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Military Reminiscences of the Civil War, Volume 1 - April 1861-November 1863

206 pages
The Project Gutenberg EBook of Military Reminiscences of the Civil War V1 by Jacob Dolson Cox This eBook is for the use of anyone anywhere at no cost and with almost no restrictions whatsoever. You may copy it, give it away or re-use it under the terms of the Project Gutenberg License included with this eBook or online at Title: Military Reminiscences of the Civil War V1 Author: Jacob Dolson Cox Release Date: May 5, 2007 [EBook #6961] [This file was first posted in etext 04 as 8mcw110h.htm on February 17, 2003 and updated in November, 2004 ] Language: English Character set encoding: ISO-8859-1 *** START OF THIS PROJECT GUTENBERG EBOOK MILITARY REMINISCENCES OF THE CIVIL WAR V1*** Produced by Steve Schulze, Charles Franks and the Online Distributed Proofreading Team. This file was produced from images generously made available by the CWRU Preservation Department Digital Library. MILITARY REMINISCENCES OF THE CIVIL WAR BY JACOB DOLSON COX, A.M., LL.D. Formerly Major-General commanding Twenty-Third Army Corps VOLUME I. APRIL 1861--NOVEMBER 1863 PREFACE My aim in this book has been to reproduce my own experience in our Civil War in such a way as to help the reader understand just how the duties and the problems of that great conflict presented themselves successively to one man who had an active part in it from the beginning to the end.
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The Project Gutenberg EBook of Military Reminiscences of the Civil War V1
by Jacob Dolson Cox
This eBook is for the use of anyone anywhere at no cost and with
almost no restrictions whatsoever. You may copy it, give it away or
re-use it under the terms of the Project Gutenberg License included
with this eBook or online at
Title: Military Reminiscences of the Civil War V1
Author: Jacob Dolson Cox
Release Date: May 5, 2007 [EBook #6961]
[This file was first posted in etext 04 as 8mcw110h.htm on February 17, 2003
and updated in November, 2004 ]
Language: English
Character set encoding: ISO-8859-1
Produced by Steve Schulze, Charles Franks and the Online Distributed
Proofreading Team. This file was produced from images generously
made available by the CWRU Preservation Department Digital Library.
Formerly Major-General commanding Twenty-Third Army Corps
My aim in this book has been to reproduce my own experience in our Civil War
in such a way as to help the reader understand just how the duties and the
problems of that great conflict presented themselves successively to one man
who had an active part in it from the beginning to the end. In my military service
I was so conscious of the benefit it was to me to get the personal view of men
who had served in our own or other wars, as distinguished from the general or
formal history, that I formed the purpose, soon after peace was restored, to write
such a narrative of my own army life. My relations to many prominent officers
and civilians were such as to give opportunities for intimate knowledge of their
personal qualities as well as their public conduct. It has seemed to me that it
might be useful to share with others what I thus learned, and to throw what light
I could upon the events and the men of that time.
As I have written historical accounts of some campaigns separately, it may be
proper to say that I have in this book avoided repetition, and have tried to make
the personal narrative supplement and lend new interest to the more formal
story. Some of the earlier chapters appeared in an abridged form in "Battles
and Leaders of the Civil War," and the closing chapter was read before the
Ohio Commandery of the Loyal Legion. By arrangements courteously made by
the Century Company and the Commandery, these chapters, partly re-written,
are here found in their proper connection.
Though my private memoranda are full enough to give me reasonable
confidence in the accuracy of these reminiscences, I have made it a duty to test
my memory by constant reference to the original contemporaneous material so
abundantly preserved in the government publication of the Official Records of
the Union and Confederate Armies. Where the series of these records is not
given, my references are to the First Series, with the abbreviation O. R., and I
have preferred to adhere to the official designation of the volumes in parts, as
each volume then includes the documents of a single campaign.
J. D. C.
NOTE.--The manuscript of this work had been completed by General Cox, and
placed in the hands of the publishers several weeks before his untimely death
at Magnolia, Mass., August 4, 1900. He himself had read and revised some fourhundred pages of the press-work. The work of reading and revising the
remaining proofs and of preparing a general index for the work was undertaken
by the undersigned from a deep sense of obligation to and loving regard for the
author, which could not find a more fitting expression at this time. No material
changes have been made in text or notes. Citations have been looked up and
references verified with care, yet errors may have crept in, which his
wellknown accuracy would have excluded. For all such and for the imperfections of
the index, the undersigned must accept responsibility, and beg the indulgence
of the reader, who will find in the text itself enough of interest and profit to
excuse many shortcomings.
Ohio Senate, April 12--Sumter bombarded--"Glory to God!"--The
surrender-Effect on public sentiment--Call for troops--Politicians changing front--David
Tod--Stephen A. Douglas--The insurrection must be crushed--Garfield on
personal duty--Troops organized by the States--The
militia--Unpreparedness-McClellan at Columbus--Meets Governor Dennison--Put in command--Our
stock of munitions--Making estimates--McClellan's plan--Camp Jackson--Camp
Dennison--Gathering of the volunteers--Garibaldi uniforms--Officering the
troops--Off for Washington--Scenes in the State Capitol--Governor Dennison's
labors--Young regulars--Scott's policy--Alex. McCook--Orlando Poe--Not
allowed to take state commissions.
Laying out the camp--Rosecrans as engineer--A comfortless night--Waking to
new duties--Floors or no floors for the huts--Hardee's Tactics--The
watersupply-Colonel Tom Worthington--Joshua Sill--Brigades organized--Bates's
brigade-Schleich's--My own--McClellan's purpose--Division organization--Garfield
disappointed--Camp routine--Instruction and drill--Camp
cookery--Measles-Hospital barn--Sisters of Charity--Ferment over re-enlistment--Musters by
Gordon Granger--"Food for powder"--Brigade staff--De Villiers--"A Captain of
Calvary"--The "Bloody Tinth"--Almost a row--Summoned to the field.
Political attitude of West Virginia--Rebels take the initiative--McClellan ordered
to act--Ohio militia cross the river--The Philippi affair--Significant dates--The
vote on secession--Virginia in the Confederacy--Lee in
command--Topography-The mountain passes--Garnett's army--Rich Mountain position--McClellan in
the field--His forces--Advances against Garnett--Rosecrans's proposal--His
fight on the mountain--McClellan's inaction--Garnett's retreat--Affair at Carrick's
Ford--Garnett killed--Hill's efforts to intercept--Pegram in the wilderness--He
surrenders--Indirect results important--McClellan's military and personal traits.
Orders for the Kanawha expedition--The troops and their quality--Lack of
artillery and cavalry--Assembling at Gallipolis--District of the
Kanawha-Numbers of the opposing forces--Method of advance--Use of
steamboats-Advance guards on river banks--Camp at Thirteen-mile Creek--Night
alarm-The river chutes--Sunken obstructions--Pocotaligo--Affair at
Barboursville-Affair at Scary Creek--Wise's position at Tyler Mountain--His precipitate
retreat-Occupation of Charleston--Rosecrans succeeds McClellan--Advance toward
Gauley Bridge--Insubordination--The Newspaper Correspondent--Occupation
of Gauley Bridge.
The gate of the Kanawha valley--The wilderness beyond--West Virginia
defences--A romantic post--Chaplain Brown--An adventurous
mission-Chaplain Dubois--"The river path"--Gauley Mount--Colonel Tompkins's home--Bowie-knives--Truculent resolutions--The Engineers--Whittlesey, Benham,
Wagner--Fortifications--Distant reconnoissances--Comparison of
forces-Dangers to steamboat communications--Allotment of duties--The Summersville
post--Seventh Ohio at Cross Lanes--Scares and rumors--Robert E. Lee at
Valley Mountain--Floyd and Wise advance--Rosecrans's orders--The Cross
Lanes affair--Major Casement's creditable retreat--Colonel Tyler's
reports-Lieutenant-Colonel Creighton--Quarrels of Wise and Floyd--Ambushing rebel
cavalry--Affair at Boone Court House--New attack at Gauley Bridge--An
incipient mutiny--Sad result--A notable court-martial--Rosecrans marching
toward us--Communications renewed--Advance toward Lewisburg--Camp
Lookout--A private sorrow.
Rosecrans's march to join me--Reaches Cross Lanes--Advance against
Floyd-Engagement at Carnifex Ferry--My advance to Sunday Road--Conference with
Rosecrans--McCook's brigade joins me--Advance to Camp Lookout--Brigade
commanders--Rosecrans's personal characteristics--Hartsuff--Floyd and Wise
again--"Battle of Bontecou"--Sewell Mountain--The equinoctial--General
Schenck arrives--Rough lodgings--Withdrawal from the mountain--Rear-guard
duties--Major Slemmer of Fort Pickens fame--New positions covering Gauley
Bridge--Floyd at Cotton Mountain--Rosecrans's methods with private
soldiers-Progress in discipline.
Floyd cannonades Gauley Bridge--Effect on Rosecrans--Topography of Gauley
Mount--De Villiers runs the gantlet--Movements of our forces--Explaining
orders--A hard climb on the mountain--In the post at Gauley Bridge--Moving
magazine and telegraph--A balky mule-team--Ammunition train under
fire-Captain Fitch a model quartermaster--Plans to entrap Floyd--Moving supply
trains at night--Method of working the ferry--Of making flatboats--The Cotton
Mountain affair--Rosecrans dissatisfied with Benham--Vain plans to reach East
An impracticable country--Movements suspended--Experienced troops ordered
away--My orders from Washington--Rosecrans objects--A
disappointment-Winter organization of the Department--Sifting our
material--Courts-martial-Regimental schools--Drill and picket duty--A military execution--Effect upon the
army--Political sentiments of the people--Rules of conduct toward them--Case
of Mr. Parks--Mr. Summers--Mr. Patrick--Mr. Lewis Ruffner--Mr. Doddridge--Mr.
B. F. Smith--A house divided against itself--Major Smith's journal--The
contrabands--A fugitive-slave case--Embarrassments as to military jurisdiction.
High quality of first volunteers--Discipline milder than that of the
regulars-Reasons for the difference--Practical efficiency of the men--Necessity for sifting
the officers--Analysis of their defects--What is military aptitude?--Diminution of
number in ascending scale--Effect of age--Of former life and
occupation-Embarrassments of a new business--Quick progress of the right class of young
men--Political appointments--Professional men--Political leaders naturally
prominent in a civil war--"Cutting and trying"--Dishonest methods--An excellent
army at the end of a year--The regulars in 1861--Entrance examinations for
West Point--The curriculum there--Drill and experience--Its
limitations-Problems peculiar to the vast increase of the army--Ultra-conservatism--Attitude
toward the Lincoln administration--"Point de zêle"--Lack of initiative--Civil work
of army engineers--What is military art?--Opinions of experts--Military
history-European armies in the Crimean War--True generalship--Anomaly of a double
army organization.
Rosecrans's plan of campaign--Approved by McClellan with
modifications-Wagons or pack-mules--Final form of plan--Changes in commands--McClellan
limited to Army of the Potomac--Halleck's Department of the Mississippi--Frémont's Mountain Department--Rosecrans superseded--Preparations in the
Kanawha District--Batteaux to supplement steamboats--Light wagons for
mountain work--Frémont's plan--East Tennessee as an objective--The supply
question--Banks in the Shenandoah valley--Milroy's advance--Combat at
McDowell--Banks defeated--Frémont's plans deranged--Operations in the
Kanawha valley--Organization of brigades--Brigade commanders--Advance to
Narrows of New River--The field telegraph--Concentration of the enemy--Affair
at Princeton--Position at Flat-top Mountain.
A key position--Crook's engagement at Lewisburg--Watching and
scouting-Mountain work--Pope in command--Consolidation of
Departments-Suggestions of our transfer to the East--Pope's Order No. 11 and Address to the
Army--Orders to march across the mountains--Discussion of them--Changed to
route by water and rail--Ninety-mile march--Logistics--Arriving in
Washington-Two regiments reach Pope--Two sent to Manassas--Jackson captures
Manassas--Railway broken--McClellan at Alexandria--Engagement at Bull Run
Bridge--Ordered to Upton's Hill--Covering Washington--Listening to the Bull
Run battle--Ill news travels fast.
McClellan's visits to my position--Riding the lines--Discussing the past
campaign--The withdrawal from the James--Prophecy--McClellan and the
soldiers--He is in command of the defences--Intricacy of official
relations-Reorganization begun--Pope's army marches through our works--Meeting of
McClellan and Pope--Pope's characteristics--Undue depreciation of him--The
situation when Halleck was made General-in-Chief--Pope's part in it--Reasons
for dislike on the part of the Potomac Army--McClellan's secret
service-Deceptive information of the enemy's force--Information from prisoners and
citizens--Effects of McClellan's illusion as to Lee's strength--Halleck's previous
career--Did he intend to take command in the field?--His abdication of the field
command--The necessity for a union of forces in Virginia--McClellan's inaction
was Lee's opportunity--Slow transfer of the Army of the Potomac--Halleck
burdened with subordinate's work--Burnside twice declines the command--It is
given to McClellan--Pope relieved--Other changes in
organization-Consolidation--New campaign begun.
March through Washington--Reporting to Burnside--The Ninth
Corps-Burnside's personal qualities--To Leesboro--Straggling--Lee's army at
Frederick--Our deliberate advance--Reno at New Market--The march
past-Reno and Hayes--Camp gossip--Occupation of Frederick--Affair with
Hampton's cavalry--Crossing Catoctin Mountain--The valley and South
Mountain--Lee's order found--Division of his army--Jackson at Harper's
Ferry-Supporting Pleasonton's reconnoissance--Meeting Colonel Moor--An
involuntary warning--Kanawha Division's advance--Opening of the
battle-Carrying the mountain crest--The morning fight--Lull at noon--Arrival of
supports--Battle renewed--Final success--Death of Reno--Hooker's battle on
the right--His report--Burnside's comments--Franklin's engagement at
Crampton's Gap.
Lee's plan of invasion--Changed by McClellan's advance--The position at
Sharpsburg--Our routes of march--At the Antietam--McClellan
reconnoitring-Lee striving to concentrate--Our delays--Tuesday's quiet--Hooker's evening
march--The Ninth Corps command--Changing our positions--McClellan's plan
of battle--Hooker's evening skirmish--Mansfield goes to support
Hooker-Confederate positions--Jackson arrives--McLaws and Walker reach the
field-Their places.
Hooker astir early--The field near the Dunker Church--Artillery combat--Positions of Hooker's divisions--Rocky ledges in the woods--Advance of
Doubleday through Miller's orchard and garden--Enemy's fire from West
Wood-They rush for Gibbon's battery--Repulse--Advance of Patrick's brigade--Fierce
fighting along the turnpike--Ricketts's division in the East Wood--Fresh effort of
Meade's division in the centre--A lull in the battle--Mansfield's corps reaches
the field--Conflicting opinions as to the hour--Mansfield killed--Command
devolves on Williams--Advance through East Wood--Hooker wounded--Meade
in command of the corps--It withdraws--Greene's division reaches the Dunker
Church--Crawford's in the East Wood--Terrible effects on the
Confederates-Sumner's corps coming up--Its formation--It moves on the Dunker Church from
the east--Divergence of the divisions--Sedgwick's passes to right of
Greene-Attacked in flank and broken--Rallying at the Poffenberger hill--Twelfth Corps
hanging on near the church--Advance of French's division--Richardson follows
later--Bloody Lane reached--The Piper house--Franklin's corps arrives--Charge
of Irwin's brigade.
Ninth Corps positions near Antietam Creek--Rodman's division at lower
ford-Sturgis's at the bridge--Burnside's headquarters on the field--View from his
place of the battle on the right--French's fight--An exploding caisson--Our
orders to attack--The hour--Crisis of the battle--Discussion of the sequence of
events--The Burnside bridge--Exposed approach--Enfiladed by enemy's
artillery--Disposition of enemy's troops--His position very strong--Importance of
Rodman's movement by the ford--The fight at the bridge--Repulse--Fresh
efforts--Tactics of the assault--Success--Formation on further bank--Bringing up
ammunition--Willcox relieves Sturgis--The latter now in support--Advance
against Sharpsburg--Fierce combat--Edge of the town reached--Rodman's
advance on the left--A. P. Hill's Confederate division arrives from Harper's
Ferry--Attacks Rodman's flank--A raw regiment breaks--The line retires--Sturgis
comes into the gap--Defensive position taken and held--Enemy's assaults
repulsed--Troops sleeping on their arms--McClellan's reserve--Other troops not
used--McClellan's idea of Lee's force and plans--Lee's retreat--The terrible
casualty lists.
Meeting Colonel Key--His changes of opinion--His relations to
McClellan-Governor Dennison's influence--McClellan's attitude toward
Lincoln-Burnside's position--The Harrison Landing letter--Compared with Lincoln's
views--Probable intent of the letter--Incident at McClellan's headquarters--John
W. Garrett--Emancipation Proclamation--An after-dinner discussion of
it-Contrary influences--Frank advice--Burnside and John Cochrane--General
Order 163--Lincoln's visit to camp--Riding the field--A review--Lincoln's desire
for continuing the campaign--McClellan's hesitation--His tactics of
discussion-His exaggeration of difficulties--Effect on his army--Disillusion a slow
process-Lee's army not better than Johnston's--Work done by our Western
army-Difference in morale--An army rarely bolder than its leader--Correspondence
between Halleck and McClellan--Lincoln's remarkable letter on the
campaign-The army moves on November 2--Lee regains the line covering
Richmond-McClellan relieved--Burnside in command.
Intimacy of McClellan and Burnside--Private letters in the official
files-Burnside's mediation--His self-forgetful devotion--The movement to join
Pope-Burnside forwards Porter's dispatches--His double refusal of the
command-McClellan suspends the organization of wings--His relations to
Porter-Lincoln's letter on the subject--Fault-finding with Burnside--Whose
work?-Burnside's appearance and bearing in the field.
Ordered to the Kanawha valley again--An unwelcome surprise--Reasons for
the order--Reporting to Halleck at Washington--Affairs in the Kanawha in
September--Lightburn's positions--Enemy under Loring advances--Affair at
Fayette C. H.--Lightburn retreats--Gauley Bridge abandoned--Charleston
evacuated--Disorderly flight to the Ohio--Enemy's cavalry raid under
Jenkins-General retreat in Tennessee and Kentucky--West Virginia not in any
Department--Now annexed to that of Ohio--Morgan's retreat from CumberlandGap--Ordered to join the Kanawha forces--Milroy's brigade also--My interviews
with Halleck and Stanton--Promotion--My task--My division sent with
me-District of West Virginia--Colonel Crook promoted--Journey
westward-Governor Peirpoint--Governor Tod--General Wright--Destitution of Morgan's
column--Refitting at Portland, Ohio--Night drive to Gallipolis--An amusing
accident--Inspection at Point Pleasant--Milroy ordered to Parkersburg--Milroy's
qualities--Interruptions to movement of troops--No wagons--Supplies
delayed-Confederate retreat--Loring relieved--Echols in command--Our march up the
valley--Echols retreats--We occupy Charleston and Gauley Bridge--Further
advance stopped--Our forces reduced--Distribution of remaining troops--Alarms
and minor movements--Case of Mr. Summers--His treatment by the
Central position of Marietta, Ohio--Connection with all parts of West
Virginia-Drill and instruction of troops--Guerilla warfare--Partisan Rangers--Confederate
laws--Disposal of plunder--Mosby's Rangers as a type--Opinions of Lee, Stuart,
and Rosser--Effect on other troops--Rangers finally abolished--Rival
homeguards and militia--Horrors of neighborhood war--Staff and staff
duties-Reduction of forces--General Cluseret--Later connection with the Paris
Commune--His relations with Milroy--He resigns--Political
situation-Congressmen distrust Lincoln--Cutler's diary--Resolutions regarding
appointments of general officers--The number authorized by law--Stanton's
report--Effect of Act of July, 1862--An excess of nine major-generals--The legal
questions involved--Congressional patronage and local distribution--Ready for
a "deal"--Bill to increase the number of generals--A "slate" made up to exhaust
the number--Senate and House disagree--Conference--Agreement in last hours
of the session--The new list--A few vacancies by resignation, etc.--List of those
dropped--My own case--Faults of the method--Lincoln's humorous
comments-Curious case of General Turchin--Congestion in the highest
grades--Effects-Confederate grades of general and lieutenant-general--Superiority of our
system--Cotemporaneous reports and criticisms--New regiments instead of
recruiting old ones--Sherman's trenchant opinion.
Desire for field service--Changes in the Army of the Potomac--Judgment of
McClellan at that time--Our defective knowledge--Changes in West
Virginia-Errors in new organization--Embarrassments resulting--Visit to General
Schenck--New orders from Washington--Sent to Ohio to administer the
draft-Burnside at head of the department--District of Ohio--Headquarters at
Cincinnati--Cordial relations of Governor Tod with the military
authorities-System of enrolment and draft--Administration by Colonel Fry--Decay of the
veteran regiments--Bounty-jumping--Effects on political parties--Soldiers
voting--Burnside's military plans--East Tennessee--Rosecrans aiming at
Chattanooga--Burnside's business habits--His frankness--Stories about
him-His personal characteristics--Cincinnati as a border city--Rebel
sympathizers-Order No. 38--Challenged by Vallandigham--The order not a new
departure-Lincoln's proclamation--General Wright's circular.
Clement L. Vallandigham--His opposition to the war--His theory of
reconstruction--His Mount Vernon speech--His arrest--Sent before the military
commission--General Potter its president--Counsel for the prisoner--The line of
defence--The judgment--Habeas Corpus proceedings--Circuit Court of the
United States--Judge Leavitt denies the release--Commutation by the
President--Sent beyond the lines--Conduct of Confederate
authorities-Vallandigham in Canada--Candidate for Governor--Political results--Martial
law--Principles underlying it--Practical application--The intent to aid the public
enemy--The intent to defeat the draft--Armed resistance to arrest of deserters,
Noble County--To the enrolment in Holmes County--A real
insurrection-Connection of these with Vallandigham's speeches--The Supreme Court
refuses to interfere--Action in the Milligan case after the war--Judge Davis's
personal views--Knights of the Golden Circle--The Holmes County outbreak--Its
suppression--Letter to Judge Welker.
BURNSIDE AND ROSECRANS--THE SUMMER'S DELAYSCondition of Kentucky and Tennessee--Halleck's instructions to
Burnside-Blockhouses at bridges--Relief of East Tennessee--Conditions of the
problem-Vast wagon-train required--Scheme of a railroad--Surveys begun--Burnside's
efforts to arrange co-operation with Rosecrans--Bragg sending troops to
Johnston--Halleck urges Rosecrans to activity--Continued inactivity--Burnside
ordered to send troops to Grant--Rosecrans's correspondence with
Halleck-Lincoln's dispatch--Rosecrans collects his subordinates' opinions--Councils of
war--The situation considered--Sheridan and Thomas--Computation of
effectives--Garfield's summing up--Review of the situation when Rosecrans
succeeded Buell--After Stone's River--Relative forces--Disastrous detached
expeditions--Appeal to ambition--The major-generalship in regular army--Views
of the President justified--Burnside's forces--Confederate forces in East
Tennessee--Reasons for the double organization of the Union armies.
Departure of the staff for the field--An amusingly quick return--Changes in my
own duties--Expeditions to occupy the enemy--Sanders' raid into East
Tennessee--His route--His success and return--The Confederate Morgan's
raid--His instructions--His reputation as a soldier--Compared with
Forrest-Morgan's start delayed--His appearance at Green River, Ky.--Foiled by Colonel
Moore--Captures Lebanon--Reaches the Ohio at Brandenburg--General
Hobson in pursuit--Morgan crosses into Indiana--Was this his original purpose?
--His route out of Indiana into Ohio--He approaches Cincinnati--Hot chase by
Hobson--Gunboats co-operating on the river--Efforts to block his way--He
avoids garrisoned posts and cities--Our troops moved in transports by
water-Condition of Morgan's jaded column--Approaching the Ohio at
Buffington's-Gunboats near the ford--Hobson attacks--Part captured, the rest fly
northward-Another capture--A long chase--Surrender of Morgan with the
remnant-Summary of results--A burlesque capitulation.
News of Grant's victory at Vicksburg--A thrilling scene at the opera--Burnside's
Ninth Corps to return--Stanton urges Rosecrans to advance--The Tullahoma
manoeuvres--Testy correspondence--Its real meaning--Urgency with
Burnside-Ignorance concerning his situation--His disappointment as to Ninth
Corps-Rapid concentration of other troops--Burnside's march into East
Tennessee-Occupation of Knoxville--Invests Cumberland Gap--The garrison
surrenders-Good news from Rosecrans--Distances between armies--Divergent lines--No
railway communication--Burnside concentrates toward the Virginia line--Joy of
the people--Their intense loyalty--Their faith in the future.
Organizing and arming the loyalists--Burnside concentrates near
Greeneville-His general plan--Rumors of Confederate reinforcements--Lack of accurate
information--The Ninth Corps in Kentucky--Its depletion by malarial
disease-Death of General Welsh from this cause--Preparing for further work--Situation
on 16th September--Dispatch from Halleck--Its apparent purpose--Necessity to
dispose of the enemy near Virginia border--Burnside personally at the front--His
great activity--Ignorance of Rosecrans's peril--Impossibility of joining him by the
20th--Ruinous effects of abandoning East Tennessee--Efforts to aid Rosecrans
without such abandonment--Enemy duped into burning Watauga bridge
themselves--Ninth Corps arriving--Willcox's division garrisons Cumberland
Gap--Reinforcements sent Rosecrans from all quarters--Chattanooga made
safe from attack--The supply question--Meigs's description of the
roads-Burnside halted near Loudon--Halleck's misconception of the geography--The
people imploring the President not to remove the troops--How Longstreet got
away from Virginia--Burnside's alternate plans--Minor operations in upper
Holston valley--Wolford's affair on the lower Holston.
Ohio Senate April 12--Sumter bombarded--"Glory to God!"--The
surrender-Effect on public sentiment--Call for troops--Politicians changing front--David
Tod--Stephen A. Douglas--The insurrection must be crushed--Garfield on
personal duty--Troops organized by the States--The
militia--Unpreparedness-McClellan at Columbus--Meets Governor Dennison--Put in command--Our
stock of munitions--Making estimates--McClellan's plan--Camp Jackson--Camp
Dennison--Gathering of the volunteers--Garibaldi uniforms--Officering the
troops--Off for Washington--Scenes in the State Capitol--Governor Dennison's
labors--Young regulars--Scott's policy--Alex. McCook--Orlando Poe--Not
allowed to take state commissions.
On Friday the twelfth day of April, 1861, the Senate of Ohio was in session,
trying to go on in the ordinary routine of business, but with a sense of anxiety
and strain which was caused by the troubled condition of national affairs. The
passage of Ordinances of Secession by one after another of the Southern
States, and even the assembling of a provisional Confederate government at
Montgomery, had not wholly destroyed the hope that some peaceful way out of
our troubles would be found; yet the gathering of an army on the sands
opposite Fort Sumter was really war, and if a hostile gun were fired, we knew it
would mean the end of all effort at arrangement. Hoping almost against hope
that blood would not be shed, and that the pageant of military array and of a
rebel government would pass by and soon be reckoned among the disused
scenes and properties of a political drama that never pretended to be more than
acting, we tried to give our thoughts to business; but there was no heart in it,
and the morning hour lagged, for we could not work in earnest and we were
unwilling to adjourn.
Suddenly a senator came in from the lobby in an excited way, and catching the
chairman's eye, exclaimed, "Mr. President, the telegraph announces that the
secessionists are bombarding Fort Sumter!" There was a solemn and painful
hush, but it was broken in a moment by a woman's shrill voice from the
spectators' seats, crying, "Glory to God!" It startled every one, almost as if the
enemy were in the midst. But it was the voice of a radical friend of the slave,
who after a lifetime of public agitation believed that only through blood could
freedom be won. Abby Kelly Foster had been attending the session of the
Assembly, urging the passage of some measures enlarging the legal rights of
married women, and, sitting beyond the railing when the news came in,
shouted a fierce cry of joy that oppression had submitted its cause to the
decision of the sword. With most of us, the gloomy thought that civil war had
begun in our own land overshadowed everything, and seemed too great a price
to pay for any good; a scourge to be borne only in preference to yielding the
very groundwork of our republicanism,--the right to enforce a fair interpretation
of the Constitution through the election of President and Congress.
The next day we learned that Major Anderson had surrendered, and the
telegraphic news from all the Northern States showed plain evidence of a
popular outburst of loyalty to the Union, following a brief moment of dismay.
Judge Thomas M. Key of Cincinnati, chairman of the Judiciary Committee, was
the recognized leader of the Democratic party in the Senate, [Footnote:
Afterward aide-de-camp and acting judge-advocate on McClellan's staff.] and at
an early hour moved an adjournment to the following Tuesday, in order, as he
said, that the senators might have the opportunity to go home and consult their
constituents in the perilous crisis of public affairs. No objection was made to the
adjournment, and the representatives took a similar recess. All were in a state
of most anxious suspense,--the Republicans to know what initiative the
Administration at Washington would take, and the Democrats to determine
what course they should follow if the President should call for troops to put
down the insurrection.
Before we meet again, Mr. Lincoln's proclamation and call for seventy-five
thousand militia for three months' service were out, and the great mass of the
people of the North, forgetting all party distinctions, answered with an
enthusiastic patriotism that swept politicians off their feet. When we met again
on Tuesday morning, Judge Key, taking my arm and pacing the floor outside
the railing in the Senate chamber, broke out impetuously, "Mr. Cox, the people
have gone stark mad!" "I knew they would if a blow was struck against the flag,"
said I, reminding him of some previous conversations we had had on thesubject. He, with most of the politicians of the day, partly by sympathy with the
overwhelming current of public opinion, and partly by reaction of their own
hearts against the false theories which had encouraged the secessionists,
determined to support the war measures of the government, and to make no
factious opposition to such state legislation as might be necessary to sustain
the federal administration.
The attitude of Mr. Key is only a type of many others, and makers one of the
most striking features of the time. On the 8th of January the usual Democratic
convention and celebration of the Battle of New Orleans had taken place, and a
series of resolutions had been passed, which were drafted, as was understood,
by Judge Thurman. In these, professing to speak in the name of "two hundred
thousand Democrats of Ohio," the convention had very significantly intimated
that this vast organization of men would be found in the way of any attempt to
put down secession until the demands of the South in respect to slavery were
complied with. A few days afterward I was returning to Columbus from my home
in Trumbull County, and meeting upon the railway train with David Tod, then an
active Democratic politician, but afterward one of our loyal "war governors," the
conversation turned on the action of the convention which had just adjourned.
Mr. Tod and I were personal friends and neighbors, and I freely expressed my
surprise that the convention should have committed itself to what must be
interpreted as a threat of insurrection in the North if the administration should, in
opposing secession by force, follow the example of Andrew Jackson, in whose
honor they had assembled. He rather vehemently reasserted the substance of
the resolution, saying that we Republicans would find the two hundred
thousand Ohio Democrats in front of us, if we attempted to cross the Ohio River.
My answer was, "We will give up the contest if we cannot carry your two
hundred thousand over the heads of your leaders."
The result proved how hollow the party professions had been; or perhaps I
should say how superficial was the hold of such party doctrines upon the mass
of men in a great political organization. In the excitement of political campaigns
they had cheered the extravagant language of party platforms with very little
reflection, and the leaders had imagined that the people were really and
earnestly indoctrinated into the political creed of Calhoun; but at the first shot
from Beauregard's guns in Charleston harbor their latent patriotism sprang into
vigorous life, and they crowded to the recruiting stations to enlist for the defence
of the national flag and the national Union. It was a popular torrent which no
leaders could resist; but many of these should be credited with the same
patriotic impulse, and it made them nobly oblivious of party consistency.
Stephen A. Douglas passed through Columbus on his way to Washington a
few days after the surrender of Sumter, and in response to the calls of a
spontaneous gathering of people, spoke to them from his bedroom window in
the American House. There had been no thought for any of the common
surroundings of a public meeting. There were no torches, no music. A dark
crowd of men filled full the dim-lit street, and called for Douglas with an
earnestness of tone wholly different from the enthusiasm of common political
gatherings. He came half-dressed to his window, and without any light near
him, spoke solemnly to the people upon the terrible crisis which had come
upon the nation. Men of all parties were there: his own followers to get some
light as to their duty; the Breckinridge Democrats ready, most of them,
repentantly to follow a Northern leader, now that their recent candidate was in
the rebellion; [Footnote: Breckinridge did not formally join the Confederacy till
September, but his accord with the secessionists was well known.] the
Republicans eagerly anxious to know whether so potent an influence was to be
unreservedly on the side of the country. I remember well the serious solicitude
with which I listened to his opening sentences as I leaned against the railing of
the State House park, trying in vain to get more than a dim outline of the man as
he stood at the unlighted window. His deep sonorous voice rolled down
through the darkness from above us,--an earnest, measured voice, the more
solemn, the more impressive, because we could not see the speaker, and it
came to us literally as "a voice in the night,"--the night of our country's
unspeakable trial. There was no uncertainty in his tone: the Union must be
preserved and the insurrection must be crushed,--he pledged his hearty support
to Mr. Lincoln's administration in doing this. Other questions must stand aside
till the national authority should be everywhere recognized. I do not think we
greatly cheered him,--it was rather a deep Amen that went up from the crowd.
We went home breathing freer in the assurance we now felt that, for a time at
least, no organized opposition to the federal government and its policy of
coercion would be formidable in the North. We did not look for unanimity. Bitter
and narrow men there were whose sympathies were with their country's
enemies. Others equally narrow were still in the chains of the secession logic
they had learned from the Calhounists; but the broader-minded men found
themselves happy in being free from disloyal theories, and threw themselves
sincerely and earnestly into the popular movement. There was no more doubt
where Douglas or Tod or Key would be found, or any of the great class they
Yet the situation hung upon us like a nightmare. Garfield and I were lodging

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