Saturday, March 29, 2008

General Orders Number Ten

I was reading James Robertson's excellent volume on Stonewall Jackson last night. Actually, it's the fourth time I've read it. Mr. Robertson is an excellent historian. He has given his readers a complete portrait of Jackson. I will let you know that Jackson was the first person I studied when I became interested in the Civil War. He's still my favorite. There is just something about that awkward, eccentric, Christian genius that I adore. He's the main character in my trilogy. I love to write him.

But I stumbled across something in Mr. Robertson's book that fired me up. On page 366, in the chapter about the Valley Campaign, Mr. Robertson writes, "Jackson doubtless cleared the operation with Lee, who must have felt some unspoken doubts." I have a problem with this sentence. It's Mr. Robertson's opinion and not fact. Now, reading the page, I know that it is opinion, but something very dangerous occurs when scholars begin to mix their opinion with history without qualifying their opinion. What is the danger? Opinion can very easily become fact in the mind of the readers.

Now, I am receiving a master's degree in Middle East History, and I have been taught that my job as an historian is to analyze and assess the object of my research. Mr. Robertson is doing that. But what I see, especially in this sentence, is the opportunity for Mr. Robertson's opinion to somehow find its way into the historiography as fact. Mr. Robertson offers no proof that Jackson cleared the operation with Lee. Neither does he cite any proof that Lee had unspoken doubts. Mr. Robertson arrived at the opinion due to the instincts he developed while researching Jackson. He is doing his job as an historian. He has analyzed and assessed, but it is still his opinion.

But in the book he doesn't qualify the statement as opinion. He leaves this statement sitting by itself, an innocuous but deadly time bomb. For Mr. Robertson's book will be the seminal work that new historians refer to when writng about Jackson, just like historians on Lee refer constantly to R.E. Lee by Douglas Southall Freeman. Mr. Freemans considerable opinions are constantly reproduced as fact in the Lee historiography and most of the battles' historiography as well.

It happens very easily. Consider this scenario: Scholar B reads in Robertson's book that Lee has doubts about Jackson's Valley Campaign and puts it in his new book about Jackson. Scholar C reads B's book and in his book about the Valley Campaign, he cites B's quote citing Robertson's sentence about Lee having doubts. Now, Scholar D reads both B's and C's books and writes that Lee had doubts about Jackson's Valley Campaign in his biography about Richard Ewell.

Mr. Robertson's opinion now appears in four books. And for the Civil War enthusiast, who devours all new books coming on the market, they read in B's, C's, and D's books about Lee's doubts. When the Valley Campaign is discussed between enthusiasts whether face-to-face or on-line, B, C, and D will be cited that Lee had doubts. This doubt, nothing more than Robertson's opinion, has become fact. And those who researched this doubt and found it nothing more than Robertson's opinion will be ignored. In fact those who argue against the new and prevailing understanding will be scoffed at and asked: "Are you saying that you know more than exalted historian B, C, and D?" No, what I'm saying is that I can trace where B, C, and D got this "fact," which wasn't fact at all but opinion.

Yikes... that's why I urge all enthusiasts to be their own historians. To read the books, but let your own research determine what is true and what is not. Too many times, enthusiasts trot out the old chestnut, "I read it in Scholar E's book" as if that settles the question. I would urge the enthusiast to have more curiousity than that about the events and men we all read about. Much of the primary sources are available to us on the Internet, giving all of us the capability to test whether the historians are accurate. It is my hope that more historians and enthusiasts will rely less on the historiography and more on their own research.

Well, I can hope!

Friday, March 28, 2008

The Personal Diary of J.E.B. Stuart -Epilogue

The Kiowa and Comanche Campaign of 1860

As Recorded in the Personal Diary of Lt. J. E. B. Stuart Edited by W. Stitt Robinson Winter, 1957 (Vol. XXIII, No. 4), pages 382 to 400Transcription and HTML composition by Larry E. & Carolyn L. Mix;digitized with permission of The Kansas State Historical Society.

III. Epilogue

Stuart's personal diary falls silent during most of July except for the few entries printed here. During this time the command continued the march up the Arkansas river as indicated for July 8 and went a little beyond Bent's New Fort near present Prowers, Colo. The return march was then made along the Arkansas to the vicinity of present Garden City where a turn was made to the northeast with three companies proceeding along the Smoky Hill river, the other three along Walnut creek. Stuart marched with the Smoky Hill group which continued to present Ellsworth county before turning back to the southwest to join the remainder of the command about 18 miles south of Fort Larned. [69] From there Stuart returned to Fort Riley.

By August 11 when orders were received to break up the expedition, Sedgwick's column had marched 1,404 miles. The only skirmish for the command involved Lieutenant Stuart and a detachment of 20 men who pursued a small body of Kiowas near Bent's New Fort on July 11 and combined with forces under Capt. William Steele to kill two warriors and take prisoner 16 women and children. [70]

In the same campaign the column of six companies of the First cavalry under Capt. S. D. Sturgis encountered a large group of Kiowas and Comanches along the Republican fork on August 6. Reporting on all of the summer's expedition, Sturgis claimed 29 of the enemy killed. [71]

These skirmishes of 1860 along with the appearance in force of U. S. troops on the Plains contributed to the restoration of peace with the Kiowas and Comanches and to the security of the emigrant route. Indian Commissioner William P. Dole reported in November, 1861, that recently the two tribes had "manifested a disposition" to resume friendly relations with the U. S. government and to be "restored to its confidence." [72]

About the Author:
Dr. W. Stitt Robinson, a graduate of the University of Virginia at Charlottesville, is associate professor of history at the University of Kansas, Lawrence.

The author acknowledges the aid of a research grant from the General Research Fund of the University of Kansas for investigation at the National Archives, Washington, D. C., of materials relating to this publication.


[69] Report of the Secretary of the Interior," Sen. Ex. Doc. No. 1, 36th Cong., 2d Sess. (1860-1861), v. 2, p. 18.

[70] Ibid., pp. 15-17.

[71] Ibid., pp. 19-22.

[72] Ibid., Sen. Ex. Doc. No. 1, 37th Cong., 2d Sess. (1861-1862), v. 1, pt. 1, p. 634.

The Personal Diary of J.E.B. Stuart - May 15, 1860 - August 15, 1860

The Kiowa and Comanche Campaign of 1860

As Recorded in the Personal Diary of Lt. J. E. B. Stuart
Edited by W. Stitt Robinson
Winter, 1957 (Vol. XXIII, No. 4), pages 382 to 400Transcription and HTML composition by Larry E. & Carolyn L. Mix;digitized with permission of The Kansas State Historical Society.

II. The Diary, May 15-August 15, 1860

MAY, TUESDAY, 15, 1860. Left Fort Riley on Kiowa campaign, take route up Smoky Hill for Pawnee Fork of Arkansas. camped first night on chapman's creek. comd. composed of cos F G H & K 1st. cav. under Mai Sedgwick. [29] We expect a 5 mos arduous campaign principally with packmules having our grand depot at Pawnee Fork. Walker [30] & I mess together the 2d Lt absent I like co duty far better than staff. Detailed in camp to get wagons over chapman's creek. Hard work. Some ladies came to cr from Fort R[iley] but could nt cross

MAY, WEDNESDAY, 16, 1860. I am the Journalist of the Expedition, continue up Smoky Hill 16. miles camp just beyond Sand creek & spring, on bank of Smoky Hill. Water of this stream salt-- banks boggy. passed settlements all the way-- farm houses with wells and springs. Rock Sp and a cluster called 7 springs opposite Kansas Falls. [31] Soil very rich in Smoky Hill bottom Miles 16

MAY, THURSDAY, 17, 1860. Crossed Solomons Fork at Ferry-- 8 miles farther camped on Saline Fork days march. 13. miles-- Smoky Hill Fork all day in sight to our left. solomons Fork has good water st Cloud [32] on east bank thriving settlement-- caught a fine cat(fish) in Saline water of saline salt

MAY, FRIDAY, 18, 1860. Passed up Saline to Ferry two miles above During delay here I caught another fine cat. Advanced 4 miles through town on Smoky Hill called Salina-- thriving place. Houses weather boarded with clapboards-- belongs principally to one Phillips [33] of Laurence [Lawrence] K. T. Much corn raised in vicinity. This is the last settlement. 2 miles crossed Dry cr. with water (?) in it. 1-1/2 miles pond to right. 2-1/2 miles to camp on Spring creek

MAY, SATURDAY, 19, 1860. Country from here west barren & unproductive. passed up Spring creek and its tributaries through country broken & hilly camp on clear creek-- days march. miles-- clear creek is tributary to Smoky Hill

MAY, SUNDAY, 20, 1860. Pass at 1-1/2 miles from camp fine Spring in ravine to left of road. peculiar formation supposed to be a buffalo lick. come in sight of Smoky Hill in front 5 miles from camp cross Smoky Hill at Bryans bridge [34] of which only foundation is left at rocky bottom ford. camp on south bank Jo. Taylor's [35] horse Roderick took French Leave of camp to day-- not recovered.

MAY, MONDAY, 21, 1860. Passed several creeks where water was expected now all dry. passed in afternoon to our left immense lake thought at first to be the Arkansas-- but found to be lake of good water-- in centre of a very large basin of parched soil passed through myriads of buffalo lassooed a calf at head of column. & put it in wagon. at 42 miles strike Walnut creek. having passed 3 tributaries of cow cr. all now dry.

MAY, TUESDAY, 22, 1860. spent to-day in camp resting after the long march yesterday caught a small cat. Thunder storm in afternoon-- very refreshing shower.

MAY, WEDNESDAY, 23, 1860. At 12 miles march to-day strike Santa Fe route at Pawnee rock. Many wagons on route to Santa Fe & Pike's Peak-- 6 miles on Santa Fe road bring us to Ash creek-- a ranch-- and here turning to right 7 miles farther reach Pawnee Fork cross it at Bell's bridge. Substantial structure built by Bell D. & mail agent. Camp Alert [36] on west bank and above. Called on Maj Wessells. [37] comd. camped just below bridge.

MAY, THURSDAY, 24, 1860. Moved camp to-day 5 miles lower down, to Arkansas for better grass. Went up to Camp Alert & dined with Maj Wessells Lt W. F. Lee [38] & lady treated me with marked kindness also Maj W & wife. I gave the calf to Maj W's boys. Visited camp of 2d. Drags. Squadron under Capt Steele. [39] Cos C & K. Armstrong [40] & Sol Williams [41] with it. In afternoon got odometer Lt Lee Mrs L & Mrs Wessells went down to camp in Wing's ambulance. The young officers rather on frolic. Armstrongs horse in leaping pole in Newby's [42] hands shyed & knocked N. senseless. I serenaded ladies at night.

MAY, FRIDAY, 25, 1860. Pack mules & saddles distributed this morning generally gentle-- the day was consumed in adjusting saddles & packing experimentally. Walker went to Camp Alert to-day-- six miles off.

MAY, SATURDAY, 26, 1860. To-day Maj Sedgwick determined to sent a party of 30 men, south of Arkansas to reconnoitre & if expedient attack the enemy if there. a smoke having been seen the night previous I go in command also Jo Taylor & Sol Williams. go S. E. 25 miles & arrive at Otter cr. [43] at 9 P. M. no Indians, camp without cooking. having 2 days rations on our horses-- suffered some from cold.

MAY, SUNDAY, 27, 1860. Continued at 4.30 AM up creek N. E. for 32 miles halting 2 hours at noon to graze & rest-- then left creek & went nearly due north reach 20 miles to the Arkansas just before sun down. & camped. Having a fine roast of buffalo on sticks Saw no trace to day of Indians. Otter creek has no timber, good grass, thousands of buffalo Saw also antelope, duck, curlew, plover, snipe, sand hill cranes otter & muskrat to say nothing of prairie dogs. & such ilk.

MAY, MONDAY, 28, 1860. Proceeded at 4.30 AM up Arkansas-- south bank over waste of barren sand hills full of gofer holes & recrossed river opposite camp days march 25. Whole march 102 miles in 48 hours. Men & horses in fine condition. Find letters & package from wife. Bless her heart. Who with my experience could live without a wife. heightening every joy, lightening every sorrow. Mrs. Ruff [44] in camp near here visit her. She is en route to M.

MAY, TUESDAY, 29, 1860. Camp at Pawnee Fork. Saw D W Scott. Sent letter to wife by Mrs. Ruff. & list of Distances.

MAY, WEDNESDAY, 30, 1860. In camp reading "what will he do with it" [45] Officer of the Day. Dine with Lee at Fort. "Be joyous at forebodings of evil but tremble at day-dream of happiness."

MAY, THURSDAY, 31, 1860. In camp preparing for departure tomorrow on pack mules. Bayard [46] & Merril] [47] arrived about 11 at night in the outward bound mail.

JUNE, FRIDAY, 1, 1860. Marched about 8. o'clock up Arkansas. Recd. letters of mail, 1 from wife-- no news Camp on Arkansas. [blank] miles beyond crossing of coon cr. several of the ladies go out as far as coon creek in Capt Hayden's ambulance. I never commenced a march with more buoyant feelings. Everything smiles auspiciously notwithstanding Friday Scott came this far with us & took back our last dispatches for home. I gave Gaffner a strong recommendation for wagon mr at Pawnee. days march 15.33/100 miles

JUNE, SATURDAY, 2, 1860. Marched up Arkansas & camped on its bank Bayard has dubbed Merrill "Gig Lamps," a very appropriate soubriquet, taken from Verdant green. [48] Merrill is mounted on a mule wears spectacles & a citizen's dress! 20. 20/100 miles

JUNE, SUNDAY, 3, 1860. March up River along Santa Fe road. Coon creek is very little to our north. Camp about 18 miles farther 5 [?] miles above Jackson's Island. Bright Sabbath day. A few Arrappahoe lodges on river in sight. In afternoon their chief came in bearing aloft on a pole the stars and stripes which he rightly conjectured was the surest passport through our lines. He was dressed in a dressing gown and wore a[n] Infantry Cap 18 43/100 miles

JUNE, MONDAY, 4, 1860. Forded the Arkansas & without difficulty sending back all the wagons but a Light ammunition wagon & sick ambulance [49] at 3-1/2 miles reach Mulberry cr. which empties into Arkansas a few miles below our camp. -1/2 mile above cross its dry bed. Cross near waters of Nuscatunga R [50] & camp. plenty of timber & water grass in timber. S. 17 45/100 miles

JUNE, TUESDAY, 5, 1860. Travelled down the dry bed of stream, 15 miles & camped in wide valley groves of cottonwood. Last year this valley must have been thronged with Indians Camped at holes of water. grass tolerable, water unpleasant & boggy to the taste. Citric acid corrects it sufficiently Bayard caught some fine perch here. S. E. 15 miles

JUNE, WEDNESDAY, 6, 1860. March East 3 miles then S. E. at 5 miles from last camp a tributary running S W joins the one we follow, & after junction their course is nearly South. [51] Camp on it. water scarce wood plenty, grass sufficient for a squadron only. E & S. E. 14 68/100

JUNE, THURSDAY, 7, 1860. Leaving valley of streams Cross S W 8 miles to another which must be the main Nuscatonga now dry-- pools deep & clear of fresh water full of fish in a beautiful grove of timber. Quail & deer abound here. birds singing at the greatest rate. Some horse shoes gems of Civilization found here. fine grass. Then S for 12 miles then S. E to camp on small tributary of Cimaron Cimarone is here dry-- water in tributary stagnant grass very bad water & soil worse S W & S. & S. E. 25. 42/100

JUNE, FRIDAY, 8, 1860. Crossed dry bed of Cimaron & going south 1-1/2 miles crossed distinct wagon trail. probably Col Johnstons 1857 outward route [52] days march over very rough & broken country. find dry bed of stream with holes of water impregnated with salts, incrustations on ground of Gypsum. Scarcely any grass. Soil red & barren. this is probably the Red Fork of Cimaron. [53] S 10. 17/100 miles

JUNE, SATURDAY, 9, 1860. Cross directly South for 7 miles. country intersected by deep & rugged ravines with a few clumps of cedar & cottonwood. Two streams in full view. cross the first above their junction. It is the north Fork of Canadian the other Middle R. Both well-timbered. 4 bear & several deer & buffalo killed. water slightly salt but clear Grass better than since left Arkansas. Col J's return trail found near camp. S & S. E. 9. 91/100

JUNE, SUNDAY, 10, 1860. Ly by in camp on north Fork of Canadian. [54] just above junction with it. majority of officers are inclined to make scout towards Antelopes Hills on Main Canadian. But Maj S. is going up the north Fork of Canadian but will take Middle River as we afterwards ascertain

JUNE, MONDAY, 11, 1860. Marched up what we believed to be north Fork of Canadian (Middle River) at 10 miles enter a very extensive bottom of fine grass. Remains of Indian camps passed. Timber & grass fine. water good. Camp on south bank S. S. W. 26. 81/100

JUNE, TUESDAY, 12, 1860. Continued the march. This stream abounds in bear deer & turkey. Cross & recross several times finally camp on north bank. after reaching camp we were so fortunate & [as] to find a surveying party Boundary commission, one of whom Mr Weyss [55] was with Col Johnston in 57. We get a copy of Col J's map find that we are in Middle fork or River. main canadian dry. No Indians. our Long is 100°. Lat 36°. 16° W S W 17. miles

JUNE, WEDNESDAY, 13, 1860. To-day we left the Boundary party who follow up 100°degree of Longitude. we continue up Middle R. our camp on 10th. was on north Fork now about 30 miles north of us. This stream gives indications of continuing very little farther up. West 21. 70/100

JUNE, THURSDAY, 14, 1860. up Middle River. Timber scarcer. Bluffs bolder & valley narrows. Passed remains of Indian camp 2 months old. abrupt cedar bluffs. water now in detached holes banks very steep & high. Evidence of great freshet on the banks early in spring. Camp the last time on Middle R. a very romantic & picturesque camp. bird serenade at night also thunderstorm-- West 13. 50/100

JUNE, FRIDAY, 15, 1860. Struck across from Middle River 5° [ 15°?] west of north to north Fork of Canadian. 34 miles about 10 AM a large herd of mustangs to the N. W. are pronounced by the Delawares [56] Kiowas. We make preparations for battle-- marching by squadrons in two columns All are eager for the fray Dragoons too far behind to join us. But Armstrong co trotted up. Steele was ordered to remain behind with the pack mules. we were sadly fooled. This ended mustang battle. north 24 75/100

JUNE, SATURDAY, 16, 1860. Went up north bank of stream Camp on N. Fork Canadian [57] march 19. Finished the Disowned [58]

JUNE, SUNDAY, 17, 1860. Camp on north Fork of Canadian, march 14. miles.

JUNE, MONDAY, 18, 1860. Marched up N. F. Canadian 19. miles & camped on good grass no fuel.

JUNE, TUESDAY, 19, 1860. Lay by to-day. took bath ponds full of cat & sunfish. fish for every meal. Dr. Madison's mustang potatoes [?]

JUNE, WEDNESDAY, 20, 1860. Lie [?] by to reconnoitre for water volunteered to go on march with 2 men to see if water is 40 miles ahead. start at 5 am. find water at 40 miles at 2-1/2 P. M. rest 1-1/2 hours & starting back reached camp at 1¼ at night. slept 1-1/2 hours and marched at 5 am back with command over the 40 miles. Walker characterizes my reconnaisance as very successful & creditable service.

JUNE, THURSDAY, 21, 1860. Arrived at camp 4.10 P M. I have marched 120 miles in 35 hours during all which time I have slept but 1-1/2 hours.

JUNE, FRIDAY, 22, 1860. March n. n. W. by compass cross Santa Fe road about 20 miles, & reach Cimaron at Aubrey's crossing. [59] Finish letter to wife, to send by Express to Pawnee Fork tomorrow. Express sent for provisions.

JUNE, SATURDAY, 23, 1860. Went up stream 4 miles & camped on better grass. Lay by remainder of day.

JUNE, SUNDAY, 24, 1860. Lay by till 4 P. M. March on Aubreys trail N. E. till 10-1/2 A M [P. M.] Halt picket out on prairie. Saddle up & resume march early-- without breakfast on 25th. Reach Bear river (two Butte) River, whole march 45 miles Last night Walker at Sedgwick. Water of Bear river plenty & good in large pools. Reuben killed 2 ducks at one shot.

JUNE, MONDAY, 25, 1860. See preceding page. Found Otis [60] here, who had been sent forward to reconnoitre for water.

JUNE, TUESDAY, 26, 1860. Fine antelope killed by Johnny Williams (Delaware). I got the antlers -- a superb pair. -- to present to P W H of N C. Lay by till about 4 P. M. when saddling up we go down Bear river about 18 miles & find water & large cottonwoods. about 10 P. M. camp by moonlight. take cold lunch & to-bed.

JUNE, WEDNESDAY, 27, 1860. Lay by till P. M. Loll in the shade of the gigantic cottonwoods. all day. At 4 P. M. saddle up & march on aubrey's trail 21 miles, picket out about 10 P M on roadside, & with cold lunch to-bed. N E 21 miles

JUNE, THRSDAY, 28, 1860. At first dawn saddle up & continue march warming some cold coffee we brought in a canteen, & after 15 miles march N. E. reach the long wished for arkansas. How comparative all our joys are. That stream upon which I have heaped so much abuse, appears now -- lovely & most welcome to view. Fall Leaf's rifle burst today mangling his face a good deal. I crossed with McI. [61] & Lom [62] to a train no news no nothing N E 15 miles

JUNE, FRIDAY, 29, 1860. Yesterday the same Arrapahoe visited us, now on his way to Bents Fort [63] with one of Bents trains on the other side. Crossed to north bank of arkansas & camped. aubreys crossing. [64] a very extensive bottom-- many islands with brushwood in the river. And some large trees on an island above.

JUNE, SATURDAY, 30, 1860. Muster at 8 A M-- Horses & mules inspected. G has best horses but worst mules. Our ration period expires to-day.

JULY, SUNDAY, 1, 1860. In camp. Col. St. Vrain [65] the old trader passed in ambulance P. M. Says our supply train left Pawnee Fork on 28th, & ought to be here tomorrow. Pegram [66] has passed en route to New Mexico. Kiowas reported to be on cow creek & south Platte Randall & Reuben kill six ducks.

JULY, MONDAY, 2, 1860. In camp

JULY, SATURDAY, 7, 1860. Marched up Arkansas & camped just below Big Timbers. 20. 00/100 miles

JULY, SUNDAY, 8, 1860. Contind march up River passing Boon of Mo & several other Pike's Peak trains. Scattered trees continuation of Big Timbers, soil sandy & poor grass good in bottoms. 22. 40/100

AUGUST, WEDNESDAY, 1, 1860. Left at 6 A M on scout Merrill & 36 men Fall Leaf Wms. & Wilson-- at 8-1/2 AM reached trib[utary] to Smoky Hill. Signs-- halt half hour-- march at 9 AM 10 degrees 176; E of N, halt at dry bed half way to skin anteelope-- pack it and at 11.20 reach another creek same signs. go down it at 12.20

AUGUST, SUNDAY, 5, 1860. Crossed northward and taking ridge several miles from river marched generally East parallel to gen'l course of river. No grass buffalos have devoured all-- timber at intervals water in bed in holes. Emigrant road coincides generally with our course-- Do grass arr. 2.20 P. M. feed on cottonwood 24-1/2 miles [profile sketch included]

AUGUST, MONDAY, 6, 1860. Gen course East coinciding with Emigrant road. crossed many ravines springs of del. water oozing from banks & sinking immediately no grass. Camp on Smoky Hill march 20.95 miles I killed fine antelope buck, at spring named antelope spring. no grass fed horses on cottonwood & elm & grape vine. ar 12.20 [profile sketch included]

AUGUST, FRIDAY, 10, 1860. Travelled S. W. from Sarcoxie spring & after 12 miles came to walnut cr. halted & grazed. then crossed S. W. the Santa Fe road and camped on arkansas. Here we met Sedgwick's guides who informed us that Sedgwick had preceded us several days at Fort Larned and that the Expedtn. was broken up-- 4 cos of cav ordered to Bent's Fort to winter & build post. Startling news. 2 cos 2d Drags to take post at Fort Larned. Wms & I left camp about sundown & went up to Larned 18 miles that night. Lee told me I had a fine son. [67]

AUGUST, SATURDAY, 11, 1860. Steele's command came in about 11 a. m. McIntyre is going in to Riley for co property. I apply for 7 days leave to go with him. granted. We are to leave tomorrow, with 6 wagons & 4 sergts. Every body is blue & disgusted.

AUGUST, SUNDAY, 12, 1860. Start for Fort Riley. Go by Larned-- take in my two mules. They follow. I ride my roan Kiowa, leaving Beppo[?] with Lee at Larned. camp on Walnut creek.

AUGUST, MONDAY, 13, 1860. Travelled pretty briskly reaching the Smoky Hill & camp.

AUGUST, TUESDAY, 14, 1860. Marched beyond crossing of Saline. Left the train late in afternoon on our ponies to make Riley tomorrow. About dark reach Solomon's Fork where Col Crittenden [68] with an encampment of 20 or 30 families & 700[?] recruits horses &c. for New Mexico. Spent the night there. Saw Dr. Webster, Forney, McNally, Kelly, Moore [?], I. N. McRane [?], Wheeler of N. Y. [?], Gibbs, Lane, Whitall.

AUGUST, WEDNESDAY, 15, 1860. Early this morning left Crit's camp & after 40 miles jog arrived with joyous tramp at our own doors at Fort Riley, taking our families completely by surprise. This page need not be filled out.


[29] John Sedgwick, a graduate of the military academy at West Point in 1837, was assigned to the First cavalry as a major in March, 1855. During the Civil War he remained with the Union and attained the rank of major general before being killed on May 9, 1864, at the battle of Spotsylvania, Va. -- George W. Cullum, Biographical Register of the Officers and Graduates of the U. S. Military Academy (New York, 1879), v. 1, pp. 533, 534; Francis B. Heitman, Historical Register and Dictionary of the United States Army (Washington, 1903), v. 1, p. 872.

[30] William Stephen Walker served as a first lieutenant in the Mexican war and in March, 1855, was assigned as captain to the First cavalry in command of Company G. He resigned from the U. S. army in May, 1861, and served as brigadier general in the army of the Southern Confederacy. -- Heitman, op. cit., v. 1, p. 997; Thomas H. S. Hamersly, Complete Army and Navy Register of the United States of America (New York, 1888), p. 837.

[31] Kansas Falls was located on the Smoky Hill river six miles west of Junction City. It was organized in September, 1857, and incorporated by the territorial legislature in 1858. -- George A. Root, "Farries in Kansas," The Kansas Historical Quarterly, v. 4 (February, 1935), p. 17. Its location was marked on "New Map of Kansas and the Gold Mines" by O. B. Gunn (Wyandotte, K. T., 1859), and "Map of Kansas and the Cold Mines" by O. B, Gunn and D. T. Mitchell (Lawrence, 1866).

[32] St. Cloud was a small settlement on the left bank of Solomon's fork. Its location was also marked on the two maps listed in Footnote [31].

[33] Wiliam Addison Phillips, a native of Scotland, emigrated to the United States about 1838 and in 1855 came to Kansas as a correspondent of the New York Tribune. Active as an antislavery journalist and politician, he also, along with four associates, founded the town of Salina in 1858 and later served in the United States congress as a representative from Kansas. -- Dictionary of American Biography, v. 14, pp. 548, 549.

[34] Lt. Francis T. Bryan, Corps of Topographical Engineers, arranged in 1855 for the construction of bridgcs along the Santa Fe trail at crossings of Solomon's fork, the Saline, and Smoky Hill rivers. Contract for construction was awarded to J. O. Sawyer, and the bridges were accepted by Bryan for the United States government. -- W. Turrentine Jackson, "The Army Engineers as Road Surveyors and Builders in Kansas and Nebraska, 1854-1858," The Kansas Historical Quarterly, v. 17 (February, 1949), pp. 40-44.

[35] Joseph Hancock Taylor was a graduate of West Point in 1856 and was assigned to the First cavalry. He later reached the rank of colonel in the United States army. -- Cullum, op. cit., v. 2, pp. 436, 437; Heitman, op. cit., p. 947.

[36] Camp Alert was established on the Santa Fe trail about six miles west of present Larned. The camp was renamed Fort Larned in honor of Col. B. F. Larned.

[37] Henry Walton Wessells was a graduate of the, military academy at West Point in 1833 and was assigned to the Second infantry. He served in the Mexican war and in 1860 was still a member of the Second infantry with the rank of brevet major. He remained with the Union and later attained the rank of brigadier general. -- Cullum, op. cit., v. I, p. 437; Heitman, op. cit., p. 1019.

[38] William Fitzhugh Lee, of Virginia, was a lieutenant in the Second infantry. He resigned from the U. S. army in April, 1861, and served as a captain in the Confederate army before being fatally wounded at the first battle of Bull Run in July, 1861. -- Heitman, op. cit., p. 626.

[39] William Steele was a graduate of the U. S. Military Academy in 1840 and was assigned to the Second dragoons in which he was serving as captain in 1860. He resigned his commission in May, 1861, and served as brigadier general in the Confederate army. -- Cullum, op. cit., v. 1, p. 613; Heitman, op. cit., p. 919.

[40] Francis C. Armstrong was a first lieutenant of the Second dragoons in 1860. He resigned from the Union army in August, 1861, and served as brigadier general in the Confederacy. -- Heitman, op. cit., p. 169; Hamersly, op. cit., p. 265.

[41] Solomon Williams was a graduate of West Point in 1858 and was assigned to the Second dragoons. Having resigned his commission in May, 1861, he served as colonel in the Confederate army before being killed in action at Beverly Ford, Va., in June, 1863. -- Cullum, op. cit., v. 2, p. 472; Heitman, op. cit., p. 1042.

[42] Edward W. B. Newby served in the Mexican war and in March, 1855, was assigned to the First cavalry as captain. He retired from the U. S. army in September, 1863, with the rank of major. -- Heitman, op. cit., p. 744; Hamersly, op. cit., p. 661.

[43] Present Rattlesnake creek in Stafford county.

[44] Probably the wife of Charles F. Ruff, graduate of the U. S. Military Academy in 1838. Ruff was stationed in New Mexico in 1860 and participated in the Comanche expedition as a major in the Mounted Rifles. -- Cullum, op. cit., v. 1, pp. 570, 571.

[45] A novel by the English writer Edward George Earle Lytton, Bulwer-Lytton, 1st Baron Lytton (1803-1873). The work was originally published in Blackwood's Edinburgh (Scot.) Magazine in 1857 and 1858.

[46] George Dashiell Bayard was a graduate of West Point in 1856 and was assigned to the First cavalry. On the 1860 expedition against the Kiowas and Comanches, he received a severe arrow wound in the face on July 11. During the Civil War he served as brigadier general in the Union army before being fatally wounded at the battle of Fredericksburg, Va., in December, 1862. -- Cullum, op. cit., v. 2, p. 425; Heitman, op. cit., p. 200.

[47] Lewis Merrill was a graduate of the U. S. Military Academy in 1855 and was assigned to the Second dragoons. He served in the Kiowa and Comanche campaign in 1860 as a second lieutenant and later attained the rank of brevet brigadier general in the United States army. -- Cullum, op. cit., v. 2, pp. 406, 407; Heitman, op. cit., p. 705.

[48] The reference is to the writing of Cuthbert Bede, pseudonym for Edward Bradley (1827-1889): The Adventures of Mr. Verdant Green, an Oxford Freshman (1853); The Further Adventures of Mr. Verdant Green, an Oxford Under-Graduate . . . (1854); and Mr. Verdant Green Married and Done for . . . (1857).

[49] The ambulance as used by the army at this time was a four-wheeled vehicle similar to a wagon. In the 1857 Cheyenne expedition after part of the ambulance had broken down, J. E. B. Stuart was transported on the "sick wagon" which he described as "the two hind wheels of the ambulance, with a tongue attached, the cushions being fastened on the spring." -- McClellan, op. cit., pp. 21, 22.

[50] It is obvious that there was a lack of exact knowledge of streams on maps being used by the military at this time. On the map of "Kansas, Texas, and Indian Territory, With Parts of Colorado and New Mexico" issued by the Engineer Office of the U. S. army, division of the Missouri, 1868, Crooked creek flows into the Nescutunga river which then becomes the Little Arkansas river (present Salt fork of the Arkansas) Crooked creek, as is now known, flows into the Cimarron river. A map containing the errors of the 1868 sketch was probably being used by the expedition of 1860.

[51] Probably Bluff (or Buff) creek and its tributaries in present Clark and Comanche counties.

[52] The reference is to the 1857 route of Lt. Col. Joseph E. Johnston in command of the surveying party for marking the southern boundary of Kansas from May through October. Johnston's private journal is in Nyle H. Miller, ed., "Surveying the Southern Boundary Line of Kansas," The Kansas Historical Quarterly, v. 1 (February, 1932), pp. 104-139. Other journals on the expedition maybe found in ibid., v. 6 (November, 1937), pp. 339-377, and in Ralph P. Bieber, ed., Frontier Life in the Army, 1854-1861, by Eugene Bandel (Glendale, 1932), pp. 121-211.

[53] Probably Buffalo creek and its tributaries in present Harper county, Oklahoma.

[54] The camp was on Middle river rather than the North fork of the Canadian. See diary entry for June 13. Middle river is now identified as Wolf creek which flows from Texas into Oklahoma and empties into the North Canadian river in Woodward county, Oklahoma.

[55] John E. Weyss was surveyor with the party for the southern boundary line of Kansas in 1857 and was a member of the Texas and United States Boundary Commission in 1860. For a map of the survey and a discussion of the Texas boundary, see Marcus Baker, The Northwest Boundary of Texas (Bulletin of the United States Geological Survey, No. 194, Washington, 1902).
[56] Colonel Sumner requested permission for use of 12 Delaware Indians as guides for Major Sedgwick's command, but Secretary of War J. B. Floyd approved the request only for six. -- Sumner to Headquarters of the Army, April 16, 1860, "Letters Received," A. G. O., National Archives. Stuart's personal diary lists six Delawares by the following names: Fall Leaf, Sarcoxie, John Williams, Bascom, Wilson, and Bullit.

[57] The march of Major Sedgwick's column from Middle river to the North fork of the Canadian is shown on the map of the Texas boundary in Baker, op. cit., facing p. 11, and also on the map of "Kansas, Texas, and Indian Territory, With Parts of Colorado and New Mexico" issued by the Engineer Office of the U. S. army, Military Division of the Missouri. 1868.

[58] Another novel by Edward Bulwer-Lytton published in 1828-1829. As an explanation of the Disowned, Bulwer-Lytton stated in 1832 that out of his study of metaphysics and ethics "grew the character of Algernon Mordaunt . . . as a type of the Heroism of Christian Philosophy -- an union of love and knowledge placed in the midst of sorrow, and laboring on through the pilgrimage of life, strong in the fortitude that comes from belief in heaven." -- The Complete Works of Edward Bulwer-Lytton (New York, n. d.), v. 2.

[59] Aubrey's crossing of the Cimarron river was in present Cimarron county, Oklahoma. Aubrey's crossing and Aubrey's trail were named for Francis X. Aubrey (also spelled Aubry), a Santa Fe trader. In an effort to shorten the Santa Fe trail, he selected a route that left the trail near Cold Springs in Cimarron county, Oklahoma, and ran northeast across the Cimarron river, along Bear creek, and then to the Arkansas river at Fort Aubrey near the boundary line of present Hamilton and Kearny counties, Kansas.

[60] Elmer Otis was a graduate of West Point in 1853 and was assigned to the First cavalry in March, 1855. He later attained the rank of colonel in the U. S. army. -- Cullum, op. cit., v. 2, p. 358; Heitman, op. cit., p. 762.

[62] Probably James B. McIntyre, West Point graduate of 1853. Assigned to the First cavalry in March, 1855, he was serving as regimental quartermaster officer in 1860 and later served as brevet lieutenant colonel before his death at Fort Larned in 1867. -- Cullum, op. cit., v. 2, pp. 364, 365; Heitman, op. cit., p. 669.

[62] Lunsford Lindsay Lomax was a graduate of the U. S. Military Academy in 1856 and was assigned to the First cavalry. He resigned his commission in April, 1861, and served as a major general in the Confederate army. -- Cullum, op. cit., v. 2, pp. 430, 431; Heitman, op. cit., p. 639.

[63] The reference is to Bent's New Fort which was built on the north bank of the Arkansas river in the area of the Big Timbers near present Prowers, Colo., in 1853 by Col. William Bent. The New Fort was located about 38 miles downstream from Bent's Old Fort. William Bent leased the New Fort to the War Department in 1859 and in the following year additional fortifications were built and it was named Fort Wise (later Fort Lyon). In 1860 William Bent was still active in the Indian trade. -- See George Bird Grinnell, "Bent's Old Fort and Its Builders," in Collections of the Kansas State Historical Society, v. 15 (1919-1922), pp. 28-91.

[64] Aubrey's crossing of the Arkansas river was at Fort Aubrey. -- See Footnote 59.

[65] The reference may be to Ceran St. Vrain who had been engaged in the Indian trade with the Bents and was still active in 1860. -- Grinnell, loc. cit., pp. 81 and passim.

[66] John Pegram was a graduate of West Point in 1854 and was assigned to the First dragoons. In March, 1855, he became a member of the Second dragoons where he was serving as first lieutenant in 1860. He resigned his commission in May, 1861, and became a major general in the Confederate army. He was killed in February, 1865, at the battle of Hatchers Run, Va. -- Cullum, op. cit., v. 2, p. 374; Heitman, op. cit., p. 780.

[67] James Ewell Brown Stuart, Jr. There is some evidence that the son was originally named for his grandfather, Col. Philip St. George Cooke, but the name was changed when the grandfather did not resign from the U. S. army to join the Confederacy. -- John W. Thomason, Jr., Jeb Stuart (New York, 1941); see, also, Bingham Duncan, ed., Letters of General J. E. B. Stuart to His Wife, 1861 (Emory University Publications, Sources and Reprints, Ser. 1, Atlanta, 1943), pp. 21, 23, 26, 27.

[68] George Bibb Crittenden, a West Point graduate of 1832, was serving as lieutenant colonel in the Mounted Rifles in 1860. He resigned from the U. S. army in June, 1861, and served as major general in the Confederacy. -- Cullum, op. cit., v. 1, pp. 409, 410; Heitman, op. cit., p. 338.

The Personal Diary of J.E.B. Stuart - Introduction

In my research for my biography of Jeb Stuart, I stumbled on this terrific find from the Kansas Historical Quarterlies.

The Kiowa and Comanche Campaign of 1860
as Recorded in the Personal Diary of Lt. J. E. B. Stuart
Edited by W. Stitt Robinson
Winter, 1957 (Vol. XXIII, No. 4)

I. Introduction

The duties of the United States army on the frontier were many and varied during the decade preceding the Civil War. There were both military and nonmilitary services to perform. The military involved primarily campaigns against hostile nomadic Indians, campaigns which were on the whole limited to minor skirmishes and which can hardly be classified as wars. Nonmilitary duties involved the army as policeman rather than soldier and as the builder of forts which ringed the frontier area. Both military and nonmilitary services were vital parts of the mission of the army on the eve of the Civil War.

The Greatest attention in the writing of American military history has been devoted to the fighting role. [1] Even with this emphasis, the story is not complete as evidenced by the lack of printed material concerning some of the campaigns on the frontier. The diary reproduced here has only recently come to light and supplies new and detailed information on the Kiowa and Comanche campaign of 1860. [2] The record was kept by Lt. James Ewell Brown Stuart, who is best known to history as "Jeb," the dashing cavalry leader of the Southern Confederacy. The military units included Companies F, G, H, and K of the First regiment of cavalry with some attention to the two attached companies of the Second dragoons, Companies C and K. As an appropriate background to the diary of the 1860 campaign, a brief resume will be given of Stuart's early military career which involved mainly his service with the First cavalry.

A Virginian by birth, Stuart received an appointment to the United States Military Academy at West Point and graduated in the class of 1854. His first assignment as an officer was with the regiment of mounted rifles under the command of Maj. J. S. Simonson, who was then carrying out orders for both military and nonmilitary services along the Texas frontier from Fort McIntosh near Laredo to Fort Davis and El Paso. [3] Federal troops were responsible for protecting the area from Indian raids, securing the emigrant routes, fortifying the Mexican border, supporting the enforcement of revenue laws, and curbing the activity of bandits and murderers. [4] Stuart's service in Texas was cut short by his appointment to the First regiment of cavalry which along with the Second cavalry was organized in March, 1855, by act of Congress to expand the number of mounted troops in the army. Command of the First cavalry was assigned to Col. Edwin V. Sumner and Lt. Col. Joseph E. Johnston.

Stuart reported in June, 1855, to Colonel Sumner at Jefferson Barracks in Missouri where the regiment was being organized, and before the end of the month, the unit moved on to Fort Leavenworth in Kansas. Colonel Sumner assumed command of the post and appointed Stuart to his staff as regimental quartermaster and as assistant commissary of subsistence of the post. [5] While organization was still under way, orders were issued for the First cavalry to participate in the campaign against the Sioux Indians in August and September, 1855. The major skirmish of the expedition involved Bvt. Brig. Gen. William S. Harney and Lt. Col. Philip St. George Cooke of the Second dragoons in an attack on the Sioux on Blue Water creek near Ash Hollow along the North Platte river in Nebraska territory. [6] But for the First cavalry, the venture was little more than an exercise in organization and an orientation to the Plains, for on the march to Fort Kearny and beyond toward Fort Laramie, no Sioux were encountered. [7]

Upon return from the Sioux campaign, Lieutenant Stuart completed plans for his marriage to Flora Cooke, daughter of Lt. Col. P. S. G. Cooke of Virginia, plans which had been tentatively made after a whirlwind courtship following their first meeting at Fort Leavenworth. The event was solemnized on November 14 at Fort Riley where Lieutenant Colonel Cooke was stationed with the Second dragoons. [8]

The increased tensions of the Kansas struggle in late 1855 and 1856 resulted in the call for military personnel for a wide variety of assignments, more as policemen than as soldiers. Commanders of federal troops were ordered by the Secretary of War to assist the territorial governor in enforcing the law and maintaining the peace. While many of the assignments were common for normal frontier conditions, the number increased for such missions as the following: preventing bloodshed between Proslavery and Free-State factions; guarding the polls and land sale offices; stopping the raids of freebooters and bandits; providing military escorts for the mail, for Indian agents delivering annuities to the tribes, and for visiting or local officials; and prohibiting white encroachment upon the land reserves of friendly semisedentary Indians. Calls were made upon the First cavalry for all these tasks. [9]

Preoccupied during 1856 with these problems, the First cavalry was not able until 1857 to undertake a campaign against the Cheyenne Indians. Although signers of the treaty at Fort Laramie in 1851, [10] the Cheyenne had been guilty of raiding Western trails and murdering whites. The purpose of the campaign, therefore, was to punish the tribe for depredations and at the same time so to overawe them by a show of force that peace would be maintained. Two moving columns led by Col. E. V. Sumner and Maj. John Sedgwick were employed from May until August, the major encounter with the Cheyenne occurring on July 29 on Solomon's fork of the Smoky Hill river. [11] Lieutenant Stuart began the expedition as regimental quartermaster officer, but was relieved during the campaign by Colonel Sumner because of a difference of opinion over the question of signatures for responsibility of government property. [12]
Continuing as a company officer, Stuart was in the thick of the fight with the Cheyenne on July 29; and while attempting to save a fellow officer, he was wounded in the chest by a pistol shot of an attacking Indian. [13]

Further expeditions against the Cheyenne were prevented by the order for federal troops to join the forces being organized in 1857 for the Utah campaign. The Mormons were reported to be in rebellion against the United States; and only two U. S. officials, both being Indian agents, remained in Utah. Alfred Cumming was appointed as new governor of Utah territory, and orders were issued to organize some 2,500 troops at Fort Leavenworth to accompany the governor and other new officials to the Mormon country. [14] Companies of the First cavalry were assigned to various columns that were to march at designated intervals. Stuart was a member of the column under Major Sedgwick and served as quartermaster officer of the expedition. However, agreements worked out by negotiators in the Mormon country ended the campaign without fighting; and Stuart's column, not leaving Fort Riley until May 29, 1858, went beyond Fort Laramie only as far as the Valley of the Sweetwater in present Wyoming before returning to Fort Riley on August 29. [15]

Following a winter in quarters at Fort Riley, the First cavalry received assignments for field duty for the summer of 1859 to protect the emigrant route along the Arkansas river. Stuart obtained a six months' leave and returned to Virginia. While on leave he completed his invention for a sabre attachment devised in Kansas. By means of "a stout brass hook" Stuart made it possible for the mounted soldier to leave his sabre on the pommel of the saddle when dismounting to fight; when remounting, he could easily return the sabre to his belt. Stuart patented the invention (patent number 25684 dated October 4, 1859) [16] and he was successful in selling to the United States government the right to use the improvement for mounted troops. [17]

While in Washington on October 17 waiting outside the office of the Secretary of War for a conference about his invention, Stuart was asked to deliver a message to Lt. Col. Robert E. Lee across the Potomac at his Arlington home. Learning that the mission involved quelling the uprising at Harpers Ferry, Stuart volunteered his services and accompanied Lee as his aide to the scene where John Brown was captured on October 18. Writing to his mother on January 31, 1860, after returning to Fort Riley, Stuart stated that one of his greatest services was the recognition from his experience in Kansas, that the insurgent leader Smith was actually "Old Brown." [18]

Back in Fort Riley, Stuart rejoined the regiment and assumed command of Company G on December 15, 1859, until Capt. William S. Walker returned from leave. [19] Orders from army headquarters were received in March to begin preparations for a campaign against the Kiowa and Comanche Indians. These two tribes along with the Apaches had signed the treaty in 1853 at Fort Atkinson on the Arkansas river (near present Dodge City). The agreement was made to maintain "Peace, friendship, and amity" with the United States and to preserve peace among the signatory Indian tribes. The right was provided for the United States to build roads or highways and military or other posts in territories occupied by the Indians. The three tribes also promised "to make restitution or satisfaction for any injuries done by any band or any individuals of their respective tribes to the people of the United States" legally residing in or traveling through their territories, and not to molest them in any way but rather to aid them if possible. In return the United States was to pay $18,000 annually in annuities for ten years and to protect the tribes from depredations by people of the United States. Violation of the treaty, it was agreed, could result in the withholding of annuities; and if at a later date it seemed desirable to establish farms among the Indians, the United States could use the annuities for that purpose. [20]

By 1857 the Kiowas and Comanches were reported in large numbers for extended periods of time on the Arkansas river, and by 1859 were residing permanently in the area between the Canadian and Arkansas rivers. [21] Indian Agent Robert Miller (or Millar) met the Comanches, Kiowas, and other tribes on July 19, 1858, at Pawnee Fork and found the Comanches unwilling to treat with the United States, threatening to annul the treaty of 1853. The Kiowas were more amenable, but parties from both tribes had been guilty of attacking and robbing two Mexican trains in sight of the agent's camp. Miller found both Kiowas and Comanches arrogant and confident of their superiority over U. S. forces, an opinion held by them, he thought, because of their lack of knowledge of the size and resources of the United States. In his report to the Commissioner of Indian Affairs, he concluded that "Nothing short of a thorough chastisement, which they so richly deserve, will bring these people to their proper senses." [22]

A few weeks later Colonel Sumner en route from Fort Kearny to the Arkansas river met a band of Kiowas under Little Mountain, one of the leaders with whom Miller had conferred. Sumner found the leaders of the Kiowas desirous of peace, although they indicated great "difficulty in restraining their turbulent young men." Pledges were made to Sumner to exert every effort to keep the young braves off the warpath. [23]

The Kiowas and Comanches were "encountered" the following year on September 16, 1859, at the mouth of Walnut creek by Agent W. W. Bent, who reported their number as 2,500 warriors. As to conduct, they appeared peaceable in the presence of federal troops; but when troops returned to Fort Riley, Agent Bent stated that they "assumed a threatening attitude, which resembles the prelude of predatory attacks upon the unprotected whites" along the Santa Fe road. Bent was convinced that a "smothered passion for revenge agitates these Indians"; and he recommended the establishment of two additional military forts along the Arkansas river to provide the "perpetual presence of a controlling military force." Because of the pressure of white settlement, he foresaw a war of extinction unless the federal government provided for the reduction of the nomadic tribes to an agricultural and pastoral way of life. [24]

Orders from army headquarters of March 10, 1860, ordered "active operations" against the hostile Comanches and Kiowas with instructions to hold no intercourse with them until punishment had been inflicted by military attack. Columns of troops, operating independently, were organized to begin the march in May. Six companies of the First cavalry (A, B, C, D, E, and I) were dispatched under Capt. S. D. Sturgis. The other four companies of the regiment (F, G, H, and K) along with Companies C and K of the Second dragoons were assigned to the column commanded by Maj. John Sedgwick. [25] Writing to his sister in April about the command appointment, Sedgwick stated that "I have no desire for it, but if I have it I shall do my best to bring it to a successful issue." [26]

Special instructions of May 9 were forwarded to Major Sedgwick from Colonel Sumner at headquarters of the Department of the West in St. Louis. Drawing upon his varied experience as an Indian fighter, Sumner advised that in order to be able to pursue, overtake, and attack the enemy, it was necessary to leave the wagon train at Pawnee Fork and to make the expedition from there with supplies conveyed by pack mules and beef cattle on foot. In pursuing Indians traveling with their families, a "steady determined march" would overtake them and when closely pressed, the warriors would separate themselves to protect the families. This, according to Sumner, was an excellent time to strike them; and in case the Comanches and Kiowas should unite to pose a strong threat, efforts should be made to turn their flanks for "Indians can never stand that." One further suggestion from Sumner reflected the problem of the military in distinguishing friendly from hostile Indians and the tendency of Federal troops to make little or no distinction within one tribe when punitive expeditions were under way. When "proffers of peace and disclaimers of all connection with the hostiles" approach you, stated Sumner, it is impossible to make distinctions; therefore, "whenever Comanches or Kiowas are found they must give the character to the whole party." [27]

Lieutenant Stuart accompanied Major Sedgwick's column as a company officer in Company G, and he was appointed journalist of the expedition. In addition to keeping an official record of events, [28] he recorded a more informal and personal impression of the expedition in a "Daily Miniature Diary for 1860" which had been printed by the New York concern of Kiggins and Kellogg. There are gaps in the personal diary, mainly in July. But it is valuable for giving new information of the 1860 expedition and the terrain over which it was made, as well as affording some insight to the personal reaction of Stuart and other military personnel to the events of the campaign.

The Stuart diary presented here is a literal transcription from photographic reproductions of the diary in the possession of the Alderman Library of the University of Virginia and is reproduced with the permission of that institution. Raised letters in the manuscript have been uniformly lowered and deletions by the diarist have been omitted. All other changes have been indicated by the usual square brackets.

Stuart's references to the streams of western Kansas are of considerable interest since history has recorded 1860 as a year of Great Drought for Kansas and adjacent Plains area.


[1] Francis Paul Prucha's Broadax and Bayonet: The Role of the United States Army in the Development of the Northwest, 1815-1860 (Madison, Wis., 1953) is a recent study that concentrates on the nonmilitary services of the army.

[2] Brief accounts of the campaign are given in George A. Root, ed., "Extracts From Diary of Captain Lambert Bowman Wolf," The Kansas Historical Quarterly, v. 1 (May, 1932), pp. 206-210, and in Merrill J. Mattes, ed., "Patrolling the Santa Fe Trail; Reminiscences of John S. Kirwan," ibid., v. 21 (Winter, 1955), pp. 585, 586.

[3] "Regimental Returns," Regiment Mounted Rifles, February and March, 1855, National Archives.

[4] Averam B. Bender, The March of Empire: Frontier Defense in the Southwest, 1848-1860 (Lawrence, 1952), pp. 34-36.

[5] "Post Returns," Fort Leavenworth, July, 1855; "Regimental Returns," First cavalry, August, 1855. Both in National Archives.

[6] "Report of the Secretary of War," Sen. Ex. Doc. No. 1, 34th Cong., 1st Sess. (1855-1856), v. 2, Pt. 2, pp. 49-51; ibid., Sen. Ex. Doc. No. 58, 34th Cong., 3d Sess. (1856-1857).

[7] "Regimental Returns," First cavalry, September and October, 1855, National Archives.

[8] Letter of J. E. B. Stuart, November 25, 1855, Confederate Museum, Richmond, Va.

[9] Examples of these assignments are given in my essay on "The Role of the Military in Territorial Kansas," Territorial Kansas: Studies Commemorating the Centennial (University of Kansas Social Science Studies, Lawrence, 1954), pp. 84-98.

[10] Charles J. Kappler, ed., Indian Aiffairs, Laws and Treaties (Sen. Doc. No. 452, 57th Cong., 1st Sess.), v. 2, pp. 440-442.

[11] "Governor Walker's Administration," Collections of the Kansas State Historical Society, Topeka, v. 5, pp. 299-301.

[12] F. J. Porter to J. E. B. Stuart, August 11, 1857, "Letters Sent," Department of the West, National Archives; "Regimental Returns," First cavalry, June, 1857, National Archives.

[13] H. B. McClellan, The Life and Campaigns of Major-General J. E. B. Stuart (Boston and New York, 1885), pp. 20-22.

[14] LeRoy R. Hafen and Francis Marion Young, Fort Laramie and the Pageant of the West, 1834-1890 (Glendale, 1938), pp. 284-299.

[15] Summary of the marches of the regiment, "Regimental Returns," First cavalry, 1858, National Archives; "Muster Rolls," Company G, First cavalry, June-August, 1858, National Archives.

[16] The patent may be found in "Records of the War Department," Office of the Chief of Ordnance, Ordnance Special File, Inventions Section, National Archives.

[17] Receipt for the sale is in special files of the Ordnance Department, Record Group 156, Box 46, National Archives.

[18] The original of this letter is owned by Stuart B. Campbell of Wytheville, Va. Most of it has been reproduced in substance in McClellan, op. cit., pp. 29, 30.

[19] "Muster Rolls," Company G, First cavalry, October, 1859, to April, 1860, National Archives.

[20] Kappler, op. cit., v. 2, pp. 445-447.

[21] "Report of the Secretary of the Interior," Sen. Ex. Doc. No. 2, 36th Cong., 1st Sess. (1859-1860), v. 1, p. 506.

[22] Ibid., Sen. Ex. Doc. No. 1, 35th Cong., 2d Sess. (1858-1859), v. 1, pt. 1, pp. 448-452.

[23] "Report of the Secretary of War," House Ex. Doc. No. 2, 35th Cong., 2d Sess. (1858-1859), v. 2, pt. 2, p. 425.

[24] "Report of the Secretary of the Interior," Sen. Ex. Doc. No. 2, 36th Cong., 1st Sess. (1859-1860), v. 1, pp. 506, 507.

[25] Sumner to Sedgwick, May 9, 1860, "Letters Sent," Department of the West, National Archives; "Report of the Secrctary of War," Sen. Ex. Doc. No. 1, 36th Cong., 2d Sess. (1860-1861), v. 2, pp. 19-22.

[26] John Sedgwick, Correspondence of John Sedgwick, Major-General (New York, 1903), v. 2, pp. 10, 11.

[27] Sumner to Sedgwick, May 9, 1860, loc. cit.

[28] A copy of the official journal kept by Lt. J. E. B. Stuart is in the Coe Collection, Yale University library; microfilm copies are in the libraries of the University of Kansas and the Kansas Historical Society.

Thursday, March 27, 2008

General Orders Number Nine

I found this article on the Internet, while doing research for my novel. I thought everyone would enjoy it.

For those who do not know, James Power Smith served as an Aide-de-Camp to Jackson. He joined Jackson’s staff before the Battle of Antietam. Smith was originally from Ohio, but was attending school in Virginia at the outbreak of the war. A firm states-right advocate, he joined the Confederate army. After the war, he received his doctorate in Divinity. He became a pastor.

It’s a long article, but well worth the read. Smith reveals much about Jackson, Lee, and the Army of Northern Virginia.

Stonewall’s Last Battle

By Captain James Power Smith

Published in The Century Magazine. Vol. XXXII. October 1886, No. 6.

At daybreak on the morning of the 29th of April, 1863, sleeping in our tents at corps headquarters, near Hamilton's Crossing, we were aroused by Major Samuel Hale, of Early's staff, with the stirring news that Federal troops were crossing the Rappahannock on pontoons under cover of a heavy fog. General Jackson had spent the night at Mr. Yerby's hospitable mansion near by, where Mrs. Jackson [his second wife] had brought her infant child for the father to see. He was at once informed, and promptly issued to his division commanders orders of preparation for action. At his direction I rode a mile across the fields to army headquarters, and finding General Robert E. Lee still slumbering quietly, at the suggestion of Colonel Venable, whom I found stirring, I entered his tent and awoke the general. Turning his feet out of his cot he sat upon its side as I gave him the tidings from the front. Expressing no surprise, he playfully said: "Well, I thought I heard firing, and was beginning to think it was time some of you young fellows were coming to tell me what it was all about. Tell your good general that I am sure he knows what to do. I will meet him at the front very soon."

It was Sedgwick who had crossed, and, marching along the river front to impress us with his numbers, was now intrenching his line on the river road, under cover of Federal batteries on the north bank.

All day long we lay in the old lines of the action of December preceding, watching the operation of the enemy. Nor did we move through the next day, the 30th of April. General Lee had been informed promptly by General J. E. B. Stuart, of the Confederate cavalry, of the movement in force by General Hooker across the Rappahannock upon Chancellorsville; and during the night of Thursday, April 30th, General Jackson withdrew his corps, leaving Early and his division with Barksdale's brigade to hold the old lines from Hamilton's Crossing along the rear of Fredericksburg.

By the light of a brilliant moon, at midnight, that passed into an early dawn of dense mist, the troops were moved, by the Old Mine road, out of sight of the enemy, until, about eleven A.M. of Friday, May 1st, they reached Anderson's position, confronting Hooker's advance from Chancellorsville, near the Tabernacle Church on the plank road. To meet the whole Army of the Potomac, under Hooker, General Lee had of all arms about sixty thousand men. General Longstreet, with part of his corps, was absent below Petersburg. General Lee had two divisions of Longstreet's corps, Anderson's and McLaws's, and Jackson's corps, consisting of four divisions, A. P. Hill's, D. H. Hill's commanded by Rodes, Trimble's commanded by Colston, and Early's; and about a hundred and seventy pieces of field artillery. The divisions of Anderson and McLaws had been sent from Fredericksburg to meet Hooker's advance from Chancellorsville; Anderson on Wednesday, and McLaws (except Barksdale's brigade left with Early) on Thursday. At the Tabernacle Church, about four miles east of Chancellorsville, the opposing forces met and brisk skirmishing began. On Friday Jackson, reaching Anderson's position, took command of the Confederate advance, and urged on his skirmish line under Brigadier-General Ramseur with great vigor. How the muskets rattled across a front of a mile or two, across the unfenced fields, and through the woodlands! What spirit was imparted to the line, and cheers rolled along its length, when Jackson, and then Lee himself, appeared riding abreast of the line along the plank road! Slowly but steadily the line advanced, until at nightfall all Federal pickets and skirmishes were driven back upon the body of Hooker's force at Chancellorsville.

Here we reached a point, a mile and a half from Hooker's lines, where a road turns down to the left toward the old Catherine Furnace; and here at the fork of the roads General Lee and General Jackson spent the night, resting on the pine straw, curtained only by the close shadow of the pine forest. A little after night-fall I was sent by General Lee upon an errand to General A. P. Hill, on the old stone turnpike a mile or two north; and returning some time later with information of matters on our right, I found General Jackson retired to rest, and General Lee sleeping at the foot of a tree, covered with his army cloak. As I aroused the sleeper, he slowly sat up on the ground and said, "Ah, Captain, you have returned, have you? Come here and tell me what you have learned on the right." Laying his hand on me he drew me down by his side, and, passing his arm around my shoulder, drew me near to him in a fatherly way that told of his warm and kindly heart. When I had related such information as I had secured for him, he thanked me for accomplishing his commission, and then said that he regretted that the young men about General Jackson had not relieved him of annoyance, by finding a battery of the enemy which had harassed our advance, adding that the young men of that day were not equal to what they were when he was a young man. Seeing immediately that he was jesting and disposed to rally me, as he often did younger officers, I broke away from the hold on me which he tried to retain, and, as he laughed heartily through the stillness of the night, I went off to make a bed of my saddle-blanket, and, with my head in my saddle, near my horse's feet, was soon wrapped in the heavy slumber of a wearied soldier.

Some time after midnight I was awakened by the chill of the early morning hours, and, turning over, caught a glimpse of a little flame on the slope above me, and looking up to see what it meant I saw, bending over a scant fire of twigs, two men seated on old cracker boxes and warming their hands over the little fire. I had but to rub my eyes and collect my wits to recognize the figures of Robert E. Lee and Stonewall Jackson. Who can tell the story of that quiet council of war between two sleeping armies? Nothing remains on record to tell of plans discussed, and dangers weighed, and a great purpose formed, but the story of the great day so soon to follow.

It was broad daylight, and the thick beams of yellow sunlight came through the pine branches, when some one touched me rudely with his foot, saying, "Get up, Smith, the general wants you!" As I leaped to my feet, the rhythmic click of canteens of marching infantry caught my ear. Already in motion! What could it mean? In a moment I was mounted and at the side of the general, who sat on his horse by the roadside, as the long line of our troops cheerily, but in silence as directed, poured down the Furnace road. His cap was pulled low over his eyes, and, looking up from under the visor, with lips compressed, indicating the firm purpose within, he nodded to me, and in brief and rapid utterance, without a superfluous word, as though all were distinctly formed in his mind and beyond question, he gave me orders for our wagon and ambulance trains. From the open fields in our rear, at the head of the Carthapin road, all trains were to be moved upon that road to Todd's tavern, and thence west by interior roads, so that our troops would be between them and the enemy at Chancellorsville.

My orders delivered and the trains set in motion, I returned to the site of our night's bivouac, to find that General Jackson and staff had followed the marching column.

Who was the young ordnance officer who so kindly fed my horse at the tail of his wagon and then added the few camp biscuits, which were breakfast, dinner, and supper to me that day? Many thanks to my unknown friend.

Slow and tedious is the advance of a mounted officer who has to pass in narrow wood roads through dense thickets, the packed column of marching infantry, to be recognized all along the line and good-naturedly chaffed by many a gay-spirited fellow: "Say, here's one of old Jack's little boys, let him by, boys!" in a most patronizing tone. "Have a good breakfast this morning, sonny?" "Better hurry up, or you'll catch it for getting behind." "Tell Old Jack we're all a-comin'." "Don't let him begin the fuss till we get thar!" And so on, until about three P. M., after a ride of ten miles of tortuous road, I found the general seated on a stump by the Brock road, writing this dispatch.

Near 2 P. M., May 2nd, 1863.
GENERAL: The enemy has made a stand at Chancellor's, which is about two miles from Chancellorsville. I hope as soon as practicable to attack.
I trust that an ever kind Providence will bless us with success.
P. S. The leading division is up, and the next two appear to be well closed.
T. J. J.

The place here mentioned as Chancellor's was also known as Dowdall's Tavern. It was the farm of the Rev. Melzi Chancellor, two miles west of Chancellorsville, and the Federal forces found here and at Talley's, a mile farther to the west, was the Eleventh Corps, under General Howard. General Fitz Lee, with cavalry scouts, had advanced until he had view of the position of Howard's corps, and found them unprotected by pickets, and unsuspicious of a possible attack.

Reaching the Orange plank road, General Jackson himself rode with Fitz Lee to reconnoiter the position of Howard, and then sent the Stonewall brigade of Virginia troops, under Brigadier-General Paxton, to hold the point where the Germanna plank road obliquely enters the Orange road. Leading the main column of his force farther on the Brock road to the old turnpike, the head of the column turned sharply eastward, toward Chancellorsville. About a mile had been passed, when he halted and began the disposition of his forces to attack Howard.

Rodes's division, at the head of the column, was thrown into line of battle, with Colston forming the second line and A. P. Hill's the third, while the artillery under Colonel Stapleton Crutchfield moved in column on the road, or was parked in a field on the right. The well-trained skirmishers of Rodes's division, under Major Eugene Blackford, were thrown to the front. It must have been between five and six o'clock in the evening, Saturday, May 2nd, when these dispositions were completed. Upon his stout-built, long-paced little sorrel, General Jackson sat, with visor low over his eyes, and lips compressed, and with his watch in his hand. Upon his right sat General Robert E. Rodes, the very picture of a soldier, and every inch all that he appeared. Upon his right sat Major Blackford.

"Are you ready, General Rodes?" said Jackson.

"Yes, sir!" said Rodes, impatient for the advance.

"You can go forward then," said Jackson.

A nod from Rodes was order enough for Blackford, and then suddenly the woods rang with the bugle call, and back came the responses from bugles on the right and left, and the long line of skirmishers, through the wild thicket of undergrowth, sprang eagerly to their work, followed promptly by the quick steps of the line of battle. For a moment all the troops seemed buried in the depths of the gloomy forest, and then suddenly the echoes wakes and swept the country, for miles, never failing, until heard at the headquarters of Hooker at Chancellorsville—the wild "rebel yell" of the long Confederate lines.

Never was assault delivered with grander enthusiasm. Fresh from the long winter's waiting, and confident from the preparation of the spring, the troops were in fine condition and in high spirits. The boys were all back from home or sick leave. "Old Jack" was there upon the road in their midst; there could be no mistake and no failure. And there were Rodes and A. P. Hill. Had they not seen and cheered as long and loud as they were permitted the gay-hearted Stuart and the splendid Fitz Lee, with long beard and fiery charger? Was not Crutchfield's array of brass and iron "dogs of war" at hand, with Poague and Palmer, and all the rest, ready to bark loud and deep with half a chance?

Alas! for Howard and his uniformed lines, and his brigades with guns stacked, and officers at dinner or asleep under the trees, and butchers deep in the blood of beeves! Scattered through field and forest, his men were preparing their evening meal. A little show of earthwork facing the south was quickly taken by us in reverse from the west. Flying battalions are not flying buttresses for an army's stability. Across Talley's field the rout begins. Over at Hawkins's hill, on the north of the road, Carl Schurz makes a stand, soon to be driven into the same hopeless panic. By the quiet Wilderness Church in the vale, leaving wounded and dead everywhere, by Melzi Chancellor's, on into the deep thicket, again the Confederate lines press forward,—now broken and all disaligned by the density of bush that tears the clothes away; now halting to deliver a volley upon some regiment or fragment of the enemy that will not move as fast as others. Thus the attack upon Hooker's flank was a grand success, beyond the most sanguine expectation.

The writer of this narrative, an aide-de-camp of Jackson's, was ordered to remain at the point where the advance began, to be a center of communication between the general and the cavalry on the flanks, and to deliver orders to detachments of artillery still moving up from the rear.

Whose fine black charger, with such elegant trappings, was that, deserted by his owner and found tied to a tree, which became mine only for that short and eventful nightfall?

It was about eight P. M., in the twilight, that, so comfortably mounted, I gathered my couriers about me and went forward to find General Jackson. The storm of battle had swept far on to the east, and become more and more faint to the ear, until silence came with night over the fields and woods. As I rode along that old turnpike, passing scattered fragments of Confederates looking for their regiments, parties of prisoners concentrating under guards, wounded men by the roadside and under the trees at Talley's and Chancellor's, I had reached an open field on the right, a mile west of Chancellorsville, when, in the dusky twilight, I saw horsemen near an old cabin in the field. Turning toward them, I found Rodes and his staff engaged in gathering the broken and scattered troops that had swept the two miles of battle-field. "General Jackson is just ahead on the road, Captain," said Rodes; "tell him I will be here at this cabin if I am wanted." I had not gone a hundred yards before I heard firing, a shot or two, and then a company volley upon the right of the road, and another upon the left.

A few moments farther on I met Captain Murray Taylor, an aide of A. P. Hill's, with tidings that Jackson and Hill were wounded, and some around them killed, by the fire of their own men. Spurring my horse into a sweeping gallop, I soon passed the Confederate line of battle, and, some three or four rods on its front, found the general's horse beside a pine sapling on the left, and a rod beyond a little party of men caring for a wounded officer. The story of the sad event is briefly told, and very much in essentials as it came to me from the lips of the wounded general himself, and in everything confirmed and completed by those who were eye-witnesses and near companions.

When Jackson had reached the point where his line now crossed the turnpike, scarcely a mile west of Chancellorsville, and not half a mile from a line of Federal troops, he had found his front line unfit for the farther and vigorous advance he desired, by reason of the irregular character of the fighting, now right, now left, and because of the dense thickets, through which it was impossible to preserve alignment. Division commanders found it more and more difficult as the twilight deepened to hold their broken brigades in hand. Regretting the necessity of relieving the troops in front, General Jackson had ordered A. P. Hill's division, his third and reserve line, to be placed in front. While this change was being effected, impatient and anxious, the general rode toward us on the turnpike, followed by two or three of his staff and a number of couriers and signal-sergeants.

He passed the swampy depression and began the ascent of the hill toward Chancellorsville, when he came upon a line of the Federal infantry lying on their arms. Fired at by one or two muskets (two musket balls from the enemy whistled over my head as I came to the front), he turned and came back toward his line, upon the side of the road to his left. As he rode near to the Confederate troops just placed in position, and ignorant that that he was in the front, the left company began firing to the front, and two of his party fell from their saddles—Capt. Boswell of the Engineers, and Sergeant Cunliffe of the Signal Corps. Spurring his horse across the road to his right, he was met by a second volley from the right company of Pender's North Carolina Brigade. Under this volley, when not two rods from the troops, the general received three balls at the same instant. One penetrated the palm of his right hand and was cut out that night from the back of his hand. A second passed around the wrist of the left arm and out through the left hand. But a third ball passed through the left arm halfway from shoulder to elbow. The large bone of the upper arm was splintered to the elbow-joint, and the wound bled freely. His horse turned quickly from the fire, through the thick bushes, which swept the cap from the general's head, and scratched his forehead, leaving drops of blood to stain his face. As he lost hold upon the bridle-rein, he reeled from the saddle, and was caught by the arms of Captain Milbourne of the Signal Corps. Laid upon the ground, there came at once to his succor, General A. P. Hill and members of his staff.

The writer reached his side a minute after, to find General Hill holding the head and shoulders of the wounded chief. Cutting open the coat sleeve from wrist to shoulder, I found the wound in the upper arm, and with my handkerchief I bound the arm above the wound to stem the flow of blood. Couriers were sent for Dr. Hunter McGuire, the surgeon of the corps and the general's trusted friend, and for an ambulance. Being outside of our lines, it was urgent that he should be moved at once. With difficulty litter-bearers were brought from the line near by, the general placed upon the litter, and carefully raised to the shoulder, I myself bearing one corner.

A moment after, artillery from the Federal side was opened upon us; great broadsides thundered over the woods; hissing shells searched the dark thickets through, and shrapnels swept the road along which we moved. Two or three steps farther, and the litter-bearer at my side was struck and fell, but, as the litter turned, Major Watkins Leigh, of Hill's staff, happily caught it. But the fright of the men was so great that we were obliged to lay the litter and its burden down upon the road. As the litter-bearers ran to the cover of the trees, I threw myself by the general's side, and held him firmly to the ground as he attempted to rise. Over us swept the rapid fire of shot and shell—grape-shot striking fire among the flinty rock of the road all around us, and sweeping from their feet horses and men of the artillery just moved to the front.

Soon the firing veered to the other side of the road, and I sprang to my feet, assisted the general to rise, passed my arm around him, and with the wounded man's weight thrown heavily upon me, we forsook the road. Entering the woods, he sank to the ground from exhaustion, but the litter was soon brought, and again rallying a few men, we essayed to carry him farther, when a second bearer fell at my side. This time, with none to assist, the litter careened, and the general fell to the ground, with a groan of deep pain. Greatly alarmed, I sprang to his head, and, lifting his head as a stray beam of moonlight came through clouds and leaves, he opened his eyes and wearily said, "Never mind me, Captain, never mind me." Raising him again to his feet, he was accosted by Brigadier-general Pender: "Oh, General, I hope you are not seriously wounded. I will have to retire my troops to re-form them, they are so much broken by this fire." But Jackson, rallying his strength, with firm voice said, "You must hold your ground, General Pender; you must hold your ground, sir!" and so uttered his last command on the field.

Again we resorted to the litter, and with difficulty bore it through the bush, and then under hot and angry fire along the road. Soon an ambulance was reached, and stopping to seek some stimulant at Chancellor's (Dowdall's Tavern), we were found by Dr. McGuire, who at once took charge of the wounded man. Through the night, back over the battle-field of the afternoon, we reached the Wilderness store, and in a field on the north the field-hospital of our corps under Dr. Harvey Black. Here we found a tent prepared, and after midnight the left arm was amputated near the shoulder, and a ball taken from the right hand.

All night long it was mine to watch by the sufferer, and keep him warmly wrapped and undisturbed in his sleep. At nine A. M., on the next day, when he aroused, cannon firing again filled the air, and all the Sunday through the fierce battle raged, General J. E. B. Stuart commanding the Confederates in Jackson's place. A dispatch was sent to the commanding general to announce formally his disability,—tidings General Lee had received during the night with profound grief. There came back the following note:

"GENERAL: I have just received your note, informing me that you were wounded. I cannot express my regret at the occurrence. Could I have directed events, I should have chosen, for the good of the country, to have been disabled in your stead.
"I congratulate you upon the victory which is due to your skill and energy.
'"Most truly your,

When this dispatch was handed to me at the tent, and I read it aloud, General Jackson turned his face away and said, "General Lee is very kind, but he should give the praise to God." The long day was passed with bright hopes for the wounded general, with tidings of success on the battle-field, with sad news of losses, and messages to and from other wounded officers brought to the same infirmary.

On Monday, the general was carried in an ambulance, by way of Spotsylvania Court House to most comfortable lodging at Chandler's, near Guinea's Station, on the Richmond, Fredericksburg, and Potomac railroad. And here, against our hopes, notwithstanding the skill and care of wise and watchful surgeons, watched day and night by wife and friends, amid the prayers and tears of all the Southern land, thinking not of himself, but of the cause he loved, and for the troops who had followed him so well and given him so great a name, our chief sank, day by day, with symptoms of pneumonia and some pains of pleurisy, until at 3:15 P. M., on the quiet of the Sabbath afternoon, May 10th, 1863, he raised himself from his bed, saying, "No, no, let us pass over the river, and rest under the shade of the trees"; and, falling again to his pillow, he passed away, "over the river," where, in a land where warfare is not known or feared, he rests forever, "under the trees."

His shattered arm was buried in the family burying-ground of the Ellwood place—Major J. H. Lacy's—near his last battlefield.

His body rests, as he himself asked, "in Lexington, in the Valley of Virginia." The spot where he was so fatally wounded in the shades of the Wilderness is marked by a large quartz rock, placed there by the care of his chaplain and friend, the Rev. Dr. B. T. Lacy, and the latter's brother, Major J. H. Lacy, of Ellwood.

Others must tell the story of Confederate victory at Chancellorsville. It has been mine only, as in the movement of that time, so with my pen now, to follow my general himself. Great, the world believes him to be in many elements of generalship; he was greatest and noblest in that he was good, and, without a selfish thought, gave his talent and his life to a cause that, as before the God he so devoutly served, he deemed right and just.

Just as an aside: Smith writes that Jackson's last words were "Let us pass over the river..." According to James Robertson's definitive biography on Jackson, Smith, Anna Jackson, and Dr. McGuire were the only three present in the room when Jackson died. McGuire says that Jackson said, "Let us cross over the river..." It is McGuire's account that has gained the supremacy in history.

Sunday, March 23, 2008

General Orders Number Eight

I had a friend buy me a copy of The Killer Angels on a recent visit to the States. As someone who is trying to write her own novel about the Civil War, I wanted to reread this book and study the choices Michael Shaara makes in describing the characters, landscape, and military actions.

The Killer Angels was the first Civil War book I read after I watched the movie made from its pages. It is a fantastic book, deserving of its Pulitzer Prize. As most know, its Southern narrative comes from Longstreet's memoirs and was responsible for the revival of the forgotten general, who was victimized by Lee's aides and some generals of the ANV in their attempt to shield Lee from any culpability for the loss at Gettysburg. A loss that Lee did not hesitate in accepting responsibility for. He tried to resign afterwards, citing his health as a major cause for the loss.

I was ignorant of any of Civil War history when I read this book. Well, except for what I remembered from high school and gleaned from my many readings of Gone With the Wind. I saw the movie and read the book and knew that I wanted to learn more about this time in our history. That is a debt I owe to Michael Shaara's stunning prose.

But, Michael Shaara, whether intended or not has done some of the men he writes about a grave injustice. But I wonder if that is his fault or ours as Civil War enthusiasts.

In the pages of The Killer Angels, Longstreet is advanced at the expense of Lee. Longstreet is credited with understanding that Pickett's Charge was foolish and suicidal. It is not his fault that the attack failed. No that falls on Lee, who stubbornly refused to listen to Longstreet's sage advice. That conversation never happened because Pickett didn't charge across the field as the movie portrays. Instead, Pickett's advance was a huge flanking movement "up the Emmitsburg Road" designed to push Hancock's Second Corps into Ewell and Hill. Hancock acknowledges this in his testimony before Congress, when he says that he thought Lee was intending to go through him... that Lee was looking to roll up his line. If one has walked the Southern position at Gettysburg, one finds that Pickett's brigades were not in front of the Second Corps but to the right of Hancock's position.

But the absolute thing that Shaara's book did was ruin Stuart. The Stuart presented in those pages and in the film is one that bares little resemblance to the Stuart of history. Shaara's Stuart was an irresponsible publicity hound, who on purpose, disobeyed his orders and went riding around the Union army to avenge his loss at Brandy Station (a battle he did not lose) and restore his good name. This Stuart has to be lectured to by an angry Lee like he was a child. If this Stuart actually existed, he would have been cashiered and sent back to Virginia.

Now all that makes good drama. But in the hands of lazy historians it is a slur that Stuart can never recover from. I have argued with many enthusiasts, who read books and love the history as much, if not more than me. But they can't get past what they saw on their television screens. An angry Martin Sheen berating a contrite Stuart close to tears.

But to all of us who claim to love the history, on both sides, it should matter greatly. It should matter that Stuart's orders never tell him to communicate with Lee, but with Ewell. It should matter that Stuart was ordered to the right of Ewell on the Susquehanna and not to Lee's flank on the Potomac. It should matter greatly that Stuart was told to look for Early at York, where the army would be consolidated. And finally, it should matter that right after Lee's death, his aides and some of the generals of the ANV systematically destroyed both Longstreet's and Stuart's reputation in order to salvage Lee's.

I have to wonder if there is any book I can write that could do for Stuart what The Killer Angels did for Longstreet. Since the movie Gettysburg premiered, isn't it true that Longstreet has become the hero of the battle? Reading online societies, online forums, and participating in debates, I find this to be the case. But we are basing his role during the battle on a myth he created in order to protect himself from the unfounded charges made by Walter Taylor, Charles Marshall, Jubal Early, and W.N. Pendleton after Lee's death that he was responsible for the loss.

The reason I ask these questions is that I recently had a conversation with a Civil War enthusiast, who did not care what Stuart was ordered to do. It simply did not matter. He argued that Stuart was a randy cavalier, sleeping around (don't even get me started) and so upset over the negative publicity he received after Brandy Station that he disobeyed his orders and cost Lee the victory. The only thing that saved him from his mistake was Lee's affection for him. This narrative does exist in the historiography, but just because it exists, does not mean it is correct. We, as Civil War enthusiasts, have access to the Original Records of the War. We can look up the orders ourselves. We can read what Stuart was ordered to do. We can compare those orders with the accusations against Stuart that he disobeyed his orders and see that he did as both Lee and Longstreet ordered him to do.

So, I don't fault Michael Shaara for writing a book based on a forgotten memoir of a disgraced general. I do fault all those who take fiction, no matter how well done, and turn it into history. How bad is it? I argued with a professor during a Civil War class in college over this very issue. He didn't like being challenged. He thundered at me: "Did you not see Gettysburg?" My response was a stunned: "That's a movie, it's not history." No matter. He came in the next week and read from a historian's book that upheld the scape goating of Stuart. The class laughed, but I did not care. Stuart deserves better.

I will close this rant with a quote from Longstreet regarding Stuart's role at Gettysburg. He was writing to Major McClellan, Stuart's adjutant, after McClellan wrote an article quoting Stuart's orders. "Your paper, as it was intended, is a complete vindication of General Stuart. It shows General Lee's authority for the movement of his cavalry, and those movements were well conducted, rapidly and vigorously executed, (This is very disingenuous of Longstreet, who, not only knew what Lee's orders said, but endorsed them in a letter that is included in the Official Records) that Stuart left more cavalry with us than we actually used - a fact not known to me heretofore -, and that therefore it was peculiarly unjust, not to say cruel, in all who assailed Stuart, as the cause of the failure of the Campaign." August 3, 1878.

In his memoirs almost twenty years later, Longstreet writes: “Our plans, adopted after deep study, were suddenly given over to gratify the youthful cavalryman's wish for a romantic ride.”

And thanks to The Killer Angels, Gettysburg, and finally our own lack of curiosity into the actual facts, that is the story that remains. To the utter ruin of James Ewell Brown Stuart.

General Orders Number Seven

I am reprinting a letter that Heros Von Borcke (Assistant Adjutant General) wrote to Aide-de-Camp R. Channing Price. (Von Borcke's spelling was atrocious, so I've cleaned it up) It lists the equipment that Price must have to be a member of Stuart's staff.

Equipment Suitable for An Officer of Cavalry:

A good horse which can be bought in Richmond or among the regiments. The cost will be between 400 and 500 dollars.

A good Jenifer saddle and bridle, which can be bought at the ordinance store for 62 dollars.

Arms will be sabre and pistol, which will cost from 80 to 100 dollars.

A uniform trimmed with yellow (cavalry) or buff (staff) either coat or jacket 80 to 100 dollars. (An aside -- the jacket was called a shell jacket, but Stuart affectionately called it his fighting jacket)

Good cavalry boots with spurs, 50 dollars.

Gray or black hat, 15 dollars.

Saddle blanket and other blanket, 20 dollars.

Oilcloth coat 25-30 dollars.

Several little things not mentioned (little valise, comb, brush, etc.)

So to be a cavalry member the initial outlay was anywhere between 732 and 877 dollars.

General Orders Number Six

In preparation for my analysis of the Battle of Brandy Station (or Fleetwood Hill), I would like to begin by posting Major Henry B. McClellan's report on the state of the Army of Northern Virginia's cavalry right after the Battle of Chancellorsville. McClellan is Stuart's adjutant. This is taken from his book I Rode With Jeb Stuart.

A consideration of the difficulties under which the cavalry of the Army of Northern Virginia labored will not be uninteresting to one who would form a a true estimate of the services rendered by it.

At the beginning of the war, the Confederate government, charged as it was with the creation of an army and of war material of all kinds, felt itself unable to provide horses for the numerous cavalry companies which offered their services, especially from the State of Virginia. Many companies, organized as cavalry, were rejected. With those that were enrolled the government entered into a contract, the substance of which was that the cavalrymen should supply and own their horses, which would be mustered into service as a fair valuation; that the government should provide feed, shoes, and a smith to do the shoeing, and should pay the men a per diem of forty cents for the use of their horses. Should a horse be killed in action, the government agreed to pay to the owner the muster valuation. Should the horse be captured in battle, worn out, or disabled by any of the many other causes which were incident to the service, the loss fell upon the owner, who was compelled to furnish another horse, under the same conditions, or be transferred to some other arm of the service.

That the government should have adopted such a policy at the beginning of the war was a misfortune that it should have adhered to it to the very end was a calamity which no amount of zeal or patriotism could successfully contend.

It is not in the spirit of unfriendly criticism that we today proclaim the unwisdom of such a policy. At the time, all acquiesced in it; the cavalryman most cheerfully of all. Virginia was full of horses of noble blood. The descendants of such racers as Sir Archy, Boston, Eclipse, Timoleon, Diomede, Eschequer, Red-Eye, and many others more or less famous on the turf, were scattered over the State. Gentlemen fond of following the hounds had raised these horses for their own use. They knew their fine qualities, their speed, endurance, and sure-footedness, and they greatly preferred to entrust their safety in battle to their favorite steeds rather than to any that the government could furnish. But the government might have purchased these horses at the outset, and by suitable activity it might have provided for replenishing the losses incurred in the service. The cavalrymen were kept mounted, but at an enormous loss of efficiency in the army, and by a system of absenteeism which sometimes deprived the cavalry of more than half its numbers. Why should it have been thought that the people of Virginia would hold back their horses, when they refused nothing else to the government?

The evil results of this system were soon apparent, and rapidly increased as the war progressed. Perhaps the least of these was the personal loss it entailed upon the men. Many a gallant fellow whose horse had been irrecoverably lamed for the want of a shoe, or ridden to death as the command of his officer, or abandoned in the enemy's country that his owner might escape capture, impoverished himself and his family in order that he might keep his place in the ranks of his comrades and neighbors. Nor should it be a cause for wonder if this property question affected the courage of many a rider; for experience soon proved that the horse as well as the man was in danger during rough cavalry melee. If the horse were killed the owner was compensated; but a wounded horse was a bad investment.

By far the greatest evil of the system was the fact that whenever a cavalryman was dismounted, it was necessary to send him to his home to procure a remount. To accomplish this required from thirty to sixty days. The inevitable result was that an enormous proportion of the command was continuously absent. Many of the men were unable to procure fresh horses within the time specified in their "details," and the column of "Absent without leave" always presented an unsightly appearance. To punish such men seemed an injustice, and the relaxation of discipline on this point was abused by some with impunity. We have already seen that Fitz Lee's brigade, which should never presented less than twenty-five hundred sabres in the field, was reduced to less than eight hundred at Kelly's Ford, on the 17th of March, and numbered less than fifteen hundred men at the time of the battle of Chancellorsville, when many of the absentees had returned.

Great as was this evil among the Virginia regiments, it operated with tenfold force upon the cavalry of Hampton's brigade. Think of sending a man from Virginia to South Carolina, North Carolina, Georgia, or Mississippi to procure a horse! Recruiting camps were established in Virginia and in North and South Carolina, and every means which the cavalry commanders could devise were used to ameliorate this state of affairs. But the inevitable tendency was downwards; and in the last year of the war hundreds of men were gathered together in the "Dismounted Camp," or, as the men called it, "Camp Q," in the vain attempt to utilize good, but misplaced material. Special officers were appointed for these men, and the attempts was made to use them, dismounted, in various ways; but with no success. The men were disheartened. Espirt du corps could by no possibility be infused into such an assemblage. Every man looked and longed for the time when his horse might be returned from the recruiting camp, or when some kind of providence might remount him and return him to his comrades. The penitentiary could not be more loathsome to him than his present condition, and yet even this was better than to give up all hope, and consent to a transfer to the infantry or artillery.

The want of proper arms and equipments placed the Southern cavalry at a disadvantage which can hardly be overestimated. At the beginning of the war the troopers furnished their own saddles and bridles (see General Order Number 7 for complete list). The English round-tree saddle was in common use, and sorebacked horses multiplied with great rapidity. After a time the government furnished an unsightly saddle which answered a very good purpose; for although the comfort of the rider was disregarded, the back of the horse was protected. Our best equipments were borrowed from our cousins of the North. The question of arming the cavalry was far more serious. Some of the more wealthy of the Virginia counties armed their cavalry companies with pistols when they were mustered into service, but whole regiments were destitute of them. Breech-loading carbines were procured only in limited quantities, never more than enough to arm one, or at most two squadrons in a regiment. The deficiency was made up, generally but Enfield rifles. Robertson's two North Carolina regiments, which joined Stuart in May, 1963, were armed with sabres and Enfield rifles. The difference between a Spencer carbine and an Enfield rifle is by no means a mere matter of sentiment.

Horseshoes, nails, and forges were procured with difficulty; and it was not an uncommon occurrence to see a cavalryman leading his limping horse along with road, while from his saddle dangled the hoofs of a dead horse, which he had cut off for the sake of the sound shoes nailed to them.