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Chapter
This webpage reproduces a chapter of
R. E. Lee: A Biography

by Douglas Southall Freeman

published by Charles Scribner's Sons,
New York and London, 1934

The text, and illustrations except as noted, are in the public domain.


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Vol. II
p8
Chapter II

The Concentration on the Peninsula

It had been Lee's singular ill-fortune to assume each of his previous Confederate commands in an atmosphere of disaster. He had reached western Virginia when weary troops were still panting from an exhausting retreat. His arrival in South Carolina had been on the very day when the forts at the entrance of Port Royal Sound were being evacuated. And now almost the first dispatch that reached his desk announced that a strong Federal expedition had descended from Roanoke Island on the important North Carolina town of New Berne, had swept past the feeble Confederate lines that protected it, and had routed the defending force of 4000 men.1 This might mean much or little, but the main railroad between Richmond and the South Atlantic states passed Goldsboro, less than sixty miles inland from New Berne. The possibilities were so serious and the available Confederate forces were so small that the President authorized Lee to detach a few regiments from Indicates a West Point graduate and gives his Class.Huger's force at Norfolk and two brigades of infantry, with two companies of artillery, from the right wing of Johnston's army, and to dispatch them to North Carolina. General S. G. French was immediately sent forward to assume general command.2 For a day it seemed as if Lee would be compelled to accompany the troops, but Indicates a West Point graduate and gives his Class.Mr. Davis directed instead that they should be under General T. H. Holmes, a native North Carolinian, from whose immediate command part of them had been taken.3

This detachment was a serious matter, because it weakened by more than 10 per cent the strength of the principal Confederate army in Virginia and carried still further a deplorable if unescapable policy of scattering the troops that defended the frontier p10 state and the capital city. There were at that time seven separate Southern forces in Virginia under six commanders, none of whom was responsible to any of the others. If one imagines a semicircle drawn northward from the Virginia-Carolina boundary, and extending from Norfolk to Bristol, the seven Confederate commands were spaced at irregular intervals roughly on the arc of this semicircle, to meet anticipate attack from the east, the northeast, the north, the northwest, or the west.


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Distribution of the Confederate forces in Virginia, as of the morning of March 24, 1862,
and the assumed positions of the opposing United States forces.

Beginning on the east, as of March 24, 1862, Major General Benjamin Huger had 13,000 Confederate troops in the Department of Norfolk. This force covered the city and the captured navy yard, where several warships were on the ways. Huger also guarded the south side of the lower James River against any attempt to mask Norfolk. Although no Federal army immediately confronted him, he was exposed to attack up the inland waterways from Albemarle Sound, North Carolina, which the Federals controlled. Across Hampton Roads a garrison of some 10,000 Union troops under General John E. Woolº occupied Fort Monroe and was in position to make a descent on Huger at any time that the Federal fleet could silence the Virginia.

The second Confederate force, styled the Army of the Peninsula, lay at Yorktown and Gloucester Point, its outposts within three miles of Fort Monroe. Twelve thousand strong and commanded by Major General Indicates a West Point graduate and gives his Class.John B. Magruder, these troops had a two-fold function — to defend the country between the York and James Rivers against a Federal advance by land from Fort Monroe, and, secondly, to prevent Federal ships from passing up York River to West Point, where they could land troops within less than forty miles of Richmond.

The army that General Joseph E. Johnston had just withdrawn to the line of the Rappahannock was the third in geographical order and numerically much the largest in Virginia. Its left wing was west of the Blue Ridge, in the "Valley District. Its right, which was entrusted to Brigadier General W. H. C. Whiting, after the transfer of General Holmes, had been drawn back to Fredericksburg. The strength of this army varied from week to week with furloughs and sickness and probably was somewhat underestimated in Johnston's correspondence with general headquarters. p11 The highest figure for the central divisions, the "main army," was 30,000, with an additional 7000 under Whiting.4 This was the mobile, combatant force, weak in transport but well organized and fairly well equipped, though consisting largely of one-year recruits whose terms of enlistment were soon to expire. It had been located to prevent a turning movement from the Rappahannock, to dispute a Federal advance, to cover Richmond, and to protect the Virginia Central Railroad, which formed the only line of rail communication between Richmond and the Shenandoah Valley. The strength of the great Federal "Army of the Potomac," which was supposed to be confronting Johnston, was estimated by optimists at 150,000 and by pessimists at 200,000.5

The force in the Shenandoah Valley, consisting of 5000 men under Indicates a West Point graduate and gives his Class.Stonewall Jackson, was a part of Johnston's army and subject to his orders. It was geographically isolated, however, and had virtually to operate separately because it faced the enemy on two fronts. It unsuccessfully attacked a part of the opposing Federal army at Kernstown, near Winchester, on March 23, and on the 24th it halted at Woodstock. The enemy had not followed it from Winchester. Major General N. P. Banks, who was in general command in the valley, was attached to the Army of the Potomac in much the same manner as Jackson was to Johnston's army. Banks's strength was not known but was supposed to be much superior to Jackson's. West of the Appalachian range, beyond the Shenandoah Valley, the Federal command of Brigadier General Indicates a West Point graduate and gives his Class.W. S. Rosecrans lay potentially on Jackson's flank and rear. This force, which was soon to be transferred to Major General John C. Frémont, was scattered through western Virginia in unknown strength. Jackson's orders were to hold Banks in the valley, but, in manoeuvring to do so, he had always to keep in mind the possibility that Rosecrans would cross the mountains at one or another of several passes and would sever his communications with Staunton and the upper valley.

The three remaining Confederate columns were small observation forces. West of Staunton, Brigadier General Edward Johnson p12 with 2800 men guarded the Parkersburg road to Cheat Mountain of unhappy memory. In front of Lewisburg, leading into the valley of the Kanawha, Brigadier General Indicates a West Point graduate and gives his Class.Harry Heth had 1500.6 At Lebanon, Russell County, Brigadier General Humphrey Marshall with 1500 covered the Virginia-Tennessee Railroad from attacks by raiders.7 Heth and Johnson, like Jackson, were based on the Virginia Central Railroad. An offensive that brought the enemy to that road would cut them off from rail communication with Richmond.

All seven of these commands were under men who had received technical training as soldiers and had seen field service in the Mexican War. Except for Jackson and Marshall, all of them had continued in the United States army until 1861. The majority of the brigade commanders also were soldiers by profession.

Such was the distribution, not to say dispersion, of the Confederate forces shortly after Lee took nominal charge of the conduct of operations. "Our enemies are pressing us everywhere," he recorded at the time, "and our army is in the fermentation of organization. I pray that the great God may aid us, and am endeavoring by every means in my power to bring out the troops and hasten them to their destination."

And the enemy — what would he do? All agreed that he would assume the offensive speedily, for his numbers were vastly superior and his equipment was complete. At Johnston's headquarters the belief was that Richmond would be the immediate objective by one of four routes, but there was no agreement as to which of the four would be adopted.8 The spies could discover little. Secret correspondence with Washington had been almost cut off. The cavalry could not penetrate far, though it was industriously led by Lee's former cadet and acting adjutant at Harpers Ferry, Brigadier General Indicates a West Point graduate and gives his Class.J. E. B. Stuart. To be in position to move quickly, Johnston withdrew a few miles southward on the 18th and put the Rapidan as well as the Rappahannock in front of him, but he was entirely in the dark as to the enemy's movements.9 Lee was no better informed. He suspected that an attempt might be made on the Peninsula but he did not believe p13 a real offensive could be launched until the roads were firmer.10 If he knew how to profit by it, Indicates a West Point graduate and gives his Class.McClellan might have the priceless advantage of surprise.

On March 24, 1862, Lee went, as usual, to his new office in the War Department building, formerly the Mechanics Institute, on Ninth Street, opposite the western end of Bank Street. Very soon there came a sensational telegram from General Huger at Norfolk: More than twenty steamers, Huger reported, had come down Chesapeake Bay the previous evening and had begun to disembark troops at Old Point.11 A little later, General Magruder notified the Secretary of War that he believed the force confronting him had risen to 35,000.12 Magruder did not suggest that the troops had come from McClellan's army, nor could Lee be sure, but by the next morning the information in hand13 rendered it probable that the new arrivals belonged to the Army of the Potomac. If this were true, Lee had to consider three possibilities:

1. McClellan might have detached the troops to co-operate with Burnside in North Carolina.

2. The new troops might have no connection with Burnside's movements and might be designed to join with the 10,000 already at Fort Monroe in an attack on Norfolk or up the Peninsula, while McClellan advanced on Richmond from the north.

3. The reinforcements at Old Point might be the advanced guard of McClellan's whole army which was preparing to march up the Peninsula.

In dealing with these three possible movements, it was not enough to draw a line and defend it. Norfolk could readily be cut off, as Lee had pointed out during the mobilization of Virginia. The Peninsula afforded at least three good defensive fronts, drawn from river to river, that could be held by an alert force against odds, provided the James and the York were not opened by the enemy. But if the attacking Federals used their sea-power wisely and passed the batteries on either of these streams, they could land in rear of the Confederates. This condition had led Lee in April, 1861, to put the obstruction and defense of the rivers first in his programmed and it was an important p14 factor in his strategy now. The appended sketch will show the Confederate defenses on the rivers and the exposed position of the army on the Peninsula:


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The defensive lines of the Virginia peninsula and the location of the earthworks on adjacent waters, March 27, 1862.

The time element was of even greater importance. The army must not be thrown into an active campaign, if this could be prevented, until the reorganization then in progress had been completed. Time was likewise needed to raise, to train, and to move forward other troops.

Weighing all the circumstances in conferences with the President and the Secretary of War, Lee developed a plan that is a most interesting example of provisional reconcentration to meet an undeveloped offensive. Perhaps the most remarkable thing about this plan is that it was devised and put in process of execution within thirty-six hours after Lee received news of the landing at Old Point. He had no doubt been canvassing the possibilities p15 for days, but the actual decisions, which could not be made until he had some inkling of the enemy's plan, were reached with great promptness. The course he chose was this:

1. Holmes's force in North Carolina was to be strengthened, so as to occupy Burnside, if possible, and to prevent his advance into North Carolina or his co-operation in any operations against Norfolk.

2. Both Huger and Magruder were notified to prepare their forces so that Huger could help Magruder if the attack were on the Peninsula, and Magruder could assist Huger if Norfolk proved to be the Federal objective.14

3. The ironclad Virginia could cover the mouth of the James River and prevent Federal interference with troop-movements by Magruder or Huger of Confederate forces across that stream, but she was then in drydock at Norfolk. Pending her return to service, Lee undertook the improvement of the water-batteries on the James, accumulated transportation on the river, and selected a point above the probable reach of Federal gunboats, where the infantry could cross.15

4. The scanty available reserves — a couple of regiments of infantry and some squadrons of cavalry then around Richmond — were at once ordered to Magruder.16

5. To give time for the reorganization and for the collection of new troops, Magruder was urged to stand on the first defensive line on the lower Peninsula, the line farthest from Richmond, and was instructed not to evacuate it voluntarily unless the Federals were able to turn it by carrying their gunboats up the York or the James.17

6. In case the lines on the lower Peninsula should be turned from the James or the York, Magruder was directed to prepare for a withdrawal to the third defensive line, that of the Chickahominy. In doing this, Magruder was to destroy the river landings. He was, moreover, to use his artillery on the river banks, as far as practicable, beyond the points covered by the water-batteries, in order to prevent the passage of the enemy high up the James or up the Pamunkey, the southern of the two streams that formed p16 the York.18 Lee's experience with this type of defense on the South Atlantic seaboard gave him a faith in it that was not possessed by those who had not seen how readily the Federal gunboats were deterred by such measures as these.

7. The enemy must be kept as far down the Peninsula as possible, at least until his full plan was disclosed. It might not be possible to do this with the force Magruder had, or with the reserve that could be sent him. Lee accordingly decided, with the President's approval, on this major movement: he would withdraw the greater part of Johnston's army from the Rapidan, would move it quickly to the lower Peninsula, would attack the Federals there, and then, if need be, would return Johnston's troops to their old position. Lee believed the situation in northern Virginia would make this possible, without excessive risk of losing Richmond, because he reasoned that so large a part of McClellan's army had already been transferred to the Peninsula that McClellan would not quickly advance on Richmond from the north with the forces left him. Johnston was asked what force he could dispatch to Richmond for this purpose and was instructed to be prepared for orders directing an immediate movement of his army.19

This was a bold plan to be formulated by an officer who had been at his post only a fortnight. It displayed the facility that Lee always exhibited in strategy, even from the beginning of his career in responsible command, and it embodied all that he had learned in South Carolina and in making dispositions for First Manassas. Execution, however, was not so easy as conception. Obstacles and objections were encountered in such numbers that the plan had to be revised almost as soon as it was formulated. Magruder held a council of war which decided, in something of a panic, that unless 10,000 reinforcements could be at once dispatched to that front, Yorktown should be evacuated. Lee reassured Magruder, cautioned him against over-large councils of war, and urged him to stand where he was as long as possible.20 Magruder acquiesced, and that tangle was straightened out. It was otherwise with Johnston. He was a sworn devotee of concentration p17 and he argued that all or none of his army should be transferred to the Peninsula. Soon he reported that Jackson was threatened by superior forces and that the enemy showed activity on his own front. Several days' exchange of correspondence with Johnston convinced Lee that his old friend would not willingly fall in with his plan. Then, for the first time, Lee displayed a quality of mind that was to become one of his greatest assets as a commander. It was this: he would make the best, for the time, of what he could not correct, but he would hold to what he believed the sound strategy and would look to time and circumstance for an opportunity of executing his plan. If Johnston would not consent to the dispatch of enough troops at one time to strengthen Magruder, Lee would take what Johnston would give him immediately, would extemporize, and then would get more as soon as he could. He exhibited, in short, a patient persistence in attaining his object. Patient persistence, indeed, was to become the measure of the man in many a difficult hour.

It is interesting to see how Lee applied this policy. In place of a speedy general movement, he effected a series of small transfers to the Peninsula. Johnston was willing at the outset, to detach only two brigades. One of these was sent to the Peninsula; the other went to North Carolina.21 As Magruder needed much more than this reinforcement, Lee ordered one of Huger's brigades to be ready to cross the James and sent two Alabama regiments to Yorktown. He even dispatched 1000 unarmed men to Magruder, in the hope that Magruder could give them, if necessary, the guns of soldiers then in hospitals.22 This was the best he could do for them. Not even old flint-lock muskets could be supplied from Richmond. The arsenals were stripped of all arms that would fire, and preparations were being made to manufacture and issue pikes.23 To this desperate plight had the battling Confederacy been brought!

During the march of these troops to Magruder's support, the Federals made no demonstration against his lines. This aroused Lee's suspicions and led him to apprehend that the real objective p18 of the enemy might be Norfolk, rather than the Peninsula. He accordingly began to strengthen Huger's little army and called for two of Johnston's brigades, to be employed on the Peninsula, at Norfolk or in North Carolina as the situation might demand.24

Either at Lee's suggestion or on his own initiative, Magruder all the while did his utmost to discourage the enemy both from attacking his line and from detaching troops for operations against Norfolk. Physically magnificent, though burdened by a curious lisp, Magruder had a certain innocent element of bluff in his makeup and could readily deceive a hesitating opponent. Working busily on the construction of the defenses and on the damming of Warwick River, which covered his front, he kept his troops in motion. One day, as if massing for some desperate business, he sent a column into a wood through which there ran a road in plain view of the Federal outposts. Hour after hour the Federals could see his gray troops emerge from a thicket, cross the road, and vanish again in the pines. The Federals must have counted thousands of files and must have wondered for what evil purpose so many brigades were being massed, but Magruder in reality was simply marching a few men in a circle, like an army of supernumeraries on a stage.25 It was said of Magruder — "Prince John," they called him in the old army — that when war did not trouble, he delighted to dress a scene and to appear, a dazzling figure, in amateur theatricals, but rarely did he play a part so much to his country's good as in those anxious days at Yorktown, when Lee did not know how large a part of McClellan's army remained on the old battleground in northern Virginia or how many divisions were preparing to take ship for Hampton Roads.

Thus, for a time, all was well on the Peninsula. Whatever the enemy's plan there, he was slow in developing it. In northern Virginia, and in the Shenandoah Valley, the situation was obscured by doubt. Jackson reported the enemy advancing against him and called for reinforcements. Johnston, alarmed, detained one of the two brigades already ordered to Richmond and prepared to send half a division to Jackson if necessary.26

It seemed as likely on April 4 that the main offensive would be p19 in northern Virginia as on the Peninsula. That same day, however, Lee received news through General Stuart that a flotilla of transports was under way down the Potomac for some unknown destination.27 Simultaneously, word came from Magruder that heavy columns of Federals were moving out from Old Point in his direction as if to give battle. Lee concluded immediately that the two reports were related and that McClellan was moving more of his men to the Peninsula; but as Lee still was uncertain how large a part of the Army of the Potomac remained in Johnston's front, he decided for the time being not to attempt to send the remainder of Johnston's forces to Magruder's support. He continued, however, to order detachments until, by April 4, he had called a total of three divisions from the line of the Rapidan-Rappahannock.28 It was done so quietly and so gradually that few protests were made.

These transfers, coupled with minor reinforcements to Magruder from other quarters, gave that officer the prospect of having a total force of 31,500 by April 11,29 while Johnston was left with four divisions, roughly 28,000 men, including Jackson's 5000 in the Shenandoah Valley and Stuart's 1200 cavalry. This daring, piecemeal reconcentration was a matter of the greatest delicacy, the success of which depended on maintaining the morale both of Johnston and of Magruder, while interpreting accurately the very scant available information of the enemy's movements. If Lee underestimated the strength or the initiative of the Federals either in northern Virginia or on the Peninsula, Johnston or Magruder might be overwhelmed before help could be sent. A simultaneous attack on both, in such numbers as the Federals were known to have in the state, would inevitably be disastrous. And if disaster came in Virginia, it meant ruin everywhere.

For while Lee was in conference with Davis, hour after hour, calculating the risks on the Rapidan, in the Shenandoah Valley, and in Hampton Roads, the rival armies of Indicates a West Point graduate and gives his Class.Grant and of Indicates a West Point graduate and gives his Class.Albert Sidney Johnston were grappling on April 6‑7 at Shiloh,a near the p20 Tennessee-Mississippi boundary. The Confederate press claimed a victory on a hard-fought field, but the losses were heavy and Johnston was killed. Island No. 10, a Confederate stronghold on the Mississippi, was captured on April 8, with 7000 men.b The bold bid of the South for the control of the upper Mississippi had been rejected by the fates. There was imminent danger that the Confederacy would be split in twain and that the Federals would then proceed to break up the riven halves. How could the South be saved if Virginia were lost?

The troops sent southward from the Rapidan moved steadily to the Peninsula, where the enemy was placing batteries and bringing up heavy artillery for a siege but showed as yet no disposition to assault. No general advance of the enemy in northern Virginia was reported. The threat against Jackson had not materialized. Several days passed without a new crisis, but by April 9 Magruder was satisfied that the greater part of the Army of the Potomac was in his front. A minister who had escaped from Alexandria, Reverend K. J. Stuart, confirmed this indirectly by giving a very accurate account of the departure of Federal troops, and of McClellan himself, from that city.

Risks would be taken, of course, in acting on this information, but an inferior force had to take them. On April 9, doubtless with Lee's full approval, the President made the final move in the reconcentration, ordered Johnston to report in Richmond, and directed that his two strongest divisions, Indicates a West Point graduate and gives his Class.Longstreet's and G. W. Smith's, be set in motion for the capital. Indicates a West Point graduate and gives his Class.Ewell's division of some 7000 or 8000 men was left on the Rappahannock to observe the enemy and to co-operate with Jackson, whose division of 5000 was slowly increasing in numbers. One brigade of Smith's command was left temporarily at Fredericksburg.30 By this time, it was understood from Northern newspapers that the Federals remaining in northern Virginia were under Major General Irvin McDowell. Thereafter they were usually styled "McDowell's army," but of their strength and position very little was known.31

p21 When Johnston arrived in Richmond, his command was enlarged to include Norfolk and the Peninsula,32 and he was directed to visit that part of the front to see his problem at first hand. On April 13 he left. The next morning Lee received a summons to come to the President's office. When he entered, he learned that Johnston had returned unexpectedly and had made a disheartening report. The President was so much concerned that he had called a council of war, to which he had summoned Lee, Johnston, Secretary Randolph, and Major General Longstreet and Indicates a West Point graduate and gives his Class.Gustavus Smith, the two last-named at Johnston's instance. Discussion of the greatest moment followed. Johnston pronounced the situation at Yorktown an impossible one. The line, he said, was entirely too long for the force defending it. Magruder's men were beginning to show the effects of strain.33 Inundations that had been prepared along the Warwick River might hold off McClellan on the land side but they would likewise render an offensive by the Confederates impossible. The superior Union artillery would soon batter down the Southern batteries covering York River, and when that happened McClellan's gunboats and transports could pass up the stream and turn the Confederate position. The most that could be done on the lower Peninsula would be to delay McClellan temporarily. It would be better, Johnston went on, to discard the plans under which they were operating, to abandon Norfolk and the Peninsula, to concentrate in front of Richmond all the troops in Virginia, the Carolinas, and Georgia, and to strike McClellan at a distance from his base. As a less desirable alternative, he proposed that Magruder stand siege in Richmond while the other Confederate forces carry the war into the enemy's country.34

The Secretary of War promptly opposed this change of plan because it would necessarily involve the evacuation of Norfolk, where the Virginia was based and where other ships were under construction. To lose Norfolk was to give up all hope of creating a navy to cope with the Federal sea-power.35

Lee was then asked to express his opinion. An early withdrawal, p22 to his mind, would bring the armies dangerously close to the nerve-centre of the Confederacy and would complicate the reorganization then in progress. It would likewise make heavy fighting inevitable before the full armed strength of the South was in the field. From the lower South Atlantic coast a brigade or two might be spared, but no large reinforcement could be expected immediately. Fort Pulaski, the outpost of Savannah, had fallen just three days before. Losses in Tennessee had forced the War Department to send to that state six new regiments raised in Georgia and four from South Carolina.36 Stripping the South Atlantic coast of men, as Johnston proposed, might involve the fall of Savannah and of Charleston. On the other hand, Lee had faith in the line on the lower Peninsula, where with his approval, if not on his initiative, the inundations of which Johnston complained had been effected.37 He believed that invaluable time could be gained by delaying McClellan there as long as possible.38

Lee and Randolph argued against Johnston and Smith, with Longstreet saying little and Davis reserving judgment. The debate was continued with warmth until supper time, and after an hour's intermission, was kept up until 1 A.M. the next morning. Then Davis declared himself in favor of defending the lower Peninsula. It was undoubtedly a sound decision. Had Johnston's plan been adopted, Ewell would have been called to Richmond, Jackson could not have won the battle of Winchester the next month, the Federal troops remaining in front of Washington would have been available to co-operate with McClellan, and Johnston, in all likelihood, would have been defeated in front of Richmond or would have been compelled to uncover that city. The Confederacy could hardly have survived long.

In a more limited sense, Davis's decision in overruling Johnston had a direct effect on the operations of the next six weeks. Johnston made no protest at the time and seemingly acquiesced in the orders of the commander-in‑chief, but he was of the same opinion still. Long afterwards he recorded: "The belief that events on the p23 Peninsula would compel the government to adopt my method of opposing the Federal army, reconciled me somewhat to the necessity of obeying the President's order."39 He prepared, in other words, to go to the Yorktown front in the conviction that he would soon fall back on Richmond and would leave the President no alternative to that of bringing all possible forces from the South Atlantic seaboard for a battle near the capital.

Three days later, on April 17, Johnston assumed his new command.40 Lee's part in the reconcentration was done. Operations on the Peninsula and the conduct of affairs at Norfolk were thereafter, until May 31, entirely under Johnston's direction. The only share Lee had in events that followed on those sectors was general supervision of the preparation of defenses near Richmond, particularly on James River, and the tender of such basic counsel on strategy as Mr. Davis sought.

The military achievement of Lee in effecting the reconcentration speaks for itself. Despite his anomalous position, his had been the guiding hand in shaping a policy that had held the Yorktown line with trifling losses until Magruder's 11,000 were in a fair way of being raised to 53,00041 without any advance by the enemy south of the Rapidan River. Here, as on the South Atlantic coast, he had benefited by the extreme caution of his opponent. How much of that caution was due to the temperament of McClellan, and how much was dictated by sound dispositions that might have been mismanaged by a Confederate commander less capable than Lee, is a question that cannot be answered.

As if to dramatize the reconcentration, part of Longstreet's division and some of the cavalry marched through Richmond on the day that Johnston took command on the Peninsula. The infantry had made their long march afoot, often along muddy roads. They styled themselves for the time "Longstreet's Walking Division," and one of them grumblingly wrote: "I suppose that if it was intended to re-enforce Savannah, Mobile or New Orleans with our division, we would be compelled to foot it all the way."42 p24 At the sight of their soldiery, people who had been close to panic took heart again. The infantry moved down Main Street; the cavalry clattered along Franklin. It was the first anniversary of the secession of Virginia, a perfect spring day. The gardens were all abloom; the whole city was at the curb. Along with the best refreshments from their pantries, the women brought out to the sidewalk their jonquils and their hyacinths until the smell of grease and powder and unwashed men was subdued by the odors of flowers. Laughing boys took the blossoms from outstretched hands as they tramped eastward, and stuck them in their caps and gun-barrels, or strung them about their necks until the gray columns took on lively colors. The bands kept playing "Dixie," "My Maryland," and the "Bonnie Blue Flag," and the people cheered and waved and grew in confidence at the sight of so many men, until those dark words "Donelson" and "Shiloh" and "Island No. 10" lost their terror for the day.43


The Author's Notes:

1 O. R., 9, 197 ff., 443‑45.

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2 S. G. French: Two Wars, 143.

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3 O. R., 9, 445, 449, 450; O. R., 11, part 3, p391; O. R., 12, part 3, p832; O. R., 51, part 2, pp512, 514.

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4 Johnston's total force, including Jackson, on March 1, prior to the detachment of Holmes, had been 47,617 effectives; O. R., 5, 1086. The Federals estimated the number, including Jackson, at 90,000, but General Sumner thought this figure was too high; O. R., 11, part 3, p21.

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5 Actually, on March 1, 1862, it numbered 185,420 effectives; O. R., 5, 732.

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6 Cf. O. R., 5, 1077, 1098.

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7 O. R., 10, part 1, p34.

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8 Johnston's Narrative, 101, 108; O. R., 51, part 2, p504.

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9 Johnston's Narrative, 108.

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10 O. R., 11, part 3, p385.

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11 O. R., 11, part 3, p394.

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12 O. R., 11, part 3, pp392‑93.

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13 Cf. O. R., 11, part 3, p394.

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14 O. R., 11, part 3, pp396‑97.

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15 O. R., 11, part 3, p393, 397, 398, 400.

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16 O. R., 11, part 3, p396.

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17 O. R., 11, part 3, p399.

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18 O. R., 11, part 3, p398.

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19 O. R., 11, part 3, pp337, 409.

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20 O. R., 11, part 3, pp395, 398, 399; Taylor's Four Years, 38.

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21 O. R., 11, part 3, pp397, 401, 408‑9; Johnston's Narrative, 109.

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22 O. R., 11, part 3, p409, 411.

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23 For the shortage of arms and ammunition, see O. R., 5, 922‑23; O. R., 10, part 2, p374; O. R., 12, part 3, pp842, 844‑45; O. R., 51, part 2, p158.

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24 O. R., 11, part 3, p413, 414, 419; O. R., 9, 455.

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25 R. Taylor, 93; Taylor's General Lee, 51‑53; Sorrel, 66.

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26 O. R., 11, part 3, p419.

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27 O. R., 11, part 3, p415‑16; cf. ibid., 419.

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28 O. R., 11, part 3, p420; Johnston's Narrative, 109; W. H. Morgan: Personal Reminiscences (cited hereafter as Morgan), 97. The divisions sent to Magruder, including the units already dispatched, were those of Indicates a West Point graduate and gives his Class.Jubal A. Early, Indicates a West Point graduate and gives his Class.D. H. Hill, and D. R. Jones.

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29 O. R., 11, part 3, p436.

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30 Johnston's Narrative, 110; O. R., 11, part 3, p428‑29.

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31 Actually, when the plan for such an attack upon the Peninsula had been made, President Lincoln had stipulated that a sufficient force should be left in northern Virginia to make the capital secure. When McClellan failed to make what Mr. Lincoln regarded as adequate provision for this purpose, McDowell's division, which was to have joined McClellan, was detached on April 4 and McDowell was given command of this and other units east of the Blue Ridge (O. R., 11, part 3, pp58‑59, 65‑66).

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32 O. R., 11, part 3, p438.

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33 O. R., 11, part 3, p442.

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34 Johnston's Narrative, 112 ff.; 2 Davis, 87; G. W. Smith: Confederate War Papers (cited hereafter as Smith), 41; James Longstreet: From Manassas to Appomattox (cited hereafter as Longstreet), 66.

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35 II N. O. R., 1, 716.

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36 O. R., 10, part 2, pp370, 422.

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37 O. R., 9, 68.

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38 Davis and Johnston, respectively, loc. cit., mention only Lee's statement that the Peninsula was defensible and his warning that Savannah and Charleston might be lost by the concentration Johnston proposed. The other reasons here cited for Lee's opposition to the plan of Johnston are readily inferred from his dispatches of March 26 and April 9 to Magruder, O. R., 11, part 3, pp398‑99, 433‑34.

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39 Johnston's Narrative, 116.

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40 He so stated in his Narrative, 117, but his first order is dated April 18; O. R., 11, part 3, p448.

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41 Johnston's Narrative, 117.

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42 Edwin [image ALT: an underscored blank] to Miss Laura Jones, May 2‑10, 1862, MS., placed at the writer's disposal by Mason White, Esq., of Richmond.

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43 Miss Brock, 119‑20; De Leon, 192; Mrs. McGuire, 107.


Thayer's Notes:

a For the battle of Shiloh, these sites can be usefully consulted —

U. S. Park Service Shotgun's American Civil War Lee Bruce's page CivilWarAlbum.com

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b For an excellent collection of detailed primary sources, see this page.


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