« AnteriorContinuar »
ADVANCE BY THE PENINSULA DECIDED ON.
command of all military departments | ington and Alexandria to move down the but that of the Potomac; extending
* 3d. That a naval auxiliary force can be Gen. Halleck's department in the had to silence, or aid in silencing, the West so as to include all the Missisenemy's batteries on York river.
“ 4th. That the forces to be left to cover sippi Valley northward of the Gulf Washington shall be such as to give an enStates and west of a north and south tire feeling of security for its safety from line drawn through Knoxville, Tenn.;
"If the foregoing can not be, the army and creating a new Mountain De- should then be moved against the enpartment,' consisting of the country emp; behind the Rappahannock, at the between McClellan's and Halleck's, for reconstructing bridges, repairing rail
earliest possible moment; and the means to be commanded by Gen. Fremont. roads and stocking them with material sufUndoubtedly, this order indicated ficient for supplying the army, should at
once be collected for both the Orange and a diminution, if not absolute failure, Alexandria and Acquia and Richmond Railof the President's confidence in his roads. (Unanimous.) senior General; and, while it is very bank of the Potomac fully garrisoned, and
“N. B. That with the forts on the right obvious that the commander of a those on the left bank occupied, a covering great army operating from the Pen- force in front of the Virginia line of 25,000
men would suffice. (Keyes, Heintzelman insula against Richmond could not and McDowell.) A total of 40,000 men for properly and safely direct the move- the defense of the city would suffice. (Sum
ner.)" ments of other armies, scattered all over the country, and with which his This decision, being communicated telegraphic communications would to the War Department, was promptprobably be often interrrupted, it is ly responded to as follows: certain that all our movements “WAR DEPARTMENT, March 13, 1862. should have been directed by a com
“To Maj.-Gen. Geo. B. MOCLELLAN:
“The President, having considered the mon head, responsible for the proper plan of operations agreed upon by yourself distribution and concentration of our and the commanders of army corps, makes forces. A Secretary of War, how- no objection to the same, but gives the folever able and fit, is perplexed by “1st. Leave such force at Manassas duties and anxieties too multifarious Junction as shall make it entirely certain
that the enemy shall not repossess himself and distracting to permit of his serv- of that position and line of communication. ing to advantage as Generalissimo. “2d. Leave Washington entirely secure. Two days later, at a council of down the Potomac, choosing a new base at
“3d. Move the remainder of the force corps commanders at Fairfax Court Fortress Monroe,' or anywhere between House, it was decided—for reasons bere and there; or, at all events, move such
remainder of the army at once in pursuit not given and not apparent-to de- of the enemy by some ronte. bark our army at Old Point Comfort,
“ Edwin M. STANTON, between the York and James rivers,
Secretary of War." instead of Urbana or Mob Jack Bay Gen. McClellan hereupon ordered -a most unfortunate decision, though Gen. Banks, with his corps, to move materially qualified by the following both his divisions down from the provisos :
Shenandoah Valley to Manassas; “1st. That the enemy's vessel Merrimac there to intrench and rebuild the railcan be neutralized.
roads and bridges, “occupy by grand * 2d. That the means of transportation, safficient for an immediate transfer of the guards Warrenton Junction, or Warforce to its new base, can be ready at Wash- | renton itself, and also some little
more advanced point on the Orange Gen. Shields had 6,000 infantry, 750 and Alexandria Railway," leaving cavalry, and 24 guns, well posted but two regiments of cavalry to “OC- some three miles south of Winchester, cupy Winchester and thoroughly and half a mile north of the little scour the country south of the rail village of KERNSTOWN, covering the way and up the Shenandoah Valley." three principal roads which enter
Gen. Banks had already thrown / Winchester from the south-east, across the Potomac, at Harper's south, and south-west. Ferry,' the 28th Pennsylvania, Col. Gen. Banks had remained with Geary, following himself,“ taking Shields until about 10 A. M. ;" when, possession of Bolivar and Loudon a careful reconnoissance having disHeights, Leesburg, Charlestown," covered no enemy in front but and Martinsburg," and pushing back Ashby's cavalry, he concluded that the Rebels to Winchester, which Jackson was too weak or too cautious Stonewall Jackson evacuated" with to risk an attack, and departed for out a struggle. Gen. Shields, com- Washington via Harper's Ferry. Bemanding Lander's division," pursued fore noon, however, Shields was adJackson to Newmarket,” where he vised by Col. Kimball, on his left, found him strongly posted and ready that a Rebel battery had opened on for action. He thereupon fell back his position, and appeared to be suprapidly to Winchester, pursued by ported by a considerable force of inJackson's cavalry, under Turner fantry. Thereupon, Sullivan's briAshby. Gen. Banks, having dis-gade was pushed forward to support patched one division toward Center- Kimball, and our artillery opened ville,” Jackson's spies assured him simultaneously with one or two more that Shields had but four regiments Rebel batteries; but at such distance left, and might easily be captured or as to do little harm. Soon, a still routed; so Ashby drove in our pick- larger force of all arms was developets and pressed hard upon Shields, ed by Jackson on his right, and an who kept the larger part of his force effort made to turn our left, which concealed until Jackson was induced was gallantly resisted and foiled by to advance in force and attack. In Sullivan's brigade, supporting Jenks's the slight skirmish which occurred," artillery. Jackson then rëenforced Gen. Shields was struck by a frag- heavily his left, sending two additionment of shell which broke his arm, al batteries and his reserve to supand so injured his shoulder and side port the movement; when Shields that he fought next day's battle in ordered up Tyler's brigade of 4 regibed. Jackson had 10 regiments of ments to the support of Col. Kiminfantry, all Virginians, but reports ball, commanding that wing, wheretheir aggregate strength at only 3,087 by the Rebels were outnumbered and men, with 27 guns and 290 cavalry." | hurled back upon their main body, 15 Feb. 24. 14 Feb. 26.
17 Feb. 28. * March 3. March 11.
* About sunset, March 22. Gen. F. W. Lander, one of the bravest and -24 Pollard says the Confederate forces amountbest of our early commanders, had died Marched to 6,000 men, with Capt. McLaughlin's bat2d, of congestion of the brain, caused by hard. tery and Col. Ashby's cavalry. ship, exposure, and anxiety.
** Sunday, March 23.
21 March 19.
22 March 22.
FIGHT AT KERNSTOWN.-THE MERRIMAO.
strongly posted behind a high and heavy röenforcements for Jackson solid stone wall, crossing a hill, were at hand, immediately sent an where a desperate stand was made express after Williams's division-by by Jackson's famous 'Stonewall Bri- this time well on its way to Harper's gade,' and others, whose fire was for Ferry_desiring its immediate return; a few minutes rapid and deadly; but but Gen. Banks, hearing of the battheir position was soon flanked and tle by telegraph from Winchester, carried by our eager, determined ad- had already stopped at Harper's Fervance, and they retreated in disor- ry and anticipated this order; himder, leaving 2 guns, 4 caissons, and self rejoining Shields early next day,
2 many small arms. Night now fell, and resuming command. He purand saved them, doubtless, from a sued Jackson vigorously up the Valheavier loss. Our men secured their ley to Woodstock, but was unable to prisoners, cared for their wounded— bring him to bay. those of the Rebels having mostly been carried off by them prior to We have seen that Gen. McCleltheir retreat--and sank down to rest lan's council of corps commanders on the battle-field. The Rebels re- decided, on the 13th of March, to treated a few miles, rapidly but in abandon his original plan of debarkgood order, ere they, too, rested for ing at Urbana, on the Rappahanthe night.
nock, and advancing thence on RichJackson attributes his defeat in mond by West Point, at the head of part to Gen. R. B. Garnett's error of York river, making this a secondary judgment in repeatedly ordering his base. This most unfortunate de men to retreat, when he should have cision is rendered unaccountable by held on and fought. It seems clear, a destructive if not disastrous naval however, that the capital mistake collision which had just occurred in was his own in fighting at all, when Hampton Roads, and of which the his total force, according to his own results were well known to the counestimate, was less than 5,000 men, cil. and he estimates our infantry on the Of our naval officers' most calamifield at over 11,000. He makes his tous, cowardly, disgraceful desertion loss 80 killed, 342 wounded, and 269 of and flight from the Norfolk Navy missing, mainly prisoners; total, 691; Yard and Arsenal at the beginning while Shields claims 300 prisoners, of the struggle, the revolting particuand estimates the Rebel loss in killed lars have already been given. and wounded at 1,000 to 1,500.0 Among the vessels there abandoned Our own loss in this engagement was to the Rebels, after being fired, was 103 killed, including Col. Murray, the first-class 40-gun steam-frigate of the 84th Pennsylvania; 441 Merrimac, which, by Capt. McCauwounded, and 24 missing.
ley's orders, had been scuttled and Gen. Shields, well aware that partly sunk, so that only her rig*Shields's official report says:
lage; and, by a calculation made by the num* The enemy's loss is more difficult to ascer- ber of graves found on both sides of the Valley tain than our own. Two hundred and seventy road between here and Strasburg, their loss in were found dead on the battle-field ; 40 were killed must have been about 500, and in wounded buried by the inhabitants of the adjacent vil- | 1,000.”
97 See Vol I., p. 473–7.
ging and upper works were burned ;| March 8th, a strange craft was deher hull being saved by a speedy scried from our vessels off Newport submersion, Having thus fallen News, coming down the Elizabeth an easy prey to the Rebels, she river from Norfolk, past Craney was adopted by them as the basis of Island, attended by two unremarkaan iron-clad, whereof Lieut. John M. ble steam gunboats. Two other Rebel Brooke furnished the original plan, gunboats, which had, evidently by which Chief Engineer Williamson preconcert, dropped down the James and Naval Constructor Porter, to- from Richmond, had been discovered gether with Lt. Brooke, ultimately at anchor off Smithfield Point, some fashioned into the terrible engine of 12 miles distant, about three hours destruction known to us as the Mer-before. The nondescript and her rimac, but designated by her rebuild- tenders gradually approached our ers the Virginia. Messrs. Brooke, war-ships awaiting her, and, passing Williamson, and Porter, were all across the bow of the Congress frig. graduates from our navy, as was ate, bore down on the Cumberland, Commodore Franklin Buchanan, who in utter disdain of her rapid and became her commander. In prepar- well aimed but utterly ineffective ing her for her new service, the hull shots, which glanced as harmless of the Merrimac was cut down near- from the iron shield of the foe as ly to the water's edge, after she had though they had been peas. Not a been plugged, pumped out, and gun was fired by the mysterious and raised; when a sloping roof of heavy terrible stranger until she struck the timber, strongly and thoroughly Cumberland with full force under her plated with railroad iron, rose from starboard fore-channels, at the same two feet below the water-line to inoment delivering a most destructive about ten feet above: the ends and fire; while her blow had opened such sides being alike and thoroughly a chasm in the bow of the Cumbershielded. A light bulwark, or false land that her forward magazine was bow, was added, designed to divide drowned in 30 minutes. Still, her the water, and serve as a tank to reg- fire was kept up until, at 3:35 P. M., ulate the vessel's draft; and beyond the water had risen to the main this projected a strong iron beak. hatchway, and the ship canted to Being thus rendered thoroughly shot- port; when, giving a parting fire, proof, she was armed with 10 heavy Lt. Morris ordered every man to and most effective guns; and so, hav- jump overboard and save himself if ing been largely refitted from the possible. The dead, and sick, and spoils of the deserted Navy Yard, severely wounded, were unavoidably became at once the cheapest and left in her bay and on her decks, to most formidable naval engine of de- the number of at least 100; and she struction that the world had ever sank to the bottom in 54-feet water, seen. Whether she had or had not with her flag still flying from her the ability to live in an open, turbu- topmast. lent sea, was left undecided by her Meanwhile, the Congress—which brief but memorable career.
had exchanged broadsides with the A little before noon, on Saturday, Merrimac as she passed—was attacked