Imágenes de páginas
PDF
EPUB

BATTLE OF 3?EA RIDGE. 223

Van Dorn, and dispatched orders for the concentration of his entire force, which, on the 4th of March was located as follows: First and second divisions under Sigel, were four miles southwest of Bentonville; the third, under Gen. Davis, had moved and taken its position at Sugar Creek, while Carr's, the fourth, was at Cross Hollows. Sigel set out at once, on the 6th of March, to obey the order to con* centrate, but was compelled to fight his way, a strong force attempt* ing to cut him off. All the divisions being in, the General com* manding gave orders to prepare for battle on the morning of the 7th.

It came, and with it the battle-shock in all its terribleness. The right wing of Curtis was worsted, but his left had been successful, and the rebel Generals McCulloch and Mcintosh were slain, but the night after the weary day of battle, came with no cheerful prophecy to the Federals. They lay down cold, chilly, without fires, for want of which they suffered, but which could not be kindled with safety. The enemy, during the night, effected a junction of all his forces on the ground held by his successful left wing, intending, with morning, to crush the Federal army by the tactics of massing his forces and beating his enemy in detail. The rising sun brought a renewal of the fight. The Federal troops were skillfully handled. The artillery was so placed as to pour concentrated and almost uninterrupted fire upon the Confederates. The artillery management of Gen. Sigel was most skillful, and not a few openly expressed the opinion that the deliverance of the army was due to him. At length victory crowned the arms of the Union and the foe retreated.

The victory was dearly bought, for the division reports showed a loss in killed, wounded and missing of 1,351. It is not the province of this work to enter controversies which have grown out of the three day's battle of Pea Ridge. There was gallant fighting and a brilliant victory, and in that victory all had a share from the General commanding down to the drummer boy. Of the Illinois troops, the 35th, Col. G. A. Smith, 36th, Col. Greusel, 37th, Col. Julius White, the 59th, Major Post, 3d, cavalry, Col. Carr, a battallion of the loth cavalry, Capt. Jenks commanding, and Davidson's Peoria battery were in the action and acquitted themselves as elsewhere, bravely. A drummer-boy, Day Ellmore, of the 36th, threw aside his drum, seized a musket and fought in line through the entire battle* McCulloch was killed by Peter Pelican, of the same regiment.

Before going to the grand gathering of our State troops at the plain of Shiloh, some brief notice of officers who have figured in the actions thus far will not be inappropriate.

Major-general John Pope.

He was born in Kaskaskia, Illinois, March 12, 1823. His father was Hon. Nathaniel Pope, territorial delegate in Congress from Illinois, and district judge. In 1838, John entered the Military Academy at West Point and graduated in 1842, and was commissioned a brevet 2d Lieutenant in the corps of topographical engineers. In the Mexican war he was in General Taylor's army and received his commission as 1st Lieutenant for gallant conduct at Monterey, and for bravery at Buena Vista, was made captain by brevet, his commission being dated February 23, 1846. In 1849 he was in command of the Minnesota exploring expedition, and was entrusted with an expedition to test the practicability of boring Artesian wells on the great Staked Plain which stretches in terrible aridity and sterility between Texas and New Mexico. It is conceded that the experiment yielded more romance than water. In 1853, he had command of one of the Pacific Railroad surveying companies. From 1854 tol859 he spent in the exploration of the Rocky Mountains, and while in this service, received the actual rank of captain in the Topographical Engineering corps. He participated to some extent with the Republicans in the contest of 1860, and having, in a public lecture delivered in Cincinnati, dealt somewhat severely with Mr. Buchanan, the venerable Chief-Magistrate was offended, and the captain was court-martialed, but Mr. Holt had the good sense to see that the President was making himself more than ever ridiculous, and the prosecution was abandoned. He was one of the escort chosen to conduct Mr. Lincoln to Washington.

When the war came he was still captain. When the call was made for four hundred thousand men he was appointed BrigadierGeneral of volunteers, with commission dating from May 17, 1861, and appointed to a command in Missouri. He was made a Briga

MAJOR-GENERAL JOHN POPE. 225

dier in the regular army, July 14, 1862, and Major-General of volunteers, March 21, 1862.

In his command in North Missouri he manifested much vigor and ability in checking guerrillas, protecting railways, &c. He broke up predatory bands, hunted them to their places of concealment, and caused a wholesome terror of law and order as interpreted by Federal bayonets to fall upon them. He conducted a successful expedition to Blackwater, where a sharp blow was delivered, numerous rebel prisoners taken and the rebel force dispersed.

How well he did at Commerce, New Madrid and Island No. 10, this chapter has declared. Moving upon Fort Pillow, Gen. Halleck stopped him, sent him to Pittsburgh Landing, and he had charge of a division on Halleck's left. While engaged in the pursuit of Beauregard, he was summoned to Washington to assume command of the Federal forces in the Shenandoah Valley, with Banks, Fremont, and McDowel as subordinates. Here it was his ill-fortune to issue an address which was doubtless well-intended and patriotic, but not modest, and which seemed arrogant and boastful. It was rather the inflated style of the neophyte than the calm dignity of the master, rather the exuberant boasting of the militia Colonel to whom gilt-buttons, eagles, blue and brass, sword and scabbard were intoxicating novelties, rather than the sober dignity of the regular veteran to whom the odor of "villainous saltpeter" is more familiar than that of rose-water.

As was to be expected he gave offence. The newspapers criticised, and masters in rhetoric exhibited his address as a fine specimen of pyrotechnic English. General Fremont regarded the appointment as an affront and resigned his command, being unwilling to serve as General Pope's subordinate.

He fought the battle of Cedar Mountain, fought bravely and claimed a victory, but after all was compelled to find the lines of retreat. He claimed it as a decided success. It is true that Bank's command fought long and nobly, and the enemy retired across the river a few miles toward Gordonsville, but there was no substantial triumph* On the 18th and 19th of August General Pope retired behind the Nor(i Fork of the Rappahannock.

His command of the "Army of Virginia" was far from a pleasant one to him. He was active, and could he have had co-operation such as a commanding General should have had, the result vwould probably have been very different. It may be that when calmer days come, when the smoke of recent events and recent controversies shall have lifted, and men see clearly, that it will be said " Gen. Pope's plans were not visionary, but if the men had been brought him he had a right to ask, and the co-operation been given him which as a commander and a fellow soldier he had the right to demand, the battles of the Antietam and the Wilderness might have been spared."

Under his command were also fought the battles near tbe Rappahannock and Kettle River, the second battle of Manassas, Grove ton and Chantilly. The reverses of the earlier battles threw the country into sadness and brought gloom upon the brave and loyal North. At Chantilly the enemy was driven, but the advantage was gained with the loss of the brave, knightly Kearney, and the gallantStephens.

Divisions reigned among high Federal officers. Jealousy was one of the household gods of the epauletts of the Potomac. Pope, Burnside, Hooker, each was to be sacrificed, and months of sorrow and blood were to pass,before in Grant and Meade, men should be found of sufficient strength to resist these baleful influences.

Relieved from the command of the army of Virginia at his own suggestion, he was assigned to the Department of the Northwest, including Wisconsin, Iowa and Minnesota, and has had charge of the Indian war, though not personally in the field. Brave, daring, skilful, it seems that a busier field should be found for such a man.

His services may come before us again as we tread the war-path, but this much may be added: General Pope is believed by many of his native State to have the elements of a most successful leader, and to have been sacrificed to jealousy or something worse, by men not so thoroughly in earnest as himself.

GENERAL JULIUS WHITE.

Julius White, son of Lemuel and Emily White, was born at Cazenovia, in the State of New York, September 29, 1816. When the battle of Bull Run was fought, July 22, 1861, Mr. White resided

GEN. WHITE AND THE 37TH ILLINOIS. 227

at Chicago, Illinois, and held the honorable and lucrative office of Collector of Customs. He promptly determined to enter the army, and the next day applied to the Secretary of War, and obtained authority to raise a regiment of infantry—the 37th Illinois—to serve for three years or during the war.

This regiment was mustered into the service of the United States on the 18th of September, 1861. Mr. White having been commissioned Colonel, proceeded to Missouri under the orders of Major-General Fremont, was assigned to the Division commanded by Brigadier-General John Pope and accompanied the expedition under General Fremont to Southwestern Missouri, in October, 1861—returned to Otterville, Mo., under the command of Major-General D. Hunter, in November, and remained in winterquarters, at that post, till January 25, 1862.

In December, 1881, Colonel White was assigned to the command of the 2d Brigade, 3d Division of the army of the Southwest, consisting of his own regiment, the 37th Illinois, the 59th Illinois, and Davidson's Peoria Battery. On the 25th of January, the division under command of Brigadier-General J. C. Davis, marched to Lebanon, Mo., there joining the forces under Major-General Curtis in the pursuit of Price.

The enemy evacuated Springfield and retreated into Arkansas, closely followed by the forces under General Curtis. After being reinforced by Ben. McCulloch, came the battle of Pea Ridge.

The 2d Brigade, Colonel White's command, held a position against the attack of McCulloch's entire force for three-quarters of an hour unsupported, during which time the loss of the brigade in killed and wounded was nearly equal to one-fourth its strength.

On being reinforced by the first brigade, the enemy was driven in great confusion from the field, with the loss among their killed of Generals McCulloch and Mcintosh.

The official reports of Brigadier-General Davis and Major-Gen. Curtis, commended the conduct of Colonel White and his command for their bravery and perseverance in this action. The Colonel having been disabled by fracture of the leg, received a leave of absence for thirty days, commencing in the latter part of March, which was subsequently extended thirty days, he being unfit for duty at the expiration of the original term.

« AnteriorContinuar »