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Chickahominy (Virginia, United States) (search for this): chapter 3
and without losing a man. Here at last, literally driven into the location in front of Petersburg, Grant found himself in a position of rare strategic advantage; certain to give him possession of Richmond when properly utilized. Indeed, it seems strange that it had not been realized in 1862, that the position astraddle both rivers at the junction of the James and Appomattox was the key to Richmond. For it would force Lee to hold an exterior line of such enormous length — from the Chickahominy River to the south of Petersburg, nearly 30 miles — that it could not be long maintained. As McClellan selected the York River line before the James River was opened (by the loss of Norfolk and of the ironclad Merrimac), he is entitled to the credit of having selected the best route available at the time. After his retreat from Richmond, he very nearly had stumbled into the key position itself. His army was recalled to Washington by the Executive, against his strong protests and appeals
Baltimore, Md. (Maryland, United States) (search for this): chapter 3
s largely absorbed my time, but I remained in charge of the signal service, the work being now confined to sending instructed parties to all parts of the Confederacy where they might be of use. During the fall a Department of Signals was organized in Richmond, and the charge of it, with the rank of colonel, was offered me, but declined, as I was unwilling to leave the field. As head of a department I was soon made Major, and, later, Lieutenant-Colonel of Artillery. Col. William Norris of Baltimore became the Chief Signal Officer. Briefly, my duties embraced the supply of arms and ammunition to all troops in the field, — infantry, artillery, and cavalry. I organized the department, with an ordnance officer or sergeant in every regiment, from whom I received weekly statements showing the arms and ammunition on hand in cartridge boxes and regimental wagons. Reserve storehouses were provided at the nearest railroad points, and reserve trains for brigades and divisions, to run betwe
Fredericksburg, Va. (Virginia, United States) (search for this): chapter 3
McClellan set out from Fortress Monroe via the York River. As we shall see, he had some success. His advance was within six miles of Richmond when he was beaten at Gaines Mill. He found a refuge on the James River, but his army was soon recalled to Washington. Third. Pope, in August, 1862, followed in McDowell's footsteps along the railroad from Alexandria, and was defeated upon nearly the same ground which had witnessed McDowell's defeat. Fourth. Burnside took the railroad via Fredericksburg, and in December, 1862, met a bloody repulse at that point and gave up his campaign. Fifth. Hooker also took the Fredericksburg route, but was attacked at Chancellorsville so severely that he also gave up his campaign early in May, 1863. Sixth. Meade, after repulsing Lee at Gettysburg in July, 1863, in November essayed an advance from Alexandria upon Lee's right flank at Mine Run, about halfway between the two railroad lines. He found Lee so strongly intrenched that he withdrew wi
Norfolk (Virginia, United States) (search for this): chapter 3
the Rio Grande. And, as scarce as men were, arms were even scarcer. He divided out all he had according to his best judgment, but it must be admitted that this was often mistaken. Troops were certainly held at Pensacola, Savannah, Charleston, Norfolk, and in West Virginia, which might have given the needed strength to the army at Manassas to enable it to take the offensive. As it was, the new troops sent were little more than enough to make good the losses from sickness which befell the armxterior line of such enormous length — from the Chickahominy River to the south of Petersburg, nearly 30 miles — that it could not be long maintained. As McClellan selected the York River line before the James River was opened (by the loss of Norfolk and of the ironclad Merrimac), he is entitled to the credit of having selected the best route available at the time. After his retreat from Richmond, he very nearly had stumbled into the key position itself. His army was recalled to Washington
Gettysburg (Pennsylvania, United States) (search for this): chapter 3
62, followed in McDowell's footsteps along the railroad from Alexandria, and was defeated upon nearly the same ground which had witnessed McDowell's defeat. Fourth. Burnside took the railroad via Fredericksburg, and in December, 1862, met a bloody repulse at that point and gave up his campaign. Fifth. Hooker also took the Fredericksburg route, but was attacked at Chancellorsville so severely that he also gave up his campaign early in May, 1863. Sixth. Meade, after repulsing Lee at Gettysburg in July, 1863, in November essayed an advance from Alexandria upon Lee's right flank at Mine Run, about halfway between the two railroad lines. He found Lee so strongly intrenched that he withdrew without attacking. Seventh. On May 4, 1864, Grant, with the largest force yet assembled, set out from Alexandria on a line between Meade's Mine Run and Hooker's Spottsylvania routes. Lee attacked his columns in the Wilderness. The battle thus joined raged for over 11 months, and only ended
Darbytown (Pennsylvania, United States) (search for this): chapter 3
always small, the fire of infantry should not be rapid, lest the men waste too much ammunition. After a year or two some of the best breech-loaders got admission among cavalry regiments, and common sense and experience gradually forced a recognition of the value of a heavy fire. By 1864, the Spencer breech-loading carbine had been adopted as the regulation arm for the Federal cavalry, and by the fall of that year brigades of infantry began to appear with it. On October 7, 1864, on the Darbytown road, Field's division was easily repulsed by two brigades armed with Spencers, with severe loss, including Genls. Gregg killed and Bratton wounded; and on Nov. 30, 1864, at Franklin, Tennessee, Casement's, brigade with these arms decided that battle with terrific slaughter, It was written of this fight that never before in the history of war did a command, of the approximate strength of Casement's. in so short a period of time kill and wound as many men. There is reason to believe tha
Leesburg (Virginia, United States) (search for this): chapter 3
uld procure more arms. On Oct. 21 an accidental affair took place at Ball's Bluff, near Leesburg, Virginia, which greatly elated the Confederates. Evans's brigade, of four regiments and a battery, was held at Leesburg in observation of the Potomac, and of a force under Gen. Stone on the Maryland shore. On Oct. 19, McClellan had sent out a strong reconnaissance toward Leesburg from his main boLeesburg from his main body covering Washington. The reconnaissance was scarcely extended half-way to Leesburg, but McClellan thought that it might alarm Evans and cause him to fall back nearer to Manassas; so on Oct. 20 he Leesburg, but McClellan thought that it might alarm Evans and cause him to fall back nearer to Manassas; so on Oct. 20 he wired Stone, suggesting a demonstration on his part. Stone made it by crossing the river at two points, Edward's Ferry and Ball's Bluff, about three miles apart. Both parties crossed without oppositpied the high bluff on the Virginia shore, pushed out a reconnaissance through the woods toward Leesburg, some two miles off. Evans, with three of his regiments and his battery, was observing the E
Spottsylvania (Virginia, United States) (search for this): chapter 3
hed that he withdrew without attacking. Seventh. On May 4, 1864, Grant, with the largest force yet assembled, set out from Alexandria on a line between Meade's Mine Run and Hooker's Spottsylvania routes. Lee attacked his columns in the Wilderness. The battle thus joined raged for over 11 months, and only ended at Appomattox on April 9, 1865. Our only concern here is to note the advantages and the disadvantages of the different lines. The overland route again proved a failure. At Spottsylvania, North Anna, Totopotomoy, Cold Harbor, and Petersburg, Grant found Lee across his path, and was unable to drive him off. His only recourse, on each occasion, was to move to his left and try the next road to the eastward. And now every intermediate road had been tried, and, after losing 65,000 men, he was only on the James River with Fortress Monroe as his base, where his fleet might have landed him at the beginning and without losing a man. Here at last, literally driven into the loc
A. S. Johnston (search for this): chapter 3
. Meanwhile winter put in its appearance. The vicinity of each army became a vast quagmire, and all military operations became impossible. The Confederate army was withdrawn to Centreville and the vicinity of Bull Run, where it went into winter quarters. Soon after this Beauregard was transferred to the Western Army under Gen. A. S. Johnston. His position in Virginia had been that of a supernumerary, and in his new position it was little better until after the battle of Shiloh, where Johnston was killed as he was about to grasp a victory. Beauregard was not yet immune to attacks of overcaution, the bane of new commanders, and his excellent chance to win a great success was lost. He recalled his attack just at the critical moment when it gave every promise of developing a panic among the enemy. Gen. Joseph E. Johnston at this time had organized his army into four divisions, two of four brigades each, commanded by Van Dorn and G. W. Smith; and two of five each, under Longstr
Pinkerton (search for this): chapter 3
, although for some time careful account was kept of arrivals of new troops at Washington. But this was found less reliable than the accounts in the daily papers. From them we learned not only of all arrivals, but also of assignments to brigades and divisions, and, by tabulating these, we always knew quite accurately the strength of the enemy's army. Why the enemy, by similar obvious methods, did not, also, always know our strength, remains a mystery. But McClellan had a bureau under Pinkerton to estimate for him, from the reports of spies, prisoners, and deserters, and implicitly believed, by preference, the most absurd and impossible of all their reports. As an illustration may be taken his report in October, 1861, in which he estimates the Confederate army on the Potomac as not less than 150,000 strong, well-drilled and equipped, ably commanded and strongly intrenched. In fact, the Confederate army at the time was only about 40,000 strong. It was very poorly drilled and
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