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Captains of the Civil War, A Chronicle of the Blue and the Gray by William Wood

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Then the choice fell on McClellan, whose notorious campaign fills
much of our next chapter. There we shall see how refractory
circumstances, Stanton's waywardness among them, forced Lincoln
to go beyond the limits of civil control. Here we need only note
McClellan's personal relations with the President. Instead of
summoning him to the White House Lincoln often called at
McClellan's for discussion. McClellan presently began to treat
Lincoln's questions as intrusions, and one day sent down word
that he was too tired to see the President. Lincoln had told a
friend that he would hold McClellan's stirrups for the sake of
victory. But he could not abdicate in favor of McClellan or any
one else.

It was none of Lincoln's business to be an actual
Commander-in-Chief. Yet night after weary night he sat up
studying the science and art of war, groping his untutored way
toward those general principles and essential human facts which
his native genius enabled him to reach, but never quite
understanding--how could he?--their practical application to the
field of strategy. His supremely good common sense saved him from
going beyond his depth whenever he could help it. His Military
Orders were forced upon him by the extreme pressure of impatient
public opinion. He told Grant "he did not know but they were all
wrong, and he did know that some of them were."

McClellan was not the only failure in Virginia. Burnside and
Hooker also failed against Lee and Jackson. All three suffered
from civilian interference as well as from their own defects. At
last, in the third year of the war, a victor appeared in Meade, a
good, but by no means great, commander. In the fourth year
Lincoln gave the chief command to Grant, whom he had carefully
watched and wisely supported through all the ups and downs of the
river campaigns.

Grant's account of his first conference alone with Lincoln is
eloquent of Lincoln's wise war statesmanship

"He stated that he had never professed to be a military man or to
know how campaigns should be conducted, and never wanted to
interfere in them . . . . All he wanted was some one who would
take the responsibility and act, and call on him for all the
assistance needed, pledging himself to use all the power of the
government in rendering such assistance . . . . He pointed out on
the map two streams which empty into the Potomac, and suggested
that the army might be moved on boats and landed between the
mouths of these streams. We would then have the Potomac to bring
our supplies and the tributaries would protect our flanks while
we moved out. I listened respectfully, but did not suggest that
the same streams would protect Lee's flanks while he was shutting
us up. I did not communicate my plans to the President; nor did I
to the Secretary of War or to General Halleck."

Trust begot trust; and some months later Grant showed war
statesmanship of the same magnificent kind. McClellan had become
the Democratic candidate for President, to the wellfounded alarm
of all who put the Union first. In June, when Grant and Lee were
at grips round Richmond, Lincoin was invited to a public meeting
got up in honor of Grant with only a flimsy disguise of the
ominous fact that Grant, and not Lincoln, might be the Union
choice. Lincoln sagaciously wrote back: "It is impossible for me
to attend. I approve nevertheless of whatever may tend to
strengthen and sustain General Grant and the noble armies now
under his command. He and his brave soldiers are now in the midst
of their great trial, and I trust that at your meeting you will
so shape your good words that they may turn to men and guns,
moving to his and their support." The danger to the Union of
taking Grant away from the front moved Lincoln deeply all through
that anxious summer of '64, though he never thought Grant would
leave the front with his work half done. In August an officious
editor told Lincoln that he ought to take a good long rest.
Lincoln, however, was determined to stand by his own post of duty
and find out from Grant, through their common friend, John Eaton,
what Grant's own views of such ideas were. This is Eaton's
account of how Grant took it:

"We had been talking very quietly. But Grant's reply came in an
instant and with a violence for which I was not prepared. He
brought his clenched fists down hard on the strap arms of his
camp chair. 'They can't do it. They can't compel me to do it.'
Emphatic gesture was not a strong point with Grant. 'Have you
said this to the President?' 'No,' said Grant, 'I have not
thought it worth while to assure the President of my opinion. I
consider it as important for the cause that he should be elected
as that the army should be successful in the field.'"

When Eaton brought back his report Lincoln simply said, "I told
you they could not get him to run till he had closed out the

On the twenty-third of this same gloomy August, lightened only by
the taking of Mobile, Lincoln asked his Cabinet if they would
endorse a memorandum without reading it. They all immediately
signed. After his reelection in November he read it out: "This
morning, as for some days past, it seems exceedingly probable
that this Administration will not be reelected. Then it will be
my duty to so cooperate with the President-elect as to save the
Union between the election and the inauguration, as he will have
secured his election on such ground that he cannot possibly save
it afterwards." He added that he would have asked McClellan to
throw his whole influence into getting enough recruits to finish
the war before the fourth of March. "And McClellan," was Seward's
comment, "would have said 'Yes, yes,' and then done nothing."

Lincoln's reelection was helped by Farragut's victory in August,
Sherman's in September, and Sheridan's raid through the
Shenandoah Valley in October. But it was also helped by that
strange, vivifying touch which passes, no one knows how, from the
man who best embodies a supremely patriotic cause to the masses
of his fellow patriots, and then, at some great crisis, when they
scale heights which he has long since trod, comes back in flood
and carries him to power.

Lincoln stories were abroad; the true were eclipsing the false;
and all the true ones gained him increasing credit. Naval
reformers, and many others too, enjoyed the homely wit with which
he closed the first conference about such a startlingly novel
craft as the plans for the Monitor promised: "Well, Gentlemen,
all I have to say is what the girl said when she put her foot
into the stocking: 'It strikes me there's something in it.'" The
army enjoyed the joke against the three-month captain whom
Sherman threatened to shoot if he went home without leave. The
same day Lincoln, visiting the camp, was harangued by this
prospective deserter in presence of many another man disheartened
by Bull Run. "Mr. President: this morning I spoke to Colonel
Sherman and he threatened to shoot me, Sir!" Lincoln looked the
two men over, and then, in a stage whisper every listener could
hear, said: "Well, if I were you, and he threatened to shoot me,
I wouldn't trust him; for I'm sure he'd do it." Both Services
were not only pleased with the "rise" Lincoln took out of a too
inquisitive politician but were much reassured by its model
discretion. This importunate politician so badgered Lincoln about
the real destination of McClellan's transports that Lincoln at
last promised to tell everything he could if the politician would
promise not to repeat it. Then, after swearing the utmost
secrecy, the politician got the news: "They are going to sea."

The whole home front as well as the Services were touched to the
heart by tales of Lincoln's kindness in his many interviews with
the warbereaved; and letters like these spoke for themselves to
every patriot in the land:

Executive Mansion, November 21, 1864.

Mrs. Bixby, Boston, Massachusetts.

Dear Madam: I have been shown in the files of the War Department
a statement of the Adjutant-General of Massachusetts that you are
the mother of five sons who have died gloriously on the field of
battle. I feel how weak and fruitless must be any words of mine
which should attempt to beguile you from the grief of a loss so
overwhelming. But I cannot refrain from tendering to you the
consolation that may be found in the thanks of the Republic they
died to save. I pray that our heavenly Father may assuage the
anguish of your bereavement, and leave you only the cherished
memory of the loved and lost, and the solemn pride that must be
yours to have laid so costly a sacrifice upon the altar of

Yours very sincerely and respectfully,
Abraham Lincoln.

Nor did the Lincoln touch stop there. It even began to make its
quietly persuasive way among the finer spirits of the South from
the very day on which the Second Inaugural closed with words
which were the noblest consummation of the prophecy made in the
First. This was the prophecy: "The mystic chords of memory,
stretching from every battlefield and patriot grave to every
living heart and hearthstone, all over this broad land, will yet
swell the chorus of the Union, when again touched, as surely they
will be, by the better angels of our nature." And this the
consummation "With malice toward none, with charity for all, with
firmness in the right, as God gives us to see the right, let us
strive on to finish the work we are in, to bind up the nation's
wounds, to care for him who shall have borne the battle and for
his widow and his orphan--to do all which may achieve and cherish
a just and lasting peace among ourselves and with all nations."


Most Southerners remained spellbound by the glamour of Bull Run
till the hard, sharp truths of '62 began to rouse them from their
flattering dream. They fondly hoped, and even half believed, that
if another Northern army dared to invade Virginia it would
certainly fail against their entrenchments at Bull Run. If, so
ran the argument, the North failed in the open field it must fail
still worse against a fortified position.

The Southern generals vainly urged their Government to put forth
its utmost strength at once, before the more complex and less
united North had time to recover and begin anew. They asked for
sixty thousand men at Bull Run, to be used for a vigorous
counterstroke at Washington. They pointed out the absurdity of
misusing the Bull Run (or Manassas) position as a mere shield,
fixed to one spot, instead of making it the hilt of a sword
thrust straight at the heart of the North. Robert E. Lee, now a
full general in the Confederate Army and adviser to the
President, grasped the whole situation from the first and urged
the right solution in the official way. Stonewall Jackson, still
a junior general, was in full accord with Lee, as we know from
the confidential interview (at the end of October, '61) between
him and his divisional commander, General G. W. Smith, who made
it public many years later. The gist of Jackson's argument was
this: "McClellan won't come out this year with his army of
recruits. We ought to invade now, not wait to be invaded later
on. If Davis would concentrate every man who can be spared from
all other points and let us invade before winter sets in, then
McClellan's recruits couldn't stand against us in the field.--Let
us cross the upper Potomac, occupy Baltimore, and, holding
Maryland, cut the communications of Washington, force the Federal
Government out of it, beat McClellan if he attacks, destroy
industrial plants liable to be turned to warlike ends, cut the
big commercial lines of communication, close the coal mines,
seize the neck of land between Pittsburg and Lake Erie, live on
the country by requisition, and show the North what it would cost
to conquer the South." On asking Smith if he agreed, Smith
answered: "I will tell you a secret; for I am sure it won't be
divulged. These views were rejected by the Government during the
conference at Fairfax Court House at the beginning of the month."
Jackson thereupon shook Smith's hand, saying, "I am sorry, very
sorry," and, mounting Little Sorrel without another word, rode
sadly away.

Jefferson Davis probably, and some of his Cabinet possibly,
understood what Lee, "Joe" Johnston, Beauregard, Smith, and
Jackson so strongly urged. But they feared the outcry that would
assuredly be raised by people in districts denuded of troops for
the grand concentration elsewhere. So they remained passive when
they should have been active, and, trying to strengthen each
separate part, fatally weakened the whole.

Meanwhile the North was collecting the different elements of
warlike force and changing its Secretary of War. Cameron was
superseded by Stanton on the fifteenth of January. Twelve days
later Lincoln issued the first of those military orders which, as
we have just seen, he afterwards told Grant that the impatience
of the loyal North compelled him to issue, though he knew some
were certainly, and all were possibly, wrong. This first order
was one of the certainly wrong. McClellan's unready masses were
to begin an unlimited mud march through the early spring. roads
of Virginia on the twenty-second of February, in honor of
Washington's birthday. A reconnoitering staff officer reported
the roads as being in their proper places; but he guessed the
bottom had fallen out. So McClellan was granted some delay.

His grand total was now over two hundred thousand men. The
Confederate grand total was estimated at a hundred and fifteen
thousand by the civilian detectives whom the Federal Government
employed to serve in place of an expert intelligence staff. The
detective estimate was sixty-five thousand men out. The real
Confederate strength at this time was only fifty thousand. There
was little chance of getting true estimates in any other way, as
the Federal Government had no adequate cavalry. Most of the few
cavalry McClellan commanded were as yet a mere collection of men
and horses, quite unfit for reconnoitering and testing an enemy's

McClellan's own plan, formed on the supposition that the
Confederates held the Bull Run position with at least a hundred
thousand men, involved the transfer of a hundred and fifty
thousand Federals by sea from Washington to Fortress Monroe, on
the historic peninsula between the York and James rivers. Then,
using these rivers as lines of communication, his army would take
Richmond in flank. Lincoln's objection to this plan was based on
the very significant argument that while the Federal army was
being transported piecemeal to Fortress Monroe the Confederates
might take Washington by a sudden dash from their base at
Centreville, only thirty miles off. This was a valid objection;
for Washington was not only the Federal Headquarters but the very
emblem of the Union cause--a sort of living Stars and
Stripes--and Washington lost might well be understood to mean
almost the same as if the Ship of State had struck her colors.

On the ninth of March the immediate anxiety about Washington was
relieved. That day came news that the Monitor had checkmated the
Merrimac in Hampton Roads and that "Joe" Johnston had withdrawn
his forces from the Bull Run position and had retired behind the
Rappahannock to Culpeper. On the tenth McClellan began a
reconnoitering pursuit of Johnston from Washington. Having found
burnt bridges and other signs of decisive retirement, he at last
persuaded the reluctant Lincoln to sanction the Peninsula
Campaign. On the seventeenth his army began embarking for
Fortress Monroe, ten thousand men at a time, that being all the
transports could carry. For a week the movement of troops went on
successfully; while the Confederates could not make out what was
happening along the coast. Everything also seemed quite safe,
from the Federal point of view, in the Shenandoah Valley, where
General Banks commanded. And both there and along the Potomac the
Federals were in apparently overwhelming strength; even though
the detectives doing duty as staff officers still kept on
doubling the numbers of all the Confederates under arms.

Suddenly, on the twenty-third, a fight at Kernstown in the
Shenandoah Valley gave a serious shock to the victorious
Federals, not only there but all over the semicircle of invasion,
from West Virginia round by the Potomac and down to Fortress
Monroe. The fighting on both sides was magnificent. Yet Kernstown
itself was a very small affair. Little more than ten thousand men
had been in action: seven thousand Federals under Shields against
half as many Confederates under Stonewall Jackson. The point is
that Jackson's attack, though unsuccessful, was very
disconcerting elsewhere. From Kernstown the area of disturbance
spread like wildfire till the tactical victory of seven thousand
Federals had spoilt the strategy of thirty times as many. Shields
reported: "I set to work during the night to bring together all
the troops within my reach. I sent an express after Williams's
division, requesting the rear brigade, about twenty miles
distant, to march all night and join me in the morning. I swept
the posts in rear of almost all their guards, hurrying them
forward by forced marches, to be with me at daylight." Banks, now
on his way to Washington, halted in alarm at Harper's Ferry.
McClellan, perceiving that Jackson's little force was more than a
mere corps of observation, approved Banks and added: "As soon as
you are strong enough push Jackson hard and drive him well beyond
Strasburg," that is, west of the Massanuttons, where Fremont
could close in and finish him. Lincoln had already been thinking
of transferring nine thousand men from McClellan to Fremont.
Kernstown decided it; so off they went to West Virginia. Still
fearing an attack on Washington, Lincoln halted McDowell's army
corps, thirty-seven thousand strong, on the march overland to
join McClellan on the Peninsula, and kept them stuck fast round
Centreville, near Bull Run. And so McClellan's Peninsular force
was suddenly reduced by forty-six thousand men.

April was a month of maneuvers and suspense. By the end of it
McClellan, based on Fortress Monroe, had accumulated a hundred
and ten thousand men. The Confederates on the Peninsula, holding
Yorktown, numbered fifty thousand. McClellan sadly missed
McDowell, whose corps was to have taken the fort at Gloucester
Point that prevented the Federal gunboats from turning the
enemy's lines at Yorktown. McDowell moved south to
Fredericksburg, leaving a small force near Manassas Junction to
connect him with the garrison of Washington. The Confederates
could spare only twelve thousand men to watch him. Meanwhile
Banks occupied the Shenandoah Valley, having twenty thousand men
at Harrisonburg and smaller forces at several points all round,
from southwest to northeast, each designed to form part of the
net that was soon to catch Jackson. Beyond Banks stood Fremont's
force in West Virginia, also ready to close in. Jackson's
complete grand total was less than that of Banks's own main body.
Yet, with one eye on Richmond, he lay in wait at Swift Run Gap,
crouching for a tiger-spring at Banks. Virginia was semicircled
by superior forces. But everywhere inside the semicircle the
Confederate parts all formed one strategic whole; while the
Federal parts outside did not. Moreover, the South had already
decided to call up every available man; thus forestalling the
North by more than ten months on the vital issue of conscription.

In May the preliminary clash of arms began on the Peninsula. The
Confederates evacuated the Yorktown lines on the third. On the
fifth McClellan's advanced guard fought its way past
Williamsburg. On the seventh he began changing his base from
Fortress Monroe to White House on the Pamunkey. Here on the
sixteenth he was within twenty miles of Richmond, while all the
seaways behind him were safe in Union hands. The fate not only of
Richmond but of the whole South seemed trembling in the scales.
The Northern armies had cleared the Mississippi down to Memphis.
The Northern navy had taken New Orleans, the greatest Southern
port. And now the Northern hosts were striking at the Southern
capital. McClellan with double numbers from the east, McDowell
with treble numbers from the north, and the Union navy, with more
than fourfold strength on all the navigable waters, were closing
in. The Confederate Government had even decided to take the
extreme step of evacuating Richmond, hoping to prolong the
struggle elsewhere. The official records had been packed. Davis
had made all arrangements for the flight of his family. And from
Drewry's Bluff, eight miles south of Richmond, the masts of the
foremost Federal vessels could be seen coming up the James,
where, on the eleventh, the Merrimac, having grounded, had been
destroyed by her own commander.

But the General Assembly of Virginia, passionately seconded by
the City Council, petitioned the Government to stand its ground
"till not a stone was left upon another." Every man in Richmond
who could do a hand's turn and who was not already in arms
marched out to complete the defenses of the James at Drewry's
Bluff. Senators, bankers, bondmen and free, merchants, laborers,
and ministers of all religions, dug earthworks, hauled cannon,
piled ammunition, or worked, wet to the waist, at the big boom
that was to stop the ships and hold them under fire. The
Government had changed its mind. Richmond was to be held to the
last extremity. And the Southern women were as willing as the

In the midst of all this turmoil Lee calmly reviewed the
situation. He saw that the Federal gunboats coming up the James
were acting alone, as the disconnected vanguard of what should
have been a joint advance, and that no army was yet moving to
support them. He knew McClellan and Banks and read them like a
book. He also knew Jackson, and decided to use him again in the
Shenandoah Valley as a menace to Washington. Writing to him on
the sixteenth of May, the very day McClellan reached White House,
only twenty miles from Richmond, he said: "Whatever movement you
make against Banks, do it speedily, and, if successful, drive him
back towards the Potomac, and create the impression, as far as
possible, that you design threatening that line." Moreover, out
of his own scanty forces, he sent Jackson two excellent brigades.
Thus, while the great Federal civilians who knew nothing
practical of war were all agog about Richmond, a single point at
one end of the semicircle, the great Confederate strategist was
forging a thunderbolt to relieve the pressure on it by striking
the Federal center so as to threaten Washington. The fundamental
idea was a Fabian defensive at Richmond, a vigorous offensive in
the Valley, to produce Federal dispersion between these points
and Washington; then rapid concentration against McClellan on the

The unsupported Federal gunboats were stopped and turned back at
the boom near Drewry's Bluff. McClellan, bent on besieging
Richmond in due form, crawled cautiously about the intervening
swamps of the oozy Chickahominy. McDowell, who could not advance
alone, remained at Fredericksburg. Shields stood behind him, near
Catlett's Station, to keep another eye on nervous Washington.

In the meantime Stonewall Jackson, still in the Shenandoah, had
fought no battles since his tactical defeat at Kernstown on the
twenty-third of March had proved such a pregnant strategic
victory elsewhere. But late in April he had a letter from Lee,
telling of the general situation and suggesting an attack on
Banks. Banks, however, still had twenty thousand men at
Harrisonburg, with twenty-five thousand more in or within call of
the Valley. Jackson's complete grand total was less than eighteen
thousand. The odds against him therefore exceeded five against
two; and direct attack was out of the question. But he now began
his maneuvers anew and on a bolder scale than ever. He had upset
the Federal strategy at Kernstown, when there were less than
eight thousand Confederates in the Valley. What might he not do
with ten thousand more? His wonderful Valley Campaign, famous
forever in the history of war, gives us the answer.

He had five advantages over Banks. First, his own expert
knowledge and genius for war, backed by a dauntless character.
Banks was a very able man who had worked his way up from factory
hand to Speaker of the House of Representatives and Governor of
Massachusetts. But he had neither the knowledge, genius, nor
character required for high command; and he owed his present
position more to his ardor as a politician than to his ability as
a general. Jackson's second advantage was his own and his army's
knowledge of the country for which they naturally fought with a
loving zeal which no invaders could equal. The third advantage
was in having Turner Ashby's cavalry. These were horsemen born
and bred, who could make their way across country as easily as
the "footy" Federals could along the road. In answer to a
peremptory order a Federal cavalry commander could only explain:
"I can't catch them. They leap fences and walls like deer.
Neither our men nor our horses are so trained." The fourth
advantage was in discipline. Jackson habitually spared his men
more than his officers, and his officers more than himself,
whenever indulgence was possible. But when discipline had to be
sternly maintained he, maintained it sternly, throughout all
ranks, knowing that the flower of discipline is selfsacrifice,
from the senior general down, and that the root is due
subordination, from the junior private up. After the Conscription
Act had come into force a few companies, who were time-expired as
volunteers, threw down their arms and told their colonel they
wouldn't serve another day. On hearing this officially Jackson
asked: "Why does Colonel Grigsby refer to me to learn how to deal
with mutineers? He should shoot them where they stand." The rest
of the regiment was then paraded with loaded arms, facing the
mutineers, who were given the choice of complete submission or
instant death. They chose submission. That was the last mutiny
under Stonewall Jackson. Both sides suffered from straggling, the
Confederates as much as the Federals. But Confederate stragglers
rejoined the better of the two; and in downright desertion the
Federals were the worse, simply because their own peace party was
by far the stronger. The final advantage brings us back to
strategy, on which the whole campaign was turning. Lee and
Jackson worked the Confederates together. Lincoln and Stanton
worked the Federals apart.

On the last of April Jackson slipped away from Swift Run Gap
while Ewell quietly took his place and Ashby blinded Banks by
driving the Federal cavalry back on Harrisonburg. Jackson's men
were thoroughly puzzled and disheartened when they had to leave
the Valley in full possession of the enemy while they ploughed
through seas of mud towards Richmond. What was the matter? Were
they off to Richmond? No; for they presently wheeled round. "Old
Jack's crazy, sure, this time." Even one of his staff officers
thought so himself, and put it on paper, to his own confusion
afterwards. The rain came down in driving sheets. The roads
became mere drains for the oozing woods. Wheels stuck fast; and
Jackson was seen heaving his hardest with an exhausted gun team.
But still the march went on--slosh, slosh, squelch; they slogged

On the fourth of May Jackson got word from Edward Johnson,
commanding his detached brigade near Staunton, that Milroy,
commanding Fremont's advanced guard, was coming on from West
Virginia. Jackson at once seized the chance of smashing Milroy by
railing in to Staunton before Banks or Fremont could interfere.
This would have been suicidal against a great commander with a
well-trained force. But Banks, grossly exaggerating Jackson's
numbers, was already marching north to the railhead at New
Market, where he would be nearer his friends if Jackson swooped
down. Detraining at Staunton the Confederates picketed the whole
neighborhood to stop news getting out before they made their dash
against Milroy. On the seventh they moved off. The cadets of the
Virginia Military Institute, where Jackson had been a professor
for so many years, had just joined to gain some experience of the
real thing, and as they stepped out in their smart uniforms, with
all the exactness of parade-ground drill, they formed a marked
contrast to the gaunt soldiers of the Valley, half fed, half
clad, but wholly eager for the fray.

That night Milroy got together all the men he could collect at
McDowell, a little village just beyond the Valley and on the road
to Gauley Bridge in West Virginia. He sent posthaste for
reinforcements. But Fremont's men were divided too far west,
fearing nothing from the Valley, while Banks's were thinking of a
concentration too far north.

In the afternoon of the eighth, Milroy attacked Jackson with
great determination and much skill. But after a stern encounter,
in which the outnumbered Federals fought very well indeed, the
Confederates won a decisive victory. The numbers actually
engaged--twenty-five hundred Federals against four thousand
Confederates--were even smaller than at Kernstown. But this time
the Confederates won the tactical victory on the spot as well as
the strategic victory all over the Valley; and the news cheered
Richmond at what, as we have seen already, was its very darkest
hour. The night of the battle Jackson sent out strong working
parties to destroy all bridges and culverts and to block all
roads by which Fremont could reach the Valley. In some places
bowlders were rolled down from the hills. In one the trees were
felled athwart the path for a mile. A week later Jackson was back
in the Valley at Lebanon Springs, while Fremont was blocked off
from Banks, who was now distractedly groping for safety and news.

The following day, the famous sixteenth, we regain touch with
Lee, who, as mentioned already, then wrote to Jackson about
attacking Banks in order to threaten Washington. This dire day at
Richmond, the day McClellan reached White House, was also the one
appointed by the Southern Government as a day of intercession for
God's blessing on the Southern arms. None kept it more fervently,
even in beleaguered Richmond, than pious Jackson in the Valley.
Then, like a giant refreshed, he rose for swift and silent
marches and also sudden hammer-strokes at Banks.

Confident that all would now go well, Washington thought nothing
of the little skirmish at McDowell, because it apparently
disturbed nothing beyond the Shenandoah Valley. The news from
everywhere else was good; and Federals were jubilant. So were the
civilian strategists, particularly Stanton, who, though tied to
his desk as Secretary of War, was busy wire-pulling Banks's men
about the Valley. Stanton ordered Banks to take post at Strasburg
and to hold the bridges at Front Royal with two detached
battalions. This masterpiece of bungling put the Federals at
Front Royal in the air, endangered their communications north to
Winchester, and therefore menaced the Valley line toward
Washington. But Banks said nothing; and Stanton would have
snubbed him if he had.

On the twenty-third of May a thousand Federals under Colonel
Kenly were sweltering in the first hot weather of the year at
Stanton's indefensible position of Front Royal when suddenly a
long gray line of skirmishers emerged from the woods, the
Confederate bugles rang out, and Jackson's battle line appeared.
Then came a crashing volley, which drove in the Federal pickets
for their lives. Colonel Kenly did his best. But he was
outflanked and forced back in confusion. A squadron of New York
cavalry came to the rescue; but were themselves outflanked and
helpless on the road against the Virginian horsemen, who could
ride across country. Kenly had just made a second stand, when
down came the Virginians, led by Colonel Flournoy at racing speed
over fence and ditch, scattering the Federal cavalry like chaff
before the wind and smashing into the Federal infantry. Two
hundred and fifty really efficient cavalry took two guns
(complete with limbers, men, and horses), killed and wounded a
hundred and fifty-four of their opponents, and captured six
hundred prisoners as well--and all with a loss to themselves of
only eleven killed and fifteen wounded.

Ashby's cavalry, several hundreds strong, pushed on and out to
the flanks, cutting the wires, destroying bridges, and blocking
the roads against reinforcements from beyond the Valley. Three
hours after the attack a dispatchrider dashed up to Banks's
headquarters at Strasburg. But Banks refused to move, saying,
when pressed by his staff to make a strategic retreat on
Winchester, "By God, sir, I will not retreat! We have more to
fear from the opinions of our friends than from the bayonets of
our enemies!" The Cabinet backed him up next day by actually
proposing to reinforce him at Strasburg with troops from
Washington and Baltimore. Nevertheless he was forced to fly for
his life to Winchester. His stores at Strasburg had to be
abandoned. His long train of wagons was checked on the way, with
considerable loss. And some of his cavalry, caught on the road by
horsemen who could ride across country, were smashed to pieces.

Jackson pressed on relentlessly to Winchester with every one who
could march like "foot cavalry," as his Valley men came to be
called. On the twenty-fifth, the third day of unremitting action,
he carried the Winchester heights and drove Banks through the
town. Only the Second Massachusetts, which had already
distinguished itself during the retreat, preserved its formation.
Ten thousand Confederate bayonets glittered in the morning sun.
The long gray lines swept forward. The piercing rebel yell rose
high. And the people, wild with joy, rushed out of doors to urge
the victors on.

By the twenty-sixth, the first day on which Stanton's
reinforcements from Baltimore and Washington could possibly have
fought at Strasburg, the Confederates had reached Martinsburg,
fifty miles beyond it. Banks had already crossed the Potomac,
farther on still. The newsboys of the North were crying, DEFEAT
calling for special State militia, for which a million men were
volunteering, spare troops were hurrying to Harper's Ferry, a
reserve corps was being formed at Washington, the Federal
Government was assuming control of all the railroad lines, and
McClellan was being warned that he must either take Richmond at
once or come back to save the capital. Nor did the strategic
disturbance stop even there; for the Washington authorities
ordered McDowell's force at Fredericksburg to the Valley just as
it was coming into touch with McClellan.

On the twenty-eighth Jackson might have taken Harper's Ferry. But
the storm was gathering round him. A great strategist directing
the Federal forces could have concentrated fifty thousand men, by
sunset on the first of June, against Jackson's Army of the
Valley, which could not possibly have mustered one-third of such
a number. McDowell arrived that night at Front Royal. He had
vainly protested against the false strategy imposed by the
Government from Washington, and he was not a free agent now. Yet,
even so, his force was at least a menace to Jackson, who had only
two chances of getting away to aid in the. defeat of McClellan
and the saving of Richmond. One was to outmarch the converging
Federals, gain interior lines along the Valley, and defeat them
there in detail. The other was to march into friendly Maryland,
trusting to her Southern sentiments for help and reinforcements.
He decided on the Valley route and marched straight in between
his enemies.

His fortnight's work, from the nineteenth of May to the first of
June, inclusive, is worth summing up. In these fourteen days he
had marched 170 miles, routed 12,500 men, threatened an invasion
of the North, drawn McDowell off from Fredericksburg, taken or
destroyed all Federal stores at Front Royal, Winchester, and
Martinsburg, and brought off safely a convoy seven miles long.
Moreover, he had done all this with the loss of only six hundred,
though sixty thousand enemies lay on three sides of his own
sixteen thousand men.

His remaining problem was harder still. It was how to mystify,
tire out, check short, and then immobilize the converging
Federals long enough to let him slip secretly away in time to
help Johnston and Lee against McClellan. Jackson, like his
enemies, moved through what has been well called the Fog of
War--that inevitable uncertainty through which all commanders
must find their way. But none of his enemies equaled him in
knowledge, genius, or character for war.

The first week in June saw desperate marches in the Valley, with
the outnumbering Federals hotfoot on the trail of Jackson, who
turned to bay one moment and at the next was off again. On the
sixth the Federals got home against his rear guard. It began to
waver, and Ashby ordered the infantry to charge. As he gave the
order his horse fell dead. In a flash he was up, waving his sword
and shouting: "Charge, for God's sake, charge!" The Confederate
line swept forward gallantly. But, just as it left the wood,
Ashby was shot through the heart. His men avenged him. Yet none
could fill his place as a born leader of irregular light horse.

Next morning the hounds were hot upon the scent again: Shields
and Fremont converging on Jackson, whom they would run to earth
somewhere north of Staunton. But on the eighth and ninth Jackson
turned sharply and bit back, first at Fremont close to Cross
Keys, then at Shields near Port Republic. Each was caught alone,
just before their point of junction, and each was defeated in
detail as well.

Fully to appreciate Jackson's strategy we must compare the
strategical and tactical numbers concerned throughout this short
but momentous Valley Campaign. The strategic numbers are those at
the disposal of the commander within the theater of operations.
The tactical numbers are those actually present on the field of
battle, whether engaged or not. At McDowell the Federals had
30,000 in strategic strength against 17,000 Confederates; yet the
Confederates got 6000 on to the field of battle against no more
than 2500. At Winchester the Federal strategic strength was
60,000 against 16,000; yet the Confederate tactical strength was
every man of the 16,000 against 7500--only one-eighth of Banks's
grand total. At Cross Keys the strategic strengths were 23,000
Federals against 13,000 Confederates; yet 12,750 Federals were
beaten by 8000 Confederates. Finally, at Port Republic, the
Federals, with a strategic strength of 22,000 against the
Confederate 12,700, could only bring a tactical strength of 4500
to bear on 6000 Confederates. The grand aggregate of these four
remarkable actions is well worth adding up. It comes to this in
strategic strength: 135,000 Federals against 58,700 Confederates.
Yet in tactical strength the odds are reversed; for they come to
this: 36,000 Confederates against only 27,250 Federals. Therefore
Stonewall Jackson, with strategic odds of nearly seven to three
against him, managed to fight with tactical odds of four to three
in his favor.

While Jackson was fighting in the Valley the Confederates at
Richmond were watching the nightly glow of Federal camp fires.
McClellan had 30,000 men north of the Chickahominy, waiting for
McDowell to come back from his enterprise against Jackson, and
75,000 south of it. What could the 65,000 Confederates do, except
hold fast to their lines? TO RICHMOND 4 1/2 MILES: so read the
sign-post at the Mechanicsville bridge, and there stood the
nearest Federal picket. Johnston and Lee knew, however, that
McClellan's alarmist detectives swore to a Confederate army three
times its actual strength at this time; and there was reason to
hope that the consequent moral ascendancy would help the shock of
an attack suddenly made on one of McClellan's two wings while the
flooded Chickahominy flowed between them and its oozy swamps
bewildered his staff.

Hearing that McDowell need not be feared, Johnston attacked at
daylight on the thirty-first of May. The battle of Seven Pines
(known also as Fair Oaks) was not unlike Shiloh. The Federals
were taken by surprise on the first day and only succeeded in
holding their own by hard fighting and with a good deal of loss.
A mistake was made by the Confederate division told off for the
attack on the key to the Federal front (an attack which, if
completely successful, would have split the Federals in two) and
the main bodies were engaged before this fatal error could be
rectified. So the surprised Federals gradually recovered from the
first shock and began to feel and use their hitherto unrealized
strength. On the second day (the first of June) Johnston, who had
been severely wounded, was plainly defeated and compelled to fall
back on Richmond again.

On the morrow of this defeat Lee was appointed to "the immediate
command of the armies in eastern Virginia and North Carolina."
Davis was not war statesman enough to make him Commander-in-Chief
till '65--four years too late. Johnston did not reappear till he
tried to relieve Vicksburg from the determined attacks of Grant
in '63.

The twelfth of June will be remembered forever in the annals of
cavalry for Stuart's first great ride round McClellan's host.
With twelve hundred troopers and two horse artillery guns he
stole out beyond the western flank of the Federals and reached
Taylorsville that evening, twenty-two miles north of Richmond.
Next day he rode right in among the Federal posts in rear,
discovering that McClellan's right stretched little north of the
Chickahominy, that it was not fortified, and that it did not rest
on any strong natural feature, such as a swampy stream. This was
exactly the information Lee required. So far, so good. The
Federals met with up to this time had simply been ridden down.
But now the whole country was alarmed and McClellan had forces
out to cut Stuart off on his return, while General Cooke
(Stuart's father-inlaw) began to pursue him from Hanover Court

Then Stuart took the boldest step of all, deciding to go clear
round the rest of the Federal army. At Tunstall's Station on the
York River Railroad he routed the guard, tore up the track,
destroyed the stores and wagons, cut the wires, burnt the bridge,
and replenished his supplies. Thence southeast, by the
Williamsburg road, his column marched under a full summer moon,
the people running out of doors, wild with joy at his daring. At
sunrise he reached the Chickahominy, only to find it flooded,
full of timber, and spanned by nothing better than a broken
bridge. But, using the materials of a warehouse to make a
footway, the troopers crossed in single file, leading their
chargers, which swam. Waving his hand to the Federals, who had
just arrived too late, Stuart pushed on the remaining thirty-five
miles to Richmond, rounding the Federal flank within range of
Federal gunboats on the James.

This magnificent raid not only procured in three days information
that McClellan's civilian detectives could not have procured in
three years but raised Confederate morale and depressed the
Federals correspondingly. Moreover, it drove the first nail into
McClellan's coffin. For in October, just after another Stuart
raid, the following curious incident occurred on board the Martha
Washington when Lincoln was returning from an Alexandria review
which had cheered him up considerably, coming, as it did, after
Lee had failed in Maryland. By way of answering the very
pertinent question--"Mr. President, how about McClellan?"-
-Lincoln simply drew a ring on the deck, quietly adding: "When I
was a boy we used to play a game called 'Three times round and
out.' Stuart has been round McClellan twice. The third time
McClellan will be out."

Stuart rode ahead of his troopers, straight to Lee, who
immediately wrote to Jackson suggesting that the Army of the
Valley, while keeping the Federals alarmed to the last about an
attack on the line of the Potomac, might secretly slip away and
join a combined attack on McClellan. Jackson, who had of course
foreseen this, was ready with every blind known to the art of
war. Even his staff and generals knew nothing of their
destination. The first move was so secret that the enemy never
suspected anything till it was too late, while friends thought
there was to be another surprise in the Valley. The second move
led various people to suspect a march on Washington--no bad news
to leak out; and nothing but misleading items did leak out. The
Army of the Valley moved within a charmed circle of cavalry which
prevented any one from going forward, ahead of the advance, and
swept before it all stragglers through whom the news might leak
out by the rear. On the twenty-third of June, only eight days
after Stuart had reported his raid to Lee, Jackson attended Lee's
conference at the same place, Richmond. The Valley Army was then
on its thirty-mile march from Frederick's Hall to Ashland, where
it arrived on the twenty-fifth, fifteen miles north.

McClellan had over a hundred thousand men. Lee had less than
ninety thousand, even after Jackson had joined him. To attack
McClellan's strongly fortified front, with its almost impregnable
flanks, would have been suicide. But McClellan's farther right,
commanded by that excellent officer, FitzJohn Porter, lay north
of the Chickahominy, with its own right open for junction with
McDowell. So Lee, knowing McClellan and the state of this Federal
right, decided on the twenty-fourth to attack Porter and threaten
McClellan's communications not only with McDowell to the north
but with White House, the Federal base twenty miles northeast.
This was an exceedingly bold move, first, because McClellan had
plenty of men to take Richmond during Lee's march north,
secondly, because it meant the convergence of separate forces on
the field of battle (Jackson being at Ashland, fifteen miles from
Richmond) and, thirdly, because the Confederates were inferior in
armament and in supplies of all kinds as well as in actual
numbers. Magruder, who had held the Yorktown lines so cleverly
with such inferior forces, was to hold Richmond (on both sides of
the James) with thirty-five thousand men against McClellan's
seventy-five thousand, while Lee and Jackson converged on
Porter's twenty-five thousand with over fifty thousand.

Then followed the famous Seven Days, beginning on the
twenty-sixth of June near the signpost at the Mechanicsville
bridge--TO RICHMOND 4 1/2 MILES--and ending at Harrison's Landing
on the second of July. On the twenty-sixth the attack was made
with consummate strategic skill. But it was marred by bad staff
work, by the great obstructions in Jackson's path, and by A.P.
Hill's premature attack with ten thousand men against Porter's
admirable front at Beaver Dam Creek. Hill's men moved down their
own side of the little valley in dense masses till every gun and
rifle on Porter's side was suddenly unmasked. No scythe could
have mowed the leading Confederates better. Two thousand went
down in the first few minutes, and the rest at once retreated.

Porter fell back on Gaines's Mill, where, after being reinforced,
he took up a strong position on the twentyseventh. Again there
was failure in combining the attack. Jackson found obstructions
that even he could not overcome quickly enough. Hill attacked
again with the utmost gallantry, wave after wave of Confederates
rushing forward only to melt away before the concentrated fire of
Porter's reinforced command.

But at last the Confederates--though checked and roughly
handled--converged under Lee's own eye; and an inferno of shot
and shell loosened and shook the steadfast Federal defense. Lee
and Jackson, though far apart, gave the word for the final charge
at almost the same moment. As Jackson's army suddenly burst into
view and swept forward to the assault the joyful news was shouted
down the ranks: "The Valley men are here!" Thereupon Lee's men
took up the double-quick with "Stonewall Jackson! Jackson!
Jackson!" as their battle cry. The Federals fought right
valiantly till their key-point suddenly gave way, smashed in by
weight of numbers; for Lee had brought into action half as many
again as Porter had, even with his reinforcements. On the
gallantly defended hill the long blue lines rocked, reeled, and
broke to right and left all but the steadfast regulars, whose
infantry fell back in perfect order, whose cavalry made a
desperate though futile attempt to stay the rout by charging one
against twenty, and whose four magnificent batteries, splendidly
served to the very last round, retired unbroken with the loss of
only two guns. Then the Confederate colors waved in triumph on
the hard-won crest against the crimson of the setting sun.

The victorious Confederates spent the twentyeighth and
twenty-ninth in finding the way to McClellan's new base. His
absolute control of all the waterways had enabled him to change
his base from White House on the Pamunkey to Harrison's Landing
on the James. When the Confederates discovered his line of
retreat by the Quaker Road they pressed in to cut it. On the
thirtieth there was severe fighting in White Oak Swamp and on
Frayser's Farm. But the Federals passed through, and made a fine
stand on Malvern Hill next day. Finally, when they turned at bay
on the Evelington Heights, which covered Harrison's Landing, they
convinced their pursuers that it would be fatal to attack again;
for now Northern sea-power was visibly present in flotillas of
gunboats, which made the flanks as hopelessly strong as the

McClellan therefore remained safely behind his entrenchments,
with the navy in support. He had to his own credit the strategic
success of having foiled Lee by a clever change of base; and to
the credit of his army stood some first-rate fighting besides
some tactical success, especially at Malvern Hill. Nevertheless
the second invasion of Virginia was plainly a failure; though by
no means a glaring disaster, like the first invasion at Bull Run.

McClellan, again reinforced, still professed his readiness to
take Richmond under conditions that suited himself. But the most
promising Northern force now seemed to be Pope's Army of
Virginia, coming down from the line of the Potomac, forty-seven
thousand strong, composed of excellent material, and heralded by
proclamations which even McClellan could never excel. John Pope,
Halleck's hero of Island Number Ten, came from the West to show
the East how to fight. "I presume that I have been called here to
lead you against the enemy, and that speedily. I hear constantly
of taking strong positions and holding them--of lines of retreat
and bases of supplies. Let us discard such ideas. Let us study
the probable line of retreat of our opponents, and leave our own
to take care of themselves." His Army of Virginia contained
Fremont's (now Sigel's) corps, as well as those of Banks and
McDowell--all experts in the art of "chasing Jackson."

Jackson was soon ready to be chased again. The Confederate
strength had been reduced by the Seven Days and not made good by
reinforcement; so Lee could spare Jackson only twenty-four
thousand men with whom to meet the almost double numbers under
Pope. But Jackson's men had the better morale, not only on
account of their previous service but because of their rage to
beat Pope, who, unlike other Northerners, was enforcing the
harshest rules of war. His lieutenant, General von Steinwehr,
went further, not only seizing prominent civilians as hostages
(to be shot whenever he chose to draw his own distinctions
between Confederate soldiers and guerillas) but giving his German
subordinates a liberty that some of them knew well how to turn
into license. This, of course, was most exceptional; for nearly
all Northerners made war like gentlemen. Unhappily, those who did
not were bad enough and numerous enough to infuriate the South.

Halleck, who had now become chief military adviser to the Union
Government, was as cautious as McClellan and had so little
discernment that he thought Pope a better general than Grant.
Lincoln, Stanton, and Halleck put their heads together; and an
order soon followed which had the effect of relieving the
pressure on Richmond and giving the initiative to Lee. Halleck
ordered McClellan to withdraw from Harrison's Landing, take his
Army of the Potomac round by sea to Aquia Creek, and join Pope on
the Rappahannock--an operation requiring the whole month of
August to complete.

Lee lost no time. His first move was to get Pope's advanced
troops defeated by Jackson, who brought more than double numbers
against Banks at Cedar Run on the ninth of August. The Federals
fought magnificently, nine against twenty thousand men. After the
battle Jackson marched across the Rapidan, and Halleck wisely
forbade Pope from following him, even though the first of
Burnside's men (now the advanced guard of McClellan's army) had
arrived at Aquia and were marching overland to Pope. Then
followed some anxious days at Federal Headquarters. Jackson
vanished; and Pope's cavalry, numerous as it was, wore itself out
trying to find the clue. MeClellan was still busy moving his men
from Harrison's Landing to Fortress Monroe, whence detachments
kept sailing to Aquia. What would Lee do now?

On the thirteenth he began entraining Longstreet's troops for
Gordonsville. On the fifteenth he conferred with his generals.
And on the seventeenth, from the lookout on Clark's Mountain, he
saw Pope's unsuspecting army camped round Slaughter Mountain
within fifteen miles of the united Confederates. Halleck had just
given Pope the fatal order to "fight like the devil" till
McClellan came up. Pope was full of confidence. And there he lay,
in a bad strategic and worse tactical position, and with slightly
inferior numbers, just within reach of Jackson and Lee. Pope was,
however, saved from immediate disaster by an oversight on the
part of Stuart. In ordering Fitzhugh Lee's cavalry brigade to
rendezvous at Verdierville that night Stuart forgot to make the
order urgent and the missing brigade came in late. Stuart,
anxious to see the enemy's position for himself, rode out and was
nearly taken prisoner. His dispatch-box fell into Pope's hands,
with a memorandum of Jackson's reinforcements. Jackson was for
attacking next day in any case and groaned aloud when Lee decided
not to, owing to the failure of cavalry combination in front and
the belated supplies in the rear. Pope retired safely on the
eighteenth, and on the nineteenth a thick haze hid his rear from
Lee's lookout,

Lee was now in a very difficult position, apparently face to face
with what would soon be the joint forces of Pope, McClellan, and
probably another corps from Washington: the whole well fed, well
armed, and certainly more than twice as strong as the united
Confederates. But Jackson and Stuart multiplied their forces by
skillful maneuvers and mystifying raids, and presently Stuart had
his revenge for the affront he had suffered on the seventeenth.
On the tempestuous night of the twentysecond he captured Pope's
dispatches. On the twentyfourth, at Jefferson, Lee and Jackson
discussed the situation with these dispatches before them. Dr.
Hunter McGuire, the Confederate staff-surgeon, noticed that
Jackson was unusually animated, drawing curves in the sand with
the toe of his boot while Lee nodded assent. Perhaps it was
Jackson who suggested the strategic idea of that wonderful last
week in August. However that may have been, Lee alone was
responsible for its adoption and superior direction.

With a marvelous insight into the characters of his opponents, a
consummate knowledge of the science and art of war, and--quite as
important--an exact appreciation of the risks worth running, Lee
actually divided his 55,000 men in face of Pope's 80,000, of
20,000 more at Washington and Aquia, and of 50,000 available
reinforcements. Then, by the well-deserved results obtained, he
became one of the extremely few really great commanders of all

The "bookish theorick" who, with all the facts before him, revels
in the fond delights of retrospective prophecy, will never
understand how Lee succeeded in this enterprise, except by sheer
good luck. Only those who themselves have groped their perilous
way through the dense, distorting fog of war can understand the
application of that knowledge, genius, and character for war
which so rarely unite in one man.

Lee sent Jackson north, to march at utmost speed under cover of
the Bull Run Mountains, to cross them at Thoroughfare Gap, and to
cut Pope's line at Manassas, where the enormous Federal field
base had been established. Unknown to Pope, Longstreet then
slipped into Jackson's place, so as to keep Pope in play till the
raid on Manassas and threat against Washington would draw him
northeast, away from McClellan at Aquia. The final move of this
profound, though very daring, plan was to take advantage of the
Federal distractions and consequent dispersions so as to effect a
junction on the field of battle against a conquerable force.

Jackson moved off by the first gray streak of dawn on the
twenty-fifth, and that day made good the six-and-twenty miles to
Salem Church. Screened by Stuart's cavalry, and marching through
a country of devoted friends on such an errand as a commonplace
general would never suspect, Jackson stole this march on Pope in
perfect safety. The next day's march was far more dangerous.
Roused while the stars were shining the men moved off in even
greater wonder as to their destination. But when the first flush
of dawn revealed the Bull Run Mountains, with the wellknown
Thoroughfare Gap straight to their front, they at once divined
their part of Lee's stupendous plan: a giant raid on Manassas,
the Federal base of superabundant supplies. The news ran down the
miles of men, and with it the thrill that presaged victory. Mile
after mile was gained, almost in dead silence, except for the
clank of harness, the rumble of wheels, the running beat of
hoofs, and that long, low, ceaselessly rippling sound of
multitudinous men's feet. Hungry, ill-clad, and worn to their
last spare ounce, the gaunt gray ranks strained forward, slipped
from their leash at last and almost in sight of their prey. So
far they were undiscovered. But the Gap was only ten miles by
airline from Pope's extreme right, and the tell-tale cloud of
dust, floating down the mountain side above them, must soon be
sighted, signaled, noted, and attended to. Only speed, the speed
of "foot-cavalry," could now prevail, and not a man must be an

By noon the head of the column had already crossed those same
communications which Pope had told his army to disregard in favor
of the much more interesting enemy line of retreat. Little did he
think that the man he had come to chase was about to burn the
bridge at Bristoe Station and thus cut the line between the
Federal front at Warrenton and the Federal base at Manassas. All
went well with Jackson, except that some news escaped to
Washington and Warrenton sooner than he expected. A Federal train
dashed on to Washington before the rails could be torn up. The
next two trains were both derailed and wrecked. But the fourth
put all brakes down and speeded back to Warrenton. Jackson
quickly took up a very strong position on the north side of Broad
Run, behind the burnt railway bridge, and sent Stuart's troopers
with two battalions of "foot-cavalry" to raid the base at
Manassas, replenish the exhausted Confederate supplies, and do
the northward scouting.

The situation of the rival armies on the night of the
twentyseventh forms one of the curiosities of war. Jackson was
concentrating round Manassas Junction. Lee was following
Jackson's line of march, but was still beyond Thoroughfare Gap.
Between them stood part of Pope's army, the whole of which
occupied an irregular quadrilateral formed by lines joining the
following points: Warrenton Junction, Bristoe Station,
Gainesville, and Thoroughfare Gap. Thirty miles northeast were
the twenty thousand Federals who joined Pope too late. Thirty
miles southeast the rear of McClellan's forces were still massing
at Aquia. In Pope's opinion Jackson was clearly trapped and Lee
cut off.

But when Pope began to close his cumbrous net the following day
Jackson had disappeared again. Orders and counter-orders
thereupon succeeded each other in bewildering confusion.
McClellan could be left out: and a very good thing too, thought
Pope, who wanted the victory all to himself, and whose own army
greatly outnumbered Lee's and Jackson's put together. But
Washington was nervous again; it contained the reinforcements;
and it had suddenly become indispensable to Pope as an immediate
base of supplies now that the base at Manassas had been so
completely destroyed. Pope's troops therefore mostly drew east
during the twentyeighth, forming by nightfall a long irregular
line, facing west, with its right beyond Centreville and its
extreme left held by Banks's mauled divisions south of Catlett's
Station. Meanwhile Jackson had slipped into place in the curve of
Bull Run, facing southeast, with his left near Stone Bridge, his
back to Sudley Springs, and his right open to junction with Lee,
who was waiting for daylight to force the Gap against the single
division left there on guard.

During the afternoon, while Jackson's tired men were lying sound
asleep in their ranks, Jackson himself was roused to see captured
orders which showed that some Federals were crossing his front.
Reading these orders to his divisional commanders he immediately
ordered one to attack and another to support. If the Federals
concerned were exposing an unguarded flank they should be
attacked at a disadvantage. If they were screening larger forces
trying to join the reinforcements from Washington or Aquia, then
they should be attacked so as to distract Pope's attention and
draw him on before the Federal union became complete, though not
before Lee had reached the new Bull Run position the following
day. The attack was consequently made from the woods around
Groveton not too long before dark. It resulted in a desperate
frontal fight, neither side knowing what the other had in its
rear or on its flanks. Again the Federals were outnumbered:
twenty-eight against forty-five hundred men in action. But again
they fought with the utmost resolution and drew off in good
order. The strategic advantage, however, was wholly Confederate;
for Pope, who thought Jackson must now be falling back to the
Gap, at once began confusedly trying to concentrate for pursuit
on the twenty-ninth--the very thing that suited Lee and Jackson

Early that morning the two-days' Battle of Second Manassas (or
Second Bull Run) began with Pope's absurd attempt to pursue an
army drawn up in line of battle. Moreover, Jackson's position was
not only strong in itself but well adapted for giving attackers a
shattering surprise. The left rested on Bull Run at Sudley Ford.
The center occupied the edge of the flat-topped Stony Ridge. A
quarter-mile in front of it, and some way lower down, were the
embankments and cuttings of an unfinished railroad. On the right
was Stuart's Hill, where Lee was to join by sending Longstreet
in. The approaches in rear were hidden from the eyes of an enemy
in front. The cuttings and embankments made excellent field works
for the defense. And the forward edge of the Ridge was wooded
enough to let counter-attackers mass under cover and then run
down to surprise the attackers by manning the cuttings and

Sigel's Germans, supported by the splendid Pennsylvanians under
Reynolds, advanced from the Henry Hill to hold Jackson till Pope
could come up and finish him. The numbers were about even, with
slight odds in favor of Jackson. But the shock was delivered
piecemeal. Each part was roughly handled and driven back in
disorder. And by the time Reynolds had come to the front Lee's
advanced guard was arriving. Then eighteen thousand Federals
marched in from Centreville under Reno, Kearny, and "fighting Joe
Hooker," of whom we shall hear again. Pope came up in person with
the rest of his available command, rode along his line, and
explained the situation as founded on his ignorance and colored
by his fancy. At this very moment Longstreet came up on Jackson's
right. Reynolds went into action against what he thought was
Jackson's extended right but what was really Longstreet's left.
Meanwhile the Centreville troops attacked near Bull Run. But that
dashing commander, Philip Kearny, was held up by Jackson's
concentrated guns; so Hooker and Reno advanced alone, straight
for the railroad line. The Confederates behind it poured in a
tremendous hail of bullets, and the long dry grass caught fire.
But nothing stopped Hooker till bayonets were crossed on the
rails and the Confederate line was broken. Then the Confederate
reserves charged in and drove the Federals back. No sooner was
this seen than, with a burst of cheering, another blue line
surged forward. Again the Confederate front was broken, but again
their reserves drove back the Federals. And so the fight went on,
with stroke and counterstroke, till, at a quarter past five,
twelve hours after Pope's first men had started from the Henry
Hill, his thirty thousand attackers found themselves unable to
break through.

Pope wished to make one more effort to round up Jackson's
supposedly open right. But Porter quite properly sent back word
that it was far too strong for his own ten thousand. In reply
Pope angrily ordered an immediate attack. But it was now too
dark, and the battle ended for the day.

Strangely enough, Lee was also having trouble with his
subordinate on the same flank at the same time, but with this
difference, that Porter was right while Longstreet was wrong. Lee
saw his chance of rolling up Pope's left and ordered Longstreet
to do it. But, after reconnoitering the ground, Longstreet came
back to say the chance was "not inviting." Again Lee ordered an
attack. But Longstreet wasted time, looking for needlessly
favorable ground till long after dark. Meanwhile the Federals
were also feeling their way forward over the same ground to get
into a good flanking position for next day's battle. So the two
sides met; and it was past midnight when Longstreet settled down.
Lee wanted a sword thrust. Longstreet gave a pin prick. We shall
meet Longstreet again, in the same character of obstructive
subordinate, at Gettysburg. But he was, for the most part, a very
good officer indeed; and the South, with its scanty supply of
trained leaders, could not afford to make changes like the North.
The fault, too, was partly Lee's; for his one weak point with
good but wayward subordinates was a tendency to let his sensitive
consideration for their feelings overcome his sterner insight
into their defects.

At noon on the fatal thirtieth of August, Pope, selfdeluded and
self-sufficient as before, dismayed his best officers by ordering
his sixty-five thousand men to be "immediately thrown forward in
pursuit of the enemy, "whose own fifty thousand were now far
readier than on the previous day.

Then the dense blue masses marched to their doom. Twenty thousand
bayonets shone together from Groveton to Bull Run. Forty thousand
more supported them on the slopes in rear, while every Federal
gun thundered forth protectingly from the heights behind. The
Confederate batteries were pointed out as the objective of
attack. Not one glint of steel appeared between these batteries
and the glittering Federal host. To the men in the ranks and to
Pope himself victory seemed assured. But no sooner had that brave
array come within rifle range of the deserted railroad line than,
high and clear, the Confederate bugles called along the hidden
edges of the flat-topped Ridge; when instantly the great gray
host broke cover, ran forward as one man, and held the whole
embankment with a line of fire and steel.

A shock of sheer amazement ran through the Federal mass. Then,
knightly as any hero of romance, a mounted officer rode out
alone, in front of the center, and, with his sword held high,
continued leading the advance, which itself went on undaunted.
The Confederate flank batteries crossed their fire on this
devoted center. Bayonets flashed out of line in hundreds as their
owners fell. Colors were cut down, raised high, cut down again.
But still that gallant horse and man went on, unswerving and
untouched. Even the sweeping volleys spared them both, though
now, as the Federals closed, these volleys cut down more men than
the cross-fire of the guns. At last the unscathed hero waved his
sword and rode straight up the deadly embankment, followed by the
charging line. "Don't kill him! Don't kill him!" shouted the
admiring Confederates as his splendid figure stood, one glorious
moment, on the top. The next, both horse and man sank wounded,
and were at once put under cover by their generous foes.

For thirty-five dire minutes the fight raged face to face. One
Federal color rose, fell, and rose again as fast as living hands
could take it from the dead. Over a hundred men lay round it when
the few survivors drew back to re-form. Pope fed his front line
with reserves, who advanced with the same undaunted gallantry,
but also with the same result. As if to make this same result
more sure he never tried to win by one combined assault, wave
after crashing wave, without allowing the defense to get its
second wind; but let each unit taste defeat before the next came
on. Federal bravery remained. But Federal morale was rapidly
disintegrating under the palpable errors of Pope. Misguided,
misled, and mishandled, the blue lines still fought on till four,
by which time every corps, division, and brigade had failed

Then, at the perfect moment and in the perfect way, Lee's
counterstroke was made: the beaten Federals being assailed in
flank as well as front by every sword, gun, bayonet, and bullet
that could possibly be brought to bear. Only the batteries
remained on the ridge, firing furiously till the Federals were
driven out of range. The infantry and cavalry were sent in--wave
after wave of them, without respite, till the last had hurled
destruction on the foe.

As at the First Bull Run, so here, the regulars fell back in good
order, fighting to the very end. But the rest of Pope's Army of
Virginia was no longer an organized unit. Even strong
reinforcements could do nothing for it now. On the second of
September, three days after the battle, its arrival at
Washington, heralded by thousands of weary stragglers, threw the
whole Union into gloom.

The first counter-invasion naturally followed. Southern hopes ran
high. Bragg's invasion of Kentucky seemed to be succeeding at
this time. The trans-Mississippi line still held at Vicksburg and
Port Hudson. Richmond had been saved. Washington was menaced. And
most people on both sides thought so much more of the land than
of the sea that the Federal victories along the coast and up the
Mississippi were half forgotten for the time being; and so was
the strangling blockade. Lee, of course, saw the situation as a
whole; and, as a whole, it was far from bright. But though the
counter-invasion was now a year too late it seemed worth making.
Maryland was full of Southern sympathizers; and campaigning there
would give Virginia a chance to recuperate, while also preventing
the North from recovering too quickly from its last reverse. Thus
it was with great expectations that the Confederates crossed the
Potomac singing "Maryland, my Maryland!"

But Maryland did not respond to this appeal. The women, it is
true, were mostly Southern to the core and ready to serve the
Confederate cause in every way they could. But the men,
reflecting more, knew they were in the grip of Northern seapower.
Nor could they fail to notice the vast difference between the
warlike resources of the North and South. Northern armies had
been marching through for many months, well fed, well armed, and
superabundantly supplied. The Confederates, on the other hand,
were fewer in numbers, half starved, in ragged clothing, less
well armed, and far less abundantly supplied in every way. A
Northerner who fell sick could generally count on the best of
medical care, not to mention a profusion of medical comforts. But
the blockade kept medicines and surgical instruments out of the
Southern ports; and the South could make few of her own. So, to
be very sick or badly wounded meant almost a sentence of death in
the South. Eighteen months of war had disillusioned Maryland. The
expected reinforcements never came.

Lee had again divided his army in the hope of snatching victory
by means of better strategy. On the thirteenth of September
Jackson was bombarding the Federals at Harper's Ferry, Longstreet
was at Hagerstown, and Stuart was holding the gaps of South

The same day McClellan, whose whole army was at Frederick,
received a copy of Lee's orders. They had been wrapped round
three cigars and lost by a careless Confederate staff officer.
Had McClellan forced the gaps immediately, maneuvered with
reasonable skill, and struck home with every available man, he
might have annihilated Lee. But he let the thirteenth pass
quietly; and when he did take the passes on the fourteenth it
cost him a good deal, as the Confederate infantry had reinforced
Stuart. On the fifteenth Jackson took Harper's Ferry. On the
sixteenth he joined Lee at Antietam. And on the seventeenth, when
the remaining availables had also joined Lee, McClellan made up
his mind to attack. "Ask me for anything but time," said the real
Napoleon. The "Young Napoleon" did not even need the asking.

Antietam (so called from the Antietam Creek) or Sharpsburg (so
called from the Confederate headquarters there) was one of the
biggest battles of the Civil War; and it might possibly have been
the most momentous. But, as things turned out, it was in itself
an indecisive action, spoilt for the Federals, first, by
McClellan's hesitating strategy, and then by his failure to press
the attack home at all costs, with every available man, in an
unbroken succession of assaults. He had over 80,000 men with 275
guns against barely 40,000 with 194 guns of inferior strength.
But though the Federals fought with magnificent devotion, and
though the losses were very serious on both sides, the tactical
result was a mutual checkmate. The strategic result, however, was
a Confederate defeat; for, with his few worn veterans, Lee had no
chance whatever of keeping his precarious hold on a neutral

October was a quiet month, each side reorganizing without much
interference from the other, except for Stuart's second raid
round the whole embattled army of McClellan. This time Stuart
took nearly two thousand men and four horse artillery guns.
Crossing the Potomac at McCoy's Ford on the tenth he reached
Chambersburg that night, destroyed the Federal stores, took all
the prisoners he wanted, cut the wires, obstructed the rails, and
went on with hundreds of Federal horses. Next day he circled the
Federal rear toward Gettysburg, turned south through Emmitsburg,
and crossed McClellan's line of communications with Washington at
Hyattstown early on the twelfth. By this time the Federal cavalry
were riding themselves to exhaustion in vain pursuit; while many
other forces were trying to close in and cut him off. But he
reached the mouth of the Monocacy and crossed White's Ford in
safety, fighting off all interference. The information he brought
back was of priceless value. Lee now learned that McClellan was
not falling back on Washington but being reinforced from there,
and that consequently no new Peninsula Campaign was to be feared
at present. This alone was worth the effort, risk, and negligible
loss. Stuart had marched a hundred and twenty-six miles on the
Federal side of the Potomac--eighty of them without a single
halt; and he had been fifty-six hours inside the Federal lines,
mostly within four riding hours of McClellan's own headquarters.

This second stinging raid roused the loyal North to fury; and by
November a new invasion of Virginia was in full swing on the old
ground, with McClellan at Warrenton, Lee at Culpeper, and Jackson
in the Valley.

But McClellan's own last chance had gone. Late at night on the
seventh he was sitting alone in his tent, writing to his wife,
when Burnside asked if he could come in with General C.P.
Buckingham, the confidential staff officer to the War Department.
After some forced conversation Buckingham handed McClellan a
paper ordering his supersession by Burnside. McClellan simply
said: "Well, Burnside, I turn the command over to you." The
eighth and ninth were spent in handing over; and on the tenth
McClellan made his official farewell. Next day he was entraining
at Warrenton Junction when the men, among whom he was immensely
popular, broke ranks and swarmed round his car, cursing the
Government and swearing they would follow no one but their "Old
Commander." McClellan, with all his faults in the field, was a
good organizer, an extremely able engineer, a very brave soldier,
a very sympathetic comrade in arms, and a regular father to his
men, whose personal interests were always his first care. The
moment was critical. McClellan, had he chosen, might have
imitated the Roman generals who led the revolts of Praetorian
Guards. But he stepped out on the front platform of the car, held
up his hand, and, amid tense silence, asked the men to "stand by
General Burnside as you have stood by me." The car they had
uncoupled to prevent his departure was run up and coupled again;
and then, amid cheers of mournful farewell, they let him go.

General Ambrose E. Burnside was expected to smash Lee, take
Richmond, and end the war at once. He was a good subordinate, but
quite unfit for supreme command, which he accepted only under
protest. Moreover, he was not supported as he should have been by
the War Department, nor even by the Headquarter Staff. While
changing his position from Warrenton to Fredericksburg he was
hampered by avoidable delays. So when he reached Falmouth he
found Lee had forestalled him on the opposing heights of
Fredericksburg itself.

The disastrous thirteenth of December was dull, calm, and misty.
But presently the sun shone down with unwonted warmth; the mists
rolled up like curtains; and there stood 200,000 men, arrayed in
order of battle: 80,000 Confederates awaiting the onslaught of
120,000 Federals.

On came the solid masses of the Federals, eighty thousand strong,
with forty in support, amid the thunder of five hundred attacking
and defending guns. The sunlight played upon the rising tide of
Federal bayonets as on sea currents when they turn inshore. The
colors waved proudly as ever; and to the outward eye the attack
seemed almost strong enough to drive the stern and silent gray
Confederates clear off the crest. But the indispensable morale
was wanting. For this was the end of a long campaign, full of
drawn battles and terrible defeats. Burnside was an unpopular
substitute for McClellan; he was not in any way a great
commander; and he was acting under pressure against his own best
judgment. His army knew or felt all this; and he knew they knew
or felt it. The Federals, for all their glorious courage, felt,
when the two fronts met at Fredericksburg, that they were no more
than sacrificial pawns in the grim game of war. After much
useless slaughter they reeled back beaten. But they could and did
retire in safety, skillfully "staffed" by their leaders and close
to their unconquerable sea.

Lee could make no counterstroke. The Confederate Government had
not dared to let him occupy the far better position on the line
of the North Anna, from which a vigorous counterstroke might have
almost annihilated a beaten attacker, who would have been exposed
on both flanks, beyond the sure protection of the sea. Thus fear
of an outcry against "abandoning" the country between
Fredericksburg and the North Anna caused the Southern politicians
to lose their chance at home. But without a decisive victory they
could not hope for foreign intervention. So losing their chance
at home made them lose it abroad as well.

Burnside was dazed by his defeat and the appalling loss of life
in vain. But after five weeks of most discouraging inaction he
tried to surprise Lee by crossing the Rappahannock several miles
higher up. On the twentieth and twenty-first of that miserable
January the Federal army ploughed its dreary way through sloughs
of gluey mud under torrents of chilling rain. Then, when the pace
had slackened to a funereal crawl, and the absurdly little chance
of surprising Lee had vanished altogether, this despairing "Mud
March" came to its wretched end. Four days later Burnside was
superseded by one of his own subordinates, General Joseph Hooker,
known to all ranks as "Fighting Joe Hooker."

Fredericksburg, the spell of relaxing winter quarters beside the
fatal Rappahannock, and then the fatal "Mud March," combined to
lower Federal morale. Yet the mass of the men, being composed of
fine human material, quickly recovered under "Fighting Joe
Hooker," who knew what discipline meant. Numbers and discipline
tell. But disciplined numbers were not the only or even the
greatest menace to the South. For here, as farther west, the
Confederate Government was beginning to be foolish just as the
Federal Government showed signs of growing wise. Lincoln and
Stanton were giving Joe Hooker a fairly free hand just when Davis
and Seddon (his makeshift minister of war) were using Confederate
forces as puppets to be pulled about by Cabinet strings from
Richmond. Here again (as later on at Chattanooga) Longstreet was
sent away on a useless errand just when he was needed most by
Lee. Good soldier though he was in many ways he was no such man
as Stonewall Jackson; and, in this one year, he failed his
seniors thrice.

It is true enough that the April situation of 1863 might well
shake governmental nerves; for Richmond was being menaced from
three points north, southeast, and south: Fredericksburg due
north, Suffolk southeast, Newbern south. Newbern in North
Carolina was a long way off. But its possession by an active
enemy threatened the rail connection from Richmond south to
Wilmington, Charleston, and Savannah, the only three Atlantic
ports through which the South could get supplies from overseas.
Suffolk was nearer. It covered the landward side of Norfolk,
which, with Fortress Monroe, might become the base of a new
Peninsula Campaign. But Fredericksburg was nearest; nearest to
Richmond, nearest to Washington, nearest to the main Southern
force; and not only nearest but strongest, in every way strongest
and most to be feared. "Fighting Joe Hooker" was there, with a
hundred and thirty thousand men, already stirring for the spring
campaign that was to wipe out memories of Fredericksburg, make
short work of Lee, and end the war at Richmond.

Yet Longstreet cheerfully marched off, pleased with his new
command, to see what he could do to soothe the Government by
winning laurels for himself at Suffolk. On the seventeenth, just
two weeks before the supreme test came on Lee's weakened army at
Chancellorsville, Longstreet reported to Seddon that Suffolk
would cost three thousand men, if taken by assault, or three
days' heavy firing if subdued by bombardment. Shrinking from such
expenditure of life or ammunition, Davis, Seddon, and Longstreet
fell back on a siege, which, preventing all junction with Lee,
might well have cost the ruin of their cause.

Lee and Jackson then prepared to make the best of a bad business
along the Rappahannock, and to snatch victory once more, if
possible, from the very jaws of death. The prospect was grimmer
than before. Hooker was a better fighter than McClellan and wiser
than Burnside or Pope. Moreover, after two years of war, the
Union Government had at last found out that civilian detectives
knew less about armies than expert staff officers know, and that
cavalry which was something more than mere men on horses could
collect a little information too. Hooker knew Lee's strength as
well as his own. So he decided to hold Lee fast with one part of
the big Federal army, turn his flank with another, and cut his
line of supply and retreat with Stoneman's ten thousand sabers as
well. The respective grand totals were 130,000 Federals against
62,000 Confederates.

So far, so good; so very good indeed that Hooker and his staff
were as nearly free from care on May Day as headquarter men can
ever be in the midst of vital operations. Hooker had just reason
to be proud of the Army of the Potomac and of his own work in
reviving it. He had, indeed, issued one bombastic order of the
day in which he called it "the finest on the planet." But even
this might be excused in view of the popular call for encouraging
words. What was more to the point was the reestablishment of
Federal morale, which had been terribly shaken after the great
Mud March. Hooker's sworn evidence (as given in the official
"Report of Committee on the Conduct of the War") speaks for
itself: "The moment I was placed in command I caused a return to
be made of the absentees of the army, and found the number to be
2922 commissioned officers and 81,964 non-commissioned officers
and privates. They were scattered all over the country, and the
majority were absent from causes unknown."

On the twenty-eighth of April Stuart saw the redisciplined
Federals in motion far up the Rappahannock, while next day
Jackson saw others laying pontoons thirty miles lower down, just
on the seaward side of Fredericksburg. Lee took this news with
genial calm, remarking to the aide: "Well, I heard firing and was
beginning to think it was time some of your lazy young fellows
were coming to tell me what it was about. Tell your good general
he knows what to do with the enemy just as well as I do." On the
thirtieth it became quite clear that Hooker was bent on turning
Lee's left and that he had divided his army to do so. Jackson
wished to attack Sedgwick's 35,000 Federals still on the plains
of Fredericksburg. But Lee convinced him that the better way
would be to hold these men with 10,000 Confederates in the
fortified position on the confronting heights while the remaining
52,000 should try to catch Hooker himself between the jaws of a
trap in the forest round Chancellorsville, where the Federal
masses would be far more likely to get out of hand. It was an
extremely daring maneuver to be setting this trap when Sedgwick
had enough men to storm the heights of Fredericksburg, when
Stoneman was on the line of communication with the south, and
when Hooker himself, with superior numbers, was gaining Lee's
rear. But Lee had Jackson as his lieutenant, not Longstreet, as
he was to have at Gettysburg.

Hooker's movements were rapid, well arranged, and admirably
executed up to the evening of the first of May, when, finding
those of the enemy very puzzling among the dense woods, he chose
the worst of three alternatives. The first and best, an immediate
counter-attack, would have kept up his army's morale and, if well
executed, revealed his own greater strength. The second, a
continued advance till he reached clearer ground, might have
succeeded or not. The third and worst was to stand on his
defense, a plan which, however sound in other places, was fatal
here, because it not only depressed the spirits of his army but
gave two men of genius the initiative against him in a country
where they were at home and he was not. The absence of ten
thousand cavalry baffled his efforts to get trustworthy
information on the ground, while the dense woods baffled his
balloons from above. On the second of May he still thought the
initiative was his, that the Confederates were retreating, and
that his own jaws were closing on them instead of theirs on him.

Meanwhile, owing to miscalculations of the space that had to be
held in force, his right was not only thrown forward too far but
presented a flank in the air. This was the flank round which
Stonewall Jackson maneuvered with such consummate skill that it
was taken on three sides and rolled up in fatal confusion. Its
commander, the very capable General O.O. Howard, who perceived
the mistake he could not correct, tried hard to stay the rout.
But, as his whole reserve had been withdrawn by Hooker to join an
attack elsewhere, his lines simply melted away. The three days'
battle that followed (ending on the fifth of May) was bravely
fought by the bewildered Federals. Yet all in vain. Hooker was
caught like a bull in a net; and the more he struggled the worse
it became. At 6 P.M.. on the second the cunning trap was sprung
when a single Confederate bugle rang out. Instantly other bugles
repeated the call at regular intervals through miles of forest.
Then, high and clear on the silent air of that calm May evening,
the rebel yell rose like the baying of innumerable hounds, hot on
the scent of their quarry, with Jackson leading on. Nothing could
stop the eager gray lines, wave after wave of them pressing
through the woods; not even the gallant fifty guns that fought
with desperation in defense of Hazel Grove, where Hooker was
rallying his men.

For two days more the tide of battle ebbed and flowed; but always
against the Federals in the end, till, broken, bewildered, and
disheartened, they retired as best they could. Lee was unable to
pursue. Longstreet's men were still missing; and so were many
supplies that should have been forwarded from Richmond. There the
Government clung to the fond belief that this mere victory had
won the war, and that pursuit was useless. Thus Lee's last chance
of crushing the invaders was taken from him by his friends.

At the same time the Southern cause suffered another irreparable
loss; but in this case at the purely accidental hands of Southern
men. Jackson's staff, suddenly emerging from a thicket as the
first night closed in, was mistaken for Federal cavalry and shot
down. Jackson himself was badly wounded in three places and
carried from the field. He never heard the rebel yell again. Next
Sunday, when the staff-surgeon told him that he could not
possibly live through the night, he simply answered: "Very good,
very good; it is all right." Presently he asked Major Pendleton
what chaplain was preaching at headquarters. "Mr. Lacy, sir; and
the whole army is praying for you." "Thank God," said Jackson,
"they are very kind to me." A little later, rousing himself as if
from sleep, he called out: "Order A.P. Hill to prepare for
action! Pass the infantry to the front! Tell Major Hawks--" There
his strength failed him. But after a pause he said quietly, "Let
us cross over the river and rest under the shade of the trees."
And with these words he died.


We have seen already how the River War of '89 ended in a double
failure of the Federal advance on Vicksburg: how Grant and
Sherman, aided by the flanking force from Helena in Arkansas,
failed to catch Pemberton along the Tallahatchie; and then how
Sherman alone, moving down the Mississippi, was defeated by
Pemberton at Chickasaw Bayou, just outside of Vicksburg.

Leaving Memphis for good, Grant took command in the field again
on the thirtieth of January. His army was strung out along
seventy miles of the Mississippi just north of Vicksburg, so hard
was it to find enough firm ground. The first important move was
made when, in Grant's own words, "the entire Army of the
Tennessee was transferred to the neighborhood of Vicksburg and
landed on the opposite or western bank of the river at Milliken's

Grant, everywhere in touch with Admiral D. D. Porter's fleet and
plentifully supplied with water transport of all kinds, thus
commanded the peninsula or tongue of low land-round which the
mighty river took its course in the form of an elongated U right
opposite Vicksburg. His farthest north base was still at Cairo;
and the whole line of the Mississippi above him was effectively
held by Union forces afloat and ashore. Four hundred miles south
lay Farragut and Banks, preparing for an attack on Port Hudson
and intent on making junction with the Union forces above.

Two bad generals stood very much in Grant's way, one on either
side of him in rank--McClernand, his own second-in-command, and
Banks, his only senior in the Mississippi area. McClernand
presently found rope enough to hang himself. Our old friend
Banks, who had not yet learnt the elements of war, though
schooled by Stonewall Jackson, never got beyond Port Hudson, and
so could not spoil Grant's command in addition to his own.
Fortunately, besides Sherman and other professional soldiers of
quite exceptional ability, Grant had three of the best generals
who ever came from civil life: Logan, Blair, and Crocker. Logan
shed all the vices, while keeping all the virtues, of the lawyer
when he took up arms. Blair knew how to be one man as an
ambitious politician and another as a general in the field.
Crocker was in consumption, but determined to die in his boots
and do his military best for the Union service first. The
personnel of the army was mostly excellent all through. The men
were both hardy and handy as a rule, being to a large extent
farmers, teamsters, railroad and steamboat men, well fitted to
meet the emergencies of the severe and intricate Vicksburg

Throughout this campaign the army and navy of the Union worked
together as a single amphibious force. Grant's own words are no
mere compliment, but the sober statement of a fact. "The navy,
under Porter, was all it could be during the entire campaign.
Without its assistance the campaign could not have been
successfully made with twice the number of men engaged. It could
not have been made at all, in the way it was, with any number of
men, without such assistance. The most perfect harmony reigned
between the two arms of the Service. There never was a request
made, that I am aware of, either of the Flag-Officer or any of
his subordinates, that was not promptly complied with." And what
is true of Porter is at least as true of Farragut, who was the
greater man and the senior of every one afloat.

Grant could take Vicksburg only by reaching good ground, and the
only good ground was below and in rear of the fortress. There was
no foothold for his army on the east bank of the Mississippi
anywhere between Memphis and Vicksburg. This meant that he must
either start afresh from Memphis and try again to push overland
by rail or cross the swampy peninsula in front of him and circle
round his enemy. A retirement on Memphis, no matter how wise,
would look like another great Union defeat and consequently lower
a public morale which, depressed enough by Fredericksburg, was
being kept down by the constant naval reverses that opened '63.
Circling the front was therefore very much to be preferred from
the political point of view. On the other hand, it was beset by
many alarming difficulties; for it meant starting from the
flooded Mississippi and working through the waterlogged lowlands,
across the peninsula, till a foothold could be seized on the
eastern bank below Vicksburg. Moreover, this circling attack,
though feasible, might depress the morale of the troops by the
way. Burnside's disastrous "Mud March" through the January
sloughs of Virginia, made in the vain hope of outflanking Lee,
had lowered the morale of the army almost as much as
Fredericksburg itself had lowered the morale of the people.

Through the depth of winter the army toiled "in ineffectual
efforts," says Grant, "to reach high land above Vicksburg from
which we could operate against that stronghold, and in making
artificial waterways through which a fleet might pass, avoiding
the batteries to the south of the town, in case the other efforts
should fail." A wetter winter had never been known. The whole
complicated network of bends and bayous, of creeks, streams,
runs, and tributary rivers, was overflowing the few slimy trails
through the spongy forest and threatening the neglected levees
which still held back the encroaching waters. There was nothing
to do, however, but to keep the men busy and the enemy confused
by trying first one line and then another for two weary months.
By April, writes Grant, "the waters of the Mississippi having
receded sufficiently to make it possible to march an army across
the peninsula opposite Vicksburg, I determined to adopt this
course, and moved my advance to a point below the town."

Meanwhile, far below, Farragut and Banks were at work round Port
Hudson: Farragut to good effect; Banks as usual. On the
fourteenth of March Farragut started up the river with seven
men-of-war and wanted the troops to make a demonstration against
Port Hudson from the rear while the fleet worked its way past the
front. But, just as Farragut was weighing anchor, Banks, who had
had ample time for preparation, sent word to say he was still
five miles from Port Hudson. "He'd as well beat New Orleans,"
muttered Farragut, "for all the good he's doing us."

Six of the vessels were lashed together in pairs, the heavier
ones next the enemy, the lighter ones secured well aft so as to
mask the fewest guns. This arrangement also gave each pair the
advantage of having twin screws. Farragut's flagship, the
Hartford, leading the line-ahead, suffered least from the dense
smoke on that damp, calm, moonless night. But the others were
soon groping blindly up the tortuous channel. The Hartford
herself took the ground for a critical moment. But, with her own
screw going ahead and that of the Albatross going astern, she
drew clear and won through. Not so, however, the other five
ships. Only the Hartford and Albatross reached the Red River. Yet
even this was of great importance, as it completely cut off Port
Hudson from all chance of relief. Farragut went on up the
Mississippi to see Grant, destroying all riverside stores on the
way. Grant was delighted, and, in the absence of Porter, who was
up the Yazoo, sent Farragut an Ellet ram and some sorely needed

Grant's seventh (and frst successful) effort to get a foothold
(from which to carry out one of the boldest and most brilliant
operations recorded in the history of war) began with a naval
operation on the sixteenth of April, when Porter ran past the
Vicksburg batteries by night. Though Porter had the four-knot
current in his favor he needed all his skill and moral courage to
take a regular flotilla round the elongated U made by the
Mississippi at Vicksburg, with such a bend as to keep vessels
under more or less distant fire for five miles, aid under much
closer fire for nearly nine. At the bend the vessels could be
caught end-on. For nearly five miles after that they were subject
to a plunging fire. Porter led the way on board the flagship
Benton. He had seven ironclads, of which three were larger
vessels and four were gunboats built by Eads, a naval constructor
with orignal ideas and great executive ability. One ram and three
transports followed. Coal barges were lashed alongside or taken
in tow. Some of these were lost and one transport was sunk. But
the rest got through, though not unscathed. It seemed like a
miracle to the tense spectators that any flotilla should survive
this dash down a river of death flowing through a furnace. But
the ironclads, magnificently handled, stood up to their work
unflinchingly, fired back with regulated vigor, and took their
terrific pounding without one vital wound.

Porter presently relieved Farragut, who went back to New Orleans.
From this time, till after the fall of Vicksburg and Port Hudson,
Porter commanded three flotillas, each with a base of its own:
first, a flotilla remaining north of Vicksburg for work on the
Yazoo; secondly, the main body between Vicksburg and Grand Gulf;
thirdly, the Red River flotilla. This combined naval force
commanded all lines of communication north, south, and west of
Vicksburg, thus enabling Grant to concentrate entirely against
the eastern side.

On the thirtieth of April Grant landed with twenty thousand men
at Bruinsburg, on the east side of the Mississippi, about sixty
miles below Vicksburg. A week later Sherman reinforced him to
thirty-three thousand. Before the fall of Vicksburg his total
strength reached seventy-five thousand. The Confederate total
also fluctuated; but not so much. There were about sixty thousand
Confederates in the whole strategic area between Vicksburg and
Jackson (fifty miles east) when Grant made his first daring move,
and about the same when Vicksburg surrendered. The scene of
action was almost triangular; for it lay between the three lines
joining Jackson, Haynes's Bluff, Rodney, and Jackson again. The
respective lengths of these straight lines are forty, fifty, and
seventy miles. But roundabout ways by land and water multiplied
these distances, and much fighting and many obstacles vastly
increased Grant's difficulties.

An army, however, that had managed to reach Bruinsburg from the
north and west was assuredly fit for more hard work of any kind;
while a commander who had, left a safe base above Vicksburg and
landed below, to live on (as well as in) an enemy country till
victory should give him a new land line to the north, must, in
view of the resultant triumph, be counted among the master-minds
of war. Grant's marvelous skill in massing, dividing, forwarding,
and concentrating his forces over a hundred miles of intricate
passages between Milliken's Bend and Bruinsburg was only excelled
by his consummate genius in carrying out this daring operation,
forcing his way through his enemies, into full possession of
interior lines, between their great garrison of Vicksburg and
their field army from Jackson. He had to create two fronts in
spite of his doubled enemy and live on that enemy's country
without any land base of his own.

Grant knew the country was quite able to support his army if he
could only control enough of it. Bread, beef, and mutton would be
almost unobtainable. But chickens, turkeys, and ducks were
abundant, while hard-tack would do instead of bread.
Bird-and-biscuit of course became unpopular; and after weeks of
it Grant was not surprised to hear a soldier mutter "hard-tack"
loudly enough for others to take up the cry. By this time,
however, he luckily knew that the bread ration was about to be
resumed; and when he told the men they cheered as only men on
service can men to whom battles are rare events but rations the
very stuff of daily existence. Coffee, bacon, beef, and mutton
came next in popular favor when full rations were renewed. So
when the Northern land line was reopened towards the end of the
siege, and friends came into camp with presents from home, they
found, to their amazement, that even the tenderest spring chicken
was loathsome to their boys in blue.

Grant set to work immediately on landing. His first objective was
Grand Gulf, which he wanted as a field base for further advance.
But in order to get it he had to drive away the enemy from Port
Gibson, which was by no means easy, even with superior numbers,
because the whole country thereabouts was so densely wooded and
so intricately watered that concerted movements could only be
made along the few and conspicuous roads. On the first of May,
however, the Confederates were driven off before their
reinforcements could arrive. McClernand bungled brigades and
divisions out of mutual support. But Grant personally put things
right again.

By the third of May the bridge burnt by the enemy had been
repaired and Grant's men were crossing to press them back on
Vicksburg, so as to clear Grand Gulf. Grant's supply train
(raised by impressing every horse, mule, ox, and wheeled thing in
the neighborhood) looked more like comic opera than war. Fine
private carriages, piled high with ammunition, and sometimes
drawn by mules with straw collars and rope lines, went side by
side with the longest plantation wagons drawn by many oxen, or
with a two-wheeled cart drawn by a thoroughbred horse.

Before any more actions could be fought news came through that
the Federals in Virginia had been terribly beaten by Lee, who was
now expected to invade the North. The South was triumphant; so
much so, indeed, that its Government thought the war itself had
now been won. But Lincoln, Grant, and Lee knew better.

Swiftly, silently, and with a sure strategic touch, Grant marched
northeast on Jackson, to make his rear secure before he turned on
Vicksburg. On the twelfth he won at Raymond and on the fourteenth
at Jackson itself. Here he turned back west again. On the
sixteenth he won the stubborn fight of Champion's Hill, on the
seventeenth he won again at Big Black River, and on the
eighteenth he appeared before the lines of Vicksburg. With the
prestige of five victories in twenty days, and with the momentum
acquired in the process, he then tried to carry the lines by
assault on the spot. But the attack of the nineteenth failed, as
did its renewal on the twenty-second. Next day both sides settled
down to a six weeks' siege.

The failure of the two assaults was recognized by friend and foe
as being a mere check; and Grant's men all believed they had now
found the lookedfor leader. So they had. Like Lee and Stonewall
Jackson in Virginia, Grant, with as yet inferior numbers (but
with the immense advantage of sea-power), had seized, held, and
acted on interior lines so ably that his forty-three thousand men
had out-maneuvered and out-fought the sixty thousand of the
enemy, beating them in detail on ground of their own besides
inflicting a threefold loss. Grant lost little over four
thousand. The Confederates lost nearly twelve thousand, half of
whom were captured.

The only real trouble, besides the failure to carry the lines by
assault, was with the two bad generals, McClernand and Banks.
McClernand had promulgated an order praising his own. corps to
the skies and conveying the idea that he and it had won the
battles. Moreover, he hinted that he had succeeded in the assault
while the others had failed. This was especially offensive
because Grant, at McClernand's urgent request, had sent
reinforcements from other corps to confirm a success that he
found nonexistent on the spot, except in McClernand's own words.
To crown this, McClernand had sent his official order, with all
its misleading statements, to be published in the Northern press;
and the whole army was now supplied with the papers containing
it. So gross a breach of discipline could not go unpunished; and
McClernand was sent back to Springfield in disgrace.

Banks, unfortunately, was senior to Grant and of course
independent of Farragut; so he could safely vex them both--Grant,
by spoiling the plan of concerting the attacks on Port Hudson and
Vicksburg in May; Farragut, by continual failure in cooperation
and by leaving big guns exposed to capture on the west bank. But
things turned out well, after all. The guns were saved by the
naval vessels that beat off a Confederate attack on
Donaldsonville; and Grant's army was saved from coming under
Banks's command by Banks's own egregious failure in cooperation.
This failure thus became a blessing in disguise: a disguise too
good for Halleck, whose reprimand from Washington on the
twenty-third of May shows what dangers lurked beneath the
mighthave-been. "The Government is exceedingly disappointed that
you and General Grant are not acting in conjunction. It thought
to secure that object by authorizing you to assume the entire
command as soon as you and General Grant could unite."

In the end the Confederates suffered much more than the Federals
from civilian interference; for the orders of their Government
came through in time to confuse a situation that was already bad
and growing worse. Between Porter afloat and Grant ashore
Vicksburg was doomed unless "Joe" Johnston came west with
sufficient force to relieve it in time. Johnston did come early
enough, but not in sufficient force; so the next best thing was
to destroy all stores, abandon Vicksburg, and save the garrison.
The Government, however, sent positive orders to hold Vicksburg
to the very last gasp. Johnston had meanwhile sent Pemberton (the
Vicksburg commander) orders to combine with him in free
maneuvering for an attack in the field. But Pemberton's own idea
was to await Grant on the Big Black River, where, with Johnston's
help, he thought he could beat him. Then followed hesitation, a
futile attempt to harmonize the three incompatible schemes; and
presently the, division of the Confederates into separated
armies, driven apart by Grant, whose own army soon dug itself in
between them and quickly grew stronger than both.

Grant's lines, facing both opponents, from Haynes's Bluff to
Warrenton, were fifteen miles long, which gave him one man per
foot when his full strength was reached Pemberton's were only
seven; and his position was strong. both towards the river, where
the bluffs rose two hundred feet, and on the landward side, where
the slopes were sharp and well fortified. Grant closed in,
however, and pressed the bombardment home. Except for six 32-
pounders and a battery of big naval guns he had nothing but field
artillery. Yet the abundance of ammunition, the closeness of the
range, and the support of his many excellent snipers, soon gave
him the upper hand. Six hundred yards was the farthest the lines
were apart. In some places they nearly touched.

All ranks worked hard, especially at engineering, in which there
was such a dearth of officers that Grant ordered every West
Pointer to do his turn with the sappers and miners as well as his
other duty. This brought forth a respectful protest from the
enormously fat Chief Commissary, who said he could only be used
as a saproller (the big roller sappers shove protectingly before
them when snipers get their range). The real sap-rollers came to
grief when an ingenious Confederate stuffed port-fires with
turpentined cotton and shot them into rollers only a few yards
off. But after this the Federals kept their rollers wet; and
sapped and burrowed till the big mine was fully charged and safe
from the Confederate countermine, which had missed its mark.

While trying to blow each other up the men on both sides
exchanged amenities and chaff like the best of friends. Each side
sold its papers to the other; and the wall-paper newsprint of
Vicksburg made a good war souvenir for both. There was a steady
demand for Federal bread and Confederate tobacco. When market
time was over the Confederates would heave down hand-grenades,
which agile Federals, good at baseball, would heave uphill again
before they exploded. And woe to the man whose head appeared out
of hours; for snipers were always on the watch, especially that
prince of snipers, Lieutenant H.C. Foster, renowned as "Coonskin"
from the cap he wore. A wonderful stalker and dead shot he was a
terror to exposed Confederates at all times; but more
particularly towards the end, when (their front artillery having
been silenced by Grant's guns) Coonskin built a log tower,
armored with railway iron, from which he picked off men who were
safe from ordinary fire.

On the twenty-first of June Pemberton planned an escape across
the Mississippi and built some rough boats. But Grant heard of
this; the flotilla grew more watchful still; and before any
attempt at escape could be made the great mine was fired on the
twenty-fifth. The whole top of the hill was blown off, and with
it some men who came down alive on the Federal side. Among these
was an unwounded but terrified colored man, who, on being asked
how high he had gone, said, "Dunno, Massa, but t'ink 'bout t'ree
mile." An immense crater was formed. But there was no practicable
breach; so the assault was deferred. A second mine was exploded
on the first of July. But again there was no assault; for Grant
had decided to wait till several huge mines could be exploded
simultaneously. In the meantime an intercepted dispatch warned
him that Johnston would try to help Pemberton to cut his way out.
But by the time the second mine was exploded Pemberton was
sounding his generals about the chances of getting their own
thirty thousand to join Johnston's thirty thousand against
Grant's seventyfive thousand. The generals said No. Negotiations
then began.

On the third of July Grant met Pemberton under the "Vicksburg
Oak," which, though quite a small tree, furnished
souvenir-hunters with many cords of sacred wood in after years.
Grant very wisely allowed surrender on parole, which somewhat
depleted Confederate ranks in the future by the number of men
who, returning to their homes, afterwards refused to come back

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