 pounds of grain each day.
When instructing his troops. Major General William T. Sherman said: “Every opportunity at a halt during a march should be taken advantage of to cut grass, wheat, or oats and extraordinary care should be taken of the horses upon which everything depends.”
While staying in one location might have provided the soldiers with the time to gather food for the animals, the truth was that the armies frequently picked an area clean, and wagons that should have been traveling back and forth carrying additional provisions were frequently seized to be used for other purposes. By 1864, Union artillery horses in some locations were living on only five pounds of grain per day.
At the start of any skirmish, horses were often targeted first. Both sides understood that picking off horses left the opposing side with no way to move artillery and supplies. At Ream’s Station (Virginia) in August 1864, the Tenth Massachusetts Battery had positioned themselves behind a temporary barricade, but they left their thirty horses exposed. Within moments, only two of these horses were still standing.
Massachusetts soldier Charles Francis Adams wrote to his mother on May 12, 1863. It describes the magnitude of what was happening to the animals:
“The air of Virginia is literally burdened today with the stench of dead horses, federal and confederate. You pass them on every road and find them in every field, while from their carrions you can follow the march of every army that moves.”
This is war. The man in the foreground will never use his right arm again. Never again will the man on the litter jump or run. It is sudden, the transition from marching bravely at morning on two sound legs, grasping your rifle in two sturdy arms, to lying at nightfall under a tree with a member forever gone. But it is war. The usual treatment of an ordinary wound during the Civil War consisted in shaving the part if necessary and washing it with warm water and a sponge. Asepsis was not yet understood. The sponge, used on any and all cases indiscriminately, soon became infected. Gross foreign bodies were removed and the wound probed by instruments which were never sterilized and usually remained continuing sources of infection. The wound was usually protected by dressings of lint, the scrapings of which from cotton cloth by hand rendered its infection certain. Cloth or cotton compresses dipped in cold water were often used as dressings. Some surgeons used ointments spread on muslin. Flaxseed or bread poultices were often employed. In fact nearly every measure taken for the relief of the wounded was, through the irony of Fate and ignorance of infection, largely contributory in increasing the very suffering it was desired to prevent.
John Buford at Gettysburg
Defense In Depth
”John Buford’s First Day Defense at the Battle of Gettysburg”
The following is a brief description of John Buford’s actions on the first day at Gettysburg. It was presented in a Civil War chatroom one evening by Eric Whittenburg, author of “Gettysburg’s Forgotten Cavalry Battles” and John Buford’s biographer. Since chatrooms do not lend themselves to large posts, it was presented in small increments over the course of about a half hour. For ease of reading it has been reformatted into the form you see here, However, very little changes were made and what you see is basically as it was presented to the group.
The concept that John Buford employed in the initial defense of Gettysburg is called a “defense in depth”. The theory behind a defense in depth is for the defending force to select a position far from the point that it ultimately wants to defend, so that there is a place to fall back to. A delaying action is fought, with the idea of slowly making a fighting withdrawal. The defending force makes use of the terrain to delay the enemy’s advance. Buford recognized the good high ground to the south and east of the town square and elected to fight a defense in depth to hold it until the infantry could come up. Buford had been consulting with John Reynolds in Emmitsburg on the way to Gettysburg on June 30, and knew how close the infantry was. He would defend the town from the west and north. Gamble on the west side, and Devin on the north. Buford set up his videttes on an arc seven miles long. Gamble’s farthest post was four miles from the town square, Devin’s six. The idea of videttes is to serve as an early warning system. They make contact with the enemy, fire warning shots, delay as long a possible, and then fall back to the next chosen defensive position. Gamble covered an arc from the Fairfield Road to the Mummasburg Road. Devin covered the Carlisle, Harrisburg and York Roads. The next fall back position from the west was Herr’s Ridge (which combines with Belmont School House Ridge), and then finally, the main line of battle was atop McPherson Ridge. The vidette line of Gamble’s brigade was manned by about 275 men. The farthest post was atop Knoxlyn Ridge at the Whisler blacksmith shop. Vidette posts were typically manned by three or four men, and commanded by a non-com. This particular one was commanded by Sgt. Levi Shaffer of the 8th Illinois Cavalry. Lt. Marcellus Jones of the 8th Illinois commanded the regiment’s vidette line. Early on the morning of July 1, Sgt. Shaffer spotted billowing clouds of dust arising along the Chambersburg Pike, indicating the movement of a large body of men. Shaffer called for Jones. Jones watched for a moment, borrowed Shaffer’s Sharps carbine, rested it on a fence post, and squeezed off the first shot of the Battle of Gettysburg. Fired at a range of about 700 yards, it hit nothing. Instead, it sent up the alarm among Heth’s advancing infantry. Soon, more shots rang out along the vidette line. It was about 6 a.m. Word was sent back to Buford to let him know that the Confederates had begun to advance. While he sent for Calef’s artillery, the surprised Confederates stopped and began to deploy into line of battle, a process that took nearly two full hours. Just by firing a few shots that hit nothing, Buford bought two hours’ time. In the meantime, Buford sent messengers to Reynolds to try to hurry the infantry to Gettysburg. In the meantime, the videttes fell back to Herr’s Ridge. There, along with about 500 others of Gamble’s brigade (total strength, about 750), they made a stand for the better part of an hour. Remember, too, that effective strength had to be reduced by 25% due to the fact that one in every four men was given task of holding horses. So, the actual strength was about 450. They stood there for about 45 minutes. Meanwhile, Calef’s three sections of artillery deployed along McPherson’s Ridge. Two sections (4 guns) deployed on the Chambersburg Pike and the other two about four hundred yards away, near the spot where Reynolds fell. The idea was to disperse the guns to create the illusion that Buford actually had more than 6 pieces of artillery at his disposal. The Confederates, after driving Gamble off Herr’s Ridge, then got caught in the valley created by Willoughby Run. They came under heavy fire there, and it took time for them to regroup and begin to advance up the western slope of McPherson’s Ridge. By this time, it was nearly 9:15. Buford had already bought more than three hours’ time by his stand. However, he grew worried, as there was still no sign of the advance of Reynolds’ infantry. He went up the cupola of the Seminary to search for the head of Reynolds’ column, worried–he realized that it was just a matter of time before he had to pull back or he ran out of ammo. As McPherson’s Ridge was the chosen spot for the defensive stand, Buford deployed all of Gamble’s brigade there, as well as a regiment of Devin’s, positioned to the north of the railroad cut. There, they stood for about an hour before the Confederates began pressing them back, both by flanking the position and because Gamble’s men were running out of ammunition. As things looked most desperate, Buford’s signal officer, Lt. Aaron B. Jerome, spotted the advance of Reynolds’ column, and reported it to Buford. Buford ascended the cupola again, saw it himself, and said, “Good, now we can hold the place.” He sent a messenger to Reynolds, who spurred ahead to meet with Buford. Reynolds called out, “What goes, John?” Buford characteristically replied, “The Devil’s to pay!” and pointed out the advancing Confederate infantry. Reynolds then asked whether Buford could hold, to which the cavalryman responded, “I reckon so.” Buford then came down, and he and Reynolds conferred and rode out to the front to see the situation. Reynolds then sent his staff officer, Capt. Stephen Minot Weld, to Meade with a sitrep, wherein Reynolds said, “Tell the General that we will hold the heights to the south of the town, and that I will barricade the streets of the town if necessary.” Weld rode off to report. In the meantime, Reynolds gave orders for his infantry, led by Doubleday’s division, to come up at the double-quick, which they did, advancing across the fields on the oblique. As Gamble’s men were running out of ammunition, the infantry came up, and Gamble’s tired troopers opened ranks to make room for them to come into line. After being relieved, Gamble’s troopers took up a position on the Union left. The men of the 3rd Indiana Cavalry refused to leave the line of battle, holding a position next to the Iron Brigade. Meanwhile, Joe Davis was pressing Devin back. Since Devin had only a regiment and a half atop the ridge, their position was more desperate. Reynolds responded by calling up John Robinson’s division, which arrived just in the nick of time, just before Devin’s guys ran out of ammunition. This was a perfectly planned and perfectly executed defense in depth, executed with perfect dragoon tactics. If one reads the manual for this sort of thing, what Buford did was by the letter of the book.
OPERATIONAL LEADERSHIP OF NATHAN BEDFORD FORREST …
This research paper studies the operational leadership of Confederate cavalry General Nathan Bedford Forrest at the tactical level of combat and presents some lessons learned for the modern warfare commander in the context of doctrinal publications such as Army Field Manual 100-5. Forrest’s greatest victory at the Battle of Brice’s Cross Roads is examined as a case study which exemplifies many of his innovations and tactics in the art of maneuver warfare and operational leadership.
A paper submitted to the Faculty of the Naval War College in partial satisfaction of the requirements of the Department of operations. The contents of this paper reflect my own personal views and are not necessarily endorsed by the Naval War College or the Department of the Navy.
by John R. Sanders Captain, U.S. Navy
READ THE THESIS HERE … http://www.dtic.mil/dtic/tr/fulltext/u2/a283415.pdfNelly M. Chase …
A soldier in the general hospital at Fredericksburg, a day or two after the battle in December, 1862, wrote as follows:
Having lost my right arm on last Saturday, on that fatal “Inclined plane” in front of Fredericksburg, I am obliged to employ an amanuensis to relieve my brain, which under the stimulus of some reactionary fever, must find legitimate work, or it will go off into all sorts of phantasies, or, perhaps, fall into a melancholy mood not at all productive of “healing by first intention,” as the doctors call a speedy cure. I don’t know what I can do better than to set down some of my experiences, which, I doubt not, are unfortunately or fortunately, as the case may be, similar to those of hundreds of my fellow-victims. It matters not to what particular regiment I belong, seeing that it is a Philadelphia regiment, and not altogether unknown to fame. Strange as it may seem, my recollections of Saturday, until four o’clock in the afternoon, are confused and indistinct. I remember well enough of being roused before daylight, from a very profound sleep upon the sidewalk in Fredericksburg by the sudden boom of cannon, and that, at short intervals, the firing continued began to betoken close quarters, and the air seemed to groan in unison as in the agony of an elemental dissolution.
Column after column of marching men went past in all the buoyancy of high hope, courage in their hearts, and determination in every lineament of their faces. Following every regiment were the litter-bearers, with their ready stretchers jauntily slung upon their shoulders; and I remember well of calculating in my own mind the chances of each man for an exit from the front upon one of those humane inventions.
By and by the litter-bearers returned, burdened with mangled, bleeding men, and from the great numbers carried off I calculated the stubborness of the resistance to our advance to Richmond. I was not excited; I was not fearful; I was simply apathetic, while awaiting the order to advance. At last it came–clear and distinct, but not loud, the words came:–”Attention, Battalion!” Instantly the line closed with a steady straight front, and every man stood erect with suspended breath for the next command. Nor did we wait long. “Battalion right face, forward, quick, march!” and we were off.
Forward we went until we cleared the streets of the town and arrived opposite the batteries on the hill on our left, when at the command, “By the left flank, march!” we changed our direction to the front, and faced the fire before us, advanced to the lines of the brigade that preceded us from town; but soon the smoke obscured the view of everything, save the flashes of the batteries before us, and the sparkle of the musketry in the dim sulphurous twilight of the battle, until the receding lines, in falling back, produced a mingled mass of retreating and advancing men. “Steady men,–forward!” rang out the voice of our commander; and disentangled from the retreating fugitives, we steadily bore on until we neared the batteries, and with a cheer we sprang forward, but that instant a line of fire leaped out from behind a stone wall close in our front, and–I don’t remember anything more about it. My next recollections were of a confused and mixed character; one moment I would seem perfectly conscious of something, the next of nothing. Then I would imagine I was at home, and half asleep, while all the house was astir with some past or anticipated catastrophe with which I was in some way connected. All was dark, and a great load seemed to press me down and glue me to the ground in spite of all my efforts to rise.
I could hear voices, but none familiar and but one that seemed spoken by human kind, or had a human chord of sympathy in it. Then I felt something force open my jaws, and some fluid trickle into my throat, which I managed to swallow to prevent strangling, and it still trickled down, and I still painfully swallowed, hoping, praying that it would stop; but it did not until I recognized that it was some strong spirit that I was taking and that I was becoming more able to swallow it. All this time I could hear the kind voice encouraging me, also some cold unsympathizing voices; but I could not distinguish what they said. Only by the tone could I tell the sympathetic from the unsympathetic. At last I distinguished the words, in part, of one who said, “It’s no use working with him. He’s dying now.” Quietly, but ho, so earnestly and sympathizingly the kind voice replied, “No, doctor, he is not dying; he is coming to life; he will live if we don’t give him up; this hurt of his head wont amount to anything if we can get him warmed up; don’t you see he has been nearly frozen to death, while faint from loss of blood; but he is coming on finely, and by and by you can take off his arm, and the man may get well. Who knows but he has a mother or a sister to love him, and thank you or me some day for a son or brother saved.”
Yes, I was saved; I understood it all now; I remembered the battle and my state, its doubtless consequence, and, for the sake of that dear mother and sister so strangely invoked, with an effort I succeeded in opening my eyes once more to the light of the sun on earth. At first the light confused me, but soon I could distinguish three surgeons beside me, looking at me with some curiosity, if not interest. On the opposite side, as I lay on the ground, in a large tent, kneeled a woman, who, with her left hand, supported my head, while with her right she held a spoon, with which, at short intervals, she dipped the warm fluid from a cup held by a mere boy-soldier, who seemed her special attendant.
I tried to speak, but could not, and she merely shook her head to discourage my efforts, and, turning to her attendant, said:–”Now, Johnny, the beef soup,” and in a minute the soup was substituted for the toddy, and I gradually felt life and the love of it returning. After further effort to look about me, I saw that there was a basin of water beside me, with a sponge in it, and from the blood on the lady’s hands, I inferred what I afterwards learned to be the truth, that she had been engaged in washing the blood from my head and face, when she discovered that what had seemed on a superficial view to be a most desperate wound of the head, including the skull, was but a mere scalp wound, which bled profusely, and doubtless made a most unpromising case for surgery at first view–a view very natural indeed, taking into consideration the state of my stupor. Gradually I recovered strength, until after sufficient reaction, my shattered arm was amputated, and I am doing as well as could be expected. I was, it seems, struck both in the head and arm by pieces of the same projectile, whatever it may have been, and lay senseless on the field till late in the night, when I was found by some humane litter-bearers, and carried to the city; and then, before being dressed, was put into an ambulance and carried over here, where, among the hundreds similarly brought, I was necessarily obliged to await my turn and thank God when my turn did come I fell into good hands–a woman’s hands at that. In that place even in the roar and din and carnage of battle, was found a woman with a heart to dare danger and sympathize with the battle-strucken, and sense and skill and experience enough to make her a treasure beyond all price. May the choicest blessings of Heaven be hers in all time to come! I have since observed her in her ministrations here, and she does indeed, seem gifted in a most wonderful degree for scenes like this, or else a hard school of suffering has made her the strange woman she is. To the wounded she is all sympathy and kindness, but let any one not a patient attempt familiarity, even in jest, and her black eyes flash such an indignant rebuke as is hardly equalled by her cool cutting rejoinder. More than one shoulder-strapped puppy has had occasion to rue the time he intruded his remarks upon her. I have learned that she has been in the army ever since the war broke out, nursing the sick and wounded, and “ever in front.” Hospitals in the rear are no place for her.
Dr. McDonald, of the Seventy-ninth New York Volunteers, the Surgeon in charge here, has placed her in charge of the supplies and stores, and most efficiently does she deal them out. Many a “poor wounded soldier” would lack his timely stimulant, soup or delicacies, if she did not pass through the tents at all hours of the day and night, for they say she seldom sleeps. Dr. McDonald has known her long as the matron of the One Hundredth Pennsylvania, or as it is better known the Roundhead Regiment which has been in South Carolina with the Seventy-ninth New York Regiment, and is still with it in the same division and he informs me that, on that fatal day of Gen. Benham’s defeat, on James Island, she performed incredible labors just as she does here. And yet she has never been a paid nurse. She is a member of her regiment,” she says, and it is only because it does not require her services that she works for others.
For all the labors, and privations, and sufferings of her campaigning life she receives no pay; she draws her rations as a private soldier, and the private soldiers who know her almost worship her.
I overheard one say to-day, that he would kill, as he would kill a dog, the man who would dare insult her, even in thought; and I believe it. War produces great developments of character, and Miss Nellie M. Chase is a most notable instance of it. She is not yet twenty-four years old, but in experience as a nurse or hospital matron, on the battle-field, I think she has no living equal. She may not thank me for this notice of her great services: I don’t think she will, for she dislikes notoriety, and never mingles in the “society of the army,” nor permits intimacies nor attentions from any but those who have adopted her and protected her. But the world has a right to know its heroines, as well as its heroes, and hers is a name that must at least be known as widely as that of the veteran regiment of which she is a member.
But gratitude for life preserved, has led me from my way, and I return to it to state my further experience of “wounded and in general hospital,” as the next tri-monthly report of my regiment will have me accounted for. We are placed in large “hospital tents,” in a secluded valley near Falmouth Station, and receive all the care and attention that such accommodations admit; but, without doubt a “cold snap” would soon “reduce the number of inmates” to less than a moiety of their present “muster.”
The Last Salute of the Army of Northern Virginia
The following is an article which provides General Joshua Chamberlain’s comments and memories concerning the Army of Northern Virginia’s Surrender at Appomattox.
The Last Salute Of The Army Of Northern Virginia.
From the Boston Journal, May, 1901
Details of the Surrender of General Lee at Appomattox Courthouse, April 9th, 1865.
LENIENT TERMS OF GENERAL GRANT.
By General J. L. Chamberlain.
It is an astounding fact that among the thousands of official documents bearing upon the Civil war in the National Archives at Washington there is absolutely nothing dealing with one of the most dramatic features of the great four years’ internal struggle–the actual ceremonies attendant upon the formal surrender by General Lee’s army of all Confederate property in their possession at Appomattox Courthouse thirty-six years ago.
When General Lee surrendered to General Grant, April 9th, 1865, the war was virtually over, but of the details of the surrender, the pathetic sadness on the one side, the jubilant satisfaction on the other, and, more particularly of the precise arrangements, the mode of procedure and the Northern army officer whose duty it became to take charge of the rebel arms and the rebel battleflags as they were given up–of all this our official war records tell not a word.
Why this is so the chief actor in the closing scene of the bloody drama, General Joshua L. Chamberlain, of Brunswick, Me., set forth in a pithy sentence to a Boston Journal writer the other night: “The war was over when Lee signed the terms of surrender, and with the closing of the war all official record-writing ceased.”
And just as it is true that there are no official records bearing upon this notable surrender scene, so also is it true that there are no official records describing the really remarkable disbandment of the Southern military and its departure in fragments for home. Only recently, in fact, has this matter been treated of, and that by a magazine almost four decades after the event!
Truly, some of the most absorbing history is, in the minting, slow quite beyond belief. Passing strange it seems almost that upon a writer of a generation which has no intimate connection with the Civil war should devolve the not unpleasant, nor in the light of facts, ill-timed, task of setting down in complete detail that story which long ago should have had a full official telling.
In that great national tragedy of the Civil war there has been for years much effort, always in a more or less unostentatious and secretive way, to eliminate the merit which was due to prominent actors. It has been said recurrently that officers other than the actual one who commanded on the impressive occasion, and, to cite one case, a general officer, who, from 1863, was never connected with the Army of the Potomac, was frequently banqueted and toasted as the soldier who received the surrender of General Robert E. Lee. This was, to be sure, an unfair acceptance, but it was accepted in silence, and even at later times assented to in subsequent remarks. But, be it said, such pretense of merit deserves and surely ought to receive the censure of every loyal comrade.
The man who did command the Union soldiery that stood immovable for hours near Appomattox Courthouse on that eventful day while Rebel arms and colors nodded “conquered” has never sounded in public or in private his own acclaim. Major-General Joshua L. Chamberlain, of Maine, he was in the old days, and still he bears that honorable title.
As a conspicuous New Englander whose life has been an integral part of the educational history of his beloved Pine Tree State, which he has represented as Governor as one of the legislators, as President of Bowdoin College, and particularly as a soldier, his long and eventful life has come to be well known to the people of the entire country–his life excepting that part he played in the last act of the war.
This is somewhat in detail the entire story as summarized by General Chamberlain:
“The Battle of Five Forks, which occurred on the 1st of April, 1865, served to prove to General Grant the fact which General ‘Phil’ Sheridan had advanced that the cutting of railroad lines between Petersburg and the South had made exceedingly difficult, if not practically impossible, the provisioning of the Confederate army, and that the departure of that command and its march toward Lynchburg might soon be expected.
“The victory of Fire Forks was so complete in every way as to wholly paralyze General Lee’s plan for further delay, and it is not too much to say that the decision was at once made for the western movement of the Army of Northern Virginia toward a new supply base.
The battle of Sailor’s Creek, with Ewell’s surrender, and that of Farmville, followed quickly after, the Confederates being hard pressed on their left flank, and for them there was little rest owing to the continual hounding by Sheridan’s forces which seemed quite eager for constant combat.
“The Fifth Army Corps had been detailed to work with Sheridan’s cavalry division. The subsequent relief of General Warren is a matter of history, which there is no need of repeating.
“General Griffin succeeded to command, and aided by the 6th, the 2d, and portions of the Army of the James, with other corps as fast as they could get to the scene, the military movements of that time form some of the most absorbing chapters of the Civil War which history has placed on record. Since the approach to Appomattox–for a hundred miles or more along this stream there had been terrible fighting–brought the head of each army very frequently in view, the strange spectacle of one army pressing with all energy in pursuit, while its antagonist was using its best efforts to get away and reach its delayed base of supplies, was presented to both sides.
“On the terrible march to Appomattox Courthouse the Federal troops were ever shrouded in smoke and dust, and the rattle of firearms and the heavy roar of artillery told plainly of the intense scene which threatened to bring on yet one more general engagement.
“Then came a moment which to me, at least, was more thrilling than any that had gone before. As we were hurrying on in response to Sheridan’s hastily scribbled note for aid, an orderly with still another command from ‘Little Phil’ came upon our bedraggled column, that of the 1st Division of the Fifth Army Corps, just as we were passing a road leading into the woods. In the name of Sheridan I was ordered to turn aside from the column of march, without waiting for orders through the regular channels, and to get to his relief.
“The orderly said in a voice of greatest excitement that the Confederate infantry was pressing upon Sheridan with a weight so terrible that his cavalry alone could not long oppose it.
“I turned instantly into the side road by which the messenger had come, and took up the ‘double-quick,’ having spared just time enough to send to General Gregory an order to follow me with his brigade.
“In good season we reached the field where the fight was going on. Our cavalry had even then been driven to the very verge of the field by the old ‘Stonewall’ Corps. Swinging rapidly into action the first line was sent forward in partial skirmish order, followed by the main lines, the 1st and 2d brigades. Once, for some unknown reason, I was ordered back, but in the impetuosity of youth and the heat of conflict, I pushed on, for it seemed to me to be a momentous hour. We fought like demons across that field and up that bristling hill. They told us we would expose ourselves to the full fire of the Confederate artillery once we gained the crest, but push on we did, past the stone wall behind which the ‘Stonewall Corps’ had hidden, driving them back to the crest of the ridge, down over it, and away.
“We were gathering our forces for a last final dash upon the enemy. From the summit of the hill we could see on the opposite ridge a full mile across the valley the dark blotches of the Confederate infantry drawn up in line of battle; the blocks of cavalry further to our right, and lower down more cavalry, detached, running hither and thither as if uncertain just what to do.
“In the valley, where flowed the now narrow Appomattox, along whose banks we had fought for weary miles, was a perfect swarm of moving men, animals, and wagons, wandering apparently aimlessly about, without definite precision. The river sides were trodden to a muck by the nervous mass. It was a picture which words can scarce describe.
“As we looked from our position we saw of a sudden a couple of men ride out from the extreme left of the Confederate line, and even as we looked the glorious white of a flag of truce met our vision. At that time, having routed the Confederate forces on the hill, my brigade was left alone by Sheridan’s cavalry, which had gone to the right to take the enemy in the flank.
“I was on the right of the line as we stood at the crest of the hill. Near by us was the red Maltese cross of the Hospital Corps, and straight toward this the two riders, one with the white flag, came.
“When the men arrived, the one who carried the flag drew up before me, and, saluting with a rather stiff air–it was a strained occasion –informed me that he had been sent to beg a cessation of hostilities until General Lee could be heard from. Lee was even then said to be making a wide detour in the hope of attacking our forces from the rear. The officer who bore the flag was a member of the Confederate General Gordon’s staff, but the message came to me in the name of General Longstreet.
“At that time the command had devolved upon General Ord, and I informed the officer with the flag–which was, by the way, a towel of such cleanliness that I was then, as now, amazed that such a one could be found in the entire Rebel army–that he must needs proceed along to our left, where General Ord was stationed. With another abjectedly stiff salute the officer with his milk-white banner galloped away down our line.
“It was subsequently learned that General Ord was situated some distance away at my left with his troops of the Army of the James, comprising Gibbon’s Second Army Corps and a division of the Twenty-fifth Army Corps. His line quite stretched across the Lynchburg road, or ‘pike,’ as we called it then.
“Well, as I have said, the flag of truce was sent to Ord, and not long afterward came the command to cease firing. The truce lasted until 4 o’clock that afternoon. At that time our troops had just barely resumed the positions they had originally occupied when the flag came in. They were expecting momentarily to be attacked again, and were well prepared, yes, eager, for a continuance of the battle.
“And just then the glad news came that General Lee had surrendered. Shortly after that we saw pass before us that sturdy Rebel leader, accompanied by an orderly. He was dressed in the brilliant trappings of a Confederate army officer, and looked every inch the soldier that he was. A few moments after that our own beloved leader, General Grant, also accompanied by an orderly, came riding by. How different he was in appearance from the conquered hero. The one gay with the trappings of his army, the other wearing an open blouse, a slouch hat, trousers tucked into heavy, mud-stained boots, and with only the four tarnished golden stars to indicate his office! They passed us by and went to the house where were arranged the final terms of surrender. That work done neither leader staid long with his command, the one hurrying one way, the other another.
“That night we slept as we had not slept in four years. There was, of course, a great deal of unrestrained jubilation, but it did not call for much of that to be a sufficiency, and before long the camp over which peace after strife had settled was sleeping with no fear of a night alarm. We awoke next morning to find the Confederates peering down into our faces, and involuntarily reached for our arms, but once the recollections of the previous day’s stirring events came crowding back to mind, all fear fled, and the boys in blue were soon commingling freely with the boys in gray, exchanging compliments, pipes, tobacco, knives and souvenirs.”
In the last days of fighting, which ended in Lee’s surrender, General Chamberlain was wounded twice. That his service was gallant in the extreme may be judged when it is told that both General Sheridan and General Grant commended him personally. This the General cared to dwell on but little. But when it came to describing the final scenes of the war, the gray-haired army leader grew ardent with enthusiasm for his subject:
Appomattox Court House
McLean House (Library of Congress)
“On that night, the l0th of April, in 1865, I was commanding the 5th Army Corps,” he said. “It was just about midnight when a message came to me to report to headquarters.
“I went thither directly and found assembled in the tent two of the three senior officers whom General Grant had selected to superintend the paroles and to look after the transfer of property and to attend to the final details of General Lee’s surrender. These were General Griffin of the 5th Army Corps and General Gibbon of the 24th. The other commissioner, General Merritt of the cavalry, was not there. The articles of capitulation had been signed previously and it had come to the mere matter of formally settling the details of the surrender. The two officers told me that General Lee had started for Richmond, and that our leader, General Grant, was well on his way to his own headquarters at City Point, so called, in Virginia. I was also told that General Grant had decided to have a formal ceremony with a parade at the time of laying down of arms. A representative body of Union troops was to be drawn up in battle array at Appomattox Courthouse, and past this Northern delegation were to march the entire Confederate Army, both officers and men, with their arms and colors, exactly as in actual service, and to lay down these arms and colors, as well as whatever other property belonged to the Rebel army, before our men.
“I was told, furthermore, that General Grant had appointed me to take charge of this parade and to receive the formal surrender of the guns and flags. Pursuant to these orders, I drew up my brigade at the courthouse along the highway leading to Lynchburg. This was very early on the morning of the 12th of April.
“The Confederates were stationed on the hill beyond the valley and my brigade, the 3rd, had a position across that valley on another hill, so that each body of soldiers could see the other. My men were all veterans, the brigade being that which had fired the first shot at Yorktown at the beginning of the war. Their banners were inscribed with all the battles of the army of the Potomac from the first clear through the long list down to the last.
“In the course of those four eventful years the makeup of the brigade had naturally changed considerably, for there had been not alone changes of men, but consolidations of regiments as well. Yet the prestige of that history made a remarkably strong esprit du corps.
“In that Third Brigade line there were regiments representing the States of Maine, Massachusetts, Michigan, and Pennsylvania, regiments which had been through the entire war. The Bay State veterans had the right of line down the village street. This was the 32d Massachusetts Regiment, with some members of the 9th, 18th, and 22d Regiments. Next in order came the First Maine Sharpshooters, the 20th Regiment, and some of the 2d. There were also the First Michigan Sharpshooters, the 1st and 16th Regiments, and some men of the 4th. Pennsylvania was represented by the 83d, the 91st, the 118th, and the 155th. In the other two brigades were: First Brigade, 198th Pennsylvania, and 185th New York; in the Second Brigade, the 187th, 188th, and 189th New York.
“The First and Second Brigades were with me then, because I had previously commanded them and they had been very courteously sent me at my request by my corps and division commanders.
“The arrangement of the soldiery was as follows: The Third Brigade on one side of the street in line of battle; the Second, known as Gregory’s, in the rear, and across the street, facing the Third; the First Brigade also in line of battle.
“Having thus formed, the brigades standing at ‘order arms,’ the head of the Confederate column, General Gordon in command, and the old ‘Stonewall’ Jackson Brigade leading, started down into the valley which lay between us, and approached our lines. With my staff I was on the extreme right of the line, mounted on horseback, and in a position nearest the Rebel solders who were approaching our right.
“Ah, but it was a most impressive sight, a most striking picture, to see that whole army in motion to lay down the symbols of war and strife, that army which had fought for four terrible years after a fashion but infrequently known in war.
“At such a time and under such conditions I thought it eminently fitting to show some token of our feeling, and I therefore instructed my subordinate officers to come to the position of ‘salute’ in the manual of arms as each body of the Confederates passed before us.
“It was not a ‘present arms,’ however, not a ‘present,’ which then as now was the highest possible honor to be paid even to a president. It was the ‘carry arms,’ as it was then known, with musket held by the right hand and perpendicular to the shoulder. I may best describe it as a marching salute in review.
“When General Gordon came opposite me I had the bugle blown and the entire line came to ‘attention,’ preparatory to executing this movement of the manual successively and by regiments as Gordon’s columns should pass before our front, each in turn.
“The General was riding in advance of his troops, his chin drooped to his breast, downhearted and dejected in appearance almost beyond description. At the sound of that machine like snap of arms, however, General Gordon started, caught in a moment its significance, and instantly assumed the finest attitude of a soldier. He wheeled his horse facing me, touching him gently with the spur, so that the animal slightly reared, and as he wheeled, horse and rider made one motion, the horse’s head swung down with a graceful bow, and General Gordon dropped his swordpoint to his toe in salutation.
“By word of mouth General Gordon sent back orders to the rear that his own troops take the same position of the manual in the march past as did our line. That was done, and a truly imposing sight was the mutual salutation and farewell.
“At a distance of possibly twelve feet from our line, the Confederates halted and turned face towards us. Their lines were formed with the greatest care, with every officer in his appointed position, and thereupon began the formality of surrender.
“Bayonets were affixed to muskets, arms stacked, and cartridge boxes unslung and hung upon the stacks. Then, slowly and with a reluctance that was appealingly pathetic, the torn and tattered battleflags were either leaned against the stacks or laid upon the ground. The emotion of the conquered soldiery was really sad to witness. Some of the men who had carried and followed those ragged standards through the four long years of strife, rushed, regardless of all discipline, from the ranks, bent about their old flags, and pressed them to their lips with burning tears.
“And it can well be imagined, too, that there was no lack of emotion on our side, but the Union men were held steady in their lines, without the least show of demonstration by word or by motion. There was, though, a twitching of the muscles of their faces, and, be it said, their battle-bronzed cheeks were not altogether dry. Our men felt the import of the occasion, and realized fully how they would have been affected if defeat and surrender had been their lot after such a fearful struggle.
“Nearly an entire day was necessary for that vast parade to pass. About 27,000 stands of arms were laid down, with something like a hundred battleflags; cartridges were destroyed, and the arms loaded on cars and sent off to Wilmington.
“Every token of armed hostility was laid aside by the defeated men. No officer surrendered his side arms or horse, if private property, only Confederate property being required, according to the terms of surrender, dated April 9, 1865, and stating that all arms, artillery, and public property were to be packed and stacked and turned over to the officer duly appointed to receive them.
“And right here I wish to correct again that statement so often attributed to me, to the effect that I have said I received from the hands of General Lee on that day his sword. Only recently, at a banquet in Newtown, glass., of the Katahdin Club, composed of sons and daughters of my own beloved State, it was said in press dispatches that a letter had been read front me in which I made the claim that I had received Lee’s sword. I never did make that claim even, as I never did receive that sword.
“As I have said, no Confederate officer was required or even asked to surrender his side arms if they were his personal property. As a matter of fact, General Lee never gave up his sword, although, if I am not mistaken, there was some conference between General Grant and some of the members of his staff upon that very subject just before the final surrender. I was not present at that conference, however, and only know of it by hearsay.
“But, as I was saying, every token of armed hostility having been laid aside, and the men having given their words of honor that they would never serve again against the flag, they were free to go whither they would and as best they could. In the meantime our army had been supplying them with rations. On the next morning, however, the morning of the 13th, we could see the men, singly or in squads, making their way slowly into the distance, in whichever direction was nearest home, and by nightfall we were left there at Appomattox Courthouse lonesome and alone.”
Source: Southern Historical Society Papers, Vol. XXXII, Richmond, Va., January -December. 1904.