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of leaders at this important juncture might dampen the ardor of the Union army and make it a less confident opponent of its old-time antagonist. In this dark period of its history we were to join that army and cast in our lot with it for victory or defeat, for life or death. Had Hooker been permitted to take French's troops from Maryland Heights, there is good reason for believing that we should have become a permanent part and parcel of the Twelfth Corps, as the following extract from Swinton's Army of the Potomac will show. After speaking of the moves open to Hooker from Frederick, where he had concentrated, he says: There is yet evidence that he purposed making at least a strong demonstration on Lee's line of communications. With this view he threw out his left well westward to Middletown, and ordered the Twelfth Corps, under General Slocum, to march to Harper's Ferry. Here Slocum was to be joined by the garrison of that post, eleven thousand strong, under General Fre
was told with a very interesting setting of details. Never having heard the incident before, it came as new matter and was forgotten; but while looking up material for this campaign we found his story fully corroborated in all essential points, and that Stuart did, on that very night after his interview with the Third Corps, find himself thus involved. Lossing says between the Third and Second corps, but he is wrong, as the whole of the former encamped at or near Greenwich that night. Swinton says Sykes's Fifth Corps and Warren's Second, which is more probable. His first resolve was to abandon his guns, and get out the best way he could, hoping to escape under cover of darkness with little loss; but this idea he relinquished, and hid his forces in a thicket of low pines that are wont to spring up from the exhausted soil of old fields. Feeling uncertain what the issue of his complicated situation might be, he fitted out three of his men with muskets and Union uniforms, with ins
gin, during the night, that it was simply madness to think of an assault upon it. So thought Warren, who was considered a skilful engineer; so thought the men of his command; Recognizing that the task now before them was of the character of a forlorn hope, knowing well that no man could here count on escaping death, the soldiers, without sign of shrinking from the sacrifice, were seen quietly pinning on the breast of their blouses of blue, slips of paper on which each had written his name.—Swinton's campaigns of the Army of the Potomac. so decided Gen. Meade, who rode rapidly over to the left to satisfy himself. It was a great grief to the latter to have a campaign from which he had hoped so much end without success, but any further move looking to a dislodgment of Lee would entail a still further advance into the enemy's country; and this, with our supply trains across the river, and the rations of the army now nearly exhausted, was not to be thought of in the hostile month of Dec
dependent command, numbered at this time not far from 140,000 men of all arms.—Swinton's Campaigns of the Army of the Potomac. In case this plan failed, his alternatld of battle rule the hearts of troops with a potent and irresistible mastery.—Swinton's Campaigns of the Army of the Potomac. It might naturally be expected that ifder of battle was simple, and was to all the corps—Attack all along the line. Swinton's Campaigns of the Army of the Potomac. We pass along the road quite prompt o'clock, when night shutting down on the darkling woods, ended the struggle.—Swinton's Twelve Decisive Battles. At early dawn we were back again in the ploughed fiat the word maneuver, and said, Oh! I never maneuver. —Army of the Potomac. Swinton. A point had been found in the right-centre of the enemy's line, that was consys of moving about, and changing positions. No mere general statement, says Swinton, very truly, can give any idea of the enormous amount of labor, suffering,
clover; lowing herds, and the perfume of blossoms, and the song of summer birds; homesteads of the Virginia planter (everything on a large and generous scale), and great ancestral elms, dating back to the time before our forefathers learned to be Rebels. Coming, as the army so lately did, from where the tread of hostile feet for three years had made the country bare and barren as a threshing-floor, the region through which it now passed seemed a very Araby the Blest. Army of the Potomac. Swinton. The barns and sheds were filled with tobacco in various stages of curing, to which lovers of the weed freely helped themselves. A short halt was made at Guiney's Station; then, pressing on, we arrived at Bowling Green about noon, thirsty and dusty. This is a small settlement, forty-five miles north of Richmond, having in 1860 a white population of 237. There was not an able-bodied white man to be seen, but women, children, and negroes abounded. Some of the women were communicati
roops, like Barlow's gained a position far in advance of the one they started from, and close to the enemy. Hancock's corps, the only portion of the Yankee army that had come in contact with the Confederate works, had been hurled back in a storm of fire.—Third Year of the War. Edward A. Pollard. The story of the Second Corps is the story of the Sixth and Eighteenth that assaulted at the same time. They were repulsed most disastrously at every point. The following statement is made by Mr. Swinton on p. 487, Army of the Potomac, and has been adopted by many subsequent writers. Harper's Pictorial History of the Rebellion discredits it. Others have denied it. Some hours after the failure of the first assault, Gen. Meade sent instructions to each corps commander to renew the attack. . . . . . . But no man stirred, and the immobile lines pronounced a verdict, silent yet emphatic, against further slaughter. During the afternoon we fired only at long intervals, lying pretty low,
iary. Tuesday morning, June 14th, the troops began to cross the river, being transported in steamboats of varied description, that the government had assembled here in large numbers for that purpose. A pontoon was begun in the forenoon at Cole's Ferry, a short distance below the Landing, and finished at midnight This bridge was considered a remarkable achievement in pontoon engineering, it being two thousand feet long, and the channel boats being anchored in thirteen fathoms of water. Swinton. The troops continued crossing all this and the succeeding day, our turn not coming until during the afternoon of the 15th. Our guns were loaded on one boat, and the men and horses on another; but the guns did not reach us until evening. Among the boats used in the ferriage were the Jefferson, an old East Boston ferry-boat, and the Winnissimmet, that plied so many years beween Boston and Chelsea, and when we embarked on board the latter to make the crossing, it seemed almost as if we
lowing up the advantage gained. But this they failed to do, for reasons of prudence, we judge, and withdrew as suddenly as they had appeared, taking with them four pieces of artillery, several stands of colors, and sixteen hundred prisoners. Swinton says twenty-five hundred. Lee, however, in his official report to the Rebel secretary of war, only claims that about sixteen hundred prisoners, four pieces of artillery, eight stands of colors, and a large number of small arms were captured. e operation was nearly completed, a part of Hill's corps (Mahone's division) penetrated the interval between the Second and Sixth corps, throwing the flanks of both into great confusion, especially that of the Second. Barlow's division [says Swinton] rolled up like a scroll, recoiled in disorder, losing several hundred prisoners. Mott on his right fell back, but not without a like loss, and the enemy still pressing diagonally across the front of the corps struck Gibbon's now exposed left fl
join our right, but owing to the densely wooded region through which it was making its way, connection had not been made, and Heth, though unaware of it at the time, had penetrated the interval between Hancock and Crawford. Heth told Hancock since the war that he was greatly alarmed after he had crossed the Run to attack, lest Crawford should advance upon his left flank, and said that had he done so his (Heth's) command must have been driven into the stream, and dispersed or captured.—See Swinton's Army of the Potomac. Our supply and ambulance trains stood parked in the field with our caissons, and all under fire. There was no safe rear in this fight, for the enemy nearly surrounded us, and Hampton's cavalry was still behind us across the Plank Road, stoutly opposed by the valiant Gregg with inferior numbers. Having exchanged our empty limbers for full ones from the caissons, we are again ordered into position, this time in the field across the Plank Road, where we go into b
e were abandoned wagons, forges, battery wagons, pots and kettles, in short every description of army traps not absolutely essential in battle that pulled back their hungry, jaded beasts, and, it may be added, the hungry, footsore, worn-out Confederates as well, so many of whom still rallied around their idolized leader. The misery of the famished troops during the 4th, 5th, 6th, and 7th of April, passes all experience of military anguish since the retreat from the banks of the Beresina, Swinton, Campaigns of the Army of the Potomac. Towards evening of the 5th. [says one of their number,] and all day long upon the 6th, hundreds of men dropped from exhaustion, and thousands let fall their muskets, from inability to carry them any further. It was the lot of the Second Corps to follow sharply upon the heels of the enemy during his retreat, pursuing the same route, and to it these evidences of the disintegration of that once proud and valiant army were strikingly interesting.