Military Reminiscences of the Civil War V1
Jacob Dolson Cox

Part 9 out of 9

Persuasion and exhortation having failed, Grant must either be left
to take the chances that part of Bragg's army would be concentrated
under Johnston in Mississippi, or he must be strengthened by sending
to him that part of our forces in Kentucky and Tennessee which could
most easily be spared. There can be no doubt that it was well judged
to send the Ninth Corps to him, as it would be less mischievous to
suspend Burnside's movement into East Tennessee than to diminish the
Army of the Cumberland under existing circumstances. It is, however,
indisputably clear that the latter army should have been in active
campaign at the opening of the season, whether we consider the
advantage of the country or the reputation of its commander.

If we inquire what means the administration gave Burnside to perform
his part of the joint task assigned him, we shall find that it was
not niggardly in doing so. His forces were at their maximum at the
end of May, when they reached but little short of 38,000 present for
duty in his whole department. [Footnote: Official Records, vol.
xxiii. pt. ii. p. 380.] This included, however, all the great States
of Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, and Michigan as well as the eastern half
of Kentucky, and there were several camps of prisoners and posts
north of the Ohio which demanded considerable garrisons. Eight
thousand men were used for this purpose, and nobody thought this an
excess. Thirty thousand were thus left him for such posts in
Kentucky as would be necessary to cover his communications and for
his active column. He expected to make his active army about 25,000,
and the advance movements had begun when, as has been stated, he was
ordered to suspend, and to send the Ninth Corps to Grant.

The enemy in East Tennessee were under the command of General Dabney
Maury at first, but when he was sent to Mobile, General S. B.
Buckner was made the commandant. His returns of forces for May 31st
show that he had 16,267 present for duty, with which to oppose the
advance of Burnside. The information of the latter was that his
opponent had 20,000, and he reckoned on having to deal with that
number. The passes of the Cumberland Mountains were so few and so
difficult that it was by no means probable that his campaign would
be an easy one; yet the difficulties in the first occupation were
not so serious as those which might arise if Bragg were able to
maintain an interior position between the two National armies. In
that case, unless he were kept thoroughly employed by Rosecrans, he
might concentrate to crush Burnside before his decisive conflict
with the Army of the Cumberland. This was the inherent vice of a
plan which contemplated two independent armies attempting to
co-operate; and if Rosecrans had been willing to open his campaign
on the 1st of March, it is almost certain that the troops in
Kentucky would have been ordered to him. The President did not
determine to send Burnside to the West and to give him a little army
of his own till he despaired of the liberation of East Tennessee in
that season by any activity of Rosecrans. This cannot be overlooked
in any candid criticism of the summer's work.



Departure of the staff for the field--An amusingly quick
return--Changes in my own duties--Expeditions to occupy the
enemy--Sanders' raid into East Tennessee--His route--His success and
return--The Confederate Morgan's raid--His instructions--His
reputation as a soldier--Compared with Forrest--Morgan's start
delayed--His appearance at Green River, Ky.--Foiled by Colonel
Moore--Captures Lebanon--Reaches the Ohio at Brandenburg--General
Hobson in pursuit--Morgan crosses into Indiana--Was this his
original purpose?--His route out of Indiana into Ohio--He approaches
Cincinnati--Hot chase by Hobson--Gunboats co-operating on the
river--Efforts to block his way--He avoids garrisoned posts and
cities--Our troops moved in transports by water--Condition of
Morgan's jaded column--Approaching the Ohio at
Buffington's--Gunboats near the ford--Hobson attacks--Part captured,
the rest fly northward--Another capture--A long chase--Surrender of
Morgan with the remnant--Summary of results--A burlesque

The departure of General Burnside and his staff for active service
in the field was quite an event in Cincinnati society. The young men
were a set of fine fellows, well educated and great social
favorites. There was a public concert the evening before they left
for Lexington, and they were to go by a special train after the
entertainment should be over. They came to the concert hall,
therefore, not only booted and spurred, but there was perhaps a bit
of youthful but very natural ostentation of being ready for the
field. Their hair was cropped as close as barber's shears could cut
it, they wore the regulation uniform of the cavalry, with trim
round-about jackets, and were the "cynosure of all eyes." Their
parting words were said to their lady friends in the intervals of
the music, and the pretty dramatic effect of it all suggested to an
onlooker the famous parting scene in "Belgium's capital" which
"Childe Harold" has made so familiar.

It was quite an anti-climax, however, when the gay young officers
came back, before a week was over, crestfallen, the detaching of the
Ninth Corps having suspended operations in Kentucky. They were a
little quizzed about their very brief campaign, but so
good-humoredly that they bore it pretty well, and were able to seem
amused at it, as well as the fair quizzers.

In preparation for a lengthened absence, Burnside had turned over to
me some extra duties. He ordered the District of Michigan to be
added to my command, and gave general directions that the current
business of the department headquarters should pass through my
hands. As General Parke, his chief of staff, had gone to Vicksburg
in command of the Ninth Corps, Burnside made informal use of me to
supply in some measure his place. Our relations therefore became
closer than ever. He hoped his troops would soon come back to him,
as was promised, and in resuming business at the Cincinnati
headquarters, he tried to keep it all in such shape that he could
drop it at a moment's notice.

To keep the enemy occupied he organized two expeditions, one under
Brigadier-General Julius White into West Virginia, and the other
under Colonel W. P. Sanders into East Tennessee. The latter was one
of the boldest and longest raids made during the war, and besides
keeping the enemy on the alert, destroying considerable military
stores and a number of important railway bridges, it was a
preliminary reconnoissance of East Tennessee and the approaches to
it through the mountains, which was of great value a little later.
The force consisted of 1500 mounted men, being detachments from
different regiments of cavalry and mounted infantry, among which
were some of the loyal men of East Tennessee under Colonel R. K.
Byrd. Sanders was a young officer of the regular army who was now
colonel of the Fifth Kentucky Cavalry. He rapidly made a first-class
reputation as a bold leader of mounted troops, but was unfortunately
killed in the defence of Knoxville in November of this same year.
His expedition started from Mount Vernon, Kentucky, on the 14th of
June, marched rapidly southward sixty miles to Williamsburg, where
the Cumberland River was fordable. Thence he moved southwest about
the same distance by the Marsh Creek route to the vicinity of
Huntsville in Tennessee. Continuing this route southward some fifty
miles more, he struck the Big Emory River, and following this
through Emory Gap, he reached the vicinity of Kingston on the Clinch
River in East Tennessee, having marched in all rather more than two
hundred miles. Avoiding Kingston, which was occupied by a superior
force of Confederates, he marched rapidly on Knoxville, destroying
all the more important railway bridges. Demonstrating boldly in
front of Knoxville, and finding that it was strongly held and its
streets barricaded for defence, he passed around the town and
advanced upon Strawberry Plains, where a great bridge and trestle
crosses the Holston River, 2100 feet in length, a place to become
very familiar to us in later campaigning. Crossing the Holston at
Flat Creek, where other bridges were burned, he moved up the left
(east) bank of the river to attack the guard at the big bridge, the
Confederate forces being on that side. He drove them off, capturing
150 of the party and five cannon. He not only destroyed the bridge,
but captured and burnt large quantities of military stores and camp
equipage. On he went along the railway to Mossy Creek, where another
bridge 300 feet long was burned. He now turned homeward toward the
north-west, having greatly injured a hundred miles of the East
Tennessee Railroad. Turning like a fox under the guidance of his
East Tennessee scouts, he crossed the Clinch Mountains and the
valley of the Clinch, and made his way back by way of Smith's Gap
through the Cumberland Mountains to his starting-place in Kentucky.
He had captured over 450 prisoners, whom he paroled, had taken ten
cannon and 1000 stands of small arms which he destroyed, besides the
large amounts of military stores which have been mentioned. He
marched about five hundred miles in the whole circuit, and though
frequently skirmishing briskly with considerable bodies of the
enemy, his losses were only 2 killed, 4 wounded, and 13 missing. Of
course a good many horses were used up, but as a preliminary to the
campaign which was to follow and in which Sanders was to have a
prominent place, it was a raid which was much more profitable than
most of them. He was gone ten days. [Footnote: Sanders' Report,
Official Records, vol. xxiii. pt. i. pp. 385, 386.]

The expedition under Brigadier-General Julius White was sent to beat
up the Confederate posts in the Big Sandy valley and to aid
incidentally the raid under Sanders into East Tennessee. Burnside
sent another southward in the direction of Monticello, Kentucky. The
object of these was to keep the enemy amused near home and prevent
the raids his cavalry had been making on the railway line by which
Rosecrans kept up his communication with Louisville. They seem
rather to have excited the emulation of the Confederate cavalryman
Brigadier-General John H. Morgan, who, a few days before Rosecrans's
advance on Tullahoma, obtained permission to make a raid, starting
from the neighborhood of McMinnville, Tenn., crossing the Cumberland
near Burkesville, and thence moving on Louisville, which he thought
he might capture with its depots of military stores, as it was
supposed to be almost stripped of troops. His division consisted of
about 3000 horsemen, and he took the whole of it with him, though
Wheeler, his chief, seems to have limited him to 2000. His
instructions were to make a rapid movement on the line of the
Louisville and Nashville Railroad in Kentucky and to get back to his
place in Bragg's army as quickly as possible. [Footnote: Official
Records, vol. xxiii. pt. i. p.817.]

Morgan's reputation as a soldier was a peculiar one. He had made a
number of raids which showed a good deal of boldness in the general
plan and a good deal of activity in the execution, but it cannot be
said that he showed any liking for hard fighting. Like boys skating
near thin ice, he seemed to be trying to see how close he could come
to danger without getting in. A really bold front showed by a small
body of brave men was usually enough to turn him aside. It is
instructive to compare his career with Forrest's. They began with
similar grade, but with all the social and personal prestige in
Morgan's favor. Forrest had been a local slave-trader, a calling
which implied social ostracism in the South, and which put a great
obstacle in the way of advancement. Both were fond of adventurous
raids, but Forrest was a really daring soldier and fought his way to
recognition in the face of stubborn prejudice. Morgan achieved
notoriety by the showy temerity of his distant movements, but nobody
was afraid of him in the field at close quarters.

The official order to Morgan to start on his expedition was dated on
the 18th of June, but he did not get off till the close of the
month. It would seem that he remained in observation on the flank of
Rosecrans's army as the left wing moved upon Manchester, and began
his northward march after Bragg had retreated to Decherd on the way
to Chattanooga. At any rate, he was first heard of on the north side
of the Cumberland on the 2d of July, near Burkesville and marching
on Columbia. Burnside immediately ordered all his cavalry and
mounted infantry to concentrate to meet him, but his route had been
chosen with full knowledge of the positions of our detachments and
he was able to get the start of them. Brigadier-General H. M. Judah,
who commanded the division of the Twenty-third Corps which covered
that part of our front, seems to have wholly misconceived the
situation, and refused to listen to the better information which his
subordinates gave him. [Footnote: Sketches of War History, vol. iv.
(Papers of the Ohio Commandery of the Loyal Legion). A paper by
Capt. H. C. Weaver, Sixteenth Kentucky Infantry, who was on the
staff of Brigadier-General E. H. Hobson during the pursuit of
Morgan.] After a slight skirmish at Columbia, Morgan made for the
Green River bridge at Tebb's Bend, an important crossing of the
Louisville Railroad. The bend was occupied by Colonel O. H. Moore of
the Twenty-fifth Michigan Infantry, who, under previous instructions
from Brigadier-General E. H. Hobson, intrenched a line across the
neck of the bend, some distance in front of the stockade at the
bridge. Morgan advanced upon the 4th of July, and after a shot or
two from his artillery, sent in a flag demanding the surrender of
Moore's little force, which amounted to only 200 men. Moore did not
propose to celebrate the national anniversary in that way, and
answered accordingly. The enemy kept up a lively skirmishing fight
for some hours, when he withdrew. [Footnote: Official Records, vol.
xxiii. pt. i. p. 645.] Moore had beaten him off with a loss of 6
killed and 23 wounded of the brave Michigan men. He reported
Morgan's loss at 50 killed and 200 wounded. The Confederate
authorities admit that they had 36 killed, but put their wounded at
only 46, an incredibly small proportion to the killed.

The raiders continued their route to Lebanon, where was the
Twentieth Kentucky Infantry under Lieutenant-Colonel Charles S.
Hanson, numbering less than 400 men, without artillery. A brigade
ordered to reinforce the post delayed its advance, and Hanson was
left to his own resources. After several hours of a lively
skirmishing fight without much loss, he surrendered to save the
village from destruction by fire, which Morgan threatened. The loss
in the post was 4 killed and 15 wounded. [Footnote: Official
Records, vol. xxiii. pt. i. p. 649.] Hanson reported 29 rebel dead
left on the field and 30 wounded, also abandoned. No doubt others of
the wounded were taken care of and concealed by their sympathizers
in the vicinity. Some military stores had been burned with the
railway station-house before Hanson surrendered. He and his men were
paroled in the irregular way adopted by Morgan on the raid.

Bardstown was the next point reached by the enemy, but Morgan's
appetite for Louisville seems now to have diminished, and he turned
to the westward, reaching the Ohio River on the 8th, at Brandenburg,
some thirty miles below the city. The detachments of mounted troops
which were in pursuit had been united under the command of General
Hobson, the senior officer present, and consisted of two brigades,
commanded by Brigadier-General J. M. Shackelford and Colonel F.
Wolford. They approached Brandenburg on the evening of the 8th and
captured the steamboat "McCombs" with a remnant of Morgan's men and
stores the next morning when they entered the town. They saw on the
opposite bank the smoking wreck of the steamboat "Alice Dean" which
Morgan had set on fire after landing his men on the Indiana shore.
The steamboat "McCombs" was sent to Louisville for other transports.
A delay of twenty-four hours thus occurred, and when Hobson's
command was assembled in Indiana, Morgan had the start by nearly two
days. [Footnote: Hobson's Report, Official Records, vol. xxiii. pt.
i. p. 659.]

It is claimed by Morgan's intimate friend and chronicler that he
intended to cross the Ohio from the day he left camp in Tennessee,
although it would be contrary to his orders; [Footnote: _Id_., p.
818. History of Morgan's Cavalry, by B. W. Duke, p. 410.] and that
he had made investigations in advance in regard to fords on the
upper Ohio and particularly at Buffington Island, where he
ultimately tried to cross into West Virginia. If true, this would
forfeit every claim on his part to the character of a valuable and
intelligent subordinate; for operations on a large scale would be
absolutely impossible if the commander of a division of cavalry may
go off as he pleases, in disobedience to the orders which assign him
a specific task. Except for this statement, it would be natural to
conclude that when he approached Louisville he began to doubt
whether the city were so defenceless as he had assumed, and knowing
that twenty-four hours' delay would bring Hobson's forces upon his
back, he then looked about for some line of action that would save
his prestige and be more brilliant than a race back again to
Tennessee. It is quite probable that the feasibility of crossing the
Ohio and making a rapid ride through the country on its northern
bank had been discussed by him, and conscious as he was that he had
thus far accomplished nothing, he might be glad of an excuse for
trying it. This interpretation of his acts would be more honorable
to him as an officer than the deliberate and premeditated
disobedience attributed to him. But whether the decision was made
earlier or later, the capture of the steamboats at Brandenburg was
at once made use of to ferry over his command, though it was not
accomplished without some exciting incidents. A party of the
Confederates under Captain Hines had crossed into Indiana a few days
before without orders from Morgan, being as independent of him,
apparently, as he was of General Bragg. Hines's party had roused the
militia of the State, and he had made a rapid retreat to the Ohio,
reaching it just as Morgan entered Brandenburg. It may be that the
lucky daredeviltry of Hines's little raid fired his commander's
heart to try a greater one; at any rate, Morgan forgave his trespass
against his authority as he prayed to be forgiven by Bragg, and
turned his attention to driving off the Indiana militia who had
followed Hines to the bank of the river and now opened fire with a
single cannon. Morgan's artillery silenced the gun and caused the
force to retreat out of range, when he put over two of his
regiments, dismounted, to cover the ferrying of the rest. At this
point one of the "tin-clad" gunboats of the river fleet made its
appearance and took part in the combat. The section of Parrot guns
in Morgan's battery proved an overmatch for it, however, and it
retired to seek reinforcements. The interval was used to hasten the
transport of the Confederate men and horses, and before further
opposition could be made, the division was in the saddle and
marching northward into Indiana.

At the first news of Morgan's advance into Kentucky, Burnside had
directed General Hartsuff, who commanded in that State, to
concentrate his forces so as to capture Morgan if he should attempt
to return through the central part of it. [Footnote: Official
Records, vol. xxiii. pt. i. pp.13, 679, etc.] Judah's and Boyle's
divisions were put in motion toward Louisville, and the remainder of
the mounted troops not already with Hobson were also hurried
forward. These last constituted a provisional brigade under Colonel
Sanders. It may help to understand the organization of the National
troops to note the fact that all which operated against Morgan were
parts of the Twenty-third Corps, which was composed of four
divisions under Generals Sturgis, Boyle, Judah, and White. The
brigades were of both infantry and mounted troops, united for the
special purposes of the contemplated campaign into East Tennessee.
For the pursuit of Morgan the mounted troops were sent off first,
and as these united they formed a provisional division under Hobson,
the senior brigadier present. Quite a number of the regiments were
mounted infantry, who after a few months were dismounted and resumed
their regular place in the infantry line. For the time being,
however, Hobson had a mounted force that was made up of fractions of
brigades from all the divisions of the corps; and Shackelford,
Wolford, Kautz, and Sanders were the commanders of the provisional
brigades during the pursuit. Its strength did not quite reach 3000
men. [Footnote: Official Records, vol. xxiii. pt. i. p. 658.]

Morgan's first course was due north, and he marched with some
deliberation. On the 10th he reached Salem, about forty miles from
the river, on the railway between Louisville and Chicago. [Footnote:
_Id_., pp. 717, 719.] A small body of militia had assembled here,
and made a creditable stand, but were outflanked and forced to
retreat after inflicting on him a score of casualties. The evidences
Morgan here saw of the ability of the Northern States to overwhelm
him by the militia, satisfied him that further progress inland was
not desirable, and turning at right angles to the road he had
followed, he made for Madison on the Ohio. There was evidently some
understanding with a detachment he had left in Kentucky, for on the
11th General Manson, of Judah's division, who was on his way with a
brigade from Louisville to Madison by steamboats under naval convoy,
fell in with a party of Morgan's men seeking to cross the river at
Twelve-mile Island, a little below Madison. Twenty men and
forty-five horses were captured. [Footnote: _Id_., pt. ii. pp. 729,
745.] If any of this party had succeeded in crossing before (as was
reported) they would of course inform their chief of the
reinforcements going to Madison, and of the gunboats in the river.
Morgan made no attack on Madison, but took another turn northward in
his zigzag course, and marched on Vernon, a railway-crossing some
twenty miles from Madison, where the line to Indianapolis intersects
that from Cincinnati to Vincennes. Here a militia force had been
assembled under Brigadier-General Love, and the town was well
situated for defence. Morgan, declining to attack, now turned
eastward again, his course being such that he might be aiming for
the river at Lawrenceburg or at Cincinnati.

The deviousness of his route had been such as to indicate a want of
distinct purpose, and had enabled Hobson greatly to reduce the
distance between them. Hanson's brigade on the steamboats was now
about 2500 strong, and moved on the 12th from Madison to
Lawrenceburg, keeping pace as nearly as possible with Morgan's
eastward progress. Sanders's brigade reached the river twenty miles
above Louisville, and General Boyle sent transports to put him also
in motion on the river. At the request of Burnside, Governor Tod, of
Ohio, called out the militia of the southern counties, as Governor
Morton had done in Indiana. Burnside himself, at Cincinnati, kept in
constant telegraphic communication with all points, assembling the
militia where they were most likely to be useful and trying to put
his regular forces in front of the enemy. It would have been easy to
let the slippery Confederate horsemen back into Kentucky. The force
in the river, both naval and military, unquestionably prevented this
at Madison, and probably at Lawrenceburg. On the 13th Morgan was at
Harrison on the Ohio State line, and it now became my turn as
district commander to take part in the effort to catch him. I had no
direct control of the troops of the Twenty-third Corps, and the only
garrisons in Ohio were at the prison camps at Columbus and Sandusky.
These of course could not be removed, and our other detachments were
hardly worth naming. Burnside declared martial law in the counties
threatened with invasion, so that the citizens and militia might for
military purposes come directly under our control. The relations
between the general and myself were so intimate that no strict
demarcation of authority was necessary. He authorized me to give
commands in his name when haste demanded it, and we relieved each
other in night watching at the telegraph.

A small post had been maintained at Dayton, since the Vallandigham
disturbance, and Major Keith, its commandant, was ordered to take
his men by rail to Hamilton. He went at once and reported himself
holding that town with 600 men, including the local militia, but
only 400 were armed. [Footnote: Official Records, vol. xxiii. pt. i.
pp.742, 743.] Lieutenant-Colonel Neff commanded at Camp Dennison,
thirteen miles from Cincinnati, and had 700 armed men there, with
1200 more of unarmed recruits. [Footnote: _Id_., p.749.] At both
these posts systematic scouting was organized so as to keep track of
the enemy, and their active show of force was such that Morgan did
not venture to attack either, but threaded his way around them. At
Cincinnati there was no garrison. A couple of hundred men formed the
post at Newport on the Kentucky side of the river, but the main
reliance was on the local militia. These were organized as soon as
the governor's call was issued on the evening of the 12th. Batteries
were put in position covering the approaches to the city from the
north and west, and the beautiful suburban hills of Clifton and
Avondale afforded excellent defensive positions.

The militia that were called out were of course infantry, and being
both without drill and unaccustomed to marching, could only be used
in position, to defend a town or block the way. In such work they
showed courage and soldierly spirit, so that Morgan avoided
collision with all considerable bodies of them. But they could not
be moved. All we could do was to try to assemble them at such points
in advance as the raiders were likely to reach, and we especially
limited their task to the defensive one, and to blockading roads and
streams. Particular stress was put on the orders to take up the
planking of bridges and to fell timber into the roads. Little was
done in this way at first, but after two or three days of constant
reiteration, the local forces did their work better, and delays to
the flying enemy were occasioned which contributed essentially to
the final capture.

No definite news of Morgan's crossing the Ohio line was received
till about sunset of the 13th when he was marching eastward from
Harrison. Satisfied that Lawrenceburg and lower points on the Ohio
were now safe, Burnside ordered the transports and gunboats at once
to Cincinnati. Manson and Sanders arrived during the night, and the
latter with his brigade of mounted men was, at dawn of the 14th,
placed on the north of the city in the village of Avondale. Manson
with the transports was held in readiness to move further up the

Feeling the net drawing about him, Morgan gave his men but two or
three hours' rest near Harrison, and then took the road toward
Cincinnati. He reached Glendale, thirteen miles northwest of the
city, late in the night, and then turned to the east, apparently for
Camp Dennison, equally distant in a northeast direction. His men
were jaded to the last degree of endurance, and some were dropping
from the saddle for lack of sleep. Still he kept on. Colonel Neff,
in accordance with his orders, had blockaded the principal roads to
the west, and stood at bay in front of his camp. Morgan threw a few
shells at Neff's force, and a slight skirmish began, but again he
broke away, forced to make a detour of ten miles to the north. We
had been able to warn Neff of their approach by a message sent after
midnight, and he had met them boldly, protecting the camp and the
railroad bridge north of it. [Footnote: Official Records, vol.
xxiii. pt. i. pp. 748, 750.] The raiders reached Williamsburg in
Clermont County, twenty-eight miles from Cincinnati, in the
afternoon of the 14th, and there the tired men and beasts took the
first satisfactory rest they had had for three days. Morgan had very
naturally assumed that there would be a considerable regular force
at Cincinnati, and congratulated himself that by a forced night
march he had passed round the city and avoided being cut off. He
had, in truth, escaped by the skin of his teeth. Could Burnside have
felt sure that Lawrenceburg was safe a few hours earlier, Manson and
Sanders might have been in Cincinnati early enough on the 13th to
have barred the way from Harrison. He had in fact ordered Manson up
at two o'clock in the afternoon, but the latter was making a
reconnoissance north of the town, and was detained till late in the
night. As soon as it was learned on the 14th that Morgan had passed
east of the Little Miami River, Sanders was ordered to join Hobson
and aid in the pursuit. [Footnote: In the reports of Hobson and
Sanders there seems to be a mistake of a day in the dates, from the
12th to the 16th. This may be corrected by the copies of current
dispatches given in Official Records, vol. xxiii. pt. i. pp.
730-750.] Hobson's horses were almost worn out, for following close
upon Morgan's track, as he was doing, he found only broken down
animals left behind by the rebels, whilst these gathered up the
fresh animals as they advanced. Still he kept doggedly on, seldom
more than ten or fifteen miles behind, but unable to close that gap
till his opponent should be delayed or brought to bay.

After entering Clermont County, the questions as to roads, etc,
indicated that Morgan was making for Maysville, hoping to cross the
river there. [Footnote: _Id_., p. 749.] Manson's brigade and the
gunboats were accordingly sent up the river to that vicinity. The
militia of the Scioto valley were ordered to destroy the bridges, in
the hope that that river would delay him, but they were tardy or
indifferent, and it was a day or two later before the means of
obstruction were efficiently used. Judah's forces reached Cincinnati
on the 14th, a brigade was there supplied with horses, and they were
sent by steamers to Portsmouth. Judah was ordered to spare no effort
to march northward far enough to head off the enemy's column. On the
16th General Scammon, commanding in West Virginia, was asked to
concentrate some of his troops at Gallipolis or Pomeroy on the upper
Ohio, and promptly did so. [Footnote: _Id_., p. 756.] The militia
were concentrated at several points along the railway to Marietta.
Hobson was in the rear, pushing along at the rate of forty miles a

Morgan had soon learned that the river was so patrolled that no
chance to make a ferry could be trusted, and he made his final
effort to reach the ford at Buffington Island, between Marietta and
Pomeroy. He reached Pomeroy on the 18th, but Scammon was occupying
it, and the troops of the Kanawha division soon satisfied Morgan
that he was not dealing with militia. He avoided the roads held by
our troops, and as they were infantry, could move around them,
though a running skirmish was kept up for some miles. Hobson was
close in rear, and Judah's men were approaching Buffington. Morgan
reached the river near the ford about eight o'clock in the evening.
The night was pitchy dark, and his information was that a small
earthwork built to command the ford was occupied by a permanent
garrison. He concluded to wait for daylight. The work had in fact
been abandoned on the preceding day, but at daybreak in the morning
he was attacked. Hobson's men pushed in from west and north, and
Judah from the south. The gunboats came close up to the island,
within range of the ford, and commanded it. Hobson attacked
vigorously and captured the artillery. The wing of the Confederate
forces, about 700 in number, surrendered to General Shackelford, and
about 200 to the other brigades under Hobson. The rest of the enemy,
favored by a fog which filled the valley, evaded their pursuers and
fled northward. Hobson ordered all his brigades to obey the commands
of Shackelford, who was in the lead, and himself sought Judah, whose
approach had been unknown to him till firing was heard on the other
side of the enemy. Judah had also advanced at daybreak, but in
making a reconnoissance he himself with a small escort had stumbled
upon the enemy in the fog. Both parties were completely surprised,
and before Judah could bring up supports, three of his staff were
captured, Major Daniel McCook, paymaster, who had volunteered as an
aide, was mortally wounded, ten privates were wounded, and twenty or
thirty with a piece of artillery captured. Morgan hastily turned in
the opposite direction, when he ran into Hobson's columns; Judah's
prisoners and the gun were recaptured, and the enemy driven in
confusion, with the losses above stated. [Footnote: Official
Records, vol. xxiii. pt. i. pp. 775-777.]

As Hobson was regularly a brigade commander in Judah's division, the
latter now asserted command of the whole force, against Hobson's
protest, who was provisionally in a separate command by Burnside's
order. Fortunately, Shackelford had already led Hobson's men in
rapid pursuit of the enemy, and as soon as Burnside was informed of
the dispute, he ordered Judah not to interfere with the troops which
had operated separately. By the time this order came Shackelford was
too far away for Hobson to rejoin him, and continued in independent
command till Morgan's final surrender. He overtook the flying
Confederates on the 20th, about sixty miles further north, and they
were forced to halt and defend themselves. Shackelford succeeded in
getting a regiment in the enemy's rear, and after a lively skirmish
between 1200 and 1300 surrendered. [Footnote: _Id_., pp. 778, 781.]
Morgan himself again evaded with about 600 followers. Shackelford
took 500 volunteers on his best horses and pressed the pursuit. The
chase lasted four days of almost continuous riding, when the enemy
was again overtaken in Jefferson County, some fifteen miles
northwest of Steubenville. General Burnside had collected at
Cincinnati the dismounted men of Hobson's command, had given them
fresh horses, and had sent them by rail to join Shackelford. They
were under command of Major W. B. Way of the Ninth Michigan Cavalry
and Major G. W. Rue of the Ninth Kentucky Cavalry. They brought five
or six hundred fresh men to Shackelford's aid, and their assistance
was decisive. Morgan's course to the river at Smith's Ferry on the
border of Columbiana County was intercepted, and near Salineville he
was forced to surrender with a little less than 400 men who still
followed him. About 250 had surrendered in smaller bodies within a
day or two before, and stragglers had been picked up at many points
along the line of pursuit. Burnside reported officially that about
3000 prisoners were brought to Cincinnati. [Footnote: Official
Records, vol. xxiii. pt. i. p. 14.] General Duke states that some
300 of Morgan's command succeeded in crossing the Ohio about twenty
miles above Buffington, and escaped through West Virginia. He also
gives us some idea of the straggling caused by the terrible fatigues
of the march by telling us that the column was reduced by nearly 500
effectives when it passed around Cincinnati. [Footnote: Hist. of
Morgan's Cavalry, pp. 442, 443.] It is probable that these figures
are somewhat loosely stated, as the number of prisoners is very
nearly the whole which the Confederate authorities give as Morgan's
total strength. [Footnote: A note attached to Wheeler's return of
the cavalry of his corps for July 31st says that Morgan's division
was absent "on detached service," effectives 2743. Add to this the
officers, etc., and the total "present for duty" would be a little
over 3000. Official Records, vol. xxiii. pt. ii. p. 941. For Bragg's
circular explaining the term "effectives" as applying only to
private soldiers actually in the line of battle, see _Id_., p. 619,
and _ante_, p. 482.] Either a considerable reinforcement must have
succeeded in getting to him across the river, or a very small body
must have escaped through West Virginia. Burnside directed the
officers to be sent to the military prison camp for officers on
Johnson's Island in Sandusky Bay, and the private soldiers to go to
Camp Chase at Columbus and Camp Morton at Indianapolis. Soon
afterward, however, orders came from Washington that the officers
should be confined in the Ohio penitentiary, in retaliation for
unusual severities practised on our officers who were prisoners in
the South. Morgan's romantic escape from the prison occurred just
after I was relieved from the command of the district in the fall,
for the purpose of joining the active army in East Tennessee.

A glance at the raid as a whole, shows that whilst it naturally
attracted much attention and caused great excitement at the North,
it was of very little military importance. It greatly scattered for
a time and fatigued the men and horses of the Twenty-third Corps who
took part in the chase. It cost Indiana and Ohio something in the
plunder of country stores and farm-houses, and in the pay and
expenses of large bodies of militia that were temporarily called
into service. But this was all. North of the Ohio no military posts
were captured, no public depots of supply were destroyed, not even
an important railway bridge was burned. There was no fighting worthy
of the name; the list of casualties on the National side showing
only 19 killed, 47 wounded, and 8 missing in the whole campaign,
from the 2d of July to the final surrender. [Footnote: Official
Records, vol. xxlii. pt. i. p.637.] For this the whole Confederate
division of cavalry was sacrificed. Its leader was never again
trusted by his government, and his prestige was gone forever. His
men made simply a race for life from the day they turned away from
the militia at Vernon, Indiana. Morgan carefully avoided every
fortified post and even the smaller towns. The places he visited
after he crossed the Ohio line do not include the larger towns and
villages that seemed to lie directly in his path. He avoided the
railroads also, and these were used every day to convey the militia
and other troops parallel to his route, to hedge him in and finally
to stop him. His absence was mischievous to Bragg, who was
retreating upon Chattanooga and to whom the division would have been
a most welcome reinforcement. He did not delay Burnside, for the
latter was awaiting the return of the Ninth Corps from Vicksburg,
and this did not begin to arrive till long after the raid was over.
None of the National army's communications were interrupted, and not
a soldier under Rosecrans lost a ration by reason of the pretentious
expedition. It ended in a scene that was ridiculous in the extreme.
Morgan had pressed into his service as guides, on the last day of
his flight, two men who were not even officers of the local militia,
but who were acting as volunteer homeguards to protect their
neighborhood. When he finally despaired of escape, he begged his
captive guides to change their _rôle_ into commanders of an
imaginary army and to accept his surrender upon merciful and
favorable terms to the vanquished! He afterward claimed the right to
immediate liberation on parole, under the conditions of this
burlesque capitulation. Shackelford and his rough riders would
accept no surrender but an unconditional one as prisoners of war,
and were sustained in this by their superiors. The distance by the
river between the crossing at Brandenburg and the ferry above
Steubenville near which Morgan finally surrendered, was some six
hundred miles. This added to the march from Tennessee through
Kentucky would make the whole ride nearly a thousand miles long. Its
importance, however, except as a subject for an entertaining story,
was in an inverse ratio to its length. Its chief interest to the
student of military history is in its bearing on the question of the
rational use of cavalry in an army, and the wasteful folly of
expeditions which have no definite and tangible military object.
[Footnote: For Official Records and correspondence concerning the
raid, see Burnside's report (Official Records, vol. xxiii. pt. i.
pp.13, 14) and the miscellaneous documents (_Id_., pp.632-818).]



News of Grant's victory at Vicksburg--A thrilling scene at the
opera--Burnside's Ninth Corps to return--Stanton urges Rosecrans to
advance--The Tullahoma manoeuvres--Testy correspondence--Its real
meaning--Urgency with Burnside--Ignorance concerning his
situation--His disappointment as to Ninth Corps--Rapid concentration
of other troops--Burnside's march into East Tennessee--Occupation of
Knoxville--Invests Cumberland Gap--The garrison surrenders--Good
news from Rosecrans--Distances between armies--Divergent lines--No
railway communication--Burnside concentrates toward the Virginia
line--Joy of the people--Their intense loyalty--Their faith in the

During the Morgan Raid and whilst we in Ohio were absorbed in the
excitement of it, events were moving elsewhere. Lee had advanced
from Virginia through Maryland into Pennsylvania and had been
defeated at Gettysburg by the National army under Meade. Grant had
brought the siege of Vicksburg to a glorious conclusion and had
received the surrender of Pemberton with his army of 30,000
Confederates. These victories, coming together as they did and on
the 4th of July, made the national anniversary seem more than ever a
day of rejoicing and of hope to the whole people. We did not get the
news of Grant's victory quite so soon as that of Meade's, but it
came to us at Cincinnati in a way to excite peculiar enthusiasm.

An excellent operatic company was giving a series of performances in
the city, and all Cincinnati was at Pike's Opera House listening to
_I Puritani_ on the evening of the 7th of July. General Burnside and
his wife had one of the proscenium boxes, and my wife and I were
their guests. The second act had just closed with the famous trumpet
song, in which Susini, the great basso of the day, had created a
_furore_. A messenger entered the box where the general was
surrounded by a brilliant company, and gave him a dispatch which
announced the surrender of Vicksburg and Pemberton's army. Burnside,
overjoyed, announced the great news to us who were near him, and
then stepped to the front of the box to make the whole audience
sharers in the pleasure. As soon as he was seen with the paper in
his hand, the house was hushed, and his voice rang through it as he
proclaimed the great victory and declared it a long stride toward
the restoration of the Union. The people went almost wild with
excitement, the men shouted hurrahs, the ladies waved their
handkerchiefs and clapped their hands, all rising to their feet. The
cheering was long as well as loud, and before it subsided the
excitement reached behind the stage. The curtain rose again, and
Susini came forward with a national flag in each hand, waving them
enthusiastically whilst his magnificent voice resounded in a
repetition of the song he had just sung, and which seemed as
appropriate as if it were inspired for the occasion,--

"Suoni la tromba, e intrepido
Io pugnerò da forte,
Bello è affrontar la morte,
Gridando libertà!"

The rejoicing and the cheers were repeated to the echo, and when at
last they subsided, the rest of the opera was only half listened to,
suppressed excitement filling every heart and the thought of the
great results to flow from the victories absorbing every mind.

Burnside reckoned with entire certainty on the immediate return of
the Ninth Corps, and planned to resume his expedition into East
Tennessee as soon as his old troops should reach him again. The
Morgan raid was just beginning, and no one anticipated its final
scope. In the dispatch from the Secretary of War which announced
Grant's great victory, Burnside was also told that the corps would
immediately return to him. In answering it on the 8th July, he said,
"I thought I was very happy at the success of General Grant and
General Meade, but I am still happier to hear of the speedy return
of the Ninth Corps." He informed Rosecrans of it on the same day,
adding, "I hope soon to be at work again." [Footnote: Official
Records, vol. xxiii. pt. ii. pp.522, 524.]

The Washington authorities very naturally and very properly wished
that the tide of success should be kept moving, and Secretary
Stanton had exhorted Rosecrans to further activity by saying, on the
7th, "You and your noble army now have the chance to give the
finishing blow to the rebellion. [Footnote: _Id_., p.518.] Will you
neglect the chance?" Rosecrans replied: "You do not appear to
observe the fact that this noble army has driven the rebels from
middle Tennessee, of which my dispatches advised you. I beg in
behalf of this army that the War Department may not overlook so
great an event because it is not written in letters of blood." He,
however, did not intimate any purpose of advancing. No doubt the
manoeuvering of Bragg out of his fortified positions at Shelbyville
and Tullahoma had been well done; but its chief value was that it
forced Bragg to meet the Army of the Cumberland in the open field if
the advantage should be promptly followed up. If he were allowed to
fortify another position, nothing would be gained but the ground the
army stood on. Had Rosecrans given any intimation of an early date
at which he could rebuild the Elk River bridge and resume active
operations, it would probably have relieved the strain so noticeable
in the correspondence between him and the War Department. He did
nothing of the kind, and the necessity of removing him from the
command was a matter of every-day discussion at Washington, as is
evident from the confidential letters Halleck sent to him. The
correspondence between the General-in-Chief and his subordinate is a
curious one. A number of the most urgent dispatches representing the
dissatisfaction of the President and the Secretary were accompanied
by private and confidential letters in which Halleck explains the
situation and strongly asserts his friendship for Rosecrans and the
error of the latter in assuming that personal hostility to himself
was at bottom of the reprimands sent him on account of his delays.
It was with good intentions that Halleck wrote thus, but the wisdom
of it is very questionable. It gave Rosecrans ground to assume that
the official dispatches were only the formal expression of the ideas
of the President and Secretary whilst the General-in-Chief did not
join in the condemnation of his dilatory mode of conducting the
campaign. To say to Rosecrans, as Halleck did on July 24th, "Whether
well founded or without any foundation, the dissatisfaction really
exists, and I deem it my duty as a friend to represent it to you
truly and fairly," [Footnote: Official Records, vol. xxiii. pt. ii.
pp. 552, 555, 601.] is to neglect his duty as commander of the whole
army to express his own judgment and to give orders which would have
the weight of his military position and presumed knowledge in
military matters. When, therefore, a few days later he gave
peremptory orders to begin an active advance, these orders were
interpreted in the light of the preceding correspondence, and lost
their force and vigor. They were met by querulous and insubordinate
inquiries whether they were intended to take away all discretion as
to details from the commander of an army in the field. [Footnote:
Aug. 4, _Id_., p. 592.] It has been argued that Rosecrans's weakness
of character consisted in a disposition to quarrel with those in
power over him, and that a spirit of contradiction thwarted the good
military conduct which his natural energy might have produced. I
cannot help reading his controversial correspondence in the light of
my personal observation of the man, and my conviction is that his
quarrelsome mode of dealing with the War Department was the result
of a real weakness of will and purpose which did not take naturally
to an aggressive campaign that involved great responsibilities and
risks. Being really indecisive in fixing his plan of campaign and
acting upon it, his infirmity of will was covered by a belligerence
in his correspondence. A really enterprising commander in the field
would have begun an active campaign in the spring before any
dissatisfaction was exhibited at Washington; and if he had a decided
purpose to advance at any reasonably early period, there was nothing
in the urgency shown by his superiors to make him abandon his
purpose. He might have made testy comments, but he would have acted.

Halleck's correspondence with Burnside in July is hard to
understand, unless we assume that it was so perfunctory that he did
not remember at one time what he said or did earlier. In a dispatch
to the General-in-Chief dated the 11th, Rosecrans had said, "It is
important to know if it will be practicable for Burnside to come in
on our left flank and hold the line of the Cumberland; if not, a
line in advance of it and east of us." [Footnote: Official Records,
vol. xxiii. pt. ii. p. 529.] It was already understood between
Rosecrans and Burnside that the latter would do this and more as
soon as he should have the Ninth Corps with him; and the dispatch
must be regarded as a variation on the form of excuses for inaction,
by suggesting that he was delayed by the lack of an understanding as
to co-operation by the Army of the Ohio. On receipt of Rosecrans's
dispatch, Halleck answered it on the 13th, saying, "General Burnside
has been frequently urged to move forward and cover your left by
entering East Tennessee. I do not know what he is doing. He seems
tied fast to Cincinnati." On the same day he telegraphed Burnside,
"I must again urge upon you the importance of moving forward into
East Tennessee, to cover Rosecrans's left." [Footnote: _Id_., p.
531.] It is possible that Burnside's telegraphic correspondence with
the Secretary of War was not known to Halleck, but it is hard to
believe that the latter was ignorant of the proportions the Morgan
raid had taken after the enemy had crossed the Ohio River. The 13th
of July was the day that Morgan marched from Indiana into Ohio and
came within thirteen miles of Cincinnati. Burnside was organizing
all the militia of southern Ohio, and was concentrating two
divisions of the Twenty-third Corps to catch the raiders. One of
these was on a fleet of steamboats which reached Cincinnati that
day, and the other, under Hobson, was in close pursuit of the enemy.
Where should Burnside have been, if not at Cincinnati? If the raid
had been left to the "militia and home guards," as Halleck afterward
said all petty raids should be, this, which was not a petty raid,
would pretty certainly have had results which would have produced
more discomfort at Washington than the idea that Burnside was "tied
fast to Cincinnati." Burnside was exactly where he ought to be, and
doing admirable work which resulted in the capture of the division
of 3000 rebel cavalry with its officers from the general in command
downward. That the General-in-Chief was entirely ignorant of what
was going on, when every intelligent citizen of the country was
excited over it and every newspaper was full of it, reflects far
more severely upon him than upon Burnside.

But this was by no means the whole. He forgot that when he stopped
Burnside's movement on 3d June to send the Ninth Corps to Grant, it
was with the distinct understanding that it prevented its resumption
till the corps should return. He had himself said that this should
be as early as possible, and meanwhile directed Burnside to
concentrate his remaining forces as much as he could. [Footnote:
Official Records, vol. xxiii. pt. ii. p.384.] Burnside had been told
on the 8th of July, without inquiry from him, that the corps was
coming back to him, and had immediately begun his preparation to
resume an active campaign as soon as it should reach him. Not
hearing of its being on the way, on the 18th he asked Halleck if
orders for its return had been given. To this dispatch no answer was
given, and it was probably pigeonholed and forgotten. Burnside
continued his campaign against Morgan, and on the 24th, when the
last combinations near Steubenville were closing the career of the
raider, Halleck again telegraphs that there must be no further delay
in the movement into East Tennessee, [Footnote: Official Records,
vol. xxiii. pt. ii. p.553.] and orders an immediate report of the
position and number of Burnside's troops organized for that purpose!
He was still ignorant, apparently, that there had been any occasion
to withdraw the troops in Kentucky from the positions near the
Cumberland River.

Burnside answered temperately, reciting the facts and reminding him
of the actual state of orders and correspondence, adding only, "I
should be glad to be more definitely instructed, if you think the
work can be better done." Morgan's surrender was on the 26th, and
Burnside immediately applied himself with earnest zeal to get his
forces back into Kentucky. Judah's division at Buffington was three
hundred miles from Cincinnati and five hundred from the place it had
left to begin the chase. Shackelford's mounted force was two hundred
miles further up the Ohio. This last was, as has been recited, made
up of detachments from all the divisions of the Twenty-third Corps,
and its four weeks of constant hard riding had used up men and
horses. These all had to be got back to the southern part of central
Kentucky and refitted, returned to their proper divisions, and
prepared for a new campaign. The General-in-Chief does not seem to
have had the slightest knowledge of these circumstances or

On the 28th another Confederate raid developed itself in southern
Kentucky, under General Scott. It seemed to be intended as a
diversion to aid Morgan to escape from Ohio, but failed to
accomplish anything. Scott advanced rapidly from the south with his
brigade, crossing the Cumberland at Williamsburg and moving through
London upon Richmond. [Footnote: Official Records, vol. xxiii. pt.
ii. p. 568.] Colonel Sanders endeavored to stop the enemy at
Richmond with about 500 men hastily collected, but was driven back.
He was ordered to Lexington and put in command of all the mounted
men which could be got together there, 2400 in all, and advanced
against Scott, who now retreated by Lancaster, Stanford, and
Somerset. At Lancaster the enemy was routed in a charge and 200 of
them captured. Following them up with vigor, their train was
destroyed and about 500 more prisoners were taken. At the Cumberland
River Sanders halted, having been without rations for four days. The
remnant of Scott's force had succeeded in crossing the river after
abandoning the train. Scott claimed to have taken and paroled about
200 prisoners in the first part of his raid, but such irregular
paroles of captured men who could not be carried off were
unauthorized and void. The actual casualties in Sanders's command
were trifling. [Footnote: _Id_., pt. i. pp. 828-843; pt. ii. pp.
568, 589.]

The effect of this last raid was still further to wear out
Burnside's mounted troops, but he pressed forward to the front all
his infantry and organized a column for advance. In less than a
week, on August 4, he was able to announce to the War Department
that he had 11,000 men concentrated at Lebanon, Stanford, and
Glasgow, with outposts on the Cumberland River, and that he could
possibly increase this to 12,000 by reducing some posts in guard of
the railway. [Footnote: _Id_., p. 591.] Upon this, Halleck gave to
Rosecrans peremptory orders for the immediate advance of the Army of
the Cumberland, directing him also to report daily the movement of
each corps till he should cross the Tennessee. On the next day
Burnside was ordered in like manner to advance with a column of
12,000 men upon Knoxville, on reaching which place he was to
endeavor to connect with the forces under Rosecrans. [Footnote:
Official Records, vol. xxiii. pt. ii. pp.592-593.] The dispatch
closed with what was called a repetition of a former order from the
Secretary of War for Burnside to leave Cincinnati and take command
of his moving column in person. Burnside had never dreamed of doing
anything else, as everybody near him knew, though he had in fact
been quite ill during the latter part of July. The mention of a
former order was another sheer blunder on General Halleck's part,
and Burnside indignantly protested against the imputation contained
in it. [Footnote: _Id_., pp.593, 594.] The truth seems to be that
Halleck was in such a condition of irritation over his
correspondence with Rosecrans, that nothing pertaining to the
Department of the Ohio was accurately placed in his mind or
accurately stated when he had occasion to refer to it. In cutting
the knot by peremptory orders to both armies to move, he was right,
and was justified in insisting that the little column of 12,000
under Burnside should start although it could only be got together
in greatest haste and with the lack of equipment occasioned by the
"wear and tear" of the operations against Morgan. If, in insisting
on this, he had recognized the facts and given Burnside and his
troops credit for the capture of the rebel raiders and the
concentration, in a week, of forces scattered over a distance of
nearly a thousand miles, no one would have had a right to criticise
him. The exigency fairly justified it. But to treat Burnside as if
he had been only enjoying himself in Cincinnati, and his troops all
quietly in camp along the Cumberland River through the whole
summer,--to ignore the absence of the Ninth Corps and his own
suspension of a movement already begun when he took it away,--to
assume in almost every particular a basis of fact absolutely
contrary to the reality and to telegraph censures for what had been
done, under his own orders or strictly in harmony with them,--all
this was doing a right thing in as absurdly wrong a way as was
possible. A gleam of humor and the light of common sense is thrown
over one incident, when Mr. Lincoln, seeing that Burnside had full
right from the dispatches to suppose the Ninth Corps was to come at
once to him from Vicksburg and that no one had given him any
explanation, himself telegraphed that the information had been based
on a statement from General Grant, who had not informed them why the
troops had not been sent. "General Grant," the President quaintly
added, "is a copious worker and fighter, but a very meagre writer or
telegrapher. No doubt he changed his purpose for some sufficient
reason, but has forgotten to notify us of it." [Footnote: Official
Records, vol. xxiii. pt. ii. p. 561.] The reference to copious work
as contrasted with the _copia verborum_ gains added point from a
dispatch of Halleck to Rosecrans, quite early in the season, in
which the latter is told that the cost of his telegraph dispatches
is "as much or perhaps more than that of all the other generals in
the field." [Footnote: _Id_., p. 255.] The form of the reference to
Grant enables us also to read between the lines the progress he was
making in reputation and in the President's confidence. He kept
"pegging away," and was putting brains as well as energy into his
work. The records show also that Burnside took the hint, whether
intended or not, and in this campaign did not err on the side of
copiousness in dispatches to Washington.

To avoid the delay which would be caused by the distribution of his
mounted force to the divisions they had originally been attached to,
Burnside organized these into a division under Brigadier-General S.
P. Carter, and an independent brigade under Colonel F. Wolford. He
also reorganized the infantry divisions of the Twenty-third Corps.
The first division, under Brigadier-General J. T. Boyle, was to
remain in Kentucky and protect the lines of communication. The
second was put under command of Brigadier-General M. D. Manson, and
the third under Brigadier-General M. S. Hascall. Each marching
division was organized into two brigades with a battery of artillery
attached to each brigade. Three batteries of artillery were in
reserve. [Footnote: Official Records, vol. xxx. pt. ii. pp.

On the 11th of August General Burnside went to Hickman's Bridge, and
the forward movement was begun. [Footnote: _Id_., pt. iii. p. 16.
Hickman's Bridge, as has already been mentioned, was at the terminus
of the Central Kentucky Railroad. There, on the bank of the Kentucky
River, Burnside made a fortified depot from which his wagon trains
should start as a base for the supply system of his army in East
Tennessee. It was called Camp Nelson in honor of the dead Kentucky
general.] At this date the Confederate forces in East Tennessee
under General Buckner numbered 14,733 "present for duty," with an
"aggregate present" of 2000 or 3000 more. Conscious that the column
of 12,000 which Halleck had directed him to start with was less than
the hostile forces in the Holston valley, Burnside reduced to the
utmost the garrisons and posts left behind him. Fortunately the
advanced division of the Ninth Corps returning from Vicksburg
reached Cincinnati on the 12th, and although the troops were wholly
unfit for active service by reason of malarial diseases contracted
on the "Yazoo," they could relieve some of the Kentucky garrisons,
and Burnside was thus enabled to increase his moving column to about
15,000 men. The earlier stages of the advance were slow, as the
columns were brought into position to take up their separate lines
of march and organize their supply trains for the road. On the 20th
Hanson's division was at Columbia, Hascall's was at Stanford,
Carter's cavalry division was at Crab Orchard, and independent
brigades of cavalry under Colonels Wolford and Graham were at
Somerset and Glasgow. [Footnote: _Id_., pt. ii. p. 548.] On that day
orders were issued for the continuous march. General Julius White
relieved Manson in command of the second division, and the two
infantry divisions were to move on Montgomery, Tenn., Hascall's by
way of Somerset, Chitwoods, and Huntsville, and White's by way of
Creelsboro, Albany, and Jamestown. Carter's cavalry, which covered
the extreme left flank, marched through Mt. Vernon and London to
Williamsburg, where it forded the Cumberland, thence over the
Jellico Mountains to Chitwoods where it became the advance of
Hascall's column to Montgomery. [Footnote: Official Records, vol.
xxx. pt. ii. p. 548.] At this point the columns were united and all
moved together through Emory Gap upon Kingston. Burnside accompanied
the cavalry in person, and sent two detachments, one to go by way of
Big Creek Gap to make a demonstration on Knoxville, and the other
through Winter's Gap for the same purpose of misleading the enemy as
to his line of principal movement.

[Illustration: Map of East Tennessee.]

Nothing could be more systematic and vigorous than the march of
Burnside's columns. [Footnote: _Id_., p. 569.] They made from
fifteen to twenty or twenty-five miles a day with the regularity of
clock-work, though the route in many parts of it was most difficult.
There were mountains to climb and narrow gorges to thread. Streams
were to be forded, roads were to be repaired and in places to be
made anew. On the 1st of September Burnside occupied Kingston,
having passed through Emory Gap into East Tennessee and communicated
with Crittenden's corps of Rosecrans's army. [Footnote: Itinerary,
Official Records, vol. xxx. pt. ii. pp. 576-578.] Here he learned
that upon the development of the joint plan of campaign of the
National commanders, Bragg had withdrawn Buckner's forces south of
the Tennessee at Loudon, there making them the right flank of his
army about Chattanooga. There was, however, one exception in
Buckner's order to withdraw. Brigadier-General John W. Frazer was
left at Cumberland Gap with 2500 men, and though Buckner had on
August 30th ordered him to destroy his material and retreat into
Virginia, joining the command of Major-General Samuel Jones, this
order was withdrawn on Frazer's representation of his ability to
hold the place and that he had rations for forty days. [Footnote:
Official Records, vol. xxx. pt. ii. p. 608.] There being therefore
no troops in East Tennessee to oppose its occupation, Burnside's
advance-guard entered Knoxville on the 3d of September. Part of the
Twenty-third Corps had been sent toward London on the 2d, and upon
their approach the enemy burned the great railroad bridge at that
place. A light-draught steamboat was building at Kingston, and this
was captured and preserved. [Footnote: _Id_., pt. iii. p. 333.] It
played a useful part subsequently in the transportation of supplies
when the wagon-trains were broken down and the troops were reduced
nearly to starvation. No sooner was Burnside in Knoxville than he
put portions of his army in motion for Cumberland Gap, sixty miles
northward. He had already put Colonel John F. DeCourcey (Sixteenth
Ohio Infantry) in command of new troops arriving in Kentucky, and
ordered him to advance against the fortifications of the gap on the
north side. General Shackelford was sent with his cavalry from
Knoxville, but when Burnside learned that DeCourcey and he were not
strong enough to take the place, he left Knoxville in person with
Colonel Samuel Gilbert's brigade of infantry and made the sixty-mile
march in fifty-two hours. Frazer had refused to surrender on the
summons of the subordinates; but when Burnside arrived and made the
demand in person, he despaired of holding out and on the 9th of
September surrendered the garrison. A considerable number got away
by scattering after the flag was hauled down, but 2,205 men laid
down their arms, and twelve pieces of cannon were also among the
spoils. [Footnote: _Id_., pt. ii. pp. 548, 599, 604, 611.]
DeCourcey's troops were left to garrison the fortifications, and the
rest were sent to occupy the upper valley of the Holston toward the
Virginia line.

On the 10th, and while still at Cumberland Gap, Burnside received a
dispatch from General Crittenden with the news that he was in
possession of Chattanooga, that Bragg had retreated toward Rome,
Ga., and that Rosecrans hoped with his centre and right to intercept
the enemy at Rome, which was sixty miles south of Chattanooga.
[Footnote: Official Records, vol. xxx. pt. iii. p. 523.] Everything
was therefore most promising on the south, and Burnside had only to
provide for driving back the Confederates under Jones, at the
Virginia line, a hundred and thirty miles northeast of Knoxville. It
becomes important here to estimate these distances rightly.
Knoxville is a hundred and eleven miles distant from Chattanooga by
the railroad, and more by the country roads. From Bristol on the
northeast to Chattanooga on the southwest is two hundred and
forty-two miles, which measures the length of that part of the
Holston and Tennessee valley known as East Tennessee. If Rosecrans
were at Rome, as General Crittenden's dispatch indicated, he was
more than a hundred and seventy miles distant from Knoxville, and
nearly three hundred miles from the region about Greeneville and the
Watauga River, whose crossing would be the natural frontier of the
upper valley, if Burnside should not be able to extend his
occupation quite to the Virginia line. It will be seen therefore
that the progress of the campaign had necessarily made Rosecrans's
and Burnside's lines of operation widely divergent, and they were
far beyond supporting distance of each other, since there was no
railway communication between them, and could not be for a long
time. Burnside captured some locomotives and cars at Knoxville; but
bridges had been destroyed to such an extent that these were of
little use to him, for the road could be operated but a short
distance in either direction and the amount of rolling stock was, at
most, very little. Complete success for Rosecrans, with the
reopening and repair of the whole line from Nashville through
Chattanooga, including the rebuilding of the great bridge at London,
were the essential conditions of further co-operation between the
two armies, and of the permanent existence of Burnside's in East

Efforts had been made to extend the lines of telegraph as Burnside
advanced, [Footnote: Official Records, vol. xxx. pt. ii. p. 574; pt.
iii. p. 717.] but it took some time to do this, and even when the
wires were up there occurred a difficulty in making the electric
circuit, so that through all the critical part of the Chickamauga
campaign, Burnside had to communicate by means of so long a line of
couriers that three days was the actual time of transmittal of
dispatches between himself and Washington. [Footnote: _Id_., pt.
iii. p. 718.] The news from Rosecrans on the 10th was so reassuring
that Burnside's plain duty was to apply himself to clearing the
upper valley of the enemy, and then to further the great object of
his expedition by giving the loyal inhabitants the means of
self-government, and encouraging them to organize and arm themselves
with the weapons which his wagon trains were already bringing from
Kentucky. He had also to provide for his supplies, and must use the
good weather of the early autumn to the utmost, for the long roads
over the mountains would be practically impassable in winter. The
route from Kentucky by way of Cumberland Gap was the shortest, and,
on the whole, the easiest, and a great system of transportation by
trains under escort was put in operation. The camp at Cumberland Gap
could give this protection through the mountain district, and made a
convenient stopping-place in the weary way when teams broke down or
had to be replaced. Other roads were also used whilst they seemed to
be safe, and the energies and resources of the quartermaster's
department were strained to the utmost to bring forward arms,
ammunition for cannon and muskets, food and medical supplies, and
all the munitions of war. The roads were covered with herds of
beeves and swine, and feeding stations for these were established
and the forage had to be drawn to them, for nothing could be got,
along the greater part of the route. Burnside hoped that the railway
by Chattanooga would be put in repair and be open before winter
should shut in, but he very prudently acted on the principle of
making the most of his present means. It was well he did so, for
otherwise his little army would have been starved before the winter
was half over.

From Cumberland Gap the courier line was sixty miles shorter than
from Knoxville, and the first dispatches of Burnside announcing his
capture of Frazer's troops reached Washington more quickly than
later ones. At noon of the 11th Mr. Lincoln answered it with hearty
congratulations and thanks. This was quickly followed by a
congratulatory message from Halleck accompanied by formal orders.
[Footnote: Official Records, vol. xxx. pt. iii. p. 555.] These last
only recapitulated the points in Burnside's further operations and
administration which were the simplest deductions from the
situation. Burnside was to hold the country eastward to the gaps of
the North Carolina mountains (the Great Smokies) and the valley of
the Holston up to the Virginia line. Halleck used the phrase "the
line of the Holston," which would be absurd, and was probably only a
slip of the pen. The exact strength of General Jones, the
Confederate commander in southwestern Virginia, was not known, but,
to preserve his preponderance, Burnside could not prudently send
less than a division of infantry and a couple of brigades of cavalry
to the vicinity of Rogersville or Greeneville and the railroad
crossing of the Watauga. This would be just about half his available
force. The other division was at first divided, one of the two
brigades being centrally placed at Knoxville, and the other at
Sevierville, thirty miles up the French Broad River, where it
covered the principal pass over the Smokies to Asheville, N. C. The
rest of his cavalry was at London and Kingston, where it covered the
north side of the Tennessee River and communicated with Rosecrans's
outposts above Chattanooga.

Halleck further informed Burnside that the Secretary of War directed
him to raise all the volunteers he could in East Tennessee and to
select officers for them. If he had not already enough arms and
equipments he could order them by telegraph. As to Rosecrans, the
General-in-Chief stated that he would occupy Dalton or some other
point south of Chattanooga, closing the enemy's line from Atlanta,
and when this was done, the question would be settled whether the
whole would move eastward into Virginia or southward into Georgia
and Alabama. [Footnote: Official Records, vol. xxx. pt. iii. p.
555.] Burnside's present work being thus cut out for him, he set
himself about it with the cordial earnestness which marked his
character. He had suggested the propriety of his retiring as soon as
the surrender of Frazer had made his occupation of East Tennessee an
assured success, but he had not formally asked to be relieved.
[Footnote: _Id_., p. 523.] His reasons for doing so dated back to
the Fredericksburg campaign, in part; for he had believed that his
alternative then presented to the government, that he should be
allowed to dismiss insubordinate generals or should himself resign,
ought to have been accepted. His case had some resemblance to Pope's
when the administration approved his conduct and his courage but
retired him and restored McClellan to command, in deference to the
supposed sentiment of the Army of the Potomac. Halleck's persistent
ignoring of the officially recorded causes of the delay in this
campaign, and his assumption that the Morgan raid was not an
incident of any importance in Burnside's responsibilities, had not
tended to diminish the latter's sense of discomfort in dealing with
army head-quarters. A debilitating illness gave some added force to
his other reasons, which, however, we who knew him well understood
to be the decisive ones with him. [Footnote: Official Records, vol.
xxx. pt. iii. p. 523; vol. xxxi. pt. i. p. 757.] Mr. Lincoln's
sincere friendship and confidence he never doubted, but his nature
could not fully appreciate the President's policy of bending to
existing circumstances when current opinion was contrary to his own,
so that he might save his strength for more critical action at
another time. Burnside had now the _éclat_ of success in a campaign
which was very near the heart of the President and full of interest
for the Northern people. This, he felt, was a time when he could
retire with honor. Mr. Lincoln postponed action in the kindest and
most complimentary words, [Footnote: _Id_., vol. xxx. pt. iii. p.
554. "Yours received. A thousand thanks for the late successes you
have given us. We cannot allow you to resign until things shall be a
little more settled in East Tennessee. If then, purely on your own
account you wish to resign, we will not further refuse you."] and
when he finally assigned another to command the department, did not
allow Burnside to resign, but laid out other work for him where his
patriotism and his courage could be of use to the country.

The advent of the army into East Tennessee was, to its loyal people,
a resurrection from the grave. Their joy had an exultation which
seemed almost beyond the power of expression. Old men fell down
fainting and unconscious under the stress of their emotions as they
saw the flag at the head of the column and tried to cheer it! Women
wept with happiness as their husbands stepped out of the ranks of
the loyal Tennessee regiments when these came marching by the home.
[Footnote: Temple's East Tennessee and the Civil War, pp. 476, 478.
Humes's The Loyal Mountaineers, pp. 211, 218.] These men had
gathered in little recruiting camps on the mountain-sides and had
found their way to Kentucky, travelling by night and guided by the
pole-star, as the dark-skinned fugitives from bondage had used to
make their way to freedom. Their families had been marked as
traitors to the Confederacy, and had suffered sharpest privations
and cruel wrong on account of the absence of the husband and father,
the brother, or the son. Now it was all over, and a jubilee began in
those picturesque valleys in the mountains, which none can
understand who had not seen the former despair and the present
revulsion of happiness. The mountain coves and nooks far up toward
the Virginia line had been among the most intense in loyalty to the
nation. Andrew Johnson's home was at Greeneville, and he was now the
loyal provisional governor of Tennessee, soon to be nominated
Vice-President of the United States. General Carter, who had asked
to be transferred from the navy to organize the refugee loyalists
into regiments, was a native of the same region. It was at the
Watauga that the neighboring opponents of secession had given the
first example of daring self-sacrifice in burning the railway
bridge. For this they were hanged, and their memory was revered by
the loyal men about them, as was Nathan Hale's by our revolutionary
fathers. East Tennessee was full of such loyalty, but here were good
reasons why Burnside should push his advance at least to the
Watauga, and if possible to the Virginia line. His sympathies were
all alive for this people. The region, he telegraphed the President,
is as loyal as any State of the North. [Footnote: Official Records,
vol. xxx. pt. iii. p. 523.] It threw off all disguise, it blossomed
with National flags, it took no counsel of prudence, it refused to
think of a return of Confederate soldiers and Confederate rule as a
possibility. It exulted in every form of defiance to the Richmond
government and what had been called treason to the Confederate
States. The people had a religious faith that God would not abandon
them or suffer them to be again abandoned. If such an incredible
wrong were to happen, they must either leave their country in mass,
or they must be ready to die. They could see no other alternative.



Organizing and arming the loyalists--Burnside concentrates near
Greeneville--His general plan--Rumors of Confederate
reinforcements--Lack of accurate information--The Ninth Corps in
Kentucky--Its depletion by malarial disease--Death of General Welsh
from this cause--Preparing for further work--Situation on 16th
September-Dispatch from Halleck--Its apparent purpose--Necessity to
dispose of the enemy near Virginia border--Burnside personally at
the front--His great activity--Ignorance of Rosecrans's
peril--Impossibility of joining him by the 20th--Ruinous effects of
abandoning East Tennessee--Efforts to aid Rosecrans without such
abandonment--Enemy duped into burning Watauga bridge
themselves--Ninth Corps arriving--Willcox's division garrisons
Cumberland Gap--Reinforcements sent Rosecrans from all
quarters--Chattanooga made safe from attack--The supply
question--Meigs's description of the roads--Burnside halted near
Loudon--Halleck's misconception of the geography--The people
imploring the President not to remove the troops--How Longstreet got
away from Virginia--Burnside's alternate plans--Minor operations in
upper Holston valley--Wolford's affair on the lower Holston.

For a week after the capture of Cumberland Gap Burnside devoted
himself to the pleasing task of organizing the native loyalists into
a National Guard for home defence, issuing arms to them upon
condition that they should, as a local militia, respond to his call
and reinforce for temporary work his regular forces whenever the
need should arise. The detailed reports from the upper valley
reported the enemy under Jones at first to be 4000, and later to be
6000 strong. These estimates came through cool-headed and prudent
officers, and were based upon information brought in by loyal men
who had proven singularly accurate in their knowledge throughout the
campaign. Point was added to these reports by the experience of one
of his regiments. A detachment of 300 men of the One Hundredth Ohio
had been sent to support a cavalry reconnoissance near Limestone
Station on the railroad, whilst Burnside was investing Cumberland
Gap, and these had been surrounded and forced to surrender by the
enemy. This showed the presence of a considerable body of
Confederates in the upper valley, and that they were bold and
aggressive. It was the part of prudence to act upon this
information, and Burnside ordered all his infantry except one
brigade to march toward Greeneville. Two brigades of cavalry were
already there, and his purpose was to concentrate about 6000
infantry, try to obtain a decisive engagement with the Confederates,
and to punish them so severely that the upper valley would be safe,
for a time at least, from invasion by them, so that he might be free
to withdraw most of his troops to co-operate with Rosecrans in a
Georgia campaign, if that alternative in Halleck's plans should be
adopted. He felt the importance of this the more, as the news
received from Virginia mentioned the movement of railway
rolling-stock to the East to bring, as rumor had it, Ewell's corps
from Lee to reinforce Jones. [Footnote: Official Records, vol. xxx.
pt. iii. pp. 661, 717.] The sending of the railway trains was a
fact, but the object, as it turned out, was to transport
Longstreet's corps to reinforce Bragg. [Footnote: _Id_., p. 731.] Of
this, however, Burnside had no intimation, and must act upon the
information which came to him.

The Ninth Corps began to arrive at Cincinnati from Vicksburg on the
12th of August, half of it coming then, and the second division
arriving on the 20th. It was reduced to 6000 by casualties and by
sickness, and was in a pitiable condition. Being made up of troops
which had served in the East, the men were not acclimated to the
Mississippi valley, and in the bayous and marshes about Vicksburg
had suffered greatly. Malarial fevers ate out their vitality, and
even those who reported for duty dragged themselves about, the mere
shadows of what they had been. General Parke reported their arrival
and was then obliged to go upon sick-leave himself. General Welsh,
who had distinguished himself at Antietam, reported that his
division must recuperate for a few weeks before it could take the
field. He made a heroic effort to remain on duty, but died suddenly
on the 14th, and his loss was deeply felt by the corps. [Footnote:
Official Records, vol. xxx. pt. iii. p. 45.] Potter's division was
as badly off as Welsh's, and both were for a short time scattered at
healthful camps in the Kentucky hills. Each camp was, at first, a
hospital; but the change of climate and diet rapidly restored the
tone of the hardy soldiery.

General Willcox, who commanded the Indiana district, belonged to the
corps, and asked to be returned to duty with it. He was allowed to
do so on the 11th of September, and the War Department sent with him
a new division of Indiana troops which had been recruited and
organized during the summer. Burnside had ordered recruits and new
regiments to rendezvous in Kentucky, and prepared to bring them as
well as the Ninth Corps forward as soon as the latter should be fit
to march. Every camp and station at the rear was full of busy
preparation during the last of August and the beginning of
September, and at the front the general himself was now
concentrating his little forces to strike a blow near the Virginia
line which would make him free to move afterward in any direction
the General-in-Chief should determine.

On the 16th of September Hascall's division was echeloned along the
road from Morristown back toward Knoxville; White's division passed
Knoxville, moving up the valley to join Hascall. Hartsuff, who
commanded the Twenty-third Corps, had been disabled for field work
by trouble from his old wounds and was at Knoxville. Burnside was
also there, intending to go rapidly forward and overtake his
infantry as soon as they should approach Greeneville. In the night
the courier brought him a dispatch from Halleck, [Footnote: Official
Records, vol. xxx. pt. iii. p. 617.] dated the 13th, directing a
rapid movement of all his forces in Kentucky toward East Tennessee,
where the whole Army of the Ohio was to be concentrated as soon as
possible. [Footnote: _Id_., pt. ii. p. 550.] He also directed
Burnside to move his infantry toward Chattanooga, giving as a reason
that Bragg might manoeuvre to turn Rosecrans's right, and in that
case Rosecrans would want to hand Chattanooga over to Burnside so
that he himself could move the whole Army of the Cumberland to meet

There was nothing in this dispatch which intimated that Rosecrans
was in any danger, nor was Burnside informed that Bragg had been
reinforced by Longstreet's corps. On the other hand, his information
looked to Ewell's joining Jones against himself. The object Halleck
had in view seemed to be to get the Ninth Corps and other troops now
in Kentucky into East Tennessee as rapidly as possible, and then to
move the whole Army of the Ohio down toward Rosecrans. It certainly
could not be that he wished Cumberland Gap abandoned, and the trains
and detachments coming through it from Kentucky left to the tender
mercies of Jones and his Confederates, who could capture them at
their leisure and without a blow. It was equally incredible that the
government could wish to stop the organization of the loyalists just
as weapons were being distributed to them, and to abandon them to
the enemy when their recent open demonstrations in favor of the
Union would make their condition infinitely worse than if our troops
had never come to them. The rational interpretation, and the one
Burnside gave it, was that the alternative which had been stated in
the earlier dispatch of the 11th had been settled in favor of a
general movement southward instead of eastward, and that this made
it all the more imperative that he should disembarrass himself of
General Jones and establish a line on the upper Holston which a
small force could hold, whilst he with the rest of the two corps
should move southward as soon as the Ninth Corps could make the
march from Kentucky. This was exactly what General Schofield did in
the next spring when he was ordered to join Sherman with the Army of
the Ohio; and I do not hesitate to say that it was the only thing
which an intelligent military man on the ground and knowing the
topography would think of doing. To make a panicky abandonment of
the country and of the trains and detachments _en route_ to it,
would have been hardly less disgraceful than a surrender of the
whole. To Burnside's honor and credit it should be recorded that he
did not dream of doing it. He strained every nerve to hasten the
movement of his troops so as to get through with his little campaign
against Jones by the time the Ninth Corps could come from Kentucky,
and if he could accomplish it within that limit, he would have the
right to challenge the judgment of every competent critic, whether
he had not done that which became a good soldier and a good general.

On the 17th of September the concentration of Burnside's infantry
toward Greeneville had so far progressed that he was preparing to go
personally to the front and lead them against the enemy. It is
noticeable in the whole campaign that he took this personal
leadership and activity on himself. In Hartsuff's condition of
health it would have been within the ordinary methods of action that
the next in rank should assume command of the Twenty-third Corps,
and that the department commander should remain at his headquarters
at Knoxville. But Hartsuff was able to attend to office business,
and so Burnside practically exchanged places with him, leaving his
subordinate with discretion to direct affairs in the department at
large, whilst he himself did the field work with his troops. He had
done it at Cumberland Gap when he received the surrender of Frazer;
he was doing it now, and he was to do it again, still later, when he
met Longstreet's advance at the crossing of the Holston River.

In preparation for an absence of some days, he wrote, on the date
last mentioned, a long dispatch to General Halleck, in the nature of
a report of the state of affairs at that date. [Footnote: Official
Records, vol. xxx. pt. iii. p. 717.] He explained the failure of the
telegraph and the efforts that were making to get it in working
order. He gave the situation of the troops and stated his purpose to
attack the enemy. He noticed the report of Ewell's coming against
him and promised stout resistance, finding satisfaction in the
thought that it would give Meade the opportunity to strike a
decisive blow against Lee's reduced army. He reported the condition
of his trains and cattle droves on the road from Kentucky, and the
contact of his cavalry in the south part of the valley with
Rosecrans's outposts. The bridge over the Hiwassee at Calhoun, he
said, could be finished in ten days, and the steamboat at Kingston
would soon be completed and ready for use. All this promised better
means of supply at an early day, though at present "twenty-odd cars"
were all the means of moving men or supplies on the portion of the
railroad within his control.

Later in the same day he received Halleck's dispatch of the 14th,
which said it was believed the enemy would concentrate to give
Rosecrans battle, and directed him to reinforce the latter with all
possible speed. [Footnote: Burnside's dispatches of the 17th in
answer to Halleck's seem to show that both those of 13th and 14th
were received by him after he had written the long one in the
morning. The internal evidence supports this idea, and his second
dispatch on the 17th acknowledges the receipt of Halleck's two
together. Official Records, vol. xxx. pt. iii. p. 718. In his
official report, however, Burnside says the dispatch of 13th was
received "on the night of the 16th" (Official Records, vol. xxx. pt.
ii. p. 550), and I have followed this statement, although his report
was not written till November, 1865, when lapse of time might easily
give rise to an error in so trifling a detail. The matter is of no
real consequence in the view I have taken of the situation.] Still,
no information was given of the movement of Longstreet to join
Bragg, and indeed it was only on the 15th that Halleck gave the news
to Rosecrans as reliable. [Footnote: Official Records, xxx. pt. ii.
p. 643.] Burnside must therefore regard the enemy concentrating in
Georgia as only the same which Rosecrans had been peremptorily
ordered to attack and which he had been supposed to be strong enough
to cope with. No time was stated at which the battle in Georgia
would probably occur. To hasten the work in hand, to put affairs at
the Virginia line in condition to be left as soon as might be, and
then to speed his forces toward Chattanooga to join in the Georgia
campaign, was plainly Burnside's duty. If it would be too rash for
Rosecrans to give battle without reinforcements, that officer was
competent to manoeuvre his army in retreat and take a defensible
position till his reinforcements could come. That course would be
certainly much wiser than to abandon East Tennessee to the enemy,
with all the consequences of such an act, quite as bad as the loss
of a battle. As matters turned out, even such instantaneous and
ruinous abandonment would not have helped Rosecrans. It was now the
afternoon of the 17th of September. The battle of Chickamauga was to
begin in the early morning of the 19th and to end disastrously on
the 20th. One full day for the marching of troops was all that
intervened, or two at most, if they were only to reach the field
upon the second day of the battle. And where were Burnside's men?
One division at Greeneville and above, more than two hundred miles
from Chattanooga, and the other near New Market and Morristown, a
hundred and fifty miles. Burnside's "twenty-odd cars" were confined
to a section of the railroad less than eighty miles long, and could
hardly carry the necessary baggage and ammunition even for that
fraction of the way. The troops must march, and could not by any
physical possibility make a quarter of the distance before
Rosecrans's fate at Chickamauga should be decided. The authorities
at Washington must bear the responsibility for complete ignorance of
these conditions, or, what would be equally bad, a forgetfulness of
them in a moment of panic.

But Burnside did not know and could not guess that a battle was to
be fought so soon. All he could do was to prepare to carry out the
wishes of the War Department as speedily as could be, without the
total ruin of East Tennessee and all he had accomplished. Such ruin
might come by the fate of war if he were driven out by superior
force, but he would have been rightly condemned if it had come by
his precipitate abandonment of the country. He did more to carry out
Halleck's wish than was quite prudent. He stopped the troops which
had not yet reached Greeneville and ordered a countermarch. He
hastened up the country to make the attack upon the Confederates
with the force he already had in their presence, and then to bring
the infantry back at once, hoping the cavalry could hold in check a
defeated enemy.

The necessity of delivering a blow at General Jones was afterwards
criticised by Halleck, but it was in accordance with the sound rules
of conducting war. To have called back his troops without a fight
would have been to give the enemy double courage by his retreat, and
his brigades would have been chased by the exulting foe. They would
either have been forced to halt and fight their pursuers under every
disadvantage of loss of prestige and of the initiative, or have made
a precipitate flight which would have gone far to ruin the whole
command as well as the Tennessee people they had just liberated. It
is true that this involved an advance from Greeneville upon
Jonesboro, but the cavalry were already in contact with the enemy
near there, and this was the only successful mode of accomplishing
his purpose. [Footnote: Messrs. Nicolay and Hay, in their "Life of
Lincoln," give the draft of a letter to Burnside which Mr. Lincoln
wrote but did not send, in which he expressed his surprise that
Burnside should be moving toward Virginia when they at Washington
were so anxious to have him in Georgia. Mr. Lincoln's judgments of
military affairs were excellent when he was fully possessed of the
facts; and I have elaborated somewhat my statement of the
circumstances in East Tennessee, and of the distances, etc., to show
how little they were known or understood in Washington. Nicolay and
Hay's Lincoln, vol. viii. p. 166.]

Making use of the portion of the railroad which could be operated,
Burnside reached Greeneville on the 18th and rode rapidly to
Jonesboro. On the 19th a brigade of cavalry under Colonel Foster
attacked the enemy at Bristol, defeated them, tore up the railroad,
and destroyed the bridges two miles above the town. [Footnote:
Official Records, vol. xxx. pt. ii. p. 592.] Foster then returned to
Blountsville, and marched on the next day to Hall's Ford on the
Watauga, where, after a skirmishing fight lasting several hours, he
again dislodged the enemy, capturing about fifty prisoners and a
piece of artillery with slight loss to himself. These were flanking
movements designed to distract the attention of the enemy whilst
Burnside concentrated most of his force in front of their principal
position at Carter's Station, where the most important of the
railway bridges in that region crosses the Watauga. To impress his
opponent with the belief that he meant to make an extended campaign,
Burnside, on the 22d, notified Jones to remove the non-combatants
from the villages of the upper valley. Foster's brigade of cavalry
was again sent to demonstrate on the rear, whilst Burnside
threatened in front with the infantry. The enemy now evacuated the
position and retreated, first burning the bridge. This was what
Burnside desired, and the means of resuming railway communication to
support an advance toward Knoxville being taken from the
Confederates for a considerable time, he was now able to put all his
infantry except two regiments in march for Knoxville. A brigade of
cavalry with this small infantry support at Bull's Gap was entrusted
with the protection of this region, and by the help of the home
guards of loyal men, was able to hold it during the operations of
the next fortnight. Burnside's purpose had been, if he had not been
interrupted, to have pressed the Confederates closely with a
sufficient force in front to compel a retreat, whilst he intercepted
them with the remainder of his army, moving by a shorter line from
Blountsville. He made, however, the best of the situation, and
having driven the enemy over the State line and disengaged his own
troops, he was free to concentrate the greater part of them for
operations at the other end of the valley.

The Ninth Corps was now beginning to arrive, and was ordered to
rendezvous first at Knoxville. Willcox had assembled his division of
new troops, mostly Indianans, and marched with them to Cumberland
Gap, where he relieved the garrison of that post, and was himself
entrusted by Burnside with the command of that portion of the
department, covering the upper valleys of the Clinch and Holston as
well as the lines of communication with Cincinnati and the Ohio

In the days immediately preceding the battle of Chickamauga, Halleck
had urged reinforcements forward toward Rosecrans from all parts of
the West. Pope in Minnesota, Schofield in Missouri, Hurlbut at
Memphis, and Sherman at Vicksburg had all been called upon for help,
and all had put bodies of troops in motion, though the distances
were great and the effect was a little too much like the proverbial
one of locking the stable door after the horse had been stolen. As
there was no telegraphic communication with Burnside, the
General-in-Chief gave orders through the adjutant-general's office
in Cincinnati directly to the Ninth Corps and to the detachments of
the Twenty-third Corps remaining or assembling in Kentucky, to march
at once into East Tennessee. An advisory supervision of the
department offices in Cincinnati had been left with me, and Captain
Anderson, the assistant adjutant-general, issued orders in General
Burnside's name after consultation with me. General Parke cut short
his sick-leave, and, though far from strong, assumed command of the
Ninth Corps and began the march for Cumberland Gap. The guards for
the railways and necessary posts were reduced to the lowest limits
of safety, and every available regiment was hurried to the front.

By the end of September Burnside's forces were pretty well
concentrated between Knoxville and Loudon, the crossing of the
Holston River. It had now been learned that Bragg's army had
suffered even more than Rosecrans's in the battle of Chickamauga,
and notwithstanding the rout of the right wing of the Cumberland
Army, the stubborn fighting of the centre and left wing under Thomas
had made the enemy willing to admit that they had not won a decisive
victory. Our army was within its lines at Chattanooga, and these had
been so strengthened that General Meigs, who had been sent out in
haste as a special envoy of the War Department, reported to Mr.
Stanton on the 27th of September that the position was very strong,
being practically secure against an assault, and that the army was
hearty, cheerful, and confident. [Footnote: Official Records, vol.
xxx. pt. iii. p. 890.] Meigs was himself a distinguished officer of
the Engineer Corps as well as quartermaster-general, and the weight
of his opinion at once restored confidence in Washington. He saw at
a glance that the only perilous contingency was the danger of
starvation, for the wagon roads over the mountains on the north side
of the Tennessee were most difficult at best, and soon likely to
become impassable. The army was safe from the enemy till it chose to
resume the offensive, provided it could be fed. He concluded his
dispatch by saying, "Of the rugged nature of this region I had no
conception when I left Washington. I never travelled on such roads
before." [Footnote: Official Records, vol. xxx. pt. iii. p. 890.] It
was only too evident that Halleck shared this ignorance, and had
added to it a neglect to estimate the distances over these mountains
and through these valleys, and the relations of the points, he
directed Burnside to hold, with the immediate theatre of Rosecrans's

On the same date as Meigs's report, Burnside was also sending a full
statement of his situation and an explanation of his conduct.
[Footnote: _Id_., p. 904.] The telegraphic communication was opened
just as he finished his dispatch, and for the first time he had the
means of rapid intercourse with army headquarters. He patiently
explained the misconceptions and cross purposes of the preceding
fortnight, and showed how impossible and how ruinous would have been
any other action than that which he took. Halleck had said that it
would now be necessary to move the Army of the Ohio along the north
side of the Tennessee till it should be opposite Chattanooga and
reinforce Rosecrans in that way. Burnside pointed out that this
would open the heart of East Tennessee to Bragg's cavalry or
detachments from his army. He offered to take the bolder course of
moving down the south side of the rivers, covering Knoxville and the
valley as he advanced.

Mr. Lincoln replied by authorizing Burnside to hold his present
positions, sending Rosecrans, in his own way, what help he could
spare. [Footnote: _Id_., p. 905.] Halleck's answer was an amazing
proof that he had never comprehended the campaign. He reiterated
that Burnside's orders, before leaving Kentucky and continuously
since, had been "to connect your right with General Rosecrans's
left, so that if the enemy concentrated on one, the other would be
able to assist." [Footnote: _Id_., p. 906.] If this meant anything,
it meant that Burnside was to keep within a day's march of
Rosecrans; for two days was more than enough to fight out a battle
like Chickamauga. Yet he and everybody else knew that Burnside's
supply route from Kentucky was through Cumberland Gap, and he had
warmly applauded when Burnside turned that position, and by
investing it in front and rear, had forced Frazer to surrender. He
had explicitly directed Burnside to occupy and hold the upper
Holston valley nearly or quite to the Virginia line, and one gets
weary of repeating that between these places and Chattanooga was a
breadth of two hundred miles of the kind of country Meigs had
described and more than ten days of hard marching. His present
orders are equally blind. Burnside is directed to reinforce
Rosecrans with "all your available force," yet "East Tennessee must
be held at all hazards, if possible." To "hold at all hazards" might
be understood, but what is the effect of the phrase "if possible"?
It must amount in substance to authority to do exactly what Burnside
was doing,--to hold East Tennessee with as small means as he thought
practicable, and to reinforce Rosecrans with what he could spare.

It was, on the whole, fortunate for the country that Burnside was
not in telegraphic communication with Washington sooner. Had he been
actually compelled to abandon East Tennessee on the 13th or 14th of
September, incalculable mischief would have followed. The Ninth
Corps was _en route_ for Cumberland Gap, and it with all the trains
and droves on the road must either have turned back or pushed on
blindly with no probability of effecting a junction with the
Twenty-third Corps. Even as it was, the terror in East Tennessee,
when it became known that they were likely to be abandoned, was
something fearful. Public and private men united in passionate
protests, and the common people stood aghast. Two of the most
prominent citizens only expressed the universal feeling when, in a
dispatch to Mr. Lincoln, they used such language as this,--

"In the name of Christianity and humanity, in the name of God and
liberty, for the sake of their wives and children and everything
they hold sacred and dear on earth, the loyal people of Tennessee
appeal to you and implore you not to abandon them again to the
merciless dominion of the rebels, by the withdrawal of the Union
forces from East Tennessee." [Footnote: Official Records, vol. xxx.
pt. iv. p. 401. ]

With the evidence of the ability of the Army of the Cumberland to
hold its position at Chattanooga, there came a breathing spell and a
quick end of the panic. It was seen that there was time to get all
desirable reinforcements to Rosecrans from the West, and Hooker was
sent with two corps from the East, open lines of well-managed
railways making this a quicker assistance than could be given by
even a few days' marches over country roads. The culmination of the
peril had been caused by the inactivity of the Army of the Potomac,
which had permitted the transfer of Longstreet across four States;
and now Hooker was sent from that army by a still longer route
through the West to the vicinity of Bridgeport, thirty miles by rail
below Chattanooga on the Tennessee River, but nearer fifty by the
circuitous mountain roads actually used. It became evident also that
Burnside's army could only subsist by making the most of its own
lines of supply through Kentucky. To add its trains to those which
were toiling over the mountains between Chattanooga and Bridgeport,
would risk the starvation of the whole. Until a better line could be
opened, Burnside was allowed to concentrate most of his forces in
the vicinity of Loudon, where he guarded the whole valley. His
cavalry connected with Rosecrans on the north side of the Tennessee,
and also held the line of the Hiwassee on the left.

On the last day of September Burnside reported the concentration of
his forces and submitted three alternate plans of assisting
Rosecrans: [Footnote: Official Records, vol. xxx. pt. iii. p. 954.]
First, to abandon East Tennessee and move all his forces by the
north bank of the Tennessee River to Chattanooga. This was what
Halleck had seemed to propose. Second, to cross the Holston and
march directly against Bragg's right flank whilst Rosecrans should
attack in front. This was essentially what Grant afterward did,
putting Sherman in a position similar to that which Burnside would
have taken. Third, to march with 7000 infantry and 5000 cavalry
entirely around Bragg by the east, and strike his line of
communications at Dalton or thereabouts. This had a strong
resemblance to the strategy of Sherman next spring, when he forced
Johnston out of Dalton by sending McPherson to his rear at Resaca.
Burnside added to it the plan of a march to the sea, proposing that
if Bragg pursued him, he should march down the railroad to Atlanta,
destroying it as thoroughly as possible, and then make his way to
the coast, living on the country.

The last of these plans was that which Burnside preferred and
offered to put into immediate execution. Neither of them was likely
to succeed at that moment, for Rosecrans was so far demoralized by
the effects of his late battle that he was in no condition to carry
out any aggressive campaign with decisive energy. He declared in
favor of the first [Footnote: _Id._, pt. iv. p. 72.] (for they were
communicated to him as well as to Halleck), and this only meant that
he wanted his army at Chattanooga reinforced by any and every means,
though he could not supply them, and the fortifications were already
so strong that General Meigs reported that 10,000 men could very
soon hold them against all Bragg's army. The plans, however, give us
interesting light on Burnside's character and abilities, and show
that he was both fertile in resources and disposed to adopt the
boldest action. Halleck in reply said that distant expeditions into
Georgia were not now contemplated, nor was it now necessary to join
Rosecrans at Chattanooga. [Footnote: Official Records, vol. xxx. pt.
iv. p. 25.] It was sufficient for Burnside to be in position to go
to Rosecrans's assistance if he should require it. He was, however,
to "hold some point near the upper end of the valley," which kept
alive the constant occasion for misunderstanding, since it implied
the protection and occupation of all East Tennessee, and the general
there in command was the only one who could judge what was necessary
to secure the object. The necessity for activity soon showed itself.
About the 6th of October General Jones was reported to be showing a
disposition to be aggressive, and Burnside determined to strike a
blow at him again and with more force than that which had been
interrupted a fortnight before. Willcox was ordered from Cumberland
Gap to Morristown with his four new Indiana regiments; the Ninth
Corps (having now only about 5000 men present for duty) was moved up
the valley also, whilst the Twenty-third Corps, with two brigades of
cavalry, was left in its positions near Loudon. The rest of the
cavalry, under Shackelford, accompanied the movement up the valley
of which Burnside took command in person. Leaving the cavalry post
at Bull's Gap and advancing with his little army, he found the enemy
strongly posted about midway between the Gap and Greeneville.
Engaging them and trying to hold them by a skirmishing fight, he
sent Foster's cavalry brigade to close the passage behind them.
Foster found the roads too rough to enable him to reach the desired
position in time, and the enemy retreating in the night escaped. The
pursuit was pushed beyond the Watauga River, and a more thorough
destruction was made of the railroad to and beyond the Virginia
line. Considerable loss had been inflicted on the enemy and 150
prisoners had been captured, but no decisive engagement had been
brought about, Jones being wary and conscious of inferiority of
force. Willcox was left at Greeneville with part of the cavalry,
while Burnside brought back the Ninth Corps to Knoxville. The
activity was good for the troops and was successful in curbing the
enemy's enterprise, besides encouraging the loyal inhabitants. There
was now a lull in affairs till November, broken only by a mishap to
Colonel Wolford's brigade of cavalry on the south of the Holston,
where he was watching the enemy's advanced posts in the direction of
Athens and Cleveland. Burnside had sent a flag of truce through the
lines on the 19th of October, and the enemy taking advantage of it,
delivered an unexpected blow upon Wolford, capturing 300 or 400 of
his men and a battery of mountain howitzers, together with a wagon
train which was several miles from camp. [Footnote: Official
Records, vol. xxxi. pt. i. p. 273.] Wolford heard that his train was
attacked and sent two regiments to protect it. These were surrounded
by a superior force, and Wolford then brought up the rest of his
command, only 700 strong, and made a bold effort to rescue his
comrades. This he did, with the loss of the prisoners mentioned and
the howitzers, which were taken after they had fired their last
cartridge. The wagons were burned, but the men bravely cut their way
out. Approaching Loudon, they were met by General Julius White with
infantry reinforcements. The tables were now turned on the
Confederates, who fled over the Hiwassee again, losing in their turn
about 100 prisoners. [Footnote: _Id._, pp. 5, 6.]


_List of Letters and Dispatches relating to the campaign in the
Great Kanawha valley, 1861, which are not found in the publication
of the Official Records of the Union and Confederate armies (see
footnote, chapter iv. p. 60)._

Letters and Dispatches of General McClellan to General J. D. Cox, of
dates July 6th, 12th, 13th, 14th, 15th, 16th, 20th, August 1st.

Letters and Dispatches of General J. D. Cox to General McClellan, of
dates July 4th, 6th, 10th, 17th.

Letters and Dispatches of General Rosecrans to General Cox of dates
July 26th, 29th, 31st, four of August 5th, one of August 6th, 8th,
two of 13th, three of 16th, one of 17th, 18th, two of 20th, one each
of 26th, 27th, 29th, 30th.

Letters and Dispatches of General Cox to General Rosecrans, of dates
August 6th, 7th, 10th, 19th, 28th, two each of 30th and 31st, one of
September 2d (enclosing Colonel Tyler's report of engagement at
Cross Lanes), 3d, 9th, 22d, October 5th (order of withdrawal from
Sewell Mountain), two of October 7th, one each of 8th, 9th, three of
10th, one of 16th.

There are also missing numerous ones from and to Colonel Tyler,
Colonel W. Sooy Smith, Colonel J. V. Guthrie, and other officers.


_Letters of Generals R. B. Hayes and George Crook as to the
discipline and conduct of the Kanawha Division in the campaign of
September, 1862. The death of President Hayes has removed any
objections to the publication of his letter._

FREMONT, OHIO, 8th September, 1882.

MY DEAR GENERAL,--Your note of the 4th instant came during a brief
absence from home. I appreciate your kindness and your friendly
suggestions. After sleeping on it, I am not inclined to depart from
my custom in dealing with attacks upon me.... Besides, to give a
correct relation of the Reno altercation would be to disparage an
officer who died in battle a few days after the affair, and who
cannot now give his side of the controversy.

One of the brigades of the division was commanded by General Crook
and another by General Scammon, both regular army officers
conspicuous for attention to strictness of discipline. General
Scammon was at the time still colonel of the Twenty-third. The
regiment on that march repeatedly reported, as I was glad to do, not
a single absentee on the first roll-call immediately after the halt.

The altercation, in its general facts, was as you recall it. But the
occasion of it was this. The regiment halted to bivouac in a
stubble-field. The men got bundles of straw, or possibly of wheat
unthreshed, from a stack in the field to lie upon. General Reno saw
it. I was temporarily absent. The general, as you say, "in a rough
way" accosted the men, and as I returned, I heard his language and
retorted in behalf of my men, not in my own case at all, for he had
said nothing to me. Hence the row between us. I was told, while I
was lying wounded, [Footnote: During the battle of South
Mountain.--J. D. C.] that General Reno was greatly pleased by our
vigorous attack, and that he paid us a high compliment, expressing
gratification that our difficulty had gone no further than it did.

Now excuse my suggestion. Let officers tell the story whose names
are not called in question in the note referred to--say General
Scammon, General Crook, and yourself. I am grateful for your
attention to this misrepresentation, and hope you will not differ
widely from me as to the correctness of the course I take.
(Signed) R. B. HAYES.

PRESCOTT, A. T., November 27, 1882.

MY DEAR GENERAL,--Referring to your letter of the 3d instant asking
replies to certain queries with reference to the conduct of the
Kanawha Division during the Antietam campaign, I can only reply
generally. The twenty years which have elapsed make my memory
indistinct, and I can now recall only prominent features or
particular incidents in which I was especially interested. I
remember distinctly, however, that the Kanawha Division compared
favorably in discipline and general good conduct with the best
troops of the army. In my own brigade there was no straggling, or,
if any, so little that it did not come to my notice. I am quite sure
there was no pillaging in my brigade. My men probably took fence
rails for their bivouac fires, and straw and hay for their beds, but
to the best of my belief there was nothing done that could be called

I heard, at the time, something with reference to a controversy
between Generals Reno and Hayes, but if ever I knew what it was
about, I have forgotten it. In this matter it seems as if the
statement of General Hayes should be conclusive.

I am very glad that you have interested yourself in refuting the
numberless charges which the writers of personal histories have
found it convenient to lay against the Kanawha Division, and which
in almost every instance are base slanders. The _personnel_ of the
division should in itself be a sufficient refutation. The regiments
were mainly of '61 men from country districts who enlisted from
motives of patriotism, and as a rule were never disgraced by conduct
which many of the regiments enlisted in the large cities of the East
were notorious for throughout the army.

The Kanawha Division did not belong to the Army of the Potomac, and
it was therefore an easy matter to shift responsibility from its own
organization by throwing it on the shoulders of the troops serving
with it. The subsequent reputation of this division is in itself a
sufficient answer, and I challenge history to show an organization
which was more distinguished for all soldierly qualities than the
one you had the honor to command during the campaign, until the
death of Reno gave you the Ninth Corps.

You are at liberty to use this letter in any way you deem best, and
I am only sorry that I can do no more to assist you.

Very Sincerely, Your friend,
GEORGE CROOK, Brig. Gen'l.

To General J. D. Cox.


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