Tuesday, July 31, 2007
Excerpts from the Articles of War
Military personnel were encouraged to attend a “divine service.” If an enlisted man misbehaved at church, the penalty was forfeiture of 1/6 of a dollar for the first offence. Additional offensives were penalized by forfeiture of 1/6 of a dollar plus 24 hours confinement. Officers were penalized one dollar for such offensives.
For the offense of “contemptuous or disrespectful words” against the President, Vice-President, Congressmembers, or State officials, the officer was stripped of his commission and made to leave the service. Enlisted soldiers were court-martial.
For disrespect to a superior officer, both officers and enlisted were court-martialed.
For mutiny and sedition, the prescribed punishment was death.
For witnessing mutiny and sedition, and failing to attempt to stop it by either reporting it or suppressing it, the prescribed punishment was death.
For striking a superior officer, and/or disobeying a direct order from same, the offender could receive any penalty up to death.
All enlisted personnel had to have the Articles of War read to him within six days of enlistment.
No one was to be released from the Army without a written discharge in his possession.
The Regimental commander had the authority to issue furloughs as needed. Such furloughs were limited to 20 days within a six month period.
False furlough certificates were punished via a court-martial.
The penalty for a mustering officer receiving money for mustering troops was dismissal from the service and disqualification from holding any Federal office. The same penalty applied for making up muster rolls without having the actual bodies.
The Regimental commander had to provide a report of manning levels at the end of every month.
The penalty for desertion was death, or other prescribed punishment. The same punishment was prescribed for anyone who tried to get others to desert.
The penalty for dueling was dismissal for officers, court-martial for enlisted.
Sutlers were prohibited from selling from 9:00 p.m. to Reveille, as well as Sundays during services. They were also held responsible for the quality of their goods. Failure to do so resulted in banishment from the camp.
Officers were required to resolve all problems within the unit. It reflected badly on an officer if higher ups had to deal with it.
Supply personnel who either sold, lost, or allowed damage to the supplies they were responsible for were required to pay back the cost of the involved items. Officers were dismissed while enlisted were court-martialed.
Any soldier who either sold, lost, or allowed damage to the equipment he was issued had ½ of his pay docked until the value of the equipment was realized, as well as confinement.
Officers found drunk on duty were court-martialed.
Soldiers found asleep on duty were sentenced to death.
Soldiers who “misbehaved before the enemy” were sentenced up to and including death.
Revealing the sign/countersign to unauthorized personnel could result in death.
Helping enemy personnel evade capture could have resulted in death. (Kind of tough on families with sons on both sides.)
Army Engineers were not authorized to perform duties outside their specialty without approval.
If a soldier died while on duty, the Commanding Officer, with two other officers, had to gather the effects of the deceased, arrange for their transport home, and any pay sent to the deceased member’s family.
The proscribed sentence for spying was death.
The board for a General court-martial consisted of five to thirteen officers.
Courts-martial were authorized as low as the Regimental level. The board convened had to consist of at least three officers. If the unit was short of officers, other units could be asked to provide such.
For capital cases, or cases involving officers, the lowest level that could hold the court-martial was at Brigade level.
The Judge Advocate was the prosecutor in the case.
If the defendant remained silent, the court was to go on as he had pled not guilty.
The court had to conduct themselves with decorum. The same court had the power to administer penalties for abusive behavior within the court.
All who gave testimony had to swear to the truth before the court.
Testimonies in non-capital cases were allowed to be sworn before a Justice-of-the-Peace.
Officers could not be tried by those of inferior rank if possible.
Officers charged were confined to barracks, quarters, or tent and made to surrender his sword. Enlisted were confined to the guardhouse. Neither could be held longer than eight days.
If an officer was convicted of cowardice or fraud, information about the incident, charge, and punishment was to be published in the newspapers of the offender’s home state.
It required a vote of 2/3 of the board to issue a sentence of death or 50 lashes.
The court did have the authority to pardon or lessen a sentence.
The 1st Sergeant will conduct the morning roll call. Action to be taken included, noting who is absent, who is sick, assign specific duty, and issue rations and clothing (if needed). Any sick personnel would be sent to the Surgeon. A report of the roll call would be composed for the Colonel.
The NCO had some privileges:
They were not confined with privates in the Guardhouse.
They were not to be used for menial service, or as waiters in an officer’s mess.
They could not be reduced in rank except by a court-martial.
They received a certificate of their rank from the Colonel.
They were not transferred to another regiment except with the approval of the Commanding General.
They were allowed to re-enlist during a window of two months prior to one month after the expiration of service.
The NCO had specific duties:
They assisted the officers in maintaining discipline.
If assigned as Officer of the Guard, they could not leave their post unless visiting sentinel positions, and then only after notifying the duty corporal.
They were not allowed to remove any part of their clothing or equipment while on guard duty.
They ensured the sign/countersign is communicated to the other sentinels.
They were not allowed to use foul language. For the first instance, 1/6 of a dollar was taken out of the next paycheck. On the second, 1/6 of a dollar was forfeited and 24 hours spent in the guardhouse.
They were required to suppress any attempts of mutiny and sedition. Failing to do so would put the NCO on trial.
They had the authority to enforce discipline, even if soldiers from other regiments were involved.
The NCO must be sober, clean, and have strict attention to detail while performing their duties.
Corporals must comport themselves in the same manner as the Sergeants.
2. At Will: after a volley or two, the area in front would be shrouded in smoke. At this point, it is a good idea to have the troops keep firing as they load.
3. Cease Fire: all troops in the formation will stop firing and place their muskets in the carry position.
4. Firing at the oblique: this is done at the right or left angle of the front of the formation.
5. Fire by File: the right file fires their muskets. As they began reloading, the file next to them fires, and so on, causing a ripple of fire.
6. Fire by Rank: the first rank fires their muskets. As they began reloading, the second rank fires.
2. March: Step off with the left foot. Each step to be 28 inches.
3. Change Step: Bring feet together, and then resume marching with the foot opposite to the one in step at the time of the command.
4. Squad Backwards: The formation moves backwards while facing forward. This is usually used in a fighting retreat.
5. Double Quick: Formation is running. Good for getting your troops there quickly.
Manual of Arms
2. Support arms: Move the musket from the right to the left, then support the weapon by wrapping the left arm around, allowing the forearm to support the musket at the hammer. The right arm is straight down.
3. Attention: Heels together, feet at an angle, legs straight but do not lock the knees (you will faint), body straight, head straight, eyes front, arms are straight down (if not carrying a musket), hands curled as if holding a roll of specie.
4. Present Arms: Musket is brought in front of the body, held with both hands. This is used as a salute.
5. Order Arms: musket is brought back to the carry position.
6. Shoulder Shift Arms: Musket is brought to where the hammer is at shoulder level and facing out. The weapon is at an angle. The arm is across the stock in order to support the musket.
7. Fix Bayonets: Musket is grounded with the barrel pointed up, supported by the right hand. The left hand grips the bayonet and pulls it out of the scabbard. The bayonet is then turned so that the point is straight up. The bayonet is then threaded over the front sight and the locking ring is turned to the right, locking the bayonet in place. The musket is then returned to the carry position.
8. Charge Bayonet: From the carry position, the left hand grips the barrel between the 1st and 2nd bands. The right hand is still at the stock. The musket is then rotated to about a 45 degree angle, usually accompanied with a shout.
9. Unfix Bayonet: The reverse of #7.
10. Ground: Musket is placed on the ground with the hammer up.
Regimental Formation According to Hardee’s Tactics
Formation was arranged in the following company order; 1st, 6th, 4th, 9th, 3rd, 8th, 5th, 10th, 7th, and 2nd.
The highest ranking Captain (First Captain) was positioned on the right. The Second Captain would be positioned on the left. The next in line would be positioned at right of center, and so on.
Once the formation was assembled, the companies were designated, from right to left, first through tenth, for the purposes of control during maneuver.
The two companies on the right were called the 1st Division. The next two were called the 2nd Division, and so on, up to five divisions.
Each company was divided into two platoons. Each platoon was divided into two sections.
If a part of a regiment was maneuvering, at least two companies, that formation was called a battalion.
The color guard was positioned to the left of the right center company. Everything to the right of the colors was called the right wing, and everything to the left was called the left wing.
The formation, while in battle, was of two ranks, with the corporals placed on the right and left of each platoon according to height.
There was a space of thirteen inches from the back (or knapsack) to the chest of the next man in line.
Transfers of soldiers from stronger to weaker companies were authorized.
Placement of officers and sergeants in the company:
Captain on the right of the company.
1st Sergeant in the second rank behind the Captain. This is the right guide.
All remaining company officers and sergeants were posted as file closers, ensuring that no one fell out of the formation.
1st Lieutenant at the rear of the 4th Section.
2ne lieutenant at the rear of the 1st Platoon.
3rd lieutenant at the rear of the 2nd Platoon.
2nd Sergeant behind the second file to the left of center of the company.
3rd Sergeant behind the second file to the right of center of the company.
4th Sergeant behind the second file to the left of 1st Platoon.
5th Sergeant behind the second file to the right of 1st Platoon.
At the company at the left flank of the regimental formation, the 2nd Sergeant was placed in the front rank.
In the regimental formation, the Colonel, on horseback, was placed thirty paces behind the center of the formation. The Lieutenant Colonel was on horseback and assigned to the right wing, while the Major controlled the left wing, also on a horse.
The Adjutant was on foot and assigned on the right, while the Sergeant Major was also on foot and assigned to the left, both eight paces behind the file closers. They were in a position to assist the Lieutenant Colonel and Major during maneuvering.
If the field officers are not there, the Senior Captain would take charge,
Behind the formation were the Quartermaster, Surgeon, and any other staff officers.
The musicians (bugles, drums, any regimental bands) were placed to the rear of the closers.
This consisted of eight corporals and one sergeant. The sergeant was the color bearer and the corporals were formed around him. Their job was to protect the National and Regimental flags from falling into enemy hands. As such, the color bearer was the one the enemy aimed at the most. Some regiments went through several color bearers before the battle was over.
Monday, July 30, 2007
The Irish in the Civil War
There was already a tradition of Irish in various armed forces around the world, such as Napoleon’s Grande Armee, several South American revolutionary armies, and even on both sides of the Mexican. It seemed that it was the only way the Irish were able to get any respect beyond the menial jobs that they were able to get. Of course, they were already facing anti-immigrant and anti-Catholic discrimination on top of their image as fighting drunkards who were not smart enough to do anything better.
There were already a good number if Irish soldiers in the Regular Army when the Civil War broke out. There were also many Irish who were in militia units around the country who formed the nucleus of many regiments, both Union and Confederate.
As the guns at Fort Sumter fell silent, US President Lincoln issued a call for 75,000 volunteers to put down the rebellion in the South. As a result, thousands of Irish were flocking to the colors;
The 9th Connecticut Infantry was all Irish.
The 15th Maine was mostly made up of Irish.
Of the 62 regiments that Massachusetts formed, only two were predominately Irish, the 9th and 28th. The rest had some Irish in their ranks.
New Hampshire had one Irish regiment, the 10th, as well as one company of the 19th.
New York had the most Irish in service, with the 11th (1st Fire Zouaves) and the 20th State Militia full of Irish at the start. Following Irish regiments included the 37th (Irish Rifles), 63rd, 69th, 88th, 105th, 154th, 164th, 170th, 175th, and the 182nd New York.
Pennsylvania produced the 24th, 69th, and 116th Infantry Regiments out of its Irish population.
Vermont only had one company of the 13th made up of Irishmen.
Illinois had the 23rd Infantry, which was pared with a cavalry unit and a Wisconsin artillery battery, also made up of Irish.
Wisconsin also had the 11th and 17th Infantry with Irish in them.
Ohio’s Irish were represented in the 10th Infantry.
Indiana had the 35th and 61st with Irish in them.
And finally, the 27th Michigan has a lot of Irish immigrants in it.
These were just a slice of the Irish in the Union Army.
Many of the immigrants were met by recruitment officers as they were getting off the boat from Ireland. Others were recruited from the factories, wharves and farms throughout the North.
Many Irish nationalists had also enlisted in, or formed regiments for Federal service in the hopes that they would receive valuable combat experience in the case of an attempt to free Ireland from British control.
One such was Thomas Meagher, born on 3 August, 1823 in Waterford, Ireland. He was involved in Irish revolutionary activities which included the Rebellion of 1848. He was arrested and sentenced to death. That sentence was commuted to life at a penal colony in Tasmania. He escaped from there and made his way to California, and then to New York, where he became a US Citizen and a member of the Irish community there.
As the war started, he raised a company of the 69th New York and got his first taste of battle at First Bull Run (Manassas, VA). He was soon slated for leadership when his commander was captured there. During the winter of 1861-61, Meagher assembled the Irish Brigade, consisting of his 69th New York along with the 63rd and 88th New York, the 28th Massachusetts, and the 116th Pennsylvania.
Their battle honors were legendary:
At Seven Pines (1 June, 1862) the brigade smashed the flank on a Confederate advance near the Adams House, near the Chickahominy River.
At Gaines’ Mill (26 June, 1862) Meagher’s troops stop another Confederate assault, allowing the baggage trains to get away.
The brigade captured a Confederate battery near Meadow Station.
At Malvern Hill (1 July, 1862) the brigade supported Berdan’s Sharpshooters, who were acting as skirmishers.
At Antietam (Sharpsburg, MD, 17 September, 1862) the brigade was part of the assault on a Confederate line at a sunken road which became known as “Bloody Lane.”
At Fredericksburg (13 December, 1862) the Irish Brigade were sent up Marye’s Heights in the face of horrific cannon and musket fire.
At Chancellorsville (2 May, 1863) they rescued the guns of the 5th Maine Artillery when the gun crews were killed.
At this point, the brigade had dropped to under 500 men, about half a regiment. Meagher had asked to take his brigade home and recruit more regiments, which was refused. In response, Meagher resigned his commission on 8 May, 1863.
Colonel Patrick Kelly, from Kerry, Ireland, became the new commander of a brigade of 400.
At Gettysburg (Day Two, 2 July, 1863) the Irish Brigade was part of an attack on The Wheatfield, which resulted in the brigade’s further decimation, almost half of their remaining number.
The Irish Brigade was listed as “combat ineffective,” meaning that there were not enough troops to even maintain a defensive line. Even as such, they did take part in the Mine Run Campaign in late 1863.
In January, 1864, the remains of the Irish Brigade re-enlisted almost to a man and were sent home to recruit new members. St. Patrick’s Day, 1864, saw the reorganized brigade back in the field, in time for the Overland Campaign. They were now commanded by Colonel Thomas Smyth.
The new Irish Brigade first distinguished themselves at the Wilderness (6 May, 1864) during the savage fighting along the Brock Road.
At Spotsylvania, they were part of the assault on the Mule Shoe. After that battle, Colonel Richard Byrnes was given command of the brigade.
At Cold Harbor, as the Union assault was getting shredded, the Irish managed to penetrate a portion of the Confederate line. Byrnes was mortally wounded and Colonel Kelly took over command.
Kelly himself was killed on 16 June, 1864 during the assault on the Confederate lines at Petersburg.
The brigade itself was once again decimated to the point that the Irish Brigade was disbanded and incorporated with other brigades. However, that was not the end.
On 2 November, 1864, the Irish Brigade (Reorganized) was assembled under the command of Colonel Robert Nugent, one of the few surviving officers of the original Irish Brigade. That brigade would take part in the Siege of Petersburg as well as the Appomattox Campaign.
Smyth, at that point a Brigadier General, became the last general officer killed in the Civil War, occurring just before the Confederate surrender.
Colonel Nugent was the one who carried the first letter to Confederate General Robert E. Lee suggesting surrender.
The Irish Brigade marched in the Grand Review before heading home and finally disbanding on 30 June, 1865.
Meagher was brought back into Union service, serving in Major General William Sherman’s command. After again resigning his commission, he was appointed the territorial secretary of Montana Territory and served as Acting Governor. He died on 1 July, 1867 after falling off a riverboat on the Missouri River, supposedly drunk. The body was never found.
The other great Irish commander in Union service was Michael Corcoran. He was born on 21 September, 1827 in Carrowkeel, County Donegal and had trained to be a policeman. While a part of the Irish Constabulary, he joined a revolutionary organization called the Ribbonmen. Fleeing charges of treason, he went to New York, where he worked first in a tavern, then as a school inspector and finally in the post office. He also became part of the 69th New York Militia, enlisting as a private and soon becoming its colonel. When the Civil War broke out, the 69th New York Militia became the 69th New York Infantry. They were first sent to Washington, then onward to the brigade of William Sherman. At First Bull Run, Corcoran was wounded and captured, becoming a national hero for refusing to be exchanged for a Confederate prisoner.
Corcoran was eventually exchanged on 14 August, 1862, but his old command was headed by Meagher. Corcoran decided to raise a brigade of his own. This resulted in the 155th, 164th, 170th, and the 184th New York becoming Corcoran’s Legion. The Legion was assigned in the Suffolk, VA area and participated in the Suffolk Campaign of 1863 before being assigned to the Washington Defenses.
Corcoran was not able to do to much more; he was killed in 22 December, 1863 in an accident involving his horse.
There other Irishman of note in Federal service:
Major St. Clair Mulholland commanded the 116th Pennsylvania while holding a rear-guard action at Chancellorsville, earning a Medal of Honor for that action.
Father William Corby was the chaplain of the 88th New York, having come from a small Catholic boarding school that would become Notre Dame University. At Antietam, he rode up and down the Irish Brigade’s line of battle, granting solution to those who die bravely in battle. The brigade was headed for Bloody Lane. At Gettysburg, he granted mass absolution to those who would be headed for the Wheatfield. A passing general was moved by the event, none other that II Corps commander Winfield Scott Hancock.
Major James Quinlan received the Medal of Honor for his actions at Savage Station, VA.
1st Lieutenant George W. Ford captured a Confederate flag at Saylor’s Creek (6 April, 1865), earning a Medal of Honor.
1st Lieutenant Louis Sacriste led the effort to save one of the 5th Maine Artillery’s cannon at Chancellorsville, earning his Medal of Honor.
Private Timothy Donoghue carried a wounded officer, while wounded himself, off Marye’s Heights, earning a Medal of Honor.
In all, 76 Irish-born soldiers won the Medal of Honor, of which six were in the Irish Brigade. This out of the 1196 awarded.
While Irish soldiers were making a name for themselves in the Union Army, there were others in whom fate sent them to Charleston, SC, rather than New York.
Confederate Irish units included:
1st Virginia Infantry Battalion (Provisional). This unit fought at Blackburn’s Ford, prior to First Manassas.
The 27th Virginia Infantry.
The 7th Alabama Infantry.
Company H of the 8th Alabama.
Companies I and F of the 6th Louisiana.
Companies A, D, and E of the 1st Georgia
A company of the 8th Georgia.
The 24th Georgia, which was involved at the Stone Wall on top of Marye’s Heights as the Union Irish Brigade approached.
Company F of the 7th Louisiana.
Company C of the 1st South Carolina Infantry Battalion
Company C of the 19th Battalion Virginia Artillery.
2nd, 10th, and 21st Tennessee.
154th Senior Tennessee Infantry
Company B of the 3rd Confederate Battalion, Engineer Corps.
Both Tennessee and Louisiana had the most Irish-born in Confederate service.
Patrick Cleburne was born on 16 March, 1828 at Ovens, County Cork. He joined the British Army after failing medical school, serving for over three years when he bought his discharge and moved to Arkansas, becoming a druggist and then a lawyer. When the Civil War broke out, he sided with his fellow Arkansans and joined the Yell Rifles as a private. His military experience was noted as he was soon a Captain. He participated in the fighting at Shiloh (Pittsburg Landing, TN), Perryville, and Murfreesboro where he was promoted to Major General. He then fought at Chickamauga, Missionary Ridge, and Ringgold Gap. He almost trashed his military career by suggesting that slaves could be armed in support of the Confederacy. He would not rise above division commander for that. Still, he still served throughout the defense of Atlanta and on with the Army of Tennessee’s advance into Tennessee. He was killed during the Battle of Franklin, 30 November, 1864, one of seven generals to fall.
Joseph Finegan was born on 17 November, 1814 at Clones, County Monaghan. Seeking his fortune, he immigrated to Florida in 1835 where he started a family and a lumber business at St. Augustine. At the time Florida seceded, Finegan was in the Legislature and had voted to leave the Union. He was soon made state director of military affairs. He was instrumental in forming regiments for Confederate service as well as state defense.
On 8 April, 1862, he was in Confederate service himself as a Brigadier General. His battle experiences included, St. John’s Bluff, Olustree, Cold Harbor, Globe Tavern, the siege lines of Petersburg, and finally Hatcher’s run before transferring back to Florida before the Confederate surrender. His last act as a Confederate general was to help Secretary of War John C. Breckenridge escape to Cuba. Finegan served in the Florida Senate before dying on 29 October, 1885.
The Civil War ended up cementing the Irish into the American experience, establishing respect for them at places such as Shiloh and Fredericksburg. After the war, their energies were used for more peaceful purposes as the Transcontinental Railroad was built.
Saturday, July 21, 2007
146 years ago today.
Commanders:Union: Brigadier General Irwin McDowell
Confederate: Brigadier General P.T.G. Beauregard (Later General Joseph Johnston)
Prelude: for the past few months both sides have been training and preparing for what seemed to be a colossal showdown. In the South, the new Confederate Army was drilling at various places, expecting to go to the field, scare off the Yankee invader, and secure independence for the new Confederate States of America. This was evident in Virginia, where President Abraham Lincoln’s call for volunteers to put down the rebellion spurred that state to vote for secession. The response to the President’s request for Virginia to furnish three regiments for Federal service was that three regiments were formed, but for the Armed Forces of Virginia. Within weeks, those troops, and others, were re-mustered into Confederate service and their commander, former US Army Colonel Robert E. Lee, becoming an advisor to Confederate President Jefferson Davis.
In the North, many were taking offense to the firing on the US flag at Fort Sumter and were flocking to recruiting stations to enlist in regiments being raised by the State governments for Federal service. Many of these were 90-day enlistees, the feeling being that this war would end after one battle. Most of these had no idea what military service and discipline was like. It was not as if the Federal government had much of a choice. The Regular Army only had 16,000, many of those scattered at outposts on the frontier. There was no way the professionals could hold off the tens of thousands now flocking to the Stars and Bars now flying over Southern cities.As June began, there was pressure being put on McDowell to start an offensive. The politicians were calling for a grand offensive to crush the rebellion. However, there was a bigger problem, those who enlisted for 90 days were nearing the end of their terms and they were intending to leave at the 90th day. Under this pressure, McDowell did come up with a plan. He would lead a force to seize the rail junction at Manassas, VA while another force under Brigadier General Robert Patterson was sent into the Shenandoah Valley to face Confederate troops under Joe Johnston. When McDowell expressed his concerns about the greenness of his troops, he was told that the enemy was also green.
July 16, 1861: McDowell’s army begins marching from their camps into northern Virginia. Confederate spies in Washington quickly get word to Beauregard, who orders his pickets to fall back.
July 17, 1861: Beauregard requests reinforcements from Johnston.
July 18, 1861: Johnston keeps a cavalry screen to fool Patterson into remaining where he was, while Johnston moves his army towards Manassas by rail.McDowell was having problems with discipline as many of his troops break ranks to pick blackberries and play around. The progress of the Union forces is very slow. He finally reaches Centerville. An attempt to move towards the Confederate right flank is stopped at Blackburn’s Ford. McDowell decides to scout out the enemy positions in front of him.
July 20, 1861: Despite receiving word that Beauregard was being reinforced, McDowell issues orders to launch an attack in the morning. It was believed that Patterson was holding Johnston at bay, but the truth was that Johnston’s troops were on trains heading for Manassas Junction, a short march away.
July 21, 1861: Morning; McDowell sent his troops down the Warrenton Turnpike towards a creek called Bull Run. South of Centerville, the force split, with one group continuing down the road while the second group went west and looped around to seize the Sudley Ford crossing over Bull Run. The first group, under Brigadier General Daniel Tyler reached the Stone Bridge about 5:00 a.m. One of the brigades is commanded by Colonel William Sherman.
9:00 a.m. The second group, under Brigadier Generals David Hunter and Samuel Heintzelman crosses Bull Run at Sudley Ford and attempts to hit the Confederate left. Beauregard was planning to launch an attack on the force at the Stone Bridge, but this new threat forces him to shift troops from Colonel Nathan Evans brigade to the west to support the brigades of Brigadier Generals Bernard Bee and Francis Bartow as they were holding off the Federal thrust.
10:00 a.m. At Matthews Hill, the Federal attack was pushing Bee’s and Bartow’s troops back. At the same time, Tyler’s troops make it across the Stone Bridge and pushed south.
2:00 p.m. All of the Confederate forces begin to concentrate on Henry House Hill.At the same time, Johnston’s troops were arriving at Manassas Junction and were marching toward the battle. The first brigade from Johnston’s army, led by Virginia Military Institute professor and now Brigadier General Thomas Jackson arrives to find Bee and Bartow, and Evans pulling back.
Bee meets Jackson:
Bee: General, they are pushing us back.
Jackson: Well, sir, we shall give them the bayonet.
Bee rides back to his troops and shouts, “Look, there is Jackson standing like a stone wall. Let up endeavor to die here and we will conquer. Rally behind the Virginians!”It is not know whether that was a compliment, meaning that Jackson was bravely facing the storm of shot and shell that was coming in, or an insult, meaning that Jackson was slow bringing his troops into battle. Fifteen minutes after he said those words, Bee was killed by a Federal volley. The main result was that Jackson became known as “Stonewall” and the brigade was named the “Stonewall Brigade.” (Jackson never liked to be called “Stonewall,” he felt that the brigade deserved the nickname more than he did.)
Between one and four p.m. there was a series of back and forth attacks with neither gaining the advantage until Johnston’s army was fully into line of battle. The Confederates were ready for a full charge. Beauregard orders the charge.
4:00 p.m. Jackson was rallying his men when a bullet smashes into his left hand. That gets him mad. He yells, “When you charge, yell like furies.” (This is believed to be the origin of the “Rebel Yell.”)Beauregard orders the charge. As the Confederates moved forward, the disorganized Union line began to crumble. Some units tried to hold off the charge, but a cavalry charge led by Colonel J.E.B. Stuart broke the Federal line and McDowell’s troops began to fall back.As the Union forces were falling back, some in fine order and others in a rout, they ran into an incredible sight. Several hundred politicians and society persons had come out from Washington to watch the battle with picnic baskets and champagne to toast the Union victory. Now they were astride the only route that the Union troops could take to get away.As the soldiers and civilians were crossing the Stone Bridge, a Confederate shell exploded overhead, overturning a carriage and blocking the road. The panic had begun in earnest as people tried to swim across the creek. Soldiers were tossing aside knapsacks, muskets, and cartridge boxes, anything that would lighten their load. Caught up by the charging Confederates were Congressmen like Alfred Ely of New York, who was threatened with execution by a Confederate colonel. Ely ended up in a prison for several months.
The fleeing Federals did not stop until they were back in Washington. The Confederates, especially Jackson, wanted to press on to the city but they too were disorganized and exhausted to continue.
As night fell, the battle came to an end.
Several lessons were gained from this battle;
1. The Confederates were not going to be a pushover. The idea that one volley and they would run was disproved by noon on that day.
2. Johnston’s movement proved the value of railroads in military operations. This was a lesson that the Union was able to take full advantage of.
3. The idea of a glorious war was quashed as lists of those killed were published in Northern and Southern news papers. Both sides learned the blood price that would have to be paid in order for either side to win.
4. There can no longer be 90-day recruits to fight this war. There will have to be a long term commitment to any army that takes the field again.
McDowell was relieved of army command and he served a time in the Washington Defenses before receiving a corps command under Major General John Pope. Following another defeat on the same battlefield, he was relieved of field command and was named Commander of the Department of the Pacific in 1864.
As the South celebrated this first victory, few actually realized what the next few years will be like.
Causalities (Total):Union: 2896Confederate: 1982
Subscribe to Posts [Atom]