Pope's Retreat

August 11th - August 28th 1862

The fight on the left, Aug 30, 1862, 2nd Bull Run

Written on this Edwin Forbes sketch; "Infantry fighting on the left wing at Battle of Bull Run, August 30th 1862."  Notes accompanying the file read "The fight at Grovetown;  Advance of the right wing of Gen'l. Lee's army commanded by Gen'l. Longstreet on Gen'l. McDowell's Corps south of Baldface Hill along the ridge SouthEast of Warrenton Turnpike."

Table of Contents


Major General John PopeThe Big Picture
General Bank's defeat by Confederate General Stonewall Jackson at The Battle of Cedar Mountain (August 9th) took the wind out of General John Pope’s sails.  Pope's plans to advance south and take Gordonsville were dropped.  Instead, Union General in Chief Henry Halleck in Washington cautioned General Pope to take a more defensive stance; to fall back along the line of the Rappahannock if necessary, to wait for re-enforcements to arrive from General McClellan’s army.  Pope’s aggressive tone turned uncertain.  He remained in camp near Cedar Mountain for a week following the battle. 

General George B. McClellan General McClellan had proposed to President Lincoln an offensive on Petersburg with his large army, providing the President supply him with 100,000 more troops.  Exasperated, (and with no men to send) on August 4th, Halleck ordered McClellan to Washington.  He was to link up and co-operate with General Pope’s little Army of Virginia.  This order infuriated McClellan.

Lee Plans to Attack Pope
     General Robert E. Lee’s Confederate Army was committed to protecting Richmond as long as General McClellan’s huge force was nearby.  But when Lee suspected McClellan’s troops were withdrawing from the Peninsula he re-enforced Stonewall Jackson at Gordonsville to the west.  Jackson had 3 Divisions with him; about 24,000 troops.  On August 13th General Lee ordered General James Longstreet’s 10 Brigades, General John Hood’s 2 Brigades, General J.E.B. Stuart’s Cavalry Brigade and General Fitzhugh Lee’s Cavalry Brigade to Gordonsville.  After preparing for the defense of Richmond General Lee boarded a train to Gordonsville on the 15th.  The next day he sent for 3 more brigades in General Anderson’s division to join him. 

     Lee wanted to crush Pope’s little army before it united with General McClellan.  Pope’s force was wedged between the angle of two intersecting rivers, the Rapidan and the Rappahannock..  At a meeting with his Generals, on August 15th, Lee proposed his plan for attack.  The cavalry would dash across the Rapidan, speed around Pope’s left flank and take the river crossings at the Rappahannock to the north.  This would cut off Pope’s line of retreat.  The rest of the Confederates would engage Pope directly.  Stonewall Jackson concurred and proposed to attack the 17th, but Longstreet’s troops needed rest, Anderson’s troops and supplies hadn’t arrived yet and Fitzhugh Lee’s cavalry was still 35 miles from Gordonsville.  Lee set August 18th as the attack date.  The Confederates would march to the Rapidan and make ready on the 16th and 17th.

General Robert E. LeePope Discovers Lee’s Plan
     The evening of the 17th Confederate Army was poised ready to attack along the Rapidan River.  In a blunder more typically associated with the Union Army, Confederate General Robert Toombs, a Georgia politician, ordered two of his regiments picketing Raccoon Ford back to camp leaving the river crossing unguarded!  Toombs superior, General Longstreet  ordered the Georgia troops to guard the river crossing.  Toombs was away visiting a friend when the troops were ordered out.  He resented another officer ordering his troops about, even Corps Commander General Longstreet, and called the regiments back to camp.  One thousand Union cavalrymen splashed across the Rapidan River at Raccoon ford that very evening on a reconnaissance mission.  Pope suspected Jackson’s army had been re-enforced and ordered the cavalry south to find out.  The Union horsemen captured a Confederate courier carrying copies of Lee’s plan of attack.  The plans were reported to General Pope on the 18th.  The papers confirmed news Pope had received from his spies and scouts.  With proof he was outnumbered, and about to be attacked, Pope wisely ordered his army to retreat north across the Rappahannock River to hold a better defensive position, until General McClellan’s re-enforcements arrived.

     General Lee had to postpone his attack to the 19th because Fitzhugh Lee’s Cavalry still hadn’t arrived, and the cavalry dash around the left flank of Pope’s Army was the crucial element of his plan.  Fitzhugh Lee’s Cavalry arrived the evening of the 18th, but the horses needed rest and forage.  The attack was postponed again; for the 20th.   The delay allowed General Pope to remove his army from a dangerous position. 

Pope’s Retreat
     At 11p.m. on August 18th, three wings of the Union Army quietly slipped out of camp and started north.  The 13th Mass. with General McDowell’s Corps had the hardest time of it, a grueling 20 mile march in extreme heat.  The rolling stock of the army caused a traffic jam in Culpeper and stopped the march in its tracks.  The entire night the men stood in lines waiting for the road to clear.  The incident is well represented in the writings of the 13th Mass soldiers.  Generals Pope and McDowell personally worked all night, and into the morning sorting out the mess to get things moving again.  It took nearly 12 hours.  Midmorning on the 19th the march to the Rappahannock resumed.  Union Cavalry protected the rear of the columns.  Most of Pope’s Army was safe across the Rappahannock by midnight on the 19th.  [Hartsuff’s Brigade crossed about 8:30 P.M.]  The two day postponement of Lee’s planned attack allowed General Pope’s army to slip away unmolested.

Standoff along the line of the Rappahannock River August 20 – 25.
     Lee’s chance to destroy Pope’s army was lost.  He learned of the retreat the afternoon of the 19th  and quickly followed up by ordering his army to advance north across the Rapidan River with the rising of the moon.  Confederate Cavalry lead the advance on August 20th and attacked parts of the Union Cavalry screening Pope’s retreat.  Federal artillery boomed from the high ground on the north bank of the Rappahannock River and the Union Cavalry crossed to safety.  General Pope’s new position was strong. The two armies spread out and faced off along opposite sides of the Rappahannock.

     For the next four days, August 21 – 24, artillery thundered back and forth across the lines as the Confederate Army shifted north west seeking an unprotected ford to cross.  Both sides tried to get into the flanks and rear of their enemies.  The end result was a stalemate.

     Lee was running out of time.  Reinforcements from General McClellan’s army started to arrive, giving Pope the advantage in numbers. 

General Thomas "Stonewall" Jackson
Lee’s New Plan  

     Lee presented a daring plan to his generals on August 24th.  Jackson’s Corps would make haste, and march north around General Pope’s army, shielded by the Bull Run Mountains, then move east, to wreck Pope’s supply line, the Orange and Alexandria Railroad.  This would slow or stop the transport of re-enforcements to Pope’s army from Washington.  Longstreet’s wing would keep Pope occupied along the Rappahannock for a couple days, then march to link up with Jackson.  A courier system of cavalry riders would keep the two wings of the army in constant communication until they re-united.  Lee’s goal was to force Pope’s army out of Central Virginia and back toward Washington before harvest time.   Perhaps an opportunity would present itself to strike at Pope too.  Dividing his army was risky, but it worked without a hitch.  Jackson marched 25 miles on August 25th, and another 25 miles the next day.  His men wrecked the railroad at Bristoe Station the evening of the 26th, and then sacked the huge Union supply base at Manassas on the 27th. 

General Pope Reacts
     When news of the attacks at Bristoe Station reached General Pope the night of the 26th he knew something big was afoot.  He ordered his army to fall back from the line of the Rappahannock River and march toward Gainesville on the 27th.    That afternoon, the right wing of Pope's army attacked Jackson's rear guard at Bristoe Station. (General Ewell with 3 brigades staid at Bristoe Station to stall any Yankee advance).  Ewell withdrew in the evening to join General Jackson 5 miles up the road at Manassas Junction.   In the night Jackson set fire to Pope’s supply base.  General Pope joined the right wing of his army at Bristoe Station in the afternoon.  In the evening he ordered his confused army to converge at Manassas on the 28th, to ‘bag’ Jackson before he could re-unite with Lee.  But Jackson marched away from Manassas and went west, to the old Bull Run battlefield, to await the arrival of Longstreet's wing of the army, which he knew was en route to join him.  It took General Pope another day to find Jackson.  More importantly, General Pope made no plans to block the passage of Lee’s army at Thoroughfare Gap, and Lee was able to re-unite with Jackson on the 29th.   The two armies clashed between August 29-30 in a series of bloody engagements known as the Second Battle of Bull Run.  

The Little Picture
     The engagement with the enemy at the Battle of Cedar Mountain was the first topic of great discussion in the camps and letters of the '13th Mass.'  soldiers. New recruits, tiring marches, and the artillery duel at the railroad Bridge on the Rappahannock River, provided the subject matter in the letters from camp that followed.  Between August 26th and September 1st, the regiment was too busy moving, and fighting to do any writing home.  That came later; after the 2nd Battle of Bull Run. It was their first major engagement.  For many, it was the end of their association with the 13th Massachusetts Volunteer Infantry.

SOURCE: "Return to Bull Run, The Campaign and Battle of Second Manassas;" John J. Hennessy; University of Oklahoma Press; 1993.  This resource is invaluable.   

PICTURE CREDITS:  All images are from the Library of Congress with the following exceptions:  General Jackson, General Stuart, Troops waiting to depart from the Orange & Alexandria Station  and the Train Wreck at Bristoe Station, are  from "The Photographic History of the Civil War; 10 vols.;  1911.  Pictures of 13th Massachusetts soldiers, Mills, Dorr, Morse, Curtis, and Ayers, courtesy of Scott Hann.  Lt. Charles B. Fox, Surgeon Allston W. Whitney,  Chaplain Gaylord & Charles Roundy's sketch of a new recruit are from the Army Heritage Educational Center, Carlisle, PA.  Portrait of Edwin Rice is from a private publication, The Civil War Letters of Edwin Rice, published by Ted Perry in 1975.  The picture of "Confederate Artillery,"and "Pope's Retreat across the Rappahannock Station RR bridge", are from Century Publication's "Battles and Leaders of the Civil War."  Waterloo Bridge courtesy of Craig Swain, Board of Editors at Historical Marker Database.   Pictures and information on Chapman's Mill at Thoroughfare Gap were provided byTheodore Hazen.  Jacki Dyrham also provided a photo.   General Z.B. Tower's portrait  is from Wikipedia.  The illustration of Brer Fox is by illustrator, J.M. Conde.  The illustration of Hell is titled  "A Reserved Seat" by illustrator Oliver Herford, Library of Congress. The Fight at Thoroughfare Gap is from Longstreet's book "From Manassas to Appomatix;"  The shoes are from Time-Life's series "Echoes of Glory."  Many of the photos have been touched up in photoshop.

Maps are from the Library of Congress.  Maps of troop positions August 27, 28 and 29th are by Jacob Wells.   They have been altered in photoshop.  The maps of troop positions August 17, and 21 were done by Robert E. Lee Russell.  They have been cropped.

The Introduction, the article on Dr. Whitney, and the narrative passages on this page were written by webmaster Brad Forbush

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Camp Near Cedar Run; August 10-14.

Union Soldiers viewing graves at Cedar Mtn.

    The regiment camped on the battlefield of Cedar Mountain August 10th - 14th.  George Kimball of the 12th Mass; (Hartsuff's Brigade) wrote in his memoirs:  "We went into camp on the battlefield that forenoon and remained till 2 A M. of the 13th.  Twas like living in a graveyard, and I was glad when the order came to move."

Letter of Charles B. Mills

Slaughter Hill - six miles south of Culpepper C. House,
Monday - Aug 11th 62.

My Dear Mother:-

      Here I am writing in my tent with my chum laying by my side.  I suppose you will be surprised to hear that we are caught on a battle field - a battle fought no longer than a day before yesterday.   I suppose you will hear all about it the fight before you receive my letter.Charles B. Mills 

     Last saturday morning we left Culpepper and marched about four miles - two miles back from this place when we stopped by the road side to let Gen- Bank's troops pass by, as Gen Bank's claims the advance of the army while we (Gen Mc-Dowell) are the reserves; After Bank's troops passed by us which took them till the middle of the afternoon, we heard cannonading going on - pritty soon a messenger came with the news that Gen Banks had been attacked with a larger force and that the rebels were in such a posission that it would be hard to take, so that made us feel pritty gay, with some prospect of seeing some fun.  

     About five o'clock in the afternoon long roll sounded and such a yewl we did make and in five minutes after the sound of the drum our whole Brigade was moving.    (our Brigade is the advance of Gen McDowells Corps, and there is four regiments in our Brigade - Via - N. York 9th - Mass 12th Mass 13th + Penn 11th.) 

     After marching about couple of miles, we turned of into a corn field, and threw of our knapsacks, and then we marched pritty fast; we met ambulances full of wounded - and straglers all the way along our route.  Two more miles and we halted on the battle field - 

     We halted about fifteen minutes to fill our canteens, we thought every thing was all right as the rebels were quiet.  After filling our canteens we started to go advance of our whole force + we had not moved very far when all at once shells were dropping all around us; the rebels had open there batteries on us. we all lay down on the ground as the rebs had got a splendid range on us and the shells would burst right over our heads.   I tell you we began to think we were in a hot place;  They fired at us in quick succession for about fifteen minutes, our batteries remaining silent all the time; when the rebs stoped firing, and then we started to go over to a hill to get a better possission. Our regiment went of with trail arms, while the other three went shoulder shift, so that the rebs could see there guns glittering by the moonlight, while passing by a lot of woods, not more than a hundred yards from the woods when all at once a volley of musketry were fired at us from the edge of the woods, we then started of double quick to get behind a small hill to cover us. 

     We had just got to the hill which was about four hundred yards from the woods, when the rebs open there batteries on us; we then knew that the rebs had advanced on us; the rebs shelled us a few minutes when our batteries open a terrific fire on them which drew the fire of the rebs away from us. 

     Our batteries and the rebs kept up a continuous fire till about one o'clock at night when the rebs died up. While this cannonadeing was going on we were changing possission Every thing remained quiet the remainder of the night and the next morning some of our batteries open a fire to see where the rebs were but they did not give no reply and we came to the conclusion that they had left. We were in line of battle all day yesterday, but the rebs had left.  Our Brigade were not over four hundred yards from the rebs all the time the fireing was going, so you can judge we were in a ticklelish place, but all this time only one volley was fired from us, and that from the 12th Mass. 

     Bank's force was badly cut up, there being as far as we can judge about 1,000 killed and wounded.  I dont know what the loss is in our Brigade.  The rebels were about thirty thousand strong, and there possission at first was on high bluff.  We heard yesterday that of Mc Dowells force had not come as soon as we did it would have been another Bull Run for Banks force had all began to skedaddle; and as Gen Siegel came up a few miles behind us, drove them back by the bayonet, so that if the fight in the night had not been successful by us, it would have been an unlucky day for us, for we had no support.  This morning we can see the rebs by looking through spy-glases, manoevering around; I should not be surprise if we had a nother fight soon; but we are ready for them if they want to try it again. I received your letter of the 6th last evening and was very glad to hear that you are all well.  Tell Father I am glad that he is trying to get young men out here, but he must not come, for if he does there will be something transpire that he wont like. Our Brigade is in "Gen Mc Dowells Corp-de-Armee" and I am glad of it, although we have been wishing to get into Gen Bank's, but I dont want to join a skedalling force. Tell Matilda James received her letter last evening. he is well. 

     We are having extremely hot weather; Having written all I will close. Hoping this will find you all enjoying good health like myself I will bid you adieu.

so good bye
From Your Son

- Charlie

     Write as often as you can. I am in my lest of spirits now, for I am seeing what I came out here for.   I would not go home now, not for any thing

C B Mills

Charles B. Mills was killed in action, August 30th, 1862, just 19 days after writing this letter. 

Letter of Charles B. Fox

    Letter of Lt. Charles B. Fox to Rev. Thomas Bayley Fox, letterbook, 13 August, 1862, Fox Family Papers, Massachusetts Historical Society.  Used with Permission. 

     Lieutenant Fox writes home to his father about the battle at Cedar Mountain.  He mentions his brother John, who was in the 2nd Mass and participated in the fight.

Cedar Run Va  Aug 13 1862

      I am now assigned as 2nd Lieut. to Co. I, and though I have been acting as 1st Lieut. for a large portion of the past six months I am not at all fearful of promotion out of my  regular turn.  Why ? Partially because I do’nt hesitate to tell the men what I think their duty, and try so far as I can to have them do it, and feel compelled to discourage their grumbling, and the idea that they are the worst used men  in the service; in consequence of which I am not a popular officer with them, though I believe they give me the credit of being honest; and also, because I have an un-fortunate way in conversation or argument, of saying what I think instead of saying what may  suit others or keeping quiet altogether.  But enough of Ego.Charles B. Fox  If that individual can only do his duty faithfully, he will be content to return to the Bay State as he left it, so far as rank goes.  

     John’s regiment has been fearfully cut up.  They are ordered to the rear, and will probably not go into action again for some time- according to all accounts they fought nobly.  At least half their officers and men, are killed, wounded or prisoners.  Jack escaped without a scratch;  I saw him only for a few moments Saturday night.  All accounts of the fight which I have yet seen are perfect humbugs and supremely ridiculous – but to attempt to correct them would take several sheets.  Some body blundered,  or we should not have suffered so severely.  However, the rebels lost a large number, and yesterday before daylight, they had retreated, not caring to renew the battle.  

     The battle ground was at the foot of Cedar Run Mountain about six miles south of Fairfax.  The brigade of Gen. Hartsuff did not retire and was not thrown into confusion - They were resting when the fire of the rebel battery was drawn by fires built by the cavalry and teamsters, and by the march of Carroll’s brigade on to the field to the tune of Dixie!    The artillery in getting out of range, drove through two companies of our regiment, but they were in line again in three minutes.  Our whole brigade then marched directly to the front and supported the batteries until the firing ceased at about midnight. The escape of our men unhurt is remarkable, as shot and shell flew round for about three hours quite briskly and we were kept continually on the move to avoid the range, the brigade lying down first in one place and then in another in rear of the artillery.  

     At one time for several minutes the 12th Mass. and 47th Alabama were firing at each other over our heads, while our cavalry pickets shot all around, like Chinese crackers exploding by the bunch.  A panic was not far off at one time certainly, but fortunately it did not reach our division.  I think our regiment escaped partly by marching with out bayonets and with arms at the trail.  Of course I don’t think we were in much of a fight, but it was enough to test the men and they stood the test well.  

     Our Surgeon Whitney has gained great credit as a man and operator here.  He is said to be the best operating Surgeon here, working quicker and with more certainty and success than any other.  We shall probably follow Jackson in a day or two.  Sigel is moving.  His advance guard went yesterday afternoon.

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Dr. Allston Waldo Whitney

Surgeon Allston Whitney     At the Battle of Cedar Mountain Dr. Allston Whitney made his reputation as a skilled and confident surgeon.  He cleared the girls of the Culpeper Female Seminary out of their beds the night of the battle, so that the “mangled hundreds of his wounded soldiers might have their comfortable nests.”

     Dr. Allston Whitney graduated Harvard Medical School in 1852.  His father, Dr. Simon Whitney, (Harvard Graduate of 1818), was a popular physician in the town of West Newton, where for a time, his son joined him in practice before the war. 

    In response to the attack on the 6th Massachusetts Regiment in the streets of Baltimore, in April, 1861, Whitney joined the Boston ‘Tigers,’ a militia company.  The ‘Tigers’ served at Fort Warren, in Boston Harbor from May to June.  The Tigers were not enlisted into Federal Service, so several members found other units to join.  Whitney was assigned surgeon of the 13th Mass.

     Many of the soldiers disliked him at first.  In camp at Williamsport (the winter of 1861-62) it was said he drank.  Lt. Charles B. Fox of Company K wrote his father, “Dr. Whitney, by reason of much drinking is at times entirely unfit for his position and duties and the times come quite often I fear."  Whitney's father died at this time in December, 1861.  

     Sergeant Austin Stearns, of Company K wasn’t afraid to write of his dislike for the surgeon.  His chief complaint was the surgeon could not tell a sick man from a man who was faking it.  He often exempted the favored Boston boys of the 4th Battalion from duty.  Stearns' second complaint was that the surgeon frequently prescribed salts.  Only one time did Stearns appear before the surgeon at sick call.  He wrote, “Now if there is one thing more than another that I detest it is salts, and when I took the glass and smelt of it I turned and threw it on the ground.  The rememdy was worse than the disease.”   Harvard educated John B. Noyes however, stood up for the skill of the doctor, well aware that he was of the minority opinion. 

     Noyes repeatedly defended Dr. Whitney in his letters home.  “As to drinking, no man in our Co. has seen him drunk, & I do not hear the complaint made against him," he reported to his father, who had apparently heard otherwise.  Noyes wrote, “The chief complaint against Dr. Whitney, however is his giving too much quinine to those affected with the chills.”  Noyes claimed a Doctor friend of his, befriended at Williamsport, was familiar with Dr. Whitney, and approved of his methods.  Dismissing criticism of the doctor, Noyes concluded,  “Surgeons are almost invariably unpopular.”  

Levi L. Dorr, Company B     One patient, with reason to complain about Dr. Whitney was Levi L. Dorr, who became a prominent physician himself, in San Francisco after the war.  The doctor extracted a bad tooth from Dorr who wrote, “our good Surgeon – in the spring of ’62 in an oak grove near Warrenton, Va., braced himself against a tree, I on the ground with my head between his knees, he taking a “turnkey” took out the tooth, some of my jaw, and, I thought for a moment, my life.  Alas, it was considerably after 4 P.M.  for the Doctor;  but “never again.”   I have forgiven him long ago, as I hope others have forgiven me for similar proceedings.  All this was before August 9th, when Whitney had the chance to prove his skill as a surgeon.

     After the battle of Cedar Mountain, even hard-to-please Lt. Fox wrote: “Surgeon Whitney has gained great credit as a man and operator here.  He is said to be the best operating Surgeon here, working quicker and with more certainty and success than any other.”

     Noyes wrote to his father, Aug 25, “A word about Dr. Whitney.  The regiment up to the battle of Cedar Mountain were down on him.  Many a man has told me I was the only one who spoke well of him.  Yet I spoke only from actual experience, in cases of debility, boils, poison etc.  Now no man speaks ill of him.  The steadiness of his hand, the dexterity and precision and decisiveness of his cut and thrusts in the surgical line was the wonder and admiration of all the Doctors in Banks’ and McDowell’s Division.  Surgeons turn from their cases to look at him while operating.  I doubt whether an habitual drunkard can have a hand of such steadiness as he is said to possess.  He certainly has come out triumphant over his defamers.  From morning until night and from night until morning in his shirt sleeves he worked in blood, volunteering his services, the hardest cases being given to him.”

     He missed the battles of 2nd Bull Run (August 29-30) and Antietam, (Sept. 16-17).  He was on-leave, worn out by fatigue.  But there would be other adventures for Dr. Whitney during the war.  In particular, he saved the life of John S. Fay, and a Pennsylvania boy, both struck by artillery shells opposite Fredericksburg, Virginia, on April 30, 1863.  A short while later, because he would not abandon his hospital, Whitney was captured by the advancing Rebel army and sent to Libby Prison in Richmond.    He was incarcerated nearly 6 months at Libby. 

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More Accounts of the Battle of Cedar MountainEdwin Rice, Band

Letter of Edwin Rice

     Trying to gage the magnitude of the battle, Edwin Rice wrote in a letter home, dated  Aug 11th, “A fellow belonging to the 3rd Wisconsin Regiment told me that it was the toughest fighting that he had seen.  He said the rebels fought like devils.”  [The 3rd Wisconsin was in Brig.-Gen. George H. Gordon's Brigade;  A.S. William's Division at Cedar Mountain.]

     Edwin Rice’s last letter published by Ted Perry, (his great grand nephew) is dated Aug. 14th.  The band mustered out of service on September 1st.  

      This is the last from my collection of Rice’s letters home.

Camp near Cedar Mountain, Virginia
August 14th 1862

     We are still in camp where we were on Sunday.  We are expecting to move forward soon. Troops are passing through here nearly all the time.  On Sunday our division was in the front but are now in the rear.

     I went out to the battlefield yesterday about a mile from camp.  There was not anything to be seen on the field except dead horses.  The dead had all been buried and the arms and equipment taken away.

     In the woods where the rebels were, there was a lot of coats, blankets, clothing of all kinds, knapsacks, haversacks, canteens, broken guns, cartridge boxes &c.  The woods looked as though the rebels left in a hurry.  Saw some 6 or 8 rebels that were not buried.  Our men were engaged in burying them.

     I saw a very good account of the battle in yesterdays paper by the Editor of the Washington Star who was on the field.

     I was intending to write a good long letter but the mail closes at 10 o’clock and it is nearly that time now.  We may move before another day goes so I shall send what little I have written. If we are in an engagement you will see it mentioned as Hartsuff’s Brigade in Ricket’s Division.

     Am as well as usual.

Love to all,              
Edwin Rice

Letter of Albert E. Morse; August 16, 1862

Albert E. Morse

     Albert E. Morse was one of Charles E. Davis jr.'s tent mates, as described in the article "Shelter Tents" on the web-page "General Pope Takes Command."   (see site map page).

     Davis wrote, "He had a habit of getting wounded and also of leaving hospitals without leave in his anxiety to get back with his comrades, preferring to be with the regiment rather than remain in the hospital, which he detested.   He served his three years in spite of wounds, was a good soldier, a brave and modest man who never lost his head or heart in battle, and a lovable companion."   

     This letter was re-printed in the Webster Times, 2008.

August 23, 1862                                               ARMY CORRESPONDENCE  

The following letter from A. E. Morse, who enlisted from this town was written to a gentleman in this village, who has furnished it to us for publication.

Camp Near The Rapidan

August 16, 1862

     Friend D.---You see by this letter we are continually on the wing.  I suppose you have herd before this the particulars of the fight near Culpepper; but it may be interesting to get them from an eyewitness to the fight , with whom you are acquainted.

       Early Saturday morning Banks moved forward to the support of Bayard, who was skirmishing heavily with the enemy in the vicinity of Cedar Mountain.  He got in position about noon.  The rebels opened on him with siege guns and light field batteries.   About two o’clock there was one continuous roar of cannon.  Our division was on a high hill as reserve, and we could easily watch the fight.  Our infantry at first slowly drove the  rebels about one mile.  At five o’clock the rebels formed in line of battle, on the brow of a hill, just in the edge of a piece of woods.  Now the infantry fire became terrific, the rebels firing from the woods, and our boys in the open field.

     Gordon’s  Brigade was now ordered to charge a rebel battery.  They had to go about two hundred yards across the field, but they never reached the battery.  They were met by two rebel brigades, who poured a terrible fire into our men, but they did not stop; they broke the rebel center, and the rebels ran,  But a fresh brigade immediately took their places, and our boys were driven back.  At this time Gordon’s brigade lost two hundred men in twenty minutes.  It was awful.  

     When we saw Bank’s men falling back before the rebels, we were all anxious to be led forward to their support.  We did not have to wait long.  A messenger shortly arrived from Gen. Banks, and we were soon on the move.  Along the road we met a great many wounded; in some places the road was full of them.  We did not reach the scene of action until seven o’clock.  We left our knapsacks in a field, and were hurried to the front.  We were halted just behind Bank’s men, and at nine o’clock we relieved them, they falling to our rear, while we took the front.  

     The firing had now nearly ceased, except an occasional shell from the rebels, which was not responded to.  Shortly before nine, as we were changing  positions , the rebels opened a tremendous fire upon us.  Carol’s Brigade which was on our left, and a little in advance, broke and ran.  Banks men also ran.  Artillery, infantry and cavalry rushed pell mell through our ranks.  I tell you it was a trying time to men who had never been under fire, to stand and see the heroes of Winchester run.  But our Brigadier could be heard above the roar of cannon, as he gave his orders, “Steady, boys, steady, change directions,  by the right flank, double quick, march!”   We quickly changed our position, and the artillery was brought to bear upon the rebels.  Now the firing was terrific. It lasted one hour, when our men blew up a rebel cassion.  Then the rebels left, and we lay on our arms all night.  

      There came near to being a panic that night.  As it was, the road leading to Culpepper was filled to overflowing with frightened stragglers.  It was a trying time to green troops, but our officers were cool, and the men stood as firm as rocks.  When the bullets began to fly thick and fast we were ordered to lie down.  The shells made such an unearthly screeching, as they came through the air, bursting overhead and around us in all directions, that we did not care to expose ourselves, any more than was necessary.  I tell you when the bullets first began to whistle around my head I felt like being excused for a few moments, but that feeling did not last long.  Soon we began to get used to it, and it was fun to watch the shells as they went screaming and plunging through the air; but when they burst, we hugged mother earth pretty close, I assure you.

     The 12th Mass. lost in killed three, one captain and two privates, and six or seven wounded; the 9th New York, one killed and two wounded; the 11th Pa., five wounded; our regiment, no one injured.  I cannot account for our immunity, in any other way than this; our Colonel was very good, not excited in the least, and when the rebels fired, he ordered us to lie down flat.  We were the advance regiment, and it was a miracle that no one was hurt.   Every time the rebels fired a volley, down we went the bullets passing harmlessly over us, and taking effect on whatever happened to be in our rear.

     Bank’s men suffered terribly.  The Union loss in killed, wounded and missing was 1500, of these 290 being taken prisoner.  The rebels must have suffered more than our men, as they had twice the number engaged.  The rebels evidently retreated in a hurry, for they left a large number of their dead unburied on the field.

     Burnside arrived at Culpepper Thursday.  The 21st Mass. is with him.  The result of our firing in the night was to be seen in the morning.  Eleven horses, three rebel artillery officers and five privates lie dead.  The 47th Alabama which supported the rebel batteries had twenty killed, as indicated by graves which we found.

     We are still in advance of everything.

     My love to all.    A. E. M.

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Change of Camp & New Recruits; August 15 - 18.

Map of Opening positions Aug. 17 by Robt E. Lee Russell

(From "Three Years in the Army" by Charles E. Davis, Jr.)
Friday, August 15.
     Marched to the Rapidan River, seven miles, and camped.  The spot selected was in an elevated position in sight of the river and the fields beyond, where could be seen the enemy’s pickets.

Charles Roundy "How We Started Out"Sunday August 17. 
     In the afternoon we received sudden orders to march down the river about four miles, the enemy being in force on the opposite side.  Our camp was not far from Mitchell’s station, and the water scarce.

Monday August 18.
     In the afternoon a batch of recruits arrived from Boston, and another fine lot of boys they were*.  Their knapsacks were loaded, as we knew from experience, with many things they could do without, and beside ours they looked like “Saratogas.” They were at once drawn up in line and assigned to companies, after which the chaplain gave them some friendly advice as to what we “old fellows” were; cautioning them to beware of our seductive advice about discarding this or that, and particularly cautioning them about swapping their bright, new dippers for our old, battered ones.  His advice was, no doubt, well-intentioned, but his accusations were so general that the recruits hardly knew whom to trust, and it was, therefore, a rather delicate matter for us to give advice, though they sadly needed it.  However, we did our best to make them comfortable, though the best must have seemed very little to them, and let experience teach them the rest.  As there were very few surplus guns, most of these recruits had to do without them until after the 30th of August.

*NOTE:  More about the adventures of these new recruits can be found in the article "Experiences of  a Raw Recruit" by Charles H. Bingham, on this page.

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Cavalry Raid to Verdiersville

Colonel Thornton Brodhead    General Pope suspected the Confederate army at Gordonsville was reinforced and planning to attack his left.  On the 17th He ordered a reconnaissance across the Rapidan River.  Spies and scouts were deployed.  Col. Thornton  F. Brodhead (pictured right) was placed in command of  two cavalry regiments, the 1st Michigan and 5th New York.  That night his 1,000 troopers crossed Raccoon Ford, (conveniently left unguarded by Confederate General Robert Toombs) and embarked on the most memorable of adventures. 

Confederate Major Heros Von Borcke describes the action in the following article.


“Memoirs of the Confederate War for Independence, By Heros Von Borcke (pictured below) Chief of Staff to General J.E.B. Stuart.”   Blackwood’s Edinburgh Magazine; October 1865.

     18th August.—It was late in the night when we reached the little village of Verdiersville, finding there  Fitzhugh [Major Norman Fitzhugh] and Dabney, [Adjutant Chiswell Dabney] who reported, to General Stuart's great surprise, that our cavalry had not as yet arrived. Captain Fitzhugh was sent immediately in search of it, while the rest of us bivouacked in the little garden of the first farmhouse on the right of the village. Being so far outside of our lines we did not unsaddle, taking off only our blankets; and, for myself, I observed the precaution of lying down with my weapons, which made Lieutenant Dabney ask me why I would persist in making myself so uncomfortable.   Imprudent fellow ! he had reason to regret that he did not profit by my example. 

Heros Von Borcke     We slept little during the night, and were awake with the dawn.   About four A.M. we heard the heavy trampling of a long column of cavalry and the rumbling of artillery, and saw through the mist of the morning a strong body of horsemen crossing the road which led through the village, about 400 yards distant from us. General Stuart, confidently believing that this was FitzLee's brigade, sent  Mosby [Capt. John S.Mosby] and the only other courier we had with us [Lt. Sam Gibson] to order the command to halt, and inform the commanding officer that he wished to see him immediately.  A few seconds later we heard pistol-shots in rapid succession, and saw our two men coming towards us at a full run, a whole squadron of the enemy in close pursuit.   I stood close to the General, handing him his blankets, as the Yankees, not more than a hundred and fifty yards from us, came rattling along. 

     Stuart, without hat or haversack, jumped into the saddle, and, lifting his animal lightly and cleverly over the garden enclosure, gained the open field; after him Dabney, leaving behind him his sword and pistols.  I had to run about fifteen steps to the place where my horse was tied to the fence, and reaching it, I unfastened the bridle, but had no time to throw the reins over his head.  The animal became excited, and reared and plunged fearfully, and I was obliged to vault upon his back without the rein—a feat which I safely accomplished, and afterwards succeeded in forcing him through the garden gate, which was opportunely held open for me by the old lady of the house. 

     Here I came directly upon the major who commanded the detachment, who placed his revolver at my breast and demanded my surrender; but before he or his men could divine my intentions, by a quick slap on my horse's head I had given him the right direction, and putting the spurs deep into his flanks, I extricated myself by a tremendous flying leap from the hostile circle which was rapidly drawing closer and closer around me.  A shower of carbine and pistol bullets followed my retreating figure, and now the Yankees, enraged by the trick I had played them, dashed after me in hot and furious pursuit. The greater number of my pursuers I soon left far behind me, thanks to the speed of my noble black charger; but a few, and the major foremost among them, were still close upon me.  The latter discharged at me three barrels of his revolver, one of the bullets passing through my uniform without scratching the skin.  After a race of nearly a mile the Yankees gave up the game, and I was able to get hold of my bridle, having been until then, so far as all management of my horse was concerned, in a perfectly helpless condition. Captain Fitzhugh, who had been taken prisoner by these same troops the previous night while on his way to look after FitzLee's brigade, and who, having given his parole, had been allowed to witness the whole affair, told me afterwards that he could not understand how I ever made my escape, and that at every shot fired by the major he had shut his eyes so that he might not see me fall.

Confederate Cavalry General J.E.B. Stuart     Soon after getting clear of my pursuers I was joined by Mosby, and we rode back some distance to see what had become of our companions. We soon found the General bareheaded, looking at the disappearing column of the enemy, who carried off in triumph his beautiful hat, the present of a lady in Baltimore, and his haversack, containing some important maps and documents. Dabney made a very sorry appearance as he came up without his arms, and I could not help asking him the malicious question if he felt quite comfortable now.  Stuart covered his head with his handkerchief as a protection against the sun, and we could not look at each other, despite our heat and indignation, without laughing heartily.  The driver of a sutler's wagon belonging to a Georgia regiment, whom we fell in with on our return, was happy in supplying General Stuart with a new hat; but the tidings of our mishap and adventure had spread like lightning through the whole army, and excited a great sensation.

     Wherever we passed an encampment on our way, the troops cheered us, and vociferously demanded of General Stuart what had become of his hat ?

     FitzLee's brigade, which had. been detained by bad roads, and a misconception of orders, did not join us until late that night, when Robertson's brigade also arrived on the Rapidan. Hampton's command had been left behind on the lines of the Chickahominy on picket duty.  It was a great satisfaction to be with our troops again, and to be assured that an opportunity would soon be afforded us of paying off the Yankees for their recent attentions to us.

NOTES:  Lieutenant Ford Rogers of the 1st Michigan Cavarly got Stuart's hat.  He lost the hat after the war on a trip to California.

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Pope's Retreat Across the Rappahannock; August 18 - 19.

     With confirmation that General Lee was planning to attack and trap him between two rivers, General Pope wisely ordered  his army to withdraw north, across the Rappahannock River.  It was a good move.  His new position on the north bank of the river was strong.  Here he awaited the arrival of re-enforcements from General McClellan's Army.  The retreat was arduous for McDowell's Corps, who stood in the ranks all night waiting for a jumbled wagon train to clear the road through Culpeper.

Pope's Army crossing Rapp Station Bridge by Forbes

  Pictured: General Pope's Army retreating across the Rappahannock Station Bridge, by artist Edwin Forbes.

(From "Three Years In The Army")
Sunday August 18, (continued).
At 11 P.M. the long roll was sounded and, nearly dead with sleep, we turned out to answer to our names, and then to march.  We marched about an hour toward Culpeper, when we were halted to allow the wagon train to pass.

Tuesday August 19.
     From midnight until 9 o’clock in the morning we stood in the road, with our noses pointed toward Culpeper, patiently waiting for an order to march, in a frame of mind that is well described by Mr. Kipling in the following lines:

“Wot makes the soldiers ‘eart to penk, wot makes ‘im to perspire ?
It isn’t standin’ up to charge or lying down to fire;
But it’s everlastin’ waitin’ on a everlastin’ road
For the commissariat camel an’ ‘is commissariat load.”

Culpeper Street Scene     It was a long weary march of twenty miles and a very hot day.  When twelve miles had been counted off we were led into a field, as we supposed, to camp for the night. Having faced into line, General Hartsuff addressed us in complimentary terms on the manner in which this distance had been made, trusting the remaining eight miles to the Rappahannock River, which we must reach before making a halt for the night, would be done in the same good order.  Our hopes were therefore completely dashed.  The fact that the enemy were closely following us, as we were informed, lent a vigor to our step in the remaining eight miles, though it was not until after dark (8:30 P.M.) that we crossed the river at Rappahannock Station and bivouacked.  If a man has the luck to escape picket duty after such a day’s work he has reason to thank his stars.  Our retreat afforded the women of Culpeper a good deal of pleasure.  It is well to know that some one got pleasure out of it, even if we did not.  (Street scene; Culpeper, Virginia). 

Roxbury City Gazette; Letter from Azof

"Azof," War-Correspondent for the Roxbury Gazette, writes a few lines in the midst of General Pope's Retreat, August 18-19.

On the road to somewhere,
Aug. 19, 1862.

     Dear L. – We left Barnett’s Ford Aug. 17th, (Sunday) arriving at Mitchell’s Station just before dark.  Our present position is at the foot of Cedar Run Mountain, where we remained until 11 o’clock Monday night.  Orders came to move at 3 o’clock, P. M.  Wagons and chattels move forward, but we remain until the time mentioned above.  We march from 11, P. M., to 2, A. M., the road rough and stony.  Travel not at all facilitated by the darkness.  On our left camp fires in the distance were burning brightly.  At 2, A. M., we halted in the road, and after nearly freezing we kindled fires, making ourselves comfortable.  I am sitting by the camp fire writing this, time about 6, A. M.  As you will perceive, our lodgings are far from comfortable.  We shall move forward in an hour or two.  Quite a number of recruits arrived in camp yesterday.  We are as well as usual, and may meet the enemy at any time.  Should we again come in contact with the rebels, look out for some splendid fighting.  We have seen shells, and are on the road looking for more.  Keep pace with us as we march forward in freedom’s cause.  Give us all that’s our due and a little more, to keep our spirits up, and we will keep you informed of our deeds of glory.

    “We are going somewhere.” When we get there, will let you know.  At present you know as much about it as I do.  Tell the women folks not to get discouraged, for we are all right.  The weather is pleasant; hot during the day, the opposite at night. Azof.

(Roxbury City Gazette; September 4, 1862; pg. 2, col. 7.)

Map of Positions, August 21, 1862, by Robert E. Lee Russell.  General Hartsuff's Brigade (13th Mass) is represented by the small blue block on the south side of the river just above the word  'Brandy Station' in the center of the image.

Map of Positions, Aug. 21 by Robt. E. Lee Russell

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Artillery Duel at the Railroad Bridge; August 20 - 23

    General Lee's Confederate Army lost its chance to destroy Pope's Army between the Rapidan and Rappahannock Rivers, but the Confederates quickly  followed up nonetheless.  They rapidly advanced to face off with the Union Army along the line of the Rappahannock, August 20 - 24th.  Artillery duels raged along the river for four days as both sides sought an opportunity to cross and attack the enemy in the rear and flanks.   The 13th were positioned at the Orange and Alexandria railroad Bridge near Rappahannock Station.  Hartsuff's Brigade was ordered to the south side of the river to support artillery posted on two small hills there.

Walter Tabor sketch of Confederate Artillery

(From "Three Years In The Army")
Wednesday, August 20.
     Early in the morning the “rebs” were seen on the opposite side of the river, and we were hastily thrown across, companies D and K acting as skirmishers.  Very soon the Eleventh Pennsylvania followed and relieved us, when we took position on a little knoll near the bridge, and proceeded at once to throw up earthworks for our protection.  In order to do this with haste we were obliged to resort to our tin plates, dippers, or anything else we could find that would do the work.  Mathews’ battery (Co. F, First Pennsylvania Artillery) was with us.  During our stay at Williamsport last winter, this battery was encamped within our lines, by reason of which we became well acquainted with the men and officers.  They had continued with us in the same brigade right along since.  They were a first-rate set of fellows, and we appreciated very highly the acquaintance thus formed, and which continued in perfect harmony.

Brer FoxThursday, August 21.
     We continued our work in the trenches, the artillery firing over our heads, while the infantry, like “Brer Fox,” laid low.  General McDowell visited us daily.   A conspicuous article of his apparel was the pith hat which he wore to protect his head from the rays of the sun.  This hat, which looked like an inverted wash-bowl, was a matter that excited much unreasonable comment among the men of his corps.

Letter of James Ramsey: August 20 - 22;

Aug 20th 1862.
North bank of the Rapphannock

Dear Sister

     I got your letter the day the recruits reached us and was glad to hear from you    there was one of them in my company     father knows him I know his brother     his name is Woodman    he said if he had known I was here he might have brought me something and saved our sending that box which I feer I never shall get unless it has been delayed on the road.    All the express stuff was destroyed at Culpeper yesterday to save it falling in the hands of the rebels if they should happen to come here.  I don’t know the reason our bragging Gen. is retreating it may turn out all right. 

     All of the boxes and sutlers stores were thrown off the cars, and the troops that covered our retreat took them and disposed of the contents     I don’t begrudge them a bit  they needed the eatables the worse kind   being out of rations and a long march before them     I know how they felt by experience      We marched 22 miles without a thing to eat.     We got one days rations this morning which is the first thing most of us have had to eat for 24 hours and marching such a distance in the hot sun     I was so weak when I got across the river that I had to stop and rest there was one or two of us made our beds and turned in for the night being the first time I ever slept out of camp.    We went no further from camp than from the head to the foot of Arnold St.  when we got up this morning the troops were still passing  and the rear has not got in yet.   The march was pretty hard for the recruits they had marched 10 miles the day before and were called up at eleven o’clock at night to march so it made 32 miles march for them with but two hours sleep most of them slept pretty well last night  I gess.   What regiment is John McCrilles going in I would like to know I may see him if I know the regiment and company  

     I might possibly have seen Rhodney that time if I had known the company he was in or he might have seen me if he had known the regiment and company I was in.   You spoke of Grace Ellenwood’s being frolicsome and that I might suppose she was bold when Ella wrote her letter  I don’t know of any think that would lead me to suppose so ( long roll going to fight.)

     Aug 22nd (Been to fight and got through yet)  You probably know by the papers how I am situated, none of our regiment have been killed or wounded   there has been some in the brigade, there was one of the battery we were supporting, killed.  To day it is quite pleasant, there is a fine breeze.  The rebels are fighting on our right – they are trying to turn it and get in our rear   reinforcements from McClellan’s army are pouring in every moment, there is now no feer of being driven back, next week will see us on our way to Richmond and the rebels in full retreat,  God with us.

     I suppose Mother is awful worried about me     I wish she could feel as easy as me.  Last evening I was at work in the trenches and again this morning.  Our division has the centre and guards the railroad bridge  our brigade is the only one that is on the south side of the river   we are supported  by Gen Banks division and if the rebels try to drive us from our position Banks artillery are placed so as to mow them down by thousands.   Now to finish my story that was interrupted by the long roll day before yesterday.  

     You have awakened my curiosity about your friend Grace by your description of her and I would like to know more of her if I may be so bold.   I am about worn out for information.  I do not know when the mail goes so I will not close yet.

Give my love to all

Kiss Hugh for me

from your brother

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Waterloo BridgeNarrative - August 21 -  24

Confederate Cavalry Raid at Catlett's Station
 On the night of the 21st, J.E.B. Stuart proposed to General Lee, a cavalry raid around General Pope's army, to get at the Union supply line.  The raid would in part avenge Stuart's embarrassment at Verdiersville on the 18th.  The objective was to wreck part of the Orange and Alexandria Railroad; General Pope's Supply line.  General Lee desperately wanted to cross the river and get at Pope before Union re-enforcements arrived.  Lee approved the plan hoping it might distract Pope long enough for Lee to gain a stronghold across the north side of the river on Pope's right flank.  The morning of August 22nd, Stuart's men road off.

  They crossed the Rappahannock River about 8 miles from Warrenton, at Waterloo Bridge (pictured right) where the 13th Mass camped in July.  

     The Confederate raiders were warmly welcomed by the townspeople of Warrenton.  Stuart inquired where the most damage could be done to disrupt General Popes supplies.  They informed him that Catlett's Station, five miles south was a lightly guarded supply base.  Destroying the Cedar Run Bridge there, could cut off Pope's supplies for a couple of days.  The Confederates expressed their gratitude and rode south.  

Sketch of Catlett's Station by A. R. Waud     Screened by a thunder storm and a torrential downpour, the Union supply base was taken completely by surprise.  While the supply base was sacked, Heros Von Borcke cut the telegraph wires.  Others tried to destroy the O & A railroad bridge across Cedar Run, the most important objective of the raid.  (Alfred R. Waud made this sketch of Catlett's Station in April, 1862  He also sketched the bridge over Cedar Run on the O & A Railroad).

     Repeated efforts to ignite the span were thwarted by the drenching rain.  The raiders then tried to cut the timbers, but a contingent of blue-coats had rallied on  the opposite side of the bridge and made things hot for them.  The work had to be abandoned. Cedar Run Bridge O & A railroad, 1862 The bridge was left in tact.  After a triumphant return through Warrenton about 3 a.m. the raiders rode back to their lines.  Among the spoils were 400 captured prisoners, more than 500 captured horses,  $500,000 in greenbacks, and  $20,000 in gold.*   Also, a gaudy dress uniform belonging to General Pope.  In a later communication Stuart wrote to Pope, "I have your dress uniform, you have my hat.  I propose a trade."

     The raid had been a lot of fun for the Confederates but failed to produce the desired effect of disrupting the railroad.

Pictured is the Cedar Run Bridge the Confederates failed to destroy the night of the 22nd.  They were more successful the following year.  The bridge was destroyed by in October 1863.  It was re-built by the Construction Corps.  

*Account of Major Heros Von Borcke, Gen. J.E.B. Stuart's staff officer.

General Pope's plan of Attack
     The same torrential rainstorm that foiled Confederate plans to burn the Cedar Run Bridge, ruined General Pope's bold plan to cross the river at Kelly's Ford and Rappahannock Bridge, to attack Lee.   Hartsuff's brigade held a lodgment on the south side of the river, a natural jumping off point for an attack. Lee tried to cross the river farther upstream and get at Pope's right flank.  Pope proposed to cross downstream and attack Lee's right flank.  

     On the evening of the 22nd General Pope issued orders for his army to advance.  But the heavy rains made the river fords impassable;  the railroad bridge was in danger of being washed away.  The plan was abandoned.  The morning of the 23rd General Pope revised his plans.  The Rebels had concentrated at Sulphur Springs up river.  Pope planned to attack in force. General McDowell was ordered toWarrenton to and combine foreces with General Reynolds, and  assist with the attack at Sulphur Springs.  

      General McDowell recalled Hartsuff's Brigade to the north bank of the river.   McDowell burned the bridge so the enemy couldn't cross then marched north toward Warrenton.  From Warrenton he could move to the right to meet the Confederate threat developing at Sulphur Springs.

(From "Three Years In The Army")
Railroad Bridge at Rapp Station by Tim SullivanSaturday, August 23.
     The heavy rain of yesterday had such an effect on the river that at half-past four this morning, General McDowell, fearing the bridge would be carried away, ordered us across the river, which order we carried out with rather unseemly haste.  Owing to the excited manner of the staff-officer, (Miller), who was to see the order carried out, and who damned us for the time wasted in collecting our duds, which he seemed to think we ought to leave behind, a good deal of unnecessary confusion arose, during which he was told to go where overcoats were not needed.  As soon as we reached the opposite bank there began a heavy firing by artillery – more artillery-firing than we had seen before. Inasmuch as we lay ensconced behind the guns this duel was very impressive, particularly as we were in imminent danger of being hit. Once the enemy charged across the plain, but were repulsed.  (Photo of the railroad bridge, looking south, at Rappahannock Station; by Timothy Sullivan, July - August, 1862.)

     In the afternoon we marched toward Warrenton.

     In his report of this campaign General McDowell says :

Fearing for the safety of Hartsuff’s brigade, who were on the opposite bank, I ordered them to be withdrawn.  It was now impracticable to cross the river and make the attack you had planned.  Your orders then were to move the army against the enemy, who had crossed at Sulphur Springs and gone to Warrenton, whence he had made the attack with his cavalry at Catlett’s, and who, it was thought, would be unable, on account of the state of the river, either to recross or be reinforced.

     The withdrawl of Hartsuff's brigade from the south side encouraged the enemy to move forward to seize the hills he had abandoned before we could complete the entire destruction of the railroad bridge, which we did not wish to leave for teh enemy to repair and use to annoy us on our march to Warrenton.  They opened a furious fire upon us, and moving their infantry down in masses, rushed upon the hilll Hartsuf had just left.

Sunday August 24.
     Back and forth we marched all day between two roads that led to Warrenton, until night, when we moved to a spot about three miles beyond that town, where we halted and drew rations. The officers were without tents, the wagon train having disappeared. They had our charitable commiseration.

NOTE:  More about the artillery duel can be read in the section "Three Letters" further down this page.

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    Charles H. Bingham's was one of the new recruits that arrived in camp on August 18th.  This article  from Circular #27, Dec. 1914, describes his experiences  from enlistment to the battle of Antietam.  I have broken it into sections that it might flow with the narrative better.  

      I thought I would like to add one more chapter to the "unwritten history" of the War, hoping that the comrades who shared these experiences with me, and possibly other readers, would find some interest in recalling the incidents of over Fifty years ago.

Winslow Homer Illustration "goodbye"     August 13, 1862,  with one hundred or more "raw recruits," I left Camp Cameron, Cambridge, for Boston, marching (! !) across the city by horse cars to the Old Colony station.

     Here were witnessed the same scenes, in miniature, that were seen at the departure of the Thirteenth Regiment in July, 1861 : fathers and mothers, sisters and brothers, sweethearts and - I was about to write wives, but I think there were no "benedicts " in our squad.

     We went by rail to Fall River and boat to New York, arriving early; marched quickly up Broadway to Franklin street, where we quartered in an empty warehouse, filthy and unhealthy.  These conditions and the deprivation of freedom of action were the first realization of the hardships which we were to encounter later.

     From New York we went by Camden and Amboy Railroad (second class cars) to Philadelphia.  At the "Cooper Shop" refreshment rooms (where many thousands of soldiers had been fed), we were refreshed by a good breakfast.  Thence we went to Washington, arriving in the evening, and took quarters in the Government Barracks near the depot. Our second hardship was encountered by trying to sleep on the soft side of planks on the platform outside, the barracks having been taken by the Thirty-third Massachusetts Regiment, then just arrived.

     From Washington we went to Alexandria, thence by Orange and Alexandria Railroad to Culpeper, Va., passing the battlefield of Bull Run.  (Culpeper Railroad Depot, August, 1862, pictured).   Leaving Culpeper we got onto the dusty wagon road over which the supplies to Pope's army were carried.  Our recruits struck into a terrific gait, going as though the Rebels were after them, but our new army brogans were causing many blistered heels and called for a halt.  Culppeper RR DepotHere we saw evidences of a recent engagement, the ground strewn with the general debris of a battlefield and a few carcasses of horses, the effluvia from which suggested the thought that such must be the "essence of ole Virginny."  We halted at the baggage train of General Hartsuff's Brigade and had our first experience at boiling coffee a la army; it was awkward at first as many burnt fingers testified. Next morning we resumed the march to the regiment, passing in sight of the battlefield of Cedar Mountain (Fought August 9), also several camps, from which a number of  "Vets " greeted us with inquiries such as "What in H-1 did yer come out here fer?" "What regiment are yer going ter?"   "Stag them knapsacks," and other encouraging (?) salutations-  We pushed on and after a march of about twelve miles found the regiment encamped in a large field a few miles from Cedar Mountain.

Chaplain Noah Gaylord, 13th M.V.I.     As we marched into camp the Thirteenth boys came out from their tents to greet and welcome us to the field.  All seemed heartily glad to see us, nearly every one of us finding acquaintances, school-mates or former "chums" in the ranks.  The Regimental Band gave us a harmonious reception and Chaplain Gaylord (pictured right)  welcomed us on behalf of the Colonel.  Among other words of advice he cautioned us to beware of the wiley veterans and not allow them to "play points" on us; that our bright new dippers were very attractive to their eyes and might tempt them to make invidious suggestions of barter.

     The recruits were, generally, permitted to select the companies to which they wished to be assigned, and the squad having been thus distributed, all began to adjust themselves to the new conditions.

Roadside Halt at night.  We were just beginning to be rested and fairly comfortable when orders came to strike camp and make ready for marching.  It took but a few minutes to level the tents, or ponchoes, and, while waiting for further orders we cooked suppers and "turned in" near the camp fire and slept till about eleven o'clock.  We left camp and after marching a few miles, halted on a muddy road, where we remained till morning, getting no sleep, for we expected the word "forward" every moment.  The boys built fires, made coffee and  with the ever ready pipe, stories, jokes and witty sayings the night was passed.  Next morning we began the famous "masterly retreat" of Major-General John Pope.  We passed through Culpeper and continued our march, with occasional rests, till nine o'clock P.M., when we arrived at Rappahannock Station; crossed the railroad bridge and after some maneuvring  went into camp.  It was a hard march, especially for those who were so unaccustomed to it, the most tiring part of which occurred after dark, when obstacles in the road were invisible, causing us to stumble over stumps or stones, compelling frequent and somewhat strong expletives.

     At noon the regiment crossed the river and formed in line of battle, while the recruits were ordered to remain in the rear, where beneath the trees we passed the night somewhat anxiously.  We were not to be engaged in battle (if one took place) except in case of need.  Our number was insignificantly small, we were totally inexperienced and none had received arms, equipments or ammunition, yet many were anxious to take part, while several volunteered to assist in supporting and working the batteries.

     The engagement commenced by artillery skirmishing.  We could see but little of it from our position, but the frequent flashes from the guns of a battery on the hill in front and an occasional "messenger of death" flying over warned us that we were sufficiently near for comfort or safety.

Winslow Homer Illustration 'Castle Building'     While enjoying our evening pipes we were joined by our jovial chaplain, who completed our little circle of smokers, and pulling out his favorite "briar" of army manufacture from Bull Run laurel root, soon added his modicum to the cerulean cloud which floated above us.  This enjoyment recalled the words of a soliloquy by that witty playwright and actor, John Brougham, in his extravaganza of "Pocahontas" :

"While other joys one sense alone can measure,
This, to all senses gives ecstatic pleasure;

You feel the radiance of the glowing bowl,
Hear the soft murmur of the kindling coal,
Smell the rich fragrance of the honey-dew,
Taste its rich pungency the palate through,
See the blue cloudlets s rising to the dome -
Imprisoned skies uplifting to their home."

     The chaplain brought confirmation of the order of the afternoon that all recruits were to join the regiment.   We struck camp and proceeded to the other side of the river where we found the regiment supporting the Battery.  

     A violent shower during the night had changed conditions; the water in the river was rising rapidly and the bridge was in danger of being washed away.  Orders were given to re-cross the river immediately.  We got over in quick time and an easy march of a few miles brought us to another point on the river where we halted and lay in an open field for a half hour, receiving the parting compliments, in metallic cases, of our opposite neighbors.  We marched all day and at dusk encamped in a dismal field where pennyroyal grew abundantly, its pungent fragrance filling the air reminded us of some familiar northern fields.  Next morning we resumed the march toward Warrenton, camping at four P.M. near a large farm.  

     An amusing scene in camp this afternoon furnished us with a good supper.  Two or three "Razor-backs" were out in the field and a party of a dozen or more started out bent on capture.  They succeeded in heading one poor piggie towards camp and gave chase to him.  On he came, panting, grunting and squealing, and sought refuge among the poncho tents; the whole camp turned out to have a share in the sport as well as the pork. One fellow straddled him and brought him down; the knife finished him and in less than an hour he was sizzling in our frying-pans.  It was the freshest pork I had ever eaten, and with roasted green corn supplied us with a very substantial supper.  Roasted green corn is a luxury to the soldier and can hardly be bought of him unless he has a plentiful supply, for the fields are open to all and he who is too lazy, or is morally opposed to foraging, stands a poor show among the more demoralized.

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Narrative - Confusion at Union Headquarters; August 25th.

General Lee Plans a New Strategy 
     The torrential rains that endangered the railroad bridge near Rappahannock Station trapped a division of Jackson's wing of the Confederate army on the north side of the river at Sulphur Springs.  General Pope ordered General Sigel to attack the Confederates on August 23rd, but the Yankees were slow to act, and an opportunity was lost.  The tepid attack did not get under way until dusk.  The Confederates stood their ground and  escaped to the south side of the river in the early morning of the 24th.  Still, General Pope succeeded in holding Lee's army in check.  The Yankees prevented the Confederates from crossing the river at Beverly Ford, Freeman's Ford and Sulphur Springs.  Lee was running out of time.  On the 24th he came up with a daring plan.  He divided his army, and sent General Jackson on a long flanking march behind General Pope's army, to strike at the Orange and Alexandria Railroad, the Union supply line.  Speed and surprise were key to the operation.  Jackson would use his discretion as to the best time and place to strike.  The rest of the Confederate army, under General Longstreet and Lee, would divert the Yankees attention at Sulphur Springs and Waterloo Bridge for a few days, then march north to unite with Jackson after the raid.   Jackson's Corps departed early on the 25th.  

Commander in Chief Henry HalleckThe Union High Command Unravels
     At 11:25 A.M., on the 25th General Pope received reports of a large Rebel force (at least 20,000) moving north beyond his right flank.  Pope wired Commander in Chief General Henry Halleck, (pictured right) that as soon as he discovered its meaning, General McDowell would follow the column.  In the meantime General Pope, perhaps under the strain of command following a trying week, was desperately seeking guidance from Halleck in Washington.  He received none.  Where was the Army of the Potomac?  How should the new troops be assigned?  Who would command them?  Should Pope begin a new offensive?  

     Halleck was overwhelmed, He was trying to co-ordinate the juncture of the two armies with too little information and too little staff.  He had no answers.  There were other problems.

     The Orange and Alexandria Railroad, the Union supply line, was in disarray.  Re-enforcements that had arrived at Alexandria on the 22nd could not get railroad transportation to the front.   Supplies and troop movements slowed to a trickle.Troops waiting to be sent forward, O&A Depot   Rations were low at the front lines.  A lack of communication prevented General Porter's division of McClellan's Army from joining Pope at Warrenton.  

     Porter arrived at  Kelly's Ford  from Fredericksburg on the 24th, but could not get instructions from Genearl Halleck in Washington, as to where to find General Pope's army.   

     General Pope's cavalry was overworked and poorly supplied.  Instead of riding out to monitor the heavy Confederate column moving north, the cavalry rode all day within Union lines.  

     Morale was low among the troops who sensed the confusion at headquarters.

The troops pictured here are re-enforcements from General McClellan's Army of the Potomac, waiting for transportation to the front at the Alexandria Depot of the O & A Railroad but there were no trains to take them.  They were eventually ordered to march.

    Pope's confused orders to his army on the morning of the 25th, shifted troops away from the Confederates on his right, and extended his lines to the left, where there were no Confederates.

General Franz SigelGeneral Sigel's Dilemma
   General Franz Sigel could not oblige his orders for the 25th.  A large body of Confederates opposed him and he could not disengage from his position at Sulphur Springs and Waterloo Bridge.  Pope  eventually ordered Sigel to hold the line.  In the afternoon Sigel, greatly outnumbered by the enemy on the opposite river bank, sent for help from nearby troops, but discovered they had marched away, due to Pope's earlier orders to move to the left.  Alone, and with no guidance, Sigel planned to withdraw from Sulphur Springs at dark. He destroyed the Waterloo Bridge before leaving to prevent a Confederates pursuit. 

     Before marching he recieved new orders from General Pope, to come to Warrenton, about 8 miles east.   When he arived at Warrenton late at night, he received another order from General Pope; cross Waterloo Bridge in the morning and attack the Rebels in force!  In protest Sigel rode to General Pope's headquarters.  A heated argument followed.  Pope calmed down and allowed General Sigel to remain at Warrenton.  Instead, General General McDowell  was ordered to advance across the river on the 26th.  (See August 26 map [below] for reference).

      Nothing was done about Jackson's column steadily moving north.

General Pope's Headquarters, Rapp Station

"General Pope's Headquarters at Rappahannock Station - General Sigel on the Roof Watching the Enemy."

The 13th Mass.
  General Pope accomplished very little on the 25th.  The 13th Mass. was poised for an advance toward Waterloo Bridge from Warrenton that day.  They had little marching to do, so it was a day of rest for them.  Many of the soldiers caught up with their correspondence.   The artillery duel was the main subject of interest.  The confused and hurried marching was the second great subject.  Beneath the surface there was a questioning of Pope's leadership abilities, and subtle anxiety of a coming engagement with the enemy.

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At Warrenton, Virginia; - Three Letters written August 25th  

Colonel John W. Stiles

(From "Three Years In The Army")
   Monday, August 25.
     Rested until about 5 P.M., when we marched to the Waterloo road and went into camp.  General Hartsuff was ordered to the hospital on account of old wounds, and the Colonel of the Ninth New York assumed command of the brigade. [Colonel John W.  Styles, pictured].   We found plenty of green corn and apples to help out our rations.

Roxbury City Gazette; Letter from AZOF.

Camp near Rappahannock River,
Aug. 25, 1862.

Editor of Roxbury City Gazette:

            Dear Sir, – We left our camp Aug. 15th, marching perhaps 10 miles, crossing over steep mountains, halting in a fine position commanding a long stretch of country, with enemy’s batteries on the opposite hills.

            17th inst.  Move position several miles to the left, to Mitchell’s Station, said station being at the foot of Cedar Run Mountain.  We shall probably be on the move most of the time.

             18th inst.  Orders to be ready to march at 3 o’clock, P. M.  Struck tents, but did not march until 11 o’clock, P. M.  We then moved forward a few miles over a rough, stony road, by the side of which we bivouacked until 8 o’clock, A. M.  We then pressed forward, passed through Culpepper, and crossed the Rappahannock river.  After some trouble to all concerned, and no small amount of growling from the boys, a camp ground was pitched upon, when, all hands exhausted and worn out, rolled themselves in their blankets and sought the rest they needed.  We marched this day 22 miles.  The sun was terribly hot.  Roads dry and dusty, a forced march to all appearance, looking much like a genuine “skedaddle.” We passed three wagons burnt to ashes, also six ambulances which had given out were left behind.  As to whether this was or was not a retreat, you will know very soon.

            Wednesday, at 1 1-4, long roll called us to arms.  We recrossed the river at double quick, loading our rifles as we went along, took position in the rear of and as a support to Mathews’ Battery, laid on our arms during the balance of the day, and at night went on picket.

            Thursday, 21st.  Heavy firing heard on our right, continuing through the forenoon, and at intervals during the day.  The enemy attempted to plant batteries opposite our position, but were dispersed, our batteries shelling the woods; but few of their shells were presented to us for inspection.  Firing was also heard on our left.  We passed a quiet night, just rain enough to dampen us.

            Friday, 22d.  13th regiment in the trenches.  We are preparing in good earnest to defend ourselves against the confederate forces.  The men are at work night and day throwing up earthworks on the hill on our left.  One section of Mathews’ Parrott guns, also one section Thompson’s Battery, supported by the 11th Penn. regiment, occupy this hill.  The position is of the greatest importance commanding as it does a large stretch of plain.  This evening a heavy thunder shower passed over us.

            Aug. 23.  At five o’clock this morning was obliged to recross the river in a hurry, the rain of last night having swollen the river, endangering the bridge, which is our only chance of retreat.  The bridge above us on our right has been carried away.  We are scarcely over, when the enemy open on us with their batteries, and for nearly or quite two hours the fire was fearful.  We were drawn up in line of battle in a field in the rear of the batteries.  The shell passed over, bursting in the air.  We cooked our breakfast, after which the General moved us out of range of the shot.  Lieut. Godbolt, of Matthews’ Battery, lost his left leg.  The enemy attempted to reach the bridge, but were repulsed with heavy loss.  The bridge was finally burnt.  We move back, camping just before dark.  Heavy firing heard all day.

           Sunday, 24th.  Break camp early in the morning, marched to the left, passing Warrenton.  The town being on our right, the dull booming sound of distant cannon, the sharp quick crack when engaged in our front, is not heard to-day; and although but little quiet or rest is for us, yet we miss the constant excitement which has followed us the past week.

           Monday, Aug. 25.  Rations given out this morning, of which we stood greatly in need.  Our present camp is pleasantly situated on a plain, skirted by a wood.  The Mass. 28th regiment passed our position to-day, moving towards Warrenton Junction.  They had quite a skirmish yesterday; the enemy shelled their position, but as soon as our batteries could be brought to bear upon them they were driven off.

           It is impossible to tell when we can send a letter home, everything is so unsettled.  Should our movements prove successful all will be well, but those confederates understand themselves, and their perfect knowledge of the country gives them a most decided advantage over us.  We shall hope on, trust on, while you at home must cheer the despondent and sustain the drooping spirits of the lonely ones.                Azof.

(Roxbury City Gazette; September 4, 1862; pg. 2, col. 7.)

[Digital Transcription by James Burton]

Letter of Warren H. Freeman; August 25th-26th.

In Camp Near Warrenton, VA., August 25, 1862.

     Dear Father,- You will be perhaps surprised to learn that we are back here, especially as we are under a general who has always been accustomed to look on the backs of the rebels;  but here we are encamped about five miles from the town.  We left Cedar Mountain soon after the battle, and marched round the south side of the Rapidan, or Robinson River, I suppose it should be called.  It was seven or eight miles:  there were graves all along the road where the rebels had buried their dead.  We remained here for a day or two, then changed camp to a level field about three miles to the eastward.  Here the recruits from Boston joined us, Eddie C. Reed being among them.  We remained here one day, then struck our camps on the middle of the afternoon and formed in line, then stacked arms and laid round till eleven o’clock in the night, and then commenced the march; and after proceeding about a mile we halted and lay in the road the rest of the night – it was too cold to sleep.  In the morning we took up the line of march, passing through Culpepper and over the Rappahannock River, making twenty miles, most of the way in quick time – carrying our knapsacks the whole distance; it was very dusty, and gave our raw recruits a foretaste of what is in store for them.

     Tuesday, August 26. –  I could not finish my letter, as we had to move camps.  We marched about three miles in  a northerly direction and camped for the night; started back this morning, and, on arriving near the spot we left yesterday, we changed front and marched back again.  I suppose the movement of the rebels on our front is the cause of this countermarching.

     When we crossed the Rappahannock last Tuesday, we camped about a quarter of a mile from the river.  Wednesday I saw Harry and John Webb.  They were well, and are expecting to go home soon – have seen enough of soldiering  - said they would try and come out to West Cambridge to see you. 

     Toward night we packed up in a hurry and went at double-quick across the river and took possession of a knoll near the bridge.  Mathew’s Battery crossed immediately after the Thirteenth.  We threw out two companies of skirmishers on another knoll to the front and right. The Eleventh Pennsylvania crossed after the battery.  They took possession of the hill where our skirmishers were; they supported two pieces of the battery, while we supported the other four. 

     The advance of the rebels could now be seen in the distance.  We had the advantage of position, as they would have to advance across an open field to attack us.  Two regiments besides the battery were the only troops across the river that night. We sent out four companies of pickets; everything was quiet during the night.  The next morning at daylight the rebel artillery opened on our right, and soon after noon our right and centre.  While the cannonading was going on I received your letter of the 17th; rather a singular time and place to get news from home.  But those who brought the letters got frightened and ran across the bridge, taking about half the letters with them; but I was fortunate to secure mine, though it took a longtime to read it, as I had to make my manners to the rebel shell and shot as they came along.  The rebel batteries were finally silenced. There were four killed and wounded in Mathews’s Battery; and the adjutant of the Eleventh had his horse shot.  During the day the other two regiments of our brigade crossed the river.  At night it was our turn to go on picket duty.  Next day we had to dig trenches on one of the knolls.  During the day we got twenty-three head of cattle; they got away from the rebels and came toward our lines; we made a rush, and they made a rush – but we got the cattle.  Towards night a rain-storm came on, and by the next morning the river had risen to such a degree that we were fearful that the bridge would be carried away, so we all passed to the opposite bank and posted our artillery on the high ground near the river. When the enemy saw we had left the knolls they advanced to take them, - our artillery played upon them as they advanced to take possession of the first, - and was advancing on the second, when some of our guns that were masked poured a terrible fire of grape and canister into their ranks, killing and wounding large numbers, causing them to break ranks and run is all directions.  Some of their shot and pieces of railroad iron came fearfully near to our heads, but we had only one man wounded.

    We have been within half a mile of Warrenton, and are now within three or four miles of Waterloo; it seems our luck to visit all places twice.  We have not had a chance to send off letters for some time, but our band goes home in the morning and will take letters, I presume.  But I must close; this constant marching tires a fellow so that he does not feel much like writing.

      I am in good health.  Farewell all.  warren

Edwin Forbes sketch of Rhapp Station

Artist Edwin Forbes sketched the two small hills on the south side of the Rappahannock River, at Rappahannock Station, where Union batteries held off attacking Confederates.   Number 6 in the sketch is labeled batteries and limbers.  The two lines running across the middle are labeled infantry supporting batteries.  The two knolls (3) across the river (4) are easily identified.  The blue ridge mountains are in the background on the right.

Letter of John B. Noyes; August 25th

Martha Noyes, John's younger sister asked him what it was like to be under enemy fire.  In a letter dated August 27th, two days after this one, he wrote her back.

     "You wish me to describe my feelings while under fire.  This is no easy task and I sha’nt attempt it.  Suffice to say that it is an anxious feeling.  One does not know where the next shell is to burst.  Every whizzing shell is made the object of serious attention.   We are at the mercy of the shells.  We see no enemy, yet their work we may feel at any moment.  Standing up or lying down, in tent or out of tent, cooking or eating, we are alike in danger.  The noise of our own guns also seems to us like the bursting in our midst of the enemy’s shells.  You feel as though you would like to be out of it.  Now you forget all about the enemy, and are intently stirring your coffee to keep it from boiling over, when whiz-z-z-z over your head goes a shell, reminding you that coffee is not the soldiers end and aim.  I feel very much like going to sleep when the cannonading is not too brisk with my head on my Knapsack I philosophically reflect that I cannot avoid a ball bound to hit me, think no more of the shelling and take a snooze.  Roused by more than the usual noise around me, I hear a whir-r-r-r bang, and lie down again."

John Buttrick Noyes, (1838-1908) Civil War Letters; Houghton Library, Harvard College

Near Warrenton Va, Monday August 25, 1862

     Dear Father,

     After three days of fighting and one of marching our Div. is halted here.  We came in last night & drew three days rations of hard bread, sugar and coffee.  Let us go back to Robinson’s Creek and Culpepper for a moment.  On the 17th Gen’l Carroll was wounded; we immediately moved away from the river two or three miles and pitched tents.  The eighteenth we were routed up at 11 P.M. only to be halted in the road about two miles from our late camp when while awaiting the order forward, we fell asleep.  The next day we commenced the retreat to the Rappahannock, more than 20 miles distant, knapsack on back.  About 90 recruits were with us. They had arrived the day before, a few hours before we received orders to march.  The recruits averaged well, composed of better material than the original regiment. Without guns or equipments, but with that enormous load of duds on their backs, the result of anxious labors of mothers and sisters they fell into line with us to march.  Before we had marched ten miles you may believe that the recruits knapsacks were somewhat lighter, being relieved of a part of those useless traps which add weight to the already overloaded back without giving any benefit in return. The unfledged soldiers did well however and kept up nobly with us.   

Brigade Commander George Lucas Hartsuff     The General complimented our regiment for its excellent marching, without straggling, though the day was hot and the step quick.  On the 20th inst as I said in my last letter our regiment crossed the river and took up a position behind a hill which a section of Matthew’s battery was posted under the command of Lieut. Brockway.  This was late in the afternoon.  The next morning cannonading commenced, my last letter ending when it commenced.  The bridge at Rappahannock Station which our brigade guarded was the centre of our position.  Gen’l Reno I believe was on our left between Rappahannock Stations and Catletts, and Gen’l Sigel on our right some miles up the river.  Most of the enemy’s fire was directed to the right and left wings of the union army during the first two days of the fight, the object of the rebels probably being to get in our rear and capture our centre.  There was some firing however on the centre both days.  On the first day Lieut. Casey, commanding our section of Matthew’s battery lost his horse as did the adjt. of the 11th Penn.  Also a few men of the 11th I believe were wounded.  We lost no men. On the 2d day the Major of the 11th had his horse shot but himself escaped uninjured.  

     There are plenty of reports respecting the fighting but it is difficult to tell what to believe.  One is that the rebels drove the 3d Maryland back, capturing a number and taking two guns, making a dash across the river on our right when Sigel from masked batteries opened upon them, piling them up in rows & retaking the guns.  Of a regiment of cavalry that crossed the ford but ten riders told the story to their comrades.  A like story is told respecting Gen’l Reno on the second day.  So again Gen’l Sigel is said to have captured a whole regiment having tempted them over the river.  Again, what may be the same story, he is said to have taken 10 guns and 500 prisoners.  Of these rumors the truth cannot yet be arrived at.  Headquarters Baggage WagonOn the night of the 2d day, however, a company of rebel cavalry made a dash at Catletts Station and captured four or five of Gen’l Pope’s headquarter wagons.  The teamsters appear to have fought better than the famous Bucktails, for they ran, not far enough some of them, to escape being taken prisoners.  The Cavalry were repulsed by the teamsters before they got sight of the supply train near by, leaving a Lieutenant and one dead man behind.  They took off some ambulances.  Indeed ambulances suffer now a days.  Seven broke down and were abandoned on the retreat to the Rappahannock; and others have been destroyed since.  They are not made, many of them, stout enough for this country.  

     Early on Saturday the 23d we were routed out of bed and hurried across the bridge.  In other words we abandoned our impregnable position, an unexpected rise of the river of 10 feet or more during the night threatening the bridge, causing our movement.  The carrying away of bridges, above and below ours, preventing our operations in many important points.  We scarcely crossed when cannonading commenced with great fury.  Our regiment came over the bridge first, then the 11th 12th & 9th.  Three companies of the 11th Penn. supporting Casey’s section of Matthews battery left with such precipitation that they could not strike tents, or carry off their knapsacks, the section out of ammunition preceding them.  They had scarcely crossed the bridge when a regiment of rebels came up in line, flag in centre, arms at right shoulder shift, (“beautiful to see” said one of our men who saw them from the bluff on our side of the river on which many guns had been placed) over the knoll which the battery had just left, or rather over the trenches which we dug the day before.  The flag was planted on the knoll, and the battery accompanying the regiment was placed in position when our guns from the bluff and the river side to the left of the bridge commanding the position opened from their many mouths.  Down went horses and men, guns and caissons. The infantry threw down their arms before the terrible fire and retreated pell mell.  But one gun or caisson left that hill with that infantry of all that had come up.  The tremendous shower of grape and canister and shell must have thinned the ranks of that regiment.  It came up cheering said Lieut. Brockway but went back howling.  All our guns were brought away safely and all the infantry had crossed when the bridge was destroyed.   The rebs could not hold the hills we had left.  For a couple of hours, however, they threw round shot, shells and rail road iron at us, with but little effect, the shot going mostly to the left of us.  One of K’s men however was wounded in the head by a piece of shell and Lieut Gottbolt of Matthew’s battery lost a leg.  A few others were wounded.  During the firing we were ordered back from the range of guns, a good many shot going over us and falling in front, our presence being of no benefit to the batteries, now that the bridge was destroyed.

     We were soon marching in the direction of Warrenton, within a few miles of which place we halted for the night. All along the route the road was strewed with cartridges thrown away by our men.  McDowell had given us 60 rounds of cartridges extra during the progress of the fight, which weighed heavily on our supposed retreat.  This was in addition to the 40 rounds ordinarily carried.  Men in Gordon’s Regiment at the battle of Cedar Mountain fired but 12 to 20 rounds.  We were obliged to carry from five to eight times that number.  We have always carried our knapsacks.  We do so now although Pope in a general orders recommends that the knapsacks be carried when practicable.  Nearly all the troups we see are without knapsacks.  If the Government can’t carry our ammunition she must lose it.  Men can’t break their backs, and be turned into ammunition mules.  I yet carry 80 rounds, but I doubt very much about carrying them much further.  If generals distribute ammunition so lavishly it will be used lavishly.

     The next day we marched very slowly, halting frequently passing outside of the town of Warrenton and turning into the Culpepper road, by the side of which we are now camped, not knowing how long we may remain here, and expecting to march before night.  There are a great many brigades near here.  The 8th Mass. Battery, and 33d or 34th Mass. Regiments are here.  A large part of Burnside’s Corps and McClellan’s are here.  Whether more of McClellan’s troups than Gen’l Reynold’s Division, McCall’s old Division are with us I cannot say.   Neither McClellan nor Burnside are here.  There is a report that McClellan and Burnside are in Gordonsville.  I hope it is so.  The Government is evidently keeping from you the knowledge of the operations going on here till something definite results.  I doubt whether this letter gets to you very quickly.  

     The Baltimore Clipper of the 21st was silent respecting our movements. Our Regiment has come out of the battles of Cedar Mountain & the Rappahannock with comparative safety.  The future is a matter of doubt.  A word about Dr. Whitney.  The regiment up to the battle of Cedar Mountain were down on him.  Many a man has told me I was the only one who spoke well of him.  Yet I spoke only from actual experience, in case of debility, boils, poison etc.  Now no man speaks ill of him.  The steadiness of his hand, the dexterity and precision and decisiveness of his cut and thrusts in the surgical line was the wonder and admiration of all the Doctors in Banks’ & McDowell’s Divisions. Surgeons turn from their cases to look at him while operating.  I doubt whether an habitual drunkard can have a hand of such steadiness as he is said to possess. He certainly has come out triumphant over his defamers. From morning until night and from night until morning in his shirt sleeves he worked in blood, volunteering his services, the hardest cases being given to him.

    Please send me pepper in a newspaper or letter.  Must have it for corn and boiled cracker salted. Send a pepper box full; in successive papers if necessary.  With love to all.  I am Yours Truly,

John B. Noyes.

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"Old Heath"

From "Three Years with Company K" by Serg't. Austin C. Stearns; Edited by Arthur A. Kent; Fairleigh Dickinson University Press; 1976; Used with Permission.

     I have forgotten to say that when we were lying at the south side of Cedar Mountain, there arrived an instalment of recruits for the regiment, about one hundred of them; they were enlisted for certain companies and joined those companies on their arrival.  K  received none, if we except one Walter S. C. Heath, or “Old Heath” as he was familiarly called.  Co B being full, he was sent to K.  The Chaplain also seeing the recruits had nice clean dippers, warned them that if they wanted to keep them, they must keep their eyes open all the time, for if there was one thing that a 13th man envied, or wished to get possession of, it was a nice clean dipper.  hunterThe warning was not wholly without results, for on one occasion I tried to borrow one to strain my coffee in; he refused to let me take it, thinking, as he afterwards confessed, that I wished to confiscate it for my own use.  When we arrived at Warrenton or it’s vicinity just at night, in the field where he was to bivouac there were several hogs, and while we were speculating how we could capture them as the line was being formed, Old Heath, our new recruit, up with his gun and fired, and such a squeal as that hog set up is seldom heard.  He was mortally wounded and soon yielded up his hogship.

     Old Heath, when cautioned by the Cap’t about doing so unmilitary an act, pleaded that he did not know the rules yet that governed soldiers.  We ate pork that night for supper.

     sketch of a wild boarAs Heath had no blanket or tent, Dorkham had kindly shared with him both tent and blanket, and had carried them on the march and pitched the tent at night. The ground was not at all times as even as a house floor, but many times it was rough and hard to lay upon and again we could not always pick out our own place, but had to lay somewhere near that we were put.  On this particular night or in the morning Heath was mad with Dorkham because the ground was so uneven, and he told D- that he would not sleep with him again unless he picked out an evener piece of ground for him to lay on.  Dorkham told him that it was no honor for him to sleep with Heath and that after this he must provide his own shelter and blankets.  We used to laugh at Dorkham for a long time for the priviledge he had of sleeping with Old Heath.

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Narrative - General McDowell's Fight; August 26th

Map of Positions, sunset, August 26, 1862On August 26th, General McDowell planned to cross the Rappahannock River in force at Sulphur Springs to determine Confederate strength.  This was Pope's response to the news that a large Confederate column (Jackson) marched north on the 25th.  Most of Pope's army was offered to General McDowell for the reconnaissance.  General Sigel's troops were played out from events on the 25th, and General Reno's troops were not where Pope thought they should be.  Neither would join McDowell.  At Sulphur Springs, and Waterloo bridge, General Longstreet's artillery on higher ground across the river, pounded away at McDowell's force on the other side.  McDowell called off his advance and took a defensive position on the north side of the Rappahannock.  The artillery sparred for 8 hours.  At the end of the day neither General Pope nor General McDowell knew any more about the mysterious Confederate column that marched north.  If General Pope's cavalry wasn't fatigued and out of forage and supplies, he might have put it to good use.  It was supposed the column was headed to the Shenandoah Valley.   In fact, Jackson had marched behind Pope's lines to Bristoe Station, on the Orange and Alexandria Railroad, arriving the evening of the 26th. 

From "Three Years in the Army."
Tuesday, August 26.
     At 7 A.M. we marched back to the spot we left last night and laid there about an hour, and then marched back to the Waterloo road and went into camp.

     At night the rebel general, Stuart, made a raid on Pope’s headquarters.  The repugnance which the army felt toward General Pope gave rise to expressions of glee at his probably discomfiture when it heard of this raid. 

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Narrative - Jackson's March; Pope Reacts; August 27th

Colonel Herman Haupt & The Orange & Alexandria Railroad
Colonel Herman Haupt     The man responsible for the operation of the Orange & Alexandria Railroad at this time was Colonel Herman Haupt.  In the spring of 1862, Haupt created and trained the Construction Corps for the War Department.

     Herman Haupt was an accomplished civil engineer who specialized in railroad bridge and tunnel construction before the war.  He invented a unique bridge construction technique in 1839 known as the Haupt Truss.  Under his supervision as Chief Engineer, on the Pennsylvania Railroad Mountain Division, the Allegheny Tunnel opened the line to Pittsburgh in 1856.  The Hoosac tunnel through the Berkshires in Western Massachusetts was another one of his pre-war accomplishments.

     Secretary of War Stanton telegraphed Haupt to come to Washington in April, 1862 to rescue the military railroads from chaos.  Haupt was reluctant to work under government supervision but members of the Joint Committee on the War assured him they would not meddle in his work.  Haupt was appointed aide-de-camp to General Irvin McDowell’s staff, then, shortly after commissioned Colonel.   The two men knew each other from the Military Academy at West Point and became fast friends.  Reconstruction of the Acquia Creek to Fredericksburg line was Haupt’s first assignment.  Construction of the bridge over the deep crossing of Potomac Creek so impressed President Lincoln he remarked, “I have seen the most remarkable structure that human eyes ever rested upon. That man, Haupt, has built a bridge across Potomac Creek, about four hundred feet long and nearly a hundred feet high, over which loaded trains are running every hour, and, upon my word, … there is nothing in it but bean-poles and corn-stalks.”

Potomac Creek Bridge

The Potomac Creek Bridge which President Lincoln said was constructed with Beanpoles and Cornstalks.

     Haupt’s efforts to get the Manassas Gap railroad operational were of great assistance to General McDowell during the Shenandoah Valley Campaign in late May.  McDowell’s Corps was ordered to the valley to intercept Stonewall Jackson’s rampaging army, if possible, and the damaged Manassas Gap railroad was a means to transport the troops there.  Haupt managed to open the line from Rectortown to Piedmont, but lack of equipment and proper organizational procedures prevented it from operating effectively. Haupt continued offering McDowell assistance via the railroad throughout this campaign.

     When General John Pope was assigned command of the newly created Army of Virginia, General McDowell repeatedly urged him to maintain the services of Colonel Haupt.  But Pope refused to acknowledge Haupt’s accomplishments and let him go.  Such affairs were matters for the Quartermaster’s Department, Pope said.  

     Haupt had re-organized the Construction Corps of the army with permanent personnel and new regulations.  Thinking his work finished, he resigned and went home to Massachusetts.  Secretary of War Stanton chose not to sign the letter of resignation.

     “Come back immediately; cannot get along without you; not a wheel moving on any of the roads.”  Haupt received this telegram from Stanton shortly after returning home.  Such was the state of affairs under General Pope’s Quartermaster’s Department.  Colonel Haupt reported to General Pope at Cedar Mountain on August 18.

Orange and Alexandria Railroad    The Orange & Alexandria Railroad was a single track line with limited equipment responsible for supplying General Pope’s army at the front with food, ammunition, hospital stores, men and supplies.  Military officers often interfered with the trains by demanding transport of this or that for their own personal convenience.  The Quartermaster Dept. interfered by keep the cars to store materials, thus severely limiting the equipment available to run on the line.  All was confusion.  At Haupt’s insistence, Commander in Chief of the Armies, General Halleck, informed all, that all orders for the railroad must come from Haupt, Halleck or Pope, (except in case of attack).  By August 26, it was evident the track could be relied on for necessary supplies only.  Priorities were assigned to food, forage, ammunition, hospital stores, and then infantry.  Batteries, Cavalry, Wagons, and ambulances would have to march.  A schedule of operation was established.   August 26 was also the night Stonewall Jackson’s men captured the Union supply base on the O & A at Manassas Junction.  (Pictured is an engine on the O&A near Union Mills, Va.)

Jackson takes Bristoe Station and Manassas Junction
     Jackson completed his 50 mile flank march the afternoon of the 26th.    Jackson decided to attack Bristoe Station,a small stop on the railroad 5 miles south of the large Union Supply base at Manassas Junction.  Informants told him Bristoe Station was lightly guarded.  The large Confederate force arrived at Bristoe just as the trains were returning to Washington per Haupt’s new schedule.  The first engine plowed through obstructions placed on the track and sped up the track to Manassas Junction.  Soon another train rolled up the track.  Train Wreck at Bristoe StationBullet holes ripped the boiler as it passed the station.  Rebels hurriedly destroyed  mile of track just past the station and the engine tumbled over into the mud.  A third train approached and plowed into the rear of the second train.  The Confederates were having a jolly time.  They failed to trap a fourth train however. The engineer suspected trouble at the darkened station.  He stopped and threw his engine into reverse.  Dodging bullets, he escaped south to Warrenton Junction.

      At Bristoe Jackson learned that Pope’s supply base at Manassas Junction was also lightly guarded.  Two regiments of General Isaac Trimble’s infantry set out with Stuart’s Cavalry screening, and captured the place that night. 

     Herman Haupt received reports of the railroad attacks via telegraph soon after they occurred.  The size of the attacking force was unknown, but Haupt knew the supply line to General Pope must be kept open.   At 9 p.m. he informed General Halleck that re-enforcements from McClellan’s army in Washington, could not be sent to Pope via the O & A.  He then proposed a plan to repair the sabotaged line.  Both these decisions had unexpected consequences for the outcome of General Pope’s Campaign.  The troops Haupt sent to protect and repair the railroad were outnumbered by Jackson, and severely shot up near Bull Run Bridge, the morning of the 27th.  They were troops from General McClellan’s army.  Their fate caused General McClellan to countermand orders to send reinforcement to Pope in spite of Haupt’s insistence that Pope was in dire need of supplies and re-enforcements. 

Site where Gen. Taylor was mortally wounded

General Taylor's Fight
Herman Haupt rushed  forward General George Taylor and his New Jersey Brigade, (McClellan's  troops)  to protect Pope's supply base.  Taylor's brigade arrived by train, dvanced facross the railroad bridge and clashed with Jackson's Troops at Manassas Station.  A severe artillery fire greeted the Federals  as they emerged from the woods.  As General Taylor had no artillery, he was obliged to retire or charge.  He chose the lattter.  Artillery blasted his flanks as he inched forward.  When Confederate cavalry threatened to surround his small force, Taylor retreated.   Taylor fell back toward the bridge in good order until a steep hill slowed his men. Their shoes slipped on the hard ground.  A Rebel battery came up and blasted into them.  In a panick the Yankees rushed to the railroad bridge and jumbled up waiting to cross.  General George W. TaylorConfederate cavalry pitched into the mob and here, General Taylor was mortally wounded. At this moment a train with re-enforcements arrived and Col. E. Parker Scammon's two Ohio regiments lined the river bank to protect the remnant of Taylor's brigade.  Scammon held back the Confederates. General Taylor was borne to the rear on a litter.  He died at Fairfax Court House a short while later.  General McClellan responded to the news of Taylor's fight by determining to withhold his troops from re-enforcing General Pope's army, until cavalry and artillery units could join them.  Pictured is the sight where General Taylor received his mortal wound.  Herman Haupt reported on the engagement:

 "General Taylor was in command of a New Jersey brigade.  He wass sent forward to protect the bridge at Bull Run a2 miles north of Manassas.  He went too far, crossed the bridge and made an attack on Jackson's Corps, in ignorance of the strength of the enemy.  He was mortally wounded and his command repulsed.  I got permission from General Halleck to make a reconnaissance.  General Hancock furnished me the necessary troops.  I sent a train, brought in General Talyr and his wounded men, relieved the force at the bridge and secured important information as to the numbers and positions of the enemy.  HH"

Story from Photographic History of the Civl War in 10 Volumes; The Review of Reviews; 1911; and Return to Bull Run by John J. Hennessy; University of Oklahoma Press; 1993

General Pope Reacts
Map of positions, sunset, August 27, 1862   By midnight, reports streaming into General Pope’s headquarters pushed him into positive action.   He now realized the Confederate column seen marching north had passed through Thoroughfare Gap and threatened Washington.  Before dawn on the 27th he issued orders to his army to abandon the line of the Rappahannock River, to converge at Gainesville, thereby seize the opportunity to find and crush the part of Lee’s army that had passed through the Gap.

     The "13th Mass" were with General McDowell's Corps on the left wing of Pope's army.  They completed a tiresome march to Gainseville on the 27th.  General Pope meanwhile marched with the right wing of his army to Bristoe Station.  There, in the late afternoon, General Joseph Hooker engaged 3 brigades of Confederate Infantry commanded by General Ewell, acting as Jackson's rear guard.  The engagement is known as Kettle Run.   The Confederates repulsed a frontal attack and held the Yankees back the first 30 minutes of battle.  When more Union troops arrived the tide turned and Ewell was threatened with greater numbers.  Just in time word came from Stonewall Jackson for Ewell to join him, 5 miles up the road.  It was a tricky affair but Ewell successfully disengaged from the fight, burned the railroad bridge behind him and joined Jackson at Manassas Junction.

     Complete numbers of Union losses at Kettle Run are not available.  Estimates are 300 men killed or wounded.  Confederates lost about 144 men killed or wounded.  

Warrenton Virginia August 27 1862 by Forbes(From "Three Years in the Army")
Wednesday, August 27.

     In the afternoon we started on what tuned out to be a slow, tiresome march of only eight miles, through Warrenton, out on the Gainesville road, going into camp at 2:30 A.M. This dallying along, instead of marching straight on, was one of the most exasperating things with which we had to contend.  Having no knowledge of what was going on about us, it was as uninteresting as the work of a galley-slave.

Artist Edwin Forbes was traveling with the army and sketched troops moving past Warrenton Court House on this day, August 27, 1862.

Headquarters Army of Virginia,Bristoe Station, Aug. 27, 1862, 9 P.M.
Major-General McDowell:
     At daylight to-morrow morning march rapidly on Manassas Junction with your whole force, resting your right on the Manassas Gap Railroad, throwing your left well to the east.  Jackson, Ewell, and A.P. Hill are between Gainesville and Manassas Junction.  We had a severe fight with them to-day, driving them back several miles along the railroad.  If you will march promptly and rapidly at the earliest dawn of day upon Manasas Junction, we shall bag the whole crowd.  I have directed Reno to march from Greenwich at the same hour upon Manassas Junction, and Kearney, who is in his rear, to march on Bristoe at daybreak.  Be expeditious and the day is our own.
Major-General Commanding.

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Engagement at Thoroughfare Gap; August 28th 1862

      General Pope did not consider the possibility of General Longstreet’s wing of the Confederate Army linking up with General Jackson’s wing via Thoroughfare Gap in the Bull Run Mountains.  General McDowell  however, gave the matter careful consideration, and developed a plan for the Federals to defend and hold the Gap.  The Geography of the mountain pass was such that a smaller force commanding the heights could hold back a much bigger force.

    Unfortunately, Gen. McDowell’s orders were superseded by Gen. Pope’s directive for the army to converge at Manassas.  Nonetheless, McDowell took the initiative as  Pope’s most trusted advisor, to order Rickett’s Division to halt at Haymarket and proceed to the Gap should Longstreet’s army appear.  Too bad he didn’t take the initiative with a stronger force.  By waiting until after Longstreet appeared, failure to hold the gap was certain.  Rickett’s put up a good show, but his single division of 5,000 men was too small a force to  hold off Longstreet’s 25,000 men. 

(From "Three Years In The Army")
Thursday August 28.
     Resumed our march toward Manassas, but on reaching Hay Market we were ordered to leave our knapsacks and push on to Thouroughfare Gap to prevent Longstreet’s corps from reinforcing Jackson.  As we recall the work of that day we are not able to rid ourselves of the impression the we might easily have gained possession of that Gap had we started earlier, or if we had not dallied so long on the road after we did start.  It seems that Longstreet left White Plains, eight miles west of the Gap, about 10 A.M., and succeeded in reaching it just before our arrival, so that when we got there the woods on the sides of the mountain were filled with “Johnnies.”  Thoroughfare Gap is naturally fortified, and whoever occupied it might easily keep possession against a much superior force.

     The testimony of General Ricketts, on this movement, given at the McDowell Court of Inquiry is interesting:

     I received an order on that day (the 28th) to send a brigade and a battery of artillery to support Colonel Wyndham at Thoroughfare Gap, and to push on to the same place with the rest of my division.  I do not know what hour of the day the order was received, but should judge some time in the forenoon.  I was at the time with my division on the road from Buckland Mills to Gainsesville, and marched directly across the country by Hay Market.  This order was brought to me by Captain Wadsworth, of General McDowell's staff, and was in writing.  Somewhere between Hay Market and Thoroughfare Gap I saw Captain Leski, of General McDowell's staff, who gave pretty much the same order, - to go there and support Colonel Wyndham at the Gap.  This is all I recollect.

     On reaching the entrance of the Gap we filed to the left along the base of the mountain which was covered by dense woods already occupied by the skirmishers of Longstreet’s corps.  Though we could not see the enemy, we were made aware of his presence by the bullets which flew about our heads in too great a profulsion for comfort.  Protecting ourselves as well as we could behind a stone wall, we prepared to return the fire o f our invisible enemy.  After a few moments we were again formed in line, retiring to the open field, where we were deployed as skirmishers, facing the woods on the mountain, as before. Here we remained for a short time loading and firing at will, until an order was given to fall back to another piece of woods in our rear which afforded some protection  from the enemy’s fire.  About dark the brigade was with drawn and marched with the division toward Manassas bivouacking shortly after midnight.

Chapman's Mill, Thoroughfare Gap     Upon our arrival at the Gap Company D  was deployed as skirmishers and advanced up the mountain.  On the way, the boys suddenly came across a lot of blueberries.  Such an abundance they had not seen since leaving home.  Hungry and thirsty, they forgot their dangerous position and proceeded at once to gather what they could.  While thus engaged, the Eleventh Pennsylvania, which was in their rear, unaware that Company D was in their front, began to fire.  Between two fires was a perilous position to be in. The Eleventh Pennsylvania was immediately notified, and their firing ceased. 

     Company K was at the same time ordered into the Gap to take possession of a stone mill, followed by Company H as support.  (Chapman's Mill, Thoroughfare Gap, pictured).  Longstreet had already entered the Gap with the head of his corps of 30,000 men, making it a special dangerous service for these three companies.  While Company D pursued its way, K, the next company on the right, was detailed to go up the railroad to the stone mill.  H was sent to support K, a few minutes later; it followed a small stream to the rear of the mill, entering it at what might be called the cellar or basement. These companies, in column of fours, then in twos, and finally in single rank, marched as rapidly as possible, without running, under a hot fire from the enemy, without losing a man.  Upon their arrival they returned the fire of the enemy, who, being concealed by the woods, probably escaped any loss.  Just as the boys were getting in their work, a full, fresh-looking regiment of rebels came in sight, marching across from the railroad toward the skirmish line of  D. As our boys were about to fire into this regiment an aid appeared forth second time to inform them that they were firing into their own men, a mistake he made in misapprehension of the situation.  This time he gave no order or hint what the boys were to do, but his previous instruction having been opposed to defending the mill, our men were forced to abandon it before being taken prisoners, and returned to the regiment, as did also Company D.

     Our losses at Thoroughfare Gap were two men killed and two wounded.

Roxbury City Gazette; Death of Daniel Jackson

            Death of a Roxbury Soldier. – Corporal Daniel Jackson, of Company E, 13th Regiment, son of Daniel Jackson, Esq., of this city, received on Friday last, a mortal wound, at the battle of Thoroughfare Gap, from the effects of which he has since died.  His age was twenty-two years.  He is spoken of as a young man of sterling virtues and ardent patriotism, and his loss will not only be felt by his immediate circle of friends, but by the community at large. 

(Roxbury City Gazette; September 11, 1862; pg. 2, col. 2.)

Digital transcription by James Burton

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The following reminiscence by Edwin H. Brigham of Company A, was published in Circular #34, September, 1921.  The Illustration of General Longstreet's Corps marching through Thoroughfare Gap is by artist Edwin Forbes.

     The 28th of August, 1862, will be remembered by the men of Rickett's Division of the 1st Army Corps of the newly formed Army of Virginia, as one of a series of hot days in that battle summer.  They were spent in marching route-step in column of fours, through clouds of dust, sweating at every pore.  Each man now walked doggedly on behind his file-leader and realized that the real business of soldier-life had come at last.  The falling out and straggling, which had been so prevalent on marches in friendly Maryland had ceased, due to the consciousness of an active and vigilant enemy in the rear.  There had also been a gradual and steady weeding-out process quietly going on since they were mustered into service.  The weaker brethren, though perhaps as strong in the spirit, had been removed from our ranks.  The then unheard of theory of natural selection and the survival of the fittest had been unconsciously in full operation.

Gen. Longstreets Corps passing Thoroughfare Gap     Since the start at daylight the knapsacks had been gradually growing heavier, though so thin and lank in appearance to their former plethoric condition when first worn.  By eleven o'clock there were no songs or jests; and even the chronic grumblers were still.  Grim silence prevailed in the ranks, and the only sounds were the steady footfalls of the column and the tinkling noise made by the bayonets striking the tin cups fastened to the haversacks.  At nearly noon a halt was called at a place named in official reports as "near New Baltimore," though I do not remember that there were any houses in the vicinity.  The rest was most welcome, and the division lay by the roadside while the troops in rear passed on toward the sound of the cannon at Manassas, where for the second time the opposing armies had met for another trial by battle.     The reason for the order to halt was not asked or considered, certainly not by the rank and file; as the opportunity to rest and stretch the tired limbs, to lay aside even for a few moments the hot and heavy knapsacks and other impedimenta was so grateful.  Time passed on and with it the rear guard of the troops in the marching column, coffee was made and drank, hard bread and bacon eaten, a good smoke enjoyed, bodies cooled off and legs somewhat limbered.  The question was now asked as to our destination and service, and for a time no answers but purely speculative ones could be given.  It seemed strange that we should be left behind the rest of the army while fighting must be going on near Manassas, emphasized by the sullen boom of cannon.  At last in some unexplained way the news filtered through the division that we were to march for and to hold Thoroughfare Gap against a strong force of the enemy already on the way.  It was a question of quickness of movement which would determine whether our force was to act on the offensive or defensive.

     We remained, to the best of my recollection, near New Baltimore about three hours before the order to march was given; the distance to the Gap, nearly four miles, was soon covered so that the division arrived half a mile from the eastern opening at about four and a half o'clock.

     Thoroughfare Gap is a pass through the Bull Run Range of the Blue Ridge Mountains and runs nearly east and west.  Three miles north is Hopewell's Gap, which is more open and less easily defended.

     From memory and other data I would state that the pass contains a rough wagon road on the south side, the Manassas Gap R.R. on the north side with a brook or creek between them, its bed filled with rocks.  The mountain road climbs upward, closely hugging the south mountain from the eastern to the western entrance of the Gap, the ground toward the stream sloping at first gently and then becoming precipitous, but the railroad follows the level land close to the nearly perpendicular face of the north mountain.

Thoroughfare Gao, Chapman's Mill, 1859     The view of the eastern end of the Gap, as I remember it, when we halted to pile knapsacks on a gentle hill covered with woods half a mile from the entrance, was of a road descending into a level field which extended right and left as far as the eye could reach.  In front were the two low mountains covered with trees and underbrush with a cleft between them.  Near the railroad were some stone buildings, which I learned afterward had been used as a woolen mill and houses for the operatives.  (This 1859 photo of Thoroughfare Gap shows the cooper shop in the foreground near the railroad tracks, with Chapman's Mill in the distance.  Theodore Hazen provided the excellent photo with notes.  The image was re-touched in photoshop.)

     The artillery of the division here took position to cover the advance, which was formed as follows:-

     To the left of the road the 13th. Mass. as skirmishers, supported by the 12th Mass. To the right of the road the 11th Penn. with the 9th N.Y. State Militia as support, and Duryea's brigade as a general support. The balance of the division remained with the artillery as a reserve.

     In what follows I shall describe only what I saw, and any meagreness in the account must be pardoned as the private soldier sees but a small part of the field of action.  Gen. Hartsuff being ill and absent from his brigade, its command devolved upon the senior Colonel, Col. Stiles of the 9th N.Y.S.M.  As the line advanced the artillery in the rear began to shell the woods on the slopes of the mountains and the opening of the Gap.  There were no answering shots and it was thought at first that we had arrived in time to occupy the pass.  Our hopes, however, were false for very soon we were under a musketry fire and the sharp ring of the bullets came unpleasantly near and were suggestive of a warm reception.

     The line moved steadily on until near the rising ground at the foot of the mountains, when the fire from the enemy became more active, while our artillery had to cease firing.  Clambering up the hill at the entrance of the Gap and bearing to the left of the railroad and the brook our regiment moved by the left flank in column of fours for the wagon road followed by its support.  The llth Penn., supported by the 9th N.Y.S.M., scaled the mountain at the right of the railroad, firing at will and being answered by the enemy.

Edwin Forbes illustration of the fight at the Gap     Our regiment has not as yet fired a shot, though the enemy concealed among the trees and undergrowth were firing rapidly.  Two men of Co. "E" were killed here and others wounded.  On reaching the road an order was given for the regiment to form in column of companies, close order, and charge up the road.  The attempt to form under a heavy fire was made and there was some confusion.  Whether this order was then countermanded or the men instinctively refused to obey, at all events the regiment fell back a short distance behind a stone wall.  I have since been informed that the order was countermanded almost immediately after being given.  This was certainly wise as there would have been a slaughter of a large and compact body of troops confined in a narrow space, and exposed to fire on both sides.

     At the bend of the mountain road was a stone blacksmith's shop in which a number of Co. "A", including myself, took shelter.  We fired from the doors and windows in the direction of the puffs of smoke made by the shots of the enemy in the woods, and in the stone buildings near the railroad.  About an hour was spent in this way when the order to fall back was received and we retraced our steps to the starting place under a spiteful fire in the rear from our unseen enemy.  We finally reached, about sunset, the cover of our artillery.  During the retreat we lost quite a number of men wounded.

     The llth Penn., being familiar with the ground from having once been in camp here several weeks, advanced rapidly up the north mountain driving the enemy before them, and receiving a heavy fire on the left flank from the stone buildings near the railroad.  They nearly reached the crest of the mountain but the enemy fell back stubbornly, and though the llth Penn. held the position they could not advance and were ordered to fall back. From a history of this regiment I learn that their loss in this attack was thirty-five killed and wounded.

     Of the losses in our regiment, the 12th Mass. and 9th N.Y.S.M. I have been unable to find any account, though they must have been large considering the length of time under fire during the advance and retreat.  The casualties were probably included in the reports of the battles fought afterwards in this campaign.  The 13th Mass. carried some new and unarmed recruits into action of which at least two or three were wounded. 

     On reaching the artillery and reserve the wounded who had been brought along were put into ambulances, knapsacks slung, and the march commenced toward Manassas.  The feeling in the regiment was one of sadness.  We had been too late.  Our attack mismanaged and impotent.  There were forebodings for the morrow for it was felt that there must be a great battle, as all along our march could be heard the boom of cannon - the finale of the second day of the second battle of Bull Run.

     I have often thought since this time whether the delay of three hours and a half while resting the division near New Baltimore was not an important factor in this campaign.  Would an earlier attempt to occupy the Gap have been successful and would it have had a determining effect on the issue of Pope's last campaign?  As I look back to this time it seems to me that all was at odds and in confusion; that there was no concert of action among the different commanders of corps and divisions; that the new army of Virginia made up of different and nearly independent commands did not know or fully trust each other, and that all Confederate General James Longstreetthrough the ranks there was an undercurrent of distrust and dislike of Pope who had insulted and disgusted his new command by a bombastic order in which he promised to do great things.

     The evening of the 30th of August found me in the hands of the enemy and in conversation with a lieutenant of our guard, who belonged to a South Carolina regiment, I was informed, and this was confirmed by other confederates, that the enemy in our front at the Gap was a portion of Longstreet's corps sent in advance to hold it; that they arrived barely in time and that behind them was the rest of the corps and the entire wagon train of Lee's army of Northern Virginia with supplies. (General James Longstreet, pictured, left). Gen. Lee had advanced his army by forced marches with three days' rations in haversacks which were then exhausted.  Without the aid of Longstreet, for nearly a day at least, Jackson's corps would have been prevented from forming a junction with Lee and could have been overwhelmed by a greater force of our army.

     It may perhaps be doubted if Gen. Pope had been cognizant of the situation whether he was capable of carrying out such an operation against the enemy, or what is still more important could have relied upon his subordinate commanders to aid him fully in its execution.

     It seems that at this time Gen. Longstreet did feel quite solicitous about securing Thoroughfare Gap, and that, in his opinion, as expressed in his article in the Century Magazine for February, 1886, had our division reached the Gap sooner its possession would have given our army a great opportunity.

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Charles Bingham's narrative continues, from where he left off, August 24th.

     Another march of about an hour's duration brought us to the site of a former camp on the side of a stony, barren hill, where we lay all night, en bivouac, and were again on the move at early morning, but to our surprise our direction was to the rear, and various were the conjectures as to where we were going.  After a march of a mile or two from camp we; halted in a large field, where we lay in the hot sun for an hour or more, returning over nearly the same ground and occupying the same camp ground we had vacated only three hours before, many of us pitching our tents upon the same poles we had left standing.  This maneuvre we classified as one of the "miraculous military movements" for which the army of the Potomac was already becoming famous.  Continued marching brought us to the town of Haymarket (where we deposited our knapsacks and kits), two hours later reaching Thoroughfare Gap.  The regiment advanced on the left of the road, Company D as skirmishers.  The recruits were independent on this occasion, acting mostly as spectators while braving the battle, reviewing the movement with comparative coolness, watching the "Grey-backs" skulking through the woods or noticing the effect of the shells from our Battery. The air resounded with the "cracks" of the sharp-shooters' rifles and the reports of the guns in the Battery. Occasionally a stray " minnie " would whiz by us or send up a little puff of dust in the road, but the regiment was not much exposed and the casualties were few. As the brigade re-formed we joined our several companies and retraced our steps to Haymarket. Again buckling on the harness we continued our march till about 11 P.M.  It was another tiresome march; the roads were dusty, the boys tired and "out of sorts."  I had heard of soldiers sleeping while on the march, but to-night I experienced that questionable feat, for I lost consciousness while still mechanically keeping up the step, until stumbling over a stray stone awoke me.

     With an early start next morning we continued march till eight P.M., when we camped near the old battlefield of Bull Run. August 30th in column we moved forward a short distance, when we entered a grove and deposited our knapsacks for safe ( ?) keeping.  In the afternoon the Brigade advanced and ascended the hill on our left.  The recruits (who had not as yet been supplied with arms or accoutrements) kept up with the regiment until reaching the brow of the hill, when the attack of the enemy became so hot that all were obliged to drop for safety. Route of the Union Army by W.R. Waud As the shot and shell came thicker and faster the recruits returned down the hill, when we were challenged several times by mounted rear guards and ordered to return to our regiment, but our explanation that we were "raw recruits" without arms or equipments, and our new appearance confirming our statement, we were permitted to pass; furthermore, in the intense excitement prevalent at the moment, orders could not be, or were not strictly enforced. We "retired in good order," getting out of the range of the messengers of death that whizzed and buzzed over our heads and about us.  We crossed the Bull Run Ford where an officer was rallying the stragglers, but we kept on and joined in the general retreat on the Centerville road, which was often blocked up by army wagons, ambulances, artillery, cavalry and demoralized soldiers; drivers cursing, officers shouting, men grumbling and all "skedadilling."  Under a sheltering tree we cooked and ate a light supper, and a violent rain coming on, which continued all night, we were obliged to forego sleep and keep up fires to avoid a drenching, while the anxiety regarding the welfare of our boys and the humiliation of a first retreat was an additional cause for wakefulness.  After a most dismal Sunday morning breakfast we started to find the regiment, being joined by others of the 12th and 13th.  Learning that they  had gone to Fairfax we started in pursuit and found them resting in a field near the road. We improvised tents of branches and boughs, which afforded quite good shelter from the continuing rain.  At noon next day we were on the road to Fairfax.

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Narrative - Aftermath of the Engagement at Thoroughfare Gap

 map of positions, sunset, August 28, 1862    General Pope got testy the morning of the 28th when the battle he was expecting to unfold at Manassas Junction didn't materialize.  At noon Union troops arrived there, and reported Jackson had destroyed everything in sight and marched away.  Rebel stragglers led General Pope to believe that General Jackson had marched to Centreville that morning. (Jackson had marched the night before to the 1861 Bull Run Battlefield).   Upon hearing this news Pope hastilly sent orders for his army to converge at Centreville.

     General McDowell, recieved the order to pursue Jackson in the direction of Centreville, about 2 p.m.  Before those orders were recieved, a note written in the morning arrived from McDowell informing General Pope that Longstreet's corps was approaching Thoroughfare Gap.  General Pope quickly changed his mind about moving toward Centreville.  He cancelled the order and sent word to McDowell that re-enforcements would be sent to Gainseville in the evening, to help hold back Longstreet.  About this time, the 13th Mass were on their way to the fight in the gap. 

    In the afternoon Pope moved his headquarters to Blackburn's Ford on the Bull Run River.  More erroneous information came to him that Jackson was at Centreville.  With this news, Pope decided to forget about Longstreet and pursue Jackson.  At 5p.m. General McDowell received orders to march that night to Centreville.  According to author John J. Hennesssy, in his book, Return to Bull Run*, "these orders must have rankled McDowell severely.  For nearly twenty-four hours he had schemed to prevent the junction of Longstreet and Jackson by plugging Thoroughfare Gap, but Pope had repeatedly foiled him with incessant orders to chase Jackson only.  ...With these orders, any hope of sending help to Ricketts at Thoroughfare Gap disappeared; hence, scant hope of holding Longstreet west of the Bull Run Mountains remained."

     While the 13th Mass, with Rickett's Division were engaged at Thoroughfare Gap late afternoon August 28th, General Rufus King's Division of McDowell's Corps passed by Jackson's hidden position just off the Warrenton Turnpike on "Brawner's Farm," near Grovetown.  Both Yankees and Confederates were ready for a fight.  Jackson rushed the Stonewall Brigade forward about 6 p.m. and a regular knock-down drag-out battle began.     Blasting away only 70 yards apart left the dead lying in clearly defined lines of battle.  Confederates lost about 1,250 men.  The Federals lost about 1, 025 killed or wounded.

     General Pope, watching the battle from 8 miles away that night, surmised that the Confederates were retreating from Centreville, where he had sent Kearny and Reno's divisions earlier that day.  As usual, in a flurry of activity, he ordered his scattered army to converge, now, at Grovetown, where again, Jackson's destruction was assured.  As usual things went wrong, and in the morning his army was not where he wanted it to be; again.

*Return to Bull Run; p. 163.

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Memoirs of Charles Roundy, Company F

     Roundy's manuscript seemed a bit fuzzy with dates and facts at times when I've read it.  For instance, he records the wounding of comrade John S. Fay's as taking place during Pope's Retreat, when it happened in April, 1863.  The retreat he describes here seems more fitting for the date of the retreat on August 18th, but he places it August 26.  His style is somewhat rambling which adds to the confustion, but after learning more of this disastrous campaign, I learned his narrative isn't too far off the mark, and after all, he was there. The following is unabridged, with the exception of a brief passage on General Kearny's death which I will include on another page.  Here is Charle's Roundy's retrospection on General Pope's Campaign.


Charles Roundy, Co. F    While we common soldiers, had no right, perhaps to criticise the actions of our comanding generals, we certainly took the right, for while we saw the awful cost in life and property to the Union armies for what we styled the blunders and incompetency of our generals, owing often times to jealousy of each other, we knew, and well we knew that the common soldier, would have to pay for this jealousy and incompetency with his life, and we knew that the soil of Virginia was made rich with the blood and bodies of men like ourselves, while the experimental butchery would be continued under another general and the same scenes would be enacted over again.

     At Antietam, Lee should never have been allowed to re-cross the Potomac, and if Gen. Fitz John Porter and his corps had been put in as the rest of the army were, the finish of that days work would have had a different ending, and Lee, with the Potomac behind him would not have been allowed to take his own good time to re cross into Virginia, but have been pushed into the river and destroyed.  While it is bad generalship  to divide an army in face of an enemy - still Lee did it by sending Jackson to Maryland Heights which he took with Col - Miles and the troops, guns and the fortified hill, then hastened on to join Lee at Sharpsburg, and there, on that Wednesday, Sept. 17, - 1862 was enacted scenes that will never be forgotten and when the days work was done we lay there waiting for the rebs to cross the river, and gave them all the time they wanted to do it in, and then we read McClellan's bombast "How we had driven the rebels out of Maryland"  This battle should have closed the war had McClellan done what he had the means of doing with Porters troops.

     Lee always loved McClellan, he never feared his generalship.  At Gettysburg the same conditions existed, and had Lee been placed in Meade's position he would have pushed our army off the earth, but Meade generously gave Lee time to cross the river and go back to recruit.

     After Grant took command the onesidedness began to disappear, and we kept steadily moving forward, but both Grant and Pope seemed to under rate Lee and his generals.  Witness Pope's bombastic proclamation on taking command.  Let me go back a little and attempt to explain the position of things -

     In June 1862 Gen. McClellan lay with his army at Harrison's Landing Va. with the gunboats for his protection, he had been out generalled, and his campaign against Richmond a failure.

     On June 26, Major General Pope, who had done good service in the west, was appointed to the command of Fremont's Banks, and McDowell's division in Virginia - about 49,000 men.  McClellan lay whipped at Harrison's Landing and this force of Popes was all that lay between Lee and Washington. 

     This force was in 3 separate divisions, one on the lower Shenandoah under Banks, one under Fremont on the upper Shenandoah, and one at, or opposite Fredericksburg, under McDowell, here at the latter place, Falmouth was my regiment, the 13th Mass.

     At dress parade, the new General's (Pope's) orders were read, and the pomposity of the order was not gratifying to the men who had chased and been chased all over Virginia.

     This, even now, I seem to remember after all these long years.  "I come from the West, where we have always seen the backs of our enemies" - I never study my lines of retreat" - "my headquarters are in the saddle etc." 

     That kind of talk was a poor introduction to men who had been chasing and fighting the army of Lee, and it was not long before General Pope found something besides the backs of his enemies.

     General McClellan wanted the President to send him 50,000 more men to make another attempt to take Richmond, he felt secure where he was with the gunboats behind him.

     The government would not grant his request for more men but directed him to move his army at once to Acquia-Creek, where he could combine with Pope, and co-operate.  Steamers and vessels were sent to bring away the troops.

     This order was sent McClellan August 3d and not for two weeks did McClellan begin to withdraw his troops towards Yorktown to embark to join with Pope.

     Meantime, Gen. Lee hears that Gen. Pope is marching a division South from Culpeper Court House.  he also heard that McClellan's army is getting ready to leave his front, and embark for Acquia Landing to protect Washington.

     Now is the time to strike before the two armies can join, but he had no need to fear, for McClellan made no attempt to effect a junction with Pope, and not till he was forced in did he make any attempt to relieve the situation.

    Let us see how much he cares to help.

     General Banks, with 7500 men is marching South from Culpeper towards Cedar Mountain, and is ordered to assume command of all the force in his vicinity, and if Jackson advanced he was to attack and hold him there.

     Lee, being now at liberty, had sent Jackson north to stop Banks - Jackson, with his Corps of 25,000 men met Banks' force of 7,500, and because of the determination of Bank's stand, Jackson believed he had the whole of Pope's army in his front, and only because of the boldness of Banks advance.

     In one hour and thirty minutes 1,661 Union troops were killed or wounded and 1, 341 Confederates.

     It was so audacious a stand that Jackson turned and retreated across the Rapidan.

     While McClellan is taking his own good time in getting his army towards Acquia Landing and nearer Washington, General Lee decides to keep Popes army occupied by holding Longstreet in front of Pope on the south bank of the river, then - to quietly divide his army and send Jackson on a swift roundabout march and get into Pope's rear - Capture his supplies and create destruction generally and place Jackson between Pope and Washington.

     How could such an audacious move suceed with a general who had been used to seeing the backs of his enemies?

"Stonewall Jackson" by N.C. Wyeth     Jackson with his troops leave the Confederate camp and march west, raising a great cloud of dust which was seen and commented on in our camps.

     Jackson marches rapidly 25 miles west through the boiling sun to Orleans, the men get a few hours rest, and at daybreak are up and away marching north towards Salem.

     Now they turn east and after another 25 miles they are in possession of Thoroughfare Gap, the best pass in the Mountain range, and while they are resting and taking breath for the final finish, Genearal Pope is planning to take Fitz John Porter's and Heintzleman's Corps and make a dash at Lee, who is in his front  But it's Longstreets division only.

     That the departure of a large body of troops was seen and commented on, and known to Pope, the following proves -

     Our Cavalry outpost picket, under command of Col. Clark saw the cloud of dust raised by the passing of Jackson's Corps along the dusty country road.  He crept through the woods, and while watching he counted 36 regiments of infantry, with Cavalry and Batteries pass by.  he crawls back till safe from view and hastens to General Pope with this great news.  But no action was taken to see what the movement meant, for General Pope declared that "Lee would not dare to divide his army."

The Beginning of "Pope's Retreat."

     It is evening of the 26th of August, 1862, and I was placed on outpost picket in the woods which were not very large where I stood but bushes all about.  There was an uncanny, mysterious feeling about it all, for we moved so carefully and quietly, and so much care was taken in posting me, then telling me that when he (the Sergeant), relieved me he would click two small stones together so that I might know it was the relief and not fire at them, instructions were given in whispers, and as I was the outpost I was told there might bea a johnny not 20 feet away.

     Those hours seemed endless, but sometime near midnight the signal came and it was whispered "No noise - follow quietly."

When I left that Camp hours before all was life and animations - fires were burning, tents standing and lighted and the usual life of the Camp was there.

     When I returned from picket not a tent was to be seen but the long lines of men under arms, quiet everwhere, the long lines of wagons moving out, the fires blazing brightly to give the impression that we were still there.

     At once we started with strict orders to push ahead, and let nothing, water or anything else delay the advance, but to "wade through and forward."  An ominous feeling was among us all, and each man was wondering what this backward midnight movement meant.

Let us see what caused the movement.

     August 26th.  It is 8 o'clock in the evening of this same day in this same camp and the telegraph instrument in General Pope's tent, connecting him with Washington ceased clicking - The line has been cut - No news from Washington.  Jackson's 25,000 who were seen to leave Longstreet's camp and were reported to Pope - with Stuart's Cavalry in advance, have made this forced march of 2 1/2 days - the Cavalry pushing on to Bristoe Station and Manassas Junciotn where Pope has immense quantities of Army Stores and supplies, and are now between Pope and Washington, while Longstreet who Pope thinks is in his front is already on a rapid march to join forces with Jackson before Pope can reach Jackson and destroy him.

     Both armies are marching north on parallel lines, the rebel army to the west of the mountain range, the union army to the east of the range - the race is for Thoroughfare Gap, and the rebel army gets through, fighting their way and join Jackson.

     Jackon's tired troops follow Stuart's Cavalry, and at Manassas Junction they capture 300 Union troops - 175 Horses - 48 Cannon, - 10 Locomotives, - 2 empty trains with engines - 50,000 pounds of bacon, - 2,000 barrels of flour, - 1,000 barrels of corned beef, - 2,000 barrels of salt pork - thousands of bushels of oats - in sacks, an immense pile of army crackers in boxes, 1 bushel each sufficient to feed his great army, a pile of crackers as large and high as a large two story dwelling house besides immense quantities of hospital stores, and a train of eighty cars, loaded with ammuniton, intended for General Banks.

     A few days later I heard the explosion of this train of ammunition, and saw the ring of smoke for miles in the air, curling like an immense ring and constantly going upwards.  this train was fired after the johnnies had taken away all they could transport and load in their Cartridge boxes and wagons.

     Stuart's exultant Cavalrymen mounted the fresh horses loaded their discarded horses with all they could Carry, filled their haversacks to repletion, leaving plenty for the infantry, who were soon on hand, after taking all they could carry, they spiked some of the cannon, and set the remaining stores on fire.

     A few of the Union Cavalry men who escaped the first surprise rode with all speed to Warrenton and telegraphed General Pope what was happening in his rear among his supplies, and with a rebel army in his rear between him and Washington, and then he understood the meaning of the clouds of dust, and the 36 regiments of infantry, besides Cavalry and Artillery which was reported to him by Col. Clark.

     The mischief is done, and now we must get back as fast [as] human endurance will allow, and the grand old army must again show the world how it must suffer throught the incompetence of its general, Pope's bombast was reaping its reward through the jealousy of McClellan, who would not help and his other jealous rival, Fitz John Porter.  But when the Army reached Manassas, where Jackson was solidly entrenched awaiting Longstreet, again the boys in blue paid the bill with their lives and they did it nobly.  Jackson had made his position secure while awaiting the junction of Longstreet by entrenchments, against which the boys in blue threw themselves almost in vain.   The Manassas railroad made an impassable Barrier.

     McClellan would do nothing to help, in fact, he rather enjoyed seeing Pope struggling to extricate the army from the results of his bombastic blunders, and but for the bull-dog tenacity of our Colonels and a few of the old reliable generals backed up by the long suffering, poorly led soldiers in blue, the awful sacrafices at the Second Manassas, would have left us without a hope for the future, but again the grand old army threw itself into the breach and the race for Washington began.

Early issue army shoes     I had started on this retreat with a pair of canvas shoes on my feet, in ordinary cases this would have been proper engough, for the shoes were the only ones I could get at the time.  

     Our orders now were, and had been from the start to push through regardless of anything, and the streams of water did not delay us for we walked through without stopping to remove shoes.

     This was no picnic - Soon the paste and shoddy gave way and I tied the soles of my shoes to my feet, the time came when I was barefoot.  I had two pairs of stockings which I wore out and then had to take the journey barefoot.

     My feet were Cut and Swollen but I kept up and while others fell to the rear and were taken to Libby and Andersonville I always kept ahead of  the rear guard, and while the army was resting I kept jogging along with the boys.

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Page Updated November 13, 2010.