AFTER the battle of Fredericksburg,
we returned to the same encampments which we had left to cross the Rappahannock,
and on January 27, 1863, orders from the President, dated the day before,
placed our "Fighting Joe Hooker " in command of the army. Burnside, Sumner,
and Franklin were relieved. For a few days General Couch went to take Sumner's
place over the grand division. This gave me command of the Second
Corps. But very soon, among the changes made by Hooker, the grand division
organization was broken up, and I returned to the second division
of the corps. It would have been very wise if Hooker had gone a step further
in simplifying, and had consolidated his eight corps into four-three of
infantry and artillery and one of cavalry, with its horse batteries.
Notwithstanding misgivings respecting General Hooker, whose California record had been ransacked, and whose private conduct had been canvassed, the army I received him kindly. He had been a little hard, in his camp conferences, upon McClellan, and for poor Burnside he had shown no mercy.
My own feeling at that time was that of a want of confidence in the army itself. The 'ending of the peninsular work, the confusion at the termination of the second
battle of Bull Run, the incompleteness of Antietam, and the fatal
consequences of Fredericksburg did not make the horizon of our dawning
future very luminous. We had suffered desertions by the thousands. I brought
two commissioned officers about that time to trial for disloyal language,
directed against the President and the general commanding. Mouths were
stopped, but discontent had taken deep root. Hooker, how-ever, by his prompt
and energetic measures, soon changed the whole tone of the army for the
better. Desertions were diminished, and outpost duty was systematized.
The general showed himself frequently to his troops at reviews and inspections,
and caused the construction of field works and entrenchments, which, with
the drills, occupied the time and the minds of the soldiers. The cavalry
became a corps, and Stoneman was put in command of it. The artillery reserve,
given to General Hunt, was brought to a high degree of efficiency.
In truth, during February, March, and April, the old cheerful, hopeful, trustful spirit which had carried us through so many dark days, through so many bloody fields and trying defeats, returned to the Army of the Potomac; and Hooker's success as a division and corps commander was kept constantly in mind as an earnest of a grand future. As soon as General Sickles' who was then my junior in rank, was assigned to the Third Corps, feeling that I had been overlooked, I wrote a brief letter to General Hooker, asking to be assigned according to my rank. Immediately I was ordered to take command of the Eleventh Army Corps, which General Sigel had just left. I assumed command at Stafford Court House, where General Carl Schurz was in charge. My coming sent Schurz back to
his division and Schimmelfennig back to his brigade. The corps was
then, in round numbers, 13,000 strong. It had about 5,000 Germans and 8,000
Americans. Two divisions were under the German commanders, Von Steinwehr
and Carl Schurz, and one under Devens. One of Devens's brigades was commanded
by Colonel Von Gilsa, a German officer, who at drills and reviews made
a fine soldierly appearance. Outwardly I met a cordial reception, but I
soon found that my past record was not known here; that there was much
complaint in the German language at the removal of Sigel, who merely wanted
to have his command properly increased, and that I was not at first getting
the earnest and loyal support of the entire command. But for me there was
no turning back. I brought to the corps several tried officers: for example,
General Barlow, to command one brigade in Von Steinwehr's division, and
General Adelbert Ames to take a brigade. I had the command drilled and
reviewed as much as could be done in a few weeks.
On April 8th the corps of Couch, Sickles, Meade, and Sedgwick were reviewed by President Lincoln, accompanied by General Hooker. There was a column of about 70,000 men, and it must have taken over two hours and a half for them to pass the President. It was the largest procession until the last review before President Andrew Johnson in 1865. Mrs. Lincoln came down from Washington, and the President's two sons were at the grand review. The smaller, Tad, rode a beautiful pony, and was noticeable for his ability to manage him.
On the 10th Mr. Lincoln came to review my corps. The German pioneers had fixed up my tent and its surroundings with everything that ever
greens and trees could do to make them cheerful. Of all this Mr.
Lincoln took special notice and expressed his admiration. My salute and
review were satisfactory.
Up to April 25th General Hooker had managed to keep his plans in his own bosom. True, inferences were drawn by everybody from the partial movements that were made up and down the river. For example, April 13th, Stoneman, started up the Rappahannock with his cavalry corps, except Pleasonton's brigade, ostensibly to go to the Shenandoah Valley. It was my part to send Bushbeck's infantry brigade of Von Steinwehr's division in his support as far as Kelly's Ford. But the flooding rains again began, and had the effect of detaining the whole of Stoneman's force for some days in that neighborhood. Just what he was to do we did not then know.
April 21st, Doubleday, of Reynolds's (First) Corps, also started down the river, and went as far as Port Conway. He here made sundry demonstrations which indicated a purpose to try and effect a crossing. Colonel Henry A. Morrow with his Michigan regiment (Twenty-fourth) made another display near Port Royal. The Confederate commanders believed them to be but feints. These demonstrations had, however, the effect of causing Lee to send troops down the river to watch our proceedings. Jackson went thither in command.
On April 25th I was instructed to send knapsacks and other supplies to Buslibeck at Kelly's Ford, and to see that his men had on hand eight days' rations in knapsacks and haversacks. The instruction ended with this sentence: " I am directed to inform you confidentially, for your own information and not for
publication, that your whole corps will probably move in that direction.
as early as Monday A.M."
Our army at that time numbered for duty about 130,000 - First Corps, Reynolds; Second, Couch; Third, Sickles; Fifth, Meade; Sixth, Sedgwick; Eleventh, Howard; Twelfth, Slocum; cavalry corps, Stoneman; reserve artillery, Hunt.
The Confederate army opposite numbered about 60,000: four divisions under, Stonewall Jackson, two (Anderson's and McLaws's) acting separately, and Stuart's cavalry. General Pendleton brought the reserve artillery under one head. Anderson's and McLaws's belonged to Longstreet's corps, but the remainder over and above these two divisions was at this time absent from the Army of Northern Virginia. Lee's forces occupied the Fredericksburg Heights and guarded all approaches. His cavalry, with headquarters at Culpeper, watched his left flank from his position to the Shenandoah Valley.
The plan of operation determined upon by General Hooker, which began to be revealed to his corps commanders little by little in confidential notes, was, first, to send his whole cavalry corps, except one division, to raid around by our right upon Lee's communications; second, to make a crossing, a feint, and possibly an attack, by his left wing at and below Fredericksburg; third, to start the right wing up the Rappahannock to the upper fords, cross them, and push rapidly to and over the Rapidan via Chancellorsville to the heights near Banks's Ford; fourth, to follow up this movement with his center; to throw bridges across and below the mouth of the Rapidan at the United States Ford, or wherever convenient, and re-enforce his right wing. The plan was well conceived, except the sending
off of his entire cavalry force. But for that there is little doubt
that, humanly speaking, Lee would have been defeated. Stoneman would have
curtained our movements, occupied the attention of Stuart, guarded our
right flank, and let General Hooker and his corps commanders know what
maneuvers of Lee were in progress before the wilderness and its deceptive
wilds had been reached. But at the outset we were divorced from this potential
helpmate. Pleasonton's brigade, which was left to Hooker, was too small
to subdivide, so that we were usually left to skirmishers, scouts, and
reconnaissance from the infantry arm to ascertain what the enemy was about.
From this one mistake arose a dozen others, which contributed to our final
The orders of April 27th made the left wing to consist of the First, Third, and Sixth Corps, Sedgwick to command.
According to instructions, Reynolds took his command (the First Corps) to the lower place, near Pollock's Mills Creek. The Sixth Corps undertook Franklin's old crossing just below the mouth of the Deep Run. With some little delay and after overcoming the enemy's pickets, Wadsworth's division of Reynolds's corps was firmly established on the other shore, and the remainder of that corps held at hand.
The Sixth Corps was equally successful, and Brooks's division, aided by a battery, held a stone bridgehead below Fredericksburg and kept the way open for his corps. The preliminaries to all this work, Hunt planting the helpful artillery and Benham bringing up his bridges, and the concentration of the troops were thoroughly provided for and executed with secrecy and dispatch; yet General Lee's watchful
assistants soon let him know what was going forward. He got ready
for a possible attack, but when Wednesday passed away and then Thursday
with no further effort on Sedgwick's part beyond the preparations which
I have named, Lee rightly concluded that Hooker's main attack was not to
be undertaken at that point. The right wing, which at the time most concerned
me in these movements, was to be constituted from the Eleventh, Twelfth,
and Fifth Corps.
Monday morning at 5.30, April 27th, my command left its camp near Brooke's Station, on the Aquia Creek Railroad, and took the most direct road by the way of Hartwood Church toward Kelly's Ford. We made a fair march (fourteen miles) the first day, and went into camp a little beyond that church. Everything was then in good order, the men in fine health and spirits, glad of any change which relieved the monotony and tedium of their winter quarters. Our orders were very strict to keep down the trains to the smallest number for ammunition and forage only. I found that on that march several of my subordinate commanders had been very careless in not carrying out these instructions to the letter. General Hooker and his staff passed my trains during the march, and said to me: "General Meade has done better than you." Of course I had issued the orders, but field officers would here and there slip in an extra wagon till there were many; for where were they to get their meals if ration wagons were all left behind? This condition I quickly corrected, but it was my first mortification in this campaign. Some of the American officers were as careless as some of the foreign in the matter of orders glorious in eye service, but conscienceless when out of sight. Our main trains were
parked not far from Banks's Ford. My corps was followed by Slocum's,
and his by Meade's.
The next day (Tuesday) we were on the road by 4 A.M., and accomplished our march to the neighborhood of Kelly's Ford by four in the afternoon; trains as well as troops were closed up and all encamped by that early hour.
I had hastened on ahead of my command to visit General Hooker, who had transferred his headquarters to Morrisville, a hamlet some five or six miles north of Kelly's Ford. Here he received me pleasantly, gave specific instructions, and carefully explained his proposed plan of attack. After this interview I returned to my troops and began to execute my part. Captain Comstock, of the engineers, who had graduated from West Point in the class following mine, was on hand to lay a bridge, for this ford was too deep for practical use. By 6 P.M. the bridge was commenced. The bridge layers were detailed mainly from my corps. Four hundred of Bushbeck's brigade seized the boats, which they put together, put them into the stream, and pushed for the south bank. The enemy's pickets stopped to fire one wild volley and fled. There was then quick work. The bridge was done before ten O'clock and the crossing well covered by picket posts far out. Immediately I broke camp and took my command over the bridge. Colonel Kellogg, with the Seventeenth Pennsylvania Cavalry, reported to me for temporary duty. With his force we extended our out posts and patrolled the country around our new bivouac, but owing to the ignorance of our guides of the character of the country and to the pitchy darkness, the troops were not in position until near daylight.
Still, as Slocum was now to load the column, we had
time for a short rest before resuming the march. Soon after getting
upon the road to Germania Ford we could hear firing on Slocum's front,
and before long shells began to burst over our heads and uncomfortably
near to the marching men. Colonel Kellogg made some attempts to stop this;
but as there were with the enemy two field pieces supported by cavalry,
it proved too difficult a task. Just then a brigade of Stoneman's corps
swept along southward in that neighborhood and rid us of the annoyance.
General Slocum had cleared the Rapidan, so that by eleven at night of this day (Wednesday, April 29th) my command began to cross the river. Slocum had here no bridge at first and could not wait for one. Part of his men, supporting each other and cheering, waded the current from shore to shore. The old bridge, however, was soon repaired and I used it. By four in the morning of Thursday my men were again in camp, except those with the train, including its guard.
On this day (Thursday) we did not delay for rest, but marched at seven o'clock, following Slocum, coming up abreast of his corps near Dowdall's tavern. As soon as my head of column came to this place a small opening in the wilderness, within which are a few houses and a church, it was halted and I rode over to the Chancellor House, or Chancellorsville. Meade's command was already there. Here I met General Slocum, who was to give me instructions. His orders were to occupy the right, by Dowdall's tavern, resting my extreme right flank at a mill, marked as on Hunting Creek, or a tributary. He promised me to cover the whole ground from Chancellorsville to Dowdall's tavern. I went back at once and in person reconnoitered
the right, riding through the woods and small glade-like openings.
I could find no mill in that neighborhood, but I posted the command as
directed, drawing back my right across the pike, and having considerable
reserve. I had hardly got into position before I found three-quarters of
a mile more of space between me and Slocum's nearest division, and I was
obliged, to my sorrow, to use up most of my reserve to fall this vacancy.
At this time, though there was an interval on my right, Pleasonton's cavalry,
with some artillery, remained at the place where the Ely Ford road crosses
Hunting Creek, and I sent him two companies of infantry for support; this,
with such cavalry pickets as Pleasonton would naturally throw out on all
the roads which led to him, afforded me a good outpost of warning to my
right rear. But there was no cavalry placed on the Orange plank road, nor
on the old turnpike, which near Dowdall's tavern passes off to the north
of west, making a considerable angle with the plank road.
As soon as Meade had crossed the Rapidan, Anderson's two Confederate brigades were drawn back from the United States Ford; the bridges were immediately laid and all but Gibbon's division of the Second Corps (Couch's) came to join us at Chancellorsville. Sickles, too, with the Third, had been taken from Sedgwick and was (Thursday night) in bivouac near the United States Ford, just across the river.
General Hooker, with a portion of his staff, had already come up and taken his headquarters at Chancellorsville. Our troops had skirmished all along with Stuart7s cavalry, and exchanged some shots with Anderson's division in front of Slocum7s center and left, yet thus far everything had worked well. We had
entered upon a vigorous offensive campaign. We had reached the enemy's vicinage, and were but a few miles from his left flank, with no natural or artificial obstruction in our way. Such was the situation Thursday evening. Friday morning at dawn Sickles completed his march and joined us on the front line. He took post on my left, relieving some of Slocum's thin line and some of Steinwehr's, near Dowdall's tavern. I thus obtained Barlow's excellent brigade for my general corps reserve. These, with a few reserve batteries, were held in hand, in echelon, to cover my extreme right flank in case of such need. Let us notice again, on that Thursday night, how favorable matters looked, when General Hooker was so jubilant and confident and full of the purpose of pushing on to the heights near Banks's Ford. He had then 50,000 men well concentrated at Chancellorsville and more within easy support. His left wing, under Sedgwick, had thus far occupied enough the attention of the Confederates to keep them in its front at Fredericksburg. It was not, then, strange that the sanguine Hooker caused to be issued and sent to us that night, to be read at our camp fires and to be published to our commands, as speedily as possible, a congratulatory order. (For full order, see Appendix.) General Hooker intended to push for Lee's left flank and assail him there in position. Should Lee move upon Sedgwick with all the force which he could make available for that purpose, he would probably no more than get well at work before Hooker's right wing would be upon him. The alternative for Lee was to leave as small a force in his works before Sedgwick as possible, with
instructions to keep Sedgwick back, while he himself, with the main
Confederate army, Napoleon-like, hurried to join Anderson beyond Salem
Church, whose skirmish line boldly fronted Hooker's at Chancellorsville,
and promptly gave battle. This plan had been matured from the first, and
was already well understood by all the Confederate brigade and division
commanders. Their brigades were large and corresponded very well to our
divisions for they made, no mistake in consolidating their troops. However
much of a disturbance or panic in the rear our cavalry under Stoneman was
creating, Lee did not send his cavalry force under Stuart to try and head
us off, but simply let his son, General W. H. F. Lee, with his small cavalry
division, watch, follow, fight, or do whatever he could, while he retained
Stuart with two-thirds of that corps with himself. His 1,800 cavalrymen,
with some horse artillery, were never better employed.
Early's division of Stonewall Jackson’s corps and Barksdale's brigade, with a part of the reserve artillery, to be commanded by Pendleton, were selected for the defense of the works in front of Sedgwick at Fredericksburg. Anderson already had in our front at Chancellorsville five infantry brigades, in all nearly 11,000 men. At midnight of Thursday, while we were sleeping near Chancellorsville, in that wilderness, McLaws's division joined Anderson with some 6,000 men. On Friday morning at dawn Stonewall Jackson (who was now at Fredericksburg) with all his command, except Early, followed McLaws. Jackson had three divisions, numbering about 26,000 men, besides 170 pieces of artillery. He reached Anderson's lines by eight O'clock Friday morning (May 1st) and, as was his wont, took command and prepared to advance. It was
a goodly force upward of 43,000 men of all arms, well organized,
well drilled and disciplined, and under that best of Southern leaders,
the redoubtable Stonewall Jackson. The troops fell into position on their
arrival. McLaws went to the right of Anderson and put his forces on high
ground in front of a country road which crosses from the river road to
the "Old Mine" road. Anderson crossed the Old Mine road and the turnpike,
while Jackson's men were upon the plank roadway and the new railway route.
Owens's regiment of Confederate cavalry made the first reconnaissance,
and by 11 A.M. this movement was followed up by other forces.
As revealed in his orders to Sedgwick Thursday evening, General Hooker's confident purpose still was to push on from Chancellorsville, drive back Anderson, and seize and occupy the high ground near Banks's Ford. But for the delay of Chancellorsville, as if that was our real destination, Hooker would have easily gained his point. Probably he waited first for Couch, and afterwards for Sickles. Still, after a personal scout of observation and examination of his front, Hooker issued his instructions for the execution of his proposed plan: First, Meade, using two divisions, was to take the river road and get to a designated position opposite Banks's Ford by 2 p.m.; second, Sykes, supported by Hancock from Couch's corps, was to take the same direction on the old Fredericksburg turnpike, move up abreast of Meade, both columns having deployed their skirmishers and lines so as to connect, and to fight any enemy that might be found there; third, Slocum, with the Twelfth Corps, was to march out on the plank road eastward to Tabernacle Church and mass his corps there. It was a point on the same general line as those to be attained
by Meade and Sykes. I, with the Eleventh, was to follow Slocum and
post my command 'a mile in rear of him. All these movements were so regulated
as to be completed by two in the afternoon.
As a grand support to our whole wing, Sedgwick, below Fredericksburg, was directed to make a demonstration in force against the enemy's entrenchments at Hamilton's Crossing. This was ordered to be undertaken at 1 P.m. But Sedgwick did not get the orders till four hours later. As Hooker's chief of staff was at Falmouth, and had constant telegraphic communication with him, the wretched failures in the transmission of orders and messages between Chancellorsville and Fredericksburg have never been understood.
The other columns lost no time. They started out on their respective roads. True, there was some clogging at the Chancellorsville crossroads, for many troops passed that one point, and the result of this clogging was that Sykes got considerably ahead of Hancock, and Slocum's appearance at Tabernacle Church was delayed, still, Slocum came forward and I, with my corps, supported him. Meade reached his point in fine style, but did not succeed in connecting with Sykes on his right; neither did Slocum reach out far enough to touch Sykes's right flank. Yet very soon Hancock was on hand in his rear for support.
Both of the armies were now in rapid motion in comparatively open ground. Jackson had a shorter front than we, and produced unity by commanding the whole line. We had four detached columns those of Meade, Sykes, Slocum, and French feeling out experimentally for a line of connection beyond the ground already passed by Jackson; and our common
commander unfortunately was not, like Jackson, at the front, where
he could make the corrections now of vital importance. Meade's skirmishers
occupied the heights in sight of the coveted Banks's Ford. Sykes beheld
McLaws with deployed troops on the very hills he was directed to occupy.
He did not hesitate an instant, but moved forward at double quick and attacked
with all his might, driving back the brigades before him, and seized the
This position Sykes continued to hold. He was outflanked; but, with General Hancock close at hand, Sykes did not propose to retire nor fear to hold his ground. It was just the instant to re-enforce him. Behind Hancock was all of Sickles's corps. But, to everybody's sorrow, our commander had changed his mind at that moment, and the orders of Hooker came to Sykes to return to Chancellorsville at once and take the old position. Slocum had encountered the brigades of Wright and Posey, but the action had hardly begun when the same orders came to him; the same also to Meade, as he was getting ready to give Sykes a strong support on his left. My command had gotten in readiness and gone out two miles, and a brigade of Sickles's had come to watch at Dowdall's toward the west, as French was doing toward the south at Todd's tavern. We all received the orders of retreat with astonishment: “Go back to the old position! "
It gave to our whole army the impression of a check, a failure, a defeat. It was a sudden change from a vigorous offensive to the defensive, into a position not good at all to resist a front attack, and one easily turned; for our right had no river or swamp or other natural obstacle on which to rest, and the whole position was enveloped in a vast and difficult forest ......
.... movement, used his troops and some batteries effectively from
the opening at Hazel Grove, Southeast of Dowdall's, and succeeded in stopping
some troops of Jackson's which were pursuing beyond our now left flank
the fugitives who had taken that direction in their flight. Soon, with
Berry's division, the cannon on our hill, Pleasonton's help and that of
various other detachments swinging into a line perpendicular to the one
thoroughfare, the plank road we were able to check Jackson's advance.
What a roar of cannon pouring their volleys into the forest, now black with the growing night!, It was in that forest that the brave, energetic, and successful Southern leader fell. Jackson's death was more injurious to the Confederate cause than would have been that of 10,000 other soldiers, so great was the confidence he had won, so deep was the reverence of citizen and soldier for his character and ability!
It has been customary to blame me and my corps for the disaster. The imputations of neglect to obey orders; of extraordinary self-confidence; of fanatical reliance upon the God of battles; of not sending out reconnoissances; of not entrenching; of not strengthening the right flank by keeping proper reserves; of having no pickets and skirmishers; of not sending information to General Hooker, etc., etc., are far from true. My command was by positive orders riveted to that position. Though constantly threatened and made aware of hostile columns in motion, yet the woods were so dense that Stonewall Jackson was able to mass a large force a few miles off, whose exact whereabouts neither patrols, reconnoissances, nor scouts ascertained. The enemy crossing the, plank road, two and a half miles off, we all saw. So the turning
at the Furnace was seen by hundreds of our people; but the interpretation
of these movements was certainly wrong. Yet, wherein did we neglect any
precaution? It will be found that Devens kept his subordinates constantly
on the qui vive; so did Schurz. Their actions and mine were identical.
The Eleventh. Corps detained Jackson for over an hour; part of my force
was away by Hooker's orders; part of each division fought hard, as our
Confederate enemies clearly show; part of it became wild with panic, like
the Belgians at Waterloo, like most of our troops at Bull Run, and the
Confederates, the second day, at Fair Oaks.
I may leave the whole matter to the considerate judgment of my companions in arms, simply asserting that on the terrible day of May 2, 1863, I did all which could have been done by a corps commander in the presence of that panic of men largely caused by the overwhelming attack of Jackson's 26,000 men against my isolated corps of 8,000 without its reserve, thus outnumbering me 3 to 1.
There is always a theory in war which will forestall the imputation of blame to those who do not deserve it. It is to impute the credit of one's great defeat to his enemy. I think in our hearts, as we take a candid review of everything that took place under General Hooker in the blind wilderness country around Chancellorsville, we do, indeed, impute our primary defeat to the successful effort of Stonewall Jackson, and our other checks to General Robert E. Lee. Certainly those are wrong who claim that I had no skirmishers out at Chancellorsville, for every report shows that the whole front was covered with them, and they are wrong who declare that there were no scouts or reconnoissances for scouts, both cavalry and infantry, were constantly
sent out, some of whom reported back to Devens, to me) and to General
Hooker. The reconnoissance made by Schimmelfennig's brigade was as bold
and as effective as it could be in such a forest. Or again, that there
were no intrenchments; for under Major Hoffman, the faithful engineer officer,
the front and the batteries were fairly covered; and the woods, in places
barricaded and obstructed, occupied by the right brigade of the corps,
and afforded also a natural protection.
The extraordinary precaution of a cross intrenchment extending over the open ground and into the woods in rear of our right where were all the reserve artillery and Barlow's division to support it, should not be forgotten. If there were any axes, picks, or shovels obtainable which were not used, then I was misinformed. The order from the commanding general addressed to General Slocum and myself jointly, cautioning me to look to my right flank, etc., must have been made prior to the visit of Generals Hooker and Comstock, for General Sickles's corps had already replaced General Slocum's on my left and certainly General Hooker would not have sent away all of Sickles's corps and all of my general reserve on the very day of the battle, if he had deemed those masses necessary for the strengthening of his right flank.
Neither the commander, the War Department, nor Congress ever saw fit, by any communication to me, to bold me accountable for the dislodgment of the Eleventh Corps at Chancellorsville. That General Hooker should have believed General Lee to have been in full retreat, as he telegraphed to Sedgwick, was not unnatural or confined to him alone; upon that theory the move he made of Sickles, Slocum, and Barlow during Saturday was not bad. And, indeed, my conduct
in this battle was in no respect different from that in other engagements.
The Eleventh Corps was soon reorganized and marched to relieve the Fifth Corps, under General Meade, on our extreme left. Here it held an intrenched or barricaded line till the end of the Chancellorsville campaign.
For the operations of the next day; the work of Sedgwick's command at Fredericksburg; his fighting near and crossing the Rappahannock; the unjust aspersions cast upon him by pretentious writers; the grand council of war, where, mostly, the general officers voted to fight, and the final withdrawal, I wish to call attention to the good accounts of the Comte de Paris and to the more exhaustive handling of Chancellorsville by a brother officer, Major Theodore A. Dodge.
Chancellorsville was a dreadful field. The dead were strewn through forest and open farms. The wounded had often to wait for days before succor came. Sometimes it never came. One officer on my personal staff, Captain F. Dessaur, was killed while near me beside Barlow's intrenchments, endeavoring to rally the panic-stricken men. His young wife had besought him to resign and come home to Brooklyn, N. Y., before this battle commenced. He tendered his resignation, explaining the peculiar circumstances of the case. But we were before the enemy, and soon to be engaged in battle, so that I wrote my disapproval upon his application. Poor fellow, he was slain, and my heart was deeply pained at his loss and in sympathy with his stricken family. Dessaur is an example of that dreadful sacrifice made in the cause of our national unity and of human liberty.
The Battle of Gettysburg Begun
It was not many minutes
afterwards that an officer (I now believe it was Captain Hall) stood in
the same street and, looking up, said sadly: " General Reynolds is dead,
and you are the senior officer on the field." This, of course, put me in
the commander's place.
I realized the situation. We had here, deducting our losses, in Lee's front, not to exceed 12,000 men; my corps was yet many miles back and our other troops were very much scattered, and the majority of them far away, too far for this day's work. My heart was heavy and the situation was grave indeed! but I did not hesitate, and said: " God helping us, we will stay here till the army comes," and quickly dictating orders, assumed command of the field; Schurz to take the Eleventh Corps; Doubleday to hold the First, and the cavalry of Buford to remain with him. Reynolds's last call for help had gone through me back on the Emmittsburg and Taneytown roads, to Barlow, Schurz, and Steinwehr. The new orders were carried to them again by Captain Hall to Schurz and to the reserve artillery under Major Osborn; by Captain Pearson to Barlow; then on to Sickles, ordering him up from Emmittsburg. Thence the news was borne to General Meade at Taneytown. A message was also sent to General Slocum, who was my senior. He was, judging from Meade's orders by this time at or near the two taverns.
Under my orders Osborn's batteries were placed on the Cemetery Ridge and some of them covered by small epaulements. General Steinwehr's division I put in reserve on the same heights and near the Baltimore pike. Dilger's Ohio battery preceded the corps,
and soon after Wheeler's, the two passing through the town at a trot,
to take their places on the right of the First Corps. Schurz ordered General
Schimmelfennig, (who had Schurz's division now) to advance briskly through
Gettysburg and deploy on the right of the First Corp's in two lines. Shortly
after that the first division, under Barlow, arrived by the Emmittsburg
road proper, and advanced through the town on the right of the third division.
I rode with Barlow through the city, and out to what is now Barlow Hill.
The firing at the front was severe and an occasional shell" burst over our heads or among the houses. When I think of this day, I shall always recall one incident which still cheers ray heart: it was that a young lady, after all other persons had quite disappeared for safety, remained behind on her porch and waved her handkerchief to the soldiers as they passed. Our living comrades who were there will not forget this episode, nor the greeting which her heroism awakened as they were going to battle. How heartily they cheered her!
Leaving Barlow to complete his march and deployment near the upper waters of Rock Creek, and sending my senior aid, Major C. H. Howard, to visit Buford, I rode off to the left, passing in the rear of Robinson, had a few words with Wadsworth, and stopped a short time 'with Doubleday farther to the west. Doubleday's left flank was near the Willoughby Run, and his artillery actively firing at the time.
The first brilliant incidents of the engagements in this quarter were over, but the movements made by General Reynolds did not cease at his death. Meredith under Doubleday’s eye made a charge straight forward which resulted in the capture of a Confederate
brigade commander (General Archer) and several hundred of his men;
but Cutler, farther to the right, was not so fortunate. A charge from Confederate
Davis's brigade broke his line; the One Hundred and Forty-seventh New York,
near the railway cut, was badly handled and lost much ground; the Fourteenth
Brooklyn, Ninety-fifth New York, and Hall's battery were cut off, and in
danger of capture; the horses of one gun were all disabled, so that the
best thing to do was to retire and leave that gun to the enemy. Just here
the corps commander (Doubleday) took the offensive farther to the left;
using Fairchild's Second Wisconsin and a piece of artillery, he pressed
them forward; then bearing to the right, they fired rapidly into the exposed
flank of the Confederate commander Davis, who was too hotly in pursuit
of Cutler's men to notice these flankers. Of course, Davis turned upon
his new enemy, but Cutler's men, recovering from their temporary discomfiture,
pushed forward into action. Two Confederate regiments were thus caught
'between two fires and in the railroad cut and soon surrendered with their
Immediately after this movement General Robinson, of the First Corps, posted his division more strongly northward of Wadsworth, drawing back his right so as by the aid of Buford to make there a strong flank. It was a little after eleven o'clock and this primary work of the First Corps was over. There was artillery firing and skirmishing, but just then no active effort by either army. The temporary repulse of Cutler and the defeat of Archer and Davis had produced a feeling of caution on both sides, so that there was a period of delay before any organized assault was again attempted.
I returned to my headquarters
feeling exceedingly anxious about the left flank. I believed, as soon as
Lee should deploy the entire corps of Hill and support his line by Longstreet's
men, who could not be far behind, that Doubleday's weak left would be overlapped
and pressed back; so, in order to relieve the threatened pressure against
the First Corps and at the same time occupy the enemy's attention, I ordered
Schurz to push out a strong force from his front and seize a wooded height
situated some distance north of Robinson's position; but the order had
hardly left me when Major Howard brought me -word that Early's division
of Ewell's corps was at hand; in fact, the entire corps was coming in from
the north and east. Reports from Schurz and Buford confirmed the alarming
Barlow against a shower of bullets made a strong effort to advance his lines, but as soon as I heard of the approach of Ewell and saw that nothing could prevent the turning of my right flank if Barlow advanced, the order was countermanded, except to press out a skirmish line. The skirmishers on their arrival found the heights already occupied by Rodes's division of Ewell's corps.
Our lines were much extended, and there was quite an interval between the Eleventh and First Corps, occupied only by the two batteries and skirmishers which I have named, yet Robinson, aided by Schimmelfennig (Forty-fifth New York Regiment), captured in that space another Confederate brigade (Iverson's).
I sent again to General Slocum, hoping that he would be able to come to my relief. After a short time, probably within one hour after I had returned from Doubleday to the cemetery, a lively skirmish
arose all along the front. At 3.30 P.m. the enemy renewed his attack
upon the First Corps, hotly pressing the first and second divisions. There
was a similar movement of Ewell's deployed lines against Schurz. The fighting
became severe and re-enforcements were called for. I sent from the reserve
all that I dared. Steinwehr had then at my instance put one brigade Coster's
in the edge of the town, behind barricades and in houses, prepared to cover
the anticipated retreat. At 3.45 the calls to me for help from Doubleday
and Wadsworth were stronger than ever. Schurz was instructed to send one
regiment to Wadsworth, as his front was the place at that moment of the
hardest pressure. It was only a few minutes after this when the firing,
growing worse and worse, showed me that the front lines could not hold
out much longer.
I will not attempt to describe the action further. It saddens me to think of the losses on that front. The order that I sent to Doubleday then was this: " If you cannot hold out longer, you must fall back to the cemetery and take position on the left of the Baltimore pike."
But it was not long before I was satisfied that the men were giving way at different points of the line, and that the enemy, who overreached both flanks, were steadily and slowly advancing. I then sent positive orders to Schurz and Doubleday to fall back to the cemetery as slowly as possible and take post-the Eleventh on the right and the First on the left of Baltimore pike. I instructed Buford to pass to the extreme left and extend the new line, making with his cavalry all the show possible.
Speaking of the retreat of the two corps Doubleday remarks: " I think the retreat would have been a very
successful one, if it had not been unfortunately the case that a
portion of the Eleventh Corps, which had held out very well on the extreme
right, had been surrounded and fallen back at the same time that my right
flank fell back."
The two corps were entangled in the streets. There was much straggling there for a time, and doubtless many men leaving their ranks found their way eastward along the Taneytown and Baltimore routes. The brigade in the front of the town, put there to help the retreat, lost heavily.
When the men were reaching their new position on the heights, and at the time of the greatest confusion between 4 and 5 P.M., General Hancock joined me near the Baltimore pike; he said that General Meade had sent him to represent him on the field. I answered as the bullets rent the air: " All right, Hancock, you take the left of the Baltimore pike and I will take the right, and we will put these troops in line." After a few friendly words between us, Hancock did as I suggested. He also took Wadsworth's division to Culp's Hill and we worked together in prompt preparations until sundown, when, after Slocum's arrival at that time, Hancock returned to meet General Meade. Slocum's troops had been previously placed in the line.
Gratified by the successes of the day, General Lee made. but one more attempt against us that night. This, to turn our right in column, our well-posted batteries thwarted. As the darkness fell General Sickles, having at once heeded my call, had arrived from Emmittsburg, and the remainder of the army, with, General Meade at its head, was already en route. The First and Eleventh Corps and General Buford's cavalry did their duty nobly that first day at Gettysburg
sound; it was just like our own sturdy shout; it was Hazen's men
who, excited by the cannonading, had left their brigade camp and had come
out to meet us. As we neared them and could catch their accents, we took
in the memorable words: " Hurrah! hurrah! you have opened up our bread
line! " It was a glad meeting; glad for us, who felt that we had accomplished
the difficult march; glad for them, who had for some time been growing
thin on supplies; for at times they were living only on parched corn, and
not enough of that. It is always hard for a soldier or sailor in active
service, who is put on half rations and is forced to resist hunger by shortening
his waist belt, to continue this weakening operation too long. The slow
starvation of a siege is properly more dreaded by them than the exposure
in campaign and in battle.
After a few moments of kindly interchange and greeting of those who came together, Hazen's men and mine resumed their ranks. The former returned to their positions, and my command, resting its right at the foothills of Raccoon Range and in echelon with Hazen, faced toward Lookout Mountain and went into camp for the night. General Hooker, who had come on with Geary's division, joined me and established his headquarters near at hand.
Geary, who had in charge a long train of wagons, was instructed to stop back at Wauhatchie, three miles at least from my camp. As he had but little more than one division of the Twelfth Corps, it was for him a hazardous thing to do. General Hooker deemed this neccessary to the holding of Lookout Valley, and he further desired to cut off and catch a small force which Bragg had been keeping on the Tennessee River. Those were the hostiles who had been so enterprising
and annoying as to break up our roadway on the opposite shore. The
Wauhatchie crossroad was the only practicable pathway for their exit from
that place, usually called Kelly's Landing. The Tennessee must be clear
from Confederates, for Thomas's little steamer the Chattanooga was
at last finished, loaded with hard bread, and already slowly winding its
way up the river to supplement our venturesome march.
Still, important as Wauhatchie undoubtedly was, it was like throwing bait without hook and line before a hungry fish, to have a large train of wagons parked there, defended by so small a force as a division, in plain view of Longstreet and his observing army. For he could dart upon the bait, swallow it, and make off to his sheltered nook, without much danger to himself.
Longstreet had quickly apprehended the situation and sent a force, as soon as it -was dark enough to conceal its movements, to descend from his stronghold, pass westward along the Chattanooga wagon road, cross Lookout Creek, so as to secure a quick retreat in case of any miscarriage or to hold back the Eleventh Corps and Hazen, should we attempt a flank march along that front to succor Geary. All this was done. The low hills were manned and to some extent barricaded, for there were plenty of rocks and trees covering them. A Confederate division was then dispatched to attack Geary.
Some time after midnight, when our weary men were in their soundest sleep, undisturbed by the friendly moon, which was shining brightly that night, and free from apprehensions for our march had been completed and we had a good, strong position of a sudden the extreme stillness was broken by the roar
of cannon and the rattle of musketry. Everybody who was fully awake
said at once: " Our men at Wauhatchie are attacked." Instantly I sent to
my division commanders (Schurz and Steinwehr) to put their troops under
arms. The word of command had hardly left me when Hooker's anxious message
came: " Hurry or you cannot save Geary. He has been attacked!"
The troops were quickly on foot. Schurz's men were that night especially alert and the first under arms. The road ran along at the base of the low hills which I have described, and which the Confederates were already quietly holding. Schurz was ordered to go on to Geary's relief, but he had hardly set out over the rocks and through the thickets, feeling his way to the west and north of the wagon road in the uncertain light, probably not very clear in his own mind just how to get to that heavy and continuous firing, when a skirmish fire began, coming upon his advance troops from those low hills which skirted Lookout Creek.
Just at that time I joined Hooker, who was sitting with Butterfield, his chief of staff, on the side of a knoll, where a fire had been started; for the night was cold. He was evidently disturbed, but not impatient. He thought my command was not pressing on fast enough, but agreed with me that the first thing to do was to clear those low hills along Lookout Creek. Steinwehr was coming up rapidly along the road. He designated Colonel Orland Smith's brigade for this work for his division. A little farther on, Schurz sent General Tyndall's brigade to carry the hills on his left.
As soon as these primary arrangements were effected, I said to General Hooker: "With your approval, I will take the two companies of cavalry and push through to Wauhatchie."
The general answered: "All right, Howard; I shall be here to attend
to this part of the field."
Then immediately, with my small squadron, I set out, moving toward our right till beyond range of the enemy's shots. I picked my way along the foothills of the Raccoon Mountain.
I had been gone but a few minutes when Colonel Orland Smith succeeded in deploying his brigade parallel with the road and facing toward the little hills from which a fitful and annoying fire was kept up by the Confederates; they were concealed along a ridge, and doubtless delivered their fire at random, as they fancied, by the noise, that our men were simply trying to march past them in the valley below.
Smith's men then marched -with fixed bayonets across the valley road, up the woody slope, through the thickets and over the hindering rocks, still receiving a fire, but not returning it until the crest was reached. The Confederate soldiers were evidently surprised at this bold movement, and as soon as they saw in the moonlight the shimmer of bayonets they gave way at every point.
In a similar way, and at about the same time, Tyndall's brigade cleared the heights near him. What was known as Ellis's house, beyond the low hills, fell between Smith's and Tyndall's brigades. The road being Dow clear, Colonel Hecker, of the Eighty-second Illinois (the same who was wounded at Chancellorsville, and was now commanding a brigade), made his way as rapidly as possible toward General Geary.
While the brisk work was going on and I was pushing for Wauhatchie as fast as I could, the firing on Geary's front suddenly ceased. As I emerged into an
open space I could see numbers of men moving about. I called to the
nearest squad: " Who goes there?"
"We are Jenkins's men," was the prompt reply. I knew that we had no such commander there, so I said: " Have you whipped the Yankees? " The same voice replied that they had tried; had got upon the Yankees' flank, but just then their men in front had given back, so that they had lost their way. Meanwhile, we drew near enough and, suddenly revealing ourselves, took them prisoners. We broke through the enemy's cordon and reached Greene, who commanded Geary's left brigade. He was frightfully wounded through the face. I knew him and his excellent work at Gettysburg; his wound now, bad as it looked, did not prove fatal. After a word, I passed on to Geary. He was a vigorous, strong, hearty and cool-headed man, who was astonished to see me suddenly appear at his side in the smoke of battle, and I was surprised to find that as he grasped my hand he trembled with emotion. Without a word he pointed down and I saw that Geary's son lay dead at his feet, killed at his father's side while commanding his battery in this action.
Shortly the complete junction was effected by my troops, and I hastened back to General Hooker to make my report.
Our loss in the Eleventh Corps was put, before the accurate count could be obtained, at 15 to 20 killed, and 125 wounded. Colonel Underwood, of the Thirty-third Massachusetts, was supposed to be mortally wounded. I soon had a conversation with him during his extreme weakness and prostration, and wrote to a friend these words about him: " He has a clear and decided Christian faith; he is a healthy and temperate man and may get well." He was promoted for this action at
Wauhatchie, and did recover, though with a shortened limb, and has
lived many years to be useful to his city (Boston), and to be a comfort
and a help to his family.
General Thomas said in orders: " I most heartily' congratulate you, General Hooker, and the troops under your command, at the brilliant success you gained over your adversary (Longstreet) on the night of the 28th ult. The bayonet charge of Howard's troops, made up the side of a steep and difficult hill, over 2,00 feet high, completely routing the enemy from his barricades on its top, and the repulse by Geary's division of greatly superior numbers, who attempted to surprise him, will rank among the most distinguished feats of arms of the war."
The mules tied to park wagons became very restive under the noise of the night firing. Many of them as soon as the cannon began to roar broke away and, strangely enough, rushed straight for the enemy. Doubtless in the dim light this was taken by the Confederates for a cavalry charge. This is the battle in which occurred the charge of the mule brigade!
CHATTANOOGA AND THE BATTLE OF MISSIONARY RIDGE
THE movements which resulted
in the battle of Wauhatchie were but the preliminary steps to the execution
of Grant's plan of operations.
This embraced a battle with the Confederate General Bragg, who continued to sit threateningly before Chattanooga, and the freeing of East Tennessee of all the Confederate occupancy.
To effect his purpose Grant ordered Sherman to come to us from the vicinity of the Mississippi with as many troops as possible. Two days before our Lookout Valley battle, which took place the morning of October 29, 1863, Sherman received Grant's dispatch while on the line of the Memphis & Charleston Railroad, to wit: "Drop everything at Bear Creek and move toward Stevenson with your entire force until you receive further orders."
Instantly Sherman began his march with four army divisions having infantry and artillery-some 20,000 strong. We had then, during the first week of November, to operate, or soon should have, the old Army of the Cumberland at Chattanooga, under General George H. Thomas; Hooker's two small army corps in Lookout Valley with a part back to protect our lines of communication toward Nashville; Sherman's approaching column and a few small bodies of cavalry.
With one line of railway, and that often broken; with the animals
weakening and dying, and with the men badly supplied with even the necessities
of life, everything for a time at Chattanooga was out of joint.
Still, Grant, in spite of these impediments, pushed on to the front and hurried Sherman to our neighborhood. Of course, many croakers found fault with this and prophesied disaster; yet the most of us were inspired by Grant's quiet confidence and plans. Little by little great regularity and thorough system covered us all. Supplies came on train after train and boat after boat to Kelly's Ferry; the military railroad men, who should have abundant praise, began to rebuild our railroad from Bridgeport to the front; new mules were found to haul everything from Kelly's Ferry or Landing to Brown's Ferry and thence across the two pontoon bridges into Chattanooga; medical stores came up; the mails began to appear with regularity, and even luxuries found their way to the camps, brought from loving hands at home by the indefatigable agents of the Christian and Sanitary Commissions.
While waiting for Sherman, we had our downs as well as our ups. For example, the Confederates kept hurling shells into the valley at our trains and camps. They could see us better in the morning, when the sun was at their backs. They turned around and shelled Chattanooga in the afternoon.
One Sunday, the afternoon of November 15, 1863, at 4 P.M., Colonel Balloch, Captain Pearson, Captain Stinson, Surgeon Hubbard, and Major Howard accompanied me to our corps hospital in Lookout Valley. The orderly took along a basket of grapes. The distance was about a mile from my own tent. We found
the religious service in progress on our arrival. The poor sick ones
who could leave their beds had gathered near the largest hospital and kept
their hats off reverently while the chaplain was praying. The sick inside
the different tents could hear everything, as canvas obstructs the sound
but slightly. We sang a hymn and then the chaplain preached a sermon about
giving our bodies and spirits a living sacrifice. He made many earnest
appeals, and I think left a good impression on the men and officers who
were present. While he was speaking the Confederates made themselves heard
by an occasional shell from Lookout Mountain. The Thirty-third Massachusetts
band came near and, as soon as the service was over, struck up some familiar
hymns and airs that were sweet and cheering. As I went through the hospital
afterwards, I asked the men -ill and wounded-if they liked the music. "
Oh yes; I wish they would play often," was the burden of the responses.
Sherman marched rapidly. By November 13th his advance had reached Bridgeport. He had already obtained the further orders to keep in motion until he found himself in the vicinity of Chattanooga. As soon as he reached that point, Grant requested him to have his troops close up and come on as fast as the bad roads would permit, but hasten in person for an interview and consultation at Chattanooga.
Grant was already there. Sherman arrived the evening of the 14th. Several officers and I among them were present with Grant when Sherman came into the room.
Grant's greeting was cordial and characteristic. He rose, stood still, and extended his hand, and, while his face lighted up with its cheeriest smile, paid Sherman
man some compliment on his promptitude; then being about to resort
to his habitual cigar, offered one to his new guest. Sherman took the cigar,
lighted it, and never ceased to talk in that offhand, hearty, manly way
which everybody who knew him will remember. He had not even stopped to
take a seat. Grant pointed to an old high-back rocking-chair, and said:
" Take the chair of honor, Sherman."
" Oh, no," the latter rejoined; " that belongs to you, General!"
Grant humorously remarked: "I don't forget, Sherman, to give proper respect to age 71
Sherman instantly took the proffered chair and laughingly said: "Well, then, if you put it on that ground, I must accept."
There were no formal introductions. It was assumed that all -who were present were acquainted. Sherman quickly took the lead of the whole party and brought on a discussion of the military situation or other topics to which the consultation tended.
My real acquaintance with Sherman began that evening. It was a privilege to see these two men, Grant and Sherman, together. Their unusual friendship-unusual in men who would naturally be rivals was like that of David and Jonathan. It was always evident, and did not grow from likeness, but from unlikeness. They appeared rather the complements of each other where the one was especially strong, the other was less so, and vice versa. It was a marriage of characters, in sympathy, by the adjustment of differences.
Grant in command was, as everybody then said, habitually reticent. Sherman was never so. Grant meditated on the situation, withholding his opinion
until his plan was well matured. Sherman quickly, brilliantly gave
you half a dozen. Grant, once speaking of Sherman in cadet phrase, said:
" He bones all the time while he is awake; as much on horseback as in camp
or at his quarters." It was true. Sherman had remarkable topographical
ability. A country that he once saw he could not forget. The cities, the
villages, the streams, the mountains, hills, and divides these were as
easily seen by him as human faces, and the features were always on hand
for use. It made him ever playing at draughts with his adversary. Let the
enemy move and Sherman's move was instant and well chosen.
Grant appeared more inclined to systematize and simplify; bring up sufficient force to outnumber; do unexpected things; take promptly the offensive; follow up a victory. It was a simple, straightforward calculus, which avoided too much complication. It made Grant the man for campaign and battle. Sherman was always at his best in campaign - in general maneuvers better than in actual battle. His great knowledge of history, his topographical scope, his intense suggestive faculties seemed often to be impaired by the actual conflict. And the reason is plain; such a mind and body as his, full of impulse, full of fire, are more likely to be perturbed by excitement than is the more ironbound constitution of a Grant or a Thomas.
Sherman, patriotic all through, was very self-reliant. He believed in neglecting fractions and was not afraid of responsibility. Grant, probably much influenced by his earliest teachings, relied rather on Providence than simply on himself; he gathered up the fragments for use, and was also strong to dare, because
somehow, without saying so, he struck the blows of a persistent faith.
As I watched the countenances of those two men that evening I gathered hope for our cause. Grant's faculty of gaining the ascendancy over his generals without pretension or assumption then appeared. He chose, then he trusted his leaders. They grew great because he did not desert them even in disaster.
After this interview with his commander Sherman returned to Bridgeport to bring up his troops by the same route over which my command had marched two weeks before. On November 23d he finished his march with a part of his army and had three divisions on the north side of the river nearly opposite Missionary Ridge, not far from the Tennessee. Jeff. C. Davis's division was sent to him for a re-enforcements, while my two were brought over into Chattanooga and put into camp near Fort Wood to be ready to cooperate with Sherman after he should lay a bridge.
There were, owing to rains and floods, constant breakages in our bridges, particularly in the one at Brown's Ferry. On account of it, Osterhaus's division of Sherman's corps was completely cut off. Grant changed his first plan, then made up a new command for Hooker-probably was compelled to do so for it did look like wasting strength to put much force against the impregnable Lookout Mountain. This force consisted of Osterhaus's, Geary's, and Cruft's divisions, eight brigades, with the batteries which be longed with them, and a reserve from my corps of two batteries, Wiedrich's New York and Heckman's Ohio. This force thus organized was gathered together in Lookout Valley, and during November 23d. Sherman was getting his bridge boats well out of sight near the
North Chickamauga, opposite Missionary Ridge. Hooker was reconnoitering,
perhaps for the fifteenth time, the west face of the huge Lookout Mountain.
The rest of this battle front was the Army of the Cumberland and its indomitable commander, General George H. Thomas, on the Chattanooga side.
This part of Grant's triple force was destined to commence the battle. Some days before, several deserters from Bragg's army had been brought to my headquarters. They reported that after the battle of Wauhatchie Longstreet had been sent away from our front with his corps. This information was afterwards confirmed from other sources. Our dispatch came from Bragg directly, brought in by a flag of truce. It was taken to Grant. It advised the immediate sending away from Chattanooga of all noncombatants, as he (Brags,) proposed the next day to commence a regular bombardment of the town. The officers who had been there for two months under Bragg's bombardments thought that it was a little late for the Confederate general to be filled with compassion and give his warning. Grant smiled as he read the message, and said: "It means that Bragg is intending to run away."
(The Autobiography of O. O. Howard by The Baker and Taylor Company, pg 347 and 477.)