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Edward Porter Alexander, Military memoirs of a Confederate: a critical narrative, Chapter 1: from the U. S.A. Into the C. S.A. (search)
is, surely, always a mistake in a matter of grave importance. Conversations are too often and too easily misunderstood, and exact words forgotten. In this case, it is hard to believe that Maj. Anderson could have so forgotten, not to say deliberately disobeyed, his instructions as he did, had they been given in writing. In that view of the matter, it may be said that the war was precipitated by giving important orders verbally. Another example will be found in the story of the battle of Seven Pines which Gen. Joseph E. Johnston lost by trusting to instructions given verbally. Maj. Buell's memorandum of the verbal instructions given is a paper of over 300 words, and is a fair sample of explicit language. Here is the sentence especially referring to any change of position of the garrison of Fort Moultrie: — You are to carefully avoid every act which would needlessly tend to provoke aggression, and for that reason you are not, without evident and imminent necessity, to take up
Edward Porter Alexander, Military memoirs of a Confederate: a critical narrative, Chapter 5: Seven Pines or fair Oaks (search)
was an expert and enthusiast upon explosives, and, soon after the action at Seven Pines, he was relieved of his brigade and assigned to the Torpedo Bureau, which wa The other three brigades reported their strength and losses as follows:— Seven Pines, May 31, 1862 POSITIONBRIGADEPRESENTKILLEDWOUNDEDMISSINGtotalPERCENT Fronting table, averaging where exact figures are wanting:— Total casualties. Seven Pines or fair Oaks battleENGAGEDKILLEDWOUNDEDMISSINGtotal Hill'sConfederate11,64 afternoon, and when on the Nine Mile road, heard firing in the direction of Seven Pines. Mr. Davis writes: — As I drew nearer I saw Gen. Whiting with part of Geeforehand, or explained afterward, nor was any notice given of the attack at Seven Pines on the 31st, although there was ample opportunity to do so. It is not pro really waiting for opportunities to turn up. It must be admitted that at Seven Pines our prospects, had Johnston not been wounded, would have been dismal. Besid<
Edward Porter Alexander, Military memoirs of a Confederate: a critical narrative, chapter 7 (search)
s plan. At the beginning there was every promise that it would be. Two days before, a confidential order had been issued to general officers and heads of departments, which is given in part, in contrast with Johnston's method, as developed at Seven Pines. General orders no. 75. Headquarters in the field, June 24, 1862. Gen. Jackson's command will proceed to-morrow from Ashland toward the Stark (or Merry Oaks) Church, and encamp at some convenient point west of the Central Railroad. ould not have approved it. Henderson states that, A message from Lee, ordering Hill to postpone all further movement, arrived too late. Hend. II., 16. Doubtless Lee wished, now, to make a fresh start on the morrow, as Johnston had wished at Seven Pines. The enemy made slight resistance to Hill's advance, and fell back through Mechanicsville to his works behind Beaver Dam Creek, opening the road to Longstreet's and D. H. Hill's divisions. A. P. Hill's division moved so rapidly that it arr
Edward Porter Alexander, Military memoirs of a Confederate: a critical narrative, chapter 8 (search)
onstration of the enemy's rear-guard, and sent such urgent calls for aid to Huger that the latter halted two of his four brigades, and marched back with them to Seven Pines. This lost for his division the cream of the day. Here he discovered the needlessness of Magruder's alarm, and, getting urgent messages from Lee, he returned t both to begin, and neither had begun. As Beauregard, at Bull Run, had sent word to Ewell to begin, and then had gone to the centre and waited; as Johnston, at Seven Pines, had given orders to Hill and Longstreet about beginning, and then gone to the left and waited; so now, Lee, having given orders beforehand to both Jackson and rt Republic (June 9) were but 2311. Three brigades—Rodes's, Garland's, and G. B. Anderson's of D. H. Hill's division—had had killed and wounded the first day at Seven Pines 2621. During the Seven Days they lost 2277 more, while Jackson's six brigades lost but 1152. It is only natural and right that every division commander shou
Edward Porter Alexander, Military memoirs of a Confederate: a critical narrative, Chapter 23: the fall of 1864 (search)
relations between the President and Johnston had been strained to the verge of breaking by the general's reticence as to his plans, and avoidance of interviews, even by galloping to the front on seeing the President approach near the field of Seven Pines. There a crisis was avoided by Johnston's wound and loss of the command of the army. Now, a very similar issue had arisen, and with it the old and bitter feelings on each side. On the 17th Adjt.-Gen. Cooper wired Johnson: — I am direc been commanderin-chief, he would not have been relieved, as was indicated by his restoring Johnston to command on his taking that position in February. But it is a fact that Johnston had never fought but one aggressive battle, the battle of Seven Pines, which was phenomenally mismanaged. On the 20th and 21st, Hood attacked Sherman, but was defeated, and after a month of minor operations was finally, on Sept. 1, compelled to evacuate Atlanta. Meanwhile, a naval expedition, sent under Farr