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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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This site is not affiliated with the US Military Academy.

Vol. III
p346
Chapter XX

A Vain Invitation to Attack

(THE NORTH ANNA, MAY 22‑27, 1864)

With young Ned Moncure by his side as a guide, and with Colonel Taylor and W. G. Jesse, another guide, immediately behind, Lee rode through the night toward Traveler's Rest, midway between the Po and Ta Rivers. He had little to say, but he inquired the names of his youthful companions and reassured himself as to their knowledge of the roads. When they reached Traveler's Rest, they turned to their left and came into the Telegraph road at a humble place bearing the uneuphonious name of Mud Tavern. Here Moncure remarked that some of the enemy were a mile farther to the eastward, on the road to Guiney's Station.

"How do you know?" asked Lee.

When Moncure explained that his cavalry command had been there about noon and had been forced back, Lee halted for a moment and told Colonel Taylor to instruct General Anderson to send a regiment down the road toward Guiney's to protect the passing column. Riding on, he soon overtook the artillery of Indicates a West Point graduate and gives his Class.Ewell's corps, where the weary drivers were hurrying the weak horses onward through the mud. Ere long he came in the darkness to the crossing of the Ta River at Jerroll's Mill. Half a mile beyond the river he rode into a jam of broken wagons, crowded guns, and swearing soldiers. Lee wormed his way through them, speaking to the officers and men as he passed and giving instructions for clearing the road. The soldiers could not see him but they seemed to sense who he was, and, in a few minutes, they had the wheels turning again. Pressing on, Lee and his little cavalcade reached the junction of the Bethany, Welch's, and Bowling Green roads. For the second time Moncure spoke up to warn his commander p347 that the enemy were only a mile away to the eastward. As before, Lee asked why he knew, and again Moncure answered that he had been there on a reconnaissance that afternoon. Lee had Taylor leave a courier at the crossroads to instruct Anderson, upon arrival, to protect his flank.

Having covered fifteen miles, Lee was on the rear of Ewell's infantry, who were struggling on through the darkness toward Hanover Junction. By the roadside stragglers were encountered, some of them asleep and some of them resting, before they set out to overtake their commands. In characteristic tone, Lee addressed them: "I know you do not want to be taken prisoner," he said, "and I know you are tired and sleepy, but the enemy will be along before or by daybreak and if you do not move on you will be taken."

There was grumbling from the roadside and a few tart answers from soldiers who were safe from identification in the blackness of the night. "Well you may order us to 'move on, move on,' " one of them retorted, "when you are mounted on a horse and have all the rations that the country can afford!"

Lee made no answer and needed to make none, for some of the men nearest to him peered into his face, half-suspecting who he was.

"Marse Robert!" they exclaimed.

The effect was instantaneous. The soldiers got up as if they had never known weariness, and gave him a shout. "Yes, Marse Robert," they said, "we'll move on and go anywhere you say, even to hell!"

Thanking them and bidding them good speed, Lee trotted on and about 2 A.M. on the morning of the 22d came to the quaint little house by the roadside, whence Doctor Joseph A. Flippo ministered to the ills of the countryside. A light was burning in the house, for the good doctor sought no sleep that night, with the army tramping by and the enemy likely to come up when the last gray brigade had passed. Lee paused to rest his mount and to chat with Flippo, and then went on once more. When he reached the north side of Stevens' Mill pond, four miles north of Mount Carmel Church, he found his headquarters tents erected, with Ewell's troops resting nearby. Here he halted, but before he p348 went to his own cot, which the faithful "Bryan" had set up for him, he inquired if his young guides had any rations. Moncure hesitated to answer, for he did not wish to impose on the General's scanty larder, though he and his companion were quite without provisions. Guessing the reason for the soldier's embarrassment, Lee told him and Jesse to tie their horses, to get some feed from the nearest quartermaster, and then to go into his headquarters tent and eat. If the men had visions of a hearty early morning breakfast of substantials, they were soon disappointed, for when they presented themselves, all "Bryan" could give them was two very bad biscuits each and a cup of coffee that was a satire on the name.

Lee rested for an hour or two and then, before dawn, summoned Moncure and sent him off with an open dispatch to General Hampton, advising him of the army's progress and instructing him to hold the enemy in check and to fall back slowly toward Hanover Junction.1

The troops of the Second Corps were now stirring. They had covered the seventeen miles to Dickinson's Mill almost without a halt, and they had relaxed only an hour or two, but they must reach the North Anna before the enemy, and to do that they must press on. The first news that reached Lee, as he prepared to ride on with the van of the corps, was that Hoke's unattached brigade and Barton's brigade of Indicates a West Point graduate and gives his Class.Pickett's division were at hand, and that Corse's and Kemper's, also of Pickett's division, had reached the vicinity of Milford the previous evening. Four brigades — and with Breckinridge's two, a total of a division and a half! Approximately a third of the wastage of the campaign had been repaired. In announcing to the President the arrival of these troops, Lee had his first opportunity of explaining his withdrawal from Spotsylvania. He said: ". . . in a wooded country like that in which we have been operating, where nothing is known beyond what can be ascertained by feeling, a day's march can always be gained. . . . I should have preferred contesting the enemy's p349 approach inch by inch; but my solicitude for Richmond caused me to abandon that plan."2


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Lines of advance to the North Anna River by the opposing armies, May 21‑23, 1864. The route of the Third Corps of the Army of Northern Virginia is not shown. It lay to the west of that followed by Ewell and Anderson.

Proceeding with the troops, Lee was soon joined by Major Jed Hotchkiss, the capable topographical engineer of the Second Corps. Together they talked of the battles of Spotsylvania and of p350 the struggle for the Bloody Angle. "We wish no more salients," Lee remarked grimly.3 Soon they reached the hills that look down on the crossings of the North Anna. The railroad bridge to the left and Fox's Bridge on the Telegraph road were both intact. A small Confederate garrison held the works that had been erected to protect the wooden spans.4 The race to the new position had been won. If Indicates a West Point graduate and gives his Class.Grant was headed in that direction, he would find the stream between him and the Army of Northern Virginia.

Lee left orders for Ewell and Anderson to pass to the south bank and to take position there, without destroying the spans or evacuating the bridgeheads. With his staff he went on to Hanover Junction, three miles southward, and there he established headquarters in the southwest angle of the crossing of the Richmond, Fredericksburg and Potomac and Central Railroads.5 At 9:30 A.M. he had the satisfaction of telegraphing to the Secretary of War that the Second Corps was arriving, that the First was close up, and that Hill was expected to come in on the right.6 The day was hot, but the breeze was pleasant,7 and as the troops came up they were loosely disposed in the fields on the south p351 bank, Ewell on the right and Anderson opposite the bridges. It was the first time since May 4 that the army had not been in sight of the main body of the enemy.8

The afternoon of the 22d passed without the appearance of any Federal force on the north side of the river, but Hampton reported that the Army of the Potomac was marching by Milford and that its objective seemed to be Hanover Junction. Lee hoped that it was. Now that he had occupied the Junction, he felt himself in position to move after Grant, whatever his adversary's line of march. He was anxious for Indicates a West Point graduate and gives his Class.Beauregard to join him, if possible, for an attack on the Army of the Potomac, because, as he wrote Indicates a West Point graduate and gives his Class.President Davis, "it seems to me our best policy to unite upon [Grant's army] and endeavor to crush it." At the same time, he did not think it sound strategy to permit the enemy to reach the Chickahominy before the Army of Northern Virginia was reinforced by Beauregard. It was as easy, he thought, to assail Grant after he had crossed the Pamunkey as to take the offensive on the Chickahominy. "His difficulties," he said of Grant, "will be increased as he advances, and ours diminished, and I think it would be a great disadvantage to us to uncover our railroads to the west, and injurious to open to him more country than we can avoid."9 In short, if he could meet Grant where the larger numbers and the superior artillery of the enemy did not make the offensive hopeless, it was still his intention to attack — and as far from Richmond as practicable. Perhaps he recalled, as he planned, Napoleon's memorable analysis of just such a problem as confronted him then. "Manoeuvre incessantly," Napoleon had said, "without submitting to be driven back on the capital which it is meant to defend or shut up in an entrenched camp in the rear."10

Carefully, on the morning of May 23, Lee reconnoitred the ground on the south side of the river, opposite the bridges.11 He did not fortify extensively, probably because he did not believe the enemy would attack,12 or because he wished to keep contact with the north bank as he had at Rappahannock, or else because he knew he could not long retain a position close to the river, p352 inasmuch as the south bank was dominated by the high ground on the north side of the stream.13 The army, however, was where it could manoeuvre on either flank. Ewell was continued on the right, Anderson was left where he was, and Hill, who reached Hewlett's on the Central Railroad at noon on the 22d, was moved down the railroad to Anderson's Station and was bivouacked in the woods nearby.14

The Confederate cavalry outposts withdrew and bluecoats began to appear on the left bank of the North Anna about noon on the 23d. Soon it was apparent that the enemy was moving up in great force, probably with his entire army. Once again Lee had reasoned rightly concerning his opponent's objective; once again the Army of the Potomac had marched straight to a wall of waiting bayonets. Lee made ready for whatever might come, but he did not recall the small Confederate commands remaining in the bridgeheads, as it was believed the Southern batteries could protect them until it was apparent whether Lee would have need of the bridges, in case the enemy moved up or down the north bank of the river.

Ere long the enemy's artillery opened against the bridgeheads, and the Confederates answered. General Lee happened at the time to be in the yard of Ellington, the home of the Fox family, overlooking the river. The owner, W. E. Fox, came up and invited the General into the house. Lee thanked him and said that he would be there only a few minutes. Mr. Fox thereupon pressed him to take some refreshment. Again the General declined, but seeing that Mr. Fox's hospitality was offended, he added that if Mr. Fox had any buttermilk, he would be glad to have a glass. Mr. Fox insisted that the General take a seat on the porch, and hurried off to bring the milk and some stale bread, which was all he had. He brought the pitcher and the plate and set them before Lee. The General poured out the milk and was in the act of drinking it when a Federal battery, whose commander evidently had seen a uniform on the porch, fired a round shot. It passed within a few feet of the General and imbedded itself in the door-frame, p353 where the marks may be seen to this day. To Mr. Fox's amazement, the General finished his milk as if nothing had happened, thanked his host and then rode quickly away, lest his presence provoke a bombardment of the house.15

Opposite the railroad crossing and Fox's Bridge there now were signs of Federal activity in ravines that could not be reached by the Southern guns. Nearly two miles upstream,16 at Ox Ford, Union troops gathered in large numbers but made no attempt to cross. From a point beyond the left of the position A. P. Hill had occupied, there had come the sound of artillery firing which had caused some excitement at corps headquarters. To ascertain the situation there, Lee determined to make personal reconnaissance, and as he felt weary and unwell, he procured a carriage and rode westward. He found some of the horse artillery in position with cavalry support, throwing up a light fortification of fence rails. Across the North Anna, on the skirt of a wood, the Federals were visible. Lee took out his glass and studied them carefully. Then he turned to the courier who had accompanied him. "Go back and tell General A. P. Hill to leave his men in camp," he said, "this is nothing but a feint; the enemy is preparing to cross below."17 He had scarcely returned to Hanover Junction before his prediction was fulfilled. General Indicates a West Point graduate and gives his Class.Wilcox, under orders from General Hill, had gone forward to examine the ground somewhat east of the artillery position where Lee had been. There was a bend in the river at this point, opposite Jericho Mills, which was three miles above Ox Ford. About 3 o'clock General Wilcox found that the enemy had crossed at the mill and was advancing southward through a densely wooded country.18 He galloped back and reported to General Hill, who at once ordered him to advance his division and to attack.


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THE PONTOON-BRIDGE AND FORD AT JERICHO MILLS, NORTH ANNA RIVER,
TAKEN JUST AFTER WARREN'S CORPS HAD CROSSED, MAY 23, 1864

Moving up the road directly south of the Central Railroad and parallel to it, General Wilcox formed his line opposite Noel's Station, with Lane on the right, McGowan on the left of Lane, p354 and Thomas on the left of McGowan. Scales's brigade was placed in rear of Thomas, with instructions to march around Thomas's left and to assail the enemy in flank and rear if it should be found that Thomas's flank extended beyond that of the enemy. Lane and McGowan had to advance over open ground, down to a boggy little stream, and then upward to a thick wood, where the enemy was believed to be.


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Order of battle and line of advance of Wilcox's division
in the action against V Corps, Army of the Potomac, May 23, 1864,
near the North Anna River.

Thomas's advance from the first was p355 to be through the woods. The action opened briskly. Lane and McGowan reached the forest in their front and swept into it. Thomas quickly drove the enemy backward. In a short time, however, Thomas gave way at the very moment that the enemy in his front did the same thing. McGowan's left was thrown "in the air" on Thomas's withdrawal and a gap was created. One of Lane's regiments broke twice, but the remaining three pressed on. Scales's brigade found the enemy's flank but for some reason did not press it. By nightfall the division was glad to withdraw — in the unhappy knowledge that the troops in its front, which proved to be the V Corps of Warren, were still on the south bank and were entrenching rapidly. It was a badly managed affair, and no credit either to Hill or to Wilcox. Indicates a West Point graduate and gives his Class.Heth's division had been brought up during the afternoon but had not been successful in driving the enemy.19

The action on Hill's front might mean that the enemy was preparing to cross the North Anna with his entire army, for Grant would hardly have thrown so large a force to the south side simply to feel out the Confederates. On the opposite flank, about 7:15 P.M.,20 in the midst of a furious rainstorm,21 there was another move that might indicate a determination on Grant's part to force a crossing. From the ravines beyond the bridgeheads, the enemy swarmed forward and overwhelmed the small garrison. Between 100 and 200 men, who could not run the gauntlet over the bridges in the gathering darkness, were captured.22

Was all this a ruse? On the theory that it might be, Lee directed Anderson, at the end of the day, to pack his wagons and to be ready if necessary to move the next morning.23 To prepare for the larger probability of an attack by the enemy on the front where the Army of Northern Virginia then stood, Lee decided to change his lines. He could not keep the enemy from moving to the south side opposite the bridges, for after he burned these the enemy could easily ford the river, where the water was then low.24 p356 Neither could Lee fight close to the river, on his right, because the Federal guns, already in battery on the higher ground on the north bank, dominated the position he occupied. If, then, the Federals could cross opposite his right, as they already had opposite his left, they might hope to turn either flank, or both. But there was one point where the ground favored Lee. That was in the centre, near Ox Ford. There the Confederates held the elevation and could prevent a Federal crossing. Lee accordingly determined on a novel system of defenses. He drew back Ewell and the right of Anderson to the southeast; he kept the left of Anderson opposite Ox Ford; and he directed that as soon as Hill's men were rested, they were to run a line from Ox Ford southwestward to Little River. Thus Lee would have his front a very wide inverted "V" with its apex to the north and both flanks well secured — the left by Little River and the right by swampy ground east of Hanover Junction. As Henderson well phrased it, Lee "shut up his line like one closes an umbrella,"25 as the sketch shows.


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Lee's "inverted V" line on the North Anna River, May 24, 1864.

He was now in position where he could easily reinforce one wing from the other, and as long as he held Ox Ford he could compel Grant to fight with his wings separated. Thus favorably situated, Lee was sanguine. His communications were shorter,26 and his strength was raised, at last, some 8500 by the arrival of all of Pickett's division, Hoke's old brigade, and Breckinridge's command.27 The opportunity for which he had been waiting might come the very next day. But before it developed, Lee was attacked by a violent intestinal complaint, brought on, no doubt, by bad food and long hours.28 He was loath, as always, to yield to sickness, p357 and on the 24th he tried to transact army business as usual. Early in the day he rode over to the left flank and learned the details of Hill's failure the previous evening. Morning reports showed that in Wilcox's division alone the casualties had been 642 — entirely too many men to be lost to no purpose.29 Lee's temper was least under control in his rare periods of sickness, and when he saw General Hill he is said to have asked him abruptly, "Why did you not do as Indicates a West Point graduate and gives his Class.Jackson would have done — thrown your whole force upon these people and driven them back?"30

p358 There was no answer to the question, and no remedy for the situation that had developed on that flank, except to put Hill to work digging his part of the "V" line,31 in the hope that the enemy might make some blunder and offer an opening. The Federals on that sector, however, took no chances. While Hill's men dug, they too threw up dirt, and soon had a line which crossed the Central Railroad two-thirds of a mile northwest of Anderson's Station.32 This, of course, meant that communications with Staunton would once more be interrupted, and that a part of the track of the Virginia Central would be torn up again.33

On the right, opposite the bridges, the Union forces crossed to the south bank as soon as they discovered that the Confederates had drawn in their lines.34 This put the enemy precisely where Lee wanted him: If Grant tried to reinforce the right from the left, or vice versa, he would have to cross the river twice. The Confederate centre held stubbornly to Ox Ford. An attempt by Grant to force a crossing at that point and to connect the Federal left and right in a continuous line south of the river was easily defeated.35 For a few hours opportunity beckoned, and if Lee had been well enough to organize a strong and immediate attack on either flank, he might perhaps have crushed the II Corps on his right or the V on his left; but hourly, as the Union entrenchments rose, his chances of success grew less.36

Lee was worse on the 25th and confined to his tent,37 but he insisted on receiving reports and he carried on his official correspondence, in which there was not even a hint that he was sick. Some of his staff were disposed to think that he should not have vexed himself with duty when he was almost incapacitated. But what could he do? Beauregard's hands were full at Bermuda Hundred, and to whom else could he turn over the command? To Ewell, senior corps chief, who was himself scarcely able to keep the field? To Hill, who had just failed on the left? To Anderson, who had been in corps command scarcely more than a fortnight? As long as he was able to direct operations, Lee had no alternative. He must endure the pain and the debilitating symptoms. In his p359 dispatches he was able to keep his measured tone. Writing to the President of the heavy reinforcement of Grant, he again urged joint operations by his army and Beauregard's, and at whatever point most advantageous to Beauregard. His phrases were as considerate and as self-controlled as if he had been at his best.38 In his tent it was different. As he felt opportunity slipping away, his grip on himself weakened, and he had a violent scene with Colonel Venable, who argued some point with him. When Venable emerged from the General's tent, he was, Major McClellan remembered, "in a state of flurry and excitement, full to bursting, and he blurted out, 'I have just told the old man that he is not fit to command this army, and that he had better send for Beauregard.' "39 Lee could not, would not give up, but he broke out vehemently: "We must strike them a blow — we must never let them pass us again — we must strike them a blow!"40 To Doctor Gwathmey he said of Grant, "If I can get one more pull at him, I will defeat him."41

The opportunity was gone, however. The Unionists were too strong to be attacked and too cautious to assault the lines with their forces divided. The 25th passed with nothing more serious than a few demonstrations.42 To procure more rest than was possible at Hanover Junction, Lee moved his headquarters three miles down the Richmond, Fredericksburg and Potomac Railroad to Taylorsville.43 He had the satisfaction of knowing that the troops were rested, and that their morale was still high.44 No concern whatever did he have as to their willingness and ability to fight, but he dreaded the numerical superiority of the enemy, particularly in the cavalry.45

p360 The Federals did not wait long in the difficult position where Lee had placed them by drawing his inverted "V." On the 26th there were heavy demonstrations along the river, and reports that the enemy was moving up the left bank. Lee ordered the enemy's lines felt out, and he began too suspect that instead of sliding his left flank southward, Grant might be preparing to move on Richmond by the Union right flank.46

This suspicion was disproved at dawn on the morning of May 27. The enemy was found to have evacuated the south bank of the North Anna, and was marching down the north bank. Grant had declined the challenge to battle and was preparing to try again. Almost at the same time, cavalry outposts that Lee had prudently placed far on his right reported that the Federals were p361 crossing at Hanovertown on the Pamunkey River.47 The Pamunkey is formed by the junction of the North and South Anna Rivers, and its course is from northwest to southwest. When Grant started down the North Anna for the Pamunkey he had the cover of a river and, at the same time, was getting eight miles nearer Richmond, for the distance from Richmond to the North Anna is about twenty-three miles north to south, while Hanovertown is fifteen miles by air northeast from the Confederate capital.


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Sketch showing how Grant's move from the North Anna River to Hanovertown on the Pamunkey shortened the distance between the front and Richmond.

General Lee must have had the possibility of this manoeuvre in mind when he wrote on May 21 that he doubted if he could strike Grant until after the Union army had passed the Pamunkey.48 He did not waste an hour now in hurrying to intercept his adversary in this new effort to reach Richmond. Ewell's corps was immediately set in motion down the Richmond, Fredericksburg and Potomac Railroad toward Ashland, and Anderson, with Breckinridge, was ordered to follow him. Hill was to form the rearguard and was to leave the North Anna that evening.49

The operation on the North Anna was not accounted a success because it did not compel Grant to give battle. Strategically, it accomplished far more than Lee could then foresee. It forced the Federal commander to abandon a direct movement on Richmond from the north, and that, as the event proved, was to leave Lee in command of communications with the Valley of the Shenandoah. This, in turn, not only gave him an opportunity for offensive operations there but assured him such supplies as western Virginia could yield. No achievement of the entire campaign from the Rapidan to the James meant more in prolonging the struggle. Five months later Meade was to write of the Virginia Central, "Until that road is destroyed, we cannot compel the evacuation of Richmond."50

But now Lee saw the battle brought back, close to the fields where he had taken command not quite two years previously. Two years only! It seemed an aeon of anxiety.


The Author's Notes:

1 Moncure, 1‑3. This narrative is of great simplicity but of singular dramatic force. It has been here paraphrased but the pamphlet merits a reading by all who are interested in General Lee's dealings with his men. It should be noted that Moncure is one day in error in his chronology. The events he described as of May 22‑23, occurred on the 21st-22d.

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2 Lee's Dispatches, 192. Cf. supra, p342.

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3 White, 380.

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4 Although mentioned frequently in the dispatches as Taylor's Bridge, the wagon crossing was properly Fox's Bridge. It had been destroyed in 1862 and had not been rebuilt when the artillery had been sent back to the North Anna after the battle of Fredericksburg. Lieutenant J. Thompson Brown of the artillery had received orders and a detail of men to reconstruct it. Brown had never had any experience in such work but he had promised the men two weeks' furlough if they made a bridge. He had very ingeniously weighted one end of each long timber so that it would sink into position, and had used this as his foundation. The bridge served every purpose. It stood a short distance west of the present North Anna Memorial Bridge on the Richmond-Washington highway (Letter of General Jo Lane Stern to J. F. Howison, July 14, 1926). General Stern had lived as a boy in the neighborhood and had been an interested observer of Lieutenant Brown's engineering.

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5 Stern to Howison, supra.

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6 O. R., 36, part 3, p823. General Stern, in the Richmond Times-Dispatch of Jan. 20, 1907, published an interesting account of delivering a telegram to the General in his headquarters by unceremoniously entering his tent under the raised flap and touching the General on the shoulder. "He was very courteous," General Stern wrote, "as if it were an everyday occurrence for boys to punch him on his shoulder."

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7 Pendleton, 336. Moncure, op. cit., 4, stated that about noon on May 23 he returned to Lee's headquarters and found the General in consultation with men who, he was told, were Davis, Seddon, and Breckinridge. If Moncure was in error in his chronology for the day of May 22, as he was for the night of May 21‑22, then this meeting occurred on May 22 and not, as he put it, on the 23d. There is no other reference to such a conference, though there is nothing in the published correspondence of the 22d to prove that it could not have occurred. If, again, Moncure gave the correct date, May 23, then he must have been misinformed as to at least one of the persons he saw in Lee's tent, for there is in O. R., 36, part 1, p1030, a dispatch from Lee to Seddon that would hardly have been written if Lee had seen Seddon that day.

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8 Taylor MSS., May 23, 1864; Taylor's Four Years, 132.

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9 Lee to Davis, May 23, 1864; Lee's Dispatches, 194‑97.

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10 See supra, vol. 1, p354.

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11 Stern to Howison, supra.

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12 Cf. Henderson: Science of War, 327.

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13 Cf. Lee to Davis, May 25, 1864: "We have been obliged to withdraw from the banks of the North Anna, in consequence of the ground being favorable to the enemy, and the stage of the water such that he can cross at any point" (Lee's Dispatches, 200).

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14 Wilcox's MS. report, 44‑45. Hill had started his march from Hewlett's at 7 A.M. on the morning of the 23d, moving on a road that ran parallel to the railway. Ibid.

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15 Statement of the late Judge R. H. Cardwell, July, 1926. Judge Cardwell had the story, many years previously, from the lips of Mr. Fox.

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16 Measuring the distance by the river.

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17 Neese, 274‑75. Lee made his reconnaissance from Neese's gun position.

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18 The first crossing had been at noon but was not discovered for three hours (cf. O. R., 36, part 1, p568). The ford at Jericho Mills, now reverting to a wilderness, is one of the most picturesque spots on all the battlegrounds of Virginia.

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19 Federal reports in O. R., 36, part 1, pp542 ff.; Indicates a West Point graduate and gives his Class.Pendleton's, ibid., 1047; Wilcox's MS. report, 45 ff.; Lane's report in 9 S. H. S. P., 241‑42; History of McGowan's Brigade, 153 ff. These are the only Confederate accounts, hence the uncertainty as to Heth's movements. General Wilcox merely stated in his report that he saw Heth's division marching by a flank along the railroad in rear of his division.

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20 O. R., 36, part 1, p467.

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21 O. R., 36, part 1, p432.

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22 O. R., 36, part 1, pp193, 341.

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23 O. R., 36, part 1, p826.

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24 Lee's Dispatches, 200.

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25 Science of War, 328.

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26 Cf. Lee to Mrs. Lee, May 23, 1864: "We have the advantage of being nearer our supplies and less liable to have our communications, trains, etc., cut by his cavalry, and he is getting farther from his base. Still, I begrudge every step he takes toward Richmond" (Fitz Lee, 338‑39).

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27 Pickett was attached temporarily to the Third Corps (O. R., 36, part 1, p1058). Hoke's brigade returned to Indicates a West Point graduate and gives his Class.Early's division, from which Evans's, formerly John B. Gordon's brigade, was transferred to Gordon's, previously Johnson's division (Early, 359). Breckinridge's two brigades were not formally attached and were under the direct orders of Lee. They were assigned position between the First and Second Corps, on the right centre (O. R., 51, part 2, p957). Alexander's estimate of the strength of all these reinforcements was 9000 (op. cit., 530), but his figures are slightly high.

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28 14 S. H. S. P., 535. The date of this illness can be fixed with reasonable certainty. He was not sick when he was at the Fox house, and as that was on the day the Federal artillery reached the river bank, it must have been the 23d. Pendleton, op. cit., 336, noted that Lee was "quite unwell" on the 25th. The malady must, therefore, have showed itself on the night of the 23d-24th or on the 24th.

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29 Wilcox's MS. report, 48.

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30 3 C. M. H., 460. White (op. cit., 381), without citing his authority, quoted Lee as saying, "General Hill, why did you let these people cross the river? Why did you not drive them back as General Jackson would have done?"

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31 History of McGowan's Brigade, 156.

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32 Now called Verdon.

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33 The actual work of destruction began May 25 (O. R., 36, part 1, pp582, 592).

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34 Part of the II Corps made this move (O. R., 36, part 1, p341).

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35 O. R., 36, part 1, pp918, 1030‑31.

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36 Maurice, 239; Humphreys, 132‑33.

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37 Pendleton, 336; 14 S. H. S. P., 535.

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38 Lee's Dispatches, 198 ff.

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39 H. B. McClellan MSS. The date of this episode is not fixed.

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40 Venable in 14 S. H. S. P., 535.

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41 Cooke, 404.

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42 O. R., 36, part 1, pp8, 78.

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43 His dispatch of May 26, received at 8:30 P.M. was dated from Taylorsville (O. R., 36, part 3, p834).

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44 There was division of opinion among the Southerners whether the Union troops were as stiff adversaries as they had been at the opening of the campaign (Taylor MSS., May 23, 1864; Taylor's Four Years, 133; Memoir of Capt. C. Seton Fleming, 97; Pendleton, 336). Some of the Federals thought the Army of Northern Virginia was losing confidence. Cf. C. A. Dana, May 26: "Rebels have lost all confidence, and are already morally defeated. This army has learned to believe that it is sure of victory. Even our officers have ceased to regard Lee as an invincible military genius. On part of the rebels this change is evinced, not only by their not attacking, even when circumstances seem to invite it, but by the unanimous statements of prisoners taken from them" (O. R., 36, part 1, p79).

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45 Lee to Seddon, May 26, 1864: "The enemy's superiority in Cavalry will, I fear, enable him to do us much injury" (O. R., 36, part 1, p834).

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46 O. R., 36, part 3, p834, three dispatches; ibid., 51, part 2, p960.

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47 O. R., 36, part 3, p836; ibid., 51, part 2, pp962, 964.

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48 See supra, p341.

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49 Wilcox's MS. report, 48.

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50 Oct. 22, 1864; 2 Meade, 236.


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