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Chapter 18:

  • Effect of McClellan's defeat in the North.
  • -- organization of another Federal army under Gen. Pope. -- political significance of Pope's appointment. -- New measures of violence in the war. -- McClellan's ideas of the conduct of the war. -- his “Harrison-bar letter.” -- divisions of sentiment in the North as to the character and measures of the war. -- position of the Democratic party. -- the Radicals in Congress. -- their Anti-slavery design. -- their theory of revenge upon the South. -- cardinal errour of this political school. -- declaration of Wendell Phillips. -- system of spoliation and disfranchisement in the South. -- Gen. Pope's address to his army in Virginia. -- his war upon non-combatants. -- Legalization of plunder. -- irruption of the Northern spoilsmen into Virginia. -- Pope's military lines. -- Gen. Lee between two forces -- he sends Jackson against Pope. -- he threatens McClellan's communications. -- battle of Cedar Run. -- Banks again deceived by Jackson. -- a rapid and severe engagement. -- Gen. Lee moves out to the lines of the Rappahannock.Adventurous movement of Jackson to reach Pope's rear. -- his perilous position. -- he is apparently in the jaws of destruction. -- the affair of Manassas and Bristoe Station. -- the second battle of Manassas. -- Longstreet's march to reinforce Jackson. -- his passage of Thoroughfare Gap. -- his timely and critical arrival on the field of battle. -- a close contest. -- fighting at ten paces. -- the battle of the first day not decisive. -- disposition of the two armies for the great contest of the second day. -- Jackson at close quarters. -- he drives the enemy. -- the whole Confederate line of battle advancing. -- a sublime spectacle. -- scenes on the Banks of Bull Run. -- Pope retreats to Centreville and thence towards Washington. -- Jackson strikes him again. -- engagement at Ox Hill. -- Pope's immense losses. -- his absurd claim of victory. -- ludicrous correspondence between Pope and Halleck. -- rapid and brilliant change in the fortunes of the Confederacy. -- the war transferred from the interiour to the frontier. -- alarm in the North. -- popularity in the Confederacy of an offensive war. -- a true statement of Gen. Lee's designs in crossing the upper Potomac and invading Maryland. -- why he did not move upon Washington and Alexandria. -- his proclamation at Frederick. -- weak response of the Marylanders. -- explanation of this. -- capture of Harper's Ferry, &c. -- how Jackson invested it. -- McClellan at the head of the Federal army. -- his inactivity. -- he becomes acquainted with Lee's plans by a curious accident. -- he presses forward to relieve Harper's Ferry. -- fight in Boonesboroa Gap. -- Gen. Lee retires to Sharpsburg. -- meanwhile Jackson completes the reduction of Harper's Ferry. -- battle of Sharpsburg. -- comparative strength of the two armies. -- Fluctuation of the tide of battle on the Confederate left. -- repulse of the enemy. -- the Confederate centre is broken and recovers. -- the enemy gets possession of the bridge over the Antietam. -- the day closes with the enemy repulsed at all points, and a victory for the Confederates. -- why Gen. Lee did not renew the battle the next day. -- why he retreated. -- McClellan's claim of victory. -- how it was an afterthought. -- Lee's army recruiting in Virginia

[296] The news of the retreat of the great Federal army under the command of McClellan from before Richmond to the James River, caused great excitement throughout the North. The details of the repulse fell upon the community with disheartening effect, and produced such a shock as had not been felt since the commencement of the war. A fierce clamour was raised against the unfortunate commander; and the occasion of the organization and direction of another Federal army against Richmond under Maj.-Gen. Pope, who had actually crossed the Rappahannock, as if to seize Gordonsville, and move thence upon the Confederate capital, was busily used to throw McClellan into the shade, to disparage his career, and to break down whatever public confidence might yet be disposed to linger in his name. Divisions and recriminations between these two grand wings of the Federal forces in Virginia were early developed. Several of McClellan's generals of division asked relief from duty under him, regarding him as inefficient and incompetent, and had been assigned to Pope's army. The friends of McClellan were not slow to retaliate that Pope was an upstart and braggart, who by trickery and partisan politics, had become chief favourite of the Washington Cabinet, and a military impostor, convenient only as a tool in the hands of the Radical party, who mistook brutality in lie war for vigour, and were for increasing the horrours of hostilities by emancipating and arming the slaves, legalizing plunder, and making the invaded country of the South the prey of white brigands and “loyal” negroes.

The appointment of this man to the command of the Federal forces gathered on the Rappahannock was significant of the design of the Washington Administration to introduce new measures of violence in the contest, and to re-enter upon the campaign in Virginia with a new trial of warfare. The desperate fortunes of the war were now to be prosecuted with a remarkable exasperation. Pope was a violent Abolitionist, a furious politician; his campaigns in the West had been remarkable only for the bluster of official despatches, big falsehoods in big print, and a memorable career of cruelty in Southeastern Missouri. He had suddenly risen into favour at Washington. McDowell, a moderate Democrat, having no sympathy with the Anti-Slavery school of politics — who some months before had been stationed at Fredericksburg, and was promised chief command of the movement thence upon Richmond when joined by Banks, Shields, and Fremont, but whose hopes had been destroyed by the rapid marches [297] and victories of “StonewallJackson — was humiliated to find his plans and chief command entrusted to an incompetent man, and himself put in an obscure and subordinate position under Pope.

Whatever question there may have been of the military capacity of McClellan, it is certain that there were political reasons at Washington for putting him out of the way. He was a Democrat; his constant interpretation of the war had been that it was a contest for the restoration of the Union, not a war of vengeance, and should not be diverted or degraded from what h: esteemed a noble and laudable object, by revengeful designs upon the population of the South and a recourse to savage outrage. He had already obtained certain respect from the people of the South by a studious regard for the rights of private property within the lines of his military command, and his honourable disposition to direct war and deal its penalties against bodies of armed men rather than against the general population of the country without regard to age, sex, and other conditions, appealing to humanity and protected under the civilized code of war. The distressed commander, under the weight of a great defeat, yet had power of mind to write, a few days after his retreat to James River, a letter to President Lincoln, at Washington, which, apart from his military career, must ever remain a monument of honour to his name. The text of this letter deserves to be carefully studied as the exposition of the doctrines of a party in the North, that was for limiting the objects of the war to its original declarations, and conducting it on humane and honourable principles:

Headquarters Army of the Potomac, Camp Near Harrison's Landing, Va., July 7, 1862.
Mr. President: You have been fully informed that the rebel army is in the front, with the purpose of overwhelming us by attacking our positions or reducing us by blocking our river communications. I cannot but regard our condition as critical, and I earnestly desire, in view of possible contingencies, to lay before your excellency, for your private consideration, my general views concerning the existing state of the rebellion, although they do not strictly relate to the situation of this army, or strictly come within the scope of my official duties. These views amount to convictions, and are deeply impressed upon my mind and heart. Our cause must never be abandoned; it is the cause of free institutions and self-government. The Constitution and the Union must be preserved, whatever may be the cost in time, treasure, and blood. If secession is successful, other dissolutions are clearly to be seen in the future. Let neither military disaster, political faction, nor foreign war, shake your settled purpose to enforce the equal operation of the laws of the United States upon the people of every State.

The time has come when the Government must determine upon a civil and military policy, covering the whole ground of our national trouble.

The responsibility of determining, declaring, and supporting such civil and military policy, and of directing the whole course of national affairs in regard to the rebellion, must now be assumed and exercised by you, or our cause will be lost. The Constitution gives you power, even for the present terrible exigency. [298]

This rebellion has assumed the character of a war; as such it should be regarded, and it should be conducted upon the highest principles known to Christian civilization. It should not be a war looking to the subjugation of the people of any State, in any event. It should not be at all a war upon population, but against armed forces and political organizations. Neither confiscation of property, political executions of persons, territorial organizations of States, or forcible abolition of slavery, should be contemplated for a moment.

In prosecuting the war, all private property and unarmed persons should be strictly protected, subject only to the necessity of military operations; all private property taken for military use should be paid or receipted for; pillage and waste should be treated as high crimes; all unnecessary trespass sternly prohibited, and offensive demeanour by the military towards citizens promptly rebuked. Military arrests should not be tolerated, except in places where active hostilities exist; and oaths, not required by enactments, constitutionally made, should be neither demanded nor received.

Military government should be confined to the preservation of public order and the protection of political right. Military power should not be allowed to interfere with the relations of servitude, either by supporting or impairing the authority of the master, except for repressing disorders, as in other cases. Slaves, contraband under the act of Congress, seeking military protection, should receive it. The right of the Government to appropriate permanently to its own service slave labour should be asserted, and the right of the owner to compensation therefor should be recognized. This principle might be extended, upon grounds of military necessity and security, to all the slaves of a particular State, thus working manumission in such State; and in Missouri, perhaps in Western Virginia also, and possibly even in Maryland, the expediency of such a measure is only a question of time. A system of policy thus constitutional, and pervaded by the influences of Christianity and freedom, would receive the support of almost all truly loyal men, would deeply impress the rebel masses and all foreign nations, and it might be humbly hoped that it would commend itself to the favour of the Almighty.

Unless the principles governing the future conduct of our struggle shall be made known and approved, the effort to obtain requisite forces will be almost hopeless. A declaration of radical views, especially upon slavery, will rapidly disintegrate our present armies. The policy of the Government must be supported by concentration of military power. The national forces should not be dispersed in expeditions, posts of occupation, and numerous armies, but should be mainly collected into masses, and brought to bear upon the armies of the Confederate States. Those armies thoroughly defeated, the political structure which they support would soon cease to exist.

In carrying out any system of policy which you may form, you will require a commander-in-chief of the army, one who possesses your confidence, understands your views, and who is competent to execute your orders, by directing the military forces of the nation to the accomplishment of the objects by you proposed. I do not ask that place for myself. I am willing to serve you in such position as you may assign me, and I will do so as faithfully as ever subordinate served superiour.

I may be on the brink of eternity; and as I hope forgiveness from my Maker, I have written this letter with sincerity towards you and from love for my country.

Very respectfully, your obedient servant, George B. McClellan, Major-General Commanding. His Excellency A. Lincoln, President.

The letter of McClellan was significant of a remarkable division of sentiment [299] in the North on the conduct of the war. That division was apparent in the Federal Congress, and marked by sharp lines of party conflict. The best portion of the Democratic party recognized the true proportions and character of the war; were for according all belligerent rights to the Confederates; and strenuously insisted that its objects should be limited to the restoration of the Union. They claimed that the war for the Union had been cheated of its due effect by the intrusion of sectional rancour and the injudicious or unfaithful acts of agents of the Government. They resisted the inauguration, now attempted at Washington, of a system of spoliation and disfranchisement in the invaded country of the South; they declared that such a system would rob the cause of its sanctity, and render success more difficult of attainment.

The Radical party, on the other hand, which controlled a majority of votes in Congress, were for extending the contest to the extinction of slavery, and punishing the “( rebels” with every conceivable means that the quick imagination of hate and revenge could suggest. They could not realize the fact that the contest had risen to the dignity of war. Their great mistake was that they habitually underrated the extent and strength of “the rebellion,” just as they had formerly underrated and contemned the grievances of the South and their hold on the Southern mind. They refused to apply even Vattel's test of a civil war, viz.: “that a considerable body of insurgents had risen against the sovereign ;” they repudiated all its appurtenances of a humane code of warfare, the exchange of prisoners, etc.; and the consequences of such a theory were constantly recurring difficulties about belligerent rights on sea and land, and inhumanities which would sicken the heart of a savage. In fact, this party cared nothing for the success of the war unless it could be used for purposes of revenge upon the Southern people, and embrace a design upon their institution of slavery. Wendell Phillips, a famous Radical orator in the North, had not hesitated to declare that he would deplore a victory of McClellan, because ( “the sore would be salved over,” and it would only be the victory of a slave Union; and that he thanked Beauregard for marshalling his army before Washington, because it had conferred upon Congress the constitutional power to abolish slavery.

The appointment of John Pope to what was now the most important command in Virginia was a triumph of the Radical party at Washington, and dated that system of spoliation and disfranchisement in the Southern States, now to be distinctly announced in forms of authority and in the text of official orders. Pope assumed his new command in the following address, which long amused the world as a curiosity in military literature and the braggart flourish of a man, whom the Richmond Examiner deascribed as “a compound of Bobadil and Munchausen:” [300]

To the Officers and Soldiers of the Army of Virginia:
By special assignment of the President of the United States, I have assumed command of this army. I have spent two weeks in learning your whereabouts, your condition, and your wants; in preparing you for active operations, and in placing you in positions from which you can act promptly and to the purpose. I have come to you from the West, where we have always seen the backs of our enemies — from an army whose business it has been to seek the adversary, and to beat him when found, whose policy has been attack and not defence. In but one instance has the enemy been able to place our Western armies in a defensive attitude. I presume that I have been called here to pursue the same system, and to lead you against the enemy. It is my purpose to do so, and that speedily. I am sure you long for an opportunity to win the distinction you are capable of achieving — that opportunity I shall endeavor to give you. Meantime I desire you to dismiss from your minds certain phrases which I am sorry to find much in vogue amongst you. I hear constantly of taking strong positions and holding them — of lines of retreat, and of bases of supplies. Let us discard such ideas. The strongest position a soldier should desire to occupy is one from which he can most easily advance against the enemy. Let us study the probable lines of retreat of our opponents, and leave our own to take care of themselves. Let us look before us and not behind. Success and glory are in the advance. Disaster and shame lurk in the rear. Let us act on this understanding, and it is safe to predict that your banners shall be inscribed with many a glorious deed, and that your names will be dear to your countrymen forever.

He followed this characteristic production with a series of general orders, making war upon the non-combatant population within his lines. He ordered the arrest of citizens, and on their refusing to take an “oath of allegiance,” they were to be driven from their homes, and if they returned anywhere within his lines they should be “considered spies, and subjected to the extreme rigour of military law I”

By a general order of the Federal Government, the military commanders of that Government, within the States of Virginia, South Carolina, Georgia, Florida, Alabama, Mississippi, Louisiana, Texas, and Arkansas, were directed to seize and use any property, real or personal, belonging to the inhabitants of this Confederacy which might be necessary or convenient for their several commands, and no provision was made for any compensation to the owners of private property thus seized and appropriated by the military commanders of the enemy.

Pope went further than this authority, for he threw open all the country he occupied or controlled to unlimited spoliation by his soldiers. They were given to understand that they were free to enter upon a campaign of robbery and murder against unarmed citizens and peaceful tillers of the soil. The country was ravaged as by a horde of barbarians. Houses were robbed; cattle were shot dead in the fields; clothing and jewelry were stolen; and nothing was spared in this new irruption of the Northern spoilsmen. A Northern journal, more candid and honourable than its cotemporaries, referring to the depravity of Pope's troops in Virginia, said: [301] “The new usage which has been instituted in regard to protection of rebel property, and the purpose of the Government to subsist the army as far as practicable upon the enemy's country, has produced a decided revolution in the feelings and practices of the soldiery. Unless these innovations are guarded by far more stringent safeguards against irregular and unauthorized plundering, we shall have let loose upon the country, at the close of the war, a torrent of unbridled and unscrupulous robbers. Rapid strides towards villainy have been made during the last few weeks; men, who at home would have shuddered at the suggestion of touching another's property, now appropriate remorselessly whatever comes within their reach. Thieving, they imagine, has now become an authorized practice.”

The military movements in Virginia were now of surpassing interest. Pope was across the Rappahannock, with a strong advance guard south of Culpepper Court-House, and near Gordonsville. The enemy also appeared in force at Fredericksburg, and threatened the railroad from Gordonsville to Richmond, apparently for the purpose of co-operating with the movement of Pope.

From early indications Gen. Lee was inclined to believe that McClellan would not again operate on the Peninsula, but had concluded to transport most of his forces to the Rappahannock, and form a junction with Pope. But it was necessary to be very careful in making any movement between the two forces, and to await, as far as possible, the full development of the enemy's designs. To meet the advance of Pope, and restrain, as far as possible, the atrocities which he threatened to perpetrate upon defenseless citizens, Gen. Jackson, with his own and Ewell's division, was ordered to proceed towards Gordonsville, on the 13th of July. Upon reaching that vicinity, he ascertained that the force under Gen. Pope was superiour to his own, but the uncertainty that then surrounded the designs of McClellan, rendered it inexpedient to reinforce him from the army at Richmond. He was directed to observe the enemy's movements closely, and to avail himself of any opportunity to attack that might arise.

McClellan, who was still at Westover, on James River, continuing to manifest no intention of resuming active operations, and Gen. Pope's advance having reached the Rapidan, Gen. A. P. Hill, with his division, was ordered, on the 27th of July, to join Gen. Jackson. At the same time, in order to keep McClellan stationary, or, if possible, to cause him to withdraw, Gen. D. II. Hill, commanding south of James River, was directed to threaten his communications, by seizing favourable positions below Westover, from which to attack the transports in the river. That officer selected Coggin's Point, opposite Westover. On the night of the 31st of July, Gen. French, accompanied by Brig.-Gen. Pendleton, chief of artillery, placed forty-three guns in position within range of the enemy's shipping in the river, and of the camps on the north side, upon both of which [302] fire was opened, causing consternation, and inflicting serious damage. The guns were withdrawn before daybreak, with the loss of one killed and two wounded by the gunboats and batteries of the enemy. This attack caused Gen. McClellan to send a strong force to the south bank of the river, which entrenched itself on Coggin's Point.

While the main body of Gen. Lee's army awaited the development of McClellan's intentions, Gen. Jackson, reinforced by A. P. Hill, determined to assume the offensive against Pope, whose army, still superiour in numbers, lay north of the Rapidan.

Only a portion of Gen. Pope's army was at Culpepper Court-House. The forces of Banks and Sigel, and one of the divisions of McDowell's corps, had been concentrated there; Banks' corps being pushed forward five miles south of the town. Gen. Jackson, who was anxious to meet his old acquaintance of the Shenandoah Valley, resolved to attack this portion of the Federal army, before the arrival of the remainder; and on the 7th August moved from Gordonsville for that purpose.

Battle of Cedar Run.

On the 9th, Jackson's command arrived within eight miles of Culpepper Court-House, when the enemy was found near Cedar Run, a short distance northwest of Slaughter's Mountain. Early's brigade, of Ewell's division, was thrown forward on the road to Culpepper Court-House. The remaining two brigades, those of Trimble and Hays, diverging to the right, took position on the western slope of Slaughter's Mountain. Jackson's own division, under Brig.-Gen. Winder, was placed on the left of the road. The battle opened with a fierce fire of artillery, which continued for about two hours, during which Gen. Winder, while directing the movements of his batteries, was killed.

It was now above five o'clock in the evening, and there had scarcely been any demonstration beyond that of artillery. Gen. Banks, about this time, sent word to Pope, who was at Culpepper Court-House, seven miles away from the field, that the enemy had made no considerable demonstration upon him, and that he hardly expected a battle that afternoon. But the obtuse Federal commander, despite his lesson in the Shenandoah Valley, was again to be deceived by his wily and vigorous adversary. Banks' courier had but just started, when an advance of the Federal infantry uncovered, what had been unknown to their commander, the flanking force of Confederates on the slopes of the mountain. The infantry fight soon extended to the left and centre. Early became warmly engaged with the enemy on his right and front. He had previously called for reinforcements. As Gen. Hill had arrived with his division, one of his brigades, [303] Gen. Thomas', was sent to Early, and joined him in time to render efficient service. Whilst the attack upon Early was in progress, the main body of the Federal infantry moved down from the wood, through the corn and wheat-fields, and fell with great vigour upon our extreme left, and, by the force of superiour numbers, bearing down all opposition, turned it, and poured a destructive fire into its rear. At this critical moment, Branch's brigade, of Hill's division, with Winder's brigade further to the left, met the Federal forces, flushed with their temporary triumph, and drove them back with terrible slaughter, through the woods. The fight was still maintained with obstinacy, between the enemy and the two brigades just named, when, reinforcements coming up, a general charge was made, which drove the enemy across the field into the opposite woods, strewing the narrow valley with his dead. At every point of their line the Federals fell back. It had been one of the most rapid and severe engagements of the war. The attack of Banks had failed; his centre and left were irreparably broken; and night alone saved him from the severe penalty of pursuit.

The next day, Gen. Jackson remained in position, and, becoming satisfied that Banks had been reinforced, proceeded to bury the dead, and collect the arms from the battle-field, and at night returned to the vicinity of Gordonsville. The official report of his loss was 223 killed and 1,060 wounded. It was closely estimated that the enemy's loss was at least two thousand, including four hundred prisoners in our hands.

Shortly after the victory at Cedar Run, it became apparent to Gen. Lee that Pope's army was being largely increased. The corps of Maj.-Gen. Burnside, from North Carolina, which had reached Fredericksburg, was reported to have moved up the Rappahannock, a few days after the battle, to units with Gen. Pope, and a part of Gen. McClellan's army was believed to have left Westover for the same purpose. In this condition of affairs it was promptly decided by Gen. Lee, that the most effectual way to relieve Richmond from any danger of attack, would be to reinforce Gen. Jackson, and advance upon Pope. On the 13th August, Maj.-Gen. Longstreet, with his division, and two brigades, under Gen. Hood, were ordered to proceed to Gordonsville. At the same time, Gen. Stuart was directed to move with the main body of his cavalry to that point, leaving a sufficient force to observe the enemy still remaining in Fredericksburg, and to guard the railroad. Gen. R. H. Anderson was also directed to leave his position on James River, and follow Longstreet. On the 16th, the troops began to move from the vicinity of Gordonsville towards the Rapidan, on the north side of which, extending along the Orange and Alexandria Railroad, in the direction of Culpepper Court-House, the Federal army lay in great force.

It was intended that Longstreet and Jackson should cross the Rapidan, [304] an.l attack the enemy's left flank; but Pope taking the alarm, nastily retreated beyond the Rappahannock. While Gen. Lee was making demonstrations at various points of the river, Jackson's forces, some twenty-five thousand strong, left the main body on the 25th August, and proceeded towards the head-waters of the Rappahannock. He was encumbered with no baggage, and moved with great rapidity. Crossing the river about Tour miles above Waterloo, he pushed rapidly towards Salem, and, turning the head of his column, proceeded eastward parallel with the Manassas Gap Railroad, until he reached the village of Gainesville. The design of this rapid and adventurous movement of Jackson was, to move around the enemy's right, so as to strike the Orange and Alexandria Railroad. Longstreet, in the mean time, was to divert his attention by threatening him in front, and follow Jackson as soon as the latter should be sufficiently advanced.

On the 26th August, Gen. Jackson was between the large army of Pope and the Federal capital. It was a situation of extreme peril. He was in the rear of an enemy much more powerful than himself, far from all supports, liable to be attacked by superiour numbers from Washington, on the one hand, and in danger of annihilation if Pope should face about and co-operate with a force moving in that direction. The enemy was being heavily reinforced. The corps of Heintzelman and Porter, probably twenty thousand strong, joined Pope on the 26th and 27th of August, at Warrenton Junction. Another portion of McClellan's army, transported from Westover, consisting of the corps of Franklin and Sumner, were at Alexandria, intending to reinforce Pope's lines; making altogether an array of force and a situation in which the Federal Government had reason to expect a certain and splendid victory. It seemed indeed that Jackson had marched into the jaws of destruction, and had thrust into Pope's hands the opportunity of an easy and brilliant conquest.

But Jackson's designs upon Pope's stores at Bristoe and Manassas Station as well as upon his communications with Washington, were an important part of his expedition, were effectively carried out, and were accomplished before Pope could realize that such a force was in his rear, and that the demonstration upon his depots of supplies was not a mere guerilla foray. The amount of stores captured by Jackson was large. At Manassas, eight pieces of artillery were taken, and more than three hundred prisoners. Here there was a vast accumulation of supplies: fifty thousand pounds of bacon, one thousand barrels of corn-beef, two thousand barrels of salt pork, two thousand barrels of flour, quartermasters' ordnance, and sutlers' stores, deposited in buildings, and filling two trains of cars. Having appropriated all that his army could use, Gen. Jackson ordered the remainder of these stores to be destroyed, to avoid recapture by the enemy. [305]

On the 27th August, a considerable force of the enemy under Brig.-Gen. Taylor, approached from the direction of Alexandria, and pushed forward boldly towards Manassas Junction. After a sharp engagement, the enemy was routed and driven back, leaving his killed and wounded on the field. Gen. Taylor himself being mortally wounded during the pursuit. In the afternoon, the enemy advanced upon Gen. Ewell at Bristoe, from the direction of Warrenton Junction. They were attacked by three regiments and the batteries of Ewell's division, and two columns, of not less than a brigade each, were broken and repulsed. Their places were soon supplied by fresh troops; and it was apparent the Federal commander had now become aware of the situation of affairs, and had turned upon Gen. Jackson with his whole force. Gen. Ewell, upon perceiving the strength of the enemy, withdrew his command, part of which was at the time engaged, and rejoined Gen. Jackson at Manassas Junction, having first destroyed the railroad bridge over Broad Run. The enemy halted at Bristoe.

The second battle of Manassas.

It being evident that the design of Pope was to fall upon Jackson, and annihilate him in his isolated position, that alert Confederate commander rapidly withdrew from Manassas, and took a position west of the turnpike road from Warrenton to Alexandria, where he could more rapidly unite with the approaching column of Longstreet.

Taliaferro's division moved, during the night, by the road to Sudley, and crossing the turnpike near Groveton, halted on the west side, where it was joined by the divisions of Hill and Ewell. Perceiving during the afternoon of the 28th, that the enemy, approaching from the direction of Warrenton, was moving down the turnpike towards Alexandria, thus exposing his left flank, Gen. Jackson advanced to attack him. A fierce and sanguinary conflict ensued, which continued until about nine o'clock in the night, when the enemy slowly fell back, and left us in possession of the field.

The next morning, the 29th, the enemy had taken a position to interpose his army between Gen. Jackson and Alexandria, and about ten o'clock, opened with artillery upon the right of Jackson's line. The troops of the latter were disposed in the rear of Groveton, along the line of the unfinished branch of the Manassas Gap Railroad, and extended from a point a short distance west of the turnpike towards Sudley Mill-Jackson's division, under Brig.-Gen. Starke, being on the right, Ewell's, under Gen. Lawton, in the centre, and A. P. Hill on the left. The Federal army was evidently concentrating upon Jackson, with the design of overwhelming him before the arrival of Longstreet. [306]

The latter officer was already approaching the critical field of battle on a rapid march. The preceding day he had reached Thoroughfare Gap — a wild, rude opening through the Bull Run Mountains, varying in width from one hundred to two hundred yards. The enemy held a strong position on the opposite gorge, and had succeeded in getting his sharpshooters in position on the mountain. Brig.-Gen. D. R. Jones advanced two of his brigades rapidly, and soon drove the enemy from his position on the mountain. Brig.-Gen. Hood, with his own and Gen. Whiting's brigade, was ordered, by a footpath over the mountain, to turn the enemy's right, and Brig.-Gen. Wilcox with his own and Brig.-Gen. Featherstone's and Pryor's brigades, was ordered through Hopewell Gap, three miles to our left, to turn the right and attack the enemy in rear. The movement was so successful that the enemy, after a brief resistance, retreated during the night.

Early the next morning, Longstreet's columns were united, and the advance to join Gen. Jackson was resumed. The noise of battle was heard before Longstreet reached Gainesville. The march was quickened. The excitement of battle seemed to give new life and strength to his jaded men. On a rapid march he entered the turnpike near Gainesville, moving down towards Groveton, the head of his column coming upon the field in rear of the enemy's left, which had already opened with artillery upon Jackson's right, as previously described. Longstreet took position on the light of Jackson, Hood's two brigades, supported by Evans, being deployed across the turnpike, and at right angles to it.

The timely appearance of Longstreet gave a new aspect to the field; and the enemy, discovering his movements, showed a disposition to withdraw his left from the attack. He changed his front, so as to meet the advance of Hood and Evans. However, about two o'clock in the afternoon, another effort was directed against Jackson, this time against his left, occupied by the division of Gen. A. P. Hill. The attack was received by his troops with great steadiness. The enemy was repeatedly repulsed, but again pressed the attack with fresh troops. Once he succeeded in penetrating an interval between Gen. Gregg's brigade on the extreme left, and that of Gen. Thomas, but was quickly driven back with great slaughter. The contest was close and obstinate, the combatants sometimes delivering their fire at ten paces. At last Early's brigade was ordered up, and drove the enemy back with heavy loss. While this action was taking place on Jackson's left, Gen. Longstreet ordered Hood and Evans to advance, but before the order could be obeyed, Hood was himself attacked, and his command at once became warmly engaged. Reinforced by Wilcox's and Kemper's brigades, Hood pressed forward; and after a severe contest, the enemy was repulsed, fell back, and was closely followed by our troops, who continued to advance until about nine o'clock in the night, when the action ceased. [307]

The action of this day was not a general or decisive one. The enemy appears to have had no settled plan of attack, and to have experimented on the strength of our lines. But whatever the significance of the action, success was plainly with the Confederates; they had driven the enemy, advanced their positions, and were now prepared for a renewal of the engagement on the scene of the first great battle of the war.

The decisive contest was yet to take place; although Pope, quick to boast, and unscrupulous in his official dispatches, had already telegraphed to Washington that he had won a great victory, and was master of the field. As the morning of the 30th broke, the Confederates were under arms; the pickets of the two armies were within a few hundred yards of each other; and cannonading along the lines betokened the approaching contest. The troops of Jackson and Longstreet maintained their positions of the previous day. Fitzhugh Lee, with three regiments of his cavalry, was posted on Jackson's left, and R. H. Anderson's division, which arrived during the forenoon, was held in reserve near the turnpike. The line of battle stretched for a distance of about five miles from Sudley Springs on the left to the Warrenton road, and thence in an oblique direction towards the southwest. The disposition of the enemy's forces was, Gen. Heintzelman on the extreme right, and Gen. McDowell on the extreme left, while the army corps of Gen. Fitz-John Porter and Sigel, and Reno's division of Gen. Burnside's army, were placed in the centre.

For a good part of the day, the action was fought principally with artillery. But about three o'clock in the afternoon, the enemy having massed his troops in front of Gen. Jackson, advanced against his position in strong force. His front line pushed forward until engaged at close quarters by Jackson's troops, when its progress was checked, and a fierce and bloody struggle ensued. A second and third line, of great strength, moved up to support the first, but in doing so, came within easy range of a position a little in advance of Longstreet's left. He immediately ordered up two batteries, and two others being thrown forward about the same time by Col. S. D. Lee, under their well-directed and destructive fire the supporting lines were broken, and fell back in confusion. Their repeated efforts to rally were unavailing, and Jackson's troops being thus relieved from the pressure of overwhelming numbers, began to press steadily forward, driving the enemy before them. He retreated in confusion, suffering severely from our artillery, which advanced as he retired. Gen. Longstreet, anticipating the order for a general advance, now threw his whole command against the Federal centre and left. Hood's two brigades, followed by Evans, led the attack. R. H. Anderson's division came gallantly to the support of Hood, while the three brigades under Wilcox moved forward on his left, and those of Kemper on his right. D. R. Jones advanced

&n the extreme right, and the whole line swept steadily on. [308]

The magnificent array swept the enemy before them, pausing only to drive them from each successive position. It was the most sublime spectacle that was ever witnessed on a battle-field. As far as the eye could range, a line of bayonets glittered in the sun. Now it could be observed passing through open fields. Again it would disappear in the woods. A brief pause would ensue, followed by the clatter of artillery riding to the front, and the awful roar of the guns. Then a shout would proclaim that the enemy was again in retreat, and the advance swept on, its bayonets catching now and then the light of the sun, while sheets of artillery fire blazed through clouds of smoke and dust. The ground which the men traversed was in many places red with blood. In wood and field, across creeks and brooks, the roar of battle continued, and long lines of smoke curling over tree-tops wafted away on the evening breeze. Lines of ambulances and stretchers followed the grand advance as it swept on in its deliberate work of destruction, leaving scenes of carnage in its rear. Groans and death-cries arose on every hand, mingling with the distant roar and rush of battle. Still the advance was relentless. As the masses of fugitives were driven across Bull Run, many were literally dragged and crushed under the water, the crowds of frenzied men pressing and trampling upon each other in the stream. The wounded and dying of both armies lined the banks. Some, in the endeavour to drink, had tumbled in, and from weakness unable to extricate themselves, had been drowned; others in the water clung to branches, and thus sustained themselves for a little while, and then were seen to let go their hold and disappear. The meadows were trodden down, wet and bloody. Hundreds of bodies had been ridden over and crushed by artillery or cavalry. In front was the brilliant spectacle of a valourous army in steady, relentless pursuit: in the rear was the ground, torn, scarred, bloody, piled with heaps of dead and dying, as monuments of war's horrours.

The pursuit continued until 10 P. M. The enemy escaped to the strong position of Centreville, about four miles beyond Bull Run, where his flight was arrested by the appearance of the corps of Franklin and Sumner, nineteen thousand strong. The next day Gen. Jackson was directed to proceed by Sudley's Ford to the Little River turnpike, to turn the enemy's right, and intercept his retreat to Washington. Jackson's progress was retarded by the inclemency of the weather and the fatigue of his troops, who, in addition to their arduous marches, had fought three severe engagements in as many days. He reached Little River turnpike in the evening, and the next day, September 1st, advanced by that road towards Fairfax Court House. The enemy, in the meantime, was falling back rapidly towards Washington, and had thrown out a strong force to Germantown, on the Little River turnpike, to cover his line of retreat from Centreville. The advance of Jackson's column encountered the enemy at Ox Hill, near Germantown, [309] about 5 P. M. Line of battle was at once formed, and two brigades of A. P. Hill's division, those of Branch and Field, were thrown forward to attack the enemy, and ascertain his strength and position. A cold and drenching rain-storm drove in the faces of our troops as they advanced and gallantly engaged the enemy. They were subsequently supported by the brigades of Gregg, Thomas, and Pender; also of Hill's division, which, with part of Ewell's, became engaged. The conflict was maintained by the enemy until dark, when he retreated, having lost two general officers, one of whom, Major-Gen. Kearney, was left dead on the field.1 Longstreet's command arrived after the action was over, and the next morning it was found that the enemy had conducted his retreat so rapidly, that the attempt to intercept him was abandoned. The proximity of the fortifications around Alexandria and Washington rendered further pursuit useless; and the Confederates rested near Chantilly, the enemy being followed only by the cavalry, who continued to harass him until he reached the shelter of his entrenchments.

In the series of engagements on the plains of Manassas, more than seven thousand prisoners were taken, in addition to about two thousand wounded left in our hands. Thirty pieces of artillery, upwards of twenty thousand of small arms, numerous colours, and a large amount of stores, besides those taken by Gen. Jackson at Manassas Junction, were captured. Pope confessed to a loss of eight thousand killed and wounded in the battle of the 29th; and it may be safely concluded that in the series of engagements, his total loss was not less than twenty-five thousand.

He had sustained a most decisive defeat. It was a dark hour for the Northern people. Elated by Pope's false dispatches from the field, they had been counting on a splendid victory, and few were prepared to hear of the retreat and total demoralization of the army in three days. Now the war was transferred from the gates of Richmond to those of Washington. It was in vain that the Government in the latter city attempted to misrepresent the situation, and to support Pope's ludicrous claim that he was a victor. Such a claim was actually made by Pope even after he had been driven to Centreville; and the correspondence on that occasion between him and Halleck might be taken as a burlesque on Yankee official dispatches, if the originals did not exist in Washington. On the night of the 30th of August, Pope, at Centreville, had dispatched to Halleck, at Washington: “The enemy is badly whipped, and we shall do well enough. Do not be uneasy. We will hold our own here. We have delayed the [310] enemy as long as possible without losing the army. We have damaged him heavily, and I think the army entitled to the gratitude of the country.” And Halleck replied: “My dear General, you have done nobly.” But the Northern public was in no humour to join in the congratulation, or to be amused by such stuff in official dispatches. A terrible situation was before their eyes. The Confederates had won the crowning victory of the campaign in Virginia; they would certainly attempt a new adventure; and so greatly had they risen in the opinion of their enemies, that no project was thought too extravagant, or enterprise too daring, for the troops of Lee and Jackson.

The change in the fortunes of the Confederacy had been rapid, decisive, and brilliant. The armies of Gens. McClellan and Pope had now been brought back to the point from which they set out on the campaigns of the spring and summer. The objects of those campaigns had been frustrated, and the designs of the enemy on the coast of North Carolina, and in Western Virginia, thwarted by the withdrawal of the main body of his forces from those regions. Northeastern Virginia was freed from the presence of Federal soldiers up to the entrenchments of Washington, and as Lee's army marched towards Leesburg, information was received that the troops which had occupied Winchester had retired to Harper's Ferry and Martinsburg.

The war was thus transferred from the interiour to the frontier; the supplies of rich and productive districts were made accessible to our armies; our forces were advancing upon the lines of the Potomac with increased numbers, improved organization, and the prestige of victory; and the Northern public, which, a little more than two months ago, was expecting the fall of Richmond and the surrender of the Confederate cause, now trembled for Pennsylvania and Ohio, and contemplated the probability of the Confederate occupation of Washington city.

A large majority of the Southern people had long been in favour of transferring the war to the enemy's country at the earliest practicable moment. Their own experiences of the rigour of the war made them naturally anxious to visit its hardships and penalties upon the Northern people in their own homes; it was declared that it was necessary to give the enemy some other realization of the war than that of an immense money job, in which many profited; and military science was adduced to explain that the offensive was the proper character to give to every war, and that the ulterior design to take it should be the end of all the actions of the belligerents.

On the 3d September, Gen. Lee's army moved towards Leesburg, and it was soon understood that he designed crossing the Upper Potomac, and transferring hostilities to the soil of Maryland. But in this first experiment of Confederate invasion, it must be remarked that Gen. Lee's designs [311] and expectations were much more moderate than those commonly entertained by the Confederate public. He did not desire to permit the season for active operations to pass without endeavouring to inflict further injury upon the enemy; and as the works around Washington and Alexandria were too strong to be attacked, it was decided to find a new field of operations across the Potomac, somewhere between the Blue Ridge and the Federal capital.

When Lee crossed the Potomac, his army still continued to be divided into three commands-viz., the corps of Gen. Jackson, consisting of the divisions of Gens. A. P. Hill, Ewell, and his own division; and that of Gen. Longstreet, composed of the divisions of Gens. McLaws, Walker, Anderson, and Hood; and a division under Gen. D. H. till, which usually acted independently of either of the generals commanding corps. The cavalry, under Gen. Stuart, continued to cover the advance of the army. The scene of operations selected was the country between Washington and the range of hills bearing the name of South Mountain, and forming a continuation of the chain of the Blue Ridge on the northern side of the Potomac.

On the 5th September the army crossed the fords of the Potomac, and on the 6th Jackson's corps entered Frederick City (Maryland), situated on the right bank of the Monocacy River, a tributary of the Potomac. The divisions of Longstreet and D. II. Hill followed Jackson's corps across the Potomac, and the line of the Monocacy River was for a short time occupied by the Confederate forces.

At Frederick, Gen. Lee issued the following proclamation to the people of Maryland, to explain the reasons that had induced him to enter their territory, and to reassure their supposed preference for the Confederate cause:

Headquarters Army of Northern Virginia, Near Frederick, Monday, Sept. 8th, 1862.
To the people of Maryland:
It is right that you should know the purpose that has brought the army under my command within the limits of your State, so far as that purpose concerns yourselves. The people of the Confederate States have long watched with the deepest sympathy the wrongs and outrages that have been inflicted upon the citizens of a commonwealth allied to the States of the South by the strongest social, political, and commercial ties, and reduced to the condition of a conquered province. Under the pretence of supporting the Constitution, but in violation of its most valuable provisions, your citizens have been arrested and imprisoned, upon no charge, and contrary to all the forms of law. A faithful and manly protest against this outrage, made by an illustrious Marylander, to whom, in better days, no citizen appealed for right in vain, was treated with contempt and scorn. The Government of your chief city has been usurped by armed strangers; your Legislature has been dissolved by the unlawful arrest of its members; freedom of speech and of the press has been suppressed; words have been declared offences by an arbitrary [312] decree of the Federal Executive, and citizens ordered to be tried by military commission for what they may dare to speak.

Believing that the people of Maryland possess a spirit too lofty to submit to such a Government, the people of the South have long wished to aid you in throwing off this foreign yoke, to enable you again to enjoy the inalienable rights of freemen, and restore the independence and sovereignty of your State. In obedience to this wish, our army has come among you, and is prepared to assist you with the power of its arms in regaining the rights of which you have been so unjustly despoiled. This, citizens of Maryland, is our mission, so far as you are concerned. No restraint upon your free will is intended; no intimidation will be allowed within the limits of this army, at least. Marylanders shall once more enjoy their ancient freedom of thought and speech. We know no enemies among you, and will protect all of you, in every opinion. It is for you to decide your destiny, freely, and without constraint. This army will respect your choice, whatever it may be; and while the Southern people will rejoice to welcome you to your natural position among them, they will only welcome you when you come in of your own free will.

R. E. Lee, General Commanding.

The response of the people of Maryland to this appeal was not what Gen. Lee had been led to expect; it was equivocal, timid, inconsiderable. Instead of the twenty or thirty thousand recruits which he had believed he would obtain on the soil of Maryland, he found the people there content to gaze with wonder on his ragged and poorly-equipped army, but with little disposition to join its ranks. It is true that he had penetrated that part of the State which was not well affected towards the South, but in close neighbourhood and sympathy with Pennsylvania; and that whatever Southern sympathy there might be in Eastern Maryland, and in the noble city of Baltimore, it could scarcely reach him when it was held back at the point of the bayonet, and suppressed in the shadow of Federal forts. Frederick City, indeed, was not without some display of welcome. But expressions of confidence and joy appeared to have been lost in the one prevailing sentiment of wonder that the ragged men, stained with rain, and dust, and dirt, so devoid of all the pomp of war, so unlike what they had been accustomed to see of soldiers, could be the army which had defeated in so many engagements the apparently splendid troops of the North, and which had been heralded by imagination as a shining host, bearing aloft the emblem of victory, and kindling in the breast of the spectator the passion for glory.2


Capture of Harper's Ferry, etc.

It had been supposed by Gen. Lee that the advance upon Frederick would lead to the evacuation of Martinsburg and Harper's Ferry, thus opening the line of communication through the valley. This not having occurred, it became necessary to dislodge the enemy from those positions, before concentrating the army west of the mountains. To accomplish this with the least delay, Gen. Jackson was directed to proceed with his command to Martinsburg, and, after driving the enemy from that place, to move down the south side of the Potomac upon Harper's Ferry.

On the 14th of September Gen. Jackson had succeeded in investing Harper's Ferry, with its garrison of nearly thirteen thousand men, on three sides. A division of Longstreet's corps, under McLaws, had been sent to attack and shut it up on the Maryland side, and now occupied the fertile tract of country which is enclosed by the continuation of the Maryland Heights and the South Mountain spur of the Blue Ridge. The two ranges run nearly parallel for a little distance from the river, with an intervening space of about two miles in breadth, but the South Mountain branches off in the neighbourhood of Boonsboroa, forming what is called the “Pleasant Valley.”

But at this time occurred a most critical movement on the part of the enemy, originating in one of those little accidents which sometimes disconcerts the schemes of tile greatest commanders. After the defeat of Pope, McClellan had again been placed at the head of the Federal armies in and around Washington. He was evidently at a loss to understand Lee's movements; he remained inactive for several valuable days; and he was restrained by President Lincoln's fears, who was anxious lest Gen. Lee, Having, by a feint of advance into Maryland, drawn the army from Washington, should turn around and capture the city by a coup de main. But accident, at last, revealed to him, not only the precise nature of Lee's plans, but the exact disposition of his forces.

Of the curiosity displayed towards Jackson, a Confederate officer, who shared the campaign in Maryland, gives the following amusing account:

Crowds were continually hanging round his headquarters, and peeping through the windows, as if anxious to catch him at his

incantations. “Others, again, actually thought that he was continually praying, and imagined that angelic spirits were his companions and counsellors; and it was not until the great man had mounted his old horse, and frequently aired himself in the streets, that many began to think him less than supernatural. His shabby attire and unpretending deportment quite disappointed the many who expected to see a great display of gold lace and feathers; and when he ordered his guards to clear his quarters of idle crowds, many went away muttering, ‘ Oh! he's no great shakes after all! ’ ” [314]

A copy of the order directing the movement of ;he army from Frederick had been sent to D. H. Hill; and this vain and petulant officer, in a moment of passion, had thrown the paper on the ground. It was picked up by a Federal soldier, and McClellan thus strangely became possessed of the exact detail of his adversary's plan of operations.

His first thought was to relieve Harper's Ferry. He immediately began to push forward rapidly, and on the afternoon of the 13th was reported approaching the pass in South Mountain on the Boonesboroa and Frederick road. By penetrating the mountains at this point, he would reach the rear of McLaws, and be enabled to relieve the garrison at Harper's Ferry. To prevent this, Gen. D. H. Hill was directed to guard the Boonesboroa Gap, and Longstreet ordered to march from Hagerstown to his support.

The small command of Gen. Hill repelled the repeated assaults of the Federal army, and held it in check for five hours. Several attacks on the centre were gallantly repulsed by Colquitt's brigade, and Rodes, on the left, maintained his position against heavy odds with the utmost tenacity. Longstreet, leaving one brigade at Hagerstown, had hurried to the assistance of Hill, and reached the scene of action between three and four P. M. His troops, much exhausted by a long, rapid march and the heat of the day, were disposed on both sides of the turnpike. The battle continued with great animation until night. On the south of the turnpike, the enemy was driven back some distance, and his attack on the centre repulsed with loss. His great superiourity of numbers enabled him to extend beyond both of the Confederate flanks. By this means he succeeded in reaching the summit of the mountain, beyond our left, and pressing heavily from that direction, gradually forced our troops back, after an obstinate resistance. Darkness put an end to the contest. The effort to force the passage of the mountains had failed, but it was manifest that, without reinforcements, we could not hazard a renewal of the engagement, as the enemy could easily turn either flank. Information was also received that another large body of Federal troops had, during the afternoon, forced their way through Crampton's Gap, only five miles in rear of McLaws. Under these circumstances, it was determined by Gen. Lee to retire to Sharpsburg, where he would be upon the flank and rear of the enemy, should he move against McLaws, and where he could more readily unite with the rest of the army.

The resistance that had been offered to the enemy at Boonesboroa, secured sufficient time to enable Gen. Jackson to complete the reduction of Harper's Ferry. On the afternoon of the 14th, when he found that the troops of Walker and McLaws were in position to cooperate in the attack he ordered Gen. A. P. Hill to turn the enemy's left flank, and enter Harper's Ferry. Gen. A. P. Hill observing a hill on the enemy's extreme left [315] occupied by infantry without artillery, and protected only by abattis of felled timber, directed Gen. Pender with his own brigade, and those of Archer and Col. Brockenbrough, to seize the crest, which was done with slight resistance. At the same time he ordered Gens. Branch and Gregg to march along the Shenandoah, and taking advantage of the ravines intersecting its steep banks, to establish themselves on the plain to the left and rear of the enemy's works. This was accomplished during the night. Under the direction of Col. Crutchfield, Gen. Jackson's chief of artillery, ten guns, belonging to Ewell's division, were posted on the east side of the Shenandoah, so as to enfilade the enemy's entrenchments on Bolivar Heights, and take his nearest and most formidable works in reverse. Gen. McLaws, in the meantime, made his preparations to prevent the force which had penetrated at Crampton's Gap from coming to the relief of the garrison.

The attack on the garrison began at dawn. A rapid and vigorous fire was opened from the batteries of Gen. Jackson and those on Maryland and Loudoun Heights. In about two hours the garrison surrendered. Seventy-three pieces of artillery, about thirteen thousand small arms, and a large quantity of military stores, fell into our hands.

Leaving Gen. A. P. Hill to receive the surrender of the Federal troops, and secure the captured property, Gen. Jackson, with his two other divisions, set out at once for Sharpsburg, ordering Gens. McLaws and Walker to follow without delay. Gen. Jackson arrived early on the 16th, and Gen. Walker came up in the afternoon. The progress of McLaws was slow, and he did not reach the battle-field at Sharpsburg, until some time after the engagement of the 17th began.

Battle of Sharpsburg.

Gen. Lee was now prepared to deliver battle, and to meet the mighty Federal host with about forty thousand men. McClellan's force was certainly not less than ninety thousand men. We have placed here the own official estimate of each commander of the strength of his respective army, as the justest exhibition of the disproportion of the forces joined in the battle of Sharpsburg.

The commands of Longstreet and D. II. Hill occupied a position along the range of hills between the town and the Antietam, nearly parallel to the course of that stream; Longstreet on the right of the road to Boonesboroa, and Hill on the left. The extreme left was held by Jackson, his right resting upon the Hagerstown road, and his left extending towards the Potomac.

As the sun of the 17th September rose, the batteries on either side opened [316] fire. The heaviest fire of the enemy's artillery was directed against our left, and, under cover of it, a large force of infantry attacked Gen. Jackson. This heroic commander held the strongest part of a line which extended over four miles. The advance of the enemy was met by his troops with the utmost resolution, and for several hours the conflict raged with great fury and alternate success. Hood's two brigades were moved to the support of Jackson. The enemy's lines were broken and forced back; but fresh numbers advanced to their support, and the Federals began to gain ground. The desperate resistance they encountered, however, delayed their progress until the troops of Gen. McLaws arrived, and those of Gen. Walker could be brought from the right. With these timely reinforcements the tide changed; the Confederates again advanced, and the enemy were driven back in confusion, closely followed by our troops, beyond the position occupied at the beginning of the engagement. The enemy renewed the assault on our left several times, but was repulsed with loss. He finally ceased to advance his infantry, and for several hours kept up a furious fire from his numerous batteries, under which our troops held their position with great coolness and courage.

The attack on our left was speedily followed by one in heavy force on the centre. This was met by part of Walker's division, and the brigades of G. B. Anderson and Rodes, of D. H. Hill's command, assisted by a few pieces of artillery. The enemy was repulsed, and retired behind the crest of a hill, from which they kept up a desultory fire.

Gen. R. H. Anderson's division came to Hill's support, and formed in rear of his line. At this time, by a mistake of orders, Gen. Rodes' brigade was withdrawn from its position. The enemy immediately pressed through the gap thus created, and G. B. Anderson's brigade was broken, and retired. The heavy masses of the enemy again moved forward, being opposed only by four pieces of artillery, supported by a few hundreds of men, belonging to different brigades. The firm front presented by this small force, and the well directed fire of the artillery, under Captain Miller, of the Washington Artillery, and Captain Boyce's South Carolina battery, checked the progress of the enemy, and in about an hour and a half he retired.

While the attack on the centre and left was in progress, the enemy made repeated efforts to force the passage of the bridge over the Antietam, opposite the right wing of Gen. Longstreet, commanded by Brig.-Gen. D. R. Jones. This bridge was defended by Gen. Toombs with two regiments of his brigade. Gen. Toombs' small command repulsed five different assaults, made by a greatly superiour force, and maintained its position with distinguished gallantry.

In the afternoon, the enemy began to extend his line, as if to cross the Antietam below the bridge, and at four, P. At., Toombs' regiments retired [317] from the position they had so bravely held. The enemy immediately crossed the bridge in large numbers, and advanced against Gen. Jones, who held the crest with less than two thousand men. After a determined and brave resistance, he was forced to give way, and the enemy gained the summit.

Gen. A. P. Hill had arrived from Harper's Ferry, having left that place at half-past 7, A. M1. He was now ordered to reinforce Gen. Jones. Hill's batteries were thrown forward, and united their fire with those of Gen. Jones. The progress of the enemy was immediately arrested, and his line began to waver. At this moment Gen. Jones ordered Toombs to charge the flank, while Archer, supported by Branch and Gregg, moved upon the front of the Federal line. The enemy made a brief resistance, then broke, and retreated in confusion towards the Antietam, pursued by the troops of Hill and Jones, until he reached the protection of the batteries on the opposite side of the river.

It was now nearly dark, and the enemy had massed a number of batteries to sweep the approaches to the Antietam, on the opposite side of which the corps of Gen. Porter, which had not been engaged, now appeared, to dispute our advance. Our troops were much exhausted, and greatly reduced in numbers by fatigue and the casualties of battle. Under these circumstances, it was deemed injudicious to push our advantage further, in the face of fresh troops of the enemy much exceeding the number of our own. They were accordingly recalled.

This repulse of the enemy ended the engagement. The sum of the day's work was, that every effort of the enemy to dislodge us from our position had been defeated with severe loss. The conflict had been protracted and sanguinary. The spoils of the victory were not great. A few prisoners and guns were taken. As for our loss, it had indeed been heavy, amounting to not less than two thousand killed and six thousand wounded; including among the former, two general officers, Gens. Branch and Starke. The Federals, having been the assailants, their loss was yet more severe, reaching the terrible aggregate of twelve thousand dead or disabled men. Their sacrifice of officers had been serious. Gens. Mansfield and Reno were killed, and twelve other Generals were among the wounded.

Gen. Lee had especial reasons for not renewing the battle the next day. The arduous service in which his troops had been engaged, their great privations of rest and food, and the long marches, without shoes, over mountain roads, had greatly reduced their ranks before the action began; and they had been seriously diminished in the terrible action they had just fought. Although too weak to assume the offensive, Gen. Lee awaited without apprehension a renewal of the attack. The day passed without any demonstration on the part of the enemy, who, from the reports received, was expecting the arrival of reinforcements. As Gen. Lee could [318] not look for a material increase of strength, and the enemy's numbers could be largely and rapidly augmented, it was not thought to be prudent to wait until he should be ready again to offer battle. During the night of the 18th September, his army was accordingly withdrawn to the south side of the Potomac, crossing near Shepherdstown without loss or molestation.

It is curious to observe by what successive steps the North constructed the pretence of a victory at Sharpsburg. McClellan never claimed a victory until assured of Lee's retreat into Virginia. On the 19th, he telegraphed to Washington: “I do not know if the enemy is falling back to an interiour position, or recrossing the river. We may safely claim the victory as ours.” He did not assert this until more than thirty hours had elapsed subsequent to the engagement at Sharpsburg! Some few hours after the above telegram, he consoled the authorities at Washington by saying: “Our victory is complete! The enemy is driven back into Virginia. Maryland and Pennsylvania are now safe!”

If McClellan was under the impression that he had won a victory, he showed but little disposition to improve it, or to gather its fruits. He attempted no pursuit; and when, some days later, a force he had thrown across the Potomac was dislodged by an attack of A. P. Hill's division, he wrote to Washington asking for reinforcements; and on the 27th September renewed the application, stating his purpose to be to hold the army where it was, and to attack Lee, should he attempt to recross into Maryland. Meanwhile the Confederate army moved leisurely towards Martinsburg, and remained in the vicinity of Bunker Hill and Winchester, to recruit after a campaign which has few parallels in history for active operation and brilliant results.

1 Gen. Kearney met his death in a singular manner. He was out reconnoitering, when he suddenly came upon a Georgia regiment. Perceiving danger, he shouted, “Don't fire-i'm a friend!” but instantly wheeled his horse round, and, lying flat down upon the animal, had escaped many bullets, when one struck him at the bottom of the spine, and, ranging upwards, killed him almost instantly.

2 The correspondent of a Northern journal thus writes of the appearance of the famous Jackson and the troops he led into Maryland:

Old Stonewall was the observed of all observers. He was dressed in the coarsest kind of homespun, seedy and dirty at that; wore an old hat which any Northern beggar would consider an insult to have offered him; and in his general appearance was in no respect to be distinguished from the mongrel, bare-footed crew who followed his fortunes. I had heard much of the decayed appearance of the rebel soldiers, but such a looking crowd! Ireland in her worst straits could present no parallel; and yet they glory in their shame!

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North Carolina (North Carolina, United States) (2)
Monocacy River (United States) (2)
Missouri (Missouri, United States) (2)
Germantown (Tennessee, United States) (2)
Coggin's Point (Virginia, United States) (2)
Waterloo, Va. (Virginia, United States) (1)
Washington (United States) (1)
Virginia (Virginia, United States) (1)
Sudley Springs (Virginia, United States) (1)
South Carolina (South Carolina, United States) (1)
Salem (Massachusetts, United States) (1)
Pleasant Valley (Maryland, United States) (1)
McClellan (West Virginia, United States) (1)
Louisiana (Louisiana, United States) (1)
Loudoun Heights (Virginia, United States) (1)
Georgia (Georgia, United States) (1)
Chantilly (Virginia, United States) (1)
Broad Run (Virginia, United States) (1)
Baltimore, Md. (Maryland, United States) (1)
Arkansas (Arkansas, United States) (1)
Alabama (Alabama, United States) (1)

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