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January 3rd (search for this): chapter 2.14
y, was doubtless an unwise insistence, but it originated in the great heart of Mr. Lincoln, who hoped almost against hope to win the secessionists back without going to dire extremities, and earnestly desired to please all Union slaveholders. McClellan was simply the soldier front of this view, a conscientious exponent of the policy. I had reason to remember Burnside's going forth, for he was permitted to take with his other troops to North Carolina my Fourth Rhode Island Regiment. On January 3d Colonel Isaac P. Rodman came to my tent at one o'clock in the morning, showing a dispatch which directed him to report immediately at Annapolis. He was an excellent officer and a great gain to Burnside. He died from wounds received in the battle of Antietam. The Fourth Rhode Island had as chaplain an Episcopal clergyman, Rev. E. B. Flanders, much esteemed in our brigade. He was as efficient in the field as he had been in his home parish. I find an old letter in which my aid writes tha
January 4th (search for this): chapter 2.14
ites that I scarcely slept the night after I received that order. This was foolish, indeed, but it indicates how much I was attached to that regiment. One good soldier, Private McDonald, being on detail as my orderly, remained with me till his death in Georgia during the campaign of 1864. When the news of Burnside's attack reached us from Roanoke and thirty-five men were reported killed, I was as anxious as a father to hear of the safety of those who had gone out from my command. On January 4th, taking an aid with me, I hastened, as was then the custom when things went wrong, to Washington for redress. I found the venerable General Casey sitting in full uniform at the head of a court-martial. His uniform looked very bright and clean to me coming from camp. Moving a chair close to General Casey I appealed to him to get me another regiment and one as well drilled as possible. After listening to my whispered argument he said: Oh, I will give you a good selection. You had bet
February 23rd (search for this): chapter 2.14
s name made any considerable impression upon me was in connection with our new President's quick and secret journey from Harrisburg to Washington just before his first inauguration. There was for the time great excitement on the subject. Mr. Lincoln had left his home in Illinois on February 11, 1861. He experienced nothing harmful-only an ovation all the way. The people at halting places thronged to see him and insisted on speeches from him. He passed from Philadelphia to Harrisburg on February 23d, and addressed the Legislature there assembled. Being weary after his continued receptions, speeches, and excitement, he went to the Jones house and retired to his apartments for needed rest. It was given out publicly that he would not leave Harrisburg till the next morning, but Mr. W. F. Seward, son of William H. Seward, suddenly arrived from Washington and promptly conveyed to Mr. Lincoln the startling information from Senator Seward and General Scott, that he was to be assassinated i
ce, the peninsular plan, was after a time chosen for the Army of the Potomac and very soon thereafter McClellan's command was reduced to that army. Probably the President thought that to be quite enough now that McClellan was to take the field and be constantly away from the capital. General Sumner had sufficiently recovered from his hurt to admit of his riding, and he had come back to his division, but he left his Sibley tent to sleep for a time in Mr. Watkins's house. The evening of March 3d I was writing a home letter when I received a note from Sumner asking me as soon as convenient to come over to his quarters. I hastened to the interview, which resulted in my taking three regiments the next day to protect the bridge builders at Accotink Run, six miles ahead, on the Orange & Alexandria Railroad. I went as far as Fairfax Station, driving the Confederate pickets before me. That movement on March 4th and the bridge building, which did not deceive Johnston nor arrest his prepa
his Sibley tent to sleep for a time in Mr. Watkins's house. The evening of March 3d I was writing a home letter when I received a note from Sumner asking me as soon as convenient to come over to his quarters. I hastened to the interview, which resulted in my taking three regiments the next day to protect the bridge builders at Accotink Run, six miles ahead, on the Orange & Alexandria Railroad. I went as far as Fairfax Station, driving the Confederate pickets before me. That movement on March 4th and the bridge building, which did not deceive Johnston nor arrest his preparations for leaving Centreville, but rather quickened them, set the ball in motion. A brigade, E. Kirby Smith's, stationed at Fairfax and vicinity, retired as I advanced and soon after joined the main Confederate army at Manassas Junction. The news, a few days later, came: Centreville is evacuated. It startled and disappointed everybody at Washington. The peninsular plan now quickly came to the front. Quarte
McClellan and so no time was to be lost, because Johnston knew that our preparations in the way of transports were already far advanced. Johnston commenced his rearward movement the day before the publication, not of McClellan's Urbana design, but of the orders for more preliminary work which for the safety of Washington was insisted on by the Administration. To satisfy, if possible, the impatience of the people and doubtless excited himself by so many delays, Abraham Lincoln ordered on March 8th: That the Army and Navy cooperate in an immediate effort to capture the enemy's batteries on the Potomac between Washington and the Chesapeake Bay. This, too, Jolmston seems to have anticipated. His abandonment of Centreville was completed by the close of the 9th and his action in this was known on my front that same day. Disagreements now began to set in between the President, a large party faction urging him, and McClellan, in which several general officers took sides and bore a part.
ing and not surmounting a difficulty; that we should find the same enemy and the same or equal intrenchments at either place. Mr. Lincoln instinctively felt that the true objective all the time was not Richmond but Johnston's army. After we had finished the bridge building across the Accotink we had returned to Camp California and settled back into our old ways of living, so that the news of the actual evacuation of Centreville stirred us up as it did the rest of the army. The night of March 9th, after the news came, I had lain down and slept a while, when, Sumner being again in Washington on some temporary duty, a dispatch came to me to move the whole division at six o'clock the next morning. It was already near midnight. I went at once to Sumner's headquarters at Mr. Watkins's house, called together the brigade commanders and handed them the order of march. We worked all night and set out in good trim at the appointed hour, but had hardly gained the road when Sumner returned a
le, when, Sumner being again in Washington on some temporary duty, a dispatch came to me to move the whole division at six o'clock the next morning. It was already near midnight. I went at once to Sumner's headquarters at Mr. Watkins's house, called together the brigade commanders and handed them the order of march. We worked all night and set out in good trim at the appointed hour, but had hardly gained the road when Sumner returned and assumed command of his moving column. That day, March 10th, Sumner gave his men, unaccustomed to marching, a hard trial of seventeen miles. What's seventeen miles, he asked at evening, for a soldier? It had rained-poured-most of the time. I had commanded my brigade and also the advance guard. The mud was first slippery and then deep; the weather was chilly and damp, making the rests uncomfortable and the night worse, as we were without canvas shelter, yet owing to previous discipline there was none of the Bull Run straggling. Sumner's division
e pressed on. That cavalry was Johnston's rear guard, when his army was in motion southward, and became his outpost and picketing force as soon as Johnston halted. Sumner stopped his general movement at Warrenton Junction, thirteen miles south of Manassas. Now he had two divisions, because Blenker's, made up mostly of Germans, had joined him at Manassas. In spite of McClellan's objection, Mr. Lincoln had caused him to organize his Potomac force into army corps. McClellan complied on March 13th, so that Sumner, during his first march, came into command of the Second Corps. I. B. Richardson was appointed commander of our division, John Sedgwick and Louis Blenker of the other two. The actual change of commanders was effected while we were tramping the Virginia mud, and by small fires drying sundry spots large enough to sleep on. The main body of McClellan's army, which had started up like a suddenly awakened dreamer and pushed out in pursuit of Johnston with more than twenty-f
B. Richardson was appointed commander of our division, John Sedgwick and Louis Blenker of the other two. The actual change of commanders was effected while we were tramping the Virginia mud, and by small fires drying sundry spots large enough to sleep on. The main body of McClellan's army, which had started up like a suddenly awakened dreamer and pushed out in pursuit of Johnston with more than twenty-five miles the start, ceased advancing and moved back to the vicinity of Alexandria, March 15th. Sumner with two of his divisions was left at Warrenton Junction till other Union troops not of the Army of the Potomac should be sent forward to relieve him. McClellan desired Sumner to make a strong reconnoissance forward as far as the Rappahannock River, and the latter gave me a detachment for that purpose made up of my brigade, some regiments from French's brigade, Hazzard's battery, and the Eighth Illinois Cavalry. I was greatly pleased that I had been selected for this expedition,
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