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Southern Historical Society Papers, Volume 1. (ed. Reverend J. William Jones), Letter from Captain William L. Ritter. (search)
Sergeant Langley belonged to the battery of which I was a member, I desire to relate a few incidents connected with the closing scenes of his life, and to mention the fate of his successor, Lieutenant William Thompson Patten. When the two gun detachments were put aboard the steamer Archer, January 23d, 1863, and sent down the river in charge of Sergeant Langley, there was but one commissioned officer with the battery in Vicksburg, the others having not yet arrived from Tennessee. On the 26th the steamer De Soto, a ferry-boat, was captured by the enemy at Johnson's Landing, a few miles below Vicksburg, on the west side of the river, where the Captain had stopped the boat to take on some wood. February 2d the Queen of the West passed by the batteries at Vicksburg and steamed down the river. On the 4th she returned to Johnson's Landing, where she remained a few days; and then, in company with the De Soto, proceeded down the Mississippi and up Red river to Fort De Russey, where she
d him as a youth. He left the capital, not to visit it again for thirty years, except in passing through it rapidly on two or three journeys. In an era when office-seeking was a national vice, extending even to the army, he felt a pardonable pride in holding aloof from the source of preferment. His formal orders to proceed to Sackett's Harbor, on Lake Ontario, are dated December 22d; but he had probably preceded them a month or more, as Mrs. Johnston, writing to him at that point on the 26th, says: We are pleased to hear that you like your situation, and are determined to spend your time usefully and agreeably. And adds: I heard General Brown speak of you in high terms to a young military gentleman last night. From a letter of his friend Polk's it appears that his chief employment at the little frontier post was in books ; but what he read and what he did there are things forgotten. But a single incident is preserved of General Johnston's winter at Sackett's Harbor.
marched northward. On the 25th, having overtaken our supply-train the evening before, and having a ration of corn for our horses, we remained in camp, the best sheltered by timber that we could find for so large a body of troops, but not good. This bright, clear, beautiful day was the coldest of all; the ground was covered with snow, and the small quantity of water to be found was nearly all congealed, so that with great difficulty an insufficient supply was obtained for our horses. On the 26th we were compelled to take the route again and go on to our depot of corn, and there encamped without water for our horses and with very little for our men. On the 27th we reached Belknap, and encamped near the post until the 2d of January, when we marched for this place. We are now comfortable, and begin to forget the past. During their march from Belknap they encountered hail, snow, and sleet; and both men and animals suffered severely. A train on its way from the coast to meet them lo
ohnston telegraphed President Davis: My movement has been delayed by a storm on the 22th, washing away pike and railroad-bridge at this place. Floyd, 2,500 strong, will march for Chattanooga to-morrow, to defend. This army will move on the 26th, by Decatur, for the valley of the Mississippi. Is in good condition and increasing in numbers. When his arrangements at Murfreesboro were complete, he wrote to Mr. Benjamin, February 27th, that he was about to move to the defense of the Miss own services from his own point of view. Immediately on his arrival at Corinth, March 24th, General Johnston held a conference with Generals Beauregard, Polk, and Bragg, after which General Beauregard went back to Jackson; but returned on the 26th, and lent zealous and valuable aid in spite of his malady. About the same time General Johnston had the conference with Van Dorn, in which it was determined to bring his army also to Corinth. The enemy was at this time reported in front of Monte
ted to implicitly conform to the terms of the above request. Charles H. Leonard, Mayor. Subsequent to the above, a meeting was called at the office of Mr. James Sorley, Mayor Leonard in the chair, when Colonel Smith moved as follows: Out of deference to the wishes of his old personal friends, the remains of General Albert Sidney Johnston will lie in state on the Central Wharf, where they may be visited. They will be moved by the pall-bearers and committee tomorrow morning, Saturday, 26th instant, at ten o'clock A. M., from their present resting-place on Central Wharf to the depot, thence to be conveyed by special train to Houston. The friends of the family are invited to attend their removal. This was carried unanimously. While these conferences were going on, Major McKnight says, in his letter to the New Orleans Times: During the conference up-town, thousands of ladies and gentlemen went down to the wharf and exhibited the most unequivocal evidence of their res
Lee, and subsequently in every fight in the Valley under Jackson. We withdrew rapidly southward, but the enemy did not pursue until next morning, by which time we had got far on our journey. Having rested at Strasburgh, we rapidly pushed across the mountain towards Harrisonburgh; Ashby's cavalry and the enemy's being continually engaged to our rear in fierce skirmishing, in which the latter suffered considerably. After many hardships and fast travelling, we reached this place on the twenty-sixth, the enemy's advance having halted at Harrisonburgh. Jackson is much censured for this fight, and although he acted according to orders, is cursed by every one. We lost no baggage, nor any persons of prominence, but the enemy had several officers killed. Shields himself was desperately wounded in the arm by a shell. There seems to be the fulfilment of his own apostrophe to heaven, in this man Shields. He was a very successful and dashing general of volunteers in Mexico, commanded th
nd journeys, it would have been impossible for Banks to have drawn off a single regiment; but, as we were far more fatigued than they, the punishment inflicted and the vigor of our pursuit were not half as effective as they might have been. Never giving up, however, Ashby still hung on their rear, and unmercifully thrashed them whenever they turned to fight. At last, totally prostrated from fatigue, and helpless as children, we reached the vicinity of Williamsport, on the evening of the twenty-sixth, and found that all who remained of the enemy had effected a passage across the river at different points, and were safe in Maryland. The bare idea of our excessive labor during the pursuit on the twenty-fourth, twenty-fifth, and twenty-sixth, is enough to terrify me, for the whole route travelled was more than fifty miles, and every furlong of it witnessed an encounter of some sort; so that when we found the foe had escaped, most of us felt infinite relief. The complete details of o
y mantle, and the crescent moon blessed us with her mellow light, the notes of the whip-poor-will mingling with the bark of watch-dogs and the barbaric melody of the Ethiopian, floated out on the genial air, and, as stretched on the green sward, we smoked our pipes and drank our beer, thoughts of fairy land possessed us, and we looked wonderingly around and inquired, is Scrougeville a reality or a vision? I fear we shall never see the like of Scrougeville again. On the morning of the 26th instant I received a telegram ordering our immediate return, and we reached Murfreesboro at two o'clock P. M. same day. I had not forgotten the terrible scolding received from the General just before starting on this expedition; in fact, I am not likely ever to forget it. It had now been a millstone on my heart for a week. I could not stand it. What could I do? At first I thought I would send in my resignation, but that I concluded would afford me no relief; on the contrary, it would look
Robert Underwood Johnson, Clarence Clough Buell, Battles and Leaders of the Civil War: The Opening Battles. Volume 1., Shiloh reviewed. (search)
eneral Smith at Savannah, and learn his situation. When the cavalry reached Columbia the bridge over Duck River was found in flames, and the river at flood stage. General McCook immediately commenced the construction of a frame bridge, but finding, after several days, that the work was progressing less rapidly than had been expected, I ordered the building of a boat bridge also, and both were completed on the 30th. On the same day the river became fordable. I arrived at Columbia on the 26th. General Nelson succeeded in getting a portion of his division across by fording on the 29th, and was given the advance. Most of his troops crossed by fording on the 30th. The other divisions followed him on the march with intervals of six miles, so as not to incommode one another — in all 5 divisions; about 37,000 effective men. On the first day of April, General Halleck and General Grant were notified that I would concentrate at Savannah on Sunday and Monday, the 6th and 7th, the distance
Robert Underwood Johnson, Clarence Clough Buell, Battles and Leaders of the Civil War: The Opening Battles. Volume 1., chapter 14.54 (search)
t by boats in advance, so as to hold the vessels in position. The swift current would wash General Burnside's headquarters, Roanoke Island. From a war-time sketch. the sand from under them and allow them to float, after which they were driven farther on by steam and anchored again, when the sand would again wash out from under them. This process was continued for days, until a broad channel of over eight feet was made, deep enough to allow the passage of the fleet into the sound. On the 26th, one of our largest steamers got safely over the swash and anchored in the sound, where some of the gun-boats had preceded them. By the 4th of February the entire fleet had anchored and had passed into the sound, and orders were given for the advance on Roanoke Island. Detailed instructions were given for the landing of the troops and the mode of attack. At an early hour on the morning of the 5th the start was made. The naval vessels, under Commodore Goldsborough, were in advance and o
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