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charge of the sick and wounded, gave welcome to Captain Whittlesey and myself, and kept us for the night. The army had gone. McClellan had decided to take President Lincoln's suggestion and move east of the Blue Ridge. On the morning of the 6th, with a borrowed horse and an old ambulance, Whittlesey and I crossed the Shenandoah and pulled on with all the speed we could command after the army. We rode up the Catoctin Valley over an unguarded road. From the poor condition of our horse wes holding his main body so tenaciously west of the Bull Run range. One may imagine my surprise and sincere regret when I heard, on arrival, that McClellan had been removed, and Burnside assigned to the command of the army. The evening of the 6th, General Buckingham, an officer on duty in the War Office, had been made, by General Halleck and Secretary Stanton, the bearer of dispatches. Buckingham went during the 7th to Burnside to urge his acceptance of the command. Burnside at first mad
, and kept us for the night. The army had gone. McClellan had decided to take President Lincoln's suggestion and move east of the Blue Ridge. On the morning of the 6th, with a borrowed horse and an old ambulance, Whittlesey and I crossed the Shenandoah and pulled on with all the speed we could command after the army. We rode up the Catoctin Valley over an unguarded road. From the poor condition of our horse we had to be satisfied with thirtyfive miles the first day. The next day, the 7th, getting an early start, we made Rectortown by 11 A. M. Owing to a severe snowstorm, that portion of the army near Rectortown and the general headquarters did not stir. Immediately upon my arrival I visited General Mc Clellan; found him and his adjutant general, Seth Williams, together in a comfortable tent. From them I received a cordial welcome. McClellan thought I must be a Jonah to bring such a storm and was half minded to order me back. He said that they were talking of me and were
September 17th (search for this): chapter 2.21
Chapter 20: General Burnside assumes command of the army of the Potomac The night of September 17th my headquarters were near the East woods. I slept on the ground under a large tree. Just as I lay down I saw several small groups stretched out and covered with blankets, face and all. They appeared like soldiers sleeping together, two and two, and three and three, as they often did. In the morning as the sun was rising and lighting up the treetops, I arose, and, noticing my companions still asleep, observed them more closely. Seeing that they were very still, I approached the nearest group, and found they were cold in death. The lot fell to my division, with some other troops, to remain behind on the sad field and assist in burying the dead. The most troublesome thing, and that which affected our health, was the atmosphere that arose from the swollen bodies of the dead horses. We tried the experiment of piling rails and loose limbs of trees upon them and setting the heap on
October 1st (search for this): chapter 2.21
body of the army was located between Harper's Ferry and the mouth of the Monocacy. McClellan's headquarters were near Berlin. During our interval of rest I remember to have been placed upon courts of inquiry and upon courts-martial. One very interesting court on which I served was that demanded by General Caldwell, my successor after my wound and absence. We looked into all the charges of misconduct and could find really nothing against this worthy officer. About the same time, October 1st, President Lincoln came to see us. He was received everywhere with satisfaction, and at times with marked enthusiasm, as he reviewed the troops. At Harper's Ferry I saw him and heard him relate a few of his characteristic anecdotes. He noticed a small engine run out from the bridge, through the village of Harper's Ferry, below the bluff, which gave a peculiarly shrill and mournful whistle as its shadow fled rapidly around a hill and passed out of sight. Mr. Lincoln inquired what was th
October 26th (search for this): chapter 2.21
f the enemy. McClellan, deeply chagrined that Halleck had no praise for our achievements, yet dispatched to him in detail with feeling the urgent wants of his army. While such controversies were going on, from the battle of Antietam till October 26th, the main body of the army was located between Harper's Ferry and the mouth of the Monocacy. McClellan's headquarters were near Berlin. During our interval of rest I remember to have been placed upon courts of inquiry and upon courts-martiahe second division. Here, surrounded by my staff, I was in heart again, for it had been a great cross to arrive at Harper's Ferry and find the army several days ahead of me, and in the enemy's front, for the march had commenced the morning of October 26th. There had been slight changes in commanders — Couch having our corps (the Second) and Slocum the Twelfth; Sumner remaining in charge of the two. The Fifth and Sixth Corps retained the same chiefs, Porter and Franklin, each having been enlar
November 2nd (search for this): chapter 2.21
y of the Catoctin, a valley situated between the Blue Ridge and the Bull Run range. Our corps, followed by the Fifth, had crossed the Shenandoah near its mouth and passed directly into the little valley, which was to be the general route of the army. Pleasonton's cavalry was in advance, and occupied successively the gaps in the Blue Ridge. The different corps were kept within supporting distance of each other during the march, yet by the time the rear guard had crossed the Potomac, on November 2d, the head of column was already in the vicinity of Snicker's Gap. Mr. Lincoln's policy proved correct. General Lee, with Longstreet's wing, with very little cavalry, made a parallel march up the Shenandoah, so that by the time we had touched Snicker's Gap, two of the passes of the Blue Ridge farther up-Chester's and Thornton's — were even then in use by Lee passing the material and troops of the enemy to the vicinity of Culpeper. Thus the army was quietly transferred to the vicinity o
November 8th (search for this): chapter 2.21
t eleven o'clock we found him alone in his tent examining papers, and as we both entered together he received us in his kind and cordial manner. Burnside betrayed more feeling than McClellan. The latter, after reading the dispatch, passed it to Burnside, and said simply: You command the army. In order to complete the concentration of the army in the vicinity of Warrentown, McClellan's orders, already prepared, were issued and executed. My command made a march of eight miles during November 8th; this brought us to the neighborhood of Warrenton, where we encamped in a ravine to shelter ourselves from a severe wind storm. The next morning I turned out my troops and drew them up beside the road to give a parting salute to General McClellan. He rode along the line, the tattered colors were lowered, the drums beat, and the men cheered him. Burnside rode quietly by his side. At my last interview McClellan said to me: Burnside is a pure man and a man of integrity of purpose, and suc
November 25th (search for this): chapter 2.21
oats by water; the boats which went by water were sent off to Belle Plain, but without wagons or mules. They were there helpless ten miles away from Burnside. Major Spaulding at Anacostia at last secured sufficient transportation, and the 19th in the afternoon started from Washington. Now heavy rains began and his roads were fearful; he then wisely took waterways for the whole, and arrived at Belle Plain the 24th. He now moved up in good shape and was handsomely in camp at evening on November 25th, close by Burnside's headquarters. As it required thirteen days to do a piece of work which could easily have been done in three days, it would be a marvelous stretch of charity to impute it to mere bungling. Had Woodbury and Spaulding in the outset been properly instructed by Halleck, those bridges would have been near at hand the 17th on our arrival. Spaulding would have reported to Sumner at once and in less than an hour would have been pushing out his boats from our front.
December 10th (search for this): chapter 2.21
und. The Marye Hill was about the middle of the curve. South of the Marye Hill the ridge ended; thence there stretched farther southward a wooded space of lower ground; again another abrupt height, the highest part of which was named Prospect Hill; then the high land gradually sloped off to the Massaponax, a tributary of the Rappahannock which, running easterly, bounded Lee's position and covered his right flank. After taking a good look at this suggestive landscape, I wrote a friend December 10th: Before you get this letter you will have the news of a battle. I try to rely on the Saviour in these trying hours. .. . I have no forebodings of disaster, but I know the desperate nature of our undertaking. I was unusually sad in the prospect of that battlefield, sad for my men and for my personal staff. Experience had already taught me its lessons. There was already murmuring among the officers in general and they were not overcareful in what they said. Some spoke against the ad
December 11th (search for this): chapter 2.21
or kindly advice, steeled himself to leave everything to the maze of battle and went on to prepare the way for the sacrifice. Sumner's grand division broke camp and marched to convenient points for the bridges that were to lead into Fredericksburg, where the engineers proposed to push out the pontoons and plank them. Looker's grand division was held a little back of Sumner's for support; while Franklin moved his to the lower crossing. At the early hour of three on the morning of December 11th, under the veil of a thick fog, the energetic engineer soldiers began their work. Some of our infantry under my eye was located close at hand to guard the working parties. The artillerymen on the heights behind me also contributed their portion as soon as they could see. One of Franklin's bridges was laid by 2.30 in the morning, and the other, close by, was finished at a later hour. Our engineer battalion throwing out our bridge was not so successful. At about eight o'clock I detac
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