Preface 2; the photographic record as history
George Haven Putnam, Adjutant and Brevet Major 176th New York Volunteer Infantry
“History brought again into the present tense” : Confederate earthworks before Atlanta, 1864
The value of “The photographic record as history” is emphasized in the contribution from Mr. George Haven Putnam on page 60. This photograph of a dramatic scene was taken on a July day after the photographer's own heart — clear and sunny.
The Fort is at the end of Peach Tree Street, Atlanta, to the north of the city.
Sherman had just taken possession, and the man at the left is a cavalryman of his forces.
The mire-caked wheels of the guns show that they have been dragged through miles and miles of muddy roads.
The delays Sherman had met with in his advance on Atlanta resulting in constant and indecisive fighting without entrapping Johnston, had brought about a reaction at the North.
A large party wished to end the war. Election Day was approaching.
Lincoln was a presidential candidate for the second time.
He had many enemies.
But the news of Sherman's capture of Atlanta helped to restore confidence, and to insure the continuation of the administration pledged to a vigorous prosecution of the war. |
A striking war photograph of 1863: artillery “regulars” before Chancellorsville
The introduction on page 30, “Photographing the Civil War,” remarks on the genius required to record such vivid action by camera in the days of 1861.
The use of the instrument had not then become pastime; it was a pioneer science, requiring absolute knowledge, training, and experience.
Only experts like the men that Brady trained could do such work as this.
There were no lightning shutters, no automatic or universal focus.
In positions of danger and at times when speed and accuracy were required, there was the delicacy of the old-fashioned wet plate to consider, with all its drawbacks.
No wonder people were surprised that pictures such as this exist; they had grown used to the old woodcut and the often mutilated attempts of pen and pencil to portray such scenes of action.
There are many who never knew that photography was possible in the Civil War. Yet look at this Union battery, taken by the shore of the Rappahannock, just before the battle of Chancellorsville.
Action, movement, portraiture are shown.
We can hear the officer standing in front giving his orders; his figure leaning slightly forward is tense with spoken words of command.
The cannoneers, resting or ramming home the charges, are magnificent types of the men who made the Army of the Potomac--the army doomed to suffer, a few days after this picture was taken, its crushing repulse by the famous flanking charge of “Stonewall” Jackson; yet the army which kept faith and ultimately became invincible in the greatest Civil War of history.
Within sixty days after the Chancellorsville defeat the troops engaged won a signal triumph over the self-same opponents at Gettysburg. |
‘Tis fifty years since.
The words recall the opening sentence of Scott
's famous romance, “Waverley,” and Scott
's reference, like my own, had to do with the strenuous years of Civil War.
To one examining the unique series of photographs which were secured, during the campaigns of our great war, by the pluck and persistence of Brady
, and the negatives of which have, almost miraculously, been preserved through the vicissitudes of half a century, comes, however, the feeling that these battles and marchings were the events not of fifty years back, but of yesterday, if not, indeed, things of to-day.
These vivid pictures bring past history into the present tense; the observer sees our citizen soldiers as they camped, as they marched, and as they fought, and comes to know how they lived and how they died.
There are revealed to the eye through these lifelike photographs, as if through a vitascope, the successive scenes of the great life-and-death drama of the nation's struggle for existence, a struggle which was fought out through four eventful years, and in which were sacrificed of the best of manhood of the country, North and South, eight hundred thousand lives.
In September, 1862, I landed in New York from the Bremen
, which was then making its first transatlantic trip.
I had left my German university for the purpose of enlisting in the Union
army, and, with the belief that the
“Citizen soldiers” --the 93d New York.
This informal photograph of the Ninety-Third New York Infantry was taken in 1862 just before Antietam.
In it we see the quality of the men who dropped the pursuits of civil life and flocked to form the armies of the North.
Thus, in Camp and on the battlefield the camera did its work and now takes us back over the four terrible years, showing us to the minutest detail how our men marched and lived and fought.
The youth of the troops is strikingly evident in this picture as they stand assembled here with their arms hastily stacked for the ever-pleasurable experience of having their pictures taken. |
war could hardly be prolonged for many further months, I had secured leave of absence from my university only for the college year.
I have to-day a vivid recollection of the impression made upon the young student by the war atmosphere in which he found his home city.
In coming up from the steam-ship pier, I found myself on Broadway
near the office of the New York Herald, at that time at the corner of Ann Street. The bulletin board was surrounded by a crowd of anxious citizens, whose excitement was so tense that it expressed itself not in utterance but in silence.
With some difficulty, I made my way near enough to the building to get a glimpse of the announcement on the board.
The heading was, “A battle is now going on in Maryland
; it is hoped that General McClellan
will drive Lee
's army back into the Potomac
I recall to-day the curious impressiveness of the present tense, of the report of a battle that was actually “going on.”
To one who reads such an announcement, all things seem to be possible, and as I stood surrounded by men whose pulses were throbbing with the keenest of emotions, I felt with them as if we could almost hear the sound of the cannon on the Potomac
The contrast was the stronger to one coming from the quiet lecture-rooms of a distant university to the streets of a great city excited with twelve months of war, and with the ever-present doubt as to what the hours of each day might bring forth.
The fight that was then “going on” is known in history as the battle of Antietam
History tells us that Lee
's army was not pushed into the Potomac
There were two causes that prevented this result — George B. McClellan
and Robert E. Lee
was a skilled engineer and he knew how to organize troops, but he never pushed an enemy's army before him with the energy of a man who meant to win and who had faith that he could win. It was his habit to feel that he had made a brilliant success when, having come into touch with the foe, he had succeeded in withdrawing his own army without undue loss; and it is fair to say that when the enemy
The President investigates
Lincoln at McClellan's Headquarters, October 1, 1862.--The serious, impassive features of the President give no hint of the thoughts that were coursing through his mind as his calm eyes gazed upon the General and his staff.
He knew that “Little Mac,” as the soldiers fondly termed him, was the idol of the army and had the staunch support of his officers.
Lincoln also knew that he and McClellan differed radically as to the conduct of the war. Politics had crept into the Army of the Potomac, the politics which during the campaign of 1864 opposed McClellan to Lincoln as a candidate for the presidency.
As he stood there before the General's tent the Commander-in-chief could have summarily removed McClellan, but in accordance with his patient policy of leaving the future event to justify his course, Lincoln merely inspected the camp, talked with McClellan and his officers, and pondered all he saw and heard in an effort to find some military reason for the strange failure of the splendid army to end the war by a decisive campaign. |
was Robert E. Lee
, such a successful withdrawal might almost be considered as a triumph.
A fresh and vivid impression of the scene of the bloody struggle at Antietam Creek
is given in one of the photographs in this great war series.
The plucky photographer has succeeded in securing, from the very edge of the battle-field, a view of the movements of the troops that are on the charge; and when, on the further edge of the fields, we actually see the smoke of the long lines of rifles by which that charge is to be repulsed, we feel as if the battle were again “going on” before our eyes, and we find ourselves again infused with mingled dread and expectation as to the result.
In looking at the photographs, the Union
veteran recalls the fierce charge of Burnside
's men for the possession of the bridge and the sturdy resistance made by the regiments of Longstreet
He will grieve with the Army of the Potomac and with the country at the untimely death of the old hero, General Mansfield
; he will recall the graphic description given by the poet Holmes
of the weary week's search through the battle-field and the environs for the “body” of his son, the young captain, who lived to become one of the scholarly members of the national Supreme Court; and he may share the disappointment not only of the army, but of the citizens back of the army, that, notwithstanding his advantages of position, McClellan
should have permitted the Confederate army to withdraw without molestation, carrying with it its trains, its artillery, and even its captured prisoners.
Another photograph in the series, which is an example of special enterprise on the part of Mr. Brady
, presents Lincoln
in consultation some time after this bloody and indecisive battle.
The pose and the features of the two men are admirably characteristic.
Two weeks have elapsed since Lee
's withdrawal across the river, but the Army of the Potomac, while rested and fully resupplied, has been held by its young commander in an inexplicable inaction.
The battle fog at Antietam
The sulphur smoke of the guns, covering the field like a sea mist, tells us to-day as clearly as it told the photographer on September 17, 1862, that a battle is in progress off to the right.
It was indeed the bloodiest single day's action of the war, and there probably exists no finer picture of an actual engagement than this remarkable photograph.
At the moment of exposure the firing must have been terrific.
Down in the meadow are seen the caissons of the artillery; the guns are engaged less than a quarter of a mile away.
The battle-field of Antietam was the first that remained in complete possession of the Union troops since the disasters that began to overtake them after Fair Oaks in June.
On Antietam were staked the Confederate hopes for the conquest of Maryland.
The battle proved, however, to be the turning-point in establishing the sovereignty of the Union.
Lincoln had awaited a Union victory to justify a proclamation of emancipation.
This he issued September 22, 1862, almost before the sound of the mighty battle had died away. |
demand for an advance and his reiterated inquiries as to the grounds for the delay have met with no response.
The President finally comes to the Camp for a personal word with the commander in the field.
How the photographer secured the opportunity of being present at such an interview one does not know, but that he was there is unmistakable.
These vivid photographs which constitute the great historic series bring again into the present tense, for the memories of the veterans, all of the dramatic scenes of the years of war; and even to those who are not veterans, those who have grown up in years of peace and to whom the campaigns of half a century back are but historic pages or dim stories, even to them must come, in looking at these pictures of campaigns, these vivid episodes of life and death, a clearer realization than could be secured in any other way of what the four years struggle meant for their fathers and their grandfathers.
The fine views of Fort Stevens
and Fort Lincoln
recall the several periods in which, to the continuing anxieties of the people's leader, was added immediate apprehension as to the safety of the national capital.
On the 19th of April, 1861, the Massachusetts Sixth, on its way to the protection of Washington
, had been attacked in Baltimore
, and connections between Washington
and the North
were cut off. A few hundred troops represented all the forces that the nation had for the moment been able to place in position for the protection of the capital.
I have stood, as thousands of visitors have stood, in Lincoln
's old study, the windows of which overlook the Potomac
; and I have had recalled to mind the vision of his tall figure and sad face as he stood looking across the river where the picket lines of the Virginia
troops could be traced by the smoke, and dreading from morning to morning the approach of these troops over the Long Bridge
There must have come to Lincoln
during these anxious days the dread that he was to be the last President
of the United States
, and that the torch, representing the life of the nation, that had been transmitted
Here the gaunt figure of the Great Emancipator confronted General McClellan in his headquarters two weeks after Antietam had checked Lee's invasion of Maryland and had enabled the President to issue the Emancipation Proclamation.
Brady's camera has preserved this remarkable occasion, the last time that these two men met each other.
“We spent some time on the battlefield and conversed fully on the state of affairs.
He told me that he was satisfied with all that I had done, that he would stand by me. He parted from me with the utmost cordiality,” said General McClellan.
The plan to follow up the success of Antietam in the effort to bring the war to a speedy conclusion must have been the thought uppermost in the mind of the Commander-in-Chief of the Army as he talked with his most popular General in the tent.
A few days later came the order from Washington to “cross the Potomac and give battle to the enemy or drive him South.”
McClellan was relieved in the midst of a movement to carry out the order. |
to him by the faltering hands of his predecessor was to expire while he was still responsible for the continuity of the flame.
And it was not only in 1861 that the capital was imperiled.
The anxiety of the President
(never for himself, but only for his country and his responsibilities) was to be renewed in June, 1863, when Lee
was in Maryland
, and in July, 1864, at the time of Early
It was during Early
's hurried attack that Lincoln
, visiting Fort Stevens
, came into direct sight of the fighting by which Early
's men were finally repulsed.
For the President
, the war must indeed at this time have been something in the present tense, something which meant dread possibilities always impending.
The month of July, 1863, marked the turning point of the great contest.
If the Federal
lines had been broken at Gettysburg
would have been able, in placing his army across the highways to Baltimore
and to Philadelphia
, to isolate Washington
from the North
The Army of the Potomac would, of course, have been reconstituted, and Lee
would finally have been driven across the Potomac
as he was actually compelled to retire after the decision of the battle.
But such a check to the efforts of the North
, after two years of war for the maintenance of the nation, would in all probability have secured success for the efforts of the Confederate
sympathizers in Europe
and have brought about recognition and intervention on the part of France
and of England
Such an intervention would have meant the triumph of the Confederacy
and the breaking up of the great Republic.
The value for the cause of the success of Meade
in repelling, with heavy loss, the final assaults of Lee
was further emphasized by a great triumph in the West
On the very day on which Lee
's discomfited army was making its way back to the Potomac
, the troops of General Grant
were placing the Stars and Stripes over the well-defended works of Vicksburg
A beautiful little picture recalls the sharp fight that was made, on July 2, 1863, for the possession of Little Round
Officers of the fifty-fifth New York Volunteers |
Defenses of Washington-Camp of the first Connecticut heavy Artillery.
Here we see some of the guardians of the city of Washington, which was threatened in the beginning of the war and subsequently on occasions when Lincoln, looking from the White House, could see in the distance the smoke from Confederate Camp fires.
Lincoln would not consent to the withdrawal of many of the garrisons about Washington to reinforce McClellan on the Peninsula.
There was little to relieve the tedium of guard duty, and the men spent their time principally at drill and in keeping their arms and accouterments spick and span.
The troops in the tents and barracks were always able to present a fine appearance on review.
In sharp contrast was that of their battle-scarred comrades who passed before Lincoln when he visited the front.
Foreign military attaches often visited the forts about Washington.
In the center picture we see two of them inspecting a gun. |
Top. It was the foresight of General Warren
that recognized the essential importance of this position for the maintenance of the Union
After the repulse of Sickles
's Third Corps in the Peach Orchard
's men were actually on their way to take possession of the rocky hill from which the left and rear of the Union
line could have been enfiladed.
No Union force was for the moment available for the defense, but Warren
, with two or three aides, raised some flags over the rocks, and the leader of Longstreet
's advance, getting an impression that the position was occupied, delayed a brief spell for reenforcements.
This momentary respite gave Warren
time to bring to the defense of the hill troops from the nearest command that was available, a division of the Fifth Corps.
A few minutes later, came the first attack, followed by a series of fierce onsets that continued through the long summer afternoon.
With some advantages of position, and with the realization that the control of the hill was absolutely essential for the maintenance of the line, the Federals
held their own; but when darkness fell, the rocks of Devil's Den and the slopes of the hill were thickly strewn with dead, the bodies of the Blue
and the Gray lying closely intermingled.
A beautiful statue of Warren
now stands on Little Round Top
at the point where, almost single-handed, he placed his flag when there were no guns behind it. The general is looking out gravely over the slope and toward the opposite crest, where have been placed, in grim contrast to the smiling fields of the quiet farm behind, the Confederate
field-guns that mark the position of Longstreet
The editors have fortunately been able to include with the great Brady
series of army photographs a private collection, probably unique, of more than four hundred views of the gunboats on the rivers of the West
Each of these vessels represents a history of its own. One wishes for the imagination of a Homer which could present with due effectiveness a new “catalogue of the ships.”
Little Round Top — the key to Gettysburg.
A “slaughter pen” at Gettysburg.
On this rocky slope of Little Round Top, Longstreet's men fought with the Federals in the second day's conflict, July 2, 1863.
From boulder to boulder they wormed their way, to find behind each a soldier waiting for the hand-to-hand struggle which meant the death of one or the other.
After the battle each rock and tree overshadowed a victim.
The whole tangled and terrible field presented a far more appalling appearance than does the picture, which was taken after the wounded were removed.
Little Round Top had been left unprotected by the advance of General Sickles' Third Corps.
This break in the Federal line was discovered by General Warren just in time.
Hastily procuring a flag, with but two or three other officers to help him he planted it on the hill, which led the Confederates to believe the position strongly occupied and delayed Longstreet's advance long enough for troops to be rushed forward to meet it. The picture tells all too plainly at what sacrifice the height was finally held. |
, while accepting the armored vessels as possessing certain advantages and as apparently a necessity of “modern warfare,” had the impatience of the old-fashioned sailor against any such attempt at protection.
He preferred for himself the old type of wooden frigate of which his flagship, the famous Hartford
, was the representative.
“Why,” said he, “if a shell strikes the side of the Hartford
it goes clean through.
Unless somebody happens to be directly in the path, there is no damage, excepting a couple of easily plugged holes.
But when a shell makes its way into one of those ‘damned teakettles,’ it can't get out again.
It sputters round inside doing all kinds of mischief.”
It must be borne in mind, apart from the natural exaggeration of such an utterance, that Farragut
was speaking half a century ago, in the time of slow-velocity missiles.
His phrase “damned tea-kettles” came, however, to be the general descriptive term for the ironclads, applied not only by the men in the ranks but by the naval men themselves.
There were assured advantages given by the armor in time of action against most of the fire that was possible with the weapons of the day, but for the midsummer climate of Louisiana
, the “tea-kettles” were most abominable abiding places.
During the day, the iron of the decks would get so hot that the hand could barely rest upon it. At night, sleep was impossible.
The decks were kept wetted down, and the men lay on them, getting, toward the morning hours when the hulls had cooled down, such sleep as could be secured.
The progress of the armored transports making their way up the Red River
under fire from the shore was an interesting feature of that campaign.
The steepness of the banks on the Red River
gave peculiar advantages for such fire, as it was frequently the case that the guns of the boats could not be elevated so as to reach the foe's position.
It was difficult to protect the man at the wheel from such plunging fire, but bales of cotton were often placed around the upper
The fateful field
No picture has ever been painted to equal this panorama of the very center of the ground over which surged the struggling troops 'mid shot and shell during the thickest of the fighting at Gettysburg.
The camera was planted on Little Round Top, and through its eye we look northward over the valley toward and beyond the little town of Gettysburg.
Across the plain in the middle distance, over the Federal breastworks near the crest, and up to the very muzzles of the guns on Cemetery Ridge which were belching forth grape and canister, swept the men in gray under General Pickett in the last brave but unsuccessful assault that left Meade in possession of the field on Independence Day, 1863.
The daring gallantry, utter coolness, and grim determination with which that charge was made have rarely been paralleled in history.
The spirit of complete devotion to the conviction which prompted Pickett and his men is one of the most precious heritages of a united nation. |
works which were sufficient to keep off at least musketry fire.
This improvised armor proved, however, not only insufficient but a peril when the enterprising Confederate gunners succeeded in discharging from their field-pieces red-hot shot.
It happened more than once (I recall witnessing one such incident) that the cotton was brought into flames by such shot and it became necessary to run the vessel ashore.
A photograph in the series which presents a picturesque view of the famous Red River dam recalls some active spring days in Louisiana
The photograph gives an excellently accurate view of a portion of the dam, through the building of which Admiral Porter
's river fleet of eleven “turtles” was brought safely over the rapids at Alexandria
, and the army of General Banks
, repulsed and disappointed but by no means demoralized, was able to make its way back to the Mississippi
with a very much lessened opposition.
Through a sudden fall of the river, the “turtles” had been held above the rapids at Alexandria
Without the aid of Porter
's guns to protect the flank of the army retreating along the river road, it would have been necessary to overcome by frontal attacks a series of breastworks by which this road was blocked.
The energetic Confederate leader, General Taylor
, had managed to cut off all connections with the Mississippi
, and, while we were feeding in the town of Alexandria
the women and children whose men folks were fighting us from outside, we had rations sufficient for only about three weeks. The problem was, within the time at our disposal and with the material available (in a country in which there was no stone), to increase the depth of water on the rapids by about twenty-two inches. The plan submitted by the clever engineer officer, Lieut.-Colonel Bailey
, of the Fourth Wisconsin, was eagerly accepted by General Banks
's directions, five wing-dams were constructed, of which the shortest pair, with the widest aperture for the water, was up-stream, while the longest pair, with the narrowest passage for the water, was
Where Reynolds fell at Gettysburg.
At this spot Major-General John F. Reynolds met his death.
During the first day's fighting this peaceful cornfield was trampled by the advancing Confederates.
The cupola of the seminary on the ridge held at nightfall by Lee's forces is visible in the distance.
The town of Gettysburg lies one mile beyond.
General Reynolds' troops, advancing early in the day, had encountered the Confederates and had been compelled to fall back.
Later, the Federal line by hard fighting had gained considerable advantage on the right.
Impatient to retrieve the earlier retrograde movement at this point, General Reynolds again advanced his command, shoving back the enemy before it, and his line of skirmishers was thrown out to the cornfield in the picture.
Riding out to it to reconnoiter, General Reynolds fell, pierced by a Confederate bullet, near the tree at the edge of the road. |
placed at the point on the rapids where the increased depth was required.
The water was thrown, as it were, into a funnel, and not only was the depth secured, but the rush downward helped to carry the vessels in safety across the rocks of the rapids.
As I look at the photograph, I recall the fatiguing labor of “house-breaking,” when the troops were put to work, in details on alternate days, in pulling down the sugar-mills and in breaking up the iron-work
and the bricks.
On the further side of the river, a territory claimed by the sharpshooters of our opponents, men selected from the Western
regiments, protected more or less by our skirmish line, are applying their axes to the shaping of the logs for the crates from which the dams were constructed.
The wood-chopping is being done under a scattered but active fire, but while hastened somewhat in speed, it loses none of its precision.
I recall the tall form of the big six-footer, Colonel Bailey
, leading the way into the water where the men had to work in the swift current at the adjustment of the crates, and calling out, “Come along, boys; it's only up to your waists.”
As in duty bound, I marched after the colonel into the river, calling upon my command to follow; but the water which had not gone very much above the waist of the tall colonel, caught the small adjutant somewhere above the nostrils, with the result that he was taken down over the rapids.
He came up, with no particular damage, in the pool beyond, but in reporting for the second time, wet but still ready for service, he took the liberty of saying to the Wisconsin
, that was hardly fair for us little fellows.”
After the hot work of tearing down the sugar-mills, the service in the cool water, although itself arduous enough, was refreshing.
The dams were completed within the necessary time, and the vessels were brought safely through the rapids into the deep water below.
The saving of the fleet was one of the most dramatic incidents of the war, and the method of operation, as well as the
Colonel Joseph Bailey in 1864, the man who saved the fleet
The army engineers laughed at this wide-browed, unassuming man when he suggested building a dam so as to release Admiral Porter's fleet imprisoned by low water above the Falls at Alexandria at the close of the futile Red River expedition in 1864.
Bailey had been a lumberman in Wisconsin and had there gained the practical experience which taught him that the plan was feasible.
He was Acting Chief Engineer of the Nineteenth Army Corps at this time, and obtained permission to go ahead and build his dam. In the undertaking he had the approval and earnest support of Admiral Porter, who refused to consider for a moment the abandonment of any of his vessels even though the Red River expedition had been ordered to return and General Banks was chafing at delay and sending messages to Porter that his troops must be got in motion at once.
Bailey pushed on with his work and in eleven days he succeeded in so raising the water in the channel that all the Federal vessels were able to pass down below the Falls. “Words are inadequate,” said Admiral Porter, in his report, “to express the admiration I feel for the ability of Lieut. Colonel Bailey.
This is without doubt the best engineering feat ever performed. . . . The highest honors the Government can bestow on Colonel Bailey can never repay him for the service he has rendered the country.”
For this achievement Bailey was promoted to colonel, brevetted brigadier general, voted the thanks of Congress, and presented with a sword and a purse of $3,000 by the officers of Porter's fleet.
He settled in Missouri after the war and was a formidable enemy of the “Bushwhackers” till he was shot by them on March 21, 1867.
He was born at Salem, Ohio, April 28, 1827. |
Ready for her baptism
This powerful gunboat, the Lafayette, though accompanying Admiral Porter on the Red River expedition, was not one of those entrapped at Alexandria.
Her heavy draft precluded her being taken above the Falls.
Here we see her lying above Vicksburg in the spring of 1863.
She and her sister ship, the Choctaw, were side-wheel steamers altered into casemate ironclads with rams.
The Lafayette had the stronger armament, carrying two 11-inch Dahlgrens forward, four 9-inch guns in the broadside, and two 24-pound howitzers, with two 100-pound Parrott guns astern.
She and the Choctaw were the most important acquisitions to Porter's fleet toward the end of 1862.
The Lafayette was built and armed for heavy fighting.
She got her first taste of it on the night of April 16, 1863, when Porter took part of his fleet past the Vicksburg batteries to support Grant's crossing of the river in an advance on Vicksburg from below.
The Lafayette, with a barge and a transport lashed to her, held her course with difficulty through the tornado of shot and shell which poured from the Confederate batteries on the river front in Vicksburg as soon as the movement was discovered.
The Lafayette stood up to this fiery christening and successfully ran the gantlet, as did all the other vessels save one transport.
She was commanded during the Red River expedition by Lieutenant-Commander J. P. Foster. |
The battle with the river: the men who captured the current
Colonel Bailey's wonderful dam — which, according to Admiral Porter, no private company would have completed within a year.
Bailey's men did it in eleven days and saved a fleet of Union vessels worth $2,000,000. Never was there an instance where such difficulties were overcome so quickly and with so little preparation.
The current of the Red River, rushing by at the rate of nine miles an hour, threatened to sweep away the work of the soldiers as fast as it was performed.
The work was commenced by building out from the left bank of the river with large trees cross-tied with heavy timber and filled in with brush, brick, and stone.
We see the men engaged upon this work at the right of the picture.
Coal barges filled with brick and stone were sunk beyond this, while from the right bank cribs filled with stone were built out to meet the barges.
In eight days Bailey's men, working like beavers under the broiling sun, up to their necks in water, had backed up the current sufficiently to release three vessels.
The very next morning two of the barges were swept away.
Admiral Porter, jumping on his horse, rode to the upper falls and ordered the Lexington to come down and attempt the passage of the dam. The water was rapidly falling, and as the Lexington, having squeezed through the passage of the falls, approached the opening in the dam through which a torrent was pouring, a breathless silence seized the watchers on the shore.
In another instant she had plunged to safety, and a deafening cheer rose from thirty thousand throats.
Porter was afraid that Colonel Bailey would be too disheartened by the accident to the dam to renew work upon it. The other three vessels were at once ordered to follow the Lexington's example, and came safely through.
But Bailey was undaunted and “his noble-hearted soldiers, seeing their labor swept away in a moment, cheerfully went to work to repair damages, being confident now that all the gunboats would be finally brought over.”
Their hopes were realized when the last vessel passed to safety on May 12, 1864. |
whole effect of the river scene, are admirably indicated in the cleverly taken photographs.
A view of Fort McAllister
recalls a closing incident of Sherman
's dramatic march from Atlanta
to the sea. The veterans had for weeks been tramping, with an occasional interval of fighting, but with very little opportunity for what the boys called a square meal.
By the time the advance had reached the line of the coast, the commissary wagons were practically empty.
The soldiers had for days been dependent upon the scattered supplies that could be picked up by the foraging parties, and the foragers, working in a country that had been already exhausted by the demands of the retreating Confederates, gave hardly enough return, in the form of corn on the cob or an occasional razor-backed hog, to offset the “wear and tear of the shoe-leather.”
The men in the division of General Hazen
, which was the first command to reach the Savannah River
, could see down the river the smoke of the Yankee gunboats and of the transports which were bringing from New York, under appointment made months back by General Sherman
, the much-needed supplies.
But between the boys and the food lay the grim earthworks of Fort McAllister
Before there could be any eating, it was necessary to do a little more fighting.
The question came from the commander to General Hazen
, “Can your boys take those works?”
and the answer was in substance, “Ain't we jest obleeged to take them?”
The assault was made under the immediate inspection of General Sherman
, who realized the importance of getting at once into connection with the fleet, and the general was properly appreciative of the energy with which the task was executed.
“See my Bummers,” said Old Sherman with most illigant emotion.
“Ain't their heads as horizontal as the bosom of the ocean?”
The raising of Old Glory over the Fort
was the signal for the steaming up-stream of the supply ships, and that evening
Grant and his staff-during the final campaign
Just as the veterans in Blue and Gray were lining up for the final struggle — before Petersburg, June, 1864--this photograph was taken of the future victor, at his City Point headquarters, surrounded by his faithful staff.
They are (from left to right, sitting) Colonel John A. Rawlins, Adjutant-General; Colonel C. B. Comstock, A. D. C.; Lieutenant-General U. S. Grant; Major M. M. Morgan, Chief Commissary Colonel Ely S. Parker, Military Secretary; Colonel O. E. Babcock, A. D. C.; (standing) Captain Henry Janes, Quartermaster for Headquarters; Captain William S. Dunn, A. D. C.; Major Peter Hudson, A. D. C. |
witnessed for the advance division a glorious banquet, with real beef and soft bread.
The following day, which happened to be the 25th of December, General Sherman
was able to report to President Lincoln
that he had secured for him, or for the nation, a Christmas present in the shape of the city of Savannah
The preponderance of capable military leaders was an important factor in giving to the Southern
armies the measure of success secured by these armies during the first two years; but even during this earlier period, military capacity developed also on the side of the North
, and by the middle of the war the balance of leadership ability may be considered as fairly equal.
It may frankly be admitted, however, that no commander of the North
had placed upon him so stupendous a burden as that which was carried by Lee
, as the commander of the Army of Northern Virginia, through the weary and bloody campaigns of three years. For the last year of that period, Lee
was fighting with no forces in reserve and with constantly diminishing resources.
With great engineering skill, with ingenuity in utilizing every possible natural advantage for defense, with initiative and enterprise in turning defense at most unexpected moments into attack, with a sublime patience and persistence and with the devotion and magnificent fighting capacity of the men behind him, Lee
accomplished with his Army of Northern Virginia a larger task in proportion to the resources at his command than has, I believe, ever been accomplished in modern warfare.
The higher we place the ability of the Southern
commander and the fighting capacity of the men behind him, the larger, of course, becomes the task of the leaders and armies of the North
through whose service the final campaigns were won and the cause of nationality was maintained.
In going to England
in the years immediately succeeding the war, I used to meet with some sharp criticism from army men and from others interested in army operations, as to the time that had been taken by the men of the North
Lee — with his son, G. W. C. Lee, and Colonel Taylor
No military leader in any country, not even excepting General Washington himself, ever became so universally beloved as Robert E. Lee throughout the South before the close of the war. Rising from the nominal position of Superintendent of Fortifications at Richmond, he became the military adviser of Jefferson Davis and finally the General-in-Chief of the Confederate forces.
From the time that Lee began to drive back McClellan's forces from Richmond in the Seven Days Battles the hopes of the Confederates were centered in their great general.
So hastily arranged was that first and final meeting with Grant to discuss the terms of surrender that no photograph was obtained of it, but here are preserved for us the commanding figure, keen eyes, and marvelously moulded features of General Lee as he appeared immediately after that dramatic event.
He has just arrived in Richmond from Appomattox, and is seated in the basement of his Franklin Street residence between his son, Major-General G. W. C. Lee, and his aide, Colonel Walter Taylor. |
their opponents and to establish their control over the territory in rebellion.
Such phrases would be used as: “You had twenty-two millions against nine millions.
You must have been able to put two muskets into the field against every one of your opponents.
It was absurd that you should have allowed yourselves to be successfully withstood for four years and that you should finally have crushed your plucky and skilful opponents only through the brute force of numbers.”
I recall the difference of judgment given after the British
campaigns of South Africa
as to the difficulties of an invading army.
The large armies that were opposed to the plucky and persistent Boers
and the people at home came to have a better understanding of the nature and extent of the task of securing control over a wild and well-defended territory, the invaders of which were fighting many miles from their base and with lines of communication that were easily cut. By the constant cutting and harassing of the lines of communication, and a clever disposition of lightly equipped and active marching troops who were often able to crush in detail outlying or separated troops of the invaders, a force of some forty thousand Boers
found it possible to keep two hundred thousand well-equipped British troops at bay for nearly two years. The Englishman
now understands that when an army originally comprising a hundred thousand men has to come into action at a point some hundred of miles distant from its base, it is not a hundred thousand muskets that are available, but seventy thousand or sixty thousand.
The other thousands have been used up on the march or have been left to guard the lines of communication.
Without constantly renewed supplies an army is merely a helpless mass of men.
It is probable, in fact, that the history of modern warfare gives no example of so complex, extensive, and difficult a military undertaking as that which was finally brought to a successful close by the armies of the North
, armies which were contending against some of the best fighting material and the ablest military leadership that the world has known.