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INTRODUCTION AND NOTES
WILLIAM K. BOYD
TRINITY COLLEGE HISTORICAL SOCIETY
No military conflict has ever been the theme of so many memoirs by its participators as the American Civil War. The narratives of Sherman and Johnston, McClellan and Longstreet, Grant and Hood, Schofield and Mosby, and of other leading generals are but the vanguard of an almost endless amount of similar testimony. Indeed it seems that the cherished desire of well-nigh every patriot engaged, if he had the gift of self-expression, has been to give to posterity an account of his part in our great national tragedy, and as the ties of mortal life weaken, this desire becomes stronger. Hence as the number of survivors diminishes, the number of memoirists increases, so that during the past decade the publication of personal accounts of the Civil War seems to rival that of the earlier years just after the conflict when the memory of all readers was full of military recollections.
It is therefore eminently fitting that the Reminiscences of General William R. Boggs should be given to the public. Their value well merits the attention of all interested in Confederate military history. By taste and training General Boggs was a soldier, having graduated with high honors from West Point. His military activity under the Confederacy was entirely in fields which popular interest too often neglects, the erection of fortifications on the coast and the Confederate operations in Kentucky and the southwest. Even
more important is the fact that he wrote for the information of his children, not for the public, his manuscript being prepared in 1891. His criticisms are therefore those of a professional soldier, stated most frankly and without reservation, concerning Confederate operations too often overshadowed in the memory of Southerners by the glories of the Virginia battlefields.
The ancestors of William Robertson Boggs were distinguished in both civil and military affairs. His maternal great-grandfather was "Scotch Billy" Robertson of Chesterfield County, Virginia, who served in the colonial wars. The next in line, John Robertson, likewise served the colony and his son, William Robertson (1786-1859) removed from Virginia to Abbeville, South Carolina, served in the South Carolina militia during the Second War with Great Britain, and afterwards became surveyor, then Superintendent, of the South Carolina Railroad, and also manager of a line of steamboats on the Savannah River. His wife was Pamela Moseley, daughter of Joseph Moseley, who had migrated from Virginia to South Carolina contemporaneously with the Robertsons. Their daughter, Mary Ann, married Archibald Boggs, a merchant of Augusta, Georgia. To them were born nine children. Of these seven survived infancy. Three sons, William Robertson, Robert, and Archibald, served in the Confederate army. Of the four daughters two remained single and two married brothers of the Butt family; one, Pamela Robertson, became the wife of Joshua Willing Butt, one of their sons being Major Archie
Butt, who lost his life in the Titantic disaster of April, 1912; the other, Catherine Joyner, married J. D. Butt, who served in W. H. T. Walker's Brigade of Georgia troops.
William Robertson, the oldest of the above named children, was born at Augusta, March 18,1829. Comparatively little is known of his early youth, but his training and associations awakened talents quite in keeping with those of his ancestors. His preparatory education was secured at the old Augusta Academy. To the memory of its rector, William Ernenputsch, he paid the following tribute; "What a kind old teacher he was, a German of a small stature, and small frame, but a large head, and big heart. He used to punish sharply and severely, but not cruelly. There was not a boy in that school who would not have fought for him."
Very early his interest in science was awakened. Once he heard a lecture on the impossibility of applying steam navigation to the ocean; at another time he saw the principle of "galvanism" illustrated with a small battery, but the impracticability of its use for industrial purposes on account of the high cost of mercury was pointed out. Once he and his playmates gave his great-grandfather, Joseph Moseley, an account of a steamboat they had seen on the Savannah River. According to tradition the old gentleman listened politely, then gave each narrator a sound thrashing for trying to impose on his credulity. Later when Mr. Moseley himself saw a steam boat at Augusta he gave each of the boys five dollars in gold as recompense for the chastisement.
Young Boggs' summers were spent at the Sand Hills, now Summerville, South Carolina, then as now a resort. There an interest in military life was aroused by visits to the army post located near by. Born with traditions of fighting and engineering, with a latent interest in science and military affairs awakened, it was natural for him to find his way to the leading scientific as well as the best military school of the time, the United States Military Academy at West Point. He entered as a cadet from Georgia in July, 1849 at the age of twenty and graduated four years later among the first five of his class.
Among the students at the Academy at that time were many who later gained distinction in both the Union and Confederate armies. Among Boggs' classmates were John B. McPherson, Philip H. Sheridan and John M. Schofield, later Union generals, and John B. Hood of the Confederate service. Cadet Boggs ranked high in his class and in the entire student body. At the end of his first year he was tenth in scholarship in a class of seventy-four, second in conduct among the entire 221 cadets enrolled. At the close of the second year he was second among his classmates in point of scholarship, being surpassed only by McPherson, and in conduct tenth in the entire academy. The third year found his scholarly standing unchanged, but his rank in conduct ninth. At graduation in 1853 his rank in scholarship had dropped to fourth, that in conduct had risen to third.
Traditions of his student life at West Point centre around artistic rather than military tastes. In 1851
while Boggs was on adjutant duty a new cadet entered. His name was James McNeill Whistler. Boggs was at once interested in the new matriculate because the lad's father had attained distinction as an engineer. Whistler soon formed the habit of visiting the adjutant's office; frequently he spent the time in sketching scenes described in books or suggested by life at the academy. Boggs preserved three drawings illustrative of West Point, two suggested by characters in Dickens, and one representing Russian soldiers. In 1852 through Boggs' influence a drawing of Whistler's - the wood cut also being carved by Whistler - was used to decorate the dance cards for the academy ball. These are probably the earliest existing products of Whistler's art. 1
Boggs' talents were evidently for the scientific problems of military service. On graduation he was made Brevet-Second Lieutenant, was assigned to the Topographical Bureau, and spent some time in the office of the Pacific Railroad Surveys. In 1854 he was transferred to the Ordnance Corps and was made assistant at the Watervliet Arsenal, Troy, New York. In December of the same year he became Second Lieutenant and in 1856 he was promoted to the rank of First Lieutenant. While at Watervliet Arsenal he married Mary Sophia, daughter of Col. John Symington, the commandant, the date of their marriage being December 19, 1855. In 1857 he was transferred to the Louisiana Arsenal at Baton Rouge, Louisiana; in 1859 he became inspector of Ordnance at Point Isobel, Texas,
and on December 14 took part in an engagement with Cortino's Mexican Marauders near Fort Brown, for which he was given honorable mention by General Scott. Soon after, he was transferred to the Alleghany Arsenal at Pittsburg, to which Col. Symington had also been assigned. Evidently the service that opened before Lieutenant Boggs in the Army of the United States was that of scientific expert rather than the command of troops.
In 1861 the choice of fighting with or against his native state was forced upon him. He did not believe in the wisdom of secession, but like many of his countrymen he cast his destiny with the South, resigning from the United States Army the very day that the Georgia Convention adopted an ordinance of secession. Altogether twenty-two relatives by blood or marriage entered the Confederate armies. His father-in-law, however, having been born in Delaware, having been appointed to the Academy from Maryland, and having spent thirty-five years in the Army, remained in the United States service. Yet friendship and interest in his son-in-law were not interrupted. On Jan. 31, 1861, he wrote, - "So my dear Boggs, the deed is done so far as your resignation is concerned, and we must look into the future with hope that this change may eventuate to your full satisfaction and prosperity. You are of the right stuff and I have every confidence that, from your energy, perseverance and upright honesty you will succeed in any object you may give your attention to."
The nature of Boggs' service in the Confederacy
was similar to that in the Army of the United States, that of an engineer and ordnance officer. He was always on staff duty and was never given the command of troops. His criticisms of military operations therefore suggest the observer rather than the leader of men. This characteristic, together with his scientific training and utter frankness, give a distinct value to his account of the three operations in which he was active, perfecting fortifications and supplies in 1861, Kirby Smith's invasion of Kentucky in 1862, and Kirby Smith's administration west of the Mississippi from 1863 to 1865.
When Lieutenant Boggs resigned from the Army of the United States, he tendered his services to the State of Georgia and was immediately appointed to the staff of Governor Brown. He was soon entrusted with the duty of purchasing supplies for his native State.
At his suggestion it was determined to send an agent to Europe to procure an outfit for the manufacture of small arms, while Boggs himself was to place orders for heavy ordnance in Richmond. T. Butler King was ordered to Europe but he postponed his departure in order to carry orders for the Confederate government just being organized. The delay was fatal and Georgia never secured from Europe its much needed machinery. Boggs, however, went to Richmond, carrying with him the latest designs for guns that had been worked out in Union arsenals, and placed large orders for the State of Georgia. He also superintended the conversion of the State Penitentiary into a foundry.
Soon he was transferred to the Confederate service, going first to Charleston where he assisted Beauregard in preparing its defenses for war. In April he was sent to Pensacola to assist General Bragg in erecting defenses. He found the first urgent need to be supplies for the troops. To meet it he spent $40,000 which had been entrusted to his use. A second problem was the rearrangement of the defenses. To this end Boggs removed the barbette guns from the forts and placed them along the bluffs overlooking the harbor and along the beach, and erected a concealed battery south of Fort McRee. With these arrangements completed, it was the intention to attact Fort Pickens, which was held by the Federals. The plan was frustrated by the credulity of Bragg, who allowed Lieutenant Worden, of the United States Army, to cross from Pensacola to the Federal fleet. Immediately Fort Pickens was strongly reinforced. The effectiveness of the Confederate defenses was also impaired by the arbitrary action of Bragg. While Boggs was temporarily absent he placed a battery of casement guns in the open, south of Fort McRee. These, having about one-half the range of the barbette guns, were ineffective during the Federal bombardment and Fort McRee was silenced. But the Federal men-of-war, the Niagara and the Richmond, as they reached the shore were forced to retire by Boggs' concealed battery. "It was sometime in the afternoon," says Boggs, "when I observed them swing around head on, and saw them move slowly up to a new position. Having no other means after they had taken up their new
position and commenced firing, I got their distance by sight and sound. My first shot, afterwards so reported, passed between the masts of the Richmond and the second one hulled the ship so effectively as to disable her. When some of her timbers floated ashore next day my Georgians claimed them, and Bragg endorsed their claim."2
Inefficiency and lack of judgment were not the only weak points in the military policy of the Confederacy. While at Pensacola Boggs saw places of high rank in the Army given to civilians while young officers like himself failed to get promotion. Bragg, on behalf of the officers under him, complained of the discrimination but the most he could secure for Boggs was a nominal appointment in 1862 as Superintendent of the Louisiana State Seminary, a military school. However, the relations between Boggs and Bragg became cool; an estrangement gradually developed, with the result that Boggs resigned from the service of the Confederate States and re-entered that of the State of Georgia.
Again, Boggs' assignment was to engineering work, being made Chief Engineer with the rank of Colonel by Gov. Brown. He was sent to Savannah in March, 1862, to aid in erecting fortifications. Again the impression he received was one of inefficiency and lack of foresight on the part of those in authority. He urged the necessity of fortifying the islands on the South Carolina side of the Savannah River. The Confederate commander did not think it possible to stand on these,
much less to occupy them, and that a gun would sink out of sight, and seemed to rely upon some torpedoes that Captain Ives had placed there to keep the gunboats from coming into Wall's Cut and getting between us and Fort Pulaski. "There were some of us who had very little confidence in Ives' loyalty and the fact that Ives had been seen at work down the river caused us still more anxiety... One morning we found the Federal gunboats in Wall's Cut on the Carolina side, in which Ives' torpedoes were supposed to be. They, with the boats already in the St. Augustine's Creek, on our side, cut off all communication by water with Fort Pulaski . . . General W. H. T. Walker was very indignant; he proposed a plan for the capture of the gunboats, offered to take all the responsibility, and make the necessary preparations, and attack with his own Brigade. Had his plan been promptly accepted, it would, in my opinion, have been successful. But it was taken into consideration. Before the consideration was concluded those islands on which a man could not stand were covered with tents and troops; and those estuaries which had been filled with torpedoes, were full of gunboats." 3
In recognition of Boggs' work at Savannah one of the forts was named for him. Today its site is occupied by a fertilizer factory. From Savannah he was sent to the interior of Georgia to erect fortifications along the upper Appalachicola to protect cotton plantations from raids by federal gun boats. His mission was not effective because the civil authorities failed
to co-operate. In August 1862, he was again in the service of the Confederate States because Kirby Smith had asked aid of Governor Brown in his impending invasion of Kentucky, and Brown's reply was to send Boggs and some artillery harness to Knoxville.
The campaign that followed forms a new chapter in the experience of Colonel Boggs. Hitherto he had been engaged in fortification; now as a member of Kirby Smith's staff he was in close touch with an aggressive military movement. Indeed the invasion of Kentucky was one of the most brilliant, as well as one of the most disastrous, of the early Confederate campaigns. Kirby Smith crossed the Cumberland mountains from Knoxville, while Bragg advanced from Chattanooga northward across Tennessee, crossing into Kentucky by way of Gainesville. With their armies united they hoped to win Kentucky for the Confederacy and to force Buell beyond the Ohio. Kirby Smith was first on the scene of operations. By August 30 he reached Richmond, Kentucky, and drove back the enemy. How narrow was the margin between victory and defeat is well described by Boggs. During the afternoon General William Nelson, commander-in-chief of the Union forces in Kentucky, personally took the leadership and formed a new line of battle south of Richmond. "This was so unexpected," said Boggs, "that General Kirby Smith and myself, riding leisurely up the road in advance of the army, came within short range before we were aware of it. Seeing an officer gallop down the road and hearing him command to 'bring on the cavalry,' I rode close up to and alongside
the fence, expecting them to come up with a rush, and saw our victory turned into rout. Had they come Sheridan's charge at Winchester would have been a duplicate. They did not come and we had time to get out of the road and form line; then a single charge of the infantry, before the artillery could be brought into action, drove them through Richmond."4
From Richmond the victorious Confederates pressed on toward Lexington. Boggs, with a band of infantry and cavalrymen, marched before the regular army. When the outskirts of Lexington were reached, he rode back to camp and found everything in confusion. "A sudden halt had been ordered, the advance drawn back to where I found it, all the wagons were being unloaded and sent back to bring Heth's division. A herald was being gotten ready to summon the Federal commander at the sound of a midnight bugle to evacuate Lexington or come outside of it and fight. It looked very much like a panic. There was no answer to the bugle and the herald rode into town without being questioned. The Federal commander, Gilbert, had also been seized with an uncertainty, and while we were preparing the herald he was making hot haste in another direction. We now found out that, if we had followed the Federals up closely we could have gone into Lexington the night before and have captured valuable supplies."5
The tide of success now changed. Instead of advancing on Cincinnati Kirby Smith awaited orders from General Bragg, his superior. Bragg's advance
had been delayed for various reasons so that Buell outreached him in the race for Louisville. He now ordered Kirby Smith to fall back to Frankfort and participate in the inauguration of Richard Hawes as Confederate Governor. Bragg, leaving his army at Bardstown, arrived at Frankfort in due time. The ceremony took place on October 4, 1862, but in the afternoon news came that Buell was advancing from Louisville. Believing that the movement was directed against Frankfort, Kirby Smith retired to Versailles and Bragg rejoined his army which advanced to Harrodsburg. Boggs' narrative of the events of the day well illustrate the confusion and the uncertainty of the Confederate commanders. 6
During the Kentucky campaign Col. Boggs won the confidence of his superiors and on General Kirby Smith's recommendation he was promoted to the rank of Brigadier General and became Chief of Staff under him in the Trans-Mississippi Department in the spring of 1863. The task in the Southwest was complicated and difficult. Grant was besieging Vicksburg, and Banks threatened an invasion from New Orleans. There was need of co-operative organization of army posts in Louisiana, Texas, and Arkansas, while the heavy production of cotton raised the question of its disposal beyond the lines of the army. Unfortunately there was a distinct lack of unity in the councils of the Confederate leaders. Broadly speaking the cleavage was between Kirby Smith and his subordinates, especially Richard Taylor; later Governor Allen and Kirby
Smith were at cross purposes. 7 Charges of inefficiency, favoritism and secret influences were prevalent. The whole story of the situation has never been revealed.
General Boggs soon found himself out of sympathy with the two active military plans of Kirby Smith. First of these was the demonstration against the Federal lines around Vicksburg, which was then besieged by Grant. This was entrusted to General Holmes of the District of Arkansas but his attack on Helena, made early in July, was too late to change the fate of the city. The other military purpose, to prevent the conquest of western Louisiana and Texas, was accomplished, not, however, without a conflict of wills among Confederate generals. The Federals took the aggressive and inaugurated two movements in the spring of 1864, an invasion by Banks from New Orleans and one from Little Rock by Steele. Believing that Banks was the weaker of the two generals Kirby Smith decided to engage him first and gave that part of the defense to General Richard Taylor, whose headquarters were in southern Louisiana. General Price, who succeeded Holmes in Arkansas, was ordered to forward to Taylor all his infantry and artillery, keeping only his cavalry to harass the advance of Steele. However, these reinforcements were halted at Kirby Smith's headquarters at Shreveport and it was planned for Taylor to harass, not engage, Banks. The cause of this change of plans, according to Boggs, was the influence of Dr. Sol Smith, Surgeon to Kirby Smith. "The animus of change was that Doctor Smith
disliked General Taylor as much as he liked General Smith; Taylor was to harass Banks up to the last moment, and then General Smith was to move down with additional troops, take command, and carry off the glory of the pitched battle." 8 Kirby Smith's orders reached Taylor too late to prevent him from turning and defeating Banks first at Mansfield, then at Pleasant Hill. These victories presented another problem; should Banks be pursued and New Orleans possibly be attacked, or should attention be given to Steele? Taylor of course advised the former course, but Kirby Smith chose the latter. However, Steele, when he heard of the defeat of Banks, gave up his invasion and fell back to Little Rock.
An estrangement developed between the commanding general and his chief-of-staff soon after the Banks-Taylor campaign. Dr. Sol Smith supplanted Boggs in the councils of Kirby Smith. Boggs resigned and was for a short time commander of the District of Louisiana. He was soon superseded by General Harry Hays. He then returned to Shreveport. Early in 1865 he enlisted in an expedition to enter military service in Mexico. Finding that the purpose of its leaders was to fight for Maximilian, rather than Juarez, he withdrew his name. With the collapse of the Confederate armies in the East, Kirby Smith moved his headquarters to Houston, Texas. The surrender of his army was made by his subordinates, in which General Boggs participated, the parole of Boggs being dated June 9, 1865.
Such was the course of General Boggs' service in the war and such were the impressions made upon him by the military policy of the Confederacy. His unreserved frankness, together with his military training, give his words great weight. No one can read them without being impressed with the inefficiency of the Confederate preparations for the war, the inexcusable failure of the Kentucky campaign of 1862, and the friction among the Confederate generals. If it had not been for the genius of Lee's defense of Virginia, how much earlier might the conflict have ended!
After the close of hostilities General Boggs engaged in the profession of engineering, participating to a great extent in railroad construction in the west. In 1875 he was appointed Professor of Mechanics in the Virginia Polytechnic Institute at Blacksburg, a position he held until a reorganization of the Faculty in 1881. Writes one of his colleagues: "He was highly valued by his associates as a man of force and culture; was esteemed by the student body as an attractive and honest teacher; by the people of the community as an upright, genial, agreeable gentleman. Politics was alone responsible for his removal." The later years of his life were spent in Winston-Salem, N. C., where he died September 11, 1911, at the age of eighty-two.
As previously stated, General Boggs married in 1854 Mary Sophia, daughter of Col. John Symington and Elizabeth McCaw Johnston Symington. To them were born five children: William R., Jr., a mining engineer, who was murdered in Mexico in 1907; Elizabeth McCaw, John Symington, Edith Allston (deceased),
and Henry Patterson. To the second of these, Mrs. Elizabeth Boggs Taylor, of Winston-Salem, the Historical Society of Trinity College is indebted for the permission to publish these Reminiscences. This introduction may well close with the lines to General Boggs, written by his grandson, Henry Porterfield Taylor:
Fight on, O Soul, keep in the fight
And ever strive thee for the right;
Fight on through all the gloomy night.
Fight on, fight on
Till break of dawn,
When Death, thy friend, will set thee free.
And take thee o'er the stormy sea
To that fair land
Where strife's no more,
But with sword drawn
Light points the way
To glorious day;
Fight on, O Soul, fight on.
WM. K. BOYD.
Trinity College, Durham,
June 12, 1913
PURCHASE of ARMS: DEFENSES AT CHARLESTON - THE CONFEDERATE ORDNANCE BUREAU - OPERATIONS AT PENSACOLA - CRITICISM OF CONFEDERATE MILITARY APPOINTMENTS.
In 1860 I was an officer of the United States Army, detailed on special duty at the Fort Pitt Foundry at Pittsburg, Pennsylvania, to superintend the manufacture of the new pattern eight and ten-inch Rodman Guns, under the new Rodman process. I was delightfully situated, proud of my profession and not a secessionist.
The Presidential election of that year was most bitterly partisan; and with election of Mr. Lincoln, I could not see how an intestine war was to be avoided. I was afterwards very much surprised to find that Mr. Davis and his Cabinet had thought that the Southern States would be permitted to withdraw from the union peaceably. I believed then as I do now, that men who held such opinions were unfit to direct our affairs. I believed then as I do now, that an active, determined, and unhesitating policy would have brought about an early and honorable settlement.
But, let me make a fresh start. The Georgia Legislature had, at its session just previous to the election,
created the office of Adjutant General and elected Major Harry Wayne to fill the office. It had also appropriated money to purchase heavy Ordnance and other war material, and had selected Colonel W. J. Hardee, of the U. S. Army, and a native Georgian, to make the purchases. By a strange fatality he made his contract for the heavy guns with the Fort Pitt Foundry. The proprietor took the contract, remarking that if Georgia should not want the guns or there should be any difficulty about delivery, the United States would take them. The United States took them. Had the contract been given to almost any other foundry, especially Anderson's at Richmond, Georgia would have got her guns. It is a singular fact that nearly all the heavy ordnance intended for the Southern seacoast were on skids in Northern Arsenals.
In casting the first fifteen-inch Rodman gun, the Fort Pitt Foundry had, for the want of room, taken the risk of altering one of their furnaces in a manner contrary to all accepted rules. The alteration proved a marvelous success. So soon as Mr. Lincoln's election was assured, I made a very careful drawing of this furnace; I also made drawings of the latest bullet press and other machines and models that I thought would soon be needed down South. When I went I took them with me; but as the New Government proposed to live in peace and harmony with all mankind, especially the Yanks, my labors were cast aside.
On the morning after the election a young man, Nicholas Wade by name, boasted that he had voted for Mr. Lincoln for the sole purpose of seeing what the South was going to do about it. I remarked that "if
he stood by his vote, he and I would soon be shooting at each other." There were two other young men, Metcalfs by name, very whole-soured and liberal in their views, who remarked that "if we were forced into a war by politicians, they would take no part in it." I told them they would have to; for that in the beginning their bar-room bullies, roughs, toughs, and gutter-snipes would rush into their army to have a good time, that we had no such characters or but few in the South, and furnishing soldiers with higher motives and principles, we would whip them so badly that for the honor of their section they would have to go. I heard of the Metcalfs and others, who did not vote for Mr. Lincoln, in order to see what the South was going to do about it, being in the Federal Army; but never of Mr. Wade or men of his like, North or South.
When a Convention of the people of Georgia was called to consider their relations with the Federal Government, I obtained a leave of absence for thirty days and went home to Georgia. On the day that the State, in Convention assembled, voted the State no longer a member of the Union, I resigned my commission in the United States Army.
At the request of the Governor I went to Milledgeville for consultation. One of my first suggestions was that he send some trusty person to Europe for the express and sole purpose of purchasing an outfit for the manufacture of small arms; that if this was done at once, it could be brought in before a blockade was established. Mr. King, T. Butler King I think, was written to and accepted. It was arranged that I, with a master armorer, should meet him in Philadelphia,
I lost some time waiting but he never came. On my return to Milledgeville I suggested to the Governor that Mr. King was probably waiting the formation of the Confederate Government so that he might act for both. Such proved to be the case and we got no armory. My meeting Mr. King in Philadelphia was in connection with other duties, I having received authority from the Governor to purchase war material wherever I could find it.1 I will say, just here, that I, on behalf of the State of Georgia, purchased and ordered manufactured more war material than all the other seceding States put together, or than was provided for by the Confederate Congress. I now busied myself converting the State Penitentiary into an arsenal of construction. It was while so engaged that the Confederate Government was formed and Beauregard made a Brigadier-General and sent to Charleston.
It had been expected that on Beauregard's arrival the bombardment of Fort Sumter would begin. But his inspections and a few shots to the seaward satisfied him that something was wrong. W. H. C. Whiting, recently of the engineer corps, and I, of the Ordnance, being the nearest available officers, he asked Governor Brown to send us to him for a short time. At the General's request we made a thorough examination.
At Fort Moultrie, the small but important omission of putting the swinging props under the trails of the gun carriages had caused the guns to dismount themselves when fired with shot. Anderson no doubt removed
these props before he abandoned the Fort. Their only fuses were old style wooden mortar fuses and for economy they had been sawed into two or more pieces; the shock of the discharge would drive the small ends into the shell and explode the shell either in the gun or just after leaving it. Their mortar beds were made of wood, from patterns intended for iron and brass. Morris Island beach was exposed to an enfilading fire from Fort Sumter and required heavy epaulments to protect its batteries from that fire. We remained with General Beauregard until Governor Brown summoned us to Savannah.2
I had ordered from Anderson's Foundry at Richmond an unlimited number of heavy guns, with the irons for their carriages and four hundred rounds each of shot and shell for each gun. They were to be shipped, as fast as made, in box cars, by the way of the East Tennessee R. R. In daily expectation that these guns would begin to arrive, we determined not only to arm Fort Pulaski, but also to occupy Tybee Island and to place some of the guns in lunettes on the Island. The guns ordered by me were diverted by the Honorable Secretary of War, and sent to Mobile. Therefore Fort Pulaski was never armed or Tybee Island occupied.3
While in Savannah, Senator F. S. Bartow, chairman of the committee on military affairs in the Confederate Congress, came there. He asked me what I thought of his bill for the organization of the army.
My reply was that I would hardly call it his bill since Mr. Davis' hand was to be seen in every line of it. Bartow blushed. I mention this, as I shall mention some other matters, in order to show Mr. Davis' determination to direct the smallest affairs in connection with the army.
It was not long before I was summoned to Montgomery, and with the consent of Governor Brown, I went.4 Arrived at Montgomery, I was requested to take temporary charge of the Ordnance Bureau, (the head of that department, as of most others, being held in reserve for others who were supposed, intended, or might be induced thereby to come South). Among the first things needful was a competent clerk. I called upon the only resident of Montgomery that I knew and requested his assistance to procure one. The very next morning the Honorable Secretary of War, Pope Walker, informed me that I would need a clerk and that he had sent for one for me. There was no hurry about anything connected with the New Government except in providing places. In a short time my Pope Walker clerk came; so far as his usefulness was concerned he might as well have remained at home and drawn his salary there. Mr. Walker was not the only Cabinet member interested in providing clerks; L. W. O'Bannon resigned his commission in the United States Army and came to Montgomery; he received an appointment and was sent to Pensacola as quartermaster; the night before he went he received an intimation purporting to come from Mr. Mallory, as to whom he
should appoint as clerk. He requested the messenger to say to Mr. Mallory, "that if the egg was rotten before it was laid, to let him know, and he would return to Washington and ask to be taken back into the Union."
My first care was to examine the appropriations for the ordnance department. I found them most picayune; the appropriation for gunpowder was not sufficient to have fired the guns mounted at Pensacola for two days, and the appropriation was for one year. All other material was in the same ratio. I made haste to inform the Secretary of War. He told me that the appropriations were for a peace establishment, that treaty commissioners had been sent to Washington and we must do nothing that implied war. I satisfied him that even for a peace establishment the appropriations were too small. I finally succeeded in getting an additional appropriation. I was then sent to examine a foundry at Mobile to see if it could be converted into a gun foundry; and also to inspect the defences of New Orleans. At Mobile I was surprised to find that the foundry already had orders from Mr. Walker to manufacture an unlimited number of canister shot for twenty-four and thirty-two pounder guns. What he proposed to do with them was past finding out. At New Orleans I suggested that some of the heavy guns be taken out of the Forts and placed in one or, at most, two gun batteries along the banks of the river above the Forts.
On my return to Montgomery, I found several proposals from English houses to furnish many much needed supplies. The proposals were very liberal in
every respect; they even offered for 10 per cent. of the original cost to run the blockade and deliver guns to the C. S. A., and no harm could have arisen from accepting them. They remained unacted upon, either upon the supposition that the United States would permit us to depart in peace, or because the proper person to have charge of such affairs, had not yet come South. I never knew, and it was soon too late.
An agreement had been entered into that we should make no effort to capture Fort Pickens, nor the Federals to reinforce it, without a previous notice of twenty-four hours. A severe storm accompanied by a gale seemed to suggest an opportunity to capture the Fort. I proposed to General Cooper, Adjutant General of the Army, that he should call Mr. Walker's attention to the opportunity. He insisted that the idea having originated with me that I should see Mr. Walker. I lost no time in doing so; the Secretary left me immediately, I presumed to see Mr. Davis. I heard nothing more of it until sometime afterwards, when, in conversation with General Bragg I happened to speak of it. He told me that he also had seen the opportunity and had telegraphed the Secretary for permission to take advantage of it, but had received no reply until too late, and then it was to ask him, if he had established "reserved batteries," and that he had never yet understood what the Honorable Secretary meant.
Late one afternoon I was standing at the counter in a book store, when I felt a gentle touch on the shoulder. It was the Secretary of War who took me to one side, and informed me that our commissioners had
been rejected; and that we were going to have war. He further informed me, that he wished me to go to Pensacola as soon as possible. It was arranged that I should take the next train; and that I should meet him at his office immediately after supper for instructions. I was on hand at the appointed time: but also was Jerry Clemens, erstwhile a member of the United States Congress, now Major General and Commander in Chief of the Military Forces of Alabama. General Clemens was an out and out Union man, bitterly opposed to the secession movement, as were the people he represented, as were in fact a majority of the voters of Alabama. Clemens was still a power in Alabama, and Mr. Walker seemed to remember it: for he submitted to be bull-dozed by him until after two o'clock in the morning.
All this time I sat patiently waiting the pleasure of the Secretary, or rather that of Jerry Clemens. When Clemens got through with him, he was in no condition for further labor; he could only tell me to take the first train for Pensacola and be governed by circumstances. 5
Arrived at Pensacola I reported to General Bragg. The General informed me that they were sending him regiment after regiment; but no supplies of any kind, nor the means of moving or distributing them if he had them. Fortunately, at that time, everybody was enthused and were sending or bringing ample supplies of food. I informed the General of all the circumstances of my orders, and thought he need not hesitate
to take almost any responsibility. 6 O'Bannon, his chief quartermaster, was called into consultation and, with the aid of the telegraph, it was not many days before he had a well equipped army.
General Bragg expressed the wish that I would remain with him. Being most heartily tired of the inaction at the seat of government, as well as of preparing a place for someone else, I was glad of the opportunity. That was the way in which I became attached to General Bragg's staff. 7
For a while the work was continuous and heavy. Captains Stevens and S. H. Locket of the Engineer Corps were engaged in putting heavy guns in lunettes along the beach; and in the end, all the heavy barbette guns were taken out of the Forts and placed along the beach. When the rush was over, I went to Georgia and brought my wife and children.
In anticipation of an opportunity, I had prepared two portable platforms for eight inch guns; which with the guns and carriages were so placed as to be easily shipped for transportation to Santa Rosa Island. Special details were made, who were taught to handle these guns. Should we attempt to carry Fort Pickens by assault, it was intended that these guns were to be mounted in the sand hills near the outer beach to engage the fleet. All the details had been arranged; Col. John H. Forney was to command and was to assault from the glacis, Stevens to attack the sallyport, and I through the embrasures. During this
time, some transports made their appearance off the Island and it was evident that the Federals intended to reinforce Fort Pickens upon the first favorable opportunity. One night General Bragg sent Stevens and myself to Santa Rosa Island for the purpose of ascertaining, as near as possible, the exact condition of affairs. We went up to the glacis, captured, and conversed with a sentinel. While Stevens and I were upon the Island, an officer of the United States Navy arrived at General Bragg's headquarters, with orders from Mr. Davis to permit him to communicate, at once, with the fleet. 8 What the Confederate Government proposed to gain by such courtesy I have never been able to ascertain: but I do know, that a battallion of regular artillery was that night thrown into the Fort and the sixth New York volunteers landed upon the beach. Fort Pickens was now, by the grace of the Confederate Government, fully garrisoned.
Soon after Mr. Lincoln's inauguration, Fort Sumter was bombarded and captured. Mr. Lincoln then called upon the different States for their quota of troops to put down the rebellion. This caused the remaining slaveholding States to withdraw from the Union and join their fortunes with the seceding States. The seat of government was now removed to Richmond.
About this time I received a letter from Thomas R. Cobb, of Georgia, informing me that he had received authority to organize a legion, to be composed of Infantry, Cavalry and Artillery, and to be known as "Cobb's Legion," that I had been recommended to
him to organize it, and that he would have me appointed his Lieutenant Colonel, if I would accept. I declined. I had the confidence of General Bragg, was engaged upon duties for which but few persons in our service were qualified, and had no doubt but that I would be promoted to a rank commensurate with the duties I was performing. Again, here was a lawyer appointed by the President to the command of three branches of service, all at once, under the high sounding name of "Legion" and who seemed perfectly confident, that at his say-so the President would appoint me his Lieutenant Colonel. From what will appear hereafter, it would have been a most peculiar act on the part of the President. When the Government moved to Richmond, Robert Toombs, Secretary of State, suggested that as the cabinet had been formed from the first five seceding states, it would be a proper thing for the cabinet to resign and permit Mr. Davis to form his cabinet from all the States. He resigned; but the rest were too well satisfied with themselves and their places. By and by, when pressure began to bear and changes were inevitable, the Secretary of War began to organize a brigade for himself to command when he ceased to be Secretary.
In the progress of this organization, Joseph Wheeler, ("Point Wheeler" of West Point), Lieutenant in the C. S. Army, detailed as Adjutant General to an Alabama Brigade, told me of the proposed organization and that the officers of his Brigade would help him to get promotion in it, if he would apply. He said he felt a delicacy in doing so, because there were so many of his comrades, right there, who had seen so much more
service than he had. I advised him not to hesitate on that account, for none of us would be jealous of his promotion. Pope Walker was from north Alabama, so was Wheeler and the officers of the Brigade to which he was attached. When he finally decided to apply for a Majority, I asked him if he did not consider himself more competent to command a regiment than any of the Colonels under whom he was serving. The talk ended in my writing, for him, the following application, to wit:
To the Hon'l Pope Walker
Secretary of War,
SIR : -
I have the honor to apply for promotion in the Provisional Army of the Confederate States.
I remain sir very respectfully, your obedient servant,
By my advice he made a copy of this letter, which, having shown to the officers of his Brigade, he then forwarded through regular channels. I told General Bragg all of the circumstances. He endorsed the application with his approval and at the same time called attention to his repeated recommendations of O'Bannon, Slaughter, Villepigue and myself, all of whom ranked Wheeler and were equally worthy of promotion. The return mail brought Wheeler his Colonel's commission and orders to proceed to north Alabama.
I have gone into these details for two reasons: one, to show that the Cabinet was as much governed by their personal interest at Richmond as at Montgomery; the other, because this application, written by me, has
been quoted as a specimen of military brevity, surpassed only by Caesar and as the foreshadowing of the distinguished officer that Wheeler afterwards became. He is now a member of the United States Congress, and for him I have always had a high regard.
After the battle of Bull Run July 21st, 1861, there was a rush to Richmond. Some of General Bragg's officers, on short leaves, took advantage of their leaves to go to Richmond and were promoted. Two went without leave and were promoted. These things, Beauregard's two battles, but more specially, the appointment of Mansfield Lovell, a late comer, to the command at New Orleans, with the rank of Major General, (a command that General Bragg wanted and to which he felt himself entitled) rankled General Bragg very much and made him feel it was necessary to do something to bring himself into notice. 9 Having determined to burn "Billy" Wilson's Camp and the supply buildings that had been built outside of Fort Pickens, he sent Lieut. J. E. Slaughter and myself to Santa Rosa Island on the night before the proposed attack, for the purpose of ascertaining if it was possible to surprise them. Our mission was successfully accomplished. The following night General Richard H. Anderson with a command of details from all the different regiments, made a descent upon the Island and succeeded in burning the camp. Captain L. A. Nelms and a few men were killed and General Anderson
and some others wounded. He brought off Major Vogdes and some other prisoners. 10
General Bragg's command was now extended to include the State of Alabama. He sent me to inspect the defences at Mobile. When I had completed my inspection I determined to return on horseback by the way of Perdido Bay. I took with me an escort of two cavalrymen. The steamboat landed us low down on Mobile Bay, at a turpentine distillery. After passing the turpentine plantations, the roads disappeared. We came upon a young man leaning upon a gate of a pretty residence: although living in the house in which he had been born, he professed to know nothing about the roads or to have ever heard of Perdido Bay. We could only keep as near east as the Savannah would permit and trust to luck. In the midst of the forest we found a single room cabin, in which there lived a wood chopper and his family. Upon enquiring our way he kindly volunteered to take us across what he called the laurel swamp and the old mill dam: which he said would be impossible without a guide. He got us across and pointed out our direction. The man was a native of Georgia, his occupation to chop wood, which he floated down the stream, on which the old mill had stood, to the gulf, where it was loaded on floats for the Mobile market. He declined taking any pay for his services; but happening to have some gold
dollars in my pocket I gave him three of them for keepsakes. When it was nearly sundown we found a path running north and south crossing our route: we decided to go north and after swimming one stream arrived at the ferryman's house. We were not sorry to find that he had not come home; for having fasted since breakfast we were glad to wait and have supper. Our ferryman proved to be a Spaniard of many occupations, a dark, wiry, leather-skinned old chap. It was now dark, but he said he could take us over all the same. When I saw the boat in which he proposed to accomplish it I was not so confident. It was a scow, with a pointed bow not over twenty-five feet long and about four feet wide, at its widest part. In this boat he proposed to, and did, take three men and their horses, two negro oarsmen and himself across a bay three miles wide, and not only that, but so soon as we were clear of the shore, he hoisted sail. I prepared and handed to General Bragg a written report; it determined him to go at once to Mobile. On his return he sent for me and read me his report to the Secretary of War. It was singularly like the one I had made to him, but to which it made no reference: he did, however at the close of it, ask the President to make me a Brigadier, and he would place me in command of the defences of Mobile. Some little time afterwards, he informed me that Captain Page, recently of the U. S. Navy, had been appointed to the command. 11
About this time Billy Wilson's Zouaves had been reembarked and disappeared. One day, November 22nd, I was crossing to the camp at Live Oak Point, when Major Brown opened, unexpectedly, with all his guns. He had selected the moment when our transports had arrived from Pensacola and tied up at the Navy Yard Wharf. The pilot of the tug Nelms stuck to his boat, backed her out, and started up the bay. He got her safely off, notwithstanding every gun that could be, was brought to bear upon her. From my position I had an unobstructed view of the race between the tug and the shot and shell: one of my darky oarsmen exclaimed, "ain't that barbarous?" The other crew abandoned their boat and sought safety in the woods. While returning across the bay, it occurred to me that so furious a cannonade must be for the purpose of covering a landing at Perdido. 12 I joined General Bragg and was sent to superintend the firing at the fleet from a battery on our extreme right. Finding that the fleet was out of effective range, I caused the battery to cease firing. When the fleet moved up closer we opened again; after the second shot the fleet again retired, with the Hartford disabled. The cannonading lasted for two days, the only result being a great waste of ammunition and that thereafter our supplies could not be landed at the dock.
Upon the arrival of the transports, the teams and
teamsters and the working details, and a good many idlers also, were generally on the dock. Major Brown dropped his first shells into the midst of this crowd, causing panic and confusion. The appearance of General Richard Anderson walking cooly about and that of an old soldier, who looking up and saying, "there seemed to be a considerable of a shower," raised his umbrella, stopped the panic and confusion. An Alabama soldier, to whom I had done a kindness, narrated the above in connection with his own experiences It seems he was an idler, and, following his first impulse, he took refuge in the stone dock. He and some others found it a jolly place until the rising tide drove them out. Making way through the heavy sand he heard himself called and looking round saw Pell, the master ship-carpenter, sitting behind one of the big cisterns; as there was plenty of room, he went there also. It was all very well for awhile; but a heavy shell coming over the cistern and exploding sufficiently near to cover them with sand they concluded to seek other quarters.
With the first gun all the negro employees disappeared and were not seen again until the firing had ceased. We then learned that for some time they had been digging bomb-proof shelters, called gopher holes, and provisioning them for just such occasions. Gaps had been cut in the wall surrounding the Navy Yard; through these women, children and others not on duty found their way out of range. An orderly brought Mrs. Anderson a horse without saddle and only an old rope for a bridle; so mounted, with one
of her children behind her, she was making her way out of range when she passed Justice Moulton: all at once her womanly instincts returned, and stopping her horse she asked Mr. Moulton to please assist her to adjust her seat and skirts. Just then a large shell came tearing through the woods; the old man informed her that she was doing very well indeed and rushed on. Justice Moulton was the owner of our principal transport, "The Steamboat Times;" that morning found him confined to his berth on the boat, with a severe attack of inflammatory rheumatism. He was heard afterwards to remark that he had found a rapid cure for rheumatism. Young Francis Parker, Jr., aide-de-camp to General Bragg, and one of the most gallant officers of the whole war, hearing General Bragg ask if anyone knew whether the enemy were firing hot shot, replied: "Yes, for one of them falling near him, he had gotten off his horse and spat upon it, and it fizzed."
A soldier was placed in the covered way of Batchelers battery, First Louisiana, to watch the fight of the shot and caution the men at the guns, when to take cover: he would call out "that is to the right," or, "left," or, "look out boys;" when a shot from a rifle gun cut the sand bag on which he was leaning, he never moved, but in his usual tone remarked "Pretty d--d close." Notwithstanding all restriction and care these same Louisiannians were frequently the worse for liquor and it was some time before the cause was ascertained. Mrs. Bragg had sent to this regiment, from her plantation, a hogshead each of sugar and
molasses; these, the soldiers were distilling into rum.13
Up to the time of General Bragg's visit to Mobile I had enjoyed his full confidence: since then there appeared to be a change. For some time I had very little active employment, in fact all of our duties were simple routine; a number of troops had been ordered from us to Virginia: others upon condition of reorganizing for the war, had been permitted to go home on furlough. I could not understand my treatment in Richmond or General Bragg's cool official manner. I determined to have a talk with the General and let the result of that interview decide my course of action. After the interview I sent in my resignation; it was promptly forwarded and promptly accepted.14
After forwarding my resignation General Bragg had gone to Mobile and had not returned. When I was ready to leave Pensacola I called on General Anderson (Bragg was still absent) to make my adieus and also wish him and his family the compliments of the season, - it was new year's day, 1862. While chatting with them, there was a roar of artillery, followed by the shrieks of shot and shell. All the officers present mounted and rode to the Navy Yard. After remaining with the General a little while I rode back to my quarters. Finding an extra horse, I took my wife to a point between Fort McRee and the lighthouse: from there we witnessed the firing until darkness
put a stop to it. On our way back I noticed some soldiers kindling a fire to cook their suppers, directly in the rear of their battery. I rode to them and suggested that they had better make their fire to one side, as it certainly would be fired at. I had scarcely ceased speaking when a shell came roaring by, followed by the sound of the gun from which it was fired. The fire disappeared in a hurry, and so did my wife and I.
MILITARY SERVICE OF GEORGIA - DEFENSES OF SAVANNAH - PROBLEMS OF THE APPALACHICOLA RIVER AND THE INTERIOR OF GEORGIA - CHARLESTON.
I was now, against my will, free to do as I pleased. While in the United States Army I had been frequently detailed to different foundries either to inspect or superintendent the manufacture of heavy ordnance. At New Orleans there was a large foundry; I also considered New Orleans as one of the most important places in the Confederacy; therefore I went to New Orleans. Shortly after my arrival the commanding officer, General Mansfield Lovell, sent for me. He expressed a desire to have me on his staff. I informed him fully of my position and my belief that Mr. Davis would not consent. He insisted on trying, saying Mr. Davis had refused him nothing as yet and if I would consent to serve on his staff with the rank of Colonel he would take the risk of refusal. He was refused. In the interval I had received a dispatch from Governor Brown, saying that the State needed my services and requesting me to come to Milledgeville. On my return to Georgia, my mother gently, but decidedly, made me understand that she did not approve of my leaving the Confederate service, and I have now to admit that she was right.
While journeying home, I travelled with some of the twelve month volunteers returning home. I was surprised to learn from them that General Bragg had
placed General Anderson under arrest, and preferred charges against him, on account of the cannonade of January the first. This cannonade was begun by Fort Pickens, and because a young officer of the First Louisiana, detailed on special duty by General Bragg, had ordered one of the steam transports to tie up at the Navy Yard dock. When he was called upon for an explanation, he stated that he had authority from General Bragg to do so. So soon as I reached a stopping place I wrote to General Bragg expressing my surprise, and stating the facts as I knew them; I also wrote to General Anderson telling him I had done so, and if he should need me as a witness for his defense, at any time or place, to let me know and I would come. 1
I reported to Governor Brown at Milledgeville, and was appointed by him Colonel and Chief Engineer of the State Forces. There were already on his staff Harry Wayne, Adjutant General, and Lachlan McIntosh, Chief of Ordnance. The State had in the field a division under the command of Major General Henry R. Jackson, consisting of three brigades, commanded by Brigadier Generals W. H. T. Walker, G. P. Harrison, and J. W. Capers.
Late in the month of March, 1862, the Governor received a dispatch from Savannah, stating that the Federal gun boats had appeared in one of the estuaries (Vernon River) and were in sight of Causton's Bluff, four miles from Savannah. Taking the night train, I reached Savannah a little after daylight and hastened to the headquarters of the State troops: finding no
one there I went to the headquarters of the Confederate troops, to find no one there. It began to look as if no one was very much alarmed after all. About ten o'clock the staff began to appear, and later the commanding officers. I was furnished with a horse and we galloped out to Causton's Bluff. Having examined into the situation I made up my mind what to do if permitted. I called on General A. R. Lawton, commanding the Confederate forces, and in discussing the situation suggested the propriety of occupying the Islands (especially Venus' Point) on the South Carolina side, or at least of establishing a few batteries. He did not think it possible to stand on them, much less occupy them, and that a gun would sink out of sight. I suggested that those were difficulties to be overcome. He seemed to rely upon some torpedoes that Capt. J. C. Ives had placed there to keep the gun boats from coming into Wall's Cut and getting between us and Fort Pulaski. There were some of us who had very little confidence in Ives' loyalty; and the fact that Ives had been at work down the river, caused us still more anxiety.
General R. E. Lee had arrived and assumed control of operations. 2 There were no active operations undertaken by him; whether for the want of troops and material I do not know. 3 All that was done, was to build batteries at Causton's Bluff and on Elba Island in the Savannah river.
At State headquarters it was determined to employ the State troops in building a line of defence around the city. I expressed a wish to examine the city archives for the oldest county map. Captain Gladding, a volunteer aide-de-camp, said he knew where it was and would get it. I could not have had one better suited to my purpose. Governor Brown, General Wayne, and Major McIntosh came down from Milledgeville. It was desired to establish the line of defence as quickly as possible: with the map for a guide, and a pocket full of fencing nails and a hatchet in my belt, I verified the map. Having found what I thought was a first rate line, and General Lee having examined and approved, it was begun at once. About this time we heard that the Federals were in the habit of landing on Tybee Island every night and leaving again before day. Tybee Island being in the State, it was decided, at State headquarters, that I should go down and if possible ascertain what they were doing on the Island. Gladding volunteered to furnish the boat and crew and accompany me. The following night was fixed upon for the attempt: but for some reason, unknown to us, General Henry R. Jackson reported our intentions to Confederate headquarters and we were forbidden to go. One morning we found the Federal gun boats in Wall's Cut on the Carolina side, in which Ives' torpedoes were supposed to be. They, with the boats already in St. Augustine Creek, on our side cut off all communication by water with Fort Pulaski. Commodore Josiah Tatnall took down one load of supplies, receiving their fire going and coming. General W. H. T. Walker was very indignant: he proposed
a plan for the capture of the gun boats, offered to take all the responsibility, and make the necessary preparations and attack with his own Brigade. Had his plan been promptly accepted, it would, in my opinion, have been successful. But it was taken into consideration. Before the consideration was concluded, those Islands, on which a man could not stand, were covered with tents and troops; and those estuaries, which had been filled with Ives' torpedoes, were full of gun boats. On the tenth day of April, we could hear distinctly the bombardment of Fort Pulaski. At the end of twenty-four hours the stillness assured us that it was in the hands of the Federals.
Governor Brown now insisted upon pushing the line of defence and obstructing the river. While so engaged we received the news of the battle of Seven Pines, of Johnston's being wounded, and also of passage of the infamous conscript law. Gen. Lee being ordered to the command of the army of Virginia, called to make his adieus to General Jackson. During this call he suggested that I should reorganize one of the State regiments, which under the conscript law would soon be claimed by the Confederacy, stating that in so doing I would not be in the way of anyone wishing to be Colonel, as he had no doubt I would soon be given a Brigade. I told the General that "it was not my desire to remain out of the Confederate service: but, for some cause unknown to me, Mr. Davis would not give me a command."
In that respect I was in good company: General W. H. T. Walker had been one of the most distinguished officers of the United States Army, one of a very few
receiving more than two brevets in the Mexican war. On the day that his State seceded, he sent in his resignation, and upon its acceptance, offered his services to his State. Upon the formation of the Confederate Government, he tendered his services. He was after a while appointed a Brigadier General; but being kept inactive, in subordinate positions, he resigned and accepted the command of Brigade of State troops. 4 He was now, by the conscript law, deprived of that command. 5 With ample means he might have lived comfortably, in his forced retirement; but being every inch a soldier, he once more entered the Confederate service and was killed at Atlanta, while serving under men whom he could, and should have, commanded. So much for Mr. Davis' pique!
I will mention but one of many cases in contrast, and that not by way of disparagement of the person: - for I believe that Pemberton did his very best. Pemberton came south after the war had begun. He was, at once, appointed a Brigadier and sent to take command at Charleston. When Lee was ordered to Virginia, he was, without having fought a battle, made a Major General and given command of the States of Georgia and South Carolina. In less than one year, before his qualifications had been tested, he was made a Lieutenant General and sent to command Vicksburg, the most important command in the southwest: and which he surrendered on July the fourth, 1863. Steven D. Lee had been tested at Vicksburg, where he had repelled
Sherman's attack. So much for Mr. Davis' judgment!
With the fall of Fort Pulaski, there was a general move of women and children from Savannah. Major Lachlan McIntosh's mother and half sisters and Mrs. Gladding, wife of my most valuable assistant, Captain Gladding, went to my house in Milledgeville until they could be provided for.
The Army of the State of Georgia having been reduced by the conscript law, to the Governor, its commander-in-chief, Henry C. Wayne, its adjutant general, Lachlan McIntosh, its chief of ordnance, and myself, its chief engineer, we retired to Milledgeville, the seat of government, to await events. Within a few days after our return Governor Brown received a letter from General Pemberton requesting that I be sent to him for a special duty. It appeared that sundry persons, having hid away a large amount of cotton, over 80,000 bales, on the Appalachicola river, were becoming uneasy as to its safety. The town of Appalachicola, the Bay, and the mouth of the river were already in the hands of the Federals. The Honorable Judge Iverson had been sent to Richmond, on the fall of Pulaski, to ask help to protect the cotton; the people of Columbus, Georgia, and Eufala, Alabama, promising to furnish the labor, tools and supplies necessary to construct such defences as might be decided upon. The petition and proposals were sent to General Pemberton; he now directed me to make a careful examination and after having decided what to do to report to and call upon Judge Iverson for the necessary
assistance. I invited Captain Gladding to accompany me.
At Columbus we were furnished with a comfortable boat and good crew. Our first landing after leaving Eufala was at the landing of the Chattahoochee Arsenal. We were now in a distinct civil and military department and I proceeded to pay my respects to the nearest commanding officer, Col. (Judge) Finley. He was encamped with his regiment at the Arsenal, nearly two miles off. When I suggested, in our interview, that it would be advisable to station a sentinel at the landing to protect his supplies, he remarked "why, it is two miles off!" At Rickoos Bluff I found an effort being made to plant a battery; the guns were on top of a bluff at least three hundred feet above the river, with a range of only half a mile. The most of the cotton was some twenty miles further down the river: near it was a small battery of field artillery, behind an epaulment, supported by a battalion of infantry. Owing to a deep creek coming up to a very short range in their rear the position was untenable. Below this point the Federals were in full possession. Having requested and obtained a company of infantry for an escort I proceeded down the river, where I examined all the creeks, lakes and old river beds. These streams were very crooked but very deep. Having completed my examinations and decided what to do, I was about to return up the river when the captain, who was the principal owner of the boat and, when at home, a resident of Appalachicola, suggested that we run down, and if we found it practicable, to land at Appalachicola, and load up with machinery, casting, and such other
things as we sadly needed. Concealing the soldiers on the lower deck, we continued down the river. As soon as we saw that the Federal ship was at anchor some distance down the Bay, we put on steam, made the wharf, and took on a good load, the soldiers working with a will. On my way up the Captain called my attention to Owl Creek, the mouth of which was very much lower down than our explorations had extended, and I determined to explore it. It was very deep but very difficult to navigate on account of its crookedness. We surprised and were surprised by an old planter, who had, as he thought, hid himself and his negroes there. When the coast had been abandoned, he had moved all his negroes and supplies to that pine forest, built comfortable cabins and fixed himself for the war. When he saw the smoke of the boat he thought it was the Federals, and like Pell and the bomb shell wondered where they would come next. Leaving the boat at his landing I got him to ride out to ..........river. 6 On the bank of this river I found a fisherman and his family, who, having abandoned his home on the gulf was living in a tent made of a sail. The country near this river is exceedingly beautiful.
Having finished my explorations I left the boat at Bainbridge, Georgia, and went to Tallahassee, Florida, to report my presence and duties in that district. Returning to the boat, we went on it up the river as far as Fort Gaines, Georgia. There I wrote letters to the mayors of Eufalla and Columbus, stating what labor and materials I should need and requesting that they be ready for me on my return to Columbus, on a fixed
date. When we reached Milledgeville, Gladding found a letter informing him that there was a vessel loaded with cotton ready for him to take out, and requesting him to come to Savannah at once. Gladding had been an officer of the United States revenue marine. He had already run the blockade successfully. He succeeded in getting out with his cotton, but was captured on his return trip. After I had been made a Brigadier General I asked his appointment as captain and adjutant general on my staff and that he be exchanged. When exchanged, he insisted on returning by the way of Hilton Head: there, for some reason, he was placed in irons and died in close confinement.
On my return to Columbus, I found neither workmen or materials, and no steps had been taken to provide them. The scare was off and the labor was needed in the crops, so it was proposed to put off the work until later in the season. Having read my report to General Pemberton and to Judge Iverson, I then forwarded it by mail and returned to Milledgeville.
I had been there but a short time when the battle of Secessionville, South Carolina, took place. 7 This and other fighting on James Island implied that the Federals intended to follow the path of the British and endeavor to take Charleston in the rear.
I obtained Governor Brown's permission to go to Charleston. This effort of the Federals had created uneasiness at Richmond and General Cooper was sent there. I was very glad of the opportunity of meeting him as it enabled me to enquire into my status at Richmond. He told me that my resignation had been
received at an unfortunate time; that many others had, like myself, sent in similar papers about that time; that Mr. Davis had been very much annoyed thereat and bunched the whole, determined to take no further notice of them. Then I asked him why it was that previous to that, no notice had ever been taken of the various applications for my promotion and especially the one with reference to the command at Mobile. Concerning that one he knew that in the same envelope there was a private letter to Mr. Davis, explaining that while he considered the promotion due me, that he (General Bragg) could not well dispense with my services on his staff, and that the promotion be withheld for the time being. This was news.
I also took advantage of the opportunity to inquire concerning the charges made by General Bragg against General Richard Anderson and to state facts in that case as I knew them. General Cooper asked me if I would object to giving him what I had stated in writing. So far from it, if it would be of any service to General Anderson, I would do so gladly. I did give him a written statement, and shortly afterwards had the satisfaction of seeing the promotion of that chivalrous officer.
The Federal assault on Secessionville, June 16th, 1862, had been made in force; being repulsed with heavy loss they withdrew from James Island.
On my return to Milledgeville I urged the Governor to permit me to construct defensive lines about Atlanta. This was objected to, through fear that it might have a demoralizing influence. It was determined that I should visit the mines, nitre caves and foundries in
upper Georgia, for the purpose of ascertaining if State control or aid would facilitate the working of them. Very soon after my inspection and before any decided action had been taken, the Nitre and Mining Bureau of the Confederate Government was created. I had found that the abandoned copper mines near Canton yielded lead and thought, in a time of such emergency, they ought to be worked for it. The iron at Etowah and Rome was well adapted to ordnance purposes; but we were in need of persons familiar with the manufacture of modern guns. The Nobles at Rome were casting some small guns, but they were of old patterns. They were very proud of their guns, and were casting their names and place upon the bunions. I suggested that the first one captured by the Federals would lead to a raid to destroy their foundry. And it so happened.
On my return to Milledgeville I found a telegram from Mr. Davis inviting me to accept a position on his personal staff. I have always thought that this was due to either General Lee or Cooper or both, and that courtesy to them, as well as to Mr. Davis, demanded my acceptance, but I could not possibly make up my mind to do so, and declined.
THE INVASION OF KENTUCKY (1862) - BATTLE OF RICHMOND CAPTURE OF LEXINGTON - THE INAUGURATION AT FRANKFORT - RETREAT.
In August Governor Brown received a letter from General E. Kirby Smith at Chattanooga asking for assistance. The Governor could offer only some artillery harness and my services. He accepted both and I was sent to Chattanooga.
When I reached Chattanooga, General Kirby Smith had gone to Knoxville, leaving General Henry Heth in command: before the harness arrived, General Jno. P. McCown took command and his brother, who was his chief of artillery, took possession of the harness on his arrival. Finding I could do nothing, either within my own State or out of it, without a Confederate commission, I so informed the Honorable Secretary of War, in a most respectful letter: and in reply received a commission as Colonel of Artillery in the provisional army, with orders to report to General E. Kirby Smith.
I found the General completing his preparations for an advance into Kentucky. Leaving General Carter Stevenson's division of infantry, and Colonel Ben Allston's Brigade of Cavalry to hold the Federals in Cumberland Gap, he ordered General (then Colonel) John H. Morgan with his division of cavalry to keep well out towards the center of Tennessee and Kentucky, and to meet him in Lexington on the second day of September.
General Kirby Smith's staff consisted of aide-de-camps, Captains E. Cunningham and E. Walworth; Assistant Adjutant General, Captain (afterwards Colonel) J. F. Belton; H. P. Pratt, private (afterwards captain and assistant adjutant general) of the Eufala Artillery, as clerk; Colonel J. A. Brown, Chief of Artillery and Ordnance; Colonel John Pegram, detached from General Bragg and acting as Chief Engineer; 2 Freret, private (afterwards Captain of Engineers) of the Washington Artillery of New Orleans, as draughtsman; Captain J. G. Meem, chief signal officer, and also doing duty as aide-de-camp; Dr. Sol Smith, surgeon; Lieutenant Colonel H. McD. McElrath, quartermaster; Major Thomas, commissary; Prince Polignac, with the rank of Colonel, and myself unassigned. The army with which we crossed the mountains consisted of two brigades of Arkansas troops, commanded respectively by Brigadier Generals P. R. Cleburn and T. J. Churchhill; one Texas brigade, commanded by Brigadier General Wm. McCray; one Tennessee brigade, commanded by the gallant Colonel Wm. Baker, afterwards Governor ; 3 one Florida brigade, commanded by the same Colonel J. J. Finley, that I had met at Chattahoochee; one brigade of cavalry, commanded by Colonel Jno. S. Scott, of Louisiana; and one by Colonel Gano of Georgia; 4 one battery of light artillery from Florida, and one company of Florida cavalry at headquarters.
Taking the route through Clinton and Jacksborough we crossed the Cumberland mountains at Big Creek Gap. At the "Clear Fork" of the Cumberland River we were overtaken by General McCown, who, having expressed a doubt as to the propriety of pushing on to Barboursville, leaving a large force of Federals at the gap in our rear, the afternoon was spent in debating the question. McCown was the only other Major-General in the command and had come up unexpectedly. We persuaded General Kirby Smith that if McCown remained and continued in the same spirit there was no hope of success, and finally to order him back to the command of Tennessee.
We pushed on rapidly to Barboursville, so rapidly as to surprise all the country, capture a few officers, and some supplies. The country through which we had come was intensely Union. Its young men, having to choose between being conscripts or Union soldiers, had enlisted in the Union army. Its elderly men, so soon as they found out who we were, bushwhacked us at every turn of the road. While waiting to hear from or of General Bragg the troops were moved up the Cumberland valley towards the gap.
Not hearing from General Bragg, General Kirby Smith decided to move on Lexington. When the troops marched back down the valley they thought it was a retreat, and marched in silence, with banners furled; but when they turned north through Barboursville, flags unfurled, drums beat and the rebel yell was distinctly audible. One determined young woman stood upon a balcony and waved the stars and stripes over us as we passed. The soldiers cheered her. General
Kirby Smith directed me to ride in advance with Scott's cavalry, not only to keep him advised as to what was going on in front, but also, should the necessity arise, of settling a question of rank between Generals Cleburn and Churchill.
The afternoon before the battle of Richmond we came suddenly upon the Federals in line of battle. It was nearly sunset and we considered it advisable to withdraw. When I reached Cleburn's brigade, which was in advance, he was bivouacing it in line of battle. I informed him of the disposition of the Federals and how near they were to his front. P. P. Cleburn was one of the very best officers in the southern army: he should have commanded a corps: he was killed at Nashville. 5 Shortly after I left him the Federal Cavalry came dashing down the road; the disposition of his troops enabled him to give them a warm reception. From there to headquarters I found that the soldiers had lain down where they were halted and gone to sleep without food. Reaching General Kirby Smith, he informed me that he had given orders for the troops to be put in motion before daybreak. I begged him not to, told him the condition of his own troops, also that of the Federals; that they were fresh and prepared to receive him. I advised that the command be permitted to sleep as long as they wished to, that they be permitted to cook and enjoy their breakfast, for there was a hard day's work before them. When he consented to do so, instead of wakening some of the young men about headquarters, he sent me to the various commands with his change of orders. Thanks to
the change, our soldiers went into the fight in splendid condition and we whipped.
General Cleburn, who opened the fight, sent word that the Federals were moving heavy masses to his right. General Kirby Smith directed me to investigate. With Freret and a young engineer I rode too far to the right and came out in the rear of the Federals. They were in full retreat and seeing, as they thought, cavalry in their rear, surrendered.
Between the first and second fights a cloud of dust indicated a large body of troops on our left. General Kirby Smith sent me to see who they were. I found Scott's cavalry who, having lost the road, had moved towards the firing. I explained the situation and directed him to move on rapidly and get between the Federals and Lexington. This he accomplished so successfully that he captured General M. D. Manson and his staff and nearly all the Federal Army.
During the afternoon General William Nelson, known as "Bull Nelson," formerly of the Navy and afterwards killed by Jefferson C. Davis at Louisville, took command, and forming a third line of battle just south of Richmond, offered us battle. This was so unexpected that General Smith and myself, riding leisurely up the road in advance of the army, came within short range before we were aware of it. Seeing an officer gallop down the road, and hearing him command to "bring on the cavalry," I rode close up to and along side of the fence, expecting them to come by with a rush, and saw already our victory turned into a rout. Had they come Sheridan's charge at Winchester would have been a duplicate. They did
not come, and we had time to get out of the road and form line: then a single charge of the infantry, before the artillery could be brought into action, drove them through Richmond and on to Scott. 6 The following day we remained in Richmond equipping our men with captured arms and ammunition (those that had armed with smooth-bore muskets). The following day with a small force of infantry, 107 all told, and 20 cavalrymen for couriers, and Freret for company, I was sent in advance. My orders were to push forward and to keep General Kirby Smith advised. The Federals were on the north bank of the Kentucky River. They retired and permitted us to cross unmolested. I gave Freret permission to worry them with the mounted men, which he did, capturing a few prisoners. At Todhunter's I was informed that a full and fresh regiment of cavalry had just come out to cover the retreat of the Federals and that my force was too small and we would be captured.
We went on until we came in sight of them in line of battle. A thousand fresh cavalry, in new uniforms and freshly mounted, in line of battle is a beautiful sight. Not knowing how far I was ahead of the army I did not see any more safety in going back than in remaining. I sent a message to General Kirby Smith and requested that he would send me a couple of pieces of smooth-bore cannon. Whenever the retreating troops would have retired sufficiently, the cavalry would wheel about by companies and gallop back to a new position. After a long time General Kirby Smith
sent me a rifled cannon; we fired one shot at the cavalry, but the next one stuck in the gun. Captain Cunningham, one of General Smith's aides, came up about this time. I showed him the Federal line, our small force, and disabled gun; also I told him that there was plenty of water just ahead for camping purposes, but that I needed a few more troops and above all some artillery. I heard nothing more from General Smith, and after waiting until sunset I withdrew my command. We went back nearly six miles before we found our pickets and nearly two more before we reached headquarters.
As I approached headquarters I heard one soldier ask another, "where those wagons were going?" He replied, "that the train wagons were being emptied and sent back to bring up Heth's division;" the first then remarked, "that means retreat, for the Yanks could reinforce faster than we could."
At headquarters I found a rather peculiar state of affairs. A sudden halt had been ordered, the advance drawn back to where I found it, all the wagons were being unloaded and sent back to bring Heth's division. A herald was being gotten ready to summon the Federal commander, at the sound of a midnight bugle, to evacuate Lexington or come outside of it, to fight. It looked very much like a panic. There was no answer to the bugle, and the herald rode into town without being questioned. The Federal commander, C. C. Gilbert, had also been seized with an uncertainty, and while we were preparing the herald he was making hot haste in another direction. I afterwards heard that Gilbert received a brevet for skill in withdrawing
his command; but when the circumstances became better known, the brevet was revoked. We now found that, if we had followed the Federals up closely, we could have gone into Lexington the night before, and have captured valuable supplies.
Early in the morning of September the first, I rode into Lexington with the advance guard, just one day earlier than was fixed for General Morgan to report there. Morgan came in on the next day. The town seemed deserted; but at the front door of one house there were a lot of ladies who appeared excited, and were concealing something. Presuming it to be a Confederate flag, I called them to let it wave; and they did.
The Federals being very much demoralized I had presumed that we would push rapidly towards Cincinnati. I was very much surprised when headquarters were established at Lexington. I do not know, but afterwards inferred, that it was done by the advice of Dr. Sol Smith. I shall always regard this as another of those grand opportunities lost. 7
The Federals at Cumberland Gap under General G. W. Morgan finally abandoned it. When General Smith heard of this, he went over to General Humphrey Marshall's brigade, at Mount Sterling, for the purpose of intercepting them: but we were too late. Marshall had been sent from West Virginia across the mountains to report to General Smith.
General Smith's army, under the immediate command
of Heth, moved on towards Cincinnati, but with positive orders not to go within the neck of land made by the Ohio river, opposite to it. Heth found the whole country in a panic and believed he could cross the river and enter Ohio. He sent more than one messenger to General Smith asking his permission to be allowed to enter Covington. What a grand diversion in favor of Generals Lee and Bragg it would have been!
We soon learned that General Bragg had turned Nashville and was upon General Buell's line of communication, compelling Buell to follow him. Now occurred one of General Bragg's peculiar movements. He deliberately stepped to one side and let Buell pass him with his, Buell's, whole flank open to his attack and never molested him.
General Kirby Smith received orders from General Bragg to concentrate at Frankfort, as it was his, General Bragg's, intention to inaugurate the Confederate Governor there. The day before the expected arrival of General Bragg and the future Governor, General Kirby Smith formed his line of battle on the west bank of the Kentucky river. After inspecting his line he sent me to inspect the pickets. I found our cavalry about a mile in front of our line but no pickets, not even a sentinel. Colonel Scott promised to send out pickets at once. Every one had had supper when I got back. General Bragg and staff, the future Governor, a number of prominent men, and many ladies were at the hotel. The Governor was to be inaugurated the next day at noon. General Bragg, with great confidence, informed the ladies that they might witness a
battle the next day or, at the latest, the day after. His army had not yet come up, but was in easy supporting distance.
Our right rested on a ravine; General Kirby Smith was uneasy about this flank and had directed me to go up this ravine early next morning, to move slowly, keep a good look out, and if necessary send him messengers. I started very early and was still moving away from our line, when I heard the inauguration salute fired. From the remarks of the escort it appeared that they were recruits; upon enquiry, I found, to my anxiety, that there was not an old soldier among them. As the afternoon advanced, hearing nothing more and having seen nothing, I returned to Frankfort. It was dark when I crossed the bridge. As I crossed the Railroad, I saw a train of passenger and box cars filled with people. Seeing some ladies that I knew in one of the box cars, I rode up and asked if it was the fear of the coming battle that drove them away from the inauguration ball that General Bragg had promised them. One of them with much indignation asked me if this was any time for trifling. I then noticed that some of them were in tears. One pointing up the hill asked me what that meant; it was the rear guard of a retreating army. Looking in the other direction I saw the bridge that I had just crossed was burning. I apologized, stating what I had been doing all day. My negro man, Shadrick, coming up with my extra horse, I told the ladies that so soon as I had fed my horses and myself I would return and keep them company until the train started. When Mrs. Humphreys asked me where I proposed to get supper, I could not say,
but that with the prospect of an all-night ride I would do my best. She insisted on getting out of the car and taking me to the house of a friend. Having been sumptuously fed we returned to the car. When the train left, I left, to follow one of the most unnecessary and disgraceful retreats recorded in history. 8
After waiting at Versailles a day General Kirby Smith, taking me with him, rode down to General Bragg's headquarters at Harrodsburg. The two armies were now touching each other, forming together the largest and best western army we had ever had, or were likely again to have.
We reached General Bragg's headquarters about noon. He was surrounded by a large retinue of hangers on, and it was hard to get a quiet interview. His conversation and actions were unaccountable, they were like those of a wild man. He gave General Kirby Smith to understand that he did not need his army, that with his own troops he could whip anything the Federals could bring against him. General Smith returned to Versailles completely at a loss what to do. During the next morning he gave General Marshall permission to return to Lexington and await events. We tried to persuade him to do so also: but during the afternoon the sound of battle in Bragg's direction decided him to go at once to his assistance.
While waiting on the train at Frankfort, I telegraphed to Shropshire that, if he proposed to leave Kentucky with our army he had better start, that I would share my bed and board with him. He joined me the afternoon that General Bragg was fighting
the battle of Perryville, October 8th. My bed consisted of a few blankets on the ground under a tree where we were repeatedly roused, during the night, by couriers. While sharing my breakfast next morning, served direct from the cooking utensils, Shropshire asked, "Well, Colonel, is this your bed?" "Yes!" "Is this your board?" "Yes!" "Well! if you will not. feel hurt, I will go at once to Knoxville." I made no objections and when I saw him again, it was at Knoxville.
Without orders and unsolicited, General Kirby Smith moved his army to the assistance of General Bragg. When we reached Harrodsburg, General J. M. Withers' command was all that we found of General Bragg's army; the remainder were in retreat to camp Dick Robinson. General Smith bivouaced his army in line of battle, and then asked me to find a place for headquarters. I found a comfortable house, a short distance in front of his line, which had been abandoned in hot haste. Overcoming his objection to being in front of his line we were not only most comfortable for the night but were a protection to the property. Our escort and couriers now consisting of a company of Georgians commanded by Captain Nelson, posted a few sentinels between us and the Federals. About dusk I was sent with orders to General Withers: while tying my horse on the lawn in front of his quarters, I was ordered, most peremptorily and brusquely, to untie my horse and take him off the lawn. Instead of so doing I walked up to General J. M. Withers, whom I had recognized, and remarking, "there are orders from General Smith which I could not deliver without
tieing my horse!" I bade him good evening and without further ceremony mounted and left him.
When General Smith rode to Harrodsburg the day before the battle of Perryville, we met Major General Frank Gardner's division in the road. The two armies were then touching each other. The day following, during the afternoon of which the battle was fought, the two armies were getting further apart and Humphry Marshall with his brigade had started for Lexington. The next day General Smith was hurrying to General Bragg's assistance, and General Bragg was running away to Camp Dick Robinson.
The following day I was given half a dozen mounted men and orders to burn certain bridges after all the troops had passed, and then to ride with the rear guard. General Duncan, who commanded the rear brigade, was an old acquaintance, and we rode along together very sociably. We first noticed some cavalry to the south, moving parallel with us. As we made out some blue overcoats among them, it was determined to ascertain who they were. It turned out to be Allston's brigade, having among them some captured overcoats. Presently one of General Smith's aides spoke to General Duncan. Duncan referred him to me as representing General Smith. It was concerning this same cavalry that he was enquiring. I told Captain Cunningham to inform General Smith who commanded the rear guard, and that nothing could be more satisfactory. Again and again would General Smith send back, and finally came back himself, Duncan remarking to me, "The commanding General having taken command of the rear guard he, Duncan,
would ride at the head of his brigade." Putting spurs to his horse he proceeded to do so.
That afternoon the two armies were, for the first time, together at camp Dick Robinson. 9
Late in the afternoon General Smith ordered me to go back to the river (Dicks River) and if possible to gather some men and tools, and obstruct the crossing. Both banks were high bluffs and the road on both sides was a long ramp cut from the banks. When I reached the river I found Robinson's battery unlimbered, with the men at their posts ready for action. Robinson was a West Pointer, being a native of Texas and having straight dark hair he was nicknamed "Comanche," and had served with me at Pensacola. He called to know where I was going. He then told me that the Federal skirmishers were already on the other bank of the river, firing from behind trees at anyone they could get a shot at, and that he was only waiting for them to appear in force to open with his battery. While I agreed with Robinson, that it was too late to obstruct the road, I did not like to go back without making a personal investigation. Leaving my horse with him I walked to the bank, and avoiding the road, on down to the river. There were some ten or more of our men at the river filling canteens. Returning just behind a soldier loaded with canteens, he fell at the same instant that I heard a musket shot. I thought that he was shot, and for a moment so did he; finding himself unhurt, he picked himself up and looking around remarked "It was that durned old root and I
thought it was a bullet." Fortunately it was getting dark. Having gotten my horse I returned to camp. Robinson became a Brigadier before the close of the war.
On the following day there was a grand council of war; it lasted several hours and resulted in a most disgraceful retreat. General Bragg started immediately, by the way of Crab Orchard, and never stopped until he reached Richmond.
General Smith returned by the way of Big Hill. When we reached the foot of the hill, we found that all of the captured and many other wagons had been turned upon our road. Forty-five miles of wagons on our road in order that the retreat of Bragg's army should not be impeded! When General Smith became aware of it, General Bragg was out of reach, and his army rapidly becoming so, leaving our entire flank exposed to attack. He at once sent a messenger to General Polk explaining the situation. General Wheeler was ordered to keep upon our flank.
Polignac and myself were ordered to the foot of the hill with instructions to pack all wagons that were not loaded with supplies. Here we found a most disgraceful state of affairs, many wagons being loaded with dry goods, shoes, trimmings and trumpery of all kinds. The headquarter wagons of one Major General, accompanied by his quartermaster, were already going up the hill. Two days afterwards this Major General came into our bivouac while we were eating a hearty breakfast; in his hand and pockets he carried parched corn. He remarked how well we fared, but that he had had nothing but parched corn for two days. I did not ask him where his headquarter wagons were.
INSPECTION OF CUMBERLAND GAP - PROMOTION - WITH KIRBY SMITH IN THE TRANS MISSISSIPPI DEPARTMENT - RICHARD TAYLOR, T. H. HOLMES, AND SMITH - SPIES - CONTRABAND TRADE IN COTTON - OFFICERS UNDER GENERAL SMITH - PROBLEM OF COMMUNICATIONS.
Arrived at Knoxville, General Smith received instructions to come to Richmond. Before leaving he directed me to go to Cumberland Gap for the purpose of ascertaining if it could be fortified. East Tennessee was intensely Union and it was very unsafe to go a few miles without an escort. With Freret for a companion, and an escort of ten men detailed from an East Tennessee cavalry regiment, and a full company to meet me at Clinton, we set out by the way of Clinton and Powell's river. During the first morning we met General Churchill and staff. He advised me take some other route as there was nothing left on that road.
All of my escort being natives of that region, knew where to find food and forage. Nearly every night found us near the homes of some of my escort; they would get permission to spend a night at home and being supplied with money for the purpose would always bring in supplies when they returned. One morning a liberal supply of eggs, milk and apple brandy were brought in; the weather was cold, and that night, borrowing a large bowl from a neighboring house, I got Freret to concoct what is called in Louisiana hot egg-nog. Taking out our share I sent the sergeant
with the remainder to the men. I heard one of the men as he sipped it say, "If that is the sort of truck the Colonel makes out'n eggs, milk and apple-jack, he was bound to have it every night on this trip."
We arrived at the Gap in a snow storm: leaving the men to pitch camp in as sheltered a place as we could find, I went to pay my respects to General W. G. M. Davis of Florida, the commanding officer.
While with him his servant announced dinner: with an apology for his meager fare, the General invited us down. I told the General that we had ordered a dinner of mutton chops and mushrooms and unless he could improve on that he had better dine with us.
"Mutton chops and mushrooms! Are you joking?"
"No, put on your overcoat and come along."
We dined out of doors in a snow storm; but the dinner was served "hot and hot."
To fortify Cumberland Gap would be a difficult, expensive and useless labor. It is isolated, can be easily flanked, as we had already proven, and easily carried by assault. To prevent the last, I recommended Cohorn mortars or hand grenades.
On my return to Knoxville, General Smith informed me that the object of his call to Richmond was Mr. Davis' desire for a personal interview; that he had consented, upon Mr. Davis' urgent solicitation, to continue to serve under General Bragg for the present.
In the recent campaign General Bragg had proved himself unfit for a high command. When General Smith found himself deserted by him, he told me that on no conditions would he consider to serve under him again. But General Bragg was retained in command
and Murfreesboro and Missionary Ridge are lasting monuments to Mr. Davis' will power.
General Smith brought me my commission as Brigadier General. 1 He told me Mr. Davis objected on the grounds that my services were needed on the staff and that the administration of the army was being destroyed by personal ambition. General Smith called his attention to the fact that my being a general officer need not prevent my being on staff duty; but on the contrary that, if I was to remain with him, he preferred that I should be his chief-of-staff with the additional rank, and would promise for me that I should not ask for a command. This fixed my rank and place for the war.
There being no immediate urgent demand for my services I went, on leave of absence, to pass the Christmas holidays with my family. While being feasted and made much of, I received orders to meet General Smith at Chattanooga on his way to take part in General Bragg's new campaign. When I reached there I found orders to return to Knoxville and make preparations to move headquarters across the Mississippi River. I do not know by what lucky chance the transportation of our headquarters was placed in charge of Major Ezell, quartermaster. I had known the Major at Pensacola, he was then a private in the first Georgia, and on account of his many splendid qualities was of inestimable value to me.
Everything having been provided for the move, I
went to Milledgeville for my family. 2 At Atlanta we met General Smith and the following named members of his staff, to-wit: Captains Cunningham and E. Walworth, aides-de-camp; Col. J. F. Belton and Captain H. P. Pratt, adjutants general; Captain Meem, signal officer; Col. John M. Brown, chief of ordnance and artillery; Major Thomas, commissary, and Freret now captain of engineers. Major Ezell, quartermaster, was in charge of the transportation train and Dr. Sol Smith, surgeon, whose residence was at Alexandria La., had gone on before.
At Montgomery the party separated, General Smith with a few officers and his family going to Mobile by rail, some of the young officers with Walworth by the way of his home on the Mississippi River, the remainder with me by boat to Mobile. My brother Robert, my aide-de-camp, joined me at Mobile. Our route was then by the way of Meridien to Jackson. The quartermaster at Jackson was profuse in his attentions, and having assured me that the necessary transportation had been provided, I went on to Osyka. When I reached there it looked as if the aforementioned quartermaster had been anxious to get us away. There
Sherman denies the destruction of Columbia by his army and it may be so: but in the winter of '66 and '67 I had occasion to visit that lower part of South Carolina bordering the Savannah river and the line of railway between Charleston and Savannah. The imagination can not take in the extent of the wanton and malicious destruction of property of all kinds; which it can not be denied was done by his army; and which could not have been done, had he any desire to prevent it.
had been no transportation provided, not even a message that we were coming and would require it. After much labor we succeeded in transporting ourselves and supplies to Clinton, Louisiana. There I learned that two Federal gun boats had passed Vicksburg and were patrolling the river directly on our route. I went to Port Hudson to make inquiries. Major General Frank Gardner, the commanding officer, advised me not to attempt to proceed, but to wait until a boat they were protecting with cotton bales should preceed us. Leaving my family at Clinton, I moved the headquarter outfit to Port Hudson and put it aboard a boat to await our opportunity. When the time approached for the completion of the cotton-bale gunboat I moved my family down, We followed the gunboat, but our Captain stopped at so many places to take on sugar and molasses that it was soon out of sight and hearing. Coasting along the west bank and occasionally making enquiries, it was not until we entered the mouth of Red River that we felt comparatively safe. A few miles inside the mouth of the river there is an island, made by the present river and an old bed of the river. We were steaming up the north side of this island feeling very comfortable when we noticed a dense smoke from a steamer moving up the other side of the island. Starting up so suddenly and moving so rapidly we inferred that it was a Federal gun boat waiting for just such an opportunity. It was now a question of speed and we made all we could. We reached the head of the island first but not sufficiently far to have been out of reach of shot and were very glad to find we had been running a race with one
of our own transports from the Atchafalaya Bayou. On our way up the river we met the Steamer Webb on her way to attack the Indianola. The Webb was an ocean steamer, she was unarmored but very fast. We also passed the Federal gun boat Queen of the West; which having ventured up Red River, had been abandoned by her crew, after being disabled by a battery of small guns. She accompanied the Webb. 3
Arrived at Alexandria I reported to General Dick Taylor. General Taylor sent his own headquarter boat to Port Hudson for General Smith. The river being now open, General Smith was soon at Alexandria.
When General Smith went to interview General Taylor he took me with him. He told General Taylor of Mr. Davis' anxiety about Vicksburg and his desires that something should be done on our side of the river. General Taylor asked General Smith to give him, at once, another brigade for that duty, and to order me to report to him to command it - stating that General A. G. Blanchard, who was in that district, made his headquarters at Monroe, and was too old for active service near the river. General Smith stated that he could not possibly spare me, but that he was going at once to Little Rock, and under positive instructions from Mr. Davis, would send General George Walker's division of Texas troops to Milliken Bend.
About that time there arrived at headquarters two men who claimed to be sympathizers, and who had brought through the lines two bladders of quinine, as a pledge of good faith. Coming at that particular crisis, I was suspicious and expressed my doubts to General
Smith. I was very much surprised when I found them on the same boat that was to take us to Camden, en route for Little Rock, and still more so when General Smith gave them permission to get off at Monroe and visit our lines opposite Vicksburg. One of them afterwards came to Little Rock, took down many orders from various persons for gew-gaws and jimcracks, and with a pass from General Smith, returned north through our lines. With his memorandum book open he came to know what he could bring me on his next trip. I not only declined to take advantage of his kindness, but did all I could to have him arrested. The other never returned from opposite Vicksburg, and I have no doubt made his way to the nearest Federal outpost with information worth many bladders of quinine.
On the road from Camden to Little Rock we passed many nominal deserters; these, I thought, ought to be detained for several months at least; their desertion was entirely too systematic; but they were permitted to go on through the lines.
While riding with General Smith between Camden and Little Rock, he informed me that Mr. Davis was very much annoyed with the manner in which General T. H. Holmes had been conducting the department; that he had centered his thoughts and ideas on Arkansas alone, keeping the largest and best body of his troops centered about Little Rock, and leaving the rest of the department to take care of itself; that he, General Smith, would send Walker's division to northern Louisiana, with orders to report to General Taylor, and might send others troops there also. I was not
present at the interviews between Generals Smith and Holmes, and can not say what occurred; but Walker's division was not sent at once to Louisiana. General Smith seemed to have fallen under the same influences as General Holmes had done.
After inspecting the troops at Pine Bluff, (two divisions that at that instant were needed, and Mr. Davis had expected to be opposite Vicksburg), and spending some time at Little Rock we started on our return to Alexandria. During the first afternoon we were overtaken by a terrific storm and no shelter in sight. When night came on, we could not see the road and no doubt passed some unseen houses: fortunately some one opened a door to look out at the weather. We rode up and asked for shelter. It was a small house with limited accommodations and no men at home. An old lady, the grandmother, said she could not turn any one away such a night as that and would do the best she could. The head of the family was absent on business, the son and son-in-law in the army. The family consisted of the old lady, her daughter and daughter-in-law, three grand children, and an adopted child. The house was a one room, storey and a half log cabin, a one storey shed for the loom and a similar shed for kitchen and eating room. Everything was deliciously clean and such a contrast to the house we stopped at, in that neighborhood, on our way to Little Rock. That one was an unfinished two frame, belonging to a doctor, who had his Philadelphia diploma. We had found him sitting on his porch, heels on rails and smoking his pipe, while his daughters and grand-daughters
were ploughing in the field, and one of them had to be called to get dinner for us. 4
There was no system of communication between the different district headquarters; so that it was not until we reached Monroe that we learned that Grant was passing down on our side, and investing Vicksburg on the lower side; and that Banks was threatening Alexandria to cover his investment of Port Hudson. We were advised not to take our boat down to and up Red River, but as the waters were high, to take an old river bed, called False River, which would land us eight miles north of Alexandria. A messenger was now sent back to order Walker's division to Milliken Bend. When he did get there the Federals were so well fortified that he could not dislodge them.
At our first interview with General Taylor he had suggested that Shreveport, being the geographical center of the department, would be the most suitable place for department headquarters, but General Smith did not seem to consider the proposal favorably, maybe through Dr. Smith's influence. 5 I was now sent up there to look into the matter. Within forty-eight hours after my return we were afflicted with a genuine stampede. Banks commenced to threaten Alexandria in force, and everything movable was put on steamboats and hurried off to Shreveport. General Smith had now no choice but to make his headquarters at Shreveport. 6 We had the greatest difficulty in obtaining accommodations
of any sort, so much so as to give the appearance of a desire to prevent headquarters being established there. The town was full of men, some wearing uniforms and some not. For the purpose of ascertaining the cause and also of providing more room, I published an order requiring all officers and men in Shreveport and the surrounding country to report at headquarters, register their names, rank, and by what authority they were there. My recollection is that in addition to the post officers but two reported. I then sent for the post commandant and directed him to send a patrol, consisting of one commissioned, two non-commissioned officers, and ten privates through the streets with orders to arrest every man they met, whatever his apparent rank might be, and require him to show his orders. After that day there were but few officers or soldiers to be seen upon the streets and we soon had ample accommodations.
I had found a cousin of my mother's, George Calhoun, living there; on our arrival he crowded us into his own small house. A few days after I moved my family across the river to a Mrs. Cane's. Mrs. Cane had a large plantation, large house and a large number of slaves. I had taken the precaution to call on her and ascertain if she was willing to take us as boarders. She seemed willing and fixed her own terms. She treated my wife most rudely from the moment we arrived; had it not been dark I should have moved back at once, and did next day. I never imagined that a woman could be so contemptible.
A desperate character by the name of Hope, confined in jail, sent for me and offered me his house and
servants, upon the sole condition that I would take care of them: we remained there until he was released from jail. I then rented a house three miles in the country; but before the end of the year Mr. Duke Tally very kindly offered me the use of his house and furniture in town. When Mr. Tally sold his house Mr. Hunnisucker was equally kind.
When we had become acquainted with the citizens proper, we found them hospitable, social and kind. Our life there was, in all respects, most agreeable.
At Little Rock there was a department staff, among whom were Colonel Sam Anderson, Adjutant General; Colonel Blair, Chief Commissary; Major Thomas G. Rhett, Chief of Ordnance; and Dr. Hayden, Medical Director. These officers had been ordered to those duties by special order of the War Department and objected to being placed in subordinate positions except by the same authority. The position assumed by them, interfering with General Smith's intentions with reference to Dr. Sol Smith, his surgeon, and Major Thomas, his commissary, he created the Bureaus of Commissariat and Medicine, with Blair and Hayden as their respective heads. Anderson and Rhett were ordered to Shreveport, one as Adjutant General, and the other as Chief of Ordnance. Colonel Ben. Allston whom we had been compelled to leave in Kentucky on account of wounds he had received at the head of his brigade, upon being exchanged, finding his brigade had been given to another, asked for and received orders to join us, bringing with him Major Wright Schaumburg, formerly of General Little's staff. Captain P. H. Thompson of the First Louisiana Regulars,
having been thrown out by the consolidation of his command, asked for and was ordered to us as an assistant adjutant general. And it was not very long before Generals Huger and Magruder, Colonel Clemson of the nitre and mining bureau, Colonel O'Bannon, quartermaster, Major Ducayet, quartermaster, Major Douglas, engineer corps, and Dr. Yandel, surgeon, were ordered to our headquarters from Richmond.
The working staff of the department was constituted as follows:
Captains Cunningham and Walworth, aides-de-camp. Capt. Meem, signal officer, also the most trusted aide. Three most accomplished and unexceptional gentlemen in every respect.
Colonel Belton, assistant adjutant general, thoroughly competent. His desk was in General Smith's private office and his duties for the most part confidential.
Dr. Sol Smith, surgeon and confidential adviser. He was a man of immense frame and immense intellect: but indolent and selfish. He was undoubtedly very fond of General Smith and endeavored to serve him to his, General Smith's, advancement and glory. But the Doctor having gotten back among his own people (he belonged to Alexandria) was influenced by his local relations to such an extent that his advice was not always beneficial.
Dr. Yandel, another fine specimen of physical and mental ability, was also a part of General Smith's household. He had no special duties but accompanied him in the field. It was concerning him that Mr. Davis wrote to General Smith that he had not sent him to the department for promotion, but because he,
the Doctor, was personally obnoxious to him, Mr. Davis.
The following were at the head of the bureaus:
Of Ordnance, General Huger. General Huger had been a distinguished officer in the Mexican war, where he had served on the staff of General Scott. He was the inspector of Ordnance at foundries when the difficulties began and it was as his assistant that I was serving at Pittsburg. Both he and General Magruder made some great blunders during the seven days fight around Richmond and were relieved from their commands. General Huger never again had a command, and I think General Smith made a great mistake when he gave Magruder one.
At the head of Quartermasters, Colonel O'Bannon. O'Bannon went to the Mexican war as a sergeant in the Edgefield Company, Palmetto Regiment. He was promoted into the regular army of the United States for distinguished personal courage in assaulting the breach at Molino del Rey. A man of ability and energy, he had no superior for the special duty to which he was assigned. The same O'Bannon whom Mr. Mallory wished to supply with a clerk. He was scarcely warm in his seat when an exempt on account of a civil office called upon him and invited him to dinner. After a short time the same person informed him that he had just received a barrel of whiskey and would be pleased to fill the Colonel's jug if he would send it round. O'Bannon sent his jug, at the same time informing his clerk that "that man wants something." On the morning of the grand review he drove to O'Bannon's office behind a fine double team
and informing O'Bannon that his wife being ill he would be pleased to give O'Bannon a seat to the review. As he turned to follow him, he whispered to his clerk "that he hadn't a doubt but that man wanted something." It was not long before the same person called again. He informed O'Bannon that the elections were about to take place and the indications were against his re-election. O'Bannon expressed his regrets that so polite an official should be turned out of an office he filled so hospitably. He then informed O'Bannon that he was not fit for service in the field; O'Bannon did not know about that, but thought a musket would fit his shoulder beautifully. The end of it all was that he asked O'Bannon to take him in his office. O'Bannon acknowledged having accepted his other invitations but declined this one with thanks. The next morning while his exemption papers were still good this person started for the Rio Grande behind his fine team and was not seen in those parts any more until the close of the war.
Just before Banks' raid up Red River the captain of one of the steamboats called at O'Bannon's office and informed him that he had been ordered down the river after a load of corn but that his steamboat was disabled and he could not make good time, etc. O'Bannon thanked him for the information, saying, "Captain, you gentlemen seem to think that whenever we select your boat that it is a personal spite or favor to some other person. Your statement that your boat is disabled relieves me from a very disagreeable duty, for I have just received an order from General Smith to select the least serviceable boat and
sink it in the mouth of Tone's Bayou. Since you tell me that your boat is unserviceable I will of course take it. You had better remove the furniture and whatever you can, for I shall take your boat down in the morning and sink her." The captain left in a hurry and started for the wharf. In a few minutes the blackest kind of smoke was pouring out of the chimneys and within half an hour she had backed out into the stream and started down the river. When she returned she was loaded to the guards with corn.
During the fall of '64 and winter of '64 and '65 our department became very much demoralized by an order issued at Richmond, authorizing a limited contraband trade in cotton, with the Federals. This infamous authority was not intended for our department; but much to the discredit of some high in rank, advantage was taken of it. It was upon one of the papers connected with this traffic, that I saw an endorsement in President Lincoln's own hand, over his own signature. So manly and so decided was this endorsement, that it rendered the paper itself and the action of our authorities contemptible. A merchant of Shreveport, I think his name was Jacobs, called on Colonel O'Bannon and expressed a wish to take out a load of cotton and bring back goods. He showed O'Bannon what enormous profits there would be, and which he would divide with O'Bannon if he would get him a permit. After permitting Mr. Jacobs to commit himself as to the amount of money to be made on the cotton, O'Bannon suggested that Mr. Jacobs might not return. Jacobs offered to give security and finally proposed to deposit with O'Bannon quite a large sum
of ready money as security: or in plain language to pay O'Bannon so much, cash down, for the permit O'Bannon locked the door leading from his office, then opened the one to his clerks and requested them to come in. He then requested Mr. Jacobs to repeat his offer. Mr. Jacobs declined, insisting that his interview had been confidential. O'Bannon repeated it; then opening his outside door kicked Mr. Jacobs out of the room and to the head of the steps. 7 Since the war, during the yellow fever epidemic at Memphis, O'Bannon stuck to his post and worked unceasingly to improve the sanitary condition of the town. Such was the man at the head of our Quartermasters Department.
Colonel Blair, at the head of the Commissary Bureau, was a gentlemen of the old school; had acquired name and fame in the United States Army; and was considered to be the very best fitted, of all others, to be Commissary General of the Confederate States Army.
Dr. Hayden, sans peur et sans reproche, at the head of the Medical Bureau, was a man of magnificent physique and incomparable intellect. In connection with this bureau was a pharmaceutical laboratory in charge of Dr. Smith of New Orleans. This Dr. Smith was a son of General Percifer F. Smith of Mexican war fame and was a most accomplished gentleman.
At department headquarters there was myself, as chief of staff. In the Adjutant General's Department, Colonel Sam Anderson, recently of the United States Artillery. He served through the Mexican war
and was breveted for distinguished conduct. A most accomplished and competent officer. Major Williamson of Louisiana had already earned distinction in the army east of the river. Having been a lawyer of standing, all affairs relating to courts martial and civil rights in the districts of Louisiana and Arkansas, were referred to him. Captain West occupied a similar position with reference to the district of Texas. Captain Pratt had charge of the clerk's office. Inspector Generals Colonel Ben. Allston and Major Wright Schaumburg; both unexceptional.
Major Minter had been especially ordered from Texas, by General Smith, to be his chief quartermaster, and proved to be one of the most competent officers. When General Smith sent him to Europe, Major Gary was ordered to take his place. He was an excellent officer but was unable to take in the extent of his duties.
Major Thomas was still his chief commissary, and was considered by General Smith a most excellent one. I never doubted the sincerity of his opinion for he could not have had any other reason for placing him in so responsible a position. As an individual there could be no objection; but as chief commissary he was entirely out of place; he had neither the education or ability to take in the work of the department. For example, I received a letter from General Taylor complaining, that in a department capable of supplying Europe with beef, his district had received scarcely enough to supply his hospitals. I referred this letter to Major Thomas. He returned it covered with an endorsement, giving the number and weight of the cattle
he had sent to the district in a given time, and, as he said, to show me that the General had been misinformed. I placed the paper on my private file until the Major, as I was sure he would, should ask for it. When he enquired to know about it I sent him for his rosters. From them it was easy to figure how much meat was required for the hospitals. And it was not until he had divided the amount of beef sent by the days for which it was sent that he realized the justness of General Taylor's complaint. On another occasion a regiment had been ordered to build a road through a swamp on the north side of the river and within a few miles of headquarters. The Colonel commanding applied in person for rations of whisky as a prophylactic. Coffee had long since ceased to be a ration; but we had a good supply in store at our commissary headquarters for just such emergencies. When I offered it in place of whiskey the Colonel was delighted with the prospect. I gave him a written order on Major Thomas for ten thousand rations of coffee, stating in the order the purpose for which it was issued. After ten days the Colonel reported the road completed and that he was ready to return to his brigade. When I asked him how his men enjoyed the coffee he informed me that they had not received it yet. I invited him to take a seat and sent for Major Thomas. When asked for an explanation, he informed me that the requisitions had not been returned. When I wanted to know what requisitions and from whom they were to be returned, it appeared that he had had his clerk make out duplicate requisitions; these he had sent to the headquarters of the district, to be sent to
his divisions, thence to his brigade, thence to his regiment and finally to come all the way back through the same channels again. I asked the Major if he did not recognize General Smith's right to give him, his chief commissary, a special order. He could not be made to understand that he had not done exactly right.
When we first came to the department Captain Freret was our only engineer officer; afterwards Colonel Douglas, a splendid specimen of youthful manhood, was ordered to us.
Colonel Brown, chief of artillery, came with us from Tennessee. He had seen service in the United States Army.
Major Rhett, also of the United States Army, was chief of ordnance. He was a man of grand physique, spirit and capacity. He could see no wrong in one he liked and no good in one he disliked. He afterwards served in the army of the Khedive and died shortly after his return to America. For an assistant he had Captain Green, of St. Louis, a most elegant and accomplished gentleman.
Major Carr, chief paymaster, was a native of Louisiana; but had not been there since the beginning of the Mexican war, until ordered there from Richmond. He was a whole-soured, cultivated gentleman. When in New Orleans, shortly after the surrender, a nephew of his was finding fault with the conduct of the war: the Major asked him if he had been in the Federal army; he replied with some surprise that he had not; he then asked him if he had been in the Confederate army and upon his saying that he had not, advised him never to talk about the war. On another occasion, after listening
patiently to another after-the-war warrior, he told him that he fully agreed with him and could inform him that the only obstacle was the want of ten thousand more men; and that from what he had seen since he arrived he was satisfied that there were at least that many able bodied men lying idle in New Orleans at that time.
Major Ezell, quartermaster, had charge of everything relating to that department connected with headquarters. He was unexceptionable. Doctor Catlett of St. Joseph, Misouri, was our medical purveyor. He came with us from Tennessee and was most competent.
Colonel Clemsen, who represented the Nitre and Mining Bureau, was an elderly man, full of scientific attainments; but most impracticable. His duties were light.
Captain P. H. Thompson, of the First Louisiana Regulars, acting assistant adjutant general, and my brother Robert, I considered as belonging to my own personal staff.
These were the gentlemen with whom I was in intimate official and social relations for a little more than two years and I often wonder how it happened that there should have gotten together so many men of such distinguished physical, mental, moral and social characteristics. Some of them had become obnoxious to Mr. Davis on account of their independence of character, others were in the way, on account of their well known abilities and reputations, and the Trans-Mississippi was a little out of the way.
Finding the communication with the district headquarters
very irregular and uncertain I determined to establish lines of couriers to them. In order to avoid taking able bodied men from the army I suggested to General Smith that we enlist six companies of boys, between thirteen and fifteen years of age. These boys were to be enlisted, with the consent of their parents, with the same pay and allowances as cavalrymen and to be officered by some of those already in service but those regiments having been consolidated were unattached. The plan having been approved by General Smith, I sent for Major Bird, of Baton Rouge, Louisiana, and having explained it to him offered him the command. With his assistance the other officers were appointed, and the enlistments begun. We met with no opposition and soon had our lines established. It was arranged that while three of the companies were on duty the other three should be in camp for rest and instruction. The command was well officered and worked most satisfactorily until the end of the war.
In the meantime General Holmes was arranging for an attack on Helena, as a diversion in favor of Vicksburg. I presume that it was on this account that General Smith had delayed ordering the Texas troops to Louisiana. It was not until July the fourth that General Holmes was ready and made this attack and on that day General Pemberton surrendered Vicksburg. This diversion diverted the principal purpose for which General Smith had been sent to the department. After this attack General Holmes crossed the river and Major General Price succeeded to the commend.
That was the last of active operations in this district until the following spring.
General Dick Taylor was eternally vigilant; he never missed an opportunity of annoying Banks, attacking and capturing outposts and threatening his communications.
Early in June my friend and kinsman, George Calhoun, came to inform me that he had sold all his property in Shreveport and bought a plantation on Red River and was about to take his family to South Carolina, from whence he proposed to bring back negroes to work his plantation. Finding that he was in earnest I took him into a private office, where I told him that if he intended to take his family across the river he had no time to lose, for it was my private judgment, never before expressed to anyone and not to be repeated by him, that Vicksburg would soon be in the hands of the Federals. He turned ashy. I went further and asked him if he supposed he would ever work a slave after the close of the war. He replied that if he could not in this country he would go to one in which he could. I advised, that if such were his feelings, not to go to Carolina at all; but to dispose of what he had and set out at once to seek his new country. I learned afterwards that he went home and told his wife that I was a Yankee. He took my advice, however, and set out as soon as he could and had so little time to spare that as he went out of Jackson on the east, General Grant's army was coming in on the west. He returned to his plantation that fall but left his negroes in Carolina.
In September, a fleet of transports, escorted by gun
boats, appeared off Sabine Pass. A few fortunate shots from our little battery disabled two gun boats and they were abandoned. The fleet then returned to New Orleans without making an effort to land. We learned afterwards that it contained General Franklin's army corps. Had he landed and established himself in the Sabine Valley, we would have been so completely flanked as to have prevented us from meeting and defeating General Banks the following spring. Upon hearing of the capture of the boats General Magruder made haste to go from Houston to the pass and date his despatches from on board one of the captured boats. Our force at the pass was, I think, twenty-one men, all told.
Shortly after this event General Smith sent me down below Alexandria to see if it were possible to fortify or obstruct Red River. I invited Major Carr to accompany me. He was a native of Natchitoches and had not visited it for many years. Judge Boyce, of Bayou Rapides, was on a business trip to Shreveport at the time. I invited him to take a seat with us, letting his own wagons go on without him. The Judge was one of those who think that you cannot make a good day's journey without waking men and animals long enough before day to have everything ready to start just as soon as there is light enough to see. I being of a contrary opinion, his wagon would start on his time and mine two hours later. Every day we would pass his team and get to our stopping place an hour before it. The Judge insisted that it was the team and not the principle that caused it. At Alexandria I took a steamboat for the lower river and to
avoid attention and comment started before day. Doctor Egan, an elegant Irish gentleman, hearing me moving about the room, inquired the cause of my early rising. To keep off miasma, he prescribed a dram of juniper gin of his own distilling. I examined the river as far as the Black to find that General Taylor had already made the very best possible disposition of the means at our disposal. While returning I happened to hum the following:
"As I was going to the fair, the choice of all true hearted
Miss Kitty she promised, she would be there, so I staid the last of all the peoples.
Perhaps some pretty thing catch her eye, some ginger bread or apple pie.
I runned as fast as I could t'get it, for what in the devil did I care for a tuppence.
With scorn she now hears me complain, nor will she look at me at all.
She loves John Peter Michael better as I, because he has got a couple of dollars more as me."
The captain of the boat informed me that he had not heard that ditty for many years and then it was sung by a friend of his in California. Upon comparing notes his friend turned out to be my uncle, William Alexander Robertson. Uncle Aleck went to California in 1849, sailing round Cape Horn. He came back in the winter of '56 for his family: but met with so much opposition, that he finally settled in Augusta, Gal, where he died the same year with yellow fever. The Captain told me when he left, he was judge of
the county court of Shasta County and if he had returned they had intended making him Governor and afterwards Senator. He also informed me that his portrait hung in one of the public halls at Yreka.
LAST DAYS OF THE CONFEDERACY - INTERVIEW WITH GENERAL SMITH - THE BANKS - TAYLOR CAMPAIGN - RESIGNATION AS CHIEF OF STAFF - THE SURRENDER
During the winter of '63 and '64 it seemed almost a certainty that the Federals intended to make a determined effort to drive us out of Arkansas and Louisiana. I was so satisfied of this that I had the roads leading from Arkansas and Texas towards Shreveport, Mansfield, and Natchitoches put in order. I also directed Major Thomas to establish supply deposits at certain points on these roads and keep them well supplied. With the exception of some of those ordered my Texas my orders were carried out.
General Smith went to Texas for the purpose of a personal interview with Magruder with reference to the approaching campaign. In that interview Magruder induced him to suspend my orders in his district. When I heard of it I did my best to repair the mischief.
One morning finding General Smith and several members of the staff in high glee I inquired the cause. I was informed that it was occasioned by the fact General Joseph E. Johnston had been ordered to the command of the army in upper Georgia. I told them that I hoped that their expectations might be realized; but if I were to judge by his campaign on the peninsula or in Mississippi, we would soon hear of him at Atlanta and if not relieved, in the everglades of Florida.
General Johnston's strategy seemed to be in permitting the enemy to keep him amused at one of his stragetic points while they quietly turned both flanks and compelled him to fall back to the next one. 1
My preparations were none too soon, for early in the spring General Banks advanced from New Orleans with an army estimated between forty and fifty thousand men, flanked by a fleet of gun boats under the command of Admiral Porter, while General Steele came down from the north with an army of over twelve thousand. After some correspondence, General Taylor came to Shreveport and, in a personal interview, the plan of campaign was decided upon. It was agreed that in consideration of General Banks' want of reputation as a commander, to concentrate and fight him first, although his army was supposed to be nearly four times as large as General William Steele's.
With this understanding General Taylor hurried back to his command and devoted his attention to compelling Banks to advance slowly.
General Price, commanding the district of Arkansas, was ordered to send all his infantry and artillery to Shreveport; but retaining his cavalry to harass Steele and keep him in check. All available troops from Texas were ordered to move by the shortest routes towards Natchitoches and Mansfield.
As the troops began to arrive from Arkansas Doctor Sol Smith also arrived from Alexandria, and now began a change of movement, which I have always held him responsible for. The Arkansas troops were halted at Shreveport and detained there, ostensibly to
be equipped. The animus of change was that Dr. Smith disliked General Taylor as much as he liked General Smith. Taylor was to harass Banks up to the last moment and then General Smith was to move down with additional troops, take command, and carry off the glory of the pitched battle. In the meantime we, at department headquarters, were having reviews, balls and a gay time generally.
On the morning of the battle of Mansfield, April 8th, 1864, a dispatch came from General Taylor, which to me was unmistakable. He informed General Smith that he had been skirmishing with the enemy all day, he complained bitterly at the detention of the troops that had been promised him, and had he anticipated it he would have first fought at least one battle for Louisiana without them. This last I construed to mean that he intended to fight that day. I took the dispatch in to General Smith and told him what I thought. He said no, that Taylor did not have troops enough to fight. Orders were issued at once for all troops to move towards Mansfield, but to halt and await further orders at Keachi. Headquarter transportation was gotten ready and those officers who were to accompany General Smith in the field, myself among the number, were to be ready for an early start next day. So sure was I that the battle would be fought that day, and so uneasy about the result, that I made arrangements to move my wife and the children into Texas, upon the first intimation of disaster. General Smith had sent his family off some time before. A little after midnight I was called by a courier with dispatches from General Taylor, stating that he had
fought Banks, defeated him, captured many prisoners, artillery and wagons and that Banks was in full retreat. I sent the courier to General Smith's quarters and followed soon as possible myself. I found General Smith of the opinion that Taylor had engaged only the advance guard and the battle was still to be fought this side of Mansfield. He told me that he should start at once with his aides-de-camp and that I must follow in the morning with the rest of the staff. With the coming light there was great excitement and I was soon on the road with the body of the staff. Some of them got very excited and wished to proceed at a gallop. I finally told Allston and Williamson that they could go on faster if they wished to. Shortly after they left I received a message from General Smith directing me to halt the staff wherever the messenger should find me and await further orders. When General Smith reached Mansfield he found only the wounded and prisoners with their guards and nurses. General Taylor had followed Banks and was again fighting him at Pleasant Hill.
The morning after the battle, General Taylor returned to Mansfield for an interview with General Smith; he wished to retain the additional troops and push Banks, whom he believed to be thoroughly demoralized and could be destroyed. General Steele being within ninety miles of Shreveport, General Smith was fearful that if the entire army continued to follow Banks, Steele might easily reach Shreveport and then come down in our rear, so he ordered all the Arkansas and Texas troops to return to Arkansas, leaving General Taylor his original command only.
I was sent on to Magnolia, Arkansas, for the purpose of establishing rapid communication with General Price. I remained there until the army was concentrated in the neighborhood of Camden. The day after rejoining the army, I rode with General Smith to General Price's headquarters, in front General Price was still commanding all the cavalry that had been left in Arkansas. From this interview, General Fagan was given a division of cavalry and directed to proceed to Little Rock and to destroy all supplies he might find there, then to Pine Bluff and do the same thing. He was to move rapidly and stop for nothing. He was informed of the importance attached to his movements and promised promotion if successful. Unfortunately on the second day out he ran across a return train with a number of convalescents and some plunder which he decided to secure. The time required for this prevented the surprise of Little Rock and destroyed the only object for which he had been sent.
The return of Fagan's command rendered further delay in bringing Steele to battle useless and arrangements for so doing were being made, when a deserter from our army having informed Steele of Banks' disaster, he stole away quietly one night and retreated toward Little Rock.
General Smith had a long conversation with me about following Steele. He knew that he ought not to fight except under the most favorable circumstances, and if he followed at all he must follow rapidly, thus giving Steele the advantage of selecting his own ground to receive him and to force a fight that he wished to avoid. He also ought to have known that
his army should have been pushed across country toward Alexandria.
I was left at Camden to facilitate the movement of the troops.
After crossing the Saline River at Jenkin's ferry, General Steele formed line of battle and waited for General Smith. The battle was simply sharpshooting from different sides of the river. Our troops were severely punished! In the Texas command Generals Scurry and Randle, two of our best officers, were killed and General Wall wounded. From the Federal accounts, they also suffered severely. If Steele's object was to prevent Smith from following him, or returning to the aid of Taylor in the destruction of Banks, he was successful. General Steele continued his march to Little Rock unmolested and General Smith and staff returned to Shreveport.
General Taylor continued an active campaign against General Banks until he was relieved from duty in our department and ordered across to command the department of Mississippi. He captured many prisoners and stands of colors: among the latter a most beautiful flag manufactured by Ball, Black& Co., for one of the favorite New York regiments. There was a quartermaster in our service, who was almost too successful in crossing the river back and forth between us and Richmond. On the last trip he made he brought back an order from the war department for us to send all captured flags to Richmond. To me it was a singular order, and as it did not specify by whom, I tried to persuade General Smith not to send them or if he did to select some one connected with his staff, and
send them by him unknown to anyone. Not succeeding I took the responsibility of retaining the regimental flags and sending only the national ones and these I took precaution to do up in such a manner as not to be conveniently opened and examined. Our messenger and his flags were captured at the river. I got Miss Eliza Dean to take care of the handsome flag; she afterwards claimed that General Taylor had given her permission to keep it.
Towards the fall of the year Governor Reynolds, the Confederate Governor of Missouri, and General Price requested and were permitted to make a demonstration into Missouri. They seemed to think that the people had suffered so severely at the hands of the Federals, that upon their appearance with an army a sufficient number of able bodied men would join them to enable them to regain possession of the State. They got within sight of the Indian Territory. There came out with this command a splendid company of mounted men commanded by a Captain Lee. General Price asked that they be dismounted and sent to fill up his infantry regiments. Lee objected. Finally General Smith ordered Lee to report with his command to General Price. He started with his command in the direction of Arkansas, but soon turned to the right and went into swamps opposite Vicksburg where he was a terror to contraband traders until the close of the war. When General Price went into Missouri Magruder was ordered to the command of Arkansas and George Walker to Texas. The style of living in Arkansas was not in accord with Magruder's taste and in a very short time he was at department headquarters and
closeted with General Smith. At the end of the interview General Smith directed that an order be issued ordering Magruder back to the command of the district of Texas. The peculiar feature of this order was that Magruder was not to return to be relieved but was to proceed at once to Texas with the order in his pocket and I was not permitted to notify Walker either by telegraph or otherwise.
General Buckner was ordered from Richmond to the command of the district of Louisiana.
In the spring of '65 General Mason Graham of Bayou Rapides came to my office, and after waiting some time to catch me at leisure, wrote on a scrap of paper, "Do you know that General Smith is seeking to have you removed as chief of staff?" I at once invited General Graham into a private place, where I informed him that I had not the slightest intimation of it by word, act or deed. He informed me that there was not the slightest doubt about it, that his information came from Richmond and that my removal had been opposed by representatives from Louisiana and Texas.
I returned to my office, gathered up all the papers and took them to Colonel Anderson; informing Captain Thompson that I would not return until I had an interview with General Smith.
For the next three days General Smith did not come to his office. On the fourth day I went to his residence and asked a private interview.
General Smith made the interview a very painful one; he exhibited and expressed a great deal of feeling. He stated that he had, at some time past, applied to
have Doctor Sol Smith appointed his chief of staff and with the rank of Brigadier General; but that Mr. Davis had refused. Among other things he stated that I knew he always wanted Doctor Smith for his chief of staff. That I denied, and assured him that had I been aware of it, or that he was in any way dissatisfied with the manner in which I had administered my office, I should, most certainly, have asked to be relieved as I then did. He assured me that it had been a long past action, and as he could not have Doctor Smith, he preferred me to all others. The interview lasted a long time and ended in my consenting to go back to the office and resuming duty as chief of staff.
Not very long after that interview the Colonel of an Arkansas regiment came to my office and asked me if I would object to letting him have a copy of a letter, written by General Smith, recommending his promotion. I had heard nothing of such a letter and knew of no reason for it; nevertheless I instituted enquiries among the officers and clerks, but could not find that such a letter had been sent. He seemed so positive about it, that I suggested he interview General Smith. He hesitated and asked me to do so. At first General Smith could not or would not recall it; finally he took a small book, with a bright red cover, from his desk, remarking it must be among some memoranda he had given in person to Senator Johnson of Arkansas, and commenced to examine the book. As the book was new and contained but little, he soon found it and handed it to me to read. It was more of a memorandum than a letter and was for the guidance of Senator Johnson, with reference to General Smith's wishes,
when he reached Richmond. Among other things, he was to urge the change he desired to make at the head of his staff. I handed the book to General Smith, remarking that after reading the letter I could not think of remaining in his way, and requested him to order me to Richmond. He asked me to remain on duty until he could send for Slaughter to take my place. I declined to be considered a member of his staff on any conditions. A few days after, General Smith, finding that he needed rest, sent for General Buckner to take temporary command of the department. On taking command General Buckner sent for me and gave me some orders as chief of staff, and I had in General Smith's presence to explain my position and desire to be ordered to Richmond. Instead I was ordered to take command of the district of Louisiana.
I have never been able to understand General Smith's actions in this matter. I was appointed the chief of staff at his own request, and at a time most favorable for him to have Doctor Smith appointed. I am not aware that he was required to take me with him when he crossed the Mississippi River: but supposing he had been, when General Taylor asked to have me ordered to him for the express purpose of placing me in command opposite Vicksburg, he had an opportunity of relieving me from the staff in a most complimentary manner, and under circumstances to which no possible exception could have been taken in Richmond. Again if General Smith was so anxious for the Doctor's advice and counsel, why did he take me into the field with him, leaving the Doctor at home? Why was it that he always delegated to me every delicate or
dangerous duty? Finally General Smith knew that there was no power that could compel Doctor Smith to attend to office work or routine duty.
I went to Natchitoches and assumed command of the district; but my command was short lived, for, upon the surrender of General Lee, General Harry Hayes, who had been sent to our department to gather up the absentees from his command in General Lee's army, went to Shreveport and asked to be assigned to duty. Being a Louisiana officer, he was assigned to the command of the district, and I returned to Shreveport.
I found General Smith still there, he had not yet taken his intended absence nor had he resumed the command: but he had sent his family through the lines. I found an expedition being organized to go to Mexico and enrolled my name; but when I found it was to go to Maximillian, and not Juarez, I withdrew and determined to await the end at Shreveport.
One day Major Ezell informed me, confidentially, that General Smith was having relays put on the road towards Mexico and that he, Major Ezell, believed that the General was going to run away. General Smith had but started upon his supposed recreation trip, before it was believed that he had gone for good. 2 General Buckner proceeded at once to New Orleans, and having agreed with General Canby upon the terms of surrender, a swift steamer was sent to
Galveston to intercept General Smith and have him sign the articles. General Buckner never explained why he sent the articles to Smith to sign: but after signing them Smith continued his flight to Mexico.
Until the arrival of the Federals there was no law of any kind. All things considered our soldiers behaved remarkably well: but it was a time of intense anxiety. Night after night the headquarter clerks sat up at my residence with loaded arms of various kinds close at hand. Colonel Allston had been turned out of his house with a dying child, because he had neither gold nor greenbacks. I took them into my already crowded house and it was there his child died. The funeral procession was moving when the first Federal transport arrived.
Upon the arrival of Brigadier General George L. Andrews, Provost-Marshall General of the United States Army, I was, once more, ordered on duty as commissioner on the part of the Confederate States to act with him in paroling the officers of the Confederate army. This was probably the last authoritative order issued in connection with the Confederate States Army.
From the following, which is a copy of my own parole, it appears that we paroled five hundred and eighty officers:
I, the undersigned, Prisoner of war, belonging to the Army of the Trans-Mississippi Department, having been surrendered by General E. Kirby Smith, C. S. A., commanding said Department, to Major General E. R. S. Canby, U. S. A., Commanding Army and Division of West Mississippi, do
hereby give my solemn PAROLE OF HONOR, that I will not hereafter serve in the Armies of the Confederate States or in any military capacity whatever, against the United States of America, or render aid to the enemies of the latter until properly exchanged in such manner as shall be mutually approved by the respective authorities.
Residence New Orleans
(signed) W. R. BOGGS,
Brig. Gen. P. A. C. S.
Done at Shreveport, La., this 9th day of June, 1865.
(signed) W. R. BOGGS,
Brig. Gen. C. S. A.
(signed) G. L. ANDREWS,
Brig. Gen. U.S.A.
The above named officer will not be disturbed by the United States authorities, as long as he observes his parole, and the laws in force where he resides.
(signed) GEO. L. ANDREWS,
Brig. Gen. U.S.A., and Provost Marshall General
The Federal Commander very kindly placed the steamboat Ida May at the disposal of General Buckner for the transportation of himself and officers to New Orleans.
In 1872, seven years after, my disabilities were removed by a special act of Congress of the United States.
These commentaries are written at the request of my son, who, having asked me "Why I preferred serving on Bragg's staff to Beauregard's?" and being informed by me that I had not, called my attention to the official documents of the war published by the government and asked me to look over the same and make such explanation or comments upon so much of them as related to my own personal knowledge.
HEADQUARTERS PROVISIONAL ARMY CONFEDERATE STATES.
CHARLESTON, S. C., March 11, 1861.
Hon'l L. P. Walker,
Secretary of War,
With good assistants (chiefs of Engineers and Ordnance) this could probably be done in about eight or ten days; but Major Whiting and Captain Boggs (two most reliable and efficient officer) have been recalled to Savannah by the Governor of Georgia, and I am again left to my own resources.
I find a great deal of zeal and energy around me, but little professional knowledge and experience.
Probably Captain G. W. Smith, of New York, and Captain Gorgas might be induced to come, if a positive rank could be offered them.
G. T. BEAUREGARD.
Brigadier-General, Commanding. 1
MONTGOMERY, April 9, 1861.
General Braxton Bragg,
Captain Boggs left here this morning to join you. Forty thousand dollars are at your disposal, to be used in the way he suggested to me as coming from you. Although he has no instructions on that point, as it escaped me in the hurry of his departure, you will, however, understand.
L. P. WALKER.
BARNACAS, April 12, 1861
L. P. Walker:
Mr. Worden had communicated with fleet before your dispatch received. Alarm guns have just fired at Fort Pickens. I fear the news is received and it will be reinforced before morning. It cannot be prevented. Mr. Worden got off in the cars before I knew of his landing. Major Chambers is in the cars. He will watch Mr. Worden's movements. If you deem it advisable, Mr. Worden can be stopped in Montgomery.
All of the above are more or less associated with happening to have served with Bragg and not Beauregard. My preference would have been Beauregard, although my remaining with Bragg was my own choice, and solely on account of my surroundings.
Going to Savannah at the time mentioned in Beauregard's letter, I was soon after telegramed to come at once to Montgomery. Bartow, the Chairman of the Committee on Military Affairs, was in Savannah at that time. He urging and Governor Brown consenting, I went to Montgomery. I was at once appointed a
Captain of Engineers and assigned to the duty of organizing the Ordnance Department. I soon became heart-sick, disgusted and weary with the apathy and imbecility of the whole Confederate Government, and would have been only too glad to have come to Beauregard, had I known he wanted me, but I never heard of the request, until now, thirty-five years after. The whole business of some of the Cabinet seemed to be to provide places for their friends; and all of them, including the President, seemed to think we should soon have a social committee visiting us to beg us to return to the Union upon any terms we should be pleased to dictate. While so loafing, I obtained permission to make a tour of inspection to the different Forts and Arsenals on the Gulf. After a while I was told that Col. Gorgas was coming South and would be chief of Ordnance (see Beauregard's suggestion in his letter of March 11).
I went to Bragg on April 9th; for the details of my going I refer you to my Reminiscences: as well as for the part played by Mr. Davis with reference to Lieutenant Worden, of the U. S. Navy, he having been permitted to carry his dispatches to the fleet off Pensacola by Mr. Davis' express written order. 3
Having no desire to return to Montgomery, to wait and loaf upon Gorgas' movements, when General Bragg expressed a wish that I might remain with him, I suggested that my orders were so indefinite that I
felt at liberty to do so. I remained and did him most valuable service. That is how I came to serve with Bragg, instead of my "beau ideal" Beauregard.
FORT PICKENS, FLORIDA, Oct. 15, 1861.
Joseph G. Totten,
Chief Engineer, Washington, D. C.,
SIR : -
Between twenty and thirty 10-inch Columbiads have been brought by railroad to Pensacola. The person describing them (while looking at our pieces of the same calibre) said that they were straight at the muzzle and were heavier and shorter behind the bunions, and that they were made at Richmond.
Very respectfully, your obedient servant,
Z. B. TOWER,
Major of Engineers. 4
Immediately upon my arrival in Georgia, after the State had seceded I was sent for by Governor Brown. I found him fully alive to the situation. After an interview, I was sent to Richmond and elsewhere, with ample authority to provide war materials. At the Tredeger Works, the only ones in the South then capable of making heavy guns, I found that there were no drawings of modern guns. I had been on special detail with reference to that branch of service, and was the only officer in the South at that time, or at any time, with the exception of General Huger, who was at all familiar with that subject. My friend and class mate McPherson had been on a special detail to ascertain the effects of modern ordnance on
walls and ramparts of various construction, and had arrived at the conclusion that guns of less than 10-inch calibre were useless. Concerning the rifle-gun, then in its experimental stage I shall have more to say further on.
The Rodman gun, for the manufacture of which I had been serving on special detail, was the accepted pattern. I had found that its outside dimensions, consisting of scientific curved surfaces, could be made as parts of spheres (the breech), a cylinder, and two cones and still be within the limits allowed to the Inspector, so finding no drawing or models at the Tredeger Works, I sketched out a good serviceable gun of easy construction and great strength, and ordered Mr. Anderson to manufacture them as fast as possible, only limiting him to making at the same time a full compliment of shot and shell and the necessary irons for the guncarriages, and to ship as fast as made, by the Georgia and Tennessee Railroad. These guns were diverted, by Leroy Pope Walker, Secretary of War, to Mobile, Alabama, and it was these that were seen en route, not for Pensacola, but Mobile, and the loss of which to Georgia caused the easy fall of Fort Pulaski.
FORT PICKENS, FLORIDA, NOV. 25, 1861.
Major Lewis I. Arnold,
First Regiment of Artillery,
The following is the practical results of the firing: With the Rifle Gun distance 2,060 yards, elevation 5 1-2, the firing was effective, beyond that range uncertain.
I am, sir, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
Captain, etc. 5
HEADQUARTERS DEPARTMENT of FLORIDA
FORT PICKENS Nov. 25, 1861.
Brigadier-General Lorenzo Thomas.
Adjutant General, Washington, D. C.,
At the same time of my opening Flag-officer McKean, in the Niagara, and Captain Ellison in the Richmond, took position as near to Fort McRee as the depth of water would permit, but which, unfortunately, was not sufficiently deep to give full effect to their powerful batteries.
I am, General, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
Colonel Commanding. 6
HEADQUARTERS ARMY OF PENSACOLA
NEAR PENSACOLA, December 17, 1861.
Adjutant General, Richmond, Va.,
Should their ships again attempt to take position against McRee, they will be received by a masked battery of five heavy shell and three rifled guns, which will teach them a lesson. This battery was projected last spring, but abandoned after an examination of the coast survey charts. It seems that the depth of water has increased or the chart was wrong.
I am, sir, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
Major General Commanding. 7
I was still Chief Engineer and Artillery when this last was written. I never heard of that battery. The subject of rifle guns had been one for frequent discussion. I opposed them as being in the experimental stage and that we were not then in a condition for experiments. That I was right, see Duryea's report
above. Where the eight guns for this suddenly masked battery came from I cannot tell, but admitting we had them, I defy anyone to have transferred them to the point claimed, the entire route being along a beach directly under the fire of all the guns in Fort Pickens. Why this letter was written I cannot conceive, except the hope that the spies about Richmond would inform the Federals. Again Col. Brown's report shows that the coast survey charts were right and there was not sufficient depth of water for the ships to interfere with this battery or come within reach of it. On another page I shall have more to say on the subject of the battery that did not exist south of McRee.
FORT PICKENS, FLORIDA, Nov. 25, 1861.
Colonel Harvey Brown Commanding.
I ordered Captain Duryea, First Artillery, Commanding Battery Scott, ably assisted as he was by Lieutenant Closson of the same regiment, to direct fire of his powerful battery, consisting of two 10-inch Columbiads, one 42-pounder rifled gun, and two lo-inch seacoast mortars, to fire on Fort McRee and the sand battery south of it. I at the same time ordered the four 10-inch seacoast mortars in the ditch, commanded by Lieutenant Langdon, and one 13-inch and one 12-inch seacoast mortars, Battery Totten, commanded by Captain Blount, and one 8-inch Columbiad and two 42-pounders in casement, of Lieutenant Jackson's battery to fire on Fort McRee and sand battery south of it, for the purpose of co-operating with the Navy in endeavouring to take and destroy that important Fort and its outworks, which guard the enemy's right flank and the entrance to the harbor of Pensacola. The direct fire of these guns was excellent, and, together with the heavy firing from the United States Steamships Niagara and Richmond, produced a marked impression on this stronghold of the enemy, by silencing the guns of the fort and driving the
detachments from the guns in the sand battery, which would no doubt have decided the fate of Fort McRee, by enabling the command from the Navy to take the Fort, but for the opening of an unexpected and concealed battery, armed with rifled cannon of large calibre or possibly a 10-inch Columbiad which was served with effect on Richmond.
L. G. ARNOLD,
Major, etc. 8
When the difficulties began there were but two ports in the South in which the forts had their armaments, viz., Charleston and Pensacola. In the case of Charleston, the South Carolina congressmen had seen to it that when money was appropriated for armament of its forts, that the forts got the armaments. At Pensacola, in 1858 or '57, Lieutenant Balch, of the Ordnance Corps, being a man of infinite detail, he went to work and completely fitted out all the forts.
When the principal object of my going to Pensacola had been defeated by Mr. Davis' permit to Lieutenant Worden of the U. S. Navy, and I determined to remain, the first care was to examine all the surroundings, and then discuss the subjects in detail with General Bragg. With his consent I moved, one by one, all the Barbette guns, but two, from the Forts, and distributed them along the line of bluff and beach, in one and two gun batteries, for several miles. I had recommended the same to be done at Forts Jackson and St. Phillipi on the river below New Orleans, and some of the guns, diverted by the Secretary of War, were intended for the same purpose on Tybee Island.
My idea being to keep a fleet under a continuous fire for a long time, and also to prevent a concentrated fire by a fleet upon all of my own guns at one time. At Pensacola it was a hard matter to cover the entrance channel. I did not approve a battery south of McRee, for it would be exposed to a flank fire from Pickens at comparatively short range. Eventually I decided upon the "unexpected and concealed battery" referred to above.
On the 7th of October, 1861, General Bragg's command was extended to cover Mobile, and shortly afterwards I was sent to inspect the defences. On the morning after my return, when I went to report, a dead silence followed my entrance, implying that I was the subject of conversation. Shortly after I went to O'Bannon's camp: he hinted that there had been some "Piney Woods Engineering" during my absence. I made no reply, but that afternoon rode over south of McRee, to find that two casement gun carriages and their guns had been hauled out in the open and fitted up as a battery. The men were by this time perfectly familiar with the construction of sand batteries, but not with the use of guns and gun carriages. With a Barbette carriage you can get a wide field and long range, with a casemate, a very limited field and less than half range, reliance being upon richochet. The whole affair was such an exhibition of stupidity as to prevent any remarks by me. The Georgians who did this work with Bragg's approval, were very proud of it and during the bombardment fought it with great gallantry, for from its nature they were very much exposed. But every shot they fired was wasted, and did
not reach half way, but being in a direct line, and the richochet throwing up fountains of water deceived them.
When the bombardment commenced, I was in a small boat, half across the bay, on my way to Deer Point, where General Bragg had decided to put the Florida Regiment as an outpost, as he already had a Mississippi Regiment on the west towards Perdido Bay. How he was persuaded to establish these outposts I never knew; but from what I did know, they appear to have been to get away from the regular discipline of the army, and to have a high old time all around. However, I turned at once. Shortly after joining General Bragg, I ventured to suggest that Brown would hardly waste so much ammunition simply for practice, and I thought it probable it was to cover a landing at Perdido Bay which would effectually cut us off on all sides; further that we did not seem to be making much impression and that ammunition was very scarce. He decided to order our batteries only to fire occasionally, not oftener than once an hour, which made Brown no doubt think he was silencing our guns.
After a while he asked me why the above mentioned battery was not firing at the fleet. I informed him that it had instructions not to fire without special orders. He turned sharply, and ordered me to go there at once. I knew the fleet to be entirely out of effective range. So when I reached the gun, the men were all there waiting, I dismounted and sat down. After an hour or so an aide came to know why I was not firing. I asked him to please give my compliments to General
Bragg and say that so soon as the ships came within range he would hear from us.
It was some time in the afternoon, when I observed them swing round head on, and saw them move slowly up to a new position. Having no other means, after they had taken up their new position and commenced firing, I got the distance by sight and sound. My first shot, afterwards so reported, passed between masts, and the second one hulled the ship so effectually as to disable her. When some of her timbers floated ashore next day, my Georgians claimed them, and Bragg endorsed their claim. The above official report of Major Arnold is the first acknowledgement of the effective work of the battery.
HEADQUARTERS DEPARTMENT ALABAMA AND WEST FLORIDA
NEAR PENSACOLA, FLORIDA October 30, 1861.
Hon. J. P. Benjamin,
Acting Secretary of War,
On the receipt of your letter of the 6th. instant a short reply was made to the first point and a further one promised on the main subject.
Though very grateful to my wounded feelings, yours was not entirely satisfactory to me, nor to those on whose behalf I had presumed to complain. I now propose to controvert your positions knowing the danger I encounter.
Nothing, it seems, can be done for my neglected officers under the legislation as it now exists. How does it happen that so much has been done for others, their juniors, under this same legislation? You acknowledge this in your letter.
You admit one case in Colonel Wheeler. Others present themselves to my mind. A private in one of my companies, a gentleman of high attainment and merit, only equaled by his modesty, was offered the Colonelcy of a regiment. He declined it in favor of one of my regular officers, but saying, "If civilians must be appointed, then I will accept." He was at once commissioned, and removed from a position he adorned on my staff to one he was unprepared to fill. He will in time make a fine officer, but those he preferred seeing appointed were already made. Other regiments raised at the same time were officered by civillians in the same way. All of my staff officers here of the old Regular Army, the first to quit it, some even before their states seceeded, were allowed to rest in subordinate positions, while their inferiors in rank, of the eleventh hour converts and civilians, were placed over their heads. Certainly the legislation of Congress never required this. You now propose that whenever I can spare them you will find means to give them increased rank in the Provisional Army. I will not spare them if I can help it, nor are they delirious of leaving me, but I claim consideration for them equal to that accorded their inferiors in other armies. My officers and myself have remained at our posts faithfully laboring in the cause we so early espoused. We have not united in the "On to Richmond" seeking high places. We considered it unmilitary and unbecoming. We were ardently serving the cause, not ourselves but, nevertheless, we did not suppose our government would so soon forget we were in its service and degrade us. This state of things, my dear sir, we believe has been brought about to some extent without the knowledge of the President and against his wishes, but it is nevertheless a rankling sore, which he only can cure. I am candid, perhaps harsh, but I am doing him more service than by permitting the evil to grow while he is in ignorance. I do not hesitate to say, "I impugn the action of your predecessor." He has done the service more harm in the Cabinet than he will ever repair in the field.
Let me now appeal to you for an old brother soldier, who is more aggrieved and with more cause than any of us. Brigadier-General
Ruggles first reported to me as second in command under the impression derived from the Adjutant General, and I believed it from the precedence given his name in his order. We soon learned that Brigadier-General Anderson, his junior by many years in the old service, and it is no disparagement to say, very far his inferior as a soldier, was his senior in rank. General Ruggles soon after raising this question, was ordered to New Orleans, as a means, we hoped, of removing this cause of complaint. What was his and our dismay, then, to learn that another junior, just from the enemy, who had been up to a late hour lecturing them on the art and science of war, was promoted over his head, and assigned to a command the highest and most important in the southern country. That command includes my home and my fireside, and all that is dear to me in life. I can appreciate the feelings of sullen dissatisfaction which prevades my neighbors. The appointee is competent, but he does not and cannot possess the confidence of many who look with distrust on his eleventh-hour conversion. A great element of strength is thus lost to us. You will never preserve the morale of this army by thus degrading the commanders they so much admire and love. The feeling of discontent has reached the rank and file intelligent enough to read and digest these things, and where I expected to re-enlist hundreds for the war tens cannot be found. They will not abandon the cause, but will try and find a service less obscure and more appreciated - one in which their commanders possess sufficiently the confidence of the Government to justify them in expecting more consideration.
The result of all of your deliberations has not been to preserve the morale of this army. Soldiers who have confidence in and respect for their commanders are never demoralized by seeing them advanced in their rank or command or by seeing their sphere of usefulness increased nor will you encourage the zeal of those commanders by making known to them that success in their ardous labors of organization and instruction is to consign them to inferior positions, as mere drill masters.
Feeling so deeply it-was due to myself, to you, and the President, that I should give free expression to my sentiments it is done in no spirit of insubordination. All that I have all that I am, shall remain in this cause whenever and wherever it may please the Government to employ me.
I am, sir, very respectfully and truly, yours,
Major General Commanding. 9
The intense bitterness of this letter does not come from any consideration of his staff: if you will follow his career to the end, you will find that those members of his staff who remained with him never received rank commensurate to the services rendered. Again, General Cooper, Adjutant General, informed me personally, that Bragg never made an application calling for the promotion of any member of his staff, that it was not accompanied by a private note saying, that the application was a public acknowledgement of the merits of its officers, but that he could not spare them. They in fact organized and disciplined his army, and each and all of them did all that an earnest zeal in their profession and the cause could urge them to do.
Again, he complains of the promotion of civilians and untried men to positions to which tried soldiers should be appointed, yet, very soon after this letter, you will find J. K. Jackson, of Georgia, Patton Anderson, of Florida and J. R. Chalmers, of Mississippi, appointed Brigadiers at his solicitation, and that too without much urging. He had begun to feel, that, maybe, a few political appointments might help his own advancement.
The bitterness of this letter is excusable and more than just. He had, from the beginning, been engaged in organizing an army of over seven thousand men, had been for months engaged upon this arduous duty when all at once Mansfield Lovell, formerly his subordinate in the U. S. Army, comes South, with the rank of Major General and is assigned to the command, of all others, which Bragg coveted and which, of right, should be his. Benjamin's letter of the 6th conveying the intelligence of his own promotion and extension of command, conveyed also in a general order the appointment of Mansfield Lovell to be a Major-General, and his assignment to the command at New Orleans.
Now, after seven months of delay, Mr. Davis has in command of his principal armies men whom he conscientiously believed to be the greatest soldiers of the age: Joseph E. Johnston, in Virginia, with G. W. Smith for his second in command, Albert Sidney Johnston in Kentucky, Mansfield Lovell at New Orleans and J. C. Pemberton at Charleston. Now, the heads of all his army bureaus, except that of quartermaster, which is still waiting for Emory - Bold Emory - in hopes that he may once more change his mind - he did resign in May, but suddenly withdrew his resignation - are all filled to his satisfaction. Bragg is still drillmaster at Pensacola, and Beauregard, who had blown Anderson out of Sumpter and rolled big McDowell back upon Washington, has been shelved in the center of Mississippi. But he, Beauregard, seeing the inevitable, is quietly organizing a small army and selecting his line of battle, ready to turn back the Federals at Shiloh.
During these seven months, the best material, as fine as the world ever saw, for soldiers have been moving eagerly to the front ready to engage the enemy, but are kept rotting in camps, without arms, equipments, supplies, and with the exception of a small number, without organization. Waiting these special heads!
In the meantime the Federals have not been idle. Scott's "Anaconda" has been getting into position: with its head at Cairo, its glistening eyes looking down the Mississippi River, its body stretching up the Ohio Valley, across West Virginia and Maryland, down the Atlantic Coast and around into the Gulf with its tail at Ship Island.
It was the last Merry Christmas and Happy New Year for the Confederacy. In a few months, McClellan is within seven miles of Richmond, with scarcely the loss of a man. Albert Sidney Johnston has abandoned Kentucky and Tennessee, and is endeavoring to assemble his scattered army about Beauregard's in Mississippi; and is soon to lose his life fighting on Beauregard's battlefield, with Beauregard's army, reinforced by his own and such other troops as could be hurriedly assembled. Roanoke Island, Port Royal and Fort Pulaski have fallen; New Orleans taken and Pensacola abandoned.
"Ah! Then and there was a hurrying to and fro."
"And then was mounting in hot haste."
HEADQUARTERS ARMY OF PENSACOLA,
NEAR PENSACOLA, FLORIDA, Jan. 3, 1862.
On my way to this point from Mobile on the first instant I was privately advised by telegraph that firing was going on between our batteries and Fort Pickens. I hastened as rapidly as possible, and reached here at 4 a. m. the 2nd. It appears that a small private steamer had been imprudently allowed to run to the Navy Yard, and was fired on by the enemy at Fort Pickens. This fire was returned by order of Brigadier-General Anderson, in temporary command, and a brisk cannonade was kept up on both sides until dark, when the enemy ceased. Ours was continued irregularly and apparently without effect or an object until stopped by my order. No casuality is reported on our side, and we can see no damage to the enemy. A large and valuable storehouse, with considerable property, in the Navy Yard, was burned by the enemy's shells.
I regret exceedingly to add that concurrent testimony of many officers of rank represent Brigadier-General Anderson as so much intoxicated as to be entirely unfit for duty, and that his conduct was very reprehensible. It is being investigated, and I fear that an arrest and a prosecution will be necessary. Holding juniors to a rigid accountability, I shall not overlook a similar offense in a commanding General under such aggregavating circumstances.
Not the least cause of regret was the large and criminal waste of means so necessary for our defense and which we cannot replace.
I must again urge on the Department my request for a second in command here who could be entrusted with this army during my necessary absence. Mobile demands much of my time; indeed, the state of affairs there is alarming, but I
am almost powerless for the want of proper officers for command. The material is here, but it cannot be used.
I am, sir, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
Major General Commanding. 10
Adjutant General, C. S. Army, Richmond.
The foregoing is a vile libel on a gallant officer and honorable gentleman, and it is an exceeding shame that it should be handed down to posterity without opportunity for correction in the records in which it is printed. General Bragg not only does not confine himself to the facts, but states what is absolutely false. First, that "This fire was returned by order of General Anderson." It was New Years' day, and I was at General Anderson's private quarters, where he and his estimable wife were receiving New Year calls. There were several other officers present - all seated and chatting familiarly. First we heard a gun, evidently from Fort Pickens, and almost at once a roar of guns from all along the line. We all mounted as quickly as possible and made our way to the Navy Yard. General Anderson's gallant conduct in dismounting, getting upon the parapet and calling upon the officers of the battery to come up there with him and watch the effects of their shot, in order to regulate their firing with more accuracy, may have appeared to a new soldier an act of intoxication, rather than that of a commander who wished to instill confidence in his command.
Again, General Bragg says: "It appears that a small private steamer had been imprudently allowed to run
to the navy yard, and was fired on by the enemy at Fort Pickens." That small private steamer was one of our transports, under the direct charge of an officer of the First Louisiana Regulars, who had been put upon a special detail, by special favor of General Bragg, in charge of our transports, and up to this time was not known by General Anderson or even many of Bragg's staff to be so detailed. When called to account for permitting the steamer to run to the navy yard, he stated "That it was done with the knowledge and consent of General Bragg." 11
After leaving Pensacola, I learned that General Bragg had preferred charges against General Anderson, and I at once wrote to Bragg, telling him what I knew of the case, and expressing my regret at his action. He replied, giving me to understand, that I had put a different phase on the case. At the same time I wrote to General Anderson, telling him, that I should be happy to appear as his witness whenever and wherever he might desire it.
Concerning that part of Bragg's report which says, "I must again urge on the Department my request for a second in command here who could be entrusted with his army in my necessary absence."
Before reading this, I was not aware of any prejudice on the part of Bragg against Anderson, nor can I now understand it, and will show why I cannot.
HEADQUARTERS ARMY OF PENSACOLA
NEAR PENSACOLA, FLORIDA, Jan. 27, 1852.
General Orders, No. 5.
* * * * * * * * *
IV. Brigadier-General Samuel Jones, Provisional Army, having reported for duty, is assigned to the command of the Army of Pensacola. The regret of the Major-General at yielding the immediate command of this army, which he has exercised with so much pleasure and pride, is lessened by a knowledge that he devolves it on a tried veteran, every way worthy of confidence.
By command of Major General Bragg:
GEORGE G. GARNER,
Ass't Adjutant Gen. 12
HEADQUARTERS DEPARTMENT ALABAMA AND WEST FLORIDA
NEAR PENSACOLA, FLORIDA, Feb. 1, 1862.
Adjutant General C. S. Army,
SIR : -
* * * * * * * * *
From General Jones' high character as an officer and his experience as an artillerist there is every reason to hope for entire success in his new command.
* * * * * * * * *
Major General Com'g. 13
Sam Jones graduated at the U. S. Military Academy in 1841. In 1846 he was detailed as an instructor at West Point; and from that day until the breaking out of the war, I never heard of him doing one hour's duty with his company. In January, 1860, I met him
in Willard's Hotel, Washington City. He was lobbying for a bill to retire superannuated and disabled officers, stating to me that as the old men were not capable, and the young men who had the duty to do should have the rank, pay and emoluments. I told him I had just returned from the Rio Grande where I had been in action with the Mexican marauders in company with three companies of artillery, everyone of which was commanded by a second lieutenant, two of the very recent appointments from civil life; and asked him if his bill included the three captains and six first lieutenants who were absent. One was his company. Pulling his mustache fiercely, he informed me that he did not intend to do infantry duty; being commissioned as a captain of artillery - entirely forgetting that the law which organized the artillery service of the United States was worded "To serve as Infantry except, etc." So that, I am somewhat at a loss to know where the veteran or experienced artillerist comes in.
Now Richard H. Anderson's record reads as follows: Graduated at the U. S. Military Academy in 1842. Breveted for services in the Mexican war: and I cannot find that he was ever absent from his troops.
UNION COUNTY, ARKANSAS, Jan. 5, 1865.
The cotton speculation on the Mississippi River has been carried on for the last ten or twelve months on a very extensive scale, under the pretense of obtaining clothing for the army, which has had, and is still having, a very demoralizing
influence in the Confederate Army in the Trans-Mississippi District. In my opinion nothing but the timely movement of General Steele from Little Rock last spring, in the direction of Shreveport, ever prevented this army from becoming completely demoralized, and disbanding and going home. The same influence is at work now. The soldiers, I am sorry to say, are deserting and going home and to the enemy in consequence of the cotton speculation that is now going on, on the Mississippi River, and unless there is a stop put to it I fear the consequences. Last spring a Mr. Chttisto (a considerable stage contractor) and others, sold thousands of bales of cotton to the enemy on the Mississippi River. He had, I understand, permission from General E. Kirby Smith to pass any amount of cotton through our lines and sell to the Federals, for the purpose of procuring clothing for the army, cotton cards, medicine etc. Not a suit of clothing for the soldiers, or any cotton cards or medicines, has ever been received that I am aware of. This fall General E. Kirby Smith has appointed Colonel Polk the head of the Cotton Bureau established on or near the Mississippi River. Colonel Parsons was ordered to report to Colonel Polk to protect the cotton trade that is carried on with the enemy. The trade is carried on, as I understand, in the following manner: Each planter or individual who has cotton to sell is first required to give or make a present of one half of his cotton to the Government of the Confederate States without any compensation, the remaining half he has the privilege of selling to whom he pleases under the permit and and protection of General Smith. Thousands of bales of cotton have recently been sold to the enemy in this way. The wagons are guarded and escorted to the River by soldiers. the above statement I submit to you for your consideration. The whole matter can be clearly established by abundant proof. There is, I presume, a large quantity of cotton formerly purchased by the Confederate States of America returned to Richmond as being burned. A large quantity of cotton so returned has been stolen, and a portion sold to the enemy. There is yet remaining in the country a good portion of the
cotton, which might be brought to light by a strict investigation, and unless the cotton trade is stopped I would not give the Government (comparatively speaking) much for the cotton which she owns in this country. The above statement I respectfully submit for your consideration.
Very respectfully, your obedient servant,
ROBERT W. McHenry
True copy respectfully furnished Major-General H. W. Halleck, Chief of Staff, for consideration.
J. J. REYNOLDS,
Major General, Commanding Department. 14
Headquarters Trans-Mississippi DEPARTMENT,
SHREVEPORT, January 6th, 1865.
Commanding District of West Louisiana.
I am directed by the commanding general to inform you that he places under your control all operations in cotton through the enemy's lines. All proposals or contracts for the introduction of supplies and the purchase of cotton will be submitted to you. Major Buckner has been directed to report to you for duty in connection with this matter. Captain Polk will be instructed to report to Major Buckner, who can control his operations in the District of Arkansas.
I am, General, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
J. F. BELTON,
Assistant Adjutant General. 15
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