ar a large force of Federal troops was easily forced to capitulate by a portion of the Confederate army approaching from the direction of Maryland.
Patterson commenced to cross the Potomac with the avowed purpose of fighting a battle with the army under Johnston, but when about two thirds of his troops had crossed he received a telegram from General Scott ordering him to send to Washington at once all the regular troops he had, horse and foot, as well as the Rhode Island regiment under Burnside, which was a very fine one.
If this telegram had not been received, and Patterson had continued the march of his troops into Virginia, he would have reached Martinsburg on the 17th of June, and on the 18th could have attacked the Confederate troops then in line of battle awaiting him at Bunker Hill, eleven miles distant, and there might have been on the pages of American history a second battle of that name.
The explanation of General Scott's telegram is to be found in the fact that he ha
derate in feeling and his army largely recruited.
General John B. Floyd, who had been President Buchanan's Secretary of War, had been commissioned at Richmond as brigadier general, and had recruited and organized a brigade in southwest Virginia, and in July led it over to the region of the Kanawha.
This was the first field assigned to George B. McClellan by the Federal War Department, an officer of great promise, who, graduating at West Point in 1846, had for his classmates, among others, Burnside and Stonewall Jackson.
He served first in the Engineer Corps, and in 1855 was appointed a captain in the First Cavalry.
His previous military experience had been much the same as Lee's. In 1857 he resigned, to take up railroad work, and when war commenced he was made a major general of Ohio volunteers.
He crossed into northwest Virginia on the 26th of May, he says, of his own volition and without orders.
A portion of his command was under General Cox on the Kanawha.
In McClellan's imme
tuart to Warrenton told him that the whole of Burnside's army had gone to the Rappahannock opposite he open plain nearest to the Southern lines.
Burnside's army had to cross this open plain in full v on the morning of battle.
Three weeks after Burnside arrived on the Rappahannock, public pressure he lower bridge, and by the night of the 12th Burnside's army was in readiness for the attack.
His lothes and would not get down to his work.
Burnside's plans seem to have been to attack simultanets to assume the offensive were made later by Burnside, the two armies looked quietly at each other ols, the sun, the rain and mud.
That Hooker, Burnside's successor, is obliged to do something, but the Rappahannock to meet a recent move of General Burnside.
Their bivouac in the rain and snow was d, and clothed opponent had his troubles too. Burnside had lost the confidence of many of his princier winter operations were suspended.
Then Burnside prepared a sweeping order, dismissing from th[15 more...]
visions of A. P. Hill, Early, and D. H. Hill under Rodes, and Trimble under Colston.
The Federal general's designs were well conceived.
He proposed to march three of his corps up the Rappahannock twenty-seven miles, cross them at Kelly's Ford, add to them one corps which should cross below at United States Ford, and with these four corps make a great turning column, which should move down on Lee's left rear, while the remaining three corps, constituting his left wing, should cross à la Burnside in Lee's front at Fredericksburg, hold him steady by the menace of a direct attack, and when he was manoeuvred out of his intrenchments, pursue him. In order to make the blow more effective, Stoneman was directed to make a wide detour well around the Southern left and rear, throw ten thousand sabers between Lee and Richmond, breaking up his communications, stopping his supplies, and be in a position to obstruct the Confederate retreat until Hooker could deliver a final blow.
The Union c