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V J 



h^lH This volume is from 





HAY 24, 1942 

t'^^ttUMM ^mm- mt • -T-V*":-^ 



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LlE^.TE^A^•T McHenbv Howard, C.S.A. 
Prom Ambrolype lakcn in Richmond, July. tSCii 











»-» r w uiw^a 

liJ (o^Sl. 32 \ 




MAY 24. 1942 


McHmxry Howasd 


In the Fall of 1865, when the details were fresh in my 
memory, I wrote out an account of the retreat from Rich- 
mond in April, 1865, of the command with which I was 
then serving in the Confederate Army. Some years 
afterwards it came into the possession of Dn W. Hand 
Browne, Editor of the Southern Magazine, which was 
made the organ of the Southern Historical Society and 
gave to it a certain number of pages as a supplement to 
the Magazine, being page numbered separately. In 
1874 Df« Browne printed this account, under the title, 
'^Retreat of Custis Lee's Division and Battle of Sailor's 
Creek," in these Transactions of the Southern Historical 

About 1883 I wrote for the Military Historical Society 
of Massachusetts an account of the capture of the salient 
at Spotsylvania Court House on May 12, 1864, and soon 
after elaborated it to *' Notes and Recollections of the 
Opening of the Campaign of 1864," which completed 
paper I read to the Society April 16, 1883, and it has 
since appeared in Volume IV of its publications. 

These two papers were referred to and quoted from by 
General A. A. Humphreys in his standard Virginia Cam- 
paign of 1864 and i86s — or rather the Spotsylvania part 
of the second paper was, for the completed paper had not 
been given to the Society when his history was written. 

At different times since the war, from as far back as 
when my memory was much more distinct about details 
tiian now, I have put, roughly, in writing my recollec- 
tion of other periods, selected as inclination led me or 


to which my attention would be drawn by something ap- 
pearing in print or otherwise. And during the last two 
years I have been re-writing and connecting all these ac- 
counts until I now have a continuous narrative of the 
war as I saw it, from its beginning to the end. While so 
completing it now, I have often consulted authorities, 
and especially the War Records, but not for the purpose 
of introducing new matter in my own recollections, prefer- 
ring to let them stand, generally, for what they were 
worth; I was willing, however, to look for corrections of 
plainly erroneous statements and to supply some exact 
dates or other such information; which I have for the 
most part put in notes. But several times when I was 
minded to at least modify some of my statements, I 
have unexpectedly come across confirmation of my recol- 
lection in minute particulars, and sometimes curiously. 

At first I had no object in view but to make a record of 
my recollections and leave it behind me. But friends 
have advised me that what I have written is worth publi- 
cation and would be interesting to a circle of readers; 
moreover, the use which General Humphreys made of 
my two early papers encourages me to hope even that I 
may be able to contribute something about the details 
of the war, and especially to the history of the Army of 
Northern Virginia, in which I served from Manassas to 
within two days of Appomattox. All accounts of eye- 
witnesses in such operations have some value, and one 
who was through the Valley Campaign of 1862 for in- 
stance, which will always be studied as a new chapter in 
military history, and was often close to the side of Stone- 
wall Jackson and Ashby, and others, ought to be able to 
say something worth the telling. 

My grandfather on my father's side was a Revolution- 
ary soldier to whom Congress voted one of the only eleven 


medals given by it in the war. He was Governor of 
Maryland when the Federal Union of 1789 was put into 
operation, and held other high offices, State and Federal. 
In 18 1 7 he received the complimentary vote of the 22 
Massachusetts Electors for the office of Vice-President of 
the United States. He died as late as 1827 and had be- 
tween fifty and seventy-five descendants living when the 
war broke out. They ought to have been attached to 
the Union — and they were — ^but when the issue came in 
1861 between North and South, every man, woman and 
child was Southern. 

On my mother's side, my great grandfather was a 
Revolutionary soldier and his son, my grandfather, was 
the author of "The Star Spangled Banner" and one of 
the founders of the African Colonization Society. He 
died as late as 1843 and in 1861 there were upwards of 
sixty descendants living, and I think of them also every 
man, woman and child was Southern. Of all these, on 
both sides, I cannot recall that any owned slaves in 1861. 

I mention this in illustration of the sentiment in Mary- 
land, although many other families were not as happily 
imited. But if there was a division of feeling in Balti- 
more and other parts of the State, and a predominant 
Union population in the Northern part, settied largely 
from across Mason and Dixon's Line, yet I think there 
is no doubt, and that is has become accepted history, 
that if Maryland had had the opportunity, it would have 
united itself with its sister States of the Confederacy. 
Marylanders who went into the Southern army did so, 
therefore, not merely to aid the cause of the Confeder- 
acy as it was constituted, but believing that they were 
serving their own State — in subjection — in the only way 
that was left to them. 




I. The Maryland Gtiard and xgth April, x86x 9 

n. Baltimore to Richmond 16 

m. Richmond to Winchester 22 

IV. Battle of Manassas or Bull Run 34 

V. Fairfax Court House and Station and Centreville 45 

VI. Winter Quarters at Manassas x86x-x862 6x 

Vn. Opening of Campaign of X862 — ^Manassas to the lUqypa- 

hannock 66 

Vm. Appointment as Staff Officer — RappahannoA to Richmond 

and the Valley 72 

DC Valley Campaign — ^Ashby and Jackson — ^Reorganization 77 

X. Valley Campaign — ^Battle of McDoweQ 92 

XI. Valley Campaign — ^Battle of Winchester 105 

Xn. Valley Campaign — Charlestown and Retreat up the Valley . . 112 
Xni. Valley Campaignr-Battles of Cross Keys and Port Re- 
public 122 

XIV. March from the Valley to Richmond 133 

XV. Seven Days Battles arotmd Richmond — Gaines's Mill 136 

XVI. Seven Days Battles— White Oak Swamp and Malvern Hill.. 148 

XVn. Richmond — Orange and Louisa Counties 159 

XVm. Battle of Cedar Run 164 

XDL Orange County and the Valley 176 

XX. The Valley to Richmond and Jackson's Headquarters 187 

XXI. Richmond to Montgomery Sulphur Springs and Halifax 

County 19s 

XXn. Richmond to Maryland and Pennsylvania 207 

XXm. Potomac River to Orange County 218 

XXIV. Camp on Poplar Run and Morton's Ford 224 

XXV. Bristoe Campaign 232 

XXVI. Battle of Payne's Farm or Bartlett 's Mill and Mine Run .... 238 

XXVn. Winter quarters, 1863-1864 246 

XXVra. Battle of the Wildcmess 267 

XXDC Battle of Spotsylvania Court House 284 

XXX. Spotsylvania Court House to Fort Delaware 300 

Fort Delaware 305 


XXXn. Fort Ddaware to Savannah and Richmond 335 

XXXm. Richmond, Orange County and Chaffin '8 Bluff 348 

XXXIV. Retreat from Richmond and Battle of Sailor's Creek 361 

XXXV. Sailor's Creek to Washington— Old Capitol Prison 390 

XXXVI. Johnson's Island Prison— Home 398 

Appendix. Address at the Unveiling of the Maryland Confederate 

Monument 407 


Lieutenant McHeniy Howard, C. S. A. From ambrotype, Richmond, 
July, 1862 PronHspiece 

Maryland Guard Half Fatigue Unlfonn 14 

Tent Furnace. $6 

Sergeant's Chevrons 63 

Captain William H. Murray, C. S. A. From ambrotype, Richmond, 

July, 1862 64 

Brigadier-General Turner Ashby, C. S. A. 120 

Stonewall Jackson. 132 

Battle of Gaines's Mill 142 

White Oak Swamp 149 

Battle of Malvern Hill 153 

Battle of Cedar Run 172 

Brigadier-General Charles S. Winder 174 

Stonewall Jackson's Letter 192 

Major-General I. R. Trimble 206 

Picket Lme 1863-1864 263 

Brigadier-General George H. Steuart 266 

War Map of Virginia 270 

Battle of the Wilderness, by Colonel Thniston 277 

Battle of the Wilderness 281 

Battle of Spotsylvania Court House. 299 

Fort Delaware 31 2 

Confederate Letter Envelope 316 

Major-General G. W. Custis Lee 360 

Johnson's Island Prison 399 

Maryland Confederate Monument 406 


The Maryland Guard and 19th April, 1861 

The Battalion known as the "Maryland Guard," in 
the S3d Regiment of Infantry, Maryland Militia, was or- 
ganized in Baltimore in the winter of 1859-60, partly, 
and principally, for the purpose of being a reserve to aid 
the civil authorities in preserving law and order in the 
city, lately rescued by the Reform movement from the 
domination of a mob, and partly because of the feeling of 
insecurity and alarm that pervaded the Border and 
Southern States after the insurrectionary attempt of 
John Brown at Harper's Ferry. Shortly after its forma- 
tion, or while it was organizing, I joined Company C, of 
which Langdon Erving was the first captain, but who 
was promoted to the lieutenant-colonelcy about that 
time and was succeeded by Harry Dorsey Gough Carroll. 
The French Zouave was the model soldier of that period 
according to American ideas, and the Maryland Guard 
uniform was patterned on his. The full dress was a 
dark blue jacket, short and close fitting and much em- 
broidered with yellow; a blue flannel shirt with a close 
row of small round gilt buttons (for ornament merely,) 
down the front, between yellow trimming; blue panta- 
loons, very baggy and gathered below the knee and falling 
over the tops of long drab gaiters; a small blue cap, of 
the kepi kind, also trimmed with yellow; and, finally, 
a wide red sash, or band rather, kept wide by hooks and 
eyes on the ends, completed this gaudy dress, which 
made a very brilliant effect on street parade but was 
totally unsuitable for any active service. To fully adjust 


it, a man almost required the services of a valet — or a 
sister or sweetheart. The "fatigue" (undress) uniform 
substituted a more generous blue jacket and ordinary 
black pantaloons and left off the gaiters and sash, and 
was therefore the more sensible or less absurd. But 
there has never been a finer militia organization in this 
country, and its schooling was of great service to the very 
many of them who went South. 

We drilled regularly and paraded on different oc- 
casions, notably at the reception of the Japanese am- 
bassadors on 8th June, i860 — ^when we disgraced our- 
selves by presenting arms^ on the march in passing in 
review before the Gilmor House in Monument Square — 
and at the opening of Druid Hill Park on 19th October, 
i860, but nothing more eventful marked our history 
until the 19th of April, 1861. 

Of the affair on Pratt Street that day I saw nothing, 
being engaged in my office writing a deed (I had been ad- 
mitted to the Bar on the 4th of March), until Mr. John 
H. Thomas hurried in and asked me " if I knew that they 
were playing the mischief (in his excitement he used a 
stronger word,) down town and that the militia had been 
ordered out?" Leaving deed and office, neither of 
which I saw again, I ran down to the Armory, at Carroll 
Hall, southeast comer of Baltimore and Calvert Streets, 
meeting my oldest brother, Frank Key Howard, on the 
way, who went with me and asked Colonel Brush, stand- 
ing at the door, if he wanted any volunteers. But the 
offer was declined. I found the stairway guarded by a 

1 Guns are " presented, " i.e., held in front of the body, only when at a halt and 
in line. A marrhing salute is to bring the pieces to " shoulder arms " (afterwards 
called ''cany arms"), i ^^ along the rig^t side, officers lowering the points of 
their swords. But we consoled ourselves in our mortification by reflecting that 
the heathen knew no better and probably thought it a very fine performance. 
It made the men walk very wobbly. 


double line of our men on the first landing up with fixed 
bayonets, to keep out the crowd, every moment increas- 
ing and threatening to force an entrance to appropriate 
the guns. The men of the battalion came hurrying in 
and fell into line as fast as they arrived, many having, 
like myself, not taken time to get their uniforms, and we 
remained under arms the rest of the day, hearing all sorts 
of rumors and expecting every moment to be led out, 
either to drive back or to protect the Federal soldiers, or 
preserve order in any way not involving a collision with 
our fellow citizens. At night a strong guard was main- 
tained, the rest of the command being dismbsed with 
orders to repair to the Armory at a moment's notice, a 
signal for which would be a red flag or ball in the daytime 
and a red light by night. 

On the ensuing Sunday, April 2 1 , news came of the ap- 
proach of General Keim's force on the Northern Central 
Railroad and the York Turnpike Road, which caused 
another flurry of excitement almost equal to that of the 
19th. From midday the battalion was held under arms 
in the Armory and a detail was made from each company 
to remain behind as a guard whenever the command 
should move out. I was one of the detachment from 
Company C, but succeeded, just as an order came to 
march, in making an exchange with a man suffering with 
heart disease. We jojrfully descended the steps — our 
Armory being the highest floor — but it was only to change 
our quarters to the more commodious room of the gym- 
nasium below. Here we remained cooped up, watching 
the crowded street, along which furniture wagons and 
other vehicles full of armed men were passing every now 
and then, causing us to repine at our inglorious inac- 
tivity, instead of taking part in the conflict which we 
surely believed was imminent, if not going on. Indeed, 


some of us were so far carried away as to attempt to get 
out of the building, but could not flank the guard. I do 
not remember whether we remained under arms during 
the night, but from this time we were ordered to wear our 
uniforms and equipments habitually. About this time 
Colonel Brush was disabled by a wound in the hand from 
the accidental discharge of his pistol, and when Major 
Charles E. Phelps was summoned to take command — 
Lieutenant-Colonel Erving being ill with consumption, 
of which he soon after died — ^he replied that he had sent 
in his resignation, which step he followed up by leaving 
the city in a carriage by night. Major Phelps, a native 
of New Hampshire, afterwards served with distinction 
in the Union Army.* There were not more than a dozen, 
I think however, who failed to stand by the battalion to 
the last. On the other hand, very many joined us, and 
I presume we could have increased our ranks indefinitely 
if we had had uniforms and specially desired it. We 
did not long want an acceptable field officer, for, to our 
great satisfaction. Colonel Benjamin Huger,* of the regu- 
lar army, then residing in Baltimore, was, on this Sunday 
I think, elected or appointed to command us. I was ap- 
pointed by Captain Carroll a corporal, a promotion of 
which I was, perhaps, more proud than of any I ever 
received since. 

We soon took possession of the spacious Maryland 
Institute, over the Centre Market, which we continued 
to occupy for some time, keeping a heavy guard by night, 
and having roll calls, drills, and at sunset dress parades 
which were attended by ladies and others, for after the 
memorable Sunday the city was very orderly and quiet. 

> And later he was a very able Judge of the Baltimore Bench, Member of 
Congreas, etc 

' Afterwards Major-General Huger of the Confederate Aimy 


We had news of the approach of the Northern forces 
from different quarters but did not disturb ourselves 
over the situation, having confidence in our officers and 
the civil authorities. Business was little attended to, 
our minds were filled with high patriotic feelings, mingled 
with some enjoyment of the novelty of our half military 

About eleven o'clock on the night of May 13, we were 
quietly summoned by our sergeants — ^having been pre- 
viously divided into squads in view of such a contingency 
— to the Armory at Carroll Hall, to which we had gone 
back shortly before. We found the place dimly lighted 
and the guns being carried off, singly and by twos and 
threes or more, by any members of the Battalion who 
would undertake to hide them. The reason was that 
General Ben Butler had occupied, or was about occupy- 
ing, Federal Hill with an overwhelming force and the 
city would certainly fall into his hands in the morning. 
I took and carried home three muskets, but did not at- 
tempt to hide them specially, for I apprehended that my 
father would be arrested, as President of the Board of 
Police, and his house, on Cathedral Street next to Em- 
manuel Church, would be searched, and it would not be 
well to have any concealed arms discovered there. These 
were found and seized when he was arrested afterwards, 
but I believe very few others were ever found, although 
diligently sought for. Many were taken South and did 
good service tiiere, while some, no doubt, remain hidden 
away and forgotten to this day. The Armory was 
stripped by one or two o'clock. Several of us went up 
Charles Street, among them my cousin William Key 
Howard, who had the colors, the staff of which he broke 
and threw the pieces over the wall into the Archbishop's 


yard — there was then a high brick wall at the edge of the 

The next morning not a uniform was seen on the streets 
which they had made so picturesque before, and General 
Butler took possession of the city; I saw him as he dis- 
mounted to establish his headquarters at the Gilmor 
House on Monument Square, and I walked over to Fed- 
eral Hill and looked at the troops fixing their camps on 
that commanding eminence. 

After this many of the Maryland Guard, with others, 
one or a few at a time, left for the South, while others 
remained longer, to be guided by the course of events. 
My own reasons for lingering after many of my friends 
and four of my five older brother had gone were partly 
because I was the youngest and as it was probable my 
father, and also my oldest brother (Editor of the Ex- 
change,) would be arrested, I was not sure that my first 
duty was not at home, and partly because it was not 
clear that more could not be accomplished in Maryland 
than by leaving it. At that time W. Carvel Hall, Charles 
Goldsborough and Thomas Turner lived in bachelor 
style at No. ^St. Paul Street, a few doors north of Mul- 
berry, and here William Duncan McKim and others, 
with myself, held many secret consultations. One of 
our plans was to assist in raising a company of one hun- 
dred men under Captain William H. Murray, of the 
Maryland Guard, and to march, with our arms and uni- 
forms, across the Potomac by way of Sykesville. An- 
other was to form a secret organization at home and 
hold ourselves in readiness to act as occasion prompted. 
The first project was abandoned when Murray, being in 
danger of arrest, precipitately left for Virginia, and, 
moreover, the line of the river, or the Baltimore and 
Ohio Railroad, was guarded by the Northern forces. 

Maryland Guard Half Fatigue Ukifokh, 1861 


The second was held under advisement a while longer, 
but in the meantime Carvel Hall was despatched to 
Richmond to ascertain what reception was given to 
Maryl^nders going over and whether their accession was 
at all desired. He went and returned secretly and safely, 
railroad communication not having been yet interrupted, 
and reported that our friends who had gone before were 
welcomed gladly. Finally, on the 31st of May, being 
tired of inactivity and doubt, Duncan McKim and I 
agreed that I should see Mr. S. Teackle Wallis and get 
his opinion of what would be the probable future in 
Maryland and that we would govern ourselves according- 
ly. His emphatic answer being "as quiet as the grave, " 
we made our preparations to leave next morning. 


Baltimore to Richmond 

Early in the morning of Saturday, June i, 1861, 
William Duncan McKim, Clapham Murray and myself 
started for Virginia, taking what was called the lower 
route because we had received secret information the day 
before that on this morning the Baltimore and Ohio Rail- 
road would be seized and the baggage of all passengers 
would be searched. As it was, we felt some uneasiness 
in driving down to the Patuxent River boat, half expect- 
ing to meet a guard there, and were relieved to find our- 
selves and our trunks — containing Maryland Guard 
uniforms — on board without hindrance or search and 
presently safely past Fort McHenry. We made a feeble 
pretense of visiting St. Mary's County to look at farms, 
but soon saw that our true character was more than 
suspected by all on board, for passengers, officers of the 
steamboat and servants marked us out for particular at- 
tentions. Arriving at Millstone Landing, just within 
the mouth of the Patuxent on the St. Mary's County 
side, we enquired on the wharf for George Thomas, at 
whose house, a couple of hundred yards off, we intended 
to spend the night and get information how to proceed 
further, and were referred to a gentleman wearing a 
broad brimmed hat as his brother; this was Richard 
Thomas, soon afterwards well known as Colonel '*Zar- 
vona."^ George Thomas requested us to remain with 
him until Monday when he himself would accompany 
us, an offer we were glad to accept. The next morning, 

^ His romantic exploits made him well known in the first part of the war. 



Sunday, we drove some distance to the Episcopal Church 
and were shown much attention by the congregation, 
there being no necessity of keeping up any disguise in 
this country. 

On Monday morning, having put on our uniforms, we 
drove across the peninsula in an open wagon. Stopping 
for lunch at midday at the house of Dr. Sappington, 

early in the afternoon we came to the house of 

-on the east bank of St. Mary's River and near 

its head, where we were joined by several others who were 
also bound South — Edward Johnson of Baltimore and 
Thomas A. Hebb and his cousin Thomas W. Hebb 
Greenwell of St. Mary's County. After a short delay we 
sailed in a canoe directly down the river, landing in the 
evening at the place of Mr. Coade, near its mouth and on 
the west side. After dark George Thomas went in a 
boat to reconnoitre the Potomac and reported something 
like a gunboat as having passed, but we trusted the way 
would be clear by morning. In spite of Mr. Coade's 
hospitable protests, we lay down to sleep on the floor, 
thinking it time we should begin to accustom ourselves 
to the hardships of a soldier's life. At dawn, June 4, we 
started in a sail canoe for the southern bank of the Po- 
tomac, intending to make straight across for Westmore- 
land County, but a head wind compelled us to shape our 
course lower down. The inhabitants of St. George's 
Island, at the mouth of St. Mary's River, who are mostly 
pilots and their familes, were said to be, or many of them, 
favorable to the North, and the mysterious, as we 
thought, dipping of a United States flag on one of their 
boats, like a signal, gave us a deal of uneasiness. With- 
out further adventure, however — except a drenching 
shower — the strong breeze, aided by some vigorous row- 
ing, carried us swiftly over the broad water, and at 8 


o'clock a.m. we entered the mouth of a beautiful creek, 
which turned out to be Cone River in Northumberland 
County, Virginia; we had therefore sailed about twenty 
miles. Upon a high hill a short distance above our land- 
ing place was the residence of Colonel Smith, 

said to be the wealthiest man in the county, and George 
Thomas and I, leaving the rest of the party at the 
boat, went to ask hospitality. Doors and windows 
were wide open with a very inviting appearance, and 
George Thomas exclaimed confidently, "There's Vir- 
ginia hospitality for you!" But when we reached the 
front door we perceived the Colonel rather hastily re- 
treating out at the back, and when presently, in answer 
to our repeated knocks, a young lady made her appear- 
ance, she asked us defiantly, "what we wanted?" We 
requested to see Colonel Smith, who finally came, ex- 
hibiting an unaccountable want of ease, and although we 
informed him that we had been sailing since four o'clock, 
a part of the time in the rain, and had had no breakfast, 
he did not offer to supply us. Learning that his son, 
Dr. James Smith, lived but a mile off, who had married 
a lady of St. Mary's County, well known to George 
Thomas and also a distant cousin of mine, being a daugh- 
ter of H. G. Sothoron Key, but whom I had neverseen, 
we determined to go there, very much surprised and dis- 
gusted at our first experience of "Virginia hospitality." 
Leaving Colonel Smith, who seemed relieved to be rid of 
us, we soon arrived at the Doctor's and, although he was 
not at the house, we received a very cordial welcome 
from his wife. He, being sent for, soon came in and, first 
sending for our comrades at the boat, proceeded to refresh 
us after the manner of the country. Compounding a 
mixture in a large glass, he offered it to us with the re- 
mark, "I don't know whether you gentlemen are much 


acquainted with this liquor, but we drink a good deal of 
it in this part of the country. " Such was my first intro- 
duction to an apple brandy julep. The rest of our party 
arrived soon and brought with them an explanation of 
our cold reception at the Colonel's. It appeared that 
our party, some of us being in Maryland Guard uniform 
which we had worn since starting from George Thomas's, 
had been taken for Yankees landing from a prowling 
gunboat. We received a message of warm apology from 
both the Colonel and the ladies of his family and an en- 
treaty that we would remain long enough to give them 
an opportunity to make us some amends. But we were 
full of ardor to hasten on in order to be present at the 
first battle, expected to come off soon, and after partaking 
of breakfast and dinner, which were pressed on us in 
quick succession. Dr. Smith packed us in a carriage and 
wagon and drove us in to Heathsville, the county town, 
about two or three miles distant. Two companies of 
infantry were stationed or organizing here, having a 
picket thrown out on the road, whose sentinel brought 
his bayonet to a charge at sight of this formidable in- 
vasion of strange and very gaudy uniforms, but recog- 
nizing Dr. Smith, he allowed us to pass, with an expres- 
sion of much doubt and astonishment. The companies 
were drilling on the village green, but broke ranks in- 
continently and fraternized. I suppose we were the 
most popular guests Heathsville had ever entertained and 
we had no small difficulty in persuading them to let us 
go on. Applejack flowed freely and I am sorry to record 
that enthusiasm led to much inebriation, although our 
party kept within the bounds of strict moderation, only 
avoiding the giving of offence. Bouquets were presented 
by the ladies, George Thomas as our spokesman making a 
suitable acknowledgment. Two wagons were at last 


furnished for our transportation and we got into them be- 
fore the horses were harnessed, thinking to hasten the 
arrangements, whereupon some of our friends seized 
hold and dragged us triumphantly around the place. 
Being finally permitted to leave, we drove across North- 
umberland, perhaps a comer of Richmond, and Lancas- 
ter Counties, and by 8 o'clock in the evening came to the 
house of Mr. Carter, a member of the Legis- 
lature, on the north bank of the Rappahannock, ten miles 
above Urbana on the other side, by whom we were hos- 
pitably entertained. 

Awakened before daylight in the morning, June 5, we 
were first called upon to drain — perhaps twice — a large 
two-storey tumbler of applejack julep, which our host 
modestly informed us he had some reputation for mixing, 
took breakfast and sailed in a flat bottomed boat down 
and across the Rappahannock to Urbana, which is the 
county seat of Middlesex County. This place also we 
found occupied by two Companies and we were made to 
give an account of ourselves in quite a formal way at 
headquarters, but this stiffness was soon relaxed and a 
reception was given us similar to that at Heathsville. 
The soldiers were quartered in the principal church of 
the village, and my feelings were for the first time shocked 
by seeing a sacred building in military occupation; and I 
never saw one abused as this was. A fiddle was soon 
produced, as well as an abundance of applejack, and 
dancing — among the men — drinking and card playing 
offered for our entertainment, in which we declined to 
join. After some delay vehicles were furnished and we 
drove across Middlesex and ''King and Queen" Counties 
and shortly before dark were ferried over the Mattapony 
branch of York River to West Point, in King William 
County, at the junction of the Mattapony and Pamunkey, 


forming the York. More troops were stationed here and, 
its situation at the head of the York River making it of 
more importance, better discipline was observed and 
there was a more business-like appearance in the arrange- 
ments. We were kindly received and treated, but our 
arrival did not create the same sensation as at the other 
two places. Wooden barracks, with bunks, had been 
erected, in which we were assigned quarters and we ob- 
served Tattoo and other regulations with the soldiers. 

Next morning, we saw H. C. Dallam of Baltimore, 
whose wife, of the Braxton family, was from this neigh- 
borhood. He said that Judge John S. Caskie, of Rich- 
mond, wished to be introduced to us. Judge Caskie 
said, "You are Marylanders and I wish to call your at- 
tention to some stirring verses I have seen in the news- 
paper. I wish I could repeat them, but the refrain is, 
'Maryland, my Maryland.'" 

We presently took the cars to Richmond, about forty 


Richmond to Winchester 

Upon our arrival at Richmond, June 6, 1861, we found 
that the two Maryland companies which had already 
been organized, commanded by Captains J. Lyle Clarke 
and Edward R. Dorsey, had, a day or two before, been 
sent off on an expedition to Chuckatuck in Nansemond 
County, towards Norfolk, and as William H, Murray, 
a captain of the Maryland Guard, for whom we proposed 
to raise a company, had gone with them as a volunteer, 
we waited for his return, most of our party staying at the 
Spotswood Hotel, southeast corner of Main and 7th 
Streets. We had all determined to go into service to- 
gether. No good reason was assigned or appeared for 
this expedition, and it was said to have been the outcome 
of a dinner party at Governor Letcher's where Colonel 
Frank J. Thomas,^ a Marylander and old army officer 
who hoped to command the future Maryland Regiment, 
was vaunting the spirit and readiness of the Maryland 
men. They came in a day or two from this bloodless 
foray into a peaceful community, full of stories of their 
first experience in campaigning; Jack Wamberzie was 
said, while on picket, to have challenged and then fired 
the first Maryland shot of the war — at a lightning bug. 
Our party now proceeded to assist in getting up the new 
Company, the rendezvous being the large boot and shoe 
store (wholesale) of J. Alden Weston, No. 14 (?) Pearl 
Street, south of Main Street. 

^ He was killed at Manassas on July 21, acting as Chief of Ordnance on the 
staff of General Jo8q>h £. Johnston and while rallying some disorganized troops. 



While sitting at the Spotswood one evening, Captain 
Arnold Elzey, of Maryland, who had resigned from the 
United States Army, ** desired to be introduced to me." 
He very civilly said that he understood I was aiding in 
getting up a Maryland company and he wished to say to 
me that some of his friends were recommending his ap- 
pointment as colonel of the Maryland regiment and that, 
if he were so appointed, he would do all he could to pro- 
mote the efficiency of the command and the comfort of 
the men. I was non-committal. My next interview 
with him was at Winchester, as will appear 

Having easily got together more than the number re- 
quired by law for the formation of an infantry company, 
which I think was fifty, on the 14th (?) of June we elected 
our commissioned officers: captain, William H. Murray; 
first lieutenant, George Thomas; second lieutenant, 
Frank X. Ward, and marched from Weston's to Capitol 
Square to be mustered into the Virginia service, for as yet 
the different States had their own troops, which a little 
later were turned over to the general government. Our 
expectation was to be enlisted, like most of the other 
commands, for the term of twelve months, and our indig- 
nation was great at being informed when drawn up in 
line, by Colonel Deas, the mustering officer, that we must 
enlist "for the war." Not one of us purposed serving 
for a less period somewhere, but we naturally wanted to 
be on an equal footing with almost all the other organiza- 
tions and have some liberty of action at the end of one 
year; and having exiled ourselves from Maryland, it 
seemed to us that we were being imposed on in our neces- 
sities and treated with bad faith. But Colonel Deas was 
inexorable, and there being no help for it, we submitted, 
determining to appeal to the authorities. No non-com- 
missioned officers had been appointed, but by Captain 


Murray's direction I acted as orderly sergeant. The 
same afternoon (or was it the next?) we marched out 
Franklin Street to the "Old Fair Ground," afterwards 
called the Camp of Instruction, and Camp Lee, beyond 
the western end of the city, and were assigned quarters 
in one of the wooden buildings within the enclosure, 
hay or straw being issued for bedding. 

The members of our company lost no time in taking 
steps to have the muster roll rectified, and to that end a 
joint committee of five was chosen from our company and 
one or both of the others — involved in the same trouble — 
to wait on President Davis and also on General Robert 
E. Lee, commanding all the Virginia forces. Richard 
C. Mackall and myself, of Murray's company, and Jim 
Sellman of Dorsey's company were three that I remember 
of this number, and we made Mackall our principal 
spokesman or chairman, he being the oldest, and espe- 
cially because he was of more distinction, having been 
once a territorial judge in Kansas. Mr. Davis promptly 
gave us an audience, listened to our statement of griev- 
ances with great patience, and promised to interest 
himself in having them remedied. We had more diffi- 
culty in getting admitted to General Lee's presence but 
were importunate. He seemed not at all pleased at being 
interrupted and told us he did not see what could be 
done, adding sharply that the Maryland troops had al- 
ready given more trouble than five times as many others. 
The committee replied and retired with dignity. Gen- 
eral Lee at that time wore a heavy brown moustache, 
with no beard, and was a very handsome man, looking, 
of course, very much younger than as he was afterwards 
known and pictured. About the i8th of June we heard 
that the muster rolls were changed, but many doubters 
prophesied we would be held '*for the war." 


My note book — written up some months afterwards — 
says that on this day, June 18, we were formally mustered 
into service for twelve months, but we certainly were re- 
ceived, as before narrated, at an earlier date on Capitol 
Square and by a regular mustering officer, in the usual 
manner, (ie.. the roll or list was called and each man 
answered to his name, stepping a pace to the front,) and 
my entry probably means that more formal muster rolls 
were made out on this day, with the complete company 
organization; for Captain Murray now appointed his 
non-commissioned officers, who were : first or orderly ser- 
geant, J. Harry Sullivan, second sergeant, McHenry 
Howard; third sergeant, James W. Lyon; fourth ser- 
geant, Chapman B. Briscoe; first corporal, Richard 
Tilghman Gilmor; second corporal, Edward Johnson; 
third corporal, Richard Covington Mackall; fourth cor- 
poral, William S. Lemmon. 

We drilled very diligently — as often as four or five 
times a day — the experience that some of us had had in 
the Maryland Guard toeing now of great service. At 
this time most of the troops, of whom there were prob- 
ably several thousand in the Camp of Instruction, were 
drilled by the young cadets from the Virginia Military 
Institute at Lexington, but when one of these young 
gentlemen presented himself to Captain Murray and re- 
ported that he was assigned for that service, he was 
gruffly informed that "this company was drilled by its 
own officers and sergeants," after which we were left to 
our own training. The companies of Captains Clarke 
and Dorsey, which had had several weeks drilling, 
thought themselves proficient enough already to vie with 
these cadets and imitated them in * 'double quicking" 
from the ground after evening dress parade, which none 
others were presumptions enough to do. Ladies drove 


out from Richmond every evening and often brought or 
sent provisions or dainties — sometimes beefsteaks on 
silver dishes. One evening I remained in Richmond 
until after dark and was sent out to camp by Mrs. 
Robert F. Morriss in her carriage ; when it stopped at the 
gate, the officer on duty took me for some one of high 
rank, an impression much strengthened when 1 stepped 
out in the moonlight in blue and yellow Maryland Guard 
uniform, turned out the guard and received me with 
presented arms and the respect due to a general officer. 

Within a week Dorsey's company and our own received 
orders to proceed to Winchester to join the six Maryland 
companies which had been formed at Harper's Ferry. 
Lyle Clarke's company preferred to remain and attach 
itself elsewhere. We left a new company forming under 
Captain Michael Stone Robertson, of Charles County.* 

On the evening of June 23, I was sent with a small de- 
tail to guard the baggage at the Virginia Central Rail- 
road depot during the night, and next morning the two 
companies marched in and took the cars, passing through 
Gordonsville, Orange, Culpeper, Manassas Junction, and 
Front Royal to Strasburg, where we arrived near dark 
and were quartered in a church for the night. The short 
march from the cars across one or two fields showed me 
how I had overloaded myself with baggage — I could not 
stagger under it even for that short distance — and I en- 
trusted some of my Maryland Guard finery to a friend who 
luckily passed (Alfred Hoffman of Baltimore), to be car- 
ried back to Richmond. The next morning Murray's 
men were packed in a couple of omnibuses which 
brought us the eighteen miles to Winchester after mid- 

' Clarke took his company into the 21st Virginia which went to West Virginia 
under General Loring. Robertson's Company joined us after the battle of 


day. Having the excuse of being separated from all the 
officers and most of the men, I took dinner at Taylor's 
Hotel, and being introduced to Colonel A. P. Hill and one 
or two others afterwards well known, we had a bottle of 
champagne, the last I tasted for many a day. In the 
evening I strolled out to the camping ground on the 
Romney Road, across from and a little beyond the resi- 
dences of Senator James M. Mason and Colonel Angus 
McDonald. Here in a grassy hollow I found tents 
going up and a very busy scene. While at Richmond, D. 
Giraud Wright, Duncan McKim, Wilson C. N. Carr, 
John M. Boiling, John M. Burke, myself, and I think two 
more, had formed ourselves into a mess and bought a wall 
tent, which we now started to put up. But Colonel 
Elzey — ^recently appointed — rode by and demanded to 
know "what that officers' tent was doing in the men's 
line?" — adding that we "must come out of those damned 
Baltimore notions." So we rolled up our investment 
and sat down disconsolately in a row upon it. Through 
some intercession, however, we presently received per- 
mission to pitch it at the side of the hollow, just outside 
the regular camp, so as not to spoil the symmetry of the 
bell tents, an arrangement with which we were well 
pleased, as we were thus a little apart from the crowd and 
on better ground. I think there were eight in our wall tent 
and we managed to pack in, four with heads up to one 
side and four to the other, the lower parts of our bodies 
and legs being sandwiched in the middle. Our first 
attempts at cooking were poor enough; in the way of 
bread we could only make "slapjacks, " a sort of pancake 
out of flour and water. Campbell W. Pinkney* here 
joined the company and our mess as a volunteer, but, 
being of a delicate constitution his health soon gave way 

' After the war a judge of the Baltimore City Bench. 



under our cooking, and he was compelled to relinquish 
the idea of going into service. 

On June 25, we heard Charley Inloes's voice from a 
little eminence, "Look out for your baggage, boys, the 
Plug Uglies* are coming, " and lifting our eyes, there was 
to be seen winding over the hill one of the sorriest, rag- 
gedest crowds we had ever beheld, which turned out to 
be the six companies which had organized at Harper's 
Ferry and now, under Lieutenant Colonel George H. 
Steuart and Major Bradley T. Johnson, came to unite 
with us and form the 1st Maryland Infantry. Having 
seen what was thought at that time to be some rather 
rough service, they were poorly clad and presented an 
unkempt and unwashed appearance. That night, fear- 
ing lest such a necessitous set of poor relations might 
"Butlerize** — a word in common use then, the derivation 
and meaning of which are obvious — we secretly detailed 
a special guard in the street of our company, and kept it 
up a night or two. Two of my brothers, John Eager 
Howard and Charles Howard were in this command, and 
as another, Edward Lloyd Howard was in Dorsey's 
company, there were now four of us in the regiment; 
there were also three first cousins of the name, William 
Key Howard, John E. Howard of James (also of the 
"Plugs"), and James McHenry Howard of Dorsey's 
company; besides other relations, two as near — John and 
Murray Key. My brother James Howard, who had long 
since resigned from the United States Army, was now at 
Pensacola. About this time I heard of the arrest of my 
father, Charles Howard, in Baltimore, and to sum up 
this account, my remaining brother, Frank Key Howard, 
was also arrested in September. Only my mother and 

* The name of the most notorious crowd of rowdies in the Know Nothing" 
days in Baltimore. 


sisters were left at home, spending their time in minister- 
ing to the Confederate prisoners. 

Being entitled to a junior second lieutenant in our com- 
pany, an election by the men was held at this place and 
Corporal Richard T. Gilmor was chosen over his com- 
petitor. Sergeant Sullivan. Little else occurred to vary 
the monotony of the camp life for some days, our time 
being taken up with drilling and other camp duties, with 
an occasional visit into Winchester. I went sometimes 
to Mr. James M. Mason's house, Mrs. Mason being my 
father's first cousin,* and was most kindly treated then 
as ever afterwards by the family — not in that house, 
however, for when I saw the place next year not one 
stone was upon another and the grounds were a barren 

About the 2d of July General Patterson crossed the Po- 
tomac into Virginia and we marched in that direction. 
On July 3 we turned off the Valley Turnpike Road at 
Darkesville to the right, about seventeen miles from 
Winchester, and General Joseph E. Johnston's whole 
army was drawn up in line of battle ; our position was on 
or towards the right and, I should say from my recollec- 
tion of the lay of the country, not far from the Opequon 
on the right. For four days we offered battle, and in 
our Regiment we confidently expected and were eager 
for it. I remember noticing many of our company lying 
about reading their Bibles, intending seriously to make a 
good fight of it." In our regiment, at least, we suffered 
from insufficiency of rations and named the place '* Camp 
Starvation. " On Sunday the 7th of July we returned to 
Winchester. Many of us had no supper the evening be- 
fore and no breakfast that morning and the march of 

' She was Miss Eliza Chew, of Germantown, Pennsylvania. 

' Randolph H. McKim, of Baltimore, here joined our Company. 


seventeen miles was a very trying one. The hot sun 
and frequent vexatious halts, the road in front being 
filled with slow marching Virginia troops (Marylanders 
always had a short quick step), caused many to fall out 
of ranks, and our company, which started with over 
seventy men, reached Winchester with only twenty- two. 

In the course of a few days we changed our camp to 
near the first toll gate on the Martinsburg road. Wed- 
nesday night, July 17th our company performed its 
first tour of picket duty, starting with two crackers 
apiece for supper. During the night W. E. Jones, for- 
merly an officer of the United States Army (afterwards 
brigadier-general of cavalry,) was captured — I think by 
our men — passing the line without the countersign, and 
was carried in triumph to Colonel J. E. B. Stuart, as a 
spy attempting to pass over to the enemy. 

While cooking breakfast after returning next morning, 
we were stopped by an order to strike tents and pack up 
everything immediately. By 7 a.m. (July 18), we were 
in line ready to move, but so remained at *' in place rest, " 
watching the long column of troops taking the road in 
advance through Winchester, and therefore it seemed in 
retreat, until i p.m. when we made a start and got as 
far as the town, but were three times halted in passing 
through; this enabled us, however, to refresh ourselves 
with some loaves of bread which we purchased. The 
porch of Taylor's Hotel and the windows of the houses 
were thronged with ladies of the place and surrounding 
country, who encouraged us by marks of sympathy and 
made the street present a very picturesque appearance. 
It was not until five o'clock that we got fairly under way, 
taking the Millwood road — to the east. 

When about three miles out from Winchester, just as 
the sun was setting, we were halted and faced to the front 


in a narrow glen and our commander read an order from 
General Joseph E. Johnston that "General Beauregard 
was threatened by an overwhelming force at Manassas 
and called us by a forced march to his assistance.** 
Cheer after cheer was taken up along the line, all dis- 
content was forgotten, fatigue and hardship, past and to 
be undergone, unheeded, and exclamations of, "Lead us 
on," "We are on the road to Maryland and will march 
forever," were heard all down the line. The cheers, 
again and again repeated, of our regiment were taken up 
by the loth Virginia and 3d Tennessee, in front and be- 
hind. I remember distinctly now the beautiful sunset^ 
with some purple clouds floating in the soft sky, and the 
high hills between which the road ran, and the contrast 
of the enthusiasm of the men and the quiet, lovely scene* 
For some time we marched on with buoyant tread and 
the greatest animation. But as darkness came on, hun- 
ger and fatigue began to tell, the men became gradually 
silent and presently nothing was heard biit the steady 
tramp on the stone road and the miscellaneous noises 
which accompany a body of troops in motion. The 
night so wore on, with only irregular and uncertain halts 
to let the way get clear in front. We passed through the 
village of Millwood, day broke, and at last, two hours 
after sunrise, we were gladdened by (he sight of the 
Shenandoah River. Here we rested for a couple of 
hours. Coffee was made and some bread cooked, or the 
poor substitute for it which we called **putty cake,*^ 
being of that consistency, made of flour and water and 
cooked in a frying pan, or sometimes in a griddle or 
"spider." Many sought to obtain a little sleep, while 
others chose instead a refreshing bath in the Shenandoah. 
The scene along the river was very picturesque and be- 
came more so when our companies were reformed and 


the order was given to cross by wading. The water was 
not more than waist deep, and by partially undressing 
and hanging shoes, clothes and accoutrements on our 
muskets, we managed in most cases to keep them dry, 
but some unfortunate would slip or stumble on the 
smooth round stones with which the bottom was covered 
and amid the laughter and jeers of his comrades, make 
his way dripping to the other side. Reforming on the 
shore, we took up the weary march through or over 
Ashby's Gap in the Blue Ridge. Shortly after midday 
we gained the summit and saw the country on the eastern 
side spread for many miles before us. Descending and 
passing through the village of Paris, where a basket of 
provisions presented by the country people to our com- 
pany, or the regiment, was seized as if by a pack of wolves 
and in a few moments emptied, we shortly after — at 
about 4 o'clock — halted and broke ranks in a wheat 
stubble field, as we fondly supposed for the night. Our 
regiment seemed now to be alone, none others being in 
sight. Having failed to get anything from the Parisian 
basket, I and a comrade (Somervel Sollers?) went out for- 
aging and succeeded in obtaining some bread and butter- 
milk at a neighboring house. On returning I was sur- 
prised to find the regiment forming again and was told 
that an order had come from General Bee' stating that, ow- 
ing to negligence in some quarter, we had wandered some 
miles from the route, and that if we were cut off the fault 
would be our leaders*. I believe the mistake came from 
our being under the impression that we were to march 
the whole way to Beauregard's army, whereas the other 
regiments had turned south some distance back to take 
the Manassas Gap Railroad at Piedmont, and ours was not 

^ General Bee was killed on the 21st after giving Jackson and his brigade the 
immortal Stonewall name. 

I do not know that the order or message really came from him. I only state 
what I heard on getting back to the company from my foraging. 


only alone, but getting too far to the north, especially if 
Patterson with his Union army were also moving down 
from the Valley. The column was now, therefore, kept 
well closed up, guards being thrown out in front and rear 
with orders to allow no one to fall out on any pretext, 
and we marched in quick time until we had passed through 
Upperville and turned sharp to the right, southward. 
The sun went down and night came, but, footsore, weary, 
hungry, thirsty and sleepy, we still pushed on. To add 
to our discomforts it began to rain about 8 p.m. and 
whenever we rested for a few minutes we had to lie down, 
wet on Ihe wet ground, our first experience in that way, 
although several naps were enjoyed. At 8 or 9 o'clock 
Mr. Robert M. Boiling, who had a fine estate, called 
" BoUingbrook, " in the neighborhood, and one of whose 
sons, John Minge Boiling, was of Murray's company and 
in my mess, sent some provisions in a wagon, which, di- 
vided up, gave us each a little. He also sent me, pri- 
vately, two canteens of liquor, from which I gave every 
man in the company a small drink, but I unfortunately 
miscalculated in saving only a few drops for myself. 
Some of our men who were thoroughly exhausted, lay 
down behind the stone wall which fenced the road, and 
when the rear guard had passed, made their way to his 
house, where they spent the night, tantalizing us next 
day by an account of the comforts they had enjoyed. 
Continuing our weary march for an hour longer, we at 
length reached Piedmont and after some delay in line, 
were permitted to lie down on the wet ground and sleep 
for three or four hours. I promised to be one of a detail 
to cook some bread, but fell sound asleep. 

In the morning, July 20, we cooked some rations, or 
half rations, of "putty cake" and coffee, and soon after 
moved to a wheat field near by, where we rested the re- 
mainder of the day. 


Battle of Manassas or Bull Run 

At 2 a.m., Sunday, July 21, we were aroused by the 
shrill whistle of the locomotive and marched down from 
our somewhat elevated position to take the train, but 
delays ensued as usual and it was daybreak before we 
started. The cars were filled to their utmost capacity 
and I rode part of the way on the platform and part on 
top of a car. The engine made slow time and there were 
frequent stops. Having had scanty fare since leaving 
Winchester, indeed dating from before that in our com- 
pany, the blackberries on the side of the embankment 
were an irresistible temptation during these stops. But 
while the side of the road was crowded with eager pickers 
on one of these occasions, I heard a voice exclaiming 
furiously, '* If I had a sword I would cut you down where 
you stand,'* and raising my eyes I beheld the crowd 
scattering for the cars before an officer striding up from 
the rear. I stood still but felt very uncomfortable as he 
came up close and glared at me, thinking he was going to 
strike me and wondering what I would do, and when he 
turned off I was glad to regain my position on the car 
top. This was Brigadier-General E. Kirby Smith, but 
we did not know him, seeing him thus for the first time. 
So we straggled from the cars no more. 

As we neared Manassas Junction we distinctly heard 
the booming of cannon at intervals and could even see 
the smoke from some of the discharges a few miles to the 
left, but we had no idea that a general engagement was 
then actually going on. We arrived at the railroad 



junction, a few hundred yards west of the station, about 
I p.m. and immediately disembarking, threw off our 
knapsacks into a pile and formed in line. Colonel Elzey 
galloped down the front, his eyes sparkling, followed by 
General Kirby Smith who with the back of his hand 
raised to the front of his cap, exclaimed, ''This is the 
signal, men, the watchword is 'Sumpter;'" this was to 
distinguish friend from foe. Enthusiastic cheers were 
given in response, and I now suddenly realized that we 
were going straight into our first battle — and without 
the Bible preparation of Darkesville. 

We were marched north, partly across the country, 
towards the firing, which, cannon and musketry, became 
more and more distinct and as of a real battle. We took 
a quick step at first, but presently in our excitement 
broke into a double quick, with a cheer, and kept up that 
gait for a considerable time, the whole distance passed 
over being about five miles. The dust was most distress- 
ing, so thick at times that it was impossible to see more 
than a few feet ahead of one, and floating high above the 
tree tops, so that, as is well known, the enemy were able 
to trace the march of our column and mark its progress — 
as we did theirs. Once we halted for a few minutes and, 
being parched with thirst, some of the men eagerly lapped 
the muddy water which stood in the fresh deep printb of 
horses' feet in the road — a little miry at that point — 
while others picked a few huckleberries on the right and 
left. As we neared the front the signs were very dis- 
couraging — would have been so to older troops and were 
particularly calculated to try the nerves of raw soldiers. 
We passed a great many wounded, and still more un- 
wounded, going to the rear, many of whom assured us 
that "we were getting cut to pieces this time, *' "we were 
catching hell," "we were sure to be whipped, but to go 


in,'* etc. Sometimes a man with no greater injury than 
a finger hurt would be supported by a comrade or two on 
either side. Wagons and ambulances with wounded 
and dead also drove by. Twice we passed directly over 
regiments lying as flat as they could get to the ground, 
some of the men raising their heads and feebly exhorting 
us to "go in/* to which our felloes responded with an 
invitation, in strong language, to come in with us them- 
selves. Marching steadily, we presently came out into 
an open field, the ground rising to a low crest in front, 
behind (this side of) which was drawn up a small body of 
horse, which I understood to be the Black Horse Troop. 
This was a little way to our right. Here a shell exploded 
seventy or eighty yards to the right, our first shot from 
an enemy.^ After halting for a few minutes we again 
moved forward and some shots began to fall closer; I 
saw one shell strike in a ravine fifteen yards to the right 
which burst with what I thought was a tremendous ex- 
plosion. Soon after the head of the column (we had been 
all the time marching in the usual formation of fours,) 
passed a low thicket which had screened us in front, 
when there was a succession of sharp reports like a pack 
of fire crackers and many bullets whistled around. A 
shell also exploded quite close to the side of the column. 
I saw General Kirby Smith, who was riding a little on 
my right, fall from his horse and two men (John Berry- 
man and ) of Dorsey's company, C, which 

was leading, also fell to the ground not more than fifteen 
or t>\"enty feet in front of me; for although, as second 
sergeant, the left or rear file closer of my company H, 
which came next, I had insensibly gotten ahead and was 

^ Shortly after leaving the railroad we must have got into the road which goes 
by Newmarket on to the Sudley Springs and were approaching the Heniy 
house, around which the heaviest fighting had been, and perhaps was going on. 


then with the file closers of Company C. Only these two 
companies'had got well out into the open ground. Look- 
ing around I saw that the file closers had crossed over 
to the other (left) side of the column under the impres- 
sion that the firing came from our own men in rear, and 
that the last half of our company had squatted down to 
the ground looking about for the hidden enemy. The 
first half went on, however, and I with it, feeling as if in 
a dream, the whole thing was so sudden, unexpected 
and novel. I passed directly by the two men who had 
been shot, Berryman raising himself on his elbow with 
an expression of agony, having received a terrible wound 
in the groin, I did not soon forget.* The firing soon 
ceased and although the regiment was quickly ordered 
to form line forward on first company and the movement 
was executed with tolerable promptness under the cir- 
cumstances, we encountered no further opposition, the 
enemy, a skirmish line of New York Zouaves, having 
hastily retreated. We therefore lay down just in rear 
of a slight eminence, some shells passing overhead, while 
Colonel Elzey, who succeeded General Smith in command 
of the brigade, rode off to reconnoitre. It must have 
been now about 3 o'clock. 

Colonel Elzey soon returned and moved us first to the 
left oblique in column across open ground and then for- 
ward in line of battle through a wood, the Maryland 
regiment now in the centre, and when about twenty or 
thirty yards from its further edge we received an un- 
expected volley and saw a line drawn up on high ground 
in the middle of the field beyond.* Colonel Elzey, who 

' A surviving member of Company C tells me that the other man of the com- 
pany was not woimded but his canteen being struck by a piece of sheU and the 
warm water (it was a hot day) pouring down his leg, he thought it was a stream 
of blood and fainted! 

* Our position was, I suppose, half way between the Henry and Chinn houses. 


happened to be immediately behind the left of our com- 
pany, called out to his aide de camp, " My glass, Contee» 
quick, quick." His staff gathered around him and all 
peered anxiously through and under the foliage which 
partly obstructed the view. After looking through his 
glass for a few moments, Elzey dropped his hand, his eye 
lighted up — I was a few feet directly in front of him — 
and he hastily cried, ''Stars and Stripes! Stars and 
Stripes ! Give it to them, boys ! '* The words were scarce- 
ly out of his mouth, the men seeming to take the com- 
mand from his eye, when a rolling volley was poured 
into the enemy. Once or twice we loaded and fired, or 
many did, and we had the satisfaction of seeing the line 
disappear behind the crest in confusion. I think it 
-doubtful if we did much execution, and on our side we 
had only one man killed — Private Swisher of Company — 
although the bullets cut off twigs and leaves overhead.^ 
The order wa^ now given to charge bayonets (only our 
two right companies, Dorsey's and Murray's, had bayo- 
nets), and we pressed forward with a cheer, not in a very 
regular line but each one striving to be foremost. But 
in passing over the stubble or pasture field we discovered 
it bore an abundant crop of blackberries, and being 
famished with hunger and our throats parched with 
thirst, the temptation was too strong to be resisted, the 
men stopped with one accord and the charging line of 
battle resolved itself into a crowd of blackberry pickers. 
Officers swore or exhorted, according to their different 
principles, and presently succeeded in getting the line to 

^ The left of our company had got crowded up, several deep, and Nick Wat- 
kins in firing shot through the cap of George Lemmon who was in his front 
Taking off his damaged cap and looking at it, Geoige turned slowly around and 
in his drawling tone said, reproachfully, ''Nick Watkins, what did you do that 


move on. Still, whenever an unusually attractive bush 
was passed over, we reached down without stopping and 
stripped oflF berries, leaves and briers, which we crammed 
into our mouths; for days afterwards I was occupied 
extracting the thorns from the palms of my hands. Just 
before reaching the top of the ridge we were halted and 
Colonel Elzey ordered Lieutenant T. O. Chestney of his 
staflF to ride forward and see if there was any enemy on 
the other side, a duty which he performed in a very gal- 
lant manner and to our great admiration. No enemy 
was to be seen and he waved us forward and we advanced 
some distance over the open ground until near a pine 
wood in front, or a little to the left oblique. At this 
moment an irregular fire was poured into this wood by a 
part of our line, it being supposed that the enemy had 
halted there and some asserting that from it a fire had 
been first opened on us. Our fire was presently stopped 
by the exertions of the officers, but the entire line, con- 
sisting of the 1st Maryland, loth Virginia and 3d Tennes- 
see, was halted while the Newtown Battery, Captain 
Beckham, attached to our brigade, from the extreme left 
shelled the woods for some time. When this ceased we 
again advanced and had scarcely entered the woods 
when we saw abundant evidence of the place having 
been occupied by the enemy and of our execution, both 
from artillery and small arms, for I do not think it had 
been the scene of a conflict earlier in the day. At one 
spot I noticed five dead bodies (Federal) lying close to- 
gether and their faces seemed to me to be already turning 
dark in the intense heat of the weather. Their guns, 
Minie muskets, were lying near, but I hesitated to ap- 
propriate one in exchange for my smooth bore. We 
passed other dead but came to the edge of the open 
ground without encountering a living enemy. The line 


having been a good deal disarranged in passing through 
the thick old field pines, we now halted to reform it. A 
little stream* ran along the front, but, in our inexperi- 
ence, many of the men would not drink from it, being 
told there were or might be dead or wounded in it. 
Here a stranger was observed to take a place in our ranks 
who attempted to pass himself off as a stray South 
Carolinian, but on cross-examination he proved to be a 
Federal straggler and was taken into custody. 

Repenting that I had not taken one of the Minie guns 
seen while passing through the woods, I now asked per- 
mission of Captain Murray to take advantage of the 
halt to run back for it. This being granted, a few steps 
carried me within the dense foliage which seemed to 
have the effect of shutting out all sound of conflict, and 
every other. It was literally as still as death, and a 
disagreeable feeling succeeded to excitement, tempting 
me to give up my enterprise and get back among my 
comrades. Besides, it struck me as not unlikely that I 
might fall in with some stray party of the enemy, es- 
pecially as we did not know how the battle was going on 
our right and left. Cocking my piece, I walked cau- 
tiously on, looking about and listening. I presently 
stumbled against something which gave a metallic ring 
and looking down, perceived what I took to be a bright 
piece of lead pipe, bent in the shape of a siphon, and 
wondered how it got there. But a closer examination 
showed it was a gun barrel, which had probably been 
struck on the end by one of Beckham's shells. I had 
scarcely taken ten steps more when I was startled by 

* Chinn's Branch I suppose, General Beauregard's topographical map of the 
battle-field will be found in Atlas to Accompany the Official Records of the Union 
and Confederate Armies, Part I, Plate III, No. 2; see also Plate V-I for map of 
battle at the Henry house, Youngs Branch, etc. 


hearing a voice calling me and discovered a man lying 
with his head and shoulders propped against a tree. 
Walking over to him, I saw that he evidently had but a 
short time to live, an hour or two at most, being horribly 
torn about the waust by a shell. He belonged to a 
Maine regiment, was a fine looking man of middle age, 
having a heavy dark beard, and belonging to a respect- 
able class in society. I told him I was sorry to see him 
in such a condition — was there anything I could do? 
"Yes," he replied in a perfectly composed manner, "you 
can do one thing for me, and I wish you to do it — for 
God's sake, take your bayonet and run me through, kill 
me at once and put an end to this." I replied that I 
could not do that, and remembering what I had read of 
the sufferings of wounded men on battlefields, asked if he 
did not want some water. He answered, yes, but that 
made no matter, and reiterated his request to be put out 
of misery. I told him he had but a few more hours to 
live, and recommended him to make his preparation for 
death. He said he was ready to die and earnestly, but 
without excitement, begged me to run my bayonet 
through his heart. Having no canteen, I ran back to the 
company where I found Thomas H. Levering with one 
full of water and got him to go back with me. He drank 
eagerly but still begged us to kill him and as we moved 
away his voice followed us until we were out of hearing. 
Without much difficulty I found the place where I had 
before observed the five Minie guns and hastily selected 
one and a set of accoutrements which had evidently be- 
longed to one of the dead men lying near by. While 
doing so I heard Levering's voice, who had gone in a 
slightly different direction, calling out that he had found 
a wounded man trying to cut his own throat. I told him 
to take away the knife, which, stooping down, he ap- 


parently did.* We rejoined the company just as the 
line was about to move forward. 

We continued advancing (not all the time in line of 
battle, I think), until we came to the Warrenton and 
Centreville Turnpike Road' but did not overtake the 
enemy, now in full retreat along his whole front. We 
found here a lot of haversacks and other stuflF and I 
made a good meal out of one, in spite of a comrade's 
earnest warning that the rations might be poisoned. It 
contained crackers, beef, and mixed ground coffee and 
sugar; from this mixture I sucked out the sugar and 
chewed the coflFee. 

About this time President Davis and Generals John- 
ston and Beauregard came on this part of the field and 
were greeted by us with enthusiastic cheers. We were 
presently moved back, or to the right, to the Henry 
house where we halted for half an hour. Here there were 
some captured pieces of artillery and one of them was 
directed on the flying column of the enemy seen pressing 
confusedly along the Turnpike near the stone bridge 
over Bull Run. This plateau witnessed the hardest 
share of the fighting during the day and numbers of 
dead and wounded men and horses gave evidence of the 
stubbornness of the contest for it. Under one tree, in 
particular, had been collected many wounded, belong- 
ing to Rickett's (?) Battery (Federal) and other organi- 

* I never had or heard of any such experiences afterwards. But I wrote this 
down many years ago and had often told the incidents before. I think the first 
man belonged to the 5th Maine. 

' So far I had been canying along my old gun in addition to theMinie I had 
got, but I now threw the former aside. It so happened that some two months 
afterwards while inspecting the arms of the company at Centreville or Fairfax, 
one of the pieces held up to me seemed to have a familiar appearance, and the 
owner seeing me examine it critically, annoimced that it was a "Yankee trophy 
taken at Manassas, '' and was chopfallen when I told him I knew it came from 
that field, for I had thrown it away there myself. 


zations, with whom we talked freely, our ranks having 
been broken (dismissed) for awhile. (Visiting the battle- 
field later in the summer, a long trench marked the spot 
where these men had been lying and, no doubt, contain- 
ing many of their bodies.)* 

Our ranks were presently re-formed and I think we 
now marched forward and across the stone bridge, or 
perhaps only the bridge over Young's Branch of Bull 
Run; it may have been that we made this movement 
before going to the Henry house, but I am almost sure 
it was at this time. After going some hundred yards 
beyond it, however, we turned about and struck off 
towards the railroad — not, however, by the route we had 
come. I think it was near sunset when we had made 
the halt at the Henry house and now night had come and 
found us trudging wearily on, although the men were 
terribly exhausted from fatigue and want of sleep. At 
length, when the night was half over, we went into 
bivouac in an open field, somewhere between Manassas 
and Bull Run and we sank down exhausted around blaz- 
ing piles of fence rails. 

Towards morning, July 22, it began to rain and a slow 
but steady drizzle fell nearly all day, making our condi- 
tion a wretched one. We sought refuge under some flat 
bush shelters (oak and other branches) , erected by troops 
which had previously occupied the ground, but they soon 
became dripping with rain and were worse than no shelter 
at all. Some crackers were issued to the men and were 
their only rations — except the ever-grateful blackberries. 

' John Gill, a private of Murray's company, in his Reminiscences of Four 
Years as a Private Soldier, printed in 1904 for private circulation, says, ''Mc- 
Henry Howard and I tried to do something to alleviate the sufferings of the 
(Federal) wounded;'' and I am pleased to be so recorded. He also says that 
some of the wounded, apprehending — ^like my comrade before — ^poison, refused 
to drink from the canteen until he first drank out of it. 


But Lieutenant Dick Gilmor found in one of the brush 
camps a sow with little pigs and he skilfully abstracted 
one of the sucklings without waking the slumbering 
mother (I witnessed the act from a safe position), and 
when cooked a morsel was given to me, than which 
nothing ever tasted more delicious. Towards evening 
our knapsacks which we had thrown off on leaving the 
railroad, were brought to us and with blankets we man- 
aged to keep oflF some of the rgun. But it was a wretched 
night, and when reveille sounded some time before day- 
break we were far from being rested after our continuous 
hardships since leaving Winchester. However, we folded 
our wet blankets and were soon in line. 


Fairfax Court House and Station and Centreville 

By daylight, Tuesday July 23, we were on the Fairfax 
Court House road and, although it was at first ankle 
deep in mud, the sky presently cleared, to our great relief, 
and marching gradually got better. And after crossing 
Bull Run, by a wide and shallow ford,^ listlessness and 
lassitude passed away in the excitement of noticing the 
abundant evidences of the enemy's hasty flight. Our 
r^ment was having the honor of being the advance of 
the army, on this road at least, nothing, except possibly 
some cavalry, having gone over it since the disordered 
masses of the enemy. We began to realize the complete- 
ness of the victory and the extent of the panic although 
none had pursued. The road and adjoining fields were 
strewn with broken arms, knapsacks and other articles, 
and now and then one or more disabled wagons, loaded 
with crackers, sugar and luxuries of various sorts, excited, 
reasonably enough, our cupidity. I have no recollection 
of passing through Centreville and think we struck the 
Warrenton and Alexandria Turnpike Road just beyond 
or at It. When yet some distance from Fairfax Court 
House we deployed a line of skirmishers on either side 
who marched slightly in advance ; they were rewarded by 
picking up pistols, etc. but saw no other signs of an 
enemy. Having started unrefreshed and in a bad con- 
dition in the very early morning, the men were now 
drooping as the excitement wore off, and were glad, by 
midday, to reach the village of Fairfax Court House. 

^ I suppose Blackburn's Ford. 



With many of us pantaloons and shoes had suffered 
severely from the briars, mud and water, and stone road 
and presented a very sorry appearance as we marched 
through the main street. My own pantaloons hung in 
tatters from the knee down and my shoes were so dilapi- 
dated that it was with difficulty I could keep them on my 
feet as 1 shuffled along, and I noticed many of the citi- 
zens looking down at my legs and feet with mingled com- 
passion and amusement. A short distance beyond the 
village, perhaps three or four hundred yards, we halted 
and went into camp on the right of the road in an open 
field beyond a skirt of thicket along the road. Two or 
three broken down wagons loaded with sugar happened 
to be where we halted and I ate handfuls from a barrel, 
which made me very sick for an hour or two. 

Next morning, July 24, I went, by permission, to the 
tavern or a house in the village to breakfast and ate 
ravenously; and I don't think an Indian, of whose capac- 
ity we read so much, would have surpassed me. For half 
a dollar I bought a very good pair of boots, although not 
new and several sizes too large for me — ^which I suspect 
came from the feet of some fallen soldier — and having 
borrowed a pair of pantaloons, my appearance and com- 
fort were considerably improved. 

We remained here several weeks. We gradually be- 
came aware of the completeness of the victory we had 
gained — incomplete only in not having been followed 
up — and the conviction became settled in the minds of 
the men that a great and unfortunate error had been com- 
mitted in that respect. We did not, however, exercise 
ourselves much with considerations of the past or future, 
having dropped into the dull routine of soldiers* lives 
and concerning ourselves with the occupations, comforts 
and discomforts of the present. We soon had tents 


pitched but I generally spread my blanket at night under 
the open sky. We drilled assiduously, beginning im- 
mediately after reveille. We had not yet learned to 
cook very well, but could always get an abundant and 
tolerable meal at any of the boarding houses in the vil- 
lage, or, indeed, at almost any of the neighboring houses, 
a privilege of which I availed myself about once every 
other day. It was said that many of the men, especially 
in Dorsey's company, were regular boarders at some of 
these places. 

After several days our company went on picket down 
the Alexandria Turnpike Road to Annandale, six miles 
distant and therefore only seven miles from Alexandria. 
A part, if not the whole of the company was merely in 
reserve, but I spent the entire night awake with Captain 
Murray, mistaking bright rising stars for signal lights 
and otherwise anxious after the usual manner of green 
soldiers. We returned to camp next day but went on 
another tour shortly afterwards, when we were on out- 
post and had a somewhat more eventful time. I was 
instructed to take five men straight through the woods 
to the right oblique and establish a post. It being night 
when we started we had some difficulty in pushing 
through the brush but went the prescribed half mile and 
placed a sentinel or two out. Not knowing where we 
were or what was in front or around, I was a good deal 
startled after midnight to hear the approach of a body of 
horse which halted before reaching us and apparently 
settled themselves tor the night. Thinking, under the 
circumstances it was as likely as not they were Federals, 
their coming having been from our right front, I went, 
alone, down the road (which I then discovered for the 
first time,) and after listening for a long time, having 
crept quite close, finally, to end the suspense, hailed 


them. They were, themselves, put in an equal state of 
alarm and I heard them m energetic but suppressed 
tones waking the sleepers and getting in order of battle. 
In answer to my repeated demands and claim of 
priority of hail, one presently advanced, with cocked 
revolver and mounted, when to our mutual relief, we 
found that we belonged to the same side. At daylight 
my party rejoined the company and I was just in time 
to make one of a volunteer scouting party towards the 
enemy's line. Ten of us under first Lieutenant CJeorge 
Thomas marched about two miles down the Turnpike 
Road and then crossed the field to the left where, in the 
misty light, we thought we saw a party of the enemy, who 
turned out to be a couple of old women digging potatoes. 
At the neighboring house we were taken for a party of 
Federals, an impression we did not care to remove, being, 
if not inside the enemy's line, certainly in his territory. 
Drums were beating reveille in several camps and at no 
great distance. The good people invited us to help our- 
selves in the orchard and gave us buttermilk, but we had to 
listen to a good deal of abuse of the " rebels." They were 
a little bewildered when William F. Smith tendered a 
Winchester note in payment for some honey but were 
pacified by his prompt assurance that, Winchester being 
on the border, its money passed in both armies. With- 
out further adventure we returned to the company, 
which being relieved from picket, marched back to camp. 
That evening I had the hard luck to be detailed as 
sergeant of the guard and, a drenching rain having set in, 
I had to sleep my share of the night on a pile of rails. 

We remained two or three weeks at Fairfax Court 
House and the regiment was then moved over, some three 
miles, to Fairfax Station on the Orange and Alexandria 
Railroad, our camp being near and on the north side of 


the Rail Road and three or four hundred yards east of 
the Station. A number of good men, recently from 
Maryland, here joined our company, among them Geoi^ge 
Williamson, Spencer France, Winder and William Laird 
and others. Company I, Captain Robertson, which we 
had left organizing in Richmond, was added to the Fo- 
ment, which now presented a very handsome appearance 
on dress parade, numbering about 700, more than at any 
time before or afterwards. While here. Lieutenant 
Colonel Steuart became colonel by Elzey's promotion to 
brigadier-general (he had been in fact commanding the 
brigade, and Steuart the regiment, since Manassas) 
and Major Bradley T. Johnson became lieutenant 
colonel; the senior captain, Edward R. Dorsey of 
Company C, was promoted to the majority, and was 
succeeded in the conunand of the company by second 
Lieutenant Robert Carter Smith, he being elected over 
the first lieutenant. 

The whole r^ment now went on picket several times — 
times of hardship but also of some excitement. The 
first tour carried us to Mason's Hill, to the left of Annan- 
dale and about two miles further advanced. Here we 
were mixed up with other troops and had a very com- 
fortless time, being without shelter in the rainy weather 
and, for some unexplained reason, with very scanty 
rations. Fortunately, I found an old colored servant at 
Captain Murray Mason's* house who years ago had 
known the family of my grandfather (Francis Scott Key,) 
in Georgetown, and I once or twice received from him 
some broken victuals from the table where some higher 
officers seemed to be dining sumptuously. But green 
com, which was fairly fit for roasting, formed our princi- 

' Brother of Senator James M. Mason, lieutenant in the U. S. Navy and cap- 
tain in the C. S. Navy. 


pal, and on some days our only food. From Mason's 
Hill the white dome of the Capitol with the Stars and 
Stripes floating from it was in plain view, and the Mary- 
land men spent many hours lying on the grass looking 
at it and speculating when they would be able to return 
to their homes beyond it. Sellman Brogden declared 
that he would be a miserable man if he did not believe 
the war would be over by the 12 th of September (anni- 
versary of the British attack on Baltimore in 18 14), 
and it was the expectation of many or most at this time 
that it would last only a short time, although the opinion 
seemed to be that Brogden's limit might be a little too 
short. There were many speculations, too, as to General 
Johnston's plan of operations and William H. Ryan, who 
was famous for confusing words which sounded alike, 
was confident that he would cross his army over the 
Potomac by a "vantoon" (vingt et un) — meaning pon- 
toon-bridge; there was much gambling at this game about 
this time which put the sound in the '* H" man's head. 

I remember one day the curious phenomenon of our 
witnessing a skirmish, in the taking of Munson's Hill, 
a mile or more to our left and still farther advanced than 
Mason's, without hearing the guns, owing to some singu- 
lar condition of the morning's atmosphere; officers and 
men were seen advancing and the smoke of the discharges 
was visible but with as much silence as if it were a pan- 
tomime — in these days we would say a moving picture. 

We had several tours of picket, by regiment, to Mason's, 
Munson's and Upton's (a little to the left of Munson's) 
Hills, on each of which we enjoyed some little excite- 
ment, although we were never made comfortable. Once 
Colonel Charles S. Winder (of Maryland), then com- 
manding the 6th South Carolina Regiment, sent over for 
a small force to aid him in expelling the enemy from Hall's 


Hill, an eminence to the left of Upton's and still nearer 
Washington, and Company H and another were sent. 
There was a little shelling after which our infantry sup- 
port went forward at a double quick, hoping to make 
some capture, but we did not. We did not fire at all 
and I am doubtful if we were really exposed to any, 
although there was a good deal of noise and excitement. 
As usual in those days, the enemy quickly sent up a 
balloon to see what the matter was and one of our two 
pieces took a long shot or two at it. At Upton's Hill I 
remember the fine peaches and an ugly looking hole 
through an oak tree or the house by which it stood, or 
both, made by a cannon ball in some former skirmish. 

But our most exciting episode at this time was a 
skirmish which was recklessly provoked by two com- 
panies of our regiment. A Georgia lieutenant-colonel 
(Gumming) happened to be the senior officer of the 
small body of troops at Mason's Hill one day, who was 
an easy going, reckless fellow, sociable with privates as 
with his equals in rank, often entertaining us with his 
cock fighting reminiscences, and to him Gaptain W. W. 
Goldsborough, Gompany A, and Gaptain William H. 
Murray, Gompany H, made the request, which was 
readily granted, to be permitted to take their com- 
panies out on a reconnoissance. We marched some dis- 
tance down the road' until we came to a trough or valley* 
crossing it at right angles and wooded on the further 
side where we apprehended the enemy's pickets might be 
posted. Halting, therefore, I was directed to take three 
or four men and go to the left, cross the bottom and 
examine the woods beyond. After advancing several 
liundred yards and hearing, or fancying that we heard, 

» The " Columbia Road, " I suppose. 
* Holmes's Branch? 



voices of a number of men in front, we turned to the 
right in order to explore the ground in front of the 
companies. We presently came out on the road and 
were near being shot by our own men, who, without 
waiting for our return, had been moved forward to that 
point. We then marched on some distance until we 
came on the enemy beyond a collection of several houses 
on the road^ whereupon a brisk skirmish ensued. Be- 
tween us was a large clearing, part of which — to our right 
and front — ^was covered with a growth of tall com. I 
was presently ordered to take three men and occupy a 
ruined log house which stood on the further side of the 
corn and to the right, nearly midway between our line 
and the enemy, and so to guard our right flank. Taking 
Thomas H. Levering, William F. Smith and Burke 
Stewart, we passed through the strip of high corn and 
made a run across the 50 to 60 yards of clear ground to 
the cabin, receiving several shots in doing so. I had 
observed a road leading away to the right and had 
posted Burke Stewart a short distance down it, as the 
corn prevented our having any view in that direction 
and the enemy might get in on our flank and rear. The 
chinking had fallen out from between the logs of the one 
room house so that we had loopholes to look and fire 
through. We did not, however, take part in the shooting 
but confined ourselves to our duty of watching the flank 
and waited for an advance of the enemy. A peach tree 
loaded down with ripe fruit stood a few paces in front and 
Levering ran out and, with head bowed down under a 
sharp fire, gathered his hat full, on which we feasted 
leisurely during the rest of our stay. Once or twice I 
noticed a shot from some near point, the explanation of 

* Bailey's Cross Roads? 


which came soon afterwards. Presently Smith or 
Levering called out to me that our men were about to go 
back, and seeing that we were being forgotten, we decided 
it was the part of wise discretion to rejoin them. We 
therefore ran quickly, with heads down and receiving a 
sharp but ineffective fire, across the open and got to the 
standing com, a place of safety we supposed. But just 
as we reached the edge there was a loud report between 
us and our comrades and a bullet whistled in close prox- 
imity and a small cloud of smoke curled over the com 
tops. We dropped to the ground, supposing the enemy 
had come upon our flank and that it was the explana- 
tion of the falling back. Luckily it occurred to me to 
call out Burke Stewart's name, to which that individual 
responded, and he reluctantly and apprehensively came 
forward. "Why," said he, "I thought you were Yan- 
kees! Were you in that house? I have been firing at 
you every time I could get a sight of you." He must 
have got tired of his lonely post during the skirmishing 
and come back from the right to our rear. 

On overtaking the companies, which were already 
moving back, we learned that orders had come from 
Colonel Smith (of Georgia), Colonel Cumming's superior, 
to come back instantly, and that he had severely reproved 
Colonel Cumming for letting us make the expedition, 
asking him "if he did not know that those Maryland 
fellows would go to hell if they were permitted?" No one 
was struck on our side in this skirmish, but there was 
much talk, of course, of a number being seen to fall on 
the other side. Chaplain Cameron, who had accom- 
panied us, took a gun and fired once and was assured he 
had killed his man through or around a haystack, and, 
not doubting it, was filled with mixed feelings of triumph 


and remorse. It was not the last of his uncanonical 

While at Fairfax Station the efficiency of the regiment 
became presently much impaired by an increase of the 
sick, although not so seriously so as with the rest of the 
army. Our men were largely from Baltimore and other 
towns or thickly settled communities, where mumps, 
measles and the like are apt to be passed through in 
early life, and were not much affected by these diseases 
which now ran through most other regiments as in a 
nursery. I remember once we spent a night near a regi- 
ment from the far South (at Annandale), when it was 
distressing to hear the chorus of coughing which was 
kept up through the night. But camp fever was a more 
serious trouble, from which we did not escape, and from it 
and the other diseases I have mentioned many regiments 
were for a while so reduced as to be almost unfit for any 
service and in some, it was said, there were scarcely 
enough well men to nurse the sick and perform necessary 
duties around camp. Our own ground had much de- 
cayed or rank vegetation about it and the camp and its 
surroundings were not put or kept in a sanitary condition 
and we were careless about water, and so we paid the 
penalty by having more and more down with camp fever, 
which is like typhoid. Hospitals had been established 
at Culpeper Court House and other places in the rear and 
many of our sick were sent back there. 

In October' the army was moved back for a better 
and more permanent line of occupation and the Maryland 
regiment was placed in camp on a bleak elevated ground 

• This affair seems to be dignified by a Federal report in the War of the Rebellion 
—Official Records of the Union and Confederate Armtes, Series i, volume V, page 
Z19, and if so, was on August 30. 

' October 19. 


near and south or southeast of the village of Centreville. 
Men had been joining Company H singly or by twos or 
threes and we here attained our maximum strength of 
97 or 98 on l^he muster roll. 

The Centreville camp was one of almost unmitigated 
discomfort, and my recollections of it are like a bad taste 
in the mouth. Being on a high ridge, with the country 
open for a long distance around, we were peculiarly 
exposed to the chill November winds, which sometimes 
came in blasts violent enough to blow down many tents. 
There were rains, too, in which the sununit of the Bull 
Run Mountains, visible to the West, would generally 
appear white with snow and from which came a pene- 
trating wind. We had not yet, in our company par- 
ticularly, learned to warm our tents by properly con- 
structed chinmeys, but practised various contrivances, 
some of which we took from stray newspaper accounts 
of what our opponents were doing in that way, having 
a good opinion of their ingenuity in such matters. At 
this time D. Giraud Wright, W. Duncan McKim, John 
M. Burke and I, with perhaps others, were occupying a 
wall tent, possibly our old purchased one. After in- 
specting different heating arrangements and reading the 
available newspaper literature on the subject, we con- 
structed one thus: just inside the tent door we dug a 
hole, about fifteen inches square and deep, covered with 
a stone slab and having a slanting opening at one side, 
like a coal shoot, large enough to receive chunks of fuel ; a 
passage or flue led from outside of a comerof the tent into 
the bottom of the hole and another went out from the 
top of the hole at the opposite side, also across and out- 
side the tent in the opposite direction, this last flue being 
barely under the surface of the ground. Theoretically, 
the deeper or lower flue was to conduct air into the bot- 



torn of the hole to supply oxygen to the fuel and the 
draught and smoke were to pass out by the upper passage. 
To put this furnace into operation we would empty a 
mass of hot coals (gotten from the kitchen fire, generally 
against the angry protest of the cook,) into the hole by 
the side slanting opening, pile in half a bushel of knots 
and chunks and seal up this entrance, and then await 
the result with mingled hopes and apprehensions; the 
hoped for result being that the draught of air would pass 
into the bottom of the mass of fuel and cause its slow 
combustion and the smoke would go out by its appointed 
exit and the tent be comfortably warmed for many 
hours. But what often happened was that either the 


■> '-.J 

fire went out in the kindling or there would be suddenly 
a dire combustion, with loud roaring, causing us as much 
apprehension as warmth, and the furnace would then 
get cold in as short a time as it had taken us to get it 
started. T. Harry Oliver, who had joined us as a volun- 
teer private,® left his knapsack one night on the fire and 
smoke escape flue, during one of these conflagrations, 
and a fine roll of white india rubber, which he had 
brought from Maryland, sufficient for many blankets, 
was scorched through and ruined. He adopted the plan 
of putting a bottle of hot water wrapped in woollen 
blanket at his feet, but was wakened one night by find- 

* He served with us two or three months but his health giving way, spent a 
year in the mountains of North Carolina, but not being restored, finally went, 
via blockade, to Europe. 


ing his feet and legs deluged with cold water, the bottle 
having cracked. He said he thought he heard something 
go '^fick." 

I think it was about the first of November that we — 
the Maryland regiment and perhaps other troops — made 
an expedition outside the lines to Pohick Church,* in 
which we had a severe day's march there and back and 
the usual want of sufficient rations. We crossed the 
Orange and Alexandria Railroad at Burke's (?) Station 
(where I remember the fine appearance the command 
made, now at its best, stretched out in column), and then 
went many miles in a southerly or southeasterly direction 
until, as we were interested to be told, we were back of 
and not far from Mount Vernon. We bivouacked in 
the woods that night and Sergeant James W. Lyon and 
I wandered among the camp fires until a mess of another 
company, seeing our hungry condition, gave us a small 
part of their supper. Bewildered among the numberless 
blazing fires — nothing is more confusing — we had some 
difficulty in finding our way to our own company. We 
marched home again without adventure, the whole ex- 
pedition being simply a hard march and hungry bivouac. 
Our understanding of the affair was that a brigade of 
Federal troops was in the habit of coming out to Pohick 
to cut wood, or protect wood cutters, and we were to try 
to cut them off, but, if so, we failed to meet them. 

We performed several tours of picket duty from 
Centreville, generally on the Little River Turnpike 
Road over to the left. While on one of them, Charlie 
Grogan and one or two others besides myself determined 
to go outside the lines one morning to get a good break- 
fast. I think we asked for no permission, certainly we 
neither got nor could have gotten leave to go in that di- 

* General Washington was a vestiyman of this church. 


rection. But we just marched straight on and when we 
crossed the Turnpike paid not the slightest attention to 
the hail of the sentinel posted some distance up the road. 
He hailed us a second time and then fired, but we never 
turned our heads and neither quickened nor slowed our 
gait. We went out about a mile and found a house 
where we got an excellent hot breakfast in the frosty 
morning, and after a leisurely stay of an hour went back to 
the company without interruption or question. I think 
the Grogans (James J. and Charles E. in our company 
and Kennedy O. in Company C) had as little sense of fear 
or danger as any men I ever saw. 

Many expressive words which were current in the 
army for the rest of the war were coined at Centreville, 
or about that time, for it is not certain exactly when or 
where such expressions originate; they appear to come up 
like mushrooms and spread like epidemics. So, wild 
rumors of victories of the western army, the sinking of 
Federal fleets by the storms which blew our tents down, 
etc., which proved to be unfounded, were said to have 
come by the "grapevine" telegraph, that is, to have got 
twisted, and presently they were laconically called 
''grapevine messages," or, for still more economy of 
breath, simply "grapes." "Skedaddle," to run away 
in a panic, has even got a foothold in the dictionary, 
and some claim with plausibility that a scholarly soldier 
adapted it from the Greek skedannumi, but I doubt 
such a classic derivation. 

I remember several mornings, while lying in my tent 
trying to keep warm, listening to conversations which 
illustrate traits of Irish character. There were many of 
that race in the company whose line of tents was back to 
back with ours and they were having animated discus- 
sions about generals in the Crimean and other wars. 


Not only did they seem to know which of them were 
Irish by birth but details about them and their families 
in Ireland, nicknames and anecdotes, good and bad re- 
ports, were talked over for hours. These men, or many 
of them, were of little education and their information 
was traditional or clannish. 

A question of natural philosophy was of passing in- 
terest. Some one discovered or proclaimed that the 
centre of the bottom of a kettle of boiling water was 
always cool to the touch, and for a day or two men were 
to be seen lifting their kitchen utensils from the fire and 
gingerly putting a finger tip on the right spot and argu- 
ing the explanation of the phenomenon. Such trivial 
matters go a long way to fill up the dull monotony of 
camp life. 

But a soberer incident was the execution, by musketry, 
of two or three of Wheat's Louisiana Zouave "Tiger" 
Battalion for insubordination or rioting, a rough set of 
men who had to be ruled with a strong hand. I think 
the whole Division was drawn out to witness it. 

Elzey's Brigade was composed of the ist Maryland, 
the loth and 13 th Virginia and the 3d Tennessee. The 
men of the Tennessee regiment, while good material for 
soldiers, were a thrifty set and as appetites were much 
sharpened by the keen autumn air and the unaccustomed 
deprivation of sweet things in army fare caused a morbid 
craving for articles of that sort, they went largely into 
the business of making and selling molasses ginger cakes ; 
also I am sorry to relate, the selling of liquor. It was a 
saying with us that all of that regiment who were not 
sutlers on this humble scale were runners for different 
rivals in the business, and that when any one visited 
their camp and was halted by one of the surrounding 
chain of sentinels, he was in the next breath directed 


where to go to get the best cakes or liquor. Its major, 
"Wash" Morgan, said to be of part Indian descent, had 
a great admiration for the Maryland regiment and was 
popular with our men. But he was not of the most 
temperate habits and used to ride up and down our front 
at dress parade, making most favorable but discomposing 
remarks on our appearance. 

A Maryland organization, the Baltimore Light Artil- 
lery, came up from Richmond and camped near us — I 
think it was attached to our brigade. It had a short and 
light English rifled Blakeley gun which we admired and 
of which much was expected, but, besides kicking like a 
mule, these pieces were not found to have advantages 
and soon disappeared from the army, the long Parrott 
being much better. 

Colonel Steuart, by his firm and able, if somewhat 
eccentric, handling had now brought our regiment to a 
fine state of discipline and efficiency, and whenever our 
drums were heard as we marched, with the Maryland 
short quick step, through Centreville on our way to 
picket, general and other officers turned out to see us. 


Winter Quarters at Manassas, i 861-1862 

I think it was in the first week in December (1861) 
that the ist Maryland Regiment moved from the bleak 
hill side at Centreville about five miles across (south) to 
a position on or very near to the Orange and Alexandria 
Railroad about two and one-half miles east of Manassas 
Junction and less than a mile West of the railroad bridge 
over Bull Run. The object was to construct huts for 
winter quarters and we occupied our tents while these 
were being built. The location selected was a hundred 
yards or so to the east of the camp and in a dense growth 
of old field pine, the trees so close together that lower 
branches could not spread, giving fine straight logs or 
poles for hut building. Each company constructed a 
row of cabins, fronting on a wide street between two 
companies, the officers' houses at the end of each street 
and facing down it. In my mess of about eleven there 
was not one who had done any manual work before the 
war and we felt rather helpless in our inexperience. But 
by watching others, at least half of whom were country- 
men, and getting some help, we managed to get out the 
trimmed logs, notch them at the ends and set up the four 
walls of our residence, with slenderer poles running the 
length of the slanting roof up to the ridge pole on which 
to nail the clapboards. But to '*get out" these rough 
shingles was too much for us and we hired comrades to 
do it. The method is to take a sawed out section, about 
two feet long, of a good sized oak log, quarter it, and from 
each quarter split off a number of clapboards. The 



splitting is done by driving in at the end a heavy knife 
blade with a side handle at right angles, and by alternate 
driving with a mallet and working the handle as a lever 
the clapboard is easily rived out. It takes only a few 
minutes to prize out quite a number. Each clapboard 
is thin along the inner edge and thick along the outer, so 
as to go under each other like exaggerated shingles, of 
which they are the prototype — only, sidewise instead of 
endwise. There was a low door and a small fixed win- 
dow, for which we procured somewhere a frame with a 
pane of glass. We also got a stove, for economy both of 
fuel and labor in making a chimney and fireplace. The 
interstices between the logs were chinked with mud. We 
made bunks, I think a double tier. Our mess had the 
proud distinction of a hired cook, a colored man — 
"contraband," in army phrase — from Warrenton, and 
for him and his kitchen we built a small shebang (another 
army word), at the end of our house. I think we were 
established in our new quarters by the first of January 
(1862) and, with our servant to cook for us and wash up 
the things and a large mess chest, sumptuously furnished, 
which John Boiling's father had sent, we enjoyed them. 
Boiling was a descendant of Pocahontas' — like so many 
good Virginians — and his appearance and quiet taciturn 
manner indicated Indian descent. 

Reveille was at dawn, at the unreasonableness of 
which I repined every morning. The first (orderiy) ser- 
geant of the company had gone away sick in the fall and 
never returned, and as second and acting orderly sergeant 
I had to turn out first, or with the first, to form the com- 
pany and call the roll. I woke so instantaneously as to 
be roused by the first tap of the drum and to hear that 
first tap which so waked me. One morning when I was 

^ The granddaughter of Pocahontas married a Boiling. 


about to dismiss the company after roll call, Captain 
Murray stopped me and read an order appointing me 
first sergeant This added $l, in fact I think $3, to my 
pay and a further adornment on my sleeve. The pay of 
a Confederate infantry private soldier was $11 a month, 
of a sergeant $14, and the first or orderly sergeant got 
either $1 or $3 more. I don't think a corporal had more 
than a private. My duties preventing my sharing 
regularly in mess work, I turned over to the mess my 
excess of pay over the $11 as some compensation. The 
mark of rank of a corporal was two chevrons, I think of 
black braid, on the left sleeve of the jacket, at the el- 

bow; a sergeant had three chevrons, and the first sergeant 
put a small square or diamond in the angle of the chevrons. 
I may add that a lieutenant had on the sleeves of his 
coat a complicated figure of a single strand of gold lace, 
also a single bar of same on each side of the collar; a cap- 
tain wore two strands and two bars; field officers wore 
three strands and in addition a major had one star on 
each side of the collar, a lieutenant-colonel, two stars^ 
and colonel three stars. A brigadier-general had four 
strands and his three stars were in a wreath. The 
number of strands of gold lace could go no further, but 
the surrounding of the stars on the collar showed the 
rank of higher generals, besides the distinctive grouping 
of the row of buttons on the front of the coat. The cap 
had the same figuring of strands of gold lace. 


Sergeants were entitled to wear a plain sword, and 
an iron one issued to me at Winchester, which would 
bend almost like lead, I clung to with affection for a long 
time although it was a nuisance. 

My mess in winter quarters numbered about eleven, 
and I think its members and their subsequent careers 
deserve brief mention. 

D. Giraud Wright, of Baltimore, was afterwards a 
lieutenant in the Irish Battalion (ist Virginia Regulars), 
and then a lieutenant in Mosby's command. Since the 
war he has been a judge of the Baltimore Bench. 

William Duncan McKim, of Baltimore, became a 
major on the staff of Major-General Trimble and was 
killed at Chancellorsville, on 2d May, 1863, while behav- 
ing with the most conspicuous gallantry. 

James William Lyon, of Baltimore County, became 
major and commissary on the staff of General Trimble 
and later of Major-General Hoke. 

Randolph Harrison McKim, of Baltimore was aide de 
camp to Brigadier-General George H. Steuart and later 
a chaplain in the army. 

George Williamson, of Baltimore, was captain and 
assistant adjutant-general of Steuart's Brigade, and was 
killed at Fisher's Hill, 22d September, 1864, serving on 
the staff of Major General John B. Gordon. 

Charles Edward Grogan, of Baltimore, served on the 
staff of General Trimble and afterwards was a lieutenant 
in Mosby's command. 

George J. Redmond was an Irish gentleman who had 
settled in Talbot County, Maryland. He was killed 
in Florida or South Carolina towards the last of the war, 
serving on some general's staff as I heard. 

Wilson Cary Nicholas Carr, of Baltimore, became a 
captain and quartermaster. 

Captain William H. MuBkAV 
Captain of Company M, ist Matyland Infanliy, C.S.A. From ambrotype 
taken ID Richmond, July, 1S62. 


John Minge Boiling, of Virginia and Baltimore. I do 
not know about him after the dissolution of the company. 

John M. Burke, of Irish descent, was from the south- 
eastern part of Ohio but was teaching in Virginia and a 
student of theology when the war broke out. After the 
disbandment of Company H in 1862 he was at the 
Episcopal Theological Seminary, temporarily removed 
from Alexandria to Halifax County. He turned out to 
defend the Staunton River bridge in the Wilson Kautz 
raid of June, 1864, and, raising his head above the breast- 
work, was shot in the head and instantly killed. 

McHenry Howard. 

So eight or nine of the mess (including myself), became 
commissioned officers. Other messes had not such a 
record to show, but from this fine company might have 
been well officered a couple of regiments. 

In January, 1862, as the term of service of most of the 
soldiers would soon expire, a furlough of thirty days was 
offered to anyone who would re-enlist for the war. Ran- 
dolph McKim was the first to do so in the Maryland regi- 
ment, not for the sake of the furlough, but animated by 
high patriotic motives. Not many followed his example, 
it being claimed that most of the companies were in **for 
the war" already and others preferring to reserve an 
option — many intending to change to the cavalry or 

Colonel Steuart had organized a fine drum corps, under 
the peerless Hosea Pitt, and was getting up a band, 
under Bandmaster Hubbard. And all day was heard in 
the air the doleful practising of '*Hark, I hear an angel 
sing," the "Mocking Bird" and "Maryland, my Mary- 
land" — now becoming known. 

' Furlough was the proper term in connection with enlisted men, leave of ab- 
sence with officers; but the distinction was not always observed. 


Opening of Campaign of 1862 — Manassas to the 


On the 9th of March, 1861, a part of the ist Maryland 
Regiment — Company H, Captain Wil'iam H. Murray, 
Company F, being Captain J. Louis Smith's company but 
then commanded by first Lieutenant William Dickinson 
Hough — if there were any others I do not remember 
them — ^under Lieutenant-Colone Bradley T Johnson, 
left winter quarters on the west side of Bull Run for 
picket duty. We inarched east on the Orange and Alex- 
andria Railroad about five miles to Sangster's Station,* 
where we relieved the 13th Virginia. These two com- 
panies established themselves in the woods beyond the 
station and on the north side of the railroad and Com- 
pany F, or part of it, went forward a very short distance 
to the open ground and took the place of that part of the 
picket line which was directly in our front. But this 
had scarcely been effected when we of Murray's company 
who were proceeding to settle ourselves comfortably, 
being in reserve, heard a sharp firing break out, appar- 
ently not more than one or two hundred yards in advance, 
and, of course, the company sprang to arms. We 
learned that Hough's small party had been suddenly 
chaged by a body of cavaly whi h captured second 
Lieutenant Joseph H. Stewart and about a dozen men.* 

^ Colonel Johnson says there were four companies, Confederate Military Bit- 
tory, volume 2, page 65. 

* Not Buike's Station as Colonel Johnson says, ibidem. 

* But they made a stout resistance, kiUing Lieutenant Hidden who commanded 
the chaining party. See War of the RAtUum— Records of the Union and Con- 


■■-MMMtaM^«Mj«w ^*"*~ ■ ■ iiMi— ^Wi^WMl 


The firing soon ceased, the enemy falling back. We 
stood under arms for some time and then our small bat- 
talion moved back along the railroad. We had gone but 
a short distance when we were first somewhat alarmed to 
see a regiment drawn up in line on a hill side on the south 
side of the rai'road facng us as we were now marching. 
But we thought we recognized the flag (a Virginia one I 
think), and found it was the 13th Virginia, which we had 
just relieved and which had hardly started on its return 
to camp when it heard the firing and halted for our sup- 
port. These two commands stood together in line facing 
the enemy, but no further advance was made by them 
and presently the 13th Virginia resumed its march back. 
Our little battalion waited in line for some hours, 
momentarily expecting an attack. Our position was 
half way or more up an open hillside, with woods at the 
bottom in front and a house behind us, on the south side 
of the railroad and either at or a short distance West of 
Sangster's Station. If there were or had been any of 
our cavalry between us and the enemy, we had not seen 
them. At some hour in the afternoon we also withdrew 
and marched leisurely back along the railroad track, 
burning the small bridges as we went, understanding that 
there was nothing back of us but the enemy; but we did 
not take the responsibility of destroying the large bridge 
over Bull Run.* 

federate Armies, Series i, volume V, page 537, et aeq. Lieutenant Stewart was 
from Cambridge, Maryland, and a resigned West Point cadet Lieutenant 
Hou^ exhibited one or more bullet holes through his coat 

* One of our dnmis was captured, or more likely thrown away by the drummer, 
in this affah", who made his way back to winter quarters. Assbtant Surgeon 
Latimer told me that this drummer, on being asked what had happened, was 
going through a pantomime of running away and casting back a drum over his 
shoulder when Colonel Steuart grabbed him from behind and demanded in an 
awful voice, "Where is your drum?" He turned to Drum Major Hosea Pitt 
and said, "It's a good thing, Pitt, it's a good thing that I had not yet had the 
Maryland flag painted on those drumsl" 


My recollection is that on arriving at winter quarters 
we found them abandoned — ^at least by the mass of the 
citizens — ^and that after lingering there an hour or two we 
pushed on southwesterly on the railroad track, the cross- 
ties making an irregular step and tiresome marching. 
Strange to say, my memory does not preserve any dis- 
tinct picture of passing Manassas, while I do remember 
a station some three miles still further on in the woods, 
by which time it was growing dark. And about here I 
saw for the last time our hired mess cook, Asbury, who 
was trudging along the railroad with pots and pans in 
his hands. No doubt he considered his contract broken 
by this moving and was striking for home, Warrenton, 
with as much of our kitchen furniture as he could carry. 
We were now getting very tired and I think we must 
have soon stopped for the night. We understood that 
the whole army was falling back and that on our line of 
retreat we were bringing up the rear. 

The next morning we resumed the march, still along 
the Orange and Alexandria Railroad, and either on that 
day or the next — loth or nth March — came to the Rap- 
pahannock River. Here we found General Joseph E. 
Johnston, the army commander, dismounted and direct- 
ing in person the preparations, piling wood, etc., for the 
setting fire to the bridge at its northeast end.' We 
crossed and the Maryland regiment (I do not remember 
where it became united,) went into camp, or bivouac, 
about a mile back (southwest) of the river and half a 
mile or more south of the railroad, on top of a slightly 
wooded or brushy ridge. We had come out of Prince 
William County, passed over Fauquier and were now in 
Culpeper. We had no tents, but the weather was fine, 
requiring only light fires. 

' It was not burned, however, until later. 


I remember several amusing discussions and incidents 
here. Sergeant James W. Lyon and Private George 
Williamson, of my mess, were the best of soldiers but 
with some opposite characteristics. Williamson was 
conscientious to an extreme in all things and kept his 
uniform and accoutrements in the best possible condition ; 
his gun looked as if it were new. Sergeant Lyon was 
not very particular in those matters. The outward ap- 
pearance of Lyon's gun vexed Williamson's orderly soul 
and he often reproached him about it, to which Lyon 
would reply that his piece could always be relied on for 
service and the outside was of little importance. One 
day the company, or part of it in which were Lyon and 
Williamson, went a little way down the hill to fire off 
their pieces which had been loaded ever since the picket 
affair of March 9. The men were in line and in suc- 
cession each one stepped to the front and fired at a mark. 
When his turn came Sergeant Lyon stepped briskly for- 
ward, raised his gun to his shoulder with a confident 
expression, aimed deliberately and pulled the trigger. 
But instead of the expected loud report, there was a faint 
fizzling sound and the ball came slowly out, described a 
short parabolic curve, all the while visible, and fell to the 
ground about ten paces in front. Williamson was de- 
cently jubilant and taunted him about his "always ser- 
viceable" gun. But a day or two afterwards the regi- 
ment was drawn up for inspection — ^probably the usual 
Sunday morning inspection. Although only orderly 
sergeant, I was in command of Murray's company for 
the occasion, and when the inspecting officer (Lieutenant- 
Colonel Bradley T. Johnson, Colonel Steuart having 
probably gone to Richmond on being made brigadier- 
general,) came to our company, I, as was customary, 
stepped out and went down our line at his elbow. When 


we came to Williamson, Colonel Johnson, who knew him 
well, smiled on him and Williamson smiled respectfully 
back. He handed his gun to the Colonel, who looked at 
it and it was as clean and bright as could be. But when 
the Colonel proceeded to give the gun the usual jerk to 
make the ramrod, which was loosely in the barrel, spring 
up to fall back with the expected ring against the bottom 
showing that all was clean within, it came back with a 
dull thud. The Colonel's smile changed to an expression 
of reproach at this fall from grace of a model soldier. 
Williamson's face narrowed and took on a look of horror. 
But still greater was the amazement of both when the 
Colonel, after turning around the ranuxxi against the 
bottom of the barrel drew it out and the end was coated 
with sugar! Colonel Johnson handed back the piece 
and passed on without a word. He knew Williamson's 
feelings required no spoken reproach from him. Now 
the sugar ration was a small and irregular one at that 
time and we accused Williamson — of course in jest — of 
having abstracted a part of our mess allowance and hid- 
den it in his gun. The mystery was never explained, but 
I believe that Williamson always thought that Lyon had 
put the sugar in his gun and Lyon that Williamson had 
poured water in his. 

In fact the whole ration was uncertain, in quantity 
and quality, and we occasionally went off to a house 
down the south side of the hill to get a "square meal." 
Like others similarly situated, when the appetite is 
greater than the supply, we often sat around the fire re- 
calling the good things we had had at home. I once re- 
marked on the incongruity of mixing on the same plate 
at Christmas two such extreme things as plum pudding 
which was brought in on fire and ice cream. Sergeant 
Lyon said he never heard of such an absurdity. I main- 


tained that it was a usage in good society and we had 
quite a heated controversy, Lyon finally intimating a 
doubt whether I knew what the habits of good society 

Such were some of my parting reminiscences of life 
in the ranks. 


Appointment as Staff Officer — Rappahannock 
River to Richmond and the Valley 

On the 24th or 25th of March (1862) being then in the 
camp or bivouac on the southwest side of the Rappa- 
hannock River, in Culpeper County, I received the fol- 
lowing letter: 

March 24. 
My DBAS Mac. — 

As periiaps you have heard, I've been appointed a Brig. GenL and requested 
Jim to write you, asking if you w'd accept the position of A.D.C. on my Staff. 
I sh'd 've written m3r8elf but for want of material and place. Jim felt so sure 
of y'r acquiescing in my wishes, that I have applied for you to be ordered to re- 
port to me at once and also for yr. appointment as A.D.C. and Lieut, in the 
P.A.C.S. Genl. Johnston told me he w'd sanction the first and I think I can 
accomplish the last in Richmond. I regret the Regt is so far off I can't see you 
at once. 

I go to Richmond tomorrow to pass the week and get some dothes etc. If 
you get the order in time, join me at the Spottswood, if not, at Orange. Jim 
will be able to tell you of my whereabouts. You of course will wish to visit 
R. and I w'd like to have you there with me but therell be no trouble about y'r 
going down later. I'm assigned to no Brigade yet or do I know where 111 go. 
I hope you are all well. My kind regards to John and all friends. I've heard 
nothing from home for a long time. 

Our command camped a little beyond Orange on Saturday. Write to me at 
the Spottswood. Good bye, 

Yrs truly 

Chas. S. Winder. 

The envelope was addressed : 

Lt. CoL B. T. Johnson, 
ist Md. Regt 

for Sergt. McH. Howard, 
Compy. H. Capt Murray. 
Will CoL J. cause this to be delivered. 
Oblige, C. S. Winder. 



On receiving this letter from General Winder I made 
application for leave of absence, which had to pass 
through the regular channel of regimental and brigade 
headquarters : 

Camp HOI, March 25th, 1862. 
Major Gseen, 

A. Adjutant General, 2nd Division, Army of the Potomac, C. S. 

I have the honor to apply to you for leave of absence to go to Richmond for 
four days for reasons apparent in the enclosed copy of a letter. 


McHemsy Howasd, 
ist Sergeant Co. H., ist Md. Regt. 

And which application was endorsed as follows : 

McHenry Howard 
Ord. Sergt Co. H, ist Md. Regt 
Application for leave. 
Forwarded and respectfully recommended — Sergt. Howard having since the 
beginning of the War faithfully done his duty as a soldier and now well deserved 
this promotion. 

Bradley T. Johnson, 
Lt. Col. Comdg. ist Md. Regt, 

March 25, 1862. 

Hd. Qu. 4th Bngade March 25, '62. 
Approved and respectfully forwarded. * 

Arnold Elzey, Brig. Genl. 

Head Quarters 3rd Division, March 26th, 1862. 
Approved. By order of Maj. Genl Ewell. 

G. Campbell Brown, A.A.A. Genl. 

On the 26th of March, before reveille and without 
disturbing my comrades to say good-bye, I left the camp 
and walked over to Brandy Station, two miles westerly, 
to get the approval of General Ewell to my application, 
which it still then lacked. William Duncan McKim, of 
my mess, went with me, he having received the appoint- 
ment of aide de camp to Brigadier-General Isaac R. 


Trimble. From Brandy we walked the railroad track 
four or five miles to Culpeper Court House, which was 
then the terminus of passenger travel. I do not remem- 
ber at what hour the train started but I think it was 
about dark when we got to Richmond and went to the 
Spotswood Hotel, at the comer of Main and 7th Streets 
and from which I had gone into service nine and a half 
months before. Our jackets and other clothing were 
shabby and the clerk told us, superciliously, that he could 
not give us a room. But we presently met Colonel (or 
perhaps he had just been made brigadier-general,) 
George H. Steuart, who spoke to the clerk and we were 
allowed to register. The sensation of being in the midst 
of civilization again after nearly a year's living a soldier's 
life in the field was peculiar and most agreeable. 

We soon met Columbus Baldwin, an int'mate fr'end 
of Duncan McKim in Baltimore, who had come over on 
a visit to settle or straighten out his firm's affairs in the 
South, and we sat in the upper parlor conversing. Pres- 
ently another old friend of Duncan came in excitedly and 
said, "Baldwin, have you heard the news? Duncan 
McKim is here, I have seen his name on the registry." 
Baldwin said, " HoUingsworth, let me introduce you to 
Mr. Smith." They shook hands formally, Hollings- 
worth not recognizing his old intimate friend, who now 
wore a beard, having always had a smooth face before 
the war. We talked for some time, Hollingsworth de- 
claring he would not go to bed until he had seen Duncan 
McKim and wondering where he was. He presently 
asked, "Mr. Smith, where are you serving?" when 
Duncan's hearty laugh at first offended and then made 
Hollingsworth recognize him. 

I had been told that after lying on the ground, or in a 
bunk in winter quarters, and getting up at daybreak for 


SO long, I would not be able to sleep in a comfortable bed 
with sheets and pillows, but I did sleep soundly and not 
waking until about nine o'clock next day, March 27 (or 

I think I found a letter from General Winder, telling 
me that instead of being assigned to a brigade in General 
Longstreet's Division, as he had expected, he had been 
suddenly ordered in Richmond to report to General 
(Stonewall) Jackson in the Valley of Virginia, to com- 
mand the 1st or Stonewall Brigade in the place of Gen- 
eral Richard B. Gamett, whom Jackson had placed 
under arrest for withdrawing his men without orders at 
the battle of Kemstown on March 23. He directed me, 
therefore, to join him in the Valley by way of Gordons- 
ville, his stay in Richmond having been cut short. 

I remember that I found it difficult to get from Rich- 
mond to Gordonsville, the railroad transportation being 
all engaged in connection with the change of operations 
from northern Virginia to the Yorktown Peninsula. 
Some years after the war Lieutenant James B. Washing- 
ton, of General Joseph E. Johnston's staff, an old school- 
mate, reminded me that he met me in Richmond in this 
difficulty, and told me that General Johnston was about 
to return, with an engine and car, from a military con- 
sultation at Richmond back to Orange where his head- 
quarters then were with part of the army, and invited me 
to use the opportunity to get to Gordonsville. And I 
think it was on Sunday the 30th of March that I so left 
Richmond after a stay there of only two or three days. 
I had bought a plain gray coat, without sign of rank, to 
replace my soldier's jacket. Arriving at Gordonsville 
(where there was some snow), I found I could get no 
further that day and spent the night at the house of a 
minister, Mr. Evans (?) sleeping on the parlor floor. The 


next day I took the train for Staunton, where I spent the 
night at the hotel. And the followmg morning I took 
the stage for Mount Jackson, 50 miles, where I was told 
I would find General Jackson's army halted after its 
falling back from Kemstown, and where I found it in the 
afternoon. I think this was the 2d of April (1862) . 


Valley Campaign — Ashby and Jackson — 


I found General Winder at a small house on the east 
side of the Valley Turnpike Road and I think he had, 
himself, arrived that morning, having ridden from Gor- 
donsville or Orange across the Blue Ridge. He had re- 
ported to General Jackson on his arrival but had not 
assumed command of his brigade in any formal way.* 
Captain John F. O'Brien, a resigned West Point cadet, 
had accompanied him to be his assistant adjutant- 

We were almost immediately introduced to the activity 
of the "Valley Campaign." We were eating on the 
porch of this house, which was close by the side of the 
Turnpike, some time in the afternoon, when firing was 
heard down the road — to the north — and wagons and 
ambulances soon came hurrying past to the rear. With 
them there were a number of stragglers, and General 
Winder remarked, '*That must be stopped." I think 
this must have been Jackson's final falling back to his 
position at Rude's Hill, a short distance south of Mount 
Jackson and with the north fork of the Shenandoah 
River crossing the Turnpike in his front, which position 
he held for two weeks. 

^ An order of General Jackson, dated April 4, announces the organization of 
his army and General Winder's assignment to the ist brigade. Allan's Jackson*s 
Valley Campaign page 60. But he had already assumed command. 

' "Assistant "adjutant-general is misleading to a layman, but all adjutant- 
generals under General Samuel Cooper, adjutant and inspector-general of the 
Confederate Army, were "assistant," even the adjutant-generab of Johnston's 
and Lee's armies. So with the inspector-generals. 



The next morning, April 3, the brigade was under arms 
and in column along the west side of the Turnpike, with 
its head towards the enemy, and the former adjutant- 
general. Captain Wingate (who immediately thereafter 
left,) introduced General Winder to the colonels at the 
head of their respective regiments, who were. Colonel 
James W. Allen, of the 2d Virginia; Lieutenant-Colonel 
Charles A. Ronald, of the 4th Virginia; Colonel William 
H. Harman, of the 5th Virginia; Lieutenant-Colonel 
Andrew Jackson Grigsby, of the 27th Virginia, and 
Colonel Arthur C. Cummings, of the 33d Virginia, and 
I suppose, also to Captain William McLaughlin of the 
Rockbridge Battery and Captain Joseph Carpenter, of 
the "Allegheny Roughs" or Carpenter's Battery, both 
of which were parts of the 1st or Stonewall Brigade. He 
also introduced him to Colonel Turner Ashby who with 
his cavalry and Chew's Battery was, as usual, guarding 
the rear, with the Stonewall Brigade that day in support. 

My recollection of Ashby's appearance is not, of course, 
from my first impression at that time; I saw and was near 
him very often, sometimes day after day until he was 
killed two months later. I would describe him as of 
slender build and somewhat under medium height. His 
beard, thick and of a very dark brown color, covered the 
entire lower half of his face, from above the line of the 
moustache, and was so long as to come to his breast. 
His eyes were a dark hazel, perhaps some would call them 
brown, and his complexion also was brown — nothing 
being light in his appearance but the whites of his eyes. 
I thought he looked more like an Arab, or the common 
idea of one, than any man I ever saw. His manner was 
grave but courteous. Where there were many fine riders, 
no one was a better or more graceful horseman. Care- 
less of the increased risk, he generally rode a beautiful 


milk white horse, which was said to be well known to the 
enemy, and certainly he was very often so close to them 
as to give them every opportunity of recognizing him. . 

He presently suggested to General Winder to ride for-» 
ward and look at the enemy's picket line and we accord- 
ingly rode to our outposts a little way in front on thi 
west side of the Turnpike road, and for some time we 
looked at them, not far off and plainly visible through 
the thin timber. As we stood there, a small group on 
horseback, one or more bullets came over to us and 1 
thought it was a needless and foolish exposure. But 
Ashby paid not the slightest attention to the shots, nor 
did General Winder, and staff officers had, of course, to 
simulate a like indifference. I was relieved when we 
leisurely moved back. General Winder said to Ashby 
that he would not assume active command of the entire 
rear unless something occurred to require it, to which 
Ashby made no reply, but he looked surprised, not being 
used to receive orders from any except the commanding 

Presently General Jackson — Stonewall — rode up with 
part of his staff (among whom I remember Captain 
"Sandy" (Alexander S.) Pendleton, well known after- 
wards), and I then saw him for the first time. But I saw 
him nearly every day after this and was very often close 
to his side, and the following sketch is now written frond 
my general recollection, fixed in my mind by many con-i 
versations about him since the war. He was above mid- 
dle height, compactly and strongly built but with no 
superfluous flesh. His eyes were a steel blue in color 
and well opened when he looked straight at one, which he 
did in addressing a direct remark. His hair was dark 
brown and the hair on both his head and beard was 
curly or wavy. The beard was thick and over the lower 


part of his face but was not long and luxuriant like 
Ashby's. His nose was well made, perhaps roman in 
shape, but not prominently large, and his mouth, half seen 
under the moustache was very firm and the lips usually 
compressed. The lower part of his face was tanned 
by exposure, but when his cap was off, the forehead, 
high and broad, was white. I remember a feature about 
his face, which I have never seen noticed by others, how- 
ever, was an unusual fullness of the temples. He wore 
at this time, if not during the Valley campaign, a dark 
blue uniform, being, I understood, his dress as a professor 
and major at the Virginia Military Institute at Lexing- 
ton. The cap was particularly noticeable, being of the 
kepi kind, high in make but the upper part not stiff and 
showing as you faced him the small round top falling 
over to the front and almost, if not quite, resting on the 
visor, which was well down over his eyes. He wore high 
boots, as did nearly all mounted officers. 

I heard of his habit of raising his arm and hand at 
times w^hile riding, which has been often told in books, and, 
among other theories, that it was to promote the circu- 
lation which he imagined to be defective on that side, 
also that it was to invoke a blessing; but I never remarked 
it as a frequent gesture, although with him often on bat- 
tle fields, as well as on the march and in bivouac, and I 
believe the impression that it was a very frequent habit 
is much exaggerated. While very courteous, his words 
were few and to the point, the voice distinct but rather 
low and, sometimes at least, a little muffled — but that 
may be too strong a word — like that of many partially 
deaf persons ; he once told me he was deaf in one ear and 
could not well tell the direction of sounds. The habitual 
expression of his face was that of one communing with his 
own thoughts and others seldom spoke to him without 


being first addressed. We heard that the colonel of one 
of the Stonewall regiments had vowed that he would 
never go to his headquarters again unless sent for, 
because, on making some remark, Jackson brusquely 
replied that he had no time to talk on other than military 
matters. In fact, all the field officers, certainly the 
colonels, were resenting strongly the arrest of General 
Garnett — ^Winder's predecessor — for withdrawing the 
brigade when out of ammunition at Kernstown on March 
23, and I believe the feeling was shared largely by the 
men. The implicit confidence in and devotion to Jack- 
son came later — after the experiences of the Valley cam- 
paign — if not indeed still later. 

I return to my story. 

The enemy showing no disposition to advance, towards 
evening the regiments of the Stonewall Brigade went to 
their nearby bivouacs. 

I think it was the next day, April 4, that I walked over 
to see my friends in Clarke's company of the 21st Vir- 
ginia Infantry, one of the regiments which had joined 
Jackson under General Loring and which were still some- 
times distinguished as ** Loring's men. ** This Maryland 
company was raised at Richmond at the same time that 
Dorsey's and Murray's companies were formed — May 
and June, 1861 — but instead of going thence with those 
two companies to Winchester to unite with the six com- 
panies enlisted at Harper's Ferry to form the ist Mary- 
land Regiment, Clarke's company preferred, or its cap- 
tain did, to go into this Virginia regiment under Colonel 
Gilham, a Virginia Military Institute professor, which 
went to West Virginia.' I think Captain J. Lyle Clarke 

* When Jackson went in the FaV of 1861 from Manassas to take command of 
the Valley District, his o'd Stonewall Brigade soon followed him, and this was 
all the force he had except cavalry and the called out nulitia. (The conscript 


had been promoted and that Richard Curzon Hoffman 
was now captain and William Stuart Symington was first 
lieutenant. Like Murray's and Dorsey's, the company 
had in it a number of the old Maryland Guard Battalion, 
also some of the Baltimore City Guard Battalion and the 
Independent Greys Company. 

I sat on a log and talked with my friends of this com- 
pany for some time. They said they were glad to see 
me but were sorry for me to have come to serve under a 
crazy man. They told me much about Jackson's eccen- 
tricities, both personal and in his military operations and 
predicted that some dire disaster would one day befall 
him and his army. 

Major G. Douglas Mercer, the brigade-quartermas- 
ter, a Marylander, had told General Winder that he 
would give him only a few weeks to hold his command, 
before the expiration of which, he predicted, Jackson 
would have him under arrest for some cause or other. 
All these forebodings were calculated to make a new- 
comer feel uncomfortable, but soldiers do not worry much 
over **manana." 

We remained in this position at Rude's Hill about two 
weeks, confronting the enemy, who did not seem inclined 
to attack us. 

A citizen riding by one day, a large man with a heavy 
red beard, was pointed out to me as Abraham (?) Lincoln, 

law, passed early in 1862, pretty much did away with Militia.) General Loring 
joined Jackson the last of December with three brigades from West Virginia, 
but having never gotten on harmoniously with Jackson, he was assigned to 
another command eariy in 1862 and all except the ^iginia regiments in his three 
brigades were also sent elsewhere. These remaining Virginia regiments Jackson 
formed into two brigades, as the 2d and 3d brigades of his army (see Allan's /o^ifc- 
son*s Valley Campaign) but for some time they were often called "Loring's men" 
as distinguished from the ist or Stonewall Brigade. When Ewell's Division 
joined, these three brigades came to be called "Jackson's Old Division." 


a cousin of the President. Major Mercer had procured 
for me a young half -broken horse in the neighborhood, 
before which I had ridden, when I had occasion to ride, 
one of General Winder's, he having two, one a strong 
young brown horse, dappled with darker spots, and the 
other a well bred sorrel of slender make, both rather small 
but active and serviceable. I had got a ready made 
plain grey coat in Richmond and picked up somewhere 
an artillery sabre, and so was sufficiently equipped as a 
staff officer, although without sign of rank. For some 
time the field officers showed their resentment at Gen- 
eral Winder's assignment to the command of the brigade 
in Gamett's place by not coming to headquarters, but 
presently Colonel Harman, of the 5th Virginia, a gentle- 
man of very courteous manners, and Lieutenant-Colonel 
Grigsby, of the 27th, a bluff soldier much given to swear- 
ing, came and the latter got into the habit of sitting 
around our camp fire. And I think it was Grigsby who 
told us that at a meeting of the field officers before Win- 
der's coming it had been determined that they would 
show their feeling by not calling on the new brigade com- • 
mander. One day when I was riding with General Win- 
der past the encampment or bivouac of one of the regi- 
ments there was some faint hissing. I was not certain 
that the General heard it, but as soon as he reached his 
headquarters he sent for the colonel and told him it 
indicated a bad state of discipline in his regiment and if 
anything like it occurred again he would hold the colonel 

After about two weeks we fell back from our position 
at Rude's Hill.* In the morning, but not very early, the 
sound of artillery, quite frequent and sharp and I thought 

* Allan's Jackson's Valley Campaign says April 17. 


alarmingly close, was heard down the Turnpike. The 
enemy had developed a sudden activity and pressed 
Ashby back through Mount Jackson and over the north 
fork of the Shenandoah which crosses the Turnpike less 
than a mile this side of that village. After getting over, 
Ashby had attempted to burn the bridge but was too 
closely pressed and had his horse shot and came near 
being killed himself. The artillery firing was probably 
from Chew's Battery, attached to his command. But 
Jackson did not hurry himself and our Brigade stood for 
some time in column along the roadside. Ashby's 
beautiful white horse was led by to the rear, his left side 
red with blood from a wound. He was moving well and 
tossing his head and we all hoped — for all knew him — 
that it was not a fatal wound, but when we had presently 
taken up the march and gone a very short distance we saw 
the noble animal lying dead near the west side of the 
road and cavalrymen were cutting off hair from the long 
white mane and tail for souvenirs.* 

I do not remember that the enemy after forcing Ashby 
across the Shenandoah pressed us at all, and we must 
have gone into camp before getting to the town of Har- 

* Captain John Esten Cooke, in the first edition, published in 1866, of his 
Life of Stonewall Jackson, in the text makes the incident of the killing of Ashby 's 
white horse to have occurred at this time but in a note refers to the appendix, 
where, on page 470, he makes a correction and says that it happened in Jackson's 
second retreat up the Valley, six weeks later. In the reprint made by Rev. J. 
William Jones in 1876, the text and note are the same, but I do not find the re- 
ferred to api)endix. Dabney's Life of Jackson seems to make it on the second 
retreat, but he makes slight mention of it, and he was not present in the first 
retreat, not having joined Jackson until afterwards. Allan in his Jackson^ s 
Valley Campaign makes it on the first retreat. Avirett's Ashby and his Com- 
peers also seems to make it on the first retreat. Unfortimately, a diary which I 
kept in the Valley campaign was lent by me to Captain Cooke when I heard he 
was about to publish a second edition and I never got it back. But on i No- 
vember 191 2 I wrote to Colonel R. Preston Chew, who during the Valley cam- 
paign was captain of Chew's Battery, serving with Ashby's command, asking 


risonburg, County seat of Rockingham, which is about 
twenty miles south of Rude's Hill. And if so, it was the 
next morning, i8th of Aprl, when, to our surprise, we 
left the familiar Valley Turnpike Road at Harrisonburg, 
on which we had supposed we would continue falling 
back towards Staunton, and took the road which went 
off easterly, passing around the south end of Massanutton 
Mountain to Swift Run Gap in the Blue Ridge. 

The lofty Massanutton range is a very prominent 
feature in the territory of the great Valley and played an 
important part in Jackson's operations. Beginning 
abruptly in the middle of the Valley between Strasburg 
and Front Royal, it extends southwesterly forty or fifty 
miles to a point nearly opposite Harrisonburg, where it 
ends almost as abruptly. It has but a single "gap*' 
or road over it in all this extent. It thus bisects the 
Valley for that distance, the Western part being consid- 
ered to be *' the Valley, " although watered by the smaller 
fork of the river, the eastern part being commonly dis- 
tinguished as the Luray Valley, and through which the 
larger north fork of the Shenandoah runs north to ita 
junction with the other Fork at Front Royal. 

him if he could tell me positively on which retreat the incident occurred and Ws 
answer settles the question: 

"Charies Town, West Viigin'a, Nov. 4th, 191 2. 
Mr. McHenky Howasd, 

901 St. Paul Street, Baltimore, Md. 
Deak Sni: Replying to your favor of Nov. ist, I beg to say that Ashby waa 
attacked at the bridge over the Shenandoah river after the battle of Kemstown, 
The enemy charged with unusual spirit and drove him back with a few cavalry, 
and came very near killing him. His horse was shot and died a little south of 
Rude*s hill. I was there when the horse was shot, and rode with him as he camt 
back, his horse bleeding from a wound in the side. 

Yours very truly 

R. P. Chew." 
Ashby will always be a romantic figure in the history of the Valley and this 
Incident in his career should be acourately fixed, as on this first retreat 


If I remember right, it was either this day or the next, 
while going around the south end of the Massanutton 
that we passed, or there passed us, a large and rather 
rough looking man on horseback, with two or three 
others, at whom the men jeered, as infantry commonly 
d?d at anything on a horse, not recognizing Brigadier 
General Edward ("Alleghany") Johnson, who had ridden 
over from his command in the mountains west of Staun- 
ton to confer with Jackson — and whose visit we were soon 
to return. 

We crossed the north (main) fork of the Shenandoah at 
Conrad's Store and went into camp on Elk Run, which 
comes out of Swift Run Gap of the Blue Ridge. Swift 
Run, which gives its name to the Gap, runs out on the 
eastern side and is one of the head streams of Mechum's 
River which empties into the James — through the 

This was a disagreeable camp, partly from the ground, 
or much of it, being stony or gravelly as the washing 
down from the mountain gap, more so from the weather 
which was snowy or sleety many days, and even still 
more from the unpleasant details of the military re- 
organization following the expiration of the year's en- 
listment of most of the men and the passage by the Con- 
federate Congress of the conscript law, which put into 
active service **for the war" all between the ages of i8 
and 35 (afterwards extended). My impression is that 
this reorganization was a new election of company officers 

*AccoTxlmg to Colonel William Allan and others we reached this camp on 
April 19. I think the modem town of Elkton must be built about on its site. 
Swift Rim Gap is conmionly supposed to be the pass to which (if they did not go 
beyond), the "Knights of the Golden Horseshoe" came in Governor Spots- 
wood's romantic exploring expedition in 17 16. 


by the men — certainly there was a new election of regi- 
mental field officers, colonel, lieutenant-colonel and 
major, by the company officers of the respective regi- 
ments. In the 2d Virginia these field officers were, James 
W. Allen, colonel; Lawson Botts, lieutenant-colonel; 
and Frank B. Jones, major; and I believe there were 
here no changes. But I understood that Colonel Allen 
was dissatisfied, and that he soon, or at some time there- 
after, sent in his resignation, not wishing to serve longer 
under Jackson. If he did, it was not accepted down to 
27th June when he was killed at the head of his regiment 
in the Seven Days Battles around Richmond. He was a 
fine officer. 

In the 4th Virginia we had found on our coming Charles 
A. Ronald, colonel or lieutenant-colonel commanding, 
and, at any rate, he now (or possibly soon afterwards,) 
became full colonel.^ I do not remember the lieutenant- 
colonel, but I think William Terry was made major. 

In the 5th Virginia Colonel William H. Harmon now, 
possibly soon after, retired, and the new field officers 
were William H. S. Baylor, colonel; J. H. S. Funk, lieu- 
tenant-colonel, and H. J. Williams, major. 

The 27th Virginia was, properly, a battalion, lacking 
one or two of the full ten companies which make a regi- 
ment. It came from the remoter parts of West Virginia, 
which were in possession of the enemy, Shriver's company 
being from Wheeling. It was not, therefore, as full as 
the other regiments. Its former colonel, John Echols, 
was disabled by a severe wound at Kemstown, and Lieu- 
tenant-Colonel Andrew Jackson Grigsby was command- 
ing the regiment. I suppose Echols continued as colonel, 

'He was lieutenant colonel at the battle of Kernstown, March 23, but signa 
his ofBdal report of the battle of Winchester, May 23-25, as colonel. 


although absent, as Grigsby certainly did for a time as 
lieutenant-colonel.* I think E. F. Paxton was major. 

In the 33d Virginia Colonel Arthur C. Cummings, 
who was considered a very efficient officer, positively de- 
clined a re-election, to the great regret of all. We under- 
stood it was for the same reasons of dissatisfaction as 
with Colonel Allen.^ The former adjutant of the regi- 
ment, John F. Neff , a young man but a graduate of the 
Virginia Military Institute, was made colonel. He was 
a member of a Dunkard or Tunker family, a numerous 
sect around Mount Jackson, which like the Quakers, is 
principled against military service, and we heard that 
there was much displeasure in his family and community 
at his voluntarily going into the war. I think Edmund 
G. Lee continued as lieutenant-colonel and Frederick 
W. M. Holliday either continued as or was now made 

Captain William McLaughlin of the Rockbridge 
Battery also retired and first lieutenant William T. 
Poague became captain. One of the lieutenants was 
Archibald Graham — I do not recall others. 

Carpenter's Battery*^ remained unchanged, at any rate, 
the captain was Joseph Carpenter, first lieutenant (his 

• Grigsby signs his official report of the battle of WiDchester, May 23-25 as 
lieutenant-colonel commanding, but his report of the battle of Port Republic on 
June 8 as colonel. 

* The dissatisfaction of the coloneb of which I have spoken did not proceed 
merely from their resentment of General Gamett's arrest and the implied cen- 
sure of the brigade; they thought Jackson had treated them with a want of con- 
sideration in several ways. See page 16 of Allan's Jackson's Valley Campaign 
for an iUustration — ^where they had written him a joint conmiunication of com- 
plaint and received a tart reply. 

^° This was originally an infantry Company of the 27th Virginia untfl the Fall 
of 186 1, when it was detached from the Regiment and converted into an ar- 
tillery Company. In 191 1 C. A. Fonerden, a Member of the Company, pub- 
lished a history of it, printed by Henkel & Company, Newmarket, Va. 


brother), John C. Carpenter; second lieutenant, George 
McKendree. I do not remember another lieutenant. 
The company was also known as the "Alleghany 
Roughs," many companies at the beginning of the war 
styling themselves by such names — some of which were 
very ferocious. 

First Lieutenant James Mercer Garnett, of Virginia, 
was here assigned to the brigade as ordnance officer, so 
that General Winder's full staff was now made up as 
follows: Captain John F. O'Brien, assistant adjutant- 
general; Lieutenant James M. Garnett, ordnance officer; 
Lieutenant McHenry Howard, aide de camp; Major 
G. Douglas Mercer, of Maryland, was brigade quarter- 
master — the commissary I have forgotten. Dr. Black, 
of the 4th Virginia, was senior surgeon and may be called 
brigade surgeon or medical director. 

About this time I received my commission, or noti- 
fication of appointment, which I give as a sample of such 
Confederate documents: 

Confederate States of Amesica 
war departicent 

Richmond, April 16, 1862. 

Sir: — ^You are hereby notified that the President has appointed you First 
Lieutenant and Aid de Camp. To take rank Mar. 31, 1862, in the Provisional 
Army in the service of the Confederate States. You are requested to signify 
your acceptance or non acceptance of said appointment: and should you accept 
you will sign before a magistrate the oath of office herewith, and forward the 
same with your letter of acceptance to this Department. You will report for 
duty to Gen. Chas. Winder. 

Geo. W. Randolph, 

Secretary of War. 
I St Lieut. Henry Howard, Aid de Camp. 

— Md. . J.E.J. 

I accepted the commission, but not my abbreviated 


In the latter part of this month, April, General Jackson 
issued an order partially breaking up Colonel Ashby's 
command. He had, and under a commission for the 
raising of an independent command, twenty-two com- 
panies of cavalry, but as fine a body of men as it was, they 
were said to be not well drilled or disciplined and held by 
Ashby in little restraint. General Jackson's order as- 
signed ten of these companies to the 3d Brigade to be 
under Brigadier-General William B. Taliaferro, and di- 
rected Ashby himself with the other twelve companies 
to report to General Winder and be under his command. 
Ashby promptly wrote his resignation and sent it to 
General Winder to be forwarded. I remember very dis- 
tinctly riding out with General Winder to the cavalry 
outpost at McGaheysville (pronounced McGackeysville), 
near the south end of the Massanutton, where he had a 
long talk with Ashby, who finally consented to Winder's 
retaining the resignation in his own hands for the present 
and trusted the forwarding of it to his judgment. The 
General then went to Jackson, and I think he had several 
conversations both with him and with Ashby. The re- 
sult was that the order was rescinded or suspended, or 
was allowed to remain unexecuted, while the matter of 
Ashby's status was referred to Richmond." To Gen- 
eral Winder's offices was largely due the settlement or 
smoothing over of what at the time threatened serious 
trouble. And from that time there was a warm regard 
between Ashby and Winder. These particulars aboul 
Ashby's resignation have never been given before. 

On one of the very last days of the month I heard that 
Ewell's Division had come over from the Rappahannock, 

" A few weeks later Ashby was appointed brigadier-general and so his com- 
mission for an independent command was abrogated. Jackson tried other and 
more regular methods for disciplining the cavalry. 


or the Rapidan, to join us and was in camp on the other 
side of the Blue Ridge, and the next morning I rode 
through the Gap (or rather over it, for the road, going up 
Elk Run mounts, sometimes zigzagging, to a high eleva- 
tion and then descends Swift Run on the eastern side), 
to see my old comrades of the ist Maryland. I found 
them encamped between the Gap and Stannardsville, 
and after some hours rode back, having enjoyed both the 
meeting and the picturesque ride across the mountain. 

The enemy had not followed us in any force from Har- 
risonburg, nor did he venture to advance further up the 
Valley with Jackson on his flank, and so we had a quiet 
time in this Elk Run or Swift Run Gap camp — except for 
the weather and the internal troubles I have mentioned. 


Valley Campaign — Battle of McDowell 

On April 30 or May i, we broke camp at Swift Run 
Gap^ and took the road which went southerly between the 
Blue Ridge and the Shenandoah River. This was one of 
the hardest and slowest marches I ever saw. The per- 
sistent wet weather had made almost a quagmire of the 
strip of country between the foot of the mountain and the 
river, although I remember noticing that the numerous 
small streams which came down from the clean mountain 
side, while swollen, were running clear. The dirt road 
was almost impassable for guns, caissons, wagons and 
even light ambulances, and if they tried to get on better 
by turning off into the woods — which extended nearly 
all the way — the ground there was found to be as soft. 
Wheels sank to their hubs, and deeper, and although the 
men lent their hands and shoulders, it seemed impossible 
sometimes to extricate them. I must here do a piece of 
justice, however, to Carpenter's Battery, the hardy 
men of which were from Allegheny and adjacent moun- 
tain counties. I once rode back finding the men of the 
brigade floundering through the mud and many guns and 
vehicles completely stalled, when I came to Captain 
Carpenter and asked him how he was getting on. ** Very 
well," he replied cheerfully, and to my astonishment I 
saw that his battery was well closed up. But I think he 
had lighter pieces than some, at least, of the guns of the 
Rockbridge Battery. By nightfall the army had made 

* Ewell came aaoss the mountain in the evening and occupied our abandoned 


a very short distance and was strung out for miles back 
and I think much of it so bivouacked. It was nearly as 
bad next day, and I believe it took about 48 hours to 
make the dozen or so miles from Swift Run Gap to 
Brown's Gap. But I do not remember the exact divi- 
sion of time or camping places in these and the next few 
days, although my memory is distinct about the country 
we passed through and the principal incidents of the 

On the day that we passed through, or over for it is 
very much like Swift Run Gap, the gloomy and depres- 
sing weather was gone and the sun shone brilliantly on a 
beautiful May day. We crossed the summit of the Blue 
Ridge in good order, being now on a hard road, and went 
down along the side of a branch of Moorman's River, 
here a small but gradually increasing stream from the 
eastern side of the Gap. We were now in the well culti- 
vated Albemarle country, and I can call up in my mind 
now very distinctly the pleasing sight at the village of 
Whitehall of the large number of ladies in white or bright 
colored dresses who had gathered there from the neigh- 
borhood to see the soldiers go by, and also to bring them 
baskets of substantial refreshment. In the Valley they 
had worn a more sober attire, soldiers being no novelty 
to them. 

I do not recall any intervening stop at night but, at 
any rate, either on that same day or the next we reached 
the Virginia Central Railroad' at Mechum's River And 
I think our brigade must have spent a day here while the 

' Dabney's Life of Jackson says we left Swift Run on Thursday \^t\ 30 and on 
Saturday May 2 crossed over to Whitehall, etc. Allan's Jackson's Valley Cam- 
paign says we left on Wednesday, April 30 and did not get to Brown's Gap until 
Friday May 2 and crossed over on Saturday, May 3. The 30th of April was 
Wednesday, as Allan says. 

*Now the Chesapeake and Ohio Railroad. 


rest of the army was being transported by rail back across 
the Blue Ridge to the Valley at Staunton. When it did 
move, whether on the 4th, 5th or 6th of May, it marched 
West to Afton Station, well in and up Rockfish Gap — 
within sight of its summit — where we too took the cars 
and were carried to Staunton or its vicinity. And the 
next day we were allowed to rest. I think our camp was 
west of the town. 

I remember well that on the day of the battle of Mc- 
Dowell, which was on the 8th of May, our brigade had 
started a day behind the rest of the army and made an 
extraordinarily long day's march to catch up, and I think, 
therefore, that our day's rest near Staunton must have 
been on the 7th and that we left there on the morning of 
the 8th, following the road, westerly, by which we learned 
the army had gone the day before. We came to Buffalo 
Gap in the AUeghanies, and, entering it, I have a photo- 
graph in my mind of the railroad curving away to the 
left and our road turning, but not so much, to the right. 
I have no recollection of any very steep ascending, but 
we did go upward and then through a mountainous wood- 
ed country — ^unlike the descent on the other side of a 
Blue Ridge Gap. 

Some time in the day we saw along the road two or three 
cadets of the Virginia Military Institute at Lexington 
and learned that its corps of students had been ordered 
out for temporary service and was somewhere ahead.* 
These young stragglers (but I do not apply the term with 
any sense of reproach,) seemed much exhausted and one 
of them asked General Winder, "Mister, won't you take 

* 1 understood later in the day that this corps was put by Jackson under Gen- 
eral Winder and I think it went into Camp with or near us that evening, but I 
do not recall his ftMiiming any particular control and I th nk it must have gone 
back next day. 


me up behind?" and the General helped him up. Pres- 
ently he asked, ''Mister, what cavalry company do you 
belong to?" "I don't belong to any," the General re- 
plied. ''Well, to what battery?" "To none." "Well, 
to what regiment then?" ''To none," said the General. 
"I am General Winder of the Stonewall Brigade." 
"O, General, " said the young fellow, " I beg your pardon, 
I never would have asked you to take me up if I had 
known who you were," and he made a motion to slide 
off. But the General prevented and carried him a long 
way, the two soon getting into an easy chat. I had taken 
up another. 

We passed a large house, with out-buildings, on the 
left (west) side of the road and with a signboard "Leba- 
non Sulphur Springs," and here a road went off to the 
right (east). This was at the foot of Shenandoah 
Mountain,' up which our road — the Staunton and Park- 
ersburg Turnpike — now went on an ascent of perhaps 
two or three miles. Arriving at the top we had a far 
view in front over the valley of the Cowpasture River or 
one of its head streams and could descry the road, fully 
two miles or more distant, ascending the opposite moun- 
tain on a slant to the left. We were told that the day 
before General Johnson,' leading the advance, had en- 

' Shenandoah Mountain, or Uiis end of it, has nothing to do with Shenandoah 
River. Since leaving Buffalo Gap we had been on James River waters. The 
Cowpasture River some distance down to the southwest of where we were, unites 
with the Bullpasture, which comes down past McDowell, and the united stream 
continues to be called the Cowpasture until it empties into Jackson s River, an 
upper fork of the James. So the cow is here held in greater dignity than the bull 

Another branch of the Cowpasture is the Calfpasture, which also forks into 
the Bfg and the Little Calfpasture. The region is well watered. I need hardly 
say that it is a grazing country. 

* Brigadier-General Edward Johnson, of Chesterfie'd County, Virginia, called 
"Alleghenv Johnson" from a battle he had fought on 13th December, had com- 
manded the small army operating in these parts before our arrival, and naturally 
had the advance in this movement to McDowell. 



countered and driven the enemy's picket here and that 
in descending he had been fired on, ineffectually by 
artillery on the further side of the valley. 

We descended — zigzagging — the western side of Shen- 
andoah Mountain, crossed the wide valley and the Cow- 
pasture stream^ (which ran close to its further side), and 
went up the mountain side three or four hundred yards 
when we met ambulances and artillery, and I think some 
wagons, coming down. We also saw, coming back, two 
or more of Jackson's staff officers, who said that the army 
was about to go into camp. General Winder requested 
them to inform Jackson that he had come up with the 
army and that, having to make way for the vehicles and 
artillery descending the narrow and steep road, he would 
move back to the bottom and camp on the other side of 
the stream, where it was level. We did so, and the men 
made fires in the low sycamore and other bushes which 
half covered the bottom and began cooking or heating 
what little they had. It was now approaching dusk. 
But a courier came in haste from General Jackson order- 
ing the brigade to come quickly to the front where fight- 
ing was going on. By the time it was formed another 
courier came with orders to hurry. And when we had 
crossed the stream and had nearly reached the top of the 
ascent on the other side but were still a long way — per- 
haps nearly two miles — from where the conflict was, we 
met Jackson, himself coming back for his old brigade.* 
But when we got to the front — or a point on the road 

'It seems to be in my recollection that the first stream after descending 
Shenandoah Mountain was a branch of the Cowpasture and that after crossing 
it we passed over another ridge and then came to the Cowpasture. 

' This seems ahnost incredible and as it was quite dark it is possible that it 
was a staff officer whom I mbtook for Jackson. But my recollection is distinct 
that it was my impression at the time, and I have alwajrs, in conversations since, 
rq)eated that it was Jackson himself who came riding back. 


opposite the battle field, which was on the hill top 
on the left (west), firing had about ceased, except that a 
piece or two of the enemy's artillery continued for a 
while to send shots from some high position, apparently 
on the east side of the road; but it was now night and 
they were only random shots. We had met two or more 
ambulances going back, one with the body of Colonel 
Gibbons, of the loth Virginia, whose death was much re- 
gretted. Another may have carried General Edward 
Johnson, for he was painfully wounded in the foot. The 
brigade was halted in the road. A ravine led up from 
its side at this point through the woods to the hilltop or 
high plateau of the battle field, on the left (west), and 
the practicability of dragging up by hand some pieces of 
artillery was discussed, but the hollow was steep and 
rough and the idea was abandoned. General Winder 
and his staff rode up to the battle field where we found all 
quiet but the men still under arms. To the front but 
far below, and apparently less than a mile distant, we 
saw a great many lights, which we were told were the 
enemy's camp fires in and around the village of Mc- 

Early the next morning. May 9, I rode over the battle 
field. This elevated piece of open ground was some 
acres in extent, having evidently been cleared for pasture 
like many such elevated places in West Virginia, but 
numerous white- thorn bushes or small trees were scat- 
tered over it. I was astonished to observe, as I thought, 
that these thorns were in bloom thus early in the season, 
but on investigation found that this appearance of bloom 
was the white wood of the branches and twigs splintered 
by the enemy's bullets, many of the bushes being about 
the height of a man. The ground in front descended 

* In Highland County, having passed out of Augusta. 


some hundreds of feet and two or three hollows came up 
from the wooded bottom for some distance. Up and out 
of these, darker in the evening twilight, the enemy had 
come and so often had our men exposed against the 
clear sky line. This accounted for the extraordinary 
splintered condition of the thorn bushes on the hill, 
which must have looked to them like men or groups of 
men. Up hill shooting, too, is more accurate than down, 
which is apt to overshoot the mark, as every sportsman 
knows. And I thought then, and always have believed, 
that in this battle we lost more than they did, although 
there were wild rumors of numbers of dead having been 
found or burned in houses in McDowell. Our dead, or 
most of them, had been collected and laid on the grass 
side by side, in a double row, and I counted 52 or 53 — I 
know it was fifty odd.^® 

After some time we descended — by the winding road — 
to the village of McDowell, where we found the enemy's 
abandoned camp, or camp ground, covered with little 
conical sheet iron stoves, like inverted funnels, a pattern 
new to me and I thought a very simple and good one. 
I think there was no bottom. There were also cooking 
utensils and other such articles, but we did not capture 
any valuable "plunder" that I saw. 

I believe we did not go much beyond McDowell that 
day and that it was next morning. May 10, when we 
took up the pursuit in earnest, the Stonewall Brigade 
being in the lead. At the distance of six or seven miles 
northwesterly from McDowell we came to a fork of the 
road, a signboard saying that the Staunton and Parkers- 
burg Turnpike went oflF northwesterly to Monterey and 

^® Colonel Allan, in his work which I have often quoted, gives the losses as 
follows: Confederate, 71 killed and 390 wounded, total 461; Federal, 28 killed 
and 225 wounded, with 3 missing, total 256. 


beyond, while the right-hand fork went northerly but 
had no sign. It was the left hand fork on which General 
Edward Johnson had fallen back. As General Winder 
had no instructions which one to take, he halted and sent 
back to General Jackson for directions. Arms were 
stacked along the road, which was a narrow one, with 
the ground descending on the right (east) side and rising 
quite steeply on the left. At this point, or shortly before 
getting to it. Major Mercer, the brigade quartermaster, 
came up from the rear and told General Winder that it 
was reported at Staunton that Jackson had put him 
under arrest for not having his brigade up at McDowell." 
Presently a battery came from behind and the musket 
stacks had to be broken to give it room to pass, and soon 
after Jackson himself appeared. General Winder 
mounted his horse — I saw the color rise in his face — ^and 
when Jackson came up, told him the rumor he had heard 
and demanded to know if he, Jackson, had said anything 
to authorize it. Jackson replied that he had not. Gen- 
eral Winder said "I have always obeyed your orders," 
when Jackson broke in and said, "But General Winder, 
you are not obeying my orders now, my order is that 
whenever there is a halt, the men shall stack arms." 
"I did obey your order" said General Winder, '*but had 
to break the stacks to let a battery pass." He added 
that he intended to have his rank as second in command 
of the army respected by everybody. I was close by 
and heard the whole brief conversation, and I fully 
expected Jackson would put him under arrest then and 
there. Just then a courier came up — from Richmond I 
believe — with a despatch and after reading it Jackson 

" It will be remembered that when General Winder first came to the army. 
Major Mercer told him that Jackson would have him in arrest before many weeks 


handed it to General Winder, at which I was greatly 
relieved, for I took it to be meant as a mark of amity and 

I remember idly pulling a small pinkish white flower 
from the bank on the upper roadside and enjoying its 
fragrance and thinking that a botanist in peace time 
would find many new wild flowers in this wild country. 
But I know now that it was the common arbutus. 

We took the right hand road, which went northerly 
down the valley of a small stream, which we were told 
was one of the headwaters of the South Branch of the 
Potomac, having thus left the Cowpasture or James 
River watershed, as we had before left that of the 

My recollection of the rest of this day and of the first 
half or more of the next does not bring to my mind any 
particular incidents, but it is very clear as to the general 
characteristics of the marching. The enemy, to cover 
his retreat better and delay the pursuit, had resorted to 
the novel but effective expedient of firing the woods all 
the way behind him, and the valley became more and 
more filled with smoke. I suppose we had some cavalry 
in front, or more probably scouts only, for Jackson had 
left nearly all his cavalry in the Valley to watch the 
enemy there and prevent information of our movement 
from leaking through. At any rate, the progress of our 
brigade was slow and interrupted by halts. The road con- 
tinued down the stream (on its left — west — side), which 
gradually got larger and whose valley became wider. 
Being a fisherman from boyhood, I thought it must be a 
good trout country and was interested to hear that 
Harry Gilmor," who had fished the same streams in 

^ Afterwards the well known Major Harry Gilmor, commanding a cavalry 
battalion in Northern Virginia and author of Four Years in the Saddle, He was 
a Baltimorean. 


Baltimore County that I had, went out one of these even- 
ings and caught a fine lot. 

In the afternoon of the second day (May ii?) there 
were signs that we were close on the enemy's rear, and 
there was now certainly no cavalry between our brigade 
and them. At a place where the road ahead went on a 
long curve a little towards the right, with the thickly 
wooded hillside rising up on the left (west), General 
Winder halted the brigade and sent the 4th Virginia, 
Colonel Ronald, off the road and up the hill, with orders 
to form in line at right angles with the road and move 
forward parallel with it and so sweep the woods in front. 
And presently he rode up there himself with his staff. 
But he almost immediately came on the line of this regi- 
ment in full but not disorderly retreat. He asked the 
Colonel, ''What is the meaning of this?" ''Why," 
said the colonel," we came on the enemy." "What did 
I put you here for but to come on the enemy," said the 
General. "Face your men about and move forward," 
which was done. The General also rode forward, at 
first with the regiment but presently losing it by inclining 
to the right and also getting ahead — which I thought was 
too reckless. There was some firing, not at our particular 
group I think, but it was close and alarming enough to 
make the two mounted couriers we had with us vanish 
in the brush. But the General rode straight on. We 
came to burning brush and low timber, through which we 
had to pick our way, and saw some camp fires with cook- 
ing utensils and even half cooked food, which seemed to 
have been abandoned just before our approach. I know 
I was much relieved when we came out on the road, with- 
out misadventure, half a mile or more beyond where we 
had gone in. The General directed me to ride back to 
see if the road was clear of the enemy and to report to 


Jackson where he was and also to say that his couriers 
had deserted him and ask for others. I galloped back, 
finding all clear and coming to Jackson waiting in the 
road where we had left it. When I added the request 
for new couriers, Jackson said, '* General Winder's cou- 
riers have deserted him, have they?" and turning to 
Harry Gilmor, who was near by, he asked, ''Captain 
Gilmor, can you send General Winder couriers who will 
not desert him?" Harry Gilmor said he could. When 
I was starting to go back, Jackson said, '* Captain How- 
ard, I will go with you, " and we rode side by side followed 
by Harry Gilmor's two warranted couriers. I don't 
remember that Jackson's staff or any others went. Be- 
fore we had gone far shells began coming up the valley, 
bursting over the bottom between our road and the 
stream, which was here on the far (eastern) side. When 
one exploded nearer to us than the others, Jackson turned 
to me — I was riding on his right side — ^and asked, 
"Captain Howard, where did that shell come from?" 
I looked at him with some surprise and he added, "lam 
deaf in one ear and cannot well tell the direction of 

I do not remember very well what happened immedi- 
ately after we came to General Winder, but I think that 
we mounted the wooded hillside and that the General 
arranged his men in position — probably only the 4th 
Virginia. We found that we could not go any further 
directly forward and Jackson did not order it.*' For the 
hill or mountain which had been running parallel A\ith 
and on the west side of the road, here came to an end in 
front, this end descending steeply into a deep chasm, 

" Franklin, the county seat of Pendleton, into which we had passed from 
Highland, was only a mile ahead and so Jackson had pushed back the enemy 
about seventy miles from Staunton which they had been threatening. 


evidently the valley of a side stream breaking through 
from the west, across which the hill or mountain abruptly 
rose again. We saw that the enemy held this further 
side in too strong a position to be assailed directly in 
front. And I heard General Winder say to Jackson that 
a force ought to be sent to turn their right flank. Either 
now or later — for it was when it was getting dusk — 
General Winder with his staff, and I think Jackson, went 
forward and down to the extreme end of this knob or 
shoulder we were on, to examine the enemy's position 
across the chasm After we had stood there for a while, 
I heard a voice in the distance, but distinctly in the still 
evening air, say, "Ready, Fire," and a shell came over 
at our group and exploded near by. We retired. There 
was a curious illustration here of how the imagination 
will sometimes play a trick with a perfectly brave man. 
As we were going back, O'Brien, our adjutant-general, 
of both Irish and Spanish blood, I believe, said to me, 
''Did you see that man who was struck?" I said, "No." 
"Why," said he, "he was a horrible sight — shot all to 
pieces." There was really no one struck I was told. 
But it was dusk, if not dark, and small fires among the 
trees here and there were giving fitful lights and shadows 
and room for the imagination to work. We had a quiet 

The next morning (Monday, May 12,) General Jack- 
son issued an order congratulating the army on the vic- 
tory at McDowell, proclaiming a half day of rest and 
directing that the chaplains should hold a thanksgiving 
service in the regiments — all of which did not have chap- 
lains, however. The men were accordingly formed in 
the level bottom between the road and the north fork of 
the south branch of the Potomac — for such the stream 
was — and the services were held. As General Winder 


appeared, the men spontaneously cheered him in all 
regiments of the brigade, which gave him evident 

I think it was in the afternoon of the same day the 
army took up its march back, but I do not remember the 
camps or the details of the march until we got to the 
Lebanon White Sulphur Springs again where we turned 
off on the road to the left (east), and after 9 or 10 miles 
came to the Stribbling Springs, out of the rough mountain 
country and on or near the western side of the well 
cultivated and beautiful "Valley of Virginia." We 
were now on the Shenandoah waters again. Here we 
rested one day (May 18, Sunday). I found the springs 
three in number, two being strong alum and the third 
pure water although near the other two, all issuing out 
of the side of a dark slate rock. 

M From this time all coolness of the officers and men of the brigade towards 
him disappeared and always afterwards they cheered him the first time they 
were drawn up in line after a battle, and on other occasions. 

Valley Campaign — Battle of Winchester 

The next day (May 19) we marched through a fine 
open country and at the village of Bridgewater crossed 
North River — one of the three upper branches of the 
south or main fork of the Shenandoah River. This 
crossing was effected on a Confederate pontoon bridge, 
made by putting planks on the running gear and beds of 
wagons in the stream. On that day or the next we came 
to the Valley Turnpike at Harrisonburg and marched 
down it seventeen or eighteen miles to Newmarket. 
Here (on May 21,) we turned off to the right (east)^ and 
crossed the Massanutton Mountain by the only '*gap" 
in, or over it, in its long extent, being the road from New- 
market to Luray and beyond across the Blue Ridge to 
eastern Virginia. When about a mile before coming to 
Luray — having crossed the north or maia fork of the 
Shenandoah River — I noticed several small sunken 
places in the ground on the north side of the road, filled 
with briers, and I said I believed there were caves under- 
neath.2 At Luray we turned north on the Front Royal 
road and after going three miles on it camped. 

We had now united with Ewell and Jackson had under 
him, therefore, two divisions of infantry, with batteries 
of artillery attached to the brigades, including "Alle- 
ghany" Johnson's men who were now constituted into 

^ We were now getting used to Jackson's divergences from the straight road 
ahead and they ceased to cause any surprise. 

s I understand that the famous Luray cave, discovered just after the war, is 
at this place or near it. 



two small brigades and made parts of Ewell's Division; 
also a large part of Ashby's Cavalry. 

In the afternoon of May 23 we were approaching Front 
Royal and understood that it was occupied by the enemy. 
Our brigade was not in front and it went on slowly and 
haltingly while others in advance made the attack on the 
place.* We soon heard the firing and presently moved 
forward to the town, which we learned, with interest, 
had been held by the Federal 1st Maryland under Colonel 
Kenly, an officer of the Mexican War. And we presently 
knew that the enemy were driven out of the place and 
across the Shenandoah, the north and south forks of 
which unite about two miles north of the town. I rode 
forward to and half way over the bridge* and found it in 
a damaged condition, the enemy having set fire to it 
after crossing; it was much charred but not impassable. 
I saw many members of our 1st Maryland, who were 
highly excited and jubilant over the encounter with the 
Federal ist, of which latter regiment I saw a number of 
prisoners being brought in. I remember meeting Hebb 
Greenwell (with whom I had crossed the Potomac when 
on our way to Richmond the year before,) on the bridge 
with one, and I heard several stories of meetings of rela- 
tions and acquaintances in the two "Firsts. "* 

' The troops which made or began the attack were the Confederate ist Mary- 
land and Wheat's Battalion ("Louisiana Tigers") of Taylor's Brigade in Ewell's 
Division. Meanwhile our cavalry had gone to the west of Front Royal and the 
south fork to ford the north fork of the Shenandoah and get on the enemy's 
flank or rear. 

* This must have been over the north fork, which comes east from Strasburg. 
But I do not remember another bridge, over the south fork, and were it not for 
what the books and maps now show I should say there was a single bridge over 
the river, just below the junction of the two forks. 

' The main body of the Federal ist Maryland was captured by the cavalry, in 
Jackson's own presence, several miles on the Winchester road. 


It was now nightfall and our brigade camped near 
Front Royal — I do not remember exactly where. 

The next morning, May 24, we marched on the Win- 
chester road, but after going a few miles, turned off at 
Cedarville and took the road which goes off to the left, 
northwesterly, to the Valley Turnpike Road at Middle- 
town. Our brigade was not leading and our progress 
was slow. When we arrived at the Turnpike we found 
on it a long line of abandoned wagons, but all was quiet 
and no enemy was visible. I think when we first entered 
it the head of our column was turned to the left (south) 
towards Strasburg, for I remember there was some coun- 
termarching before we took the other direction, towards 
Winchester. The Stonewall Brigade was now in the 
advance. There were many sutlers' wagons in this 
abandoned train and some of the contents had been 
pulled out and were lying along the road, and I picked 
up an officer's broad red silk sash which helped to give 
to my plain dress evidence of my being a commissioned 
officer; I wore it almost through the rest^of the war. 
After going five or six miles towards Winchester, our 
advance — I think it was at the south edge of Newtown* — 
was checked by a fire from one or two pieces of artillery, 
the shells from which seemed to come from a position in 
front on the west side of the Turnpike and to cross it 
diagonally or burst over it a little ahead. I thought 
they were using the rather new "Schenkel" shells, for 
which we had a dislike — shaped somewhat like an old 
fashioned soda water bottle. I remember one falling 
on the stone face of the road with a crash and seeming to 
me to break into pieces like a bottle. But I don't think 

* Newtown is a village seven miles south of Winchester. Middletown is half 
way between Newtown and Stiasburg — about five and one-half miles from either 


any part of our brigade — infantry at least — became en- 
gaged, and presently these guns withdrew and we moved 
on. Evening passed and night came and we went on, 
making slow progress and being several times checked 
by the infantry rear guard of the enemy which sometimes 
even stubbornly resisted our advance. At one point 
they delayed us by a show of force in our front, and at 
another where a rather deep stream crossed the Turn- 
pike,' they even drove back the small force of cavalry, or 
scouts, in our front which rode back over the head of 
our column and put the leading regiment, or part of it, 
in such confusion that General Winder and his staff, 
and I think Jackson too, had some difficulty to resist 
being carried along towards the rear. I think this hap- 
pened about ten o'clock at night. Here General Winder 
had two companies detailed — from the 2d and 5th Vir- 
ginia — ^whose men were from that part of the country — 
and had them deployed on both sides of the road, to 
cross the stream and drive the enemy back. But I 
think they withdrew, having well accomplished their 
object of delaying our march. These two companies 
continued on, in skirmish line, and we had no more 
trouble, except in making slow progress, until we were 
only about a mile from Winchester, when, near or at 
daylight. General Jackson allowed the men to halt where 
they were in the road and take an hour's sleep or rest.* 

Before sunrise (Sunday, May 25) we were under arms 
again and the brigade moved forward until the head of 
the column reached the line of skirmishers at Rollings- 
worth's Mill. There was a slight haze over the country 
which the risen sun was dispelling. Here General Win- 

'The Opequon (OplUx)n), at Bartonsvflle. 

' It was the 2d Massachusetts, principally, which thus resisted our advance 
and it performed its duty well. 


der, with his staff, rode forward to reconnoitre. On the 
north side of the Mill buildings a road went off up a hol- 
low to the left (west), having a plank fence along its 
south side and open ground, rising rather steeply, on the 
north side. As we went on this road, the General in 
front, with a guide or some one, there suddenly came 
several shots down from a small hollow or break in the 
high ground on our right which rattled like stones against 
the plank fence. The General put spurs to his horse 
and got safely past the mouth of the hollow. Next 
came Captain O'Brien, assistant adjutant-general, and 
myself, O'Brien, who was riding a clay colored horse, 
leading. We too spurred our horses to get by the danger- 
ous point as rapidly as possible. Two or three shots 
came and as I bent my head low to my horse's neck I 
was astonished to see the cream colored tail of O'Brien's 
horse — which was close to my own horse's head — sud- 
denly turn red all over. A bullet had passed through 
the root. No other harm was done, but the horse went 

I do not well recall the details of the movement, but 
we were soon in occupation of this high ground on the 
north of this side road, and my first precise recollection 
is that Poague's (Rockbridge) and Carpenter's Batteries 
of the brigade were in position on it and firing on the 
enemy who held some also elevated ground, almost on 
the south edge of Winchester. Our infantry regiments 
were supporting in rear, sheltered by the rising ground 
and somewhat apart. Our two batteries were exposed 
to a very sharp fire, both of artllery and musketry, and 
lost severely, particularly in horses. They were much 
annoyed at first by a line of skirmishers behind a stone 
wall, not far in front, until the General ordered solid 
shot to be fired at the wall, which soon made them scam- 


per back.* General Winder who before his promotion in 
the United States Army to a captaincy in the 9th In- 
fantry had been in the 3d Artillery, always had a liking for 
that arm of the service, and now remained for the most 
of the time on this part of the field, directing the fire of 
our guns, and being much exposed. I remember a shot 
or shell passing so close to my head and left shoulder 
that it seemed to make the blood stir in the shoulder. 

General Jackson presently came on the scene and asked 
how the battle was going on. General Winder told him 
the enemy ought to be attacked on his (the enemy's) 
right flank. "Very well, " said Jackson, " I will send you 
up Taylor," and he rode off. General "Dick" Taylor 
soon appeared at the head of his fine Louisiana Brigade, 
moving in column across our rear towards the left, and 
General Winder pointed out where he should go to get 
on the enemy's right flank. I think there was a piece of 
woods over there which Taylor reached unobserved and 
from which we saw his brigade emerge in a fine line of 
battle at right angles with the enemy's line. Their 
coming was soon detected and we could see a sudden 
commotion on that end of their line (the whole of which 
was in our plain view on the high open ground opposite 
to us and not far distant as battles go) , and we saw them 
making frantic efforts to turn one or t>\'o of their guns to 
fire on Taylor's men as soon as they would come into 
view at short range ascending the acclivity on that flank. 
General Winder tried to move one or two of Poague's 
guns to a position to open on them but the battery horses 
had been much cut up and before it could be done, Taylor 
went forward with such rapidity, but preserving a splen- 
did line, that the enemy, as I remember, had not time to 

* This was the only occasion during the war when I distinctly remember 
seeing solid shot used. 


fire a single round, and they broke in disorder and all 
were speedily in full flight. Meanwhile General Winder 
had brought forward his infantry brigade and formed it 
in line of battle and it moved in fine order over the battle 
ground to the town, which lay just behind it. But the 
enemy retired so quickly from Taylor's charge that we 
could not come up with them. In passing over where 
the Federal line had been I observed a fine officer's great 
coat — the long detachable cape lined with red flannel — 
lying on the ground, with a little dog on it. I dis- 
mounted, routed the dog and secured it. 

We passed on through the town, the people of which 
were in a state of jubilant excitement, and continued on 
the Martinsburg road — Valley Turnpike — between four 
and five miles, when, there appearing no prospect of 
overtaking the enemy, we halted and went into camp*" in 
some woods. And we remained there quietly the next 
two days. 

'° I have, in these pages, used the words camp and bivouac somewhat indis- 
criminately. But properly camp implies a more lengthened stay or with camp 
equipage, while a bivouac is a night's halt, or short time in campaigning, without 
such equipage. After the first part of the war the men generally had only little 
shelter tents which they carried — or india rubbers — two buttoned together mak- 
ing a shelter for two men; these were captured from the enemy. 


Valley Campaign — Charlestown and Retreat 

UP THE Valley 

On the morning of May 28 General Winder marched 
with his brigade, except the 2d Virginia Regiment which had 
been detailed as provost guard in Winchester, on the road 
to Charlestown and Harper's Ferry, which goes off from the 
Valley Turnpike to the right (easterly) from near where 
we were camped . ^ His orders were to go to Harper's Ferry 
— ^at least those were the orders as I understood, and the 
manner of the march showed that the General was under 
the impression that he would find no obstacle on the way. 
But when a few miles this side of Charlestown, as I was 
riding carelessly a hundred yards ahead, I saw a horseman 
coming back at full speed, whom I recognized on his ap- 
proach as Captain R. Preston Chew, of the Horse Ar- 
tillery serving with Ashby's Cavalry. He reined up and 
on my asking what was the matter, said the Yankees 
were at Charlestown. **That cannot be," I said, *'for 
our orders are to go to Harper's Ferry." He replied 
they were certainly there and he had just narrowly es- 
caped being captured by them He had gone there, 
being his home, to visit his family. By this time General 
Winder, at the head of the brigade, had come up, to 
whom he repeated the information, with further details. 
General Winder immediately sent back Lieutenant James 
M. Garnett, of his staff with a dispatch to Jackson at 
Winchester, but determined to press on and attack the 

^ Charlestown is eighteen miles from Winchester and Harper's Ferry is six or 
seven miles beyond that. 



enemy if not found too strong. One straggling cavalry- 
man after another came along until there were about a 
dozen and the General pressed them into service under 
Captain Chew for an advance guard. After proceeding 
a couple of miles or more these reported the enemy's 
skirmishers ahead and General Winder deployed two 
companies as skirmishers before whom those of the enemy 
retired or were driven back through the woods to the 
edge of the open ground, beyond which was their main 
body drawn up in line of battle, just this side of Charles- 
town. The General formed his four regiments in line 
and sent forward one or two guns which fired a few rounds 
when the enemy ret'red. Our whole line advanced and 
pursued through the town which was wild with excite- 
ment, the people thronging the streets with demonstra- 
tions of joy at our coming, as we had seen at Winchester 
three days before. We continued the pursuit four miles 
to the village of Halltown, when we saw the enemy in 
large force and occupying a strong position on Bolivar 
Heights, a ridge which extends from the Shenandoah 
River across the road to the Potomac, just beyond which 
was Harper's Ferry with the unapproachable Maryland 
Heights dominating it, on the other (north) side of the 
Potomac. Seeing that he could accomplish nothing 
more with his small force. General Winder returned to 
the neighborhood of Charlestown, camping about a mile 
in front of it. The General and his staff took dinner or 
supper at the house of Mrs. Andrew Kennedy — **Cas- 
silis" — on the east side of the road, who, having lately 
been to Baltimore, gave me news of home, and who also 
gave me and sewed on my shoulders a pair of first lieu- 
tenant's epaulets (though Federal), so that while not 
in regulation Confederate uniform, I had now sufficient 
marks of rank. We were also entertained by Mrs. 


Mason, a sister of Major Frederick W. M. Holliday of 
our 33d Virginia. 

There was small loss on either side in this day's affair, 
but I think General Winder's conduct in pressing forward 
and engaging the enemy in this unexpected encounter, 
instead of halting in the little knowledge he had of what 
force he would meet and waiting for further orders, was 
one of the things which were rapidly getting him Jack- 
son's high opinion and confidence. It certainly added to 
the brigade's growing confidence in him. 

The next day, May 29, Jackson came up with his whole 
army. That night General Winder received information 
from two separate sources (citizens,) of the size of the 
enemy's forces in Harper's Ferry and also that they had 
guns planted on the Maryland Heights, across the Po- 
tomac but completely commanding the town and its 

The next morning. May 30, Jackson had his army in 
the road to go, as I understood, into Harper's Ferry. He, 
himself, was at the head of the infantry column, and just 
in front — not over fifty yards — there was a barn, or some 
such building, on the east (right) side of the road and on 
its very edge and which to some extent shut out the view 
in front, particularly as the road here seemed to take a 
bend to the right. I know I thought that the moment we 
passed from under cover of this building we would come 
under fire. General Winder and General Elzey — ^who 
was commanding one of the two brigades which had been 
formed of ** Alleghany" Johnson's men — here rode up to 
General Jackson. I was close by and heard what was 
said. General Winder told him what information he 
had gathered the day before from the people of Charles- 
town and others about the enemy's strength and that 
two citizens had come to him during the night with the 


further intelligence that large reinforcements had been 
received. General Elzey said that he had had informa- 
tion to the same effect and that *'they had heavy guns 
on the Maryland Heights." Jackson said, ** General 
Elzey, are you afraid of heavy guns?" at which I saw 
Elzey's cheek redden (he was an old artillery officer in 
the United States Army), but he made no reply. I 
understood that we were to move forward and I did not 
like the prospect. But just then a courier came up be- 
hind and handed a dispatch to Jackson who read it and, 
without giving any order to move forward, rode back 
towards the rear. In the light of the next two days I 
supposed the dispatch was about Shields and Fremont 
closing in on Front Royal and Strasburg nearly fifty 
miles in his rear.* Orders presently came from Jackson 
for the army to march back to Winchester except the 
Stonewall Brigade and the 1st Maryland Infantry, 
which was also put under General Winder.' Our 2d Vir- 
ginia had rejoined the brigade when the army came up 
and had been sent forward and to the right across the 
Shenandoah to Loudon Heights, where it still remained. 
Our small force kept its position in quiet for the rest of 
the day, after the army had gone back in the morning. 

Late that night I was roused by some one stumbling 
over the tent ropes and found it was a courier from Gen- 
eral Jackson, who had lost his way and was several hours 
late in bringing his dispatch. This, when read, was 
alarming, and the more so for being thus belated. Jack- 
son wrote that he was leaving Winchester and ordered 

* If Jackson had not really intended to go further, certainly he effectually de- 
ceived, to the last moment, his own subordinate generals as well as his adversary 
and the authorities at Washington. 

' Colonel Bradley T. Johnson says it received no orders to fall back with the 
army and that Winder took it under his command. 



General Winder to fall back immediately and that if he 
found Winchester in possession of the enemy, he must 
make his escape by the Back Road. This is a road which 
goes up the Valley some distance to the west of the great 
Valley Turnpike. The 2d Virginia was immediately re- 
called from Loudon Heights and early in the morning, 
May 31, the brigade and the 1st Maryland started back 
on a forced day's march. When, late in the evening we 
got to Winchester, we found it deserted by all except a 
few stragglers and we pushed on through to Newtown 
where at night we went into a cheerless, rainy bivouac. 
We had marched over twenty-eight miles and the 2d 
Virginia several miles more. 

The next morning, June i, we resumed the march. 
Before we had gone many miles we heard artillery firing 
in our front, towards Strasburg, which made us appre- 
hensive that we might be too late and find ourselves cut 
off at that place. But soldiers take things of that sort 
philosophically. At or near Middletown I was riding 
about a hundred yards ahead, as I was very apt to do, 
when I saw a group of cavalry men in front, standing in 
the mouth of the road which forks off to Front Royal*, the 
same road by which we had come into the Valley Turn- 
pike from that place eight days before. When I ap- 
proached, one of them rode out from the mouth of the road 
to meet me and I recognized the brown face of Ashby. *' Is 
that General Winder coming up?" he asked. I said it 
was. "Thank God for that," he exclaimed. When the 
General came up, Ashby shook his hand warmly and said, 

* The picture in my mind of the entrance of the Front Royal road into the 
Turnpike, both when we came by it a week before and as we now passed it, is, 
distinctly, of a road coming over an open country, whereas maps now show it as 
entering the village of Middletown. The road may have been changed — or the 
village may have grown. 


"General, I was never so relieved in my life. I thought 
that you would be cut off and had made up my mind to 
join you and advise you to make your escape over the 
mountain to Gordonsville. " After passing this point 
there is a view from the Turnpike of the country in front 
(south), and to the right oblique and three or four miles, 
or less, distant can be seen the course of the low valley of 
Cedar Creek. This stream runs down from the northwest 
and, crossing the Turnpike, enters the north fork of the 
Shenandoah below Strasburg, and down its valley comes 
the road from Moorfield, by which it was understood Fre- 
mont was advancing to cut us off at Strasburg. And 
we could plainly see the smoke of the discharges of the 
guns we had heard, seeming to be almost in our front as 
the Turnpike was then running, and we knew that Jack- 
son was holding back Fremont until we got by. To our 
relief, everything continued quiet on the Front Royal 
(east) side, where we looked for trouble from an advance 
by Shields or McDowell. We squeezed through and 
went on several miles beyond Strasburg on the Valley 
Turnpike and camped on the right hand side. In the 
night we were roused by a commotion on the road and 
cavalrymen came from the rear in confusion, having 
been attacked by the enemy with unusual boldness, but 
presently things quieted down again. 

Next day, June 2, we resumed our march up the Valley^ 
leisurely at first, but soon heard that our rear was being 
seriously pushed by the enemy and General Winder 
halted his brigade and formed it in line of battle across 
the Turnpike. The enemy was checked but kept such 
a threatening attitude that when it became time for us 
to withdraw and resume the march — the rest of the army 
having gained a sufficient distance — the operation seemed 
to be a delicate one. But General Winder effected this 


in a novel way which excited my admiration. He with- 
drew the regiments in echelon, that is, the one furthest 
from the road was faced about and marched, still keeping 
in line, some distance to the rear, the movement being 
taken up successively after a brief interval of time by the 
adjoining regiments, the show of force being thus kept 
up last at the Pike. Finally, when they had got a 
sufficient way back, the regiments moved by the flank 
and formed the brigade column of march on the Turn- 
pike. All this was done with the precision of an evolution 
on a parade ground.* We had no more serious trouble 

* Brigadier-General (as he then was), Richard Taylor, in his book Destruction 
end Reconstruction, gives the following account of this affair: After stating that 
Ills brigade had been bringing up the rear that morning and was being pressed 
by the enemy, he says, "A body of troops was reported in position to the south 
of my column. This proved to be Charles Winder with his (formerly Jackson's 
own) brigade. An accomplished soldier and true brother in arms, he had heard 
the enemy's guns during the night, and, knowing me to be in rear, halted and 
formed line to meet me. His men were fed and rested, and he insisted on taking 
my part in the rear. Passing through Winder's line, we moved slowly with fre- 
quent halts, so as to remain near, the enemy pressing hard during the morning. 
The day was oppressively hot, the sun like fire, and water scarce along the road, 
and our men suffered greatly. Just after midday my brisk young aide, Hamil- 
ton, whom I had left with Winder to bring early intelligence, came to report 
that officer in trouble and want of assistance. My men were so jaded as to 
make me unwilling to retrace ground if it could be avoided; so they were ordered 
to form line on the crest of the slope at hand, and I went to Winder, a mile in 
the rear. His brigade, renowned as the ''Stonewall" was deployed on both 
sides of the pike, on which he had four guns. . . . The problem was to re- 
tire without giving the enemy, eager and persistent, an opportunity to charge. 
The situation looked so blue that I proposed to move back my command, but 
Winder thought he could pull through, and splendidly did he accomplish it. 
Regiment by regiment, gun by gun, the brigade was withdrawn, always check- 
ing the enemy, though boldly led. Winder, cool as a professor playing the new 
German game, directed every movement in person, and the men were worthy of 
him and of their first commander, Jackson. It was very close work in the vale 
before he reached the next crest, and heavy volleys were necessary to stay our 
plucky foes; but once there, my command showed so strong as to impress the 
enemy who halted to reconnoitre and the two brigades were united without 
further trouble. " General Taylor further says that Ashby now came, having 


on this day's march and, I think, in the evening passed 
over the Shenandoah (north fork), a mile south of Mount 
Jackson and where Ashby's white horse was shot a month 
and a half before, and bivouacked just beyond. I am not 
sure whether we stayed in this bivouac next day or not, 
but it seems to me that we did. At any rate, on June 
3 or 4 we continued to fall back up the Valley and on 
either June 5 or 6 came to Harrisonburg, where we turned 
off to the left (esist), not on the road to Swift Run Gap 
which we had taken in April, but one which went more 
southeasterly to Port Republic and Brown's Gap, 
higher up the North Fork. 

The first distinct impression or picture in my mind 
after leaving the vicinity of Mount Jackson is that on the 
evening of June 6 we were camped somewhere along this 
Port Republic road, with our brigade headquarters in 
woods on its left (northesist) side. And this I remember 

been, he thinks, over in the Luray Valley burning bridges, and took charge of the 

From this time General Taylor and General Winder appeared to entertain a 
warm mutual regard and often rode together at the head of the one brigade or 
the other. I do not preserve in my memory a very distinct impression of Gen- 
eral Taylor's personal appearance, but as I recall him he was of strong make, 
although not stout, and fluent and agreeable in conversation, having seen much 
of the worid. He was the son of President 2^achary Taylor and brother-in-law 
of President Davis. He wore a black hat and overcoat (a mounted officer who 
could so conveniently carry his overcoat bundled up and strapped behind his 
saddle, wore it often even in summer for protection from chill or rain,) while 
Winder's overcoat was white or light drab, and riding just behind the two I used 
to think of them as the black and the white generals. General Winder's over- 
coat had nothing military about it, although he looked very soldierly in it, as in 
everything. Not long before the war, it had been suddenly discovered on the 
Eastern Shore of Maryland that the thick and strong white or light drab doth 
which was bought in large quantities for the "servants" (they were seldom called 
slaves there), was excellent material for overcoats and neariy every young gentle- 
man in Miles River Neck (Talbot County), had one made. A long cape came 
down to the wrists. 


from several incidents — one a great misfortune for us. 
We had heard firing in the rear and understood that a 
Sir (?) Percy Windham — an Engh'sh soldier of fortune 
who commanded the advance cavalry which had been 
pressing us, and to whom we had been giving the credit 
of that unusual display of spirit — ^had been captured by 
Ashby, and he presently passed by on his way to the 
rear with some other prisoners. And later we heard to 
our great sorrow, that Ashby himself had been killed in 
an engagement with the Pennsylvania ''Bucktail" Regi- 
ment, in which the 1st Maryland had suffered severely, 
but gained great credit. About dark Ashby's body was 
carried past in an ambulance. That evening there were 
brought to our headquarters two iron or steel breast 
plates, worn by Federal cavalrymen, which we inspected 
with much curiosity. I think one had a hole through 
it.* There was also some conversation that evening 
about explosive bullets, which it was reported the enemy 
was using — not loaded like a shell, but made so as to fly 
into several pieces on striking an object. I see no ground 
of objection to them if the purpose be that the fragments 
may have an increased chance of hitting a man, or even 

* General Richard Taylor in his Destruction and Reconstruction, having men- 
tioned that he saw breast plates from captured cavakymen in this campaign, a 
Captain Judson, assistant adjutant-general of Hatch's Brigade of Federal Caval- 
ry, in a communication to The Nation, published lo July, 1879, declared that not 
only had General Taylor written what was not true, but that he knew it was a 
falsehood when he wrote it. Whereupon in The Nation*s issue of 24 July, 1879, 
appeared a letter from Captain W. Stuart Symington, of Baltimore and another 
from Colonel LeRoy Brown, of the Richmond Arsenal, both testifying to having 
seen and handled such breastplates, and also a letter from a New England sol- 
dier, admitting their use. A plenty of other testimony might have been forth- 
coming, but The Nation declared the subject closed. But there is no reason 
why such defensive armor should not be used, and it ought to be if effectual; but 
it did not seem to be found so. 

Bucadies-Genesal Tubnbk Ashbv, C.S^. 


two or more, but if it be to mutilate beyond disabling, 
the humaner rules of modem war are against such use.^ 

This was the evening of June 6 and I think we must 
have moved next day, for certainly on the night of the 
7th we were within a mile of Port Republic and I do not 
think we had been that close the night before. 

' Dabney's Life cf SUmewaU Jackson says that after the battle of Port Re- 
public on June 9 a soldier picked up one and handed it to the General 


Valley Campaign — Battles of Cross Keys and 

Port Republic 

On the morning of June 8 we were expecting to have a 
quiet Sunday in camp. I had taken my little store of 
clothing out of my carpet bag and had it lying around me 
as I knelt, when, between 8 and 9 o'clock I heard a can- 
non shot in the direction of Port Republic and im- 
mediately began to put them back again. Some one of 
the staff, O'Brien or Gamett, asked me what I was doing. 
"Well," said I, "it's Sunday and you hear that shot."^ 
I think a courier came with a message from Jackson to 
send forward a gun immediately, but at any rate Jackson 
himself rode hastily up and directed General Winder to 
double-quick a regiment to the Port Republic bridge. 
The General ordered Captain Poague to send the gun and 
have the whole battery fall in, and I remember that Cap- 
tain Carpenter told me that, thinking as I did, he began 
of his own volition to harness up as soon as he heard the 
first gun. Our whole command was under arms and in 
motion in a short time, the General going with the first 
gun. It was open country and down hill to the bridge 
and we soon came in sight of it, with the village on the 
other side. From over there a gun — I think only one — 
of the enemy was firing, but wildly, the shots going over- 
head and to our right, and there only two or three rounds. 
As our batteries arrived, the guns were posted in a line 
from the road along the high commanding ground which 

^The army fully believed that Jackson would rather fight on Sunday than on 
any other day. 



extended like a terrace to the left, parallel with and down 
the main river. They opened fire and this advance 
party of the enemy soon fell back from the village. Pres- 
ently a column appeared coming up the road on the other 
side of the level bottom of the Shenandoah and across 
the river, its flank directly exposed to the fire of our line 
of guns, and perhaps a thousand yards distant, and we 
opened on it vigorously from our high position along the 
crest. At first our infantry had been posted in line in 
front of our guns but lower down the declivity, but the 
sabots (wooden bottom shoeing,) of the shells fell among 
them and they were withdrawn to the rear of the guns; 
they were of no use anyway, as the enemy could not get 
at us across the river. We could see that our fire was 
inflicting some damage and the enemy's column soon wav- 
ered and retired in confusion. Our brigade, infantry and 
artillery, held this position during the rest of the day.* 
At 10 or II o'clock we heard the sound of artillery ap- 
parently four or five miles back on the Harrisonburg road 
and learned that General Ewell, with several brigades, 
was having a battle with Fremont. Some time later, 
probably about midday. General Jackson, with his staff, 
came to where General Winder and his staff were, on the 
south side of the road and a short distance west of the 
Port Republic bridge, and remained several hours. I 

* Three upper branches of this south fork or main Luray Valley branch of the 
Shenandoah come together near and at Port Republic Two of these imite a 
mile or two above the village and then these two imited streams join with the 
third (which flows down the west foot of the Blue Ridge), just at the north edge 
of Port Republic and so form the main river. The bridge here spoken of is over 
the united first two streams into the village, and the road by which the enemy 
had advanced from Luray comes up the bottom on the East side of the main 
river. These three streams are called North, Middle and South Rivers and they 
water the whole Valley south of Harrisonburg. We had crossed the upper part 
of North River three weeks before at Bridgewater, coming from McDowell. 


was quite close to him all the time. He spoke to me 
about the Marylanders and said he liked to have them 
under him. I overheard him say in an undertone to his 
adjutant-general, Major Dabney (a Presbyterian min- 
ister, so appointed by him to the wonder of many and 
ridicule of some), "Major, wouldn't it be a blessed thing 
if God would give us a glorious victory today?" And I 
saw his face with an expression like that of a child hoping 
to receive some favor. But the most of the time he 
stood, on foot, silent, with his cap bent down over his 
eyes and looking towards the ground. Only two persons 
came from the distant battle field, a courier or cavalry- 
man and the eccentric Chaplain Cameron of the Mary- 
land Regiment, and each, on being asked, simply reported 
that the battle was going on without change. I was 
greatly astonished therefore, when Jackson presently 
said in his crisp, curt voice, "Pendleton!" "Well, Sir." 
"Write a note to General Ewell. Say that the enemy are 
defeated at all points, and to press them with cavalry, 
and, if necessary, with artillery and Wheat's Battalion." 
I was sitting on my horse at the time and Pendleton 
placed his paper against my horse's shoulder and, I sup- 
posed, wrote to that effect. I could perceive nothing 
whatever to give any justification for sending such a 
dispatch. Jackson had not been to the Cross Keys 
battle ground — four miles distant — certainly for several 
hours and had received no information from it but what 
I have stated. He could not have drawn any inference 
from the sound of the firing diminishing or receding for 
it did not diminish or recede ; moreover, he had told me 
at Franklin, as I have narrated, that he was deaf in one 
ear and could not well tell about sounds. I waited the 
result with much curiosity. And about the time I cal- 
culated the message would reach General Ewell the firing 


certainly began to abate and after a while intelligence 
came, substantially, that the enemy had been driven 

On Cross Keys battle ground proper. General Ewell 
commanded without interference from Jackson. And 
Mary landers may justly be proud that the three infantry 
brigades which did the most of the fighting were com- 
manded by Marylanders — ^Trimble, Elzey and George 
H. Steuart. And if our affair in driving and holding 
back Shields's column was a part of the battle — ^and it 
should undoubtedly be so considered — then General 
Winder was a fourth Maryland brigade commander in 
this day's battle. The 1st Maryland Infantry — which 
had distinguished itself the day before in the ''Bucktail" 
fight, when Ashby was killed — and the Baltimore Light 
Artillery were also parts of Ewell's force. Elzey and 
Steuart were wounded. Maryland men, commanders 
and soldiers, bore a prominent part in Jackson's whole 
Valley campaign.^ 

All day our brigade remained in its position, our guns 
commanding the low grounds and road across the river, 
but Shields's army made no further effort to advance, 
and at nightfall we moved over the bridge and biv- 
ouacked just outside of Port Republic, which, as I have 
said, is on the point, or in the angle, between the united 
two streams and the third stream. Our 33d Virginia was 

' I have often told this incident since. A year or two after the war I gave it 
in writing to Captain John Esten Cooke, Jackson's first biographer, who pub- 
lished it in some magazine. I think the Lawyers* Green Bag, or something of the 
kind — and I believe that what I have now written will be found to correspond 
closely with my account of that early date. 

* General Trimble was ardently in favor of making a night attack on Fremont 
and would have done so with his Brigade alone if permitted. He reconnoitered 
close to the enemy's camp fires and then went to Ewell but he would not approve, 
referring him, however, to Jackson. He went to him but he would not consent 
without Ewell's approval, who finally refused permission. 


left on picket, however, well down the west side of the 
river, to watch for a possible advance of the enemy on 
that side after crossing below. 

We had orders to be in Port Republic' by dawn. 

On Monday, June 9, our men were roused at a very 
early hour, while it was yet dark, and the head of the 
column (shortly after it was light I think), was at the 
side of the "third stream** — South River — where the 
road crosses going from Port Republic down the Shen- 
andoah to Luray, and we now knew, therefore, that Jack- 
son was aiming at Shields. Our brigade was in the lead. 
A rough bridge, on wagon running gear, was being con- 
structed when we got there and we were delayed some 
time before we could begin to pass over. And it was 
slow work crossing on the narrow two or three insecure 
planks which made the top,* so that it was after sunrise 
when the four regiments (the 33d Virginia being on picket 
across the river,) were over, and with the two batteries, 
which forded just below, were moving in column down the 
road. We had gone only a few hundred yards when we 
came to several dead bodies by the roadside, one with 
the head missing, a few inches of the spinal column 
projecting above the shoulders, testifying to the effect 
of our fire yesterday, for we were passing reversely the 
way the enemy had attempted to come up. Passing the 
mouth of a road going in the woods to the right, towards 
the mountain, General Winder directed me to ride up it 
and look for an abandoned gun, for he thought he had 
seen one being taken up it from under our fire the day be- 
fore. I went some distance but discovered none and 

■ Some years ago I received a Deed executed before a Notary Public of this 
place who signs himself as a "Note Republic!" 

* General Taylor says his men found much difficulty in passing over it and that 
many fell into the water. 


returned, not liking to remain long from the brigade 
which I knew was going into action ; but the abandoned 
piece was afterwards found somewhere in that direction. 
When the head of our column had gone about a mile the 
enemy was reported to be in position in front and Jack- 
son ordered General Winder to attack. 

The 2d Virginia, Colonel Allen, was sent to the right of 
the road and forward, where the woods came down from 
the Blue Ridge to the road, and the other three regiments, 
4th, 5th and 27th Virginia, were deployed in line of bat- 
tle across the open bottom between the road and the 
river, the 4th being soon sent, however, to support the 
2d. This open bottom, cultivated fields, several hundred 
yards in width, was a fine battle ground for straight for- 
ward fighting, but the advantage was with the enemy 
who occupied a strong position, being a slight ridge or 
rising ground extending across the bottom from the road 
(where it was wooded), to the river bank, and he had a 
number of guns posted along it with his infantry line; it 
was said that the colors of five regiments were counted. 
It appeared that this position should be turned by a 
force sent up through the woods on its left where our 
2d and 4th Regiments had gone, but General Winder's 
orders were to attack in front^ and he made his disposi- 
tions accordingly. He sent for two of Poague's guns 
(Rockbridge Battery), which he stationed in front of the 
infantry and the fire of which he directed in person. We 
were now under a severe shelling. A Louisiana Regi- 
ment* came to our assistance which the General disposed 

' General Jackson's intention had been to drive back Shields's army early in 
the rooming and, hastening back across the river at Port Republic, fall upon 
Fremont, but the delay in the construction of the bridge and the obstinate re- 
sistance of the enemy made him give up the latter part of the plan. If he had 
80 won three victories in twenty-four hours it would have been unprecedented. 
But there was glory enough in the two. 

' The 7th Louisiana, tmder Colonel Harry T. Hays. 


With our front. He now advanced his line, both infantry 
and guns, to carry the enemy's position, but we soon 
came under a most destructive fire of musketry as well 
as artillery which checked our inadequate force. The 
General sent me back, either to Jackson for reinforce- 
ments or to tell Colonel Allen to press forward, I do not 
remember which — perhaps both. As I was going I saw 
a regiment marching in column down the bottom to our 
assistance which I found to be the 31st Virginia, Colonel 
Hoffman. I do not remember what I did and my first 
recollection is of getting back and finding our line in much 
confusion under the very severe fire and the enemy even 
making a countercharge. Not finding General Winder, 
I remained with this centre and left part of the command 
for some time, which was pressed back for a space. 
Finally, General Richard Taylor's charge through the 
woods on the enemy's left flank first relieved the pressure 
on our left and then caused them to take to a hasty 
retreat. I went forward until I met General Winder 
returning from the pursuit. 

I have given a meagre relation of this battle, of which 
a full account will be found in General Winder's Official 
Report, the original of which is in my possession. • It 
gives one of the most vivid narratives of the details of 
a hard fought battle that I know, and, I think, shows 
General Winder's conduct on a battle field at its best — 
his boldness in pushing forward in attack from an un- 
favorable against a superior position held by greater 
numbers — his tenacity in resistance — turning alternately 
to infantry and artillery, even sacrificing a piece when 
necessary — rallying his men and pressing into service 
any other commands within his reach, until his persist- 

* It will be found \n the War of the Rebellion — Official Records of the Union and 
Confederate Armies, Series i, Volume 12, Part i, page 739. 


ence under adverse circumstances contributed not a 
little to the success of the final attack on the enemy's 
flank and gave him a position to join promptly in the 
pursuit. The way he handled his artillery — his own and 
some of other commands — is particularly noticeable. 
No one can read his report without forming a high 
opinion of his ability. 

It is but bare justice to say that the enemy on this 
field fought stubbornly and well. 

It was evening — about sunset — when our troops came 
back to the battle field from the pursuit. Fremont had 
come up on the other (west) side of the river, and finding 
that Jackson had burned the bridge, ranged his guns 
along the high ground where ours had been the day be- 
fore, and was firing across at the parties of our men who 
were removing the wounded and burying the dead. Our 
army, or at least part of it, was compelled therefore, to 
leave the road and strike into a woods road which passed 
through the forest along the mountain side to the Brown's 
Gap road. Reaching this, east of Port Republic, we 
went up the Gap and mountain and, about midnight, 
bivouacked on the very summit of the Blue Ridge. 

I think we stayed in this elevated bivouac the next day 
and the day succeeding that and that we moved down and 
out of Brown's Gap on June 12 and went into camp in the 
level and more open Valley country near Mount Meridian 
and Weyer's Cave — in which the soldiers jestingly said 
Jackson intended to take refuge if hard pressed. Here 
we had, and thoroughly enjoyed, a rest for nearly a week. 

Being so near to it, I went twice into the cave, although 
I have little inclination, in fact a strong disinclination, 
for underground exploration. The first time I had one 
companion; the next time I was induced to go with 
Colonel Bradley T. Johnson, of the Maryland regiment 


and a party of others. The entrance to this cave is very 
small — like an enlarged fox's hole, as in fact it was when 
discovered — and it goes down steeply and has several 
narrow passages through which one can hardly squeeze; 
but further in there are rooms and a large long, wide and 
high chamber. There are, of course, stalactites and 
stalagmites, a bridal veil, etc. 

Our next move was the long march to Richmond and 
the Seven Days Battles. 

The evening before we started I rode with General 
Winder to the headquarters of another brigade com- 
mander, I think it was General Trimble, and another or 
two others dropped in, so that there were either three or 
four brigade commanders in the tent— Winder, Trimble 
and, according to my recollection, General William B. 
Taliaferro of the 3d Brigade; a fourth I have forgotten, it 
may have been Taylor, for I think there were four. They 
discussed the campaign just ended and all were of the 
opinion that Jackson could not continue to take such 
risks without at some time meeting with a great disaster. 
They dwelt particularly on the situation in which he put 
himself when near Harper's Ferry with two armies clos- 
ing in forty miles in his rear and his wonderful escape, 
passing between them at the last possible moment. I 
think their criticism and apprehensions at that point in 
Jackson's career were natural and justifiable. Later, 
when Jackson's operations in the second Manassas and 
Maryland campaign, not to speak of Chancellorsville 
and other battles, had given such evidence that "luck" 
was not such a factor in the Valley campaign as it then 
fairly appeared to have been, these generals, who had 
been his able coadjutors, would, I am sure, have had a 
more confident opinion of his ability to extricate himself 
in any emergency. I have not the slightest doubt now, 


nor have any of Stonewall's men, that if Fremont and 
Shields had closed his way at Strasburg, as they came 
so near doing, he would either have dealt them a crush- 
ing blow, as he did later at Cross Keys and Port Repub- 
lic, or else have successfully passed around and out to 
their west or east. 

Another criticism probably was — I know we thought and 
spoke of it after the battle — of Jackson's pressing his small 
advance against Shields's front in a strong position at Port 
Republic, with the result of our being checked with loss 
until others of our superior force came up on the enemy's 
flank. But it was not known at the time that Jackson's 
intention was to defeat Shields early in the morning and 
then recross the river and fall upon Fremont again with 
his whole army. If he could have carried out his whole 
plan it would have been almost, if not quite, without a 
precedent in military annals. It was prevented by the 
delay in the construction of the substitute for a bridge 
out of Port Republic across the South Fork, and, it is 
fair to add, the obstinate resistance of Shields's men 
(Shields himself was not up with them). If he had so 
defeated Fremont perhaps nothing but orders from Rich- 
mond would have prevented Jackson from clearing the 
Valley again to the Potomac. But Richmond might 
have fallen. 

Dr. A. J. Volck, of Baltimore, made a pencil sketch of 
Jackson from life in September (probably the 3d or 4th) 
1862, of which he afterwards made an etching. I have 
a letter in which he gives the following account of his 
making it : 

The drawing from which this hasty etching was made is from life. It was 
on one of my blockade nmning trips not long after the second battle of Bull 
Run. I had crossed the Potomac above BaU*s Blufif and, carrying important 
papers, was making my way across the country to get to a certain place the 


name of which I have forgotten, but where I knew of a person who would have 
me pushed forward. I came quite unexpectedly upon a camp and not meeting 
any picquets I walked right through it On the other side of the tents and shel- 
ters I saw some officers talking together, amongst them Jackson. As I seemed 
unobserved I pulled out my sketchbook and made what can hardly [be] pro- 
notmced a speaking likeness of the Genl. I was almost done with it when one 
of the officers pointed me out and Genl. Jackson looked around at me with a 
pleasant smile and turned away. I had, however, to show what I had done for 
some officer and also prove myself to be a friend. I was sent on on horseback 
with a guide. 

Balto., April 20, '98. A. J. Volck. 

The etching was made immediately after my return home 3 or 4 days after- 
wards, one or two prints taken and for some reason now forgotten, probably one 
of my frequent arrests, the plate was mislaid. Some 5 or 6 years ago I saw an 
account of this print, said to be the only one in existence, described in one of the 
monthly magazines (I think the Century). This caused me to look through 
some old rubbish dating from war times and I fo\md the plate, from which the 
prints were taken. I am sorry the plate has again disappeared V. 

I think Dr. Volck meant: "The hasty drawing from 
which this etching was made." The prints mentioned 
were presented by him to the Maryland Confederate 
Relief Bazaar, April, 1899, and were sold off rapidly. 

Dr. Volck, a man of much accomplishment, in working 
in silver and other metals and ivory, in painting and draw- 
ing, and in other artistic work, and whose character had 
won him a large circle of friends, of whom the writer was 
not one of the least attached, died in Baltimore 26th 
March, 1912. 

Stonewall Jackson 
From etching of sketch from life by A. J. Voick of Baltimore 


March from the Valley to Richmond 

I do not remember exactly on what day* we broke up 
our camp between South River and the Blue Ridge, near 
Mount Meridian and Weyer's Cave, and crossed over 
Brown's Gap to the east side of the Blue Ridge, as we had 
done about six weeks before. Nor have I in my memory 
an exact itinerary of the march to join Lee's army at 
Richmond. Whether it took us more than one day — a 
day and a half or two days — to reach the point on or 
near the Virginia Central* Railroad and turn east, I do not 
now recall. We had heard of the arrival at Staunton of 
large reinforcements — Lawton's Georgia Brigade and 
Hood's Brigade — and until we did turn east we did not 
know whether we would take the road or railroad west 
to Staunton, as we had done before, to unite and fall 
upon Fremont, or were bound for Richmond. 

I recollect crossing one' or more streams on the road to 
Charlottesville, but have no recollection of passing through 
that town. The cherry trees along the way, loaded 
with ripe fruit, have, however, left a picture in my mind — 
through the stomach. And I remember passing, a 
couple of miles or so east of Charlottesville, what I was 
told was Shadwell, an old plantation of Thomas Jeffer- 
son, and two sycamore trees by gate posts were pointed 
out as having been planted by him. And General Win- 
der and his staff turned in for some hours at Edge Hill, 

^ Dabney, Allan and others say Tuesday, June Z7* 
' Now the Chesapeake and Ohio. 
'Medium's River, etc 



the home of Miss Sarah Randolph and her sisters, Jeffer- 
son's grandchildren, and were shown many articles which 
had belonged to him, with several models of inventions, 
among which I remember an odometer — to be fastened 
on a carriage wheel and record the distance traveled. 
We finally reached Gordonsville and camped on its 
western edge.* 

The next day, or perhaps the day after that, we 
marched on the Richmond road, and it was not until 
after passing this point that we felt sure where we were 
going, for some had still thought that Jackson might be 
having northern Virginia in his mind. It was either on 
this day's march or a day or two later that General Win- 
der saw one or two of the other brigade commanders of 
the division (it will be remembered that there was no 
division commander between them and Jackson), who 
complained that they were receiving no orders and were 
stumbling along the road without directions. The Gen- 
eral assumed control for the time being and they willingly 
took orders from him. I never knew anyone under whom 
stray commands were so ready to serve,* and it was his 
habit to annex any such that came within his reach, par- 
ticularly on a battlefield. I am sure the whole division — 
officers and men — would have gladly welcomed his ap- 
pointment as major-general, a position which Jackson 
seemed reluctant to fill. 

I think it was at Louisa Court House that our brigade 
took to the cars and had the benefit of the equivalent of 
a days march. I suppose we rode eighteen or twenty 

* Probably on June 20. 

* After Winder's death Jackson wrote: "Richly endowed with those quali- 
ties of mind and person which fit an officer for command and which attract the 
admiration and excite the enthusiasm of troops," etc. 


miles — probably to Beaverdam Station/ Wherever we 
did disembark, I remember vividly some features of our 
further march to Ashland — the slow progress over the 
bad roads through the forest — the halts while bridges 
were being repaired, etc. In particular, one bridge, 
over Little River or Newfound River, I believe, delayed 
us until axemen felled two trees on opposite sides of the 
stream, so as to fall parallel across it, and many, if not 
most or all, of the men of our Brigade passed precariously 
and slowly over on these trunks. I have no recollection 
of our crossing the larger South Anna River, as we must 
have done, but I seem to remember passing a little cross 
road place bearing the name of Negrofoot. Nor do I 
remember coming to Ashland — 15 miles North of Rich- 
mond — at or near which we turned east and crossed the 
Richmond and Fredericksburg Railroad and after an 
interval the Virginia Central Railroad. 

We then bent Southeasterly and went into bivouac 
near Tottopotomoy Creek. This was the evening of 
June 26.^ 

* The railroad be3rond this point had been torn up by the enemy. Peiiiaps 
we disembarked at Frederickshall. 

^ It was on this march, while passing through Albemarie County that Jackson 
is said to have seen a straggler getting over a fence to make for a cherry tree and 
to have demanded where he was going. " Don't know. " " What command do 
you belong to? " " Don't know. " " What State do you come from? " " Don't 
know." Jackson asked what was the meaning of this. "Well," said the 
man, ' 'Jackson has ordered us not to know anything until after the next fight." 
Jackson turned ofif, not displeased. 


Seven Days Battles Around Richmond — 

Gaines's Mill 

On the morning of Friday June 27 (1862), Jackson's 
Division, as it was commonly called, moved at an early 
hour from its bivouac near Totopotomoy Creek, our 1st, 
or Stonewall, Brigade being the third in the line of march. 
The Georgia brigade, commanded by Brigadier-General 
Alexander R. Lawton and said to be 3500 strong, which 
had been sent to Staunton only to turn around and come 
back with us, had I think the day before, taken a place 
as the 4th Brigade in our division. I remember, while 
lying on two spread rails on top of a worm fence during 
one of the many halts from stoppages in front, listening 
to some talk in the ranks of that brigade, which showed 
what little idea they had of battle, of which they had had 
so far no experience. An order came down their line 
for reports of the number of rounds of ammunition in the 
cartridge boxes, and captains and orderly sergeants^ ac- 
cordingly made rather languid enquiries of their men. 
"Captain," replied one, "I have fifteen rounds, and I 
reckon it's all I kin shoot." ''Captain, I have twenty," 
" I have ten, " etc. I do not think they averaged twenty, 
and I saw none issued.* 

Later in the morning we heard firing, gradually getting 
heavier, but some distance to our right, for we were now 

^ The orderly sergeant is simply the first sergeant of a company. 

* A cartridge box would hold forty cartridges. It is no wonder that General 
Lawton and his regimental commanders say in their official reports of the eve- 
ning's battle that the men got out of ammunition. 



marching eastwardly, we supposed to get entirely around 
the enemy's right flank. We seemed to be moving par- 
allel, or nearly so, with the line of battle, from which 
presently some shells came, passing over our heads into 
the woods which were on the left of the road. About 
4 p.m. Captain W. Carvel Hall, of General Trimble's 
staff, Ewell's Division, came galloping rapidly across 
from the direction of the firing on our right and said to 
General Winder that General Ewell had sent him to order 
the brigades to break from column and move immediately 
to his assistance. (We were not in Ewell's Division or 
under his command, and, in fact, had no division com- 
mander as I have stated; in this instance Ewell either 
acted on the emergency or had received authority from 
Jackson.') The head of the brigade was promptly 
turned out of the line of march to the right (south) and I 
saw that as Captain Hall passed up the column the next 
brigade did likewise. General Winder directed his march, 
in column of fours, across open ground, to the sound of 
the heaviest firing. As we approached, the artillery 
fire became more furious and while yet comparatively 
far in rear some shells fell quite close, although not meant 

' In the Confederate Military History^ volume HI, Viiginia, by Major Jed. 
Hotchkiss, General Jackson's very competent topographical engineer, it is 
stated, page 289, that Jackson sent an order for his divisions to come up by a 
staff officer whose duty was not to be on the field or carry such orders, and who 
failed to deliver the order properiy, but that Major Dabney, adjutant-general, 
rectified the error after some delay. See also Dabney's Life of Jackson^ page 
448. That staff officer was, I am sure, Major John Harmon, Jackson's hard 
swearing but very efficient chief quartermaster. I saw Major Harmon sitting 
on his horse before we had moved out of the line of march, and wondered what 
he was doing there, for shells were doing considerable execution among the 
branches of the trees on the left of the road we were marching on and his proper 
place was with his wagon train. But I did not hear or see him giving any order 
to General Winder, and our first and only order that I know of was that brought 
by Captain Hall. I did not see Major Dabney. 


for US and doing no damage, even passing by or over and 
crashing through the woods behind. We were presently 
delayed a while by one of the other brigades (Lawton's?) 
crossing our front diagonally from left to right, but soon 
moved on and found ourselves at or near the scene of 
action. The brigade was formed by regiments closed 
in mass behind (on the north side of) a road, which we 
called the Telegraph Road, running about east and west. 
Where we were so halted the ground was open and on the 
road, perhaps immediately to our left, was a small col- 
lection of houses;* a short distance to our right there was 
a wood which, I think extended to and across the road, 
and between us and this wood I saw General Trimble and 
his brigade. The enemy was not visible to us, his line 
being still apparently some distance off, at any rate a line 
of thicket on his (south) side of the road made a screen be- 
tween us. But while we were not yet actually engaged, 
the battle was raging furiously, with much roar of ar- 
tillery and musketry. From our front shells were burst- 
ing over the line of the road with much precision, but 
rather high up in the air; I remember noticing, and under 
other circumstances would have admired, the perfect 
ring of smoke that marked each explosion. 

We presently formed line of battle along the north side 
of the road. And in forming, I remember very vividly 
an incident that I have often told since, but the telling 
of which has been generally received with incredulity. 
The general and staff were riding at a gallop along the 
front from left to right, General Winder leading, I being 
next and Captain John F. O'Brien, assistant adjutant- 
general, just behind me, when, looking over my left 
shoulder towards the front, I saw a cannon ball ricocheting 
directly towards our party. I apprehended, on a very 

« Old Cold Harbor. 


hasty calculation, that it would exactly take me or my 
horse and over my shoulder watched its course with con- 
siderable interest, but just passing the line of its path 
myself, I saw it bound up from the ground and strike 
O'Brien's horse in the flank. I expected to see horse and 
rider go down, but the horse merely gave a grunt and 
made a convulsive movement and went on.* 

When he came on the field General Winder had met 
and conferred with Major-General A. P. Hill, the senior 
officer there present, by whose order he sent forward two 
regiments, the 2d and 5th Virginia, to support a battery. 

Shortly before sunset an order came, in some way from 
Jackson I think,' to charge the enemy's position and our 
three remaining regiments, 3d, 27th and 4th Virginia, 
were accordingly dressed in line and moved forward, to 
which was soon added the " Irish Battalion,"^ of the 2d 
Brigade, under Captain B. Watkins Leigh, which had 
become separated from its proper command and willingly 
put itself under General Winder's orders. After going 
a short distance in very good order, and picking up our 
2d and 5th Virginia, which joined on our left, we came to 
the screening thicket I have mentioned, which proved to 
be a rather wide marshy bottom with trees and under- 
growth, running parallel with the Telegraph Road, and 
in crossing it it was impossible to preserve this good 
alignment. I had some difficulty in getting through the 

* The horse was a little crippled or stiff for a few days but was ridden by one 
of us at Malvern Hill on July i. It was the same yellow clay colored horse which 
O'Brien was riding at Winchester on May 25 when it was shot through the tail. 
It will be supposed by many that my imagination deceived me in some way — 
for instance that it may have been a clod of earth which struck the horse but I 
tell the incident now as I have always told it and thought I saw it. And a 
ricocheting ball must at some time before it stops have little force. 

* General Winder's official report says he was ordered to make the attack by 
A. P. HiU. 

^ The I St Virginia Battalion of Regulars. 


mire on horseback. On the further side we found sev- 
eral regiments of different commands which General 
Winder ordered to move forward with his line ; I remem- 
ber particularly one of General Lawton's Georgia regi- 
ments, which his brother and assistant adjutant-general, 
Captain Lawton, in the absence of field officers perhaps, 
led forward very gallantly. And considerably further on 
we came to the 1st Maryland, standing alone in perfect 
order, which also promptly joined in the charge.® 

The distance from the swamp thicket from which we 
had emerged and the enemy's line was from a quarter to 
a half of a mile and the ground was open and swept by 
artillery and musketry, the latter being the heaviest and 
most continuous all along the battle line I had ever heard ; 
the sound was like the roar of falling water or rising and 
falling like the groaning of heavy machinery in motion 
in an old building. It was the only field I had seen on 
which the smoke of battle rested, through which the set- 
ting sun shone red and dim. I now saw only our 2d 
and 5th Virginia, the other regiments having borne off 
too far to the right, I think, and so not sustaining much 
loss. I had been busied for a while in getting forward 
some Virginia regiment of another command, which 
seemed to have no field officers and to be inclined to 
falter, and after getting it well started (by carrying the 
colors forward on horseback, which the color bearer gave 
me with reluctance and which I was glad to hand back to 
him as they seemed to draw a good deal of fire), I found 

* Major W. W. Goldsborough, in his History of the Maryland Line and Col- 
onel Bradley T. Johnson in the "Confederate Military History," volume 2, 
Maryland, represent me as using some ceremonious language. In fact, being 
excited, I rode up and asked "Are yo\i going to remain here like cowards while 
the Stonewall Brigade is charging past?' * And Captain J. Louis Smith told me 
afterwards that one of his men, in resentment, levelled his gun at me, but he 
struck it up. 


myself again with the 2d and 5th Virginia. These two 
regiments here suffered severely and the 2d lost two field 
officers — Colonel Allen* killed and Major Jones*® mor- 
tally wounded. And about the same time and place 
Mr. Samuel D. Mitchell, of Richmond, serving for the 
day as volunteer Aide to General Winder was also killed. 
I saw Colonel Allen's dead body, and also saw Major 
Jones on the ground who was in a shattered nervous con- 
dition and did not wish me to come near him. At this 
time I observed another regiment apparently inclined 
to falter, at a road which ran diagonally across our front," 
and went over to it. Leaving it when it went forward, 
rather hesitatingly, I went on but did not again see our 
2d and 5th Virginia, which must have inclined to the left, 
or else I myself obliqued to the right, probably to look 
for a continuation of the brigade line. But I found no 
troops, although just before crossing the diagonal road 
I saw the flag of some regiment (Virginia, I think,) lying 
abandoned on the ground. I did not stop for it, and, 
doubting if there were any troops connecting with the 
right of our charging line, continued to ride forward to 
see what was there, until I came under such a close and 
heavy fire (I do not suppose directed at me particularly, 
but simply sweeping the field), that I was convinced I 
was riding on the enemy's line and turned back a little 
way. Seeing a large body of Confederates to the right 
(west) and a short distance in rear, I rode over there and 
found General Lawton with part of his brigade, General 

* Colonel William Allen, bom in Shenandoah County, afterward lived in 
Bedford and finally when the war broke out in Jefferson County. He was one 
of the best regimental commanders in the service. 

^® Major Frank Jones, of Frederick County, was a fine officer and most amiable 
Christian gentleman. I have always since remembered him as reading his 
Bible all or most of the way on the cars several days before. 

u Southeasterly to the McGee house? 


Garland^* with his, and perhaps other scattered bodies, 
massed or crowded together in some confusion and seem- 
ingly uncertain what to do. I spoke to them and ex- 
plained that General Winder was charging on the left 
and asked if they could not join with it. They said they 
must look for their own commanding officers. General 
Lawton asked, ''Where are the enemy?" I said *'In 
front," and that I had just ridden on them and that a 
movement to the front would connect with General 

Winder. Nothing being immediately done, I was start- 
ing to go to look for General Winder when I came across 
several companies of our 33d Virginia in the crowd, under 
Major F. W. M. Holliday, and undertook to show them 
the way. But I proposed to Major Holliday that in- 
stead of going diagonally across to the left front (south- 
easterly) where I expected to find the General, we should 
move straight to the front and see what was there and 

^ Brigadier-General Samuel Gariand, Jr., of Lynchburg, commanded a brigade 
in Major-General D. H. Hill's Division. 


fill Up a vacancy and so join on the right of the rest of 
the brigade. He assented and we moved forward in 
column of fours. We presently crossed a little branch 
or narrow bottom and began to go over a stubble field 
and I was just saying to the Major that I believed it was 
here I had ridden on the enemy, when in the twilight or 
later dusk, we saw ahead, on the crest of the rising 
ground, a shadowy line of men, its left about opposite to 
us and stretching away to its right and rear oblique. 
Major Holliday and I rode forward until we were near 
enough to see two (?) men, apparently officers, standing 
a little in advance of the end of the lineand we called out, 
**What command is that?" The answer came back, 
" .... New York, what do you belong to?" 
We made no reply and I looked anxiously back to see if 
our men were not coming up. But an inevitable strag- 
gler was trudging at our horses' heels who answered, 
"33d Virginia;" "Which side?" was quickly asked, 
and now I tried to turn my horse's head around as fast as 
I could, but the straggler said, ''Confederate," where- 
upon the enemy fired. Fortunately only those on their 
left were in position to do so. I remember well the little 
ghostlike pillars of white dust which sprang up from the 
bullets striking the dry ground of the stubble field — ^at 
least one under my horse's nose and making him un- 
manageable for some moments. Before our men could 
form and return the fire the New York regiment had 
melted away.*' More than ever convinced of the im- 

^ I either did not catch or do not remember the number of the r^ment, but 
it was probably the 27th New York, whose commander, in his official report. 
War of the Rd)eUum Records, Series i, Volume XII, Part II, page 454, says, 
"The appearance of a large force (apparently a brigade) on the left, marching as 
if to flank this brigade, who responded irregularly to the challenge of the color 
bearer," etc. Our meddlesome straggler was probably killed. See the report 
of Colonel Neff of the 33d Virginia in same volume, page 585. 


portance of this gap being filled, I rode back to Generals 
Lawton and Garland and said I could now tell exactly 
and positively where the enemy were, for I had just rid- 
den on and been fired at by them. General Garland 
said he had just received orders to rejoin his command, 
"but," said he, "Captain, I will see what I can do for 
you, " and turning to Lawton he asked, " General Lawton, 
what is the date of your commission?" He replied, 
"Sir, I am the oldest brigadier-general in the service" — 
or "next to the oldest." "That settles it," said General 
Garland, "You see, Captain, I am sorry I can do nothing 
for you. " General Garland began to move off and Gen- 
eral Lawton busied himself very actively in organizing 
the troops around. But being anxious to get back to 
General Winder, from whom I had been separated so 
long, I did not wait further and pushed across to Mc- 
Gee's house, where I found him conferring with Major- 
General D. H. Hill." It was now quite dark and the 
action had ceased everywhere and our men were resting 
beyond the McGee house, having driven the enemy from 
their last position and gone beyond it and darkness only 
preventing further pursuit. The house and yard were 
filled with their wounded and dead. The General di- 
rected me to ride back and bring up our Surgeons and 
ambulances. It was very dark and I was only prevented 
from trampling on or riding over wounded men many 
times by their suddenly crying out under my horse's 
head. After riding up and down the Telegraph Road 
and over the field for two hours or more, I could not find 

>^ In an article or chapter written by Lieutenant-General D. H. Hill in Battles 
and Leaders of the CiwU War, volume 2, page 347, he says: "General Winder 
thought that we ought to pursue into the woods on the right of the Grapevine 
Bridge road but .... I thought it advisable not to move on. General 
Lawton concurred with me .... Winder was right; even a show of pres- 
sure must have been attended with great results. " 


the ambulances and, making my way back with some 
difficulty, SO reported. About midnight I lay down on 
a fallen section of the yard paling fence, among the dead 
and wounded, and fell asleep. 

Such is my account of the battle of Gaines's Mill, or 
of part of it, in which I have not gone outside of my own 
personal experiences, and may have gone into them too 
diffusively. Apart from these little personal experiences, 
it was more like a great battle, such as I used to imagine 
one was, than any I had been in, not only our part in it 
but the sound of furious firing all along the line, the smoke 
hanging over it, and other signs of deadly conflict. 
There was a certain exhilaration in it, too, and I think 
that the charge over the open fields under a very severe 
fire was the only time I ever felt a sense of real enjoyment 
in the middle of a battle, a feeling generally postponed 
with me to the close when the enemy's line gives way or 
night puts an end to the struggle. For it happens that 
I never was in a battle when our side was finally driven 
from the field. ^* 

The next morning, June 28, Saturday, I was wakened 
after sunrise by the pitying comments of a couple of 
civilians who were standing over me wondering where I 
was shot, and who walked off disconcerted at discovering 
I was not a corpse. This day we remained in position, 
advancing our skirmishers, however, and gathering the 
spoils of victory on the field. We got, at or near the 
McGee house, five pieces of artillery, counting as such 
two small revolving or repeating guns with hoppers on 
top of the breech, into which bullets were poured I sup- 
pose. Our pickets brought in from the Chickahominy 
swamp, or the woods extending back from it, Brigadier- 

" Spotsylvania Court Houae and Sailor's Creek are not exceptions, in both of 
which I was captured on the field— on the firing line. 


General John F. Reynolds, an old friend of General Win- 
der in the United States Army. He asked General 
Winder, '* Have you seen Buchanan?" — meaning Colonel 
Robert C. Buchanan, also of the old Army and General 
Winder's brother-in-law. "No," said Winder, "was he 
with you?" Reynolds hesitated a moment and said, 
"He commanded a brigade^' opposite to you yesterday 
evening." General Winder immediately sent instruc- 
tions to the picket to look for him but he was not found. 

Some time before, the young horse which I had bought 
in the Valley when I joined General Winder as his aide 
had become run down in Jackson's hard marching and 
Major Douglas Mercer, the brigade quartermaster, had 
sent it off with the spent horses of his train to "run 
afield" for a time. He told me that it had got mixed 
somewhere with the government horses, and now pro- 
posed to me to take in its stead a captured horse which 
had been turned over to him and which, it was said, 
General Reynolds was riding when captured, and I did 
so. It was rather small but well made and suitable for 
my riding, and, although it had a fresh bullet wound in 
its side, I think I was able to use it at once.^^ 

The weather being very warm, the dead bodies which 
lay around were becoming very offensive and next morn- 
ing, June 29, Sunday, exertions were made to have them 
buried. Some time during the day we moved forward 
and down to the Chickahominy, with its wide wooded 

"Of Regulars of the U. S. Anny. 

'^ This dark bay horse — or mare I should have said — I rode, habitually, to 
the end of the war, that is to say, to the battle of Sailor's Creek od 6 April, 1865, 
when she was struck again in the side, whether mortally or not, I do not know as 
I was captured. Recollecting her former wound, she would turn black from 
profuse sweat at the opening of every battle. 

A curious dispute in the following Fall, at Winchester, about the ownership 
of the mare will be told further on. 


swamps, and rested near the Grapevine Bridge — about 
a mile, as the road wound, from the McGee house. A 
few stray prisoners were brought in from time to time 
from the swamp, and I remember a drunken Irishman 
being interrogated in Jackson's presence, which way the 
enemy had gone? "The last that I saw of them,'* said 
he, ''they were skedaddling in that direction," and he 
flourished his hand towards the Chickahominy.^* 

After waiting a considerable time, the bridge not being 
completed, at sunset we returned to our former place. 

^ The coinage of the expressive word "skedaddle" in the Fail of 186 1, 1 have 
mentioned. It reminds me here of a letter written about this period from Balti- 
more by my mother to my father, Charles Howard, a "prisoner of State" in 
Fort Warren, Boston Harbor: "I heard lately why General McClellan left the 
Peninsula. He said he was surrounded by four swamps and the frogs were con- 
stanUy saying 'Bull Run, Bull Run, Bull Run,' 'Big Bethel, Big Bethel, Big 
Bethel,' 'Ball's Bluff, Ball's Bluff, Ball's Bluff.' and then the litde frogs took 
it up, 'Skedaddle, Skedaddle, Skedaddle,' all the time and he could not stand 


Seven Days Battles — ^White Oak Swamp and 

Malvern Hill 

Early the next morning, Monday, June 30 (1862), we 
moved, with all the troops of Jackson's command, crossed 
the Chickahominy with its wide wooded swamp at Grape- 
vine Bridge, and, marching south, soon struck and crossed 
the Richmond and York River Railroad.* We here saw 
some evidences of fighting and heard there had been an 
engagement the day before.* I do not remember that 
we had heard the sound of it while it was going on not 
half a dozen miles off. After crossing, we marched 
eastwardly parallel with and for a while near to the rail- 
road, but presendy diverged in a southerly direction. 
In the afternoon there was a more protracted halt than 
usual on the march and I rode ahead, or was sent, to 
see what caused the delay. It was not far — I suppose 
under a mile — when I came almost out of some woods and 
found Jackson's staff on the left side of the road who told 
me the General was lying asleep under a tree. The trees 
were large and not close together here and through them 
could be seen ahead the road descending over open 
ground, curving a little to the left in doing so, to where it 
appeared to cross a stream' — a few hundred yards dis- 
tant. The place of the stream was marked by a line of 
alders or other bushes at the crossing and I think it had 
a wider thicket with trees above (west) if not also below. 

^ At Savage Station. 

' Savage Station — By Genl Magruder, etc. 

» White Oak Swamp. 




At intervals a shell came from across the stream but 
not falling or passing near us, but Jackson's staff told me 
that one had gone through one of the oak trees and killed 
a man behind it. With the exception of this slow firing 
everything seemed to be quiet, and it looked to me as if 
on our side we were waiting for Jackson to wake up. 
There was no change in the situation while I remained 




Q <::> O o .3 

'^ Q o O 

for a time talking with these staff officers. I know that 
while there and in riding back I wondered at the inac- 
tivity. We finally went into bivouac for the night.* 

* There has been much discussion about Jackson's inactivity at White Oak 
Swamp. His devoted biographer Major Dabney says that he was suffering 
from physical exhaustion. Some think he was not at his best during the whole 
Richmond campaign. Jackson says in his official rqx>rt that the marshy char- 


The next morning, Tuesday, July i, the army passed 
over this place — ^White Oak Swamp — without further 
opposition, at least none that I saw, and marched on 
south in pursuit of the enemy. Towards evening firing 
was heard in front, growing more and more heavy, and 
our division was halted near a church.* Dead bodies 
in blue uniform were lying about, already decaying in 
the heat of the weather, and we were told they were very 
thick a mile or so to the right (west), where an act on had 
been fought the day before. We had not, as I recollect, 
heard the firing, and it often happened that in these dense 
woods and thickets of eastern Virginia the sound of bat- 
tle was hardly, if at all, heard some miles distant, al- 
though often passing overhead and borne to regions far 
more remote. But another explanation may be that 
soldiers who are having plenty of fighting of their own do 
not pay much attention to somebody else's fighting be- 
yond a passing feeling of satisfaction that they are not 
in it. 

We went on beyond the church and the brigade, with 
the greater part of the division, was halted and held in 
reserve at what was supposed to be a safe distance in 
the rear of the battle, which was now raging. But while 
lying in column in the edge of the woods on the right 
(west) side of the road, a shell exploded in the 5th Vir- 
ginia, killing Captain Fletcher, one of its best officers, 
and although the command was moved back some dis- 

acter of the sofl, the destruction of the bridge over the swamp and creek and the 
strong position of the enemy for defending the passage prevented his advancing 
until the following morning. And he curtly remarked afterwards that if Gen- 
eral Lee had wanted him, he would have sent for him. See a full discussion of 
the matter in Henderson's Life of Jackson, I simply give my brief observation 
and my impression at the time. 

» WiUis's Church. ' 

* Battle of Frazer's Farm or Glendale. 


tance, another shell killed and wounded several more of 
the same regiment, making a second change necessary. 
We were under the impression that this fire, and part of 
that to which we were exposed afterwards, came from 
the enemy's gunboats on James River. ^ 

A little before sunset General Winder was ordered to 
take his brigade to the front and report to Major-General 
D. H. Hill. After passing down the road a short distance 
we filed to the right into the woods a little way — perhaps 
a hundred yards — and then turned to the left and went 
forward through them, still in column of fours. We 
soon came under a very heavy artillery fire. We emerged 
from the woods into an open field across which streams 
of shells were passing which seemed to come from differ- 
ent directions and to cross each other's paths. The 
nearest point of conflict appearing to be to the left 
oblique, General Winder turned the head of the column 
in that direction and so diagonally over the field towards 
the road. But seeing a house* in the field between one 
and two hundred yards to the front and right, he ordered 
me to ride to it and see if General Hill was there. I 
think I can say that this was the most disagreeable duty 
I was ever called on as a staff officer to perform. As I 
approached the house it seemed to me that the fire of 
several batteries was converging on it or on that quarter 
of the field, and there was a constant hissing or other 
sound of heavy missiles from different directions and 
passing not high above the ground, although my recol- 

' Genend McCleUan, in his official rqx>rt, W(ur of the RebeUian Records, 
Series I, Volume XI, Part II, page 23, thanks Commodore John Rodgers for the 
valuable assistance by the fire of a portion of the flotilla, in James River, on the 
flank of the enemy attacking Malvern Hill on the 30th of June and ist of July, 
which fire "was excellent and produced very beneficial results." James River 
appears to have been only about two miles distant or less. 

• TTie Crewe house? 


lection is there were few explosions. Several horses 
with military equipments were tied to the yard fence, 
but although I rode around the house twice, calling out, 
no one answered and the place was evidently deserted, 
as well it might be. I remember feeling a despairing 
conviction that I could not hope to get back through 
such a fire alive and how hard it was to be alone at such 
a time. Bending down to my horse's neck, I went back, 
or across, at full speed, while more than once it seemed to 
me that a missile passed within a few feet or inches.* 

I found the head of our column just about striking the 
road at a point where towards the front it (the road) 
re-entered woods or a wooded swamp. We filed across 
the road and then attempted to move in line straight to 
the front across the wooded swamp, but it was now dark, 
in this bottom at least, and the ground was so thick with 
timber trees and imderbrush, as well as deep with mire and 
water underneath that the brigade was much scattered. 
The General and staff found it necessary to dismount and 
leave their horses and pass through on foot. On the other 
(south) side of this strip we found open ground rising to- 
wards the enemy's position, a very short distance in front 
as we judged, for nothing could now be seen beyond a little 
way, except the flashing of the guns. But there was no 
cessation or diminution yet of the enemy's fire — musketry 
here — which swept the field to such an extent that it was 
difficult to believe anything could escape unhurt. But 
we found here some men of the ist and 3d Regiments of 
North Carolina State Troops^® holding their ground in 

• We used to illustrate afterwards the severity of this fire over the open field 
by saying that even Colonel Grigsby, the gallant colonel of the 27 th Virginia 
stopped swearing. 

*° I was to become very well acquainted later with these two fine regiments in 
General George H. Steuart's Brigade. 



the most gallant manner, to whom were now added 
parts of our 33d and 4th Virginia as they came up behind 
US after struggling through the swamp, the rest of the 
brigade having lost the connection in the darkness. 
General Winder passed up and down animating the men 
and endeavoring to form a more regular and orderly 
line. A few were demoralized and were loading and fir- 
ing their pieces without bringing them to the shoulder, 







0'r^ '0 



Q^ o 

^,'\0*0$'i2t^^ ^ 


and the impression made on us at the time was that in 
some instances they shot down their comrades in front. 
I remember the General seizing a man by the shoulder 
and exclaiming, "Scoundrel, you have shot one of your 
own friends, I saw you do it." Colonel NeflF and Major 
Holliday of the 33d Virginia were very active in getting 
the men up and keeping them in such order as was 
possible. General Winder advised Major Holliday to 


dismount, telling him he was exposing himself very much 
on horseback. "No, General," he replied in a tone 
which struck me by its total absence of any excitement, 
"I have always found I can discharge my duties very 
much better on horseback in a battle." Once, if not 
oftener, the General and his staflF — I think the General 
went with Lieutenant Gamett and myself — ^went back 
in the swamp thicket, just behind us, to bring or drive 
out some of the men who were scattered through it. 
Force is quicker, if not more effective than persuasion 
in such cases and without taking time to parley, we used 
the flats of our swords freely, not infrequently, may be, 
on commissioned officers. Sometimes there would be 
half a dozen or more men in a long single line behind one 
tree, and it was comical, even in that awful time to see a 
shiver pass up the file when the hindmost was struck 
with the flat of a sword, or how the line would swing to 
the right or left when a shell passed by. But I wish not 
to do any injustice to men who were availing themselves 
of shelter at hand in such a trying time, and perhaps the 
picture I have drawn may give an exaggerated im- 
pression. Most of these men whom we got up with 
such scant ceremony were not cowardly skulkers, but 
in the rapid marching up in the dark and on such ground 
they had become separated from their commands and 
did not know which way to turn to find them. And all 
this while the advance was being held by men stubbornly 
standing under as terrific a fire as can well be imagined, 
and, mixed up as they were, each one sustained by his 
own individual courage. 

About 9 o'clock the enemy's fire began to slacken and 
seeing that the action was nearly over, we got our men in 
a more orderly line along the position we were holding 
and extended it to the right (west). General Winder 


now sent me back with orders to urge any troops I might 
find to move up to his support. A few hundred yards — 
perhaps two or three or four — I came on a large body of 
men in the woods to the west of the road, and finding 
Brigadier-General George B. Anderson," I stated the case 
to him. But he was wounded, and I think told me his 
command had other orders. I turned to Colonel Bradley 
T. Johnson, who was near by with his 1st Maryland 
Regiment well in hand as usual and who promptly said, 
"General Winder wants support, does he?" and that he 
would move up. I remember he was sitting on the 
ground at the root of a tree (but not behind it), and be- 
fore rising he pulled out his pipe, filled it and struck a 
match and kindled a piece of paper which flared up and 
made a little illumination around in the dark woods. 
Scores, it seemed to me hundreds, of voices rang out, 
"Put out that light," "Kill the scoundrel," "Shoot 
him ! " A few shells were still passing through the woods, 
which these outcriers foolishly imagined might be at- 
tracted by the glare, although they came, of course, 
from far oflF. I was apprehensive that some might be 
insane enough to carry out their threats and looked at 
Colonel Johnson in some trepidation as with perfect 
unconcern he continued to puflF at his pipe until it was 
well lighted ; he at length threw the burning paper on the 
ground, rose up and said, "Ah yes, you cowards, if you 
want to shoot anybody, go up to the front, " then turning 
to his men, he said, "General Winder wants assistance, 
fall in." Without waiting to accompany him, I went 
to the front again, finding General Lawton with his 
Georgia brigade of our division, moving down the road 
towards it. Being ignorant of the ground, General 

^ General Andezson, of North Carolina and an officer of the old United States 
Army, was commanding a North Carolina brigade in D. H. Hill's Division. 


Law ton put his men at General Winder's disposal, by 
whom both they and the Maryland regiment were used 
to extend the line to the right and forward. 

All firing had ceased, and our position being now well 
established, General Winder rode back (with Lieutenant 
James M. Gamett," brigade ordnance officer, and myself, 
Captain O'Brien," the adjutant-general, having been 
hurt by a fall from his horse and not with us), to report 
to General Jackson, whom he found with General D. H. 
Hill some distance in the rear. And I am half ashamed 
to record that Gamett and I, having lain down under an 
ambulance and gone to sleep while this consultation 
was going on, did not wake up when General Winder re- 
turned to the front (and he must have refrained from 
rousing us), and opened our eyes only to find broad day- 
light had come. When we then went up to the front 
linjB, there was no enemy to be seen, and orders soon 
came to move back a mile or two and bivouac. 

And so was fought, on our part of the field and in our 
time of participation in it, the battle of Malvern Hill, in 
which it appeared to us that the Confederates were 
marched up against a strong position and one very 
strongly held by artillery and infantry, without concert, 
and by successive attacks unsupported, or inadequately 
supported, by artillery. 

A drizzly rain had set in this morning (after the battle), 
Wednesday, July 2, making things very uncomfortable 
both overhead and under foot, and I do not recollect 
any other particulars about the day." 

Next day, Thursday, we marched back towards the 

^ Lieutenant James Mercer Gamett, one of the most capable staff officers on 
a battlefield I have known, is a Virginian, but now (1913) living in Baltimore. 

" Captain O'Brien died a few years ago in Tennessee, Memphis or Nashville. 

^* This rain is dted among the instances to prove that heavy battles cause a 
rainfall, but I do not think there is anything in the theory. 


Chickahominy, but did not make much distance. On 
Friday, July 4, we bent around to the right (east and 
southeast), until it was evident that the army was being 
directed on James River and we supposed we would again 
strike the enemy there and hoped that this time it would 
be to inflict a crushing blow. Towards evening we were 
nearing the river and from men coming from the front 
we learned the armies would soon be face to face, as we 
knew also from various familiar signs. We finally halted 
and formed line on the left (east) of the road we had been 
marching on and at right angles to it. But we presently 

We remained here several uneventful days. We 
understood that the army of the enemy was very close 
in front, holding the edge of the high ground beyond 
which was the bottom land of James River," but his 
line was not visible from ours, at least not from our part 
of it, being screened by woods. Some skirm'shing went 
on, irregularly, and there were some shells fired from the 
gun boats in the river, but not coming in our neighbor- 
hood. These shells were described to me by an artillery- 
man" who had been under them as "big as a flour 

General Winder here caused all the regimental sur- 
geons to report on the physical condition of the men and 
sent up their reports to General Jackson with an urgent 
recommendation that they be allowed a rest after the 
long marching and other hardships of the last two 
months. The surgeons all stated that the feet of most 
of the men were bruised and sore so as to be in a pitiable 
condition and that they were well nigh broken down. It 
was said that Jackson was not well pleased with General 

^ At Harrison's Tending. 

^ Stilling Muiray, of Maryland, a member of Stuart's Horse Artillery. 


Winder's action in this matter, but the latter cared not 
for that ; no consideration of favor or disfavor ever moved 
him in the discharge of what he deemed to be a duty. 

After not many days^^ the Stonewall Brigade, with 
others, marched towards Richmond. And on the next 
morning I started before it, wishing to get myself a 
uniform, for so far I had worn only a plain grey coat, 
with no marks of rank except the epaulets which had 
been sewed on the shoulders by Mrs. Kennedy of "Cas- 
silis" during our brief occupation of Charlestown in the 
Valley campaign. 

" It appears to have been on July xa 


Richmond — Orange and Louisa Counties 

I found the Confederate capital full of officers and 
soldiers, some on various duties and some, like myself, 
on leave for proper purposes, but many evidently not 
having any sufficient reason for being there. And the 
next day I saw Colonel Lay (or Colonel Deas?) of the 
adjutant general's office, going about the streets and 
verbally, in the name of the commander-in-chief, ordering 
all officers to rejoin their commands; I fear that most, 
like myself, gave little more than a respectful hearing to 
his good humored notification. I think I was only two 
days in Richmond, however, and rejoined the brigade 
which was now up and in camp on the Mechanicsville 
Turnpike Road — a few miles out northeast from the 
city. Here we remained some days, enjoying a well 
earned repose. My uniform being made, in the pride of 
my heart I had my picture taken to be sent home — ^an 
ambrotype coupled with one of Captain William H. 
Murray, my old company commander in the ist Mary- 
land; mine was somewhat marred, however, by a tem- 
porary swelling of the lower jaw. (Frontispiece.) 

I remember one morning, while sitting on a camp stool 
in front of our tent engaged in some staff business, an 
officer rode up whom I saluted in our customary care- 
less fashion without rising. Without response, he dis- 
mounted, grasped his bridle at the bit and stood erect 
at his horses' head, with his heels brought together, and 
looking at me gravely, slowly saluted in a most formal 
military manner and in broken English asked me for 



some direction — to General Jackson's headquarters per- 
haps. Observing his fine physical appearance — over 
six feet in height and very robust — and the quaint for- 
mality of his manner, and never having seen him, or any 
one like him, before, I enquired about him afterwards 
and learned he was a German named Von Borcke, who 
had come over to serve our cause. ^ 

In less than a week the division, composed now of the 
1st or Stonewall Brigade, under General Winder, the 
2d Brigade, commanded at this time by some regi- 
mental commander I think, the 3d Brigade under 
Brigadier-General William B. Taliaferro — ^all Virginia 
troops — and the 4th, or Georgia Brigade under Briga- 
dier-General Alexander R. Lawton — but still having no 
Division commander under Jackson — ^was ordered to 
Gordonsville.* I think we marched the first day to 
Hanover Junction and remained there the next day. 
Here the Virginia Central Railroad, going to Gordonsville 
and beyond, and the Richmond and Fredericksburg 
Railroad cross, and in the fork south of the junction lived 
Mr. Theodore S. Gamett, father of Lieutenant Garnett, 
our brigade ordinance officer, and by him the General and 
staff were entertained with a hospitality for which we 

^ Major Heros Von Borcke, of Prussia, soon became well known to the Army 
of Northern Virginia as a very brave and popular officer of General "Jeb" 
Stuart's staff. He was badly wounded in the throat in a cavalry engagement 
at Upperville on June 19, 1863, and incapacitated for further service. After 
his slow convalescence he had to wear a silver tube in his windpipe and, I under- 
stood, for the rest of hb life. But I believe he served in the Prussian- Austrian 
War. And I heard also that he flew a Confederate flag at his castle in Prussia 
and that once when the "Red Prince," the distinguished Prussian cavalry gen- 
eral, came to visit him and was shown his picture hanging above that of Jeb 
Stuart, he remarked that he had only one fault to find — his picture ought to be 
below Stuart's, not above it. Major Von Borcke paid a visit, about twenty 
years ago, to the scene of his former exploits and services and had a warm re- 
ception in Baltimore, as well as in Virginia. He died soon afterwards. 

* It seems to have been on July 17. 


felt very grateful. It was the first time since the war 
began that I found myself at a home with a filled ice 
house and I well remember after 50 years the mint juleps 
in tumblers filled with crushed ice. In the evening a 
cousin of Mr. Gamett came over a near by river to whom 
we were introduced as "Mr. R. M. T. Hunter."' Leav- 
ing this place with regret, I think we took the cars at the 
Junction and my recollection is that we moved by rail as 
far as Louisa Court House and then marched by Tre- 
vilian's Station to Gordonsville, near which we camped. 
After staying here only a day or two the division moved 
back some miles south, through Gordonsville, to the 
edge of the rich ''Green Spring" oasis in Louisa County 
and went into camp near a little place — it could hardly 
be called a village — ^named Mechanicsville. Having the 
promise, or expectation, of being there some time, drills 
were established and camp life was put on a more regular 
footing than for a long time back. But in about a week 
we broke up here, and, passing through Gordonsville 
again, which is in Orange County but close to where 
Louisa and Albemarle Counties comer with it, we took 
the Liberty Mill or Madison Court House road over 
Haxall's Mountain of the South West range. About three 
miles from Gordonsville we diverged on a road to the 
left and after going another mile, we went into camp in a 
very favorable situation on the farm of Mr. Oliver H. P. 
Terrell and in a rich section of country. The five regi- 
ments and two batteries of the brigade were placed in a 
fine piece of woods,* on high, dry ground and with a good 

* U. S. Senator, Confederate States Senator and Secretary of State, etc Of 
Essex County, Vii^ia. 

* This piece of woods, part belonging to Terrell (whose place was called 
"Glencoe") and part to Colonel Magruder, whose house, "Frescati," on the 
east side of the Liberty Mill road, was the old home of Philip Pendleton Barbour, 


Stream of water between it and the Liberty Mill road — a 
branch of Blue Run. General Winder and his staff 
pitched their tents near the house and were treated by 
Mr. and Mrs. Terrell with the kindest hospitality. Here 
the Stonewall Brigade enjoyed an uninterrupted rest of 
between one and two weeks, the men being moderately 

At this time Major R. Snowden Andrews (of Baltimore) , 
recently promoted, was assigned as chief of artillery of 
the division, and there being no division commander or 
staff organization, he pitched his tent near by and messed 
with us. He was suffering from a wound in the leg, 
received in the Richmond battles, still requiring frequent 
dressing, and anyone not of his temperament would 
have been away in hospital or on sick leave. 

We heard rumors of the enemy's being disposed to be 
aggressive on the other side of the Rapidan River, which 
at its nearest point, Liberty Mill, was only some three 
miles distant, and were not surprised to receive orders 
to move on the afternoon of August 7, no intimation 
being given, however, of the object of the movement. 
General Winder had been for some days in an enfeebled 
condition from sickness and, the weather being very hot, 
he was advised by the medical director of the brigade not 
to go with the command. But ''his ardent patriotism 
and military pride could bear no such restraint" (General 
Jackson's official report), and he directed me to ride to 
Jackson's headquarters and inform him of his condition 
and to ask if there would be a battle and, if so, when, and 
where the army was moving to, so that he might be up in 

a distinguished Virginian, was always afterwards called *'the camp woods/' 
and is probably so known to this day. 

My impression is that we camped here on our first coming to GordonsviUe 
on July 19th, from Richmond, but I am not sure. 


time. I remonstrated and said, "But General Jackson 
does not like to have such questions asked." ''Go to 
General Jackson and ask him what I told you," he said 
curtly. I went on my errand with a good deal of unwill- 
ingness. Jackson's headquarters were about a couple of 
miles towards Gordonsville, in a strip of woods at Dr. 
Jones's house, east of the road, and near the foot of 
Haxall's Mountain. When I entered the room where he 
was I found him kneeling on both knees* stuffing some 
things in an old fashioned "carpet bag," with his side 
face to me. I said, "General, General Winder sent me 
to say that he is too sick to go with the command." 
"General Winder sick? I am sorry for that," he inter- 
rupted me in the curt, slightly muffled voice I have before 
described. I said "Yes, sir, and the medical director 
has told him he must not go with the brigade. But he 
sent me to ask you if there will be a battle, and if so, when 
and he would be up, and which way the army is going?" 
Still kneeling he was silent for a few moments, turning 
his head slightly away, but, to my relief, I saw his mouth 
widen a little with one of his diffident smiles. "Say to 
General Winder that I am truly sorry he is sick" — then 
after a slight pause — "that there will be a battle, but 
not tomorrow, and I hope he will be up; tell him the army 
will march to Barnet's Ford — ^and he can learn its further 
direction there." 

I rode back, wondering at my escape from a sharp 
rebuff to myself and General Winder, to whom I reported 
Jackson's words. He determined to rest quietly and 
follow on next morning. The brigade moved off in the 

' Did I interrupt him at one of his prayers? 


Battle of Cedar Run 

The next day, Friday, August 8 (1862), General Win- 
der, Colonel Cunningham of the 21st Virginia in the 2d 
Brigade, who was also on the sick list,^ and I rode 
leisurely during the morning — I cannot say in the cool of 
the morning, for it was an excessively hot spell of weather 
— about ten miles to Orange Court House, and as both of 
them suffered from the heat in their weak condition, we 
stopped at Captain Erasmus Taylor's, north of that 
place, and (there being nobody at the house,) rested in 
the shade of the trees in the yard until near sundown. 
We then rode on slowly, crossed the Rapidan River at 
Bamet's Ford and about a mile beyond and shortly after 
dark we found the Brigade in bivouac in the woods on the 
left side of the road. The General laid down without 
giving formal notice of his arrival. Some time during the 
night we were awakened by an irregular firing in the rear 
and close at hand and a number of bullets passed over- 
head through the trees. Not knowing what it meant, 
the General directed me to order the regimental com- 
manders to form their men. When I said to one of 

them, '* Colonel , General Winder directs you to 

form your command," one of the sleeping soldiers raised 
his head from under his blanket and asked, '* Has General 
Winder come up?" On my answering ''Yes," "Thank 
God for that," said he in a tone of evident relief. Some- 
thing of the same sort occurred a second time and I was 

* Lieutenant Colonel Richard H. Cunningham, of Richmond, Virginia, a 
fine officer and much esteemed as a man, was killed next day. 



Struck by the sincerity of their confidence and satisfac- 
tion at his presence. Things quieted presently but a 
second alarm came and the General and staff then rode 
out to the open field in rear where the trouble seemed to 
be, and finding other parts of the division under arms, we 
were told that a body of cavalry had suddenly ridden in 
on a road from the Madison Court House (west) side 
and after a brief firing they had retired by the way they 
had come. I do not remember that anybody was struck 
on our side and on examining the ground I saw no killed 
or wounded of the enemy. It was a very bright moon- 
light night — about full moon — and the trees and fencing 
made deep shadows, causing firing to be wild and inac- 
curate. General Lawton being the senior officer present, 
a note was sent by him by General Winder's advice to 
Jackson, informing him of what had occurred and asking 
for instructions. Shortly after daylight General Winder 
received a communication from General Jackson, the 
original of which I still have: 

Hd. Qu. V. D. 
Aug. 9th, 1862. 

4 a.m. 


Gen. Taliaferro's note in reference to appearance of the enemy is received. 
Gen. Lawton is left a guard to the Divn. train. Gen. Jackson directs that you 
assume command of the three remaining brigades of the Division. 


A. S. Pendleton. 
A. A. G. 

Gen. Winder 
[on the back] Gen. Winder 

Comdg. I St Division. 

The heading "V. D." in the foregoing order means 
"Valley District," that having been General Jackson's 


military department before the Richmond battles and 
from the command of which he had not yet been relieved. 
Alexander (''Sandy") S. Pendleton (son of the Reverend 
General William N. Pendleton, General Lee's chief of 
artillery) , was now Jackson's principal, and most efficient, 
adjutant-general, for I think the Reverend Major R. L. 
Dabney had resigned on account of ill health after the 
Richmond battles.* 

General Lawton was one of the oldest (in point of 
seniority of rank,) of the brigadier-generals in the service, 
but Winder's tried character and services under Jackson's 
own eye preferred him for the command, at last, of his 
favorite Division and I think it is certain that he would 
have retained it ever afterwards. I know it would have 
met the hearty approval of the other parts of the division, 
which at other times had willingly put themselves under 
Jiis orders, on the march and on the field of battle.' 

Upon receiving Jackson's order General Winder as- 
sumed command of the three brigades and moved for- 
ward on the Culpepper Court House road. The day was 
hot and the dust oppressive and the march was a slow 
one for the reason also that the road was occupied by 
troops in front. About midday we were nearly abreast 
(at the head of the column,) of Slaughter's or Cedar 
Mountain on our right and learned that the enemy 
were a short distance in front. Ewell's Division, 
which had been ahead of us, went off the road to the 
right (east) and occupied the ground to the base of 

*In my notes written fifteen or twenty years ago I have it that General 
Lawton sent the note to Jackson about the appearance of the enemy's cavalry, 
whereas the order above speaks of one from Taliaferro, (commanding the 3d 
Brigade). I may be mistaken in my recollection, or both may have written to 

' President Jefferson Davis told me after the war that General Winder was 
just about to be made a major-general when he was killed. It was the common 
impression that his promotion had been determined on. 


Slaughter's Mountain, leaving the road itself in front 
and the country to its left (west) to us. Our division 
was halted in column in the road for some time and 
several of our generals (including E^ly and Ewell or 
Trimble,) conversed for a while off the right of the road. 
I remember seeing my brother. Major Charles Howard, 
Early's chief commissary, a little behind them and 
apparently keeping out of sight, and on my asking the 
reason, he said that, being a Commissary, his General 
had ordered him to go to his proper place in the rear, 
which he was not minded to do. At this time there 
was some skirmish firing to the right oblique, in the 
direction of the west base of Slaughter's Mountain, a 
round isolated mass several hundred feet high, on the 
east side of which we knew was the Orange and Alexan- 
dria Railroad. 

By about 2 o'clock Ewell 's Division had been moved in 
that direction — forward and to the right — and when our 
division was ordered forward, we found the road and 
the ground on its left was unoccupied between us and 
the enemy, who, however, was not yet visible to us. 
Riding ahead with his staff. General Winder presently 
came to a point on the road where a fence with woods 
behind it ran off at right angles to the right (east), in 
front of which was a cleared field, the woods continuing 
however, to the front on the left (west) side of the road. 
Looking over the fence corner at the road, we saw in the 
distance, across the open field, the enemy's batteries 
directing their fire on Ewell 's forces towards the moun- 
tain. The General immediately directed Major R. 
Snowden Andrews, chief of artillery of the division, to 
order up a rifled piece (or two pieces?) from the batteries 
of the Stonewall Brigade. Meanwhile we pulled down a 
section of the fence. The gun or guns soon came up and 
opened on the batteries of the enemy and I think one or 


two more were brought up. At our first shot the enemy 
turned his guns on us with a very heavy fire. Our posi- 
tion, being at the apex of a right angle of open ground with 
the two sides bordered by woods, gave him a fair mark for 
his converging fire and soon the din of bursting shells 
principally, we thought, shrapnel,* was quite appalling, 

*The ammunition used in the field artillery of the Confederate Army of 
Northern Virginia (and that of the Union Army was, I believe, much the same), 
was of four kinds, (i) solid shot, being round iron balls, but these were not often 
used; (2) shrapnel or spherical case, although when shells came to be elongated 
in shape, the word ''spherical" was inaccurate; this was a shell, not very thick, 
loaded with a small charge of powder and filled with lead balls of an oimce 
weight, among which in the shell was poured melted sulphur to keep the balls 
in place until the bursting; (3) ordinary shells, made thicker than shrapnel and 
filled with powder. Both shrapnel and common shells had fuses which were 
cut to make them explode in so many seconds according to the estimated dis- 
tance. Such shells as we had with percussion caps on the end to make them ex- 
plode on impact were mostly, if not all, captured from the enemy, who used 
many of foreign invention, such as the Schenkel and Scheibert shells, shaped 
somewhat like an old fashioned soda water bottle. (4) Canister, sometimes 
called — ^by other than artillerymen — grape; this was in shape like a tomato 
can, and was filled with iron balls, an inch in diameter and only kept together by 
sawdust, being intended for short dbtances and to fly apart at the mouth of the 

Our guns were very heterogeneous in the first part of the war, but were im- 
proved and made more uniform by importations and captures, and finally by 
our own manufacture. We imported early some Blakeley and Whitworth rifled 
pieces. The short and light Blakeley guns kicked like a mule, and for this and 
other reasons they graduaUy disappeared. The favorite guns soon came to be 
the 10 and 20-pound rifled Parrotts (all of which were captured from the enemy), 
for distant firing, and, especially, the 12-poimd Napoleon howitzer, not rifled 
and having a smaller chamber at the bottom of the bore for the powder to be 
concentrated behind the ball and so to diminish the thickness and weight of the 
piece. These gims were designed to be made of copper or bronze, and of such 
we had a great many in the army which we had captured, for in the first half of 
the war we captured many pieces and lost very few. But the Tredegar Iron 
Works, of Richmond made a very good gun of this pattern of iron — copp)er being 
soon exhausted in the Confederacy. 

For the corroboration of my general recollection on this subject and for 
the foregoing details, I am indebted to my friend Mr. Joseph Packard, formerly 
of Virginia and now residing m Baltimore, who was first a member of the Rock- 
bridge Battery and afterwards lieutenant and ordnance oflficer with the Reserve 
Ordnance Train of the Army of Northern Virginia. 


made more so from the splintering of tree branches 
overhead. A number of battery commanders and other 
officers had gathered here, looking on and waiting orders 
and there were some narrow escapes, although so far 
there was more noise than execution. I remember 
Captain Willie Caskie, of Caskie's Battery, attached to 
the 2d Brigade, coming up to me in a half dazed way 
and asking me ''just to look at his back," and on looking 
I saw a broad dusty streak across his shoulders where a 
falling limb cut by a shell had struck him. 

About 4 o'clock General Winder made his disposi- 
tions for a forward movement. Retaining at this point 
the 3d Brigade, General William B. Taliaferro, in support 
of the artillery and for other service, and holding the 
1st (Stonewall), now under command of Colonel Ronald, 
of the 4th Virginia, in reserve, he directed me to order the 
2d Brigade, under Lieutenant-Colonel Thomas S. Gamett 
of the 48th Virginia, to move to the front under cover of 
the woods on the left (west) side of the road until he 
arrived on the flank of the nearest battery, which he was 
then to charge. I rode back and communicated these 
instructions to Colonel Gamett, and as he did not know 
the ground, I thought it best to accompany him a part 
of the way. We passed up about a hundred yards inside 
the woods from the road, coming, however, under part 
of the artillery fire directed into the angle. I saw a shell 
explode in the column just behind me (we were march- 
ing in the usual column of fours) , which killed or wounded 
four or five men. Getting past this point and keeping 
with the brigade until it was some distance to the front 
and, I thought, required my services as a guide no 
longer (I had only been told to order it up,) I was going 
diagonally back to the angle where I had left General 
Winder, when I met Major Andrews riding hastily 


towards the direction from which I had come, who 
called out to me, "Go to the General." I asked, "Has 
anything happened?" But he only repeated, "Go to the 
General," and passed on. I hurried back and across the 
very short distance to the angle where I found General 
Winder lying dreadfully wounded by a piece of shell, 
which had passed between his left arm and side, tearing 
the flesh from the inside of the arm above and below the 
elbow and lacerating the left side as far back as the spine. 
He still had the use of the arm but it was evident that 
the wound to the body was mortal. He had been placed 
on a stretcher,* and was not suffering as much pain as 
he would have suffered if the shock had not been so 
great. I leaned over him and asked, "General, do you 
know me?" Turning his eyes to my face with a look of 
recognition, he answered, "Oh yes" and said some words 
of sorrow for his wife and children. Other friends and 
followers were standing around, full of grief, but he paid 
no attention to them, his thoughts were of home and 
family and he turned to me as a link with those associa- 
tions. Surgeons came to his side but there was not 
the slightest hope and all that could be done was to 
alleviate his sufferings in his last moments. A Chaplain 
bent over him and said, "General, lift up your heart to 
God." He replied, " I do, I do lift it up to Him." He 
was presently carried by men towards a place of quiet in 
the rear. Just as we were starting, the Stonewall 
Brigade filed by, moving to attack, and officers crowded 
around with sincere sorrow on their faces, while the men 
passed by in silence, taking a last look at the leader who 

' Mr. C. A. Fonerden of Carpenter's Battery now (1913) living in Baltimore, 
in a little History of Car pentads Battery, printed at Newmarket, Virginia, 191 1, 
says that he and Major Andrews and one or two others placed him on the 


had so well won their confidence and attachment. Per- 
haps prompted by this, he asked me how the battle 
was going, and seemed gratified at my reply. He 
became quieter presently, and as I walked beside with 
his hand in mine, I could feel it growing colder. At a 
stream crossing the road about half a mile back I met a 
part of A. P. Hill's Division going to the west side of the 
road on its way to the front. 

A quarter of a mile further we stopped in a grove 
surrounding a church or school house on the west side 
of the road. By this time — I suppose it was after 6 
o'clock — he had become totally unconscious and at 
sundown, with my arm around his neck and supporting 
his head, he expired, so quietly that I could scarcely mark 
the exact time of his death. 

I placed General Winder's body in an ambulance and 
started it back to Orange Court House. 

But learning that Major R. Snowden Andrews, chief 
of artillery of the division, had been desperately wounded 
and had been carried back to the Gamett house, a short 
distance from the East side of the road, I rode over to 
see him. He was in a lower room of the house. A 
fragment of shell (apparently) had torn the wall and laid 
open the right side of the abdomen and, passing on I 
suppose, had cut the top of the thigh over the joint. 
The former wound had opened widely so that my hand 
would have about covered the place as it so lay open and 
the intestines were fully exposed. There was a surgeon or 
assistant surgeon, with him, also his orderly (courier). 
Dr. Black, senior surgeon of the brigade, stopped for a 
while, whom I asked if there was any hope. He said 
no, that the wound was not necessarily fatal as a wound 
but that inflammation would be certain to set in. And 
we were having an extremely hot spell of weather. But 


Major Andrews was perfecdy cool and composed, and 
even cheerful, and no one in the next room listening to the 
natural tone of his voice as he gave directions about 
himself could have believed that it was the wounded 
man who was talking. "Doctor/' said he to one of the 
surgeons, "how many chances have I?" and receiving 




o o O o 








n GcLtYl.eJtt 

no reply, he added, "one out of ten?" (or perhaps one out 
of twenty.) "Not more than that," answered the sur- 
geon gravely. "Well," said he cheerfully, "I am going 
to hold on to my one chance" — which the doctor had not 
promised him. When the wound was sewed he aided 
with his own hands in bringing the sides together. Most 


reluctandy, I left him at lo or ii o'clock, expecting never 
to see him again. Before I went he drew off and gave me 
his seal ring, to be given to his wife in case of a fatal 

I overtook the ambulance at no great distance, the 
road being much blocked by the army wagons which 
were coming up. From the front there had been the 
sound of cannon until long after nightfall. About mid- 
night we met a body of cavalry just as it was coming into 
the road on a side road from the east, and I feared it 
might be the enemy riding in as on the night before and 
wondered if they would respect my sad errand and let me 
go on. But on parleying with the leader, I recognized the 
features of General J. E. B. Stuart, of the cavalry, just 
coming up from Richmond, who listened with interest to 
my account of the battle, so far as I knew about it. 
Captain John F. O'Brien, assistant adjutant-general, 
had accompanied me with the ambulance, and he now 
rode on ahead to make arrangements at Orange Court 
House, if possible, for the transportation of the General's 
body to Richmond. Day broke when I passed over the 
Rapidan at Bamet's Ford (Sunday, August lo), and I 
well remember the purple clouds above the rising sun 
and the oppressive heat even at that early hour. 

Arriving at Orange Court House I found that Captain 
O'Brien had not been able to make any arrangements, 
and there being no connection, by rail or telegraph, with 
Gordonsville, the nearest point in communication with 

' It was the worst wound I ever knew an3rone to recover from, and I have 
always attributed his recovery largely to his remarkable coolness and indomitable 
will. I had the pleasure of restoring his ring some months afterwards. Some 
years after the war I asked him where my seal ring was, and he replied that he 
had lost it from his finger in a collision in the Patapsco River, when he nearly 
lost his life. He had to wear a silver plate over the place of the wound for the 
rest of his life. 



Richmond, and the weather being extremely hot, I 
reluctantly submitted to the necessity of burying the 
General, temporarily at least, at this place. The Free- 
masons offered a lot in their part of the cemetery, situated 
on the Gordonsville road, half a mile south of the town. 
The place was full of officers, slightly wounded in the 
battle or going to the front, among the former Captain 
Joseph Carpenter^ of Carpenter's Battery, and among 
the latter Colonel A. J. Grigsby of the 27th Virginia, 
both of the Stonewall Brigade, and most were around the 
tavern, and when I announced that the funeral was 
about to take place and invited all to join, a large number 
followed the coffin to the Episcopal Church, where there 
were many ladies and citizens of the town. Thence, 
after part of the burial service, a long line went to the 
grave, where at sunset was buried the best soldier under 
Lee and Jackson in the Army of Northern Virginia." 

^ But Captain Carpenter's wound, in the head, thought not to be serious, 
unexpectedly resulted in his death. 

' General Jackson's tribute to General Winder in his official report of the 
battle of Cedar Run was singularly appropriate and evidently written under 
sincere feeling, although eight months afterwards. He never wrote so about 
anyone else. It wiU be found in the War of the Rebellion Records ^ Series i, 
volume XII, Part II, page 183: "It is difficult within the proper reserve of an 
official report to do justice to the merits of this accomplished officer. Urged by 
the medical director to take no part in the movements of the day because of the 
then enfeebled state of his health, his ardent patriotism and military pride 
could bear no such restraint. Richly endowed with those qualities of mind 
and person which fit an officer for command and which attract the admiration 
and excite the enthusiasm of troops, he was rapidly rising to the front rank of 
his profession. His loss has been severely felt. " 

In a letter to Mrs. Jackson, written two days after the battle, he says: "I 
can hardly think of the fall of Brigadier-General C. S. Winder without teariul 
eyes." Memoirs of Stonewall Jackson^ by his widow, Mary Anna Jackson, 
page 314. And I was told by one of his staff officers that some time afterwards 
upon some trying occasion on the march or in battle, he turned to him and said 
with feeling, " Now I miss Winder. " 

General Lee, in his official report of operations of that time War of the Re- 

General Cuakles S Windkk, C.S.A. 


heUion Records^ Series i, volume XII, Part II, page 178, wrote: "I can add 
nothing to the well deserved tribute to the courage, capacity and conspicuous 
merit of this lamented officer by General Jackson, in whose brilliant campaign 
in the Valley and on the Chickahominy he bore a distinguished part. " 

Charles Sydney Winder, son of Captain Edward S. Winder of the United 
States Army, and Elizabeth Tayloe Lloyd, was bom (probably in Talbot County, 
Maryland), on October 7, 1829. He entered West Point Military Academy i 
July, 1846, and was graduated i July, 1850, as brevet second-lieutenant of ar- 
tillery. He was commissioned second lieutenant of the 3d Regiment of Artillery 
2ist July, 185 1. In December, 1853, he was in charge of a party of men, with 
other troops, being transported from New York to the Pacific coast on the steam- 
er San Francisco when that vessel was made a helpless wreck by a hurricane in 
the Gulf Stream. There were one or more rescues from the disabled steamer by 
other vessels, but he refused to leave his men. He was supposed to be lost for 
several weeks, but was taken, with his men, by a passing vessel to LiverpooL 
For his conduct he was promoted to be first lieutenant in the same regiment and 
on 3 March, 1855, was made captain in the 9th Infantry, being, I understood at 
the time, the youngest captain in the army. He was in Colonel Steptoe's dis- 
astrous campaign against the Walla Walla or Spokane Indians in Washington 
Territory in 1858 and in Colonel Wright's pimitive expedition against the same 
Indians following it. 

When the war broke out he was at home in Talbot Coimty, Maryland, on 
leave and resigned from the army ist April, 1861, and went to Montgomery, Ala- 
bama, then the Confederate capital, and entered the service of the Confederacy, 
being commissioned major of artillery in the regular army. He was present at 
the fall of Fort Sumpter, serving, I think, as military secretary to General 
Beauregard or some other general. He then ventured to return home for a 
brief visit, and on going back was made commandant of the South Carolina 
Arsenal. Early in July he was made colonel of the 6th South Carolina Regi- 
ment of Infantry and took his regiment to Virginia, arriving at Manassas on the 
evening of July 21st, just too late to take part in the battle. I think the occu- 
pation of Munson's or Hall's Hill in August, after a brief skirmish was made at 
his suggestion and was under his direction. His regiment was in the engage- 
ment at Drainesville, December 20, 1861, but Colonel Winder was not present 
with it, being on court martial duty. In March, 1862, he was made brigadier- 
general, and his subsequent career I have narrated. Had he lived he would 
have risen to high rank and had a distinguished career. 

His widow and two sons are now living in Baltimore. 



Orange County and the Valley 

At the conclusion of the burial service, being now 
without rank or place in the army — for my commission 
as first lieutenant and aide de camp was vacated by the 
death of General Winder — I mounted my horse and 
rode over to our kind friends the Terrells whom we had 
left the two eventful days before. It was ten miles to 
the west and night soon overtook me on the way. By 
mistake, I turned off the Orange and Liberty Mill 
Plank Road too soon, just beyond Montpelier,^ and 
wandered about for some hours in the hilly and wooded 
country back of that place, so that it was late in the 
night before I found myself at Terrell's house. Not 
wishing to rouse the family at such an hour, I turned my 
horse loose in the yard and crept into the covered back 
porch until morning, but although exhausted in body, my 
mental disturbance was such that I found little sleep or 

Here I remained for some time, considering how next 
to enter the service, although my kind friends urged me 
to stay out of it and make my home with them until the 
war was over. Communication with Richmond was 
still irregular and it was not until too late to attend that 
I learned from a newspaper that General Winder's body 
had been disinterred and was about to have a soldier's 
funeral there.* 

* The home of President James Madison, who is buried there. 

* He had a public military funeral and was interred in the beautiful Holly- 
wood Cemetery, in the vault of a Mr. Davis. But in the Fall of 1865 I went to 



In two or three days the Division came back from 
Cedar Run to its old camping ground. The Stonewall 
Brigade was now under Colonel William S. H. Baylor, of 
the 5th Virginia Regiment, who, it was expected, would 
be promoted to be its permanent commander. And he 
cordially invited me (out of respect for General Winder,) 
to go with him as aide de camp, but having another plan 
then in view, I declined.' The ist Maryland Infantry 
had just been disbanded on the expiration of its term of 
service — or the term of most of the companies — and I 
contemplated raising a company from among the old 
members and men who were continually coming over 
from Maryland. With that object, I wrote to Rich- 
mond and received from friends there assurances of 
success, and I also visited Charlottesville and Staunton, 
going so far, I think, as to post hand bills in those two 
places. But after the exciting news of the Second 
Manassas battles, rumors came of the army having 
crossed the Potomac into Maryland, and when at Gor- 
donsville one day a gentleman exhibited a flower which 
he said he had plucked on Maryland soil, I could stand it 
no longer and determined to abandon my plans in the 
rear and seek what service I could find at the front. 
I waited a few days to have the company of Surgeon 
David Watson of the Greenspring district in Louisa 

Richmond and brought the body to Baltimore and thence to Talbot County 
where he was finally buried in the old Lloyd graveyard at Wye House. The 
grave of Admiral Franklin Buchanan — ^his unde by marriage — is in the same 
burying ground. 

Mr. Davis — a Northern man by birth — charged upwards of a hundred dol- 
lars for the occupation of the vault, which was paid by the General's family 
through me, at which, the Reverend Mr. Peterkin told me, Richmond people 
were very indignant. 

• He gratified me by saying that the appointment would be acceptable to the 
Brigade (on General Winder's account, of course). Colonel Baylor was killed 
30th Augiist, in the Second Manassas battles. 


County, and as soon as he came up to the house of 
his brother-in-law, B. Johnson Barbour, of "Barbours- 
ville," a fine estate two miles from Terrell's, we started 
off; it was about the middle of September. We went by 
the way of Madison Court House, Luray and Front- 
Royal, nearly a hundred miles to Winchester, where we 
arrived on the third day. 

We found the army had just returned from its brief 
Maryland campaign and was resting between Winchester 
and the Potomac. Brigadier-General George H. Steuart, 
who was still partially disabled by a broken collar bone 
at the battle of Cross Keys on June 8, was commanding 
Winchester as a post, and being throughout the war a 
constant and kind friend to me, and most of his staff 
being old comrades, I accepted an invitation to join them, 
for the present at least. Captain George Williamson 
was his adjutant-general and Lieutenant Randolph H. 
McKim his aide de camp, both of my old mess in Mur- 
ray's company of the ist Maryland. Major George H. 
Kyle, also of Baltimore, was his commissary and quarter- 
master. Mr. Brooke, a gentleman of Prince George's 
County, Maryland, was also with him and acting as 
provost marshal, and Dr. John Boyle of the same 
county was a guest but giving medical services to all 
Mary landers in his way. We rented — or occupied, I 
suppose the quartermaster paid rent — the small house of 
a union man named Doyle or Dooley, on the street back 
of the Taylor Hotel. 

General Steuart soon announced me as ordnance officer 
of the Maryland Line, then organizing under his com- 
mand, and composed of the new ist Maryland Infantry 
(which soon changed its name to the 2d Maryland, to 
distinguish it from the disbanded ist), the ist Maryland 
Cavalry and the Baltimore Light Artillery. It had been 


published in General Orders that ordnance officers were 
to be appointed throughout the army after passing special 
examinations, but he was confident of having this require- 
ment dispensed with in my case and discouraged my 
suggestions that I ought to apply for such examination.* 

There being little to do in the way of ordnance duties, 
my time was fully occupied with general staff business. 
In particular, all soldiers leaving the army, on sick fur- 
lough or otherwise, were required to have their papers 
examined at our headquarters and a room — in another 
part of the town — was generally well filled with them, 
waiting their turn. Smallpox was very prevalent at 
this time and we were conscious of being brought into 
daily contact with infected papers and persons. One or 
more large smallpox hospitals were established in the 
town, around which a cordon of sentinels was main- 
tained. Of these risks, however, we took little heed. 

I became well acquainted with many of the people of 
this tried and true community, who were especially kind 
and hospitable to Marylanders. But of the house of my 
cousins, the Masons, where I had been welcomed in the 
first part of the war, literally one stone did not now stand 
upon another, and even the garden and grounds were but 
a barren waste. Mr. James M. Mason was Confederate 
Commissioner to England and his family were refugees in 

< I find in the War of the Rebeliion Records, Series i, Volume XIX, Part II, 
page 664, a letter from General Steuart to the Secretary of War, dated Win- 
chester 13th October, 1862, in which he says: "I hope you received my letter 
. . . . also one requesting the appointment of McHenry Howard as ord- 
nance officer on my staff, he being an officer of merit and aide de camp to the 
late Brigadier-General C. S. Winder. " I served as ordnance officer until I left 
the Valley about ist January, 1863, but the appointment was not made. How- 
ever, Colonel Gorgas, chief of the Ordnance Bureau, himself certified to my pay 
account when I went to Richmond. 


Some time in October or November a Virginia officer 
who had served on Jackson's staff — ^as he did afterwards — 
but who at this particular time, as I understood, had 
gone back to his company, of which he was a lieutenant, 
in the 2d Virginia Regiment in the Stonewall Brigade, 
went out of his way to write a long letter to General 
Stonewall Jackson, in which he said that the Maryland 
men who composed the post troops at Winchester were 
misconducting themselves and were obnoxious to the 
people of the town. General Jackson referred the letter 
to General Steuart. I took it and showed it to Mr. 
Robert Y. Conrad, Mr. Joseph Sherrard and probably to 
other leading citizens, who said the statements in the 
letter were not true and expressed much indignation 
that any one should have undertaken to misrepresent 
the people of the town. I believe the matter so rested.*^ 

Officers going back from the army occasionally spent 
a day or night with us at the Dooley house. I have a 
lively recollection of General Longstreet staying one 
night — but not lively on his part, for I do not think he 
spoke much more than a dozen words while with us. 

Colonel Andrew Jackson Grigsby, of the 27th Virginia 
in the Stonewall Brigade, also came. He had just 
resigned from the service because, although the senior 
officer, he was not promoted to the command of the 
brigade after the death at Second Manassas of Colonel 
Baylor, then about to be promoted. Colonel Grigsby 
was filled with resentment against Jackson and told me 
that for the good of the service he would do nothing 

* This officer was a very capable and gallant one, but certainly with a share 
of vanity. During the war his associations were with Virginians and he had 
little partiality for Marylanders. He was from Shepherdstown, Virginia, but 
after the war settled in Hagerstown and became very well known in Maryland, 
and I think most people would be surprised to learn that he was not a native 
bom of the State. 


while the war lasted, but that as soon as it ended he 
would certainly challenge Jackson. 

Some thought Jackson did not promote him because he 
was given to swearing. But Stonewall appreciated a 
good soldier although a swearer. His own quarter- 
master had the reputation of being the hardest swearer in 
the army and soldiers used to say he could start a 
mule train a mile long by his strong language at the 
back end. 

A curious question came up at this time about the 
title to my horse, which, it will be remembered, had been 
captured with General Reynolds at the battle of Gaines's 
Mill on June 27 and was turned over to me bythe quarter- 
master in the place of my own which he had mixed with 
the government horses. One day my servant, Washing- 
ton, came to our headquarters and reported that a Con- 
federate officer, a surgeon, claimed the mare as his and 
would have taken her then and there, but Washington, of 
course, would not allow him. He asked Washington if 
she did not refuse to drink any but the purest water, 
which was true, for she gave me a good deal of trouble 
by that fastidiousness. His story was that the mare had 
escaped from him in the falling back from Manassas in 
the Spring. I did not doubt his story but maintained 
that when she ran into the enemy's lines, she became 
captured property and his ownership ceased and did not 
revive when she became captured Confederate property 
at the battle of Gaines's Mill. The question was carried 
up to Colonel Corley, chief quartermaster of the army, 
whose decision — backed by the opinion of Colonel 
Charles Marshall, General Lee's military secretary, and 
a lawyer — was in my favor. But the plaintiff, or my 
rival for the mare's affections, was a South Carolinian 
of Scotch-Irish descent, an obstinate race, and he insisted 


on appealing the case to Richmond ; but I heard nothing 
more of it. I had told the Surgeon that I would yield 
the mare to his prior claim if the quartermaster would 
furnish me another as good. 

About the middle of November I heard through a man 
who came across the lines that one of my two younger 
sisters had died but was left for some time in a state of 
uncertainty which one it was.' 

The last of the month General Jackson's Corps left 
the Valley, the rest of the army having preceded it, and 
we were left in occupation, with the Maryland Line and 
Brigadier-General William E. Jones's Cavalry command 
now composing the forces of the "Valley District." 
Winchester was now an outpost and in danger of an 
advance by the enemy from Harper's Ferry or Martins- 
burg or from Romney or Moorfield, and if from the last 
named place, it would probably be a movement on Stras- 
burg, eighteen miles in our rear and so cutting us off. 
We were, therefore, on the alert, or at least in readiness to 
move at any time, trusting to Jones's cavalry for warning. 
I remember an alarm that the enemy were approaching 
on the Berryville road, but this being from the front, we 
went out to fight, and I remember also the fine appear- 
ance which the Marylanders made in marching out from 
the town, drums beating and the ladies and citizens 
crowding the street to encourage us, in confident expec- 
tation of a conflict. But after waiting for some hours 
several miles out on the Berryville road, no enemy came 
and before night we returned to quarters. 

In the last part of the month General Steuart, whose 

• Elizabeth Gray Howard died on 14th November, 1862. Her father who had 
been a "Prisoner of State" for nearly a year and a half, was permitted to come 
out of Fort Warren on parole and be at her death bed. 


broken collar bone had never satisfactorily knit since the 
battle of Cross Keys, found it necessary to leave the field 
and General Jones succeeded to the command. He had 
thus a double set of staff officers, his regular cavalry staff 
and that of the Maryland Line — Captain Williamson, 
adjutant-general; Major Kyle; quartermaster and com- 
missary, and myself as ordnance officer; but we were left 
very much to ourselves with the Line. 

About the ist of December the enemy was reported 
coming in strong force from Harper's Ferry and Berry- 
ville, and this time we were compelled to retire to, or 
near, Strasburg, but learning that they had gone back, 
we returned to Winchester the next day, or perhaps the 
day after.' We re-entered the town in a snow storm, 
and the Maryland Line Staff unceremoniously took 
possession of the Dooley house again. 

But about a week later we were compelled, or thought 
it prudent, to leave Winchester again, I think because of 
apprehensions about our rear at Strasburg. We marched 
back to that place on the old Valley Pike, which had 
witnessed so many marches of both sides, and camped a 
little to the west of it — probably on the Wardensville or 
Moorfield road. 

On a Saturday morning,* I think. Captain Frank P. 
Clark, a staff officer in Jones's command and a native of 
Winchester, and I thought we would like to ride to Win- 
chester and spend Sunday, and I went to General Jones 

' The diary of Spence M. Grayson, a private in Murray's Company of the 2d 
Maryland Infantry says: "1862 December 2. Left Winchester, marched 
eighteen miles to Strasburg vicinity and on the 3d returned to Winchester." 
But the Federal account in Volume XXI of the Rebellion Record, page 34, sa3rs 
they entered Winchester on 4th December and left it at 3 p.m. 

* Although Grayson's diary says: "Dec. 19. Left Strasburg." This was 



to ask permission. Just then a cavalry captain or 
lieutenant of his command came in to report a skirmish 
he had had with the enemy, advancing on the Wardens- 
ville or Moorefield road, and in which he had been 
worsted. When the officer described how his men had 
used their sabres in cutting in the hand to hand encounter 
Jones said in his peculiar drawling voice, ''You ought to 
have stuck them, Captain." Like General Andrew Jack- 
son who so doubled up his opponent with the end of a 
fence rail, Jones was a believer in thrusting with the 
sword rather than the downright blow. When I pre- 
ferred my request, he simply answered, ''You heard what 
was said. Captain." And presently he issued orders to 
move. We marched, or the Maryland Line at least, with 
which I had a wagon loaded with ordnance articles, a 
short distance east of Strasburg on the Front Royal road, 
and went into bivouac in a field, with a cold raw wind 
blowing. But it was early in the evening and Captain 
Clark and I determined to make our ride to Winchester, 
believing we could go and get back without being 
missed. Perhaps I quibbled on Jones's words, not being 
a direct refusal of my request. 

So we recklessly rode to Winchester, which we found to 
be entirely outside our lines but not occupied by the 
enemy. We spent the next day, Sunday (or Saturday?) 
quietly, he with his family and I visiting friends, and in 
the evening I escorted one of Winchester's fairest daugh- 
ters, (Miss S C ) to the service, held at the 

McGill house, the Episcopal Church being closed. We 
saw no other Confederates in the town. Next morning 
we started to return. We heard some disquieting 
rumors before getting out of the place and soon met on 
the Turnpike road people straggling in who reported the 


enemy were between us and Strasburg. We proceeded, 
however, as far as Newtown — six miles — when we were 
convinced we might be captured at any time if we went 
on further. We therefore turned off from the Valley 
Pike to the east and rode straight across the country to 
Millwood, in Clarke County and near the Shenandoah 
River. Here, considering that we were reasonably out 
of immediate danger, we not only took dinner, but, 
I think, stopped for the night at the house of Dr. Benja- 
min Harrison, whose wife — a Miss Page — I believed to be 
one of my distant Virginia cousins. At any rate. Captain 
Clark knew them and they treated us hospitably. Next 
morning wfe crossed the Shenandoah (where we forded it 
going to Manassas in July, 1861) and turned to the 
south on a road going up the river to Front Royal. We 
were in much doubt whether we would not find that place 
in possession of the enemy, in which case, if we did not 
run into a capture, we would have to cross the Blue Ridge, 
and so we were on the alert and made cautious enquiries 
as we proceeded. But we found no enemy there and 
passed this last danger point and continued up the East 
side of the river twenty-two miles further to Luray. We 
must have stopped somewhere on the road one night. 
Relieved of fear of capture, we now speculated whether 
our prolonged absence had come to the knowledge of 
General Jones and what punishment or rebuke would be 
meted out for our escapade. At Luray we turned West 
on the Newmarket Road, and I think it was Christmas 
Eve when we crossed the Massanutton Mountain at this 
picturesque gap, the only road crossing in the fifty mile 
stretch of this lofty range, for I remember seeing, while 
climbing over the mountain pass. Captain Emack of the 
Maryland cavalry with a Christmas turkey hanging to 


his saddle. He told us where the command was in 
camp near Newmarket. On reaching it we were not 
solicitous of attracting attention to our arrival. But 
nothing was ever said about it by General Jones, and I 
don't believe he knew of our absence.* 

* Captain Frank Peyton Clark removed to Baltimore after the war and went 
into business as an Insurance Adjuster. But at the same time he completed his 
law studies and soon gave himself entirely to the practice of the law, making a 
specialty of corporation business. He died in Baltimore 13th January, 191 2. 

General William E. Jones, of Washington County, Va. was an old U. S. 
Army Officer but had resigned in 1858. He promptly entered the Confederate 
service as Captain of Cavalry and became Colonel and Brigadier, distinguishing 
himself on many occasions. Unfortunately, he had a lasting quarrel with 
Gen. J. E. B. Stuart He was killed in battle 5th June, 1864 at Piedmont, or 
New Hope, Augusta County. 


The Valley to Richmond and Jackson's 


I was at this time in an unsatisfactory state of health, 
suffering from something like scurvy or an impure condi- 
tion of the blood, and partly for this reason and partly 
because of my unsettled military status, filling a position 
and yet not having received a commission for it — which 
seemed uncertain now on account of General Steuart's 
absence — I determined to leave the Valley and go to 
Richmond. I would have, too, the companionship of 
my old comrade in Murray's company, T. Harry Oliver, 
whose health did not permit his going into service and 
who, after a visit to us, was now about to leave. And I 
think it was on the last day of December (1862) that 
Harry Oliver and I left the camp near Newmarket and rode 
eastwardly on the road by which I had come a few days 
before over the Massanutton Mountain. I have before 
described this picturesque and lofty range, which bisects 
the great Valley of Virginia for 50 miles, and having an 
elevation in all its extent of between 2000 and 3000 feet. 
Some one has justly called it the glory of the Valley. 
But aside from its beauty as a physical feature, it played 
a most important part in Stonewall Jackson's operations, 
shielding his flank when on the defensive and both pro- 
tecting and concealing his offensive movements. 

The road which we took — the only one which crosses the 
range — goes up a small stream issuing out of the gap and 
then mounts to the summit by a winding or zigzag course 
and descends similarly on the eastern side. The scenery 




is beautiful and wild, the beds of streams, and often the 
roadside, rocky— grey in color— and the whole mountain 
wooded. This gap was sometimes called Fisher's Gap, 
but I was never satisfied that was its right name; being 
the only pass in the range it was not necessary to dis- 
tinguish it by a name as with the Blue Ridge gaps, and 
we usually called it simply the Massanutton or New- 
market Gap. We passed out of the eastern mouth of 
this gap and presently came to the north or main fork 
of the Shenandoah River. But instead of fording it 
and keeping straight on to Luray, we turned south to 
the old Columbia bridge place, about six miles up. 
Whether we forded here or still higher up (all the bridges 
had been destroyed in Jackson's Valley campaign), I 
do not remember, but evening found us on the east side 
of the Luray Valley and close to the entrance of Milam's 
Gap of the Blue Ridge and we stopped for the night at a 
small tavern by the roadside, kept by a man named 
Newman. And among the distinct war time pictures in 
my mind is one of the Blue Ridge here, rising to a great 
elevation just in front, all wooded and dark, but with the 
deep blue tinge which gives this range its name, the 
hollows and prominences distinctly shown in the shading 
evening light. 

Next morning we soon began to climb. This gap or 
pass is the highest of all in the Blue Ridge. ^ We were 
told that it was fourteen miles across by the road, which 
zigzags much more than any of the other roads, but sev- 
eral miles shorter to a horseman or pedestrian by taking 
paths from loop to loop. But these short cuts were so 

^ The goverament maps give an elevation of 3cxx) feet to the top of the road 
crossing against 2500 for Swift Run Gap which is fifteen miles to the southwest, 
and the same for Brown's Gap, twelve miles further. "Hawksbill Mountain** 
two miles north of the gap is 4066 feet high. Milam's Gap is sometimes called 
Fisher's Gap on the war maps. I do not recall that the army ever used it. 


Steep that we tried few, if any, of them. In descending, 
a raven (not a crow, but much larger,) flew into a tree 
about thirty yards behind me and began making its 
discordant noises. Turning in my saddle, I fired a shot 
at it with my pistol and, to my surprise and half regret, it 
fell dead, being struck in the head. I picked it up and 
carried it at my saddle nearly all day, but people stared 
so, perhaps wondering if soldiers were reduced to such 
rations, that I finally threw it away. It had beautiful 
glossy black plumage and a head nearly as large as a 
cat's. At the eastern foot of the descent the principal 
head stream of Robinson's River, a branch of the Rapidan, 
pours out, with the road, from something of a gorge dark 
and gloomy with arbor vitae or other fir trees, and the 
stream bed, much too wide for its ordinary volume of 
water, is filled with small boulder stones — like a street 
bed torn up. I augured the flood which must sometimes 
pour down, and when we presently came to the little 
hamlet of Criglersville, almost on a continuation of these 
rolled down stones, I thought it insecurely located.* I 
suppose we rode through Madison Court House about 
midday and after several hours more crossed the Rapidan 
at either Liberty Mill or Barboursville, and three or 
four miles further brought us to Terrell's, whence I had 
set out for the army in September before. We had 
made a pretty long day's ride. The next morning, while 
we were engaged in the very short and simple operation 
of Confederate dressing, Harrison,' or his son Robert, 

* I read in the newspaper some years ago of its being swept away by a flood. 

* Harrison Terrell was the valet of General Grant who was inter\'iewed so 
much by reporters in the General's last illness. He died in Washington some 
years ago. He was an excellent man, as a slave and as a freedman. His son 
Robert, who was four or five years old in 1863, went to Harvard when he grew 
up and graduated high in his class. In 1893 when my son, Charles McHenry 
Howard, upon graduating at the law school in Baltimore, was, by the Judge of 


brought to our room a two storey tumbler of mint julep. 
This IS another war time moving picture fixed in my 

Harry Oliver and I did not stay here many days and, 
leaving our horses, we took the cars at Gordonsville for 
Richmond. Here I stayed with my brother, Lieu- 
tenant-Colonel James Howard, commanding the i8th 
and 20th Virginia battalions of Heavy Artillery, holding a 
part of the inner line of Richmond defences, with head- 
quarters in the house of Mrs. Chevalier, opposite the 
Old Fair Ground or Camp of Instruction, where Murray's 
company was quartered at its organization — a mile 
north west of Richmond. 

I now determined to make application for a lieuten- 
ancy in the regular army of the Confederate States, and 
I went to the army at Fredericksburg to ask General 
Jackson for a letter in aid of it. I took the train from 
Richmond and got off at some point— my impression has 
been that it was at Milford and that I rode over in a stage 
coach from that station two miles to Bowling Green, the 
court house town of Caroline County; but perhaps I had 
gone on to Guiney Station. But whether from Bowling 
Green or Guiney, I think I found a place in an ambulance 
or other vehicle which was going over to Moss Neck on 
the Rappahannock River nine miles below Fredericks- 
burg, where General Jackson's headquarters then were. 
The Moss Neck house was a large one with a long front, 
like many Colonial or old houses in Virginia and Mary- 
land, and all the surroundings gave evidence of the wealth 
and social position of the family — the Corbins. I was 

the Superior Court, admitted to practice, I read in next morning's newspaper 
the name of Robert Terrell as one of a party who came over from Washington 
to be admitted at the same time. He is now (1913), I believe, at or near the 
head of one of the legal departments in Washington. 


told that Jackson would not accept a room in the house, 
but established his headquarters in the southwest corner 
of the front yard. Here, at any rate, was a large tent, 
used for meals, and in which slept Dr. Hunter McGuire, 
medical director or chief surgeon of the corps, and per- 
haps other staff officers. 

Towards evening three general officers came in — one, 
I think, was Major-General Jubal Early, another, 
Major-General Rodes^ the third I do not recall — ^and they 
were asked to stay to dinner. A turkey — I think it was 
— was placed on the table in the large tent in which we 
were, and at this moment General Jackson went out for 
some purpose, possibly to say a long grace all by himself. 
Dr. McGuire, who had been lying down on his pallet 
along one side of the tent, sprang to his feet, with a 
suddenness which almost startled me, ** Gentlemen," said 
he, ''wouldn't you like to have a drink before dinner?" 
The general officers made no reply, but looked one. 
McGuire reached down and pulled out a canteen from 
under his bed and thrust it into the hands of one of the 
major-generals, saying, ''Drink quick, the General will 
be back in a moment," and these three generals, high in 
rank, and I — longo intervallo — drank hurriedly, like 
schoolboys doing something wrong on the sly. McGuire 
hastily shoved the canteen back and we all straightened 
up just as Jackson reentered, whereupon we sat down to 
dinner. If Stonewall smelled anything he made no sign. 

The next morning "Sandy" (Alexander S.) Pendleton, 
his adjutant-general, gave me the letter I had asked for. 
I have it now — a prized possession, although I know of 
course, that its recommendation is formal and that the 
giving of it was because of his esteem for General Winder. 
It is all in General Jackson's own handwriting, including 
the indorsement, and I give it exactly here especially 


because, being written on Confederate paper with Confed- 
erate ink, it is becoming less distinct and moreover the 
margin was once slightly damaged by water trickling 
down the wall of my office on which it was hanging. 

It will be noticed that Jackson's recommendation is 
for my appointment in the provisional army, that is, the 
temporary army organized for service during the war 
only, whereas my intention was to apply for a position 
in the regular or standing army. Jackson probably 
misapprehended my purpose. 

This was the last time I saw Stonewall Jackson until, 
on the nth of May, I looked on his face as he lay in his 
coffin at the Governor's house in Richmond. 

I returned to Richmond, probably on the day I received 
his letter, which was either the i6th or 17th of January. 
I then wrote to General Steuart and to General Trimble 
and they sent me the following letters of recommendation. 
General Steuart's being also endorsed by General Elzey: 

Savannah, Fcby. 7th, 1863. 
The Hon. Jas. A. Seddon, Secretary of War. 

Sir. — I have the honor to recommend to you for an appointment in the mili- 
tary service of the Confederate States McHenry Howard of Maryland. He is 
well qualified for duty as an Assistant Adjutant-General, Ordnance Officer, or 
in t' e line of the army. At the commencement of the war he came to Virginia, 
went into service immediately in Company H of the ist Md. Regt. then forming, 
where he was at once appointed Sergeant. He served in the ist Md. Regt. 
under my command for more than nine months, in the most soldier-like, faithful 
and exact manner, so much so that it was my intention of endeavouring to have 
him promoted at the first opportunity. In March 1862 he was selected as Aid- 
de-Camp by the late Brig. Genl. C. S. Winder and served as such until that gal- 
lant and highly accomplished Officer was killed at the battle of Cedar Run in 
August last. He was at the first battle of Manassas, in those of the Valley of 
Virginia under Genl. Jackson, and around Richmond under Genl. Lee, and 
various skirmishes with the enemy. At the death of Genl. Winder his appoint- 
ment as Aid-de-Camp ceased, but he was informed he would receive another 
appointment in the Army. He, however, lost no time in endeavoring to do all 
in his power to facilitate the formation of the Maryland Battalion. About that 
time I recommended him for the appointment of ordnance officer on my staflF, 
and afterwards addressed several communications to the War Dept. on the 


/^-e.*^ Aw-jt-JS^ ^ Cj^ fi-'f!'Jrr 

y ^, i<-7 /{ . //f/'-^ 

i-^c^-^ch^j^ jlTC S t^^tCb . W^ ^ /l*^ -^j^ 9l£^ 
/Jj^ i^-^-i.*-^ZJ;^a..v-..sji2-V- 4~~^^^-*-^€X y^'^^J y^prk4 i^t^-L^/^ 

Photograph of Jackson's Letter of January 16, 1862 








subject, but he was not appointed, as I had earnestly hoped he would have been. 
Whilst with Gen. Winder he acquired a thorough knowledge of the duties of 
an assistant adjutant and inspector general. When I was commanding at 
Winchester last fall he not only performed the duties of ordnance officer but oc- 
casionally the above mentioned in the most satisfactory manner. I cannot in 
fact speak of him in too high terms, and most earnestly recommend him to your 
favourable consideration. 
I am sir with great respect, 

Yr. obt. servant 

Geo. H. Steuast, 
Brig. Genl. P.A.C.S. 

Richmond, Va., Feb. 28, 1863. 
Mr. Howard served under my command in the ist Md. Regt. I know him 
to be a good soldier, and worthy of the confidence and consideration of the 
Government, and therefore take great pleasure in recommending him for a posi- 
tion in the Army. 

Very respectfully 

Arnold Elzey, 
Maj. Genl. 

General Trimble's letter is as follows: 

Charlottesville, Jany. 24th, 63. 
HoNBLE. J. A. Seddon, Scc. of War. 

Sir: — I take the liberty of bringing to your notice McHeniy Howard — son 
of Charles Howard of Balto. who with other citizens suffered a long incarceration 
in Fort La Fayette for the cause of the South. Young Howard entered the 
Army as a private in the Maryland Regt. and encountered all the hardships of 
the service unflinchingly for a year, when he was appointed by the late Genl. 
Winder his Aid-de-Camp. After the death of that gallant officer, Howard was 
made the acting Ordnance Officer in Genl. Steuart*s Brigade, serving as such 
until a short time ago. In every position occupied by young Howard in the 
Army he has acquitted himself with conspicuous success and merit. 

After near two years experience in the Army, he now asks for a commission 
in the Confederate service, and it appears to me that his personal worth and high 
moral character, as well as his father's sacrifices in the cause of liberty and South- 
em rights, recommend him to the favourable notice of the Dept. 

I have the honour to be respectfully. 

Your obt. Sevt. 


Brig. Genl. 

On February 17, I filed at the War Department my 
application for appointment, which I see does not say in 



terms in the regular army, but it was so meant and was so 
understood : 

Near Richmond, February 17th, 1863. 
Hon. James A. Seddon, Secretary of War. 

Snt: — I have the honor respectfully to make application for a Commission 
in the Military Service of the Confederate States. 

On the I St day of June 1861 1 left Baltimore and entered the Army as a ser- 
geant in the ist Maryland Regt. and continued in that capacity until appointed 
Aide-de-Camp to the late Brig. Genl. Chas. S. Winder. Owing to his death at 
the battle of Cedar Run in August last my Commission expired, and shortly 
after I was nominated by Brig. Genl. Geo. H. Steuart, com'd'g. Md. Line, for 
the position of Ordnance Officer on his StafiF. I continued to perform such duty 
until the ist of January last. The appointment, however, was not made. 

I respectfully refer you to the accompanying letters of recommendation from 
Lieut. Genl. Jackson, Major Genl. Trimble and Brig. Genl. Steuart. 

I am, sir, very respectfully, 

Your obt. servt. 

McHenry Howard. 

On this application appears the following endorsement: 

McHenry Howard 
Richmond, Feby. 17/63. 
Applies for Commission in C. S. Army. Entered ist Md. Regt. as a private, 
was made ist Sgt. of Compy. H, served more than 9 months in that position 
when he was appointed A.D.C. to Genl. Chas. S, Winder and served with him 
until his death at Cedar Run. He then served on Genl. Geo. Steuart's Staff as 
Ordnance Officer. Is the son of Chas. Howard of Baltimore who was incarcer- 
ated in Fort La Fayette. Recommended by Lt. Genl. Jackson, Genl. Trimble 
and Genl. Geo. Steuart. 

Reed. Feby. 1863 File. 

I may add that the way I come to have this application 
and the letters now is that General Trimble having been 
very soon after his letter made a major-general and there- 
upon having given me a position on his staff, I withdrew 
them from the war office. I must have appreciated the 
letters, especially Jackson's, even then — I value them 
infinitely more now. I make no excuse for giving Stone- 
wall Jackson's letter here — a smaller circle for whom I 
write my story will care to have recorded in it the other 
kind and partial letters. 


Richmond to Montgomery Sulphur Springs 

AND Halifax County 

Several times in 1863 I essayed to keep a diary and 
I cannot do better than to reproduce the entries here, with 
some omissions and immaterial changes in phraseology 
and with comments. The first entry is dated 21st 
January when I was staying with my brother near 
Richmond, suffering from something like scurvy, on 
account of which I had left active service in the Valley 
and which seemed to be aggravated and to be running a 
rather severe course. 

''Richmond, Jan. 21, 1863. A windy and rainy day — 
such a one as we used to dread on the coast before the 
War, but now we hail it as a friend. May it send some of 
Bumside's vessels to the bottom! 

**3ist. Opening of Charleston Harbor! Breaking up 
of the blockade! Heard of the sinking of some of the 
enemy's gunboats and scatteration of the rest with novel 
sensations. We have been looking to foreign nations to 
break the blockade when this demonstrates that we can 
do it ourselves. A city possessing the necessary materials 
for constructing gun boats can always build them of 
sufficient strength to keep its harbor open.^ 

**Feb. 1st. Nothing but good news — that from the 
North showing the dissensions of our enemy most encour- 

* This refers to an attack made on the blockading squadron on the morning 
of this day by Commodore Ingraham with two ironclad rams when several of the 
blockading vessels were injured and all were driven out of sight, so that the har- 
bor remained open for several hours or half a day. 



aging of all. May this diary of the latter part of the war 
be a brief one ! 

** February 2d. A mild, beautiful day, like Spring. 

''February 3d. Ground covered with snow! One of 
the coldest days of the winter. Our poor soldiers! 

''February 24th. A long interval, full of annoyances — 
snow, rain, interspersed with a few days of lovely weather. 
Confined to my room for almost three weeks with the 
most violent cold I ever had. Got some croton ojI in 
my eye, which was consequently closed for three or four 
days." [The Doctor told me to rub my throat with it, 
which I did so plentifully, not knowing its potency, that 
some went up my cheek and into one eye. My brother 
came home in the evening and found me stumbling about 
the room and upsetting the chairs in the extreme pain it 
caused me. He went over to Camp Lee (as the Old 
Fair Ground or Camp of Instruction had now come to be 
called), and brought back Dr. John Boyle, of Maryland, 
who gave me a soothing lotion, but the eyeball felt as if 
it had a wound or scar for some time. Meanwhile my 
run down physical condition had not improved. If I 
bent my arm the tightened skin would break in many 
places and sores also came on my body. For a week or 
two I had been living almost wholly on some arrow root 
which I got in Richmond and cooked with water, only 
sweetened with a little brown sugar.] 

"Have been sick from exposure and coarse fare in the 
Valley for more than two months, so determined to visit 
the Montgomery Sulphur Springs for the water. Started 
from Richmond on February 21 at 5 p.m. Soon began to 
snow. Ran off the track at Farmville and delayed until 
middle of next day. Next, snowed up and train got no 
further than Appomattox that day. Spent the night 
there in the car. Next morning proceeded slowly and 


reached Lynchburg at 2 p.m. Had not eaten a mouthful 
except two or three apples since morning before.* Stopped 
at the Norvell House, where I now write, will lay over 
until tomorrow morning. Queer time to go to Springs, 
ground covered with snow!" 

[When I left Richmond my brother gave me a letter 
to Captain Decie, an English or Irish gentleman who was 
staying at the Montgomery Springs in the summer of 
1862 when he, my brother, was there with Major-General 
Gustavus W. Smith on whose staff he then was. General 
Smith's health had broken down after he succeeded 
General Joseph E. Johnston who was wounded on the 
first day of the battle of Seven Pines, and he went, with 
his personal staff, to these Springs to recuperate. Cap- 
tain Decie was having his separate table at the Springs at 
which he hospitably entertained the General and staff, 
since when he had built himself a house. I now by 
accident found Captain Decie staying at the Norvell 
House and presented my letter of introducton. He told 
me that the Springs were closed and the buildings were 
used as a Confederate Hospital, but he added that I 
would, of course, go to his house, an invitation which he 
pressed and I accepted. But he requested me to wait 
two or three days before going, when I would find them 
ready to receive me there, although he would still be 
absent a few days]. 

'* February 27th. Still at Lynchburg. Queer, out- 
landish old place — built on side of a hill, some of the 
streets so steep that I walked several squares before I 
would venture to descend to the parallel street below, 
the pavements being very slippery with snow. Not 

* My cxi>erience on this trip will give an illustration of the condition of the 
Confederate railroad service and the inconveniences of travel. It is now about 
a four hours run from Richmond to Lynchburg. 


nearly as pretty a place as Winchester and other Virginia 
towns. Altogether an unsightly place to my eyes. Para- 
dise for small boys in winter time on account of facilities 
for sledding, but purgatory for everybody else. Glad 
to leave it tomorrow." 

[My unfavorable impression of Lynchburg in my then 
condition of health and low spirits was much changed on 
my next visit.] 

''March ist. Left Lynchburg at 4 a.m. yesterday." 
[By the Virginia and Tennessee Railroad — now a part of 
the Norfolk and Western Railway system.] "Passed 
the Peaks of Otter at daylight. Arrived at Captain 
Decie's, near Montgomery Springs, at 12m. Met a 
most cordial reception. This morning walked over to 
the Springs, one and a half miles distant; am now sitting 
by the Spring imbibing sulphur water. Drank a bottle 
of claret yesterday with great satisfaction and almost 
forgot the war. Received also some gloves, socks, etc., 
from Baltimore with my initials in my dear mother's 
writing on a card attached to each one. " 

The Montgomery Sulphur Springs are in Montgomery 
County, Virginia, about eighty miles west from Lynch- 
burg, in the Alleghany Mountains at an elevation of 2000 
feet. The Hotel and Spring are a mile and a half north 
of the Railroad Station, with which it is or was connected 
by a tram road. But the Hotel had been closed and a 
Confederate Hospital was there. Captain Decie's house 
was on a high hill nearer to the station and east of the 
tram road. This house, a large two-story one with four 
large rooms on each floor, had just been finished before 
my arrival and a road to it from near the station and 
winding up the hill side had been graded, at the foot of 
which and alongside a large fish pond was being dug. 
All these improvements — the graded road was over half 


a mile long — must have cost a lot of money. Captain 
Decie had run the blockade into the Confederacy in his 
yacht, the famous America, which a few years before the 
war had made such a sensation by crossing the Atlantic 
from the United States and beating all the British vessels 
in a great boat race off the Isle of Wight. He brought 
his wife and children. I understood it was while at- 
tempting to run the blockade a second time and when he 
was not with it (being at these Springs, I think), that the 
America was captured on the southern coast and it was 
used by the blockading fleet.' His yacht library, of 
some eighty or one hundred volumes in pasteboard bind- 
ing, with the bookcase and some other furniture, seemed 
to have been saved and gave me interesting reading. I 
understood that in connection with the running of the 
blockade he had rendered some services to the Confeder- 
ate government, for which the authorities showed him 
attentions. Once when I remarked that I had made 
application for a commission in the regular army, '' Yes, " 
said he, ** I was present when your application was laid 
before President Davis, and he said that no appoint- 
ments in the regular army were being made." That 
was the reply made to me when I enquired about my 
application at the War Office. Noticing that in his 
small library there were several books about Garabaldi, I 
once spoke of it and Captain Decie said he was with him 
at Buenos Ayres — or perhaps that he was at Buenos 
Ayres when Garabaldi attempted to get up his revolution 
there ; and he went into some details. I am not sure he 
did not add that he was with him, or knew him, in Italy. 
I also noticed an English yacht book in which Captain 
Decie's name appeared as a mem berof one of the leading 

' After the war it was owned by General Ben Butler, of ill fame. 


Clubs (the Royal Scotch?). But he was a taciturn man 
and spoke very little about his own life. While at the 
Springs Hotel the year before he had lost three children 
in quick succession by diphtheria, leaving only one or two, 
a calamity which had much impaired Mrs. Decie's 
health, so that I saw very little of her. But she once 
pointed to one of several colored pictures of the 
Crimean war, I think the particular one was of the battle 
of Inkerman, and told me that her father was an English 
general and was killed there. I have her visiting card, 
*' Mrs. Decie, Phele House. " About Confederate money 
at least, Captain Decie was very careless. A few days 
before I left he sold a number of sheep for $3500 in that 
currency and asked me to count the money, which I did 
and handed it back to him. He rolled it up and tied a 
string around it and to my surprise tossed the bundle 
carelessly on the top of the low bookcase. I said ''Why, 
Captain, you were only the other day warning me not to 
leave anything valuable lying around as your Portuguese 
servant was not honest." '*0h," said he, '*a servant 
will never think of looking there." When the furnish- 
ing of the Red Sulphur Springs — about forty miles 
across the country was sold out the year before, he had 
gone over and bought the entire stock of wine, which he 
was liberally dispensing when my brother was here. 
And now every day before dinner, at sunset, he would 
bring up from the cellar several bottles of claret which he 
expected me to consume before bedtime. He was very 
abstemious himself and hardly tasted the claret even. 

My health improved much and I would be most un- 
grateful if I did not always remember Captain Decie's 

But to return to my diary. 

"March 3d. Am much better — attributable to 


change of climate and living. A cold, windy day. 
Snowflakes occasionally falling, although sky not cov- 
ered with clouds. 

''March 7th. Received yesterday a letter from Gen- 
eral Trimble offering me position of A.D.C. on his Staff. 
Answered this morning accepting. Very pleasant posi- 
tion — puts me with several of my best friends on his Staff 
and at same time in my old Division where I have so 
many pleasant associations. " 

General Trimble's letter was as follows : 

Hd. Qrs. Trimble's Div. Feby. 28th, 63. 
My dear Sir: — I am able to offer you the position of Aid on my Staff, which I 
do with great pleasure and hope you may be able to accept it. Please write me 
on receipt of this. 

Yours truly 

I. R. Trimble, 
McHenry Howard. Maj. Genl. 

If you can procure the order from Adjt. Genl. do so and join me here. 

My reply explained why I could not immediately join 

Montgomery White Sulphur Springs, March 8, 1863. 

General: — A copy of your letter was forwarded by my brother Jim and 
reached me yesterday. I accept your offer of the position of A.D.C. on your 
Staff with many thanks and much pleasure. It is a position singularly grateful 
to me, bringing into contact with yourself and so many of my friends on your 
Staff, and at the same time placing me again in that Division in which I have 
already seen so much service. Jim writes me word, however, that there seems 
to be some difficulty in the way as you have already nominated two Aides in 
Richmond. I presume this will be soon cleared up. I was quite sick in Rich- 
mond during the months of January and February, and the Doctor finally 
ordered me to this place to drink the Sulphur water. Under the influence of 
the water and a change of climate and manner of life, I am slowly but stead- 
ily getting well. I hop>e it will not be necessary for me to remain here more 
than a week or ten days longer. I am very desirous of joining you as soon as 

Hoping to be with you soon, I remain, 

Very truly yours 

McHenry Howard. 
Major General I. R. Trimble, Commanding Division, 2d Corps, Army No. Va. 


My old messmate and friend, W. Duncan McKim, 
together with whom I had left Murray's company for 
Richmond on 26th March 1862, we receiving Staff ap- 
pointments at the same time, I on Winder's and he on 
Trimble's, wrote to me at the same time, welcoming me 
to the staff. 

General Trimble, on recovering from a bad wound in 
the leg received in the second Manassas battles, was in 
January 1863, nominated to be major-general and was 
confirmed April 23 — by the Senate. Upon his nomina- 
tion he was assigned by General Lee to the command of 
"Jackson's Old Division," sometimes called the "Stone- 
wall Division," thus in fact succeeding Winder. The 
difficulty mentioned in my letter of his having already 
appointed two aids (a major-general was entitled to two,) 
was adjusted in some way; I think one of his nominees 
behaved badly in some manner before receiving his 
appointment and I was named in his stead. At any rate 
I received a certificate of appointment signed by Samuel 
W. Melton, assistant adjutant-general at Richmond, 
dated March 12, 1863, to rank from February i, "subject 
to confirmation by the Senate at their present session," 
and I afterwards received a more formal notice of my 
appointment by the President, dated April 23 and signed 
by James A. Seddon, Secretary of War. 

[But I go back to my diary at the Montgomery Springs 
Captain Decie's] 
March nth 1863. Heavy fall of snow yesterday — 
today melting rapidly. 

" I2th. Snowed a little early this morning, but now sun 
shining brightly. A different sort of life from what I have 
been accustomed to the last two years. I do little but 
write and read novels and light literature all day. 
Shall I settle down into my old student life when this 



unhappy war is over? I only know I am somewhat 
changed. Many of my most cherished opinions and 
modes of thought are altered, I now see that there are 
other ways of learning worldly wisdom than by books. 
I am uncertain whether the experience of the past two 
years has been more advantageous than hurtful. 

"Sunday, 15th March. Very little difference between 
Sunday and any other day. Oh, for a quiet, peaceful 
Sabbath of the old time ! 

" March 1 7th. A warm most lovely day. A few more 
such and we shall hear of stirring news from the front. 

"March 20th. A cheerless day — ground covered 
several inches with snow — or rather, hail. Began to 
rain day before yesterday evening. Yesterday morn- 
ing changed to hail, which has continued at intervals 
ever since. 

"March 23d. Continued hailing until the day before 
yesterday morning. Ground several inches deep with 
hail. Yesterday went to take the cars to go to Lynch- 
burg but no train. Started again today. Came 10 or 
12 miles when delayed by landslide and did not arrive in 
Lynchburg until night." 

[The next entry in my diary is on June 26, but it goes 
back to the last above.] 

"June 26th" [after some moralizing]. "Arriving in 
Lynchburg on March 23rd, I remained there several 
days with Davis Thomson.* Impressions of Lynchburg 
very different now. Received with great kindness by 
the G's and S's. I had a most agreeable time." [These 
were the Garland and Slaughter families, at whose 
houses, on Dr. Thomson's introduction, I spent agreeable 

* Surgeon Ignatius Davis Thomson, of Maryland, who had one of the Con- 
federate military hospitals in Lynchburg. 


Before I left Captain Decie's he had corresponded with 
Captain McCorkle, a leading business man of Lynch- 
burg, and agreed to buy from him bonds of the Confed- 
erate States $15,000,000 Cotton Loan, as an investment 
of the $3500 sheep money. These bonds were considered 
a "gilt edge" investment, having as security the cotton 
bought up by the Government. I had brought with me 
Decie's cheque on a Blacksburg or Christiansburg Bank 
which I tendered to McCorkle. He wanted me to en- 
dorse it, but I said I did not like to put my name on any 
paper as if it lent value when my signature, as an exiled 
Marylander, was worth nothing. I suggested tele- 
graphing to the bank, which he did, and the reply being 
satisfactory, he took the cheque and gave the bonds, 
which I sent to Decie. After spending several days in 
Lynchburg, my diary states briefly that I proceeded to 
Richmond and then after a few days went to Halifax 
County, on the North Carolina border, to see my sister- 
in-law, the wife of my brother Major Charles Howard, 
who was making a long stay with her friend Mrs. 
Nannie (Clark) Bruce at her place *'Tarover," in a fine 
section of country near South Boston Depot, on the 
Richmond and Danville Railroad. This was a great 
contrast to the region in which I had been staying, being 
an old settled and well cultivated country, with many 
large plantations and fine houses. Near by was the 
imposing residence of Mr. James Bruce — ** Berry Hill — 
one of the wealthiest men of Virginia, where, I was told, 
even some of the washbasins were of silver. Another 
neighbor, Mr. Claiborne, interested me (although he 
himself was absent in service) as being a direct descen- 
dant of William Claiborne who gave Maryland so much 
trouble at its settlement. 


This was farther south than I had ever been before and 
I noticed some difference in trees and vegetation. There 
were also peculiarities of speech, particularly among the 
children and negroes, some of our usual compound words, 
for instance, being inverted — ^as peck oVood for wood- 
pecker. The Bruce and Howard children spoke of the 
"possum pan" in the kitchen, and we determined that it 
was, of course, the pan in which the the negroes cooked 
possums. But it further appeared that the pan was 
lined with porcelain, which they evidently corrupted to 
the familiar sounding name to them of *' possum." I 
have no doubt many plausible and accepted derivations 
are as erroneous as our first assumption in this instance. 

In this easy and luxurious life, remote from war's 
alarms, my health steadily improved, and I was the 
more willing to stay so long because General Trimble 
had been compelled to go away from the army on account 
of an attack of erysipelas — probably from his wounded 

My diary, still under date of June i6th, briefly says: 

"Remained" [at Tarover] "a month, when battles at 
Chancellorsville brought me to Richmond. Arrived too 
late to take part, so, after waiting several days to see if 
I could aid in removing Duncan's body and spending a 
week in Louisa*^ and Orange* Counties, my health not 
being completely re-established and General Trimble 
being still off duty sick, I determined to return to Hali- 
fax County for a week or two. 

What havoc among my friends at Chancellorsville! 
Duncan McKim — there was no nobler man from our 

* At Jerdone Castle, General Clayton G. Coleman's place, near Fredericks- 

• At Oliver H. P. Terrell's place, Glencoe, near Gordonsville. 


Stated It may have been well for me that I was not 
in the fight, but it was a miserable feeling to think of my 
friends falling in discharge of their duty and I not there." 

After a few more words my diary stops and is not 
resumed until the 28th of June. But I was in Richmond 
at the time of Stonewall Jackson's funeral services there, 
for I went to take a last look at him on the evening of 
May 1 1 when his body lay in the Governor's house, and 
next day I marched a part of the way in the funeral 
procession through the streets when his body was borne 
to the Capitol, claiming a place among the representa- 
tives of the Stonewall Brigade. And I think it was about 
May 15 when I returned to Halifax. The last of May 
or 1st of June I received a letter from General Trimble 
informing me that he was assigned to the command of the 
Valley District, with the Marylanders under him ; that I 
was not to join him yet however, and would be put on the 
duty of going about in the army or elsewhere looking up 
Maryland men and facilitating their transfer to his com- 
mand. And I think he added that he would send me 
further and specific instructions. 

So I went to Richmond and waited for orders. 

^ Major William Duncan McKim, chief of staff of Trimble's Division, was 
killed on May 2 while riding with conspicuous gallantry along the front of the 
line. He was buried on the field but ten days aftenvards his cousin Randolph 
H. McKim removed his body to Staunton. After the war his body was brought 
to Baltimore and finally interred in Greenmount Cemetery . . 

Lieutenant Alfred Hoffman, of Baltimore, also of Trimble's staff, was twice 
wounded in the same battle, in the leg and foot. He was taken to Richmond, to 
the house of Mrs. Allan, Main and 4th (?) streets, where I saw him several times 
and did not suppose his wounds mortal, but after several weeks he died. 

Charles Edward Grogan, of Baltimore, serving on the same staff as a volun^ 
teer, was wounded in the shoulder. 

All these were serving as staff officers for Brigadier-General Raleigh T. 
Colston, commanding the division in General Trimble's absence. 

Majok-Genexai. Isaac Ridgewav Tkiuble, C.S.A. 


Richmond to Maryland and Pennsylvania 
AND Back to the Potomac 

I do not remember hearing from General Trimble 
again and I got very restive at reports of our army having 
started from Fredericksburg towards Maryland once 
more. I suppose the entry in my diary under June 
1 6th was made in Richmond and that I left there imme- 
diately or soon after, going as far as Terrell's in Orange 
County. But I heard such accounts of the army having 
arrived in the lower valley and apparently aiming for 
Maryland that I determined to wait no longer and to 
put off after it, feeling sure that General Trimble would 
go with it. I lingered still a day or two trying to find a 
companion for the long ride of nearly a hundred miles, as 
I had done the year before. Indeed the road over the 
Blue Ridge was said to be not safe, from Confederate 
deserters or skulkers in the mountains. But no compan- 
ion turning up, I set out by myself on Sunday June 28. 
And on the road I took up my diary again as follows : 

"June 28th [1863]. Left Terrell's this morning at 
9.30 a.m. Rainy weather, wind from the east, has been 
so many days." [I had cut across the country about 
three miles to Barboursville, where I had struck the 
Turnpike Road from Gordonsville to Swift Run Gap and 
on it had passed through Stannardsville, the county 
town of Greene County, being about thirteen miles 
further and three or four miles from the Gap entrance.] 
''Rained but slightly until I entered Swift Run Gap 
when a hard shower. Stood it for two or three mile 



when compelled to take refuge in a bam. Refreshed 
both man and beast, the first with bread, chicken and 
strawberry wine, the second with a little com, for all 
which thanks to forethought of Mr. and Mrs. Terrell. 
Am now sitting on a pile of straw in Swift Run Gap, 
with mountains all around. Today is Sunday. The 
rain shows no sign of ceasing and as I must get across 
the mountain before night I must start again. Sunday 
night. It rained all the way as I passed over the moun- 
tain and I, therefore, missed the beautiful view. How- 
ever, I have seen this and others similar in the Blue 
Ridge before. Lost my road a mile or two. Have put 
up for the night at the most out of the world place 
imaginable, mountains all around. But my thoughts 
are over the hills and far away. Recognized every 
place this side of the Gap." [We had camped here in 
April, 1862]. "All reminded me of [General] C[harles] 
W[inder]. Yesterday was anniversary of the battle of 
Gaines's Mill. 

"June 28th [this is an evident mistake for 30th]. Rode 
yesterday [i.e. June 29th] from Swift Run Gap through 
Luray, the county town of Page County, to within 
seventeen miles of Front Royal. Rain then became so 
heavy that, as night was not far off, concluded to stop. 
Both man and horse very tired. And so staid last 
night at the house of a Mrs. Keyser — a fine specimen of 
the Valley woman — a short distance east of the road. 
A young woman staying here whose husband was killed 
at Cedar Run three months after marriage. Came forty 
miles yesterday,^ have to go thirty-six today to reach 
Winchester. Still raining. Must start again. Midday. 
Rained ever since I started. Have arrived at Front 

* Hardly so far. 


Royal [county seat of Warren County] and stopped to 
feed my horse. Mountain tops around are obscured by 
rain clouds and mist. 

"July 3d. Arrived at Winchester about dark [i. e. on 
June 30th] and put up with the "Irish Battalion" in the 
fortifications.* Went to see my Winchester friends and 
concluded to lay by next day to dry after so many rainy 
days." [Unfortunately, or perhaps fortunately, this 
day's laying off, on July i, made me miss at least the last 
day's battle at Gettysburg, although I was in time to be 
in a part of the side operations, as will be seen. But we 
knew little about the army and were not expecting it to 
have a battle just yet. I found that General Trimble 
had left his command of the Valley District and gone on 
with the army, and I determined, of course, to follow 

"July 1st. Spent the day at Winchester and started 
[on July 2] at about 11 a.m. Overtook at Bunker Hill 
William E. Colston [of Baltimore, who had been a com- 
rade in Murray's company of the ist Maryland and who 
was now riding on to the army as a volunteer, so went on 
together]. Arrived at Martinsburg that evening and 
took supper and put up my horse at the hotel — genuine 
coffee! Met Dr. Hunter and stayed with him that 
night. [July 3.] Left Martinsburg at 10 a.m. and 
arrived at Williamsport [on the Maryland side of the 
Potomac] at 2 p.m. Joined a body of cavalrymen and 
came one mile* when we stopped to feed, where I am now 

* My old messmate in Murray's company, D. Giraud Wright, was a lieuten- 
ant in this command, the proper name of which was the ''First Virginia Bat- 
talion of Regulars. " The fortifications were on a hill on the north side of the 
town — having been constructed by the enemy. 

* He afterwards joined Mosby's Partisan Rangers and was killed in an attack 
on Cole's cavalry camp near Harpers' Ferry on January lo, 1864. 

^ On the Williamsport and Chambersburg road. 


writing. Road not safe to army and therefore glad of 
my company." [This body of cavalry was not a regular 
organization, but about thirty or forty loose men of 
different commands, mostly of McCausland's (?), re- 
turning to the army under charge of two officers — a cap- 
tain and lieutenant — or both lieutenants]. 

"Exciting news from the army! Lee reported march- 
ing on Baltimore. Am on the soil of my State first time 
for twenty-five months. 

"July 4. Rode on at dark yesterday for seven miles 
when we met a squad coming hastily back, reporting that 
they had been attacked and lost their wagon eight or 
nine miles ahead, so concluded to stop for the night." 
[In a stubble field, the wheat having been lately cut and 
in shocks. We fed the wheat to our horses and used 
sheaves for pillows, under the clear sky.] "Not an 
agreeable position. Started this morning" [July 4th — 
but I will amplify my diary a little.] 

We had come to within a mile of Greencastle, in Penn- 
sylvania, when we heard a shot in front and then met a 
cavalryman— an army mail carrier— galloping down the 
road, who reported that he had been attacked while 
passing through the town. We halted and our senior 
officer called for volunteers to form an advance party. 
Colston and I, a Marylander named Hack and I think 
another Marylander, with two or three others responded, 
and we went forward, the rest of the men following a 
hundred yards in rear. Our small party entered Green- 
castle, which seemed sullenly quiet, doors and windows 
closed and nobody on the street. We were approaching a 
point where the road or street appeared to branch like 
the letter Y, when we were suddenly fired on and cavalry- 
men came dashing down the forks. I heard window- 
panes breaking around. We exchanged shots but our 


little party soon fell back and the "Yankees" charged 
after us. I stayed long enough to see forty or more and 
others were still coming from the forks. We found our 
main body had fled and we went on too, the enemy close 
after us. So we ran for two miles. I tried to rein in my 
mare several times — so much that the blanket fell out 
from under the loosened saddle — but each time bullets 
came pretty thick and I let her run again. But the road 
was obscured by the cloud of dust we had kicked up and 
the shooting was wild. The pressure behind presently 
let up but it was impossible to stop the men, who kept on 
at a rapid gait for another mile or two before we got into 
some sort of order again, finding the enemy had discon- 
tinued the pursuit. Our two officers had disappeared, 
probably mingling with the men, and abandoning the 
command to me. We were going back more leisurely 
when we came to a side road which came in from the 
east and saw the fresh prints of horses' feet entering our 
road. But I judged from the tracks that it was not a 
large party and this was confirmed on questioning people 
at houses that we passed. I therefore said to the men 
that when we overtook them (they were going the same 
way that we were — towards Williamsport) we must 
immediately charge them and make our way through or 
past, as our enemies in rear might come up at any mo- 
ment. But most of them began to lag disgracefully behind 
leaving only Colston, Hack and the other Marylander 
and less than half a dozen more, to form the advance 
or fighting party. We had not gone far (half an hour) 
when on reaching the top of a rise in the road, we saw 
them, not more than twelve or fifteen, just in front and 
jogging along quietly, unconscious of our approach. We 
immediately fired on and then charged them and after 
returning a few shots, they broke and ran, soon turning 


off the roadr one; after anotlier and srampenng 
the BMs. Just before we diarged, I had fired my pistol 
at a man wbo tumbled from his horse, but of ooorse 
somebody else*s bullet may have struck him. Him we 
pfdttd up and put on his horse and carried on with us, and 
also another whom we captured. His wound was a 
furrow along the top of the head and I suppose was not a 
serious one. Ha\ing thus scattered this scoutii^ pa^ty, 
the main body of our men, who had been skulking 
behind, strung along the road, now dosed up and we 
continued towards WllliamspcHt. We presendy saw a 
solitary horseman on the Ihow of a rise in the road ahead 
who we were sure was a Confederate coming up from 
Williamsport, but he had heard the firing and distrusted 
our friendly signals and stood gazing at us until vre 
approached when he wheeled and put spurs to his horse 
to the next rise, and so we diased him (if I remember right 
it turned out to be Major Page of the Artillery) in a 
ridiculous way from rise to rise, all the distance back to 
Williamsport — and also a squad which had gradually 
collected with him. So much for my twenty hours in 
Maryland and Pennsylvania, and also for my only cav- 
alry experience. I had fired but the one shot, being 
busy with the men, and this one of the only two shots I 
fired during the war.' I should add that in this little 
campaign we had three men captured — at Greencastle — 
and one wounded, who got off. The two officers came to 
the front again when we neared Williamsport and re- 
sumed command. 

• At the firnt battle of Manassas, being a sergeant, and therefore behind the 
ranks, I had uicm^cd forward saying, "let a Sergeant take a shot," and fired my 
musket into the woods where the enemy were, or had just been, because I thought 
it might be the only battle of the war and I did not want it to end without my 
having fired a shot I 


My diary says that having crossed the Potomac at 
Williamsport I was on the Virginia side at 2 p.m. (July 
5) in a pouring rain and rode back 4 miles to spend the 
night at a house. (I think it probable that I went with 
Willie Colston to "Honeywood" — ^a Colston homestead.) 

I resume my diary: 

"July 6th [Monday]. Yesterday morning came back 
to the river and found a large part of the wagon train of 
the army on the Maryland side, unable to cross the swoll- 
en water. It had been attacked on the road back and 
lost one or two hundred wagons. The army has had 
three days' fighting and from what I hear the enemy were 
not routed. Our loss heavy. Our Marylanders cut to 
pieces. Apprehended an attack all day — ^we are in a 
dangerous position [i.e., the wagon train]. Generals 
William E. Jones and Imboden command here. Served 
for a while on Jones's staff yesterday; he left in the eve- 
ning. This morning [July 6th] no signs of river falling- 
hear that Lee captured 15,000 day before yesterday but 
that Longstreet was killed. 

''July 7th. Yesterday while at dinner cannon and 
musketry opened on the hill above.* Rode up after 
dinner and found that the Yankees were making a 
brisk attack to capture our wagon train which now 
amounts to more than 1000 vehicles at this point. Team- 
sters and others armed and great confusion. We had 
over a dozen guns [cannon] and the firing continued 
until dark when the Yankees were driven back. Alarmed 
once or twice last night by severe picket firing. Dreamed 
that a great reward was offered me to leave the army. 
Glad to find that even in a dream had strength to refuse. 

* Between the built up part of Williamsport, on the high ground, and the 
Potomac is a semicircle of low ground on which, particularly to the East, our 
wagon train was thickly crowded. Our line of skirmishers, teamsters and 
others, defended the brow of the high groimd. 


"July 8th. Heard yesterday morning that the road 
was Open to Hagerstown and started to see how far I 
could get. Met Pickett's Division a mile from Williams* 
port and learned that the whole army was at Hagerstown. 
Pickett's Division cut up — ^looked like two or three regi- 
ments, and was guarding four or five thousand prisoners. 
Dead Yankees and horses all along the road from Wil- 
liamsport to Hagerstown, even in the streets of Hagers- 
town.^ Found our army [some distance north of 
Hagerstown] and put up for the evening and night with 
my brother, Surgeon Edward Lloyd Howard. Rained 
hard but slept with tolerable comfort under a blanket 
stretched on fence rails. Another great battle is expected 
near here. Will volunteer with General [George H.] 
Steuart. [I had learned that General Trimble, who 
had left his command of the Valley District and gone on 
with the army, had been severely wounded and left a 
prisoner at Gettysburg.] • 

" Evening [of July 8] Rode over this morning to General 

V Stuart's cavalry had come on the rear of the cavalry force which was at- 
tacking our wagon train and scattered it. 

* General Trimble went along with General Ewell without a command and at 
the successful close of the first day's action he urged Ewell to press on and occupy 
the Gettysburg heights (Cemetery Hill), offering to do so himself if a brigade 
were given him. General Ewell would not do so and, as I have heard, Trimble 
left him, in anger and disappointment. On July 3 General Lee placed him in 
command of two brigades — Lane's and Scales's — of Pender's Division who had 
been wounded, and he went forward in the charge, on Pickett's left and fell at 
or near the enemy's line with a wound in the same leg which had been struck at 
Second Manassas. He said to the surgeon that if he had then taken the leg ofif 
as he had told him he would not now have received this second wound. It was 
now amputated and he remained a prisoner until just before the close of the war, 
although General Lee, who had a high opinion of him, had tried to effect his 

I held my rank and position as his aide-de-camp to the end of the war, while 
serving voluntarily with other generals, the theory being that an aide was liable 
to duty only with the general on whose personal staff he was. 


George H. Steuart's headquarters,* where I met with a 
cordial reception from old friends — glad to find that all 
on his staff escaped [Captain George Williamson, Assis- 
tant Adjutant-General, first Lieutenant Randolph H. 
McKim, aide de camp, and Major George H. Kyle, 
commissary, all Marylanders]. Will probably stay with 
him as another fight is expected. Weather cleared off. 

"July 9th. Nothing of special interest to record until 
night ; an order has just come from Major-General Eklward 
Johnson to hold the brigade in readiness to move at a 
moment's notice, as there is at least a division of the 
enemy at Wa3mesboro, Pennsylvania eight miles off, 
which will probably move on us at daylight. I am tired 
of war and long for peace, tired of it for myself, for our 
country and those families which lose such dear members 
in every battle. 

"July loth. Aroused at daylight but enemy did not 
come. About ii a.m. received orders to be ready to 
move — enemy at Lighterstown [Leitersburg] a few 
miles off. We are now in readiness to move, but the 
little cannonading which was going on in the distance a 
while ago seems to have ceased. 

"July nth. Remained in readiness until near sunset 
yesterday when moved back two or three miles from 
Hagerstown [i. e. to two or 3 miles south of it, on the 
Williamsport road.] Not much demonstration in passing 
through Hagerstown. Yet it gave a peculiar sensation 
to march through a Maryland town. Oh, that it was 
Baltimore! Reached camp and had dinner or supper 
and went to sleep about 2 a.m. Midday. Reveille 
[this morning] at 4 a.m. and here we have been lying 

'Steuart's Brigade, of Major-General Edward Johnson's Division, Ewell's 
(2d) Corps, was composed of the loth, 23d and 37th Virginia, the ist and 3d 
North Carolina State Troops and the 2d Maryland. 


quietly ever since. I think, we are going to cross the 
Potomac. Alas for our hopes of redeeming our dear 
State. Sunset. At about 12 m. the whole army was 
placed in line of battle and erected breastworks*® of 
fence rails, wheat straw and dirt." Some cannonading 
from time to time at picket line, and for about ten 
minutes there has been sharp musketry firing with pickets 
on our right — going on now. July 12. Slept soundly. 
Yankee drums were distinctly heard a while ago and more 
recently cannon and musketry on picket line — battle 

"July 13th. Picket firing all day yesterday — in 
afternoon spent more than an hour on the picket line — 
had a full view of half a mile of the enemy's line — moving 
down to our right — then drums beating and bands 
playing. This morning not much change. Passed half 
an hour at picket line — sharp firing and pickets on our 
right had been driven back a little. Enemy seem to be 
fortifying, and still moving to our right. Have the 
benefit of their music and drums. Vicksburg has 
fallen! It is very depressing. Midday. More quiet 
now. It is probable we will cross the river tonight. 
Feel very much depressed at the gloomy prospect for 
our State. I look around me constantly to see as much of 
it as I can before leaving it. 

"July 15th. Moved at 10 o'clock night before last. 
It rained drearily and the march was a most tedious one. 
At daylight we reached the Potomac at Williamsport, a 

*° They were flimsy enough, the men having no implements. 

" In the summer of 1906 or 1907 I got off the trolley car half way between 
Williamsport and Hagerstown to wait to take the train on the railroad from 
Hagerstown over to Martinsburg, which crosses the road and trolley line at this 
point, and recognized it at once as the place where the line of our brigade lay in 
line of battle in 1863 — on the west side of the Hagerstown and Williamsport 
road — on the south side of some woods, with open country behind. 


distance of only five miles. Forded the river, it being 
almost to the shoulders of the men — a. picturesque but 
miserable scene." 

[The place where the men waded over was just below 
the mouth of the Connococheague above the deeper 
water where the ferryboat crossed. This ferryboat had 
a wire cable overhead, stretching from bank to bank, on 
which ran two small wheels, and the stern of the flatboat 
being loosened so as to make the current strike the side 
obliquely like the wind on the sails of a vessel, the force of 
the current drove the boat over, like sailing on the wind. 
But of course a large body of troops could not be passed 
over in that slow way. The river had been very high, 
but had fallen just enough for the deep fording. It was 
not easy crossing on my horse.] 

"And so we turned our backs on Maryland. We will 
in all probability never set foot on her soil again with 
arms in our hands. What a change in one month! 
Could not refrain from some bitter tears as I stood on 
the Virginia shore and looked back to our beloved 
State. Realize more than at any time before the prob- 
ability of our being exiled from it forever. Last night 
the band played 'Sweet Home' — ^what a mockery to us 
[Marylanders] !"" 

" My depression was not from any doubt of the final success of the Confeder- 
ate cause, but, particularly, because of the failure of this Maryland campaign 
and the increased chance that the State might be ultimately lost to the Con- 
federacy. I, and as far as my observation went the army generally, did not 
realize for a long time the full effect of Gettysburg. We looked on it as a drawn 
battle, in which the enemy made no coimterstroke and after which our army re- 
mained on its ground for a day and more and then withdrew deliberately and 
without pursuit. And when Meade did come up after a week and confront us 
at Hagerstown, so far from attacking, he proceeded to entrench, and, as we now 
know, was supported by a full Coimcil of War in his hesitation to attack. So 
far as I saw, our men were not disheartened and were as ready to fight as ever 
they were. 

Potomac River to Orange County 

The next entry in my diary is under date of August 8 
but it goes back to July 17. I think we bivouacked a few 
miles after crossing the Potomac on July 14 and resumed 
the march on the 15 and 16 — ^perhaps resting on the 
i6th (1863). 

"Marched the 17th [July], passed through Martins- 
burg and camped at Darkesville, the scene of our [i.e., 
General Steuart and two of his staff] first field experience 
two years ago.^ Remained several days and then moved 
back to a mile northwest of Martinsburg to tear up Bal- 
timore and Ohio Railroad track — a novel occupation. At 
night the light of the burning cross ties illuminated the 

[The method was to detach the rails along one side of 
the track, then a line of men would lift up the ends of the 
ties on that side and overturn them — s, long section at one 
time — to the other side. Then the detached cross ties 
were built up in square piles and the rails were balanced 
on top. When the piles were fired the intense heat 
caused the rails to bend in the middle and so become 
crooked and unserviceable.* Our bivouac at night was 
in the woods several hundred yards southwest of the 

July 21. Moved back to our camp at Darkesville. 

* When General Joseph E. Johnston offered battle to General Patterson be- 
fore marching to Manassas. It is on the Valley Pike, four miles south of Mar- 

*But we were told afterwards that Yankee ingenuity brought a machine 
through which the rails were rolled straight, and repaired the road in less time 
than it had taken us to destroy it. Later in the war the red hot softened rails 
were twisted around trees, which we learned from the ingenuity of our enemies. 



Next morning marched to within three miles North of 
Winchester. Sent out and gathered blackberries (first 
mess of the season!) which, eaten with brown sugar is a 
dish which a soldier only is epicure enough to appreciate. 
At night went in and saw my Winchester friends. 

Early next morning [July 23] marched through Win- 
chester. Randolph McKim and I stayed in the town for 
a few hours to take breakfast and bid farewell to all our 
friends. Feel sad at leaving them again. They are 
friends to Marylanders who will never forget them. 
[McKim and I] Rode to Newtown [six miles south of 
Winchester on the Valley Turnpike] and took dinner with 
Mrs. Davis.' Saw Lyle Clarke on his way to Winches- 
ter.* [Left the Valley Pike and took the Front Royal 
road and] Reached the brigade at sunset and found it 
marching to Manassas Gap [in the Blue Ridge four 
miles east of Front Royal], the Yankees having made an 
attack on us there. Back to Front Royal at about 11 
at night and went to sleep, while awaiting for orders, 
under my horse's feet — moved a little off on waking some 
time in the night and slept soundly. Started at sunrise 

• Mrs. Davis, wife of Dr. Davis, was a charming lady — and with a 

charming daughter. She was most hospitable to all Confederate soldiers. 

* Lieutenant Colonel J. Lyle Clarke, of Gloucester Coimty, Virginia, was en- 
gaged in business in Baltimore when the war broke out and commanded the 
"Independent Greys" Company there. He went early to Richmond and raised 
a Maryland Infantry Com^kny, as I have mentioned. But instead of going 
with Dorsey's and Murray's to Winchester to assist in forming the ist Maryland 
Regiment, he took his Company to West Virginia in Colonel Gilham's 21st Vir- 
ginia. Before the years term of service was out, he became commander of a 
Virginia battalion of Sharp shooters. He was now on the way, with his com- 
mand, from southwest Virginia to join Lee's army, with which he remained sev- 
eral months. Returning to service in southwest Virginia, he was again marching 
to the Valley in 1864 or 1865, when one night, near Staunton, a dead branch 
fell from a tree imder which he was sleeping and crushed his leg so badly that 
splinters of bone were coming out for years afterwards. At the close of the war 
he came back to Baltimore, where he died many years ago. He had married 
Miss Clark of Halifax Coimty and left one daughter. 


next morning [July 24] and marched to within four miles 
of Luray. A warm, dusty and most tedious march — 
also sleepy and tired. Started at usual hour next 
morning [July 25] and reached a point three miles from 
Luray — ^just where I camped fourteen months before 
[where the Stonewall Brigade under General Winder 
bivouacked on the night of May 22, 1862, the day before 
the engagement at Front Royal]. Next day rested 
[Sunday] and the next crosed the Blue Ridge at Thorn- 
ton's Gap and camped at Sperryville — battle of the 
rails ! [This refers to an altercation I had with the men 
about taking fence rails for fuel. General Lee's order 
about burning rails or taking or injuring any private 
property in Maryland and Pennsylvania and how the 
order was obeyed are well known. On coming back 
across the Potomac to Virginia we heard that some of the 
men had said, "Thank God, we can now burn rails 
again." Although forbidden in Virginia too, yet in fact 
rails were taken, generally a few at a time. But now 
when we bivoucked near Sperryville, it was in an open 
green hollow, the grass fields extending, with much 
fencing, up the hillsides, and the moment ranks were 
broken the men went with a rush for the fences and each 
one bore off a rail, pointing up to the sky. As assistant 
inspector-general, for so General Steuart had announced 
me, it was my duty to take particular notice of such 
violation of orders and breach of discipline, and I rode 
among the men peremptorily ordering them to take the 
rails back, which they did, but with much grumbling and 
show of angry dissatisfaction.] 

"Marched next day [July 28] and camped in rain on 
top of a high hill. Marched next day to Robinson River* 

'One of the head streams of the Rapidan River. It rises in Milam's or 
Fisher's Gap. 


four miles from Madison Court House/ For two weeks 
we had been 'reveill6ing' at daylight and this, with the 
hard marching, warm weather and rain, had been hard on 
officers and men. Next day [July 30] I rode ahead to 
Terrell's and stayed two nights and a day. Joined the 
brigade [August i] on its coming up and going into camp 
at Montpelier." 

The remaining few and (except for some moralizing) 
brief entries in my diary were made while in this camp 
and I will give them here, followed by some extracts 
from the diary of another, and will then write from recol- 
lection a more particular account of our life in this period 
of rest. 

"August 9. Today is the anniversary of the battle 
of Cedar Run. 

"August 14. Nothing of consequence since last 
entry. A letter this morning from my dear mother. 

"August 15th. Most violent thunderstorm of the 
season yesterday evening. 

"August 1 6th. Sunday. Assisted to inspect the 
brigade this morning which with other things, prevented 
my getting to church [service in camp] . Understand that 
Mr. Patterson [Chaplain of the 3d North Carolina], 
preached on the unruliness of the tongue, alluding to 
Christ's sighing when he cured the man who had an 
impediment in his speech. 'Set a guard over my lips' — 
'Let the words of my mouth be alway acceptable.' 
Rode over and dined yesterday at Terrell's. 

"August 22nd. Yesterday was Fast Day. Mr. 
Patterson preached at our Headquarters. About a 

• Many of these Virginia "Court Houses" are villages or towns of consider- 
able size. Some of them have proper names which are seldom used and unknown 
to most. I think few Virginians would recognize Culpeper Court House as 


dozen ladies present, among them Mrs. Q. Lyle] C[larke], 
who came up [from Richmond] a few days ago. 

"August 28. Nothing new except that we are having 
some of the pomp and circumstance of war in the shape 
of reviews, brigade drills, etc. Weather getting decidedly 

"September 14th. Enemy reported to be advancing. 
We are now (the whole Division,) drawn out expecting 
to meet them.' 

"September i8th, 9 a.m. Raining like pitchforks — 
very disagreeable. Moved and seconded that somebody 
go and get something to eat. Regular equinoctial 
storm — ^have had nothing to eat for almost twenty-four 
hours. Every fire out. Kyle, Dr. Johnson, William- 
son, Steuart and myself in tent together."' 

And in this discomfort ends my diary. 

Some of the foregoing entries after the army returned 
from Maryland having actually been made after inter- 
vals, I will here give abstracts from a diary kept by Mr. 
Spence M. Grayson, a private in Captain George 
Thomas's (formerly William H. Murray's) Company A 
of the 2d Maryland Battalion, in Steuart's Brigade: 

1863 July 14. We made the Canal and Potomac at Wmsport and cross into 
Va. — up to our armpits. We camp 4J miles irom Falling Waters, having 
marched 9 miles. 

15. March through Martinsbui^, Va. and, taking the Winchester road, en- 
camped near DarkesviUe. March 10 miles. 

^ This was the forward movement of the enemy, advancing his cavalry line 
of occupation from behind the Rappahannock River to the Rapidan. 

* All of Maryland — Major George H. Kyle, of Baltunore, brigade commis- 
sary; Dr. Richard Potts Johnson, of Frederick, who had been surgeon of the ist 
Maryland, I do not remember if he had any position here; Captain George 
Williamson, of Baltimore, assistant adjutant-general, and by "Steuart," I 
must have meant William Steuart of Baltimore, a younger brother of the Gen- 
eral, if he had then come over from Maryland and was staying with his brother — 
as he certainly was a few months later. 


i6, 17, 18, 19. In camp at Darkesville. 

20. Our Brigade moves a mile above Martinsburg and tear up B. & O. R. R. 
8 mile march. 

21 . At work on the R. R. March at 3 p.m. back to Division. 

22. March to Winchester, encamped near town at 2 p.m. 10 miles. 

23. March from W to Front Royal 26 miles. 

24. March from Front Royal on Luray road: encamp 13 miles from 

25. March 9 miles towards Luray. Halt at Springfield, Page Co. 

27. March near SpenyviUe, 14 miles, over Thornton's Gap of Blue Ridge. 

28. March through S. Take Madison C. H. Road — encamp on a hill — 10 

29. March from the hill — encamp at 2 p.m. i) miles from Robinson River — 
about 6 miles. 

30. In camp. 

31. In camp till 7 p.m. when we march 3 miles beyond M.C.H. — encamp 
12 midnight — 7 miles march. 

Aug. I. March on the Orange Road 15 miles — ^3 miles from C.H. . . . 

6. Move off the Orange Road — ^back a mile 

Sept. 5. Witnessed an execution this evening of 10 deserters from the 3d 

9. Grand Review of our Corps (Ewells) by Gen. Lee i mile from Orange 
C. H. — about 5 from here. 

14 Marched at daybreak i mUe beyond Orange C. H. — remain 

in an open field all day and night. 

15. At 3 p.m. we march back on the Madison C. H. road and cook rations. 

16. Quiet in camp. 

17. 18. In camp. 

19. March at daybreak to near Morton's & MitcheU's Fords on the Rapi- 
dan — 21 miles. 


Camp on Poplar Run and Morton's Ford 

This camp, in which Steuart's Brigade had its first long 
rest since the beginning of the Gettysburg campaign, 
from August i to September 19, deserves more notice 
than has been given to it in my brief diary and that of 
Mr. Grayson. It was situated between the road from 
Liberty Mill to Orange Court House (on the south) and 
the Rapidan River (on the north) and about three miles 
westerly from the Court House. Montpelier, President 
Madison's old home and a fine estate, was about a mile 
to the south and sometimes gave its name to the camp, 
but at our headquarters we called it ''Camp on Poplar 
Run," from a small tributary of the Rapidan, on or near 
which, and near its mouth, our brigade was. As our 
stay was prolonged. General Steuart got the ground in 
better and better condition until it was made the best 
ordered summer camp I ever saw in the army. It was in 
woods, and from constant sweeping with brooms made of 
twigs bundled together, I think several inches of the wood 
mould surface were removed in the regimental grounds 
until a hard dirt floor was gained. General Ewell, the 
corps commander, gave it unstinted praise and often 
brought over visiting ladies and others to see it. He 
said he was coming to play marbles on the smooth, hard 
floor. Most of the men's bunks or beds — I think every 
one in Colonel E. T. H. Warren's loth Virginia — were 
raised above the ground and kept swept clean under- 
neath. At headquarters we studied the sick reports and 
found the ratio getting less and less — the loth Virginia 



having the smallest of all. We often heard of the camp 
being spoken of as the model one of the army — General 
Mahone's only being compared with it. 

While here there was a very sad incident, alluded to in 
Grayson's diary, and in which I had to take a painful 
part. One day, I think the 4th of September, about 
sundown, a party of 10 prisoners were brought, under 
heavy guard from Richmond, to our headquarters. They 
belonged to our 3d North Carolina Regiment and had 
deserted, that is to say, had left to make their way back 
to their homes. What made their case an unpardon- 
able one was that they took their arms with them and 
when intercepted in crossing James River, they had 
resisted and shot the adjutant or officer commanding the 
intercepting party. They had been tried by a court 
martial in Richmond or somewhere and were now brought 
back to receive their punishment — ^what it was to be 
being as yet unknown. But about nine o'clock at night 
came a special courier, bringing the bulky courtmartial 
proceedings. I was then acting as assistant adjutant- 
general in the temporary absence of Captain Williamson, 
and opened and read the carefully sealed papers. E^ch 
man was separately and successively named with the 
charge — desertion — the specification giving particu- 
lars of the charge — the finding of the court, "Of the 
specification, guilty; of the charge, guilty," and the 
sentence, '*To be shot to death by musketry at such time 
as the commanding general shall appoint." And after 
this ten times repeated finding and sentence was the 
approval of the proceedings and order that the sentence 
be carried out at 4 p.m. of the next day. With this came 
a direction that the sentence should not be communi- 
cated to the prisoners until the morning of the day fixed 
for the execution. I passed a wretched night, with 


broken sleep and dreams that I had overslept myself and 
had waked to find the sun high in the heavens and that I 
was full of remorse at having lost the men so much of 
their scanty time for preparation. But although I had 
given the sentinel, who was always posted at head- 
quarters, instructions to wake me before daylight, I did 
not need him. I put on all my uniform, with sash and 
sword, and as soon as it was light enough to see to read, I 
went to the guard quarters and had the ten men brought out 
and stand in line before me and read to them all the court- 
martial record, with the final order that the sentence be 
carried into execution that day at 4 o'clock. I could not 
bear to look at them but I felt that no man stirred while 
I read. I was told that several of these men had been 
good soldiers and some had lately marched back from 
Gettysburg barefooted or nearly so. And, strangely, 
one of them, and said to be the ringleader, was named 
Barefoot. But such desertions — to the rear, not to the 
enemy — ^were increasing and it was necessary to make a 
stem example. And the crime of these men in going off 
armed, resisting and firing on the party sent to bring 
them back and killing the officer, was a heinous one. 
Before going to the guard house I had sent for the 
chaplain of the regiment, the Reverend George Patter- 
son,^ who went to the men as soon as I had finished read- 
ing and he stayed with them for the rest of their time. 

' He was a native of Greece and his proper name was Ta^Xto^ap^os, which 
he changed or anglicized to the nearest sounding name of Patterson. The 3d 
North Carolina of which he was Chaplain (Protestant Episcopalian), came 
largely from about Wilmington, and I heard of him there after the war. Indeed 
I saw him once in Baltimore. Afterwards I heard he had made a vow of pov- 
erty, even giving up his watch, and had gone to Texas and died there. With 
some eccentricities — ^perhaps it would be better to say with great simplicity of 
character — he was a good man and a most attentive and faithful Chaplain and I 
think the officers and men were much attached to him. 


I think the whole division turned out at 4 o'clock to 
witness the execution and formed three sides of a square, 
facing inward. Along the fourth line was a row of ten 
low posts at which the condemned men knelt and to 
which they were bound, with bandaged eyes. There was 
a firing party opposite each man, half of the pieces having 
blank cartridges, as was customary. I will recall no 
further particulars. But the horrors of war should not 
be suppressed.* 

My mind gladly turns to the recollection of an impos- 
ing review of the whole army by General Lee about this 
time, and I have a distinct mental picture of the noble 
figure of the General as in riding slowly down the line he 
passed a few paces in front of me as I sat on my horse in 
my proper staff place in front of the brigade and saluted 
with my sword.' The last time I had seen him so closely 
before was, I think, in June, 1861, when I was one of a 
'* Committee" of three to wait on him and President 
Davis, to complain of the mustering in of Murray's 
company for the war instead of twelve months. He then 
had dark brown hair and moustache and no beard. Now 
he was grey and like the usual photographs which are so 

General Steuart here practised brigade drills — a novelty 
I think at that time. I remember making a suggestion 

* According to a diary quoted by Major W. W. Goldsborough in the first 
edition (1869) of his book "The Maryland Line C.SA., " page 166, this execution 
was on September 6th, but Grayson's diary says the 5th, which I think is cor- 
rect — being Friday. 

* According to the same diary quoted from in Major Goldsborough's book, 
this review was on September nth, but Spence M. Grayson*s says the 9th. 
Perhaps it took three days. I told Chaplain Patterson, jokingly, that he would 
have to appear at this review and on horseback. Taking me in earnest, he said 
he would do so if it was his duty but must wear his surplice, as that was his uni- 
form. I was a little alarmed lest he might so appear. A surplice on horseback 
would have been a strange spectacle. 


that one company of each regiment should learn the 
artillery manual, so that captured guns might be turned 
on the enemy or a depleted battery be supplied; but I 
believe we broke camp before this was put into practice. 

Lieutenant Randolph Harrison McKim, aide de camp, 
here left us, resigning to take a few months study before 
being ordained and re-entering the service as a chaplain.* 

The last entry in my 1863 diary was made in this 
camp on Poplar Run on September 18 as before stated, 
and I think the explanation of its being interrupted on 
that date is that it was the next day that we broke camp 
and marched through Orange Court House to a position 
on the lower Rapidan below Morton's Ford. I remember 
a little incident of the march. We were going through 
some pine woods when a wild turkey was started up near 
me. These fowls do not take wing readily on level 
ground and this one went off running at a rapid gait. 
Animated by the hope of game for supper, I put spurs to 
my horse and chased it for a couple of hundred yards or 
more. It doubled several times but finally came to an old 
worm fence through which it stuck its head and foolishly 
tried to force its body between the rails. I started to 
dismount when the fluttering of the wings made my horse 
rear a little and I had to retain my seat. Just then a 
wretched soldier from the ranks ran by my horse's head 
and grabbed the prize. My memory is a photographic 
one, and I recall and see in my mind this chase, from 
start to finish, like a modern moving picture. Rations 
were scarce and uncertain at this time and my disap- 
pointment, for myself and the staff, was great. 

Grayson's diary confirms the date of this day's move 

* In 191 1 he published a book A Soldier's Recollections. 


and says that it was to near Morton's and Mitchell's* 
Fords on the Rapidan — twenty-one miles. During our 
stay of nearly three weeks here we guarded the river 
bank down to Sisson's Ford at the mouth of Mountain- 
Mine Run, and up to, or nearly, Morton's Ford. Our 
headquarters were at or near Gibson's house, about 
midway of the line and a hundred yards or so back from 
the high river bank. This residence had a noticeable 
appearance from about a dozen aspen trees in the front 
yard, with ghostly looking tall white trunks and the 
under sides of the leaves being also silvery white. The 
cultivated, or rather in those times of neglect the cleared 
farm, extended back from this high part of the river 
bank, from which our picket line looked down on the 
river at its foot and the low grounds on the other side, 
across which, at a considerable distance were the enemy's 
pickets. On these low grounds grazed a herd of cattle 
and some sheep, the owner of which had "refugeed" and 
was staying at Gibson's house. He told us that we 
might have some if we would get them across and save 
them from the enemy. General Steuart's staff deter- 
mined to do so, and one night (Grayson's diary says it was 
September 23d), Captain Williamson, adjutant-general; 
Dr. Johnson, surgeon; Major Kyle, commissary, and 
myself, took about twenty-five men of the 23d Virginia 
and 2d Maryland and went over at Tobaccostick Ford — 
a horseback lord not far up the river from the house, 
guided by the cattle owner, a man with long grey hair 

* I have never been able since the war to determine certainly what was meant 
by Mitchell's Ford, whether it was an unimportant crossing place below the 
well known Morton's Ford, or was another name for Sisson's Ford, lower down 
at the mouth of Mountain and Mine Rims (which unite in emptying into the 
Rapidan) . The war maps are contradictory. 


hanging down on his shoulders. To my relief and sur- 
prise, we did not encounter any pickets — which I had 
supposed would be advanced at night — and we brought 
back about forty of the cattle and sheep. Emboldened 
by this success, it was proposed to go back and attempt 
to capture a picket post. I was opposed to this as a 
foolish risk of life for no good purpose, and I thought the 
pickets must have been aroused, particularly by the 
splashing at the ford, across which the sheep had to be 
half carried by the men. But I suppose everybody 
was ashamed to back out when the suggestion was made. 
Our citizen, who was armed with a long old fashioned 
bell-mouthed gun, loaded with a handful of powder and 
shot, guided us safely a long distance back from the 
river and we then turned down. We were approaching 
a house in single file, keeping as close as we could out of 
the bright moonlight in the shadow of a fence, when a 
sentinel hailed us. We flattened ourselves to the ground, 
making no reply, and he fired on us, the bullet raising a 
little cloud of dust about three feet to my right — I was 
the third in line. Our citizen, who was leading, promptly 
returned the fire, making a bright glare and a thunderous 
report from his ancient piece which echoed from the 
wooded hills, and the sentinel cried '* Murder" and made 
for the house, we in pursuit. Major Kyle jumped with 
hands and feet on the rails of the high fence around the 
yard and in his excitement called to the sentinel to '*Stop 
a minute — stop a minute!*' But he didn't. The reserve 
poured out of the house and after exchanging a few shots 
with them we deemed it prudent to retire. Our citizen, 
who knew every foot of the ground, guided us safely 
back to the ford by a different way. The next morning 
there was a body of cavalry patrolling the enemy's line. 


no doubt wondering what the commotion had been 
about. We had full rations of beef and mutton. 

We remained here until early in October, when we set 
off in the Bristoe campaign. The weather was generally 
fine, the ground was very suitable for a half bivouac 
camp, with light duties, the constant sight of the enemy 
lending an interest, and I think we all enjoyed it.* 

* Two or Uiree years after the war I was staying in Orange County, at Oliver 
Terrell's and one day rode to the county town. In the Court House the county 
court was holding a session and on entering the crowded room I recognized Mr. 
Gibson, who had studied law after the war, in the middle of an axgument, de- 
fending a negro for chicken stealing. But it seemed to me he was haranguing the 
crowd of spectators behind rather than addressing the judges and jury. The 
three Justices sat above a tribunal and the middle one I recognized as Colonel 
Scott, a leading man of the conmiimity. He was leaning back with his feet 
propped up on the tribunal and the most of him that could be seen was the soles 
of two boots, long and broad, for he was a tall man. Underneath the tribunal 
and with their backs to it sat the Jury, in a single line, the foreman in the centre. 
Presently I noticed the foreman, who had a long patriarchal grey beard, pull out 
a pipe and leisiurely fill it. I supposed he thought the speech must soon be over 
and that he would be ready for a smoke. But he brought out an old time, big 
headed sulphiu: match, struck it on his foot and proceeded to calmly puff away, 
first the sulphiu: fumes and then the cloud of smoke rising like incense to the 
judges above. I thought he would be committed for contempt, or at least be 
rebuked, but nobody seemd to think there was any impropriety. 

I remember hesitating at first in the war about smoking my pipe while read- 
ing the Bible but soon got over the feeling. 

Bristoe Campaign 

I do not remember many of the details of this move- 
ment to get on Mead's right flank or rear and, if possible, 
bring him to battle in Culpeper or Fauquier County. It 
was somewhat like the flank march of the year before, 
but this time we did not keep so far to the west in the 
flanking or aim to get so far in the enemy's rear. And, 
alas, we had no Jackson to press the march, so that we 
only struck his rear guard — to our loss — at Bristoe Sta- 
tion, the main army having passed by and taken a strong 
position behind Bull Run, where it could not advanta- 
geously be attacked in front or be further flanked. But 
although no victory resulted, this aggressive movement, 
made only three months after Gettysburg, forced Meade 
back in hurried retreat over fifty miles, declining battle, 
and when the short campaign was over, we held for a 
month the advanced line of the Rappahannock, with the 
country behind us in which he had sat down to confront 
and threaten us. 

I have a general impression on my mind of winding 
among hills or little mountains of Madison County, 
which adjoins Culpeper on the west, and avoiding pass- 
ing across large open fields and over bare hill tops, lest 
the movement should be observed from the enemy's 
high signal stations. 

For the daily marching I resort again to Mr. Gray- 
son's diary: 



[He notes on October 3, 1863, that little ginger cakes were S for Si, apples Si 
a dozen, crackers Si a dozen, smoking tobacco Si. 50 a pound, chewing tobacco 
S3 a pound. He means when they could be had at all, for we had not regular 
army sutlers; occasionally a man would appear with a wagon containing no 
greater number of articles than enumerated above.] 

October 8. March at about 3 p.m. from our camp on Rapidan 11 miles on 
Orange C. H. road and Camp at 10 pjn. . . . 

9. March at 6 a.m. passing Orange C. H., fording Rapidan River and camp- 
ing about 4 miles from Madison C.H. — a distance of about 21 or 22 miles. A 
hard day's march, over rough fields, through piney woods and vales and rocky 
hills. . . . 

10. March at 6 a.m. passing through Madison C. H., fording the Robertson 
River, crossing over hard roads, flanking every prominent hill and field and 
camping about 8 p.m. in Culpeper Co. — a rough march, very circuitous and 
hard of about 15 to 18 miles. . . . 

11. March at 8 a.m. through fields and country roads to Culpeper C. H. 
pike and march on, camping about 5} miles from the C. H., a march so far of 

about 10 miles A battle imminent We intend probably 

to fight here should Meade not retreat to Centreville or Warrenton 

But we trust he will stand here .... We think now of the all absorbing 
questionof Yankee haversacks full of rations and "fat "sutler stores 

1 2. March from C. C. H. pike at 6 a.m. fording the Hazel and crossing on a 
bridge the Rappahannock River into Fauquier Co. camping at night in an old 
Yankee camp at Warrenton Springs — 15 miles march. . . . 

13. March at 6 a.m. passing through Warrenton 

marched only 8 miles. 

14. Marched at 5} o'clock— after going a few miles heard fighting between 
Rhodes (Rodes) and the enemy .... continue to march for Bristow Sta- 
tion on the O. & A. R. R. Halted about 2 miles from there after marching about 
14 or 15 miles. Have eaten all our rations — ^none for tomorrow. Hope for a 
Yankee haversack or sutler's stores. 

15. Moved to adjoining woods to cook rations. 

16. March down to Bristow Station, Prince William Co., to guard troops 
tearing up R. R 

18. At 3 a.m. we (i.e. the Maryland Battalion) recross Broad R\m and join 
the Brigade at Bristow Station and march forward on the Culpeper R. R. halting 
at 3 p.m. 3 miles from Rappahannock River — a rapid march of about 20 or 22 

[I remember well the fighting on the 14th of which Mr. Grayson speaks, the 
soimd of which came from our front, or rather from our right oblique and not 
very distant, but we did not become engaged. We soon learned that two of 
A. P. Hill's Brigades — Cooke's and Kirkland's — ^had imexpectedly come on a 
strong force of the enemy's rear in a railroad cut and had been repulsed with 
severe loss. The value of a railroad cut for a defensive position had been dem- 


onstrated not far from here in the Second Manassas campaign the year before. 
Hill was much blamed for this reverse.^ 

I well remember also the march back on the i8th through the level Fauquier 
country — along the east side of the straight railroad, where there was no regular 
road but the army marched easily, except for some muddy places, the country 
being open and all fencing gone. It was in strong contrast with our tortuous 
forward march through the hilly Madison Coimty. In going through Broad 
Run or Kettle Run, which cross the railroad, my mare received a severe cut on 
one of her pasterns from a piece of old bridge iron, but I had to continue riding 
her back.] 

Mr. Spence's diary continues: 

XQ. Near Rappahannock, Fauquier Co The whole army com- 
menced crossing at 6 A.M. and finished near 5 P.M., halting to camp on the 
north (?) bank of the Rappahannock, which recrossed on a pontoon bridge 
(just above the destroyed R. R. bridge). 

30. In camp. 

31. March down to Rappahannock to strengthen forts 

33. Resting today 

33 ... . March 10 miles up the R. R. beyond Brandy Station and 

34. In a marshy, rainy camp. 

35. March back a mile and a half nearer Brandy Station to camp perma- 

36 The whole Division marched across the river to protect the 

wagon train which went after R. R. iron. The consequence of this was a heavy 
skirmish lasting all day. We lost about 40 men. 

37. We are relieved this morning and hasten back to camp. 

I have been under the impression that this advance of 
Johnson's Division across the river on October 26th was 
a '* recognizance in force," but Grayson's account of its 
object — to get railroad rails — is probably correct and 
the presence of wagons is corroborated by a little inci- 
dent: General Steuart had been planning some home 
industries in the brigade, to help out Government issues 
by repairs. In this he was zealously seconded by Cap- 
tain George Williamson, his adjutant-general. Now 
Williamson observed a large pile of scraps of tin, which 

^ He frankly blames himself in his official report, War of the Rebellion Records 
Scries I, Volume XXIX, Part I, page 426. 


he thought might be made useful in mending canteens, 
&c., and he imparted his idea to General Ewell, the 
corps commander, who was present, suggesting that one 
of the wagons might take the scrap back. "Yes," said 
Ewell, "a very good idea. Captain Williamson, Mrs. 
Ewell's bath tub wants mending." I believe WilUiam- 
son dropped the matter.* 

Our advance was along the Railroad track about 4 
miles to within a short distance of Bealeton, which we 
could not see because of woods in our front. Here we 
had some skirmishing and I saw several dead bodies 
but should not think we lost as many as 40. There were 
some artillery shots from the enemy. I do not remember 
or believe, that the division remained that night on the 
far side of the river, as might be inferred from Grayson's 
diary — ^perhaps the 2nd Maryland did — on picket. 

On October 30 Mr. Grayson notes that peanuts are 
$1 a quart, apples $2.50 per dozen, cakes two for $1, 
apple and peach brandy $3 a quart. 

A private's pay of $11 a month would not go far in 
the purchase of such luxuries — nor were there many 
opportunities for buying them. 

And on November 3d he chronicles the departure, by 
train, of the 2d Maryland for Hanover Junction, near 
Richmond, to be part of the Maryland Line, there 
organizing under Colonel Bradley T. Johnson. 

It was with great regret at brigade headquarters, where 
we were all Marylanders, that we witnessed the retire- 
ment from the command of this fine regiment. And I, 
always throughout the war, had a strong feeling that all 
Marylanders ought to be at the front of active operations, 

* General Ewell's wife — when he was absent from the army after losing his 
leg at Second Manassas he had married the mother of his adjutant-general, 
Major G. Campbell Brown of Tennessee — generally stayed with or near him in 
the army. 


and particularly Maryland organizations as there were so 
few of them to represent the State in name, although 
there were unknown thousands of Marylanders scattered 
about in the Confederate Army. They had a fine camp 
during the winter at Hanover Junction, with the ist 
Maryland Cavalry and the Baltimore Light Artillery, 
but these organizations were separated again and found 
themselves at the front at the beginning of the next 
campaign and each made a worthy record to the end of 
the war. 

Soon after the 2d Maryland left us occurred the mor- 
tifying disaster of the "t6te de pont." This little earth 
work fortification was across — on the enemy's — side of 
the Rappahannock, covering the approach to the river 
where the railroad bridge had been and where our pon- 
toon bridge still was. Late in the evening the enemy 
"rushed" this fortification, capturing the greater part of 
Hays's Louisiana and Hoke's North Carolina Brigades. 
The enemy having thus secured a foot hold on the 
river — and where the ground was high at this point — 
General Lee retired to the much stronger position and 
true line of defence behind the Rapidan, from which he 
had advanced a month before. 

I have an impression of having heard of this affair from 
afar, and perhaps this was the time' when I went to 
Richmond for two or three days to be confirmed by 
Bishop Johns — in St. Paul's Church. I do not remember 
if so, whether I rejoined the command just before going 
back on the march, my first recollecton being that the 
brigade was in camp in Orange County on the west side 
of Black Walnut Run a mile or more above its emptying 
into Mine Run and therefore some two miles back from 

* The capture of the tete de pont was on November 7. I think the enemy 
were entitled to much credit for making the successful assault. 


our former position on the Rapidan. Here we had some 
sort of intrenchments extending westerly or northwest- 
erly across the wooded country, the intention appa- 
rently being to combine the defence of the Rapidan and 
Mine Run — on the east flank. 

Whether it was at the time of the t6te de pont affair or a 
little later that I so went to Richmond, I remember that 
on my return a communication came from division head- 
quarters saying it was reported that Captain Howard 
had absented himself trom the army and asking by what 
authority he had gone. I replied stating the object of 
my going, that I was only volunteering in my position, 
and, moreover, that I had first seen Colonel Charles 
Marshall, of General Lee's staff, who had told me that, 
under the circumstances, it was not necessary for me to 
obtain a formal leave. And I heard nothing more about 
the matter. But I think I ought to have applied for 

We began to think that we might settle in winter quar- 
ters at this place and many of the officers at least built 
chimneys to their tents. When a section of the canvass is 
partly ripped and the flap is raised and a mud fireplace 
is made with an outside chimney of crossed sticks 
daubed with mud and perhaps a barrel on top to increase 
the elevation and draft, a tent is very comfortable in 
the winter. 

While here I suffered from some curious attack which 
made my lips turn quite white and they were so swollen 
and stiff that I could not open my mouth and was only 
able to take a little liquid food out of a teaspoon, a few 
drops at a time. But Captain Williamson was absent on 
a short leave and I was filling his place as adjutant- 
general, and I did not like to go off or give up my duties. 
This began to disappear just as the Mine Run operations 
came on. 


Battle of Payne's Farm or Bartlett's Mill 

AND Mine Run 

Early in the morning of 27th November (1863). 
Steuart's Brigade left its camp on Blackwalnut Run, 
being the rear brigade of the division. We went down 
the run and crossed Mine Run to the east at Bartlett's 
Mill, which is at or very near the mouth of Blackwalnut. 
We now took the rear of the artillery and ambulances of 
the division — there were no wagons with us. The road* 
now ran southeasterly and through thick woods. We had 
proceeded about a mile and a half beyond Bartlett's 
Mill and I was riding along the left (east) side of the 
road and near the head of our brigade when I noticed one 
of the men, who was plodding along just outside me, 
duck his head and peer under the low tree branches up a 
woods road which went off to the left. I asked him what 
he was looking at and he replied that he thought he saw 
a man there. We had no idea of any of the enemy being 
in the vicinity, but I turned and went up the grassy road 
fifty yards or so to investigate. Seeing no one, I came 
back. But we had marched a very little farther when 
there was a sudden commotion in the train ahead and 
several of the ambulances turned and came back in 
confusion, the drivers reporting that the train had been 
fired on from the left. General Steuart promptly ordered 
them back to their places, faced the brigade into line to 
the left and deployed skirmishers to cover it and the 

* The road to Locust Grove on the Orange and Fredericksburg Stone Road. 



train. As soon as the line of skirmishers was formed he 
ordered it to advance and attack the enemy, who we 
supposed to be only some dismounted cavalry. But our 
men had scarcely advanced twenty paces in the thick 
woods when they encountered a strong line of infantry 
skirmishers and sharp firing broke out. These they 
drove back some distance when a solid line of the 
enemy was discovered, drawn up in order of battle. At 
this time they also opened on us with one or two pieces of 
artillery. Colonel Titus V. Williams, commanding the 
37th Virginia, the left regiment, reporting that a body 
was crossing the road on his left, for the evident purpose 
of flanking the brigade, General Steuart ordered him 
to change front to rear on his first company, i.e., form his 
regiment at right angles to the road and so facing the 
threatening movement, the right of his right company 
still being at the road. Shortly afterwards Major-General 
Edward Johnson, commanding the division, arrived on 
this part of the field and by his order the whole brigade 
took up a position at right angles to its former line, the 
right resting on the road and connecting with the left of 
the Stonewall Brigade. But General Steuart was sub- 
sequently ordered to throw forward and to the right ob- 
lique his left, so as to occupy a position nearly parallel to 
that previously held along the road, still keeping the 
connection on his right with the Stonewall Brigade, so as 
to leave no interval open. This movement was a slow and 
difiicult one, as it was necessary, while maintaining the 
connection on the right, to extend the left to prevent its 
being outflanked, and in the consequently increased 
intervals between regiments (and even between files) 
to stretch the line, the extraordinary density of the 
thicket made it impossible for the manoeuvre to be exe- 
cuted with regularity. Before it was completed the bri- 


gade was ordered (by General Johnson) to move directly 
forward. The enemy were soon encountered and were 
pushed steadily back, although parts of our line, from 
causes mentioned before (and others explained in the 
official reports of regimental commanders,) were little 
more than deployments of skirmishers. On the right and 
center they were driven several hundred yards. The left 
regiment, however, was under greater difficulties. Al- 
though there was a considerable interval between that 
regiment — the 37th Virginia — and the 3d North Carolina 
on its right and the files of the former were separated so 
that it covered far more than its proper regimental front, 
yet the line of the enemy extended much beyond its left 
flank, and after driving the force immediately in its 
front, this regiment was compelled to halt and form a 
new line to repel a flank attack. The enemy presently 
drove in the thin line between the 37th and the 3d and 
the latter regiment, having exhausted its ammunition 
(which will show how severe the fighting was), and 
unable to obtain a new supply, was forced finally to 
resume the position from which it had advanced. The 
heavy loss sustained* is sufficient evidence that this 
was not done until made necessary. The 37th Vir- 
ginia was at one time even cut off but extricated itself 
and joined the 3d North Carolina. These two regiments 
were by order of Major-General Johnson, retained in 
that position to guard against any further attack on that 
exposed flank. Meanwhile the right regiments — loth 
and 23rd Virginia and 1st North Carolina — shaving used 
all their cartridges and the ordnance wagons not being 

* The report of the corps medical director states the loss in this regiment as 
seventy-two killed and wounded, but such reports generally give a smaller loss 
than the oflicial reports of regimental commanders. The list of casualties with 
Colonel Thruston's report (3d North Carolina) is missing. 


at hand to supply more, and deprived of support on the 
left, were compelled to retire a short distance, but then 
held a position far in advance of the line which they had 
previously occupied. Soon after dark, the firing having 
ceased, the brigade was relieved by Doles's Brigade and 
was ordered to form along the road. 

In my foregoing account of this severe engagement I 
have quoted, almost literally, from General Steuart's 
official report, which was written for him by me — except 
his commendatory mention of staff officers which he 
added. Before this movement began. Captain George 
Williamson had gone off on sick leave and I was acting as 
assistant adjutant-general in his place, First Lieutenant 
James L. White (of Abingdon, Virginia), adjutant of 
the 37th Virginia, temporarily filling my regular position 
of assistant inspector-general, and he and I were the 
General's only two staff officers present. I made a 
pencil draught of the official report, to which General 
Steuart added in ink the mention of his staff. It is still 
in my possession. But having a dislike for exaggeration 
and high coloring in official reports, I have always 
thought since that I may not have done full justice to 
the conduct of the brigade in this battle.* 

Our reported aggregate loss in the brigade was 233, 
including 22 missing but of whom many were, no doubt, 
killed or too badly wounded to be removed. The 
strength of the brigade was about 1400. Lieutenant- 
Colonel S. T. Walton, commanding the 23d Virginia, was 
killed and Colonel Hamilton A. Browne of the ist North 
Carolina was wounded. Colonel Walton, of Charlotte 
County Virginia, was an excellent officer and a gentleman 

* This official report will be found in the War of the Rebellion Oficial Records, 
Series i, volume XXI, Part I, page 862. 


of fine character. General Steuart was struck by a 
ball but not disabled. While we were over on the left 
of the brigade I heard a bullet strike his arm near the 
shoulder like a stone against wood. He moved the arm 
about and said it was nothing serious and wished to give 
no further attention to it. But I insisted on an exami- 
nation and his (overcoat and?) coat being taken off and 
his shirt sleeve being rolled up it was found that only a 
contusion had been made — ^which in those few minutes 
time had become quite dark. We did not mind the artil- 
lery fire but the musket balls flew very thick. At one 
time I was riding to the front in the woods when a great 
many seemed to come around me and thinking I was 
getting on the enemy I turned back, and not very slowly 
either. I then came on Major-General Johnson, on foot, 
and that soldier of approved courage was hunching his 
shoulders and not disdaining the partial shelter to his 
broad person of a small tree — there were no large trees 
about there. While I stopped and talked with him the 
bullets coming through the switchy woods sounded some- 
what like the hissing of a hail or sleet storm. Altogether, 
it was an interesting and in some respects a picturesque 
battle — the unexpected suddenness of its opening, the 
changes of position and encounters in the woods which 
covered the ground, and* other features. In the first 
advance of our skirmishers, or in the subsequent forward 
movement, we had captured some prisoners and among 
them the adjutant of a New York regiment, from whom 
we learned that a corps was in our front. They had 
crossed the Rapidan at Germanna Ford, the next ford 
below the mouth of Mine Run, and were moving diago- 
nally towards our line of march when they struck us. 
Sometime after dark, being relieved by Doles's Bri- 


gade* as before stated, and after standing in the road for 
a while, we moved, following the rest of our division in a 
southerly direction, presently recrossing Mine Run, and 
before going far went into bivouac along the high ground 
on the west side of the wide valley of that stream. 

On the morning of the 28th (November) the enemy 
were seen in line along the equally high ground on the 
opposite (east) side of the valley, at a distance, I suppose, 
of about 700 or 800 yards, for the valley of Mine Run is 
here a wide one, with the ground rising not very sharply on 
each side of the bottom. The positions occupied by us 
and by the enemy were very similar and equally strong, 
and either side attacking would be exposed to a murder- 
ous fire in crossing the bottom and then ascending the 
hill side. And neither side ventured it. During the day 
our men entrenched as well as they could with almost no 
implements, using their bayonets, tin cups, and their 
hands, to loosen and scoop up the dirt, which was thrown 
on and around the trunks of old field pine trees. But, 
with the shallow trench behind, it gave a pretty good 
protection. Where our brigade stood at least, the line 
was not along the crest but a little way down the hillside 
towards the run, and not being allowed to make large 
fires in such an exposure to the enemy's artillery, and the 
weather being keen and frosty, we suffered at night from 
the cold. Besides, a fire made of old field pine, which was 
the wood around us, is hard to kindle and equally hard to 
keep burning. I had only my overcoat and a very small 
saddle blanket (to go under the saddle on my horse's 
back), and I remember waking up one of these mornings 
with my hair white with frost. But we had got a good 
deal hardened to exposure. Major George H. Kyle, 

' Of Rodes's Division, Ewell's Corps. 


brigade commissary, sent from the wagons in rear some 
cold food (or the general and staff, and also a great and 
most unusual treat in the shape of a small bottle of apple 
brandy which I suspect came from the medical stores. 
We did look this gift in its mouth in spite of the proverb. 

I think it was on the morning of November 30, before 
our eyes were open, that the enemy suddenly let off his 
artillery on us. I saw the General, while his eyes were 
still shut it seemed to me, make a dive to the bottom of 
the "shebang" — a little pine brush shelter sloping to the 
ground at the back — ^which Heiter, our courier, had 
made. I wondered. But he was grabbing for the apple- 
jack bottle which he drained of the little that was in it, 
and then ordered the brigade into the breastworks, for 
protection and to be ready for the expected infantry 
assault. But none came, and after continuing some 
time the shelling ceased. I do not rembember that it 
caused any loss in our brigade. It seemed to be a parting 
salvo from General Meade, for on the morning of Decem- 
ber 2 we saw that the enemy had disappeared from our 
front. Our army crossed the valley and pursued for 
two or three miles towards the Rapidan but found that 
the Union Army had all passed over it. 

And so ended the Mine Run campaign, which, it 
seems to me, may be summed up, parodying the old 
nursery rhyme: 

General Meade, 

With seventy thousand men, 
Marched o'er the Rapidan, 

And marched back again. 

I mean no disrepect to General Meade, however, of 
whom we had a good opinion. But if the movement was 
meant as a counterstroke to Lee's flank advance seven 


weeks before, it compares with it very disadvantageously. 
For while Lee forced him back fifty miles or more, vainly 
seeking to bring him to battle, Meade after placing his 
army on Lee's flank — ^which he could do at anytime — ^was 
promptly confronted by Lee and oflFered battle which he 
declined, except the chance partial engagement of Payne's 

My impression is that we did not return from Mine 
Run to our camp on Blackwalnut Run. I think that 
camp had been abandoned since we marched from it and 
our wagons had moved some distance back of our Mine 
Run line on the Orange and Fredericksburg Stone Road. 
I think we marched back on this Stone Road, on Decem- 
ber 2 or 3, about seven miles to the neighborhood of 
Pisgah Church, which is a little north of the road and 
about seven miles east of Orange Court House. Here, 
a short distance north of the road, we went into a camp 
which proved to be our winterquarters. We gradually 
became convinced that such would be our stay. 

The "Stone Road" is the old road, pretty straight in 
its course, from Orange Court House to Fredericksburg. 
The newer "Plank Road" — on which a few planks re- 
mained — ^was sometimes coincident with it, but often a 
mile or more to the south. 

Winter Quarters i 863-1 864 

The following account, in this and the next two chap- 
ters, of some features of life in winter quarters and the 
battles in the Wilderness and at Spotsylvania Court 
House, is reproduced, with some changes, from a paper 
which I wrote for the Massachusetts Military Historical 
Society, entitled ''Notes and Recollections of the Open- 
ing of the Campaign of 1864," which I read before the 
Society at Boston on i6th April, 1883, and which will 
be found on page 83 of Volume 4 of that Society's 

Lieutenant Skipwith Wilmer, the signal officer at- 
tached to Major-General Edward Johnson's Division, 
Ewell's Corps of General Lee's Army of Northern Vir- 
ginia, had been discussing with some of the members of 
the Society in Boston (where he had married after the 
war,) the capture of the salient at Spotsylvania Court 
House on 1 2th May, 1864, the assault on which was at 
that time commonly supposed to have been a surprise to 
the Confederates, and he mentioned to them that he had 
recently been talking with me on the subject and that I 
could give some special information. They had re- 
quested him to ask me to write a paper for the Society 
and he told me, with some doubt whether it would be 
agreeable to me, that he had undertaken to promise that 
I would. So I wrote and sent to the Society an account 
of the capture of the salient. I think it was then that 
they honored me by making me a Corresponding Mem- 



ber. Not long afterwards the Society invited me to 
write another paper^ and I suggested my enlarging the 
one I had written to an account of the opening of the 
campaign (as I saw it), and with some description of life 
in winter quarters before. They invited me to come on 
and read this completed paper myself and I did so. They 
made me have a most agreeable time in Boston. At a 
dinner of twenty or more which they gave me at the 
Union Club I noticed only one person under the rank of 
field officer, so unlike our Confederate gatherings, where 
privates are usually conspicuous if not predominating. 
I remember saying to them — ^but there was no post- 
prandial speaking — that New England would at some 
time have cause to regret its support of the harsh Re- 
construction measures ; that at present the west was ruled 
largely by settlers who carried with them New England 
ideas, but that the next generation would grow up with 
ideas of their own and some of them radical, and at such 
time when the old States ought to be found standing to- 
gether in a conservative attitude, the South would be 
alienated. But I remember also that at an art exhibition 
and reception at the Somerset Club to which I was taken, 
I was surprised by a gentleman inveighing to me but in 
a voice which could be heard for some distance around 
in the crowded room, against the giving of suffrage to the 
negroes. He said the Southern people were right in re- 
sisting it in any way they could. 

I stayed at the house of Mr. John C. Ropes, whose 

^ They invited me also to make an address — ^and in Faneuil Hall — on the 
subject of "The Southern Volunteer," after Colonel Livermore had made one 
on "The Northern Volunteer," but in the want then of Confederate statistics 
and authorities, I did not see my way to doing so satisfactorily. At my sugges- 
tion they then invited Colonel Henry Kyd Douglas to make the address, which 
I think he did. 


death was so much regretted, South as well as North. 
He was the founder of the Society. 

After Meade's demonstration at Mine Run and with- 
drawal to the north side of the Rapidan, in the last days 
of November (1863), it seemed unlikely that there would 
be any more active operations that year and the Army 
of Northern Virginia gradually settled down in winter 
quarters where it was, defending the line of the Rapidan. 
Steuart's Brigade was on a good site, for the most part 
wooded, on the north side of the Stone Road, six or seven 
miles east of Orange Court House, and the General went 
to work with his usual energy to clean up the ground, 
make the men as comfortable as possible — except by 
idleness — and to improve the efficiency of his command 
in every way. Our summer camp on Poplar Run near 
Montpelier, ten miles to the west, when resting from the 
Gettysburg campaign, had been pronounced to be a 
model one in the army, and he was determined that this 
should be its equal in every respect, while the assurance 
of some months' inactivity would enable him to carry out 
many practical measures which could not be undertaken 
in the uncertainty of ever continuing long in one stay in 
the campaigning season. 

So rising ground was selected for the regimental camps 
and they were thoroughly ** policed'** and swept, with 
brooms made of twigs bundled together, until several 
inches perhaps of the loose surface soil were removed 
and a hard dirt floor was gained. The men's quarters 
were kept clean and well ventilated and they were ex- 
horted to have their bunks raised above the ground. 
The morning sick reports were carefully studied as they 

* " Policing'' in military language is cleaning up and doing jobs of work about 
the camp. Prisoners at the guard house were kept employed on this. 


had been in our summer camp, when, it will be remem- 
bered, they had been found to vary according to the de- 
gree of attention which was given to such details in the 
several regiments and the loth Virginia had then reduced 
its sick list to a lower rate than we had ever known. Now, 
however, to keep warm was the overruling necessity and 
this regulation could not be rigidly enforced, as, undoubt- 
edly, next to the ground is the warmest way a soldier with 
a scanty supply of clothing and covering can sleep. 
Wattled cedar or pine fencing enclosed a space around 
the brigade guard house and the prisoners were kept 
employed "corduroying"' wet places in the roads and 
with other work of the sort about the camp ground and 
its vicinity. The orders against burning or displacing 
rails were strictly enforced and at the end of winter all 
fencing around us was in as good, if not in precisely the 
same condition as we had found it, some new rails having 
been required to be mauled I think. Even timber cut 
was estimated by a board of officers and certificates were 
given, although I cannot venture to affirm that owners 
were ever paid on them. The men were moderately 
drilled and schools of instruction were ordered for the 
officers. The loth Virginia was the only regiment which 
had a band (I think we were getting up one in the ist 
North Carolina with some instruments captured in the 
Gettysburg Campaign), and we utilized it to the best 
general advantage by having daily brigade guard mount- 
ing, with as much military pomp and circumstance* as we 
could get up. A drum beat the hours at the brigade 
guard house to regulate the time of the whole camp. 
A number of shoemakers in the different regiments, 

* The term almost explains itself — ^making a bed of poles, side by side across 
the road and often with the addition of tough cedar brush. The soldiers' 
imaginations were veiy ready in applying old words to new processes and situ- 


seventeen I think, were encouraged to send home — ^and 
in some instances were given leave to go — for their tools, 
and were put to work repairing shoes, being exempted 
from guard and other routine camp duty, but ready to 
fall in with their commands on any call to arms. The 
shoe-shops were a separate camp of tents, near brigade 
headquarters and under our immediate supervision, 
guarded by sentinels, and no person was allowed to visit 
them or to carry his shoes to be mended without a pass 
and order from his company and regimental commanders, 
approved by the adjutant or inspector general. A care- 
ful estimate and report of the saving of the issue of shoes 
to our brigade during the winter was made to the higher 
authorities at one time, but I am afraid to say from 
memory what the saving was confidently stated to have 
been, certainly several hundred pairs; besides, the men's 
feet were kept in better condition by the correction of ill 
fitting shoes. On the march back from Gettysburg in 
the sununer before, the ''barefooted " men of the division 
— not literally that except in the case of some, but those 
whose shoes were worn out or whose feet were sore from 
wearing bad shoes or other causes — ^were organized into a 
separate command, under officers, to pick their way on the 
grassy roadside and by easy stages on each day's march. 
My recollection is that this barefooted and sorefooted 
command sometimes numbered a fourth of the division.* 
Having taken a sort of census of the whole brigade, we 
knew exactly where to look at any time for skilled work- 
men in different occupations. The 37th Virginia, from 
the mountains of the southwestern part of the State, we 

* It seems to me now that there could hardly have been that many, although 
r so wrote in 1883, and certainly the number was large. I do not think they 
marched all the distance back in that way, but I remember officers being de- 
tailed for the duty on more than one day. 


found to furnish a greater proportion of mechanics — or 
at least men who were used to doing jobs of handywork — 
the other regiments being more largely composed of men 
from the farming class or from sections where there were 
regular artizans and stores convenient. Wheelwrights 
were detailed to put the ambulances (this under the 
zealous charge of Surgeon Henkel of that regiment, 
senior surgeon or medical director,) and transportation 
generally in good order. I think log shelters were made 
for the horses and they were carefully looked after. 
General Steuart had also detailed, or meditated detailing, 
tinners to mend canteens, cups and other tinwork. 
Drummers or tanners were given a few days leave to go 
to their homes or places not far distant on condition of 
bringing back dog skins for drum heads, and although the 
animal's integument was tanned in a marvellously short 
time, it was found to answer very well. 

The General was especially desirous of establishing 
"tailor shops" to patch and mend clothing, on a like 
scale with the shoe shops, or greater, and sent up urgent 
applications for waste odds and ends of cloth and thread 
at the government factories, but had received no response 
when the opening of the Spring campaign put a check to 
these and many other schemes. 

In short, recognizing the straits that the Confederacy 
was now put to in the furnishing of supplies, we aimed 
to save and eke out issues in every possible way. 

General Steuart also designed cloth badges (metal was 
not to be had), to distinguish the men of different regi- 
ments — a red cross on ground of different colors, or 
something that way.* But the failure to get the scraps 

* I do not know whether this was an original idea with General Steuart, or 
whether he had heard of the admirable and picturesque system of badges of the 
Union Army, which we saw when we were captured two or three months later. 


of cloth from the factories prevented his carrying out 
this project. 

The physical condition of the men I do not, and did 
not then, consider good. Their rations had been sys- 
tematically reduced to the smallest possible quantity 
and there was almost no variety. After an official in- 
spection of the whole command in March or April, 1863 
(I was acting assistant inspector-general and made stated 
inspections,* reports of which went up through a channel 
of inspectors), I had deemed it a serious duty to make it 
a part of my report that the sallow complexions and gen- 
eral appearance of the men indicated that they were in- 
sufficiently fed, and to urge that the ration should be 
increased. A soldier fighting for the best of causes 
should have, in his monotonous life, enough to eat as 
long as food will hold out issued in that way; he may put 
up with frequent irregularities, but if his ration be sys- 
tematically insufficient for his appetite, his spirit and 
endurance must surely fail or become greatly impaired. 

It is to be wished that we had statements of the rations 
actually issued to the men, particularly during the last 
two years of the war. For illustration, our meals at 
Brigade headquarters in this winter of 1863-64, were 
usually as follows: Breakfast consisted of a plate of 

* At one of these insi>ections I saw an amusing instance of the difference of 
habits of men coming from different localities. One of the Virginia regiments 
was composed of companies from Louisa, Charlotte, Halifax and other to- 
bacco counties and as I passed down the lines, which were in open order, that is, 
with the rear rank retired some paces from the front, there was a continuous wet 
line from expectoration about five feet in front of and parallel with each rank. 
The Colonel, who always walks with the inspecting officer, seemed to take it as 
a matter of course, calling for no rebuke. But when I came to the 3d North 
Carolina, from around Wilmington where tobacco chewing is not such a habit, 
the ground was all dry, and when the Colonel heard a man spit after we had 
passed him, he went back and in an undertone reprimanded him severely, telling 
him he was disgracing the whole regiment. 

WINTER QUARTERS, 1863-1864 253 

"com dodgers" (com meal cooked with water,) and 
mashed potatoes, the latter not issued I believe but 
bought at a distance. I think we had coffee also, that 
is to say some substitute for it, but my recollection is 
that there was not often a little sugar. For dinner, to- 
wards sunset, we had com bread again and a soup made 
of water thickened with corn meal and mashed potatoes 
and cooked with a small piece of meat, which last, if 
salt, was taken out when the soup was done and kept to 
be cooked over again in the mashed potatoes for next 
morning's breakfast. And I suppose there was the 
coffee substitute again. A dog could not have lived 
with the mess on what was left; there was, in fact, noth- 
ing left. Officers drew one ration each, the same as the 
men, were prohibited from purchasing from the commis- 
sary, there were no sutlers, and as nothing could be 
had in the thinly settled neighborhood for love or money, 
we could only occasionally buy a few articles, such as 
apple butter, sorghum molasses, half a dozen eggs, etc., 
when our wagons went over to the Valley or other remote 
regions for supplies. But our mess at headquarters was 
one of Marylanders and perhaps others fared somewhat 

^In the spring of 1863 Major-General Trimble, then commanding this 
division published an order enumerating the edible wild plants, such as dande- 
lion, poke sprouts, curly leaf dock, lambs quarter, sheep sorrel, water cresses, 
etc., and requiring regimental commanders to make daily details to gather them. 
It was said that sometimes noxious things, like plaintain, were brought in, with 
disagreeable results when eaten. AU Confederate soldiers had long since learned 
the comparative merits of lye, wheat, acorns, chestnuts, sweet potatoes, dande- 
lion, browned meal or flour, as substitutes for coffee; also sassafras, etc., for tea. 
I remember an alarming rumor that once spread through the army, and the 
country, of certain results of the use of rye coffee, bearing on the future increase 
of population of the Confederacy. An infusion of white oak bark was used as a 
tonic in place of quinine which was *' contraband of war" and was, therefore, 
very scarce. 


The men were not, therefore, to my observation, in 
good physical condition. Vaccination was often followed 
by serious consequences and this came, I think, from a 
low condition of the system more than from the use of 
impure matter. By the way, it was curious how com- 
monly men returning from furlough reported that they 
had spent the first part of their leave sick at home — they 
were never taken sick on coming back from home to open 
air life in the field. 

The men were often tried too by receiving letters or 
messages telling of dire distresses and apprehensions of 
worse in their families at home. These letters were con- 
stantly coming up to brigade headquarters appended to 
urgent applications for furloughs. They were, after 
proper investigation, usually, or often, forwarded ap- 
proved by General Steuart, who thought they should be 
liberally given in such cases, both from humanity and 
policy. But the Confederate ranks were thin and the 
heavy masses of the enemy were always threatening in 
our front and only in extreme instances could any appli- 
cations be granted.* But under these and many other 
trials and daily hardships the men bore up with a con- 
stancy that was wonderful and which can hardly be 
understood by the outside world. 

The Rapidan River, the dividing line between the two 
armies, was picketed by a brigade from each division for 
a week at a time, and there being the usual number of 
four brigades in our division, the turn came to us once in 
every four weeks. The picket line assigned to Johnson's 

* General D. H. Hill's ideas were more philosophic and far seeing. He once 
endorsed an application for furlough substantially in this way: '^ Respectfully 
forwarded approved, for the reason that if our brave soldiers are not occasionally 
permitted to visit their homes the next generation in the South will be composed 
of the descendants of skulkers and cowards." 

WINTER QUARTERS, 1863-1864 255 

Division was the right of the infantry line and extended 
from Morton's' Ford on the west to Sisson's Ford at the 
mouth of Mountain-Mine Run on the east, being the 
position we had held in the Fall before the Bristoe cam- 
paign. Except at one point, the river bank was high on 
our side, towards the right lofty, precipitous and rough, 
and level or gently rising on the other (Culpeper County) 
side, so that we were able to post our line of sentinels 
immediately along or overlooking the river, while those 
of the enemy were thrown back a couple of hundred 
yards or so. The exception was on our extreme right 
where the mouth of the Mountain-Mine Run valley 
made the ground low on our side while a cliff rose from 
the water's edge on the other side, and the vidette there 
posted sometimes gave us a good deal of annoyance. Our 
own sentinel, being almost underneath, had to fortify 
his position with fence rails, and it several times happened 
that his vis-^-vis, in a bad humor perhaps from the state 
of the weather or from being kept on duty over time by 
a negligent corporal, crept to the edge of the cliff before 
dawn and as soon as it was light enough to see, fired on 
him or on the officer of the day making his round. There 
were, I believe, one or two men wounded in this way dur- 
ing the winter. It was reported, too, that a negro soldier 
was often posted at this point and the rumor, although 
probably unfounded (I believe the colored troops were 
not yet at the front), produced additional irritation 
among our men, particularly as the usual truce between 
pickets was pretty well observed along the rest of the 

• I wrote Mitchell's Ford in my paper for the Massachusetts Military His- 
torical Society, but Morton's is correct. I sec the war maps give different loca- 
tions for a Mitchell's Ford but none that would make my former text right. 


But if at a disadvantage here, we had the upper hand 
everywhere else. Once some North Carolinians, of our 
neighboring brigade I think, usually a staid set of men, 
undertook to vary the monotony of picket life by a 
practical joke, which might have had serious conse- 
quences, at Morton's Ford. At this point a strong re- 
serve was maintained, which occupied a house^** or yard 
about six hundred feet back from the crossing, while at 
the same distance from the north (Culpeper) bank the 
enemy had a like force at a house which seemed to be 
also the headquarters of some officer of rank. The 
North Carolinians had found a pair of immense wheels 
with a tongue attached, probably used for hauling timber, 
which at a distance looked not unlike a gun carriage, 
although it would have carried a piece of great calibre. 
Upon this they mounted a huge hollow log, and providing 
themselves with a rammer and some large round stones, 
they suddenly dashed out with it from the house half 
way to the river, wheeled into position and pointed it at 
the opposite house, ranuned with loud words of command 
a stone into the log, and seemed about to knock the 
enemy's headquarters about their ears. For a time there 
was considerable commotion on the other side. The 
picket line hurriedly prepared for action and the house 
was speedily emptied, the inmates, or some of them, not 
standing in any order in going but making for the woods 
at once. The joke was presently appreciated and, with 
much laughter, the lines resumed their status. Such was 
the account at least, perhaps a little colored, which I 
received on riding up to Morton's Ford one day and 
noticing the "Quaker" piece with its rammer and pile 

*° Residence of the Hon. Jeremiah Morton, of the Virginia Legislature, and 
Dr. Morton, his brother. 


of Stones, and the picket line apparently quieting down 
from some excitement. 

Another time we had a little alarm on our side. Early 
one morning a messenger came in haste to our head- 
quarters at Gibson's house to report that an enterprising 
fellow had stolen forward in the night and intrenched 
himself behind a heavy gatepost in such a position as to 
have a part of our sentinel line somewhat at his mercy — 
it being on higher ground but with no cover. The signal 
corps men stationed with us (to communicate with our 
principal station on Clarke's Mountain in rear,) looked 
through their glasses and declared they could see his 
shadow moving about, and on going to the river bank 
behind Gibson's house, we certainly saw the moving shad- 
ow plainly with the naked eye, and had no doubt it was 
that of the man digging to make his position behind the 
gatepost more secure. Expecting every moment the fel- 
low, having established himself to his satisfaction, would 
pick off one of us, we were devising schemes for enfilading 
and dislodging him'from his stronghold, if even by crossing 
the river at Tobaccostick Ford — a horse ford a little way 
to the left — and rushing him, when some one made the 
discovery that the shadow was simply that of the gate- 
post itself running up and down the bars of the gate, 
which, apparently closed, was imperceptibly swinging a 
few inches to and fro in the wind. 

Another day an officer on horseback, accompanied by 
two Culpeper damsels, rode boldly down to the brink 
of the river at Tobaccostick Ford, at a bend of the stream 
nearly midway of our line, to propose an exchange of 
newspapers, as had been practised in the time of the 
brigade before us. We, however, were more strict in 
obeying orders about holding communication with the 
enemy, and the officer was immediately covered by a gun 
and bidden to come across. Naturally indignant at 


such a changed reception and alarmed, he attempted to 
explam and wished to withdraw, but our men would by 
no means consent, although his companions added their 
entreaties, almost in tears and saying that this officer had 
been kind to them. He was held there, with the river 
between, while a message was sent to our headquarters 
for instructions, when he was allowed to retire with an 
admonition to keep his distance hereafter. 

Such were some of the little excitements which varied 
the monotony of picket life. 

But there is a darker page in this account of life in 
winter quarters and on this picket line. 

I was at the brigade guard house in camp one day in 
January or February (1864) when a few prisoners were 
brought in, under guard from division headquarters or 
higher up. Colonel Titus V. Williams, of the 37th Vir- 
ginia, happened to be present and recognized and spoke 
— curdy — to one of them by his name, Rosenbaum. 
The Colonel told me the man was a bad soldier who had 
deserted, that is, had run away from his company to his 
mountain home in southwest Virginia, once or twice 
before. He had been picked up by conscript officers 
and was now returned to his command again under 
charges. In due time he was tried before the corps court 
martial, was found guilty of desertion and was sentenced 
'*to be shot to death by musketry," as such sentences 
were worded. At that time ordinary courts martial 
(of officers specially detailed as occasions arose,) had been 
abolished, and by act of Congress each corps of the army 
had a standing tribunal of three appointees, who were 
civilians, or at any rate, appointed from outside the 
army; for instance, William H. Norris, a well known 
Baltimore lawyer, who had been compelled to become a 
refugee, was one such appointee, and I think a member 
of our corps court. 


After his conviction Rosenbaum's company officers 
came to me and asked me so earnestly if I would not see 
if he could not be saved from death that I consented to 
examine the proceedings and see if they were in regular 
shape. Now by the articles of war it is absolutely nec- 
essary that in case of a capital sentence the finding 
should state, ''Two-thirds of the court concurring," and 
I found that in Rosenbaum's case the proceedings said 
''A majority of the court. " Under the old practice this 
would undoubtedly have made the sentence void, but in 
case of the new corps court a majority of three is also 
two-thirds. I told the officers I did not think the point 
was a good one, but I saw nothing else to base an appeal 
on, and at their request I drew up a paper making as 
much out of the point as I could. It was addressed to 
Captain H. G. Young, judge advocate-general of the 
Army of Northern Virginia, on General Lee's staff, and 
I think it was signed by Rosenbaum or his company 
officers. After a time a long communication came down 
from Captain Young, discussing the point but saying 
that it was a novel one and he had referred it to Rich- 
mond. But no stay of execution was ordered, the date 
fixed for which was about March 3. Two or three days 
before that Kilpatrick and Dahlgren crossed the lower 
Rapidan and made their cavalry raid to the neighbor- 
hood of Richmond and our brigade was sent down the 
Stone Road to near Chancellorsville" to intercept them 
if they returned by the same road by which they had 

" I took advantage of being here to ride two or three miles down to Chancel- 
iorsviile and went over part of the ground of Jackson's last flank attack. There 
were stUl remnants of clothing and other evidences of the battle scattered about. 
At the Chancellor house they gave me a graphic account of the scene there. 
They said it was fully believed that our army was falling back towards Gordon- 
ville or Richmond and the Union soldiers were cooking dinner and takmg their 
ease when Jackson's line of battle came down on their flank like a thunderbolt. 


gone in (but they did not). We were for two or three 
days stationed along the Old Stone Road, facing south 
and so watching what I think was the mouth of the 
Brock Road. A day or two before the date fixed for 
the execution of Rosenbaum (who had been left in camp 
in the Brigade guard house), I met Major E. L. Moore, 
of Major-General Johnson's staff — being in fact the 
assistant inspector-general of the division and having 
special charge of such matters — and I represented to 
him that the execution could not well be carried out 
while we were practically in battle array. He agreed 
and changed the date, to, I think, that day week. I 
said, " Put it in writing, " and paper not being at hand, I 
pulled out an old letter and on the yellow Confederate 
envelope he wrote an order to that effect, **By com- 
mand of Major-General Johnson," which I fortunately 
preserved. On that newly fixed date the brigade was on 
one of its regular tours of picket duty on the Rapidan 
and we had taken the condemned man, Rosenbaum, with 
us. On the appointed day — I think it was March lo, 
being Friday, on which day of the week such sentences 
were customarily carried out — the brigade was drawn up 
in the open valley of Mountain Run, a short distance 
back of its place of bivouac. The details were under the 
direction of the field officer of the day — a daily assign- 
ment by turns of one of the lieutenant-colonels or majors 
— but it was also one of my duties as inspector-general 
to see that everything was properly done. And when 
the man had been placed at the stake or upright piece, 
this officer came to me and unrolled a bushel bag and 
said he supposed that was to be put over the prisoner. 
I made him tear off a strip and bandage the man's eyes 
with it. He requested that several of his friends might 
sing a hymn while he was being shot, and the field officer 

WINTER QUARTERS, 1863-1864 26 1 

referring this to me, I said I thought he might permit 
it — ^with some hesitation, however, for I was afraid it 
might discompose the firing party, and I am not sure it 
did not. As usual, one-half of the muskets were loaded 
with blank cartridges, to give some uncertainty to the 
members of the firing party by whom their comrade was 
shot. The prisoner prayed aloud that he might be re- 
ceived into that better land — 

It was a gloomy, leaden evening, with a storm rapidly 
coming up from the west, and when the execution was 
over, there was scarcely time to march the men back to 
their bivouac, when it broke, with thunder and lightning, 
unusual so early in the season, and a heavy downpour of 
rain, That night, about one o'clock, in riding my cus- 
tomary round of the picket line, I went back up the 
valley to see if the man had been properly buried in the 
hurry of the storm. It was now bright moonlight and 
the valley with its sedge grass bottom, gloomy hillside 
beyond, and noise of running water, was a depressing 
place. He had been buried under an oak tree standing 
alone in the valley and whose stretched out arms, either 
dead or with no foliage as yet, looked ghostly in the 
moonlight. I own that I felt chilled and turned back 
with relief. Then or afterwards, I found a paper affixed 
to the headboard with the inscription, "murdered by 
usurped military authority. " Some time after this, in 
camp, an order came from division headquarters suspend- 
ing the execution. I replied that he had been executed. 
Back came a courier at full speed with a communication 
demanding by what authority the man had been shot. 
I sent the envelope, or a copy of it, which contained the 
order, both postponing the execution from the day 
originally fixed and naming the day on which it should 
be carried out — as it was. I heard nothing more on the 


I witnessed three executions in the army, and I believe 
there were not many more in the Army of Northern Vir- 
ginia. The first was at Centreville in November, 1861, 
when two (?) of Major Robert Wheat's Battalion of 
Louisiana "Tigers," a very rough set requiring stern 
discipline, were shot for some crime, not desertion — 
aggravated riotous conduct I believe. The second was 
of the ten North Carolinians in September, 1863, of 
which I have given an account. And this was the third, 
and, from some circumstances, perhaps even more pain- 
ful to me than that of the ten men. Some will say that 
such incidents ought to be omitted and forgotten, but, 
as I have said before, I do not think that the darker side 
of war should be hidden or suppressed. 

Having the extreme right of the infantry picket line 
of the army and with the infantry's distrust of cavalry 
protection, we watched our right flank also in a measure, 
particularly towards the opening of Spring. During the 
Winter General Steuart, always active about something 
— or many things — had, with the assistance of Captain 
George Williamson, his adjutant-general, who was as 
zealous and indefatigable as himself, perfected a plan, ac- 
cording to which on a moment's notice the picket posts 
would deploy so as to form a connected skirmish line a 
mile or more long, with reserves at the more important 
points, and as the ground was extremely rough in places, 
especially on the right, and communication slow and at 
night difficult, this well preconcerted arrangement would 
have been found very effective had any attempt been 
made on our front. General Steuart and Captain Wil- 
liamson also examined the whole river front picketed by 
Ewell's Corps, from Mountain-Mine Run up to Somer- 
ville's Ford and drew up an elaborate plan for guarding 
it, with a complete system of rules for the government 



of the pickets, which was adopted by General Ewell. It 
was my practice to ride around nightly, but at uncertain 
hours, to inspect our picket line, which was a work of an 
hour or more. Indeed one or two posts could not be vis- 
ited after dark without dismounting and leaving my horse 
some distance back from the river. There was also the 
Field Officer of the Day, and General Steuart and Cap- 
tain Williamson were constantly riding about, so that 
our pickets were certainly kept on the alert. The picket 

line was made up of daily details, the main body of the 
Brigade being in bivouac a short distance in rear, behind 
a fringe of woods. 

General George Hume Steuart's (sometimes called the 
3d) Brigade was composed of five regiments; loth Vir- 
ginia, Colonel E. T. H. Warren, numbering about 250 
officers and men present for duty; 23d Virginia, Lieu- 
tenant-Colonel John F. Fitzgerald, about 250; 37th 
Virginia, Colonel Titus V. Williams, about 300; ist 


North Carolina State Troops, Colonel Hamilton A. 
Browne, about 350, and 3d North Carolina State Troops, 
Colonel Stephen D. Thruston," about 275. The North 
Carolina State Troops were so designated because they 
were two of a series of ten regiments which had been at 
the beginning mustered into service for the war instead of 
the then usual term of twelve months, and officers had 
been originally appointed by the governor and not 
elected, and continued to be nominated by him to the War 
Office at Richmond when there were vacancies. All of 
the ten that I saw during the war were the better for 
these distinctions and claimed something of the esprit, 
by some called " uppishness, " of regulars. The 1st was 
from the central and western part of the State; the 3d 
was from the parts around Wilmington. The latter was 
certainly one of the best officered regiments I ever saw 
and maintained a very high state of discipline. The 
loth Virginia was from the Valley, one company, how- 
ever, being from Madison County on the east side of the 
Blue Ridge." The 23d was of companies from Louisa, 
Charlotte, Halifax, Prince Edward and perhaps other 
counties and Richmond City. The 37th was from the 
mountainous southwestern part of the State. 

General Steuart's staff was composed of Captain 
George Williamson, assistant-adjutant general (of Mary- 
land); Major Tanner (of Virginia), quartermaster, and 
myself. I think Major George H. Kyle, of Maryland, 
commissary, had left us. I have before explained that 
I was volunteering as assistant inspector-general, and 

"Lieutenant-Colonel Oswald M. Parsley was in command a part of the 

" I think it was to this company that Lieutenant Charles M. Crisp, after the 
war Speaker of the House of Representatives, belonged. He had moved to 


sometimes as assistant adjutant-general, in the captivity 
of my general, Major-General I. R. Trimble. General 
Steuart had had no aide de camp since Lieutenant 
Randolph H. McKim resigned to study for the ministry 
and reenter the service as a Chaplain. 

It would be, I am satisfied, a fair estimate to say that 
in the Spring when the campaign opened, the effective 
strength of the brigade in line of battle was 1400 officers 
and men. 

Major-General Edward Johnson's Division contained 
three other brigades, viz., Brigadier-General James A. 
Walker's (the old "Stonewall" and sometimes called the 
1st Brigade), 2d, 4th, 5th, 27th (a battalion), and 33d 
Virginia Regiments; Brigadier-General John M. Jones's 
(2d Brigade), 21st, 25th, 42d, 44lh, 48th and 50lh Virginia; 
and Brigadier-General Leroy M. Stafford's, of five Louisi- 
ana regiments. I have no doubt the Division num- 
bered closely in the neighborhood of 5200 in line of 
battle, Stafford's, and I think Jones's, being smaller 
than Steuart's and the Stonewall. 

Lieutenant-General Richard S. Ewell's Corps was com- 
posed of the three Divisions of Major-Generals Edward 
Johnson, Jubal A. Early and Robert Rodes, numbering 
in all about 16,000 in battle. 

Then there were Lieutenant-General Ambrose Powell 
Hill's Corps and two of the three Divisions of Lieutenant- 
General James Longstreet's Corps, the latter lately re- 
turned from hard service with the western army ; and the 
artillery and cavalry." 

1* Colonel Walter H. Taylor, adjutant-general of the Army of Northern 
Virginia, in his Four Years With General Lee, quoting from the official returns, 
except as to Longstreet's two divisions and estimating them, makes the aggregate 


The men were fairly equipped as to arms — for the most 
part taken from the enemy — ^and were in light marching 
order, having certainly no superabundant weight of 
clothing and few utensils of any kind. 

strength of the anny, on 20th of April, 1864, 63,984 of all arms and present for 

Colonel Livennore, of the Union Army, in his Numbers and Losses in the 
Civil War, gives Lee 66,354 present for duty, of whom he estimates 61,025 ^^^ 
''effectives'' (page xxx), that is, after excluding non-combatants in the medical 
and quartermaster's departments, etc. (page 67). On muster rolls and such 
papers, "total" generally meant of enlisted men, ''aggregate" of enlisted men 
and commissioned officers. 

UsiCAUIKR-UeNlLBAL Geusc£ Huuk Steuart, C.S.A. 

Battle of the Wilderness 

On or about the 29th of April (1864) Steuart's Brigade 
left its Winter quarters near Pisgah Church and the Stone 
Road to perform a tour of picket duty at its usual station 
on the Rapidan, about six miles distant. 

The face of the country had been greatly changed by 
the prolonged occupation of the army, fencing being gone 
and fields thrown open and uncultivated, and extensive 
forests cut down, so that we were able to pursue almost a 
straight course, regardless of roads, to our destination. 
The road, or route, led sometimes over abandoned fields, 
across marshy places bridged with "corduroy, " and often 
for a long stretch through a desolate region of stumps, 
where the summer before had been a thick growth of 
oak or pine timber with luxuriant foliage. The country, 
thinly settled before, seemed now almost uninhabited and 
not even the bark of a dog or song of a bird broke the 
dreary silence. After a leisurely march of two or three 
hours we halted in a piece of woods a short distance back 
from the river not far from the mouth of Mountain Run 
and nearer to Gibson's house, which we made our head- 
quarters, and in another hour or two the tedious opera- 
tion of relieving pickets was completed and we were left 
in occupation. 

As we were almost daily expecting the Spring cam- 
paign to open, we redoubled our vigilance on this tour 
and looked well to our flank, being the extreme right of 
the army infantry picket line. On the Culpeper County 
(enemy's) side the screening woods had been so thinned 



out in the course of the winter that several camps had 
come into plain view and we kept a close watch on them 
for any signs like breaking up. For two or three days 
nothing out of the way was observed but at last, about 
the 2d of May, an unusual quantity of smoke in the day- 
time and moving of lights by night gave sufficient evi- 
dence that the expected movement was about to be made. 
Soldiers are very apt, on breaking up camp, to make bon- 
fires of their surplus wood and winter "fixings. " On the 
morning of the next day (May 3d?)^ a cloud of dust was 
seen floating over the woods in front and stretching in a 
long line parallel with and down the river, and at one 
exposed point the white covers of wagons and glistening 
muskets were visible, passing in endless succession, and 
there was no doubt the Union army was moving to cross 
one or more of the fords below, Germanna we rightly 
supposed. We signaled back to our principal observa- 
tory on Clark's Mountain, but were answered that they 
had a full view of the movement from that elevated 

Clark's Mountain, in which the South West range, 
which passes through Albemarle and Orange Counties, 
here terminates, is a short distance in rear of the Rapidan, 
and commands a far and wide view of all the country in 
front. General Lee had his headquarters near it. All 
day long we watched the ominous cloud of dust hanging 
in the air and stream of wagons and glittering gun metal 
and knew that a few hours would find the two armies 

^ Grant's order for the movement was promulgated on May 2 and one cavalry 
division and a pontoon bridge train, etc., were to start on May 3 and the infantry 
was to begin to move at midnight of the same day. See General Humphrey's 
Virginia Campaign of 1864-s, Appendix D. I may have made an error of a day 
as to our observation but my recollection reduced to writing in the fall of 1883 
was that wagons and troops moving down were visible on the 3d. 


contending once more on a Wilderness battle ground.* 
That evening one or two deserters came over and gave 
confirmation, if any were needed, that Grant had put his 
whole army in motion. 

The next morning, May 4, showed the same line of 
march and canopy of dust marking its course down the 
river. Two more deserters, one a Belgian speaking 
French only, came across at Morton's Ford, closely pur- 
sued and fired on to the edge of the water. In the after- 
noon we received orders to march, the quartermasters 
and men in camp being directed to pack up at winter 
quarters and move down the Orange and Fredericksburg 
Plank Road' to join us. About 3 p.m. we moved out 
under cover of the woods and took a cross road in a south- 
erly direction towards the Wilderness, the 37th Virginia 
being left on the picket line with instructions to withdraw 
after night and overtake us. At dark we struck the 
Orange and Fredericksburg Stone Road, which at this 
point is a mile or more north of the Plank Road, and went 
into bivouac. 

Early in the morning. May 5, Johnson's Division being 
now united — our 37th Virginia not being up, however — 
we started down the Stone Road towards Fredericksburg, 
but on reaching a point nearly abreast of Germanna 
Ford and within two miles of Wilderness Run and 

' Colonel Warren, of the loth Virginia, of Harrisonburg, Rockingham County 
in the Valley, a fine officer and a most estimable gentleman, sat with us at our 
headquarters in Gibson's house that night until 9 or 10 o'clock while we talked 
about the opening campaign. He said he was afraid Maryland could never be- 
come a part of the Confederacy but Virginia would take care of all exiled Mary- 
landers. He added that he expected to have some influence in his county after 
the war and, turning to Captain Williamson, he said, "You shall be clerk of the 
county. " Colonel Warren was slain within forty-eight hours. 

* I wrote "Plank Road" in my published account but I should think it more 
probable that it was the Stone Road. 


Tavern, were brought to a halt by the information that 
the enemy, having crossed the Rapidan at Germanna, 
were moving out into the country along our front. And 
a brisk skirmish soon began, probably wilh J. M. Jones's 
Brigade which had the advance, and turning down an 
old woods road which diverged from the Stone Road to 
the left oblique, we presentiy halted again and formed 
forward in line of battie. 

We were now in the heart of "the Wilderness, " a well 
named tract extending from the Rapidan River on the 
north across the Stone and Plank Roads to the south 
and to near Fredericksburg on the east. It is in places 
level and marshy, or rather with numerous wet spring 
heads, but for the most pari rolling and sometimes rugged, 
with very few open fields or clearings of thin soil easily 
washing into gullies, and still fewer houses scattered 
here and there. Deer are still to be found there.* The 
woods, which seem to stretch out interminably, are in 
some places of pine, with low spreading branches through 
which a horseman cannot force his way without much 
turning and twisting, but generally the oak predominates. 
In many places the large trees had been cut down in 
years past — whether for the construction of plank roads 
or for furnaces or other purposes I do not know — and a 
jungle of switch, twenty or thirty feet high, more im- 
penetrable, if possible, than the pine, had sprung up. A 
more difficult and disagreeable field of battle could not 
well be imagined. There is no room for cavalry and littie 
range for artillery. It is an affair of musketry at close 
quarters, from which one combatant or the other must 

* In one or more accounts of the battle of Chancellorsville I have read that 
Jackson's flank attack was preceded by frightened deer, rabbits and other ani- 


soon recoil, if both do not construct breastworks, as 
they learned to do with wonderful rapidity. 

Some little delay occurred in making a connected line, 
facing to the direction in which we had been marching, 
but by midday the men were lying down in position, our 
Brigade being nearly at right angles with the Stone Road, 
which was perhaps a couple of hundred yards south of 
our right. The skirmish firing indicated that the enemy 
were moving diagonally across and towards our front, 
and it drew closer and closer until stray bullets were cut- 
ting through the branches overhead. I was at the right 
of the brigade line. General Steuart being towards the 
centre, when Major-General Johnson rode by in some 
haste and called out to me,* that it was not intended to 
bring on a general engagement that day.* When he 
presently rode up a second time and called out, " Remem- 
ber, Captain Howard, it is not meant to have a general 
engagement," I said, "But, General, it is evident that 
the two lines will come together in a few moments, and 
whether it is intended to have a general engagement or 
not, will it not be better for our men to have the impetus 
of a forward movement in the collision?" "Very well, " 
said he, " let them go ahead a little. " I looked down the 
line towards General Steuart (I do not remember now — 
191 1 — ^whether he was in sight, but the bullets were flying 
thicker and the men were getting restive and the moment 
seemed critical), and, raising my sword, I called out 
"Forward!" The men responded with alacrity and al- 
most immediately a tremendous fire rolled along the line. 
Battle's Brigade of Rodes's Division had just been placed 

* Meaning it for General Steuart, of course. 

• No doubt General Lee desired to have Longstreet's two divisions up (which 
having recently come from service in the west were in the rear — towards Gor- 
donsville, I think) and the army well concentrated or connected. 


behind our right and, catching the enthusiasm, it rushed 
forward also. We pressed right on, firing heavily and 
driving the enemy through the dense thicket. Large 
bodies were taken prisoners, one regiment, the i i6th New 
York I think,^ in new uniforms with heavy yellow trim- 
mings, being captured almost as an organization — many 
of them, however, lay dead or wounded. For some time 
the woods road (I mean simply an old road through the 
woods, little used,) on which we had diverged from the 
Stone Road and across which our line extended, was 
blocked up by a mass of prisoners. None but our slightly 
wounded were allowed to guard them to the rear and they 
were simply directed, for the most part, to keep that 
road back until they would meet troops having more 
leisure to take charge of them. Probably many escaped. 
Meanwhile we had driven the enemy through the 
jungle to an open field extending on both sides of the 
Stone Road and as they were pressed across it a destruc- 
tive fire was poured into them, so that it appeared to me 
the ground was more thickly strewn with their dead and 
wounded than I had ever seen. A battery had been in 
the act of crossing this field, all but two pieces of which 
had wheeled about and gotten off, but all the horses and 
many of the drivers of these two had been shot down and 
they remained standing in the midst of the dead and 
wounded for the next day or two. The officer command- 
ing the artillery, or this section, mounted on a fine 
Morgan horse, refused for a time to yield himself and 
was only saved from death by the intervention of Colonel 
Browne of the 1st North Carolina, who, struck with his 
gallantry, called out, as an inducement to surrender, 

^ Colonel Thniston, of the 3d North Carolina, says the 146th New York, 
commanded by Colonel Jenkins, of Elmira, New York, which seems correct 
from the records. 


that he would give him the special honor of a com- 
missioned officer to escort him to the rear. The Colonel 
mounted his horse, however, and rode it during the rest 
of the fight.8 

At this time Major-General Johnson rode by again 
and I said to him, "General, if it is not intended to have 
a general engagement, the edge of the woods, with the 
open space in front will be an excellent place to form our 
line, " and he replied, "Yes, let it be done. " I communi- 
cated it to General Steuart, and it was so done.' About 
half of our men had, however, eagerly pushed on half 
way across the field and when recalled some fifteen or 
twenty remained out, taking refuge in a deep gully to 
avoid the stream of bullets which passed over their heads, 
until able to come in under cover of night. Just before 
we made our charge I had observed some confusion to 
our right where J. M. Jones's Brigade*® adjoined us, or 
rather was in advance, supported by part of Battle's 
(of Rodes's Division). One of Jones's best regiments, 
the 25th (?) Virginia, being, unfortunately, captured 
almost entire on the skirmish line and a strong attack 
being made on him — ^which we by our forward movement 
anticipated with such good result — ^his men gave back 
and Jones himself, apparently disdaining to fly, was 
killed while sitting on his horse gazing at the approaching 
enemy; so his death was described to me by Captain 
Cleary of his staff. A very gallant and efficient officer, 
of the old regular army, his loss was severely felt, par- 
ticularly at the critical moment of the assault at Spotsyl- 

• The two guns belonged to Battery D, ist New York, Captain Winslow. 
See the War of the RebeUion Records, 

' I have always since regretted having made this last suggestion. 

^® He b to be distinguished from Brigadier-General John R. Jones, who for- 
merly (in 1862) commanded this brigade. 

274 BJscoixBcncms op a oonfbdbratb soldier 

vania. Odier troops assisted to repair this teix^xxaiy 
teverse and this part of ^e line was established and ad- 
vanced with oiirsy or n^oiy. 

On our left the Stonewall and Stafford's Brigades had 
been and continued to be holly engaged and, being partly 
enveloped on Ihe flanki lost heavily; General Stafford 
was killed some time in ^e afternoon and most of his 
staff were captured. The wh<rfe division finally occupied 
a line extending ours on the right and left and, firing 
having ceased except in a desultory way, we soon b^:an 
to construct such rude and slight breastworks as we 
could without implements, and the enemy on his side 
apparently busied himself in ^e same manner. Oppo- 
site the right of Johnson's Division, which rested near the 
Stone Road, the open field separated ^e hostile lines by a 
conmderable interval, compared at least with the distance 
between them onourcen'treandleft,wiiae the breastworks 
were not more than pistol shot apart, but with a thick 
jungle between. I think Steuart's Brigade now held the 
right of the Division, Jones's having been much shattered. 
I do not remember that a single piece of artillery had been 
used on either side. The fighting had been close and the 
loss in our division was heavy, including Brigadier-Gener- 
als Jones and Stafford and many officers of rank. In 
Steuart's Brigade the loth Vii^'nia had two field officers 
killed — Colonel E. T. H. Warren and Major Coffman, 
both officers of unusual merit. Colonel Warren was one 
of the most efficient regimental commanders in the serv- 
ice and a gentleman of singularly amiable character. 
The other three regiments (the 37th Virginia, left on the 
Rapidan on picket had not overtaken us), also suffered 
severely in officers and men. It is usual to speculate on 
a far greater loss on an enemy's side, but as our brigade 


at least drove them across open ground, it is reasonable to 
suppose, and appearances indicated that in this part of 
the battle they lost more heavily. Certainly the field 
in our front was strewn very thickly with their fallen, 
mingled with whom were some of our own. This being 
now the territory of neither party, the wounded of neither 
could be removed or receive any attention. Several 
efforts were made to relieve them but the enemy opened 
fire whenever we exposed ourselves at the edge of the 
thicket and the attempts had to be abandoned. 

Our picket or skirmish line had been established a few 
paces in advance of the breastworks — if such they could 
then be called — and endless alarms and exchanges of 
shots kept us on the alert. It was half a dozen times 
reported that the enemy were advancing, that the voices 
of their officers could be plainly heard inciting the men, 
but no serious attack was made for some time; and after 
rushing to arms more than once under the impression 
that a charge was imminent, we presently grew accus- 
tomed to the situation and received such alarms more 

Our 37th Viipnia now came up from the rear, too late 
to participate in action with us, but being sent to the left 
to support Pegram's Brigade of Early's Division, which 
had been placed on the left of the Stonewall and Stafford, 
and where there was still desultory fighting, it soon found 
itself under fire and Colonel Williams was slightly 
wounded in the foot. Just about dark the enemy in our 
front made a rash charge across the comer of the open 
ground, apparently with the intention of recovering 
their two abandoned guns, but a couple of our pieces 
which had been posted on rising ground at the mouth of 
the Stone Road on our right, opened with canister and 


drove them back with loss. This dosed the operations 
of Ae day." 

Shortly afterwards a number of our men came in under 
cover of darkness from ^e front, having lain in the gully 
for many hours-r-from the time when we had recalled 
and reformed our line within the edge of the woods. 

^ Litde has been told of and justice has not been done to the strenuous and 
I may say soooeasfui part taken by Steuart's Brigade in this first day's battle in 
the Wikieniefls. Generals Steuart and Johnson were captured a week later and 
never nuule official reports, nor did the regimental commanders. In fact, not 
manyConfedemtereportsweremade&omthistimetotheendof the war. The 
tepcut of General Ewdl, corps commander, War of the RMii4m Records, Series 
X, Volume XXXVI, Part I, Serial No. 67, page 1069, is inadequate for want of 
infoimation from such reports of subordinates. I did not see him on our part of 
the line during the battle. 

Moved by this absence of recognition of the part taken by Johnson's Division, 
and eqpedaUy Steuart's Brigade, Cdonel Stq^ien D. Thruston of our 3d North 
Ouolina, wrote, in 1885 o' i9S6, an account of the operations from May 4 to 
May 12, iriiicfa was published in the Southern Historical Papers, Volume XIV, 
page Z46. But there was not published with it a plat of the battle of May 5 
which Colonel Huru8tOD had annexed to his account, a copy of which I made and 
have. This plat, by a man of his saxptnon intelligence and opportunities for 
information, is interesting and valuable and should be looked at by any one 
studying the details and result of this first day's battle of the campaign. It 
shows the nature of the ground (he says he made a sketch of the battlefield on 
May 7 — when it was all accessible to us as will appear presently), and the suc- 
cessive positions of the Brigades of Swell's Corps at different hours of the day; 
although his own observation could not have extended much beyond his own 
Brigade and that or those immediately on his right, his Regiment holding the 
right of Steuart's Brigade. The topography as shown on his plat, the clearing 
and surrounding woods, etc., agree closely with my account and with a plat made 
by me in 1883, except as to the roads. Colonel Thruston takes no notice of 
what I called the "woods road, " and this road on which I said we diverged from 
the Stone Road he makes the straight Stone Road itself which he says had be- 
come impassable from the gully or washout in front, and he shows a curved trav- 
eled road on the south of it all the way over the open field and so around the 
head of the washout. And yet my recollection seems distinct that we did so 
diverge on this side road, and is in a measure confirmed by war maps, which show 
such a road as running over and a short cut to the road leading from Germanna 
Ford to the Stone Road. I do not remember Colonel Thruston's curved trav- 
eled road, but I was very little, if at all, south of the straight Stone Road. 


^s- 5 — ■ ■ 

o»« .'-'' 


When the enemy made their last charge at m'ghtfatl, 
^ey had passed directly over the gully and in returning 
several of them stopped in it for shelt^ ifrom the fire of 
canister. These our fellows had immediately captured, 
finding on them some canteens of whisky, an unknown 
article on our side, and both parties made themselves as 
sociable and comfortable as their situation would permit. 
The senior officer of the squad, Captain DePriest of the 
23d Virginia, now brought in his men and prisoners and 
came to (ne to make a voluble and unsteady report (lean- 
ing against a tree,) of what he was pleased to call his 
separate operations during the day. 

Usually there is not much groaning or outcry from 
wounded men on a battlefield; they do not feel acute 
pain, or else bear their su£Ferings in silence. But on this 
occasion circumstances seemed to make their situation 
peculiarly distressing, and their moans and cries were 
painful to listen to. In the still nig^t air every groan 
could be heard aiid the calls for water and entreaties to 
brothers and comrades by name to come and help them. 
Many, Federal and Confederates, lay within a dozen 
paces of our skirmish line, whom we found it impossible 
to succor, although we tried. I was myself fired on 
while making two separate efforts to get some in. I well 
remember that at midnight when I lay down to sleep, 
and on waking during the night, their cries were ringing 
in my ears. 

The next day, May 6, was spent in strengthening our 
slight works. There was no renewal of the attack in our 
quarter, although the pickets fired at short range on 
every one who exposed himself, by which we lost two 
good officers, one, I think. Lieutenant Cicero Craig of the 
3d North Carolina. Our men were instructed to keep a 
jealous watch on the two pieces of artillery which still 


stood outside the line to be the fruits of that side which 
would in the end remain masters of the field. We under- 
stood that A. P. Hill's Corps was having an engagement 
over to the right, but knew no particulars and I do not 
remember that we heard the sound of it. The heaviest 
firing, musketry at least, may be inaudible at a short 
distance, comparatively speaking, in this gloomy and 
tangled wilderness, although distinctly heard perhaps 
dozens of miles away. The dull noise of artillery will, 
of course go further and I have known well authenticated 
instances of the sound of battle being carried to the 
mountains of Virginia, a hundred miles or more distant, 
but without being heard in a part of the intervening 

A little before sunset Brigadier-General John B. 
Gordon (of Early's Division, Ewell's Corps), who we 
heard had been asking permission all day to turn the 
enemy's right flank, being at last accorded it, made an 
attack with signal success, capturing Brigadier-Generals 
Seymour and Shaler, with many men, and sweeping 
down the line for a considerable distance. We, mean- 
while, stood under arms, expecting orders to carry on the 
movement, but it was deemed too hazardous. But it 
seemed to us that it might have been followed up with 
the promise of important results." 

" When trout fishing after the war at the head of Dry Fork of Cheat River in 
Randolph County, West Virginia, in the Alleghenies, I was assured that the 
sound of some of the battles in eastern Virginia had been heard although much 
more than a hundred mOes away and with several mountain ranges between. 
At Wye House in Talbot County, Maryland, the 9 o'clock evening gun at An- 
napolis, twenty-odd miles distant is usually heard, even in a close room in winter. 
And yet I have never heard in the middle of Baltimore the s\mset gun at Fort 
McHenry, not two miles oflf. 

** Major-General Johnson told me a few days afterwards when we were prison- 
ers together that the adjutant-general of the Union Army stated to him that on 
this occasion the army (that part of it?) had been doubled on its center and its 


At any rate we found the enemy gone from our front 
the next morning. May 7, and 'sallied out to examine the 
ground, pushing our skirmishers forward who finally 
came upon the enemy in positioif a long way back — I 
think a mile.^ We now hauled in our two captured 
guns,^ removed the surviving wounded, who had been 
lying unsuccored for two days, and buried as many of the 
dead as we could. The brush had caught fire and the 
creeping flames were burning up many of the latter and, 
no doubt, some of the wounded. The pioneer corps of 
our division, I heard, reported having buried 582 of the 
enemy in front of our (Ewell's) Corps and many were 

lafety seemed to be endangered. In ocmvenation with General CoUis after the 
war, he informed me that he was with General Grant at the time idien General 
Meade rode up and reported the situation to be serious, but General Grant re- 
marked with an impatient gesture (pushing up the front of his o^), that Bum- 
aides' Corps had not been put in action and oould be used if necessary. But aee 
note at end of this chapter. 

^ General Ewdl, in his npatt referred to before, says the enemy drew bade 
their line so that Germanna Ford was entirely given up. 

^ But Colonel Thruston's account says that they were brou^t in on the night 
of May 5. And Captain Randolph Barton, adjutant-general of the Stonewall 
Brigade, now living in Baltimore, tells me that the late Eugene Blackford (who 
died near Sudbrook in Baltimore County a few years ago), major of the 4th 
Alabama and commanding the skirmishers of Rodes's Division, informed him 
that the two guns were dragged in after dark by means of a large rope which 
some courageous men had fastened to them, and probably on the night of the 
6th. I supix>se my recollection was a little at fault and that they had been 
brought in on the night of the 5th or 6th, most likely the latter. I remember 
going on the 7th to the position where they had been but do not recall then see- 
ing them, although I think we found there, with dead men and horses, one or 
more still living wounded. Whenever they were brought in, I remember the 
indignation of our men at someone's having chalked on the guns "captured by 
Battle's Brigade," or to that effect. They were certainly fairly taken by Steu- 
art's Brigade. This is not only confirmed by what I have narrated about 
Colonel Browne and the officer commanding the section, but Colonel Thniston 
gives other particulars, among other that Captain Cantwell, Lieutenant Lyon 
and Adjutant James (who lost an arm), all of the 3d North Carolina, turned the 
guns on the enemy but oould find no ammunition to fire them. 



left uninterred for want of time." The enemy's line 
gave evidences of having been abandoned in much haste, 
knapsacks, haversacks, rations, etc., lying strewn around, 
which were e^:erly gathered by our men. About midday 
the enemy advanced in our front and our pickets gradu- 
ally fell back, but not to their original tine on the left, in 
the thicket. For the rest of the day there was frequent 
firing between the pickets or skirmishers" but without 
much damage done. At our right, near the Stone Road, 
there was a loss sustained, however, in the death of 

Colonel J. Thompson Brown," commanding the reserve 
artillery of Ewell's Corps, who was shot through the 

" General Ewell's report says that the burial parties of two of his divisioiit 
reported having interred over iioo of the enemy and the third and larger made 

" At this time and thenceforward to the end of the war the two armies were 
so dose that a picket line was very likely to be a skirmiah line and the two terms 
came to be used interchangeably. 

" Major Blackford told Captam Randolph Bartoa that Colonel Brown had 
dismounted and come through the woods to where he was and that he was en- 
deavoring to point out a Union skirmisher to Btown, who was standing immedi- 
ately behind him, when a ball struck a limb near by and, ^andng, struck Brown 


head by a stray bullet as he rode behind the breastworks. 
One of the aiemy, having climbed a tree opposite the 
same point, annoyed us by attempting to pick off our 
men across the open, but he was dther shot down or 
made too uncomfortable on his perch. 

Towards dark we were notified there would be a move- 
ment by the right flank along the line of works and were 
ordered to watch the troops with whom we there made 
connection and follow them. So the men w«% kept 
under arms and stricdy prohibited from making fires or 
noise or any unusual signs, such as rattling of canteens 
or metal, that might betray our motions to the enemy. 

About 9 o'clock, p.m., our neighbors began to move off 
by the right flank and we followed, the skirmish line also 
fadng to the right and keeping between us and the enemy. 
The line of breastworks, immediately behind which we 
marched, ran for the most part through rugged woods 
and the m*ght being very dark, horsemen and foot soldiers 
were continually stumbling over stumps, running into 
trees, or falling in gullies with which the easily washed 
thin soil of the country abounded. We seldom went one 
or two hundred yards without being arrested by delays 
in front, nor were those halts long enough or of any cer- 
tainty so that the men could snatch a little rest. So the 
night wore on, the line of works seemingly interminable, 
up and down hill and winding about in the desolate Wil- 
derness region. About half an hour before dawn there 
was a longer halt and the men lay down in their places 
and took a brief repose. 

At 6 or 7 o'clock. May 8, we resumed the march, strik- 
ing off from the works to the right oblique, and presently 
found ourselves on a road which led in the direction of 
Spotsylvania Court House. The troops we had been 
keeping in touch with during the night had disappeared 
while we were resting. For a couple of miles we were 


compelled to pass through burning woods, the smoke and 
heat of which were very distressing, particularly as there 
was a scarcity of water, this being the ridge between the 
waters of the Rapidan and the Mattapony. By midday 
we were becoming much exhausted and the rearguard 
had a difficult and most disagreeable duty to perform in 
keeping the men from falling out. The dust, too, was 
very annoying and the day was hot. But at such a time 
the plea of physical exhaustion had to be disregarded and 
stragglers were urged and made to move on by persuasion 
and almost by force. Later in the day we struck across 
the country and got into another road leading to Spotsyl- 
vania Court House.^' 

'* When my paper on the opening of the campaign was sent to the Massa- 
chusetts Military Historical Society in 1882 or 1883, Mr. John C. Ropes, founder 
of the Society, sent it to Colonel Lyman, of General Meade's staff, who returned 
it to him with a letter from which the following is an extract: 

"My dear Ropes: .... I lent the Wilderness part to Gen. Pierson who 
was Lt. Col. of the 39th Mass. and in the Brigade whose fire stopped the pursuit 
across the 'open space' and compelled the enemy to retire to the opposite edge 
of the woods. He says the account (for the time he was on the field) is very 
accurate. What is curious is that he too remembers the cries of the woimded. 
Several times he essayed, with volimteers, to go out with stretchers to bring 
them in, but was received with such a fire as compelled him to retreat. Only 
in the footnote on page 10 of the Wilderness (page 278 note 13) do I observe an 
inaccuracy. Gen. Edward Johnson must have misunderstood Gen. Seth Wil- 
liams (who gave him a good breakfast on May 12th). The army after the eve- 
ning attack on the 6th Corps was not 'doubled on the centre, ' but the right was 
swimg back. If the Gen. Collis there mentioned was CoL of the 1 14th Penna., 

I think his memory must deceive him Moreover, I rode with Gen. 

Meade on that occasion and heard what was said and have no recollection of 
seeing Gen. Collis there. Gen. Grant could not have 'pushed up the front of 
his cap, ' for he never wore a cap. Gen. Grant seemed a little worried, but Gen. 
Meade was as cool as possible. He said to me 'Nonsense! It they have broken 
our line, they can do nothing more tonight,' or words to that effect; and he 
treated two officers of the 6th Corps who rode in with panicky reports to very 
sarcastic remarks. He told Grant he had ordered the Pennsylvania Reserves 
to the right and that was enough. Neither before nor after did I know 
of so profound and uncalled for a panic as this one of a portion of the 6th 
Corps. . • . "Truly yours, 

"Theodore Lyman." 


Battle of Spotsylvania Court House 

About an hour before sunset. May 8 (1864), Steuart's 
Brigade, in the lead of Johnson's Division, was within 
two miles of Spotsylvania Court House,^ and the tired 
men had just been cheered by an assurance passed down 
the column that Ihey were presently going into camp 
when firing was heard to the left obUque and news came 
that Rodes's Division, which preceded us, had found 
itself in collision with the enemy. Our column was 
turned in that direction' and soon faced to the left in b*ne 
of batde a hundred yards or so in rear of Rodes, a good 
many bullets meant for his men passing over and striking 
about us. 

I was here placed for a while in a very uncomfortable 
situation. I met General Ewell, who was alone, and he 
directed me to ride back and order Jones's Brigade to 
come up. I did so and came back with it myself — prob- 
ably because, Jones having been killed, a regimental 
officer was in command of it, in whom I did not feel confi- 
dence — and, finding General Ewell and Major-General 
Johnson together, I reported to the former, "General, I 
have brought up Jones's Brigade as you ordered." 
General Ewell said, "I gave you no such order, Sir." 
And General Johnson broke out on me violently, "No, 
that brigade is in my division and moves only by my 

* I think we were on the Shady Grove Church Road just before it strikes the 
Brock Road, a mile west of the Court House. 

' Or moved forward across the Brock Road instead of turning to the right 
(east) on it. 



order." I said to Ewell, ''Why, General, you did order 
me to do it." But he again denied it, and General 
Johnson continued to speak to me very roughly. I felt 
much alarmed until General Ewell presently said, "Stop, 
stop, General Johnson, I did give Captain Howard the 
order — it was an emergency." I was greatly relieved, 
for my word might have availed little against General 
Ewell's. While leading the brigade up a bullet or some- 
thing had struck my sword and a piece of stone had 
flown up from the ground and hit me on the breast but 
doing no harm. The rear of a line of battle in action is 
not a comfortable place unless there is some intervening 
high ground. 

About dark the firing gradually ceased, both sides ap- 
parently holding their own, and our division was faced 
to the right, from line into column, and moved forward 
so as to extend the line from Rodes's right. By lo 
o'clock the whole division was stretched out in some 
fashion and was ordered to rectify the alignment and 
throw up breastworks, but the ground was thickly 
wooded and on the right, which was held by Steuart's 
Brigade, was covered with a growth of low spreading 
pine trees or bushes, absolutely without any spaces be- 
tween them often; so that after moving backwards and 
forwards and closing up to the left and to the right, we 
got very much tangled and the prospect of making a 
straight or well connected line in the worn out condition 
of the men became worse and worse. The voices of 
Generals Johnson and Steuart were heard for some time 
in the night, but in the thicket and darkness the men 
could not see them, nor could they see each other, and 
staff officers could not well ride through, so that, tired, 
hungry and sleepy, they finally sank down where each 
one happened to find himself. 


At daylight. May 9, the line was rectified and the men 
went to work intrenching, without any proper imple- 
ments. The enemy soon opened an artillery fire from 
opposite the left of the division, which, enfilading us on 
its right in a measure, annoyed us a good deal, although 
we were not visible to them. When the breastworks 
of Steuart's Brigade, which were nearly a continuatkm 
of the line on the left, were half made the engineer officers 
of the army came along and ordered us to destroy them 
and construct a new Une. About fifty or seventy-five 
yards to the front of the left of the line we had been 
making liie ground rose to a point or ridge off which 
there was some open country, giving a good range for 
artillery, and this was made a part of the new Une, 
Jones's Brigade, or its right, being advanced a little I 
suppose, so as to connect with it. But the new lio^ of 
Steuart's Brigade, instead of being a continuation of that 
of Jones and the rest of the division, and so parallel with 
and in advance of our old line, turned back from this 
elevated point or ridge at a right angle with Jones, thus 
making a salient in the works. I asked the engineers if 
our first half constructed breastwork could not remain 
as it could do no harm, being completely enfiladed by 
our new line, and might be of service, but they said no, it 
must be demolished, and so we half levelled it. At the 
point of the angle were placed six or eight pieces of ar- 
tillery. The picket line off the angle was divided, of 
course, between us and Jones. (I keep the designation 
of the brigade although Jones had been killed on the 5th.) 
In our new position we were exposed more than before to 
the fire of the enemy's artillery, which now, passing over 
the brigades on our left for whom it was intended, took 
us in flank and rear, so that it was only in the intervals 
when the fire slackened that we were able to do much 
work. When completed, therefore, our intrenchments 


were constructed for protection from side and behind 
quite as much as for defence in front and consisted of a 
chain or series of deep square or rectangular pits, end to 
end. We also cleared away the small pines and brush 
for a space in front and made a very tolerable abatis 
with the interlaced branches outwards. Having few 
tools, the labor was tedious and it was not until the mid- 
dle of the next day that the works were sufficient for 
protection. Meanwhile details were sent back to the 
wagons who brought up cooked rations, consisting in the 
main of cold com bread. 

Towards evening on May 10 there was some sharp 
firing on the skirmish line on the left of the angle and the 
enemy's artillery reopened with such violence as to cause 
us much inconvenience, although, I believe, with little 
or no loss of life in our command. A little before sunset 
I was a short distance out In front of our right, intending 
to find out what connection we had on our skirmish line 
there, for there were no troops visible on our flank, when 
I saw or heard some commotion back in our line and, 
hastening there, found a message had come that a part 
of the line of Rodes's Division, on Johnson's left' had 
been captured by a sudden rush and ordering our brigade 
to his support in all possible haste. The distance by 
a straight line across the angle was only a few hundred 
yards, but the emergency seemed so great that the head 
of our column was pushed on at a double quick, leaving 
the rear to follow as best it could, so that the men reached 
the scene of action with a good deal of ardor but much 
exhausted and strung out.* Several dead bodies in blue 

■ The part of Rodes's line captured was in front of the McCool house. 

' It is belter to lose a little time to preserve order. And it is extremely dif- 
ficult to teach soldiers the proper douhle quick step, which with the shoulders 
and weight of the body thrown back, is not fatiguing for short distances, whereas 
a run is very soon exhausting. 


uniform were passed, one or tiro hundred jmds inside the 
line, showing, appaimtly , duit the enony had penetrated 
dius far; but they were now limiting themselves, or 
limited, to holding some two hundred yard*— as I sup- 
posed—of the wwks, from which they poured a destruc- 
tive fire to their front and cfown the line. Withmit 
waiting for the rear, our advance was formed and pushed 
forward aloi^ the line, but being only a few hundred 
men up, we were not stroc^ enough to retake the ground, 
or much of it. The greater part of these bore to the 
right and reaching the works about where the enemy's 
left was, made an attempt to chatge down the line. But 
the fire — perhaps some of it coming bxxa our own friends 
on the other side of the gap — was so withering that the 
men recoiled from eadh charge, or at least made little 
progress and could only hold their own, or what little 
they had retaken. 

I saw many instances of oompicaoiiB gallantry on the 
part of individuals under these tricing circumstances. 
Vi^lliam Steuart, the General's younger brother, who had 
just been appointed, or rather, determined on as aide de 
camp, for I do not think his appointment had been re- 
ceived, certainly had not been announced, and who was 
in black citizen's dress, attracted my attention by the 
very daring manner in which he headed these charges, 
first attempting to lead the men forward down the inside 
of the line, then jumping upon and walking along the 
top of the breastwork itself, and finally leaping upon 
the outer side and endeavoring to induce the men to 
sweep down the enemy's own side.* Captain Williamson, 
assistant adjutant-general, I saw exposing himself to an 
equal degree. Lieutenant Robert H. Lyon, of the 3d 

' He was mortally wounded, either on May 12 or a few days later. He is 
buried in the Steuart vault in Greenmount Cemetery, Baltimore. 


North Carolina, seized the regimental colors, and, calling 
on the men to follow, rushed with the flag so far in ad- 
vance that he appeared in imminent danger of being 
shot down by our own fire, if not by the enemy. Captain 
John Badger Brown,* of the same regiment, one of our 
best officers, fell near me badly wounded, and many 
other officers'' and men were killed or disabled. We re- 
gained only a part of the works and it became evident that 
the entire recapture should be made by a fresh body 
of troops marching squarely up to the gap. General 
Steuart so stated to General Johnson who accordingly 
rode off in search of such assistance, while we desisted 
from further attempts and confined ourselves to holding 
what we had. We lay down behind the breastworks, 
receiving in silence the enfilading fire which continued to 
come down them, whether from foe or friend, and watch- 
ing to repel any attack that might be made in front. 
Several times it was reported that such an attack was 
being made or threatened and some of the men rose up 
and fired, but in the dusk which had come on I could see 
nothing. A more disagreeable half hour, with a bullet 
striking a man lying on the ground every now and then, 
could not well have been spent. Presently Captain 
Williamson passed along and informed me that General 
Steuart was about to reform the brigade about a hun- 
dred yards in rear, expressing a quite alarming hope that 
I would not be shot down in crossing over there! Here 

■ He established himself in business io Baltimore after the war and died ten 
or twelve years ago. 

' I don't think I knew until afterwards thit Colonel Thniston of the same 
regiment, which seems to have home the brunt, was also seriously wounded. 
Fortunately, Lieu tenant- Colonel Oswald M. Parsley, of Wilmington, wasanother 
very efScient officer of this unusimlly well-officered regiment. Colonel Thrus- 
ton died in Texas many years ago. Lieutenant-ColoDel Parsley was killed 
about April 6, TS63, at or near Appomattox. 


about one-fourth were got together and the General, 
learning that other troops were passing up and not liking 
the idea of failing to participate with them, led his com- 
mand forward. But when we reached the works the last 
enemy had been driven out, or more probably were with- 
drawn, and about lo o'clock we returned to our own 
position which had all the while been bare of defenders 
except the skirmish line and artillery.* 

This affair impressed us with the necessity of strength- 
ening our line and next morning. May 1 1 , the men fell to 
work with increased energy, particularly on the abatis, 
the importance of which in detaining and throwing into 
confusion an enemy within point-blank range, they now 
fully appreciated. It is a mistake made by non-com- 
batants only to suppose that a slight field breastwork is 
any material obstacle of itself to a charging enemy, it 
being a covering only to die men behind it. Indeed, 
with all its advantages in economizing life, fighting be- 
hind such fieldworks has some disadvantages also. Give 
a man protection for his body and the temptation is very 
strong to put his head under cover too. My observation 
during this campaign was that behind works not a few 
men will crouch down doing nothing, that many will fire 

' Colonel Theodore Lyman, of General Meade's staff, says in the letter from 
which I have quoted, "The capture of a part of the line on May loth was the 
assault by Upton's brigade of the 6th Corps. By gross neglect somewhere that 
beautiful attack was imsupported. If it had been, the whole salient would have 
been captured. Upton withdrew unmolested at dark, and took neatly looo 
prisoners. Going over that front in the Spring of 1866 I found it thickly strewn 
with sabots from the enemy's batteries. " (These sabots, i.e. wooden shoes of 
shells, were no doubt from the firing on the 1 2th.) Captain Randolph Barton 
adjutant-general of the Stonewall Brigade, tells me he suggested to General 
Johnson the ordering up of Steuart's Brigade and bore himself the message from 
him to the brigade. He also says that about one-third of the Stonewall Brigade 
was swung back from the works to face towards Upton. 

Colonel Thruston complains that Swell's report makes no mention of the 
part taken by Steuart's Brigade in this affair. 


above the heads of their assailants, sometimes at a high 
angle, and few, comparatively, will raise their heads and 
shoulders fairly above the rampart and level their pieces 
with effect . When the enemy reaches the other side of 
the work, in perhaps five cases out of six it is carried. 
Whereas the object and advantage of an abatis is to 
detain and disorder the assailants, while the defenders, 
although not firing with accuracy perhaps, yet inflict 
loss and suffer comparatively little. But, generally 
speaking, the result, however favorable to those behind 
the works, is only a repulse, if a bloody one, and is not 
followed up with consequences such as attend a victory 
in the open field. Jackson used no field works in his 
Valley campaign and I think he preferred to be "foot- 
loose." But perhaps he would have used them in this 
stage of the war, although I believe he would always have 
made flank or other offensive movements. I may here 
say that I have always been an advocate of arming com- 
pany officers with carbines; the fire of twenty or thirty 
additional pieces in a regiment, presumably in the hands 
of the best men, at critical times, outweighing other con- 
siderations in my opinion. 

During the morning I rode over to our field hospital, 
about two miles distant, to see how the wounded of the 
evening before were getting on. Two of our best com- 
pany commanders. Captain Brown and another, were 
among them, but doing well. The sergeant-major of 
the 3d North Carolina, a boy who was a favorite with all, 
was fast sinking, attended by his father, a surgeon in 
another regiment. In his last conscious moments he 
was thinking and talking of his mother, whose only son 
I was told he was. Our senior surgeon gave me a most 
refreshing cup of hot tea, the taste of which had been 
long unknown, and I also had the luxury of a change of 


underclothing, having been marching and lying in or 
near the trenches with the same clothing on for a week. 
Riding back, I saw General Lee examining the rear of 
that part of Rodes's line which had been broken the day 

Before giving an account of the disaster of the following 
morning it will be well to describe briefly the character 
of our part of the line and the disposition of the troops 
behind — even with some repetition. 

Of the four brigades of Johnson's Division, Walker's 
(the Stonewall) was on the left, connecting with Rodes's 
Division — Doles's Brigade I think — next to which was 
Stafford's (Louisiana), then Jones's, and Steuart's held 
the right. Generals Stafford and Jones, two very gallant 
men, had been killed in the first day's battle. May 5, and 
a part of the brigade of the latter was said to be a good 
deal disheartened by its losses and for want of such a 
commander as Jones had been. All four had suffered 
heavily since the fighting began and I do not think they 
now averaged 1000 behind the works, more probably 
less, for besides the killed, wounded and prisoners, not 
a few must have fallen out from sickness or under the 
hardships. The three brigades first named held a con- 
tinuation from the left of the main army line and run- 
ning easterly,^® but Steuart's turned back at nearly a 
right angle from Jones's right. There was no immediate 
support" or continuation of the line from Steuart's right 
(except pickets?), there being an interval — one mile we 
supposed at the time — between us and a part of A. P. 

• I did not know then, but a new line was being constructed or laid out across 
the salient. 

^° In my account written for the Massachusetts Military Historical Society, 
I said "northerly," but I see now it ran more easterly. 

" I did not know in 1865, nor even in 1882, that an interior line was being 
made across the salient and that General Gordon was getting behind it. 


Hill's Corps, now commanded by Major-General Jubal 
A. Early. In Steuart's front the ground was densely 
wooded with oak and pine (except that there was a nar- 
row half open strip off our center and right), with many 
small ravines and spring-heads, and we had our skirmish- 
ers well out without having felt an enemy, except on the 
left off the angle. The line of the other three brigades 
ran through oaks principally and a short distance in 
front the ground was partly wooded and partly open, 
but always rather rough. The point of the angle was on 
elevated ground, both open — except to its right — and 
sloping towards the enemy giving the only good position 
for artillery along the line, and both for this reason and 
because a heavy infantry fire could not be directed out 
from the angle, this salient was occupied by six or eight 
pieces. There were also two guns in Steuart's center, 
and probably others along the left of the division. Be- 
hind the three left brigades the ground was wooded, but 
directly in rear of Steuart it was less so, but with some 
bushes. In the rear of Doles (the adjoining brigade of 
Rodes's Division,) there was a considerable clearing — 
around the McCool house. 

There had been several showers during the day and 
towards evening the air was damp and heavy and began 
to be foggy. A little before sunset (May 11), we were 
surprised to notice all the artillery in the salient and on 
our center, limber up and move to the rear; and asking an 
officer what this meant, he replied he did not know, 
except that they were ordered back to camp. At our 
headquarters we discussed this movement with some 
uneasiness, but supposed other batteries would come to 
relieve them." 

" In the first year of the war, and part of the second, batteries were attached 
to and integral parts of brigades, but after that had been detached and organ- 


Some time after dark" a message came in from our 
skirmish Une off the angle that there was a steady rum- 
bling in front, indicating that a large force was being 
massed in front or passing around to our right. General 
Steuart had been very active during the day and was 
asleept and Captain Williamson and I, the only two staff 
officers present, immediately walked out some distance 
and afterwards stood for half an hour on the breastwork, 
listening to the subdued roar or noise, plainly audible in 
the still, heavy m'ght air, like distant falling water or 
machinery. If night has die advantage of covering a 
military movement to the eye, it nevertheless often be- 
trays it to the ear. Convinced that an important move- 
fnent was on foot, and believing that it portended an 
attack on our weak angle in the morning (and I have an 
indbtinct recollection that a deserter had gone over to 
Ibe enemy who, we apprehended, might have disclosed 
its condition,) we reported to General Steuart who signed 
a dispatch to Major-General Johnson, which was written 
by Captain Williamson and was to this effect: 

Major R. W. Hunter, Assistant Adjutant-General; 

Major: — ^The enemy is moving and probably massing in our front and we 
expect to be attacked at daylight. The artillery along our front has been with- 
drawn, by whose orders I know not and I beg that it be sent back immediately. 

George H. Steuart, 
Brigadier-General conmianding.*^ 

ized into artillery battalions and with their own line of commanding officers. I 
•do not think that even corps commanders controlled their movements and dis- 
positions much except, I suppose, on a field of battle; Division commanders 
had little, if any, authority, and brigade commanders none. 

" In my published paper I said "shortly after dark," but the Union accounts 
state that the movement was begun later. 

"The next day, when we were prisoners together, and often afterwards, 
General Johnson informed me that on receiving this dispatch he immediately 
sent it or one similar to General Ewell, commanding the Corps, urgently re- 
-questing that the artillery be returned. And General Ewell or his assistant 


A circular** was then sent around to our regimental 
commanders warning them that we would probably be 
attacked in the morning and ordering them to have their 
men in the works half an hour before daylight. 

On the 1 2th our men were in readiness (but I did not 
walk along the line to see), and so early that one company 
commander — I think it was Captain Cantwell of the 3d 
North Carolina — afterwards told me he made his men 
draw their loads and clean their guns while waiting. 
Owing to the fog day was late in breaking and even then 
there was no sign for a while of an attack, which I began 
to believe would not be made. But presently there came 
the sound of a distant cheer just off the angle, followed 
as suddenly by a deep silence, the suspense of which was 
most trying, especially as we now eagerly looked and 
wished for our artillery, which should have been there to 
open in the direction of the cheering. Then in a few 
moments there were shots from that part of our picket 
line which was off the salient and growing heavier, mark- 
ing the direction and progress of the attacking column. 

adjutant-general told me after my exchange from prison the following winter, 
that he received and forwarded such a dispatch to General Lee, whose head- 
quarters were not far distant. Mentioning these facts after the war to Colonel 
Charles Marshall, General Lee's Military Secretary, he said he well remembered 
the circimistances and that General Lee on receiving the dispatch, remarked to 
his stafif, " See, gentlemen, how difficult it is to have certain information or how to 
determine what to do. Here is a dispatch from General Johnson stating that the 
enemy are massing in his front, and at the same time I am informed by General 
Early that they are moving around our left. Which am I to believe?" — that, 
however. General Lee ordered the artillery to be back at daylight. See a late 
publication, Lieutenant-General Jubal A. Early C.S,A., AtUobiographical Sketch 
and Narrative of the War between the States^ pages 354-355. General Early speaks 
of his unique position in commanding both flanks of the army at the same time, 
his corps being divided. 

" A circular was a written order sent around by a courier which each regi- 
mental conmiander read and endorsed with his name in acknowledgment of 
having received it. 


Pk^esently a body of mea in Uue i4>pared m our front, 
to iiik right of the salient, and our men of Steuart's Bri- 
gade delivered a volley, perhaps more, which caused it to 
disappear. I do not think tjiis was a amsiderable force 
and it seems probable that it was cme which missed the 
point of the angle and was passing down in front of the 
works of our brigade, ii»de our picket line, about at the 

About this time our artillery came up, rather slovdy I 
thought,^' and unlimbered but had not time to fire a shot 
before bang overwhelmed, earcept the two pieces in our 
center, which were discharged oiK^e — maybe twice. 
Musketry firing was now very heavy where Jones's Bri- 
gade adjoined us on our left and soon a crowd of fugitives 
came pouring down our line of worics from the angle, 
diowing diat somediing must have gone \i^T>ng in that 
quarter. I was at this time, and had been from the be- 
ginning, at our center. Tl^ two pieces of artillery there 
now or shortly before fired then- round— cff canmter as 
I imagined from the sound — ^but the six or eight guns in 
the angle had been overwhelmed as soon as unlimbered. *• 
I saw Captain Williamson pass by from that direction 
and knew from the expression of his face that something 
momentous had happened there but had no time to stop 
or question him. Soon a cloud of blue uniforms came 
pressing down from our left, along our works, in front of 
them, and, by far the greater number, completely filling 

*• At the time we were captured our pickets, I was told, were bringing in some 
prisoners from our front, with a result very much like the scene between the 
policemen and the pirates in the opera of the "Pirates of Penzance." 

" General Humphries in his Virginia Campaign of 1864-5, page 95, misquotes 
me as saying that it came up "at a gallop. " 

*'A captain in the ist North Carolina, which was on our left, afterwards 
told me that, seeing the guns in possession of the enemy, he ordered his men to 
shoot at the horses — to prevent their being taken off. 


the space within the angle and so directly in our rear. 
The pits in our center and right being, as I have described, 
deep and with traverses (side walls), available for de- 
fence in front, flank and rear, I thought they might be 
held or the enemy might be checked until reinforcements 
came up, as on the evening of the loth; and, therefore, 
standing on the brink of one of them, I pushed passing 
fugitives into it until it was full and then jumped in. I 
remember a Federal soldier striding down the top of the 
embankment, foremost of his comrades, shouting and 
brandishing his gun above his head, and I called out to 
fire and a man — I think it was Bragonier, of the loth 
Virginia — did so, and my impression is, with effect. And 
I also remember very vividly how the smoke of the 
discharge seemed as if it would never dissipate or float 
away from the spot in the heavy air and my apprehension 
that we would be made to pay a penalty for our temerity 
in firing when we were practically captured; for in a 
moment the edge of our pit (nearly shoulder deep), was 
surrounded on all sides. And I thought my apprehen- 
sion was about to be realized when the Union soldiers 
brought their bayonets down with a threatening appear- 
ance, but it was only for the purpose of sweeping aside 
the bayonets of our men which were resting on the top, 
and we were ordered to scramble out. I retained my 
sword in my hand, after some hesitation whether or not 
to throw it away or stick it in the ground. One man took 
it ou t of my hand and another came up while he was doing 
so and drawing a large clasp knife from his pocket and 
opening it (I wondered if he was going to stab me), he 
cut the scabbard from my leather belt, and they went 
their several ways with their trophies. We were ordered 
to their rear and in going I passed up the breastwork and 
out at the angle. In front of this and on my left as I 


went back the ground was open and was crowded with a 
dense mass streaming up and I thought that if our ar- 
tillery had been in position at the angle it would have 
inflic^ied a terrible loss and perhaps have checked the 
assault. I never saw an occasion when artillery would 
have done such execution.^* We were squeezed between 
this column of attack and the woods on our right and two 
or three times I tried to sidle into the thicket with a view 
) to escaping, but each time was gruffly admonished to 
l^ep to the left in the open. 

This assault was well planned and executed, but it is a 
mistake to suppose, as sometimes stated, that the Con* 
federate infantry were taken by surprise. The sound of 
the cheering, and even the picket firing, would have 
given time enough to get into die trenches, but in fact 
we were (in Steuart's Brigade at least,) sufficiently pre- 
pared, as above shown. It may be tiiat some were 
interrupted at their breakfasts, as that meal was then a 
scanty one, perhaps little, if anything, but com bread 
and water, and often dispatched while waiting for action 
with little or no derangement. (Details of men were 
from time to time sent back to the wagons who brought 
back the slim cooked rations swung in blankets.) 

Holding a salient in the shape of a right angle and with 
a thin line and no close at hand reserve, and no support 
even on our immediate right, the absence of the artillery 
was fatal — if the disaster could at all have been averted 
against so strong an attack. 

The line was broken on the left of the angle and 
Steuart's Brigade was thus taken in rear and flank. 

^'General Barlow, who commanded the Division which struck the angle, 
says in a paper read before the Massachusetts Historical Society, 13 th January, 
1879, Volume 4, page 245, that his attack was made in dose column, but the 
spaces between the lines disappeared as soon as they got into motion and the 
Division became a solid mass. So I saw it. 



The long struggle afterwards for the possession of this 
coveted comer of ground, perhaps the bloodiest scene 
of the war, in which oak trees were cut down by musket 
balls and splintered into ** basket stuff" and bodies of the 
wounded and dead were mangled by the ceaseless storm 
of bullets, has been often described — it was not my 
fortune to be an eye witness. 

I add a plat made by me in 1882 or 1883 for my paper 
read before the Massachusetts Military Historical Society. 
There were no publications at that time with which to 
compare my recollection. But the plat seems to be in 
substantial accord with published accounts since, except 
as to the points of tie compass (the top of the plat is 
nearer east than north.) Captain Randolph Barton, 
adjutant-general of the Stonewall Brigade, says that^it 
agrees exactly with his recollection. 


Spotsylvania Court House to Fort Dblawasb 

I was conducted back about a mile, ^ere, in an open 
field, the prisoovB were gathered togedier, bdag most of 
Steuart's and Jcxaes's Brigades uid many, if not most, c^ 
Stafford's (Louisiana,) and tlie Stonewall — less of these 
because they were furthest from the salient. Geno^al 
Patrick, provost marshal of Che Army of the Potomac, 
presently rode up and I aaksd him that I might be per- 
mitted to join General Steuart on idiose staff I iras. 
He said I could after a while wlun he came on the field. 
"But," he added, "Captain, if you are a staff office, you 
can help me by getting die men formed in their respective 
regiments." Partly because I was not in a frame of mind 
to wish to facilitate anything and remembering an order 
oi General Lee about communicating to the enemy infor- 
mation about the organization of the army, and some- 
what embarassed what to say, I replied evasively that I 
was not accustomed to doing staff duty on foot. He 
smiled in quite a fatherly way and said, "You need not 
have any hesitation about giving out the different com- 
mands, I know them all," and he mentioned some. He 
added, "My object in getting them formed and having 
them numbered is to draw rations and as this attack was 
made so early in the morning I don't suppose your 
men have had their breakfasts." "Oh," I said, "if that is 
your object, General, I will help to get the men in their 
regiments," and I passed the word for the officers to 
collect the men. But seeing General Steuart appear in a 
comer of the field, about a hundred yards off I started to 


go to him. We were surrounded by a cordon of mounted 
men and when I was passing out by one of them, he 
angrily ordered me back. I said, "I am going to join 
General Steuarl over yonder, as General Patrick told me 
I could." "I have a great mind to shoot you down," 
said he and pointed his pistol, the bore of which looked 
the usual size in the like described cases, at my head. I 
started to go back. But General Patrick, who was with 
Steuart, saw the altercation and sent over a courier who 
conducted me — ^past the same horseman and with some 
surly triumph on my part — across the field to my General. 
Of course, I had behaved foolishly, but I was chagrined 
at having been captured and felt the new experience as 
something of a disgrace. 

After half an hour General Steuart and I, with our 
courier, Heiter (of Louisa County, detailed from the 
23d Virginia,) were taken to General Patrick's head- 
quarters, where we were given a tent. Major-General 
Edward Johnson, our division commander, soon joined 
us, coming from General Hancock's, who had given him 
breakfast. General Steuart had declined to shake hands 
with Hancock, and so had been turned over to the pro- 
vost marshal with scant ceremony. General Johnson 
was never particular about his dress — I have told of his 
having been jeered at as a common cavalryman or farmer 
by a passing regiment before the battle of McDowell. 
At this time his appearance was rough indeed, some of his 
rather scanty, sandy colored hair sticking through a rent 
in his old slouch hat. He was belaboring the men behind 
the works with a stick, so I was told, to make them stand 
up when captured and came near being killed by paying 
no heed to calls to surrender. 

He told me that on receiving our communication the 
night before about the probability of an attack and the 


departure of the artillery, he had unmediately forwarded 
it to Lieutenant-General Ewell, commanding the corps, 
with an urgent request for the return of the artillery. 

We stood before a fire m front of the tent, listening to 
the sound of the cannon and musketry iand trying to 
determine whether the Union attack was continuing to 

be successful or not. Presently Captain , of 

Carlisle or some other Pennsylvania town, of the 
U. S. regular army, rode up to ask if we could give any 
informaticm about the death of General Wadsworth, of 
western New York, who had been killed in the first or 
second day's battle in the Wilderness— over to our 
right.^ I was able to confirm the fact of his death and 
gave him some particulars I had heard. He rode off and 
soon an orderly came back bringing a bottle of whiskey 
with the Captain's compliments. It was very accepta- 
ble, the day continuing damp or rainy, adding to our 
depression. While standing before the fire I heard some 
one say behind my back, ''Why, I was at Princeton 
College with that fellow!'' I did not turn to see who it 
was and he made no advances. 

The next morning, May 13, Generals Johnson and 
Steuart and I were conducted over to where the body of 
prisoners was, in an open field. They were in line and in 
order, most of the regiments having rude poles, with 
designations of commands on them. And General Steu- 
art here did a very opportune thing. Our little group was 
about fifty yards in front of the line, with a squad of 
cavalry prepared to guard us separately to the rear. 
He stepped forward some paces and said, " Men, keep up 
your spirits. You will hear all sorts of reports but do not 
believe them or be discouraged by anything. Remember 

^ Brigadier-General James S. Wadsworth, a very wealthy and well known 
man, of the Genesee Valley, I believe. He was mortally woimded on May 6, 
fell into our hands and soon died. 



always that you are Confederate soldiers." Our escort 
looked uncomfortable during his brief address and as if 
they would like to stop it. The men cheered. Our 
escort was commanded by a major who had been a 
sergeant of cavalry in the old United States Army, and 
who knew General Steuart, who had been a captain in 
one of the cavalry regiments; he offered him a drink 
(taking one himself,) which was declined. 

Three horses were brought for the two generals and 
myself. I did not know what General Steuart's thoughts 
were but I was still feeling the mortification of having 
been captured and intended to escape if I could, and I 
therefore picked out the best looking horse. After we 
started I found he was in good and fresh condition and 
ready to go forward whenever I loosened the rein. I was 
in doubt whether to run over open ground where I could 
go faster but would be fired on longer or through woods. 
Presently we passed through some thin woods and I 
made up my mind to try. I had gathered up the reins 
and was on the point of darting off to the left when the 
major in front happened to look back and must have 
divined my purpose from my excited face. He stopped 
and looked at me and called out, "Sergeant, put out a 
flanker about fifty yards on each side." And soon after 
when we made a halt of ten or fifteen minutes he made 
some excuse for not being able to mount me again, and 
I followed Generals Johnson and Steuart on foot. I 
next remember our being at the head of our column of 
prisoners and being guarded by infantry, but do not 
recall when the change was made. I remember this 
from an incident. We passed some fresh troops, in new 
uniforms, coming from the North to the front, and the 
band or drums of one regiment which had halted on the 
roadside to let us go by, struck up the ''Rogues March." 
But the veterans who were guarding us called out angrily. 



Stop that — smash those instruments/' and the music 
abruptly ceased.* 

We must, of course, have gone through Fredericksburg 
and crossed the Rappahannock, but I do not recall 
them, and I think it was on the evening of the same day, 
May 13 — perhaps we spent a night somewhere on the 
road and it was May 14 — that we arrived at Belle Plain 
on the Potomac River (some miles below Acquia Creek), 
which was then a d6pot of supplies for the Army of the 
Potomac. Here we were crowded on a river steamboat — 
perhaps only the officers. On the gang plank I recog- 
nized in a Federal surgeon looking on, Dr. Thomas Mack- 
enzie, of Baltimore, an old schoolmate, but if he knew me 
he did not speak. 

The generals and I established ourselves in a comer of 
the upper (main) saloon. Two or three members of the 
Union Christian Relief Association, or whatever its exact 
name was, and among them I think Mr. George H. 
Stuait, of Philadelphia, its head, came to the generals with 
a vague enquiry whether they could serve them. Colonel 
Hoffman, commissary-general of prisoners, also came up 
and looked at General Johnson, whom he had known in 
the old army, but, although he stood directly in front, he 
did not speak to him and after a few silent seconds he 
turned away. 

We steamed down the Potomac to its mouth — I do 
not remember whether we stopped at Point Lookout, a 
Confederate prison — passed down the Chesapeake Bay 
and up the coast and Delaware Bay to Fort Delaware.* 

* They were of Bumside's Corps, I think. I felt some gratification in reading 
in the newspapers afterwards that these uncivil new troops suffered a heavy 
loss in their first battle. With the exception of this incident we were treated 
with courtesy all the way back. 

' The Rev. Isaac W. K. Handy, who was confined at Fort Delaware from July 
21, 1863, to October 13, 1864, notes in his diary our arrival there as on Tuesday, 
May 17. See his book United States Bonds, page 426. 

Fort Delaware 

Fort Delaware is built on a small flat island, of a few 
acres, in the middle of the river or bay, about thirty or 
forty miles below Philadelphia and opposite the town of 
Salem, New Jersey, on the east side and Delaware " City " 
— so pretentiously called — at the mouth of the Chesa- 
peake and Delaware Canal, connecting the two bays, on 
the west side. And perhaps the island may be more 
properly said to be in the upper part of the bay, for the 
water is two or more miles wide and brackish, particularly 
on flood tides, which push up this far. It is called Pea 
Patch Island, and a doubtful story was that it was origin- 
ally formed by the sinking of a vessel loaded with peas 
which germinated and caused an accumulation of mud 
and sand. Probably this is one of those fictions which 
are so often invented to account for natural phenomena. 

The fort itself, situated on the lower end of the island, 
is one of those high stone structures of which so many 
were built before the war and which were supposed to be 
impregnable to an attack by vessels of war until the day 
of ironclads. It was perhaps an oct^on in shape, at 
any rate many sided, and one section of the upper case- 
mates, without guns, was used as rooms, divided by 
thick partition walls of brick and opening at the back on 
connecting passages. These were occupied during about 
half of the time that I was there as quarters for Confed- 
erate officers of higher rank and other somewhat favored 
prisoners, and life in them was more comfortable and 
had some special privileges and advantages. I suppose 


the walls of the fort enclosed an area of between one and 
two acr^ and the interior space was open. 

Separated from the fort by some distance was the 
''pen" or quarters for the many thousand prisoners, the 
part for the officers and the part for the enlisted men 
having a fence between, twelve or fifteen feet hig^, witih 
a narrow platform cm the top, patrolled by sentinels, 
and no communication between officers and men was 
allowed. I therefore never saw the interior of the 
men's pen, of that of the officers I will speak more par- 
ticulariy later — ^af ter I came to be an inhabitant. 

Disembarking — I think it was about the middle of the 
day — we were marched to the center of the island where 
we were halted and searched, but not roughly. I wore 
mi a strap around my neck General Charles S. Winder's 
field glass, which was dented cm the side when he fell at 
Cedar Mountain, August 9, 1662. They were about to 
confiscate this, but on my representing that it was of 
little value and explaining why I prized it, I was allowed 
to retain it.^ I had nothing else of any value. Major- 
General Edward Johnson, Brigadier-General George H. 
Steuart and I — if another, it was Heiter, General Steuart's 
orderly — ^were then taken to the fort and introduced into 
the casemates. Here we found twenty or thirty, among 
them Major-General Gardner and Brigadier-Generals 
Archer* and M. Jeff. Thompson.' The others were all, 

* I lost it, unfortunately, the Fall after the war at Norfolk, Virginia, when a 
bag was stolen on the wharf in changing steamboats while returning from Cobb's 
Island to Baltimore. 

* Major-General Franklin Gardner was commander of Port Hudson on the 
Mississippi when it was surrendered on July 9, 1863, after the fall of Vicksbuig. 
Brigadier-General James J. Archer, of Harford Coimty, Maryland, was wounded 
and captured at Gettysburg, commanding a Tennessee brigade. Both were of 
the old U. S. Army. 

' He was of Missouri but bom in Virginia. I do not remember where he was 
captured, but it was somewhere in the Mississippi River States. 


I think, of Brigadier-General John H. Morgan's well 
known command and, having been captured in Morgan's 
raid into Ohio, had been confined in the State peniten- 
tiary until removed to this prison. They struck me as 
an unusually educated and intelligent set of men, mostly 
from Kentucky. Among them I remember Colonel 
Richard C. Morgan and Captain Charlton H. Morgan — 
brothers of the General — Colonel Basil W. Duke (both 
of whose names indicate a Calvert County, Maryland, 
ancestry), his brother-in-law and successor in the com- 
mand after Morgan was killed; Colonel J. B. McCreary,* 
Colonel Cicero Coleman, Colonel Tucker (I think he was 
a native of Massachusetts) , Colonel Ward (of Tennessee), 
Captain Hart Gibson, and others. We took our meals 
in a lower room, wh'ch were cooked for us by an enlisted 
Federal soldier (I think he was such, perhaps some sort 
of a prisoner), and I well remember my sensations the 
first time I went down and saw the spread table — with 
genuine coffee and condensed milk — my first acquaint- 
ance with it — to go in the coffee, but I also ate many a 
spoonful, and even ice cream for dessert, which I had not 
seen during the war. The service was not neat, but that 
first meal seemed to me one of the finest feasts I had ever 
sat down to. The water was full of "wiggle waggles," 
and large ones, being the product of the Jersey mosquito 
but they were harmless, and moreover were killed by a 
mixture of whiskey or brandy, which we were allowed to 
get from the sutler. And to have a bottle on the shelf 
in our room from which we could partake whenever, as 
Sairey Gamp said, we felt "dispoged" during the day 
seemed incredible. 

I think we were half on parole in this first part of my 
stay in the casemates and were for a while permitted to 

* After the war Governor of Kentucky, United States Senator, etc 

3o8 KscoiXEcnoNs of a confederate soldier 

go out at a certain hour on the lower end of the island, 
not singly but in a body and attended by two or three 
guards. ''Jeff. " Thompson was a man of a great flow of 
language and quaint wit and he was very popular with 
the garrison soldiers and it was amusing to see how our 
guards or attendants would sidle up as close as they could 
get to him to catch every word of his odd stories and 

The commander of the Fort and island was Brigadia*- 
General Albin Schoepf » a Hungarian or Austrian who had 
come over and entered the Union service, like many other 
Germans. I had heard that he had somewhat distin- 
guished himself in the western army* and was surprised 
to find him in this semi retirement. But probably he 
had no friends to push or sustain him; it was said also he 
had married a Southern woman, or th^ie may have been 
some other reason unknown to us for his being taken 
from the field and shelved here. In all my intercourse 
with him I found him a very intelligent man and cour- 
teous gentleman. Every two or three da}^, while our 
generals were there at least, he came over from his 
quarters to visit us in an informal and quite social way, 
always knocking at the door or entrance to a casemate 
room before coming in. We talked freely about the war 
and when we declared that the South could never be 
conquered he listened courteously but said, ''Gentle- 
men, I think you are mistaken and underrate the de- 
termination and resources of the North." 

The garrison of the island and guard over the prisoners 
at this first part of my imprisonment was the 5th Mary- 
land Infantry Regiment, commanded by Colonel Wil- 
liam Louis Schley; and I suppose there were also artil- 
lerists for the fort guns, some of which were trained to 

* About the time of the engagement at Fisher's Creek, Kentucky, in January, 
1862, when the Confederate General Zollickoffer was killed. 


bear on the prison pens — very properly of course. Of 
the behavior of the officers and men of this regiment 
towards us I have nothing to record that is unfavorable — 
and that fact is favorable — except in the case of Colonel 
Schley, one of whose acts, about which I will speak pres- 
ently, concerned me personally and injuriously. 

But there were several others having special relations 
with the prisoners whom I remember very well and un- 
favorably; they were not of the Maryland regiment but 
were a part of the machinery of the post. The first of 
these, and the best — or worst — remembered, was Cap- 
tain George W. Ahl, adjutant-general of the post. In 
all his intercourse with us there was never an indication 
of a desire to treat us, or that we should be treated, with 
any consideration. It was believed among the prisoners 
that our occasional ill usage, and failure at all times to 
be better treated, was, if not owing to him, at least with 
his approval and willing cooperation. It was the im- 
pression that he was a restraint on General Schoepf's 
kindly impulses, who, if he could have had his way, would 
have treated us as European prisoners of war are treated. 
It was thought that the General himself had reason to 
be in some fear of his influence — to his injury or danger — 
at Washington. It was known that complaints of ''too 
lenient treatment of rebels" were going up from the 
island to the authorities at Washington and it was be- 
lieved that Ahl was in sympathy at least with them. If 
any injustice was done to Captain Ahl in attributing to 
him more than he did or felt, he had only himself to 
blame for it, for his manner and conduct towards the 
prisoners certainly justified a bad impression of him and 
the dislike of him was universal.* 

* I heard after the war that he came South representing some Pittsburgh or 
other Northern finn, but was warned decisively that he could not successfully 
transact any business in the South. 


The odier two who seemed to have special chaise ovi^ 
ns were Lieutenant Wolf, or Wolff, who was called 
asristant-oommissary of prisoners, and (his?) sergeant, 
Cunningham. I have no special recollection of any 
mal^ feeling or conduct on their part towards us like 
Ahl's; they were sometimes d&agreeably familiar and 
patronizing"— especially Wolf. 

I was at this time in the first rocmi — nearest the head 
of tiie steps and whose window looked straight across the 
middle of the fort enclosure, but happened to be cme 
morning in tl^ next room, occupbd by the Morgans and 
odters when a gray haired eld man (school teacher, we 
understood,) with a bevy of young girls unceremoniously 
eame inside the door and coolly looked us over. When 
they left, passing on to the next room I was expressing 
my indignation when Captain Ahl appeared at the door 
and looked at me enquiringly. I said, 'Captain Ahl, 
we are glad at any time to give any Nordiem people in- 
formation about friends in the South or any other proper 
information, but we protest against being exhibited like 
wild animals." His face flushed but he withdrew with- 
out making any reply. "Dick," Morgan said to me, 
"You have made an enemy of Ahl and will have cause to 
be sorry for it." I refused to be sorry but experienced 
his mean enmity soon afterwards. 

In the latter part of June an order came from Washing- 
ton that a certain number of general and field officers' 
should be sent to Morris Island in Charleston Harbor, 
to be exposed under fire for the alleged placing under fire 
of Union officers in Charleston. But there was great 
envy on our part of those who were selected to go, for we 

^The field officers of a regiment are the colonel, lieutenant-colonel and 
major. I do not think that staff officers of those ranks were properly called 
field officers. 


did not believe or were careless about the being placed 
under fire and did believe that the party would be ex- 
changed or would be nearest in the way for the first 
exchange. All our generals, Gardner, Johnson, Archer, 
Steuart and Jeff. Thompson — except Vance,* whose 
name I forgot to mention — were to go and most of the 
Morgan field officers. The number was made up of 
others in the pen or barracks, and we in the casemates 
who were not going were sent down there temporarily, 
so that the whole party might be collected in the fort. 
After they had been sent off,* General Vance was re- 
quested to furnish a list of those who were to go back to 
the casemates. He did so, with my name, of course, in 
the number. The list was sent back to him with my 
name erased, or with a line drawn through it. It was re- 
turned by him with my name restored and an explanation 
that I was one of those who had been there. But Gen- 
eral Vance received a message to put some one in my 
place. And so I quickly realized the consequence of 
having offended Captain Ahl." 

Thus began my first experience in the barracks or pen. 
I was assigned to one of the large subdivisions of the long 
side of the barrack building and I think it was Division 

'Brigadier-General Robert B. Vance wm a brother of ZebuloQ Vance, 
Governor of North Corolnia, and had been captured 14th January, 1864, at 
Cosby Creek in that State. He wrote verses fluently and gave one or more ad- 
dresses or lectures in the pen. He died some jtan after the war, having been a 
Representative in Congress. 

• Dr. Handy, in his book, Vnitcd Stales Bmdt, to which I before refetrtd, 
rerords in his diary, page 454. that they were about to go June 24th; and In Tk* 
Immortal Six Hundred, by Major J. Ogden Murray, Roanoke, Virginia, tgii, 
on page 40 is a list of names of the party, in number fifty. 

Tbey were not placed under fire, explanations having been made, and about 
ist August (1864I, were exchanged for the Union ofBcers who had been reported 
under fire io Charleston and others in that department. 

" According to Dr. Handy we were moved down from the fort to the pen on 
24th June and the party, without me, was taken back to the fort on iSth June. 


No. 289 alcmg the two sides of which were two tiers of 
bunks or stagingi holding perhaps fifty men. The 
underneath, level with the floor of llie middle passage or 
q>ace, was also utilized and here was my particular sleep- 
ing place at what I suppose was the southwest comer of 
the division. I give a sketch from memory of the offica:8' 
quarters, which I suppose covered about two acr^: 

^clVlctCLacL Lrx^ cuju<jL/xjcLa 




But this plat is not to be relied on for any scale nor 
for the exact points of the compass or other details. The 
cross + mark shows where I was located in this my first 
stay in the pen. The double cross + + shows my place 
on the top staging or line of bunks in my later sojourn. 
Windows were in the outward side of the divisions, but 
it was not allowed to put one's face close to them — there 
might be a shot or bayonet thrust from the outside patrol- 
ling sentinel. I remember once when I had my face near 
a window seeing out of the comer of my eye the sentinel 


lower the bayonet end of his gun and creep up along the 
outside wall ; I withdrew. But this was in the time of the 
next regiment of guards, of which I will speak presently. 

At first I went to the general dining or mess room, 
where the rations were placed in a double row on a long 
table or tables. I think there were two meals a day and 
that we had for breakfast a tin cup of coffee and hunk of 
bread, perhaps something more, and for dinner the same 
cup — of the usual pint size — of soup, thickened with 
some vegetables, and, besides the bread, a hunk of meat. 
Many of the prisoners took out, uneaten, their meat and 
cooked it over with little fires, made of pieces of boxes, 
etc., in tomato or other tins, in what I have designated 
on my plat as the "cooking space." But I soon ceased 
to go there and relied partly on things sent from home, 
and partly on the sutler at such times as he was permitted 
to deal with us. 

We were compelled to do our washing in the ditch 
running through the middle of the enclosure as shown on 
my plat ; that is to say, the ditch ran as the common ex- 
pression goes, but the water was almost stagnant, mov- 
ing with a slight current on ebb tides, and scummy and 
repulsive. The consequence was I did not do much 
washing at all. Drinking water was brought once or 
twice a week in a water boat and was supposed to be from 
the Brand)rwine River or Creek (which had an agreeable 
sound), but several times the boat apparently did not go 
high enough up, for the water was distinctly brackish and 
even coffee made with it had a sickening taste, for coffee 
does not disguise brackish water. 

Boxes from home (speaking as a Marylander) or from 
friends or sympathizers, and communication with the 
post sutler were from time to time restricted or cut off, 
it seemed in response to waves of indignation that passed 


over the Northern people, or at least the preBS, from re- 
ports of ill treatment of Union prisoners of war. And 
yet I remember once when a letter from a Soudiem 
prison was published in a New York paper in which th* 
writer said, "Let the people of the North understand 
what ration is issued to us"— and went on to describe it, 
it was pretty much the same which was beiti^ issued to 
the Confederate soldiers in the field when I left it. The 
people of the North did not understand to what a condi- 
tion our resources had fallen." And not only were our 
privileges restricted or cut off at times, which I felt, but 
I believe the ration issued varied for the worse, of which, 
however, my private resources made me vaon or less 
independent. I am not a good authority on tbe questicm 
of how far the Confederate prisoners were made to fed 
the pangs of hunger, but I can testify that my comrades — 
officers — were certainly poorly fed. Some of them ate 
rats, and even small fish caught from the Delaware 
River at the sinks, and it will be hardly supposed that 
this was from choice. 

Most of them were natives of the interior country and 
here saw some things that were novel to them. I remem- 
ber once seeing a crowd around a poor little ghost white 
crab on the bank of the ditch and when it would make a 
feeble motion towards them they gave way in alarm, 
reminding me of the four and twenty tailors that durst 
not touch a snail. 

From the time I first reached Fort Delaware I had 
been sending to Baltimore lists of names of men — officers 
and soldiers, and particularly of Steuart's Brigade and, 

"lunderstood that even al the close of the wars section of the Richmond and 

Danville Railroad, the main com muni catioo between Richmond and the South 
had merely strap iron rails, laid on wood. But that was one of the feast of out 
difficulties, the greater being tbe want of supplies to be hauled. 


more widely, of Johnson's (Army) Division — and of 
articles of clothing which they needed, and there were 
generous responses. Sometimes these supplies were sent 
through me and at others to the men direct, with whom 
a correspondence would thereafter often be kept up. 
Often boxes of eatables were sent to me personally and 
my practice was to turn over one half to the officers of 
the regiments of Steuart's Brigade in rotation and to 
keep one half for my own individual mess. I divided 
money sent in the same way. Of that mess of five or 
six I can recall at this moment only the names of Lieu- 
tenant Andrews, of Alabama and Captain Polk, of Ten- 
nessee. I think I was exempted, because of my supplies, 
from such slight mess duties as there were and spent my 
time in elegant leisure, corresponding, reading, etc. 
But prison life is irksome at best, as only those who have 
had to endure it know. Correspondence, whether via 
flag of truce with Confederate relatives and friends or 
through the regular Northern mails was restricted to 
purely domestic matters and letters must be of one page 
only. I think at one time they could only be of a cer- 
tain number of lines and correspondence could only be 
with near relatives. These letters, to and from, were 
required to be unsealed and to pass inspection. The 
quality of the writing paper and envelopes from across 
the lines might have given a hint of the low ebb of Con- 
federate resources, although I think our Southern friends 
used the best they had in communicating with us through 
the ''Yankees." Several envelopes used now lie before 
me. Of one that came to me at Fort Delaware through 
the flag of truce channel I here give a copy, as a specimen 
of that style of correspondence : 


^Ato. 2'Coiq #^ y^tM^uLA 

Another envelope is made out of an old half printed 
blank form and contains a letter written by Lieutenant 
James L. White, adjutant of the 37th Virginia, and who 
escaped capture at Spotsylvania, to my brother, Sur- 
geon E. Lloyd Howard, and describing how the field was 
searched for my dead or wounded body after the battle. 

Very few books were published in the Confederacy, and 
some of them were curiosities, being printed on coarse 
waste paper — even wall paper. The greatest favorite 
of these books was a translation of Victor Hugo's Les 
Miserdbles, which the soldiers humorously dubbed 
"Lee's Miserables." But to return to Fort Delaware 
from which I escaped for a time— in the foregoing 

Some time in May or June my father and mother and 
three sisters, having some reason to believe, or hope, that 
they would be permitted to see me, came on to Delaware 
City, just opposite the fort. And next morning my 
father crossed over in the boat which plied between. 
But unfortunately Colonel Schley who commanded the 
5th Maryland Regiment which garrisoned the island, was 
in General Schoepf 's office when my father entered. He 


looked at my father and, taking the General aside, asked 
him if he was going to allow that man to see his son, that 
he was the most obnoxious man in the State of Maryland 
and he protested against it." So the General handed, or 
caused to be handed a printed oath of allegiance to my 
father who indignantly asked, if that was the condition 
on which he could see his son. The General replied that 
such were his orders. My father turned and left the 
office and crossing back to Delaware City, the party went 
disappointed home again. 

But a change was much for the worse when this Mary- 
land regiment went to the front and was succeeded by a 
fifty day's regiment from Ohio, that is, one enlisted for 
only fifty days service." The conduct of these new men 

"My father— Charies Howard — ^was President of the Board of Police of 
Baltimore City when the war broke out and was arrested on ist July, 1861, and 
held as a " State Prisoner, " together with my oldest brother, Frank Key Howard, 
Editor of the Baltimore Gazette (who was arrested Z3th September, 1861), in 
Fort Warren and other Northern prisons until November, 1862. My other four 
brothers were in the Confederate army. Colonel Schley might have added that 
my mother and sisters too were "obnoxious" from his point of view, for they 
spent most of their time during the war in giving aid and comfort to Confederate 

^' Since writing the text, I have found after discovered evidence, as the law- 
yers say, that this attempted visit of my family and change in our guards were 
when I was still in the fort. The War of the Rebellion — Official Records of the 
Union and Confederate Armies , Series i, Volume XXXVH, Part I, Serial No. 70, 
page 590, gives an order from Washington to Major-General Wallace at Balti- 
more, dated 4th June, 1864, to send a regiment of Ohio 100 days men to Fort 
Delaware to relieve the 5th Maryland, followed by the detailing of the 157th 
Regiment Ohio National Guard, Colonel George W. McCook, for that duty, and 
its order to go on 5th June. And Volume XL, Part U, Serial No. 81, page 48, 
shows that the 5th Maryland was sent to the front not later than the 15th of 

It does not follow that the 157th Ohio was not a 50 days regiment, as we un- 
derstood at Fort Delaware that it was. 

Veterans almost invariably treated prisoners of war well; with militia or half 
militia like this Ohio Home Guard Regiment, or others who had not been at the 
front, the rule was just the reverse. 


towards the prisoners was atrocious, devilish in the ap- 
parent desire to insult and practice small cruelties. The 
sentinels along the top of the fence and sinks seldom 
spoke to us without a curse, and they so spoke very often 
and without the slightest reason. They seemed to take 
the greatest satisfaction in doing so, as if they thought 
they were sent there to abuse and tyrannize over us. It 
was almost the constant practice whenever they saw a 
man with a penknife at the cooking place to make him 
come to the bottom of the fence and hand it up. Finally, 
one evening about g o'clock, I had gone to the sink and 
was returning when the sentinel on the fence ordered me, 
with a curse, to double quick. I did not do so, but had 
a feeling in my back of half expectation of a bullet but 
luckily had not many steps to go before I turned a corner 
of the dining house. I said when I got back to the front 
of my division that that man would shoot somebody be- 
fore the night was over. While I was speaking a shot 
rang out in that direction and word came that the sen- 
tinel had shot down a Lieutenant-Colonel Jonee, of Essex 
or Middlesex County, Virginia. He was returning from 
the sink when the sentinel ordered him to double quick 
and on his not doing so, shot him. Colonel Jones was 
only an officer of the Home Guard of his County, and he 
was crippled by some disability in his legs. The gate 
of the prison was presently thrown open and General 
Schoepf came in with a surgeon and body of men, I think 
also Captain Ahl. I walked over to the middle of the en- 
closure as they came back bearing the mortally wounded 
man and I heard him say, "General, what did he shoot 
me for? I was not doing anything and did not even 
know that he was speaking to me." He died the next 
day or day after." There were rumors that the man who 

" Dr. Handy records that be was shot on 7th July and died on the night of 
the 9th and that the man who shot him was called Bill Douglas. 


shot him was made a corporal, which I am slow to credit, 
although some declared they saw him as one. 

The commander of this regiment was a Colonel 
McCook, of the well known Ohio family, and he must be 
held accountable for the brutal conduct of the men under 
him all the time his regiment was at Fort Delaware, and 
therefore in part for this murder." 

About this time my money remittances from home 
were stolen by somebody in the distributing department 
to the prisoners and I suffered a good deal of discomfort, 
particularly as the drinking water was now several times 
coming brackish and, moreover, the weather was very 
warm. My father wrote in strong remonstrance to 
General Schoepf, who sent for me to come out to his 
office. I went with an orderly, and I remember well the 
pleasure of being outside the enclosure and being able to 
see a distant horizon instead of the view being bounded 
by high plank fences and barracks. The General spoke 
with considerable frankness of the difficulty of his posi- 
tion — that he had spies around him and was constantly 
being complained of to Washington. He regretted not 
having been able to let my family see me when they came 
on, and I think he explained the circumstances. He told 
me to have money sent in future to or through him and I 
could come to his office to receive it. This arrangement 
I gladly accepted, particularly because of the relief of 
getting out of the confines of the pen and having a distant 
view, if only for a while. And he asked me if I would not 
like to be back in the fort, and I need not say what my 
reply was. So I picked up my few belongings and back 

"My ill opinion of him was confinned after the war when my aunt, Mrs. 
George H. Pendleton, told me she heard him say at a dinner that it was true the 
Confederate prisoners ate rats, but that it was from preference and when rations 
were being issued in abundance. 



to the fort interior I went. This was about the middle of 

Here I found almost a new set of companions, who were 
in the place of our generals and field officers who had been 
sent, as I have narrated, to be put under fire in Charles- 
ton Harbor. Captain Chariton H. Morgan" is the only 
one of the old set that I can now recall, but I suppose 
General Robert Vance was there and some others. Of 
the new set I became best acquainted with Captain C, B. 
Kilgore, assistant adjutant-general of Ector's Brigade 
in the western army," Captain Henry Buist, of Charles- 
ton, South Carolina, Colonel Folk of North Carolina, 
and Major Thomas S. Mills of Chester, South Carolina, 
assistant adjutant-genera! of Major-General Richard 
Anderson's" Division in General Lee's army. 

Captain Buist was a Mason of high standing — of the 
33d degree. One day a large square missive was brought 
in to him and delivered with some formality. It proved 
to be a communication from the highest Masons of 
Massachusetts, reciting their recollection and apprecia- 
tion of a Masonic address made by him before the war, 

" He was a brother of General John H. Morgan, the well known cavalry leader 
audafter the war married my aister and died in Lexington, Kentucky b rgi3. 

" We called the army which operated west of the Atlantic States the Western 
Army although it had long since been forced back from Kentucky and Tennessee 
to the more Southern States. Captain Kilgore was from Texas and was in 
Congress after the war. He died 1 1 or 1 5 years ago. He was the one who kicked 
open the door of the House when it was closed by order of Czar Reid. 

" It is partkulaxly interesting to me that General Anderson, of South Caro- 
lina, was a grandson of Captain Richard Anderson of Maryland who had a 
Maryland company under Colonel John Eager Howard at the battle of Cowpens 
in the Revolutionary War, and who, my grandfather records, in friendly rivalry 
with another captain For the capture of a piece of artillery put the end of his 
spontooD (a long stick which company officers then carried), on the ground and 
made a long leap which landed bim oa the gun and so woo hioi the prize — See 
the National Portrait GaUtry, Volume 3. See also the BaUimort GateUe and 
Dmiy Adtertistr May 15, 1S37, (or an interview with him. 


and expressing their sympathy and willingness to serve 
him in any way in their power. We prognosticated that 
he would soon be exchanged, and he was shortly after 
put in a movement which we believed was in the direction 
of an exchange, as will be told presently. 

Major Mills also had a communication of a very 
different sort. One day General Schoepf's orderly came 
over bringing an open telegram from Colonel William 
Hoffman, commissary-general of prisoners, that is to 
say, at the head of the department at Washington which 
had all matters relating to prisoners of war in its charge, 
to General Schoepf, and asking simply, "How is Major 
Mills's health?" Now Mills had some particular rela- 
tions with some one — I think it was with a Major Judd 
of the United States Army who visited the fort once or 
twice, and I think too that the connection extended 
somehow to Colonel Hoffman. Certainly Major Judd 
was interested in one or two of the South Carolinians and 
I remember Major Mills, although surprised, was not 
altogether at a loss for a manifestation of interest in him. 
At any rate, the telegram came and General Schoepf, 
who may or may not have known what prompted it, 
apparently thought the best way was to let Mills answer 
for himself. And he did, endorsing on the telegram, 
"Never was better in my life." Presently a message 
came from General Schoepf to pack up his things and 
come to his office. The Major was jubilant and we all 
sympathized in his good fortune and hastily wrote letters 
for him to carry South on his impending exchange. 
From a window which looked out over the fort enclosure 
we enviously watched him as he crossed, with his head 
up, to the office and after a brief interval came out again 
and marched, but with his head dejected, straight over 
to the mouth of the dungeon and into it. The explana- 


tioQ soon came. A Major Elliott had been put in solitary 
confinement in retaliation for an alleged similar treatment 
of a Federal officer. His health had given way under 
the hardship and the surgeon had reported that he could 
not stand it longer. So Colonel Hoffman selected Major 
Mills to be put in Elliott's place but first tel^rstphed to 
ascertain if his health would qualify him to be a successor. 
And Mills, thinking it a kindly, if surprising, interest 
on Hoffman's part and meant if he was well enough for 
exchange, so answered it to his own condemnation. 
And every day when we were taken for our walk out of 
the fort we saw Mills crouching at the door of his dun- 
geon, which was next to the sally port and seemed to be 
very narrow, low and dark, and, it seemed to us, with no 
ventilation except by the small door which was kept 
open. We could only look sympathizingly at him — ^we 
were not permitted to speak. 

For at that time we were taken out every morning 
under several guards to the river side and permitted to 
have a swim or bath, the drawback being, however, that 
the water was much polluted at this place, which was just 
below the prison pen. I remember a Colonel Abraham 
Fulkerson, although one of the thinest men I ever knew, 
floated like a cork. He was colonel of a Tennessee regi- 
ment, while his brother Samuel V. Fulkerson*' was 
colonel ot the 37th Virginia Infantry and had been known 
to me as colonel commanding one of Jackson's brigades 
in the Valley campaign. They were from Bristol where 
the dividing line between Virginia and Tennessee runs 
through the middle of the town. Colonel "Abe "Ful- 
kerson would He motionless on his back in the water it 
seemed to me for ten or fifteen minutes and be carried 
out a long way by the current until the guard would get 

^* He had been killed on 27th June, 1862, at Gaines's Mill or first Cold Harbor. 



in a highly nervous state, thinking he was meditating an 

At this time Major-General Early was making his in- 
vasion of Maryland and from the scared accounts which 
we read in the Northern papers it looked as if he might 
overrun the State to the Chesapeake Bay. Now the 
sally port or entrance to the fort was a covered way 
extending from the inner wall and enclosure, perhaps for 
the length of fifty feet to the outer wall and along one of 
its sides were stacked the muskets of the daily guard 
detail — about a company in size. It occurred to me 
that as we were being marched out (we were not then on 
any parole), and were fairly opposite the line of stacks 
from end to end, we could on a given signal seize these 
guns and overpower the reserve guard, close the gate and 
take possession of the fort and with the guns mounted on 
the walls command the garrison of the island and release 
the body of prisoners, officers and men, thousands in 
number. My idea was that we could then get across 
the river, using the heavy guns of the fort, if necessary, 
to keep off any small vessels which in the limited time 
might be brought to interfere with us, and then strike 
across the country to Early, having a large number of 
our men armed with muskets of the garrison and others 
found in the fort. But I considered that this plan could 
be carried into execution on a short notice and mean- 
while had better not be talked about, and so I said noth- 
ing to any one and watched the newspapers for the 
development of Early's movements. One day Colonel 
Folk took me aside and communicated to me the same 
plan which was working in his mind. I begged him to 
say nothing to anyone as the thing required no long 
planning and if talked about might be discovered or 
even betrayed. But I heard and saw him discussing it 

with others. Now there was one room, the nearest end 
one and the same I had been in during my fonner stay, 
- tiie cxxupants of vlach lived vey much to themselves 
' mad had UtUe to do with liie occupants of the odier 
(our or five rooms. We heard, too, frequent heated 
discusri<ms in there but out of our hearing — or most of 
it, for we didiiear fmn members of diis mess expressions 
whidi made us doubt the Omfederate loyalty of some of 
-them. One of Ihem, Colonel John A. Baker of North 
Carolina, made visits, I think several, to General 
Schoepf's headquarters \riiidi we distrusted, and the 
discussions in the rocHn seemed to be with sev^al of his 
' room mates who were defending him. This may have 
had something to do with the failure to make the attempt 
to capture the fort and I have an impression that our 
daily walks outside the fort were discontinued and the 
opportunities thus taken away. 

About the middle of At^vst it was reported that 600 
more officers were to be sent to ChaHeston Harbor, some 
for Gcdhange and others said, and I think we in the fort 
understood, to be put under fire. But none had £uiy 
apprehensions on that score and all were anxious to get 
on the list. We had heard that the first party, of gen- 
erals and field officers, had been exchanged and it was 
believed that this second party, perhaps after a time, 
would have the same happy deliverance. Captain 
Buist, the Mason, and other favored ones, therefore 
were gladly numbered with the lot, and we heard that 
others bribed their way to places on the list. As before, 
we in the fort who were not to go were sent down to the 
barracks to be out of the way — but we never saw the 
interior of the fort again. I think the day we were sent 
down, or the next when the 600 went,'" mail for the 
D »th August ; so too Murray's The Immortal Six 


prisoners who had been in the fort was delivered in a 
bundle, probably to General Vance, for distribution. 
In it were two letters for Colonel Baker, who with all or 
most of his mess, was of the 600, and having strong sus- 
picions about him we did not scruple to read them. Both 
were from Washington. One was from a man named 
Goldsmith — a jeweller I think — ^who wrote in substance, 
but somewhat illiterately, "we know you were forced to 
go into the army" and told him to be of good coun^e 
and something would be done soon for his relief. The 
other was from the well known publicist Dr. Francis 
Lieber,'^ a long letter very much to the same effect. Be- 
lieving that Colonel Baker would be speedily exchanged, 
and apprehending that he might play the part of a Bene- 
dict Arnold, for we understood that he commanded an 
important part of the cavalry line when captured, Gen- 
eral Vance and some of us consulted how we could get a 
warning to Richmond. I said I had had letters, and 
particularly from my brother Colonel James Howard at 
Richmond, stating that Colonel Ould, the Confederate 
commissioner or agent for exchange of prisoners, would 
be asked to endeavor to have me specially exchanged; 
that I had replied discouraging the effort as unjust to so 
many who had been suffering captivity much longer, but 
I might now write urging that I be exchanged as soon as 
possible. And I added that I had sent a message to my 
brother to be sure to hold all my letters to the heat of 
a fire to bring out any secret writing and I could now 
so write a brief warning about Colonel Baker. It was 

'^ Dr. Francis Lieber, a native of Prussia, came to the United States in 1827. 
From 1835 to 1856 he was Professor of History and Pob'tical Economy at the 
University of South Carolina at Columbia, after which he lived in the North. 
During the war he was adviser to the government at Washington on matters of 
international law and dvil polity. He died 2d October, 1872. He had two sons 
in the Federal army and another was killed in the Confederate army. 


agreed that these suggestions seemed the best that could 
be done. So I wrote stating my changed desire about a 
special exchange and adding a line or two written with 
wet starch to tell the authorities at Richmond to look out 
for Colonel Baker." 

About the time of my coming from the fort to the 
barracks and tiie departure of the 600, that is, towards 
the latter part of August,** the time of service of the 157th 
Ohio expired or at any rate the 6th Massachusetts In- 
fantry came to reUeve it, and it was a relief to us also, as 
it was like the difference between bad and good weather. 
The new comers had a special interest for Marylanders, 
for the "6th Massachusetts" was the regiment which 
inarched, or attempted to march through Baltimore on 
the memorable 19th of April, 1861, and had such a rough 
reception. This was a reSnlistment since 1861 under the 
name of that regiment, but I was informed that there 
were many of the old soldiers in it and It looked and be- 
haved like a veteran organization, as in fact it was. The 
cursing and other abusive conduct, taking of penknives 
and other property, etc., immediately stopped, and they 

** My brother either never received my message about hidden writing in let- 
ters or forgot about it and I "developed" this one after I was finally exchanged 
and got back to Richmond. Colonel John A. Baker, of Wilmington, North 
Carolina, of the 3d North Carolina Cavalry, took the oath of allegiance, according 
to Murray's The Immortal Six Hundred, page 331, at Fort Pulaski in March, 
1865. I have been told that he went to the West Indies and never returned 
home, and died after the war. It is possible that he was deceiving his Union 
friends and he may not have had any idea of committing active treason against 
the Confederacy, further than by taking the oath; but we were justified in being 
apprehensive of him. The 600, or some of them, were placed under fire only for 
a short time, but experienced another and a worse sort of "retaliation." For 
alleged ill treatment of Union prisoners, they were put, and for a long time kept, 
on almost slow starvation rations at Fort Pulaski on the Savannah River and 
Hilton Head at its mouth. For particulars see The Immortal Six Hundred. 

Captain Henry Buist, the high Mason, was exchanged. 

" Dr. Handy says the date was August 24. 



behaved to us in a soldier-like and I may say gentlemanly 
manner. The men often spoke contemptuously of the 
actions of their predecessors. We were fortunate in hav- 
ing no other change of guard during my stay at Fort 

In September I was grieved to hear of the death on the 
morning of the 22d at Fisher's Hill, in the Valley of Vir- 
ginia of my friend and fellow staff officer Captain George 
Williamson and had to communicate by letter the dis- 
tressing intelligence to his father.*^ 

And in October I heard by letters and in the news- 
papers of the death, on the 14th of Chief Justice Roger 
B. Taney, whose wife was my mother's aunt and whom 
I had often seen in my life. But I now recalled particu- 
larly the last time I saw him at the house of his daughter, 
Mrs. James Mason Campbell on Franklin Street, Balti- 
more, next to the Presbyterian Church, just before, I 
think the evening before, I went South. When I told 
him of my intention he said, "The circumstances under 
which you are going are much like those under which 
your grandfather went into the Revolutionary War."** 
His wife was, as I have indicated, the sister of Francis 
Scott Key, author of "The Star Spangled Banner," and 
this reminds me that about this time I was amused to 
read in a New York newspaper an advertisement of an 
offer by some of the rich men of that city of $10,000 for 

^ Captain George Williamson, son of George W. Williamson of Baltimore, 
was assistant adjutant-general of Steuart's Brigade but escaped capture at 
Spottsylvania on May 12. He was one of the most cultured and in every way 
one of the best of the Marylanders who went South. I have recently written 
a brief memoir of him, a copy of which has been placed in the Maryland room of 
the Confederate Museum at Richmond. 

* The bronze sitting statue of him at Annapolis and a copy of which is in 
Moimt Vernon Place, Baltimore, is an excellent likeness, although the sculptor, 
Reinhard, had only a portrait to make it from. 



a new national song. The poem was not forthcoming 
under the cash inspiration. Whatever criticism may be 
made, and has been made, by some of our (perhaps 
envious) Northern literary people, "The Star Spangled 
Banner" is the only nation's song ever composed in time 
of actual battle. I am one of only two now living who 
saw the author on his deathbed and can recall his personal 
appearance in life (1913). He died in 1843, 

I think it was in the latter part of October that there 
came the most memorable day of my prison life. My 
family in Baltimore received an intimation that if they 
came on quietiy to Fort Delaware they would now be 
permitted to see me. And they came, my father and 
mother and two of my three sisters — the oldest, Mrs. 
Edward Lloyd of Wye House on the Eastern Shore, per- 
haps being too far off to be communicated with in time. 
They spent the day at General Schoepf's house, who had 
them to dinner and treated them with every other cour- 
tesy. Although I was marched back to the pen while 
they took dinner, I was permitted to be with them for 
several hours, and I need not say how the privilege was 
enjoyed, not having seen any of them for nearly three 
and a half years. But my youngest sister was missing, 
and missed, she having died in November, lt)62. Be- 
sides some clothing and a gold piece of money, I think 
they took advant^:e of the opportunity to give me the 
onyx seal ring which I wear and a silver watch which I 
still have and use occasionally; I did not want a gold one 
because of the vicissitudes of a soldier's life. At any 
rate I received both ring and watch while at Fort Dela- 

About a week before this Dr. Handy was released, to 
the great loss of the prison life. As long as a Fort Dela- 
ware prisoner survives, he will be remembered with at 


least respect, even by those whose characters and prac- 
tices were not in accord with his example and precepts. 
With untiring energy although almost broken down by 
his long imprisonment, he established and conducted 
Sunday schools, Bible classes, religious services, and in 
every way ministered to his fellow prisoners, although 
more than once it was intimated to him that in mak- 
ing himself conspicuous he was also making himself ob- 
noxious and prolonging his own imprisonment. While 
a decided Presbyterian, Dr. Handy was undenomina- 
tional in his work here, and several ministers of other 
branches of the church who were brought to Fort 
Delaware ior "disloyalty" during the summer and fall, 
worked with him in perfect harmony. In short, as I have 
always said, he labored like an apostle and his influence 
went far to counteract the evil tendencies of prolonged 
prison life. For this monotonous and tedious life is 
demoralizing in many ways.** 

One Sunday after he left I was requested by some 
Episcopalians to ask a minister of that church who was 
there to read the Episcopal service in one of the divisions. 
He said at first that it was in the diocese of the bishop 
of Delaware and he did not know that he could officiate 
without his sanction. I replied that I had never heard 
of the bishop of Delaware visiting that part of his dio- 
cese and rather thought it was a missionary field, if not a 
piece of the Confederacy. He then said he had been 
told that if he kept quiet it might shorten his imprison- 
ment. I thought of Dr. Handy but said nothing. How- 

" Dr. Isaack W. K. Handy, a native of the lower counties of the Eastern Shore 
of Maryland, and of the well known family of that name, had a church in Ports- 
mouth, Virginia, and while on a visit to Delaware was arrested on a charge of 
"disloyalty" and confined in Fort Delaware from June, 1863, to October, 1864, 
He died after 1874. His book, United States Bonds, Tumbull Brothers, Balti- 
more, Z874, with illustrations, is a faithful diary of prison life. 




ever, he consented to read the service. When he came 
to the prayer for Ihe President, he used the equivocal 
words ''Our President/' instead of ''The President of 
the Confederate States, '' which I thought was, in that 
congregation, an improper change of the Ccmfedemte 
Prayer Book and an inexcusable timidity. But he waa 
a good man and my ideas may have been too extreme.*' 

Many of Ihe prisoners occupied Iheir spaxe time — and 
they had a plenty of that— in making "Confederate 
Jewelry, ** and particularly rings out of jet or some black 
material. Some of these were quite elabcn^tely carved 
or chased and inlaid with silver or mother of pearl in 
the shape of crosses, stars, etc. They were sometimes 
sent to Ihe ladies who furnished them wilh food, dodiing 
and money, or who kept up their spirits by correspond* 
enoe, mostly from Maryland, whose women were untir* 
ing in this work. Sometimes they were sent to wives 
and sweelh^urts in the South. But Ihe jewelry was also 
iK>ld and brought in a helpful amount of money to the 

There were attempts to escape but I believe few if any 
succeeded, the wide water being a greater difficulty than 
getting out of the pen. I heard of life preservers being 
made out of tomato cans or other tins. And a tempting 
way of exit was at the sinks, which were half over the 
water, where, however, the guards kept a close watch. 
I believe one party got out by creeping in the ditch pass- 
ing through the enclosure, probably tearing up the floor 
of the barrack under which it flowed. But they were 

*^ But on this point I had the courage of my convictions, for I openly prayed 
for him by his full official title in reading the service in the Old Capitol prison in 
Washington on the Sunday after Lincoln's assassination, and when a mob was on 
the outside. 

'* I have a few pieces still, some of which had been sent to members of my 


recaptured. I had my doubts whether these attempts 
ought to be made, because of the increased restrictions 
they brought on us to prevent them. 

There was no communication allowed between the 
officers and the enlisted men but only a high board fence, 
patrolled along the top by the guard, seemed to separate 
them. Some time in October the men were stirred by 
some particular grievance — about food I think — and 
sent their complaints to the officers by notes lied to 
pieces of coal or stone and hurled over the fence. In the 
dusk of evening was the favorite time for this kind of mail 
communication. But the sentinels were on the alert to 
watch for these missiles passing over and often intercepted 
them before they could be picked up. 

During October there had been repeated "grapes"** 
about the exchange of sick and wounded prisoners, and 
I think one small party was sent off. But early in No- 
vember it became known as a fact that 10,000 sick and 
wounded from the Northern prisons were to be exchanged 
at Savannah for a like number of Federals and there was 
great excitement and various preparations made for it. 
I heard that some got themselves placed on the list of the 
Fort Delaware contingent by bribes of gold watches, 
etc. Others by careful treatment made old wounds look 
like new. One even who had been wounded in the leg 
in the far back Mexican war shaved off the hair which 
had grown over it and by judicious treatment developed 
a bad — or good — sore. Another, I think it was Foster, 
of Alabama, who had never used tobacco, chewed violent- 
ly and went before the Board of Medical Examiners 
with such a face of pallor and thumping heart that it 
looked as if he would not live long enough to be dumped 
on the Confederacy to die. Not being an adept in sinful 

*• Distorted news via the "grapevine telegraph," see page 58. 



games, I did not see any prospect for myself in this ex.-"' 
change. But on the last day of the sitting of the Board it 
happened that I was sent for to come to General Schoepf's 
office to receive some money, transmitted from home 
under the arrangement I have spoken of. The General 
presently asked me if I would not like to be exchanged. 
I said I would if U did not prevent some sick or wounded 
man from going. He said it would not. I then remem- 
bered our anxiety that intelligence of Colonel Baker's dis- 
loyalty should get to Richmond and said that I would like 
very much to be exchanged. He asked, " What have you 
got — rheumatism?" I replied, " No, but I have a slight 
sore throat. " He said " Rheumatism is the best thing, " 
I said I thought I might make it on my throat. But 
when I left him it was with his parting injunction that 
"rheumatism was the best thing." On getting back to 
the pen I found that the Medical Board of Examiners 
had finished their work and finally adjourned. I wrote 
a letter of pretended complaint to General Schoepf stat- 
ing that owing to my being at his headquarters I had 
been unable to go before the Board and asking that I 
might have a special examination and be found a suitable 
subject for exchange. And doubting if this would ever 
reach htm by the regular channel through Captain Ahl, 
I bribed an orderly with a greenback*' to give it to him. 
I then made a strong mixture of vinegar, red pepper 
and salt and waited. I had a large white silk handker- 
chief and the extraordinary luxury, perhaps single in the 
prison, of a small pillow with a white pillow-case — or 
which had started white, for I doubt if it ever had a 
washing — and these I put convenient for ready use. 
About 9 o'clock next morning my name was called out 
at the gate and vociferated through the prison like the 

** A dollar note, perhaps more. 


call for Sam Weller in the Fleet prison. I promptly 
seized my mixture and gargled my throat until the tears 
streamed from my eyes to the astonishment of my 
neighbors. I tied the large white handkerchief around 
my head and face (like little Tommy Grace with a pain 
in his face in "Mother Goose' *)> and holding the white 
pillow to my cheek, I went to the gate, and with a dozen 
others, out of it. We were drawn up in a line and I 
supposed the "special examination" would begin. But 
Captain Ahl only looked at me sourly and said gruffly, 
"Your name's down for exchange." So I went back, 
threw my mixture away and packed up. This was not 
easy, for I had accumulated what passed for a good deal 
of clothing in those days. I had a gray cloth suit'* (with- 
out any "rebel" adornment — it was not permitted to 
receive any), and a gray officer's overcoat, that is, one 
with a detachable long cape reaching to my wrist. This 
last I think must have been brought by my family on 
their visit, for it would scarcely have passed examination 
if sent in one of the usual boxes. However, I put on a 
double set of underclothing and what else I could, packed 
a valise, and I think made up a bundle besides. I think 
it was the afternoon of the same day that we whose 
names were called went out to the ground in front of 
General Schoepf's office. The General came out and 
circulated among us and, observing my padded and 
plethoric appearance, took me aside and said "This will 
never do ; there will be no inspection here, but there may 
be at Point Lookout and half your things may be con- 
fiscated. Now there's a fellow" — and he pointed to 
Captain Frank Cheatham, a nephew of Major-General 

" I wore it during the rest of the war, and have the coat yet, in the camphor 
wood chest — if moths have not corrupted it — if thieves broke through they 
would not steal. 


B. F. Cheatham of the western army — "who has veryj 
little. Give the cape of your overcoat to him and scatters 
your other things among those other fellows to talci 
through for you." This good and kindly advice I fol-« 

And so with my disjecta membra of ba^age I i 
aboard the boat. 


Fort Delaware to Savannah and Richmond 

We left Fort Delaware in the first or second week of 
November (1864). Going on a small steamboat — of the 
sort that passes through the Canal, a single deck propeller 
used for freight, not the passenger variety with state- 
rooms — we were packed below on some straw covering 
coal. Crossing over the half of the river to Delaware 
City at the mouth of the Chesapeake and Delaware 
Canal, just opposite the fort, we steamed through. My 
place was under the open hatchway, but I could not see 
out and all the view I had of the State of Delaware and 
the Eastern Shore of Maryland was an overhanging 
branch under which we once passed. We were packed 
so close that I hardly turned over in my recumbent posi- 
tion the whole time I was on the boat. And being just 
under the open hatch and in a cramped position, I think 
this gave me the attack of rheumatism of which I will 
speak presently. We then turned down the Chesapeake 
Bay to the Confederate prison at Point Lookout at the 
mouth of the Potomac River and on its north side. I do 
not remember exactly when we reached this place, but 
probably it was some time in the morning of the day after 
leaving Fort Delaware. I believe we were put ashore 
and remained there a day, hearing many stories of the 
eccentricities of the black sentinels by whom the prison- 
ers were guarded. It was here, I think, that, in leaving, 
I was put on Colonel Mulford's (United States Exchange 
Commissioner) fine steamboat, the City of New York, 
and I would have enjoyed, doubtless, this part of the trip 


336 BBCnutcnoHS or k confederate soldier 

had it not been diat after going on board I had an attack ' 
td 8onietliing Uke ilieumati&in — which, it will be remem- 
bered, General Sdioepf had recommended to me as the 
bestdunigtogetexduuigedon, but which 1 had disclaimed 
having. It gave me no pain whatever, but after I got 
into a berth in one of the staterooms I could not turn 
over etcqit by using my hands as if to another person. 
The fluigem came and prescribed for me a milk punch 
which I enj<qred very much. By the time we arrived at 
OldPtHntComfortlwasallrightagain. Herd wastrans- 
ferred to the old ocean steamer Illinois, which I believe 
had been ctf tlie line between New York and England but i 
was now used, in its old age as an army transport along ] 
the Atlantic coast for such purposes as the present. ! 
That evening or the next we put to sea. For supper I 
there was given to each of us a cube shaped piece of pork, ' 
already cooked. It was all, or nearly all, fat, but we \ 
were not fastidious and Gajoyed it, with ship biscuit I . 
think. The sea, or mouth of the bay, was smooth for 
sometime and there was much singing on the deck, espe- 
dally of maritime songs, "A life on the ocean wave," 
"A wet sheet and a flowing sail," and others expressive 
of the joy of being on the ocean. But next morning I 
seemed to be the only one not down with sea-sickness 
and the hunks of meat were lying around disregarded 
and I "wittled free." There was no more singing on 
that trip. Having the liberty of the deck and plenty of 
room I enjoyed this my first experience of being well out 
on the ocean and watched the frequent taking the tem- 
perature of the water, sounding (so my recollection 
seems to be,) and every thing novel to be seen, with in- 
terest. We heard that one vessel ran aground at Cape 
Hatteras and that one officer escaped ashore.' 

' I was about to omit this as absurd and my seeming recollection as playing 
mea trick, but I fiad there was such an impression both amongusand theoScera 


We finally entered Port Royal Harbor in South Caro- 
lina and anchored on what I thought was one of the most 
beautiful evenings I had ever seen, the air mild and balmy 
red clouds in the west, light waves dancing on the water, 
the avripidnov yeXaa/ia of the Grecian sea, and the sur- 
rounding land looking attractive. Probably the next 
day I was transferred from the big Illinois — big for those 
days — to the river or bay steamboat George Leary and 
proceeded to the mouth of the Savannah River. This 
we ascended, passing by Fort Pulaski on the south side 
of the mouth, which had been captured a year or two 
before.* The appearance of this southern river was 
strange to me. The shores were low lying, with exten- 
sive level tracts to the woods some distance back, cov- 
ered with a tall sedgelike growth which I took to be wild 
rice. The water seemed to go down deep at the very 
edge of the black mud bank, for sometimes we went along 
so close to it that our side paddle wheel boxes brushed 
the sedge. Before dusk we rejoiced to see the poor little 
Confederate boat or boats steaming slowly down from 
Savannah to meet us.* It was dark when one of them 

of the vessel. Major Ogden Murray in his The Immortal Six Hundred says that 
one of the prisoners disappeared when the vessel struck and was thought to 
have escaped, but was secreted in the hold by a friendly seaman and fed there 
until the ship returned to New York. (But I have not Major Murray's book 
by me and perhaps he tells the incident as an escape of one of the Six Hundred, 
and we may have heard of it and my recollection may be so far off.) 

* It was taken by the Federals in April 1862. 

' The Baltimore American and Commercial Advertiser newspaper of Monday, 
2ist November, 1864, says that the flag of truce fleet of Lieutenant-Colonel 
John £. Mulford, (U. S. Agent or Commissioner for exchange of prisoners), on 
Tuesday, 8th November, steamed out of Hampton Roads, and that the fleet 
consisted of ... . the Illinois .... George Leary . . . . ; 
That the flagship, the New York^ was the first to drop anchor in Port Royal 
Harbor on Thursday evening (loth November) and at an early hour on Friday 
morning (nth November) Colonel Mulford proceeded on it to a point up the 
Savannah River about midway between Fort Pulaski and Savannah, where the 


ranged alongside, but as I looked down on it — for it was 
much lower on the water than ours — ( thought I recog- 
nized a voice and called out, "Is that you, Elliott?" 
He answered "Yes." It was Lieutenant or Captain 
Robert Elliott, with whom I had had a slight acquaint- 
ance in the Richmond campaign of 1862, when I think 
he was on the staff of General Lawton. I had not seen 
him since and had no reason to suppose he was in this 
part of the Confederate world. But I have always had 
a peculiar faculty for remembering voices. He seemed 
to be present here as a staff officer or one of a party from 
Savannah aiding the flag of truce people in receiving us,* 

We were soon transferred to the Confederate vessel or 
vessels and steamed at a snail's pace a few miles up to 
Savannah. Landing, I, with others who had money 
enough, made my way to the Pulaski House, the princi- 
pal hotel. I remember on coming down, rather late, to 
breakfast next morning wondering at the red piles at the 
sides of the plates where persons had eaten — looking like 
bits of lobster shells; they were shrimps, my first ex- _ 
perience of that article of semi-tropical food. 

I think it was in the course of the same day, Sunday, 
13th November, that Mr. William Habersham, an old 

steamer Beauregard of the Rebel fleet was met and arrangementi wera made for 
the transfer of the ConTederate prisoners on Saturday — they haviug in the mean- 
time arrived at Port Royal, to the cumber of about 3100, that, accordin^y on 
the foUowing aftemooo (nth November) the steamers Herman Lhingsloa and 
George Leory, with prisooeia, accotnpanied by the New York, repaired to the 
same point in the Savannah River, where they were met by the Confederate 
steamers {of which the letter to the ApitrUan gives a humorous descriptioD), 
and at nightfall the prisoners were tiaosferred and taken to Savannah. 

It is probable from this account that I had left Fort Delaware on the jth or 
6 th of November. 

The Gtorge Leary was used as a bay boat at Baltimore for many years after 
the war and I traveled 00 it often. 

* After the war he became a minister m the Protestant Episci^ Churdi and 
finally was bishop of Texas, where he died many years ago. 


friend of my father and mother, to whose house he often 
came when stopping in Baltimore in his annual visits 
to the North, hearing of my arrival, sought me out and 
made me straightway move from the hotel to his town 

house at the comer of Bull and Streets. He 

took me to several houses in the city — ^among others to 
that of "his favorite cousins" the Elliott ladies, one of 
whom I remember was Miss Phoebe Elliott, cousins or 
sisters of Captain " Bob'* Elliott; also I think to the house 
of Commodore Huger or his family. He was a brother 
of General Huger who was living next door to us in Balti- 
more when the war broke out. At this house I one day 
enjoyed some very fine old Madeira wine, although they 
said it might have an earthy taste from having been 
buried some time before during a scare that the "Yan- 
kees" were coming.* 

Looking around Savannah, I noticed semi-tropical 
vegetation new to me, and especially an occasional 
banana plant showing its long and broad green leaves 
(but I saw no fruit) above a garden wall. But what 
interested me most was a visit to the riverside and seeing 
the unhulled rice taken from the boats into the mills 
which stood on the high river bank. A sort of trough, 
two feet or so wide, ran slantingly up, the flooring being 
either compartments or simply a long roll of cloth or 
other material and this flooring, on which measures of 
rice were poured at the boat, went up on perpetual mo- 

* It happened a few years after the war that I was dining one day at the house, 
on Courtland Street, Baltimore, of Mr. Charles Nephew West, who had come 
from Georgia to Baltimore to practice law, when some old Madeira was produced 
and I was asked what I thought of it. "Well,'' I said, "it tastes like some I 
drank during the war at Cfommodore Huger's in Savannah. " "Why, " said he, 
"this is some of the same wine and Mrs. Huger is in the next room now." He 
must have formed a high opinion of my judgment of old Madeira from my 
somewhat chance remark. 


Hon, like an endless diain or long treadmill, to the top 
story of the mill, from wiuA the rice desomded {rmn floOT 
to floor undeiigobg several prooeflses until it amved at 
the bottom in maHcetable cmiditicm. The hull is mudi 
more dose fittii^ to the grain than tiie diaff of wheat. 

After several days, on Saturday aftmioon I think, 
Mr. Haberduutt took me to his rioe i^antation on the 
Ogeechee River. We wmt by nulioad scmie fifteen mr 
eighteen miles soutii from Savannah to a load-croenng 
station and then drove a few miles easteriy to his place, 
which had on it a comftntaUe house with an interestiog 
flower garden. Here I ftnmd Bishc^ Oiott, of Georgia, 
and his wife, one of the two being a near rdative of Mr. 
Habersham and the Bishop bdng, I think, tiie father 
of Captain "Bob" Elliott. I noticed in how many, and 
novel, ways rice was served in Ihis rice district, one dish 
especially being lila a Viiginia deep com meal pone but 
of rice instead of c(»ii meal, with dudmn l^:s, wings, 
breast, etc., through it. The garden interested me, with 
lai^e rose bushes in full bloom, and particularly the ca- 
mellias,* which, unlike our old time small hot house 
bushes in Baltimore, were here almost trees and growing 
in the open air. They were full of flowers, mostly buds. 
Candles were made of the wax boiled out of myrtle- 
berries and gave out a slight perfume. 

One day we took a rowboat and descended the Ogee- 
chee River some distance, stopping for a while at a plan- 

• About 1845-1853 every yoimg lady going to a. party wore as a matter of 
course in her hair, on the (right?) side oF the head, a Camellia^ — or Japonnica as 
it was Chen always called. The only question was whether it should be red or 
while, and whether a full bloom flower or a half open bud. Feast was then the 
only, and sufficient florist of the city. Mr. Habersbain's Camellias therefore 
called up old memories. I think this fashion had rather gone out before the 
beginning of the war. The Camellia is seldom seen now and I believe few young 
ladies of today would even recognize this much prized adornment of their 


tation called "Pinkie House." Here I was astonished 
to find a cousin, Ellen Buchanan, daughter of Admiral 
Franklin Buchanan, now Mrs. Thomas F. Screven. I 
remember seeing him in Baltimore when he came on 
from Georgia to be married, keeping himself half con- 
cealed, or very quiet, and under an assumed name, I 
think, while in the city, for it was more than a month 
after the fall of Fort Sumter.' 

Another day we rode (on the hardy yellow clay colored 
horses which I was told were best for common use in that 
climate,) over the rice fields, or rather around them for 
they were low lying with embankments surrounding 
them, on the top of which we rode. Twice, I was told, 
the 'field has to be flooded from the neighboring river — 
after the planting and when the stalks are about a foot 
high. After the second flooding and the drawing off of 
the water, the plants fall down flat in the mud, but soon 
stand up straight again when dried by the hot sun. But 
there was nothing of rice cultivation — at least of rice 
growing — to be seen at this season. Although in the 
beginning of winter, the sun with the stagnant air over 
these low levels was rather oppressive and I could well 
understand that the white people (of the gentry) could 
not endure it in the summer and moved up to the pine 
woods country or went elsewhere. 

And on another day we rode or drove to the house of 
Mr. (Duncan?) Hey ward, a neighbor two or three miles 
off. Mr. Habersham said Mr. Heyward was absent 
and the house was closed, and I thought it odd we should 
be going there. On the way he muttered some cabalistic 
words several times and desired me to remember them. 
Arriving and entering the empty house, Mr. Habersham 
went into the dining room and it appeared that the cab- 

^ They were married in Talbot County, Maryland, on 5th June, 1861. 


alistic words gave the key to the lock of the sideboard or 
buffet in which was some liquor which was the motive 
for the visit. The house was oi bungalow fashion, a low 
structure raised above the ground and open underneath 
and with a wide porch. Such is the structure of many of 
the plantation houses in the far South, On the way over 
and back we passed an attractive looking country house 
wJiich I was told was the residence of Dr. Cheves 
(Chev'-es) a son or descendant of Langdon Cheves, of 
whom I knew as a Representative in Congress from South 
Carolina in the days of Calhoun, Webster and Clay. 
And all these families, Habersham, Elliott, He).-ward, 
Cheves, with many others, were properly, or formerly, 
of South Carolina descent, having drifted across the 
Savannah River. I remember particularly in passing 
Dr. Cheves's the large number of the strange looking 
palmetto trees and thinking of the account in my old 
school history of the defense, in the Revolutionary War, 
of Fort Moultrie, which was built of palmetto logs in 
the spongy tissue of which the cannon balls from the 
British fleet sank without splintering or doing any harm. 
I never hesird of their efficacy in that way in our war — 
perhaps because modem guns shoot 60 much stronger. 
All this rice section was an unbroken level, the Eastern 
Shore of Maryland is a rolling country compared with it. 

After a few days we returned to Mr. Habersham's 
house in Savannah — I should have mentioned that he 
was a bachelor. 

Now I was only half exchanged, being supposed to be 
on parole until the authorities would announce the ex- 
change of the 10,000 fully eflFective, and as I could not 
perform any military service, I was intending to make 
some stay in the southern part of the Confederacy where 
the half tropical country was so new and interesting to 


me. I even meditated going as far south as Florida.' 
But I was alarmed by the approach which General Sher- 
man was making to the Atlantic seaboard and afraid of 
being cut off from Richmond. So in a day or two I took 
the train over to Charleston. 

I had met in Savannah Major Henry Myers, a pay- 
master in the Army (or Navy?), who had been in Fort 
Warren prison, Boston Harbor, with my father and oldest 
brother, Frank Key Howard, • and on his invitation I 
stayed in Charleston in a small house on a cross street 
which was occupied by several of General Beauregard's 

staff, among whom I remember Major Waddy 

who was from the Eastern Shore of Virginia. We were 
in the upper part of the city and beyond the range of the 
big guns (one of which was known as the "Swamp 
Angel",) from which the enemy kept up a slow fire on it, 
but I could hear occasionally the explosion of the shells 
falling in the lower part. I walked down to the Bat- 
tery — so long before called and situated like the New 
York Battery, but with fine dwelling houses fronting 
the street along the water — from which Fort Sumter 
and all the Harbor mouth were in plain view. And one 
day I dined with some officers in a large house which the 
family had vacated (Mrs. Foster?) situated on a large 
and (otherwise) unimproved tract of ground, a little way 
back from the Battery. Every twenty minutes or so we 

^ If I had done so, I would, after all, have been taking, in a measure, the advice 
which General James A. Walker of the Stonewall Brigade used to give me in the 
winter of 1 863-64. He said, " You have the best position in the army. Belong- 
ing to the personal stafiF of General Trimble who is a prisoner, you are not liable 
to duty and can draw your pay and travel all over the Confederacy if you like. 
You are a fool to be volunteering in active service here and you may get yourself 
killed where you have no business to be. " 

^ See his two pamphlets "Fourteen Months in American Bastiles" and ^'The 
Southern Rights and Union Parties in Maryland Contrasted. " 


heard the sound of the enemy's big guns but nobody 
seemed to pay any attention to it, although I had s 
in walking across the common several large holes in thw 
ground where these huge shells had fallen and exploded,! 
On Saturday (November), Major Waddy took me; 
(by the Wilmington Railroad?) to Colonel Ferguson's 
about eighteen or twenty miles north of Charleston, 
and near the upper part of Cooper River. Colonel i 
guson was a gentleman of the finest old school, 
eighty years of age and totally blind. He had sevei 
sons in the army.'" He had been a great lover of hon 
before the war and I think prided himself, more than c 
anything else, on having raised a horse (Albina?) whiclifl 
beat the famous northern racer Planet in one of the greats 
races. I think I fell in his estimation when I once spoki 
of trotting matches, for which he expressed great c 
tempt." He pleased me very much when, on my inti 
duction, he said that my grandfather's services in 5 
Carolina in the Revolutionary War were not forgotten in, 
the State.'* On the next day, Sunday, I was driven ovi 
to some old residence, which I wish I could identify, 
to dinner. We presently crossed the Cooper River — or 
perhaps one of its branches — to its east side where a 
church stood on the top of the high bank, surrounded 
by fine large live oak trees. Leaving the church on our 
left, we went some distance (easterly?) and presently 
passed through an avenue of beautiful live oaks, some of 

■* One of them was BHgadier-Gcneral Samuel FeigusoD of Lhe western aimy 
and another Major J. Dugui Ferguson, of Brigadier-General Fitzhugh Lee't 
staff, and who since the war has resided in Baltimore. 

" But I still think that trotting races, while less exciting are not to be de- 
spised, being in the way of developing the most useful gait of the horse — other 
than the draft horse. 

" Colonel John Eager Howard, at Camden, Cowpens, Hobkirks Hill, Eulaw 
Springs, elc. The Legislature of South CaroUna passed resolutions of condolence 
on his death, uth October, 1S37. 


the large lower branches of which bent down nearly to 
the ground. The house had, with its wings or side ad- 
ditions to the main central building, a long front some- 
thing like the old colonial Ridout house in Annapolis, 
and at the extremities the walls seemed pierced in narrow 
loophole fashion, as if for defense. And I think I was 
told the house was of colonial build and was supposed to 
have been constructed with that in view. The central 
front door opened immediately into a large saloon or 
drawing room, on the right hand side of which was the 
dining room and there we found several gentlemen at 
dinner and drinking old Madeira, as if no war was raging 
in the land. On Monday morning we returned from 
Colonel Ferguson's to Charleston. 

A day or two afterwards Lieutenant Albert White, 
whom I had known in Fort Delaware and who was, I 
think, one of the exchanged prisoners, took me to his 
father's country place. This was on the railroad which 
ran northwesterly from Charleston and I suppose 
eighteen or twenty miles from it. I knew that his father 
was a wealthy man, having made, and at that time still 
making, a great deal of money in the blockade running 
business, but I was astonished at the lavish display on the 
dinner table on our arrival in the evening — not only a 
variety of eatables but an extensive array of china and 
glass, with several wine glasses at each plate for the 
liquors, sherry, Madeira, brandy, Scotch whisky, etc. 
I had seen nothing approaching it since before the war 
and did not know that such style was kept up at any 
house in the South. The next day Albert White and I 
wandered around casting a circular handthrowing net in 
a bayou, etc. He showed me a place grown with tall 
switches like our ailanthus, where he said some well 
known old South Carolinian — I think he said General 


Moultrie— was buried." Mr. White's house was, how- 
ever, as I recollect it, not an old one. I believe I stayed 
only one day, possibly two, and returned to Charleston.'* 
I was planning to spend a night and a day at Fort 
Sumter, for one could only go and return after dark; 
but I was now seriously alarmed at the progress Sherman 
was making towards the seaboard and thought I had bet- 
ter lose no more time in getting northward. So on the 
29th or 30th November or ist December I took the train 
from Charleston going northwesterly. It was not known 
exactly how far Sherman had got in marching through 
Georgia, or whether he might not cross the Savannah 
River into South Carolina, and I was relieved when we 
passed Branchville, which is nearly opposite to Augusta, 
Georgia, and turned from northwest to north and so 
directly away from the line of operations. But feeling 
now safe from danger of being cut off, I was minded to 
make one more stop and got off at Charlotte, North Caro- 
lina, where I knew that Surgeon I. Davis Thomson, ol 
Maryland, was in charge of a hospital. I have narrated 
how I had stayed with him in Lynchburg in the spring of 
1863. I think I spent only one or two days with him. 
When I left he said he would introduce me to the con- 
ductor and also furnish me with a bottle of brandy (from 
the hospital stores), and on ihe introduction and an invi- 
tation to partake from the bottle the conductor would put 
me in the ladies' car, which in those days only men ac- 
companying ladies were permitted to enisr and which 
was cleaner and more comfortable than the other cars, 
crowded with soldiers. So when we went to the station 

" Not GcDcral Moultrie, who is buried in Charieston; perhaps a Middleton. 

" Alas, the end of the war brought ruin and the family was reduced to straits. 
I heard some years afterwards that the daughter of the house, a very pretty young 
giri when I wai there, was teaching, her father having died. 



to take the train about 9 o'clock at night and he intro- 
duced me, I quickly put in, " I have a bottle of brandy 
and will be glad if you will take a drink with me after I 
am in the car." He said he would take the drink then 
and there. But I pretended it was not convenient until 
I was on the train and he put me in the ladies* car. As 
soon as we started, he lost no time in coming for his extra 
fare. And so I traveled more comfortably during the 
night ride to Danville, Virginia. Here we changed 
trains at 8 or 9 o'clock in the morning. It being now a 
daylight ride to Richmond, I did not care to manoeuvre 
for the ladies* car again and went into one of the commdn 
coaches. I suppose it took nearly all of the daylight — 
I was told that part of the track had only strap iron rails 
— to get to Richmond; this was probably the 3d, 4th or 

• _ 

5th of December (1864). I think I went to the Spots- 
wood Hotel on Main Street. 


Richmond, Orange County and Chaffin's Bluff 

Within a few days after my getting back from Fort 
Delaware to Richmond, I suppose about the second week 
in December (1864) three of my four brothers in the army 
appointed to meet me one evening to hear the news I had 
to tell of home. The place of meeting was somewhere 
east of Richmond; either my brother Lieutenant-Colonel 
James Howard, on the near approach of Grant's army, 
had been ordered from his old headquarters at Mrs. 
Chevaillie's house on the northwest side of the city, or it 
was at the quarters of one of my other brothers, and the 
four of us who met were myself and Colonel Howard and, 
I think, Surgeon E. Lloyd Howard and Captain John E, 
Howard, To celebrate the occasion we had procured 
some apple brandy, sugar and two or three eggs and pro- 
posed to make eggnog or Tom and Jeny in a milk crock — 
I suppose it was the best we could do for a su^estion of 
milk. We heated or warmed the crock and broke the 
eggs into it, when to our dismay they were promptly 
cooked and when stirred became like scrambled eggs. 
But we could not afford to waste anything and so mixed 
in the brandy and sugar and drank or ate the result. I 
called for the letter in which I had written with wet 
starch in Fort Delaware about Colonel Baker's disloyalty 
and which my brother had failed to develop, either from 
not having received a previous mess^e to look out for 
such secret writing or having forgotten it. On being 
now produced, the letter appeared as innocent as it had 
looked to the Yankee official who had examined and 



passed it for transmission by the flag of truce, as with all 
prisoners* letters. But on holding it to the heat of the 
fire now, my concealed warning came out distinctly. 
The next day I took the letter and gave a full account to 
the War Office at Richmond and they said they would 
look out for Colonel Baker, who had not yet come 

About the middle of December (1864), not being yet 
declared exchanged and unable, therefore, to perform 
any military service, I went to pass the time at Oliver 
Terrell's, on the upper part of Blue Run in Orange 
County, half-way between Gordonsville and Liberty 
Mill on the Rapidan River. 

On December 22 we heard that a force of the enemy's 
cavalry was moving from the North towards the bridge 
over the Rapidan at Liberty Mill, our cavalry falling 
back before it, and Terrell and I rode there to investi- 
gate. (My servant, Washington, had brought and left 
my horse here when I was taken prisoner at Spotsyl- 
vania Court House on May 12.) Soon after we started 
we heard the sound of artillery in that direction and when 
about a mile from the bridge we saw thick black smoke 
rising and floating away, and, nearer, we saw the flames 
from the burning structure, which our men, after crossing 
to the south (Orange County) side had fired. It was an 
old fashioned covered bridge and the long seasoned 
timbers burned fiercely. We found Major-General Lo- 
max^ on the west side of the Turnpike road, on the 
high ground overlooking the bridge and some hundreds 
of yards from it, watching his dismounted cavalrymen 
skirmishing witJi the enemy across the river. Being on 
parole, I could only be a spectator. Concluding that 

* Lunsford Lindsay Lomax, of Virginia, an officer of the old U. S. Army. He 
died in Washington a year or two ago. 


the enemy would get across, Terrell and I presently rode 
back to the house and he set to work moving his hams 
and bacon and such like stores which an enemy would be 
most apt to take. They were loaded In wagons which 
were driven back into the recesses of Campbell's Moun- 
tain, which rises just behind his farm. This took a good 
part of the night, smd after the work was done and the 
wagons had driven off, Terrell and I were afraid to sleep, 
apprehending that the enemy might come down on us, 
and we frequently went out of the house, listening in the 
still, frosty air for the sound of horses' feet. I wondered 
how I would be treated if taken, being already on a sort 
of parole, but I did not want to take any chances. At 
daylight, or just before, we got on our horses and, cross- 
ing his farm, ascended Campbell's Mountain, an eleva- 
tion of the South West range. On the wooded top, or 
high up, we rode a mile or two towards Gordonsville 
until we came to where the ground suddenly descended 
to our front and lefi and this descent being cleared land, 
we had a view of a mile of the Liberty Mill and Gordons- 
ville road in the bottom two or three hundred feet below 
us, until it ascended the wooded Haxall's Mountain, 
which in our front crossed the road at right angles and 
a mile on the further side of which was Gordonsville. 
We had been having sleety weather and every branch 
and twig of every tree on our mountain, as well as the 
bushes, weeds and grass, had a thick casing of clear ice, 
and it was the most beautiful scene of the kind I ever saw, 
especially when the sun rose and its level beams were 
refracted from the ice in all ima^nable colors. Fairy- 
land could not produce such a spectacle. 

We presently saw the enemy's column of cavalry come 
along the road from Liberty Mill, on which we looked 
down, and watched it as it got to the foot of Haxall's 


Mountain and deployed on both sides of the road. 
Shifting our position more to the south end of the moun- 
tain we were on, we found ourselves directly in the rear 
of the center of this deployed line, which soon began to 
skirmish with our men who were stationed along the 
wooded Haxall's Mountain and not visible to us. It was 
a novel experience thus to witness fighting from behind 
the backs of the enemy with nothing but open, cultivated 
ground between. We must have been plainly visible to 
them as we sat on our horses well outside the woods be- 
hind us and within distant carbine range, but they paid 
no attention to our presence. The frequent sound of 
locomotives at Gordonsville was telling of the arrival of 
reinforcements from Richmond,* and about midday the 
enemy called in his skirmishers and returned by the same 
road. We went back some distance keeping to our 
mountain or ridge top to watch them as they passed along 
beneath us. As we stood out on our horses in the open 
ground near the edge of the woods at one point, some of 
them halted in the road and one (or two?) took a shot at 
us with his carbine or rifle. I suppose the distance was 
four or five hundred yards and we were about two hun- 
dred feet above them. We retired into the edge of the 
woods and Terrell wanted to stop there, but I had ob- 
served several leave the road, to get behind us I appre- 
hended, and I insisted on going in to a safe distance. 
Towards sundown, believing the enemy must be back 
across the Rapidan, we cautiously returned to the house, 
which we found had not been visited, the side road to it 
from the main road being about a mile long. 

In January or February, 1865, I and the other prison- 

' Colonel Thomas S. Rhett's command, of the Richmond defences, came and 
perhaps other troops. But I believe there was much whistling purposely done 
to make the enemy think large reinforcements were arriving. 


ers who had come from Fort Delaware were declared 
fully exchanged and no longer on parole,' and, if not al- 
ready in Richmond, I went there to determine where to 
reenter active service — General Trimble still being ia , 
captivity. I was sure that General George H. Steuart, J 
who now had a brigade in Pickett's Division of Ander- J 
son's Corps, along the line in front of Petersburg, would I 
welcome me to his staff again and was probably expecting J 
me to join him. But my brother Lieutenant-Colonel 1 
James Howard, whose command the i8th and 20th Vir- 1 
ginia Battalions, of the Richmond Defences, was now atj 
the front, occupying a part of the line of works extending I 
north from Chaffin's Bluff on James River, and in the J 
recently formed Division of Major-General G. W. Custia 1 
Lee, brought me an invitation from that general to serve I 
on his staff as acting assistant inspector-general, and, to J 
be with my brother, I determined to accept it. However, I 
I thought it proper first to make a visit to General 1 
Steuart, and took the train from Richmond to Peters- j 
burg. On the way I sat behind two men of his brigade^ -| 
one of whom was returning from a long absence. Said 
the other, "Bill, we have the most cur'ous man for a 
commander you ever saw. When you are on the picket 
line he doesn't come like other officers, but comes a 
bustin' through the bushes where you least expect him 
and you have to be on the lookout all the time." And 
he proceeded to pour out a tale of other eccentric doings 
showing to me that the general in his new command was 
still up to his old activities. Remembering the first 
year of the war when Colonel Steuart was disciplining 
the 1st Maryland and would sometimes break into the 
camp sentinel line with the cry of "Indians!" — I would 

' Paytole many of the soldiers pronounced it, with unconscious, or perhaps 
humor. There were more paroles than pay rolls in those days . 


have now recognized him if his name had not been 

General Steuart received me with open arms — h'terally, 
for he put them around my neck, and I felt much com- 
punction in telling him I was not coming back to him; 
but he agreed it was natural I should wish to be with my 
brother. I spent the night with him and we had some 
interesting conversation about the army and Confederate 
matters. I remember one thing he said struck me, being 
both characteristic of him and true. I had remarked 
that if the absentees from the army would come back, 
we could defeat the enemy yet (meaning at that time, 
for I did not doubt our ultimate success down to the very 
end). "Yes," said he, "Mr. Howard, but if every man 
would do his duty with his whole heart and strength, we 
could defeat them with the men we have here present. " 

General Steuart gave his own services to that high 
degree all through the war. 

I suppose it was in February that I went to (the neigh- 
borhood of) Chaffin's Bluff, seven miles below Richmond, 
to take my new position on General Custis Lee's staff. 
It was a volunteer service, for I still held my place as aide- 
de-camp to Major-General Trimble, the theory being 
that aides were on active duty only with their generals, 
as I have said. But I always thought that Marylanders 
in particular ought to be at the front and not be seen 
loafing in the rear, and I had been therefore volunteering 
to fill positions with other Generals during Trimble's 
long captivity since Gettysburg. I messed with my 
brother and slept in his tent, which was a very little way 
in rear of the fortified line and on the north side of the 
(Osborne?) road; General Custis Lee's headquarters 
were some distance back on the same road. 

George Washington Custis Lee, the eldest son of Gen- 


eral Robert E. Lee, had been retained during the war by 
President Davis on his staff but had been lately pro- 
moted to be major-general and given this new and 
curiously made up division. It was organized as two 
Brigades, the one under Brigadier- General Seth M. Bar- 
ton and the other under Colonel Stapleton Crutchfield. 
I did not hold my position long enough to know much 
about the command of General Barton, an officer of the 
old United States Army and who had been transferred to 
this from another brigade in the Army of Northern Vir- 
ginia.' My impression is that he had here some veteran 
regiments and some of the Richmond Reserves or De- 
fences, which I suppose had duties in Richmond when 
not called out to the trenches. Colonel Crutchfield I 
had known as Stonewall Jackson's chief of artillery and 
he was recovering from a wound received when that hero 
so unhappily fell.* His command here was a lately 
organized brigade composed of six — I think there were 
six — battalions of heavy artillery but armed with mus- 
kets. The brigade organization was different from the 
usual one. There were the loth and 19th Virginia 
Battalions, each under a major and with Lieutenant- 
Colonel John W. Atkinson* over both, and the l8th and 
20th Vii^inia, under Majors M. B. Hardin and James 
Robertson, respectively, with my brother, Lieutenant- 
Colonel James Howard over both. These four were 
heavy artillery by enlistment and had been manning the 

* He had been transferred tor some reason from the brigade now commanded 
by General George H. Steuirt. 

* The sense of Jackson's loss in the anny, and outside, is illustiated by an 
address, made by a Catholic priest, I believe, at New Orleans some years ago. 
He said that in 1863 Providence, having determined that the Confederacy 
should not succeed,/ouRj if nectssary Ic rtmove its servant SlontwaU Jaciton from 
the field. 

' Hl- was half a Marylander, being a son of Bishop Atkinson of North Carolina 
who had been long rector of Grace Church in Baltimore. He died in Wilming- 
ton, North Carolina a few years ago. 


earth defence works, with heavy guns, around Richmond 
until recently brought to the front on its east side; they 
were now, if not before, armed with muskets. The 5th 
Battalion was the i8th Georgia, enlisted as heavy ar- 
tillery but also with muskets. I remember it very well 
because I inspected it one day and being struck by its 
soldierly appearance, I enquired about its history and 
was told by its commander, Major Basinger, with some 
pride, of its past services. I think it had only three or 
four companies. I do not remember much about the 
6th Battalion as a battalion organization but it was com- 
posed of several companies serving at Chaffin's Bluff. 
Some of these were light artillery and one was even a 
cavalry company by enlistment, but all, while serving as 
heavy artillery I believe, had muskets. Colonel Crutch- 
field's command thus anomalously composed and organ- 
ized , was commonly known as the Heavy Artillery Brigade. 

General Custis Lee had also under him several organ- 
izations of Richmond local defence troops, but I do not 
recall anything about them particularly and suppose 
they were of uncertain strength, being composed of 
government employees in the departments at Richmond, 
the Tredegar Iron Works, etc., or other half exempts; 
perhaps they were the same as those I spoke of as part of 
Barton's Brigade. 

The part of the line of works of the Army of Northern 
Virginia which was held by Custis Lee's Division ex- 
tended from Chaffin's Bluff, or from a point on James 
River a short distance below it, northerly about a mile 
to the front of Fort Harrison, or Fort Burnham as the 
Federals had renamed it after its capture from us some 
time before. And the taking and holding of it had caused 
a new location of our line, of which it had formerly been 
a part. But our new works were not more than a few 
hundred yards distant at the nearest point and the Fort 


was in plain view across the open country. The Fed-' 
erals had greatly strengthened it and it looked like a 
complete separate fortification, difficult to be recaptured 
and from which a destructive fire would be opened when 
fighting began. But we had at inter\fals behind our 
works little mortars, singly and in groups of two or three, 
trained on tlie fort, and we trusted to make it a hot place 
to hold or do any fighting from. These works of ours 
were something new to me who had seen only field 
breastworks, hastily constructed. And I was curious — 
but not desirous^to see what mortar shell fighting would 
be like. After being so long used to the horizontal bat- 
tlefield firing, it gave me something of a feeling of un- 
fairness to think of bombshells dropping vertically on 
our heads. But we had what were supposed to be bomb- 
proof shelters, partly excavated and with roofs of earth 
and timber, in which the men could go when the firing 
was only from that artillery. Outside the works and 
only a few yards in front was a row of upright rods— iron I 
think — two or three feet apart with patches of red flannel 
or cloth on them; these indicated a line of torpedoes 
planted just under the surface, but not exactly at the 
flags — meant to blow up a chaining line of infantry. 
And I did hear that their efficacy was proved by the de- 
struction of one or two grazing horses or cows (but I 
doubt cows being in that neighborhood). TTiese tor- 
pedoes had been planted under the direction of General 
Gabriel Rains, who, in Richmond, was at the head of the 
Confederate torpedo bureau, and of whose constructive 
and destructive abilities in that line of business we had 
a good opinion.* 

* Id thcM days of flying through th« air I have often thought of the proposi- 
tion of a man in Richmond in the winter of 1864-65, to construct what he called 
>r avisartis (bird of art) with iriiidi he would hover over the enemy 


Nearer the river from Fort Harrison-Bumham the 
enemy's works were not in view, but the picket lines 
were sometimes quite close. And I remember one day 
visiting our pickets there and leisurely scanning those of 
the enemy to see if I could recognize any of my old ac- 
quaintances from Wye, the home of my brother-in-law, 
Colonel Edward Lloyd, in Talbot County, Maryland; for 
at this point we had negro troops opposite to us. Some 
were probably there but the distance was a little too far 
for recognition. The ground where their sentinels 
walked their posts was covered with stumps of cut down 
trees and I was amused to see the officer of the guard 
come along and with the flat of his sword beat unmerci- 
fully several who, true to their nature, had sat down on 
the stumps and gone to sleep. At another point our 
sentinel or picket and one of the enemy's tramped along 
the top of an old breastwork (our old line abandoned 
when Fort Harrison was taken), to and from each other, 
with a log thrown across to mark their respective terri- 
tories. As I approached our picket he turned his back 
on his enemy and came to meet me. I said "Are you not 
afraid that man will shoot you when you turn your back 
to him? " "Oh no, sir, " he replied, " there's no danger. " 
"Well," said I, "suppose you should cross that log?" 
"Why then he would shoot me." "And suppose he 
crossed it?" "I would shoot him." I did not wear an 
elaborate Confederate uniform at that time, such things 
not being allowed to be sent from Baltimore to Fort 
Delaware from which I had lately come, but my dress 
sufficiently showed that I was an officer. But the Fed- 
eral soldier paid no particular attention to me, although 

and drop down explosives. The newspapers made fun of it, bat the man was 
only fifty years ahead of the time. It has been done in Tunis and Turkey 


in his walking to and fro he came quite close.' This 
tnice of the pickets was a remarkable feature in the last 
half of the war and when and where it prevailed could 
be relied on as implicitly as a safe conduct from Grant 
and Lee. Sometimes it existed along certain parts of the 
line while constant popping at any exposure was going 
on elsewhere. I have heard that when orders came down 
to open fire, the etiquette was to give notice before be- 
ginning. But the truce between pickets prevailed all 
along our line while I was at Chaffin's. 

Kershaw's Division joined us on our left and next to 
that was Field's, beyond which cavalry guarded the 

In my curiosity about the novelty to me of mortar 
firing, I one day stood and watched General E. P. Alex- 
ander, Longstreet's chief of artillery, as he, for some pur- 
pose in the way of practice, fired several large bombshells 
from the high river bluff near Chaffin's directly across 
the river. I could plainly see the shells on leaving the 
mortar mount to a high elevation and descend in the 
woods a mile or more distant. It was an interesting 
sight, but I thought he was very reckless about where 
he was dropping his shells — which were as lai^e as an 
iron pot. I supposed, however, he knew his business. 

I often rode up to Richmond with my brother, particu- 
larly on Sunday to attend service at St. Paul's Church, 
under the popular Dr. Minnegerode, who was, I believe, 
a cousin of Count Bismarck, and who never lost a slight 
German accent. We generally took dinner at the house 

* Major Robert Stiles, who commanded the Chaffin's Bluff Battalion a.t this 
time, in his Fom Years under Morse Robert, says that he placed a billet of wood 
across the work to prevent encroachment and ordered our picket to shoot the 
enemy's it he crossed it. I have been surprised as I have written these "Recol- 
lectiuDs" to find so many and such curiously exact confirmations of my state- 



on 7th (?) Street, north of Main, of the family of ex- 
Senator James Murray Mason,* then Confederate Min- 
inister or Commissioner to England. The family was 
''refugeeing'' in Richmond, their home in Winchester 
having been totally demolished by the Federals so that 
there was not left one stone on another and the shrubbery 
so destroyed that the site was a waste place. Mr. 
Mason instructed his family to keep an open house for 
Confederates in Richmond, and they did. On one of 
these times I met there General Trimble, just returned 
from his long captivity in the north, but either he was 
not yet declared exchanged or, at any rate, was not as- 
signed to a command and I kept my position at the front. 

My pay of $135 a month had accumulated during my 
imprisonment, and I remember drawing it from Major 
John Ambler,^® a' paymaster in Richmond, and spending 
several hundred dollars on Governor Street for a pair of 
high cavalry boots. Such was the value, or want of 
value, of Confederate money at this time, when it was 
said a man would go to market with a market basket to 
hold his money and would bring home his purchases in 
his hand. 

There was a mild day in the last of March when over- 
head an immense number of wild geese were winging 
their way to the North, showing that Spring and the 
opening of the campaign were at hand. And I was much 
scandalized, being an inspector and concerned about 

*Mrs. Mason was a granddaughter of Chief Justice Benjamin Chew, of 
Germantown, Pennsylvania, and so a first cousin of my father. 

^°Mrs. Ambler was a daughter of James M. Mason; she had lately died. 
Major John Ambler was a good man, deservedly liked by all and especially 
popular with Marylanders. After the war he was first a lay reader and then took 
orders in the Protestant Episcopal Church and for some time went about like a 
missionary in West Virginia. He died many years ago. Judge James M. 
Ambler of Baltimore is one of his children. 


breaches of discipline, by much popping of guns at them. 
But the temptation was very great. When I was a boy 
in Baltimore at the opening of every Spring flocks of 
wild geese and swans were to be seen passing over the 
city in their wedge shaped formations and looking by 
turns lead colored and then snowy white as the light waa 
reflected from them." 

" Tbe War of Iht Rebeliion—Official Records of the Union and Canftdttt 
/Irnnej, Series I, Volume XLVI, Part II, Serial No. gG, page loas. gives a Special 
Ocder from General Robert E. Lee, dated pth January, 1865, organizing the 
40th, 47th and 55th Regiments and the 23nd and 35th Battalions, Vlr^^nia Id- 
fantry, mto a brigade under Brigadier- General Sech M. Barton; and the isl, 
3d, 3d and 4lh Baitalbns of Virginia Reserves, and the lotb, iQih, 18th and 
loth Virginia Battalions of Heavy Artillery, and the Bnttalion of five compBniea 
serving at Chaffin's Bluff, into another brigade, to which also was temporarily 
attached the i8tb Battalion of Geoi^a Heavj' Artillery. And these two bri- 
gades and the brigade of Local Defense Troops, consisting of tbe 2d and jd Regi- 
ments aad the ist, 4th and 5th Battalions Local Delcnse Troops, were consti- 
tuted a divUion, to the command of which Major-General G. W. Cuslb Lee n-iis 

This appears o large command on paper but it was nothing like as large in 
reality, the "Reserves" and "Local Delcnse Troop" being, I think, somewhat 
ikeleton organizations — at least as seri'ing in the field. I suppose most of the 
men — and officers— were occupied with their duties in Richmond, AU these 
troops were under — indeed they constituted almost the entire force of — Lieu- 
tenant-General Richard S. Ewell as commander of the Department of Richmondt 
to the local defence of which these regiments and battalions particularly be- 
longed although now holding a put of the general line of the Army of Northern 
Virginia. But I do not reconcile exactly this Special Order with General Enell's 
tri-monthly returns afterwards, which will be toimd on pages ra74 and 1175 of 
the same Serial, and page 1331 of Part HI, Serial No. 97. But it is not easy to 
understand about the Virginia Reserves, the Local Defence Troops, etc. For 
some account of them see also the CorifeUratt MUilary History, Volume III, 
Virginia, page 558 et seq. And for Major Ba^nget'a i8th Geor^ Battalion see 
the same History, Volume VI, Georgia, page 144. The gth Georgia Battalion 
of Ewell's tri-monthly returns is not, I think, an error for the i8th, and it and the 
"Artillery Defenses" were probably manning the earthworks on other sides of 

On the day of the writing of these last two pages, iq February 1913, 1 read 
in the newspapers of the death of General George Washington Custis Lee at his 
home, "Ravenswortb," near Alexandria, Virginia, on 18th Fd>ruary. 

AIajor-General Geobge Washiijgton CusriG Lee, C.S.A. 


Retreat from Richmond and Battle of Sailor's 


Between lo and ii o'clock at night, Saturday, April 
I (1865), just as I was falling asleep in the tent on the 
lines a little north of Chaffin's Bluff on the north side of 
James River, a faint red glare illuminated the canvas, 
followed by a low muttering like distant thunder. The 
night was dark and cloudy, the atmosphere damp and 
heavy, and at another time I might have found it hard 
to determine whether the sound was the distant roll of 
musketry or the rumbling of an approaching storm, but 
under the circumstances there was short doubt about 
it. Flash after flash shone through the canvas and the 
muttering became presently almost continuous although 
very little louder. There was something particularly 
awful in the half suppressed but deadly signs of a far 
off struggle contrasted with the perfect tranquillity 
immediately around us. Dressing ourselves and mount- 
ing the works we watched and listened for half an hour, 
but the battle was across the James and away over to 
our right, all continued quiet along our part of the line 
and the "Richmond Defences" soon came to the conclu- 
sion that so far it was no affair of theirs and, like true 
soldiers, went to sleep as fast as they could, to make the 
most of their present exemption. 

Sunday morning was cloudless and lovely, and every- 
thing continuing quiet in our front and not the slightest 
intimation of any change in the condition of affairs being 
received at division heaquarters, I saw no reason why 


I should not ride back to Richmond for the purpose of 
attending church. On reaching the city I was not a 
little astonished to find it in great commotion. Field's 
Division, which had formed the left of the line of three! 
dividons on the north side of James River, had beead 
withdrawn and marched through the city early in the I 
morning, being called away in haste to reinforce thei 
south side where heavy fighting, it was said, had beeni 
and was still going on. Matters were reported to be ial 
a critical condition there; but there were also cheering'.J 
nimors that General Joe Johnston had eluded Sherman J 
and was within a few hours niarch of Grant's left Bank,.] 
and many were buoyant with the expectation that thei 
day would witness a repetition of the scenes of 1862, 
when Stonewall Jackson came down on McClellan'a 

At St. Paul's Church, at the 11 o'clock service, I sat.'j 
in a pew on the left hand side near the back, and saw ^ 
President Davis and, one after another, the principal 
Government officers and leading men mysteriously sum- 
moned away in the middle of the service. Many persons 
somewhat tumultuously, got up and left the church and 
for a while there was a good deal of confusion among those 
who remained, but order was presently restored, and, 
being Communion Sunday, the services were conducted 
to the conclusion without further interruption and with 
unusual solemnity.' 

When I left the church, before 2 o'clock, I found the 
Spotswood Hotel, corner of Main and 7th Streets, and 
General Ewell's Headquarters (commanding the Depart- 

' It so happened that the disorder was at its greatest just before the time for 
taking up the usual collection and I afterwards read an account of a Northern 
newspaper correspoodcni which related how the rector, recognizing the impend- 
ing end of all things, with happy presence of mind, seized the occason for reaping 
a last harvest from his scattering congregation! 


ment of Richmond) at the northwest comer of Franklin 
and 7th Streets, were points of greatest interest, and here 
large crowds blocked the pavements, discussing the 
rumors, which hourly became more exciting and took 
more definite shape. It seemed certain that there had 
been heavy fighting the day before on our extreme right, 
in which the Confederates had been unable to withstand 
the pressure of overwhelming numbers. I saw Captain 
W. Stuart Symington* (of Maryland), of Major-General 
George E. Pickett's staff, who, reaching Richmond by 
railroad after passing all the way around by Burkesville 
Junction, reported that that general's command was cut 
off and in a critical situation and it was ascertained that 
the firing which we had listened to the night before was 
an attack made on the center of our line, half way between 
Chaffin's and Petersburg, where, owing to Pickett's 
Division having been drawn off to re-inforce the extreme 
right, the works were left defended by less than a skirmish 

This attack had resulted in the capture of the works, a 
gap was thus made in our center through which the 
Federals poured their troops and massed them prepara- 
tory to sweeping down the line. It had been reported 
early in the day that General Ewell had received orders 
from General Lee to evacuate Richmond and the story 
had been twenty times repeated and denied. By 4 
o'clock, however, the belief was common that the capital 
of the Confederacy must be abandoned, causing a general 
activity, though more settled gloom. The scenes of 
that afternoon will never be forgotten. Bundles, trunks 
and boxes were brought out of houses for transportation 
from the city or to be conveyed to places within it which 
were fancied to be more secure. Vehicles of every 

' He died 9th June, 191 2, 


sort and description and a continuous stream of pedes- 
trians with knapsacks or bundles filled the streets which 
led out from the western side of Richmond, while the 
forms of a few wounded officers, brought home from the 
battlefields, were borne along the pavements on litters, 
their calm, pallid faces in strange contrast with the 
busy ones around. Ladies stood in their doorways or 
wandered restlessly about the streets, interrogating 
every passer by for the latest news. All formality was 
laid aside in this supreme calamity; all felt the more 
closely drawn together because so soon to be separated. 
I did not, however, witness the last and saddest hours 
of the evacuation, for learning that movements would 
soon take place in my own command, I mounted at 
sundown and galloped back to Chaffin's Farm. 

Here I found none of the confusion which I had lef I in 
Richmond, but there was only instead the unnatural 
stillness of stealthy preparation. Orders had been 
received at division headquarters to move out as soon as 
the moon went down, which would be at 2 a.m. The 
hostile lines were very close, Fort Harrison (Fort Bum- 
ham, as the Federals had re-christened it after their 
capture of it,) not being more than a few hundred yards 
from "Elliott's Hill" in our line, and in plain view, while 
the pickets were, of course, much nearer. The country 
for about half a mile in rear of this part of our works 
WEis open, so that the enemy could in daylight observe 
our slightest movement, or even any unusual activity of 
staff officers or couriers. We had, therefore, to exercise 
the very greatest circumspection. So, while at the 
different headquarters active but quiet preparations 
were in pn^ress, every effort was made to preserve aloi^ 
the line its wonted aspect of apathy and Sunday rest. 
But as soon as we had the friendly cover of night, the 


work of packing and breaking up camp was begun in 
earnest. Unfortunately, owing to the fact that the 
greater part of Custis Lee's Division had been persis- 
tently regarded as fixed to the Richmond defences, it 
had never been equipped like the rest of the army and 
now at this crisis found itself utterly deficient in means 
of transportation. The few wretched teams were driven 
down as close to the line as was prudent and the men 
carried the cooking utensils, baggage and ordnance on 
their backs to meet them. Although all the wagons 
were loaded almost beyond the ability of the miserable 
animals to start them, still piles of baggage remained 
lying by the wayside.' There was no help for it, and little 
time for selection even, and many an officer and man 
found himself about to start on an indefinite campaign 
without a single article except what he wore upon his 
back, and with a very dim prospect indeed of being able 
to get a new supply. I took some comfort in the reflec- 
tion that I was tolerably well shod at least, having in- 
vested eight hundred dollars — ^about six months' pay — in 
the purchase of a pair of high boots a few days before in 
Richmond. But all minor griefs were absorbed in the 
one great disaster to the cause and, according to their 
different temperaments, officers and men resigned them- 
selves to their private destitution with cheerful resigna- 
tion or the apathy of despair. 

' In 1875 I received a letter from a gentleman in Boston stating that the 
writer had picked up in Richmond in 1865 a couple of books, Virgil and the 
Tragedies of Aeschylus, with my name and rank, "Aide de Camp to Maj.-Genl. 
Trimble, Richmond, January 1864," which he would like to restore to me. In 
reply, I asked him to write on the fly leaf of each how he had obtained and was 
now returning them. He did so in the following words: 

"When in Richmond in the spring of 1865 as surgeon in the Army, I bought 
this volume at a trifling price of a negro, and am much pleased now with the op- 
portunity of restoring it to the owner. 

Samuel A. Greene, M.D., 
Boston, Oct. 27, 1875." 


If night has the effect of covering a military move- 
ment to the eye, its stillness nevertheless brings the dis- 
advantage of discovering it to the ear, and although the 
greatest possible silence was enjoined, it was strange 
that, from the creaking of wagons and noise of removing 
guns — of which there were about twenty along our front 
(not to speak of some twenty four mortars and twenty 
heavy pieces at Chaffin's, etc., all which were abandoned) 
— the enemy did not get an intimation of what we were 
about. Besides, either from the proverbial carelessness 
of soldiers or from accident, every now and then a hut or 
pile of brush at the Bluff or in the woods in our rear, 
would blaze up, throwing a lurid glare far and wide, and 
although I gallopped from spot to spot and endeavored 
to impress on the men the imminent danger of drawing 
the enemy's fire, it was impossible to keep these blazes 

Shortly after midnight all was ready for the final and 
delicate operation of withdrawing the troops. Field's 
Division, as before narrated, had been already taken 
away and there were now but two divisions on the north 
side of the James — except the cavalry, of the movements, 
of which I am wholly ignorant. Custis Lee's command 
included and stretched one mile from Chaffin's Bluff, and 
was then joined by Kershaw's Division which extended 
away to the left. Kershaw had already moved out and, 
marching diagonally from the line and across our rear, 
had passed the river at Wilton Bridge, a pontoon bridge 
some two miles above Chaffin's. Custis Lee's command 
now took up the movement, commencing on the left. 
Generally the companies were marched by the right or 
left of companies to the rear, and there converging to 
form their respective battalions, these in turn concen- 
trated still further to the rear into brigades, which finally 


formed the division line of march. The pickets were 
left out with orders to withdraw just before day and 
rapidly overtake the main body. To the relief of all, no 
notice seemed to be taken of our movement by the enemy; 
it would have produced a fearful scene of confusion had 
his batteries been opened on us at such a time. The 
different columns united with tolerable regularity and 
the division followed the route in rear of Kershaw's across 
Wilton Bridge. The wagon train meanwhile had gone 
through Richmond to cross the James at one of the 
upper fords and meet the troops somewhere towards 
Farmville — ^we never saw it again. 

By daylight we had made several miles on the Amelia 
Court House road. In the early gray of morning, while 
the command was resting for a few minutes, a sudden 
bright light drew the attention of everyone to the 
direction of Drewry's Bluff, our main defence with the 
Confederate flotilla there, of James River, about a mile 
above Chaffin's and on the south bank. A magnificent 
pyramid of fire, shooting hundreds of feet into the dusky 
air, and a dull explosion, told the tale of the destruction, 
by its own men, of the last of the Confederate Navy — 
except the Shenandoah, still cruising on the Ocean.* 

Custis Lee's Division was now for the first time dis- 
played as a command, in two brigades. Barton's, number- 
ing about 1300 men, and Crutchfield's, or the Heavy 
Artillery brigade, about 1400; I do not remember any 
other troops with it. The heavy artillery men having 
been stationary around Richmond had been able to 
keep their uniforms in better plight, and their scarlet 

* It kept on cruising in the remote northern Pacific Ocean, capturing and de- 
stroying vessels until 2d August, 1865, when its commander, Captain James I. 
Waddell, learning of the fall of the Confederacy, took his vessel back to England 
and handed it over to the British authorities. 


caps and trimmings (artillery color,) made them present 
a distinctive appearance in the army, of which they were 
now a regular part. 

After proceeding a short distance General Custis Lee 
sent me back to look for our pickets, which, it will be 
remembered were not to withdraw from the front of our 
lines until just before dawn. My recollection is that 
before getting to the river I met them coming back. I 
must have lingered for some reason, for I presently rode 
alone to overtake the command. I had gone a short dis- 
tance when I heard a shot ahead of me and soon, to my 
surprise, came to the dead body of a soldier in the road 
who had evidently just been killed by the shot I heard. 
While wondering, I heard a clamor at a house a short 
way off the east (or soutli?) side of the road ahead, and 
rode over to investigate. The people were in great 
perturbation — all women or children I think — and told 
me that a Confederate officer had come there and 
threatened to shoot them and acted strangely and vio- 
lently. Riding on to overtake and arrest him, I soon 
found a soldier trudging along the road who said the 
man had just passed and had been near shooting him. 
Believing that the ofiicer had either become insane or was 
crazy drunk and was running "amuck," I borrowed 
this soldier's gun and hurried on, intending to shoot him 
down if necessary to protect myself in arresting him — if 
he did not first shoot me. Not overtaking him presently, 
I returned the musket to the soldier and went on until I 
suddenly came on the division, which was halted, having 
crossed the Richmond and Petersburg Railroad about 6 
o'clock in the morning and proceeded some distance 
beyond. I began to tell General Custis Lee about the 
apparentiy crazy man and his actions when he stopped 
me and said he was already in arrest. He directed me 


to return and take the depositions of the people of the 
house, which I did.* 

The division remained halted at this point about two 
hours. We had gone through woods and often passing 
over bottoms ankle deep in mud and water, to the great 
discomfort of the men, but here it was more open. A 
dense black volume of smoke was observed to rise and 
hang like a huge pall over the country in the direction 
of Richmond, some twelve miles distant, and several 
officers who now joined us, among them Lieutenant 
Robert Goldsborough," aide de camp to General Custis 
Lee, gave us an account of the sad circumstances attend- 
ing the final abandonment of the city. 

Marching slowly on, and with frequent vexatious 
halts caused by the road being blocked in front by bat- 
teries and other obstacles in the woods and marshy 

places, we reached the House, said to have been 

before the war a favorite resort of fast teams and men 
from Richmond, which was fifteen miles distant by an 
excellent straight road. Here the Major-General and 
staff managed to get a bread and meat dinner, or supper, 
which, being almost the first mouthful one of them at 
least had eaten — except hard raw corn — since dinner the 
day before, was extremely acceptable. Our horses 
were equally glad to get some fodder and straw. By 
this time the sun had set and we galloped to overtake 
the division. We lost ourselves and got entangled among 
strange troops for several hours (and no situation is more 

* These depositions I took down, in pencil, in a small black blank book which 
I still have somewhere but cannot now lay my hands on (not the one from which 
I have quoted in the early part of this narrative). I never heard any explanation 
of this strange episode. I omitted it from my published account of this retreat 
at the request of Dr. J. Hand Browne seconded by the advice of Major Thomas 
W. Hall. 

* Of Talbot County, Maryland. He was killed at Sailor's Creek, 6th April. 


bewildering at night), but at last, striking across the 
country by a pocket map, we came upon the right road 
and found our command in bivouac near Tomahawk 
Church,' It was now past 12 o'clock and after wander- 
ing about, perfectly bewildered among the many camp 
fires, a half smothered bark of recognition from under a 
little mound of blanket fortunately guided my brother 
and myself (for I stayed with him at night,) to our proper 
place, and at 2 a.m. I wrapped myself in my saddle 
blanket for a couple of hours sleep.' 

Just before dawn, 4th April, a drizzling rain began 
to fall and the morning broke dismally enough. Soon 
after daylight the division was formed along the road — 
there being no breakfast, little preparation was required — 
and, disentangling ourselves from the artillery and other 
troops which moved out at the same time, we succeeded 
in gaining a clear road. The men were cheered with the 
information that there was a possibility of finding provi- 
sions at Matoaca Station* but on striking the Richmond 

' In the Alhs h acfompany the OJJkhil Records of l/w l-'iim, and Conftdnnk 
Armiei, Part XVI, Plate LXXVIII, No. i, will be found a map of "Routes from 
Petersburg, Chntcr Station and Manchester to Amelia Court House, " made by 
order of Colonel T. M. R. Talcott, commanding the engineer troops of the Army 
o( Northern Virginia. It was probably prepared tor the impending retreat. On 
page 118 of volume i of the Transactions 0} the Southern Historical SocUly 1S74, 
is General Custis Lee's report of thb retreat, dated 35th Apr^l, 1S65, in whidi he 
uys he crossed at Wilton Bridge and moved to Branch Church and thence by 
Gregory's to the Genito road and camped half a mile beyond Tomahawk Church. 
Branch's Church may be where the Richmond refugees joined us and Gregory's 
where we had supper, but their distances from Richmond ue less than I have 

* "Bounce," my brother's pointer dog, slept under the blanket of one of us 
like a gentlenmn. We lost him at Sailor's Creek, and although advertisement 
was made in the newspapers afterwards, we never heard of hi'" again, and the 
supposition is not so improbable that in those starvation times the dog fell a vic- 
tim to the necessities of the courier who had him in special charge or of others. 

'Colonel Talcott's map puts "Mattoax" Station at the railroad crossing of 
the Appomattox River, as do some other maps. If so, we struck the lulroad at 


and Danville Railroad at that point, they met with a 
disappointment. However, an hour's halt was made, in 
the middle of the day, as well for rest as to give those few 
who were so provident as to have saved a little meat or 
flour an opportunity to cook. 

So far we had been pursuing the road which crossed 
the Appomattox over Genito Bridge," but owing to the 
failure of "some one" to have the pontoons laid at that 
point, or have a proper crossing, we were compelled to 
strike more to the south and, with other troops, pass 
over on the railroad bridge. By 4 o'clock we were within 
one mile of this point, but as some flooring had to be 
laid or put in order and after that a large train of 
artillery was to pass over before us, we halted and cooked 
a scanty supply of flour which one or two of our wagons 
had luckily brought us. At dark we commenced to file 
by twos across the bridge, the men being cautioned to 
march in the very middle of the flooring, between the 
rails, as otherwise it might turn over. It was a long time 
before the rear guard had passed over, and taking a 
circuitous route through woods and fields to find a 
suitable camping ground, we finally came to a halt a 
little after midnight." The men were exhausted from 
hunger and the wearisome march and, throwing them- 
selves down under the nearest trees, were soon asleep. 

some other station, for it was several miles east of the river. And it was not 
Chula, as suggested with a query in my published accoimt, for that appears to 
have been west of the Appomattox. 

^° In my published accoimt I said we had been pursuing the road to Goode's 
Bridge, which is several miles south of the railroad bridge. But General Custis 
Lee in his report before referred to, says we were aiming to cross the Genito 
Bridge, and I see now from the maps that our route was towards it — two or three 
miles above the railroad. I have here, therefore, changed Goode's to Genito 

Bridge. ^mm 

" General Custis Lee says that after crossing the rail7X>ad bridge at Mattoax 
Station, we went into camp on the hills beyond the river, and next morning 
burned the bridge behind us. 


A little before dawn, April 5, we were roused again 
and speedily took the road, moving parallel with and 
near the railroad. I was so fortunate as to get a slice of 
raw ham during the momtng and presently not only got 
another but found time to broil it. After this I had noth- 
ing but hard corn, and a very insufficient supply of that. 1 
And I suppose everybody else fared about as ill — cer- | 
tainly all within my observation did. 

When about two miles from Amelia Court House we 
were astonished to receive a report that the enemy's 
cavalry were on our right flank and destroying the wagon 
train, which had been moving on a parallel road a 
short distance in that direction. We had been under 
the impression that after having placed the Appomatto.t , 

in our rear we were secure from close pursuit, but our | 

eyes were now opened to a real understanding of the 
situation. The troops of Ewell's Corps — Custis Lee's 
Division and Kershaw's Division — were massed and 
Kershaw's was sent to the reported scene of action; ■ 

but it appearing that there was no enemy near enough "^^3 
to interfere with our march, the column was moved on. 
A short distance from Amelia Court House, however, 
we halted again for a considerable time while the whole 
order of march was re-arranged and the column disposed 
as if moving through a hostile country. Here we learned 
that a large portion of our wagon train had really been 
captured, and that the enemy in heavy force menaced our 
flank and front. Much of the artillery, ambulances, 
etc., in our line turned back to take a different road. 

At Amelia Court House our division received an 
efficient accession, but one which also added yet more to 
its heterogeneous character. This consisted, in the first 
place, of the so-called "Naval Brigade" or Battalion, 
formed of the ofhcers and men manning the batteries at 


Drewry's Bluff now organized into something like a 
regiment, the tars being armed with Minie muskets. 
They numbered about 400" and were commanded by 
Commodore J. Randolph Tucker. There were also four 
or five companies of "Richmond Locals," which were 
incorporated with or were already a part of Barton's 
Brigade (see p^e 354), and two or three companies of 
light artillery, armed with muskets, which were added 
to the Heavy Artillery brigade. Infantry, cavalry, light 
and heavy artillery and sailors, we had thus in our smalt 
division all the elements of a complete army and navy^ 
and with the Richmond Locals and Defences some mate- 
rial for civil government besides. 

During the entire day the army retreat had been con- 
ducted with an absence of order which caused endless 
delays and irregularities. Immediately after leaving 
Amelia Court House one of these halts occurred which 
made an unnecessary detention of an hour or two and is 
an example of what was frequently taking place, day and 
night. Riding ahead, with great difficulty, to ascertain 
the cause, I found a long train of artillery and wagons, 
almost inextricably entangled, closed up in some places, 
three abreast in the road so that a horseman even could 
not pass by. There seemed to be no one present exer- 
cising any authority, and the teamsters appeared to be 
waiting stolidly for Jove to help them out. Had there 
been an officer of sufficient authority present, or had the 
quartermasters to whom this train belonged had their 
hearts in the discharge of their duties at such a crisis, 

"In my published account I said "about ijoo (?)," bnt Mr, Bartlett S. 
Johnson, fonneriy of North Carolina but since the war s well known resident ol 
Baltimore, who was a midshipman in the command, lays kboat 400. They cer- 
tainly could not have been anything like 1500. Periiaps 1500 in my account was 
a mbprint or slip of the pen for 500. There can be no qoestion of its being • 


these and many other instances of disorder and loi 
precious time might have been avoided. Never, I 
thought, was the necessity of a well organized corps of 
inspectors, with high rank and well defined autliorityj 
so apparent as in this retreat.'* fl 

Shortly after we had managed to get by this obslruc-S 
tion and obtained a tolerably clear road, the enemy 
were reported on our left flank and skirmishers were 
thrown out, but no demonstration was made against 
our line of march. The men were now becoming ex- 
hausted and falling out in numbers, but not a ration 
could be anywhere procured, nor could a halt be made to 
give them rest and sleep. Night came and found us 
toiling on at a snail's pace. Nothing is so fatiguing and 
demoralizing to soldiers on a march as an irregular step 
and uncertain halts — even without the extraordinary 
conditions of hardship under which we were suffering. 

At about 9 o'clock p.m. just as the head of the divi- 
sion was bending to the left and crossing the Richmond 
and Danville Railroad tlirough a deep cut and with a 
wood in frontj the column was suddenly fired into, A 
scene of the most painful confusion ensued. Most of 
the men along there became panic struck, gave way to 
the right and sought cover behind the fence or trees, 
while not a few skulked to the rear. They began to 
discharge their pieces at random, in many instances 
shooting their own comrades no doubt, and bullets were 
flying in every direction. I happened to be a little way 
down from the head of the column and about at the scene 
of the greatest confusion. This lasted for some time and 
all efforts to restore order were unavailing, only exposing 
those who made such attempts to imminent danger of 


being shot down. Finally the men were induced to 
cease their wild firing and partially reform the column 
in the road. It was believed that a small scouting party 
of the enemy fired into the head of the column and then 
hastily retired, but we were by no means certain that the 
panic did not wholly originate among ourselves and that 
the head of the column with its changed direction was 
not mistaken by those behind for an enemy." Just as 
the line was reformed and I was riding along it my horse 
started violently at seeing Major Frank Smith's dead 
horse in the road and backed or sidled among the men 
and causing them to give place, and this brought a 
renewal of the panic along that part of the column. 
Warned by what had occurred before, the officers cried 
out earnestly, ''Don't shoot, don't shoot, men," but some 
fifty or a hundred guns were fired, particularly from the 
side fence to which the men had melted back. My own 
predicament was a serious one, for I could not dismount 
from my plunging horse and with a sickening feeling I 
saw in the moonlight a number of bright barrels pointed 
directly at me and many bullets passed close by. I was 
the only mounted officer along there. Finally, however, 
the men ceased shooting and order was restored. Some 
valuable lives were sacrificed in this inexcusable affair," 
among them Major Frank Smith, of Norfolk — ^who com- 
manded the artillery companies (armed with muskets) 
which had lately joined us — Harry C. Pennington, of 
Baltimore, and three or four others killed (or mortally 
wounded), and half a dozen wounded. The latter had 
to be carried in ambulances until a house was reached, 

" Many years ago I read — I think in a Baltimore County newspaper — an 
account of one of a scouting party of the enemy which left no doubt in my mind 
that it was this party which fired on us. I have the slip somewhere. 

" But the condition of the men must be remembered — affecting both body 
and mind. 


where their wounds were dressed and the poor fellows 
were then left to the care of the enemy. I saw Penning- 
ton, who Vived near me in Baltimore and whom 1 had 
known all my life, in the ambulance, with another who 
was groaning a good deal. Pennington knew his wound 
was probably mortal but was quite composed and said 
to the groaning man, "My friend, I am worse wounded 
than you."" The whole division was disheartened by 
this unhappy occurrence and for some time the men 
marched on discussing it in subdued but eager tones, 
presently relapsing into a gloomy silence. 

We plodded on through the night, the men becoming 
more and more faint from fatigue, wan t of sleep and hun- 
ger, particularly the latter. Every expedient was resorted 
to in order to obtain something to eat, however scanty, 
with a total disregard of the ordinary rules of discipline 
and respect for private property. The regimental and 
battalion commanders were instructed to send out small 
detachments to scour the thinly settled country on either 
flank to bring in whatever they could lay their hands on, 
if only a pig, a chicken or a quart of meal. Very Uttle, 
however, was procured in this way, the detachments 
either returning empty handed or failing to rejoin the 
column at all. At about an hour before dawn the troops 
were halted in a dense thicket of old field pine. Most of 
the men immediately dropped down in their places and 
sank to sleep, while some few — a very few — parched com 
or cooked any little provision they were so lucky as to 
have. Hunger being most pressing in my own case, I 
first parched a handful of com — sharing with my horse — 
in a frying pan borrowed with some difficulty, and was 

" He died at Amelia Springs within one or two days. I think his body was 
afterwards brought to Baltimore and placed in the Penmngton vault or lot in 
GrecDmount Cemetery. 


then preparing for a nap, when the drum beat the assem- 
bly and we took the road once more. 

The morning, 6th April, was damp and the ground was 
in bad condition for marching. In disentangling the divi- 
sion from various other commands which blocked the 
road, the artillery battalion (with muskets), lately 
v^ommanded by Major Frank Smith became separated 
and did not join us again. We presently got ahead of 
the other troops, but the road was occupied by an im- 
mense train of wagons, ambulances, &c. and so we 
marched outside of it. 

By this time the command was fearfully reduced in 
numbers and men were falling out continually. They 
were allowed to shoot from their places in the ranks 
pigs, chickens or whatever of the sort came in their 
way, commanding officers and inspectors looking on, or 
looking aside, without rebuke. It was, perhaps, the 
only instance in my experience during the war, and I 
had seen some hard times, when the plea of military, or 
rather of human, necessity imperatively overruled all 
consideration due to private property and military 
discipline. The present situation was distressing and 
the prospect alarming, apart from any thought of a 
threatening enemy. I did not see how the men could 
be held together much longer without food, or where the 
scantiest supply could be obtained or where they could 
get enough if they scattered in such a country. Barton's 
Brigade now showed not more than five hundred men 
in line, the Heavy Artillery but few more, and the naval 
battalion was much reduced — perhaps to 300.*^ But 

" I said in my original narrative, written in October 1865, that Barton's 
Brigade now showed not more than 500 in line, the heavy artillery but few more 
and that the naval brigade was reduced to not over 600, But see a previous 
note about my gross overestimate of the naval battalion, which I saw only on 
the two days, April 5 and 6. However, the men of this battalion, being, like aU 


when all the circumstances are taken into consideration, 
never was exhibited more patient fortitude and fidelity 
than in this wreck of the Confederacy. 

During the morning, at lo or ii o'clock, I fell in with 
an old Baltimore friend, C. Gratiot Thompson, who was, 1 
think, in some artillery command," He asked me how I 
was getting along, and on my replying, badly enough, and 
giving some details, he said, after a little hesitation, 
"Well old fellow, I have fared better, having spent last 
night with my wagons. And I have some apple brandy 
in my canteen which I will divide with you." I had no 
canteen, for I never liked wearing anything around my 
shoulder. I tried to borrow one. but being unsuccessful, 
said to him, "Crash, I will ride along with you and lake 
my half as we go." And so It happened that I got half a 
mile or so in advance of the division and came lo where 
the enemy's cavalry suddenly appeared on the left 
flank and made an effort to strike the wagon train there 
filing by. On riding to the spot I found quite a warm 
skirmish going on. The remnant of Pickett's Division 
and a portion of Bushrod Johnson's" here formed in 
line and threw out skirmishers who kept the enemy back 
without much difficulty. Just at this point" the road 

sailors, more attached to or dependent on their officers, no doubt straggled off 
less than the others. Once during the morning I saw two at three trying to get 
water at a wet place by the road side and on my asking what command they be- 
longed to, one of the tars straightened up and said, "To the navy, by gosh, and 
a bully work it has done." He would not have known what esprit de corps 
meant, but he had it. 

" He died some years ago m Massachusetts. He was here second-lieutenant 
and ordnance officer ol McGowan's Brigade. 

" Bushrod Johnson's and Pickett's Divisions were two of the three divisions 
of Lieutenant-General R. H. Anderson's Corps. 

" Union accounts to call this locality "Hott's house" and say it is one mile 
to Sailor's Creek. The left-hand road goes to Rice's Station on the Soutfaaide 
Railroad, i.e., the Petersburg and Lynchburg Railroad. 


forked, one branch keeping a little to the left, the other at 
the same angle to the right. The wagon train was pur- 
suing the right hand branch, while the troops were taking 
the left and so covering the train from the enemy. Custis 
Lee's Division soon same up — it was now a little after 
midday — and took position just at the fork facing to 
the left, connecting on our now right with Wise's Brigade 
of Bushrod Johnson's command and with Kershaw's 
Division on our left. Still further to the left, or in our 
late rear, was Gordon,** who sent several messages that 
he was being severely pressed in his task of bringing up 
the rear of the army. Having been at this point already 
some time before our division came up, I informed my 
general (Custis Lee,) that I had distinctly seen large 
bodies of the enemy mount, after skirmishing, and pass 
on to our right, i.e., as we faced easterly, with the evident 
intention of gaining a position across the road in front of 
our line of march, while a force remained to threaten 
and delay us, and asked if we could not destroy or aban- 
don the rest of the wagon train and push by that right 
hand road ourselves. But he said his orders required 
him to wait for the passing of the train and to guard it 
afterwards by taking the left hand road; and I think I 
remember his receiving renewed orders to the same effect 
just at this time. The enemy now opened on us with 
two pieces of artillery, shelling the wagon train more 
particularly, which was hurried by as fast as possible; 
but about two hours were so consumed before the last 
wagon passed. Finally Bushrod Johnson moved on 
and Custis Lee and Kershaw followed. Gordon must 
have taken the right hand road with the wagons, as we 
heard nothing more of him. 

** Lieu tenant-General (better known as Major-Gencral) John B. Gordon. 


We passed through some woods at first and then came 
out on open ground with the depressed and rather wide 
valley of Sailor's Creek in front. We passed over this, 
a sluggish stream with bushes along it, about 3 o'clock 
and began to ascend the opposite slope, al first over open 
ground or with a low and scattered growth, which soon 
became larger pine woods. Just then a sharp skirmish 
fire was heard directly in front, followed by the roar of 
artillery, and word came back to our dismay, but what 
we ought to have expected, that Pickett" had encoun- 
tered a heavy force of the enemy drawn up across the 
road immediately before him. Custis Lee's and Ker- 
shaw's Divisions were, therefore, massed on the hillside, 
waiting anxiously for the front to be forced. In a short 
time we were disturbed to observe a body of men emerge 
directly in our rear, and deliberately occupy a position 
two or three hundred yards back from Sailor's Creek, In 
the very road on which we had just been marching. We 
had some lingering doubts at first whether they were 
friends or foes, but all uncertainty was soon rudely 
dispelled. As we gazed through our glasses we saw them 
coolly drag out two pieces of artillery in position on the 
opposite hill, which opened on our unprotected masses 
from the rear. Under this fire the two divisions were 
formed in line of battle facing to the rear, with Kershaw 
on the (now) right of the road and Custis Lee on the left 
or west side. In Custis Lee's Division Lieutenant- 
Colonel John Atkinson's two battalions — the loth and 
19th Virginia — the Chaffin's Bluff Battalion and the 
i8th Georgia, Major Bassinger (all of the Heavy Artillery 
brigade, with muskets), were on the right and a little 

"It seems that tbe troops in front of us were Busbrod R. Johnson's Division 
and what was left of Pickett's Division, all commanded by Lieutenant-General 
Rkhard H. Anderson. 


thrown forward (to our late rear) on account of the nature 
of the ground. Next on the left was the Naval Battalion 
under Commodore Tucker, then Barton's Brigade, and 
finally Lieutenant-Colonel James Howard's command, 
i8th and 20th Virginia, Majors M. B. Hardin and James 
E. Robertson, being the rest of the heavy artillery brigade, 
held the extreme left. By the time this disposition was 
effected the enemy's fire had become very rapid and 
severe, being principally spherical case. On our side 
we were compelled to receive it in silence, not having a 
single piece of artillery to make reply. 

The situation was now desperate, as we were entirely 
surrounded and reinforcements were continually pouring 
in to the enemy before our eyes. We were fighting back 
to back with Anderson's men and although the latter, 
or a part of them, presently succeeded (we heard after- 
wards,) in forcing their way through, we were not in- 
formed, and if we had been, were too hard pressed to be 
able to follow. Meanwhile our line began to suffer con- 
siderably under the enemy's deliberate fire. Almost all 
of Custis Lee's command were inexperienced in battle 
and the shot, sometimes plowing the gound, sometimes 
crashing through the trees, and not infrequently striking 
in the line, killing two or more at once, might well have 
demoralized the oldest veterans. But although sur- 
rounded by such trying circumstances — ^and there is no 
test which tries a soldier's fortitude so severely as to 
stand exposed to fire without the ability to return it — 
yet they acquitted themselves with a steadiness which 
could not have been more than equalled by the most 
seasoned troops of the Army of Northern Virginia, and 
as I passed along the line in rear I found scarcely a single 
straggler or skulker to order back. 

After shelling us with impunity at easy range as long 


as they pleased, the Federals advanced and engaged us 
with musketry, their cavalry being armed with the 
repeating carbine, that is, firing a number of shots*^ in 
succession without reloading. Thinking to overwhelm 
us by numbers, they made a charge which resulted in 
some close fighting, particularly at the road. Here some 
of Custis Lee's command — I believe the Chaffin's Bluff 
and Bassinger's Georgia Battalions — had a desperate 
hand to hand encounter with them, in which the Federals 
were worsted. The assailants thus met with a much 
more stubborn resistance than they anticipated and were 
everyivhere driven back in confusion, leaving many dead 
and wounded on the ground. A spirited counter charge 
was even made — I believe by the two battalions above 
named and Colonel Atkinson's command and probably 
others — as far as the creek, driving the enemy sheer 
across. It was here that Colonel Stapleton Crutchfield, 
commanding the heavy artillery brigade, and formerly 
chief of artillery to Stonewall Jackson fell, shot through 
the head. His inspector. Captain O'Brien, had been 
previously wounded ; that officer, said to be a nephew of 
the Irish patriot, Smith O'Brien, had, I understood, lately 
resigned from the English Army in India and come over 
to serve our cause.'* I have used expressions implying 
a want of certainty in my own knowledge of the identity 
of the particular troops which had this hand to hand 
fighting and went as far as the creek in the counter 
charge," because in this fighting my horse was struck 

" Sixteen I understood. 

" In the following Fall O'Brien wrote from New York to my brother that he 
had had a hard time since he was released from prison and was then shovelling 
in coal and doing such odd jobs as he could find, although spitting blood from 
his )Vound. I think we wrote him to come to our house but received no reply, 
and feared he had died. 

" See Major Bassinger's report or account in Volume XXV, page 38, of the 
Southern Historical Papers and other references at the end of this chapter. 


behind the saddle by a musket ball which sounded like 
a stone thrown against a fence. I was at the time with 
General Custis Lee and his staff on the road and, I think, 
with the front line. I had ridden this horse — or mare 
rather — ever since the battle of Gaines's Mill in 1862 
where we captured General John F. Reynolds, to whom 
she was said to belong. My horse appearing to be 
mortally, or badly, wounded, I took her back fifty or a 
hundred yards and left her tied to a tree. 

When I got back our troops which had gone forward 
had returned, or were returning, to their original position 
and both artillery and musketry opened a deadly fire 
on us again. I was struck by a nearly spent ball, on the 
shoulder" and another had passed through my coat, and 
I had also been struck but not hurt by splinters in the 
face; at least I thought they were such, but passing my 
hand over my face I found no harm done, and if "splin- 
ters" they must have been very soft ones. By this time 
our killed and wounded were many — among the former 
one of General Custis Lee's aides, the gallant and amiable 
Robert Goldsborough (of '* Myrtle Grove," Talbot Coun- 
ty, Maryland). There were no facilities for taking off 
the wounded, and indeed we had no rear to carry them 
to, so they were directed, when able, to crawl behind 
trees and into gullies. It is probable that many were 
shot a second time, or oftener, while so lying on the 
exposed hill side, sloping towards the enemy. The 
appeals of some of the poor fellows to their comrades and 
officers to put them in a place of safety were affecting, 
especially in the Naval Brigade where the sailors seemed 
to look up to their officers like children, and one such 
scene in particular between a wounded man and the 
Commodore who spoke some words of sympathy to him, 

*• A small bruise remained for some time afterwards. 


still dwells vividly and painfully in my memory (October, 
1865). The Heavy Artillery Brigade had not a medicai 
officer present, and there were not more than two or 
three in the whole division. 

My observation of the latter part of the battle, after 
the shooting of my horse prevented my getting about 
well, was chiefly limited to the center of the line — on the 
left (west) of the road. I noticed the naval brigade, 
which had been standing firm as a rock, apparently 
beginning to fall back but in a perfectly regular formation 
and I hurried over and asked Commodore Tucker the 
cause. He said he understood they were ordered to take 
a new position in rear. I told him I was sure it was a 
mistake for we had no place In rear to retire to. "Very 
well," said he, "If you say so I will move back again." I 
expressed a doubt If he could do so. "Oh yes," he said, 
"I can, but it ia very different from handling men on 
shipboard." They had hardly gone a few steps, and 
he halted and faced them about and marched them back 
to their original position without a single skulker remain- 
ing behind. I hare seldom. If ever, seen this done as 
well during the war. When men are once started to the 
rear under heavy fire, it is difficult to halt and bring 
them all back again. 

I presently saw a number of men in blue uniform where 
Kershaw's line was, or had been, but supposing them be to 
prisoners, no attention was paid to their appearance; I 
presume now they were engaged in receiving the sur- 
render of his men. Along Custis Lee's line the firing 
was still continued and we had no idea the battle was 
so nearly ended. I thought we were endeavoring to 
hold our ground until night might enable us to draw off, 
but from what I saw afterwards, we were so surrounded 
that escape was impossible and to have prolonged the 


contest would have been a useless sacrifice of life. There 
being an intermission in the fire presently, I passed along 
the line toward the left to inspect the condition of affairs. 
The line was at every point unbroken and the men in 
excellent spirits, exulting in their success so far and con- 
fident of their ability to hold out. But, alas! there was 
nothing to hold out for. 

It was now reported in one of Barton's regiments that 
we had surrendered, and although this was contradicted 
at first and refused to be credited, still so many and such 
various rumors passed along the line that the men soon 
were uncertain what to think. Many of them continued 
to reject the report with indignation and, almost with 
tears in their eyes, protested their ability to whip the 
enemy yet. Some supposed there was only a truce for 
the purpose of removing the wounded who lay between 
the hostile lines. At this moment it was observed that 
the enemy was advancing again in our front and we were 
just discussing the propriety of reopening fire when 
about half a dozen of them came riding in on our left 
rear. I walked over to them and one said, "Well you've 
surrendered." I denied it, and he said, "Why your 
Generals are prisoners and you are surrounded and the 
artillery of the — Corps is in position on your flank and 
would sweep you off the field." I finally accepted this 
statement as true, supported as it was by the cessation 
of firing all over the field and other signs. I have no 
doubt this was the last part of the line to give up the 
contest. One of my captors asked for my spurs — I had 
no arms whatever. In the sore feeling of the moment I 
asked if he demanded them as a right; he civilly replied, 
"Oh no, but you will have no further use for them and 
I would like to have them as souvenirs," so I took them 
off and gave them, one I think to one and one to another. 


It was now a little after sunset and by the time the 
prisoners were gathered together in a field near General 
Custer's headquarters darkness had set in. The men 
were depressed but consoled themselves with the con- 
sciousness of having made a good fight. Our two divi- 
sions did not number more than 4000*^ in line and we 
had not a single piece of artillery, while particularly 
exposed to the deliberate fire of that of the enemy. Our 
loss in killed and wounded was heavy but cannot be 
correctly estimated. Generals Wright, Sheridan and 
Custer (I was told,) and others passed the warmest 
encomiums upon the obstinate valor of the Confederates 
and treated our higher officers at their headquarters with 
soldierlike courtesy. The Union soldiers were greatly 
astonished at the miscellaneous uniforms in our small 
division and under other circumstances we would have 
found amusement in listening to their comments. One 
of them pointed out an officer in a naval uniform with 

*^ General Humphreys (commanding the 2d Corps of the Army of the Potomac) 
in his History of the Virginia Campaign of 1864-186^, page 383, puts Swell's 
strength on the ground (being Custis Lee's and Kershaw's Divisions), at about 
3600. And he estimates, taking my published account of 1865, Custis Lee's 
Division at about 1600. But I undoubtedly overestimated the naval battalion, 
as explained hereinbefore. 

In my published account I said that against us (meaning both Ewell and 
Anderson,) were the Cavalry Corps and the 6th and 2d Infantry Corps and the 
5 th Corps or some of its artillery, and that when we surrendered we must have 
been surrounded by not less than 40,000 men although of course only a portion 
of these were actively engaged. I said also that Generals Sheridan and Custer 
stated that about 1000 cavalrymen were killed or wounded and that General 
Wright (commanding the 6th Corps,) had put the whole loss at about 6000. I 
wish to withdraw these statements. I have always deprecated such estimates 
of strength and of losses on the "other side," and this is an example which has 
come home to myself. Those generals could hardly have said what I heard 
(next morning, for I was not taken to their headquarters), for these numbers 
are excessive. I should have limited myself to the safe statement that we were 
surrounded by vastly superior numbers and inflicted (and sustained) heavy 


Wide gold lace on it and asked me who he was. When I 
told him that he belonged to the navy, his jaw dropped 
and he said. "Good Heaven, have you gunboats way 
up here too?" I might have answered, as some one 
said earlier in the war, that we had them wherever there 
was a little dew on the grass had I not been in too serious 
a frame of mind. 

This may be looked on as the last regular battle of the 
Army of Northern Virginia, and in it the Confederates, 
although at the point of physical exhaustion, conducted 
themselves in a manner that would have reflected honor 
on any troops on any former field. 

I spent the night with the mass of prisoners. I saw 
some fellows of the baser sort worming about among 
our men and taking their watches and other valuables, 
but I kept a wary eye on them and escaped any such 

"•The Federal official reports of the battle of Sailor's Creek are unusually 
eulogbtic in speaking of the conduct of their enemy on this field, and I quote 
from some of them. 

In the War of the Rebellion — Official Records of the Union and Confederate 
Armies f Series i, volume XLVI, Part I, Reports, Serial No. 95, on page 906 
et seq., is the report of Major-General H. G. Wright, commanding the 6th Army 
Corps, in which he says: 

". . . . The ist and 3d Divisions charged the enemy's position, carrying 
it handsomely except at a point on our right of the road crossing the creek, where 
a colunm said to be composed exclusively of the Marine Brigade and other 
troops which had held the lines of Richmond previous to the evacuation, made a 
countercharge upon that part of our lines in their front. I was never more as* 
tonished. These men were surrounded — the ist and 3d Divisions of the Corps 
were on either flank, my artillery and a fresh division in their front and some 
three divisions of Aiajor-General Sheridan's cavalry in their rear. Looking 
upon them as already our prisoners, I had ordered the artillery to cease firing as 
a dictate of humanity; my surprise therefore was extreme when this force charged 
upon our front, but the fire of our infantry which had already gained their flanks, 
the capture of their superior officers, already in our hands, the concentrated and 
murderous fire of six batteries of our artillery within effective range, brought 
them promptly to a surrender." 

Page 946, report of Captain A. Hopkins, commanding the 37th Massachusetts 


A full share of the eulogistic language in the reports 
about the "marine battalion" and "marine brigade" 
should be given to the heavy artillery brigade. (I 
cannot say whether Barton's brigade took part in the 
countercharge, as owing to my horse being shot I was not 
on that part of the line throughout the countercharge, 
but I am sure it did whatever it had any opportunity 
to do.) In fact it is evident to me that the fresher and 
variegated caps and uniforms of the heavy artillery men 
made the enemy suppose they belonged to the "navy 
brigade" or battalion, which they knew was on the 
ground and a distinctive feature of Custis Lee's 
command . 

Major Bassinger made a quasi official report to Genercd 
Custis Lee, dated 3d March, 1866, which was published 
in the Southern Historical Papers, volume XXV, page 38. 
In it he gives an account, more particularly, of his i8th 
Georgia Battalion and the Chaffin's Bluff Battalion under 

Volunteers. ", . . . and a despcrale hand In hand fight with swords, pislola 
and baj-onets cBsued. Several men were wounded with the baj'oncl . , , ." 
Page 953, report of Lieutenaat-Cokmel E. H. Rhodes, commaoding the id 
Rhode Island Volunteers, ". , . , We pressed the enemy back to the noods 
in our front and when withb a distance of about thirty yards received a charge 
of the enemy, both in front and on my left, which caused my men after a tiznc 
to retire in some confusion. Every effort was made to rally them without cross- 
ing the swamp. ... At this point my raiment was somewhat scattered- 
Page 980, report of Brigadier-General T. Seymour, commanding the 3d Di- 
vision, 6th Corps, ". . . . The contest was then very severe. The Confed- 
erate marine battalion fought with peculiar obstinancy, and our lines, somewhat 
disordered by crossing the Creek, were repulsed in the first onset . , . ." 

Page 9q8, report of Brigadier-General J. Warren Keifer, commanding the 
•d Brigade, 3d Division, iSth Corps, ". , . . A number of men were bayo- 
neted on both sides. The enemy bad a heavy column massed in the rear of his 
centre with which he charged upon our troops. Owing to the fact that our 
troops could only be fought in one line, the enemy succeeded in brealcing through 
the centre and gaining a momentary success. .... Tbe rebel Marine 
Brigade fought with most citraotdiDary courage " 



Major Robert Stiles. See also page 139 of the same 
volume for an account by an officer of the loth Virginia 
Battalion, which gives a list of the officers captured; 
also page 250 of Volume XXIV. Generals Ewell, 
Kershaw and Custis Lee also gave post bellum reports 
or accounts, in 1865, which will be found printed in 
the Transactions of the Southern Historical Society Volume 
I, pages 10 1 and 118 {Southern Magazine.) 


Sailor's Creek to Washington — Old Capitol 

On the morning of April 7 (1865), General Custef^ 
easily recognized by his long yellow hair which 
at that time falling down on his shoulders, rode past 
the body of Sailor's Creek prisoners with about thirty 
couriers behind him each bearing a captured Confed- 
erate battle flag. It was a painful sight, but it con- 
soled us somewhat to know that we had been taken not 
by his cavalry alone or principally but by an overwhelm- 
ing force of infantry, with artillery of which we had none, 
together with dismounted cavalry. Later, our generals, 
with their staffs and higher officers, were taken across 
the country to General Grant's headquarters.' Here 
there were several tents and a fire was burning in front. > 
General (Colonel?) Badeau, Grant's military secretary, 
came out, rubbing his hands together, and said he waa 
sorry the General was not there. He had camp stoola 
brought and we, or most of us, for we were thirty or 
more, sat or stood for an hour or more in melancholy 
silence, in a large semicircle in front of the fire. I thought 
that to our old Indian fighters, Ewell and others, it must 
have been like an Indian council fire sitting. Later we 
were marched over to a house which was occupied as 
headquarters by some Pennsylvania general.* Here we 
were rather crowded in one or two rooms, and thegeneral's 
cook kindly gave us some soup — I did not think it was a 

* His headquarters were at or near Burkeville Junction. 

* Badeau mys by Coloael Sbarpe, provost marshal. 

sailor's creek to WASHINGTON 39 1 

ration ordered; my impression was that the cook did 
it out of his own kindness of heart. 

A certain man from Texas (Thomas P. Ochiltree) who 
afterwards figured in New York and elsewhere as a wit, 
club man and diner out, at first claimed to be of our staff 
— to justify his being in that select company — and on being 
denied, claimed to be of General Ewell's and then of some- 
body else's. I don't remember if he finally succeeded in 
locating himsfelf. He had been in Richmond and did 
not belong to the army, but may have been a clei:k in 
one of the government departments. 

I think it was the next day. May 9, that we started for 
Petersburg, the generals, Lieutenant-General Richard 
S. Ewell, Major-Generals Kershaw and Custis Lee and 
Brigadier-Generals Hunton and Corse (and I think there 
were one or two more,) being put in ambulances at the 
head of the column, which I think was now composed of 
our party and the body of prisoners — perhaps only the 
officers — captured at Sailor's Creek. The first day at 
least, we were guarded by the 2d Maryland Regiment, 
under Lieutenant-Colonel Benjamin F. Taylor. Just 
before the column began its march Colonel Taylor rode 
up to the head and said, "I hear there is some Mary- 
landers, is there any Marylanders here?" He was just to 
my left and I answered, "Yes, I am from Baltimore." 
He looked at me and said, " I don't remember your face 
in Baltimore." I asked, ''Colonel, from what part of 
Baltimore do you come?" He answered, "From the 
eastern pari," and I said I lived in another part. Just 
then an orderly came up, reporting the column ready to 
move and the Colonel rode off saying, " Rectus in curio." 
General Kershaw and others rallied me very much on 
not being recognized by my fellow townsman. But 
Colonel Taylor and his men treated us very well and that 


evening he had my brother and some others at his head- 
quarters and gave them a plenty to eat — and to drink too, 
for one of them coming back stumbled over my little 
shelter ropes or strings and nearly knocked it down. I 
think it was at the end of the second day's march that 
we got — bought, my impression is, and by prisoners 
individually, not as a body — some of the toughest meat 
I ever tried to eat, and we believed it to be not even 
horse flesh, but mule meat. 

Once in going through the almost interminable Ches- 
terfield County woods we passed by the mouth of a side 
farm road where two or three women had come out to see 
us go by, and one of them in a thin piping voice said, 

"Men, they say we have peace, is it so?" Colonel 
Flowerree said "Yes, ma'am," and there was a laugh, 
but I noticed there was a rather sombre silence after- 
wards and I know that the spoken words struck some- 
thing like a chill to my own heart, suggesting as they did 
that Lee's surrender meant also the collapse of the Con- 
federacy. We had been told of Lee's surrender but had 
been slow to believe it; having been a prisoner once 
before, I told of the false rumors we heard on that former 
march back. But by this time we had been compelled 
to believe that there was no doubt of the main fact of the 

It must have taken us three or four days to make the 
march of about fifty miles to Petersburg. The day 
before we got there some Union general met us on the 
road (I think it was Major-General Hartranft), and 
taking General Custis Lee aside, had a short conversation 
with him. I was told that he asked him abruptly if he 
knew that his mother was dead. At any rate, there was 
an erroneous report that she had died, and Custis Lee 
was permitted to leave us here and go to Richmond. 

sailor's creek to WASHINGTON 393 

After our long march, added to our previous hardships, 
we were a sorry spectacle in going through Petersburg. 
But Major Costin (of the Eastern Shore of Virginia.) 
of Major-General Kershaw's staff, was determined to 
keep up such dignity as he could and while he marched 
through the streets with bursted shoes, he wore on his 
hands an old pair of white kid gloves, soiled and torn. 
And so we came from near the head of the Appomattox 
to City Point at its mouth on the James. I suppose we 
arrived there on April 13 — it may have been April 12. 
Here we — or a party of us, for I think our generals had 
left us, probably at Petersburg, and the main body of 
prisoners went elsewhere — ^were put on a steamboat and 
carried to Washington. 

In the afternoon of Good Friday, April 14, we left the 
steamboat and marched to the provost marshall's 
office on Pennsylvania Avenue, where I suppose our sorts 
and conditions were noted down. While there one of 
General Grant's staff officers — as I recollect it was 
General Ingalls — came in and spoke cordially to my 
brother (Lieutenant-Colonel James Howard), who had 
known him very well in the old U. S. Army on the 
Pacific Coast before the war. He said to my brother, 
"Of course you will all receive the same terms that were 
given at Appomattox. And when you get through here, 
you and your brother will go with the others to the Old 
Capitol Prison, but after a while I will have you out and 
you will come to my house and you can either take 
supper and spend the night, or take the train for Baltimore 
as you prefer." So after we had been marched up to 
the Old Capitol and with our comrades were turned 
into the herd of prisoners already there — ^about sunset — 
while the others looked about for the softer places in 
the brick yard to locate themselves for the night, we 


walked up and down expecting our promised release. 
But dark came and hour after hour passed and we 
waited with more and more surprise and presently indig- 
nation, until al 10.30 or 1 1 o'clock we gave up expectation 
and laid down on the bricks to sleep. The next morning 
we heard of Lincoln's assassination. It was fortunate 
for us and for our family that we had not been released 
and gone home the evening before. 

All day, Saturday, April 15, there was a mob before 
the prison, demanding to get at the inmates. About 
midday, looking out of one of the front windows, for I 
had found quarters in one of the upper rooms, I saw a 
carriage rapidly drive up out of which got General 
William H. F, Payne, of Warrenton, Virginia of the 
cavalry, and who was hurried through the door from the 
angry mob. He had been on his parole in the city but it 
became necessary to take refuge in the prison. The next 
day, Sunday, April 16, Colonel Flowerree, of Fauquier 
or Loudon County, Virginia, but who, I think had been 
living in Mississippi, a somewhat reckless young fellow, 
came to me in the morning and asked if I would read the 
Episcopal service. Surprised at the request from one 
who was well known for a good deal of levity of character, 
I said I would if he could not find a more suitable person. 
He professed that he couldn't. So I read the morning 
service in a large upper room and with a good sized con- 
gregation. Just before I came to the prayer for all 
persons in authority four or five Union officers had come 
up the passage, with rattling sabres or swords and stood 
at the door. There was a deep expectant silence. When 
I read out the words "Thy servant the President of the 
Confederate States," the officers hurriedly withdrew, 
their swords clanking down the passage. When the 

sailor's creek to WASHINGTON 395 

service was over Flowerree said to me "Well, old fellow, 
I'm sorry I got you into such a scrape." "What's the 
matter?" I asked. "Why" said he, "You'll be in the 
dungeon in five minutes." But nothing occurred. I 
suppose it was one of the last times that the President of 
the Confederacy was openly prayed for by title North 
of James River — certainly, I think, the last time in the 
Capital of the Union. 

I think it was on the 17th that our party, or a party of 
about fifty, were taken out of the Old Capitol Prison 
for transfer to Johnson's Island in Lake Erie, near San- 
dusky, Ohio. There were still angry men loitering in 
front of the prison, and, while we were halted for some 
time on a vacant piece of ground near the Baltimore and 
Ohio depot in particular, we were treated to a good deal 
of abuse and threatening remarks. We were presently 
put in a passenger car or cars and carried to Camden 
Station, Baltimore. We then marched up Howard 
Street (and Park or Liberty Street and College Alley) 
and Cathedral Street to what was then known ar the 
Outer Depot or Bolton Depot of the Northern Central 
Railroad — about where the present Mt. Royal Avenue 
crosses Cathedral Street. And we so passed right by 
our home on Cathedral Street, next to Emmanuel Church, 
on the site of which now stands the parish building. 
My brother and I had not seen it for nearly four years. 
We were afraid there would be trouble if recognized 
from the house and therefore held up the capes of our 
overcoats to shield our faces as we passed ; it was getting 
dark too. In the next block, between Eager and Chase 
Streets, we halted for some time in the middle of Cathe- 
dral Street and my brother tried to get for me a little 
whiskey from some house, for I had felt quite sick since 


leaving Washington and had to lean on his arm. But 
the guard would not permit. At Bolton Depot we 
were again put in a passenger coach, but at Pittsburgh 
were transferred to box freight cars in which we were 
jolted across the Panhandle and the State of Ohio to 
Sandusky, and then a little steam ferryboat took us 
three miles out in Lake Erie to Johnson's Island where 
we were turned into the prison pen, I suppose our 
arrival was in the afternoon of April i8 — perhaps a day-j 
or two later.' ■ 

' In the Fall of the same year, 1865, I made another visit to the Old Capitol 
Prison but this time only to the outside, being refused admittance. 

In tlie early Summer my father and mother looked about for some retired 
p!a.[e where Ihey could spend a few months in quiet with their reunited family 
and they tixed on CoLb'a Island, ten miles out in the Atlantic off the coast of the 
Eastern Shore of Vir^nia. Shortly after our return to Baltimore, in October 1 
think, one morning a lady, dosely veiled, drove to our house on Cathedral Street 
and after a few minutea private conversation with my father and mother drove 
ti mysteriou-tly away. She had stopped on her way from Washington to New 
York lo say that she had received private information in Washington that both 
Captain William Sidney Winder, a son and aide de camp of Brigadier-General 
John H. Winder, cominandant ot Confederate prisons, and Captain Richard B. 
Winder, a cousin and who had been quartermaster at the Andersonville prison, 
were to be arrested, as Captain Wirtz, commanding at Andersonville, had been. 
She was on her way to warn the former in New York, and as the wife of my 
brother Charles Howard was a sister of Captain Richard Winder, she thought 
we would find a way to notify him on the Eastern Shore of Virginia. I under- 
took to do this. I had lost a piece of baggage — an old fashioned carpet bag — in 
OUT return from Cobb's Island and I thought I could make a fair pretext for my 
trip in pretending to be looking it up. So I took the next Norfolk steamboat, 
both on it and on ihe wharf at Norfolk proclaiming my object, as also on the boat 
to which 1 changed to cross the Chesapeake to Cherrystone on the Eastern 
Shore. But on this boat I found Dr. Alex. Thorn who told me I was too late, 
as Captain Winder had been arrested the eventag before. I necessarily contin- 
ued on to the Eastern Shore and I spent a day at the house ot Captain Winder's 
sister, Mrs. Kerr, in E^tville, where he had been, and to this day I have a vivid 
recollection of the great variety and excellence of the figs in the large garden. 

Captain Winder was brought to the Old Capitol prison and my brother de- 
termined to try to sec him there. And he thought it might facilitate it I would 
go with him and represent myself as Captain Winder's legal counsel. (I bad 



been admitted to the Bar just before the war began, although disqualified just 
now from practice imder the proscriptive laws.) 

We went boldly up (it is difficult to understand now the feelings of those 
times,) to the sentinel at the door and told him we had come to see Captain 
Winder. He replied that no one was allowed to see him. ''But" said I, "I 
come as his legal counsel. " I half expected the sentinel to say "Why it is not 
six months since you were a rebel prisoner in here yourself — Corporal of the 
Guard I" But he only insisted that no one could see him. At our request he 
called the officer of the guard, and to him also I said I had come to see Captain 
Winder as his coimsel. And I more than half expected him to reply, "Why you 
are the fellow who prayed for Jeff Davis!'' But he only repeated that no one 
could see him, adding that when he was allowed to have counsel I would be 

Captain Richard Winder was finally released, on the voluntary testimony of 
a number of Union officers of his considerate treatment of them in prison. 
But in the excited feelings of those days he was in serious jeopardy. 

Johnson's Island Prison — Home 

Johnson's Island was a prison for officers only, of 
whom there were several thousand, and it had a single 
large rectangular enclosure or "pen," outside of which 
were the buildings for the quarters of the garrison, etc. 
On entering the gate a wide street or space, I suppose 
about ICO feet, extended from it to the other end of the 
pen, or nearly, on each side of which were the plank 
houses — called Blocks — ^for the prisoners, each Block 
being divided, I think, into ti\o parts and containing a 
number of rooms. There was a high timber fence around 
the enclosure, the top of which was patrolled by sentinels 
and about ten or fifteen feet from it was the usual 
"dead line," anyone crossing which might be shot down 
by the sentinels forthwith.' 

On our being turned into this enclosure my brother 

and I were promptly sought out by Captain 

Randolph,' who had been in correspondence with our 
family in Baltimore and probably was told to look out 
for our coming. He conducted us to his quarters — 
Room No. 7 of Block i. This Block was the house on 
the right hand side of the street nearest the gate, and 
the first half of it was a plague spot to the rest of the 
prisoners, being occupied by the "galvanized" men, that 
is, those who had taken the oath of allegiance — of whom 
I am glad to say there were very few. These were con- 

' I add a sketch of the prison from the War of ihi Rebrllion. 
* He was a brother of the present Bishop Randolph of Southern Virginia, and 
died not many years after the war. 



temptuously ignored by their former comrades and herded 
together, looking very uncomfortable in their isolation 
and degradation. 
We became a part of Randolph's mess, which was a 

snoall one and composed of his room mates, for unlike Fort 
Delaware, where a " Division" was very large and undi- 
vided, here the "Block" was cut up into a number of 
small rooms, probably because of the severe winter 


climate — -at least our room was small. I only recall one 
other roommate, a Captain Dyes (Deese) of Hamburg, 
Germany, who, we understood, was of a good family 
there. I had brought with me from Fort Delaware and 
carefully preserved a gold piece, $5. or $10, which sup- 
ported us in this mess until we received money from home, 
for we employed a man (one of the prisoners,) to do our 
cooking and lived lazily. I do not remember anything 
about the issue of rations; probably our cook attended 
to it for us. We ate our meals in a shelter of some kind 
in rear of the Block. 

The climate was the most variable I ever knew; a 
morning might be bright and warm even to being uncom- 
fortable, when suddenly a piercing wind would come 
across the Lake from Canada, perhaps with snow, and a 
good fire had to be kindled in the stove, and so it would 
be changing during the day. 

We heard many stories about the past life in the prison, 
many of the officers having been there a long time. 
Major-Ceneral Trimble had been one of the prisoners 
and was at the head of an denization which planned to 
seize the island and escape with the whole body of pris- 
oners to Canada on a steamer which was to be fitted out 
there under Confederate naval officers. But the scheme 
which came near being carried into effect, was either 
discovered or was thwarted in some way and the rising 
never took place. 

There was, I believe, some tunnelling to escape but 
none that was successful. There were also attempts by 
individuals, of which I remember one which was success- 
ful and one which deserved to be but was not. Charles 
E. Grogan, of Baltimore, went outside with a party to 
bring in hay for bedding. He kicked together a 
small pile and crept under it when the guard was not 


looking, warning his comrades when they came near not 
to disturb his covering. After they had gone back with 
their loads he remained so concealed until dark. He 
then wandered around the island, looking for some means 
of getting over to the main land and finally set about the 
construction of a small raft. I think he even started on 
this but found it unseaworthy and had to put back. 
Daylight was then coming on and he had to seek some 
other way of getting off the island and he turned to the 
simplest. Waiting until about 9 o'clock, he walked 
boldly down to the wharf and asked the sentinel what 
time it was and when the boat would be over from San- 
dusky. When it came he walked aboard and was carried 
over and made his way to the Confederacy.* He had 
been a prisoner once before and escaped. While being 
marched through Baltimore after dark, he darted down 
a side alley and got off. I do not believe he could have 
been kept a prisoner — ^he would either have escaped or 
been shot in attempting to do so. 

The other story was of a man who spent some time in 
making himself into the counterfeit of a Federal soldier. 
He picked up pieces of cloth here and there until he had 
what in the dark would pass for a blue uniform. Out of 
old shoes he made a belt and the semblance of a cartridge 
box. He made a dummy gun of wood, silvering the 
barrel with pieces of tobacco wrappings. Finally, when 
he was ready, he sent out a note to the commander of 
the garrison, warning him that at a certain hour next night 
there would be an escape through a tunnel which had been 
made. Just before the designated hour the gate flew 
open and a company marched in to seize the escapers in 

' I tell the tale as 'twas told to me. If there is anything wrong in the details, 
Mr. Grogan still survives to correct them. He is a bailiff in one of the courts of 
Baltimore City. 


the very act, and, finding it was a hoax, marched out 
again. The Confederate fell in at the rear. But unfor- 
tunately the officer in command halted in the gate to 
see his men file past and when the Confederate came 
along he was holding his piece badly. "Why don't you 
carry your gun straight?" he asked and took hold of it to 
make its position right. Astonished at its light weight, 
he said "Why, what sort of a gun is this?" And of 
course the escape was stopped. 

On May i or 2 (I know the date fromaboolc* sent L 
to me, on a fly leaf of which is written "May 2, 1865,] 
from my traveling bag") my aunt Alice Key Pendletoi 
wife of Senator George H. Pendleton, Democratic candi 
date for the vice-presidency on the ticket with McClellan, 
came, with one of her children, from Cincinnati to see 
us. But alriiough Colonel Hill, commanding the post, 
was civil to her, he said he could not possibly transgress 
orders by allowing an interview. He finally said he 
would go so far as to permit us to look at each other for 
a few minutes across the fence but we must not make any 
sign of recognition. So at an appointed hour my brother 
and I mounted the steps on the outside front of the quar- 
ters of the "galvanized men," being the west end of Block 
I, and stood on the little platform at the second story 
and so overlooking the high fence near the gate. My 
aunt was standing, with her child, on the outside, a 
distance of about a hundred feet separating us, and (or 
five minutes we solemnly gazed at each other without so 
so much as smiling even. We then descended wondering 
what our fellow prisoners thought of our going on this 
shunned part of the prison. We were allowed to com- 
municate in writing, however, and my aunt advised us 
that the Confederate cause was hopelessly lost and we 

• Sir RouDdeU Palmer's Book of Praise. 


Johnson's island prison 403 

could properly take the oath of allegiance and return 
home when the authorities would permit such a course. 

On this question of when it would be proper to consider 
the war as ended and take the oath, there had been a 
difference of opinion and much heated discussion took 
place among the prisoners since our arrival. One day 
there would be a meeting of the Virginians to debate the 
matter, the next of North Carolinians, and so on. These 
discussions resulted in no conclusions and my impression 
is that they were presently discontinued as one prop 
after another fell from under the Confederacy in the 
successive surrenders of its armed forces in the field, 
until all were at last ready to admit that the end had 
come. So when in the latter part of May an order came 
from Washington for the special discharge from prison 
of my brother and myself — and Captain Randolph — 
we did not hesitate to accept it. I heard two or more 
accounts of how this favor of a release a short time before 
the general release came to be granted, but never inves- 
tigated to find out which was correct. One was that we 
were indebted to Mr. Hooper, a representative in Con- 
gress from Massachusetts, at the request of Mrs. Pendle- 
ton. There may have been several influences. 

The authority imder which I passed out the prison 
gate and from the island was the following paper, which 
I have preserved, and which may be thought interesting 
to show how these final acts of the war were done. 

Headquarters U.S Forces, at Johnson's Island and Sandusky, 

Johnson's Island, O., May 26th, 1865. 
Sp«:ial Orders j ^ 

No. 143 J 

Pursuant to instructions from the Secretary of War, communicated through 
the office of the Commissary General of Prisoners, dated May 23d, 1865, Mc- 
Henry Howard, late zst Lieut, and I. G. to G. W. C. Lee, prisoner of war, is 


discharged from ihe Military Prison at this Post, and set at liberty, be ha,vi 
taken the oath of allegiance. 

The further description of the person herein discharged is as follows : 
Age a6 years; height. Five feet nine indies; complexion, Dark; e>-es. Blue; 1 

By cornaiand 0/ Col. Ch«s. W. Hill 

Ceo. M, Pbilups. 

On the back is the following : 

Umied States of Auerica 

I, McHenry Howard, of the Counly of Baltimore, State of Maryland, do 
solemnly swear that I wilt support, protect, and defend the Constitution and 
Goveminent ol the United States against all enemies, whether domestic or foteign; 
that I will bear true faith, allegiance and loyalty to the same, any ordinance, 
resolution or laws of any State, Convention, or Legislature, to the contrary n 
withstanding; and further, that I will faithfully perform all the duties which n: 
be required of mc by the laws of the United States; and I taire this oath (re 
and voluntarily, without any mental reservation or evasion whatever. 
McHensv I 

I before me at Johnsons Island, O., Ihia Twenty 

Chas. W. Hill, Colonel conid'g. 

Subscribed and sworn I 
day of May, A.D. 1865. 

Office Pro. Mnr, 8 Al [?] 
Baito. Md. May 2g, '65 

Rq>orted and registered 
John Woolley, 
Lt, CoL & Pro. Mar. 

It will be noticed that I was given no transportation, 
the reason assigned being that my release was a special 

It was three miles across the water in our little steam 
ferry boat to Sandusky, and the first use we made of 
our freedom was to go to the restaurant of a hotel and 
enjoy the long forgotten taste of regular mint juleps. 
It was some time before the leaving of the train and we 
walked about looking at the evidences of prosperity, 
so different from our Southern towns, and the novel archi- 
tecture of light colored limestone. When we took the 


cars we began to realize that we were on the way home 
and beginning a new chapter of life. A few miles out 
we stopped for some time for a Cleveland train on a track 
which crossed ours at right angles, and on the platform 
a photograph was passed around representing Lincoln on 
Washington's bosom, which we looked at admiringly, 
being desirous that our status should not be known. 
About midnight we reached some town — I think it was 
Zanesville — ^and had to wait an hour or so to take another 
train. In the hotel which we loitered at we were dumb- 
founded by the clerk or barkeeper coming up and saying 
in a low voice, ** Well, our cause is lost." We were taken 
aback by our character being recognized, and equally so 
by this display of sympathy in the center of Ohio, and 
being afraid of a trap, were not responsive. Crossing 
the Ohio River at Wheeling, we passed Oakland, which 
had been our summer resort before the war — ^and has 
been ever since — about 7 or 8 o'clock in the morning and 
so by daylijg^ht went over the old familiar scenery of the 
Baltimore and Ohio Railroad. And so we came home 
to Baltimore — I think it was May 27. Having left home 
on the first of June, 1861, I had been absent four years, 
less four days. 

I found at home the following belated notice: 

To Mr. McHen&y Howard, 

You are hereby notified that you have been this day enroUed by us in the 
Militia Forces of the United States, in the State of Maryland, under the Act of 
Congress of July, 1862, in the Third Enrollment District of Baltimore Coimty 
corresponding to the 3rd Election District of said County, and will hold yourself 
in readiness for any such Military duty as under the Laws and Constitution of 
the United States may be required of you. 

R. S. Williamson, 
John S. Stitcher, 
September the 1862. Enrolling Officers. 


And I was told the circumstances of its service. One ( 
day two men came to the house and after parleying with 
the servant insisted on seeing my mother. They said, 
"Madam, we are enrolling officers and have come to get 
the names of male members of your family — have you 
a husband or sons capable of bearing arms?" She said. 
"Yes, a husband and six sons. "V'our husband, what 
18 his name and where is he?" "Charles Howard, 
he is a prisoner in Fort Warren," "And your eldest 
Bon?" "Frank Key Howard, he is also in prison with 
his father. ' ' "And your next son ?' ' " John Eager 
Howard, he is a captain in the Confederate Army." 
"And the next?" "Charles Howard, he is a major in 
the Confederate Army." "And the next?" "James 
Howard, he is lieutenant-colonel in the Confederate 
Army." "And the next?" "Edward Lloyd Howard, 
he is a surgeon in the Confederate Army." During 
this the men had become more and more flustered and 
faltered out, "And your youngest son?" "McHenry 
Howard, he is also in the Southern Army and with 
Stonewall Jackson and I expect he will be here soon." 
(It was during the invasion of Maryland by Lee and 
Jackson). And she shut the door in their faces. They 
retired to the sidewalk and after holding a consulta- 
tion, filled out the above notice and shoved it under the 

Ukveiling of the Maivl*nd Cokfederate Monukent in Eutaw Place, 
BALiniORE, Mav 3, 1903. Frou a Photoobaph. 


BALTIMORE, MAY 2, 1903. 

The Daughters of the Confederacy, having long had it in their 
hearts to erect a public and lasting memorial of the sons of Mary- 
land who fought on the side of the Confederate States of America, 
now present to the conmiunity their completed work. 

For such a monument they have believed that the time and place 
are fitting. Forty-two years have passed since the people of nearly 
one-half of the coimtry desired peaceably to withdraw from a 
Union which their fathers had had an equal share in founding, and 
believed they were justified in doing so. On the other side was the 
theory of an indissoluble' Union, with the logical right of coercion. 
One of the greatest dvil wars in history ensued. The stronger side 
prevailed. The mighty armies of Blue and Gray were disbanded, 
on one side the victorious legions, leaving behind them garrisons 
in the military districts which were created in the place of once 
equal States, marching back to their imchanged homes in the North 
in triumphal procession through the capital of the country, amid 
plaudits and with decorations and substantial rewards — ^how differ- 
ent on the other side! For weeks and months the roads and by- 
ways of the desolated South, from the Potomac to the Rio Grande, 
were filled with men in faded gray, gaunt from long privation, 
overcome by numbers and resources, but with imconquered minds 
and hearts, carrying with them to their saddened homes only in 
the parting words of their great conunander — ^like a benediction — 
the satisfaction that came from the consciousness of duty faithfully 

"Duty faithfully performed!" They may seem cold terms of 



praise to some who are fond of sounding plirases of rhetoric. But 
this exalted type of a soldier and a man had written years before, 
"Duty is the sublimcst word in our language." He therefore 
measured the Confederate soldier by his own most exacting stand- 
ard of life and he measured him up to its fullest requirement. 
Success or faOure, victory or defeat, have nothing to do with such a 
standard. And, after forty years, the highest conception of this 
monument is that it is a deliberate re-affinnance of the summing up 
of the conduct of the men of 1861-65 in the Farewell Order of 
Appomattox— a monument to duty faithfully performed. 

I have said that the place also is fitting. 

Maryland was not in fact one of the Confederate States, and she 
was not even represented among the thirteen stars of the fl^ under 
which her sons fought in the South. When the disruption came in 
1861 no Southern State was situated like her. Others, from Vir- 
ginia to Texas, large commonwealths, side by side and back to back, 
forming together a soUd section of the country, in their remoteness 
not under a shadow of outside opposition, could, through their 
Legislatures, call their Conventions of the sovereign people and 
deliberately and successively withdraw from the Federal Compact 
with the same solemn formalities with wHich they had entered into 
it — Processional and Recessional. But as long as the great inter- 
vening States of Virginia and North Carolina were in the Union, 
Virginia as late as April 17, 1861, and North Carolina still later, 
Maryland could not possibly have gone out — if down to that time 
it had so desired. North Carolina had refused in February to call 
a Convention even to consider the question of aecesaipn, and only 
reversed its decision in May. Even with her ^ter border States, 
Kentucky and Missouri, the conditions were widely different. 
They were powerful and populous States, covering great ex[>anses 
of territory, and their geographical features, especially Kentucky, 
ranked them naturally with the South. But Maryland was smaU 
in area and population, cut in two by a wide Bay, and its oiJy fron- 
tier line of defence — the Potomac River — was not, like die Ohio, 
between it and the North, but was for military <q>erations a line of 
separation from the South. Moreover, the Capital of Natiooal 
Government was on the very middle of its Southern border and it 


was essential to the integrity of the Union that this should be held 
by the North at any cost. It was obvious, therefore, that the State 
must be kept in the Union, by subjection if necessary. Accord- 
ingly, under the call for 75,000 men to put down the so-called in- 
siurection, the armed forces of the North were organized while 
Virginia was still deliberating in Convention and North Carolina 
was taking no steps to call one, and on the day after the passage of 
the Ordinance of Secession by Virginia, they b^an to pour into and 
across Maryland. Baltimore was soon after garrisoned, followed 
by the arrest of its dvil authorities. The Legislatiure of the State 
was invaded by the military arm of the government at Washington 
and a safe number of its members were thrown into prison to prevent 
the possibility of a call of a Convention of the people or any revo- 
lutionary or obstructive action. The General Assembly had, how- 
ever, before it was so broken up, passed Resolutions defining the 
attitude of the State. In eloquent words, which I wish I had time 
to read, they deprecated the calamities of dvil war, and expressed 
the consent and desire of the State for an inmiediate recognition of 
the Confederacy. They declared that coerdon was unconstitu- 
tional and subversive of the free prindples upon which the Union 
was founded, and that the people of Maryland sympathized with 
their Southern brethren in their resistance. They conduded that, 
imder existing circumstances, it was inexpedient to call a Sovereign 
Convention of the State at that time or to take any measures for 
the inmiediate organization or arming of the militia.^ These Reso- 

' The Resolutions were written by S. Teackle Wallis, who, with other leading 
men of Baltimore had consented to serve in the Legislature in this crisis: 

"Whereas, in the judgment of the General Assembly of Maryland, the war 
now waged by the Government of the United States upon the people of the Con* 
federate States is unconstitutional in its origin, purposes and conduct; repugnant 
to civOization and sound policy; subversive of the free principles upon which the 
Federal Union was founded, and certain to result in the hopdess and bloody 
overthrow of our existing institutions; and 

''Whereas, the people of Maryland, while recogmzing the obligation of theii 
State, as a member of the Union, to submit in good faith to the ezerdse of all the 
legal and constitutional powers of the General Government, and to join as one 
man in fighting its authorized battles, do reverence, neverthdess, the great 
American principle of self-government, and 83rmpathize dcepfy with their 


luUona were the voice of the people of Maryland, speaking through 
their chosen representatives, the only voice that was permitted to 
be heard, and their language and spirit sanction and justify the 
action of her sons who went into the Southern Army and Navy. 

There can be no doubt, there was no doubt at the time and I 
think it has passed into the made up history of that period, that if 
Maryland had had the opportunity of acting through a free Con- 
vention of the people, she would in her turn, after Virginia and 
North Carolina, have joined her sister States of the new Confeder- 
acy. To have done so, situated as she was, in the rapid succession 
of events between the seceding of South Carolina, December ao, 
i860, and the dash of arms in April 1861, when Virginia went out 
and North Carolina prepared to go, would have been both folly and 
futile. After that she was in subjection. To have turned the re- 
sistance to coercion of the 19th of April in the streets of Baltimore 
into a revolutionary movement to carry the State into the Con- 
federacy without the form of law, would not only have lowered the 

Souibcm brethren in their noble and manly dctermiDatioa to uphold and deiend 
the samei and 

"Wkeheas, nol merely on their own account and to turn away from their 
own soil the calamities of ci^il war, but for the blessed sake of humanity, and b) 
avoiJ the aarlon sheddiuK ol fraternal blood in a miserable contest whjdi caji 
bring nothing with it but sorrow, shame and desolation, the people of Muyland 
are enlisted, with their whole hearts, on the side of reconciliation and peace : now, 
therefore it is hereby 

"Ruolted by the General Assembly of Maryland, That the State of Mfiry- 
Und owes it to her own self-respect and her respect for the Constitution, 
not less than to her deepest and most honorable sympathies, to register thi^ 
her solemn protest against the war which the Federal Government has declared 
upon the Confederate States of the South and our sister and neighbor, Virginia, 
and to anitounce her resolute determination to have no part or lot, directly or 
indirectly, in its prosecution. 

"Resolved, That the State of Maryland earnestly and anxiously desires the 
restoration of peace between the belligerent sections of the country, and the 
Presideiit, authorities and people of the Confederate Slates having, over and over 
•gain, officially and unofficially, declared that they seek only peace and self-de- 
fence, and to be let alone, and that they are willing to throw down the sword, 
the instant that the sword now drawn against them shall be sheathed, the 
Senators and Delegates of Maryland do beseech and implore the President of 
the United States to accept the olive branch which is thus held out to him; and 


dignity of the Southern Recessional from the Union, but the attempt 
would have resulted in inunediate suppression and worse subju- 
gation. Neither was such a course desired by the Confederate 
States. I happen to have some personal knowledge that after the 
collision in Baltimore of April 19 Southern leaders from across the 
Potomac sent messages that the Confederate forces were not 
sufficiently organized to come over into Maryland, that any rising 
in the State would precipitate aggressive action on the part of the 
South before it was ready, and that sympathizers in Maryland 
would best serve the cause by patience and quiet. I think I re- 
member that Senator James M. Mason, of Virginia, was one of those 

So then, Maryland being silenced and boimd to the North by 
force, thousands of her sons, believing that they were free to act as 
individuals according to their convictions, voluntarily exiled them- 
selves from home and gave their services to the Confederacy. And 
they believed that they were not only taking up the sacred cause of 
liberty invaded, as their fathers had gone to Massachusetts after 
Lexington, but were in reality fighting the battle of their own State 
as truly as the sons of Virginia or Carolina. Like them, they loved 

in the name of God and huznanity to cease this unholy and most wretched and 
improfitable strife, at least imtil the assembling of Congress in Washington shall 
have given time for the prevalence of cooler and better counsels. 

"Resolved, That the State of Maryland desires the peaceful and imirediate 
recognition of the independence of the Confederate States, and hereby gives her 
cordial assent thereimto as a member of the Union; entertaining the profound 
conviction that the willing return of the Southern people to their former Federal 
relations is a thing beyond hope, and that the attempt to coerce them will only 
add slaughter and hate to its impossibility. 

"Resolved, That the present military occupation of Maryland, being for 
purposes, in the opinion of this Legislature, in flagrant violation of the Consti- 
tution, the General Assembly of the State, in the name of her people, does hereby 
protest against the same, and against the oppressive restrictions and illegalities 
with which it is attended; calling upon all good citizens, at the same time, in the 
most earnest and authoritative manner, to abstain from all violent and unlawful 
interference of every sort with the troops in transit through our territory or 
quartered among us, and patiently and peacefully to leave to time and reason 
the ultimate and certain re-establishment and vindication of the right 

"Resolved, That imder existing drctunstances, it is inexpedient to call a 
Sovereign Convention of the State at this time, or to take any measure for the 
Immediate organization or arming of the mHitia. " 


their State, unlike them, they exiled themselves from it to serve it. 
Some went early, others lingered. I remember, in May i86l, 
Teaclde Wallis being consulted by some who were yet in doubt 
whether it was not their duty to await the further progress of events 
at home, in case the State would need their services in the contin- 
gencies of the future. He was asked what would be the probable 
condition of aflairs in Maryland, and his answer briefly was, " As 
quiet as the grave. " The next day they crossed over to Virginia. 
And I remember also that as this little band was passing on to Rich- 
mond, at West Point a prominent citizen of Virginia* came to them 
and said, "You are Maryianders and I wish to call your attention 
to some stirring verses which I have read in the morning's news- 
paper. I wish I could repeat them, but the refrain is 'Maryland, 
my Maryland.' " 

How many thousands went, there are no statistics to show. 
Maryianders have ever been characterized by a love of independent 
individual action. In the Revolutionary war, to give due credit to 
the State for its contribution in men, yon must go into the history 
of other State military organisations largely made up of her sons. 
And so now, crossing the Potomac from its upper waters to its 
mouth, singly and in squads, under difficulties and dangers, they 
found a welcome everywhere in the South, they went into service 
where accident or inclination led them, and fought under the ban- 
ners of every State from Virginia to Texas. Liable to no conscrip- 
tion, they were volunteers in the war. And I believe it can be 
safely said that in the closing dark days of the Confederacy, the 
time which tested the highest qualities of the soldier and the man, 
there were certainly as few Maryianders — comparatively — ^to leave 
the ranks or lose heart as of any other State. 

But while it is to be r^retted for the due credit of Maryland that 
all her sons in the Army did not get hither into one body bearing 
the name of the State, she was represented, from first to last, by 
separate organizations which bore her Qag, side by side with the 
Southern Cross, and upheld the andent renown of the Maryland 

Ab antiqua stiipe genus novum 

* Judge Jobn S. CaaUe, of RichminxL 


The ist Maryland Regiment of Infantry, under Elzey, Steuart 
and Johnson, took part in the turning movement which decided the 
day at first Manassas. Under Bradley Johnson it fought with 
Stonewall Jackson throughout the Valley Campaign and the Seven 
Days Battles in front of Richmond. The 2d Regiment, its suc- 
cessor, imder Herbert and Goldsborough, carried the Maryland 
Colors a hundred yards inside the works on the heights of Gettys- 
burg. The only Confederate monument on that field stands in the 
enemy's line of breastworks on the brow of Culp's Hill, side by side 
with the monuments of Union regiments, with a smaller stone one 
himdred yards beyond and inside marking the point to which the 
Marylanders penetrated. By a spontaneous charge by privates 
and officers at a critical moment, without waiting for orders, it 
recaptured captured works at Second Cold Harbor, and it shared in 
the defence of Petersburg and Richmond and the battles which were 
a part of it. And finally, the names of a renmant, under Captain 
John Torsch, will go down to history on that among the most honor- 
able of all records — the list of the paroled at Appomattox. 

Of the ist Maryland Cavalry, under Ridgdy Brown and Dorsey, 
I have only time to recall, but it is enough, that it rode and fought 
under Stuart, Fitzhugh Lee and Hampton, and refused even to 
accept Appomattox as final, making its way through the surround- 
ing enemy. Nor can I do more than mention here the 2d Maryland 
Cavalry and its services on the frontier under the lead of Harry 

The batteries, known by the names of the ist Maryland Artillery, 
under Snowden Andrews and afterwards Dement; the 2d Maryland 
Artillery or Baltimore Light, imder Brockenborough and later 
Griffin; the 4th Maryland Artillery, or the Chesapeake, under 
Brown and then Chew; and in the western army the 3d Maryland 
Artillery, under Latrobe and afterwards Claiborne, Rowan and 
Ritter, were certainly among the most efficient in the service. They 
have made their own story in the reports of battles of the war. 

There were other scattered Maryland companies at different 
times — ^Lyle Clarke's in the 21st Virginia, the Lanier Guards in the 
13th Virginia, the Maryland 2k)uaves in the 47th Virginia — all 
infantry — and two Washington companies; and of cavalry there 


were Gaither's Company K in the ist Virginia, Sturgis Davis's 
Company with Imboden, Company B in Colonel Elijah White's 
35th Virginia Battalion, Frank Mason's Company C in the 7th 
Virginia, etc. Of artillery there was the 9th Virginia or Baltimore 
Heavy Artillery, and probably others. There were other com- 
mands in which Marylanders so largely predominated that they 
might properly be claimed as Maryland organizations — such as 
Breathed's Horse ArtiUery, in which they were fully ninety per 
cent, and no command made a more glorious record in the war. 
But all this should be made the subject of a carefully prepared his- 
torical paper. I have not time to go into the details here. 

But all these commands had on their muster rolls only a small 
part of the Marylanders in the Southern Army and Navy. They 
left their homes to fight in a common cause and it did not occur to 
them that it mattered where they fought. They stood shoulder to 
shoulder with the men of Virginia and other States on many a field: 

And so this monument, with the typical figure of the Confederate 
soldier of the ranks, like the monuments to the Unknown Dead, 
stands for thousands whose names can never be gathered into rolls 
of honor and perpetuated as with thdr comrades who are recorded 
in the distinctive Maryland organizations. 

On the other hand, there are bright particular names which must 
come up in our minds on such an occasion as this, and which will be 
read by posterity in every history of the war. A large percentage 
of Marylanders resigned from the Army and Navy of the United 
States and gave their ser%ices to the South. They made greater 
sacrifices than any others. War was their profession in life, but it 
was not as soldiers and sailors of fortune that they went, following 
the trumpet call and the rolling of the drums, but as patriot soldiers 
and sailors, lliey lost everything but honor and glory, of that they 
won much for themselves and for their State. You will bear with 
me if I dwell for a few moments on the services of two or three of 
them. I do so partly in justice to them and because we are proud 
of them, and partly because I think that in thdr characteristics they 



were but high and bright examples of the mass of the men, whether 
officers or privates, to whom this monument is dedicated. 

There was Admiral Franklin Buchanan, the first Commander of 
the Naval School at Annapolis, at the head of the Confederate 
Navy, imder whom the Virginia or Merrimac, a new and untried 
engine of war, with greater audacity than Nelson's at Copenhagen, 
attacked a fleet in Hampton Roads, and in a day revolutionized 
the navies of the world; and who, in the later desperate fortunes of 
the Confederacy, with a still greater audacity for which I find it 
difficult to recall a parallel in naval annals, engaged, with a single 
serviceable vessel, a powerful fleet in Mobile Bay, while the world 
wondered. His name will live forever among the heroes of naval 

There was Charles Sydney Winder, who in the wreck by a hurri- 
cane in the Gulf Stream of the transport San Francisco in 1853-54 
had refused to leave his men on the sinking ship and for his conduct 
had been promoted. He had resigned from the Army as early as 
April I to serve the Confederate cause and was at the fall of Sump- 
ter. Selected in 1862 to conmiand the Stonewall Brigade, under 
him it made its most brilliant record in the Valley and Richmond 
campaign ; and it cheered him after every battle. I hold in my hand 
the order of Jackson on the morning of Winder's death on August 
9, 1862, at Cedar Mountain, detaching a senior brigadier-general 
whose older commission stood in the way and putting Winder in 
conmiand of his own old division, which it seemed he had never 
been willing to entrust to any one before. His commission as 
major-general was about to be made out.' Of him Stonewall Jack- 
son wrote: 

It is difficult within the proper reserve of an official report to do justice to the 
merits of this distinguished officer. Urged by the Medical Director to take no 
part in the movements of the day because of the then enfeebled state of his 
health, his ardent patriotism and military pride could bear no such restraint. 
Richly endowed ¥nth those qualities of mind and person which fit an officer for 
command and which attract the admiration and excite the enthusiasm of troops, 
he was rapidly rising to the front rank of his profession. His loss has been se- 
verely felt. 

* Such was the understanding, and President Jefferson Davis told me so after 
the war. 


He never wrote so about any one ebe. 

And he also wrote in a private letter — to Mrs. Jackson — " I can 
hardly think of the fall of Brigadier-General C. S- Winder without 
tearful eyes." Tears from Stonewall Jackson! Such a tribute to 
B Maryland soldier will outlive even this work of bronze. And 
afterwards, upon some trying occasion on the march or in battle, 
he turned to his staff and said, " Now I miss Winder. " I know that 
if he had not been cut off untimely, not one in the Army of Northern 
Virginia under Lee and Jackson would have risen to higher rank and 

And there was Trimble, veteran in years but with the fire and 
sggresaveness of youth, who was also called to command Jackson's 
old division, and who, like Winder and after the pattern of Jackson 
himself, was one of the few generals who were not content on the 
battlefield to wait for orders, but was always ready to take re- 
sponsibility and act where not restrained by orders. His capture 
of Manassas at night in >S63 after a march of thirty-four miles 
without food, General Jackson pronounced the most brilliant 
achievemeJit that had, to that time, come under his notice during 
the war. Had his urgent advice to the general then in command 
on the field in the first day's engagement been followed, Gettysburg 
might have been a different story. He wished, and was insistent, 
that the enemy should then be pressed and the heights taken, and 
offered to do so himself if a brigade were ^ven him, and in answer 
to the objection that there were no orders from Lee authorizing it, 
he said — and it was the key to his own military character — " But, 
General, you have no orders not to do so. " And he turned away 
in anger and disappointment, refu^ng to stay with that general 
longer. On the third day, being put by Lee in command of half of 
Pender's Division for the memorable charge, he fell maimed, lead- 
ing his men on a line with Pickett's up to the works. At the time 
of his fall and captivity he was heading an assignment by Lee to the 
command of the Valley District, the gateway between South and 
North, with a commis^on to get together at this outpost not only 
the regular Maryland oi^anizations, but the other Marylanden 
scattered throughout the Army, to be formed into one body in the 
name of the State. The plan was carried out in part only the next 


winter by tlie formation ol the Mar^aad Line under Bradley 
Johnson at Hanover Junction, but it was broken up again in the 
(q>ening of the next campaign. 

These and other names on which I have not time to dwell — Elzey, 
Archer, Little, lllghman, Mackall, Semmes, Marshall, the pen of 
Lee, author of the articles of surrender and the Farewell Order, 
Herbert, Andrews, Murray — ^I mention only those who have crossed 
over the river — are recalled by this monument as distinctly as if 
their names were written on it.* 

I have named only the dead among the examples of distinguished 
Marylanders, but there are two, at least, among the liviag whose 
services were of so high an order and who were so closely identified 
with the Maryland commands that it would seem ingratitude to 
pass them by, in their absence today, without allusion. To Colonel 
George H. Steuart, afterwards brigadier-general, the Marylandeis 
were indebted for that high state of organization, drill and discipline 
which he impressed so thorou^ly on the ist Maryland Infantry 
and whidi was handed down in other Maryland commands to the 
end of the war. I have spoken in other places of his services at 
Gettysburg and elsewhere. I speak advisedly in saying that no 
one in the war gave more completely and conscientiously every 
faculty, every energy that was in him to the Southern cause. It is not 
possible here to give even a sketch of the varied career of Br^adier- 
General Bradley T. Johnson. He left the State early, but went as 
short a distance as possible from it, and drew around him at Har- 
per's Ferry the larger part of the ist Maryland Infantry. And his 
face was ever afterwards towards the State and he came back to it 
on every one of the three occasions when Southern Armies invaded 
it. He served the Confederate cause, but above all his devotion 
was to the cause of Maryhind in the Confederacy. Assigned at 
times to other commands, his heart was ever with the Maryland 
soldiers, to whom he turned and who turned to him as a leader. 
President both of the Society of Army and Navy of the Confed- 

'InStonewall Jackson's Valley Campiign in 1863 out of the seven infantiy 
brigade commanden under him, four, viz: Brigadier-Generals Winder, Trimble, 
Arndd Elzey and George H. Steaart were Marylanders. 


erate States and of the Assodadon of the Maryland Line, only 
sickness makes us miss his presence here today. 

There come up in my mind, and I know in yours, instances with- 
out number of subordinate officers and privates in the ranks who in 
their humbler stations acted their part as conscientiously as the 
highest — examples of which this product of the artist's genius is but 
an idealized representation. I think of one whose article of faith, 
like Lee's, was that duty was to be followed out no matter to what 
it led; who said to a friend on leaving Staunton with an unhealed 
wound for the front in 1864, that he did not expect to return alive; 
that the Confederates were so hard pressed he thought evcrj' officer 
was called on to expose himself as an example to the men to an ex- 
tent that would not be proper under other circumstances. He 
went, and in a few days George Williamson, although on Gordon's 
Staff, fell dead on the skirmish tine at Fisher's Hill. I remember 
another, who, when his general on July 3, 1863, within the enemy's 
lines at Gettysburg, called for volunteers to go back across a tield 
raked by shot and shell for needed ammunition, prevented a re- 
sponse and said, " General, do not call for volunteers while you have 
a staS officer whose duty it is to do such things. I will go and get 
the ammunition." He went and came back, and, thank God, is 
here with us today.* 

Such deeds, which to the actors are but the simple discharge of 
duty, the world calls heroism and honors by public monimients. 

It has been well said— and the suggestion will bear fruit — that 
there is one monimient yet to be raised in the South— to the Con- 
federate women; although every Southern monument, like this, is 
a memorial of them also, for they are all, largely, the work of their 
hands. History will record, as in the annais of no other war, their 
constancy under privations, anxieties and distresses at home, their 
ministrations and encouragements to their husbands, sons and 
brothers in the field, and in the long, bitter years of reconstruction, 
which to the South were a prolongation of the worst miseries of the 
war. Hardest of all to bear, and they bore it with an unconquered 
^irit under harsh repression, was the lot of the Southern women 

' Reverend Riuidolph H. McKim. 


of Maryland during the four years. I am persuaded that among 
other inspirations there was an added inspiration to thousands in 
Northern prison camps and hospitals to whom the lines of the Mary- 
land State prisoner* in Fort Warren were addressed: 

Will ye not think as ye wave your glad banners, 

How the flag of old Maryland, trodden in shame, 
Lies, sullied and torn, in the dust of her highways, 

And will ye not strike a fresh blow in her name? 
Her mothers have sent their first born to be with you. 

Wherever with blood there were fields to be won. 
Her dau^lers have wept for you, nursed you and dad you. 

Their hopes and their vows and their smiles are your own. 

Let her cause be your caus^— 

I have here two or three of a series of a hundred letters written 
by a Southern woman,^ now with God, from Baltimore in 1861 and 
1862. They are the best illustration of the feelings and the spirit 
of the women of Maryland and how they occupied themselves in 
doing what they could for the cause. I am sure they would bring 
up the past better than anything to the survivors of those women 
here today. I will read only a few extracts; some day they may be 
material in writing the story of those times. They were to her 
husband, arbitrarily held, with others, for fifteen months a "pris- 
oner of State "^ — not far from Plymouth Rock and Faneuil Hall. 

You are nobly doing your duties there and will have the respect of all whose 
respect is worth anjrthing. You carry your reward in your own bosoms — and 
nothing can deprive you of it. I sit and fancy (what I am sure we will realize) 
a better country for us all to live in, where the principles for which you are con- 
tending will be worth something to every one, and we shall be happy in the full 
enjoyment of them. 

The papers talk as if property was to be confiscated if the oath of allegiance 
is not taken, and all such things. I had rather see you driving a dray through 

• Severn Teackle Wallis, "To the Exchanged Prisoners, " July 31st, 1862. 

^ Elizabeth Phoebe Key Howard, daughter of Francis Scott Key, author of 
"The Star Spangled Banner, " and wife of Charles Howard, son of Colonel John 
Eager Howard, to whom Congress voted one of its only eleven military medals 
jiven in the Revolutionary War. Was it not natural that with such inspirations 
and associations he staid in prison until unconditionally released? 

' In Fort Warren, Boston Harbor. 


these 3treels Iban waking about them rclea^ from tliat prison on my imposed 
conditions whatever. .... This, of course, I know you never will allow, 
but they may have you umoycd by asking you to make some conditions that 
may seem liifling and you might think that we would expect you for our sakes 
to make same trilling sacrifices. I assure you not one of us desires or could bear 
to think of it, 

I am tempted to read from another, written in a lighter mood. 
Like Richard III before another Richmond, it raises the flap of the 
tent of McClellan on the Peninsula in 1862: 

I heard lately why Genera] AlcClcllan left the Peninsula, lie said he was 
surrounded by four swamps and the frogs were constantly saying, Bull Run, Bull 
Run, Bull Run, Big Bethel, Big Bethel. Big Bethel. BaD's Bluff, Ball's Blufl, 
Ball's Biuil, and then the !iti!e froga took it up. Skedaddle, Skedaddle, Ske- 
daddle, all the time, and he could not stand it. 

This, of twenty-four pages, is the story of a visit of ministration 
to the Confederate wounded after Antielam, and this, of fourteen 
pages, of taking succor to the wounded and burying dead at Gettys- 
burg. But I will only read from one of the many letters telling of 
the untiring work of feeding and clothing the prisoners and caring 
for the sick and wounded. 

Thae wn a full mqiply quickly provided and sent to cbem [the piisanen fran 

Kenistown]. 15000 was also collected to supply their wants, I hear 

As Mrs. Murdoch and myself were buying pies and cakes for them a poor girl was 
standing in the shop by my side, and hearing us say what we were doing, she 
touched me on the arm and placed a ten-cent piece and two cents in my hand 
saying, with so much feeUng that she could scarcely speak, "Buy something 
with this for them, won't you?" With such hands and hearts, do you think it 
could take long to get up a dinner for hungry men? The giri looked very poor. 
I had noticed her little money tied up in a comerof a handkerchief, and how she 
looked at pies and cakes and only bought a loaf of bread. God bless her. 

It has been the theory of many Northern writers, and more poli- 
ticians, that what they are fond of calling the great crime of 1861 — 
when certain stars shot from their spheres — was the masterful act 
of a ruling class of society, and some have even professed to believe 
that it was a plot, deliberately conceived and carried out by some 
political leaders. Not so. It was an uprising of the whole people, 
high and low, rich and poor, men and women, carrying their leaders 


along with them — leaders still but not masters. This is conchi- 
aively shown, if the story of the war did not show it, by the attitude 
of the whole Southern people in the almost half century ^ce, 
standing tc^ther as the Solid South, holding their Memorial Days 
and building their mcmuments all over the land to the soldiers who 
were the representatives in arms of the people's sentimeats. 

There is one feature in the making of this Maryland Monument 
which must not pass unnoticed. When the war ended and her sons 
came back to thdr homes, thousands of sons and daughters of other 
Southern States, esa^iing from the persecution of Reconstruction, 
came with them and after them into the old Land of the Sanctu- 
ary.* Here they brought thdr disappointed but not extinguished 
hopes, their abiding faith in American institutions, thdr disciplined 
energies, their characters purified and eimobled by four years 
sacrifices. No community in all hist«y ever gained such a valuable 
accession. Children of Maryland by adoption, they have been 
among the foremost in this work. Therefore, this Monument to 
the Maryland men is not only one by the native daughters of the 
State, but is also a tribute to them by representatives of all the 

So then, in these last days of the generation of the actors in the 
war, with feelings, if softened, yet strengthened and deepened after 
half a century of retrospection, in the presence of the Civil Authori- 
ties of the City, of Patriotic Societies, and of the community,, 
the Southern women have placed in the streets of Baltimore this- 
Monument to the Maryland Confederates. A few more years and 
It will have been finally committed to posterity. In the ages to 
come men and women will pass by and will gather around it. Some 
will say, "It is a worthy tribute from noble women to brave men. 
Both were tried and true In a time of great tribulation and they 
came out of it as from a refiner's fire. Obloquy has failed to touch 
them and this Monument is In accord with history in preserving 
their memory from the oblivion of common things." 

Others will say, "We have come from yonder Monument at the 
other end of this Avenue"* and from the other patriotic Monuments. 

• Mai^«nd wu 10 called in the eariy days of the Colony. 

>* To the Mi^uid soldlen and uDon in the RevolutiOD&iy war. 


The men of 1776 fought together for liberty and principles of gov- 
ernment laid down in the Declaration of Independence and em- 
bodied in the Constitution of the American Union. The men of 
1861 were of a divided household. 'Many drew swords and died. ' 
Those who are here commemorated believed that whether under 
that Federal Compact or in greater rights which lay back of it and 
outside of it, they were justified in withdrawing as their fathers had 
entered. History is yet debating this and that abstract theory of 
the Constitution. North and South are finally content to differ 
about the sufficiency of the causes of the great war between the 
States. But these men were willing to die for the faith that was in 
them at Gettysburg and on other fields as their fathers sacrificed 
themselves at Long Island and at Camden. Their Valley Forge 
was a four years endurance. They increased the fame of the Mary- 
land soldier and sailor, and it is meet that there be amonimientto 
them also on the soil of their native State — of 'Maryland, our 
Maryland.' " 

And there will be others: They will say, ''We are the sons and 
the daughters of the men to whom this Moniunent is consecrated 
and of the women who were its consecrators. Like themselves, we 
have no weak repentance for what they did and wherein they 
failed, and men of right minds have long ago ceased to expect or 
desire such an abasement. What might have been the altered 
future if they had succeeded in arms is a page of history never 
turned and there is no profit in speculation about it. The dove 
with the olive branch has long ago returned to the ark of the cove- 
nant in token that the angry waters of the flood have subsided. 
But these men took their side with the Southern people who con- 
tended for great principles of government as they had received 
them from their fathers, and who, when the sword was sheathed and 
after the miserable failure of mis-construction, themselves, unaided, 
reconstructed their States in the American Union. We cherish 
their memory and are proud to be descended from them.'* 

In the latter days of the Confederacy it happened that a raiding 
hostile Army passed by the home and the grave of Stonewall Jack- 
son. Many turned aside to the resting place of the hero, marked 
then by a simple flag staff, and carried away bits of wood and other 



mementoes. Qow behmd came the punuiiig Confederates. As 
they went l^, a soldier ran oat fnnn the ranks and stood for some 
time in the attitude of [Kcsenting arms at the grave of his great 

So in the years to come, when this Monument shall be standing 
for a past generation, many will come in love and reverence for the 
men who wore the gray, — all "whose req>ect is worth having" with 
respect and honor. 





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