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Southern Historical Society Papers, Volume 37. (ed. Reverend J. William Jones), An incident of the battle of Winchester, or Opequon. (search)
in and drove the enemy's front, a splendid achievement. The battle trembled in the balance, as Colonel Thomas H. Carter says, and the artillery, of which he was the chief, rolled back in disaster and dismay the assaults made upon it. The turn of the battle came about the time the Eighth Corps and Torbet's whole corps of cavalry, with the exception of Wilson's division (which had been thrown to our right and held in check by Lomax), advanced, overlapping the small commands of Fitz Lee and Breckenridge a mile in distance and seeming to cover the whole face of the earth with their massive numbers. Just at that juncture Rodes fell, while directing his division with great skill and energy, and but for this deplorable misfortune it is far from certain that the Confederates would not have prevailed. But the two things came at once, the enemy's reinforcements and the fall of Rodes. I never saw such a sight in my life as that of the tremendous force, the flying banners, sparkling bayonets
y's force had been sent west of the Alleghanies, and Grant meant to lose no opportunity. On the 29th, he ordered Sheridan: If it is ascertained certainly that Breckenridge has been detached to go into Western Virginia, attack the remaining forces vigorously with every man you have; and if successful in routing them, follow up your success with the Sixth and Nineteenth corps, and send Crook to meet Breckenridge. But Sheridan replied on the same day: There is not one word of truth in the report of Breckenridge being in West Virginia; and then, with his usual spirit, he added: I believe no troops have yet left the Valley, but I believe they will, and that iBreckenridge being in West Virginia; and then, with his usual spirit, he added: I believe no troops have yet left the Valley, but I believe they will, and that it will be their last campaign in the Shenandoah. They came to invade, and have failed. They must leave, or cross the Potomac. The next day he said: If Early has detached troops for Richmond, I will attack him vigorously. It was with words like these that the chief and the subaltern inspired each other: they were evidently made
n sent from Lee's army, and reported to Early on the 5th of October; troops were ordered from Breckenridge, at this time in South-West Virginia; while all the reserves in the Valley were embodied and ll add greatly to your strength. . . All the reserves in the Valley have been ordered to you. Breckenridge will join you, or co-operate, as circumstances will permit, with all his force. Rosser left numbered 2,700; he gives no estimate of Fitz-Lee or Lomax's strength, and says not a word of Breckenridge or the reserves; but declares that these reinforcements about made up my losses at Winchesterly 10Fitz-Lee1,706 effective. Aug. 31Kershaw3,445 effective. Sept. 10Lomax3,568 effective. Breckenridge succeeded late in September to the command in South-West Virginia, and on the 13th of that mot of the Blue Ridge; Kershaw's division was therefore returned to Lee, and Cosby's cavalry to Breckenridge; and not long afterwards an entire rebel corps was transferred to Richmond, leaving with Earl
ate my forces, I shall assume the offensive. The rebels, however, knew the significance of this concentration quite as well as the national authorities, and Breckenridge, with about three thousand men, was dispatched from West Virginia, to distract, if possible, some of the troops in Tennessee. He succeeded only too well. On withdrew as rapidly as they had advanced. Nevertheless, Stoneman was ordered to concentrate as large a force as he could in East Tennessee, and either destroy Breckenridge, or drive him into Virginia. Thus, the enemy was able to make important diversions of national troops at this critical moment, both on the right and left. Schofield had first been sent with an entire corps to Johnsonville, and afterwards ordered to leave a portion of his command in that neighborhood; while Breckenridge attracted a large force to Knoxville, in East Tennessee, at the moment when every man, at every hazard, should have been concentrated in front of Hood. For, if the pr
ay Grant telegraphed to him: Savannah papers just received state that Forrest is expected in rear of Sherman, and that Breckenridge is already on the way to Georgia from East Tennessee. If this proves true, it will give you a chance to take the offe, and even Stoneman would have been better occupied resisting, the principal rebel army at the West, than in following Breckenridge's three thousand men with double their number in East Tennessee. Thomas also very greatly over-estimated Hood's forct to yield everything, they must defend Augusta and Savannah. But there was no organization, and little to organize. Breckenridge was reported to have been ordered from West Virginia, and Early from the Valley; but these rumors were soon ascertaine relied on to send all that can properly go. They had probably better be sent to Louisville, for I fear either Hood or Breckenridge will go to the Ohio river. I will submit whether it is not advisable to call on Ohio, Indiana, and Illinois, for sixt
tion and desperation of rebels preparations to abandon Richmond preposterous suggestions of Breckenridge and Beauregard Beauregard relieved by Johnston desertions from rebel army Lee's attempt toistraction and desperation were now at their height. Lee had been made general-in-chief, and Breckenridge secretary of war, in the vain hope that a change of counsellors or a concentration of authorithe following day to remove or destroy all supplies on the route of Sherman or Schofield, and Breckenridge inquired to what point Lee wished to retire, and whither stores should be moved, in the eventhey were like the last resource of men who had staked all and lost. On the 21st of February, Breckenridge suggested assembling the handful of infantry still under Early, the one brigade in South-Westin command of the troops opposed to Sherman. The same day, the formal orders were issued by Breckenridge to govern the chiefs of bureaux upon the evacuation of Richmond. Lynchburg was the point des
tain this authority. Immediately after the close of the interview Johnston telegraphed to Breckenridge, who had proceeded as far as Charlotte, with the fugitive government. Breckenridge came promBreckenridge came promptly at the summons, together with Reagan, the Postmaster-General of the rebel cabinet. A memorandum was then drawn up of the terms which Davis and his advisers considered desirable, and, on the 18th, Johnston and Breckenridge repaired together to the place of rendezvous. Sherman, however, objected to the presence of a member of the Richmond cabinet, whereupon Johnston proposed that BreckenridgeBreckenridge should be admitted to the interview in his capacity of major-general in the rebel army. To this Sherman consented, and the terms written out by Reagan were presented by Breckenridge and Johnston. SBreckenridge and Johnston. Sherman, however, preferred to write his own, which were substantially the same as those proposed by the rebels. His paper differed from mine only in being fuller.—Johnston's Military Narrative, p.
reserves in the valley have been ordered to you. Breckenridge will join you or co-operate, as circumstances wirom Stevenson's depot, where they, together with Breckenridge's division, were encamped (Ramseur's being at Wi Berryville road. I ordered Rhodes, Gordon, and Breckenridge to have their divisions under arms ready to go t considerable distance, and we were successful. Breckenridge's division did not arrive for some time, because General Breckenridge had moved it out, after my orders to him, to drive back some of the enemy's cavalry whicy's cavalry, and moved the other two brigades of Breckenridge's division towards the right, where our forces wd the enemy was making demonstrations in force. Breckenridge was scarcely in position before our cavalry on tin great confusion, followed by the enemy's, and Breckenridge's force was ordered to the left to repel this ca not captured, but are stragglers and skulkers. Breckenridge's division lost six colors, and Rhodes's divisio
tween General Joseph E. Johnston and myself, which, if approved by the President of the United States, will produce peace from the Potomac to the Rio Grande. Mr. Breckenridge was present at our conference, in the capacity of major-general, and satisfied me of the ability of General Johnston to carry out to their full extent the te as it gives the states the means of suppressing guerillas, which we could not expect them to do if we stripped them of all arms. Both Generals Johnston and Breckenridge admitted that slavery was dead, and I could not insist on embracing it in such a paper, because it can be made with the states in detail. I know that all the es, and a memorandum of what is called a basis for peace, had been entered into on the 18th inst, by General Sherman, with the rebel General Johnston. Brigadier-General Breckenridge was present at the conference. A cabinet meeting was held at eight o'clock in the evening, at which the action of General Sherman was disapproved b
ieved from command, 550; summoned to Georgia, III., 223; ordered to oppose Sherman, 291; in command in North Carolina, 312; supineness of, at Fort Fisher, 346. Breckenridge, General John C., reinforces Lee on the North Anna, II., 226, 261; dispatched to Shenandoah Valley to confront Hunter, 345; defeats Sigel in Valley of Virginiants preceding crossing of James, 347-363 moves to Petersburg, 364; defence of Petersburg, 364-369; reports Petersburg cut off from Weldon, 387: sends Early and Breckenridge against Hunter, 419; doubts as to Early's expedition across the Potomac 431 reinforces Early in Valley of Virginia, 504; loses Weldon road, 520; disingenuous r, i., 72-95; determination of troops on both sides, 95; false reports at the West of, 100. Sigel, General, Franz, in Valley of Virginia, II., 416; beaten by Breckenridge, 417; superseded by Hunter, 417-; evacuates Martinsburg, 432; removal from command, 436. Signals, in use by both armies, the same code of, II., 222. Slav
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