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modified in their favor, and that this magnanimity on the part of the eastern counties ought to awaken their gratitude and secure their attachment.
The appeals, threats, and blandishments of Governor Letcher proved alike unavailing. The western counties remained loyal, and at the extra session of Congress two senators, Messrs. Carlile and Willey, appointed by their legislature, were admitted to seats in the Senate of the United States.
Troops concentrated at Washington.-Popular Impatience.-Occupation of Alexandria. -Operations in Virginia.
WHILE the Southern States had been thus mustering forces and consolidating their Government, the North had displayed the most extraordinary vigor; and troops from all quarters concentrated at Washington and other designated points, where they were to be formed into separate armies, each to take a part in the extensive plan of operations projected by Lieutenant-General Scott.
The old cadets bred in the army, who had in prosperous times sought peaceful pursuits, now crowded back to organize, drill, fortify, instruct, and lead against the enemy, whose officers were also of high scientific attainments and great skill, and one of whom was now organizing rebellion, almost within sight of the Federal Capital.
The troops directed upon Washington continued to arrive in great numbers, until by the first of June upward of forty thousand men, including volunteers, militia of the District of Columbia, and regulars, had concentrated for the defence of the Capital. These troops were for the most part well armed and well provided, although the military resources of the Government at the time were of the most meagre description. The arms purchased in England by Massachusetts and New York had not arrived, and the Government was compelled to use extraordinary efforts as well to procure arms as to conceal its great weakness in that respect. Great numbers of contracts were given out for the manufacture of arms, and agents were sent to Europe to purchase. Nevertheless, the arming went on very slowly amidst impatient clamors for a forward movement. The men were confessedly the best material in the world for troops, but they were destitute of the habits or instruction of the soldier. To drill and organize them was a work of time, to say nothing of inuring them to the hardships of the camp. The public mind was, however, far too excited to make allowance for such difficulties. The desire for action, though the troops were as yet undisciplined, was intense, and the pressure exerted on the Government caused some hasty and ill-considered movements.
A sufficient force being now concentrated in Washington, it became possibleto make an advance into Virginia. The City of Alexandria, which was strongly secession, was at this time occupied by the Confederates, and with a view of driving these out, as also of occupying the heights that command the Capital, at midnight, on the 23d of May, a
small force was pushed across the long bridge which connects Washington with Virginia. Various bodies of infantry, cavalry, and artillery followed, some of which held the tête du pont on the Virginia side, while others occupied Arlington Heights, opposite the city, or marched to Alexandria, six miles distant.
Meantime the New York Fire Zouaves, under Colonel Ephraim E. Ellsworth, had left their camp, on two steamers, and landed at Alexandria at four A. M. of the 24th, at the same moment that a Michigan regiment, coming from the Long Bridge, entered the place. The town was occupied with scarcely any resistance; the dépôt of the Orange and Alexandria railroad, with the rolling stock, seized, and a company (thirty-five men) of rebel cavalry captured.
During the night, Sherman's and Ricketts's batteries of regular artillery crossed the bridge, with a working force to throw up fortifications on Arlington Heights, and by noon of the 24th the territory west of the Potomac, which had formerly formed part of the District of Columbia, but which had been retroceded to Virginia, was without loss occupied by Federal forces.
One melancholy catastrophe marred the complete success of these operations. Colonel Ellsworth, with a rashness characteristic of a brave and enthusiastic, but inexperienced officer, ascertaining that a rebel flag was flying conspicuously from the Marshall House, a hotel kept by one Jackson, a violent secessionist, proceeded with the chaplain of his regiment and a single private, to the roof of the house, hauled down the flag, and while descending the stairs to regain the street, was shot dead by Jackson. The latter was instantly killed by the private accompanying Ellsworth. The event caused much regret, Ellsworth being considered a young officer of unusual promise, and of approved loyalty. Had he remained by his regiment, as he should have done, and deputed another to perform what was, after all, a duty too trivial to devolve upon an officer of rank, he might have lived to render important services to his country.
The Federal troops being in possession of the western bank of the Potomac, it was erected into a department, and Major-General Sandford, of the New York Militia, was placed in command. His head-quarters were the elegant mansion of General Lee, on Arlington Heights. On the 28th he was succeeded by General McDowell* of the regular army, recently appointed a brigadier, while General Mansfieldt was placed in command of the troops at Washington.
The strengthening of the positions in Virginia, and the organization
Irvin McDowell was born in Ohio, in 1818, graduated at West Point, 1838, and brevetted captain for gallant conduct at the battle of Buena Vista, 1847; major, 1856, and brigadier-general in the regular army, May 14th, 1861; cominanded at the first battle of Bull Run; major-general of volunteers, March, 1862, and appointed to command of Second Army Corps, Department of the Rappahannock; took part in second Bull Run campaign; tried by Court of Inquiry for his conduct and acquitted, 1868; president of retiring board 1863-64; commander of Department of Pacific, 1864–65, *Joseph King Fenno Mansfield was born in New
Haven, Conn., in 1803, graduated at West Point in 1822, second in his class, and was for several years actively engaged in engineer duties; cap tain, 1888; brevetted major, lieutenant-colonel and colonel for distinguished services in the Mexicaa war, 1846; Inspector-General, with rank of colonel, 1853; brigadier-general of the regular army, May 14th, 1861, and commander of Department of Washington; subsequently stationed at Newport News and Suffolk, Va.; commanded Banks's corps at Antietam, and mortally wounded, September, 1862
of the troops as they continued daily to arrive, were prosecuted with great vigor by General McDowell. The enemy in front were not very enterprising, although the threats and evident desire to capture Washington by no means abated. On June 1st, the Federal steamers Freeborn and Anacostia engaged the rebel batteries at Acquia Creek, emptying into the Potomac fifty-five miles below Washington, and the termínus of the Richmond and Potomac Railroad. After two hours' firing the batteries were silenced, with the loss of one man. On the same night Company B, Second Cavalry, seventy-five men, under Lieutenant Tompkins, made a dash into the village of Fairfax Court-House, where they encoun tered a large cavalry force of the enemy. After a sharp skirmish, in which the Union loss was one killed and four wounded, the Federal cavalry retired. A number of the enemy were killed, and five taken prisoners. On the following day detachments of Ellsworth's Zouaves and Wilcox's Michigan Regiment skirmished with the enemy in the vicinity of Alexandria.
On the 17th of June, General McDowell, learning that a force of the enemy from Centreville were at Vienna, a few miles from Washington, ordered Brigadier-General R. C. Schenck, a newly appointed officer, to dislodge them. He took the First Ohio Volunteers, Colonel McCook, and proceeded by the Alexandria Railroad slowly towards Vienna. When within a quarter of a mile of the place, on turning the curve, in a deep cut, the train received a discharge of shells and grape from a battery of three guns, which killed and wounded several men. The party then left the cars and retired into the woods right and left. The enemy's force appeared to be about fifteen hundred South Caro linian troops. General Schenck withdrew his men slowly along the track, about four miles, until they met the First and Second Connecticut Regiments coming to their support. The engineer had meantime gone back with all speed to Alexandria. The loss was five killed and six
Occupation of Fortress Monroe.-Engagement at Big Bethel.-Increase of Army. -Army Organization.-Want of Arms.-Advance to Centreville.-Bull Run.
THE Occupation of Fortress Monroe was rendered complete by the arrival of the Massachusetts Fourth, on the 20th of April, and subsequently the force was gradually increased, without attracting much attention. On the 22d of May, General Butler, who had been appointed major-general of volunteers on the 16th, took command of the Department of the South, with head-quarters at Fortress Monroe, and proceeded to organize the troops there.
The question of what to do with the slaves in this department was becoming every day one of more serious magnitude. Considerable numbers of blacks, escaping from or abandoned by their masters,
sought the Federal lines, and had to be provided for. General Butler, therefore, on May 27th, issued an order declaring them "contraband of war," and ordered the able-bodied to be employed at a fixed rate of pay, against which was to be charged the expense of keeping them. Hence arose the familiar phrase by which the colored population of the South were designated during the war, and which will in all probability cling to them for many years to come.
The Federal forces at this time were concentrated to the number of about ten thousand in and about Fortress Monroe. All the adjoining region of the peninsula formed by the York and James Rivers was controlled by the Confederates, who had strong works at Yorktown, and outlying posts at Big Bethel, Little Bethel, and other places. Finding his position uncomfortably cramped, General Butler soon after his arrival sent a force to occupy Newport News, a point of land on_the left bank of the James River, near its mouth; and on the 9th of June ordered a reconnoissance in force towards Little Bethel, about six miles distant from Fortress Monroe, where the enemy were supposed to be fortifying. The expedition was put in command of General Pierce, a Massachusetts brigadier of militia, and comprised three regiments and one battalion of infantry and a detachment of light artillery, under Lieutenant Greble of the regular army. General Pierce was ordered to send Duryea's New York Zouaves, at one o'clock A. M. of the 10th, to the rear of the enemy, or between Little and Big Bethel, to be followed an hour later by Townsend's Third New York Regiment, with two mounted howitzers. Colonel Phelps, at Newport News, was directed to send forward a battalion under Lieutenant-Colonel Washburn, aided by Lieutenant Greble with two howitzers, to make a demonstration at Little Bethel, with Bendix's Seventh New York Regiment and two field-pieces as a reserve. The two supporting regiments coming from Fortress Monroe and Newport News, were to effect a junction at the cross-roads near Little Bethel. The attack was to be made at daybreak, and if the enemy retreated, Duryea was to follow and attack the works at Big Bethel. For a while all worked well. Duryea's Zouaves reached the appointed position in rear of Little Bethel, and Colonel Washburn was in position in front, while Bendix was posted at the cross-roads to hold it. At daybreak Townsend's regiment, with General Pierce and staff at its head, approached to form the appointed junction, when Bendix, supposing the troops to be rebels, opened on them with artillery and musketry, by which Townsend's men were thrown into temporary confusion, and a number of them killed and wounded. Colonel Washburn, in advance, hearing the firing, and supposing his communication threatened, fell back, as did also Duryea; and General Pierce, supposing he had been attacked by the enemy, sent to General Butler for re-enforcements. All hope of a surprise at Little Bethel was destroyed by this mishap, and when the advance was resumed it was found that the rebels had fallen back upon the works at Big Bethel, which were attacked by General Pierce at half-past nine o'clock. Notwithstanding his force had been strengthened by the arrival of two more regiments, the commanding general handled his troops with little skill. The men, though displaying no
lack of bravery, were for the most part deficient in discipline; while their officers, bewildered by being brought for the first time under fire, committed all kinds of blunders. Finally, after an engagement of several hours, in which, although the infantry had partial shelter, the artillery were posted in an open field to batter harmlessly at the rebel earthworks, a retreat was ordered, and the force brought off in good condition.
This was the first battle of the war, and for that reason excited a degree of interest throughout the country far beyond its actual importance. The enemy had ten guns and about eighteen hundred men in position, under Colonel Magruder,* who was attended by Colonel de Russy and other late officers of the United States Army, and sustained but a trivial loss. That of the Federal troops amounted to about a hundred, including the casualties resulting from the unfortunate collision between the two New York regiments. Among the killed were Lieutenant Greble and Major Winthrop of General Butler's staff. The latter, in the act of leading a body of troops to the charge, mounted a log, waved his sword, and shouted to his men to come on, when a North Carolina drummer-boy leaped upon the battery and shot him in the breast. The body was recovered by a flag sent from Fortress Monroe. The water communication between Washington and Fortress Monroe was now more or less threatened by the enemy, who had lined the Virginia side of the Potomac with batteries, which the Federal gunboats sought frequent opportunities of attacking. On the 27th of June, an engagement took place at Mathias Point, Virginia, between the gunboats Pawnee and Freeborn, and a number of rebels on shore. The loss of the enemy was not known, but the Union force had to deplore the death of Captain James H. Wardt, United States Navy, in command of the Freeborn. Several sailors belonging to the Freeborn were wounded.
It was very soon manifest that the militia, called out under the proclamation of April the 15th, could not be efficiently armed and o: ganized before their time of service would expire, and that, consequently, other and more permanent measures must be adopted. Accordingly, on the 3d of May, a second proclamation called for forty-two thousand additional volunteers, to serve during the war, besides providing for an increase of the regular army. This was to consist of a regiment of
John Bankhead Magruder was born in Vir ginia, about 1811, graduated at West Point in 1530, and was brevetted major and lieutenant-colone! for gallantry at Cerro Gordo and Chapultepec;.resigned his commission and entered the rebel army April 1561; commanded at Yorktown, 1861-'62; Bjor general. 1862: commanded rebel troops at battle of Malvern Hills, Julv, 1862, and subsequently transferred to the Departinent of Texas, Where he held command until superseded by Gen eral Kirby Smith. At the surrender of the latter to General Canby in May, 1865. General Magruder commanded the Department of Arkansas.
Theodor Winthrop was born in New Haven, Conn., in 1928, and graduated at Yale College in 1949. After several years of travel and adventure be settled in New York, and at the outbreak of the rebellion, accompanied the Seventh New York militia regiment to Washington. At the
time of his death he was military secretary to General Butler, with the rank of major. Several novels and magazine tales by him of great literary promise were published posthumously.
He was the eldest son of the late Colonel James Ward, a prominent citizen of Hartford, Connecticut, and was born in that city in the year 1905. He entered the navy March 4th. 1823. and made his first cruise as a midshipman in the Constitution, under Commodore McDonough, with whom he sailed for four years in succession. He was one of the best educated men in the navy. Before his appointinent as a midshipman, he was for two years a student in the Norwich. Vermont, University Captain Partridge's Military School), and after he entered the navy, he passed a year of leave in Washington (now Trinity) College. He was an indefatigable student all his life, and a most exemplary officer,