BREVET MAJOR-GENERAL E. D. TOWNSEND,
LATE ADJUTANT- GENERAL, U. 8. ABMY
D. APPLETOtf AND COMPANY,
1, 3, AND 5 BOND BTKEET.
D. APPLETON AND COMPANY,
WITHOUT desiring to lay any claim to that fondness
for story-telling commonly attributed to garrulous old
people, the author has very naturally often enjoyed the
pleasure which the narration of incidents, some of them
now known, perhaps, to no other person living, has
seemed to afford his friends. The opinion, repeatedly
urged on such occasions, that he ought to preserve in
authentic shape some of these historical anecdotes, has at
length induced him to reduce to form such as he made
notes of at the time, or can now recall with accuracy. If
they fall short of the expectations formed of one who was
known to have filled positions of high responsibility in
military councils during the most critical period of our
country s existence, or fail to reveal some of the hidden
reasons for certain measures, and the secret history of
certain events, which he may be supposed to know, it
must be attributed partly to his conviction that in some
matters the information confided to him was intended
never to be made known ; and partly to the fact that,
while his advice and experience were always submitted
to the higher powers when called for, he abstained from
seeking knowledge which it was dangerous to the success
of critical enterprises to have disseminated more than was
absolutely necessary, content with understanding enough
to insure an efficient execution of the authority intrusted
Now that the lapse of time has softened the memories
of the great conflict, and, beneath the kindly intercourse
daily becoming cemented between North and South, the
whole country is rapidly growing in prosperity, wealth,
and power, the acts of men who were violently assailed
in the hour of heated strife can and ought to be viewed
with justice and kindness. Especially is this so in regard
to those who are now far enough beyond the reach of
criticism in the unknown world. It is the author s
hope that nothing may be found in these papers contrary
to that spirit of national charity.
CITY OF WASHINGTON, D. C., June, 1883.
Secession of Massachusetts The Irish soldier Token of affection . 1
GENERAL SCOTl s LOYALTY.
Tribute of Hon. W. M. Meredith and others Rumored resignation
Virginia s bid for his services Testimony of Senator Douglas
" Always a Union man " Parting with Governor Morehead Re
newed oath " Views " Southern estimate of them ... 3
DEFENSE OF WASHINGTON.
Floyd s policy Plan to capture Fort Moultrie C. P. Stone Regulars
and volunteers J. S. Wadsworth An old fogy Assignment of
officers to guard public buildings General Sanford His grand
review ............ 9
SUBEENDEB OF AUGUSTA ABSENAL, GEOEGIA.
The point of honor . . ........ If
A YOUTHFUL SCOUT.
Sleeping en route March of the Seventh New York . . . .19
OCCUPATION OF THE BALTIMORE AND OHIO RAILROAD DEPOT.
Limited means of transportation Groundless fear of navigating the
Potomac River 21
APPREHENDED PERSONAL VIOLENCE TO GENERAL SCOTT.
Anonymous letters Precautions Demonstrations of respect Suspi
cious characters Threats of " cold steel " . . . .22
A flag-hoisting A test 28
ROBERT E. LEE ARLINGTON HEIGHTS.
A painful interview Occupation of Arlington Easy shelling distance
Mrs. Lee s note 29
NEUTRALITY OF KENTUCKY.
Simon B. Buckner Correspondence with General McClellan Ander
son, Nelson, and Carter An unsuccessful diplomat . . .35
Neutral ground General Scott s order 38
GENERAL SCOTT AND THE STARS AND STRIPES.
A flag presentation " Are ye all there ? " 40
EVENINGS AT GENERAL SCOTT S HEADQUARTERS.
A civil lawyer An exacting host A kind heart Seventy-fifth birth
day A romantic adventure The cadet Gray The hot breakfast . 42
VALUE OF A SPOOL OF COTTON.
Capture of United States troops in Texas Escape of French s battery, 48
COLONEL MARTIN BURKE THE FRENCH LADY.
The American Bastile Arbitrary arrests justified Obedience to or
ders A very respectable " French lady " 50
THE FIRST BATTLE OF BULL RUN.
Scott s plan opposed to invasion His proposed campaign down the
Mississippi " On to Richmond ! " An anxious night A panic
Order out of chaos 55
THE COMMAND OF THE ARMY.
General McClellan Discipline of volunteers Scott s choice for gen-
eral-in-chief His complaint against McClellan McClellan succeeds
gcott His tribute to Scott Halleck succeeds McClellan An order
BALL S BLUFF RED RIVER.
Object of demonstration on Leesburg Rigorous treatment of General
Stone The secret history Colonel Raymond Lee General Stone
at Red River Colonel Bailey s engineering Capture and recovery
of his vote of thanks ?0
BEEVICE IX THE ADJUTANT-GENEEAI/S OFFICE.
General Scott s retirement Disposal of his staff Detached duty of
the adjutant-general Several candidates 76
JUIITJS P. GAEESCIIE.
Killed in battle Official announcement of his death His charities
Decorated by the Pope A priest s eulogium 82
AEMT OF THE POTOMAC COMMANDEE8.
Generous spirit of Burnside and Lincoln Plain language to Hooker
Swapping horses while crossing a river 85
A cavalry rifle The nervous traveler and the donkey " There is a
man in there ! " 89
Quakers Isaac s mode of warfare A woman in man s clothes A
kind Southern woman A secret society " Knights of the Golden
Circle " Grenfel Release of Confederate prisoners A Southern
clergyman Greetings from the North Chaplains Bounty-jump
ersI. C. V. R 92
GENEEAL FEANK P. BLAIE.
How to legalize an illegal order .... .105
EAELT S INVASION.
A false alarm President Lincoln s narrow escape . . . .108
THE SHENANDOAH VALLEY TBOPHIES.
Sheridan s black horse " To Early, in care of Sheridan " A big scare
Lo, they were gone ! . . . . . . . . . HO
TEIP TO SAVANNAH.
A Sunday service A salute at sea Conference with colored minis
ters Fort Fisher Promoted while asleep 114
Proclamation sent through the lines Good fruits " Dixie " . .119
ILLUMINATION FOB THE CAPTURE OF EICHMOND.
Magic effect A perverse eagle 122
Mr. Stanton s suspension Not sustained General L. Thomas appoint
ed ad interim Mr. Stanton resists Colloquy A lawyer s ruse
" Stand firm ! " Neutral ground Another ad interim A new Sec
EDWIN M. STANTON.
"Always tying your shoe" " Some one had been drinking " The Sec
retary obeying orders Blood enough shed Malicious reports
Baptism Kindly notice 136
THE COLORED MESSENGERS.
Batcher Madison s portrait ..... . 142
THE RECORDS OF THE ADJUTANT-GENERAL^ OFFICE.
Obstacle to capital-moving Method of keeping records Tracing a
cotton claim Tracing a soldier Confederate archives The Ala
bama . . . . . .x 144
A CASE OF CIRCUMSTANTIAL EVIDENCE.
The unknown man Convincing proofs ... .152
ORIGIN OF MILITARY COMMISSIONS.
General Scott in Mexico Martial law Lieber s instructions . . 160
MEDALS AND CORPS BADGES.
Medals of honor Recommendations "Kearny patch" Red white
and blue Legal recognition Legends Devices . . .164
Inevitable Stars and Stripes The Southern Cross The Stars and Bars
The battle-flag The white flagIts surrender to the Monitor
The black flag .......... 197
A pleasure-trip The programme Fac-simile of Anderson s dispatch
The flag-raising Festivities News of the President s death .210
THE FUNERAL OF PRESIDENT LINCOLN.
Unparalleled grief Guard of honor Funeral-train Lying in state
Mottoes and floral tributes Imposing demonstrations The vet
eran Scott " Come home " At the tomb A long farewell . . 220
THE GRAND REVIEWS.
A vast camp "War-worn veterans The Bummer Brigade Final dis
GENEEAL SCOTT S " VIEWS."
Paper of December 29, 1860 Several confederacies Garrison the
forts Paper of October 30, 1860 Solicitude for the Union
Paper of October 28, 1860 Holding the forts Paper of March
3, 1861 Four alternatives "Wayward sisters" . . . .241)
PRECAUTIONS AGAINST ATTACK.
General Orders, No. 4, April 26, 1861 257
Extract from Secretary of War s report to the President, December 1,
PLAN OF CAMPAIGN.
Original draft of letter to General McClcllan, May 3, 1861 . . . 260
RETIREMENT OF GENERAL SCOTT.
Act to retire Lieutenant-Gcnnral Winfield Scott Correspondence . 263
COLLOQUY WITH COLORED MINISTERS.
Minutes of colloquy at Savannah, Georgia 267
DEATH OF JUSTICE E. M. STANTON.
Affidavits and statements of cause of death .... . 275
General Scott s projet General Orders, No. 287, September 17, 1847 . 279
ANECDOTES OF THE CIVIL WAR.
Secession of Massachusetts The Irish soldier Token of affection.
PRESIDENT BUCHANAN was very fond of visiting the
Soldiers Home, near Washington. He sometimes, in the
summer, occupied the quarters of one of the officers sta
tioned there, with whom he was on terms of friendly in
timacy. I was asked by this officer to meet the President
at dinner one day in the fall of 1860. The Bishop of
Maryland was also there. It was a delightful day, and I
walked out, in order to enjoy the fresh air and exercise.
There were some twelve or fourteen persons at the
dinner. The hostess sat at the head of the table, with
the President on her right, and myself on her left. The
bishop was on the left of the host, at the other end of
the table. In the general conversation that ensued it
happened that the probable action of the Southern States
in the pending troubles was discussed. The opinion was
expressed that several of them would secede. Already
several officers of the army and navy from those States had
2 ANECDOTES OF THE CIVIL WAR.
resigned. Mr. Buchanan seemed to be much annoyed,
and said little. Presently some allusion was made to
Massachusetts, when the President said, with considerable
warmth : u I wish Massachusetts would secede ; she is
practically already out of the Union by her action in the
fugitive-slave matter." Now I, being a Massachusetts
man, felt rather awkwardly at this. Questions as to what
I ought to do coursed rapidly through my brain. Sud
denly an inspiration seized me. Looking up at the Presi
dent, who was directly opposite me, I said with mock
humility, " Mr. President, if Massachusetts should secede,
would it be my duty to resign from the army, sir ? "
There was a dead silence. The President looked a little
confused, and asked, " Are you from Massachusetts ? "
"Yes, sir," said I; "but I have been a good deal in
California, and became very fond of that State, which
makes me sometimes feel like saying of it, as the Irish
soldier did, when asked where he came from i I w r as
born in Ireland, sir ; but I call Illinois me native State. "
This excited a good laugh, and the conversation after
ward took a more general turn.
I hardly knew whether or not to congratulate myself
on my hit ; but after dinner the President showed that he
took it in good part, for he asked me how I came out of
town. On my saying I had walked, he offered me a seat
in his carriage if I would ride into town with him. Of
course the offer was accepted with pleasure. On the way,
I piloted him to the Oak Hill Cemetery, in Georgetown,
where he desired to see a monument he had ordered in
memory of a favorite niece, who was interred there, and
of whose gentle nature he spoke with feeling and affec
tion. He asked my opinion of the monument, and re-
PRESIDENT BUCHANAN. 3
marked that he had not yet prepared the inscription,
which was the only part unfinished, and that he feared
he would hardly be able to attend to it properly before
the time came for him to leave Washington. I offered to
assist him in any way, and subsequently drew a plan of
the monument, with the words of the inscription arranged
on it, for his approval. I then attended to the cutting of
the words and the setting up of the monument.
This ride was thus the prelude to one of those episodes
in life where the tender emotions of the heart shine forth
with most sweetness amid the stern perplexities and harsh
criticisms which attend high public office. It caused me
me ever to remember with very kind feelings the official
parting with Mr. Buchanan, when, a few weeks after, he
retired from the presidential chair.
GENERAL SCOTx s LOYALTY.
Tribute of Hon. W. M. Meredith and others Rumored resignation Vir
ginia s bid for his services Testimony of Senator Douglas " Always
a Union man " Parting with Governor Morehead Renewed oath
" Views " Southern estimate of them.
FOR some unaccountable reason, efforts have been
made, since General Scott s death, to throw doubts upon
his real loyalty to the Union. In 1860 and 1861 much
anxiety was felt to ascertain what course he would take.
The papers of the day, however, furnished abundant evi
dence that the tribute paid in a letter of April 30, 1861,
4 ANECDOTES OF THE CIVIL WAR.
addressed to him by Alexander Henry, Horace Binney,
"W. M. Meredith, and others, was only just. This is an
extract from that letter :
" At a time like this, when Americans, distinguished
by the favor of their country, intrenched in power, and
otherwise high in influence, and station, civil and military,
are renouncing their allegiance to the flag they have sworn
to support, it is an inexpressible source of consolation and
pride to us to know that the General-in-Chief of the Army
remains like an impregnable fortress at the post of duty
and glory, and that he will continue to the last to uphold
that flag, and defend it, if necessary, with his sword, even
if his native State should assail it."
The Charleston (South Carolina) " Mercury," of April
22, 1861, stated that " a positive announcement was made
at Montgomery, Alabama,* that General Scott had re
signed his position in the Army of the United States, and
tendered his sword to his native State Virginia. At
Mobile, one hundred guns were fired in honor of his res
ignation." This shows something of the estimated value
of the general s influence.
Many efforts were made to induce him to resign, but
he never once wavered in his devotion to the Union,
whatever may be thought of the wisdom of his views,
which, like those of every one, may be open to criticism.
On one occasion Judge Robertson, a small, thin, but ven
erable-looking man, came to Washington with two other
Virginia gentlemen, to offer General Scott the command-
in-chief of the Army of Virginia, together with an estate
belonging to the Commonwealth, and esteemed the most
valuable in Virginia, if he would abandon the United
* Then the capital of the Southern Confederacy.
GENERAL SCOTT S LOYALTY. 5
States service and go with the South. The general lis
tened in silence as Kobertson feelingly recalled tne days
when they were school-boys together ; and then spoke of
the warm attachment Virginians always cherished for
their State, and of their boasted allegiance to it above all
other political ties. But, when he began to unfold his
offer of a commission and estate, the noble old soldier
stopped him, exclaiming : " Friend Kobertson, go no fur
ther. It is best that we part here, before you compel me
to resent a mortal insult." Kobertson and his friends at
once took their departure, and I saw them as they de
scended the stairs, looking much discomfited.
Senator Douglas delivered a speech in Ohio in which
he said he had been asked whether there was truth in the
rumor that General Scott was about to resign. " Why,"
said the Senator, " it is almost profanity to ask that ques
tion. I saw him only last Saturday. He was at his desk,
pen in hand, writing his orders for the defense and safety
of the American capital." The Senator then detailed a
conversation he had had with Judge Kobertson, in which
the latter corroborated the account of the interview just
General Scott answered an inquiry from his old and
valued friend, Senator J. J. Crittenden, as to his reported
intention to resign : " I have not changed ; always a Union
Just before actual non-intercourse between the sec
tions, Governor Morehead, of North Carolina, an old
friend of General Scott, came one morning to his office.
He had been to Philadelphia to withdraw his daughter
from school, and take her home while travel was yet un
interrupted. The interview between the old friends was
6 ANECDOTES OF THE CIVIL WAR.
very affecting. Both deprecated the prospect, so immi
nent, ol a separation of the States. Not a suggestion was
hinted that they might soon be together in the new con
federacy, but their parting was evidently viewed by both
as final. The Governor shortly arose and bade a mourn
ful farewell. He then said his daughter, a sweet young
lady, who was in a carriage below, wished very much to
see General Scott once more, and asked if she might
come. Of course, a ready assent was given, and she
presently appeared. A few parting words of regret were
spoken, and she, bending over the general as he sat in
his chair, kissed him reverently on the forehead. Tears
streamed down the cheeks of father and daughter as they
On Monday, May 6, 1861, in obedience to orders from
the War Department requiring all officers to specially re
new their oath of allegiance to the United States, the
oath was administered to General Scott in his office, and
at the same time to his staff.
The famous sentence, " Say to the seceded States,
Wayward sisters, depart in peace, " has been quoted as
if it stood alone, to indicate that General Scott favored se
cession. This is evidently unfair. The sentence referred
to was the fourth and last alternative which it seemed
to him was within reach of the President. It was con
tained in a letter of March 3, 1861, to the Secretary of
State about to come into office, and which appeared in
print without the general s sanction. As early as Octo
ber, 1860, the " views " of General Scott upon " threat
ened " secession were published, and the four alternatives,
afterward submitted to Mr. Seward, were a sort of sup
plement to those views. The three papers entire will be
GENERAL SCOTT S LOYALTY. 7
found in Appendix A. As interpreted by the light of
frequent conversations during my service with the gen
eral, there is no doubt in my mind that he meant to show
" all solicitude for the safety of the Union? and by point-
in^ out not what he would approve or desire, but what
would probably occur, viz., the fatal division not into
North and South, but into four, and subsequently more,
wesik confederacies to warn his countrymen against the
dangers which seemed so imminently to threaten. Then,
to prevent the possibility of secession, he declared : " In
my opinion, all these works " (in Southern States) " should
be immediately so garrisoned as to make any attempt to
take any one of them by surprise, or coup de main, ridic
ulous " ; and, with proper management, that " there is
good reason to hope that the danger of secession may le
made to pass away without one conflict of arms, one exe
cution, or one arrest for treason"
This was in October, 1860, before any events had oc
curred to show what the future would certainly bring
forth. To be sure, the advice to send troops to reenforce
the posts seems absurd in view of the very small number
he reported as available. But, as in duty bound, when
submitting his recommendations, he represented the full
extent of his own resources, leaving it to the President to
use his constitutional powers to provide the means. A
few weeks later, when there was a will, a way was readily
found to raise all the troops needed. There is an obvi
ous reason why, in the agitated state of the public mind,
General Scott ought not to have made a specific recom
mendation in writing on this head.
As to the Southern sentiment, it was seen in the furi
ous denunciations of him in Southern papers when his
8 ADECDOTES OF THE CIVIL WAR.
real position came to be known. Tlie secession estimate
of his " views " was announced at the reception tendered
to Mr. Floyd in Richmond, after he resigned his place in
President Buchanan s Cabinet, in these words :
" The plan invented by General Scott to stop seces
sion was, like all campaigns devised by him, very able in
its details, and nearly certain of general success. The
Southern States are full of arsenals and forts, command
ing their rivers and strategic points. General Scott de
sired to transfer the army of the United States to these
forts as speedily and as quietly as possible.* The South
ern States could not cut off communication between the
Government and the fortresses without a great fleet, which
they can not build for years, or take them by land with
out one hundred thousand men, many hundred millions
of dollars, several campaigns, and many a bloody siege.
Had Scott been able to have got these forts in the condition
he desired them to be, the Southern Confederacy would not
This was the involuntary tribute paid to General
Scott s " views " in the capital of that very State which
he had repudiated for the Union. It was not intended
to glorify him, but Mr. Floyd for thwarting him.
* The army had been unnecessarily scattered under Secretary Floyd s
administration, and his assent was necessary to enable General Scott to
draw in from remote posts companies now much more needed at the East.
DEFENSE OF WASHINGTON. 9
DEFENSE OF WASHINGTON.
Floyd s policy Plan to capture Fort Moultrie C. P. Stone Regulars and
volunteers J. S. Wadsworth An old fogy Assignment of officers
to guard public buildings General Sanford His grand review.
As early as January 2, 1861, the "New York Times "
had the following statement : " It is now well known that
military companies have been organized and drilled for
months past in Maryland and Virginia, and that the dis
tinct object of their organization is to aid in the seizure of
"Washington City in the interest of the disunionists, or
the prevention by force of Lincoln s inauguration. Some
of the less prudent of their leaders boast in private cir
cles that they have five thousand well-armed and organ
ized men ready to strike the blow instantly upon the con
certed signal being given."
This statement perfectly agreed with information in
possession of the War Department before Mr. Floyd left
it. It is matter of surprise, under the circumstances, that
Floyd should have permitted General Scott to assemble
the military force he was able to bring to Washington
for the defense of the capital. Other circumstances would
seem to indicate either that Floyd had not at that time
fully made up his mind what would be the drift of
events ; or that he had not decided what his own course
should be ; or else that he did certain things to conceal
his ultimate designs.
Mr. Floyd resigned as Secretary of War in the last
part of December, 1860. Within about a month before
10 ANECDOTES OF THE CIVIL WAR.
that time, Colonel Cooper being absent, I was in charge
of the Adjutant-General s office. Going one day to the
Secretary s room on some business, T met there Colonel
R. E. DeRussy, Acting Chief of Engineers, who had
been sent for by the Secretary. Mr. Floyd took from
his table-drawer a letter, which he read aloud, from some
one in Charleston, South Carolina, stating that an organ
ized band of the young men of Charleston had formed a
plan to capture Fort Moultrie by assault. There was but
a small garrison of regulars there, wholly inadequate to
defend the fort. The sand had been blown into the
ditch until it had gradually filled it in some places to
within a short space from the top of the wall, so as to
make it an easy matter to scale the parapet. Suggestion
was made by the writer that information, or instructions,
should be conveyed in some form to the commanding
officer, to the effect that, in case of an assault being made,
only a nominal defense would be necessary, in view of
the fact that the attack would be made by so considraeble
a number that the garrison could suffer itself to be over
powered, and surrender gracefully, without loss of honor,
and thus avoid useless bloodshed. This was the way the
Southern arsenals and small detached posts were all
taken; though no intimation was given by the United
States authorities that they might be surrendered at all.
Having read the letter, Mr. Floyd asked Colonel De
Russy if there was any way at his disposal in which the
sand could be cleared from the ditch. The colonel re
plied that there was a small but sufficient balance of
appropriation which could be applied to that purpose,
and he could have it done as if it were a part of the re
pairs he had been for some time putting on Fort Moul-
DEFENSE OF WASHINGTON. 11
trie. The Secretary then gave orders that the work
should be done without loss of time.
Although a grand organization of the entire militia
force of the District of Columbia existed in general
orders of the War Department, and plenty of regiments,
brigades, and divisions were to be found on paper , yet the
actual force consisted of two or three companies, pretty
well drilled, and of a major-general and two brigadiers,
whose physical capacity for active duty was at least
doubtful. Moreover, most of the officers and men of the
organized companies were either positive in their affilia
tion with the South, or openly declared they would not
fire upon their relatives and friends from Maryland and
Virginia, if arrayed against them, even to resist an attack
It happened that at this time Captain Charles P.
Stone,* who was a distinguished graduate of the Military
Academy, and had but a short time before resigned his
commission in the Ordnance Department, was then in the
city. Acting on the principle which all graduates from
West Point recognize, Captain Stone offered his services
to General Scott in any capacity where he could be useful.
He was a Massachusetts man, and had served with credit
under General Scott in the Mexican War. About the
first of January, 1861, he was mustered into the United
States service as colonel and inspector-general of the
District of Columbia militia, under the legal organization,
and was assigned to the military command of the District
of Columbia, with authority to reorganize the volunteers
of the District. He very soon disposed of the disloyal
* For several years past distinguished as the chief of military staff to
the Khedive of Egypt.
12 ANECDOTES OF THE CIVIL WAR.
and lukewarm elements, and had a small but compact
body of men, who did excellent service.
Besides this force, Magruder s Light Battery, of the
First United States Artillery, Barry s, of the Second Ar
tillery, and a very fine battery, made up at West Point,
of men, horses, and guns used in the instruction of cadets,
and commanded by Griffin, also some foot-companies of
artillery and some of infantry, which were within reach,
were brought to Washington. Thus about three thou
sand men were collected there, barely enough to guard
the public buildings and the approaches to the city.
Colonel Stone was indefatigable in posting his troops,
and in collecting all the provisions he could get,* so as to
* At about this time, General Scott received a telegram from General
James S. Wadsworth, in New York, asking him if a vessel-load of cheese
would be acceptable. I well remember the expression of satisfaction with
which the general directed a reply to be sent that it would be, for it was
really a question of some concern whether the army commissary and the
private grocery and provision stores would have subsistence enough for
citizens and troops until the way could be opened from the North. The
cheese arrived safely and was issued to the troops. General Wadsworth
soon after entered the United States service, and after rendering much
important aid in various capacities, and making himself exceedingly popu
lar, was killed in battle. The name of Fort Richmond, on Long Island*
near the entrance to New York Harbor, was changed to Fort Wadsworth
in his honor. With this fort is connected, later, one of President Lincoln s
humorous sallies. High officials of the navy proposed to the President
that the military engineers should prepare Fort Wadsworth with sand-bags
and others appliances, according to the latest ideas of defense against iron,
clad ships with heavy armaments ; and that an iron-clad ship should then
try to batter it down. The experiment was to be tried of the relative
powers of such a battery to destroy and of such a fortification to with
stand. The President paid a visit to Secretary Stanton in his office, to ask
his opinion of the scheme. Mr. Stanton sent for the then Chief of Engi
neers, General Delafield. He heard the whole plan in silence, and then
said : " Mr. President, I do not perceive that any provision is made that my
DEFENSE OF WASHINGTON. 13
stand a siege if necessary. He took large quantities of
flour from the mills in Georgetown, the most of which he
stored in the Capitol building. All the halls were soon
barricaded with barrels, and the floors white with their
Companies were quartered in the public buildings,
with stores of ammunition and provisions. Picket-guards
were posted at the bridges and highways leading into the
District, and a concerted signal was announced, at sound
of which the troops were to repair to certain rendezvous
in case of attack.
It occurred to me that it would be a wise plan to as
sign a regular officer of rank to the charge and command
of each public building and important section of the city.
General Scott approving the suggestion, Colonel Stone
and I arranged the details, which were given in an order
of the general. Adjutant-General L. Thomas lived in
Georgetown ; to him was assigned the command of all
the troops there, and the provision for guarding the
bridges. He was always there at night. Major McDowell,
assistant adjutant-general, who was" the officer employed
to muster volunteers into the United States service, was
.assigned to Capitol Hill, especially to take charge of the
Capitol building. This became an important and exten-
fort shall be allowed to defend itself. This is one of our most costly perma.
nent forts, and it is in complete order. I shall have no objection whatever
to the test, if you permit me to man my batteries and fire back again ; but
I am not willing to stand by and see those expensive works knocked to
pieces without their having a chance to give as good as they get." " That s
right ! that s right ! " said the President ; " why, they told me you were a
good deal of an old fogy ; but I like just such old fogy ideas as yours."
It seemed that some persons had been advising the President to retire
General Delaneld, and put a younger officer at the head of his corps,
14 ANECDOTES OF TEE CIVIL WAR.
sive command, as soon as regiments of volunteers from
the North arrived, for many of them were quartered
there. McDowell so commended himself to Secretary
Cameron, by his skillful management of these new troops,
that a little later, with the influence of Mr. Chase, Secre
tary of the Treasury like himself an Ohio man he
was selected to receive the commission of brigadier-gen
eral in the regular army.
Captain W. B. Franklin, Corps of Topographical En
gineers,* who had charge of the extension to the Treasury
building, then in process of erection, was assigned to that
building. He collected there quite a magazine of sup
plies. For the defense of the President and the Executive
Mansion I named several high officers, but Colonel Stone
objected to each one. At last I asked him who was his
choice. He replied, "I claim that post for myself, as
the most responsible and dangerous." Colonel J. P.
Taylor, commissary-general of subsistence, was assigned
to the Patent-Office building ; Captain A. A. Humphreys,
Corps of Engineers, to the Smithsonian ; Colonel Garesche,
assistant adjutant-general, to the War Department build
ing. Some warm personal friends of President Lincoln
formed a volunteer body-guard, to stay in the Executive
The officers thus distributed attended to their regular
duties in the day, but were at their posts every night to
be in readiness for an emergency. Instructions for their
guidance in such an event were issued in general orders.
(See Appendix B.) The few troops we had were fre
quently marched in small bodies through the streets,
* Of this officer s balance of character, General Scott used to say that
he was neither too fast nor too slow.
DEFENSE OF WASHINGTON. 15
either in relieving guards, or for exercise, and thus an
impression arose that their numbers were much greater
than they really were. Several years after the war I was
told by a citizen that such was the general belief, and that
it was supposed we were constantly being reenforced by
the troops seen marching to and fro.
There never was greater rejoicing than when the vol
unteers from the North began to arrive. The famous
New York Seventh was the first to appear. It arrived
April 27th, and its welcome will not soon be forgotten.
It marched up Pennsylvania Avenue to the Executive
Mansion, where it passed in review before the President,
and thence to the War Department, where it was regu
larly mustered into service. After this, other regiments
continued to arrive in quick succession. Major-General
Sandford, long conspicuous in New York as an energetic
and intelligent commander of a fine division of the State
uniformed militia, received from General Scott a tele
gram, dated May 6, 1861, saying, " Send without delay
every regiment of the New York quota in and about your
city, as soon as equipped for service, to this place, ma the
ocean and the Potomac River." By untiring exertions,
he forwarded his whole division, splendidly organized and
equipped. In reference to his coming in person, General
Scott telegraphed to him, on the 8th of May : " Nobody
more highly estimates your value as a soldier than myself,
and you will receive a hearty welcome from. me. More
than one brigade of your troops are here, and more ex
pected. Your right to follow them and command them
is unquestionable, but your presence will be attended with
one disadvantage: we are in critical circumstances, and
it would take weeks to make you as well acquainted with
16 ANECDOTES OF THE CIVIL WAR.
localities, officers, and men, as brevet Brigadier-General
Mansfield, whom you would supersede as the commander
of the department."
"With an unselfishness worthy of commemoration, Gen
eral Sandford waived this consideration, and soon followed
his division, reporting in person in the latter part of May.
He was received into the United States service, and placed
in command of the New York troops and of Arlington
Heights. General Scott was very much pleased at his
soldierly tone, and at the orders he had given his troops
in starting them from New York. Hearing that the Po
tomac River was closed by rebel batteries, he instructed
them to proceed up the river in their transports, and, if
molested by hostile batteries, to land in sufficient force,
storm them, and disperse the enemy.
The first grand review that took place in the city of
Washington was that of Major-General Sandford s divis
ion of ten thousand men. The troops marched before
President Lincoln and Cabinet, and General Scott, who
were seated on a platform erected on the sidewalk in
front of the Executive Mansion. A large proportion of
the regiments was composed of foreign citizens, who had
evidently seen military service in their native countries,
and being, as they were, all well dressed in uniforms of
their own fancy, well drilled, and preceded by excellent
bands, or drum-corps, the effect was much like a display
of fine troops somewhere in Europe. It had a great in
fluence in inspiring military enthusiasm and confidence,
in strong contrast with the depression of our beleaguered
state but a few weeks before.
The uniforms of several regiments, like the Zouaves,
were new to Americans, and none the less striking. The
SURRENDER OF AUGUSTA ARSENAL, GEORGIA. 17
Garibaldi Guards presented a most picturesque appear
ance, in a rich foreign uniform, with vivandieres attached
to each company, marching on its right flank. As this
regiment passed in review, nearly every man took from
the muzzle of his musket, or from his breast, a small
bunch of flowers, or of evergreens, and tossed it toward
the stand. The vivandieres did the same, and raised
their hands to their caps in a graceful salute. The ground
in front of the stand was thus completely strewed with
flowers. One man, more enthusiastic than the rest,
stepped from the ranks toward the stand and lodged a
handsome bouquet directly in General Scott s lap. The
next day there was a loud lament and complaint of this
regiment from persons living near the encampment, that
their gardens had been stripped of every flower and green
SURRENDER OF AUGUSTA ARSENAL, GEORGIA.
The point of honor.
IN the evening of the 23d of January, 1861, a tele
gram was received from Captain Arnold Elzey, Second
Artillery, commanding Augusta Arsenal, Georgia, say
ing : " I am just officially informed by the Governor of
Georgia, now in Augusta, supported by a superior mili
tary force, that Georgia, having resumed exclusive sov
ereignty over her soil, it has become his duty to require
me to withdraw the troops under my command at the
18 ANECDOTES OF THE CIVIL WAE.
earliest practicable moment from the limits of the State.
He declares his intention to take possession of the arsenal,
and proposes to receipt for the public property and ac
count for the same on adjustment between the State of
Georgia and the United States of America. He further
declares that the retention of the troops upon the soil of
Georgia after remonstrance is, under the laws of nations,
an act of hostility, claiming that the State now is not only
at peace, but anxious to cultivate the most amicable rela
tions with the United States Government, and that an
answer from me to his demand is required at nine o clock
A. M. to-morrow. An immediate answer to this communi
cation is respectfully requested."
I submitted this to General Scott as soon as it arrived.
The general took me in his coupe to the residence of the
Hon. Joseph Holt, Secretary of War, on Capitol Hill, to
prepare a reply. The veteran, annoyed as he was at the
idea of United States troops surrendering a post under any
circumstances, was aware how hopeless an attempt at re
sistance would be, and yet, he insisted, the point of honor
demanded that at least a shot should be fired before delib
erately yielding even to an overwhelming force. How to
convey this idea by telegraph to the commander of the
arsenal, without exacting unnecessary bloodshed, was the
question. After trying several forms, the following was
agreed upon and sent that evening, in the hope that the
officer to whom it was addressed would weigh it carefully,
and that his soldierly instinct would enable him to see its
" The Governor of Georgia has assumed against your
post and the United States an attitude of war. His sum-
A YOUTHFUL SCOUT. 19
inons is harsh, and peremptory. It is not expected that
your defense shall be desperate. If forced to surrender
by violence or starvation, you will stipulate for honorable
terms and a free passage by water with your company to
New York. J. HOLT, Secretary of War"
If Captain Elzey did not apprehend what was ex
pected of him, it may perhaps be accounted for by his
subsequently resigning and entering the Confederate ser
vice. His official report shows that early the next morn
ing he sent to beg an interview with the Governor of
Georgia, when he arranged terms for the immediate sur
render of all public property except that of his company
and its arms.
A YOUTHFUL SCOUT.
Sleeping en route March of the Seventh New York.
WHILE Northern troops were arriving daily at An
napolis, and their presence was greatly needed in Wash
ington, they had to remain for some time inactive from
want of ability to communicate orders to them. The
roads were beset by rebel scouts, and the railroad was en
tirely controlled by unfriendly hands. Two or three offi
cers attempted to make their way to Annapolis, but were
obliged to turn back. At last a young son of Colonel
Abert, Chief of the Corps of Topographical Engineers,
undertook to convey a message. He bore orders to Gen-
20 ANECDOTES OF THE CIVIL WAR.
eral B. F. Butler, who held a commission from the Gov
ernor of Massachusetts, and was the senior officer of the
troops at Annapolis. Mr. Abert was familiar with the
whole of that part of the country, and, though a mere
stripling, he developed a rare coolness, bravery, and en
durance, worthy a much older person. He started on
foot, in his ordinary civilian dress, and, going across the
country, struck the Annapolis Railroad not far from the
Junction. He was frequently stopped, but, by his ready
answers and evident knowledge of persons and localities,
sustained his role of a Maryland citizen trying to get
home to Annapolis. So completely did he deceive his
interrogators that they helped him on the way, instead of
impeding his journey. He was allowed to get on a plat
form-car bound for Annapolis, and very coolly lay down
and went to sleep until he safely reached a point near
the depot, when, to evade arrest ~by the Yankees, he got
off and stole into town. From that time General Butler
was regularly invested with the command, and the regi
ments began their march for the capital. Young Abert
afterward received a commission in the regular army,
and was a gallant officer.
The experience dreaded by the gentleman who came
to ask General Scott what was the destination of the Sev
enth New York Regiment was not realized. The regi
ment was among the very first to reach Annapolis. In
reply to the question what the general wished it to do,
he said, " March to Washington." " March ! why, gen
eral, its tracks will be marked with blood ; it will have
to fight its way through hordes of rebels ! " " Fight, sir,
fight ! That is what the regiment came for ! This is not
a time to play soldier on parade ! " The reality of the
OCCUPATION OF THE RAILROAD DEPOT. 21
situation was at once perceived, and no further question
was raised. The regiment marched, and would have
fought, too, but it met no opposition.
OCCUPATION OF THE BALTIMORE AND OHIO RAILROAD DEPOT.
Limited means of transportation Groundless fear of navigating the Poto
ON the morning of April 25th, as I happened to
come out of the office opposite the War Department,
Secretary Cameron drove to the door in a buggy. See
ing me, he turned his driver out, and invited me to take
his place. Assuming the reins, I inquired, "Where
shall I drive, sir ? " "I wish," said he, " to go to the
railroad depot as fast as possible." On reaching the
depot, the first thing was to close the telegraph-office and
lock it up, before the operator could send off a dispatch.
Then we found Colonel Stone, who was at the depot,
and, with the guard already stationed there, had been
collecting all the extra rails and material he could find.
The Secretary directed him to take possession of the
depot, and all the small amount of rolling-stock and ma
terial there, and to hold it under military control.
While we were at the depot a small train arrived from
Baltimore, which was taken. The engines and cars thus
seized, with some few at Annapolis,* constituted for some
* Among these was the engine which had been taken to pieces by rebels
and was put together again by the Massachusetts volunteer, who, being a
machinist, recognized it as one he had helped to manufacture.
22 ANECDOTES OF THE CIVIL WAR.
weeks the only means of land transportation for convey
ing troops from Annapolis. Several regiments destined
for Washington had landed there, in consequence of the
reports which had reached the North that the rebels had
batteries on the Potomac which would sink any trans
ports going up the river. The fact really was, that our
gunboat flotilla made daily examination of Matthias
Point, where the channel runs very near the shore, and
of other dangerous places, and for a long time found no
evidence of batteries, or preparations to erect them. But
this information could not be conveyed in time to the
troops on their way.
It was not long before volunteer troops enough were
received into service to guard the line of communication
from Philadelphia through Baltimore ; and then engines
and rolling-stock sufficient for all demands were rapidly
put upon the route, and trains ran without fear of inter
ruption. But, during the weeks of limited means, it was
necessary to send an officer s guard with every train that
moved to and from Washington.
APPREHENDED PERSONAL VIOLENCE TO GENERAL SCOTT.
Anonymous letters Precautions Demonstrations of respect Suspicious
characters Threats of " cold steel."
EARLY in the commencement of the secession troubles,
General Scott had lodgings at the house of Cruchet, a
French caterer, on Sixth Street, opposite what was then
APPREHENDED VIOLENCE TO GEN. SCOTT. 23
the Unitarian Church, and is now the Police Court. One
of his aides lodged on the opposite side of the street. A
company of artillery, serving as infantry, was quartered a
few blocks away, and a sergeant s guard detailed from
this company was always on duty at the general s lodg
About this time, a large number of communications
were received from several Northern States, Canada,
Kentucky, and other parts of the South, and from Eu
rope, especially from Germany, some of them anony
mous, others signed with a name. All concurred in
the declaration that a plot existed to assassinate Presi
dent Lincoln and General Scott. They agreed singu
larly in the details, and sometimes in fixing the same
dates for the attempt. The staff opened the general s
mails, and we decided not to annoy him by telling him
everything of this threatening character which we re
ceived, but only to inform him of so much of the con
tents of the communications as seemed necessary for him
One of these letters was from a clergyman living in a
most prominent secession city, and read as follows, the
names being purposely left blank :
, February 14, 1861.
General WINFIELD SCOTT.
RESPECTED Sra : A man by the name of
was taken suddenly ill at the Hotel, and, desiring
the services of a minister, I was called in. He had hardly
time to confess to me that he was an accomplice to a
most diabolical scheme of undermining and blowing up
the Capitol on the Ides of March. I am constrained by
24 ANECDOTES OF THE CIVIL WAR.
his request to write you immediately, hoping that you
may succeed in frustrating so diabolical a plan.
I am, truly yours,
Rector Church of
So many of these statements agreed in affirming that
the general would be attacked on a certain Thursday,
that I could not help feeling unusual apprehension, and
I determined to leave nothing undone to defeat the dia
bolical plot. The evening before that Thursday, one of
the aides, who had been to the general s quarters, called
at my house and told me the general wished to see me.
In order to be prepared with any official information that
might be required, I asked if he had mentioned why he
wished to see me. The aide replied no, but he thought
the general felt a little uneasy at being alone, so far away
from where all the officers lived, the aide who was quar
tered near him being temporarily absent in New York.
I went down at about eight o clock, and found, as had
been suggested, that I was merely wanted for company.
I now thought it best to tell the general frankly that we
apprehended an attempt on his life the next night, and
wished he could be persuaded to move on the morrow to
some lodgings near the War Department, where imme
diate access could be had to him. He at first made light
of it, said that he felt quite secure with his guard, and
that he did not place much reliance on the anonymous
letters. I urged upon him that we had no right in such
times to disregard even such sources of information, but
when so many, coming from places so far apart, agreed
in such a singular and circumstantial manner in their
APPREHENDED VIOLENCE TO GEN. SCOTT. 25
assertions, I thought it an imperative duty to use ex
traordinary precautions. At length he consented that I
should procure him suitable lodgings, and agreed to move
the next day. I remained with him till eleven o clock,
after offering to stay all night and keep watch by him,
to which he would not listen. Then I gave the guard
minute cautions and instructions. The sergeant was, on
the occurrence of anything unusual, to send immediately
to the company quartered near, and dispatch a messenger
for me. The next morning I engaged the kind offices of
Captain Palmer, of the Corps of Engineers, who had more
leisure than I, to hunt up new quarters for the general.
He found very comfortable ones at Mrs. Duvall s, a house
No. 159 (old series) still standing back in a yard, on
the south side of Pennsylvania Avenue, between Seven
teenth and Eighteenth Streets. I dined with the Gen
eral at Cruchet s Thursday evening, and after dark we
drove in his coupe to Mrs. Duvall s. The headquarters
company was moved to a house qn Seventeenth street,
opposite the War Department. The sergeant s guard was
stationed in an out-building in the yard of the general s
quarters, where it could hear orders conveyed in a whis
per, and sentinels were posted in the yards in front and
rear of the house. The back yard extended through to
G Street, near its junction with Seventeenth, and the
whole company could hear an alarm-shot, and in two
minutes be at the general s side.
For several nights, until arrangements were made for
an aide to lodge in the house, I rested on a sofa in the
outer room, next the general s chamber, with sword and
revolver at hand, fully expecting that some attempt would
be made upon us. Nor shall I ever be convinced that any-
26 ANECDOTES OF THE CIVIL WAR.
thing prevented it except the evident state of preparation
and watchfulness which was maintained. Every half-hour
in the night I visited the sentinels and took observations
of the neighborhood. There was a wood-yard on each
side of the house, and frequently in the night the pecul
iar secession whistle was heard, coming from some one
in these yards. I would then send out a patrol to search
these yards. There were discharges of guns frequently in
the night, and the inmates of the house heard bullets
strike against its brick walls. The gentlemen boarders,
among them a young clergyman, were at their request
furnished with fire-arms, and they would have used them
to good effect in the general s defense, so enthusiastic
was their veneration for him.
Whenever General Scott alighted from his coupe to
pass to his office, lines were formed by persons, generally
in humble life, who removed their hats, and frequently
uttered a fervent " God bless you, general ! " as he passed
them. Sometimes dark-visaged men would be seen on
the corners of the street, intently scrutinizing him ; and
we were told by a stable-keeper near by that on two or
three occasions very suspicious-looking men had asked
him all sorts of questions as to where the general lived,
how many officers he had on his staff, and what sort of
looking men they were ; and that he had once seen them
take notes after such a conversation.
There was a young officer of cavalry attached to the
general s staff as an extra aide. He was quite proud of
his uniform and of his fine horsemanship, and certainly
was a good-looking fellow. I had heard that there
was a company formed near Tenally Town, back of
Georgetown, which was drilling at night under suspicious
APPREHENDED VIOLENCE TO GEN. SCOTT. 27
circumstances. As this young officer was intimately ac
quainted in Georgetown and vicinity, I directed him to
go out cautiously and try to ascertain the facts, without
letting his mission be known. He could not forego the
gratification of displaying his uniform and military trap
pings to his old friends, so out he galloped in complete
martial equipment. He went to a store-keeper whom he
knew, and believed to be a Union man, and bluntly in
quired of him about what he wanted to ascertain. The
man told him he had heard there was such a company
under drill, but he did not know much about it. He
promised to ascertain and let him know in a day or two
if he would go out again. " But," said he, " when you
come again I advise you to come in citizen s dress, or else
to bring a guard with you. All General Scott s staff are
known and marked, and, some of these times, if they
don t look out, they will get an inch of cold steel in
These were some of the incidents that occurred every
day, especially about the middle of April, 1861, which
kept us vigilant night and day. No wonder that for
weeks we lived in the constant expectation that, as we
proceeded on our way from the general s quarters to our
own, often late at night, we might at anytime be assailed
from behind a tree, or from some dark alley.
28 ANECDOTES OF THE CIVIL WAR.
A flag-hoisting A test.
AMONG the early arrivals of troops at the capital were
the First Regiment of Rhode Island Infantry, command
ed by Colonel Ambrose E. Burnside (afterward general
and Senator), and Captain Charles H. Tompkins s bat
tery of Rhode Island Artillery. Governor William
Sprague accompanied these troops, to be soon followed
by others from his State, as commander-in-chief of the
whole. The Governor wore a military dress, was attended
by a staff, and by his presence and example, no less than
by the excellent organization and equipment of his com
mand, did much toward creating the enthusiasm and pride
which inspired the whole body of troops and the loyal
among civilians. The infantry regiment was quartered in
the Department of the Interior, over which building the
United States flag was hoisted on the 3d of May, amid
the acclamations of a large assemblage, the regiment pa
rading in front, and its band playing patriotic airs.
Governor Sprague was remarkably youthful in ap
pearance, and generally thought to be handsome. This,
with his modest, dignified manners, made him quite pop
ular. Some of the most piquant of romances notoriously
originate during the stirring times of war, and so the
handsome and chivalric young Governor soon became the
object of harmless gossip in connection with the beautiful
daughter of the Secretary of the Treasury. This young
lady was the belle of the time, and her father s estimate
EGBERT K LEE ARLINGTON HEIGHTS. 29
of her was readily accepted in addition to her more pat
ent charms : " She is a good daughter," he said, in reply
to some complimentary allusion to her. The report of
this engagement, not then acknowledged, did not fail to
be discussed in General Scott s military family. The
general himself, having a high regard for both parties,
made some kind remarks referring to it. It happened
one day, on the occasion of some display of troops, that
the young lady, with her father, appeared on the street
in an open landau. As they stopped near General Scott s
office, the gallant veteran went to the carriage to pay his
respects. As they were chatting, Governor Sprague came
up and joined the group. Soon after, in his quarters, the
general again referred to the report of the engagement,
and said : " Did you observe the young lady during that
interview ? I watched her narrowly, and she bore the
test admirably ; no sign of emotion was betrayed by her."
He evidently took as much interest in the affair as the
EGBERT E. LEE ARLINGTON HEIGHTS.
A painful interview Occupation of Arlington Easy shelling distance
Mrs. Lee s note.
ROBERT E. LEE was colonel of the Second (now Fifth)
Regiment United States Cavalry, stationed in Texas.
He had commanded that military department, and in
April, 1861, was on leave of absence. General Scott
knew that he was at Arlington Heights, at the house of
30 ANECDOTES OF THE CIVIL WAR.
his father-in-law, Mr. Custis, and one day asked me if I
had seen or heard of him lately. I replied in the neg
ative, except that he was on leave and at Arlington
Heights. Said the general, " It is time he should show
his hand, and, if he remains loyal, should take an impor
tant command." I then suggested that I should write a
note to Lee, and ask him to call at the general s head
quarters. " I wish you w r ould," replied the general. The
note was written, and the next day, April 19, 1861, Colo
nel Lee came to the office. The general s was the front
room of the second story. His round-table stood in the
center of the room, and I had a desk in one corner. The
aides were in an adjoining room, with a door opening
into the general s. When Lee came in I was alone in
the room with the general, and the door to the aides
room was closed.* I quietly arose, keeping my eye on
the general, for it seemed probable he might wish to be
alone with Lee. He, however, secretly motioned me to
keep my seat, and I sat down without Lee having a
chance to notice that I had risen. The general having
invited Lee to be seated, the following conversation, as
nearly as I can remember, took place :
General Scott. You are at present on leave of absence,
Colonel Lee ?
Colonel Lee. Yes, general, I am staying with my fam
ily at Arlington.
General Scott. These are times when every officer in
the United States service should fully determine what
course he will pursue, and frankly declare it. No one
* General Cullum thinks he was also in the room with the general, and
present at this interview, but I am quite confident no one but myself wit
nessed the conversation between General Scott and Colonel Lee.
ROBERT E. LEE ARLINGTON HEIGHTS. 31
should continue in government employ without being
actively engaged. (No response from Lee.)
General Scott (after a pause). Some of the Southern
officers are resigning, possibly with the intention of tak
ing part with their States. They make a fatal mistake.
The contest may be long and severe, but eventually the
issue must be in favor of the Union. (Another pause,
and no reply from Lee.)
General Scott (seeing evidently that Lee showed no dis
position to declare himself loyal, or even in doubt). I
suppose you will go with the rest. If you purpose to re
sign, it is proper you should do so at once ; your present
attitude is an equivocal one.
Colonel Lee. General, the property belonging to my
children, all they possess, lies in Virginia. They will be
ruined if they do not go with their State. I can not raise
my hand against my children.
The general then signified that he had nothing further
to say, and Colonel Lee withdrew. The next day, April
20, 1861, he tendered his resignation, and it was accepted
the 25th. General Scott made no remark upon the sub
ject, but he was evidently much grieved at thus parting
with a man of whom he had been justly proud, and for
whom he had cherished the highest personal regard. He
had no more devoted or efficient staff officer than Lee
was in the Mexican War.
It was probably near the same day as the interview
with General Scott that the following incident, related to
me by the late General Shiras, occurred. Shiras was in
the office of Adjutant-General L. Thomas when Colonel
Lee came in there. Standing on the side of the table
opposite where Thomas was sitting, Lee said, " General
32 ANECDOTES OF THE CIVIL WAR.
Thomas, I am told you have said I was a traitor ! "
Thomas arose, and, looking him in the eye, replied : " I
have said so ; do you wish to know on what authority ? "
" Yes," said Lee. " "Well, on the authority of General
Scott ! " Lee muttered, " There must be some mis
take," turned and left the room.
Colonel Lee s family remained at their home, the
Custis mansion, Arlington Heights, for some time after.
They would doubtless have been treated with respect by
our people had they chosen to continue their residence
there. The cause of their hasty departure was the intelli
gence that the heights were to be occupied and fortified
by the Union forces.
On the evening of May 2d there was a conference at
General Scott s headquarters, in which the commander
of the troops in "Washington, General Mansfield, partici
pated. The subject considered was the general defense
of the city of Washington. Among the points discussed
was the Heights of Arlington, and whether it commanded
the city. The next day General Mansfield reported as
""We now come to the city, and Georgetown, and
arsenal, exposed to the Virginia shore. Here I must re
mark that the President s house and department build
ings in its vicinity are but two and a half miles across the
river from Arlington high ground, where a battery of
bombs and heavy guns, if established, could destroy the
city with comparatively a small force, after destroying
the bridges. The Capitol is only three and a half miles
from the same height at Arlington, and at the aqueduct
the summits of the heights on the opposite shore are not
over one mile from Georgetown.
ROBERT K LEE ARLINGTON HEIGHTS. 33
" "With this view of the condition of our position, it
is clear to my mind that the city is liable to be bom
barded at the will of an enemy, unless we occupy the
ground which he certainly would occupy if he had any
such intention. I therefore recommend that the heights
above mentioned be seized, and secured by at least two
strong redoubts, one commanding the Long Bridge and
the other the aqueduct, and that a body of men be there
encamped to sustain the redoubts, and give battle to the
enemy if necessary. I have engineers maturing plans,
and reconnoitring further. It is quite probable that our
troops assembled at Arlington would create much excite
ment in Virginia; yet, at the same time, if the enemy
were to occupy the ground there, a greater excitement
would take place on our side, and it might be necessary
to fight a battle to disadvantage."
It may be supposed there was no little commotion
among the chief men when it was ascertained that any
public building in Washington could be so easily shelled
from Arlington. General Scott was in the habit of writ
ing short "bulletins" as he called them, daily to the
President. These were copied by a young officer, a rela
tive of the Lee family, in whom the general took an ex
traordinary interest, and whom he supposed he had warmly
attached to himself by many signal favors. The general
made the result of General Mansfield s investigation of
Arlington the subject of his bulletin, immediately after
its receipt, and informed the President of the determina
tion taken to prepare a column to go over at an early day
to occupy the heights. For prudential reasons this bul
letin was copied by another person, and it was not in
tended that the young aide should know anything about
34 ANECDOTES OF THE CIVIL WAR.
it. He had been warned not to cross the river to visit
his relatives. By accident the general left this bulletin
on his table, and the young man read it. He doubtless
made it known to Mrs. Lee.*
In a day or two the general received from her the
following note :
" ARLINGTON, May 5th 11861],
" MY DEAR GENERAL : Hearing you desired to see the
account of my husband s reception in Richmond, I have
sent it to you. No honor can reconcile either of us to this
fratricidal war, which we would have laid down our lives
freely to avert. Nor can it ever terminate now till every
heart in the whole South ceases to beat, or they obtain the
justice they demand. "Whatever may happen, I feel that
I may expect from your kindness all the protection you
can in honor afford. More I would not ask, or expect.
Nothing can ever make me forget your kind apprecia
tion of Mr. Lee. If you knew all you would not think so
hardly of him. Were it not that I would not add one
feather to his load of care, nothing would induce me to
abandon my home. Oh, that you could command peace
to our distracted country !
Yours in sadness and sorrow,
"M. C. LEE.
" Lieutenant-General SCOTT."
When the heights were taken possession of, on the 24th
of May, the Custis mansion was found abandoned. It has
never been reoccupied by the family. As the war pro
gressed, its absolute necessity as a fortified point induced
the Government to erect several earthworks around the
* He left the service a very short time after, and before he could be
possessed of any important secrets.
NEUTRALITY OF KENTUCKY. 35
Custis estate. The estate itself was converted in part
into a national cemetery, and in part into a depot for the
Signal Service, and it still remains in that use.
NEUTRALITY OF KENTUCKY.
Simon B. Buckner Correspondence with General McClellan Anderson,
Nelson, and Carter An unsuccessful diplomat.
IT is well known with what anxiety the position which
the State of Kentucky would occupy in the great contest
was regarded by both sides. The effort from the begin
ning was, if possible, to keep it neutral. But this could
not be. Its geographical location made it too important
a strategical region to prevent a desperate struggle for its
possession. Simon B. Buckner, a graduate of West Point
of the class of 1844, and a native of Kentucky, played
rather a conspicuous part in its earlier councils of the
war. He resigned from the army in 1855, and settled
in Kentucky. In 1861 he was Inspector-General of the
State, and commanded its Home Guards under Governor
In June, 1861, some letters of General Buckner were
published in the Louisville (Kentucky) papers, stating
that he had entered into an arrangement with General
McClellan, at Cincinnati, to the following effect :
" The authorities of the State of Kentucky are to pro
tect the United States property within the limits of the
State, to enforce the laws of the United States, in accord-
36 ANECDOTES OF THE CIVIL WAR.
ance with the interpretations of the United States courts,
as far as those laws may be applicable to Kentucky, and
to enforce, with all the power of the State, our obliga
tions of neutrality as against the Southern States, as long
as the position we have assumed shall be respected by the
" General McClellan stipulates that the territory of
Kentucky shall be respected on the part of the United
States, even though the Southern States should occupy
it ; but, in the latter case, he will call upon the authori
ties of Kentucky to remove the Southern forces from our
territory. Should Kentucky fail to accomplish this ob
ject in a reasonable time, General McClellan claims the
same right of occupying given to the Southern forces.
I have stipulated in that case to advise him of the ina
bility of Kentucky to comply with her obligations, and
to invite him to dislodge the Southern forces. He stipu
lates that, if he is successful in doing so, he will withdraw
his forces from the territory of the State as soon as the
Southern forces shall have been removed."
In the middle of June following, General Buckner
called into the service of the State some companies, in
view of an excitement at Columbus, Kentucky. He stated
to their commander, in assigning him to command the
" Its general object will be to carry out the obligation
of neutrality which the State has assumed in the contest
now impending on our borders."
Supposing that at this time Buckner was acting in
good faith to preserve neutrality, yet in the above ex
tracts may be found some provisions which would make
it easy to array Kentucky on the side of the South before
NEUTRALITY OF KENTUCKY. 37
the contingency in which the United States troops might
enter the State could be acted on. If he desired to use
it for that purpose, much valuable time could be gained
by that Governor who, in April, replied to the call of the
War Department for volunteers, "I say, emphatically,
Kentucky will furnish no troops for the wicked purpose
of subduing her sister Southern States." General McClel-
lan s version of the agreement was to the effect that
Buckner repeatedly solicited an interview with him, and
when it took place it was strictly private and personal ;
that he gave no pledge on the part of the United States
authorities that United States troops should not enter
Kentucky, but the only understanding, so far as he knew,
was that Confederate troops should be confined to Con
federate soil, so far as Kentucky was concerned.
In May, 1861, General Robert Anderson was assigned
to the command of the Military Department of Kentucky,
he being a native of the State ; and Lieutenants Nelson
and Carter, of the navy, also natives, were commissioned
brigadier-generals of United States volunteers, and sent
there. The object in sending these officers was that they
might exert their influence in organizing the State militia
in the interest of the Union, so that the Governor would
have a reliable military force under his authority, suffi
cient to cause the neutral attitude of the State to be
respected. Anderson was also intended to be a safe
counselor to the Governor, in reference to any mili
tary movements that might be made, and to take com
mand if the United States should have to take part in
In August Buckner was in "Washington. He talked
very cautiously about the affairs of Kentucky, and seemed
38 ADECDOTES OF THE CIVIL WAR.
anxious to create the impression with the Government
that he was laboring zealously for the Union. The Presi
dent was at one time on the point of conferring upon
him (subject, however, to General Anderson s approval)
the commission of brigadier-general of volunteers ; but,
for certain reasons, this was not done, and he returned to
Kentucky without such credentials. Soon after his re*
turn he began to act under the commission of a general
officer from the Confederate Government. With the two
commissions, to use as circumstances might dictate, he
could, if so disposed, have raised a very respectable body
of recruits for the Confederates.
MOUNT V E R N O N.
Neutral ground General Scott s order.
IN May, 1861, there were rumors that the bones of
Washington had been moved from Mount Yernon. The
report caused quite a sensation North and South. The
estate was in charge of a lady who resided there. Through
her means an understanding was brought about between
Union and secession people of all classes that the domain
should be regarded as strictly neutral ground, to which
both parties should have equal right. Upon a represen
tation made by this lady, General Scott, glad to find there
was still one bond of union left the name of Washing
ton issued the following order :
MOUNT VEBNON. 39
GENERAL ORDERS, No. 13.
HEADQUARTERS OP THE ARMY,
WASHINGTON, July 31, 1S61.
It has been the prayer of every patriot that the tramp
and din of civil war might, at least, spare the precincts
within which repose the sacred remains of the Father of
his Country. But this pious hope is disappointed. Mount
Yernon, so recently consecrated anew to the immortal
Washington by the ladies of America, has already been
overrun by bands of rebels who, having trampled under
foot the Constitution of the United States the ark of
our freedom and prosperity are prepared to trample on
the ashes of him to whom we are all mainly indebted for
these mighty blessings.
Should the operations of war take the United States
troops in that direction, the general-in-chief does not
doubt that each and every man will approach with due
reverence, and leave uninjured, not only the tomb, but
also the house, the groves, and walks which were so loved
by the best and greatest of men.
By command :
E. D. TOWNSEND, Assistant Adjutant-General.
ISTo case of trespass was ever known to occur after the
neutrality of the domain was once established.
40 ANECDOTES OF THE CIVIL WAR.
GENERAL SCOTT AND THE STARS AND STRIPES.
A flag presentation " Are ye all there ? "
As the general was one day sitting at his table in the
office, the messenger announced that a person desired to
see him one moment with a gift he had for him. A Ger
man was introduced, who without flourish made known
that he had been commissioned by a house in New York
to present to General Scott a small silk banner. It was
very handsome, of the size of a regimental flag, and was
made of a single piece of silk, stamped with the stars and
stripes in their proper colors, instead of being composed
of different pieces stitched together, as is usually the case.
The German said the manufacturers were desirous of
offering some token of the great respect in which General
Scott was held, and of their sense of his importance to
the country in that perilous time. The general was highly
pleased, and, in accepting the gift, assured the donors that
the flag should hang in his room wherever he went, and
finally enshroud him when he died. As soon as the
man departed, the general desired that the stars might be
counted, to see if all the States were represented. They
were "all there." The flag was forthwith draped be
tween the windows, over the lounge where the general
frequently reclined for rest during the day. It went with
him in his berth when he sailed for Europe, after his re
tirement, and enveloped his coffin when he was interred
at West Point.
GEN. SCOTT AND THE STARS AND STRIPES. 41
This incident was a remarkable illustration of Mrs.
Sigourney s lines which appeared in the " National Intel
ligencer " about that time :
STARS IN MY COUNTRY S SKY.
Are ye all there ? Are ye all there,
Stars of my country s sky ?
Are ye all there 1 Are ye all there,
In your shining homes on high ?
" Count us ! count us," was their answer,
As they dazzled on my view,
In glorious perihelion,
Amid their field of blue.
I can not count ye rightly ;
There s a cloud with sable rim ;
I can not make your number out,
For my eyes with tears are dim.
Oh ! bright and blessed angel,
On white wing floating by,
Help me to count, and not to miss
One star in my country s sky !
Then the angel touched mine eyelids,
And touched the frowning cloud ;
And its sable rim departed,
And it fled with murky shroud.
There was no missing Pleiad,
Mid all that sister race ;
The Southern Cross gleamed radiant forth,
And the pole-star kept its place.
42 ANECDOTES OF THE CIVIL WAR.
Then I knew it was the angel
Who woke the hymning strain
That at our dear Redeemer s birth
Pealed out o er Bethlehem s plain ;
And still its heavenly key-tone
My listening country held,
For all her constellated stars
The diapason swelled. L. H. S.
EVENINGS AT GENEEAL SCOTT s QFAETEES.
A civil lawyer An exacting host A kind heart Seventy-fifth birthday
A romantic adventure The cadet Gray.
THE President, Secretaries of War, State, and Treas
ury used often to drop in at General Scott s office, or at
his quarters in the evening. "When the President came,
the general would always rise and insist on his taking the
big arm-chair, which himself had been occupying. He
would then recount to him the military movements of the
day, and they would discuss some matter of interest,
either of a military or political character. Sometimes
nice questions would arise on international law as appli
cable to the peculiar relations between the contending
sections. On such occasions the general showed that he
had not forgotten his early education as a civil lawyer, but
through life had continued to read until he had become
really profoundly learned in that profession.
EVENINGS AT GEN. SCOTT S QUARTERS. 43
The general always expected one or more of the staff
to dine with him, and to be at his quarters all the even
ing. Then, too, the officer commanding the troops in the
District, and other high officers, would call to communi
cate with him, so he was always informed of everything
that was going on. If there was no business, he was fond
of relating anecdotes. They were always interesting,
though the staff did not uniformly enjoy them, because
they had so often heard some of them, after a fatiguing
day, in a room heated by a six-burner gas- chandelier in
midsummer. And, to say truth, the general had fallen
into a way of speaking very slowly, with sometimes long
pauses between his words. In short, these occasions were
sometimes quite trying, for the general was exacting ; he
not only required auditors, but strict attention from them,
and he sometimes showed impatience when he thought
they were wanting. One evening I had a dull headache,
and sat with my hand shading my eyes from the bright
gas-light. Suddenly the general stopped in the midst of
a sentence, and said sharply, " Colonel Townsend is now
asleep ! " I looked up in some surprise, and said, " Oh,
no, general, I hear every word you say, but I have a head
ache, and the gas hurts my eyes." With a changed tone
he said, " Oh, pardon me," and went on with his story.
At another time he was in a terrible mood. We all
thought the dinner of rich jowl, of which he was espe
cially fond, was at fault. He snapped up every one who
said a word. The District commander soon excused him
self, saying he must go home and get a cup of tea. When
he withdrew, the general said, " I don t like tea-sops."
So each one came in turn for some hit. All this time I
had escaped by keeping silent. At last I brought it on
44 ANECDOTES OF THE CIVIL WAR.
myself from the very fear that he would remark on my
silence. He was speaking of peculiarities of pronuncia
tion in different States, and illustrating them by exam
ples. Coming to Virginia, he repeated the words, " Go up-
stars" " Now," thought I, " is a good time to show that
I am an appreciative listener," so I added, in a pleasant
voice, "And shut the do" He turned fiercely upon me
and said : " What has that to do with it ? I have not come
to that yet." Said I quietly, but in a decided tone : " I
beg your pardon, sir ; I ll not interrupt you again." He
saw I was justly displeased, and immediately changed
his manner. After this the evening passed much more
agreeably, and the general did not make another petulant
remark. I received a vote of thanks from the rest of the
staff for this involuntary coup, and the general never
showed any displeasure at it.
At one time I was sorely afflicted with " Job s com
forters," which seriously interfered with my necessary ac
tivity. One evening, when my right wrist was thus nearly
disabled, the general desired me to write a dispatch at
his dictation. I usually wrote as rapidly as he spoke, but
on this occasion I was obliged to ask him to wait a mo
ment until I could overtake him. He made some remark
about my not being as prompt as usual, but when he
knew the reason he offered to take the pen himself.
These trifling incidents illustrate the kind heart always
showing itself amid the general s peculiarities.
Thursday, June 13,1861, General Scott s seventy-fifth
birthday, was marked by the presentation to him of a
handsome bouquet by his staff. The general was much
gratified, and spoke in complimentary terms of us, as " the
staff of his old age."
EVENINGS AT GEN. SCOTT S QUARTERS. 45
One or two of the anecdotes related by the general at
the evening soirees will be found interesting here.
A ROMANTIC ADVENTURE. General Scott was cap
tain of artillery in 1812. He was ordered with his
horse-battery to march to the Northern frontier, where
he laid the foundation of his fame. He had an excel
lent first sergeant, who took pains to keep men, horses,
and material in the highest order, and he was very
proud of his splendid battery. On the march, as the
battery was passing through a valley, the road lay close
to the base of a high hill. At a sudden turn in the road
Captain Scott, mounted on his spirited charger, came
directly in front of a very attractive young woman, who
was quite alone. The unexpected appearance of this
formidable military display, seemingly ready to trample
her under foot, threw the young lady into a great state
of alarm. She turned pale, and seemed about to faint.
Instantly the gallant captain sprang from his horse, and
said some reassuring words, at the same time encircling
her waist with his arm, as was evidently necessary to sup
port her in her state of agitation. And so, the path be
tween the foot of the hill and the road being very nar
row, and the danger great that she might receive injury
from the horses or wheels, she turned about to go home.
The captain walked by her side and conversed pleasantly
with her, not deeming it prudent the while to remove his
supporting arm. They parted at her home, with modest
expressions of thanks from the young lady.
Many years after, Captain Scott, now become general,
with world-wide fame, was journeying in a private con
veyance over the same road. Late at night, in a pelting
46 ANECDOTES OF THE CIVIL WAR.
storm, he stopped at a wayside inn, and asked lodgings
and a supper. The landlord made some difficulty about
even admitting him, alleging that he had no good ac
commodations, and could not provide a supper at that
hour. After a short parley the traveler announced him
self as General Scott, commander of the army, traveling
on urgent military duty. He had come a long way that
day, was weary and hungry, and the night was inclement.
In an instant the door was thrown open, and the guest
was shown to a parlor where in a twinkling a bright fire
crackled on the hearth, and very soon after a smoking
supper was served in good style, the host himself acting
as waiter. After supper the general was ushered to the
best chamber, where all things were arranged for his com
fort. The next morning, at breakfast, the host addressed
him with " General Scott, you are the only man in the
world of whom I am jealous. I don t know but my wife
thinks more of you than she does of me. She would like
to come in and see you." The general had no conception
who the fair lady could be, but he begged that he might
have the pleasure of greeting her. In the tidy, good-
looking matron who was thus introduced he recognized
the pretty young woman of the hill-side adventure.
THE CADET GRAY. Another anecdote of the gen
eral s is interesting as accounting for the gray uniform
which has so long been the pride of West-Pointers.
While preparing at Buffalo, in the summer of 1814, for
the campaign in Canada, General Scott wrote to the
quartermaster-general for some new uniforms, especially
overcoats, for his men. Having received in reply the
information that they could supply him with nothing
EVENINGS AT GEN. SCOTT S QUARTERS. 47
which he required, but that he could have some over
coats of a light-gray color, very comfortable, though not
the regulation uniform, he at once ordered them. Thus
it happened that his command was clad in this dress
when it crossed to Canada to meet the British under
General Riall. General Scott, having been ordered to
advance upon the British camp at Chippewa, moved in
that direction on the morning of July 4th. In his march
he encountered a body of the enemy, which, after some
skirmishing, withdrew toward its main camp, and was
rapidly and persistently pursued by Scott with his grays,
whom the British commander mistook for volunteers, be
cause of their uniform. When nearly overtaken, the
British crossed Street s Creek and broke down the bridge
behind them. When the Americans came to the bridge,
and found their object foiled by its destruction, they
could not repress their impatience and disappointment,
for this alone prevented the battle of Chippewa, which
was so handsomely won the following day, from being
fought on the 4th of July.
After the battle, the British commander, who had
been so hotly pursued, told General Scott he could not
.account for the good discipline of the volunteers before
whom he had been forced to retreat so rapidly, or for the
pertinacity of the pursuit, until he ascertained that his
adversary really commanded a fine body of regulars, and
remembered that anxiety to celebrate the anniversary of
their independence had incited them.
It was in honor of this brigade and its commander
that the gray became the famous " cadet gray."
Major-General Jacob Brown, in his report of the bat
tle of Chippewa, said : " Brigadier-General Scott is enti-
48 ANECDOTES OF THE CIVIL WAR.
tied to the highest praise our country can bestow; to
him, more than any other man, I am indebted for the
victory of the 5th of July. His brigade has covered
itself with glory. 15
VALUE OF A SPOOL OF COTTON.
Capture of United States troops in Texas Escape of French s battery.
AT the time of the outbreak of the rebellion, Major-
General David E. Twiggs, a Louisiana man, was in com
mand of the Military Department of Texas. A large pro
portion of the regular army was serving within that
department, distributed in small bodies over an immense
tract of country. The Government was persuaded that
Twiggs secretly acted in concert with the Texan author
ities, and suffered them to beleaguer the Union troops in
every direction, so that no measures could be taken to
prevent their surrender in detail to overwhelming num
bers. Thus very nearly all the officers and enlisted men
were put under a strictly worded parole not to serve in
any capacity during the whole war, unless exchanged.
Some, but not all, of the immediate staff serving under
Twiggs were stanch in their loyalty to the Union, and
they did what they could under the adverse circumstances
which enveloped them. Among these was one of the
best of men, Major William A. Nichols, assistant adju
tant-general. As chief of the staff he could do much by
foreseeing and providing for emergencies before they
VALUE OF A SPOOL OF COTTON. 49
occurred. It was through his contrivance that a valuable
battery of artillery escaped from the State and was saved
to the Government.
In a note to me, dated March 7, 1861, Major Nichols
says : " I send you a spool of cotton to show what shifts
we were put to. It contains an order to French (William
II. French, who commanded the battery) to cuidar *
(take care) for his guns find it." The spool of cotton
presented exactly the appearance of any ordinary one;
but on removing the label pasted over the end and con
cealing the hole which passes through the center of the
spool, I discovered a small roll of thin paper, on which
was written the following order :
"HEADQUARTERS DEPARTMENT OF TEXAS,
" SAN ANTONIO, February 10, 1861.
" The Commanding Officer, Fort Duncan.
" SIR : Move instantly with the artillery companies
upon Brazos Santiago ; take your arms, guns, and neces
sary equipments and camp equipages ; leave your horses
on embarkation. The formal orders have been inter
cepted. Texas will demand the guns of the batteries.
A steamer will be ready to take you by sea."
Not only were the movements of the army closely
watched by the Texan s, but some of Twiggs s staff took
service against the Government, and did all in their power
to wrest everything of value from the loyal officers, and
convey it to the Texan authorities. In order to evade
such vigilance, the wife of Major Nichols managed to
send the spool containing the order to the wife of the
British consul, at Eagle Pass, inclosing it in a letter, in
50 ANECDOTES OF THE CIVIL WAR.
which she asked that it be conveyed to Major French.
This lady dispatched it by a Mexican boy, who safely de
livered it, and French s sagacity guided him to its real
object. He skillfully eluded the beleaguerers, and saved
all his guns.
COLONEL MARTIN BIJRKE THE FRENCH LADY.
The American Bastile Arbitrary arrests justified Obedience to orders
A very respectable French lady.
EARLY in the summer of 1861, when things were rap
idly developing toward the rebellion, a new power, not
hitherto exercised in this country, was exerted for the
public safety. Persons were arbitrarily arrested and con
fined under military guard, on evidence satisfactory to
the General Government that they were guilty of acts of
a disloyal and dangerous character. It devolved upon
the Secretary of State, in the first instance, to indicate
who should be thus put in confinement. He made the
arrests through his marshals, and they were turned over
to General Scott, w^ho held them at Fort Lafayette, in
New York Harbor. By a natural association of ideas,
both with the name and this use of the fort, it soon ac
quired the title of " the American Bastile."
This new and arbitrary power struck the Secretary of
State with much force, and he once remarked to General
Scott that he found it hard to realize that he had only to
touch a bell and order the arrest of Mr. A. B., and in a
COLONEL MARTIN BURKE THE FRENCH LADY. 51
short time to hear that A. B. was accordingly imprisoned
at Fort Lafayette. The military justification of this
measure and the extreme caution with which the power
was exercised are ably set forth in Mr. Stanton s report
as Secretary of War, dated December 1, 1862. (See Ap
The officer assigned to the immediate command of
Fort Lafayette, specially selected by General Scott for
that duty, was Colonel Martin Burke, of the regular ar
tillery. The Secretary of State had heard the general s
frequent jocose allusions to the colonel in terms which
evinced perfect confidence in his vigilance and fidelity.
One day he asked, " Who is this Colonel Martin Burke,
of whom you seem to think so highly ? " The general
replied : " He is one of my regulars, sir ; a veteran well
known in the army." " Will he surely obey these ex
traordinary orders we are giving ? " " You may rely on
that, sir. Colonel Martin Burke is famous for his unques
tioning obedience to orders. He was with me in Mex
ico, and, if I had told him at any time to take out one of
my aides-de-camp and shoot him before breakfast, the
aide s execution would have been duly reported." This
, created a hearty laugh, and brought some comical expres
sions to the faces of the aides present. Martin Burke
was thenceforth a synonym for unquestioning obedi
As might be supposed, Colonel (afterward brevet
Brigadier-General) Burke was involved in some trouble
on account of civil processes sought to be served on him,
to avoid which he confined himself within his chain of
sentinels almost as closely as he kept his prisoners. He
once received a summons to attend as a witness before a
52 ANECDOTES OF THE CIVIL WAR.
court-martial at Fort Columbus, in New York Harbor,
about nine miles from his post. He wrote to headquar
ters to inquire what it was his duty to do, saying he feared
arrest by the civil authorities under an attachment which
had been issued against him for not producing a prisoner
in court on a writ, but which could not be served at the
military post. This, he said, might prevent his obeying
the summons of the court-martial. He suggested that,
if it was deemed important enough for him to go, he
might possibly escape arrest by traveling by water at
night. His concern was, not about the arrest, but about
a possible obstacle to his obeying his orders to appear as
The following are the instructions which were given
for Colonel Burke s guidance :
HEADQUARTERS OF THE ARMY,
WASHINGTON, July 19, 1861.
Lieutenant- Colonel MARTIN BTJBKE, U. S. Army, Fort
Hamilton, N. Y.
SIK : The general-in-chief directs that you assume
command of Forts Hamilton and Lafayette, New York
Harbor, taking quarters at the former place.
Orders have been given for the confinement of certain
political prisoners and prisoners of war in Fort Lafayette,
and a guard has been detailed for their custody, the offi
cers of which will be quartered with the guard in the
same fort. The general directs that you give orders to
the following purpose :
1. That the prisoners be securely held, and that they
be allowed every privilege consistent with this end, and
be treated with all kindness.
COLONEL MARTIN BURKE THE FRENCH LADY. 53
2. That a record be kept of the names, dates of con
finement, and release of the prisoners.
3. That the prisoners be permitted to provide them
selves with such comforts as they require.
4:. That an exact account be kept of the subsistence,
etc., furnished the prisoners of war.
I am, sir, very respectfully,
Your obedient servant,
E. D. TOWNSEND,
Among the most noted and troublesome of Colonel
Burke s guests at Fort Lafayette was a certain Captain
or Colonel Thomas, who held a commission from the
Confederate Government. He had the aliases of " Zar-
vona " and " The French Lady." The latter was given
him from the following incident, which illustrates his
daring character, the account of which is taken from the
" Baltimore American " of July 2, 1861 :
" The steamer Saint Nicholas was captured in the Po
tomac River by a party of secessionists. The steamer
left Baltimore, having on board about fifty passengers.
Among those who went aboard previous to her departure
was a very respectable c French lady, who was heavily
veiled, and, pleading indisposition, she was immediately
shown to her state-room, where she was kindly cared for
by the females on board. There were also a party of
about twenty-five men dressed in the garb of mechanics,
carrying with them carpenters , tinners , blacksmiths , and
other tools. When near Point Lookout, the c French
lady appeared on deck, not in crinoline, but in the per
son of a stalwart man, who was immediately surrounded
54 ANECDOTES OF THE CIVIL WAR.
by the party of mechanics above alluded to. Captain
Kirwan of the steamer demanded an explanation, when
the lady-man informed him that he designed confiscat
ing the steamer and going on a privateering expedition.
Finding himself overpowered, Captain Kirwan was com
pelled to submit, and the boat was handed over to the
man and his crew, who took possession, and proceeded to
run the steamer to a point known as * The Cone, on the
Virginia shore. Upon landing at that place, the steamer
was boarded by a body of about one thousand Virginia
troops, when the passengers were landed and allowed to
go on their way."
A short time after, Thomas and eight of his men were
recognized as passengers on board the Mary Washington,
en route from Fair Haven, Anne Arundel County, to
Baltimore. It happened that Captain Kirwan and two
of his officers were passengers at the same time, as were
also two police-officers who had gone to Fair Haven to
arrest another man. The captain of the Mary "Washing
ton, on making the discovery, was directed by the
police-officers to land at Fort McIIenry. Perceiving
this intention, Thomas boldly attempted to overawe the
officers. He drew his pistol, and, calling his men to
his aid, peremptorily demanded that the boat should
proceed up to Baltimore. But the party of officers
and passengers against him was too strong, and Thomas
was compelled to keep quiet. When the steamer
reached Fort McIIenry, the commanding officer was in
formed of the capture of Thomas, and sent a guard to
receive and confine him. But he had disappeared, and
could not be found for over an hour, when he was at
last dragged from a bureau-drawer in the ladies cabin.
THE FIRST BATTLE OF BULL RUN. 55
Being small in stature he had managed thus to conceal
During his confinement in Fort Lafayette he was
constantly making trouble in some way. He once actu
ally attempted to escape by throwing himself overboard,
although he could not swim, with nothing to depend on
but some empty tin cans arranged for floats.
THE FIRST BATTLE OF BULL RUN.
Scott s plan opposed to invasion His proposed campaign down the Missis
sippi " On to Richmond ! " An anxious night A panic Order out of
IN the early part of secession, General Scott was much
opposed to fighting a battle within the seceded States, or
to any display of military force which would lead to one.
He reasoned that there were many Union and many neu
tral people in all the States, who, if they had time, would
assert their principles and eventually overrule the more
active secessionists. He frequently expressed himself to
the President, and other influential men, in these terms :
" If you will maintain a strict blockade on the sea-coast,
collect your revenues on board cutters at the mouths of
the harbors, and send a force down the Mississippi suffi
ciently strong to open and keep it free along its course to
its mouth, you will thus cut off the luxuries to which the
people are accustomed ; and when they feel this pressure,
not having been exasperated by attacks made on them
56 ANECDOTES OF THE CIVIL WAR.
within their respective States, the Union spirit will assert
itself ; those who are on the fence will descend on the
Union side, and I will guarantee that in one year from
this time all difficulties will be settled. But, if you invade
the South at any point, I will guarantee that at the end
of a year you will be further from a settlement than you
The general s plan for the Mississippi was, to have
gunboats built for the purpose, and to organize an army
of Western volunteers, the whole force to rendezvous at
Cairo, Illinois. McClellan was his choice for the com
mand ; Rosecrans, and some other " rough-vigor fel
lows," as he styled them, to have subordinate com
mands. I had often heard him detail this plan, and,
on his declaring his intention of corresponding with
General McClellan about it, I offered to draft the let
ter. I think it no mean compliment that the general
should have assented, for he was always in the habit
of doing such things himself. How much was left of
my draft of the letter may be seen by the copy (Ap
pendix D), with the alterations which the general made
with his own hand. His erasures and interlineations
were made with red ink.
In answer to the cry, " On to Richmond ! " General
Scott used to say that he was familiar with the country
to be passed over ; that it was hardly possible for inex
perienced troops to make the march. They would have
to haul all their supplies with them, for " they would find
every house deserted ; not a cow, or a chicken, or an ac
cidental pig on the entire route." The bridges would be
all broken down, and the marshy banks would prevent
their being forded without becoming perfect quagmires.
THE FIRST BATTLE OF BULL BUN. 57
These delays and discouragements would be too much
for undisciplined volunteers.
But, at last, the pressure for an advance upon Rich
mond became so great that the general, in deference to
the wishes of higher authority, did all in his power to
make preparations which would lead to success. Briga
dier-General McDowell had served for some years on
General Scott s staff, and was therefore well known to
him. McDowell, having been assigned to the command
which was eventually to fight the battle of Bull Run, was
directed to prepare a plan for a movement toward Manas-
sas, with estimates of the force he would need, and for
all his supplies. The plan was to include a possible bat
tle. While McDowell, with headquarters at Arlington
Heights, was organizing and disciplining his regiments,
he matured his plans, and made maps to illustrate them.
They were repeatedly gone over with General Scott, until
they were brought into the best possible shape. Then he
was invited to unfold them to the President, in presence
of the Cabinet, General Scott and his staff, and others, of
whom General Fremont was one. The President received
the company in the library of the Executive Mansion.
General McDowell spread his map on the table, and
demonstrated his plan with a clearness and precision that
would have done credit to any West-Pointer at his last
annual examination. Criticisms were invited from any
one present ; and the President specially asked General
Fremont if he found any objection, or could suggest any
improvement. !N"ot a word was offered, and the whole
scheme was approved. From that time active prepara
tions were made for the movements which culminated in
the battle of Bull Run, July 21, 1861.
58 ANECDOTES OF THE CIVIL WAR.
The entire night of that 21st of July was spent by the
President and Cabinet, and some military officers, at Gen-
eral Scott s quarters. The telegraph-office in the War
Department, a short distance off, was in momentary re
ceipt of dispatches from the field. At first, the success
of the Union arms seemed assured. Then came tidings
of a reverse ; then of a panic, and rout. Then followed
in quick succession details of the disaster, and rumors,
with earnest appeals to guard the capital. I sat near the
door of the general s room, to receive and read aloud the
messages as they were delivered. At last came one in
which the death of Colonel Cameron, brother of the Sec
retary of War, was reported. As I read aloud, not know
ing what was to follow, I pronounced the words : " Colo
nel Cameron " and then perceived that the sentence im
mediately came, " was killed." I had just time to stop
abruptly, look at the Secretary a moment, and then finish
the sentence in a low voice. This was the only prepara
tion for the shocking announcement of his brother s death
that could be given.
The following day was for a time a scene of such con
fusion and panic as required no ordinary nerve to encoun
ter. General Scott was firm and unwavering as a rock.
When reports were brought him that the rebels were ad
vancing unopposed on Washington, and would soon be
on the Long Bridge, the old soldier would calmly look at
the informant and reply : " It is impossible, sir ! We are
now tasting the first fruits of a war, and learning what a
panic is. We must be prepared for all kinds of rumors.
Why, sir, we shall soon hear that Jefferson Davis has
crossed the Long Bridge at the head of a brigade of ele
phants, and is trampling our citizens under foot ! He has
4iVL-H5ITY , J
FIRST BATTLE OF BULL BUN. 59
no brigade of elephants; lie can not by any possibility
get a brigade of elephants ! " Thus from our general-in-
chief emanated a remedy for panic which soon began to
tell. We knew that there were some brigades, the one
composed of the regulars, the one commanded by Colonel
Keyes, and others, which remained entire, and occupied
positions guarding the approaches to Washington. Mean
time the general s aides occupied themselves in bringing
order out of chaos. Placards were posted in conspicuous
places designating rendezvous for the several organiza
tions, and commanding all officers and men immediately
to repair to them. As men straggled individually, or in
squads, into town, they were directed where to go, and
rations were provided for them there. Some of the gen
eral s staff went round to the hotels, and peremptorily
ordered all the officers they found there to join their
regiments immediately, on pain of arrest, their names
and regiments being taken down. In this way, by night
fall things assumed a more orderly shape, and patrols,
kept up throughout the day and night, soon suppressed
all fear of disorders. For a time, however, there is little
doubt that, had a squad of men, mounted on ~black horses*
appeared on the Long Bridge, or in the streets of the city,
there would have been a stampede worthy of a flock of
The discussion of this battle is left to those who as
sume to write a strictly military history. There were
fruitful elements of failure, however, without attributing
blame to any one concerned. Panics will sometimes un
accountably seize the bravest veteran troops. What won-
* The Virginia troop of " Black-horse " had been a bugbear for some
60 ANECDOTES OF THE CIVIL WAR.
der, then, that this great panic should have overtaken bri
gades and divisions composed of regiments some of which
had not been three weeks in service, and were not suffi
ciently drilled to be able to wheel from a flank-march into
line without breaking their ranks ; brigades and divisions
which had never been manoeuvred as such, and which
never saw the officers sent to command them until on the
night before, or on the very morning of, the battle ! It is
rather a matter of wonder that an army should have done
even so well, under such circumstances, as this one did at
THE COMMAND OF THE ARMY.
General McClellan Discipline of volunteers Scott s choice for general-in-
chief His complaint against McClellan McClellan succeeds Scott
His tribute to Scott Halleck succeeds McClellan An order bewitched.
IMMEDIATELY after the battle of Bull Run, General
McClellan was summoned to Washington by the Secre
tary of War. In compliance with orders from the same
source, he assumed his first command near Washington,
under the title of the " Division of the Potomac," July 27,
1861. On his arrival in Washington he had a long inter
view with General Scott at his quarters. I was not pres
ent in the room, but waited outside to get a chance for a
word with him as he passed out. I had just time to say :
" I want to give you a hint about the state of things here.
You will find splendid material for soldiers sadly in need
of discipline. You will be beset on all sides with appli-
THE COMMAND OF TEE ARMY. 61
cations for passes, and all sorts of tilings, and if you yield
to the pressure your whole time will be taken up at a
desk, writing. You can from the outset avoid this ; an
other officer can do it as well in your name. The troops
want to see their commanding general, and to be often
inspected and reviewed by him. Another thing : there is
here a fine body of regulars ; I would keep that intact, as a
sort of l Old Guard. It may some time save you a battle."
He took what I said kindly. Perhaps he never thought of
it again, but it is certain that he pursued exactly that
course. His splendid military evolutions while organ
izing and equipping his army will not soon be forgotten.
Some of the volunteer regiments came to Washington
admirably provided. There were, especially, two from
New Hampshire. They had complete clothing, arms and
accoutrements, and tents. Their wagons were arranged
like store-rooms, with boxes for their various supplies.
They had also very good bands of music. Their religious
services were very impressive. The regiments were
drawn up in a hollow square, with the chaplain in the
middle, and, while the bands played hymns which he gave
out, the men sang them. Their rendering of " Old Hun
dred " was truly grand. But, with all this excellent ma
terial, the want of military instruction was apparent in
such incidents as this : It was no unusual thing to see a
sentry, when an officer in uniform passed his post, seated
on a stone, with his musket between his feet. On the
approach of the officer, aware that some complimentary
recognition was expected, he would awkwardly raise his
hand to his cap, while he continued sitting. General
McClellan was not long in changing all this, and in form
ing a thoroughly disciplined army.
62 ANECDOTES OF THE CIVIL WAR.
McClellan was not General Scott s first choice for
general-in-chief of the army, to succeed him on his retire
ment. As the time approached when he purposed giving
up the command, he frequently expressed anxiety to hear
that General Halleck had arrived from California, where
he had long been residing. He remarked that he should
feel quite easy to turn over bis responsibilities to Halleck
as major-general, commanding the army. While General
Scott held McClellan in high estimation for some junior
command, he preferred Halleck, as being ten years older,
and therefore presumably having riper judgment, besides
having known accomplishment in theoretical knowledge
of military law and practice.
The very day (July 22, 1861) that the Secretary of
War, through the adjutant-general, telegraphed to Mc
Clellan, at Beverly, Virginia " Circumstances make your
presence here necessary. Charge Rosecrans, or some
other general, with your present department, and corne
hither without delay" General Scott, in ignorance of
that dispatch, telegraphed to McClellan, " Remain in your
command, instead of going to the valley of the Shenan-
doah." General McClellan naturally felt when he took
command of the Army of the Potomac, that he had been
put in direct communication with the War Department,
and he therefore did not always observe the " channels of
correspondence " which were usual. General Scott soon
observed this, and, not willing to have his authority ig
nored so long as he remained general-in-chief, he gave
me an autograph projet of a general order to issue, the
last but one that went to the army in his name. It was
THE COMMAND OF TEE ARMY. 63
GENERAL ORDERS, No. 17.
HEADQUARTERS OF THE ARMY,
WASHINGTON, September 16, 1861.
There are irregularities in the correspondence of the
army which need prompt correction. It is highly impor
tant that junior officers on duty be not permitted to cor
respond with the general-in-chief, or other commander,
on current official business, except through intermediate
commanders ; and the same rule applies to correspond
ence with the President direct, or with him through the
Secretary of War, unless it be by the special invitation
or request of the President.
By command of Lieutenant-General Scott :
E. D. TOWNSEND,
Assistant Adjutant- General.
General Scott afterward addressed a more pointed
communication to the Secretary of War, in which his
feelings as to General McClellan s course, and as to his
choice of a successor, are unmistakably set forth :
HEADQUARTERS OF THE ARMY,
WASHINGTON, October 4, 1861.
Hon. S. CAMERON, Secretary of War.
SIE : You are, I believe, aware that I hailed the arri
val here of Major-General McClellan as an event of happy
consequence to the country and to the army. Indeed, if
I did not call for him, I heartily approved of the sugges
tion, and gave it the most cordial support. He, however,
had hardly entered upon his new duties, when, encour
aged to communicate directly with the President and
certain members of the Cabinet, he in a few days for-
64 ANECDOTES OF THE CIVIL WAR.
got that he had any intermediate commander, and has
now long prided himself in treating me with uniform
neglect, running into disobedience of orders of the
smaller matters neglects, though, in themselves, grave
military offenses. I read and speak in the face of the
following facts :
To suppress irregularity, more conspicuous in Major-
General McClellan than in any other officer, I publish the
following facts :
[Here follows General Orders 17, above quoted.]
With this order fresh in his memory, Major-General
McClellan addressed two important communications to
the Secretary of War, on respectively the 19th and 20th
of the same month, over my head, and how many since
to the Secretary, and even to the President direct, I have
not inquired, but many, I have no doubt, besides daily
oral communications with the same high functionaries,
all without my knowledge.
Second. To correct another class of grave neglects, I
the same day caused to be addressed to Major-General
McClellan the following order :
HEADQUARTERS OF THE ARMY,
WASHINGTON, September 16, 1861.
To Major-General MCCLELLAN, U. S. Army, command
ing the Department of the Potomac :
The commanding general of the Army of the Poto
mac will cause the position, state, and number of troops
under him to be reported at once to general headquar
ters, by divisions, brigades, and independent regiments
or detachments, which general report will be followed
by reports of new troops as they arrive, with the dispo-
THE COMMAND OF THE ARMY. 65
sitions made of them, together with all the material
changes which may take place in said army.
By command of Lieutenant-General Scott :
(Signed) E. D. TOWNSEND,
Assistant Adjutant- General.
Eighteen days have now elapsed, and not the slightest
response has been shown to either of these orders by Ma
jor-General McClellan. Perhaps he will say, in respect
to the latter, it has been difficult for him to procure the
exact returns of divisions and brigades. But why not have
given me proximate returns, such as he so eagerly fur
nished the President and certain Secretaries ? Has, then,
a senior no corrective power over a junior officer in case
of such persistent neglect and disobedience ?
The remedy by arrest and trial before a court-martial
would probably soon cure the evil. But it has been
feared that a conflict of authority near the head of the
army would be highly encouraging to the enemies and
depressing to the friends of the Union. Hence my long
forbearance ; and continuing, though but nominally, on
duty, I shall try to hold out till the arrival of Major-
General Halleck, when, as his presence will give me
increased confidence in the safety of the Union, and be
ing, as I am, unable to ride in the saddle, or to walk, by
reason of dropsy in my feet and legs and paralysis in the
small of the back, I shall definitely retire from the com
mand of the army.
I have the honor to remain, with high respect, your
most obedient servant,
66 ANECDOTES OF THE CIVIL WAE.
Thus the old war-chief to the last asserted his au
thority, and illustrated the maxim of " the ruling passion
strong in death."
Meantime, McCleilan went on acquiring more and
more popularity as the " young Napoleon of our army."
On General Scott s retirement, General Orders, No. 94, of
November 1, 1861, announced that "the President is
pleased to direct that Major-General George B. McCleilan
assume command of the Army of the United States."
This constituted him general-in-chief vice Scott. In
assuming the command, McCleilan, in General Orders,
No. 19, of November 1, 1861, thus gracefully alluded to
the retiring lieutenant-general :
" The army will unite with me in the feeling of re
gret that the weight of many years, and the effect of
increasing infirmities, contracted and intensified in his
country s service, should just now remove from our head
the great soldier of our nation the hero who in his youth
raised high the reputation of his country on the fields of
Canada, which he hallowed with his blood ; who in more
mature years proved to the world that American skill
and valor could repeat, if not eclipse, the exploits of Cortez
in the land of the Montezumas ; whose life has been de
voted to the service of his country ; whose whole efforts
have been directed to uphold our honor at the smallest
sacrifice of life a warrior who scorned the selfish glories
of the battle-field when his great abilities as a statesman
could be employed more profitably for his country ; a
citizen who in his declining years has given to the world
the most shining instance of loyalty in disregarding all ties
of birth and clinging still to the cause of truth and honor.
Such has been the career, such the character, of WINFIELD
THE COMMAND OF THE ARMY. 67
SCOTT, whom it has long been the delight of the nation
to honor, both as a man and a soldier. While we regret
his loss, there is one thing we can not regret the bright
example he has left for our emulation. Let us all hope
and pray that his declining years may be passed in peace
and happiness, and that they may be cheered by the suc
cess of the country and the cause he has fought for and
loved so well. Beyond all that, let us do nothing that
can cause him to blush for us ; let no defeat of the army
he has so long commanded embitter his last years, but
let our victories illuminate the close of a life so grand."
General McClellan s command of the whole army was
terminated by the " President s "War Order, No. 3," dated
" Executive Mansion, Washington, March 11, 1862," as
"Major-General McClellan having personally taken
the field at the head of the Army of the Potomac, until
otherwise ordered, he is relieved from the command of
the other military departments, he retaining command of
the Department of the Potomac."
The Government now thought it would try its own
hand at commanding-in-chief. This lasted until July 11,
1862, when the following order issued from the Execu
tive Office :
" Ordered, That Major-General Henry W. Halleck be
assigned to command the whole land-forces of the United
States, as general-in-chief ; and that he repair to this cap
ital so soon as he can with safety to the positions and
* General Scott died the 29th of May, 1866. He thus lived to fulfill
this devout and eloquent prayer.
68 ANECDOTES OF THE CIVIL WAR.
operations within the department now under his special
After the Peninsular campaign, when the Army of the
Potomac was withdrawn, and principally merged in Gen
eral Pope s army, General McClellan was for a time left
without any defined command. On the 2d of Septem
ber, 1862, a draft of an order was received from Gen
eral Halleck s office in the following form, and was duly
issued accordingly :
GENERAL ORDERS, No. 122.
WAR DEPARTMENT, ADJUTANT-GENERAL S OFFICE,
WASHINGTON, September 2, 1862.
By direction of the President, Major-General McClel
lan will have command of the fortifications of Washing
ton, and of all the troops for the defense of the capital.
By order of the Secretary of War :
, E. D. TOWNSEND,
Assistant Adjutant- General.
In this form copies were made, and some of the morn
ing papers published the order. Later in the day, a
memorandum from General Halleck s office directed that
the form of the order be corrected so that it would read
as follows :
GENERAL ORDERS, No. 122.
WAR DEPARTMENT, ADJUTANT-GENERAL S OFFICE,
WASHINGTON, September 2, 1862.
Major-Gen eral McClellan wall have command of the
fortifications of Washington, and of all the troops for the
defense of the capital.
By command of Major-General Halleck :
E. D. TOWNSEND,
Assistant Adjutant- General.
THE COMMAND OF THE ARMY. 69
The difference in form consisted in omitting allusion
to the authority of the President and of the Secretary of
War, and substituting that of General-in-Chief Halleck.
There was probably some supposed political signifi
cance attached to this. At any rate, Secretary Stanton,
by whose directions the order had already been given to
the newspapers for publication, desired me to see that
the order in the new form should appear in all the pa
pers which had already published it, and that the Wash
ington " Evening Star " should be sure to have it in the
corrected form. I accordingly saw the editor of the
"Evening Star," handed him a copy, communicated to
him the Secretary s wish, and cautioned him against the
possible contingency of the order having been already set
up in its erroneous form from & morning paper. He
promised to see to it, and I returned to the department
satisfied that no mistake could possibly occur. To my
amazement, in the afternoon the Secretary handed me a
copy of the " Star," in which was the order in the objec
tionable form. Going to the " Star " office, I taxed the
editor with not heeding what I had tried to impress upon
him. He sent for a copy of the paper, then lying on the
counter for sale, and I confess to being somewhat dazed
when I there saw the order unmistakably in its right
form. I began to think, for the first time, that there
must be some truth in the existence of witches. The ex
planation was, that the order had been copied from the
morning papers, and a very few proof copies of the
"Star" had been struck off before the correction was
made, which was immediately done when my manuscript
was received, and all the main edition of the paper was
quite correct. As luck would have it, the few copies of
70 ANECDOTES OF THE CIVIL WAR.
first proof fell into the hands of the newsboy who had
sold one to the Secretary s messenger !
This circumstance illustrates the untiring vigilance
which Mr. Stan ton exercised over even comparatively
trivial matters under his control.
Object of demonstration on Leesburg Rigorous treatment of General
Stone The secret history Colonel Raymond Lee General Stone at
Red River Colonel Bailey s engineering Capture and recovery of his
vote of thanks.
IN the fall of 1861, Brigadier-General Charles P.
Stone proposed to General Scott to permit him to take a
brigade and make a demonstration along the line of the
canal toward Harper s Ferry. Extensive flour-mills in
Georgetown, upon which we mainly depended for bread-
stuffs, were owned by friends of Stone, and from them
he learned that the fine wheat-harvest in the Leesburg
district could probably be brought into Georgetown, if a
show of force were made by the Government, under color
of which the farmers might sell their harvest to their
usual customers. Stone thought that such a demon
stration, besides guarding the canal, might be continued
toward Harper s Ferry, so as to co-operate with the col
umn opposite that point, in compelling the Confederates
to evacuate Harper s Ferry, then held by them. And so
BALDS BLUFF RED RIVER. 71
The disastrous action of Leesburg, or Ball s Bluff, Oc
tober 21, 1861, in which Colonel E. D. Baker was killed,
has given rise to much controversy. Stone was arrested
soon after, and for a long time was kept in close confine
ment. Indeed, from that hour bad fortune seemed to
persecute him until it broke him up, and forced him out
of the service.
Whatever may be the true military aspect of his case,
there must have been some reason, not openly declared,
for the rigorous and unusual treatment to which he was
so long subjected. Perhaps a clew may be found to it in
the following facts : A part of Stone s command was
composed of Massachusetts regiments.* Being strongly
* After the " Ball s Bluff " affair, a reference was made in the papers to
the colonel of the Twentieth Massachusetts Regiment, which, being quite
characteristic of the man, deserves to be perpetuated. It was as follows :
" Colonel Raymond Lee and staff were furnished with a skiff to make
their escape. The colonel gallantly refused, and gave orders to use it for
conveying the wounded across the river. It was filled with wounded, who
reached the Maryland shore in safety, and the humane and gallant officer
was taken prisoner."
Colonel Lee was taken to Richmond and confined as a prisoner of war
in Libby Prison. A sequel to this incident was given in a Boston paper of
July, 1882, and is authentic:
" On the 10th of November, 1861, General Winder, with his staff, vis
ited the officers prison, and read to the prisoners an order from Benjamin,
the Confederate States Secretary of War, directing the selection of seven
officers of highest rank, to be held as hostages for the officers and crew of
the letter of marque Lady Jeff Davis, who had been convicted of piracy
in a United States court. Those selected were to be confined in a cell of
the common jail, and to be executed, if the officers of the privateer were
executed by the United States Government. Slips of paper containing the
names of all the officers were placed in a tin tobacco-box, and the fated
names were drawn from the box upon command of General Winder by ex-
Congressman Ely, who was captured at the first battle of Bull Run, and
was confined with the Union officers. General Lee, then Colonel Lee, was
72 ANECDOTES OF THE CIVIL WAR.
opposed to slavery, some of the men expected Stone, also
a Massachusetts man, to take active part against it. In
those early days of the war, the question of the negro
status was a very troublesome one. No authority what
ever had yet been assumed by the General Government
which militated against the Constitution as it then stood.
It was deemed of the first importance to treat the border
slave States, not in secession, with much caution on this
delicate point. They were to be held in the Union by
careful policy, as well as by military occupancy. Accord
ingly, the orders given the several commanders of our
forces were to surrender to their owners any slaves found
by their masters in our camps, and claimed by them, pro
vided they belonged to States not in rebellion. All who
escaped from the rebel States were held to be free, as
" contraband " of war.
It happened, when Stone s forces retreated across the
river from Leesburg, that some few colored men came
one of the c elected, and the slip of paper drawn from the box designating
him had on it only the words Colonel Lee. The fate of the officers se
lected was not then determined, being contingent upon the action of the
United States authorities with regard to the convicted people of the Lady
Jeff Davis. This slip of paper with his name upon it was given to Colonel
Lee, who indorsed upon the back of it that it was the ballot he drew in the
lottery of life and death, and put it in a letter written to his family, which
was allowed to be forwarded.
" On the 14th of November the officers designated as hostages were re
moved to the county jail, where they were detained about three months
under rather disagreeable conditions. About the middle of February, 1862,
the Confederate States Government, having received information that the
Lady Jeff Davis people had been remanded as prisoners of war, the host
ages were transferred from the jail to the prison assigned to prisoners of
war, and on the 22d of that month they were put on board a flag-of-truce
boat to be transferred to a United States steamer in neutral waters."
BALDS BLUFF RED RIVER. 73
over with them. I personally had from two of them the
following statement: These men were brothers to an
admirable free woman who lived in my family as nurse.
The rest of her family belonged to a Mr. Smart, who
owned a large mill at Leesburg. The woman, being at
the North with my family, sent to ask me to give her
two brothers some of her wages, they being then at the
house of a relative in Georgetown. I went for the pur
pose, saw the men, and asked them to tell me the facts
about their coming over the river at the time of Stone s
retreat. They said they became mixed up with the troops
in their retreat across the river, and hardly knew how
they happened to go over ; that General Stone sent for
them and told them they were perfectly free to go where
they pleased, and that, if they desired, they could be em
ployed in the camp. They replied that they did not
come over intentionally ; that Mr. Smart was a good mas
ter, and allowed them often to work for themselves ; that
he had a considerable sum of their money in his keeping ;
that their parents, wives, and children were all in Lees-
burg, and they wanted to go back to them. General
Stone then promised to send them over with a flag of
truce he was about to dispatch, and they returned of their
Some of the Massachusetts volunteers, hearing that
these men had been sent back, wrote to Governor An
drew, complaining that this United States officer was sur
rendering fugitive slaves to their masters. Governor
Andrew sent orders to his colonels not to permit any
slaves who took refuge within their camps to be surren
dered. He also wrote a strong remonstrance against such
policy by the Government, to the Massachusetts Senator,
74: * ADECDOTES OF THE CIVIL WAR.
Sumner. General Stone, having been shown Governor
Andrew s instructions to the Massachusetts colonels, wrote
to the Adjutant-General of the Army protesting that
those regiments, having been mustered into the service
of the General Government, and placed under his com
mand by lawful authority, could not be permitted to re
ceive instructions from the Governor of the State, from
whose control they had entirely passed. This letter was
rather injudiciously forwarded to Governor Andrew by
the adjutant -general, though never intended by the
writer for the Governor s eye. Senator Sumner, on re
ceipt of the Governor s remonstrance, denounced General
Stone on the floor of the Senate. Thereupon, Stone
wrote him a strong letter, justifying himself, and remon
strating against being thus arraigned in a place where he
could not defend himself. This brought a storm about
Stone s ears, and there were even many persons who at
last became convinced that he was disloyal. The many
political friends of Colonel Baker, seriously feeling his
loss, were perhaps ready to believe anything to the preju
dice of the leader of the ill-fated expedition which cost
his life. Stone s rigorous incarceration may have been
due to these causes. At all events, he was held without
trial, although he repeatedly and earnestly asked for the
charges against him, and for an inquiry or trial.
At length he was released from arrest, though suffered
to remain without a command, until in April, 1863, Gen
eral Banks, who was commanding an army in the South
west, wrote to the general-in-chief, Halleck, urging the
pressing need of general officers of experience, and ear
nestly requesting that Brigadier-General Charles P. Stone
be ordered to report to him immediately. lie added that
BALL S BLUFF RED RIVER. ~75
he had entire confidence in General Stone s zeal and
ability, and would himself be responsible for his con
duct. Upon this, Stone was ordered to General Banks.
He became his chief of staff, and it is said to be
greatly due to his skill and indefatigable exertions that
the Red River disaster was not even more serious than
A fleet of gunboats co-operated with General Banks
in his Red River expedition, in May, 1864. Owing to a
fall in the water, the boats came near being lost above the
falls, at Alexandria, but they were extricated by "the in
defatigable exertions of Lieutenant-Colonel Bailey (Fourth
Wisconsin Volunteers), acting engineer of the Nineteenth
Army Corps, who proposed and built a tree-dam of six
hundred feet across the river at the lower falls, which en
abled all the vessels to pass in safety the back-water of the
Mississippi, reaching Alexandria, and allowed them to
pass over the shoals and the obstructions planted by the
enemy to a point of safety."
For this valuable service Colonel Bailey received a
vote of thanks by Congress. I had the resolutions ele
gantly engrossed on parchment by one of the clerks in
the adjutant-general s office, who was an accomplished
penman an artist in his way and sent them to Colonel
Bailey, in a tin case made for the purpose, with his name
conspicuously painted on the outside. It is probable a
vessel, by which the case was sent over part of the route,
was captured by a rebel cruiser. The receipt of it was
not acknowledged by Colonel Bailey. A year afterward
a rebel vessel was captured by a United States war-
steamer off Cuba. Among the articles found in her
was the tin case containing Colonel Bailey s resolutions.
T6 ANECDOTES OF TEE CIVIL WAR.
It was forwarded to Washington, and again sent on
its journey to its rightful owner, with a letter giving
an account of its adventures.
SERVICE IN THE ADJUTANT-GENERAL^ OFFICE.
General Scott s retirement Disposal of his staff Detached duty of the
adjutant-general Several candidates.
THE interview between President Lincoln and his
Cabinet and General Scott, which took place at the gen
eral s quarters, in the afternoon of November 1, 1861,
when he retired from active service, under the provisions
of a special act of Congress, was one of the most impres
sive ever witnessed. (The act and interesting correspond
ence relating to the retirement will be found in Appen
The general s military family accompanied him to
New York, and bade him farewell on board the steamer
in which he embarked for France.
Some of the staff supposed, from the terms of Presi
dent Lincoln s pledge, that they were in some way to be
personally attached as a military family to the commander-
in-chief of the army and navy. The President, however,
fully redeemed his promise to provide for them, by asking
what they desired, and granting their requests. Colonel
Van Kensselaer was made inspector-general in the regular
army, and besides bre vetted brigadier-general. The other
aides received appointments as general officers of United
SERVICE IN THE ADJUTANT- GENERAL S OFFICE. 77
States volunteers, except Colonel "Wright, who was a
major of the regular cavalry, and was retained as addi
tional aide-de-camp, with rank of colonel, to General Mc-
Clellan. I returned somewhat later than the rest of the
general s staff, and after they had been provided for,
having to collect and forward to Washington the records
of army headquarters, which had been left in New York.
On reporting to the President, he asked what I desired.
I replied that I did not think it right to indicate for what
duty I was most required, but was ready for any orders
that might be given me. The President remarked that
doubtless the chief of my department would suitably as
sign me ; so I then went to report to the new general-in-
chief, General McClellan, fully expecting to follow Gen
erals Cullum and Hamilton, who had gone to join Gen
eral Halleck in the Army of the West. When General
McClellan directed me to report to Adjutant-General L.
Thomas for duty in the office, I could not forbear saying,
" General, I have been a long time on duty there, and
hoped now to have a turn in the field." The general re
plied that my peculiar experience was needed to system
atize matters in the office, which had fallen into confu
The army had suddenly grown from ten thousand to
over one hundred thousand, and the business had pro
portionally augmented. Several newly appointed officers
of the department had gone on duty there for a few
weeks, and, before they had time to learn the routine,
had been detached to the field. Colonel Garesche than
whom no better officer or purer man ever lived had
been the senior assistant, and, though he labored inces
santly, it was impossible for him to keep up with the
78 ANECDOTES OF THE CIVIL WAR.
general business, aided only by inexperienced officers,
while he at the same time was in charge of the immense
and complicated branch of the military commissions. Ac
cordingly, the mails of several days were unopened ;
piles of letters, some of which had been acted on and
others not, were all mixed together in confusion. The
few clerks were struggling on, without system or much
concert, to dispose of what pressed most at the moment.
The rooms and hall were filled during office hours with
volunteers from the front, who came to get sick-leaves,
or discharges, each one, in his impatience to go home,
clamoring for the earliest attention. It required a week
of extra hours work to clear away the wreck and assort
the papers. Then the duties of the clerks were arranged
so that two would not be doing the same thing while
other things were left undone. The military hospitals
in and around the city supplied abundance of superior
clerks, who had left banks and counting-houses to vol
unteer, but whose physique was not equal to their ambi
tion for the exposed life of a soldier. So, in a few
weeks, matters were in such shape that no business need
Adjutant-General Thomas had a very difficult place to
fill. Secretary Cameron relied on him greatly in the
management of military affairs, so suddenly and so vastly
brought into the most prominent of all functions of the
Government. It was at that time thought important that
as much eclat as possible should be given to the arrival
of volunteer regiments which came to re-enforce the army,
and the adjutant-general was called upon to make ad
dresses, present flags, etc., at the various camps around
the capital. This state of things threw much of the im-
SERVICE IN THE ADJUTANT-GENERALS OFFICE. 79
mediate conduct of the office upon me as the senior as
When the Hon. Edwin M. Stanton became Secretary
of War, affairs had settled down to stern work, and glori
fying ceased to be such a prominent element in military
life. It happened that one day, at about one o clock,
Mr. Stanton sent word that he desired to see the adju
tant-general. I answered the call, saying : " The adjutant-
general has stepped out for a moment ; can I do what
you require ? " He replied, " It appears to me he steps
out quite often"; and then he handed me a paper he
wished attended to. After this he often sent for me in
dividually, and at last, in March, 1863, he ordered Gen
eral Thomas away to muster out a large body of volun
teers at Harrisburg. As soon as he returned from this
duty, the Secretary found some other detached service
for him. Finally, he sent him to Kentucky, and other
States, with a roving commission to organize colored regi
ments, and look after abandoned lands and property. He
did not come back to the office, and I was thus informally
left in charge. This was a most uncertain and conse
quently embarrassing position to be placed in, and the
only course was to do whatever seemed right, without
waiting to ascertain what were the views of the adjutant-
general, when he should return.
The first intimation that this was to be a permanent
arrangement was, when one day the Secretary sent for me
to be introduced to a certain prominent gentleman, to
whom I was requested to administer the oath of office as
a brigadier-general of volunteers. The Secretary then re
marked, " I wish you to know Colonel Townsend, for you
will receive orders from him as adjutant-general." It
80 ANECDOTES OF THE CIVIL WAR.
has since transpired that Mr. Stanton was early dissatis
fied with General Thomas for some reason, and looked
around to find some one suitable to put in his place. He
gave situations in the War Office to several persons, prob
ably with a view to having them on trial, meanwhile leav
ing me in charge of the adjutant-general s office as the
senior assistant. It would seem that he was once very near
appointing a colonel of the line, who had applied for the
place, and had been highly recommended to him. He
introduced this officer to me, and instructed me to put
one of my juniors in the office, with all his clerks, under
his orders, and to give him any other assistance he might
call for. Something made me suspect that this was a
first step toward giving this colonel of the line full charge
over the whole adjutant-general s office. So I waited un
til he had withdrawn, when I said : " Mr. Secretary, it is
necessary that I should clearly understand what relations
Colonel is to bear to my office. He can not law
fully exercise any of the functions of the adjutant-gen
eral, which are defined by statute. In the personal ab
sence of the head of the department, his duties devolve
properly upon his next junior, and, as such junior, I can
not receive orders from a colonel of the line. The assist
ant adjutant-general, whom you have directed to report
to Colonel , has some of the duties which by law
are under the adjutant-general ; do you intend that Colo
nel shall now have supervision over them ? " The
Secretary replied curtly that he should require all officers
to obey his orders. In answer, I made no question on
that point, but said it was necessary, in such an unusual
and rather complicated arrangement, that I should fully
understand the intent and scope of his orders, and that
SERVICE IN THE AD JUT ANT- GENERAL 8 OFFICE. 81
he should be informed what their bearing would be.
Meanwhile, the Secretary had time to ponder what I had
said. He then told me he had brought Colonel -
into the War Office to take charge of a class of business
that required more attention than I could give it ; that
there were claims enough set up against the Government
for military supplies, etc., to swamp the Treasury, if the
just were not separated from the unjust ; and he expected
me and the officers under me to help Colonel - in
examining them, in every way we could. To this, of
course, I assented, the more readily as that class of cases
was quite foreign to my duties. Colonel was sup
plied with two or three clerks; his business at once
took such a shape that neither he nor I interfered with
each other, and we continued for several years in the
most harmonious relations. Whatever were the Secre
tary s original intentions, the result was perfectly satis
factory to me, for I was never superseded, but enjoyed
to a gratifying extent the " great War Secretary s " confi
Eiding with Secretary Stanton in his carriage, at the
funeral of General Totten, Chief of Engineers, in April,
1864, I alluded to an interview with him on a certain
Sunday in July, 1862, before I had really been placed in
charge of the adjutant-general s office, when I pleaded
with him to let me go from the department to field-ser
vice according with my rank. He remembered the cir
cumstance, and that he had then complimented me by
saying that my long familiarity with the working not
only of his department, but of other branches of the
Government, was too necessary to him to allow him to
comply. He remarked that no reproach could justly at-
82 ANECDOTES OF THE CIVIL WAR.
tach to me for the line of duty in which I had been
employed ; that no officer had been more laborious from
first to last, and that I had successfully met a weight
of responsibility which could be appreciated only by a
Such commendation ought, perhaps, in reason, to be
considered as sufficient justification for having foregone
the more ambitious pursuit of fame in a more brilliant
but not more useful sphere of professional service ; espe
cially as it came from one of the most exacting of public
JULIUS P. GAKESCHE.
Killed in battle Official announcement of his death His charities Deco
rated by the Pope A priest s eulogium.
WHILE commanding the Department of the Cumber
land, in 1862, General Rosecrans sent an urgent request
that Colonel Garesche might be ordered to report to him.
Garesche added his own wish to this solicitation, and he
was ordered. He arrived in time to be of material assist
ance in organizing the army which, after varied fortunes,
defeated Bragg at Stone River. In a brief dispatch from
that battle-field, General Rosecrans said, "We have to
deplore the loss of Lieutenant-Colonel Garesche, whose
capacity and gentlemanly deportment had already en
deared him to all the officers of this command, and whose
gallantry on the field of battle excited their admiration.
At the outbreak of the rebellion he was the senior
JULIUS P. GARESCHfi. 83
assistant in the adjutant-general s office. In announcing
his death to the officers of his department the adjutant-
general said :
" His ability and untiring industry have left their im
press on the elaborate records over which he presided ;
and the universal and unfeigned regret at his loss, so
freely expressed by all who came in contact with him, is
a touching evidence of his value as an officer and his
worth as a man. Just and uncompromising in his official
conduct, he was yet courteous, obliging, and affable. Pos
sessing a chivalric spirit, with a high order of professional
attainment, he hastened to embrace the first opportunity
given him to enter on a more brilliant sphere of action,
and reported to Major-General Rosecrans as his chosen
chief of staff, in time to render essential aid in organizing
the army with which the field of Murfreesboro was won.
At a critical moment, on the 31st of December, when
the general, with his staff, dashed forward to restore the
tide of battle, which was turning against our arms, f the
noble Colonel Garesche was instantly killed by a cannon-
" What lot can be more enviable to a soldier than his !
Of singularly spotless private character, faithful in the
observance of his obligations as a Christian, and devoted
in his leisure hours to the exercise of benevolent acts,
honored and beloved in his profession, he died as a true
hero, and is mourned with a depth and sincerity of grief
not often betrayed."
Garesche was a very devout Roman Catholic, and
fully lived up to his professions. There was no end to his
unostentatious charities, which he usually performed after
his tedious office-hours were over. He started the so-
84 ANECDOTES OF THE CIVIL WAR.
ciety of St. Vincent de Paul in Washington, and was one
of its most active members, visiting and ministering to
the poor and the sick. It is related of him that, at the
risk of his own life, he once held in his arms an infant
belonging to a poor family, while a priest baptized it,
though the child was ill of small-pox. The Pope was in
formed of his extraordinary zeal, and sent him a medal
of some charitable order. This he always wore on his
His remains were brought to Washington for inter
ment. There they were honored with an imposing fu
neral, attended by an immense concourse. The ceremo
nies took place at St. Aloysius Church. The presiding
priest pronounced an eloquent eulogium upon him, in
which he thus described his death :
" The battle, which had raged furiously, was going
against our arms, and all seemed lost. Colonel Garesch6
had used almost superhuman efforts to cheer on the
troops, and, seeing that they were yielding ground, he re
tired for a brief space to some bushes, where he was per
ceived kneeling as in earnest prayer. It is believed
that he then offered up his own life as a sacrifice, if
God would give him a victory. Immediately after,
General Rosecrans and himself received the blessed
sacrament, from a priest who attended the army as
chaplain to the general. Colonel Garesch6 then rushed
into the thickest of the fight, and was killed by a can
non-ball, which took off his head. Thus he fell, while
at that moment the body and blood of his Lord was
coursing through his veins."
ARMY OF THE P010MAC COMMANDERS. 85
ARMY OF THE POTOMAC COMMANDERS.
Generous spirit of Burnside and Lincoln Plain language to Hooker Swap
ping horses while crossing a river.
THE battle of Antietam, Maryland, was fought by the
Army of the Potomac, under General McClellan, Septem
ber 16 and 17, 1862. General Burnside was ordered to
relieve General McClellan November 5, 1862. He com
manded at the battle of Fredericksburg, December 13,
1862. In his preliminary report to General Halleck, he
explained the reasons why he had moved sooner and on
a different plan from what had been indicated by the
President, and attributed his want of success to fog and
other unexpected causes of delay, which gave the enemy
time to concentrate his forces. With singular frankness
he says :
" To the brave officers and soldiers who accomplished
the feat of thus recrossing in the face of the enemy, I
owe everything ; for the failure in the attack I am re
sponsible, as the extreme gallantry, courage, and endur
ance shown by them were never exceeded, and would
have carried the point had it been possible.
" The fact that I decided to move from Warrenton on
to this line, rather against the opinion of the President,
Secretary, and yourself, and that you have left the whole
movement in my hands without giving me orders, makes
me the more responsible."
President Lincoln, not to be outdone in generosity,
86 ANECDOTES OF THE CIVIL WAR.
published, from the Executive Mansion, this address to
the Army of the Potomac :
"I have just read your commanding general s pre
liminary report of the battle of Fredericksburg. Al
though you were not successful, the attempt was not an
error, nor the failure other than an accident. The cour
age with which you, in an open field, maintained the con
test against an intrenched foe, and the consummate skill
and success with which you crossed and recrossed the
river, in face of the enemy, show that you possess all the
qualities of a great army, which will yet give victory to
the cause of the country and of popular government.
Condoling with the mourners for the dead, and sympa
thizing with the severely wounded, I congratulate you
that the number of both is comparatively so small.
" I tender to you, officers and soldiers, the thanks of
the nation. ABRAHAM LINCOLN."
January 25, 1863, the President relieved General
Burnside from the command, at his own request, and
assigned General Hooker in his stead. Hooker was
wounded at Antietam, and was for a time at St. Eliza
beth Hospital, near Washington. There were rumors
about town, immediately after Antietam, that McClellan
was to be removed ; and it was persistently averred that
Hooker would succeed him. But Burnside came first,
and Hooker relieved Burnside the 26th of January, 1863.
On that same day the President addressed to General
Hooker that singular communication, in which he told
" You are ambitious, which, within reasonable bounds,
ARMY OF THE POTOMAC COMMANDERS. 87
does good rather than harm ; but I think that, during
General Burnside s command of the army, you have taken
counsel of your ambition, and thwarted him as much as
you could, in which you did a great wrong to the coun
try and to a most meritorious and honorable brother offi
cer. I have heard, in such way as to believe it, of your
recently saying that both the army and the govern
ment needed a dictator. Of course it was not for this,
but in spite of this, that I have given you the command.
Only those generals who gain successes can set up dicta
tors. What I now ask of you is military success, and I
will risk the dictatorship."
"When Hooker had made his grand movement across
the river to Chancellorsville, by which he put his army
between Lee and Richmond, compelling Lee to offer him
the chance for a flank attack in his retreat, he issued a
short order, saying :
" It is with heart-felt satisfaction the commanding
general announces to the army that the operations of the
last three days have determined that our enemy must
either ingloriously fly, or come out from behind his de
fenses and give us battle on our own ground, where cer
tain destruction awaits him."
Did not this give promise of the "military success"
asked by the President? Happening to meet General
Totten, Chief of Engineers, the morning after, he told me
that he had been depressed by the failure of so many en
terprises of late, but Hooker s order had quite put him in
heart again. I was a classmate of Hooker s, and knew
him too well to participate in General Totten s hopeful
ness. 1 remarked that it was certainly a masterly move
ment that had placed the Army of the Potomac in its
88 ANECDOTES OF THE CIVIL WAR.
present position, but I was afraid Hooker, though brave,
and a good corps commander, had not the ready genius
to be able to manage an army on the battle-field, against
either Jackson, Longstreet, or Lee, singly, and still less
against all three together. Alas ! so it happened.
This first prognostication having been justified by the
event, there was good reason for apprehension when it
was known that Lee s army was in full march toward
Maryland and Pennsylvania, and that Hooker was hasten
ing to intercept it.
On the 27th of June the Secretary desired me to de
tail an officer to carry dispatches to the Army of the Poto
mac. He was to report at the department at seven o clock
in the evening. I thought it well for me to be there
also at that time, and was accordingly ready to sign an
order, which General Hal leek brought to my room for
that purpose. It is a good rule never to sign a paper
without looking at its purport, so I read :
" By direction of the President, Major-General Joseph
Hooker is relieved from the command of the Army of the
Potomac, and Major-General George G. Meade is ap
pointed to the command of that army, and of the troops
temporarily assigned to duty with it."
As he left the room, General Halleck said, " That is
a good order, isn t it ? " To which I replied, " This is
the first time I have drawn a long breath for several
The general who won the great battle of Gettysburg
was thus invested with his command while his army was
in full march toward the field of battle, and while he
was in ignorance of the strength or whereabouts of the
different corps composing it. " An exception proves the
PRESIDENT LINCOLN. 89
rule," they say ; so Mr. Lincoln happily this time made
an exception to his rule, " It is a bad plan to swap horses
while crossing a river."
A cavalry rifle The nervous traveler and the donkey " There is a man
in there ! "
ONE day, I went to the Executive Office to see the
President on some business. There were two other per
sons in the room. One was apparently a Western farmer,
who had a sort of breech-loading rifle he had invented for
cavalry service. Though he was not a mechanic, his gun
showed much ingenuity and some originality. He was
eager to exhibit it to the President, while the latter was
anxious to converse with his other visitor. The Presi
dent greeted me in his cheery manner, and said I had
come just in time to examine the new invention, and ad
vise the man, better than he could, what to do with it. I
drew the inventor to the farther side of the room, and
heard the explanation of his weapon, and all his story
It consisted of a common musket-barrel, bent in a
curve so as to pass over the shoulder, and thus serve at
once as a stock to the rifle and a sling to suspend it by.
This part of the rifle was also a magazine which would car
ry some twelve or fifteen cartridges. A spiral spring was
arranged inside, so that every time a cartridge slid into
the chamber from the magazine, another was pressed into
90 ANECDOTES OF THE CIVIL WAR.
its place ready for the next loading. At the junction of
the barrel with the magazine-stock were the lock and the
chamber, which received one cartridge all ready for dis
charge. By pressing a small button, a spring was pushed
back so that the stock part could be made to turn just far
enough to admit of a cartridge sliding from the magazine
into the chamber. The communication between the mag
azine and chamber was shut off when the stock returned
to its place, and the spring connected with the button
flew back and fastened it securely. Thus, the rifle hang
ing over the shoulder, muzzle down the man s arm pass
ing through the curved stock would be instantly loaded,
with one hand, by pressing the button, turning the stock
long enough for a cartridge to slide from the magazine
to the chamber, and then letting it fly back to its place.
By raising the piece with the arm on which it was
suspended, and pressing it against a brace across the
curved stock, which fitted the shoulder, aim could be
taken and the trigger pulled. I hardly thought the in
vention would stand the test of a certain number of dis
charges, as our service arms have to do, and really did not
feel willing to be the first to fire it off ; but I listened with
much interest to the owner, and then advised him to
show it to the chief of ordnance, who was accustomed to
examine such things, and who would tell him whether it
would answer the purpose. The man bade the President
good-day, and went out, so far well pleased. I never
heard of his gun again, so it was not adopted.
After the inventor had gone, and the President had
finished his conversation, in a recess by a window, with
his other visitor, he related to us one of his characteristic
stories. There was a gentleman traveling for his health,
PRESIDENT LINCOLN. 91
who was suffering greatly from nervousness and want of
sleep. While journeying in Egypt, he was terribly an
noyed by the braying of a donkey, used in transporting
his baggage, which was tied every night near his tent.
At last the dragoman told the master of transportation
that his donkey must be kept at a distance, where his
noise would not disturb their employer. Whereupon the
man proceeded to stop the braying by tying a string with
a heavy stone attached to the donkey s tail. The donkey
immediately dropped his ears, hung his head, and re
mained quiet through the night. The next morning,
when the stone was taken off, the donkey raised his head,
shook his ears, and gave one good, long bray, like Baron
Munchausen s trumpet when the frozen tunes thawed
out.* I do not remember the application which Mr.
Lincoln made of this story.
An old friend of Mr. Lincoln once related to me
another of his stories which shows not a little of his char
acter. This gentleman was conversing with the President
at a time during the war when things looked very dark.
On taking leave, he asked the President what he should
say to their friends in Kentucky what cheering news he
could give them of him. Mr. Lincoln replied : " That
reminds me of a man who prided himself greatly on his
game of chess, having seldom been beaten. He heard of
a machine, called the Automaton Chess-Player, which
was beating every one who played against it. So he
went to try his skill with the machine. He lost the first
game, so with the second, and the third. Then, rising
in astonishment from his seat, he walked around the ma-
* The baron s marvelous story of the trumpet proves, after all, to have
been only a prophetic vision of the modern phonograph.
92 ANECDOTES OF THE CIVIL WAR.
chine and looked at it a few minutes. Then, stopping
and pointing at it, he exclaimed, i There is a man in there !
Tell my friends," said Mr. Lincoln, drawing himself up
to his full height, " there is a man in here ! "
This was no spirit of bravado. It was to reassure his
friends, by showing them that he was not wavering or
discouraged, but was determined to rise above every ad
verse event, and act his part manfully. It was on such
occasions, w T hen a great resolve was uppermost in his
mind, that the true majesty of Mr. Lincoln appeared in
his face and form. I think Yinnie Ream failed in her
statue, representing him as presenting his Emancipation
Proclamation to the world, by overlooking this trait.
The statue, with head somewhat bowed, and a look as of
doubt, does not seem to bring out the stern and lofty sen
timent which, at such a moment, his whole presence,
head erect, and mouth compressed, would have exhibited ;
showing that he realized the full responsibility, and cou
rageously assumed it.
Quakers Isaac s mode of warfare A woman in man s clothes A kind
Southern woman A secret society " Knights of the Golden Circle "
Grenfel Release of Confederate prisoners A Southern clergyman
Greetings from the North Chaplains Bounty-jumpers I. C. V. R.
THE FRIENDS. The draft sometimes brought me in
contact with a class of citizens who do not often resort to
the War Department of the Government. The law did
SUNDRY PERSONS. 93
not, at first, absolutely exempt any one on account of re
ligious scruples, for it would have been easy to manufac
ture such things to order. But, after every draft, Isaac
Newton, Commissioner of the Department of Agriculture,
who was a Quaker, was sure to usher in a pleasant-looking
party of his Friends, to ask the discharge of some rela
tives, because of their creed, which was averse to war.
They were always reasonable, and quiet in their earnest
ness, and seldom failed to effect their object. It some
times happened that the young men drafted would be sent
to the field before their release could be obtained. There
were instances in which they passively underwent stern
punishment, obeying everything they were told to do, ex
cept to go through any of the forms of using weapons.
Some of these cases were so genuine that they were quite
touching, and awakened strong sympathy. The difficulty
lay in discriminating between those who were Quakers
indeed and Quakers by pretense. But whenever the
worthy Isaac appeared, with a band of his brothers and
sisters, clad in their plain garb, the men never removing
their hats, and all addressing one as "thou" and " thee,"
the cases were always genuine. One of the elder men,
who came with a party on this errand, was afterward a
member of a Quaker committee in charge of some West
ern Indians, under General Grant s plan of parceling the
tribes among different religious denominations. This
man never failed to drop in for a friendly chat, whenever
he was called to Washington on his Indian business.
Isaac Newton dressed in ordinary citizen s clothes.
He was a burly old gentleman, and seemed always in a
good humor. Speaking once of scruples about fighting,
I asked him if he believed it proper strictly to carry out
94: ANECDOTES OF THE CIVIL WAR.
the letter of Scripture, and under no circumstances to re
sist. "Oh, no," said he, "there are other ways of
resisting besides fighting." Then he related an incident,
where he met a man in a wagon, at a narrow part of the
road, and the man, seeing he was a Quaker, refused to
turn out for him, but stopped directly in the road. Isaac
asked him kindly to turn out, and the man gruffly re
fused. Then he said, " Friend, if thou wilt not turn thy
horse, I will turn him for thee." So he took the horse s
head to turn him, when the man jumped out and ran as
if to attack him. On this, Isaac seized him by the arms
above the elbow, held him as if in a vice, and quietly
said, " Friend, if thou dost resist, I will shake thee." So
he gave him a shake as a sample, and the man, perceiving
how powerful and resolute the Quaker was, apologized,
and turned his horse as far out as he could. " I did not
strike him ! " said Isaac.
A FEMALE SPY. In war-time as in peace, very ludi
crous things sometimes happen, as well as things most
serious. Among the distinguished individuals confined
in the Old Capitol Prison, at Washington, was a young
female who was arrested in man s clothes, which it was
supposed she had donned as a cloak for her assumed
office of spy. She was a good secessionist, at any rate,
and had no friends in the city to supply her with appro
priate clothing, so she had to remain as she was. It was
at last reported to me that she was very much mortified
about her raiment, and kept in bed all the time rather
than appear in it, after she had been detected. Out of
respect to her sex, I mentioned her dilemma to that most
worthy, true-hearted Presbyterian divine, Dr. John C.
SUNDRY PERSONS. 95
Smith, and suggested that his wife might be disposed, as
a charity, to visit the little spy, and provide her with fe
male apparel. Some time after, the doctor told me that
Mrs. Smith had been to see the woman, had found her in
bed, and much mortified at her. condition ; but in the
course of the interview she had betrayed such a bitter,
rebellious spirit, and hatred of the Government, that Mrs.
Smith was disgusted with her, and came away declaring
she might remain in bed, or wear her male garb until it
dropped off, before she would minister to such a temper.
I do not know what afterward became of her.
A REFUGEE. Soon after the close of the war, a mid
dle-aged woman, from North Carolina, came to "Washing
ton, on her way to Cincinnati. She had two stout,
healthy-looking children, a boy and girl. She was loyal
throughout the war, and was noted for her kindness to
the Union prisoners who were kept at Salisbury. On
one occasion, when a party was going by her door, on the
way to be exchanged, a poor, weak, emaciated fellow was
thrown down by the throng, and trampled upon so that
he was taken up nearly dead. This good woman took
him into her house, and tenderly nursed him, until in a
few days death came to his relief. She then buried him
in her own garden, had his grave nicely sodded, and a
paling put around it.
As she could find no means of support in her native
State, she was going North, in hopes of getting employ
ment. Ascertaining that her resources were exhausted,
the Secretary of War gave her some pecuniary aid, and
transportation to Ohio.
It is not improbable that this woman belonged to a
96 ANECDOTES OF THE CIVIL WAR.
secret society, which operated in Western North Carolina
and East Tennessee, where there were many Union peo
ple. The society had forms of initiations, and signs, by
which its members recognized each other. Its object in
general was to aid and- endeavor to restore the Union.
Many soldiers of the Confederate armies worked with it,
and quite a number of Union prisoners of war escaped
and were concealed and safely guided within the Union
lines by its means. It was said that President Lincoln
knew of it, and was even initiated as a member.
GRENFEL. A secret organization, composed of disaf
fected persons both in the North and South, existed
throughout the war. It went under various names, such
as " Knights of the Golden Circle," " Order of American
Knights," " Sons of Liberty," etc. Its objects were to
aid in every possible way the cause of disunion. It had
both a civil and a military organization, under a regular
system of government. The fruits of the civil branch
were often seen, but, although the military branch was
ready at any time to take part, the opportunity did not
present itself within the Union lines. Some of its mem
bers were officers of the Confederate service. Its plan,
constitution, and secret signs became known in 1864, and
were discovered through the confessions of members
under arrest, through documents, and through other
means. In the summer of 1864 a plot was concocted to
release over eight thousand Confederate prisoners of war,
who were held at Camp Douglas, Chicago, Illinois.
After their release, they were to engage in pillaging and
burning the city. A considerable number of persons,
known to be in active sympathy with the South, were ob-
SUNDRY PERSONS. 97
served to be in Chicago, about the time of the convention
which met there in August. As a precaution, a re-en
forcement was sent to the guard at the prison-camp, which
thwarted the designs upon it. Afterward, at the time of
the election in November, the presence again in the city
of noted rebels, and certain positive information which
had been gained of the plot, induced the Government to
arrest some seven or eight of the leaders and bring them
to trial before a military commission. Quite a large
amount of arms and ammunition was seized at the time
of the arrest.
Among the persons arrested in November was a Colo
nel G-. St. Leger Grenfel, an Englishman, one of those
many foreign adventurers who came to this country to
take part with one side or the other. The charges on
which he was tried were, conspiring, in violation of
the laws of war, to release the rebel prisoners of war
confined, by authority of the United States, at Camp
Douglas, near Chicago, Illinois ; and conspiring, in vio
lation of the laws of war, to lay waste and destroy the
city of Chicago. He pleaded not guilty, but was con
victed, and sentenced to be hanged. The British minister
and others interested themselves for him, and strong ef
forts were made to get him off entirely. The President
commuted his sentence to imprisonment for life, at hard
labor, at the Dry Tortugas, Florida, and he was accord
ingly sent there.
Grenfel was a fine-looking man, with the manners of
a rather pompous gentleman. He was very bad-tem
pered, and disposed to give all the trouble he could. At
the Tortugas, his hard labor consisted in the care of a
small vegetable-garden, planted for the benefit of the
98 ANECDOTES OF THE CIVIL WAR.
prisoners. This lie destroyed by watering with salt water.
He abused every indulgence which was vouchsafed to
him through the solicitation of friends abroad. At length,
he used money sent him, and which he was permitted to
receive to ameliorate his condition, in bribing a sentry.
One very stormy night in March, 1878, he, with the sen
try and three other prisoners, escaped from the island in
a small boat. Their departure was soon discovered, and
a revenue-cutter, which was lying at the Tortugas, cruised
for several days in every direction, to capture them, but
without success. The United States consuls at Ha
vana and other places on the coast were instructed by
telegraph to look out for the fugitives, but they were
never after heard of. It is supposed that their craft was
swamped in the violent storm, and in that dark night
they all perished. About a year after, inquiry was made
by Grenfel s relatives in Europe for him, which indicates
that he did not return to his own country, and increases
the probability that he was drowned.
About the time of Grenfel s escape, an absurd report
was started that the United States Government had been
keeping over one thousand Confederate prisoners of war
confined at the Dry Tortugas. Inquiries were made of
the Government concerning missing relatives supposed
to be among those prisoners. The fact is, all Confeder
ate prisoners of war were set free by exchange, or on pa
role, as soon as fighting had fairly ceased in 1865.
A SOUTHERN CLERGYMAN. In 1861, before non-inter
course between the two sections was rigidly enforced, a
certain clergyman of the Protestant Episcopal Church
came from Philadelphia, where he had a parish, and called
SUNDRY PERSONS. 99
upon General Scott, asking a pass to go to Richmond.
He said he was a native Virginian, and that he thought,
if he returned to Richmond to stay, he might do some
good in alleviating the troubles of war, especially among
the colored population. The pass was given, and he went
In 1865, after fighting was over, this gentleman came
again to Washington, and was introduced to me by a former
acquaintance. He spoke of the deep concern which the
Southern Episcopalians felt about their future relations
with the Church at the North. The war had forced
them into an apparent separation, but, now that the
causes were removed, what would be exacted of them to
secure a reunion ? He had received very many letters
from all parts of the Southern States, asking information
The General Convention was to sit at Philadelphia,
in October of that year. I unhesitatingly replied to the
reverend gentleman that there was no manner of doubt
that the only thing his Southern brethren had to do was
to repair at the proper time to Philadelphia, and quietly
take their seats as usual, the bishops in the House of
Bishops, and the clerical and lay delegates in their House.
I was certain that, if they would go, the only question
would be not are you sorry for what you have done,
but have you come sure enough to fill your vacant
places? I told him they would be received with open
arms ; and, in proof of my position, instanced the many
strong expressions I had heard from public men, like
Messrs. Stanton and Henry Wilson, of a desire that all
the people of the South would with alacrity return to a
cordial support of the Union, without coercion, or penal-
100 ANECDOTES OF THE CIVIL WAR.
ties of any sort. He took leave with many protestations
of gratitude, and declared he should go back to his peo
ple with my words of encouragement, and urge them
to do as I suggested. A few weeks after, I saw him
again in Washington, when he presented me with a copy
of the address of the Bishop of Virginia to his diocesan
convention, in which the bishop recommended the elec
tion of delegates to the approaching General Conven
tion. He told me that many churchmen at the South
had received the assurances I had given him with great
satisfaction, and that it had gone far to relieve their
When the General Convention assembled, some few
of the Southern churchmen attended, simply as specta
tors. Wherever they were recognized they were most
cordially received. In the Upper House a bishop dis
covered one of his Southern brethren in a pew of the
church. After a short, whispered conference with the
few nearest him, he rose, went to the pew, seized his old
friend by the hand, and insisted that he should accom
pany him back to his seat. There he was met by the
entire body with unfeigned joy, and urged to take his
seat as one of them.
This session of the General Convention, in 1865, was
made memorable by the reunion of all the dioceses of
the Protestant Episcopal Church in the United States.
The Kt. Rev. R. H. Wilmer, who had been consecrated
under the constitution of the Southern Church during the
war, was recognized as of the Episcopate, on his merely
signing an equivalent to the usual promise of conformity.
The Bishop-elect of Tennessee was consecrated, without
the delay of submitting his name to each separate dio-
SUNDRY PFRSONS. 101
cese; and this was the easy adjustment of all external
appearance of division.
SOME CHAPLAINS. In the plan of organization adopted
by authority of the President,* one chaplain was allowed
to each regiment of volunteers, to be " appointed by the
regimental commander on the vote of the field officers
and company commanders on duty with the regiment at
the time." There was a provision added that " the
chaplain so appointed must be a regularly ordained min
ister of some Christian denomination." This last clause
was not always properly heeded ; and so it came to pass
that, although as a rule army chaplains were fit and ear
nest men, some were occasionally invested with the office
who had little appreciation of its spirit, and no training
in the execution of its duties.
The uniform prescribed for chaplains was a plain
black frock-coat, with standing collar, and one row of
nine black buttons ; plain black pantaloons, black felt hat,
or army forage-cap, without ornament. On occasions of
ceremony, a plain u chapeau-de-bras " was authorized to
The exceeding simplicity of this dress did not suit
some of the reverend gentlemen, and a deputation called
at the office to have it changed. I asked them what they
desired. They replied that brass buttons, shoulder-straps,
a cap ornament, a sash, and a sword, were necessary to
facilitate the performance of their duties, and cause them
to be respected. I asked how that dress, especially the
sword, would aid them in conducting religious services ?
* General Orders, No. 15, dated May 4, 1861, legalized by section 3, act
of August 6, 1861.
102 ANECDOTES OF THE CIVIL WAR.
and how they would use the sword ? They said that when
they were officiating at service the sword would be laid
aside ; but now, when they entered a hospital, they were
not recognized by the patients, who would pay no heed
to them, and they wanted to be known as officers having
authority. " Oh," said I, " if you should walk to the bed
side of some poor, wounded soldier, arrayed in your shin
ing buttons and sash and sword, would he not suppose that
you were the officer of the day coming to carry him off
to the guard-house, and be terribly frightened at the idea ?
I rather think if you are known to the men by your good
words, kind offices, and gentle sympathy with them in
their trials, the plain black dress will secure you more re
spect than the showy one." Whether they were satisfied
or not, they did not continue the argument. The uniform
which had been adopted was actually suggested by a cler
gyman, well known for his zeal and devotion to the good
cause. With the addition of a little black braid, and a
cap ornament, it is that now worn by army chaplains.
Two venerable men, whose loyalty to the Union de
prived them, in their advanced age, of their only support,
were cared for by the fostering hand of the United States
Government during their remaining years. One was the
Kev. Matthias Harris, post-chaplain at Fort Moultrie, who
was with Anderson at Sumter. Having lost his place
by the evacuation of that post, he was made post chaplain
at Fort Foote, Maryland. The other was the Rev. Lem
uel Wilmer, who, because he " had never in his life drawn
a disloyal breath," was forsaken by his congregation. On
learning of his straitened circumstances, the Department
created Port Tobacco, Maryland, a chaplain post, and
appointed him its chaplain.
SUNDRY PERSONS. 103
BOUNTY-JUMPERS. A great evil connected with the
draft and substitute system for recruiting the army arose
from the practice, which at one time prevailed to a large
extent, of what was called "bounty-jumping." When
volunteering began to fail, after nearly every patriotic
able-bodied man had entered the service, the draft was
resorted to. But, whenever notice of a draft was about
to be published, very considerable bounties were first
offered, both by the Government and by States, for vol
unteers. Drafted men were also allowed to procure sub
stitutes, whom they paid. All the men recruited by
volunteering and by draft, or substitute, were collected
at large depots * preparatory to being sent to regiments
in the field. These men often had large sums of money
in their pockets, received in the way of bounties, and it
became quite a business with sharpers to disguise them
selves, pass an examination at a recruiting rendezvous,
receive the bounty or substitute money, desert from the
depot, and then repeat the operation over and over again,
under other names and disguises. Of course their tricks
were soon detected, and numbers were arrested and kept
in confinement. Photographs were taken of some of the
most noted of these criminals, both at the time of their
enlistment, when, clean shaved and furbished, they passed
* The guards at these draft rendezvous were composed of " veteran
reserve " regiments, made up of men who had been disabled in the army,
by wounds or otherwise, so as to be unable to bear the hardships of the
field and camp, but all quite equal to duty required in a comfortable gar
rison. These regiments were at first styled the " Invalid Corps," but an
army regulation prescribed that articles of public property condemned by
an inspector should be marked with the initials I. C., for " Inspected, Con
demned." Therefore, the I. C. (Invalid Corps) regiments had their desig
nation changed to V. R. (Veteran Reserve).
104 ANECDOTES OF THE CIVIL WAR.
for younger men ; and afterward, when the garnishing
had faded, and they were exhibited in their true colors.
To put an end to bounty-jumping, I devised a plan,
in December, 1864, for taking away their money at the
depot, depositing it with an army paymaster stationed
there for the purpose, and giving them a check-book in
which the amount was entered. They could then draw
the amount exhibited on the check-book from a paymaster
in the field, at their first payment after joining their regi
ment. The paymaster who received the money credited
the soldier with it on his accounts made to the Treasury,
and the one who paid it charged it in his accounts, so that
the two accounts were balanced in the settlement at the
Treasury. The recruit received his bounty at the recruit
ing rendezvous, and was never out of sight of a guard
till he reached the depot ; so that he had no chance to con
ceal it. Provision was made, under close restrictions, by
which he could convey any portion of it to his family if
When I first submitted this plan to the Secretary of
War, he demurred at adopting it. I set forth the advan
tageous features of it, and told him the Treasury officers
assented to it, so far as they were concerned. A man
who enlisted in good faith would not object to having
his bounty safely kept for him till he wanted it ; while a
bounty-jumper would not be willing to take the risk of
escaping after he had been transported to the army. At
last he said, " Well, if you choose to issue the order on
your own responsibility, you may, but I will not have
any trouble that may arise from it." That was enough ;
the order was issued. The Secretary told me afterward
that the Governor of one of the States, who had been
GENERAL FRANK P. BLAIR. 1Q5
most annoyed by bounty-jumpers, had thanked him for
it, and characterized it as " the best order that had ema
nated from the "War Department."
GENERAL FRANK P. BLAIR.
How to legalize an illegal order.
IN 1864 General Frank Blair, who had been serving
as a major-general of volunteers, was elected to the House
of Representatives. He resigned his commission and took
his seat. In the month of April the Secretary of War
handed me an order from the President, to be issued,
assigning Major-General Blair to duty with the army un
der General Sherman ; and directing that some regular
officers be ordered to report to him as his staff, and that
some civilians be appointed additional aides-de-camp for
him. I glanced at the order, and then said :
"Mr. Secretary, General Blair has resigned, and is
now a civilian. He is not a major-general, and is not
subject to an order."
Secretary. Well, what of that ?
General Townsend. Why, such an order can not be
Secretary. But the President orders it !
General T. (seeing something peculiar in the Secre
tary s manner). Shall I issue it, then ?
Secretary. I give you no orders about it ; there is the
President s order.
106 ANECDOTES OF THE CIVIL WAR.
General T. But what am I to do ? It is not a legal
order ; how can I issue it ?
Secretary. I tell you, I have nothing to say about it.
You must use your own discretion.
General T. Won t you see the President, and explain
the facts to him ?
Secretary. ]STo !
General T. "What would you advise me to do, then ?
Secretary. I give you no advice about it.
General T. You are between the President and me,
and I have to come to you in all cases.
Secretary. In this case, I give you full authority to
"use your own discretion. I have nothing more to say.
General T. (perceiving that there had probably al
ready been a discussion between the President and
Secretary). Well, may I see the President about it ?
Secretary. I tell you I have no orders to give you.
You can do what you please.
Accordingly, I took the order and went over to the
Executive Mansion. The President was through with
the urgent duties of the day, and was seated with his feet
on a chair, a towel round his neck, while his servant was
shampooing his head.
Having been admitted, I said : " Mr. President, the
Secretary has handed me this order, to assign General
Blair to a command, and authorized me to come and see
you about it. I thought you might not be aware that
General Blair s resignation having been accepted, he can
not be legally ordered to any military duty. He is now,
as a civilian, not subject to orders."
President. Well, I am anxious to have it fixed up
some way, so the order can be issued, if you can do it.
GENERAL FRANK P. BLAIR. 107
General T. There is only one way to do it. If Gen
eral Blair will apply to have the acceptance of his res
ignation revoked, I can issue an order revoking it, and
then assign him to duty. There have been instances of
that sort, and I will do it if you give me authority.
President. I wish you would I wish you would.
Just fix it any way you think best.
I then returned to the department, and wrote a note
to General Blair, asking him to call at the adjutant-gen
eral s office, on business indicated to me by the President.
He came, and I explained the matter to him. He said
he was willing to do as the President desired. I then
wrote letters for him to sign, asking that his resignation
be revoked, and that he be assigned to a command. He
signed them, and the order was handed him to report to
General William T. Sherman, and to command the Sev
enteenth Army Corps.
In a few days, when it was known that Frank Blair
had gone to take a command in the Army of the South,
a resolution was passed in the Senate calling upon the
President for information whether any officers whose
resignations had been accepted had been put on duty;
who such officers were, and under what circumstances
they had been so assigned. The Secretary of "War then
inquired what had been done in General Blair s case. I
told him, and said, if he would give me the resolution, I
would prepare an answer. So I took it, made copies of
the letters General Blair had signed, and of the orders
given him, and then cited several instances as precedents
where similar action, during many years, had been taken
with regular army officers. The Secretary, after examin
ing my report very carefully, forwarded it. No more
108 ANECDOTES OF TEE CIVIL WAR.
was heard about it, except that the Senate passed a reso
lution that, thereafter, no officers whose resignations had
been duly accepted should be restored to the service with
out a new appointment and confirmation by the Senate.
After this General Blair commanded the Seventeenth
Army Corps, in Sherman s army, during the famous
Southern campaign and "march to the sea," near the
close of the war. No one will say that the President had
cause to regret having called him to the army. Had he
gone through the routine of again nominating him, and
waited for his confirmation, too much valuable time would
have been lost at that critical period.
A false alarm President Lincoln s narrow escape.
WHILE the Army of the Potomac was closely press
ing on Richmond, in July, 1864, General Lee sought to
divert some of its strength by sending a considerable
force of cavalry and infantry, under Early, to threaten
Washington. Intelligence was received of the raid on
the 3d of July, and preparations were at once made for
defense. There were but few troops around Washing
ton at that time, and they were mostly veteran reserves.
But, to meet emergencies, the clerks and employes of the
War and some of the civil departments had been for sev
eral months organized into regiments, and pretty care-
EARLY S INVASION. 109
fully drilled. These, and all of the large number of men
in the hospitals, who were at all able to hold a musket,
went to man the forts.
One night, when there were indications that an attack
would be made, I was on guard at the War Department.
At three o clock in the morning, I heard loud cries in
the street, sounding nearer and nearer to the department.
My first impression was that Early s raiders had broken
in and were coming to burn and pillage. As I walked
rapidly from my room to the door at the other end of the
hall, where the noise appeared to be, I had time to con
sider what had better be done under the circumstances.
The pass of Thermopylae would have been nothing to
this occasion. Instead of a pass, there would have been
a door; instead of three hundred defenders, there would
have been three. A reconnaissance, however, would bet
ter indicate the line and measure of defense. On open
ing the door upon the street, a large herd of beef-cattle
was seen wending its way to the commissary s corral, and
the herders were making the outcry. These cattle had
been pastured some miles out in Maryland, and narrowly
escaped being captured by Early, Information of his
approach was received just in time to save them.
There had been no stampede in Washington. People
did not seem to think there was much danger of a catas
trophe. The Confederates felt some of the forts; and
two or three houses under the guns of Fort Stevens, on
the turnpike-road to Brookville, Maryland, were battered
down, to dislodge some of the enemy s sharp-shooters who
found shelter there while trying to pick off our gunners.
It was related of President Lincoln that he rode out to
Fort Bteyens while the skirmishing was going on, and,
110 ANECDOTES OF THE CIVIL WAR.
heedless of danger, mounted the parapet to get a good
view. While standing there, his tall frame presenting a
prominent target, a bullet passed between him and a
young lady who was standing by his side, and quite near
him. He was then induced to descend under cover.
General Grant sent Wright s Sixth Corps up to re-
enforce the Washington garrison. As soon as it arrived
it threw out a line of skirmishers ; and, when the Con
federates recognized its well-known badge, they drew
off and took their departure, probably conceiving that
they had effected the relief of Richmond. They after
ward received due attention from Sheridan, who entirely
destroyed this part of Lee s army in the Shenandoah
THE SHENANDOAH VALLEY TROPHIES.
Sheridan s black horse " To Early, in care of Sheridan " A big scare
Lo, they were gone !
THE 19th of October, 1864, General Sheridan re
" My army at Cedar Creek was attacked this morning
before daylight, and my left was turned and driven in
confusion, with the loss of twenty pieces of artillery.
I hastened from Winchester, where I was on my return
from Washington, and found the armies between Middle-
town and New^town, having been driven back about four
miles. I here took the affair in hand and quickly united
THE SHENANDOAH VALLEY TROPHIES. Ill
the corps, formed a compact line of battle just in time to
repulse an attack of the enemy, which was handsomely
done at 1 p. M.
" At 3 P. M., after some changes of the cavalry from
the left to the right flank, I attacked with great vigor,
driving and routing the enemy, capturing, according to
last report, forty-three pieces of artillery and very many
An officer of Massachusetts Volunteers who was pres
ent told me he saw General Sheridan when he met his
retreating troops. His black horse, by which he was
usually recognized, was so completely covered with
foam as to appear like an animal with a white skin.
This same officer told me that some pieces of artillery
were sent from Richmond to the Confederate General
Early, each one of which was labeled with his name.
After Sheridan s defeat of Early, some wag wrote on the
labels to the guns, under Early s name, the words, " Care
of General Sheridan."
General Sheridan sent the artillery captured on this
occasion by rail to Washington. The Secretary of War
determined to make a public display of these trophies, to
give an idea of the magnitude of the victory. He ac
cordingly instructed me to have them taken, on their
arrival at the railroad depot, to the grounds in front
of the War Department, and parked there. The tro
phies arrived the 29th of October. An excellent volun
teer regiment of artillery, stationed at Camp Barry in the
outskirts of the city, had been ordered to receive them
and put them in position. The officers of the regiment
entered into the spirit of the affair, procured a band of
112 ANECDOTES CF THE CIVIL WAR.
music, and marched through the streets with much eclat,
followed by the usual crowd. Some time was occupied,
after the train arrived, in unloading the cars, and putting
the carriages together, some of them being much broken ;
and it was after dark when they reached the department.
When all the arrangements were made to receive the
guns, I rode on horseback to meet the regiment. Hav
ing seen every gun and carriage in place, and posted
sentinels around them with orders not to permit any
one to go near or touch them, I went home. I had
hardly reached there, when a messenger arrived saying
the Secretary desired to see me, immediately, at the
department. Some one had telegraphed to him at his
residence that the ammunition-boxes were filled with
powder, and he had hastened down in great alarm lest
the w r hole department should be blown sky-high. He
was much excited. He asked me why I had not dis
covered that the boxes contained powder, and why I
had not sent the carriages immediately to the arsenal.
I replied that I had taken great precautions, which the
result showed were effective, to prevent any one from
carelessly opening the boxes ; that they were constructed
on purpose to carry powder safely on the battle-field, and
there was no danger of their exploding unless struck by a
shell. I had not anticipated that the boxes would be sent
all the way by cars from the place of their capture to
Washington, without first having the ammunition re
moved ; but, since they had gone thus far without acci
dent, there did not now seem to be any cause for alarm.
The Secretary s mind was so preoccupied with the idea
of danger to the public buildings that it put him in a
bad humor. He peremptorily ordered that the trophies
THE SHENANDOAH VALLEY TROPHIES. 113
should be immediately sent down to the Arsenal for
safe-keeping, and that I should see it properly done.
A messenger was dispatched for the same regiment to
transport the things, and I sat in my office with another
officer to await its arrival. Presently in came the depot
quartermaster, to whom orders had been sent by the Sec
retary to bring some mules with harness, to do the same
work. The quartermaster seemed to be in a quandary
about what he was required to do. He said he had
plenty of mules and wagon-harness, but he did not see
how it could be fitted to haul artillery-carriages. I told
him the artillery regiment which brought them up would
soon come to take them to the Arsenal ; and I did not
believe mules and wagon-harness could be of any aid.
Meanwhile, the Secretary, having had time to think
a little, and recover from his apprehension, since no
catastrophe had occurred for two hours, carne into my
room in an altered mood. I gave him a chair, and he
began chatting pleasantly about indifferent matters. I
did not join in the conversation. Presently he asked
the quartermaster where his dispatch-boat was. "At the
wharf, sir, ready to fire up at a moment s warning."
"Well," said the Secretary, "you must get her ready
for an excursion down the river, and you and Town-
send make up a party and go." Then, turning to me,
he asked if I would not like to go. I was angry, and
had good reason to be, so I replied, curtly, " I have
no time for excursions." The Secretary said nothing
more, but soon after went home. It was half-past one
at night a cold, drizzling, rainy night before I saw
the last remnant of the procession started on its way
to its final resting-place.
114: ANECDOTES OF THE CIVIL WAR.
The next day was Sunday. Quite early in the morn
ing the President walked out to enjoy the promised view
of his trophies. His surprise at not finding them in front
of the "War Department was probably equaled by that
of a crowd of citizens who had assembled on the same
errand, having heard the evening before that the guns
were to be on exhibition.
TRIP TO SAVANNAH.
A Sunday service A salute at sea Conference with colored ministers
Fort Fisher Promoted while asleep.
GENERAL WILLIAM T. SHERMAN S army occupied Sa
vannah December 21, 1864. "One hundred and fifty
heavy guns and plenty of ammunition, and also about
twenty-five thousand bales of cotton," were reported
captured. The health of the Secretary of War serious
ly demanded the rest which a sea-voyage could best
afford; he therefore determined to go to Savannah to
confer with General Sherman, and take measures to se
cure the large amount of cotton found there. Much of
this cotton belonged to the Confederate Government,
and was therefore lawful prize to the United States.
Arrangements were made for a propeller which had
been chartered to convey army supplies from New
York to Savannah, to call at Old Point Comfort, Vir
ginia, for the Secretary. Quartermaster-General Meigs,
Surgeon-General Barnes, and myself accompanied him ;
TRIP TO SAVANNAH. 115
and Mr. Simeon Draper, of New York, who had held the
appointment of Provost-Marshal-General of the War De
partment,* joined the party in the propeller from New
We sailed from Old Point Saturday, January 7, 1865.
The next day, Secretary Stanton asked General Meigs to
read a portion of the Episcopal Church service to our
small party. He joined reverently in the service, and
afterward commented on a passage of the Scriptures
which had been read.
The next day, as we neared Hilton Head, the steamer
James Adger, of the blockading squadron, commanded
by Captain (now Bear-Admiral) Thomas H. Patterson,
U. S. Navy, made signal for us to hoist our colors.
Our captain either did not understand the signal, or
at any rate did not heed it, and kept on his course.
The Adger then steered for us, and fired a shot across
our bow, which of course brought us to, and made us
show the Stars and Stripes. Captain Patterson, my
relative, having recognized me standing on the deck
as I waved my handkerchief to him, sent a boat to ask
me aboard his ship. I wrote him a note regretting I
could not go, as I was with the Secretary of War, who
was aboard of us. Upon this, the Adger stood off, drew
her shot, and fired the salute due a Cabinet officer.
Probably this is the only instance where a Secretary
* Mr. Draper was appointed Provost-Marshal-General October 1, 1862.
His office was not the same as that afterward held by General Fry under
the act of March 3, 1863, but was created by authority of the War Depart
ment to supervise and manage the special provost-marshals employed in
States to arrest deserters and disloyal persons, seize stolen property of the
Government, detect spies, etc. Mr. Draper s appointment was annulled
when General Fry was detailed according to law.
116 ANECDOTES OF THE CIVIL WAR.
of War was saluted while afloat by a United States
ship of war. Mr. Stanton was asleep below when the
salute was fired, but when told of it he was much pleased
with the incident.
While we were on the voyage, as I was sitting one
day in the cabin, alone with the Secretary, he told me he
felt much anxiety about the cotton which had been cap
tured at Savannah. He had no doubt attempts would be
made to appropriate it. There would be persons who
would claim it as their private property, and it would
be difficult to discriminate between what was really pri
vate and what belonged to the Confederate Government.
Then he said he wanted a general officer to command at
Savannah, who would see to the safe-keeping and proper
disposition of the cotton, and defend the city against mili
tary movements to recapture it, which might probably be
made after General Sherman s army left. He asked
whom I could name for the purpose. I consulted the
register, and found plenty of suitable names, but they
were either too far off, or in positions where they were
much needed. At last I mentioned one general whom I
thought suitable, and the most available, though he too
had an important command. The Secretary replied : " I
can not withdraw him from so critical a command. If I
could spare you, I would assign you." I exclaimed, " Me,
sir ? " " Yes, you, sir ! " said he. I replied that nothing
could be more agreeable to me than to have the assign
ment. " But," said he, " I can not do without you where
After personally examining the stores containing the
cotton, hearing private claims to certain lots, indicating
the marks to be put on the bales, and what disposition
TRIP TO SAVANNAH. 117
should be made of them, the Secretary, on consultation
with General Sherman, appointed Mr. Draper to have
the charge of the cotton, and General John W. Geary,
who belonged to Sherman s army, to be left in military
command of Savannah when the army marched north
Among the private claimants of cotton was Lamar,
notorious as the man who once landed a cargo of negroes,
imported direct from Africa, in the yacht Wanderer, on
the shores of the United States. This gentleman at
tempted to give much trouble in the disposal of the
On Thursday, the 12th of January, General Sherman
gave the Secretary a grand review of his army. In
the evening of that day, by invitation of the Secre
tary, twenty colored men, chiefly ministers of different
churches, assembled in the Secretary s room, to give
him their views concerning the present and future of
their people. The minutes of this interview, as taken
down at the time by the Secretary s own hand, will
be found in Appendix F. I offered to act as amanu
ensis, but he declined, and persisted in writing until
We sailed from Savannah Saturday, the 14th, leaving
General Meigs and Mr. Draper behind, and spent Sunday
at Hilton Head, with General Ruf us Saxton, commanding
there, leaving for home that same evening.
As we neared Fort Fisher, on the 16th of January, all
eyes were strained to discover what had been the result
of the combined attack of Admiral Porter and General
Terry on that place. At first we could discern only
a small flag floating over the fort, with no sign of
118 ANECDOTES OF THE CIVIL WAR.
cannonading. Our joy can be imagined when the
Stars and Stripes became distinguishable. The Secre
tary immediately decided to put in, to learn the particu
lars of the capture, and congratulate the officers. On
our arrival amid the ships, from which the smoke of
battle had so recently cleared away, the Secretary com
municated with General A. H. Terry, who at once came
aboard with his staff. We learned that, at 3 p. M., the
15th of January, the troops assaulted the fort, after
heavy cannonading by the fleet. " The lighting for
the traverses continued till nearly nine o clock, two
more of them being carried ; then a portion of Ab
bott s brigade drove the enemy from their last remain
ing strongholds, and the occupation of the work was
complete." After a long conversation, the Secretary
directed me to make out letters conferring brevets on
General Terry and his staff, which were all subsequently
submitted to the Senate and confirmed. The general
and his officers had scarcely slept for three days. It
was now the middle of the evening, and Captain
Adrian Terry, assistant adjutant - general, brother to
the general, overpowered with fatigue, fell fast asleep.
When the general, as he was about to withdraw, aroused
Captain Terry, I slipped into his hand a document in
closed in an official envelope. He was yet half asleep,
and supposing I was serving a notice of arrest, or some
thing, upon him for falling asleep in the Secretary s
presence, he was evidently much troubled. When he
opened the letter, however, he said, with a smile of
gratification, "I do believe I went to sleep a captain,
and have awakened a major ! " At this the Secretary
and all laughed most heartily.
Proclamation sent through the lines Good fruits " Dixie."
ON the 8th of December, 1863, President Lincoln is
sued a proclamation, to make known " to all persons who
have, directly or by implication, participated in the exist
ing rebellion, except as hereinafter excepted, that a full
pardon is hereby granted to them, and each of them, with
restoration of all rights of property, except as to slaves,
and in property cases where rights of third parties shall
have intervened, and upon the condition that every such
person shall take and subscribe an oath, and thencefor
ward keep and maintain said oath inviolate ; and which
oath shall be registered for permanent preservation, and
shall be of the tenor and effect following, to wit :
" I, , do solemnly swear, in presence of
Almighty God, that I will henceforth faithfully support,
protect, and defend the Constitution of the United States,
and the union of the States thereunder ; and that I will,
in like manner, abide by and faithfully support all acts of
Congress passed during the existing rebellion with refer
ence to slaves, so long and so far as not repealed, modi
fied, or held void by Congress or by decision of the Su
preme Court ; and that I will, in like manner, abide by
and faithfully support all proclamations of the President,
made during the existing rebellion, having reference to
slaves, so long and so far as not modified or declared
120 ANECDOTES OF THE CIVIL WAR.
void by decision of the Supreme Court. So help me
The classes excepted from the pardon did not include
the officers under the rank of general officers, or the rank
and file of the Confederate army, unless they had left the
United States army to join the rebels, or had committed
certain specified offenses.
On the 30th of December a dispatch was received
from an officer on the Upper Potomac, saying : " Nine
deserters from the Yalley just in ... These deserters
heard the President s proclamation and required oath
with great surprise, and declared, if it was printed and
circulated, thousands would come into our lines."
They were surprised to find the falsity of the state
ments as to the humane policy and feeling of President
Lincoln s administration, which had been from the begin
ning so persistently impressed upon the Southern peo
ple, exposed by this proclamation. In accordance with
the suggestion in the dispatch, many thousands of copies
of the proclamation were printed in convenient form and
sent to commanders along the lines, to be distributed as
opportunity offered. Large numbers were conveyed
through the pickets, and in other ways. The good effect
was announced in a dispatch dated January 23, 1864:
" Ninety-seven deserters have reported at this post since
the 1st of January. The President s amnesty is having
good effect. I am scattering it all through the country."
The following orders were afterward issued, and, to
gether with the proclamation, were printed and folded in
such small form that they could be easily concealed, and
were profusely distributed :
GENERAL ORDERS, No. 64.
WAR DEPARTMENT, ADJUTANT-GENERAL S OFFICE,
WASHINGTON, February 18, 1864.
REFUGEES AND REBEL DESERTERS.
Whenever refugees from within the rebel lines, or
deserters from the rebel armies, present themselves at
United States camps, or military posts, they will be im
mediately examined by the provost-marshal, with a view
to determine their character and their motive in giving
themselves up. If it appear that they are honest in their
intention of forever deserting the rebel cause, care will
be taken to explain to them that they will not be forced
to serve in the United States army against the rebels, nor
be kept in confinement. The President s proclamation
of December 8, 1863, will be read to them, and, if they
so desire, the oath therein prescribed will be administered
to them. They will then be questioned as to whether
they desire employment from the United States, and, if
so, such arrangements as may be expedient will be made
by the several army commanders for employing them on
Government works within their commands. Those who
come to the Army of the Potomac will be forwarded to
the military governor of the District of Columbia, at
Washington, with reports in their cases, that employment
may be given them if desired, or, if not, that they may
be sent as far north as Philadelphia.
By order of the Secretary of War :
E. D. TOWNSEND, Assistant Adjutant-General.
Among the deserters who surrendered was an entire
military band, composed of foreigners, who came within
the lines, bringing their instruments with them. They
122 ANECDOTES OF THE CIVIL WAR.
were sent to Washington, and went up to the War De
partment to pay their respects to the Secretary of War.
They played several airs for his amusement, and at last
asked if there was any particular one he would like to
hear. He called for one after another of our national
airs, but they knew none of them! "Well," said he,
" let us have * Dixie? then ; you probably can play that."
So Dixie was rendered with due effect. This band went
north, and doubtless found employment as musicians,
though they certainly did not seem to possess extraordi
nary skill in their art.
ILLUMINATION FOR THE CAPTURE OF RICHMOND.
Magic effect A perverse eagle.
GENERAL WEITZEL S troops occupied Richmond April
3, 1865. As soon as the news arrived at Washington, the
Secretary of War gave orders for a grand illumination of
all the buildings occupied by his department. He in
trusted to me the arrangements for the War Department
proper, for Winder s Building on Seventeenth Street, and
the entire row of buildings from that to Pennsylvania
Avenue, and two more north of the avenue. The Cor
coran Art-Gallery, on the corner of President s Square
and Seventeenth Street, then in use by the quartermaster-
general, was prepared under his direction. All these
formed a group of large buildings in close proximity.
Two candles were placed in each pane of glass, and a
ILLUMINATION FOR CAPTURE OF RICHMOND. 123
man provided with matches was stationed at each win
dow. Fire-balls were arranged in a row directly in front
of the War Department, and men were near to light
them. A military band was seated on the balcony over
the north door. At a signal sounded with a trumpet on
the corner of the street, the band struck up " The Star-
spangled Banner," and, as if by magic, the windows of
twelve buildings were suddenly ablaze, while columns of
red, green, and blue transparent smoke floated over the
front of the "War Department. So promptly was each
match applied, that spectators wondered what mechanical
process like lighting gas-jets by electricity could have
been used in this instance.
Thus far this undertaking was a success. But, after
all, there was one failure. The Secretary had conceived
the idea of having the word "Richmond" in a scroll,
with an eagle clutching it with, his talons, in the act of
rising on his outspread wings, painted on a transparency
which was to be suspended over the top of the front bal
cony. This was allegorically to represent the American
eagle capturing the capital of the Confederacy. The
painter employed, not being an artist of high culture,
thought he would improve on the instructions given him,
and, for the sake of more graceful curves, he represented
the eagle soaring away with the end of the scroll in his
beak. When the Secretary saw the production he was
very much displeased, and would not commend the gen
eral effect of the illumination ; but there was not time
enough, after the transparency was finished, to have
another painted. As it was, the public, who remained
in ignorance of the intended design, were well satisfied
with the entire spectacle.
124 ANECDOTES OF THE CIVIL WAR.
For my part, anxiety lest an unfortunate spark should
turn my illumination into a most expensive bonfire of in
valuable records prevented any enjoyment, until, by per
sonally and carefully inspecting every room after the
lights were all extinguished, I was assured that every
thing was safe.
Mr. Stanton s suspension Not sustained General L. Thomas appointed
ad interim Mr. Stanton resists Colloquy A lawyer s ruse " Stand
firm ! " Neutral ground Another ad interim A new Secretary.
ON Monday morning, August 5, 1867, President John
son invited Mr. Stanton to resign as Secretary of War.
Under the tenure-of-civil-office law, Mr. Stanton de
clined. The President, a week after, suspended him,
and appointed General Grant, General-in-Chief of the
Army, to exercise the functions. This continued until
January 13, 1868, when, according to the law, the Senate
passed a resolution not sustaining the President s action.
The next morning, General Grant came to my office and
handed me the key of the Secretary s room, saying : " I
am to be found over at my office at army headquarters.
I was served with a copy of the Senate resolution last
evening." I then went up-stairs and delivered the key
of his room to Mr. Stanton.
On Thursday, February 13, 1868, President Johnson
addressed to General Grant a letter, saying he desired
Major-General L. Thomas to resume his duties as Adju-
AD INTERIM. 125
tant-General of the Army. This proved to be a prelimi
nary step to another attempt to remove Mr. Stanton from
the department. It was intended to bring the question
of the constitutionality of the tenure-of-office law before
the Supreme Court of the United States, in the course of
the controversy which was expected to arise. General
Thomas resumed charge of the adjutant-general s office,
February 14th, after an absence of nearly five years. He
was very kind, and invited me to continue my desk in
his room. On the 19th he asked me to look up certain
laws relating to the tenure of civil office, saying that the
President desired him to examine them. He then told
me, in strict confidence, that the President thought of in
vesting him with the office of Secretary of War ad inte
rim, to supersede Mr. Stanton. On Friday, the 21st, the
general came to the room where I was sitting with another
officer, and, calling him, they went out together. In a
short time they returned, and the general threw a letter
on my table, which was the one from the President, ap
pointing him Secretary of War ad interim. He told me
he had delivered the letter to Mr. Stanton, removing him,
and had taken the other officer to be a witness to the in
terview ; that, on reading the letter to Mr. Stanton, the
latter remarked, "I suppose you will give me time to
remove my private papers ! " and that he then asked for
a copy of the President s letter of appointment. I made
this copy, and the general certified it officially as " Sec
retary of War ad interim." When Mr. Stanton received
the copy, he said he would consider whether he would
recognize it or not. General Thomas seemed to think
Mr. Stanton would retire without making any opposition.
He said emphatically that he should most certainly, at all
126 ANECDOTES OF THE CIVIL WAR.
hazards, take possession of the war-office on the follow
ing Monday, which would give Mr. Stanton ample time
to vacate, Saturday (February 22d) being a holiday, and
Sunday coming right after. He then sent his letter to
the President, accepting the appointment.
On Saturday, February 22d, I went to the War De
partment, as usual on holidays, merely for my private
letters. The rooms were all locked, and the keys were in
Mr. Stanton s possession. He had remained in his own
office all night. I went to General Schriver s room,
which was directly opposite the Secretary s. At about
noon General Thomas entered the building unaccompa
nied. He had been all the night at a masked ball with
his family, had just sat down to breakfast without taking
off his uniform, when he was arrested and summoned be
fore Chief-Justice Cartter, of the Supreme Court of the
District of Columbia. The arrest was made on a warrant
issued upon Mr. Stanton s affidavit that, on a pretended
appointment of Secretary of War ad interim, he had
endeavored to exercise the authority of the Secretary
of War, contrary to the act " regulating the tenure of
certain civil offices," passed March 2, 1867. He gave
bail in five thousand dollars to appear on the following
Wednesday. From the court he proceeded directly to the
President s office, and, after consultation with the Presi
dent, went to the Secretary s room in the War Depart
ment. His arrest had changed his intention of waiting
till Monday to demand possession of the office. There
were several members of Congress with Mr. Stanton.
The general courteously saluted those present, and the
following colloquy ensued :
General Thomas (addressing Mr. Stanton). I am Sec-
AD INTERIM. 127
retary of War ad interim, and am ordered by the Presi
dent of the United States to take charge of this office.
Mr. Stanton. I order you to repair to your room, and
exercise your office as adjutant-general.
General T. I am Secretary of War ad interim, and
I shall not obey your orders ; but I shall obey the order
of the President to take charge of this office.
Mr. S. As Secretary of War, I order you to repair to
your office as adjutant-general.
General T. I shall not do so.
Mr. S. Then you may stand there, if you please ; but
you will attempt to act as Secretary of War at your peril.
General T. I shall act as Secretary of War.
There the official interview ended. There was no ex
citement in language or manner, but each spoke with
quiet determination. There was a short-hand writer
present who took down every word. Presently, General
Thomas crossed the hall to General Schriver s room both
doors had been all the time open. Mr. Stanton, followed
only by the stenographer, came in after him. The door
of General Schriver s room was then closed. Mr. Stan-
ton, resuming the colloquy, said in a laughing tone to
General Thomas, " So you claim to be here as Secretary
of War, and refuse to obey my orders, do you 1 " Gen
eral Thomas replied, seriously : " I do so claim. I shall
require the mails of the War Department to be delivered
to me, and shall transact all the business of the depart
ment." Seeing that the general looked as if he had had
no rest the night before, Mr. Stanton then, playfully
running his fingers up through the general s hair, as he
wearily leaned back in his chair, said, " Well, old fellow,
have you had any breakfast this morning ? " " No," said
128 ANECDOTES OF THE CIVIL WAR.
Thomas, good-naturedly. " Nor anything to drink ? "
" No." " Then you are as badly off as I am, for I have
had neither." Mr. Stanton then sent out for some re
freshment ; General Thomas related how he had been ar
rested just after returning with his children from a ball,
before he had time to eat his breakfast, and they had a
very pleasant conversation for half an hour. Presently,
Mr. Stanton asked General Thomas when he was going
to give him the report of an inspection of the national
cemeteries which he had lately made. Mr. Stanton said
if it was not soon rendered it would be too late to have
it printed, and he was anxious to have it go forth as a
creditable work of the department. There was apparently
no special point to this question, and General Thomas
evidently saw none, for he answered pleasantly that he
would work at it that night and give it to him. It struck
me as a lawyer s ruse to make Thomas acknowledge Stan-
ton s authority as Secretary of War, and that Thomas
was caught by it. I, some time after, asked Mr. Stanton
if that was his design. He made no reply, but looked
at me with a mock expression of surprise at my conceiv
ing such a thing.
Before General Thomas left the department, Mr.
Stanton handed him a letter forbidding him to give any
orders as Secretary of War. The general read and in
dorsed it as received on that date, signing the indorse
ment as Secretary ad interim ; which Mr. Stanton seeing,
he remarked, laughing, " Here you have committed an
other offense ! " To this the general assented. He soon
after went away for the day.
The incidents here related seem to indicate that all
the steps taken were to place the whole matter in a form
AD INTERIM. 129
to test, before the highest tribunal, the constitutionality
of the tenure-of-office law. There were some persistent
reports that it was fully intended that possession of the
War Department should be gained by force, if Mr. Stan-
ton would not voluntarily retire. General Thomas told
me positively that the story of his intention to "kick Mr.
Stanton out of the department " had but slight founda
tion. He felt no disrespect toward Mr. Stanton, and had
too much self-respect to speak of him in such terms. He
would not lay a finger on him. He requested me to tell
this to Mr. Stanton. The story had its origin in this in
cident : He was at a reception given one evening by the
President, when a man, who said he was from Newcastle,
Delaware, the general s old home, took him by the hand,
and told him that his State " had its eye upon him, and
expected him to stand firm." The general, smiling,
straightened himself and replied, " Am I not standing
firm ? " " But," said the other, " are you not going to
kick that man out ? " " Oh," said the general, evasively,
" some of these days."
As for Mr. Stanton, who had heard some of the re
ports of intended violence, he gave orders, the evening
of the 22d, that, if General Thomas should come to take
the department by force, no resistance should be made,
but that he should be immediately notified of his ap
proach. This order was kept secret, because, if known,
it might lead to the attempt being made. Mr. Stanton,
however, declared he would not have blood shed on his
account, and, if an assault on the building were attempted,
he would not try to repel it.
Monday, February 24th, the House of Eepresentatives
passed the resolution impeaching President Johnson, by
130 ANECDOTES OF TEE CIVIL WAR.
a vote of 126 yeas to 42 nays. The report about town
on Wednesday, the 26th, was, that General Thomas would
appear before Judge Cartter, be surrendered by his bail,
and, being committed, would sue out a writ of habeas
corpus, to bring his case before the Supreme Court of
the United States. This would test the tenure-of-office
law. By this course there might result a conflict of ac
tion ; for the Senate might impeach the President, while
the Supreme Court might sustain General Thomas.
When, however, the general appeared before the judge,
he was discharged without bail. Thus the attempt to get
his case before the Supreme Court was frustrated. If
he had afterward been indicted by the grand jury, and
tried before the criminal court, and if the President had
been adjudged guilty by the Senate, the general would
probably have gone to the penitentiary. He came into
the office the day after his discharge, and said, " They
euchred me again yesterday by discharging me instead of
letting me go before the Supreme Court." He was evi
dently much dejected, and with reason, considering the
difficulties in which he was involved.
The state of things which ensued was most remarka
ble. Of course, the President would have no intercourse
with Mr. Stanton. He had also had a serious controversy
with General Grant,* the General-in-Chief of the Army,
through whom a recently enacted law required that he
should issue all orders to the army, and would have noth-
* The controversy grew out of the surrender of the office of Secretary of
War by General Grant when the Senate passed the resolution not sustain
ing the President in his first suspension of Mr. Stanton. The President
claimed that the general should not have surrendered the office to any one
but himself, whereas General Grant had not taken that course.
AD INTERIM. 131
ing to do with him. General Thomas was asked by the
President on the 17th of March to resume his duties as
adjutant-general, but declined, lest it should involve the
subordinate officers in difficulty, and because he could
not recognize Mr. Stanton as Secretary of War. Yet his
appointment as Secretary ad interim was not formally
revoked. It happened, fortunately, that I had not been
seriously involved during all these perplexities. A daily
paper stated that I had committed myself by replying
that I could not recognize any one but Mr. Stanton when
General Thomas had asked me if I would acknowledge
him as Secretary of War ad interim. No such conver
sation took place between us, and nothing whatever oc
curred to require me to take side with either of the con
tending parties. Thus I was as the neutral ground from
February to the following May, on which the President,
Secretary of War, and General of the Army, conducted
the affairs of the army. They each sent directly to me
the orders they desired to have executed, and by a little
tact I managed to avoid any question of jurisdiction or
other difficulty. As the Treasury Department continued
to honor requisitions signed by Mr. Stanton, everything
ran on smoothly as usual in the army.
On the 16th of May, 1868, the Senate voted on the
eleventh of the articles of impeachment. The vote stood
35 for, 19 against. The rules required two thirds for
conviction, and so Mr. Johnson was acquitted. On the
26th of May a vote was taken on the second and third
articles, with the same result. These three articles con
tained special reference to the removal of Mr. Stanton,
and the appointment of General Thomas, in alleged viola
tion of the tenure-of -office law.
132 ANECDOTES OF THE CIVIL WAR.
At about a quarter to three o clock p. M., the same
day (26th), Mr. Stanton s son, who was his private secre
tary, brought me a letter in the following terms :
WAR DEPARTMENT, WASHINGTON CITY,
May 26, 1868.
GENERAL : You will take charge of the "War Depart
ment, and the books and papers, archives, and public
property belonging to the same, subject to the disposal
and directions of the President.
EDWIN M. STANTON,
Sewetary of War.
Brevet Major- General E. D. TOWNSEND,
Assistant Adjutant- General.
In handing me this letter he said he was to take
another letter from Mr. Stanton to the President. I
asked at what time he would deliver that letter, remark
ing that it would be proper for me to see the President
immediately after. Mr. Stanton, it seems, changed his
first purpose, for in half an hour his son returned, saying
his father wished me to deliver the letter to the Presi
dent. I went over, and was immediately admitted to
the President, who was alone, and handed him Mr. Stan-
ton s letter. He invited me to be seated, and conned
over the letter for about five minutes, his face wearing
an expression of marked displeasure. At last he inquired
at what time the War Department had been turned over
to me. I replied that the letter was handed me but a few
moments before I came to him. Something then prompt
ed me to say : " It is right, Mr. President, that I should
say I know nothing of the contents of that letter, except
by surmise from the tenor of this one which I received
at the same time, directing me to take charge of the
AD INTERIM. 133
War Department." Upon this, his countenance at once
changed. He examined and returned my letter, and in
a pleasant voice asked the day of the month, which he
noted on Mr. Stanton s communication, and then inti
mated that he desired nothing further. As I rose to de
part, I said, " Have you any orders to give me, sir ? "
He replied, "None." Thus I concluded that, as he knew
I held the charge of the War Department, subject to his
" disposal and direction," he intended it should so remain
until he gave me other instructions ; so I put the key of
the Secretary s room in my pocket.
In the evening I went to Mr. Stanton s residence and
saw him. He said he could not be expected to make any
further sacrifice by contending longer for the possession
of the office. He had determined to withdraw at any rate,
even if the President had been impeached, and had seized
on this as an opportune moment to retire. This confirms
my impression that he had, contrary to his own inclina
tion, yielded to the arguments * of influential persons in
favor of maintaining the contest. His impaired health
must have made it peculiarly irksome to him.
The following is a copy of his letter to the President :
WASHINGTON CITY, May 26, 1868.
To the President of the United States.
SIR: The resolution of the Senate of the United
States, of the 21st of February last, declaring that the
* One of the pressures brought to bear upon him was Senator Sumner s
laconic dispatch of February 21st:
"Hon. E. M. Stanton. Stick.
"Ever sincerely yours,
134: ANECDOTES OF THE CIVIL WAR.
President "has no power to remove the Secretary of
War, and desiginate any other officer to perform the
duties of that office ad interim" having this day failed
to be supported by two thirds of the Senators present
and voting on the articles of impeachment preferred
against you by the House of Representatives, I have
relinquished charge of the War Department, and have
left the same, and the books, archives, papers, and prop
erty heretofore in my custody, as Secretary of War, in
care of brevet Major-General Townsend, the senior
assistant adjutant-general, subject to your direction.
EDWIN M. STANTON,
Secretary of War.
The morning after Mr. Stanton s retirement, General
Thomas came to my room and asked if I had any keys
for him. I replied that I had the keys of the Secre
tary s room. On his asking for them, I told him I had
the day before reported to the President, and he had
tacitly confirmed the orders given me to hold the keys
subject to his direction. The general offered to give
me an order in writing, which he would sign, by order
of the President, as Secretary ad interim, if I desired
it. I rather thought that under the circumstances I
was as good an ad interim as he, so I replied that, to
save any possible difficulty, I should prefer to have the
President s own sign manual ; that I would suggest he
had better see the President, and, if the latter gave me
such instructions, I would cheerfully give him the keys.
The general went to see the President, and at the end
of two hours returned, saying the President " would
not touch the thing." So it was well I did not.
AD INTERIM. 135
A singular incident happened that afternoon. A sign
about three feet long and six inches wide, which was
over the door of the reception-room next the Secre
tary s, fell to the floor, face down, as if to signify
that there was now no Secretary of War, not even an
Things remained in statu quo from the 26th to the
29th of May, when I received a visit from the Presi
dent s military secretary, who sat a little while asking
questions as to what was being done. At about three
o clock p. M., he returned, saying the President desired
to see me. The President asked in a pleasant manner,
"How are you getting on at the War Department?"
I said I had not thought it right to attend to any of
the business of the War Office, had opened none of
the mails, but received them and deposited them in
the Secretary s room, the key of which was in my
own possession. He said that was right; there might
be some business that ought to be transacted, but he
hoped something would be done that afternoon or the
next morning, and meantime he desired me to continue
in the same course. I told him General Thomas had
asked me to deliver the keys to him as Secretary ad
interim, but I had thought it proper to receive the
President s own order first. He replied, with evident
pleasure, that I was quite right ; that circumstances
had changed since General Thomas s appointment, and
he wished me to keep charge of the department for
General Schofield was confirmed as Secretary of War
by the Senate the 30th of May, and on Monday, the 1st
of June, the President came to the War Department and
136 ANECDOTES OF TffE CIVIL WAR.
installed him. He remarked, laughingly, as he entered
the Secretary s room, " It is some time since I was in this
room before ! "
EDWIN M. STANTON.
"Always tying your shoe " "Some one^ad been drinking" The Secre
tary obeying orders Blood enough shed Malicious reports Bap
tism Kindly notice.
MR. STANTON entered upon the duties of Secretary of
War with a due appreciation of their difficulties and
responsibilities. He was beset by persons who had " axes
to grind," and some of them were not scrupulous as to
the means of gaining their end.
He found that a determined will would often alone
enable him to surmount obstacles in the way of the pub
lic service. This, added to the nervous irritability which
infallibly attends overwork, sometimes made him arbi
trary and offensive in his manners. But I always found
him ready to make amends when in the wrong if not
directly by apology, yet by some exceedingly kind act
which more than atoned for his hasty words. He con
firmed this impression, when about to take final leave of
the War Department, by saying to me that the only
regret he felt in severing ofijcial relations with the offi
cers who, under his administration of the War Depart
ment, had so faithfully and intelligently served the
country, w T as that, " sometimes when racked in body and
mind," he had not been able to control himself, and had
EDWIN M. STANTON. 13 Y
addressed language to them which he afterward regretted.
Indeed, he had often reminded me of the man who had
had a hard time in his domestic circle, where he was
forced to restrain himself, but, finding some one tying
his shoe-string on the door-step, he vented his pent-up
passion upon the poor fellow by knocking him over, say
ing, "You are always tying your shoe!" This thought
often enabled me to refrain from a sharp answer, when
it w r ould have done more harm than good. Yet I did
not always take an unmerited rebuke quietly. He sent
down for me one day to go to his room in the depart
ment. I found him alone, pacing the floor. He asked
me rather sternly why I had done a certain thing which
had but just come to his knowledge. I gave him my
reasons. Said he : " You were wrong ; you ought not
to have done any such thing." As I differed from him,
I made no sort of reply. Then he asked w r hy I had not
done something else instead. I told him why, briefly
explaining the circumstances. He said, in a milder tone,
that he didn t agree with me. To this I made no reply.
Then he asked, "Don t you think you were wrong?"
I said, very deliberately and positively : " No, Mr. Secre
tary, I do not think I was wrong, and, moreover, I may
as well add, once for all, that my best judgment and abil
ity are uniformly exerted to foresee what may require to
be done, and to do it as well as possible. If I fail, it is
not from want of endeavor ; and when you find fault, as
you sometimes do, it can not quicken me to greater care
and exertion, but only makes me indifferent whether I
please you or not." He said, quietly, " I rebuke whom
I please." "Yes, sir," said I. Having waited some
time, and finding he said nothing more, but continued
138 ANECDOTES OF THE CIVIL WAR.
walking up and down in deep thought, I asked him if he
wished anything further. He said, " No," and I withdrew.
Half an hour after, the messenger summoned me to his
room again. I thought it quite probable he would do as
he did with a former chief of a bureau, who got angry at
the way Mr. Stanton spoke to him, and resented it by
saying he would allow no man to address to him such
language. It was at the beginning of his administration,
and the Secretary asserted his authority by ordering the
refractory chief to a remote city, and never after allow
ing him to return to duty. But I had taken my stand
deliberately, and meant to maintain it. The Secretary
was still alone, and standing by his high table. Beckon
ing to me with his finger in a pleasant way, he put his
arm around my shoulder, and drew my head close to his,
when he whispered to me a very important secret, which
it was not at all necessary I should know. He had
weighed all I had said, found I was right, and took this
method of showing me extraordinary confidence, by way
of acknowledgment. This course, which the Secretary
pursued more than once, fully accomplished his generous
purpose without subjecting him to a direct confession of
wrong, which he thought might weaken his influence.
He knew that I well understood it so. In moments of
leisure, he would often send for me, and in the most
pleasant manner inquire about my business, to inform
himself upon what was going on ; and then converse
generally on topics requiring consideration. In this way
he maintained a sufficient knowledge of things he might
have to act upon, and broke in upon the headlong current
of events which seemed to cause everything to be done
in a hurry.
EDWIN M. STANTON. 139
Although Mr. Stanton had the reputation of being
very stern, he yet enjoyed a pleasantry as well as other
people. He once told me that an attempt had been made
on the life of Judge by sending him an infernal
machine in the form of a daguerreotype-box. I remarked
that murderous attempts seemed rife; the papers had
stated that a man tried to kill a certain Senator the day
before, but that he had drawn a pistol on the fellow, who
escaped. " Oh ! " said the Secretary, " some one in that
company had been drinking." I asked if the Senator
was given to such a practice ; for I had never then heard
of it. " "What practice ? " said the Secretary, with a
quizzical look, as if to say, " I did not say he had been
drinking." Not to be caught so, I replied immediately,
" Of carrying a pistol ! " " Umph ! " said the Secretary,
Nor was Mr. Stanton quick to take offense, when he
understood that none was intended. There was one day
an alarm that the War Department building was on fire.
Smoke was distinctly seen issuing through the roof, and
for a time it was thought that the building would soon
be in flames. Necessary steps were taken to find the
location of the fire and extinguish it. But there was no
fire, after all. The old chimney was full of crevices ; and,
when a larger wood-fire than usual happened to be kin
dled in one of the rooms, the smoke issued from the
holes, and was diffused through the empty space under
the roof, finding its way out between the slates. The
room of the disbursing clerk was on the floor where the
fire was supposed to be, and very near the place from
which smoke was issuing. There was a large sum of
money in the safe, and the clerk coolly remained at his
140 ANECDOTES OF TEE CIVIL WAR.
post to guard it, or, if necessary, be ready to move it.
The Secretary, in taking a survey of the operations,
opened the door of this room and partly entered. The
clerk, not seeing who it was, gruffly ordered him out.
" You wish me to go out, do you ? " said the Secretary.
" Yes, I do," replied the clerk. Without another word,
Mr. Stanton withdrew, and closed the door after him.
He never alluded to the matter; though, when the clerk
ascertained whom he had so peremptorily ordered out, he
naturally felt some apprehension of the Secretary s dis
pleasure. The clerk had been faithful to his charge, and
that was enough.
Both Messrs. Stanton and Henry Wilson, as soon as
the fighting was over, expressed in my presence the
strongest desire that peace and hearty good-will should
be restored as soon as possible between the two sections.
They believed the whole country would rapidly rise to
greater prosperity than ever when this was effected. I
shall never forget the expression of Mr. Stanton s face
w r hen I took to him for the President s action, just after
General Lee s surrender, the proceedings of a general
court-martial, sentencing a soldier to be shot for some
mutinous or other aggravated offense. When he heard
the sentence, and was reminded that it required the Presi
dent s own action, Mr. Stanton turned to me, and said :
" Is there no way of avoiding the execution of that sen
tence ? There has been blood enough shed." The man
was not executed.
The "absurd and malicious tale" that Judge Stan-
ton took his own life was forever refuted by the letter
of Surgeon-General Barnes and affidavits of William S.
Dupee and David Jones. (See Appendix G.) If any-
EDWIN M. STANTON.
thing more were wanting to confirm me in the persuasion
of the falsity of such a story, my own knowledge would
suffice. I watched by the body of Edwin M. Stanton the
entire night after his death, and could not have failed to
know if there had been anything wrong about it. More
over, I could never be brought to believe that a man who
so often gave utterance to religious convictions as he did
in friendly conversations with me could have possibly
perverted his mind so as to commit such a deed. Only
some three or four years preceding his decease, he invited
Generals Barnes and Meigs and myself to be present at
his baptism. The ceremony was performed in his cham
ber, by the Eev. Dr. Sparrow, his old-time professor
at Kenyon College no others, except his family, being
The estimate of Mr. Stanton s standing with the
Northern public was kindly and, I think, justly repre
sented by the following notice of him, clipped from a
STANTON. Since the assassination of Mr. Lin
coln, the public heart has been drawn nearer than ever to
the Secretary of War. His bulletins from Washington
have been eagerly read and widely praised as models of
composition. And it is worthy of mention that the Sec
retary possesses the full confidence of the nation, no one
ever presuming to question any of his statements. Dur
ing the dark and terrible hours between the firing of the
pistol by the assassin and the death of our good Presi
dent, and while the precious life of Mr. Seward hung
suspended by a thread, the announcements of the Secre
tary were like oil poured upon the troubled waters
142 ANECDOTES OF THE CIVIL WAR.
calming public apprehension, and restoring and strength
ening confidence. These gentle and kindly offices have
given him a place in every good heart."
THE COLORED MESSENGERS.
Datcher Madison s portrait.
AT the outbreak of the war, Francis Datcher was one
of the messengers of the Secretary s office. It had been
the custom for years to employ colored men, as well as
whites, in that capacity. Frank Datcher, of the War De
partment, Lindley Muse, of the Navy Department, and
Brent, of the Second Auditor s office, belong to the list of
Uncle Sam s most steady and faithful servants. The vet
eran Datcher, while very dignified, possessed less of pom
posity, and more of learning, than did the usher at the Ex
ecutive Mansion, of long years ago, who, at a reception,
announced a Senator and his daughters as " Senator
Foote and the Misses Feet ! " Datcher had a parchment
on which was engrossed a high testimonial to his charac
ter, signed by a long succession of Secretaries on vacating
their office. There was but one omission on the list.
For some reason Frank had taken a strong dislike to one
of the earlier Secretaries, who had so offended him that,
like the French cook who dismissed the duke for adding
salt to his soup, he would not permit him to affix his
signature to the testimonial ! Datcher did not serve long
THE COLORED MESSENGERS. 143
in the civil war. The vast increase to the labors of his
station proved too severe for the old man, and his efforts
to keep up to his work as promptly as usual caused his
He was succeeded by another colored man, Frank
Madison by name, a good-natured, easy-going personage,
who, aided by several active young fellows, did a fair
share of running to the Secretary s bell. Frank Batcher
was polite and formal in manner; Frank Madison was
jovial and always ready for a joke. Secretary Bel-
knap began to make a handsome collection of portraits
in oil of his predecessors, to decorate the walls of the
War-Office. Much interest was felt in this gallery by all
the employes, and when a new picture arrived each one
went to take a look at it. The older ones had, perhaps,
some reminiscence of the earlier Secretaries to relate for
the benefit of later comers. Frank Madison ued to
come to my room to advise me of each new arrival, and
invite me up to see it. One day he came in a great state
of excitement, his eyes starting from their sockets, and
his head tossed in a manner as lofty as he was capable of.
Said he : " General ! what do you think ? Mr. " (one
of the clerks, who was a bit of a wag) " says the Secretary
is going to have my portrait taken, to hang in his room
long with all the Secretaries ! Won t that be an ho:ior !
I don t know yet who is going to paint me, but I ll come
down and tell you, soon as I find out. I think, sir, that
is doing a handsome thing don t you, now ? " Frank s
credulity was perhaps aided by the fact that portraits of
some of the generals of the war had been hung beside
the Secretaries. It may be imagined that the respondent
had a little difficulty in playing his part of a credulous
144 ANECDOTES OF THE CIVIL WAR.
listener. He has been patiently waiting for several years
to learn the name of the artist, but is still in ignorance.
Obstacle to capital-moving Method of keeping records Tracing a cotton
claim Tracing a soldier Confederate archives The Alabama.
THE infinite number and variety of business matters
which have been administered upon by various depart
ments of the United States Government, since the civil
war began, can not be appreciated by those not person
ally conversant with such things. I was once urging be
fore a. Senate committee the want of afire-proof building
to store the records upon which so many millions of dol
lars depended, where they would be at once safe and easy
of access. One of the committee alluded to the efforts at
that time made to bring public opinion up to the point of
moving the capital westward. I suggested that one fact
did not appear to have been brought into view in that
connection : It was, that the wheels of government
must be nearly brought to a stand-still for at least a
year or more, while the process of moving was going
on. The innumerable claims arising from contracts,
pensions, and every conceivable account against the
Treasury, are determined by documentary evidence,
which must be carefully preserved for reference in
every case. These papers contain the history of claims,
and determine their value. Acres of ground are now
RECORDS OF ADJUTANT-GENERAL S OFFICE. 145
covered by such records. In order to a change of
location, they must all be boxed in parcels that could
be handled and transported, and the boxes must be so
labeled as to indicate their contents. Meantime, build
ings of sufficient capacity must be provided in the new
capital to receive them ; and when they arrive there they
must be unpacked and systematically arranged.
Some little estimate of the time which would be con
sumed in the packing and transporting, and then un
packing and arranging, can be formed by any one who
has passed through the public buildings and observed
the towering piles of shelves and pigeon-holes, groan
ing under the weight of tons of papers. Now, the
last estimate for the payment of pensions only one
branch of the public service was one hundred mill
ion dollars, due in sums of from three to thirty dollars
a month. Every claimant for portions of this aggregate
amount has on file in Washington papers proving the
right to the pension. Besides this, thousands of new
claims are constantly presented. But, while the Pen
sion-Office is on its journey, almost the entire work
upon these cases must be suspended, else wrong pay
ments would be made to a frightful extent, in igno
rance of what had been already determined about those
Nor is this all. The records of the different depart
ments are interlaced, as it were, so that information from
one is necessary to intelligent action in another. Thus,
if the adjutant-general s muster-rolls are not open to
the Pension-Office, the latter is paralyzed in its efforts
to detect fraudulent claims.
From this sketch, but a faint conception can be
146 ANECDOTES OF THE CIVIL WAR.
formed of the unavoidable suspension of public busi
ness which must ensue should the location of the capi
tal be changed. This was a new idea to the Senator,
and he thought it well worthy of serious considera
As must be supposed, a very exact but simple system
prevails in the filing of papers, so that they can be easily
found when required. In the same way that a book has
its index, so has a collection of papers. Each paper is
folded and indorsed with the date and place of writing,
name of writer, a brief analysis of its contents, and the
date of its receipt. The several papers are numbered
in the order of their receipt within the year. This
entire indorsement is copied in a book, and numbered
to correspond with the number on the paper. The
history of the subject embraced in the paper, as it
progresses, is kept by further indorsements upon the
paper, and by filing with it all other documents bearing
on the subject. Finally, the date when the decision
is communicated to the person concerned is noted on
the papers. They are then arranged in pigeon-holes,
or on shelves, in the order of their numbers, and ac
cording to the years of their dates. If the papers should
be referred to any one out of the office, a note is made
in the index-book, of the entire reference. Should any
paper be required years after its receipt, the first re
sort is to the index-book which describes it, and the
entry there at once reveals the file where it should
be, or the reference which was made of it.
This is simply an outline of the system observed, with
variations, in all departments of the Government. In
illustration of its effectiveness, two incidents may be men-
RECORDS OF ADJUTANT-GENERALS OFFICE.
tioned : After the close of the war, a gentleman was try
ing to trace some cotton, for which he had a claim, in the
Treasury. He was referred to the adjutant-general, to
ascertain what had become of certain papers he had
submitted a few years before. An entry was found in
the index-book, describing the papers, and showing that
they had been sent to the officer commanding a military
department, with instructions to him to obtain informa
tion and report upon them, and that they had not been
returned. The gentleman said he had applied to this
department commander, who had sent him to the officer
commanding the sub-district where the cotton was taken ;
he had been to him, and could get no information from
either. I asked if they had given him any memoranda,
showing that they had ever seen the papers. He replied
that both had given him slips, but they afforded him no
assistance. He then handed me the slips. The one from
the department commander was an exact copy of the en
try from the adjutant-general s book, taken from the pa
pers themselves, and showing that they had been received
on a certain date, and that they had been referred for a
report to the sub-district commander. The slip from the
latter exhibited the same data, and that the papers had
been given for proper action to a certain agent of the
Treasury, appointed for the express purpose of attending
to cotton claims. I had only to inform the gentleman
that this Treasury agent was the person to whom he
should look for his papers, and he departed quite satisfied.
The other instance of the value of such a system was
one where some national pride was involved. In March,
1864, an application was made to the Department of
State for the discharge of a French citizen, through the
148 ANECDOTES OF THE CIVIL WAR.
French legation. The minister had gone away tempo
rarily, and left a charge to act for him. The letter in
closed a translation of one from the soldier himself to his
father, in Paris, representing that he had been arbitrarily
taken from his hotel in New York, told he was a soldier,
and, having no one to care for him, had been hurried off
to a regiment at Morris Island, in South Carolina, with
out bounty or pay. He signed himself " A. Cauvet, 3d
Regt., Y. II. Y." The father wrote under the same name
Cauvet. There was no regiment in the Union service
designated by the initials Y. H. Y., but, as the Third Regi-
ment of N. H. (New Hampshire) Yolunteers was at Mor
ris Island, the muster-rolls of that regiment were carefully
examined. No such man, however, appeared there. The
regimental commander and several mustering officers
were called upon to investigate the case, but for some
time a trace could not be found. At last, after several
weeks of patient examination, it was found that one
Emile Caulat, a Frenchman, had voluntarily offered as a
substitute for a drafted man, and had received from him
the usual three hundred dollars ; that he had been mus
tered in at a place in New Hampshire, instead of being
kidnapped in New York as was stated, and had been sent
to the Third Regiment of New Hampshire Yolunteers.
The man signed his name on enlistments and receipts
very distinctly as Emile Caulat. Owing to the delay in
finding him, which was due to difference of name and
data, Emile Caulat s regiment had meantime been trans
ferred to Yirginia, where he was killed in battle. The
French charge, hearing this, addressed another communi
cation to the Department of State, in which he reflected
severely on administrative delays through which the
RECORDS OF AfrJUT ANT-GENERAL" 1 S OFFICE. 149
French citizen had found death under the United States
flag, when he might have been discharged and saved.
He also declared his conviction that statements, of which
he had been kept in ignorance, showed the truth of the
On receipt of this last communication at the War
Department, the Secretary sent to me for the facts.
With the file of papers in my hand I gave him from their
indorsements the history of the patient investigation that
had been made, with the dates when several different
officers in New York, New Hampshire, and South Caro
lina, had been asked to try to find the man, and the state
ments of their efforts, all in detail. The fact was clearly
shown to be, that failure to comply with the request of
the legation was due to material errors in the data given
by it, and that, instead of being kidnapped in New York,
Cauvet, if indeed he w r ere identical with the man Caulat,
had voluntarily enlisted as a substitute in New Hamp
shire. If, however, the identity of the two names were
not established, then we had not been able to find Cauvet
in the United States service.
Mr. Stanton was much impressed with the pains that
had been taken in this investigation, and with the system
of record through which its progress had been so accu
rately preserved. In sending the statement in detail to
the Department of State, he expressed the hope that the
Secretary would not fail to invite the attention of the
French legation to the injustice done by its charges
against officers whose fidelity and intelligence could not
be surpassed by those of any government. It was a
merited compliment to the assistant adjutant-general hav
ing immediate charge of that branch of business, for this
150 ANECDOTES OF THE CIVIL WAS.
was only one case out of the thousands from which it had
been singled at hap-hazard.
Remembering what large numbers of claims against
the Government had arisen from the Mexican War, and
what trouble there had been in adjusting them from want
of the records made at the time, I asked the Secretary
of War to let me issue an order requiring that whenever
military posts, departments, etc., were discontinued, all
the official record-books and papers belonging to them
should be forwarded for file in the adjutant-general s
office. Accordingly, such an order was promulgated
April 7, 1865.* The third paragraph of the order re
quired that "officers who come in command of places
captured from the enemy will collect and forward to this
office any papers left behind by the rebels which may be
of public use or interest." Struck with the importance
of this measure, the Secretary immediately telegraphed
the last provision to General Halleck, who commanded in
Richmond after its capture. Some of the buildings and
records of the Confederate capital had been fired at the
time of the evacuation ; a large portion, however, were
saved. General R. D. Cutts, United States Coast Sur
vey, then an aide-de-camp to General Halleck, collected
and arranged all that could be found, and sent them,
with invoices, to Washington. The invoices indicated
from what public department the records were taken,
and, being duly certified, they became of signal value as
authentic documents, not only in an historical but in a
financial point of view. It would be difficult to estimate
the amount actually saved to the United States Treasury by
* In October, 1866, the adjutant-general reported that 3,353 boxes,
containing records of 2,165 organizations, had been received.
RECORDS OF ADJUTANT-GENERAL S OFFICE. 151
the use of these archives. In one single case, judgment
for a million dollars had been given a certain firm by an
inferior court. This judgment, having been appealed to
the United States Supreme Court, was reversed upon
evidence subsequently discovered among the Confederate
archives. In another instance both Houses of Congress
passed a bill to pay a claim of about ninety thousand
dollars ; but the President, having seen indisputable evi
dence of the claimant s disloyalty, found in the archives,
refused to sign the bill, and it was lost.
The most remarkable case of all was that of the Con
federate ram Alabama, which was destroyed off Cher
bourg, June 19, 1864, by the United States steamer Kear-
sarge, commanded by Captain John A. Winslow. Claims
arising from depredations committed by the Alabama, or
" 290," as she was sometimes called, were before the High
Joint Commission, which assembled in Washington to
adjust differences between the United States and Great
Britain. Hearing of this, I informed the Secretary of
"War that there were in the Archive-Office, certified by
General Cutts as having been taken from the Confederate
Navy Department in Richmond, drawings, plans, specifi
cations, and a contract between the Confederate Navy
Department and the Lairds, English ship-builders, for
building this identical ram Alabama. Copies of these
papers, under the seal of the War Department, were
transmitted to the Department of State, and formed an
important link in the testimony bearing on the question.
Whereas, at first much discontent was manifested at
the South from a misapprehension as to the purpose of
the Government concerning these archives, now that it
is ascertained that whatever is of merely historical value
152 ANECDOTES OF THE CIVIL WAR.
will be published,* with other documents relating to the
war, the Government receives hearty co-operation in its
efforts to gather in as many of the same description of
papers as it possibly can, in order that the written history
of the war may be most complete on both sides.
A CASE OF CIRCUMSTANTIAL EVIDENCE.
The unknown man Convincing proofs.
IN the latter part of September, 1866, it was reported
to me that an unknown man, laboring under insanity,
and without the power of speech, had been found at Tal
lahassee, Florida, by the United States troops when they
occupied that place. He had been there about fifteen
months, and no one knew anything about his history.
He was supposed, however, to be a Union soldier. A
notice of him having appeared in some Northern papers,
several persons applied for permission to visit Tallahassee,
in hopes of finding in him a missing relative. With the
view of bringing him to a more accessible place, and thus
increasing the chances of his being identified, and also in
the hope that contact with familiar objects might restore
him to reason, I sent orders to have him transferred to
* " The War of the Rebellion : A Compilation of the Official Records
of the Union and Confederate Armies. Prepared, under the Direction of
the Secretary of War, by Brevet Lieutenant- Colonel Robert N. Scott, Third
United States Artillery, and published pursuant to Act of Congress, ap
proved June 16, 1880."
A CASE OF CIRCUMSTANTIAL EVIDENCE. 153
the Government Hospital for the Insane, at Washington,
under the charge of an intelligent attendant, who might
turn to advantage any sign of returning reason. He
was admitted there the last of November, 1866. The
superintendent of the hospital published personal de
scriptions of the man in newspapers at the North, and
several persons came to see him. In August, 1867, a
Mrs. Houghton, from Ontario County, New York, brought
me a note from the superintendent of the hospital, stat
ing that Mrs. Houghton had spent some hours with the
unknown man, and that she believed him to be her hus
band. Dr. Nichols thought she was not mistaken, but
was not quite so confident of his identity as she was. He
recommended that she and the man should be examined
together by some medical officers of the army. Accord
ingly, he was sent to the city, and examined by Surgeon-
General Barnes, Assistant Surgeon-General Crane, and
Dr. Nichols, superintendent of the hospital, Mrs. Hough-
ton and myself being present. The result was given in a
certificate, signed by the medical gentlemen, that they were
satisfied the unknown man was Thomas B. Houghton,
late a private soldier in the One Hundred and Fortieth
Regiment of New York Volunteers ; and that Elizabeth
E. Houghton had fully identified and proved him to be
her husband. The same day, Mrs. Houghton made affi
davit that her husband, Thomas B., was a private soldier
in Company H, One Hundred and Fortieth Regiment,
New York Volunteers ; that she had been informed by
returned volunteers of the company that he disappeared
from his command as the army was advancing to attack
Fredericksburg, and that, having been taken sick on the
march, he was told to get into the nearest hospital am-
154: ANECDOTES OF THE CIVIL WAR.
bulance, and that he had not been heard of afterward.
From several marks she had seen on the person of the
unknown, she identified him to be her husband. Mrs.
Houghton produced testimonials from respectable people
in Ontario County, who were known to parties in Wash
ington. The muster-rolls in the adjutant-general s office
corroborated Mrs. Houghton s statement. The age and
description of Houghton, as given by the muster-rolls,
corresponded with the appearance of the unknown man,
and with Mrs. Houghton s account of her husband.
Some of the proofs of identity were certainly most
remarkable. It was stated in the newspapers that the
unknown man had a singular mole upon his back. Mrs.
Houghton, having declared that such was the fact as to
her husband, was asked by the doctor to describe it and
place her finger on it. She gave an accurate account of
its size, shape, and appearance, and touched the spot
where the " mother-mark," as she called it, was located
on her husband. The doctor insisted that this man s
mole was much higher up, but she maintained that her
husband s was just where her finger indicated. On un
covering the place, she was found to be singularly accu
No mention had been made in the public prints of
scars, but she described one on the forehead under the
hair, and one on the foot, both of which were found as she
said. Three remarkable scars of different size were found
across the upper part of one shin, which had been erro
neously supposed to have been caused by a musket-ball,
though it was not easily seen how a ball could have passed
through the flesh in such a direction without fracturing
the bone. Mrs. Houghton had not seen those scars, but.
A CASE OF CIRCUMSTANTIAL EVIDENCE. 155
when asked if she recollected any like them, she said that,
some years before her husband left home, he was stand
ing on a stool and reaching up to take a saw down from
a beam in the shed, when the stool slipped and the saw
fell across his leg below the knee. She did not remem
ber which limb it was, but she knew that scars were left
by the wounds. Thus these curious scars on the unknown
man were satisfactorily accounted for. The doctors had
seen clusters of small scars on the breast and back of the
unknown : Mrs. Houghton, w T hen questioned about them,
said her husband was once engaged in washing sheep in
a river under a hot sun ; that he wore a red flannel shirt,
and, when he came home, his neck and chest were cov
ered with an eruption ; she dressed the places with cream,
but without giving relief ; and he was under a doctor s
care for two months before a cure was effected, leaving
deep scars as described. General Barnes had known such
cases, where poisonous substances in the dye of the red
flannel had caused ulceration of the skin when excited by
heat. To show the woman s good faith, when her atten
tion was directed to some scars on the man s arms, she at
once said that there were none such on her husband s, ex
cept one where he had been vaccinated. Dr. Nichols,
however, stated that these scars were evidently of recent
origin. It was a common error among medical men, not
specially skilled in cases of insanity, to freely bleed the
patients ; and this vicious practice was apt to produce
precisely the kind of dementia under which this man was
Mrs. Houghton brought with her a lock of her hus
band s hair, and a daguerreotype of him taken just before
he left home. Examination with a microscope failed to
156 ANECDOTES OF TEE CIVIL WAR.
detect any difference, in texture or color, between this
hair and the man s when they were laid together, except
that the latter had a slight sprinkling of gray, which
change might easily have occurred in the time he was
away from home.
Mrs. Houghton noticed a want of close resemblance
between this man and her husband when his picture was
taken, but that could be accounted for by lapse of time,
and suffering, as well as change of dress. She said that
when the man was looking down she could discover no
trace of her husband s expression of countenance, but
when his attention was attracted, and he looked up as if
to speak, his attitude and expression were familiar. The
color of the eyes a singular light blue was common to
this man and to the picture. The daguerreotype showed
a remarkable taper to the fingers. The thumbs were long
and delicately pointed at the ends a most unusual thing
among laboring-men. This was also a marked pecul
iarity of the unknown man s hand. He had also a habit
of twirling one thumb over the other while sitting, as if
in meditation. Mrs. Houghton mentioned this as a nota
ble custom of her husband.
Mrs. Houghton said that, from wearing short shoes,
her husband s toes were bent under so that he was some
times lame in consequence ; examination revealed the
same formation in this man.
No positive conclusion could be drawn from the effect
of Mrs. Houghton s presence upon the man. He had
some slight degree of intelligence : w r hen told to stand
up he comprehended with difficulty, but obeyed ; and he
seemed excited by the presence of persons to whom he
was unaccustomed. Mrs. Houghton, in conversing with
A CASE OF CIRCUMSTANTIAL EVIDENCE. 157
him, had endeavored to elicit some sign of recognition,
by telling in brief sentences of his family and friends.
He sat by her side passively, but several times looked up
quickly and seemed to make an effort to speak. She said
that in the morning, after the first night which she passed
in the ward, she sat by him, and talked for some little
time, and then, wishing him good-by, arose and went
toward the door. He promptly got up and followed her,
a thing quite unusual. Stopping at the door, she turned,
put out her hand, and said, " Come, Thomas, won t you
go with me ? " He turned back with his face toward the
wall, and trembled violently. She related this circum
stance with great emotion, which she exerted herself to
suppress, and seemed to think it a proof that he recog
nized her. In her subsequent meetings with him he
showed less excitement than at first.
In view of all this remarkable chain of circumstances,
it was not a surprise to me, but rather a peculiar gratifica
tion, when General Barnes sent me, rather more than a
year after, the following copy of a letter from Dr. Nich
ols, indicating, as it seemed, beyond a possibility of doubt,
that the last link of the chain had been forged :
GOVERNMENT HOSPITAL FOR THE INSANE,
NEAR WASHINGTON, D. C., January 29, 1869.
Brevet Major- General J. K. BARNES, Stir geon- General
U. 8. Army.
GENERAL : From the deep interest you have mani
fested in the case, I feel sure that you will derive as much
pleasure from the intelligence as I do in being able to
communicate it, that Thomas B. Houghton, late a private
in the One Hundred and Fortieth Regiment New York
158 ANECDOTES OF TEE CIVIL WAR.
Volunteers, spoke on Saturday last, saying, in a distinct
but low tone of voice, " Yes, sir" in reply to a leading
question in respect to his health, by Dr. Eastman, the
physician in immediate charge of him. He spoke some
what more freely than he did at first, but still hesitatingly
and timidly, and only in brief reply to direct questions.
His answers are intelligent, however, and his intelli
gence appears to be increasing every day. When asked
his name this morning he distinctly replied that it is
"Thomas B. Hough ton"; when asked the name of his
wife, he shook his head and said, "I don t know, sir" ;
and, when asked where he is from, replied, " New York"
You will recollect the case of late private Houghton
as that of the unknown man who was admitted to this
hospital November 28, 1866, from the general army hos
pital at Tallahassee, Florida, in which he had been under
treatment for about fifteen months, having been received
as a destitute sick person, and under the supposition that
he had been a Union prisoner among the rebels, and who
was identified in your office on the 23d of August, 1867,
as Thomas B. Houghton, late, etc., husband of Elizabeth
E. Houghton, of Ontario County, New York.
Houghton did not speak while in the Tallahassee hos
pital, and has not spoken since he has been under the
care of this institution till last Saturday ; and it thus ap
pears that he was entirely dumb for a period of three and
one half years, and, as he was in a feeble, passive "condi
tion, and did not speak when admitted to general hospital,
the disuse of his voice probably antedated that period
many months. I now intend to address another commu
nication to you in relation to this case when its history
and result are more fully developed.
A CASE OF CIRCUMSTANTIAL EVIDENCE. 159
As the identification of late private Houghton was
primarily due to brevet Major-General E. D. Townsend,
assistant adjutant-general, who ordered his transfer from
Tallahassee to this hospital, where he would be more ac
cessible to those in pursuit of lost friends, and who, as
you are aware, displayed a deep personal interest in this
extraordinary case, I respectfully suggest that he be ap
prised of Houghton s improvement, and of the interesting
event of his having found his long-lost voice.
I am, general, very respectfully,
Your obedient servant,
C. H. NICHOLS, Superintendent, etc.
Time wore on, and I occasionally heard that our pa
tient was progressing favorably. His wife had gone
home, preferring to leave him in the Government Hos
pital, where he could have far better attendance than she
could otherwise procure. He steadily improved, and be
gan to converse a little. He was employed at light labor,
and grew robust in health. Suddenly, one day, when
some one addressed him by the name of Houghton, he
laughed and said that was not his name. He gave another
name, and, when asked if he did not belong to the One
Hundred and Fortieth New York Regiment, he said
" No." A few days after, he said, with a peculiar chuckle,
that he had never been a Yankee soldier, but had been
overseer of a plantation in Georgia, or, as he called it,
" a negro-driver." When Dr. Nichols heard this, he ques
tioned him at different times, until the man stated that
he was a native of Georgia. He gave the town w r here
he lived, and the names of persons residing there and
elsewhere in the State. He said he had gone into Florida
160 ANECDOTES OF THE CIVIL WAR.
on business, and had been drafted into a company of
Florida conscripts ; that he lost his mind soon after, and
did not remember anything that had since occurred. Dr.
Nichols wrote to the persons he named, and from their
replies became convinced that the story was true.
Thus all our circumstantial evidence was completely
overturned. When he was quite restored, the man ex
pressed a desire to go home to the South, and he was
sent accordingly. His answering at first to the name of
Houghton may be accounted for by his having been called
by that name, and hearing himself spoken of as from
New York, for some time after his intelligence began to
ORIGIN OF MILITARY COMMISSIONS.
General Scott in Mexico Martial law Lieber s instructions.
BEFORE General Scott went to Mexico to assume
command of the army, he endeavored to procure some
provision by the "War Department for trying a class of
offenses which he foresaw must arise in the progress of
his arms. There was no article of war, or other act of
Congress, which would, in the ordinary practice, cover
crimes committed by soldiers against Mexican citizens,
or by citizens against soldiers of the United States army.
The general submitted a projet of his plan in October,
1846, but, for some reason, no action was taken upon it.
At the very outset of military operations, the general was
ORIGIN OF MILITARY COMMISSIONS. 161
met at Yera Cruz by just such a necessity as he had an
ticipated. To dispose of these cases, he first issued his
General Orders, No. 20, dated February 19, 1847, and
afterward republished it, with additions, the 17th of Sep
tember, 1847, in his General Orders, No. 287 (see Appen
A regiment of volunteers was raised in the District
of Columbia, the command of which was given to an
officer of the army by President Polk. When the army
moved on toward the city of Mexico, this regiment was
left to garrison Jalapa. Its colonel, as the senior officer,
commanded the district around that town. The colonel
was much embarrassed by the absence of any tribunal,
civil or military, to enforce police regulations in the town.
For want of a legal mode of punishment, he caused one
of the enlisted men of his regiment to be flogged for
some injury done a citizen of the place. This example
seemed to have the desired effect, and he had little trouble
in his command afterward. When the regiment had re
turned to Washington and been disbanded, a civil suit
for damages was brought against the colonel in the name
of the soldier whom he had punished with stripes. As
I had mustered the regiment into service, I was called as
a witness to prove that this soldier had been regularly
mustered, and that he was stationed at Jalapa at the time
of the alleged assault. Messrs. Bradley and Carlisle were
the counsel on opposite sides. They questioned me as to
the nature of the service in that foreign city, and the laws
relating to military discipline in force there. In reply to
these questions I stated in substance that the city had
been captured from the enemy by United States forces,
and was garrisoned by this colonel s regiment ; that the
162 ANECDOTES OF THE CIVIL WAR.
colonel had been appointed military governor, and was
responsible for the good order and police of the town ;
that there were no courts of the country or of the United
States there ; that the colonel had not power to assemble
a general court-martial to try his men ; and, even if he
had, the offense committed by this soldier was not cov
ered by the rules and articles of war ; that the command
ing general of the army alone had power to institute a
military commission which could have tried the soldier
for this civil offense, but he was so far off in the enemy s
country that it was impracticable to communicate with
him. Under these circumstances, the colonel had proba
bly judged this summary punishment to be the only and
necessary way to make an example which would prevent
the prevalence of lawlessness and disorder. On hearing
this, the judge said: "I perceive, sir, that you use a term
not familiar to this court ; will you please explain to the
court what you mean by a military commission ?" To
this I replied : " As I understand the matter, when the
United States forces landed and took possession of Yera
Cruz and the surrounding country, all the civil magis
trates fled, and the civil courts of Mexico were suspended.
Hence arose, from the existing status of war, the necessity
for a tribunal which could adjudicate and punish offenses
committed by United States soldiers against citizens or
each other, or by citizens against soldiers, or even by
Mexican citizens against each other. This class of cases
could not be lawfully tried by any military court consti
tuted under the rules and articles of war. The foreign
territory occupied by the United States forces being, then,
practically and of necessity under martial law, General
Scott conceived the plan of assembling what he desig-
ORIGIN OF MILITARY COMMISSIONS. 163
nated ( military commissions, which were composed of a
number of officers of the army acting as jurors, and gov
erned by the common law of the United States, which
followed its armies in their camps, and by this tribunal
all such cases, not strictly military in nature, were dis
When I had finished, Mr. Carlisle arose and said,
" Your Honor may thank the witness for a lucid ex
planation of a question which has puzzled the most acute
lawyers for two hundred years past." I knew how much
controversy there had been over the rights and powers of
" martial law," and supposed Mr. Carlisle meant to make
a point for his side, by a little sarcasm on the witness. I
said then, " I am no lawyer, your Honor, but have en
deavored to give you, to the best of my ability, what I
suppose to be the true explanation of the matter."
Since the war of the rebellion, Mr. Bradley, and other
lawyers of high authority, have told me I did give the
true explanation. Upon this principle, then, which it
seems I had rightly apprehended, and which General
Scott s General Orders, No. 287, had elucidated, Con
gress enacted several laws during the civil war, making
military commissions a legal tribunal. They were made
use of in many exceedingly important instances, notably
for the trial of the conspirators in the murder of Presi
dent Lincoln. Washington was a garrisoned town, having
in and around it several thousand soldiers, to protect the
public officials and the public property. The President
was commander-in-chief of the army, and his murder was
adjudged to be clearly within the statutes.
In the codification of the military laws, the only trace
left of military commissions is in section 1,343 of the
164 ANECDOTES OF THE CIVIL WAR.
Revised Statutes, which provides for the trial of spies
before them. A much larger scope of offenses, however,
such as murder, robbery, etc., has been added to the list
which a general court-martial may try ; and orders No.
100, of the year 1863, prepared by Dr. Francis Lieber,
LL. D., with much wisdom and learning, containing " In
structions for the Government of Armies of the United
States in the Field," supplied a great gap in the codes of
the world. It is now ingrafted upon the regulations for
MEDALS AND COKPS-BADGES.
Medals of honor Recommendations "Kearny patch" Red, white and
blue Legal recognition Legends Devices.
MEDALS. As soon as news of the civil war in the
United States became known in Europe, many persons
who had been officers in foreign armies came to offer
their services to the Government. It frequently hap
pened that these gentlemen brought letters of introduc
tion and testimonials of their military career. Sometimes
they came accredited to our Department of State. They
usually paid their respects to General Scott, and not un-
frequently, on such an occasion, wore their uniform, with
all their decorations medals or orders. There were many
men in our volunteer service who had served abroad, and
it was quite the habit among them to display on their uni
forms such marks of distinction if they possessed them.
MEDALS AND CORPS-BADGES. 165
It is no wonder if they were objects of envy to many of
our young aspirants for military glory.
The experience of the Mexican War, when the honor
of a brevet was so often persistently sought for through
political influence, sometimes without any special military
merit to sustain it, early suggested to me the probability
that the same evil in magnified form would arise during
the civil war. It was very desirable, therefore, if pos
sible, to prevent what afterward actually happened, the
destruction of the practical benefit arising from the brevet
system. Instead of tardy and sometimes indiscriminate
recommendations for brevets, why should not our gener
als, when in command of armies in time of war, be clothed
with the power of rewarding distinguished acts of bravery,
on the instant, by issuing orders conferring a medal for
them, such orders to be as soon as possible confirmed and
executed by the War Department \ Mistakes would rarely,
if ever, be made ; * and the excellent effect of a prompt rec
ognition of gallantry in battle is no new thing in history.
* On one occasion, a commanding general, after a successful battle, sent
a number of men, who had captured flags, to present them in person to the
Secretary of War. The Secretary received them publicly at the department,
and, as each one delivered his trophy, the Secretary pronounced his name,
and ordered a medal of honor to be conferred on him. He then gave them
collectively the thanks of the department for their distinguished bravery.
Among them was a foreigner who bore a small, dirty, torn flag. When he
produced it, I observed something in his manner that struck me unfavorably.
His truly brave comrades, appreciating the high honor they had fairly won
and ashamed of such companionship, exposed his imposture. His flag was
originally found in an abandoned camp of the enemy, and had been borne
in derision on the bayonets of our men, tossed from one to another, until,
weary of the sport, they had cast it into the bushes. This fellow had picked
it up, and had the effrontery to come forward as its captor in battle, and to
claim a medal for it. He did not get one.
166 ANECDOTES OF THE CIVIL WAR.
Impressed with these ideas, I, early in 1861, urged
their adoption upon General Scott, and upon the chair
man of the Senate Military Committee, the Secretary of
War, and others in influence. They objected that it was
contrary to the spirit of our institutions to wear decora
tions, and therefore the measure would not be popular.
I instanced the pride which children feel in wearing
medals won at school, and the pains taken by parents to
foster it ; and suggested that, if those who won medals
did not choose to wear them, they would none the less
value them, and so would their descendants after them.
Nothing was done in that direction, however, until the
12th of July, 1862, when Coagress passed a resolution
to award medals of honor to enlisted men, which, by
the act of March 3, 1863, was extended to officers also.
These medals, although intrinsically of but little value,
have been eagerly sought for and highly prized. The
main objection to them is the mode of conferring, under
which years have sometimes elapsed before sufficiently re
liable testimony could be obtained that the claimant was
justly entitled to one, according to the terms of the
In my annual report of October 31, 1864, the matter
was presented to the notice of the Secretary of War, and
of Congress, in these words :
"The medal of honor is of bronze, of neat device,
and is highly prized by those on whom it has been be
stowed. Hitherto no medals have been conferred upon
commissioned officers, apparently under the idea that at
some future day their acts of distinguished bravery would
be recognized by brevets. It is believed that, in the
MEDALS AND CORPS-BADGES. 167
majority of cases, the award of a gold or a silver medal
would be quite as acceptable as the brevet, and of more
substantial value, especially in the volunteer service. . . .
If an act were passed to authorize it, a prompt and grati
fying acknowledgment of distinguished services could be
made, by publishing a general order awarding to the offi
cer the gold medal or the silver medal, with the privi
lege of engraving thereon the name and date of the battle
in which his gallantry was conspicuous. In case of his
again winning distinction, he would be authorized in
general orders to add to the inscription upon his medal
the name and date of his new exploit. If both gold and
silver medals were authorized, there would be no objec
tion to the same officer being the recipient of both, if
won by meritorious conduct at different times, and differ
ent in degree. The system of medals need in no wise
interfere with the conferring of brevet rank in cases
where such rank might be actually exercised in high com
mands, or at the discretion of the President ; but it would
relieve the pressure for brevets on the part of the many
officers who justly believe they have won a title to some
mark of honor, and would avoid the many vexed ques
tions likely to arise from the possession of brevet rank
by so large a number of officers as can reasonably prefer
a claim to reward."
CORPS-BADGES. As a sort of substitute for medals,
the corps-badges have come to be regarded as a proud
mark of distinction, and memorial of service in the war.
It would be difficult to describe the true sentiment con
nected with them in more eloquent language than that
used by the commander of the Twenty-fifth Corps, in his
168 ANECDOTES OF THE CIVIL WAR.
order announcing the device for his command.* So
highly are they valued, that large sums have often been
expended on presentation gold and jeweled badges. Yet
there seems to be one objection to these badges : there is
nothing to prevent their being worn by any man who
served, whether meritoriously or not, during the war.
Once only, so far as is known, was an attempt made to
restrict their use, and that was by resolutions passed at
a meeting of officers and enlisted men belonging to the
Army of the Cumberland, f
The adoption of badges appears to have originated in
the " Kearny patch." One day, when his brigade was
on the march, General Philip Kearny, who was a strict
disciplinarian, saw some officers standing under a tree by
the road side. Supposing them to be stragglers from his
command, he administered to them a rebuke, emphasized
by a few expletives. The officers listened in silence, re
spectfully standing in the " position of a soldier," until
he had finished, when one of them, raising his hand to
his cap, quietly suggested that the general had possibly
made a mistake, as they none of them belonged to his
command. With his usual courtesy Kearny exclaimed :
" Pardon me ; I will take steps to know how to recognize
my own men hereafter." Immediately on reaching camp,
he issued orders that all officers and men of his brigade
should wear conspicuously on the front of their caps a
round piece of red cloth, to designate them. This became
generally known as the " Kearny patch." After the bat
tle of Fair Oaks, or Seven Pines, it was observed that the
Confederate prisoners universally wore strips of red, blue,
* See " Badge of the Twenty-fifth Corps," p. 188.
f See "Badge of the Army of the Cumberland," p. 195.
MEDALS AND CORPS-BADGES. 169
or white cloth on their caps, which they said were to
designate the commands to which they belonged. Gen
eral Kearny, in conversation with General Hooker, en
thusiastically instanced this as illustrating the utility of
his " patch."
General D. B. Birney, in his General Orders No. 49,
dated September 4, 1862, from the headquarters of Kear-
ny s division, announced the death of General Philip
Kearny. After the usual requirement to wear crape on
the left arm for thirty days, the order says : " To still
further show our regard for him, and to distinguish his
officers as he wished, each officer will continue to wear
on his cap a piece of scarlet cloth, or have the top or
crown-piece of cap made of scarlet cloth"
After the " Kearny patch," several army corps, one
by one, adopted distinctive badges. The divisions of each
corps were indicated by one of the colors red, white, blue,
and green and orange, if there were more than three
divisions, upon some part of the badges. They were
either suspended by the tricolored ribbon, or fastened
with a pin. As there were usually three divisions in a
corps, the national colors were the ones sure to be repre
sented. For the headquarters, some slight modifications
were made in the form worn by the divisions. When
several army corps were consolidated into an u army,"
the badge of that army headquarters consisted of a com
bination in one of all those of the corps. But it is be
lieved that, with the exception of the Army of the Cum
berland, the " army-badges " were adopted by societies of
the several armies subsequent to the war. The badges
were painted on the wagons of the corps, and stenciled
on all its articles of public property.
170 ANECDOTES OF THE CIVIL WAR.
Corps-badges have now a legal recognition in the Re
vised Statutes of the United States :
" SECTION 1,227. All persons who have served as
officers, non-commissioned officers, privates, or other en
listed men, in the regular army, volunteer, or militia
forces of the United States, during the war of the rebel
lion, and have been honorably discharged from the ser
vice, or still remain in the same, shall be entitled to wear,
on occasions of ceremony, the distinctive army-badge or
dered for or adopted by the army corps and division
respectively in which they served."
LEGEND AND DESCRIPTION OF BADGES. To Major-
General Joseph Hooker probably belongs the credit of
first having issued orders for the adoption of regular corps-
badges, to be worn by officers and enlisted men of all the
regiments of various corps through the entire Army of the
Potomac. Just before the Chancellorsville campaign, on
the 21st of March, 1863, he issued a circular prescribing
the device for a badge for each corps, " for the purpose
of ready recognition of corps and divisions of this army,
and to prevent injustice by reports of straggling and mis
conduct, through mistake as to their organizations."*
They were to be " fastened on the center of the top of
the cap." The devices seem to have been arbitrarily
chosen, without particular significance.
In obedience to orders from the War Department,
Major-General Meade, in his General Orders, No. 10, of
* This same phraseology was used in the Orders No. 62, April 26, 1864,
announcing the badges of corps in the Department of the Cumberland.
MEDALS AND CORPS-BADGES. 171
March 24, 1864, consolidated the Second, Fifth, and Sixth
Army Corps into two divisions, transferred two divisions
of the Third Corps to the Second Corps, and the third
Division to the Sixth Corps. In this order he directed
that the troops transferred should preserve " their badges
and distinctive marks." This was done by combining
their old badges with their new ones.
[Circular, Headquarters, Army of the Potomac, March 23, 1861.]
[Circular, Headquarters, Army of the Potomac, March 23, 1861.]
172 ANECDOTES OF THE CIVIL WAR.
[Circular, Headquarters, Army of the Potomac, March 21, 1863.]
AN EQUILATERAL TRIANGLE.
[General Orders, No. 62, Headquarters, Department of the Cumberland,
April 26, 1864.]
The Fourth Corps, which was commanded by General
E. D. Keyes, was discontinued August 1, 1863, before
the adoption of this badge.
MEDALS AND CORPS-BADGES. 173
A MALTESE CROSS.
[Circular, Headquarters, Army of the Potomac, March 21, 1863.]
When the Army of the Potomac was reorganized, in
March, 1864, and the First Corps was consolidated with
the Fifth, the men who were transferred from the old
First then combined the badges of the two corps, thus : *
[General Orders, No. 10, Headquarters, Army of the Potomac, March 24,
* The author is indebted to Mr. J. W. Kirkley, of the Adjutant-General s
Office, for this and other interesting items.
ANECDOTES OF TEE CIVIL WAR.
A GREEK CROSS.
[Circular, Headquarters, Army of the Potomac, March 21, 1863.]
The men transferred from the old Third Corps to the
Sixth combined the lozenge and cross of the two corps,
[General Orders, No. 10, Headquarters, Army of the Potomac, March 24,
A CRESCENT ENCIRCLING A STAR.
[Circular, Headquarters, Department of Arkansas, June 1, 1865.]
* The author is indebted to Mr. J. W. Kirkley, of the Adjutant-General s
Office, for this and other interesting items.
MEDALS AND CORPS-BADGES. 175
The Seventh Corps, which served in the Department
of Virginia, and was commanded by Major-General John
A. Dix, was discontinued August 1, 1863, and was quite
different from the Seventh which served in the Depart
ment of Arkansas.
A STAR WITH SIX RATS.
[No order issued.]
A SHIELD WITH THE FIGURE 9 IN THE CENTER, CROSSED WITH A FOUL ANCHOR
[General Orders, No. 6, Headquarters, Ninth Corps, April 10, 1864, and
General Orders, No. 49, December 23, 1864.]
This corps served afloat for some time.
ANECDOTES OF THE CIVIL WAR.
THE TRACE OF A FOUR-BASTIONED FORT.
[General Orders, No. 18, Headquarters, Tenth Corps, July 25, 1864,]
This corps was employed in the reduction of forts on
the seaboard, and was under General Terry at the cap
ture of Fort Fisher, North Carolina. This service sug
gested the device.
[Circular, Headquarters, Army of the Potomac, March 21, 1863.]
MEDALS AND CORPS-BADGES. 177
A STAR WITH FIVE RAYS.
[Circular, Headquarters, Army of the Potomac, March 21, 1863.]
This corps was consolidated with the Eleventh Corps,
to form the Twentieth, April 18, 1864. The Twentieth
adopted its badge.
(Xo badge adopted.)
[General Orders, No. 62, Headquarters, Department of the Cumberland,
Chattanooga, Tennessee, April 26, 1864.]
From General Jefferson C. Davis this legend of the
Acorn-Badge was received : After the battle of Chicka-
mauga, Roser s army made a stand at and around Chat
tanooga. Rosecrans s army, owing to exceedingly muddy
roads, and the cutting of its lines of communication by
the Confederates, had great difficulty in getting supplies.
The Fourteenth Corps was encamped near a wood of oak-
trees, which were at that time covered with acorns. As
the rations fell short, many of the men gathered the
acorns and ate them roasted, till at length it was observed
that they had become quite an important part of the
178 ANECDOTES OF THE CIVIL WAR.
ration, and the men of the corps jestingly called them
selves " The Acorn-Boys." Receiving an order about that
time which required the adoption of a corps-badge, the
acorn was selected by acclamation.
A MINIATURE CARTRIDGE-BOX, BLACK, SET TRANSVERSELY ON A SQUARE.
ABOVE THE CARTRIDGE-BOX PLATE THE MOTTO, " FORTY ROUNDS."
[General Orders, No. 10, Headquarters, Fifteenth Army Corps, February
In announcing this badge, Major-General John A.
Logan, commanding the Fifteenth Corps, says : " If any
corps in the army has a right to take pride in its badge,
surely that has which looks back through the long and
glorious line [enumerating thirty-five engagements and
battles, and scores of minor struggles ] ; the corps
which had its birth under Grant and Sherman in the
darker days of our struggle ; the corps which will keep
on struggling until the death of rebellion."
MEDALS AND CORPS-BADGES. 179
The device of the badge of the Fifteenth Corps was
suggested by the following incident : The Eleventh and
Twelfth Corps were transferred from the Army of the
Potomac to the Department of the Cumberland. They
were better dressed than the other troops of that depart
ment, and a little rivalry sprang up between these East
ern boys and those who came from the West. The latter
spoke of the former as " the men who wore paper shirt-
collars, and crescents and stars." Before the Fifteenth
Corps had any badge, an Irishman belonging to it went
to the river near camp to fill his canteen. There he met
a soldier of one of the newly arrived corps, whose badges
were the subject of ridicule by his comrades. The latter
saluted the Irishman with the query, "What corps do
you belong to \ " " The Fifteenth, sure." " Well, then,
where is your badge ? " " My badge, is it ? Well " (clap
ping his hand on his cartridge-box), " here s my badge !
Forty rounds ! It s the orders to always have forty rounds
in our cartridge-box, and we always do."
The badge of this corps is sometimes erroneously represented as follows :
[No order issued.]
180 ANECDOTES OF THE CIVIL WAR.
From Colonel J. J. Lyon, Assistant Inspector-General,
Sixteenth Corps, the following correct description of the
badge is derived :
" The device is, A CIRCLE, WITH FOUR MINIE-BALLS,
THE POINTS TOWARD THE CENTER CUT OUT OF IT. The bare
spaces represent the shape of the balls cut out, and the
remainder forms a cross resembling the Maltese, with the
The badge was suspended from a ring attached to the
points of two arms of the cross, instead of the center of
one arm, to distinguish the device more clearly from
the Maltese cross, previously adopted by the Nineteenth
It having been determined to assume a badge for the
Sixteenth Corps, several of the officers made designs,
which, by common consent, were put in a hat, and the
one drawn out was accepted. The design contrived by
MEDALS AND CORPS-BADGES.
brevet Brigadier-General John Hough, assistant adju
tant-general of the corps, was drawn out, and received
the approval of the corps commander, Major-General A.
J. Smith. " The new badge was then and there duly con
secrated, adopted, baptized, by the usual ceremonies prac
ticed in the army on such momentous occasions,* . . . and
named the A. J. Smith Cross," in honor of the first com
mander of the corps after a badge was adopted by it.
General Hough, the author of the design, has given
the following account of the rule by which it was con
" In any circle draw two diameters perpendicular to
each other, dividing the circle into four quarters ; bisect
the arc of each quarter, and, with the bisecting points as a
center, and a radius five sixths of the radius of the origi
nal circle, inscribe segments of a circle ; cut out the parts
* We are not informed what these ceremonies were. Did the spirit of
the Widow Cliquot inspire them ?
ANECDOTES OF THE CIVIL WAR.
inclosed between anj two of these segments, and the
remainder will be the badge of the Sixteenth Army
[General Orders, No. 1, Headquarters, Seventeenth Corps, March 25, 1865.]
Major-General Francis P. Blair says in his order :
" The badge now used by the corps being similar to one
formerly adopted by another corps, the major-general
commanding has concluded to adopt, as a distinguishing
badge for the command, an arrow.
"In its swiftness, in its surety of striking where
wanted, and in its destructive powers when so intended,
it is probably as emblematical of this corps as any design
that could be adopted."
A CROSS, WITH FOLIATE SIDES.
[Circular, June 7, 1864, and General Orders, No. 108, of August 25, 1864,
Headquarters, Eighteenth Corps.]
MEDALS AND CORPS-BADGES. 183
A FAN-LEAVED CROSS, WITH OCTAGONAL CENTER.
[General Orders, No. 11, Headquarters, Nineteenth Corps, November 17,
A STAR WITH FIVE RASS, as heretofore worn by the Twelfth Corps.
[General Orders, No. 62, Headquarters, Department of the Cumberland,
April 26, 1864.]
This corps was formed by consolidating the Eleventh
and Twelfth Corps, April 18, 1864. For some time after
ANECDOTES OF THE CIVIL WAR.
the consolidation the men of the old Eleventh combined
the two badges thus :
[No badge was ever adopted.]
QUINQUEFOLIATE IN SHAPE, WITH A CIRCLE INSCRIBED IN THE CENTER.
[No order issued.]
The signification of this design seems to be a build
ing inside defensive works, in allusion to the continued
service of the corps in and around Washington.
MEDALS AND CORPS-BADGES. 185
A PLAIN SHIELD.
[No order issued for its adoption; but Special Orders, No. 21, Head
quarters, First Division, Twenty-third Army Corps, near Raleigh, North
Carolina, April 16, 1865, directs that " the badges which have just been
issued to this command will be worn upon the top of the cap, or left side
of the hat."]
General J. D. Cox has kindly furnished the following
information concerning this badge :
"It was adopted at the beginning of the Atlanta
campaign (spring of 1864). There was no legend con
nected with it.
" The Twenty-third Corps had been intimately asso
ciated with the Ninth (under Burnside) in the campaign
in East Tennessee in 1863, being organized in that year
for the purpose of becoming part of Burn side s Army of
" This association led to our adopting a shield some
what similar in form to the badge of the Ninth Corps,
but with sufficient marks of distinction.
" To secure uniformity in the shape and proportions
of the badge, the following rules were established for
constructing or drawing it, which I draughted, and am
therefore able to reproduce :
ANECDOTES OF THE CIVIL WAR.
"With the radius AC, strike the curves CB and
AB, from the centers A and C respectively. Make AD
and C F perpendicular, and one fourth A C in length.
Strike the curves D E and E F with radius of one half
A C. Make the inner curves parallel to the outer ones.
From G, the middle of A B, draw GO in the direction
of F , and draw G 7 O in like manner in the direction of
D . Complete the radiating bars, and tint the panels red,
white, and blue. The border and divisions between the
panels are gilt.
" The above is for corps headquarters, and was dis
played on a blue silk banner, with fringed edge.
" For divisions, all the panels were of one tint : first
division, red ; second division, white ; third division,
MEDALS AND CORPS-BADGES. 187
" For brigades, the flags were of bunting, the shield
smaller, of same color as division to which the brigade
belonged ; one small shield in upper corner next the staff
for first brigade, two small shields for second brigade,
and three for third.
" The same badge was painted on the covers of all
wagons and ambulances, etc,, substituting yellow for the
[General Orders, No. 32, Headquarters, Twenty-fourth Corps, March 18,
This corps was organized late in the war, and was for
the most part composed of veterans who had served in
other corps. Major-General John Gibbon, in his orders
adopting the badge, says : " The symbol selected is one
which testifies our affectionate regard for all our brave
comrades alike the living and the dead who have
braved the perils of this mighty conflict, and our devo
tion to the sacred cause a cause which entitles us to the
sympathy of every brave and true heart, and the support
of every strong and determined hand.
188 ANECDOTES OF THE CIVIL WAR.
" The major-general commanding the corps does not
doubt that soldiers who have given their strength and
blood to the fame of their former badges will unite in
rendering the present one even more renowned than
those under which they have heretofore marched to
[Orders, February 20, 1865, Headquarters, Twenty-fifth Corps, Army of the
This corps was composed entirely of colored soldiers.
It was the first to occupy Richmond, Virginia, April 3,
1865. The following is Major-General Godfrey WeitzePs
" In view of the circumstances under which this corps
was raised and filled, the peculiar claims of its individual
members upon the justice and fair dealing of the preju
diced, and the regularity of the conduct of the troops
which deserve those equal rights that have hitherto been
denied the majority, the commanding general has been
induced to adopt the square as the distinctive badge of
the Twenty-fifth Army Corps.
" Wherever danger has been found and glory to be
MEDALS AND CORPS-BADGES. 189
won, the heroes who have fought for immortality have
been distinguished by some emblem to which every vic
tory added a new luster. They looked upon their badge
with pride, for to it they had given its fame. In the
homes of smiling peace it recalled the days of coura
geous endurance and the hours of deadly strife, and it
solaced the moment of death, for it was a symbol of a
life of heroism and self-denial. The poets still sing of
the Templar s cross, the i crescent of the Turk, the
4 chalice of the hunted Christian, and the white plume
of Murat, that crested the wave of valor, sweeping resist-
lessly to victory.
" Soldiers ! to you is given a chance, in this Spring
campaign, of making this badge immortal. Let history
record that, on the banks of the James, thirty thousaad
freemen not only gained their own liberty, but shattered
the prejudice of the world, and gave to the land of their
birth peace, union, and glory."
[No order issued.]
(This corps was organized in 1864.)
190 ANECDOTES OF THE CIVIL WAR.
To Major-General Hancock s courtesy is due the in
formation that this badge was designed by his " chief of
staff, General C. II. Morgan, and had no special legend
or significance attached to it, the object being to have it
as distinct and different as possible from other corps
badges, so that it might be easily distinguished and rec
ognized when worn by troops in campaign."
It may be thus described : A circle is surrounded by
a double wreath of laurel. A wide red band passes ver
tically through the center of the circle. Outside the
laurel- wreath, rays form a figure with seven sides of con
cave curves. Seven hands, springing from the circum
ference of the laurel-wreath, grasp spears, the heads of
which form the seven points of the external radiated
SHERIDAN S CAVALRY CORPS.
Design: "GOLD CROSSED-SABERS, ON A BLUE FIELD, SURROUNDED BY A
GLORY IN SILVER.
[No order issued.]
(This badge was only worn by commissioned officers.)
MEDALS AND CORPS-BADGES.
Concerning this badge, Colonel Gerrard Irvine White-
head, who served on the staff of the corps, kindly gives
the information that, while General Pleasanton com
manded the corps, he (Colonel Whitehead) was charged
with procuring a badge. He accordingly caused a num
ber to be made, but they were not ready for delivery un
til the summer of 1864. Meanwhile, General Sheridan
came in command, and the corps was " entirely too busy
to think about badges." It thus happened that few, if
any, were ever worn by the enlisted men.
WILSON S CAVALRY CORPS.
A RIFLE, OR CARBINE, FROM WHICH IS SUSPENDED, BY CHAINS, THE RED
SWALLOW-TAIL GUIDON OF THE CAVALRY, WITH GILT CROSSED-SABERS UPON IT.
[No order issued.]
From Generals J. H. Wilson and Edward Hatch the
following facts are derived : The rifle was the badge of
ANECDOTES OF TEE CIVIL WAR.
the Fifth Division of this corps (formerly First Division
of the Army of the Tennessee). The red swallow-tail
guidon, with sabers crossed upon it, was the flag of the
corps headquarters. The corps badge, a combination of
the rifle (or the Spencer carbine, " which was found to be
a most efficacious arm ") and the guidon, was adopted by
a committee of officers belonging to the corps.
A STUR, WITH CURB-CHAIN, AND CRESCENT AND STAR SUSPENDED.
[No order issued.]
This cavalry served in the Seventh Corps in Arkansas. The crescent
and star were the badge of Moonlight s division. The shank of the spur
was bent, to represent the figure 7 of the corps.
MEDALS AND CORPS-BADGES. 193
OUSTER S CAVALRY CORPS.
[No order issued.]
Mr. Thomas Haslam, of the Adjutant-General s office,
gives the following interesting statement :
Ouster s dashing style, as he rode at the head of his
command, whether in the act of charging in real, earnest
war, or peacefully marching in review, is as well known
as his name. He wore his hair long, and flowing in care
less curls about his neck. His collar was open at the
front, only loosely confined by a bright-red scarf tied
with a sailor-knot. His men, in this, as in their conduct,
caught the spirit of their commander, and all wore the
red scarf. They could be distinguished at a long distance
by this their only badge.
ENGINEER AND PONTONIER CORPS.
TWO OARS CROSSED OVER AN ANCHOR, THE TOP OP WHICH IS ENCIRCLED
BY A SCROLL SURMOUNTED BY A CASTLE; THE CASTLE BEING THE BADGE OF
THE U. S. CORPS OF ENGINEERS.
[No order issued.]
ANECDOTES OF THE CIVIL WAR.
TWO FLAGS CROSSED, WITH A FLAMING TORCH BETWEEN THEM. Indicating
the implements used in signaling, the flags by day and the torch by night.
The star on the left flag is red ; the scroll in the right one is blue ; the
flame of the torch is red and gilt.
DEPARTMENT OF WEST VIRGINIA.
A SPREAD EAGLE.
[General Orders, No. 2, Headquarters, Department of West Virginia, Jan
uary 3, 1865.]
MEDALS AND CORPS-BADGES.
DEPARTMENT OF THE CUMBERLAND.
COMBINATION OF THE FOURTH, FOURTEENTH, AND TWENTIETH CORPS.
[General Orders, No. 41, Headquarters, Department of the Cumberland,
Nashville, Tennessee, June 19, 1865.]
Major-General George H. Thomas published the pro
ceedings of a meeting of the officers and enlisted men of
the Army of the Cumberland, held " for the purpose of
considering the propriety of adopting a badge to signalize
and perpetuate the history of the Army of the Cumber
" It was unanimously agreed to adopt such a badge" ;
196 ANECDOTES OF THE CIVIL WAR.
and, " on motion, the following preamble and resolutions
were adopted :
" Whereas, Many of the soldiers of the Army of the
Cumberland are about to abandon the profession of arms,
and again mingle in the peaceful pursuits of home :
" Resolved^ That, in parting with each other, we do
so with mingled feelings of sorrow, sadness, and pride :
sorrow, because friends, bound together by ties formed
on many battle-fields, must part ; sadness at turning our
backs upon the thousand fresh-made graves of our brave
comrades ; and pride, because it has been our good for
tune to be numbered among the members of the Army
of the Cumberland, and have each done his part in prov
ing to the world that republics have the ability to main
tain and perpetuate themselves.
" Resolved, That, in parting, we do, as we have many
times done in the face of the enemy, renew our pledges
of unending fidelity to each other ; and that, in whatever
position of life we may happen to be, we will never per
mit our affections to be estranged from those who con
tinue to fight our battles, but that we will sustain and
defend them at all times and in all proper places.
" Resolved^ That the following-named persons, and
none others, are authorized to wear the badge of the
Army of the Cumberland :
" 1. All soldiers of that army now in service and in
" 2. All soldiers who formerly belonged to that army,
and have received honorable discharges from the same.
"Resolved, That any soldier of the Army of the
Cumberland who is now entitled to wear the badge of
the arrny, who may hereafter be dishonorably dismissed
CONFEDERATE FLAGS. 197
the service, shall, by such discharge, forfeit the right to
wear such badge.
" Resolved, That we exhort all members of the Army
of the Cumberland to discountenance any attempt on the
part of unauthorized persons to arrogate to themselves
honor to which they are not entitled, by wearing our
Inevitable Stars and Stripes The Southern Cross The Stars and Bars
The battle-flag The white flag Its surrender to the Monitor The
DURING the war a large number of Confederate flags,
captured in battle > were sent to Washington, where they
were kept in a room, a few being displayed as samples.
They were an object of great interest, constantly visited
by sight-seers. Many of these flags also found their way
to Capitols of the loyal States, where they were preserved
among the mementos of volunteer regiments. It was
once suggested that the captured Confederate flags should
be deposited at the West Point Military Academy among
similar trophies of other wars ; but this was not done,
because, while the Government insisted on loyalty to it,
it deemed it not proper to perpetuate in the minds of
its young soldiers any feeling of exultation on the one
side, or of regret on the other, in connection with such
objects after the war was all over.
Doubtless many flags captured from Union troops
198 ANECDOTES OF THE CIVIL WAR.
were also preserved by the Confederates. Indeed, some
were found at Richmond at the time of its occupation
by the Union forces, and sent with the rebel archives to
"Washington. There was also found at Richmond a col
lection of designs proposed by many persons for the Con
federate national flag. Over two hundred devices were
submitted, accompanied by letters explaining their sym
bolic meaning. It is noticeable that in a very large pro
portion of the plans there is some combination of stars,
or of stripes, or of both. At first sight it would appear
that this showed only an accidental association of ideas,
and a want of originality in the designers. This view
would naturally be strengthened by the tone of hostility
to the Union seen in their newspapers. But the corre
spondence on the subject betrays much warm affection
for the old flag, and gives undoubted proof that the em
blems were intentionally retained, the main object of the
authors being to form such a combination of colors, or
arrangements of the stars, or stripes, or both, as to avoid
fatal mistakes in battle.
One gentleman wrote, in February, 1861 : " Those
stars and stripes which have been so honorably borne to
every accessible sea, and have so proudly fluttered to
every breeze of the habitable globe, will ever be cher
ished and admired by true American hearts. May they
ever be the flag of all American republics formed out
of the once confederated States the United States of
America without marring the beauty of that proud flag
as it is, or that chaste blending of the ( red, white, and
blue, which makes it the grandest in the world !
" If your convention, looking to the formation of a
Southern republic, and the adoption of the stars and
CONFEDERATE FLAGS. 199
stripes for its flag, lias not already devised one, I would
respectfully and modestly suggest the substitution of a
renowned constellation, < the Southern Cross (both em
blematic and suggestive) for the union of stars now in
the blue field of the present flag of the United States,
and that a star for each State be placed on one of the
central stripes, so the stars and stripes may yet be the flag
of your new as they were of the old republic."
In the same month another wrote in relation to a flag
for the Southern Confederacy : " I would respectfully
suggest that we have one not only plain and of striking
contrast in color, but approximating to, yet differing es
sentially from, the flag of the United States. This flag
we can not but regard as one under which our common
country has risen to unexampled prosperity, and under
which also some of the most noble achievements of the
present age have been accomplished, lifting our national
reputation into a truly high and commanding position,
and to which proud elevation none certainly have con
tributed more than our own native brethren of the sunny
Another, in sending a design, says : " We still have a
6 star-spangled banner, which is dear to the people from
old associations, and we can afford to let the Yankees
keep the stripes. We are entitled to a star-spangled
banner, because the best poetry in honor of it was com
posed by a Southern man, and the incident which occa
sioned its composition occurred on Southern soil, and
reflected honor on Southern soldiers."
One says : " I have taken the liberty to recommend
to your attention the manifest propriety of adopting the
6 star-spangled banner as the flag of the Southern Con-
200 ANECDOTES OF THE CIVIL WAS.
federacy, changing only the color of the red stripes to
blue. That flag is as dear to every true Southern heart
as a babe to its mother s affections."
Another said : " Do retain the l stars and stripes. It
belongs to the South as much as to the North. It is not
an abolition flag. Colonel Jefferson Davis (now Presi
dent Davis) won glory under it in Mexico ; so did the
And another : " Let the Yankees keep their ridiculous
tune of Yankee Doodle, * but, by all that is sacred, do
not let them monopolize the stars and stripes. You have
fought well under our glorious banner ; could you tight
as well under another ? Never ! Change it, improve it,
alter it as you will, but, for Heaven s sake, keep the stars
and stripes ! "
Another says : " I refer to the important feature that
your flag, though sufficiently peculiar to give national
individuality to the emblem, still possesses the attribute
of retaining all the hallowed associations which, both
at home and abroad, have for years, in every American
breast, clustered around the stars and stripes of a nation
once the most glorious the world ever beheld ; and of
that nation we ourselves and all the world can not fail to
remember that the Southern States were but lately its
proudest element, blest in its privileges, blest in its wade-
spread fraternal love, and equal in the possession of all
its common glories, past, present, and prospective."
Another : " Pray do no t give up the stars and stripes
* The Yankees did keep it ; but Mr. Lincoln, when he was serenaded
on a certain occasion, being asked what tune he would like to have, called
for the Confederate tune, " Dixie," saying, " I believe we have captured
that tune, and have a right to it now."
CONFEDERATE FLAGS. 201
to the North. It is ours as fully as it is theirs. It is
hallowed by associations and memories, and is dear to
every military and naval officer, every soldier and tar,
and every citizen who has seen it float in a foreign land.
Keep the stripes, keep the azure field and a star for
each sovereignty in the constellation, and then distinguish
it by a red cross (the Southern Cross), cutting the stripes
at right angles. This is a very important matter. The
songs of a nation and its flag have a prodigious moral
One says : " I don t like the cross. It is significant
of Catholic rule, and, besides, had too much to do with
the machinery of the dark ages. The old stars must, I
think, be abandoned. They belong to night, and, besides,
the North will keep them. It is morning with us. The
stripes are distinctive, and ought to be preserved ; but let
there be seven stripes, one for each of the original States,
as the thirteen were for the original States of the old
Confederacy. Suppose these stripes be vertical instead
At the first session of the Provisional Congress, the
committee on a flag and seal made its report, which was
more or less shaped by the many expressions of feeling
on the subject. The report said : " Whatever attachment
may be felt from association for the stars and stripes (an
attachment which your committee may be permitted to
say they do not all share), it is manifest that, in inaugu
rating a new government, we can not with any propriety
or without encountering obvious difficulties, retain the
flag of the Government from which we have withdrawn.
... As to the glories of the old flag, we must bear in
mind that the battles of the Revolution, about which our
202 ANECDOTES OF THE CIVIL WAR.
fondest and proudest memories cluster, were not fought
beneath its folds ; and, although in more recent times
in the War of 1812 and in the war with Mexico the
South did win her fair share of glory and shed her full
measure of blood under its guidance and in its defense,
we think the impartial page of history will preserve and
commemorate the fact more imperishably than a mere
piece of stupid bunting."
The design recommended by this committee, and
which was adopted by the Provisional Government, was
known as the " Stars and Bars." It was thus described :
" To consist of a red field, with a white space extend
ing horizontally through the center, and equal in width
to one third the width of the flag ; the red spaces, above
and below, to be of the same width as the white ; the
union blue extending down through the white space,
and stopping at the lower red space ; in the center of the
union a circle of white stars corresponding in number
with the States in the Confederacy."
THE STARS AND BARS.
CONFEDERATE FLAGS. 203
This was the " stars and stripes," with the same colors,
only the stripes were wider, and but three in number ;
and the stars were arranged in a circle, as in the old
United States national flag before the States of the Union
became so numerous.
Immediately after the Confederate Government took
the place of the Southern Provisional Government, the
question of adopting another flag was agitated. The
joint committee appointed for the purpose offered, in
April, 1862, a device, with a report, in which it said :
" Nearly all the designs submitted to the committee con
tained a combination of stars. This heraldic emblem,
however, has been discarded, as a manifestation of our
entire and absolute severance from the United States,
and a complete annihilation of every sentiment indicat
ing the faintest hope of reconstruction." The chairman
of the committee said that " it might be a matter of sur
prise to those who had always been so enthusiastic on the
subject of the beauty of the stars and stripes, that there
never was a single star emblazoned on any flag of the old
United States. They were nothing but mullets, or imita
tions of the rowels of the spurs of the knight, and five-
pointed. But the committee had fallen upon those he
raldic emblems, and had adopted the device of the great
luminary of day before which all stars shall pale and fade
The " Eichmond Examiner " described this device as
" a red field, bestraddled with a long-legged white cross,
in the center of which (the cross) there is a blue Norman
shield, and in the center of that again a Lord Eosse s tele
scope may discover a star of the fifth magnitude, which
is intended to represent a sun." The committee intended
204: ANECDOTES OF THE CIVIL WAR.
the rajs of the sun to correspond in number with the
States composing the Confederacy.
This device was not adopted. Yerily, it was hard to
get away from the stars and stripes the red, white, and
Since the first battle of Bull Eun, the Confederate
armies had been using a battle-flag the origin of which
was thus given by a Southern paper, in March, 1863 :
" We have always thought that General Joseph E. John
ston settled the question of a national flag when he se
lected the blue-spangled saltier upon a red field as his
battle-ensign. It may be recollected that the choice was
made in consequence of the difficulty that had been seri
ously felt, in the first battle of Manassas, in distinguish
ing between the Yankee colors and our own, and at a
time when the two hostile armies were confronting each
other on the plains of Fairfax, with a prospect of a
renewal of the bloody fight at any moment. Haste was
necessary in the preparation of the flags, and secrecy was
also desirable, lest the enemy should discover our change
of colors, and provide themselves with counterfeits to be
basely used for our own destruction. General Johnston s
pattern was thereupon sent to Richmond, and seventy-
five ladies from each one of four or five churches were
set to work making the battle-flags. Their fair fingers
wrought silk and bunting into the prescribed shape and
arrangement of colors ; but, despite the injunction of in
violable confidence, the device was known the subse
quent day all over the capital. How could General John
ston expect four or five hundred female tongues to be
silent on the subject ? No harm was done by the dis
closure, however, and, when next the brave troops of the
Confederacy went into the fight, those flags were seen
dancing in the breeze, the symbol of hope to the defend
ers of our country, wherever the fire was the deadliest
over the crimson field, borne always aloft where follower
and foe might behold it, ever the chosen perch of victory
ere the fight was done. Could these gay little pieces of
the handiwork of the women of Richmond be collected
now, what emotions would not the sight of them awaken,
blackened as they are with the smoke of powder, riddled
with bullets, many of them stained with the blood, the
last drops, that welled up from the heart of a patriot
B A TTLE-FLA G.
A member of the Confederate army wrote : " I was
originally in favor of retaining the old flag, that l star-
spangled banner at whose very name our hearts were
wont to thrill. . . . Then the stars and bars became
our flag, and waved over the heads of our regiments
206 ANECDOTES OF THE CIVIL WAR.
when we first marched to guard the borders of Yirginia.
It retained most of the distinctive features of the old
flag, but was thought to differ from it sufficiently ; but
the first field of Manassas proved that it was a mistake.
The union was the same, the colors were all the same,
and when the flags drooped around the staff on that sul
try day it was impossible to distinguish them. There
was no difficulty, however, when the flags were spread by
the breeze, and I see no reason why the stars and bars
should not still float above all forts, ships, and arsenals
of the Confederacy. But we needed another battle-flag.
Glorious Old Joe willed it, and the Southern Cross rose
brightly in the bloody field among the constellations of
war. It fulfilled all the desiderata of a battle-flag. . . .
Since that time it has become historic. Displayed on a
hundred stricken fields, it has never been dishonored. . . .
Certainly, no soldier desires that Congress should do
what the Yankees have never been able to do take that
flag from us."
A general sentiment had by this time arisen in favor
of the battle-flag, the only objection made to it being
that it could not be reversed as a signal of distress. Gen
eral Beauregard wrote, in April, 1863 : " TVhy change our
battle-flag, consecrated by the best blood of our country
on so many battle-fields ? A good design for the national
flag would be the present battle-flag as union- jack, and
the rest all white, or all blue."
This was the design eventually chosen by the Confed
erate Congress in May, 1863, and was thus described :
" The field to be white ; the length double the width
of the flag, with the union (now used in the battle-flag)
to be a square of two thirds the width of the flag, having
the ground red, thereon a saltier of blue, bordered with
white, and emblazoned with mullets, or five-pointed stars,
corresponding in number to that of the Confederate
Still the red, white, and blue, and the inevitable
Great satisfaction was expressed on all sides at the
adoption of this new flag. An Atlanta (Georgia) paper
said : " The design for a flag for the Confederate States
... is at last decided, and the whole South is satisfied.
In the new flag is preserved the battle-flag the inven
tion of Beauregard and Johnston an invention which
necessity forced upon these Confederate commanders
soon after the battle of Manassas. In addition to this,
there is nothing but the white flag.
" Our old flag always awakens unpleasant reminis
cences ; it bears too striking a resemblance to the emblem
of tyranny, the ( stars and stripes. As it was this resem-
208 ANECDOTES OF THE CIVIL WAR.
blance which caused it at first to be adopted, so also it
was this that caused it to be rejected. . . . We, therefore,
hail our new flag with joy. Every star, every color, is
sacred and endeared to our hearts and to the hearts of our
whole people. . . . The large predominance of the color,
white, can never be mistaken, as alluding to the Christian
leniency with which we have treated our enemies at all
times ; the red battle-flag will tell a tale of the heroism of
our soldiers on which the nations of the earth will hang
with breathless attention."
In November, 1861, an English blockade runner, called
the Fingal, succeeded in getting into Savannah with a
valuable cargo of arms and ammunition. She was pre
vented by the United States vessels from going out again
with a cargo of cotton, as was intended ; and finally was
changed to an iron-clad vessel of war under the name of
the Atlanta. She was deemed by the Confederates to be
their strongest iron-clad.
On the 17th of June, 1863, accompanied by two other
steamers, she ran down to Warsaw Sound, to capture the
United States monitors Weehawken, Captain John Rodg-
ers, and Nahant, Commander John Downes. The two
steamers took on board a gay company of ladies from
Savannah to witness the combat. These vessels were to
tow the monitors, in the event of their capture, in triumph
up to Savannah. The new flag was to have been hoisted
everywhere in the Confederacy on the coming 4th of
July ; but authority was given for its use the first time
by the Atlanta in her contest with the two United States
monitors. The iron-clad was not proof against the tre
mendous shot of the monitors, and in less than half an
hour she surrendered to the Weehawken, which had alone
CONFEDERATE FLAGS. 209
engaged her, the Nahant not even having had time to
come into action. The new Confederate flag which she
was to inaugurate was sent to Washington and hung as a
trophy in the Navy Department at about the same time
the law of the Confederate Congress adopting it went into
At the time of Mr. Jefferson Davis s capture a fresh,
handsome silk regimental flag a veritable star-spangled
banner was found among his effects. Why he had
taken it with him in his flight it is not easy to say ; but
he, too, evidently found it very difficult to get away from
the stars and stripes !
A Union picket one day discovered two Confeder
ates having a black flag, with a white disk in the cen
ter. He watched them until he saw one go for some
water a short distance off, and the flag resting against
a tree. With a sudden dash he overpowered the Con
federate and carried off the flag. This flag was exhibit
ed among the trophies at Washington, and it was amus
ing to see the horror with which visitors regarded it,
accompanied by such exclamations as "A black flag!
So they really did give no quarter! Here is actual
proof of it ! " After enjoying their indignation a little
while, the attendant would explain that this was one
of the system of signal-flags, and was used against a
light-tinted sky so as to be distinctly seen, by contrast,
at a long distance.
The smoke of battle is now all cleared away. Again
" hallowed associations, . . . both at home and abroad,
... in every American breast, cluster around the stars
and stripes " of this nation. And " the Southern States
210 ANECDOTES OF THE CIVIL WAR.
. . . are blest in its privileges, blest in its wide-spread
fraternal love, and equal in the possession of all its com
mon glories, past, present, and prospective." *
A pleasure-trip The programme -Fac-simile of Anderson s dispatch
The flag-raising Festivities News of the President s death.
WHEN it became certain that the end of the Confed
eracy was near at hand, the United States Government
determined to celebrate the anniversary of the fall of
Fort Sumter, Charleston Harbor, by hoisting the Stars
and Stripes, with imposing ceremonies, over the ruins of
the fort. Major Robert Anderson, United States Army,
had evacuated the fort, April 14, 1861, after firing a
salute to his flag. His Confederate adversary, Brigadier-
General Beauregard, had agreed to this in these courteous
terms : " Apprised that you desire the privilege of salut
ing your flag on retiring, I cheerfully concede it, in con
sideration of the gallantry with which you have defended
the place under your charge." And now, on the 14th of
April, 1865, Brigadier-General Robert Anderson was to
have the honor of raising that identical flag over the ruins
of the recaptured fort.
Secretary Stanton issued orders to that effect, as fol
* See letter, page 200.
FORT SUMTER. 211
GENERAL ORDERS, No. 50.
WAR DEPARTMENT, ADJUTANT-GENERAL S OFFICE,
WASHINGTON, March 27, 1865.
Ordered: first. That at the hour of noon, on the
14th day of April, 1865, brevet Major-General Anderson
will raise and plant upon the ruins of Fort Sumter, in
Charleston Harbor, the same United States flag which
floated over the battlements of that fort during the rebel
assault, and which was lowered and saluted by him and
the small force of his command when the works were
evacuated on the 14th day of April, 1861.
Second. That the flag, when raised, be saluted by one
hundred guns from Fort Sumter, and by a national salute
from every fort and rebel battery that fired upon Fort
Third. That suitable ceremonies be had upon the oc
casion, under the direction of Major-General William T.
Sherman, whose military operations compelled the reb
els to evacuate Charleston,* or, in his absence, under the
charge of Major-General Q. A. Gillmore, commanding the
department. Among the ceremonies will be the delivery
of a public address by the Rev. Henry Ward Beecher.
fourth. That the naval forces at Charleston, and their
commander on that station, be invited to participate in
the ceremonies of the occasion.
By order of the President of the United States :
EDWIN M. STANTON, Secretary of War.
E. D. TOWNSEND, Assistant Adjutant- General.
* General Sherman did not stop, in his march north from Savannah, to
make any demonstration against Charleston ; but, as Anderson remarked^
" conquered Charleston by turning his back on it." Sherman s march com
pelled its evacuation by the Confederates.
212 ANECDOTES OF THE CIVIL WAR.
Invitations were sent to such persons as the Secretary
of War designated ; and the splendid steamer Arago, for
merly of the line of Havre packets, but chartered by the
United States as a transport-ship, was employed to convey
the party to Charleston Harbor. She was commanded
by that courteous and able seaman, Captain Gadsden.
Among the guests were, besides Mr. Beecher and Rev.
Dr. Storrs, of Brooklyn, some of the noted orators and
prominent abolitionists of the time.
The Arago sailed from New York April 8th, with
such of the company as were there, and touched at Fort
Monroe, Old Point Comfort, Virginia, for others who
went down from Washington to meet her. The Secre
tary sent me in charge of the excursion, leaving to my
discretion all details necessary to make it successful. I
was much gratified at the notice in one of the newspapers
of New York, by a correspondent aboard, that among
those who joined the ship at Fort Monroe was General
E. D. Townsend, and, " as the representative of the Sec
retary of War, General Townsend thenceforth, and with
entire acceptance, occupied the position of our host."
The ship arrived at Hilton Head, South Carolina, on
the 12th of April. As there were some days to spare,
trips were made to Savannah, Beaufort, and Fort Pulaski.
A number of the party went to Mitchelville, where a sort
of impromptu town had been established for the " f reed-
men," as they began to be styled. At this last place there
was abundance of speech-making. Mr. Beecher preferred
to remain in quiet at Hilton Head, and employed himself
in preparing his address. Finding that there were nu
merous pieces of poetry and other effusions offered for a
part of the ceremonies, and that many persons were de-
FORT SUMTER. 213
sirous of actively participating in them, among whom
were some who went down in the steamer Oceanus, which
they chartered for the trip, I conceived it necessary to
form a programme which should strictly Kmit the per
formances. General Anderson was greatly in favor of
excluding all but the religious feature, but we at last
agreed upon one which apparently proved satisfactory to
the entire assemblage. While the principal parts were
taken by a few, every one had the opportunity of swell
ing the grand chorus to the " Star-spangled Banner," and
joining in the doxology, to the tune of " Old Hundred."
Mr. Joseph H. Sears, the editor of " The New South,"
a paper published at Hilton Head, printed enough copies
of the programme for distribution among the company ;
and also several copies of Mr. Beecher s address for the
representatives of the press. When I asked him for his
bill, he replied, in a note : " I regret that our type and
presses can do no better work. My excuse is, that the
sand, which frequently rises in clouds here and penetrates
even to the sacred precincts of our sanctum sanctorum?
pays no regard to types or presses, and they soon wear
" Allow me to present this job (excuse a printer s term)
to the United States."
This was Mr. Sears s acceptable contribution to the
The programme consisted of
1. A prayer by Eev. Matthias Harris, Chaplain of the
United States Army, who, being at the time chaplain at
Fort Moultrie, accompanied Major Anderson s command
over to Fort Sumter, and made a prayer at the raising of
the flag over that fort, December 27, 1860.
214 ANECDOTES OF THE CIVIL WAR.
2. Reading of several Psalms, antiphonally, by the
Rev. Dr. Storrs and the people.
3. Reading of the following dispatch from Major
Anderson, by brevet Brigadier-General E. D. Townsend :*
f S.syBALTiC.OFF SANDY" HOOK APRL.E KHTEENTH. TEN THIRTY A.M. .VIA
NEWiYORK. 4 HON.S.CAMEROMJ ..SECYiWAR. WASHN? HAV I NC DEFENDED
ORT.JSUMTER FOR THIRTY FOUR HOURS\ UNTIL THE STARTERS WERE EN
riRELY BURNED THE MA-IN GATES DESTROYED BY FIREVTHE GORGE WAULS
SERIOUSLY INJURED.THE MAGAZINE .SURROUNDED BY FLAMES AND ITS
DOOR CLOSED FROM THE EFFECTS I .OF? HEAT., FOUR BARRELLS AN
CARTRIDGES OF POWDER ONLY BE INC AVAILABLE AND NQ PROVISIONS!
REMAINING BUT PORK.I ACCEPTED TERMS OF EVACUATION OFFERED BY,
[GENERAL BEAUREGARD BEINGiON SAME OFFERED BY HIM ON THE ELEV
1NST..PRIOR TO THE COMMENCEMENT OF JHOSTILITIcS ; AND MARCHED
OOT OF THE FORT SUNDAY AFTERNOON THE FOURTEENTH JNST.WITH
COLORS.. FLYING, AND DRUMS BE^AT I NG. BR I NG I NG AWAY COMPANY AND
(PRIVATE, PROPERTV AND SALUTINC-MY FLAG WITH FIFTY GUNS.- ROBERT,
ANDERSON.MAJOR F I R STUART I L LERY". COMMAND I NG
* I well remember the feeling which came over me while reading this
dispatch aloud to General Scott, on its first receipt. It conveyed intelli-
FORT SUMTER. 215
4. Raising the flag, with salutes, and bands playing
5. Singing the " Star-spangled Banner."
6. Address by the Rev. Henry Ward Beecher.
7. Singing the doxology, to the tune " Old Hundred."
8. Closing prayer and benediction by Rev. Dr. R. S.
All things being ready, the company again assembled
on board the Arago, and Thursday evening, the 13th of
April, she left Hilton Head for Charleston Bar. The
next day, Friday (Good Friday !), was so windy, and the
sea was so high, that Captain Gadsden was afraid to ven
ture on the bar, so he came to anchor outside, and trans
ferred his passengers to the small steamer Delaware. The
rolling of both vessels made it a hazardous undertaking
for the ladies ; but, being safely accomplished, it rather
added to the interest of the occasion.
The fort was found to be a perfect mass of ruins.
Hardly any trace of its character, except broken gabions
and shattered casemates, was to be seen. " A large plat
form, diamond-shaped, covered with myrtle, evergreens,
and flowers, had been erected in the center of the parade-
ground, with an arched canopy overhead, draped with the
American flag, and intermingled with beautiful wreaths
gence of the first note of war sounded by the South. They had made their
choice they could have as much of ij as they wished. It was noticed by
my friend Governor Clifford, of Massachusetts, who was present at the
ceremonies in 1865, that my voice assumed a tone of quiet defiance en
tirely unpremeditated as I read the dispatch again on this occasion, and
the association of ideas returned to me.
The original dispatch was printed by Morse s telegraph, and the rib
bon-like strips were pasted on a sheet of paper for better preservation and
convenience. This copy is made from a photograph of the original.
216 ANECDOTES OF THE CIVIL WAR.
of evergreens and flowers. This platform was for Gen
eral Anderson, the orator of the day, and other distin
guished visitors, and was the combined taste of six Union
ladies of Charleston. On the stage, beside the speaker s
stand, was a golden eagle holding a handsome wreath of
flowers and evergreens. The flag-staff, about one hun
dred and fifty feet high, had been erected immediately
in the center of the parade-ground, and the halyards ad
justed by three of the crew of the Juniata, who took
part in the assault on Fort Sumter, ordered by Admiral
Dahlgren, September 9, 1863." *
Those who could not find room on the platform had a
fine view from the parapet, and could distinctly hear, from
their more elevated position.
At the proper time, Major Anderson received the old
flag, packed in the Fort Sumter mail-bag, from Sergeant
Hart, the soldier of Anderson s command who hauled
down the flag. Together, they opened the flag and ad
justed the halyards. At this moment some one handed
to Anderson a bright wreath of roses, which he fastened
to the top of the flag. When all was ready, as soon as he
could control his emotion, Anderson said :
" My friends, and fellow-citizens, and brother soldiers :
By the considerate appointment of the Honorable Secre
tary of War, I am here to fulfill the cherished wish of my
heart through four long, long years of bloody war, to
restore to its proper place this dear flag, which floated
here during peace, before the first act of this cruel re
" I thank God that I have lived to see this day, and
to be here to perform this duty to my country. My heart
* Correspondence of the " Baltimore American."
FORT SUMTER. 217
is filled with gratitude to that God who has so signally
blessed us ; who has given us blessings beyond measure.
" May all the world proclaim, i Glory to God in the
highest ; and on earth peace, good-will toward men.
At the close of these remarks a hearty " Amen ! "
was uttered by many persons standing around.
Anderson then seized the halyards, Sergeant Hart also
passing them through his own hands, while the general s
young son, Robert, held on to the end of them. The flag
was sent up to the peak by Anderson s own hand. He
refused the proffered aid of every one, and seemed deter
mined that his own strength alone should restore " this
dear flag " to its old place, if it were to be the last effort
of his life. The shout which arose, when the halyards
were made fast, must be imagined ; it can scarcely be
described. Then came the booming of the guns from the
fleet, and from half a dozen batteries, and the playing of
several bands vying with each other in rendering the
Mr. Beecher s address, which followed, was very able
and eloquent. As might have been expected, it de
nounced the rebellion in strong terms, and exulted in the
fruits of liberty to the slave which the contest had secured.
But it breathed a spirit of conciliation, which his sermon
before his congregation, just prior to his departure from
Brooklyn, had foreshadowed. He held the leaders of se
cession responsible, yet had no vengeance to execute upon
them ; while, for the mass of the people, he had naught
but fraternal greeting. At Brooklyn he had said : "If
I had my way after the close of fighting, I would not let
one drop of blood be spilled, and then I could say to the
world that this great civil war has been ended as none
218 ANECDOTES OF THE CIVIL WAR.
other ever was. Ought there not to be a terrible spec
tacle of retribution i say some. In Mercy s name, has
there not been suffering enough ? Is not the penalty al
ready paid ? God s vengeance patent enough ? We don t
want any more vengeance. I would not expatriate any
leaders on the ground of vengeance, for, as they have once
misled the people, they might do so again. I would not
expatriate and disfranchise them. . . . And more : we
wish now to show the South their total misapprehension
of our former sentiments. Their cunning politicians have
made them believe that we hate them ; but we don t. . . .
There are no antagonistic interests between the North and
the South. Religion, blood, business, are the same ; and,
if there are no social or political reasons for hatred, why
should we not be the best of friends ? "
At Sumter he said : " But for the people misled, for
the multitudes drafted and driven into this civil war, let
not a trace of animosity remain. The moment their will
ing hand drops the musket, and they return to their alle
giance, then stretch out your honest right hand to greet
them. Recall to them the old days of kindness. Our
hearts wait for their redemption. All the resources of a
renovated nation shall be applied to rebuild their pros
perity and smooth down the furrows of war. . . . We
are not seeking our own aggrandizement by impoverish
ing the South. Its prosperity is an indispensable element
of our own. We have shown, by all that we have suffered
in war, how great is our estimate of the importance of
the Southern States of this Union ; and we will measure
that estimate now, in peace, by still greater exertions for
After the ceremonies at the fort, the company went
FORT SUMTER. 219
up to Charleston, where two or three days were spent in
visiting the various parts of the city, and viewing with
mournful interest the ravages of fires and of cannonad
ing. In the evening of the 14th the fleet was brilliantly
illuminated, and fire- works were displayed from the ships
and monitors. An entertainment was given by General
Gillmore at the Charleston Hotel, at which eloquent
speeches were made by General Holt, Hon. W. D. Kelly,
of Pennsylvania, Daniel Dougherty, George Thompson,
"William Lloyd Garrison, and others. Tributes were paid
by all to him who, at about that hour, fell before the
hand of an assassin in the nation s capital.
The Arago sailed for New York Saturday evening,
April 15th, Mr. Beecher and some of his immediate party
remaining behind. As the ship neared the Capes, several
gentlemen requested me to telegraph to the Secretary of
War for permission to wind up our delightful excursion
by making a trip to Richmond. Richmond was in pos
session of United States troops when we left, and we had
heard of Lee s surrender just as we were about to land
at Fort Sumter. I went below, and was in the act of
writing the telegram, to be sent from Old Point Comfort,
when some one rushed down the gangway, exclaiming,
" The President has been shot by an assassin ! " The
news had been received from a vessel which passed us as
we were going in between the Capes. Of course, this
put an end to all thought of further pleasure excursions,
and we made the best of our way back to Washington.
Mr. Beecher had said in his address on that fatal Good
Friday, " We offer to the President of these United
States our solemn congratulations that God has sustained
his life and health under the unparalleled burdens and
220 ANECDOTES OF THE CIVIL WAR.
sufferings of four bloody years, and permitted him to
behold this auspicious consummation of that national
unity for which he has waited with so much patience and
fortitude, and for which he has labored with so much dis
And, probably within the same hour in which the
awful deed was committed, General Anderson had offered
in the festive hall this sentiment : " I beg you, now, that
you will join me in drinking the health of another man,
whom we all love to honor the man who, when elected
President of the United States, was compelled to reach
the seat of government without an escort, but a man who
now could travel all over our country with millions of
hands and hearts to sustain him. I give you the good,
the great, the honest man, Abraham Lincoln."
And this was the sequel : " The President has been
shot by an assassin ! "
THE FUNEKAL OF PRESIDENT LINCOLN.
Unparalleled grief Guard of honor Funeral-train Lying in state
Mottoes and floral tributes Imposing demonstrations The veteran
Scott " Come home " At the tomb A long farewell.
THE funeral of Abraham Lincoln ! How can justice
be done to the theme ? The obsequies, continued through
sixteen days and sixteen nights, of the man whose ruthless
taking off called forth the sympathies of people and their
rulers in every clime ! The official expressions of horror
and grief, received by the United States Government
THE FUNERAL OF PRESIDENT LINCOLN. 221
from every known country in the world, alone fill a quarto^
volume of nine hundred and thirty pages.
As soon as news of the President s death was received,
places of business and amusement were closed, houses
were draped in mourning, and meetings were held at
which resolutions were passed, everywhere. Of all the
events of the war, none had produced such general and
History has no parallel to the outpouring of sorrow
which followed the funeral cortege on its route from
Washington to Springfield, Illinois. Hundreds of thou
sands of men, women, and children, crowded the highways
and streets, by day and by night, to do reverence to those
mortal remains ; and not a smile or sign of levity was
seen among them all. Often would they kneel, as the
funeral-car passed them, with heads bowed as if in silent
prayer. Many wept in quiet, but none betrayed the
slightest mark of unconcern. The shocking deed by
which the President had been taken from his people
seemed to intensify their love and veneration for his
The President died at. about half-past seven, the morn
ing of April 15, 1865.* His remains lay in state in the
East-Room of the Executive Mansion from Tuesday the
18th till two o clock Wednesday the 19th, and were viewed
by a very large number of citizens. On Wednesday a
civic and military procession conducted them to the Capi
tol, where they reposed in state in the Rotunda during
that day, and till late at night the next. The ceremonies
* Most of the incidents in this account were recalled to memory by a
scrap-book made up of slips from the newspapers of the day, which accu
rately described the scenes at each place by which the cortege passed.
222 ANECDOTES OF THE CIVIL WAR.
at the Mansion and at the Capitol were of the most im
The Secretary of War detailed as a guard of honor to
accompany the remains to Springfield
Brevet Brigadier-General E. D. TOWNSEND, Assistant
Adjutant-General, to represent the Secretary of War.
Brigadier-General A. B. EATON, Commissary-General
Brevet Major-General J. G. BARNARD, Lieutenant-
Colonel of Engineers.
Brigadier-General G. D. EAMSAY, Ordnance Depart
Brigadier-General A. P. HOWE, Chief of Artillery.
Brevet Brigadier-General JAMES A. EKIN, Quarter
master s Department.
Brevet Brigadier-General D. C. McCALLUM, Superin
tendent of Military Kailroads.
Major-General DAVID HUNTER, U. S. Volunteers.
Brigadier-General J. C. CALDWELL, U. S. Volunteers,
and twenty-five picked men, sergeants of the Veteran
Reserve Corps, who acted, always, as bearers.
The Secretary of the Navy completed the list of
twelve officers by detailing
Rear- Admiral CHARLES HENRY DAVIS, Chief of the
Bureau of Navigation.
Captain WILLIAM ROGERS TAYLOR, U. S. Navy, and
Major THOMAS Y. FIELD, U. S. Marine Corps.
At the request of the Secretary of War, Governor
John Brough, of Ohio, and John W. Garrett, Esq., Presi
dent of the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad, arranged a
time-table and prepared regulations for the movements
of the funeral-train. The time for arriving at and depart-
THE FUNERAL OF PRESIDENT LINCOLN. 223
ure from each city was thereby fixed. General McCal-
lum was given military control of the train ; Captain C.
B. Penrose was detailed as commissary ; Captain J. P.
Dukehart, the veteran and efficient conductor, accompa
nied the train to Springfield. Invitations to take seats
in the passenger cars of the train were issued to a few
persons, among them the late President s pastor, Rev.
Dr. Gurley. Some of these gentlemen accompanied it
the whole way ; others joined, and left it, at points along
the route. The proper preservation of the body, which
had been embalmed, was intrusted to the embalmer and
Two elegant cars were provided, one for the funeral-
car, the other for the guard of honor, and six others
were attached to the train for the mourners. The funeral-
car was heavily draped, within and without, with black,
while silver stars and tassels relieved the somber festoons.
This car was divided into three parts, a sleeping-apart
ment in the center, and a sitting room at each end. The
coffin containing the President s remains rested on a bier
covered with black drapery, in the room at the rear. The
body of his little son Willie, who died in Washington in
1862, was placed in the front room, that it might be in
terred with his father s in Springfield.
The President s remains, escorted by a military com
mand, and followed by the Cabinet and other distin
guished personages, were moved to the Baltimore and
Ohio depot, where they were received by the guard of
honor. The train started on its mournful journey at
eight o clock A. M., Friday, April 21, 1865, preceded by a
pilot-engine to guard against accident.
The depots everywhere were draped in mourning, and
224: ANECDOTES OF THE CIVIL WAR.
many had mottoes conspicuously displayed. In more than
one the motto was " Washington the Father, Lincoln the
Saviour of the Country." * The cities vied with each
other in the elegance with which their buildings, public
and private, were draped. Crowds thronged the depots
and streets, but there was no jostling, no noise ; all was
solemn and sad.
In every city where the remains were exposed to view,
a guard of honor was selected to be present while the
crowd passed through the hall. This was a relief to the
regular guard, as only two of them at a time had to be
present. But there was never a moment throughout the
whole journey when at least two of this guard were not
by the side of the coffin. No bearers, except the veteran
guard, were ever suffered to handle the President s
At the Relay House the train was detained a few
minutes to permit a party of ladies to lay some beautiful
floral tributes upon the bier. This was the first of those
tender exhibitions of feeling which were afterward so
At Baltimore, where the train arrived at ten o clock
A. M., the Governor, Lieutenant-Go vernor, State and city
officials were in waiting. An imposing procession was
formed. The President s coffin, borne by the guard of
Veteran Eeserve sergeants, was placed in a beautiful
hearse, and taken to the Rotunda of the Exchange, where
a catafalque had been erected immediately under the
dome. All around the catafalque were tastefully ar-
* An elegant medallion, bearing the bust of Washington on one side and
of Lincoln on the other, was struck off in gold and in silver, at the Mint in
Philadelphia. This was worn as a badge by several of the guard of honor.
THE FUNERAL OF PRESIDENT LINCOLN. 225
ranged evergreens, wreaths, calla-lilies, and other choice
flowers. The coffin was opened so as to display the face
and bust to view, and arrangements were made so that
the crowd of citizens, eager for one parting look, could
pass through without confusion.
The schedule required a departure from Baltimore at
three o clock p. M. The procession was accordingly re
formed in time, and moved to the Northern Central De
pot, en route to Harrisburg, Pennsylvania.
At York a beautiful wreath was placed on the coffin
by some ladies.
At Harrisburg, which was reached at a little past
eight o clock p. M., a driving rain and the darkness of
the evening prevented the reception which had been
arranged. Slowly through the muddy streets, followed
by two of the guard of honor and the faithful ser
geants, the hearse wended its way to the Capitol. There
the remains were exposed to view until eleven o clock
A. M., Saturday the 21st, when a very large procession
escorted them to the depot. Guns were fired and bells
tolled through the morning, and trains came in from the
surrounding country, laden with people who sought to do
honor to the occasion.
Leaving Harrisburg at noon, the train soon reached
Middletown, where a large crowd was gathered. The
cars passed into the depot under an arch of evergreens,
while national flags draped in mourning were fluttering
At Elizabethtown a large flag was suspended from the
depot, to which was affixed the motto, "We mourn a
nation s loss." At Mount Joy, and all along the road,
large numbers of people were congregated, the country
226 ANECDOTES OF TEE CIVIL WAR.
people flocking to neighboring towns, or to the line of
At Lancaster the crowd was enormous. The depot
was decorated with flags and crape ; and in large letters
was the motto : " Abraham Lincoln, the illustrious mar
tyr of liberty. The nation mourns his loss. Though
dead, he still lives."
The " Philadelphia Inquirer " said : " At the outskirts
we found the force of the Lancaster Iron- Works in line
along the road, with uplifted hats, and their buildings
draped. They paid their last tribute to the patriot and
statesman. Near the track, in many places, we found old
men had been carried down in their chairs, and women
with infants held out to see the cortege pass, formed at
times groups seldom if ever witnessed."
And so it was with all the towns and villages. Busi
ness was stopped, and all the people crowded to see the
Arriving at Philadelphia at half-past six p. M., a
dense crowd received us with every manifestation of
grief. With a magnificent escort and procession, the
hearse was conducted through Independence Square
which was illuminated with calcium-lights to Inde
pendence Hall. In that spot, on the 22d of February,
1861, Abraham Lincoln had uttered these words : " It
was something in the * Declaration of Independence,
giving liberty, not only to the people of this country,
but hope to the world for all future time. . . . Now,
my friends, can the country be saved upon that basis?
If it can, I will consider myself one of the happiest
men in the world if I can help to save it. But, if this
country can not be saved without giving up that prin-
THE FUNERAL OF PRESIDENT LINCOLN. 227
ciple, I was about to say, I would rather be assassinated
upon this spot than to surrender it."
And now his lifeless body had come to make that
Words can but faintly portray the elegant taste with
which the historic old hall was draped and decorated
with floral offerings that hall to whose legends another
of intense interest was now added. The skilled pen of
the u Inquirer " shall again lend us its aid :
"A magnificent floral device,* composed of a large
wreath of brilliant-colored flowers, and containing a beau
tiful shield in the center, also composed of choice flow
ers, occupied a prominent position on the lid of the coffin.
This wreath bore the following inscription :
" Presented by the ladies of York, Pennsylvania, to
be laid on the body of our lamented President if pos
" At the head of the coffin was suspended a highly
wrought cross, composed of japonicas, with a center con
sisting of jet-black exotics. The device contained the
following inscription :
" To the memory of our beloved President, from a
few ladies of the United States Sanitary Commission.
" On the old Independence bell, and near the head of
the coffin, rested a large and beautifully made floral an
chor, composed of the choicest exotics. This beautiful
offering came from the ladies of St. Clement s Church.
Four stands, two at the head and two at the foot of the
coffin, were draped in black cloth, and contained rich
candelabra, with lighted wax-candles. Directly to the
* Most of the decorations were deposited in the rooms of the Historical
Society after the ceremonies were over.
228 ANECDOTES OF THE CIVIL WAR.
rear of these were placed three additional stands, also
containing candelabras with burning tapers ; and again,
another row of four stands, containing candelabras also,
brought up the rear, making in all eighteen candelabras
and one hundred and eight burning wax-tapers.
" Between this flood of light, shelving was erected,
on which were placed rare vases filled with japonicas,
heliotropes, and other rare flowers. These vases were
about twenty-five in number.
" A most delicious perfume stole through every part
of the hall, which, added to the soft yet brilliant light of
the wax-tapers, the elegant uniforms of the officers on
duty, etc., constituted a scene of Oriental magnificence
but seldom witnessed.
" The hall at large was completely shrouded with
black cloth, arranged in a very graceful and appropriate
manner. The old chandelier that hangs from the center
of the room, and which was directly over the coffin of
the deceased, was entirely covered, and from it radiated
in every direction festoons of black cloth, forming a sort
of canopy over the entire room. The walls of the room
presented the appearance of having been papered with
black. . . . The statue of Washington, at the east end of
the room, stood out in bold relief against the background.
"Wreaths of immortelles were hung on the black drapery
that covered the walls, and were placed about midway
between the floor and ceiling.
" One of the wreaths that lay near the head of the
coffin contained a card bearing the following inscription :
" i Before any great national event I have always had
the same dream. I had it the other night. It is of a
ship sailing rapidly?
THE FUNERAL OF PRESIDENT LINCOLN. 229
" These words were used by Mr. Lincoln in conversa
tion not long since.
" A beautiful wreath was presented on Saturday even
ing, containing the following :
" A lady s gift. Can you find a place ?
" A balustrade was erected on either side of the coffin,
which acted as a barrier to the throng that pressed in to
see the remains, and prevented them from approaching
too closely to the coffin.*
" An incident, humble in its character, yet not with
out its due effect, took place while the hall was being
placed in readiness for the reception of the remains. An
old negro woman managed by some means to effect an
entrance into the sacred inclosure, and approached the
committee of arrangements with a rudely made wreath
in her hand, which she requested, with tears in her eyes,
might be placed on the coffin of the deceased. The
wreath contained the motto :
" The nation mourns his loss. lie still lives in the
hearts of the people.
" The old woman s heart beat with delight when she
was informed that her offering should be placed in an
" A beautiful full-length portrait of Mr. Lincoln was
placed in front of the State -House, and covered with
black cloth so closely that the figure alone was exposed
to view. A curtain was drawn over the painting, which
was thrown aside just as the body was about being taken
into Independence Hall, wiien it was brilliantly illumi-
* There was a desire not unfrequently expressed, and in some cases
amounting almost to insanity, to touch the face, as if virtue would flow
from the contact.
230 ANECDOTES OF THE CIVIL WAS.
nated. A motto composed of gas-jets, surmounted the
portrait, containing the words
" Rest in peace. "
It was estimated that over two hundred thousand
people passed through Independence Hall between ten
o clock Saturday evening and one o clock A. M. Monday.
Double lines, extending three miles, were formed of per
sons waiting their turn to enter the hall. The entrances
were through windows facing Independence Square. In
the crowd were hundreds of colored people. One aged
colored woman, after gazing a moment at the silent fea
tures, threw up her hands, the tears coursing down her
cheeks, and exclaimed in audible tones: "O Abraham
Lincoln ! he is dead ! he is dead ! " Precisely at mid
night, Saturday, three ladies entered the hall and de
posited on the coffin a cross of perfectly white flowers,
to which a card was fastened with a white ribbon, bear
ing this inscription :
"A tribute to our great and good President, who has
fallen a martyr to the cause of human freedom.
6 In my hand no price I bring,
Simply to thy cross I cling. :
Although the hour of departure from Philadelphia
was so early, the crowd was in no wise diminished.
Many mothers held their infants above the heads of the
multitude, as if to place it in their power to say in after
life, " I saw President Lincoln s funeral."
At four o clock A.M., the train was on its way for
At Jersey City admirable arrangements had been
made ; and the Secretary of State of New York there
received the remains, on behalf of the State. As the
THE FUNERAL OF PRESIDENT LINCOLN. 231
hearse moved out of the depot to go on board the ferry
boat, a dirge was sung by a chorus of two hundred voices.
As the boat entered the dock at New York, guns were
tired and bells tolled. The nags of the shipping hung
at half-staff. The New York Seventh Regiment that
regiment which had given President Lincoln so much
relief by its arrival in Washington in April, 1861 now
formed the escort for his remains to the City Hall.
The locality chosen for the body to repose, in the City
Hall, was the most convenient for the purpose of any on
the whole route. The ascent from the ground-floor to
the room of the City Council was by two flights of stone
stairs, on one side of the large circular rotunda. There
was but one step from the platform at the top of the
stairs to the passage, or entry, leading to the Council-
chamber. By placing a dais, slightly inclined from head
to foot, just within the entry, persons ascending one flight
of steps would have a perfect view of the features while
crossing the platform to descend by the other flight. Thus,
a constant stream of people entered one door, viewed the
body without stopping, and left the rotunda by another
The interior of the rotunda was draped from the
ground to the cupola ; and an arch of black cloth was
formed over the entrance to the Council-room passage,
beneath which the dais lay.
Probably more than half a million souls passed across
that platform while the doors remained open. Among
them, all classes and conditions of men, women, and
children were represented. Of them all, none paid a
more sincere homage than did the poor Irishwoman, who,
as she hastily passed, laid a small cross of evergreen at
232 ANECDOTES OF THE CIVIL WAR.
the foot of the coffin, fervently ejaculating, "God pre
serve your soul ! "
A grand feature of the New York ceremonies was
the procession which followed the funeral-car to the depot
on its way to Albany, on the afternoon of Tuesday, the
25th. It was composed of from fifty to seventy thousand
parsons on foot. The " Herald" said :
." The procession included not only the military, the
firemen, the trades societies, and the benevolent and
other associations, but also many citizens who never
marched through our streets before in honor of any man,
or any occasion. Remarkable upon this account, it was no
less remarkable on account of its unanimity all classes,
conditions, creeds, and politics joining in it with a com
mon, sympathetic impulse.
" Certainly New York city eclipsed herself upon this
occasion, and appropriately represented the universal sen
timent of the country. In solemn silence, unbroken by
the slightest expression of applause at the drill of the sol
diery or by the appearance of various popular men and
societies, the mournful pageant moved through miles of
magnificent dwellings hung with black; and, when the
impressive ceremonies were over, the vast assemblage dis
persed so quickly and quietly that in a couple of hours no
trace of its existence remained."
And so the grand procession passed on, minute-guns
firing, bells tolling, chimes sounding dirges. There was
no standing-place left on the sidewalks, heads were uncov
ered, and not so much as a smile was seen. At the win
dows of the draped dwellings stood hosts of ladies with
handkerchiefs to their eyes ; and not even the children
seemed tempted by curiosity to strain for a better view.
THE FUNERAL OF PRESIDENT LINCOLN. 233
"When not far from the Hudson Eiver Depot, the
coupe of General Scott was descried drawn up by the
sidewalk. I immediately alighted, and, after greeting my
old commander, conducted his vehicle to a place in the
procession. Though pale and feeble, he insisted on
walking into the depot, and paying his parting respects
to the deceased President.
The line of the Hudson River road seemed alive
with people. At each of the towns by which it passes,
the darkness of night was relieved by torches, which
revealed the crowds there assembled. At Hudson, where
the train arrived at midnight, elaborate preparations had
been made. Beneath an arch hung with black and white
drapery and evergreen wreaths, was a tableau represent
ing a coffin resting upon a dais; a female figure in
white, mourning over the coffin ; a soldier standing at
one end and a sailor at the other. While a band of
young women dressed in white sang a dirge, two others
in black entered the funeral-car, placed a beautiful floral
device on the President s coffin, then knelt for a moment
in silence, and quietly withdrew. This whole scene was
one of the most weird ever witnessed, its solemnity being
intensified by the somber lights of torches, at that dead
hour of night.
It was long after midnight when the coffin was placed
in the State Capitol at Albany. Yet the stream of visit
ors began the instant the doors could be thrown open.
Governor Fenton and staff received the remains at the
depot and escorted them to the Capitol. The city was
profusely decorated with mourning. Among the many
mottoes displayed from the buildings was an extract
from one of Mr. Lincoln s addresses :
234 ANECDOTES OF THE CIVIL WAR
" Let us resolve that our martyred dead shall not have
died in vain."
At four o clock p. M., "Wednesday the 26th, the train
again started on its journey, and wended its way in the
night toward Buffalo, passing through Eochester at
about a quarter past three o clock A.M. Ten thousand
people were out to receive it. The mayor, common
council, military and civic organizations, were in line at
the depot. The sounds of martial music and of bells
tolling were heard till we were far beyond the depot.
At Batavia, at a quarter past five A. M., a concourse
had assembled, and, during the short stay in the depot
there, a choir of male and female voices chanted a requi
em, while minute-guns were firing and bells tolling.
At Herkimer, among the numerous assemblage was a
large band of ladies dressed in white, with black sashes,
each holding a draped miniature national flag.
At Little Falls, some ladies laid upon the coffin a
large cross and wreath of flowers.
At Utica, bands played dirges, bells were tolled, and
Arriving at Syracuse near midnight, a hard rain did
not deter over thirty thousand people from turning out
to witness the passing of the train, with torches and bon
fires, bells and cannon.
At Batavia, ex-President Fill more and several other
distinguished citizens from Buffalo came to join the
mourners. Arriving at Buffalo at seven o clock A. M.,
the 27th, an imposing procession escorted the remains
to St. James Hall. At this city every arrangement was
of the most perfect character. In the hall, a canopy
of crape, extending from the floor to the ceiling, was ar-
THE FUNERAL OF PRESIDENT LINCOLN. 235
ranged for the reception of the coffin. A brilliant light
was thrown upon it from a large chandelier, whose rays
dimly lighted the rest of the hall. Just before the coffin
was opened, the St. Cecilia Society sang a dirge, while
all others present stood around in solemn silence. The
Mayor and Council of Rochester came to offer their trib
ute of respect. The crowd of visitors, though immense,
was perfectly orderly, and cheerfully yielded to the efforts
of officers who volunteered for the occasion, and the city
police, in preventing undue pressure and confusion. Thus
everything passed off without the least accident. Here
we first received intelligence of the capture and death of
Booth, the assassin.
As the President s remains went farther westward,
where the people more especially claimed him as their
own, the intensity of feeling seemed if possible to grow
deeper. The night journey of the 27th and 28th was all
through torches, bonfires, mourning drapery, mottoes, and
solemn music. Leaving Buffalo at ten o clock in the even
ing of the 27th, Cleveland was reached at seven o clock
the next morning.
At Cleveland, committees were formed to make every
possible arrangement in the most elaborate manner. There
being no building thought suitable for the purpose, a su
perb canopy, thirty-six feet long, twenty-four broad, and
fourteen high, was erected in the Public Square. The
roof was supported by pillars, and the ends were open, so as
to admit of a large crowd passing in at one end and emerg
ing at the other. No device that skill and good taste could
conceive was omitted in the construction of this temporary
resting-place for the revered remains. It was surmounted
by a scroll between two poles, bearing the inscription,
ANECDOTES OF THE CIVIL WAR.
" Extinctus amdbitur idem" For the evening, the struc
ture was lighted by gas-jets. The dais was higher at the
head than at the foot, so that the remains were in view
from the moment of entering the canopy. So great was
the influx of persons from the neighboring towns and
country, that hundreds were unable to find a resting-place
for the night.*
Solemn religious services, including the singing of
hymns, were conducted at the canopy by the Right Rev.
C. P. Mcllvaine, Bishop of Ohio. Except that a rain
prevailed through the day, nothing occurred to inter
fere with the melancholy interest of this most solemn
scene. An immense procession conducted the remains,
at midnight, between two lines of torch-lights to the
There was an interesting " special feature about the
running of the train from Erie to Cleveland," which was
recorded in one of the daily papers. " As far as possible,
everything connected with the train was the same as on
the occasion of Mr. Lincoln s going East over that road
in 1861. The locomotive the William Case was the
same. The engineer, William Congden, was dead, and
the engine was run by John Benjamin. The fireman, in
1861, George Martin, was an engineer, but asked and ob
tained the privilege of again acting as fireman on that
train. The same conductor, E. D. Page, had control of
the train. Superintendent Henry Nottingham, as before,
had the complete management."
The next resting-place was at Columbus, Ohio, where
for twelve hours, Saturday, the 29th, streams of people
* To a gentleman, a stranger to me, who kindly lent me his room at a
hotel, I was indebted for fifteen hours unbroken sleep, to bring up arrears.
THE FUNERAL OF PRESIDENT LINCOLN. 237
viewed the body lying in state.* Here the rear of the
escorting procession was brought up by colored Masons.
Another night was spent on the way from Columbus
to Indianapolis, Indiana, which was reached at seven
o clock Sunday morning, the 30th. Of course, every other
pursuit was set aside for this great occasion. It was the
first Sunday we had spent on the way since leaving Phil
adelphia, and never was a Sabbath more hallowed by a
universal consent of the people in their demonstration of
At midnight the route was resumed for Chicago.
While the darkness prevailed, the approach to every town
was made apparent by bonfires, torches, and music, while
crowds of people formed an almost unbroken line. One
of the most effective scenes was at Michigan City, where
the train stopped for a few minutes, at half -past eight
o clock A. M., the first day of May. A succession of
arches, beautifully trimmed with white and black, with
evergreens and flowers, and with numerous flags and por
traits of the President, was formed over the railway-track.
Many mottoes were displayed from different parts of the
structure ; among them
" Abraham Lincoln, the noblest martyr of freedom,
sacred thy dust ; hallowed thy resting-place."
" The purposes of the Almighty are perfect, and must
* While at Columbus I received a note from a lady, wife of one of the
principal citizens, accompanying a little cross made of wild violets. The
note said that the writer s little girls had gone to the woods in the early
morning and gathered the flowers with which they had wrought the cross.
They desired it might be laid on little Willie s coffin, " they felt so sorry
238 ANECDOTES OF THE CIVIL WAR.
Near the arches was a group of sixteen maidens dressed
in white and black, who sweetly sang " Old Hundred."
Another group, in white, surrounded a central figure rep
resenting America. They stood upon a platform deco
rated with flowers, and each held in her hand a small flag.
This was a striking tableau. A party of sixteen ladies,
headed by a niece of Speaker Colfax, entered the car and
placed flowers on the coffin.
The train arrived at Chicago at eleven o clock A. M.,
May 1st. Here the most elaborate preparations had been
made. The decorations were profuse and of the most
costly description. A magnificent arch spanned the street
where the coffin was taken from the car, and under this
the body rested while a dirge was sung by a numerous
band of ladies dressed in white, with black scarfs. Mean
time the grand procession was formed in line, and the
march commenced. Nearly every dwelling on Michigan
Avenue, which was on the route, was dressed with mourn
ing, and many displayed touching mottoes. One gentle
man, who had accompanied the train from Washington,
telegraphed to have conspicuously placed on the front of
" Mournfully, tenderly bear him to his rest."
He told me these words were suggested by the really
tender care with which the Yeteran sergeants always
the bearers lifted and carried their charge.
The rotunda of the court-house was the place cho
sen for the remains to lie in state. It was decorated
without and within with every possible tasteful com
bination of black velvet, white muslin, silver stars and
fringe, wreaths of white flowers, and mottoes, such as
THE FUNERAL OF PRESIDENT LINCOLN. 239
" The beauty of Israel is slain upon thy high places."
" Illinois clasps to her bosom her slain but glorified
A canopy supported by four pillars was raised over
the catafalque, which lay directly under the dome. Nu
merous lights were so distributed as to throw their con
centrated rays through the drapery upon the coffin. A
marble eagle, with flags gracefully festooned around it,
stood on a velvet pedestal at the head of the coffin.
The remains were here displayed from early after
noon, all through the night, and until eight o clock the
following evening. At intervals a choir sang selections
from oratorios, and other choice solemn music. It seemed
as if Milwaukee and all the country within many miles
of Chicago must have been quite deserted, so great was
the concourse at the latter city.
The cortege left Chicago, the last stopping-place be
fore Springfield, at half-past nine o clock p. M. As usual,
night was forgotten by the people in their anxiety to
show all possible respect for him whom they expected ;
and bonfires and torches threw their uncertain light upon
mourning emblems which were destined to stand in their
places as memorials for weeks to come. At Lockport
the motto was seen on one house
" Come home."
It rained at Joliet, and it was midnight ; but, just the
same, ten thousand persons were gathered at the depot.
Here was an illuminated portrait, with the motto :
" Champion, defender, and martyr of liberty."
The train passed under an arch, while sweet voices sang,
" There is rest for thee in heaven."
24:0 ANECDOTES OF THE CIVIL WAR.
At Lincoln, a place named for the President, and in
which he had felt much interest, an arch was erected over
the track, on which was a portrait with the motto :
" With malice for none, with charity for all."
There was not a single place on the whole route where
some touching demonstration was not made.
At last, at nine o clock A. M., Wednesday, May 3d, we
reached Springfield, the home of Abraham Lincoln at the
time he was elected President of the United States.
Those who claimed him as their own would naturally
exhaust their powers of contrivance to make this last
reception worthy of the deep affection and pride which
they entertained for him more than for any other man
who ever lived. A large procession, in which were many
of the most distinguished men in the land, escorted the
body, which was conveyed in a splendid hearse, brought
for the purpose from St. Louis, drawn by six black
In the Representative Hall of the Capitol the cata
falque was erected. The handsome building was uniquely
draped on the outside, and the decoration of the hall was
very handsome. Conspicuous on the walls were seen the
" Sooner than surrender this principle,
I would be assassinated on the spot."
" Washington the Father, Lincoln the Saviour."
Perhaps a more than usual display of grief was ap
parent among the multitudes who here visited the re
mains. It was truly the hall of mourning. It seemed
hard for these, his old-time neighbors and friends, to
realize the dreadful fact that he had come back to them
THE FUNERAL OF PRESIDENT LINCOLN. 241
in this guise; and still harder that all that was left of
him must, in a few brief hours, be closed from their view
forever. Springfield had become classic ground. The
President s law-office, his old residence, and the one he
occupied until his departure for Washington, were freely
thrown open to the thousands eager to see the places
which had known him, and should know him no more.
In the morning of Thursday, the 4th of May, the
doors of the hall were closed to all save the guard of
honor, who stood around while the undertaker and em-
balmer renewed some of the trimmings of the coffin,
cleansed the dress and face, and reverently sealed the
coffin-lid. At this moment a little rose-bud attached to
a geranium-leaf, which a woman had dropped upon the
body at Buffalo, was found nestling directly over the
The procession moved at about noon for the beautiful
Oak Ridge Cemetery, just outside the city. A fine horse
which had belonged to Mr. Lincoln was led immediately
behind the hearse. Military and civic organizations had
arrived since the morning of the 3d, to swell the pa
geant. The ceremonies at the tomb were surpassingly
grand and impressive. The vault, of Joliet limestone,
was at the foot of a knoll, surrounded by noble trees.
The interior of the vault was lined with black velvet,
covered with green sprigs of cedar. In the center was
a brick foundation, with white-marble top, for the coffin.
Little Willie s coffin was deposited near by. A chorus
of male voices sang the " Dead March in Saul," as the
President s remains were laid to rest. Then began the
religious services. First, singing a dirge ; next, reading
selections from Scripture, and prayer; then, singing a
242 ANECDOTES OF THE CIVIL WAR.
hymn ; then, reading of the President s last inaugural,
in which occurs that oft-quoted passage, "With malice
toward none, with charity for all, with firmness in the
right, as God gives us to see the right, let us strive on to
finish the work we are in." The choir then sang a dirge ;
after which Bishop Simpson, of the Methodist Episcopal
Church, delivered a funeral address. The ceremonies
were concluded with another dirge, and then prayer
and benediction, by the President s Washington pastor,
Rev. Dr. Gurley.
The door of the vault was then locked and the key
confided to Mr. Stuart, of Springfield, who was desig
nated by Captain Robert Lincoln to receive it. The
guard of honor having thus surrendered their trust, be
gan to realize how closely their interest had centered
upon this object which, for twelve days and twelve nights,
had scarcely for one moment been out of their sight.
Thus closed this marvelous exhibition of a great na
tion s deep grief. It seemed as though for once the
spirit of hospitality and of all Christian graces had taken
possession of every heart in every place. Not one un
toward event can be recalled. Every citizen rivaled his
neighbor in making kindly provision for the comfort of
the funeral company while in their midst. Unstinted
hospitality was not forgotten in the exceeding pains taken
with the public displays. Mr. Lincoln, on his way from
Springfield to Washington in 1861, had passed through
all the cities where now his mortal remains had rested for
a few hours on their way home. At the principal places
he had had enthusiastic public receptions. There could
not now be wanting many sad contrasts in the memories
of those who had participated in the first ovations to the
THE FUNERAL OF PRESIDENT LINCOLN. 243
new President, and who now remained to behold the last
of him on earth. Can there be imagined one item want
ing to perfect this grandest of human dramas ? It is en
tire ; it is sublime !
On the llth of February, 1861, on departing from
Springfield, Mr. Lincoln said to his neighbors, gathered
to take leave of him :
" My friends, no one not in my position can appre
ciate the sadness I feel at this parting. To this people I
owe all that I am. Here I have lived more than a quarter
of a century ; here my children were born, and here one
of them lies buried. I know not how soon I shall see
you again. A duty devolves upon me which is, perhaps,
greater than that which has devolved upon any other
man since the days of Washington. He never would
have succeeded except for the aid of Divine Providence,
upon which he at all times relied. I feel that I can not
succeed without the same aid which sustained him, and
on the same Almighty Being I place my reliance for sup
port ; and I hope you, my friends, will all pray that I
may receive that Divine assistance without which I can
not succeed, but with which success is certain. Again I
bid you all an affectionate farewell."
It was a long a last farewell. Let the world s verdict
say, were those prayers answered ?
244 ANECDOTES OF THE CIVIL WAR.
THE GKAND REVIEWS.
A vast camp War-worn veterans The Bummer Brigade Final discharge.
THE war was over. The nation was in mourning for
its President. The soldiers who had triumphed under
him as commander-in-chief were to disperse to their
homes and resume the avocations of peace. Following
the precedents set by other nations, the United States
Government decreed that its armies should pass in re
view in the capital they had defended, before the rulers
and the distinguished men of the land, that all might
unite in lavishing honors upon their heroes of so many
All the corps, as fast as they could be assembled
there, were encamped within a radius of four miles from
Washington, and the whole country became a vast camp
of veterans, still maintaining their discipline, though no
note of war would now sound to alarm their sentries, or
turn them out to the long roll of the drum.
A central stand was erected on the broad sidewalk in
front of the Executive Mansion. Here were congregated
the President and Cabinet, high military officers, and the
diplomatic corps. One of the three other stands re
ceived Governors of States, members of Congress, and
United States judges. The rest were for any persons
who could secure places upon them. Pennsylvania Ave
nue and other streets along which the processions passed
were densely packed, and every window and balcony was
occupied by residents and visitors. It was a sight never
THE GRAND REVIEWS. 245
before witnessed in this country, and perhaps to be never
again. Eeviews of large numbers of troops, up to as
high as one hundred thousand at a time, had been held
as part of the preparatory discipline for battle. But here
were the war-worn and generally shabbily-clad veterans,
whose battles were finished. Before, on their way to the
field, their new and fresh-looking banners were borne with
the air of men determined to stand by them to the last.
Now, they were brought back torn in shreds by bullets,
and dingy with the smoke of war, vastly more prized
than ever, and sending to the hearts of spectators a strange
thrill of admiration for those men who had fulfilled their
silent pledge, and brought back what was left of their
colors, enveloped in glorious histories.
First in the order of reviews, May 23, 1865, came the
" Army of the Potomac," headed by Major-General
GEORGE G. MEADE,* consisting of MERRITT S cavalry
corps, PARKE S Ninth Corps, GRIFFIN S Fifth Corps, and
HUMPHREY S Second Corps.
The appearance of this .army was never finer. The
horses of the principal officers had been decorated with
garlands by admiring hands. As each general passed, he
bowed acknowledgments to the crowds who shouted and
waved their handkerchiefs ; and scarcely did a regiment
fail to receive at some point a signal token of recognition.
General WILLIAM T. SHERMAN S army was reviewed
First came General SHERMAN, upon a superb blooded
horse, with a heavy wreath about his neck. Then the
* General GRANT, as General-in-Chief of all the Armies of the United
States, occupied a seat on the President s stand.
246 ANECDOTES OF THE CIVIL WAR.
right wing, under Major-General LOGAN,* composed of
HAZEN S Fifteenth and FRANK BLAIR S Seventeenth
Army Corps, constituting the " Army of the Tennessee."
Next, the left wing, under Major-General SLOCUM, con
sisting of MOWER S Twentieth and J. C. DAVIS S Four
teenth Army Corps, constituting the " Army of Georgia."
The rear of Sherman s army was brought up by the
" Bummer Brigade," a humorous yet vivid and truthful
representation of one of its characteristics. It consisted
of a lot of the smallest donkeys ever seen, mingled with
others of larger sizes, led by regular specimens of South
ern field -hands, and laden with the spoils of war in the
foraging line. There were pots and pans, chickens and
grain. On the back of one mule stood a goat, on anoth
er a raccoon, and several roosters on others. These seemed
to have been preserved as pets from the slaughter, but
might fall victims in some woful hour of short rations.
A marked difference was observed between the men
of this and of the " Army of the Potomac." These were
"Western men, generally quite young, and taken from
farms. The others were older, as a general rule, and of
the city type of levies. There had been an impression
that Sherman s men, though excellent fighters, were with
out much discipline or drill. Agreeable surprise was ex
pressed, then, on seeing them march and manoeuvre with
as much precision as the best. They probably received
a rather more enthusiastic greeting, if possible, than
Meade s men, because they were a novelty at the seat of
government stranger-guests, as it were.
Major-General II. G. WRIGHT S Sixth Army Corps
* General HOWARD had already been detached to become chief of the
Freedmen s Bureau.
THE GRAND REVIEWS. 247
had been detached on a service which prevented its ap
pearing with the "Army of the Potomac," to which it
belonged. It was therefore reviewed on the Yth of June.
This was the corps sent by General Grant from before
Richmond to the relief of Washington when threatened
by Early in 1864. Its three divisions, under Generals
Frank Wheaton, Getty, and Kicketts, were therefore ob
jects of special interest on this occasion. The Second
Brigade of the Third Division was commanded by brevet
Brigadier-General J. WARKEN KEIFER, Speaker of the
House of Representatives in the Forty-seventh Congress.
General Sheridan was not with his cavalry corps in
the review. He had been detached with re-enforcements
to take command of the army in the Southwest, for the
purpose of operating against Kirby Smith. The surren
der of that Confederate general, however, took place be
fore any serious movements were made against him. He
had a well-appointed army, and might have made a good
fight ; but the capture of Mr. Davis, and of the forces
attempting to cover his escape, put an end to the scheme
of moving the capital of the slave confederacy to Texas,
and perhaps eventually annexing the upper provinces of
Mexico to that and such other States as could be saved.
Kirby Smith maintained his forces in hopes that his Presi
dent might succeed in joining him with some remnant
of the Army of Northern Virginia. This having failed,
he could have no object in prolonging the contest.
Sheridan s new army was too far off to be brought to
Washington for review.
After the armies had been reviewed in Washington,
they were transported by the Government to fifty depots
near their homes. They had been mustered out of ser-
248 ANECDOTES OF THE CIVIL WAR.
vice by officers appointed for the purpose, before they left
the field. Their final muster-rolls were boxed up and
transported with them, their final payment being made
contingent upon their remaining in their ranks, and con
ducting themselves in an orderly manner until released.
At the depots paymasters awaited them ; and, having been
transported and subsisted up to the last moment, they
were paid in full, and discharged almost at their very
homes. Thus it was that 800,963 men in arms were all
released from military restraint and returned to the
walks of civil life, within the space of two months, with
out a single act of lawlessness being reported.
It would seem to be superfluous to make any comment
on this grand finale to the civil war in the United States
a war grand in its proportions, grand in its displays of
heroism and endurance, grand in its results. If that war
shall, as now seems most probable, prove to have been
the cause of a better cemented strength to the Union,
future ages will rank it foremost in the great struggles
for principles and liberty.
GENERAL SCOTT S "VIEWS."
"Views suggested by the Imminent Danger (October 29,
1860) of a Disruption of the Union ly the Secession of
one or more of the Southern States.
"To save time, the right of secession may be conceded,
and instantly balanced by the correlative right, on the part
of the Federal Government, against an interior State or
States, to re-establish by force, if necessary, its former
continuity of territory. (Paley s Moral and Political Phi
losophy, last chapter.)
"But, break this glorious Union by whatever line or
lines that political madness may contrive, and there would
be no hope of reuniting the fragments except by the lacera
tion and despotism of the sword. To effect such result the
intestine wars of our Mexican neighbors would, in compari
son with ours, sink into mere child s play.
" A smaller evil would be to allow the fragments of the
great republic to form themselves into new confederacies,
"All the lines of demarkation between the new Unions
can not be accurately drawn in advance, but many of them
approximately may. Thus, looking to natural boundaries
and commercial affinities, some of the following frontiers,
after many waverings and conflicts, might perhaps become
acknowledged and fixed:
"1. The Potomac River and the Chesapeake Bay to the
Atlantic. 2. From Maryland, along the crest of the Alle-
250 ANECDOTES OF THE CIVIL WAR.
ghany (perhaps the Blue Eidge) range of mountains, to
some point in the coast of Florida. 3. The line from, say,
the head of the Potomac to the west or northwest, which it
will be most difficult to settle. 4. The crest of the Rocky
" The Southeast Confederacy would, in all human prob
ability, in less than five years after the rupture, find itself
bounded by the first and second lines indicated above the
Atlantic and the Gulf of Mexico with its capital at, say,
Columbia, South Carolina. The country between the sec
ond, third, and fourth of those lines would, beyond a doubt,
in about the same time, constitute the Northeast Confed
eracy, with its capital at Albany.
" It, at the first thought, will be considered strange that
seven slaveholding States and parts of Virginia and Florida
should be placed (above) in a new confederacy with Ohio,
Indiana, Illinois, etc. But when the overwhelming weight
of the great Northwest is taken in connection with the laws
of trade, contiguity of territory, and the comparative in
difference to free-soil doctrines on the part of Western Vir
ginia, Kentucky, Tennessee, and Missouri, it is evident
that but little if any coercion, beyond moral force, would
be needed to embrace them ; and I have omitted the temp
tation of the un wasted public lands which would fall entire
to this confederacy an appanage (well husbanded) suffi
cient for many generations. As to Missouri, Arkansas, and
Mississippi, they would not stand out a month. Louisiana
would coalesce without much solicitation ; and Alabama,
with West Florida, would be conquered the first winter,
from the absolute need of Pensacola for a naval depot.
"If I might presume to address the South, and particu
larly dear Virginia * being native here and to the manor
born I would affectionately ask : Will not your slaves be
less secure, and their labor less profitable, under the new
GENERAL SCOTT S "VIEWS." 251
order of things than under the old ? Could you employ
profitably two hundred slaves in all Nebraska, or five hun
dred in all New Mexico ?* The right, then, to take them
thither would be a barren right. And is it not wise to
* Kather bear the ills we have,
Than fly to others that we know not of ?
" The Declaration of Independence proclaims and con
secrates the same maxim : Prudence, indeed, will dictate
that governments long established should not be changed
for light and transient causes. And Paley, too, lays down
as a fundamental maxim of statesmanship, ( Never to pur
sue national honor as distinct from national interest ; but
adds, This rule acknowledges that it is often necessary to
assert the honor of a nation for the sake of its interests.
" The excitement that threatens secession is caused by
the near prospect of a Republican s election to the presi
dency. From a sense of propriety, as a soldier, I have
taken no part in the pending canvass, and, as always here
tofore, mean to stay away from the polls. My sympathies,
however, are with the Bell and Everett ticket. With Mr.
* In relation to the practical use of slavery in New Mexico, a singular
incident occurred in the spring of 1850, while the compromise measures
were under discussion. My old friend Major K was stationed in New
Mexico, and had traveled much through such parts of the Territory as were
then accessible. He wrote me to this effect : " I imagine that they are now
wrangling in Congress over the question of admitting slaves to this Terri
tory. If the truth were known, there are not many square miles where
they could exist, in the whole Territory. Its natural conformation easily
settles that question." This letter was received near the 7th of March,
1850, when Mr. Webster, in his famous speech on the subject, said in effect,
" I fancy that, while we are discussing the question of admitting slavery to
New Mexico, if the facts were known, the face of the country would, of
itself, preclude all possibility of their being employed there."
I handed to Mr. Seaton an extract from Major K s letter, with its
date, and called his attention to Mr. Webster s speech. In a day or two, an
interesting article on the subject appeared in the "National Intelligencer."
252 ANECDOTES OF THE CIVIL WAR.
Lincoln I have had no communication whatever, direct or
indirect, and have no recollection of ever having seen his
person ; but can not believe any unconstitutional violence,
or breach of law, is to be apprehended from his administra
tion of the Federal Government.
" From a knowledge of our Southern population, it is
my solemn conviction that there is some danger of an early
act of rashness preliminary to secession, viz., the seizure of
some or all of the following posts : Forts Jackson and St.
Philip, in the Mississippi, below New Orleans, both with
out garrisons ; Fort Morgan, below Mobile, without a gar
rison ; Forts Pickens and McRee, Pensacola Harbor, with
an insufficient garrison for one ; Fort Pulaski, below Sa
vannah, without a garrison ; Forts Moultrie and Sumter,
Charleston Harbor, the former with an insufficient garri
son, and the latter without any ; and Fort Monroe, Hamp
ton Roads, without a sufficient garrison. In my opinion,
all these works should be immediately so garrisoned as to
make any attempt to take any one of them by surprise or
coup de main ridiculous.
" With the army faithful to its allegiance and the navy
probably equally so, and with a Federal Executive, for the
next twelve months, of firmness and moderation, which the
country has a right to expect moderation being an element
of power not less ih%& firmness there is good reason to hope
that the danger of secession may be made to pass away with
out one conflict of arms, one execution, or one arrest for
" In the mean time it is suggested that exports should
remain as free as at present ; all duties, however, on im
ports collected (outside of the cities*), as such receipts
would be needed for the national debt, invalid pensions,
* " In forts, or on board ships of war. The great aim and object of
this plan was to gain time say eight or ten months to await expected
GENERAL SCOTT S "VIEWS." 253
etc., and only articles contraband of war be refused admit
tance. But even this refusal would be unnecessary, as the
foregoing views eschew the idea of invading a seceding State.
" WINFIELD SCOTT."
" October 29, I860."
"Lieutenant-General Scott s respects to the Secretary
of War, to say :
"That a copy of his Views, etc./ was dispatched to
the President yesterday, in great haste ; but the copy in
tended for the Secretary, better transcribed (herewith),
was not in time for the mail. General S. would be happy
if the latter could be substituted for the former.
"It will be seen that the Views only apply to a case
of secession that makes a gap in the present Union. The
falling off (say) of Texas, or of all the Atlantic States, from
the Potomac south, was not within the scope of General
S. s provisional remedies.
"It is his opinion that instructions should be given at
once to the commanders of the Barrancas, Forts Moultrie
and Monroe, to be on their guard against surprises and
coups de main. As to regular approaches, nothing can be
said or done, at this time, without volunteers.
" There is one (regular) company at Boston, one here (at
the Narrows), one at Pittsburg, one at Augusta, Georgia,
and one at Baton Eouge in all five companies only, within
reach,* to garrison or re-enforce the forts mentioned in the
measures of conciliation on the part of the North, and the subsidence of
angry feelings in the opposite quarter."
* " Within reach " that is to say, so near that they can be reached im
mediately. There were other " regular " companies that with a little more
time could be reached for the purpose indicated, while, for a greater emer
gency, the idea of " volunteers," for " regular approaches," was plainly
254 ANECDOTES OF TEE CIVIL WAR.
"General Scott is all solicitude for the safety of the
Union. He is, however, not without hope that all dangers
and difficulties will pass away, without leaving a scar or
painful recollection behind.
"The Secretary s most obedient servant,
" October 80, I860: 1
RE-ENFORCING AND HOLDING FORTS.
"HEADQUARTERS OF THE ARMY,
" WASHINGTON, December 28, 1860.
" Lieutenant-General Scott (who has had a bad night,
and can scarcely hold up his head this morning) begs to
express the hopes to the Secretary of War 1. That orders
may not be given for the evacuation of Fort Sumter ;
2. That one hundred and fifty recruits may instantly be
sent from Governor s Island to re-enforce that garrison,
with ample supplies of ammunition and subsistence, in
cluding fresh vegetables, as potatoes, onions, turnips ; and,
3. That one or two armed vessels be sent to support the
"Lieutenant-General Scott avails himself of this oppor
tunity also to express the hope that the recommendations
heretofore made by him to the Secretary of War respecting
Torts Jackson,* St. Philip,* Morgan, f and Pulaski,J; and
particularly in respect to Forts Pickens * and McRee * and
the Pensacola Navy- Yard, in connection with the two last-
named works, may be reconsidered by the Secretary.
" Lieutenant-General Scott will further ask the attention
of the Secretary to Forts Jefferson || and Taylor, A which
* At mouth of Mississippi River. * Pensacola Harbor, Florida,
f Mobile Bay, Alabama. | Dry Tortugas, Florida,
j Savannah River, Georgia. A Key West, Florida.
GENERAL SCOTT S VIEWS." 255
are wholly national, being of far greater value even to the
most distant points of the Atlantic coast, and to the people
on the upper waters of the Missouri, Mississippi, and Ohio
Rivers, than to the State of Florida. There is only a feeble
company at Key West for the defense of Fort Taylor, and
not a soldier in Fort Jefferson to resist a handful of fili
busters or a row-boat of pirates ; and the Gulf, soon after
the beginning of secession or revolutionary troubles in the
adjacent States, will swarm with such nuisances.
" Eespectfully submitted to the Secretary of War,
THE WAYWARD SISTERS."
" WASHINGTON, March 3, 1861.
" DEAB SIR : Hoping that in a day or two the new
President will have happily passed through all personal
dangers, and find himself installed an honored successor of
the great Washington, with you as the chief of his Cabinet,
I beg leave to repeat, in writing, what I have before said
to you orally, this supplement to my printed Views (dated
in October last) on the highly disordered condition of our
(so late) happy and glorious Union.
" To meet the extraordinary exigencies of the times, it
seems to me that I am guilty of no arrogance in limiting
the President s field of selection to one of the four plans of
procedure subjoined :
" I. Throw off the old and assume the new designation
the Union party ; adopt the conciliatory measures pro
posed by Mr. Crittenden, or the Peace Convention, and, my
life upon it, we shall have no new case of secession ; but,
on the contrary, an early return of many, if not of all
the States which have already broken off from the Union.
Without some equally benign measure, the remaining
256 ANECDOTES OF THE CIVIL WAR.
slaveholding States will probably join the Montgomery
Confederacy in less than sixty days ; when this city, being
included in a foreign country, would require a permanent
garrison of at least thirty-five thousand troops to protect
the Government within it.
" II. Collect the duties on foreign goods outside the
ports of which the Government has lost the command, or
close such ports by act of Congress, and blockade them.
"III. Conquer the seceded States by invading armies.
No doubt this might be done in two or three years by a
young and able general a Wolfe, a Desaix, a Hoche with
three hundred thousand disciplined men, estimating a third
for garrisons, and the loss of a yet greater number by skir
mishes, sieges, battles, and Southern fevers. The destruc
tion of life and property on the other side would be frightful,
however perfect the moral discipline of the invaders.
"The conquest completed, at the enormous waste of
human life to the North and Northwest, with at least
$250,000,000 added thereto, and cui bono? Fifteen devas
tated provinces ! not to be brought into.harmony with their
conquerors, but to be held for generations by heavy gar
risons, at an expense quadruple the net duties or taxes
which it would be possible to extort from them, followed
by a protector or an emperor.
" IV. Say to the seceded States, Wayward sisters, depart
"In haste, I remain, very truly yours,
" Hon. WILLIAM H. SEWARD, etc., etc."
PRECAUTIONS AGAINST ATTACK. 257
PRECAUTIONS AGAINST ATTACK.
GENERAL ORDERS, No. 4.
HEADQUARTERS OP THE ARMY,
WASHINGTON, April 26, 1861.
I. FROM the known assemblage near this city of numer
ous hostile bodies of troops, it is evident that an attack
upon it may soon be expected. In such an event, to meet
and repel the enemy, it is necessary that some plan of har
monious co-operation should be adopted on the part of all
the forces, regular and volunteer, present for the defense
of the capital that is, for the defense of the Government,
the peaceable inhabitants of the city, their property, the
public buildings and public archives.
II. At the first moment of an attack, every regiment,
battalion, squadron, and independent company, will prompt
ly assemble at its established rendezvous (in or out of the
public buildings), ready for battle, and wait for orders.
III. The pickets (or advanced! guards) will stand fast
till driven in by overwhelming forces ; but it is expected
that those stationed to defend bridges having every ad
vantage of position will not give way till actually pushed
by the bayonet. Such obstinacy on the part of pickets so
stationed is absolutely necessary, to give time for the troops,
in the rear, to assemble at their places of rendezvous.
IV. All advanced guards and pickets, driven in, will fall
back slowly, to delay the advance of the enemy as much as
possible, before repairing to their proper rendezvous.
V. On the happening of an attack, the troops, lodged
in the public buildings, and in the navy-yard, will remain
for their defense, respectively, unless specially ordered else
where ; with the exceptions that the Seventh New York
258 ANECDOTES OF THE CIVIL WAR.
Regiment and the Massachusetts Eegiment will march rap
idly towards the President s Square for its defense ; and the
Rhode Island Regiment (in the Department of the Inte
rior), when full, will make a diversion by detachment, to
assist in the defense of the General Post-Office Building, if
necessary. WINFIELD SCOTT.
By command :
E. D. TOW^SEND, Assistant Adjutant- General.
EXTRACT FROM SECRETARY OF WAR S REPORT TO THE PRESI
DENT, DECEMBER 1, 1862.
A CHIEF hope of those who set the rebellion on foot
was for aid and comfort from disloyal sympathizers in the
Northern States, whose efforts were relied upon to divide
and distract the people of the North, and prevent them
from putting forth their whole strength to preserve the
national existence. The call for volunteers and a draft of
the militia afforded an occasion for disloyal persons to ac
complish their evil purpose by discouraging enlistments,
and encouraging opposition to the war and the draft of
soldiers to carry it on.
Anxiety was felt in some States at the probable success
of these disloyal practices, and the Government was urged
to adopt measures of protection by temporary restraint of
those engaged in these hostile acts. To that end provost-
marshals were appointed in some of the States, upon the
nomination of their Governors, to act under the direction
of the State Executive, and the writ of habeas corpus was
suspended by your order. By the order of the department
arrests were forbidden unless authorized by the State Exec-
EXTRACT FROM SECRETARY OF WAR S REPORT. 259
utive or by the judge-advocate. Some instances of unau
thorized arrests have occurred, but when brought to the
notice of the department the parties have been immediately
discharged. By a recent order, all persons arrested for
discouraging enlistments or for disloyal practices, in States
where the quotas of volunteers and militia are filled up,
have been released. Other persons, arrested by military
commanders and sent from departments where their pres
ence was deemed dangerous to the public safety, have been
discharged upon parole to be of good behavior and do no act
of hostility against the Government of the United States.
While military arrests of disloyal persons form the subject
of complaint in some States, the discharge of such persons
is complained of in other States. It has been the aim of
the department to avoid any encroachment upon individual
rights, as far as might be consistent with public safety and
the preservation of the Government. But reflecting minds
will perceive that no greater encouragement can be given
to the enemy, no more dangerous act of hostility can be
perpetrated in this war, than efforts to prevent recruiting
and enlistments for the armies, upon whose strength na
tional existence depends. The expectations of the rebel
leaders and their sympathizers in loyal States, that the call
for volunteers would not be answered and that the draft
could not be enforced, have failed, and nothing is left but
to clamor at the means by which their hopes were frus
trated, and to strive to disarm the Government in future,
if, in the chances of war, another occasion for increasing
the military force should arise.
260 ANECDOTES OF THE CIVIL WAR.
PLAN OF CAMPAIGN.
NOTE. The words in the original draft erased by General Scott are
here inserted in brackets, and the words substituted or added by him are
printed in italics. (See page 56.)
HEADQUARTERS OF THE ARMY,
WASHINGTON, May 3, 1861.
Major- General G. B. MCCLELLAK, commanding, etc.
SIK : I have read and carefully considered your plan
for a campaign, and now send you, confidentially, my own
views, supported by certain facts of which you should be
1. It is the design of the Government to [call for] raise
25,000 additional regular troops, and 60,000 volunteers for
[two] three years. It will be inexpedient either to rely on
the three months volunteers for extensive [military] opera
tions, or to put in their hands the best class of arms we
have in store. The term of service would expire [before
the] ~by the commencement of a regular campaign, and the
arms [would] not lost be returned [many of them] mostly
in a damaged condition. Hence, I must strongly urge upon
you to confine yourself strictly to the quota of three months
men called for by the War Department.
2. [I] We rely greatly on the sure operation of a com
plete blockade of the Atlantic and Gulf ports [such as it is
designed to enforce] soon to commence. In connection with
such blockade, [I] we propose a [strong] powerful move
ment down the [Western Rivers] Mississippi to [New Or
leans] the ocean, with a cordon of posts at proper points,
and [a reoccupation] the capture of Forts Jackson and St.
PLAN OF CAMPAIGN. 261
Philip ; the object being to clear out and keep open th[e]/s
great line[s] of [water] communication [s, and] in connec
tion with the strict blockade [above adverted to] of the sea
board, so as to envelope the insurgent States, and bring
them to terms with less blood-shed than ~by any other plan.
For this end I [say] suppose there will be needed from
twelve to twenty steam-gunboats, and a sufficient number
of steam- transports (say 40) to carry all the personnel*
(say 60,000 men) and materiel * of th[is]e expedition. [A
part] Most of the gunboats to [go in] be in advance to
open the way, and [others] the remainder to follow [and
prevent the recapture of posts of the proposed cordon, after
the head column has advanced beyond supporting distance]
and protect the rear of the expedition. Th[e]i,s army, in
which it is not improbable you may [command] be invited
to take an important part, should be composed of [the] our
best regulars [we can find] for the advance, and of [two] 3
years volunteers, all well [appointed] officered, and with
[a sufficient supply of subsistence and munitions] 4~k months*
of instruction in camps, prior to (say) Nov. 10. In the
progress down the Eiver all the enemy s batteries [which
may have been planted] on its banks [must be] we of course
would turnfed] and capturefd], [and] leaving a sufficient
number of posts [must be left] with competent; garrisons to
keep the River open [to its mouth] behind the expedition.
Finally, it will be necessary that New Orleans [must be]
should be strongly occupied and securely held until the
present difficulties are composed.
3. [I come] A word now as to the greatest obstacle[s to
be encountered in carrying out] in the way of this plan
the great danger now pressing upon us [is] the impa
tience of our patriotic and loyal Union friends, [Northern
* Underlined by the general.
262 ANECDOTES OF THE CIVIL WAR.
men, which is forcing them on to] They will urge instant
and vigorous action, regardless, I fear, of consequences
[We must not now despise the stern lessons of experience.
It is more glorious to win a sure success, without a single
reverse, by waiting until our plans are matured and our
preparations are perfected, than to plunge into the midst
of dangers arising from climate, want of discipline, etc.,
etc., intending by indomitable courage and energy to rise
above them all. Impress this] ; that is, unwilling to wait
for the slow instruction of (say) 12 or 15 camps ; for the
rise of rivers and the return of frosts to kill the virus of
malignant fevers, leloiv Memphis. I fear this; but im
press right views, on every proper occasion, upon the brave
men who are hastening to the support of their Government.
Lose no time, while necessary preparations [are making for
an expedition] for the great expedition are in progress, in
organizing, drilling, and disciplining your [men] 3 months
men, many of whom, it is hoped, will be ultimately found
enrolled under the call for [two] 3 years volunteers.
Should an urgent and immediate occasion arise, mean
time, for their services, they will be the more effective.
I commend these views to your [calm and serious de
liberation] consideration, and shall be happy to hear the
result [when your opinion is fully made up].
With great respect, yours truly,
Major-General GEORGE B. MCCLELLAN,
Commanding Ohio Volunteers,
RETIREMENT OF GENERAL SCOTT. 263
RETIREMENT OF GENERAL SCOTT.
Act approved August 3, 1861.
SECTION" 15. And le it further enacted, That any com
missioned officer of the army, or of the marine corps, who
shall have served as such for forty consecutive years, may,
upon his own application to the President of the United
States, be placed upon the list of retired officers, with the
pay and emoluments allowed by this act.
SEC. 16. . . . Provided, That should the brevet lieu
tenant-general be retired under this act, it shall be without
reduction in his current pay, subsistence, or allowances.
" HEADQUARTERS OF THE ARMY,
" WASHINGTON, October 31, 1861.
" The Hon. S. CAMEKON, Secretary of War.
" SIR : For more than three years I have been unable,
from a hurt, to mount a horse or to walk more than a few
paces at a time, and that with much pain. Other and new
infirmities, dropsy and vertigo, admonish me that repose
of mind and body, with the appliances of surgery and
medicine, are necessary to add a little more to a life already
protracted much beyond the usual space of man. It is
under such circumstances, made doubly painful by the un
natural and unjust rebellion now raging in the Southern
States of our so lately prosperous and happy Union, that
I am compelled to request that my name be placed on the
list of army officers retired from active service. As this
request is founded on an absolute right, granted by a re
cent act of Congress, I am entirely at liberty to say that
it is with deep regret that I withdraw myself in these mo
mentous times from the orders of a President who has
ANECDOTES OF THE CIVIL WAR.
treated me with much distinguished kindness and courtesy,
whom I know upon much personal intercourse to be patri
otic, without sectional prejudices ; to be highly conscien
tious in the performance of every duty, and of unrivaled
activity and perseverance ; and to you, Mr. Secretary, whom
I now officially address for the last time, I beg to acknowl
edge my many obligations for the uniform high considera
tion I have received at your hands, and have the honor to
remain, sir, with the highest respect,
" Your obedient servant,
A special Cabinet council was convened this morning
(November 1st) at nine o clock, to take the subject into con
sideration. It was decided that General Scott s request,
under the circumstances of his advanced age and infirmities,
could not be declined. General McClellan was, therefore,
with the unanimous agreement of the Cabinet, notified
that the command of the army would be devolved upon
"At four o clock in the afternoon the Cabinet again
waited upon the President and attended him to the resi
dence of General Scott. Being seated, the President read
to the general the following order :
" On the first day of November, A. D. 1861, upon his
own application to the President of the United States,
brevet Lieutenant-General Winfield Scott is ordered to be
placed, and hereby is placed, upon the list of retired officers
of the Army of the United States, without reduction in
his current pay, subsistence, or allowance. The American
people will hear with sadness and deep emotion that Gen
eral Scott has withdrawn from the active control of the
army, while the President and unanimous Cabinet express
* The following account was taken from a daily newspaper.
RETIREMENT OF GENERAL SCOTT. 265
their own and the nation s sympathy in his personal afflic
tion, and their profound sense of the important public
services rendered by him to his country during his long
and brilliant career, among which will ever be gratefully
distinguished his faithful devotion to the Constitution, the
Union, and the flag, when assailed by parricidal rebellion.
(Signed) "ABRAHAM LINCOLN."
" General Scott thereupon arose and addressed the
Cabinet, who had also risen, as follows :
" President, this honor overwhelms me. It overpays all
the services I have attempted to render to my country. If
I had any claims before, they are all obliterated by this ex
pression of approval by the President, with the remaining
support of his Cabinet. I know the President and his
Cabinet well. I know that the country has placed its in
terests in this trying crisis in safe keeping. Their counsels
are wise, their labors as untiring as they are loyal, and
their course is the right one.
" President, you must excuse me. I am unable to stand
longer to give utterance to the feelings of gratitude which
oppress me. In my retirement I shall offer up my prayers
to God for this Administration and for my country. I shall
pray for it with confidence in its success over all enemies,
and that speedily."
" The President then took leave of General Scott, giving
him his hand, and saying that he hoped soon to write him
a private letter expressive of his gratitude and affection.
The President added :
" General, you will naturally feel a solicitude about the
gentlemen of your staff, who have rendered you and their
country such faithful service. I have taken that subject
into consideration. I understand that they go with you
to New York. I shall desire them at their earliest conven-
ANECDOTES OF THE CIVIL WAR.
ience after their return to make their wishes known to me.
I desire you now, however, to be satisfied that except the
unavoidable privation of your counsel and society, which
they have so long enjoyed, the provision which will be made
for them will be such as to render their situation as agree
able hereafter as it has been heretofore.
"Each member of the Administration then gave his
hand to the veteran, and retired in profound silence.
"The Secretary of the Treasury and the Secretary of War
accompanied General Scott to New York on the following
morning by the early train.
" The following was the response of the Secretary of War
to the letter of General Scott :
" WAR DEPARTMENT, WASHINGTON, November 1, 1861.
" GENERAL : It was my duty to lay before the President
your letter of yesterday, asking to be relieved on the recent
act of Congress. In separating from you I can not refrain
from expressing my deep regret that your health, shattered
by long service and repeated wounds, received in your
country s defense, should render it necessary for you to re
tire from your high position at this momentous period of
our history. Although you are not to remain in active
service, I yet hope that, while I continue in charge of the
department over which I now preside, I shall at times be
permitted to avail myself of the benefits of your wise coun
sels and sage experience. It has been my good fortune to
enjoy a personal acquaintance with you for over thirty years,
and the pleasant relations of that long time have been greatly
strengthened by your cordial and entire co-operation in all
the great questions which have occupied the Department
and convulsed the country for the last six months. In
parting from you I can only express the hope that a merci
ful Providence that has protected you amid so many trials
COLLOQUY WITH COLORED MINISTERS. 267
will improve your health and continue your life long after
the people of the country shall have been restored to their
former happiness and prosperity.
"I am, general, very sincerely,
" Your friend and servant,
" SIMON CAMERON, Secretary of War
" Lieutenant-General WINFIELD SCOTT, present."
COLLOQUY WITH COLORED MINISTERS.
ON the evening of Thursday, the 12th day of January,
1865, the following persons of African descent met, by ap
pointment, to hold an interview with EDWIN M. STANTON,
Secretary of War, and Major- General SHERMAN, to have a
conference upon matters relating to the freedmen of the
State of Georgia, to wit :
1. William J. Campbell, aged fifty-one years, born in
Savannah ; slave until 1849, and then liberated by will of
his mistress, Mrs. Mary Maxwell ; for ten years pastor of
the First Baptist Church of Savannah, numbering about
eighteen hundred members ; average congregation nineteen
hundred ; the church property belonging to the congrega
tion (trustees white) worth eighteen thousand dollars.
2. John Cox, aged fifty-eight years, born in Savannah ;
slave until 1849, when he bought his freedom for eleven hun
dred dollars ; pastor of the Second African Baptist Church ;
in the ministry fifteen years ; congregation twelve hundred
and twenty-two persons ; church property worth ten thou
sand dollars, belonging to the congregation.
3. Ulysses L. Houston, aged forty-one years, born in
Grahamsville, South Carolina; slave " until the Union
268 ANECDOTES OF THE CIVIL WAR.
army entered Savannah " ; owned by Moses Henderson,
Savannah ; and pastor of Third African Baptist Church,
congregation numbering four hundred ; church property
worth five thousand dollars, belongs to congregation; in
the ministry about eight years.
4. William Bentley, aged seventy-two years, born in
Savannah ; slave until twenty-five years of age, when his
master, John Waters, emancipated him by will ; pastor of
Andrew s Chapel, Methodist Episcopal Church (only one
of that denomination in Savannah), congregation number
ing three hundred and sixty members ; church property
worth about twenty thousand dollars, and is owned by the
congregation ; been in the ministry about twenty years ; a
member of Georgia Conference.
5. Charles Bradivell, aged forty years, born in Liberty
County, Georgia ; slave until 1851 ; emancipated by will
of his master, J. L. Bradwell ; local preacher, in charge of
the Methodist Episcopal congregation (Andrew s Chapel)
in the absence of the minister ; in the ministry ten years.
6. William Gaines, aged forty-one years, born in Wills
County, Georgia ; slave "until the Union forces freed
me " ; owned by Robert Toombs, formerly United States
Senator, and his brother, Gabriel Toombs ; local preacher
of the Methodist Episcopal Church (Andrew s Chapel) ; in
the ministry sixteen years.
7. James Hill, aged fifty-two years, born in Bryan
County, Georgia; slave "up to the time the Union army
come in " ; owned by H. F. Willings, of Savannah ; in the
ministry sixteen years.
8. Glasgow Taylor, aged seventy-two years, born in
Wilkes County, Georgia; slave "until the Union army
come " ; owned by A. P. Wetter ; is a local preacher of the
Methodist Episcopal Church (Andrew s Chapel) ; in the
ministry thirty-five years.
COLLOQUY WITH COLORED MINISTERS. 269
9. Garrison Frazier, aged sixty-seven years, born in
Granville County, North Carolina ; slave until eight years
ago, when he bought himself and wife, paying one thou
sand dollars in gold and silver ; is an ordained minister in
the Baptist Church, but, his health failing, has now charge
of no congregation ; has been in the ministry thirty-five
10. James Mills, aged fifty-six years, born in Savannah ;
free-born, and is a licensed preacher of the First Baptist
Church ; has been eight years in the ministry.
11. Abraham Burke, aged forty-eight years, born in
Bryan County, Georgia ; slave until twenty years ago, when
he bought himself for eight hundred dollars ; has been in
the ministry about ten years.
12. Arthur War dell, aged forty-four years, born in Lib
erty County, Georgia; slave until "freed by the Union
army " ; owned by A. A. Solomons, Savannah, and is a
licensed minister in the Baptist Church ; has been in the
ministry six years.
13. A lexander Harris, aged forty-seven years, born in
Savannah ; free-born ; licensed minister of Third African
Baptist Church ; licensed about one month ago.
14. Andreiv Neal, aged sixty-one years, born in Savan
nah ; slave "until the Union army liberated me" ; owned
by Mr. William Gibbons, and has been deacon in the Third
Baptist Church for ten years.
15. James Porter, aged thirty- nine years, born in Charles
ton, South Carolina ; free-born, his mother having purchased
her freedom ; is lay-reader and president of the board of ward
ens and vestry of St. Stephen s Protestant Episcopal Colored
Church in Savannah ; has been in communion nine years ;
the congregation numbers about two hundred persons ; the
church property is worth about ten thousand dollars, and is
owned by the congregation.
270 ANECDOTES OF THE CIVIL WAR.
16. Adolphus Delmotte, aged twenty-eight years, born
in Savannah ; free-born ; is a licensed minister of the Mis
sionary Baptist Church of Milledgeville, congregation num
bering about three or four hundred persons ; has been in
the ministry about two years.
17. Jacob Godfrey, aged fifty-seven years, born in Marion,
South Carolina ; slave "until the Union army freed me" ;
owned by James E. Godfrey, Methodist preacher, now in
the rebel army ; is a class-leader, and steward of Andrew s
Chapel since 1836.
18. John Johnson, aged fifty-one years, born in Bryan
County, Georgia; slave "up to the time the Union army
came here ; " owned by "W. W. Lincoln, of Savannah ; is
class-leader, and treasurer of Andrew s Chapel for sixteen
19. Robert N. Taylor, aged fifty-one years, born in
Wilkes County, Georgia; slave "to the time the Union
army come " ; was owned by Augustus P. Wetter, Savan
nah, and is class-leader in Andrew s Chapel for nine years.
20. James Lynch, aged twenty-six years, born in Balti
more, Maryland ; free-born ; is presiding elder of the Meth
odist Episcopal Church, and missionary to the Department
of the South ; has been seven years in the ministry, and two
years in the South.
Garrison Frazier being chosen by the persons present
to express their common sentiments upon the matters of
inquiry, makes answers to inquiries as follows :
1. State what your understanding is in regard to the
acts of Congress, and President Lincoln s proclamation,
touching the condition of the colored people in the rebel
Answer. So far as I understand President Lincoln s
proclamation to the rebellious States, it is, that if they
COLLOQUY WITH COLORED MINISTERS. 271
would lay down their arms and submit to the laws of the
United States before the 1st of January, 1863, all should
be well ; but if they did not, then all the slaves in the rebel
States should be free, henceforth and forever : that is what
2. State what you understand by slavery, and the free
dom that was to be given by the President s Proclamation.
Answer. Slavery is receiving by irresistible power the
work of another man, and not by his consent. The free
dom, as I understand it, promised by the proclamation, is
taking us from under the yoke of bondage and placing us
where we could reap the fruit of our own labor, and take
care of ourselves, and assist the Government in maintaining
3. State in what manner you think you can take care
of yourselves, and how can you best assist the Government
in maintaining your freedom.
Answer. The way we can best take care of ourselves is
to have land, and turn in and till it by our labor that is,
by the labor of the women, and children, and old men and
we can soon maintain ourselves and have something to
spare ; and to assist the Government, the young men should
enlist in the service of the Government, and serve in such
manner as they may be wanted (the rebels told us that
they piled them up and made batteries of them, and sold
them to Cuba, but we don t believe that). We want to be
placed on land until we are able to buy it and make it our
4. State in what manner you would rather live, whether
scattered among the whites, or in colonies by yourselves.
Answer. I would prefer to live by ourselves, for there
is a prejudice against us in the South that will take years
to get over ; but I do not know that I can answer for my
272 ANECDOTES OF THE CIVIL WAR.
[Jfr. Lynch says he thinks they should not be sepa
rated, but live together. All the other persons present
being questioned, one by one, answer that they agree with
" brother Frazier."]
5. Do you think that there is intelligence enough
among the slaves of the South to maintain themselves un
der the Government of the United States, and the equal
protection of its laws, and maintain good and peaceable
relations among yourselves and with your neighbors ?
Answer. I think there is sufficient intelligence among
us to do so.
6. State what is the feeling of the black population of
the South toward the Government of the United States ;
what is the understanding in respect to the present war, its
causes and object, and their disposition to aid either side ;
state fully your views.
Answer. I think you will find there is thousands that
are willing to make any sacrifice to assist the Government
of the United States, while there is also many that are not
willing to take up arms. I do not suppose there is a dozen
men that is opposed to the Government. I understand
as to the war that the South is the aggressor. President
Lincoln was elected President by a majority of the United
States, which guaranteed him the right of holding the office
and exercising that right over the whole United States.
The South, without knowing what he would do, rebelled.
The war was commenced by the rebels before he came into
the office. The object of the war was not, at first, to give
the slaves their freedom, but the sole object of the war was,
at first to bring the rebellious States back into the Union,
and their loyalty to the laws of the United States. After
wards, knowing the value that was set on the slaves by the
rebels, the President thought that his proclamation would
stimulate them to lay down their arms, reduce them to
COLLOQUY WITH COLORED MINISTERS. 273
obedience, and help to bring back the rebel States ; and
their not doing so has now made the freedom of the slaves
a part of the war. It is my opinion that there is not a man
in this city that could be started to help the rebels one inch,
for that would be suicide. There was two black men left
with the rebels, because they had taken an active part for
the rebels, and thought something might befall them if
they staid behind, but there is not another man. If the
prayers that have gone up for the Union army could be read
out, you would not get through them these two weeks.
7. State whether the sentiments you now express are
those only of the colored people in the city, or do they ex
tend to the colored population through the country, and
what are your means of knowing the sentiments of those
living in the country ?
Answer. I think the sentiments are the same among the
colored people of the State. My opinion is formed by
personal communication in the course of my ministry, and
also from the thousands that followed the Union army,
leaving their homes and undergoing suffering. I did not
think there would t be so many ; the number surpassed my
8. If the rebel -leaders were to arm the slaves, what
would be its effect ?
Answer. I think they would fight as long as they were
before the bagonet, and just as soon as they could get away
they would desert, in my opinion.
9. What, in your opinion, is the feeling of the colored
people about enlisting and serving as soldiers of the United
States, and what kind of military service do they prefer ?
Answer. A large number have gone as soldiers to Port
Royal to be drilled and put in the service, and I think
there is thousands of the young men that will enlist ; there
is something about them that, perhaps, is wrong ; they
274 ANECDOTES OF THE CIVIL WAR.
have suffered so long from the rebels, that they want to
meet and have a chance with them in the field. Some of
them want to shoulder the musket, others want to go into
the quartermaster or the commissary s service.
10. Do you understand the mode of enlistment of col
ored persons in the rebel States, by State agents, under the
act of Congress ; if yea, state what your understanding is ?
Answer. My understanding is that colored persons en
listed by State agents are enlisted as substitutes, and give
credit to the States, and do not swell the army, because
every black man enlisted by a State agent leaves a white
man at home ; and, also, that larger bounties are given or
promised by the State agents than are given by the States.
The great object should be to push through this rebellion
the shortest way, and there seems to be something wanting
in the enlistment by State agents, for it don t strengthen
the army, but takes one away for every colored man enlisted.
11. State what in your opinion is the best way to enlist
colored men for soldiers.
Answer. I think, sir, that all compulsory operations
should be put a stop to. The ministers would talk to them,
and the young men would enlist. It is my opinion that it
would be far better for the State agents to stay at home, and
the enlistments to be made for the United States under the
direction of General SHERMAN.
In the absence of General SHERMAN", the following ques
tion was asked :
12. State what is the feeling of the colored people in re
gard to General SHERMAN, and how far do they regard his
sentiments and actions as friendly to their rights and in
terests, or otherwise ?
Answer. We looked upon General SHERMAN, prior to
his arrival, as a man, in the providence of God, specially
set apart to accomplish this work, and we unanimously felt
DEATH OF JUSTICE E. M. STAN TON. 275
inexpressible gratitude to him, looking upon him as a man
that should be honored for the faithful performance of his
duty. Some of us called upon him immediately upon his
arrival, and it is probable he did not meet the Secretary
with more courtesy than he met us. His conduct and de
portment towards us characterized him as a friend and a
gentleman. We have confidence in General SHERMAN", and
think that what concerns us could not be under better
hands. This is our opinion now from the short acquaint
ance and intercourse we have had.
[Mr. Lynch states that, with his limited acquaintance
with General SHERMAN, he is unwilling to express an opin
ion. All others present declare their agreement with Mr.
Frazier about General SHERMAN.]
Some conversation upon general subjects relating to
General SHERMAN S march then ensued, of which no note
DEATH OF JUSTICE E. M. STANTON.
From the Boston Herald.
WASHINGTON, April 21, 1879.
THE following communication was to-day handed to the
Secretary of War by William J. Dupee, who is at this time
a messenger in the War Department, and was the private
messenger of the late Secretary Stanton. Summaries of
the affidavits which accompany the letter are sent you with
it. The revival recently of the absurd and malicious tale
that Mr. Stanton committed suicide is the occasion of this
publication, as well as of a letter from Surgeon-General
Barnes, who was Mr. Stanton s physician, and who was
276 ANECDOTES OF THE CIVIL WAR.
at his bedside when he died. There was never the least
ground for the suicide story, which was the malicious in
vention of men who hated him for his devotion to the
Union cause, and could find no other way to gratify their
baseness than to circulate a tale which could not hurt him,
but was intended to annoy and distress his widow and chil
WASHINGTON, April 21, 1879.
To the Hon. Secretary of War.
SIR : I respectfully ask that the inclosed affidavits of
William S. Dupee and David Jones, relating to the manner
of the death of the late Edwin M. Stanton, formerly
Secretary of War, be admitted to the files of the War De
partment. For the first time since the death of Mr. Stan-
ton, a permanent character and a responsible name have
been lent to a story that found utterance in some obscure
newspapers, shortly after his death, that he had committed
suicide, and that the fact had been carefully concealed from
the public. General Kichard Taylor, of the late Confed
erate army, among his " Personal Experiences of the Late
War," asserts, with much obscurity of language but equal
directness of meaning, that the former Secretary of War
died by his own hand. The widow and adult son of Mr.
Stanton are both dead, and I therefore feel at liberty to act
upon my own view of what is right to be done in refuting
the malicious and slanderous tale repeated by General Tay
lor. Very respectfully,
WILLIAM S. DUPEE.
SYNOPSIS OF AIFIDAYIT OF WILLIAM S. DUPEE.
Messenger in office of Secretary of War, and has been
since 1864 ; much with late Secretary Stanton during his
last illness ; mind all the time clear and strong ; disposition
DEATH OF JUSTICE E. M. STANTON. 277
cheerful, hopeful of recovery ; death, however, a foregone
conclusion with members of the household, and surprise
that he lasted so long ; after death of Mr. Stanton, and
while body still warm, affiant shaved his throat and face
and dressed his hair ; no marks of violence on him, nor
could any have escaped observation of affiant ; affiant had
much intercourse with the family servants, and never saw
or heard anything to lend countenance to the story of Mr.
Stanton s death by suicide, and when the story first made
its appearance, soon after the "death, it was the subject of
mingled indignation and ridicule among those who had
been about Mr. Stanton at the time of his death.
The affiant quotes the passage from Dick Taylor s late
book, " Destruction and Keconstruction," which has led
him to make his affidavit. It is as follows :
" 1. The War Secretary I did not meet. ... I never
saw him. In the end, conscience, long dormant, came as
Alecto, and he was not." . . .
SYNOPSIS OF AFFIDAVIT OF DAVID JONES.
Lives at No. 1807 T street, Northwest ; was waiter in
family of Edwin M. Stanton at the time of his death, and
in constant attendance on him till he died ; no signs of
weak or wandering mind till a day or so before his death,
when the patient was feverish, and his mind would now and
then wander for a short time ; after fever appeared, patient
was never a moment alone at any time of day or night. (He
names six or seven persons who used to relieve him and
each other in occasional attendance.) Affiant saw nothing
in the appearance of Mr. Stanton to indicate death till
almost at the moment of death, and had no idea he was in
imminent danger till Surgeon-General Barnes told him to
go for Dr. Starkey, minister of the Episcopal Church, about
half an hour before death ; when Dr. Starkey arrived, Mr.
278 ANECDOTES OF THE CIVIL WAR.
Stanton was conscious and able to speak in a low voice,
and so remained till about the moment of death, affiant
rubbing him at the time ; affiant assisted in dressing and
preparing the body, and is positive there were no marks of
violence anywhere ; the corpse was laid out in a front room
up-stairs, and for three days was viewed by a great number
of personal friends of the deceased ; there is no foundation
whatever for story of the suicide.
LETTER OF SURGEOK-GENERAL BARKES.
WASHINGTON, D. C., April 16, 1879.
The Hon. EDWARD McPHERSO^, Philadelphia.
DEAR SIR : In reply to your inquiry, the late Mr. Edwin
M. Stanton was for many years subject to asthma in a very
severe form, and when he retired from the War Department
was completely broken down in health. In November, of
1869, the " dropsy of cardiac disease " manifested itself
(after a very exhausting argument in chambers, in a legal
case), and from that time he did not leave his house, rarely
his bed. For many days before his death I was with him
almost constantly, and at no time was he without most
careful attendance by members of his family or nurses.
On the night of December 23d the dropsical effusion into
pericardium had increased to such an extent and the symp
toms were so alarming that the Eev. Dr. Starkey, rector of
the Church of the Epiphany, was summoned and read the
service appointed for such occasions ; he, with Mrs. Stan-
ton, Mr. E. L. Stanton, the three younger children, Miss
Bowie, their governess, myself, and several of the servants,
were by his bedside until he died, at 4 A. M., December 24,
1869. After the pulse became imperceptible at the wrist,
I placed a finger on the carotid artery, afterward my hand
over his heart, and when its action ceased I announced it
to those present.
MILITARY COMMISSIONS. 279
It is incomprehensible to me how any suspicion or re
port of suicide could have originated, except through sheer
and intentional malice, as there was not the slightest inci
dent before or during his long sickness indicative of such
a tendency nor a possibility of such an act. Fully aware
of his critical condition, he was calm and composed, not
wishing to die, while unterrified at the prospect of death.
During the lifetime of his widow and of his son, Mr. E. L.
Stanton, I did not feel called upon to make any written
contradiction of the infamous and malignant falsehoods
you allude to ; but now, in view of your letter of April 14th,
and in behalf of Mr. Stanton s minor children, I do most
emphatically and unequivocally assert that there is not
any foundation whatever for the report that Mr. Edwin M.
Stanton died from other than natural causes, or that he at
tempted or committed suicide.
Very respectfully yours,
JOSEPH K. BARKES, M. D.
October 8, 1846.
THE within draft of a letter it may be proper to address
to each commander of an army now operating against
Mexico. I am aware that it presents grave topics for con
sideration, which is invited.
It will be seen that I have endeavored to place all ne
cessary limitations on martial law : 1. By restricting it
to a foreign hostile country ; 2. To offenses enumerated
with some accuracy ; 3, By assimilating councils of war
280 ANECDOTES OF THE CIVIL WAR.
to courts-martial ; 4. By restricting punishments to the
known laws of some one of the States, etc.
Respectfully submitted to the consideration of the Sec
retary of War. WIKFIELD SCOTT.
HEADQUARTERS OF THE ARMY,
WASHINGTON, October , 1846.
SIB : It can not but happen that many offenses, not cog
nizable by courts-martial, under the " act for establishing
rules and articles of war for the government of the armies
of the United States," approved April 10, 1806, will be
committed by or upon the army under your command
while in the enemy s country. I allude to crimes which, if
committed in our own organized limits, would, as hereto
fore, be referred to the ordinary or civil courts of the land.
Cross, p. 107.
Our land-forces take with them, when on service beyond
the limits of the Union, its organized Territories, and the
"Indian country," as defined by the first section of the act
approved June 30, 1834, no statutory code for the punish
ment of offenses, other than the said recited act of 1806,
with its amendments. Cross, p. 204.
Murder, willfully stabbing and maiming, and assault and
battery, committed upon any "superior officer," and no one
else ; or the drawing and lifting up any weapon against, or
the offering of any violence to, such officer (he being in the
several cases "in the execution of his duty"} , by any "offi
cer or soldier," or other person subject to said articles, are
all clearly within the ninth of those articles. Cross, p.
Wanton disturbance of religious worship is made pun
ishable by the second article, without reference to place or
country. Cross, p. 107.
MILITARY COMMISSIONS. 281
So are spies (not citizens of the United States), by the
second section of the said act of 1806. Cross, p. 123.
Other capital oifenses against the general safety of the
Union and army are expressly referred to courts-martial by
the fifty-sixth and fifty-seventh articles. Cross, p. 116.
The fifty-first and fifty-fifth provide for a few other
capital offenses which may be committed abroad ; and the
fifty-second abroad or at home, upon persons or property,
by individuals of the army ; and the ninety-ninth article re
fers numerous non-specified crimes, " not capital," but mere
ly " disorders and neglects to the prejudice of good order
and military discipline," to courts-martial, whether such
oifenses be committed at home or abroad. Cross, pp. 115,
It is evident that the ninety-ninth article, so qualified or
limited, can not apply to the numerous omitted offenses in
question, many of which, if committed, ought no doubt to
be punished with death, or otherwise severely ; for it is
enacted in the eighty - seventh that "no person shall be
sentenced to suffer death " by general courts-martial, " ex
cept in the cases herein expressly mentioned " a limitation
which has been universally applied to the commissions of
officers also. Cross, p. 120.
Articles 32, 33, and 54, seem to be limited to the
general maintenance of good order at home and abroad, and
to the protection of persons and property within the United
States. Cross, pp. 112, 115.
Assassination, willful murder, stabbing, maiming,
wounding, assault and battery (except under the strict lim
itations of the ninth and fifty-first articles) ; rape, willful
destruction of houses, or other private property ; robbery
and theft, or plunder and pillage (except in the limited
cases under the fifty-second and fifty-fifth articles) ; and
desecration of religious edifices, fixtures, and monuments,
282 ANECDOTES OF TEE CIVIL WAE.
are all, whether committed by or upon the army, at home
or abroad, unprovided for by our written military code ;
and they are offenses which, of course, could not, in a for
eign hostile country, often, if ever, be safely turned over to
the courts of such country, whether the offenders belong
to the latter or to the army.
The good of the service, the honor of the United States,
and the interests of humanity, demand that the numerous
grave offenses omitted, except to a limited extent as above,
should not go unpunished because committed in a foreign
country, on or by our army.
The British mutiny act, and articles of war founded
thereupon (which had their origin at the Revolution of
1688), omit the same offenses, and to the same extent, be
cause, as Lord Loughborough (2 H. Blackstone, 98) re
marks, "In this country, all the delinquencies of soldiers
are not triable, as in most countries of Europe, by mar
tial law " (which, he says in the same opinion, had, in
the Continental sense, been " totally exploded " from that
kingdom since 1688 ; " but, where there are ordinary
offenses against the civil peace, they are tried by the com
mon-law courts" (and such also has always been done in
the United States).
But when a British army is abroad, in a hostile country,
the omissions in the British penal code (the same as in
ours, and to the same extent, for our articles of war are
borrowed in extenso and with but slight verbal variations
therefrom), that army supplies those omissions by the
supplemental, unwritten, and undefined code, called martial
This law can have no constitutional, legal, or even ne
cessary existence, within the United States. At home, even
the suspension of the writ of habeas corpus, by Congress,
could only lead to the indefinite incarceration of an individ-
MILITARY COMMISSIONS. 283
ual or individuals who, if further punished at all, could
only be so punished through the ordinary or common-law
courts of the land.
But abroad, and in hostile countries, it is believed that
the commanders of our armies, like those of Great Britain,
may, ex necessitate rei, enforce martial law against any of
the grave offenses indicated above, which may be unpro
vided for in our statutory code, whether such offenses be
committed by persons appertaining to those armies, or by
the inhabitants of the hostile country.
Accordingly, no matter by whom such offenses may be
committed in the hostile country occupied by the army
under your immediate command, or in which it may be en
gaged in military operations, whether by persons appertain
ing to that army upon the persons and property of each
other, or by such persons upon the persons or property of
the inhabitants of the hostile country, or by the latter upon
the persons or property of the army and its followers, all
such offenses, if against the laws of war, and not provided
for in our rules and articles of war, will be duly brought
before councils of war and by them tried and sentenced,
according to the nature and degree of such offense, and ac
cording to the known laws of any one of the States of this
Every council of war, for the trial of such offenses, will
be appointed in the same manner and by the same author
ity that appoints courts-martial, whether general, regi
mental, or garrison, and will, as far as practicable, be
governed by the same limitations, rules, principles, and
procedure, including reviews, modifications, meliorations,
and approval of sentence. Articles 65, 97.
The proceedings of councils of war will, of course, be
kept in writing, and sent to the adjutant-general s office,
as in the case of the proceedings of courts-martial.
284 ANECDOTES OF THE CIVIL WAR.
GENERAL ORDERS, No. 28Y.
HEADQUARTERS OF THE ARMY,
NATIONAL PALACE OF MEXICO, September 17, 1847.
The general-in-chief republishes, with important addi
tions, his General Orders, No. 20, of February 19, 1847
(declaring martial law), to govern all who may be con
1. It is still to be apprehended that many grave offenses
not provided for in the act of Congress, "establishing
rules and articles for the government of the armies of the
United States," approved April 10, 1806, may be again
committed by, or upon, individuals of those armies, in
Mexico, pending the existing war between the two repub
lics. Allusion is here made to offenses, any one of which,
if committed within the United States or their organized
Territories, would, of course, be tried and severely punished
by the ordinary or civil courts of the land.
2. Assassination, murder, poisoning, rape, or the at
tempt to commit either ; malicious stabbing or maiming ;
malicious assault and battery ; robbery, theft, the wanton
desecration of churches, cemeteries, or other religious edi
fices and fixtures ; the interruption of religious ceremonies,
and the destruction, except by order of a superior officer,
of public or private property are such offenses.
3. The good of the service, the honor of the United
States, and the interests of humanity, imperiously demand
that every crime, enumerated above, should be severely
4. But the written code, as above, commonly called the
Rules and Articles of War, does not provide for the pun
ishment of one of those crimes, even when committed by
individuals of the army upon the persons or property of
other individuals of the same, except in the very restricted
case in the ninth of those articles ; nor for like outrages,
MILITARY COMMISSIONS. 285
committed by the same class of individuals, upon the
persons or property of a hostile country, except very par
tially in the fifty-first, fifty-second, and fifty- fifth articles ;
and the same code is absolutely silent as to all injuries
which may be inflicted upon individuals of the army, or
their- property, against the laws of war, by individuals of a
5. It is evident that the ninety-ninth article, independ
ent of any restriction in the eighty-seventh, is wholly nuga
tory in reaching any one of those high crimes.
6. For all the offenses, therefore, enumerated in the
second paragraph above, which may be committed abroad
in, ty, or upon the army a supplemental code is abso
7. That unwritten code is martial law, as an addition
to the written military code prescribed by Congress in the
Rules and Articles of War, and which unwritten code all
armies in hostile countries are forced to adopt not only
for their own safety, but for the protection of the unoffend
ing inhabitants and their property, about the theatres of
military operations, against injuries on the part of the
army, contrary to the laws of war.
8. From the same supreme necessity, martial law is
hereby declared as a supplemental code in, and about, all
cities, towns, camps, posts, hospitals, and other places
which may be occupied by any part of the forces of the
United States, in Mexico, and in and about all columns,
escorts, convoys, guards, and detachments, of the said
forces, while engaged in prosecuting the existing war in
and against the said republic, and while remaining within
9. Accordingly, every crime, enumerated in paragraph
No. 2 above, whether committed 1. By any inhabitant
of Mexico, sojourner or traveler therein, upon the person
286 ANECDOTES OF THE CIVIL WAR.
or property of any individual of the United States forces,
retainer or follower of the same ; 2. By any individual of
the said forces, retainer or follower of the same, upon the
person or property of any inhabitant of Mexico, sojourner
or traveler therein ; or, 3. By any individual of the said
forces, retainer or follower of the same, upon the person or
property of any other individual of the said forces, retainer
or follower of the same shall be duly tried and punished
under the said supplemental code.
10. For this purpose it is ordered that all offenders, in
the matters aforesaid, shall be promptly seized, confined,
and reported for trial, before military commissions) to be
duly appointed as follows :
11. Every military commission, under this order, will
be appointed, governed, and limited, as nearly as practi
cable, as prescribed by the sixty-fifth, sixty-sixth, sixty-
seventh, and ninety-seventh of the said Eules and Articles
of War, and the proceedings of such commissions will be
duly recorded in writing, reviewed, revised, disapproved,
or approved, and the sentences executed all, as near as
may be, as in the cases of the proceedings and sentences of
courts-martial : provided, that no military commission shall
try any case clearly cognizable by any courts-martial ; and
provided, also, that no sentence of a military commission
shall be put in execution against any individual belonging
to this army, which may not be, according to the nature
and degree of the offense, as established by evidence, in
conformity with known punishments, in like cases, in some
one of the States of the United States of America.
13. The administration of justice, both in civil and
criminal matters, through the ordinary courts of the coun
try, shall nowhere, and in no degree, be interrupted by any
officer or soldier of the American forces, except 1. In cases
to which an officer, soldier, agent, servant, or follower of
the American army may be a party ; and, 2. In political
cases that is, prosecutions against other individuals on the
allegations that they have given friendly information, aid,
or assistance to the American forces.
By command of Major-General Scott :
H. L. SCOTT,
Acting Assistant Adjutant -General.
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