« AnteriorContinuar »
hours earlier, it might have had a very different issue, and the war, which was protracted through four years, have been ended practically in a single campaign. Or, on the other hand, the Federals, elated by a first success, might have precipitated themselves upon Richmond, and been overwhelmed by superior forces, too far from their Capital to receive succor. The lessons derived from the defeat were salutary, though bitter. It was perceived that short terms of enlistment, imperfect organization or discipline, and hastily formed and ill-digested plans of campaign were sources of weakness rather than of strength, and from that hour commenced that systematic organization of the army which has recently brought the American Union before the world as a military power of the first importance. This may be claimed as the legitimate result of the defeat of Bull Run, the completeness and unexpectedness of which created a degree of consternation never to be forgotten by those who witnessed its effects.
Missouri.-Capture of State Troops.-Booneville.-Carthage.-Shenandoah Valley.Patterson Crosses the Potomac.-Bunker Hill-Campaign in Western Virginia.Philippi.-Laurel Hill.-Rich Mountain.-Beverly.-Western Virginia cleared of Rebels.-McClellan transferred to the Potomac.
THE reply of Governor Jackson, of Missouri, to the requisition of the Secretary of War upon the States for troops, was, that the "requisition is illegal, unconstitutional, revolutionary, inhuman, diabolical, and cannot be complied with." The Governer, however, assembled, April 25th, a force of eight hundred men, under General Frost, at Camp Jackson, on the outskirts of St. Louis, ostensibly to preserve order in the State. Under these circumstances, the arsenal at St. Louis was conceived to be in danger; and, with a view of saving the public property, Governor Yates, of Illinois, who held a requisition from the Secretary of War for ten thousand stand of arms which it was difficult to serve, put it in the hands of Captain John H. Stokes, of the army, who, by a daring operation, carried off the arms described in the order, and a large stock besides, and landed them at Springfield, Illinois. On the 10th of May, Captain Lyon, in command of the Union forces, with F. P. Blair, Jr., Colonel of the First Missouri Volunteers, and a member of Congress, marched to attack Frost's force with six thousand men. Captain Lyon summoned General Frost to surrender his force, "as hostile to the Government of the United States." Finding himself overpowered, Frost surrendered, and, having refused a release on the terms offered them, on the ground that they had already taken the oath of allegiance, and to repeat it would be to admit that they had been in rebellion, the whole force, consisting of fifty officers and six hundred and thirty-nine privates, were marched as prisoners to the arsenal. On their way, a mob pressed upon the guard, who were
mostly Germans, using the most opprobrious epithets, striking them, attacking them with stones, and finally firing at them. A few of the soldiers returned the fire, at first without injuring any one; but the provocations being increased, the captain of one of the companies gave the order to fire, and twenty-five of the by-standers were killed or wounded, some of them women and children. The next day, a large body of the German Home Guard passing up Walnut Street, were hooted and fired upon, and one soldier was killed. The head of the column turned and fired among the crowd, killing six men and wounding several others. Several of the killed were members of the regiment. These events caused an intense excitement in St. Louis, as well as at the capital of the State, where the legislature, which was in session, immediately passed a bill creating a military fund, by seizing all the money in the State treasury, including the educational funds, making a forced loan from the banks of five hundred thousand dollars, and issuing one million dollars in bonds, payable in one, two, and three years. The militia of the State, embracing every able-bodied man, were placed under the command of the Governor, and were required to take an oath to obey him alone. General Harney, who had been appointed commander of the Western Department, issued a proclamation the next day, declaring this bill a nullity. The General was, however, soon after, induced by Sterling Price, then in command of the State (rebel) forces, to enter into a delusive agreement for the maintenance of peace in the State. On the 30th of May, General Harney was relieved of his command, and Captain Lyon, who for his efficiency on the 10th had been commissioned a brigadier-general of volunteers, appointed his successor. On the 12th of June, Governor Jackson issued a proclamation, violently denouncing the United States Government, and calling for fifty thousand men to "repel invasion, and protect the lives, liberty, and property of the citizens of Missouri." the 13th, General Lyon left St. Louis, on a steamer, with fifteen hundred men, for Jefferson City. Governor Jackson fled, burning the bridges behind him to obstruct pursuit. General Lyon took possession of the capital and of the Government, and on the 17th issued a proclamation to the people of the State, assuring them of his intention to protect their liberties, persons, and property, to arrest and punish those who were traitors, and to uphold the United States Government in that State. Leaving Colonel Henry Boernstein in command, he departed for Booneville, in pursuit of Jackson.
The troops in Illinois and Missouri had gradually increased in numbers to about twenty thousand men, of whom, at this time, about eight thousand were stationed at Cairo, under the command of BrigadierGeneral B. M. Prentiss, and the remainder were at St. Louis and other points in Northern and Central Missouri. Of these troops, General Lyon took Colonel Blair's regiment (First Missouri Volunteers), two sections of Totten's battery (regulars), and a detachment of pioneers, in all about fifteen hundred men, and the necessary camp equipage, provisions, &c., for a long march. The rebels, under Governor Jackson and General Price, were at Booneville, where they had organized resistance. General Lyon landed four miles below the town, and
opened a cannonade upon the rebels, who, under cover of the wood, kept up a brisk fire upon the Federal troops. In order to draw them out, General Lyon ordered a hasty retreat. The ruse succeeded. rebels ran out into a wheat-field, when General Lyon halted, faced about, and poured in such a fire of grape and musketry, that they dropped their arms and fled in all directions. A large number of prisoners, besides arms, ammunition, &c., were taken. It does not appear that the rebels had any commander. Price, being sick, left before the arrival of the Federal troops, and Governor Jackson was not in the field.
Colonel Boernstein issued a proclamation establishing a Provisional Government in Missouri, and called upon Union men to assist him. General Lyon, from his camp in Booneville, June 19th, also issued a proclamation for the people to return to their duty.
The enemy now concentrated in South-western Missouri, under Governor Jackson and Generals Rains and Price, to the number of several thousands; and on July 3d, at Brier Forks, seven miles from Carthage, they were met by Colonel Sigel with fifteen hundred men, who immediately gave them battle. The first onset resulted in the State troops being driven back some distance, and the officers ordered a retreat. The centre gave way, but, the order not being heard on the flanks, the advancing United States troops were in danger of being surrounded themselves, and fell back. They retreated slowly, keeping up the fight, and making fearful havoc with their artillery among the enemy's ranks.
At the crossing of Dry Fork our lines were very near being broken, when, by the timely arrival of two hundred Union men, they crossed, with a loss of but five killed and two mortally wounded. The battle continued, the United States troops alternately fighting and retreating until dark, when they reached Carthage, having crossed Buck Branch and Spring River. On the way, the fighting was all done with the artillery, Colonel Sigel retreating as soon as the enemy got into position, and playing on his advancing ranks. The retreat of the Federal forces, which were outnumbered about three to one, was conducted in a style worthy of veteran troops, and with as much coolness as if on a parade-ground, instead of a field of battle.
The loss of the Federal troops was thirteen killed and thirty-one wounded; that of the Confederates was estimated at two hundred killed and wounded. Colonel Sigel retreated in the direction of Springfield, where he met re-enforcements under Lyon, who assumed command. Meanwhile, by the following order, General Fremont had been assigned to an extensive command, of which Missouri formed a part :—
"WAR DEPARTMENT, ADJUTANT-GENERAL'S OFFICE, “WASHINGTON, July 3d, 1861.
"The State of Illinois, and the States and Territories west of the Mississippi River, and on this side of the Rocky Mountains, including New Mexico, will in future consti tute a separate military command, to be known as the 'Western Department,' under the command of Major-General Fremont, of the United States Army. Head-quarters at St. Louis.
The operations in Maryland were, meantime, progressing. On the 16th of May, General Banks was appointed major-general of volunteers, and on the 10th of June assumed command at Annapolis, in place of General Butler, transferred to Fortress Monroe. The secessionists continued busy in this department with various schemes of resistance, but did not escape the vigilance of the commanding officer, who, on the 27th of June, issued a proclamation announcing the arrest and confinement in Fort McHenry of George P. Kane, chief of police, and appointing Colonel Kenly provost-marshal. On the 1st of July, in pursuance of the policy of weeding out treason in his district, General Banks caused the members of the board of police to be arrested and confined in Fort McHenry. The strength of the department at this time was about ten thousand men. On the 19th of July, MajorGeneral Dix was appointed to the Annapolis Department, thenceforth called that of Maryland, head-quarters Baltimore; and General Banks, transferred to the Valley of Virginia, vice Patterson, whose term of service expired July 27th.
While the troops from the East had been pouring into Washington to defend the capital, and had gradually developed the advance movement into Virginia, the Pennsylvania troops were assembling at Chambersburg, to operate in the Valley of Virginia, near Harper's Ferry, and at the close of May numbered some twenty thousand men, under the command of General Patterson. In addition to these, there were between Washington and Harper's Ferry about six thousand troops, under Major-General Cadwalader.
Much impatience manifested itself on the part of the public for Patterson to make a demonstration, which was by no means appeased by the excuse that it required time to perfect the necessary preparations. Finally, on June 17th, Colonel Thomas, in command of his first brigade, crossed the Potomac at Williamsport, but returned into Maryland on the succeeding day, and for two weeks longer Patterson remained inactive at Hagerstown. The enemy, under General J. E. Johnston, held Harper's Ferry, and the line of the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad to Cumberland, until the 14th, and was also in force at the Point of Rocks on the Potomac. Influenced by rumors of the approach of Patter son, the rebels then burned the costly railroad-bridge at Harper's Ferry, and having destroyed whatever public property they could, retreated to Winchester and Leesburg. On the 29th they made another dash at the place, and inflicted additional damage. On the 1st of July orders were issued to cross the Potomac at two points under cover of the night, the main body directly under the command of General Patter son, at a ford a mile and a half above Shepardstown, and about three miles from Sharpsburg; while five regiments, under the command of General Cadwalader, were to cross at the ford opposite Williamsport. The troops were to march without knapsacks, taking five days' rations in their haversacks, and with forty rounds of cartridges. The baggage wagons were to follow on as quickly as possible.
The enemy, in greatly inferior force, posted on a large bend of the river, opposite Williamsport, were encamped mainly in the vicinity of Falling Waters. By Cadwalader's advance in front, it was hoped to